Author Archives: Dr. Fantasy
We apologize for the delay in our waiver targets article, as Gardner Minshew played on Thursday and would likely have been a target had we got this out yesterday. That being said, it’s important to note that the QB position has become that much more shallow with the injuries suffered to Drew Brees and Ben Roethlisberger in week 2, so we’re going to have to go deep.
Jimmy Garoppolo, San Fransisco 49ers (45.4% owned)
- If you’re in a deeper league, he may not be available to you, but in more than half of ESPN leagues, Jimmy G is still floating around on waivers, and we’re not sure why. While the sheen had certainly come off him after the season ending injury left us with questions, the truth is that he still is at the helm of a Kyle Shanahan offense that is even more pass heavy with the loss of Tevin Coleman to injury. He has an excellent group of pass catchers, highlighted by TE George Kittle but filled to bursting with young guys like Deebo Samuel, Dante Pettis, and Marquise Goodwin. He’s trending up and won’t be available in many league if he has another solid week.
Andy Dalton, Cincinatti Bengals (17.8% owned)
- Dalton has long been maligned in the fantasy community, but we think he is finally trending up thanks to a change at head coach (see ya Marvin Lewis!) and the emergence of receiving weapons beyond A.J. Green. John Ross has been an excellent stand in and alleviates some of the fear that Dalton has very few high end pass catchers to through to, and we’ve seen Dalton perform well through two weeks. With a lack of quality passers, and a potential need, he’s likely available in most leagues this week.
Jacoby Brissett, Indianapolis Colts (17.7% owned)
- When Andrew Luck retired, Colts fans and fantasy owners saw the news as “the sky is falling”. What we’ve seen through two weeks is that Jacoby Brissett may not be elite like we expect Luck to be, but he has plenty of weapons to succeed as a fantasy asset in limited exposure. With a potential shoot up on deck with the Atlanta Falcons, he could be a nice streaming option this week, and for Brees and Big Ben owners, a valuable addition to get you through the doldrums.
Nyheim Hines, Indianaplis Colts (45.9% owned) and Jordan Wilkins (0.8% owned)
- It’s not a given that Marlon Mack is going to miss time, but with his injury limiting him this week, it’s worth monitoring. While Hines is the name I’d rather add with a match up coming against the high flying Falcons, Wilkins isn’t a terrible look in deeper formats if you’re needing someone who can provide some assistance, and if you’re a Mack owner who wants to mitigate disaster if he doesn’t play, it’s likely that Wilkins is floating around on your waivers.
Raheem Mostert, San Fransisco 49ers (39.3% owned)
- It’s clear that Matt Brieda is the closest thing to a bell cow this offense has, but Kyle Shanahan loves using all of his weapons, and Mostert has looked good in limited touches. With an uptick in rushing attempts last week, we expect Mostert to float around 10-15 touches with a few pass catches sprinkled in. He’s not an elite option by any stretch, but he has plenty of flex value if you’re searching for value on waivers.
Jamaal Williams, Green Bay Packers (13.6% owned)
- I may not agree with Matt Lafleur’s assessment of the Packers backfield (I think Aaron Jones is a better back), but it’s time to take Jamaal Williams usage seriously after the comments made over the last few days. It’s clear they want to involve Williams in the offense, and expecting 12+ touches a week may not make him an obvious start, but it makes him a strong flex option in a potentially very good offense, and if Aaron Jones injury issues flare up, he becomes an excellent back end RB2 option at the cost of a deep roster spot.
Randall Cobb, Dallas Cowboys (28.9% Owned)
- Cobb looked pretty good already in this Dallas offense, but an injury to Michael Gallup could open up more opportunities for the shifty slot man to get possession work. Devin Smith is a popular add today, but I like the veteran Cobb as my waiver add at this point.
Deebo Samuel, San Francisco 49ers (20.5% owned)
- It sure seems like I’m high on the 49ers this year, but the truth is that Samuel is being completely overlooked after being taken in the second round of the draft. Dante Pettis’ health has kept him from being impactful, and Marquise Goodwin’s role as a downfield threat certainly doesn’t make him a high volume receiver. Samuel has played well through two weeks and, while he may settle in as a WR4 type player, he shouldn’t be owned in fewer than a quarter of ESPN leagues.
