Did anyone else feel like week 3 was the “upside-down”? I mean where did Buffalo come from and where did Minnesota go? Wisconsin perhaps? I always forget there will be at least one week where almost all fantasy owners end up perplexed, disappointed, or even both. Well let’s try to avoid the outcome of last week by getting some of this week’s edges in our lineups.
Matt Ryan – $6100 / Calvin Ridley – $4900 vs Bengals
Yes, back to the well on this duo. Like I pointed out last week Sarkisian seems to have figured out how to use Ridley to the fullest of his potential. We should continue pounding this stack until it proves to be a fluke or gets too expensive. But for 22% of your budget you can buy into a stack facing a defense that is 20th in fantasy points to passers and receivers (an average of 60 points per game between both positions). This combination has posted ~147 fantasy points between them over the last two weeks. The Falcons get to play in the comfort of their own dome again, and I need a piece of this offense that is cooking right now.
Game stack: Tyler Boyd – $4600 @ Falcons
If A.J. Green is playing and better than 90% healthy, then this is an excellent opportunity to buy into this high scoring affair (51 point total). Dalton has been able to move the ball well when A.J. Green is playing, but we did see the Bengals offense suffer when Green left the game. Atlanta’s defense has suffered many injuries which explains why they have given up the 13th most points to receivers. Boyd has averaged 23 points over the last two weeks against tougher defenses than the Falcons. This is the type of inexpensive play that will allow for some of the more expensive stacks. In order for this game to reach its total someone on the Bengals side of the ball is going to have to score, and I’m willing to bet on Boyd.
Alvin Kamara – $9600 / Michael Thomas – $9100 / Drew Brees – $6800 @ Giants
At 51% of your salary you can count on getting somewhere around the 91 fantasy points this stack has averaged per game. This is buying you near 4x value and if you can find some good budget plays elsewhere, you are starting off with an awesome baseline of points. The Giants are giving the 11th most points to rushers and the are ranked 19th in points against the pass. Oddly, the Giants have given up the 5th least points to receivers, but this will easily be the most potent offense that they have seen this season. The fact that the Giants haven’t given up much to receivers may cause many to fade him. Additionally, the expense of this stack would be a deterrent to many.
Game Stack: Sterling Shepard – $4900 vs Saints
It seems like every time these two teams meet Vegas expect a large amount of points. I remember being burned on this last time they played, but given the way the Saints defense has played of late we can be hopeful for a nice fantasy output. The Saints are dead last in fantasy points to receivers. While Shepard has only had one solid week of production so far this season, but last week we saw an increase in targets for Shepard once Evan Engram went out of the game with an MCL sprain. Engram will likely be absent a few weeks which gives Shepard an opportunity to put up 4x value.
Melvin Gordon – $8300 / Philip Rivers – $6500 / Mike Williams – $4500 vs 49ers
At 38% of our cap we can perhaps buy into a more reliable floor with what remains. This match up projects the Chargers to dominate with a 29.5 point implied total. San Francisco is ranked 20th or worse in fantasy points to all positions including 6th worst in points to the tight end. This is important to us because of the usage of Mike Williams is somewhat filling that void: a big target especially in the middle of the field and the red zone. The past few games have shown an uptick in the trust between Rivers and Williams. With Keenan Allen on the field Williams will continue to see a lot of single coverage where his ability to high point the ball and out body would be defenders gives him some of the greatest upside at his price. Of course it may not be a bad idea to opt for the more expensive stack here with Keenan instead of Williams. Sherman is out for 2-3 weeks, making this selection even juicier.
Looking at Gordon we only need to examine his red zone market share. Of 24 total team attempts in the red zone, Gordon has accounted for 20% of them. Four of those attempts have been passes as well which is great for the upside of this stack. Want more assurance for Gordon’s production? How about the fact that when facing a defense that is 20th or worse against the run this season he has averaged 30 fantasy points? That’s more than enough for me.
Chris Carson – $4600 / Seahawks D/ST – $3200 @ Cardinals
Carson has firmly secured the backfield work for Seattle, and he should maintain his death grip on the lead position against the Cardinals who yield the most fantasy points to running backs (most rushing TDs and 2nd most yards). Part of the reason for the Cardinals poor performance against the the run is because they have been trailing so much that they face the most opponent rushing attempts. This works perfectly for Seattle’s defense as long as Mike McCoy is calling the plays for Arizona while refusing to utilize David Johnson properly. We should see a lot of turnovers from Josh Rosen providing more opportunities for the rush to maintain ball control. This pair combined for 34 points last week, which if repeated this week would provide more than 4x value.
Kerryon Johnson – $4400 / Lions D/ST – $2500 @ Cowboys
Matt Patricia should have his squad fired up after beating the 2017 AFC Champions on Sunday night Football. He showed his team that they could play defense against one of the best in the game. He also showed them that they could run the ball….so long as they utilize Kerryon Johnson! Now Dallas has a solid defense, but they are the 12th worst team against the run. After seeing what Chris Carson was able to do against them behind that terrible offensive line, it is reasonable to believe that Kerryon can get it done. An added built-in edge is the fact that Sean Lee is doubtful for this game. Every time LEe has been out it seems the Cowboys defense gets gashed on the ground. As with the last RB-DST pairing it is plausible that the Lions should be able to harass Dak Prescott given that he really has no weapons outside of Zeke to move the ball.
