Trending and NoteWorthy For Week Seven
Don’t Be Fantasy Fooled
Jacksonville Jaguars Defense
The Jags have allowed more points in the last two games than they had in their previous four, including a 40-spot to a Dallas Cowboys offense without a legitimate NFL wide receiver or tight end. Next, they face a Houston Texans team that hasn’t been as good as expected before traveling to London and Wembley Stadium for a game in which one team always falls flat and feels the effect of jet lag on game day.
I am close to covering them in the NoteWorthy section, but I am more in the Don’t Be Fantasy Fooled camp because of the overwhelming talent on their defense and the friendly schedule the rest of the way. The Texans aren’t the offense they could be and while the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 11 could be a tough game, it’s a road outing for Big Ben “Tough Road Splits” Roethlisberger. The Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, Tennessee Titans and Washington Redskins are just four of their friendly late-season scheduled opponents. Make a bid to acquire the Jags while they are undervalued coming off back-to-back bad games.
Tyrell WIlliams, WR Los Angeles Chargers
Week Six Stats:
Four Targets – Three Receptions – Two Touchdowns – 118 Receiving Yards
Williams was a player that I had hopes for at a discounted price on draft night in 2017, only for him to become irrelevant last season. Last week’s two touchdown, three reception performance will catch some eyes and deceive some owners. Don’t Be Fantasy Fooled. It’s a mirage. He has only been targeted 23 times this season. He has a 19.4 yards per catch average, but when a player finishes a full season with 35-40 catches, it doesn’t really matter. Move along.
Denver Broncos Run Defense
Two weeks ago the New York Jets – fronted by the mighty Isaiah Crowell and Hall of Fame bound Bilal Powell – shredded the Broncos for over 300 rushing yards followed, by All-World RB Todd Gurley who doubled-up on them with over 200 rushing yards.
The Jets game could have been a fluke and Gurley goes off on just about everybody, but two straight weeks is a trend too disturbing to ignore. David Johnson was in a cushy spot that is going to only confuse Fantasy owners again – 14 carries and 39 rushing yards on Thursday night. Owners probably expected a good game from Johnson and they were wrong and I knew they would be. Week Nine against the Texans is when owners will see the DFS steal that the substandard Denver run defense is going to provide. Alfred Blue – Week Nine could be your day in the sun.
Kenyan Drake, RB Miami Dolphins
Drake’s production has still been mediocre compared to draft night expectations, but his carry totals in Week Six were his second most and he caught four passes as well.
The weak production is still a concern, but his usage is increasing and opportunity is the first step towards relevance. Drake is slowly trending his way to being a cheap trade target with upside.
Marquise Goodwin, WR San Francisco 49ers
Vs. Los Angeles Rams
Goodwin returned to the Niners with a two touchdown,126-yard receiving game in Week Six. In Week Seven, he faces a Rams pass defense that has allowed 950 receiving yards and the second most touchdowns to wide receivers with 10.
Goodwin is explosive, the Rams are susceptible to passing touchdowns and yards and this is a game that should have plenty of garbage time for Niners wide receivers. He is as close to a must-start as any player owned in less than 70% of Yahoo! League will ever be. In DFS, he is your budget bargain. Match Julio Jones’ production with Goodwin’s price and you have yourself a good foundation in cash games.
Devin Funchess, WR Carolina Panthers
Vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Funchess has 53 yards receiving or more in four straight games, touchdowns in two of his last three and he lines up opposite an Eagles defense that has allowed the second-most passing yards in football. He is a Flex call this week.
Albert Wilson, WR Miami Dolphins
Week Six Stats:
Nine Targets – Six Receptions – Two Touchdowns -155 Receiving Yards – 25.8 Yards per Reception Average
When you watch Wilson in the open field you can’t help but think of Tyreek Hill and wonder, why isn’t this guy more Fantasy relevant? Well, he was the most productive player on most Waiver Wires this week.