Philip Dorsett, New England Patriots (5.3% owned)
- At first blush, this offense is so full of play makers it’s easy to see why Dorsett has become available in 95% of leagues. But with the buzz around Antonio Brown growing louder, and a week one performance that highlights his usefulness in this Patriots offense, I could see Dorsett being a big part of this offense going forward. If Antonio Brown is forced to miss games, either due to being released or being placed on the Commissioners Exempt List, he’ll be snatched up in a ton of leagues, so getting in front of this may save you the trouble.
Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys (37.5% owned)
- I’ll admit I was in the “wait and see” camp on the un-retired future hall of famer, but despite not having major target share, Witten resumed his role as safety blanket for Dak Prescott, making big catches, and seeing the end zone twice already. With Gallup on the shelf (as mentioned earlier) it could be more of the same going forward at a position that’s seen several high profile assets go down to injury.
Will Dissly, Seattle Seahawks (21.4% owned)
- This one may feel like low hanging fruit, but with a passing attack that featured little in the way of red zone threats, Dissly has emerged as a premier option in that area of the field. I don’t expect him to put up top 10 numbers regularly, but if you’re a Henry or Njoku owner that hasn’t had success elsewhere, Dissly may get you through a few weeks without a huge step back.
Chris Herndon, New York Jets (7% owned)
- Yes, the Jets are a mess, and Herndon still has two games to go on his four game suspension to start the season, but if you’re in need, and have the roster to hold on to him, Herndon could be one of those mid season pick ups that helps you achieve fantasy greatness. He’d return (likely) after Sam Darnold comes back from his bout with mono, and he’s become the teams best red zone weapon outside of Le’Veon Bell the moment he walks on the field. He’s a deep add, and there’s always some risk putting a player on your bench you can’t use for 3 more weeks (they have a week 4 bye) but he could be sneaky good when he returns.
Streaming Options D/ST
- Tampa Bay D/ST vs. New York Giants (4.7% owned) Tampa’s D has played pretty well against the run this year, and forcing rookie QB Daniel Jones to throw the football may lead to some interesting results. Even if Saquon Barkely is more efficient on the ground, I expect Tampa to force a few turnovers with the rookie under the lights for the first time.
- San Francisco 49ers D/ST vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (32.1% owned) The Steelers are reeling from the loss of their QB for the season, and with James Conner not 100% healthy and backup Mason Rudolph starting, the 49ers are in a prime spot to make noise on Sunday. They aren’t a season long D/ST but for streaming purposes, they could be a helpful add if you’re looking at a situation like Baltimore vs. KC.
Week 1 saw a handful of guys we picked go off, most notably Lamar Jackson, although we could have done a bit better. Week ones are always unpredictable, so we’ll take it with a grain of salt. Below are our favorite picks, in the format we’ve established from week 1.
$$$: Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs ($7,500) – Against what we considered a solid defense, and without his top reciever for much of the contest, Mahomes did MVP like things, hanging 300+ yards and three TD’s against the Jaguars. Oakland should provide just as many opportunities for Mahomes to rack up points.
$$: Tom Brady, New England Patriots ($6,500) – Defy father time yet again? Check… Acquire one of this generations best receiving talents (despite off the field issues)? Check… Draw what may amount to the worst team in the NFL? Check. This week against Miami, Brady should once again look like a legit top 5 QB.
$: Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions ($5,200) – If you’re looking for a discount, Stafford may be your man. The emergence of T.J. Hockenson only solidifies what may be one of the best groups of receiving weapons he’s had since the departure of Calvin Johnson. Given that the Chargers can score with the best of them, it’s likely he’ll be called on to attempt quite a few passes on Sunday.
$$$: Saquon Barkley, New York Giants ($9,200) – Any of the top three options available (including Zeke and Kamara) are solid options, but drawing the Buffalo Bills should provide plenty of opportunities for Barkley to improve on the low volume/high efficiency start he had to the season.
$$: Sony Michel, New England Patriots ($6,200) – The Patriots offense drawing the Miami Dolphins is an obvious feather in his cap, but the news that James White will miss week 2 action following the birth of his child leaves the door wide open for Michel to assume a much larger workload than usual. If the Patriots get ahead early, they could pound the ball late.