Sony Michel – $4500 / James White – $5400 vs Dolphins
This could be a great week to get Michel with some increased volume. This could be the game where we finally realize the potential that New England saw in Michel when choosing him in the first round. He gets to face the Dolphins who are giving up the 8th most points to running backs. The volume increase comes from the fact that Rex Burkhead is on IR with a neck injury. I am curious to see what Michel’s new found opportunity could turn into, but we should take the chance on him on the chance that New England gets it together.
If you aren’t a Michel truther then you may highly consider James White. The Dolphins have allowed a little over 7 receptions and 83 receiving yards per game to running backs (5th most in both stats). With Burkhead out of the picture it allows us to see a little more clearly into New England’s usage of the backfield.
Corey Davis – $5100 vs Eagles
Corey Davis is averaging 8 targets per game so far this season. The Eagles have allowed the 5th most receptions and 6th most yards to receivers, and now they have lost one of their better safeties in Rodney McLeod for the season. While the Titans did sign Austin Davis for QB depth, it appears they feel comfortable putting Mariota out there this week. If Mariota is right and can throw a decent deep ball this week, Davis could realize some unexpected upside.
Matt Breida – $5800 @ Chargers
Jimmy G was just diagnosed with a torn ACL, and thus is done for the year. San Francisco’s hopes to compete this season are probably flushed into the sewer system of despair at this point, but that doesn’t mean fantasy owners should avoid all 49ers. There are some fantasy points to be had here. Shanahan still wants to win games and grow all the players within his system. Now he looks to Beathard to lead the 49ers for the remainder of the season. This isn’t all bad though, especially for Matt Breida who clearly looks like a more explosive runner than Alfred Morris (who sustained an ankle injury). During Beathard’s run last season Carlos Hyde averaged 80 total yards including 5 receptions and the occasional score. Breida is still tied for the leading rusher in the NFL and now faces the Chargers (currently ranked 21st in fantasy points to the run) who are still without Bosa.
Matthew Stafford – $5700 @ Cowboys
Here is a list of factors that could have people fading Stafford in this match up: On the road, underdogs by 3 points (implied total of 20.5 points), defense is 14th in points to QBs, 14.5 points allowed per game. As stated earlier, Patricia has appeared to figure out a few things on that last game versus the Patriots. The can now be balanced, especially with Sean Lee out, there should be more production on the ground. The Detroit receivers are just better than the Dallas secondary. The only question is how much pressure is Stafford going to see. The offensive line played pretty well only allowing one sack last week.
Baker Mayfield – $5300 @ Raiders
Did anyone else see the confidence that Mayfield had on the field last week? He energized that stadium, completed passes into tight windows, and won a game. One has to imagine what things would have looked like if he had played the whole game. Well we get to find out this week, and his opponent is not particularly tough. The implied total for the Browns is 22 and they are 1-point dogs in this game which is almost crazy. Oakland is giving up 26 points per game and they give the 12th most points to QBs. There has to be a world where a Mayfield, Landry, Hyde stack works in our favor to build a relatively inexpensive floor of points. It would only cost 38% of the budget and would likely provide a floor of around 60 points (already 3x value). There is a real potential for the grouping to produce 4x value especially if Hyde gets back to catching the football as he did with San Francisco.
Antonio Callaway – $4300 @ Raiders
Fifth in aDOT (among receivers with at least 10 targets), Antonio Callaway has had a number of near misses for long bombs. He is a very inexpensive alternative to Landry in case you desire to spend elsewhere. We have to be encouraged by Baker’s showing where he demonstrated the willingness to push the ball downfield and his ability to extend the play. His presence changes the whole outlook for the Brown offense. While watching film I noticed that Callaway has shown to have an extra gear to break away from defensive backs on those deeper throws almost as though it would be impossible to over throw him. He must be doing something right to earn 10 targets in his last contest. Hopefully that is his new baseline of opportunity.
David NJoku – $3200 @ Raiders
Njoku only got two targets last week against the Jets…… TWO! On the surface that’s terrible! So why on Earth is he mentioned here? That’s because those two targets only came after Baker Mayfield took over. This isn’t a crazy cheap price, but against Oakland there should be plenty of opportunity as they are ranks 2nd worst in DVOA against the pass. While they are 8th in DVOA against the tight end, they haven’t faced a notable tight end yet this season. There will likely be a minority of players willing to take a shot on Browns players, so this could present some opportunity.
Carlos Hyde – $5500 @ Raiders
At this point you may be wondering if my favorite color is Brown, or if I am just caught up in the hype of what Baker Mayfield does for this offense. My favorite color is Eagles green and I guess I am a little caught up in the Mayfield hype. That resistance you feel is the same resistance that many other players will have which creates a lower ownership. The great thing is that Carlos Hyde has always been a solid rusher and now he gets to face Oakland who has given up 349 yards and 2 TDs in 3 games. Keep in mind these yards are yielded at 5.1 yards per attempt. If Baker’s prowess actually elevates the rest of the offense, it may afford the Browns the opportunity to be more effective while maintaining the balance they have going currently. Hyde has had about 21+ touches per game which is great opportunity for us to cash in on his production, especially at this price.