DeAndre Hopkins is the #1 WR in fantasy
DeAndre Hopkins (10/148/2) has a legitimate shot to finish the season as the #1 wide receiver. His talent has never been in question, but hiss quarterback always has been, throughout his career. Lest we forget that Brian Hoyer was the man who fed Josh Gordon to an all-world 2013 season of 87/1646/9 in only 14 games, averaging over 11 targets per game. With great talents at WR, our question in fantasy largely comes down to trusting how often a man will get the ball--and Hoyer knows where his bread is buttered.
Hopkins-Hoyer is surpassing the Gordon-Hoyer season of 2013 to look like Calvin Johnson's 204-target 2012 year where Matthew Stafford had one offensive weapon and used it all the time. The Texans have a healthy Arian Foster now, but that doesn't matter. Hopkins hasn't seen less than 11 targets in any game this season and that game was with Ryan Mallett stinkin' it up. He is now on pace for a 139/1936/13 season in 237 targets, and this is totally sustainable. My rest of season rankings will reflect this, no matter what Odell Beckham, Jr.--my previous WR1--performs on Monday night.
Devonta Freeman is a top-3 RB
Can I put Sriracha on my crow? https://t.co/CXFJWRaPrb— Alex Sonty (@AlexSontySBN) October 16, 2015
Devonta Freeman is the real deal, the Falcons offensive line is blocking so well that he only needs one cut to break through for big yards, his usage in the pass game is reminiscent of Saints Darren Sproles, and--most important--Tevin Coleman is nothing more than a spell back. There really is nothing the kid can't do, seeing as plodding is unnecessary in this Falcons offense and the ball is his.
Good time to slightly downgrade Julio Jones to the bottom of the top-5. Still great, but he can be sold at a profit for Hopkins, Beckham, maybe A.J. Green or Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman in PPR; where we are deep at WR, stealing Le'Veon Bell or Adrian Peterson in all formats--or Freeman in PPR--is nice, and probably doable. Julio is Julio and will be great as soon as Week 7, but Freeman is limiting his volume.
Eddie Lacy has to get better
The Packers enter their bye and Eddie Lacy has been playing terribly and sparingly on a bum ankle. We have to believe in three things: his talent, the will of Mike McCarthy to #ESTABLISH, and Green Bay unleashing the blowouts for Lacy to close. We can deal as high as Antonio Brown for him, where we are four-deep at WR, but shooting to the lower Jordan Matthews, Mike Evans, Allen Robinson range is probably of most value. The frustrated Lacy owner is probably hurting so bad at running back, a low-end RB2 and a WR3 may suffice.
Buy low on any Packers you can. Still bullish on Randall Cobb as a top-10 WR with top-5 upside, James Jones as a top-20 with top-15 upside, and Aaron Rodgers as top-3 with #1 upside, despite Tom Brady and Cam Newton having 11 games remaining.
Chris Ivory is a top-5 RB
Fantasy RBs are about volume and opportunity. Couple that with making people consistently miss, and we have an elite fantasy option with 11 remaining games to most only having ten, because the Jets have already had their bye. Chris Ivory (20/146/1) is the bellcow in New York. He missed Week 3, so has only played four games, but has 20 carries in three of those affairs. At 5.5 yards per carry, sole possession of goal line carries, and Bilal Powell now nursing a bum ankle, Ivory is moving up from RB6 in my rankings to the top-5.
Zac Stacy has become a must-own handcuff, especially in standard leagues. The line is in sync and the gameplan is geared toward the run. The only reason anyone can lower Ivory out of their top-5 is the injury risk. Ivory has only missed two games since 2013, but has a history of missing games with his crash dummy style.
Keep an eye on Julian Edelman
Julian Edelman (6/50/1) was having a great game before his fingers got crushed on Sunday night. Where we cannot afford punting a week or two or accumulating risk, selling may be safe, even in PPR where we can make a lateral move. Rob Gronkowski (3/50/1) only saw five targets for the second straight week, so this may be the lowest we can buy him, as the volume should rise again.