$: Chris Thompson, Washington Redskins ($3,900) – The news that Derrius Guice has been placed on IR means the backfield will see a solid dose of Chris Thompson, especially on passing downs. It may be too early to tag Dallas as a top offense, but if they’re scoring, it’ll be Thompson, not Peterson, with the big day.
$$$: Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints ($8,000) – Don’t be scared off by the Rams passing defense after one week, this is a high scoring Saints offense with a lot to prove after having their season ended last year against this very Rams team thanks to an egregious call. Thomas is going to see a ton of targets every week, and while we have concerns about Brees lasting all season at the top of the mountain, we’re confident he’ll be good early on.
$$: Robert Woods, Los Angeles Rams ($6,400) – He may have had a disappointing week last week, with only 15 PPR points, but his 13 targets should set your mind at ease regarding his usage. As mentioned above, this weeks match up should produce one of the more exciting games of the week, and Woods should see another healthy dose of targets as Goff may not have time to find his down the field targets with the Saints defense getting after him.
$: D.J. Chark, Jacksonville Jaguars ($4,500) – They say backups throw to backups, and Gardner Minshew certainly looked Chark’s way several times after Foles left the Jaguars week one matchup with an injury. This is an offense that has never really established a top receiver, so there’s as much of a chance that Chark continues his torrid pace against a Houston team that could force Minshew to throw it a lot all game.
$$$: Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs ($7,300) – I’m not super confident in either Kelce or Kittle to perform consistently this week as both draw defenses that aren’t excellent for fantasy purposes for TE’s, but Kelce should be involved heavily regardless thanks to Hills extended absence. Last week it was Watkins, but it could very easily be Kelce with several TD grabs this week.
$$: Evan Engram, New York Giants ($5,200) – There seems to be a curse on the Giants receiving group, and Engram stands to gain as much as Barkley thanks to a passing game that will continue to siphon through his hands. With Shepard entering concussion protocol, we can’t be certain who will line up beside Barkley and Engram this week.
$: Darren Waller, Oakland Raiders ($3,300) – Waller saw a healthy dose of action in week one thanks to the departure of Antonio Brown, so expecting him to be involved in what should be a game of catch up isn’t hard to imagine. Kansas City is going to put up points, and Carr is going to have to use his athletic tight end if they’re going to hope to keep pace.
$$: Patriots D/ST vs. Miami ($3,700) – Could the Pats lay a dud like they did last year against the Detroit Lions? Sure, but this defense looks legit at all three levels, and Miami is fielding a disgruntled J.V. roster. Pats should win handily, and I expect a few turnovers as well.
$: Seahawks D/ST vs. Pittsburgh ($2,900) – Are the Patriots really a top 5 defense this year? Maybe, but there seems to be something wrong with the Pittsburgh offense, and Seattle’s defense isn’t anything to sneeze at either. With their smash mouth, grind you down offense, they’re just as likely to keep that Pittsburgh offense off balance, and hold them to another dud in week 2.
- QB: Matt Stafford
- RB: Sony Michel
- RB: Chris Thompson
- WR: Michael Thomas
- WR: Robert Woods
- WR: D.J. Chark
- TE: Darren Waller
- Flex: Alvin Kamara
- Patriots D/ST
Every Friday we’ll examine the ongoing injury concerns that may effect your fantasy teams this weekend. We will ignore players who’s injury designation has not changed from the previous week, instead bringing our focus to changes in status that will help you make decisions when setting your roster.
Hunter Henry, TE – Los Angeles Chargers: It’s a fractured knee that’s going to sideline Henry for the next 4-6 weeks. It seems that, despite the obvious talent, Henry needs to be faded until he can prove he can stay healthy for any length of time.
Juju Smith-Schuster, WR – Pittsburgh Steelers: There was some concern after Smith-Schuster was limited at practice on Wednesday, but he was a full participant yesterday, leading me to believe he’ll be a full go for Sunday’s match up against Seattle.
Joe Mixon, RB – Cincinnati Bengals: The ankle sprain suffered in week 1 has kept Mixon from practicing this week, although reports mentioned he worked on the Bengal’s rehab field. At this point, the best case scenario is he’s limited if he does play. Gio Bernard is a better play at this point.
Derrius Guice, RB – Washington Redskins: It’s a tough blow for the oft-injured Redskins back, as his most recent meniscus tear will have him sidelined for some time. There hasn’t been a designation on how long he’ll be out, but if Adrian Peterson is available in your league, he’s a solid backup option for a few weeks.
