|Fantasy Football: Week 3 starts, sits||09.23.16 at 11:47 am ET|
Good morning, Patriots fans. Feeling good? Thought so. It’s Friday, so it’s time for some starts and sits as you enjoy the afterglow of a big win. As usual, I have done my best to try to find some worthwhile recommendations. And if you need some advice on players not listed in this space, check out my full lineup rankings at Rotobahn. It’s also a good idea to cross-reference these recommendations against my full lineup rankings that are up at Rotobahn and will be fully updated by Saturday evening.
Don’t forget to tune in to the Fantasy Football Hour this Sunday at 8 a.m. when Jim Hackett and I will discuss trending Week 3 topics and crucial game day information.
Matt Ryan, Falcons at Saints, $7,400
I will gladly pay that price to get him in my DraftKings lineup, but I need to know that Julio Jones is playing. Ryan, armed with a healthy Jones, is a great play against a weak Saints defense. It’s also a plus that the Saints probably will score a lot of points. Vegas has this game scoring more points (53.5 over/under) than any other Week 3 tilt.
Derek Carr, Raiders at Titans, $6,900
Carr has looked even better than he did in 2015. He’s cool in the pocket and can extend plays with his feet when necessary. This is good because he’s got quality receivers who work the various levels of the field well. He’s got Michael Crabtree working the intermediate routes, but he’s also got Amari Cooper, who can stretch the field and cause havoc for defenses. He’s also got a good young tight end and a deep backfield. Carr should give you solid numbers this weekend at the Titans. He’s startable in all leagues and very playable in tournaments on DraftKings. I’m looking to stack him with Cooper.
Blake Bortles, Jaguars vs. Ravens, $6,500
He’s struggled so far, but only in real football terms. The fantasy digits have been there because Bortles is surrounded by high-end playmakers. Garbage time is almost always productive for the Jaguars and it allows Bortles to backfill his game stats for his fantasy owners. He should end up with respectable to strong numbers this week as the Ravens are not that good on the back end. I’d be stacking Bortles with either Allen Robinson or Julius Thomas on DraftKings — depending on what my budget looks like.
Carson Wentz, Eagles vs. Steelers, $5,500
The price is nice. Wentz has not played like a rookie so far, and you throw to beat the Steelers. Pittsburgh plays the run well and has a leaky secondary. Meanwhile, Wentz has underrated playmakers and he can augment his passing numbers with his feet a la Jacoby Brissett. He’s a compelling play at such a low price. I’d stack him with Jordan Matthews in tournaments, but he is too risky for cash games at this point.
|Fantasy Football: Week 3 waiver wire||09.20.16 at 10:15 am ET|
Great Odin’s Raven! What a week! There were injuries everywhere you looked on Sunday, leaving fantasy GMs scratching their heads and searching for answers. Based on the numbers, Jamaal Charles and his fantasy owners were better off with him sitting out — avoiding the carnage that was Week 2. The same might be said for Rob Gronkowski and Tom Brady’s owners. This is an unconventional week of preparation for fantasy GMs. There are going to be a lot of nervous people out there, and the bidding will be aggressive in leagues that use FAAB auctioning for free agents. In waiver leagues there will be tons of claims. I’m starting off with the running backs first this week because that’s where all the stress is.
Here are the backs who are either out for Week 3 or in some form of peril.
Ameer Abdullah (foot) — Seeing a specialist, out Week 3
Adrian Peterson (knee) — Highly questionable for Week 3, could be out multiple weeks
Doug Martin (hamstring) — Questionable for Week 3
Arian Foster (hamstring) — Questionable for Week 3
Thomas Rawls (leg bruise) — Could play Week 3
Rashad Jennings (wrist/thumb) — Questionable for Week 3
Jonathan Stewart (hamstring) — Out for Week 3
Danny Woodhead (ACL) — Out for the year
Some of this injury information is still fluid. I will update these situations and get into the relative value of the replacement options during this week’s waiver wire podcast over at Rotobahn, and in the expanded waiver wire at Rotobahn. Both will be posted before your commute home and they will get you up to speed fast.
Tevin Coleman, Falcons, 57 percent
Atlanta is sticking to a split backfield, and that makes Coleman a must-own player in all formats. If there’s an injury to Devonta Freeman, Coleman becomes a potential stud, and it’s crazy that so many Freeman teams are choosing to leave this guy on the waiver wire! Scoop him up and have a great upside talent on your bench or even in your lineup.