Stand pat on Jimmy Graham
The most optimistic aspect of Jimmy Graham (8/140/0) in Week 6 was that six of his 12 targets came in the 1st half, showing that the gameplan was constructed to get him the ball. Selling him high may not be high enough and we really can't justify buying him for a top-20 RB or WR. The risk of a Seahawks passing option turning into a pumpkin still outweighs the rewards. Julius Thomas and Gary Barnidge are still safer.
Lamar Miller finally got the ball
Lamar Miller is such the talented back that he barely needed 250 touches to crack over 1350 yards with a bad looking line in 2014. This year has been tougher. His season-high 15 touches in Week 2 was followed up by only 18 in the following two weeks, combined.
The coaching shakeup to Dan Campbell and the Dolphins Week 5 bye brought Miami back to a more risk-averse strategy of running the football. Miller (19/113/1) had the privilege of a monster lead against a bad TItans defense, but proved the problem was not his talent, but the gameplan. Not sure if he cracks the top-20 rest of season, yet, but 11 remaining games and no competition from Jonas Gray helps make the case.
The only other offensive weapon worth owning in Miami is Rishard Matthews (6/85/0) in all formats. Jarvis Landry (3/42/0) is a legit top-35 in PPR, but don't be fooled by Jordan Cameron (3/30/1). Cameron had a garbage TD when Tennessee was in DGAF Mode; sell him high, and ,yes, this is selling high.
Sell high on Greg Olsen in shallow leagues
Greg Olsen (7/131/1) is still TE2 in my rest of season rankings because of his cumulative numbers and safe week-to-week play, but we are probably better off upgrading our WR corps in all 10-team leagues and 12-team 3WR leagues to stream TE than holding Olsen. That said, in 14-team leagues and deeper, he is nearly untradeable because of the drop-off.
Keep trusting the Jaguars pass game
Blake Bortles (30/53, 331/3/3) is just going to do this to us. He is going to be IRL terrible all year, while performing as a top-15 fantasy QB to give us value in Allen Robinson (6/86/1). What is throwing a wrench into Allen Hurns' (2/30/1) volume is Julius Thomas (7/78/1) proving that he is more than a system TE and a legitimate second option in any NFL offense. But Hurns is still a very trustworthy WR3 we will flex or plug into our WR2 slot for bye weeks.
Despite Robinson getting 12 targets and Thomas' 13, Hurns still saw seven balls go his way. If Jacksonville has to throw 53 times against the Texans, they're throwing over 40 times against everyone and Bryan Walters isn't getting 12 targets every week. That said, Walters may be a WR4 in PPR we can plug in for desperation byes, but Bortles does this all the time. Week 1, it was Rashad Greene; Marquise Lee had a three-game stretch of eight or more targets last year. Trust the ball being dominated by the three big ones, rest of season, with Thomas as a near top-5 TE. The Jags should be throwing all over the Bills in Week 7.
Brandon Marshall gets the damn ball
Brandon Marshall (7/111/1) is having another one of those seasons where his QB is committed to throwing to him as much as possible. Despite only 26 pass attempts by Ryan Fitzpatrick, Marshall saw nine targets and he only needs the ball in the vicinity to haul it in. Week 6 marked only the second game where he didn't see double digit targets, and he saw nine in both. Solidified in the top-8, rest of season, in all formats with 11 games remaining, on pace for over 1600 yards and 100 catched. Great DFS value performing in the top tier while priced in the second.
Chargers won't stop passing
Philip RIvers had a career-high 65 pass attempts for 503 yards and two TDs, and that is a sign of volume to come. The Chargers are completely incapable of running the ball behind that beat up offensive line and the trust in Melvin Gordon is diminishing after two fumbles. Almost 20% of Rivers' targets were deep balls, as Danny Woodhead is picking up more blitzes than running routes, making the run options all benchable. Keenan Allen (14/157/0) left with a hip injury to watch, but Antonio Gates (9/95/0) is a stud, rest of season, on whom we can depend for double digit targets every week.