Tevin Coleman, RB – San Francisco 49ers: The ankle injury he suffered last week was of the high-ankle variety, and he’s slated to miss a few weeks as he recovers. Matt Brieda should assume the lion’s share of work, with Raheem Mostert offering very little upside as a change of pace back.
Sterling Shepard, WR – New York Giants: It’s been a tough year for the Giants receiving group, and it looks like week 2 isn’t going to get any better. After suffering a concussion, Shepard remains in the protocol and is expected to miss at least this coming week. With the depth chart looking thin, Engram and Barkley are volume plays in most formats, including DFS.
Mike Williams, WR – Los Angeles Chargers: The Chargers big play receiver left week 1 with a knee injury, but as the week progressed, the team expressed concern over William’s availability this Sunday. While there’s no update on whether he’ll play or not, I suggest looking elsewhere if you have someone who can slot into your starting roster. Even if he’s on the field, I question how effective he’ll be if he’s not 100%.
Jordan Reed, TE – Washington Redskins: Reed just can’t seem to stay healthy, and he looks like he’ll be a toss up to play on Sunday thanks to lingering concussion issues. Vernon Davis turned back the clock last year with a solid performance, so don’t expect the Redskins to rush Reed back to action given his history with these kinds of injuries.
Keke Coutee, WR – Houston Texans: After missing week one due to an ankle injury, it appears Coutee is on track to play in week three after practicing in full on Wednesday. If he does play, it would most likely impact Will Fuller’s production, as he’s been limited this week as well (though not due to injury per team sources).
Tyler Lockett, WR – Seattle Seahawks: After missing the first few practices of the week, Lockett returned on Wednesday in a limited fashion. His status for Sunday is up in the air, but we expect him to play. How effective he’ll be, is the question, and D.K. Metcalf could be a solid play this week.
Trey Burton, TE – Chicago Bears: The groin injury that sidelined Burton from the Bears week 1 contest against the Packers seems to be getting better, as Burton did practice this week, albeit in a limited fashion. The Bears offense looked dysfunctional outside of Allen Robinson, and they could be hoping for a quick recovery so Burton can get on the field. This is one to watch on Sunday morning.
Le’Veon Bell, RB – New York Jets: After having some shoulder pain, Le’Veon Bell had an MRI this week to ensure there was no structural damage. Based on the results (the MRI returned no issues) and his social media posts since then, it seems Bell should be fine to go this weekend.
In what has become a bit of a running joke, the Thursday Night Football game promises to be a dud more often than not. What does that mean for your fantasy prospects? We’ll take a look in this weeks Thursday Night Preview.
The Teams – Carolina Panthers vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Last week wasn’t kind to these two teams, as only Christian McCaffrey turned in a worth-while fantasy performance (128 rushing yards, 10 receptions for 81 yards, and two rushing TDs). Cam Newton, Mike Evans, Jamies Winston, and Greg Olsen were all duds, while Chris Godwin and D.J. Moore had solid PPR days, but left a lot on the table. Carolina’s defense did allow 166 rushing yards to RB’s on only 28 total carries, but Tampa Bay features a far less exciting stable of backs than the Rams do.
Conversely, the 49ers offense wasn’t nearly as efficient despite hanging 31 points on the Bucs. Cam Newton will have to improve on his week one performance is the passing game is going to get back on track against a defense that allowed a meager 166 yards through the air to Jimmy Garoppolo.
Jameis Winston: Facing a Carolina defense that held Jared Goff and the prolific Rams passing offense to under 200 yards passing, Winston could have another tough go of it in week 2.
Mike Evans: While I still believe in Evans in year long leagues, I’m concerned about the Bucs offense providing Winston with enough time to find Evans down the field. I could see a game script that’s more run heavy with a lot of short to intermediate passing plays; something that doesn’t help a guy like Evans.
Curtis Samuel: Moore and McCaffrey shared the bulk of the targets, and considering how well Tampa defended San Francisco, it could be more of the same in week 2. Moore is clearly the top target, and if Newton has to lean as heavily on the run game in week 2, the opportunities aren’t going tot be there for Samuel to be a safe play.
Christian McCaffrey: Don’t read too much into the lack of success San Francisco had in week 1; their backfield was thrown into turmoil early on with the loss of Tevin Coleman. CMC is on a different level, and even thought we can’t expect nearly a 7 yard per carry mark every week, he’ll have one of the safest weekly volumes, and is clutch in the red zone.