Jerick McKinnon, Vikings, 25 percent
He must be picked up at every available opportunity. McKinnon is an elite athlete with big-play potential. They did not overuse him last week because he’s been nursing a foot injury, but he should be ready for more this week and then even more after that. This is a potentially special running back and no way am I adding Matt Asiata if if have the option to add McKinnon.
Charles Sims, Buccaneers, 52 percent
He is a must-add player for Doug Martin owners and for anybody else who has bench space in any format, but particularly in PPR leagues. Sims has stand-alone flex appeal when Martin is healthy, but he could be an RB2 against the Rams if Martin is forced to sit with his sore hamstring. In better matchup, he has RB1 potential if starting.
Jordan Howard, Bears, 8 percent
He is the only running back in Chicago who is capable of being a true lead back. I suspect that he will own the early down and goal-line work at some point this season, and perhaps at some point soon. Howard is, quite simply, better than Jeremy Langford. Add him in all 12-team leagues.
|Fantasy Football: Week 2 starts, sits||09.16.16 at 10:17 am ET|
Welcome to the Week 2 starts and sits. I had some solid results last week, though I’d like that Kirk Cousins recommendation back, and while we are at it I’d like to retract Jared Cook as well. This week, as usual, I have tried to avoid giving you the obvious choices. That being said, there are a few players who are obvious for seasonal play, but worth noting for use in DraftKings lineups. If you are looking for my take on any players not mentioned in this space, feel free to consult my full Week 2 lineup rankings at Rotobahn.
Jim Hackett and I will be recording a podcast that should be posted by Friday early afternoon. I will tweet a link to the pod as soon as it’s posted. I also will be recording a Rotobahn podcast this morning where I will be going over this week’s DraftKings pricing and looking for values. That pod should be posted around noon on Rotobahn and I’ll tweet a link as soon as its posted. To keep pace with all my fantasy football content, follow me on Twitter.
Eli Manning, Giants vs. Saints, $7,600
He’s a value on DraftKings and a player to start in all leagues. In fact, Manning is my No. 2 overall quarterback this week in his matchup with New Orleans, a team with no defense to speak of. The Saints can score plenty of points, though, so the Giants will not go to the run early — they’ll try to pile on the points. It’s a good situation for fantasy purposes.
Matthew Stafford, Lions vs. Titans, $7,300
It’s another good matchup for Stafford, who has a nice balanced offense to work with. He’s a good bet for multiple scores and could push 300 yards passing against a Titans defense that is having trouble rushing the passer. The fact that Tennessee stopped the run well could just lead to more volume for Stafford, who has a lot of weapons in the Lions’ new low-risk scheme. Good days from Marvin Jones and Golden Tate seem likely and there’s plenty of potential for Eric Ebron as well.
Jimmy Garoppolo, Patriots vs. Dolphins, $5,900
It’s a divisional matchup, and those can get ugly, but I think the Patriots can handle the Dolphins as long as they can hold up in the middle, where Ndamukong Suh creates some unique problems. As long as they can give Garoppolo a little time, he should be able to find receivers. He’s a startable commodity if you need him, and worth a look in tournaments on DraftKings. If you want a stackable option, I am liking Julian Edelman at a very affordable 6,200 units.
|Fantasy Football: Week 1 waiver wire||09.13.16 at 10:52 am ET|
Welcome back to the fantasy grind! Week 1 was action-packed with plenty of fallout, both good and bad. If you are a Keenan Allen owner like myself, I feel your pain. I won’t lie to you. It’s a tough loss to recover from, but if you drafted a deep team, you still can do plenty of damage … if you make the right moves going forward. That task starts right now.
If you are unfamiliar with how I work, here’s the way to use my waiver wire. I spend much of my Mondays watching game film before I put this article together for early Tuesday publication. Once I get it finished, I get right back to the games and watch what’s left. I also continue to comb through all the available snap totals. Once I am finished, I post my expanded waiver wire over at Rotobahn. That usually will go up in the early afternoon and, this season, it will be accompanied by a brief podcast. So, if you play in a deep format, I strongly suggest checking out the expanded Rotobahn content as well. It’s all totally free of charge with no registration requirements or the like.
Before we get to the players to target, let me just list a few more highly owned players who you obviously would go after on the off chance they are available.