Losing trust in the Saints pass game
Drew Brees (30/39, 312/1/0) will always be a QB1 because the volume will always be there and he throws for 300 when he ties his pads. We can't trust anyone else there, other than Mark Ingram to plod for volume and catch some bonus passes. Ingram (20/46/2) has no competition for passing downs, and is being spelled by Khiry Robinson so the Saints have a fresh Ingram over C.J. Spiller for those downs.
Neither Brandon Cooks nor Willie Snead get the ball enough, and Benjamin Watson is nothing more than a plug-n-play prayer at TE. In a game with 72 offensive snaps and no Marques Colston for the Saints: Cooks and Snead only played 55 and 51, respectively; Spiller, 16.
Jeremy Hill still exists
Very tough matchup for Jeremy Hill (16/53/0). He's a TD-dependent RB3 with a bad Week 6 matchup. Buy him low--like WR3-low--and he can pay you back on the back end of the season. Giovani Bernard (8/50/1) is the best back on the Bengals, but the volume is limiting him to top-15 status at the position, instead of his top-8 potential in this talented offense.
After their Week 7 bye, the Bengals should be running wild on the Steelers, Browns, and Texans. Where we are 4-2 or better, we should not buy these backs, but where we're worse, we need to buy these backs through Week 10 to rebound or seasons and sell immediately. Their playoff schedules are rough with the Broncos in Week 16 and in San Francisco--where the Niners have been tough--in Week 15.
Buy low on Chris Johnson
Andre Ellington started the game, but only had nine snaps to Johnson's 39. Chris Johnson (14/40/0) had a bad game, but it's a fluke. This offense will not struggle like this often enough to sell Johnson's long-term production.
Sell high on LeSean McCoy
Karlos Williams sat out another game with a concussion and LeSean McCoy (17/90/1) had a great game. This is a timeshare when Williams returns, so McCoy should be treated as a top-25 RB by us, sold as top-15 to our opponents.
Matthew Stafford (27/42, 405/4/1) and the Lions are back to throwing all the time again. That is great for the values of him, Calvin Johnson (6/166/1) and Golden Tate (6/40/1). Ameer Abdullah (14/48/0) has gone from a benchable RB4 to a droppable RB5, as no one is capable of running behind this line. Theo Riddick (7/28/0; 3/50/0 in the pass game) is the winner in this backfield with RB3 upside in PPR formats.
Jay Cutler (26/41, 353/1/1) is locked into Alshon Jeffery (8/147/1) again and this is amazing for fantasy owners. Cutler knows where his bread is buttered and should continue to pepper Jeffery with targets.
The problem is that these two teams are god awful. Johnson still only got nine targets, despite 42 attempts from Stafford. Cutler only threw one INT, but that is one too many against the Lions. Johnson is top-10, rest of season, but use his name to shoot higher where we can. Jeffery is maybe the better roster spot with top-8 potential because we can expect the volume every week, regardless of matchup or gameflow. Matt Forte (24/69/1) is the player who is suffering from this offense, but is still a safe top-8, just with a limited ceiling.
The Chiefs are all bums
We can't get away from Travis Kelce (5/88/0) and shouldn't, but Jeremy Maclin left with a concussion and the offensive line is too terrible for Chancandrick West or Knile Davis to have fantasy value. Neither West nor Davis will dominate the ball enough for trustworthy fantasy points.
R.I.P. Titans offense
It was fun while it lasted. Marcus Mariota (21/33, 219/1/2) left for a bit after a dirty hit to his knee, but his only hope is garbage time. The offensive line is killing him, center Brian Schwenke had a very serious leg injury in this game, and Tennessee can't run the ball to counter aggressive blitzing. Kendall Wright (4/34/0) and Delanie Walker (8/97/0) cannot be trusted to simultaneously have good games. Apologies for the false hope in Antonio Andrews.
Stefon Diggs needs to be targeted in waivers
Diggs (7/129/0) had his second straight game of nine targets in a low-volume passing attack where Adrian Peterson (26/60/0), regardless of matchup or gameflow.
Oops, I forgot about all of the Broncos, Steelers, Washington guys
Oh, wait. No, I didn't.
Stats via Pro-Football-Reference.com.