Last week was a brutal one on and off the football field. There were many football injuries starting with the Packers on Thursday night, then continuing on Sunday with Chris Carson, Dalvin Cook and others. We also lost one of the best songwriters of our time in Tom Petty. In this week’s Playlist we’ll discuss changing player values while using Petty’s tunes as a backdrop.
Learning To Fly by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Deshaun Watson broke out in a big way in Week 4, with five TDs in a major win over the Patriots. That is going to get a lot of people’s attention, but his Week 5 matchup against the Chiefs will be a tough test. Still, with Will Fuller back, Lamar Miller and D’Onta Foreman running well and DeAndre Hopkins gobbling up targets, the Texans look like one of the better Fantasy offenses this year. Watson is definitely a borderline QB1 consideration moving forward, but not quite locked in as an every week starter just yet. If he can keep making sound decisions in the passing game, Watson is going to be a frequent DFS and streaming option. His ability to scramble only enhances his ceiling further. His dynasty value is soaring, so much so that you may want to explore a sell high situation.
American Girl by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Cam Newton showed well in Week 4, torching the Patriots in a Panthers victory after looking pedestrian during the first three weeks. I am not ready to say Newton is back into your starting lineup for good, especially with a tough matchup against the Lions this week. If you have Newton on your roster, ideally you should have another matchup play type of QB like Andy Dalton to pair with him. I know it is blasphemy to carry more than one QB according to some experts, but with bye weeks coming up, now is the time to start looking at the waiver wire. The schedule does get easier for Newton and another QB1 finish is certainly possible, but I would hedge my bets given his recent play. The Panthers have the weapons to be a dangerous offense, even without Greg Olsen, but it all starts with Newton’s play.
Mary Jane’s Last Dance by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
You probably haven’t noticed but Marshawn Lynch is back in the NFL after a year off. He landed in a perfect situation, at home in the Bay area with a Raiders offense on the verge of being one of the best in the game. He has yet to total more than 92 yards, he’s only scored one TD and is barely involved in the passing game (that part was expected). Lynch only received 16 touches in the past two games. Perhaps Derek Carr’s injury will force the Raiders to re-establish the run, leaning on Lynch in his absence. This is exactly what you should tell your fellow owners as you try to pawn Lynch off on them. Yes, he definitely still has RB2 upside, but what we’ve seen so far is lackluster. Maybe this is the end of the road for Beastmode.
Room At The Top by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Carlos Hyde has been playing exactly like we all expected Carlos Hyde to play when Frank Gore left town three years ago. Hyde is getting at least 15 touches per game, including plenty of work in the passing game. The power back has been slowed in the past by injuries and also the Niners’ offensive deficiencies in the past, so he is far from a guarantee. But what running back is outside of a select few? He has a tremendous matchup against the Colts in Week 5 and can be considered an RB1 option moving forward. Given his history, though, he’s a player to explore trading away while everything is going right for him.
Into The Great Wide Open by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Michael Thomas hasn’t had any monster games in 2017 like those we saw seemingly every week in his rookie season, but that is not to say he’s been bad. He has three straight games with at least 87 yards, and a TD in his last two. The Saints’ offense has not been quite as explosive and part of that could be the new pieces and missing Brandin Cooks. Last year was no fluke and Thomas is talented enough to overcome the additional defensive attention. What this does present is a buying opportunity since he has been good but not great thus far. It is worth an inquiry to the Thomas owner who perhaps needs an upgrade at RB and a startable WR in return for him, especially since this is the Saints bye week. Barring an injury, expect Thomas to finish as a WR1. The big stat lines are coming.
Freefallin’ by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Eric Decker and Jeremy Maclin both landed in great spots for 2017 production, but neither one has delivered on that promise. Decker has been nearly invisible in the Titans offense and he’s just about droppable. The Titans are going to spread the ball around and Decker just does not seem to be connecting with Marcus Mariota in the passing game. Maclin has scored a couple times, but the Ravens’ passing game (Joe Flacco) has been atrocious. Maclin has more long-term upside here if Flacco can right the ship, but he is not startable in most leagues right now. These veteran free agent signees have not worked out for their teams or Fantasy owners.
You Don’t Know How It Feels by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Hunter Henry has the potential to be a TE1 for a long time to come, but while Antonio Gates is around, he’s going to be hit or miss. This week, he’s a matchup streamer and DFS option thanks to a date with a Giants defense that has struggled to stop the position. Still, his usage this season and the overall play of the Chargers offense does not inspire confidence. I would be all over acquiring him in dynasty formats, but he is a desperation play in seasonal formats. Look elsewhere for your starting TE (after this week).
I Won’t Back Down by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Martellus Bennett was seen as a quality value TE in Fantasy drafts this summer, but his connection with Aaron Rodgers has not gotten off to the best start. Bennett has had his share of drops and bad penalties, but Rodgers said that they need to get him more involved. It is really something the Packers haven’t been able to do for most of the past decade. Thanks to injuries and underperformance, the TE position is wide open and Bennett is in a great spot for success. There are a lot of mouths to feed in the Packers offense, but he has a chance to be a chain mover and red zone asset if called upon. Let’s hope it starts this week against the Cowboys.