Spencer Ware, Chiefs
Ameer Abdullah, Lions
Danny Woodhead, Chargers (must be owned in PPR)
T.J. Yeldon, Jaguars
Travis Benjamin, Chargers
DeVante Parker, Dolphins
Corey Coleman, Browns
Tyler Eifert, Bengals (stash him for a few weeks)
The listed ownership rates have been sourced from Yahoo. The snaps counts are approximate and are, as yet, unofficial.
Carson Wentz, Eagles, 7 percent
He was announced as the starter after a lot of leagues held their drafts, and he is the guy to go after this week if you need upside at the position. Wentz may prove to be more of a matchup play, but his ability to score with his arm and his feet cannot be denied. And, for the most part, his matchups are quite good. I’d go get this guy, especially in bigger formats. Do it for the upside, especially of you lack punch at the position. I’m talking to you, Alex Smith owners.
Jimmy Garoppolo, Patriots, 7 percent
I was a little worried going into a road game without Rob Gronkowski and with issues on the offensive line, but Garoppolo was very good. Now we have ourselves a commodity, albeit a commodity with a three-week shelf life. The Patriots are at home for the rest of his three starts and they are all against beatable opponents. Garropolo can help those waiting for Brady or Russell Wilson, if he happens to miss a week.
Joe Flacco, Ravens, 18 percent
He has a friendly short-term schedule, and if you are a concerned Russell Wilson owner, that’s good information. Flacco has a solid overall schedule as well, so he is a nice add as a QB2. His receivers all looked pretty good last week, and that was an area of concern going in.
|Fantasy Football: Week 1 starts, sits||09.09.16 at 11:23 am ET|
Week 1 is upon us, so it’s high time for some starts and sits. As I did for most of last season, I’ve incorporated DraftKings pricing into the recommendations for those of you who play daily fantasy as well as seasonal. I always try to avoid the obvious calls and focus more on the players on the edge of lineups. Having said that, if you are looking for my take on any players not mentioned in this space, feel free to consult my full lineup rankings at Rotobahn.
In case you haven’t caught us yet this season, The Fantasy Football Hour with Jim Hackett and myself is back. We’ll be live Sunday mornings at 8 a.m., leading into NFL Sunday with Chris Price and crew, so check it out! I will also be hosting our first chat for those of you with tough lineup decisions. The chat starts at 11 a.m., and there will be a link to the room on the homepage. I’ll also tweet out a link once it becomes available. To follow me on Twitter, go here.
Matthew Stafford, Lions at Colts ($7,200)
He’s got good weapons around him despite the loss of Calvin Johnson to retirement. Perhaps some teams will make Stafford miss his old Hall of Fame-bound friend, but the Colts are not likely to be among them. Their secondary is decimated and their front seven is not about to make up for it. Meanwhile, the Colts could score their fair share of points themselves, and that makes this game a potential barn burner. Stafford is a good play in seasonal leagues and a very nice option in all DraftKings formats. I’m stacking him with Marvin Jones, but if you want the more counterintuitive play, you’ll have to pony up for Golden Tate, who is overpriced this week at 7,300 units.
Kirk Cousins, Washington vs. Steelers ($7,400)
Cousins ended the 2015 season on a bit of a tear, and he’s in a good position to get out of the gate well this season, too. You want to throw to beat the Steelers, and Cousins has a healthy group of receivers with the exception of rookie Josh Doctson. DeSean Jackson and Jordan Reed both are ready to roll, and that should be all Cousins needs to post QB1 stats against Pittsburgh in this solid home matchup. He’s a good start on DraftKings as well, and you’ll want to consider stacking Jackson or Reed in most cases.
Derek Carr, Raiders at Saints ($7,300)
Vegas likes this game in terms of point totals, and I’m with Vegas in a big way. Drew Brees is always better at home, so I like the Saints’ chances of scoring points despite the Raiders, improving defense. On the other side, the silver and black will face a soft New Orleans defense and Carr should be able to post some very nice numbers throwing to Amari Cooper and my preferred stack option, Michael Crabtree, who we’ll get to in just a bit.