Chris Godwin: Evans is likely to be the focal point of the Bucs defense, meaning Godwin will have more opportunities to be targeted. If Carolina scores early and often, it’s Godwin, and not Evans, that I’m targeting in daily for week 2.
Thoughts on The Game
I don’t think this will be your prototypical 13-10 Thursday night game, but I expect fatigue to become a factor for the teams playing on the first short week of the season. Of course, these two teams look like they’re continue to filter the ball through it’s best play makers, so feel confident starting most of the top guys in these offenses, but be wary of the Thursday Night curse (low scoring duds).
Waiver Wire Adds
So you’re hit with an injury or five, and you need to add a few players from the waivers? Here’s a few we’ll be considering for our own depleted rosters for week 2.
- Josh Allen (Owned in 20%) may have looked like a polished turd on Sunday, but he’s entrenched as the starter, and puts up points with his legs most weeks. If you’re hard up for a QB, he’s almost guaranteed to be available in your leagues.
- Matt Stafford (Owned in 16.3%) being owned in less than 20% of leagues seems crazy to me, since he’s almost always contributing in fantasy terms. The Lions were bad last year, and shouldn’t be much better this year, but without a broken back and with additional receiving weapons, Stafford is a solid plan b.
- Andy Dalton (Owned in 4.2%) I doubt you need to reach this far into the barrel for a QB, but if you’re in a 2 QB league or superflex, you may need to look his way if you lost Nick Foles. Cincinnati may not put up the numbers it did on Sunday, but it’s clear he’ll be able to help in a pinch.
- Ronald Jones (Owned in 40.6%) – He was by far the more dynamic runner on Sunday, and in a game that went sideways against San Francisco, he still made some noise. Peyton Barber isn’t going to be difficult to leap frog in terms of touches, so snagging Jones now in hopes he continues to breakout will be the least expensive option.
- Giovani Bernard (Owned in 32.3 %) – Will Joe Mixon miss extended time? We won’t know until the results of his MRI come back, but Gio Bernard should be in line for the lion’s share of work. Of course, the Bengals drafted two running backs in the draft, but the best of the bunch, Trayveon Williams, was dinged up himself going into week 1. He’s a flier for sure, but especially for Mixon owners, Bernard can help get you by.
- Chris Thompson (Owned in 18%) – When Adrian Peterson was made inactive in Week 1, it was an odd move, but it opened up a little more opportunity for Thompson to see the field. There’s no guarantee what is going on with Peterson, but Thompson has proven that he can be an effective flex start in PPR formats for years, so if you’re playing in one of the 82% of leagues he’s available, he may be worth an add.
- Malcom Brown (Owned in 6.5%) – It’s been debated since the draft about Todd Gurley and who stands to gain the most from his ongoing knee issues, and I think we saw yesterday that Brown can absolutely be a weapon even if Gurley is on the field. With efficient play and two trips to the endzone, he’s not only an excellent handcuff, but for non-Gurley owners, he’s a solid add regardless.
- John Brown (Owned in 35.4%) – I still have some concerns about Brown’s ability to stay healthy, but until he finds himself injured, Brown figures to be the top passing option in a Bills offense that’s perennially devoid of big time play makers. He’ll have some bad weeks, and likely end up injured at some point, but ride the hot hand while it’s there.
- Marquise Brown (Owned in 28.2%) – Color me surprised, but Brown showed no ill-effects from the lisfranc surgery he had this off season in a monster performance in week one. His speed and Jackson’s ability to push the ball down field could be a wonderful combination that leads to several big weeks for a guy who should slide into your roster as a WR3 or WR4.
- DJ Chark (Owned in 11.8%) – It seems that the Jaguars offense churns out sleepers and busts at a similar rate, but Chark was a major contributor for an offense that lost its QB early. Despite having Dede Westbrook and Marqise Lee ahead of him on the depth chart, Chark showed off the skills that had him a popular breakout candidate last year. He’s a long shot to produce every week, but one that as a bench piece is a nice addition.
- Terry McLaurin (OWned in 7.3%) – I own McLaurin in a few leagues, and have highlighted him on my breakout lists already, but the rookie picked up a big boost following Washington’s decision to cut Josh Doctson, and he did the most with his looks on Sunday to the tune of 125 yards and a trip to the endzone. He has to remain efficient if he’s going to be startable, but if he’s half as good as we saw yesterday, he could be the top option in this offense in no time.