WIlson has two games of 74 receiving yards or more in his last three, and he has 15 receptions, four touchdowns and 15 receptions. The yearly stats aren’t there to declare him a must-start Flex yet, but the skill set is electric and the touchdown totals make him a serious possibility if he can continue to show he is a playmaker. He could be in the Trending section instead of NoteWorthy if he can show something against a Detroit Lions defense that ranks fourth best in Points Allowed to Wide Receivers. It will be a test, and a potential telling one for Wilson this week.
New England Patriots
We knew the pass-catchers were a way to feast in Fantasy – but never the running backs. The Patriots have flipped the script. Sony Michel is Belichick’s bellcow RB while there isn’t a must-start WR in the group. Chris Hogan is a borderline waiver wire cut and Julian Edelman is a questionable Flex while Josh Gordon is both a must-own and sometimes a must-sit in all formats. The NFL has always been unpredictable, but this flip flop is beyond anything we have ever seen in politics.
Jameis Winston, QB Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Week Six Stats:
30 Completions – 41 Pass Attempts – 395 Passing Yards – Four Touchdowns
With the lack of an effective running game and their poor defense leading to early-game deficits and offensive shootouts, Jackson and Godwin look like bargain targets while Mike Evans is a sell-high.
The High Bar for Cashing in DFS
During draft season one of the prevailing wisdoms was that quarterback was so deep that owners could find value EVERYWHERE. I had my own supplement to the consensus opinions and offered my own insights. Analysts encouraging owners to wait even longer to draft quarterbacks than in previous years was making the best quarterbacks not only the safest options, but as their draft ADPs were dropping, good values as well. Waiting to draft quarterbacks has proven to be the best approach this year because the quarterback position has never been easier to play. There is value EVERYWHERE because EVERYONE is producing yards and touchdowns at the position.
Scoring is up 10 percent and touchdowns are coming in bunches. Mitchell Trubisky threw six touchdowns in Week Five. Brock Osweiler threw for 380 yards and three touchdowns against a good Bears defense in Week Six. Blake Bortles had four passing touchdowns in Week Two, he threw for 388 yards in Week Five and 430 yards in Week Six. These aren’t Hall of Fame quarterbacks having these huge Fantasy performances. What I find to be most interesting about this new trend is that it is the opposite approach Fantasy players need to employ to cash in DFS. You can’t bargain basement shop at QB to cash in DFS. Its pay up or lose.
The deluge of passing yards and touchdowns is happening across the entire league and mediocre quarterbacks like the ones I cherry picked in the prior paragraph had explosive weeks. But to cash in DFS you need to be as close to certain as possible that you roster max touchdowns from the quarterback position or you need to be perfect everywhere else in your lineup and that is extremely difficult to consistently do.
You can’t roster Julio Jones without a touchdown catch or take a five spot at Tight End without max QB touchdowns. Owning shares in the easiest QB matchup isn’t enough. Everyone playing knows this and they are flooding to those matchups. Following the herd has never been how to consistently outscore the majority of the DFS field. Bucking the trend of finding bargains at quarterback and paying up for the best quarterbacks are how DFS players can help guarantee their lineups perform and oddly, be contrarian in the process. I expect Mitchell Trubisky against the Patriots and Joe Flacco against the Saints to be relatively popular DFS plays because of their discounted price tag. Neither are going to finish the day with max touchdown passes and regardless of the discount, its not a winning DFS strategy to attach your hopes that they do.
Jared Goff is going to be highly priced and he may only play three quarters, but he is going to throw for 300+ yards and four touchdowns or more. Don’t get sucked into Eli Manning and his bargain basement budget number against the Falcons or Baker Mayfield versus the Buccaneers. If you’re an owner that feels an absolute obsession with shaving some dollars off your QB spending think about a stack of Cam Newton and Devin Funchess against a worse than realized Philadelphia Eagles pass defense or Andy Dalton, his 14 touchdown passes. It’s not easy to pay top dollar for the stars when the discounted options look like cheap, low-hanging fruit, but it’s the way to build a smart DFS lineup in today’s crazy, pinball atmosphere for quarterbacks.