Dak Prescott, Cowboys vs. Giants ($5,000)
In seasonal leagues you probably have a safer option than Prescott, but in DraftKings tournaments his floor salary is appealing in a game that could feature plenty of scoring. The rookie has looked very good so far, though regular season games obviously offer increased defensive resistance. What makes Prescott extra appealing is his ability to make big plays with his feet in addition to his arm. He’ll have a good running game to work off of, and he has top-shelf protection from the Cowboys’ stellar offensive line. The Giants will be loathe to stack the box with Dez Bryant manning the outside. Prescott is worth a look in tournaments, though I do expect him to be highly owned, so remember to diversify if you are playing a lot of lineups.
|Fantasy Football: Top 60 wide receivers||09.02.16 at 11:22 am ET|
The NFL, as we all know, has become a passing league. And it really shows when you look at how deep the pool of quality receivers is this season. In this article I am breaking down the top 60 fantasy receivers, and, as usual, I have them tiered up for you to give you a feel for where the drops in value are. If you are looking for a more in-depth take on any of these players, just go to Rotobahn and check out my full rankings in the Rotobahn 500. You also can download free cheat sheets if you are drafting this weekend. It’s all completely free of charge.
Next Thursday, I’ll be back to take a look at the DraftKings values for Week 1, and don’t forget to tune in to the Fantasy Football Hour this Sunday at 8 a.m. on 93.7. Jim Hackett and I will talk about who to draft and we’ll discuss plenty of the receivers in this article. Join us! To keep pace with all of my fantasy content, including my weekly Draftkings rankings, follow me @Rotobahn.
If you are looking for values to target, I have my top 10 receiver values against ADP at the bottom of the article, and check out my high-value targets column from last week.
The rankings below are based on .5 PPR scoring.
Tier 1 (1-3)
Odell Beckham Jr.
This is a pretty easy one. These receivers make up the top three players on my board at any position. I’m not taking any players ahead of Brown, Beckham and Jones. All three offer elite talent with plus quarterback support and they all are the unquestioned first option for their respective teams. Order them any way you like, but don’t overthink things. If you have a top-three pick, take one of these receivers.
Tier 2 (4-7)
Not far off the elite pace are the Tier 2 options. The quarterback play here is unproven or mediocre, unless you want to argue for Andy Dalton, which I am not going to do. Having said that, there’s enough data to suggest that these four all have enough support to post numbers in line with a lead fantasy receiver. Like the first tier, these are clear No. 1 options on the teams they play for. The passing offense goes through these players. They all are reasonable options in Round 1 of 12-team drafts.
|Fantasy Football: High-value targets||08.25.16 at 11:17 am ET|
This article is all about getting players who have the potential to return big value. As I have said repeatedly on the Fantasy Football Podcast, I want guys who can outperform their draft position. I want to target players who can perform a few rounds above where I select them. That’s how you end up being better than the other teams in your league.
For insight into how I apply this article to my drafts, check out my 2016 Draft Plan and Draft Plan Podcast. Both are available for free on Rotobahn, as is the Rotobahn 500 and our cheat sheets. If you need to get ready fast, we have your back.
A word on average draft position (ADP): As I say over and over, it is simply crucial that you use ADP sourced from the site your league drafts on. You will find links to many ADP sources in my Draft Plan article. The ADP in this article is sourced from Fantasypros.
For a deeper take on this article, check out this week’s podcast on WEEI. Jim Hackett and I will be recording that Friday. To keep pace with all of my fantasy content, including my weekly Draftkings rankings, follow me @Rotobahn.
All right, let’s get into the targets.
Russell Wilson, Seahawks, 36
He’s going as the third overall quarterback and much later than Cam Newton (19) and Aaron Rodgers (25), so if you are thinking of going after an elite quarterback, Wilson is the one I would be targeting.
Tony Romo, Cowboys, 107
Romo is the 13th quarterback off the board, and he has a nice profile for the upcoming season. He’s an elite fantasy scorer and he has an elite weapon to work with. Romo also plays behind one of the best offensive lines, if not the best. The Cowboys also play a highly favorable schedule. Romo is cheap enough where I can easily spend another pick on a strong backup.
Kirk Cousins, Washington, 112
He’s the 14th quarterback being taken, and you can usually get him in the 10th round of 12-team drafts. Cousins makes a very nice QB1 if you wait out the starter run. He has as much upside as a lot of the guys being taken ahead of him, and you can draft him late enough to afford taking another strong option right after him.
Marcus Mariota, Titans, 139
He’s the 19th quarterback taken on average, and I’m willing to roll with him as my starter. Mariota has a deep though unspectacular array of weapons and he has a solid backfield to lean on. He proved that he belonged last year, and his coaches sound like they want him to use his legs more this season. That will lead to more fantasy points. Mariota is a highly explosive athlete for the position. He’s capable of game-breaking runs.
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