- Mark Andrews (Owned in 51%) – Andrews has teased, but despite how loud the buzz was surrounding him all preseason, he still finds himself a free agent in 49% of ESPN leagues. Add him now, he’ll be a big part of that Ravens offense going forward.
- Jimmy Graham (Owned in 47.6%) – He’s long been a divisive name among fantasy players, as many have chased the upside he showed in New Orleans, but this year may be the year he becomes a big part of the Green Bay passing offense. There’s been plenty of buzz surrounding players like Marquez Valdez-Scantling and Geronimo Allison, but it’s Graham who Rodgers looks to in the red zone when Adams is blanketed. Expect a few down weeks, as any backend TE 1 is likely to have, but if you need a TE, he should pay off in spades.
- T.J. Hockenson (Owned in 30.%) – I’ve been wishy-washy on Hockenson all off season long, sticking to my guns that rookie TE’s typically disappoint, but I ended up drafting him a few times, and it looks like he may contribute more than I expected. With the position being shallow, it’s never a bad idea to stash a high upside youngster on the bench in hopes that you have the next Kittle or Kelce, so Hockenson is an obvious add if you have the bench space to do so.
While there’s still a few Monday Night Football games to be played, we like to take our time on Monday morning to see what we got right, and what we missed wide left on. Of course, playing Daily Fantasy early in the season is a crap shoot, but we’ll start there.
Daily Fantasy – Hits and Misses
Quarter Backs: Nick Foles was injured early in week 1, so we’ll ignore his results for the time being. Besides him, we split the week with a hit on Lamar Jackson, who did damage through the air thanks to his big play rookie Marquise Brown, and we missed bad on Jameis Winston, who threw three picks against a 49ers defense we still don’t think should be very good this year.
Running Backs: It was tough sledding for both Matt Brieda and Chris Carson, who both failed to rush for more than 4 yards per carry despite having the most touches in each respective backfield. Cincinnati has what looks to be a decent defense this year, but I only managed to hit on the easiest of the three; Saquon Barkley. Still, with Dallas up big, he didn’t get nearly the number of touches he needed. Still, Saquon looks like he’s a safe play nearly every week in DFS formats.
Wide Receivers: Woof, I really missed big on this one. Hill may have had a decent week had he not left injured, as Watkins stepped into the league receiver role and had a monster day. But aside from Godwin finding pay dirt to salvage his day, it was a three and out for me one receivers. Trey Quinn managed a handful of receptions, but was overshadowed by one of my favorite rookie receivers in Terry McLaurin, who was lights out in his NFL debut.
Tight Ends: I was close with my tight ends, as Engram certainly turned in a monster performance, and Engram and Uzumoah were targeted plenty given their DFS cost. It seems that year after year, I hit mostly on tight ends, but this is a position that can easily be glossed over. Engram looks like a legit threat to finish in the top 3 at the position again this year, and when the Giants play a capable offense, he’s a must start until his DFS cost catches up to his usage.
Tyreek Hill, Kansas City WR – If you’re like me, and you drafted him in spite of his karmic comeuppance, you may be kicking yourself following his hospitalization following a shoulder injury in week 1. It’s reported it won’t require surgery, but he’ll likely miss several weeks. Sammy Watkins clearly steps in as the top option, but Kelce and Mecole Hardman could see an uptick in usage over the next few weeks.
Nick Foles, Jacksonville QB: Another shoulder injury, another wasted draft pick for Dr. Fantasy. Foles left Sundays game early with what appears to be a broken clavical. This is an injury that will require a lengthy recovery, but Minshew seemed to play alright in relief.
Tevin Coleman, San Francisco RB – Another Dr. Fantasy draft pick (sensing a trend here?) and another week 1 injury. Coleman injured his ankle in Sundays contest and was ruled out. There’s precious little news surrounding the injury, but head coach Kyle Shanahan was quoted as being “concerned” in advance of the RB’s MRI today. We’ll know more later, but Brieda could be in line for a much larger workload going forward.
Joe Mixon, Cincinnati RB – Would you believe this is another Dr. Fantasy RB? Of course you could, because Mixon also left Sunday’s contest with an ankle injury. While he is also slated for an MRI, sources close to the team suggest they believe it’s only an ankle sprain, and a lengthy injury seems unlikely.
Mike Williams, Los Angeles Chargers WR – One of the prime breakout candidates, Mike Williams has an uphill battle to climb after suffering a knee injury in the Chargers week one contest. Not much is known about the severity of the injury, but he did not return to the game. Keep an eye on this one, as the depth chart beyond Keenan Allen is a bit shallow, and someone likely on the waivers will become a surprise asset should Williams miss time.
Juju Smith-Schuster, Pittsburgh WR – In case you thought my rosters were done with injuries, Juju found himself with a toe injury in the last few meaningless minutes against the Patriots last night. There’s optimism that it’s minor and he’ll be good to go in week 2, but it’s something to watch in case it lingers late into the week.
Devin Funchess, Indianapolis WR – Funchess will likely undergo surgery for a broken collarbone suffered in yesterdays action. He wasn’t a likely breakout candidate following Luck’s retirement, but for those who invested in Funchess as a potential TD maven, it’s likely he’ll miss a large portion of the season.
It may be week 1 of the NFL season, but the drama surrounding Antonio Brown has led to what may eventually be the most shocking development of the 2019 season. Shortly after his release from the Oakland Raiders, the divisive star receiver found a new home in the New England Patriots.
Of course, this will obviously cause a ripple affect for both teams, as Antonio Browns presences will surely effect the fantasy prospects of several players on both teams.
With the release of Brown, the Raiders receiving corps suddenly lacks elite talent. It does have a pair of receivers with differing skill sets that could see an uptick in production right away in deep threat Tyrell Williams, and rookie receiver Hunter Renfrow, who could see a lot more action in the slot with Brown out of town. In addition, expect Darren Waller to be targeted a bit more than originally predicted. Of course, none of these guys on their own match the pure talent AB takes with him, but in terms of individual contributions, you can expect Carr to feed each a bit more going forward.
New England Patriots
Of course, the Patriots roster may feel the largest impact, as first round rookie N’Keal Harry’s IR designation left the door open for someone to step into the starting role. Demaryius Thomas looked like the obvious choice, but the Patriots didn’t sign Brown to the contract he was given with no intention of using him. He’ll be heavily targeted, although maybe not to the 160+ target range we’ve come to expect. He and Edelman will continue to be the big targets in this offense, but it certainly hurts the prospects of both Demaryius Thomas as well as Philip Dorsett and the tight ends. Ben Watson was suspended for four games anyhow, but you have to wonder just how many looks there are to go around.
If you own Brown, he’s still a safe bet to be a solid producer, but it remains to be seen with a 42 year old Brady, just how often they’re going to throw in New England.
As in the past, we’ll provide our analysis at each position based on tier. With a DraftKings salary of $50,000 for standard daily leagues (I don’t play on FanDuel so we’ll use the DK salaries as a baseline), you have around $5,500 per player, which means we have to be judicious with our signings.
$$$: Jameis Winston ($6,600): Of the higher priced QB’s, I like Winston’s chances of turning in a good week against a sub par 49er’s defense. Their offense feels like a pass first group led by an excellent tandem at WR in Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, and while HC Bruce Arians has been complimentary of his backfield, I don’t feel Barber and Jones are good enough to keep Winston from having to throw it often in week 1.
$$: Lamar Jackson ($6,000): Despite my cautions surrounding Jackson in season long leagues, I like him in week one to revert to running the ball, especially facing a solid secondary in Miami. If he calls his own number 12 or so times, he’s a lock for 6-10 points just from ground yards, plus whatever he manages to put in the end zone.
$: Nick Foles ($5,300): The Jags are likely to have a top 5 defense again this year, but that may not matter as they drew the short straw with a week one match up against a Kansas City offense that’s going to be tough to stop for anyone. With the potential for big points on the other side of the field, Foles is going to be called on to make plays early and often in this one. Garbage time points still count the same as clutch time points in fantasy.
$$$: Saquon Barkley ($9,000): The Cowboys represent one of the worst rushing defenses in the league, and with a receiver corps that’s going to be limited early in the season, Barkley is going to be called on to do a lot in week one. I expect a ton of touches in the backfield, and he’ll be used heavily in the passing game as well. At $9,000, he’s one of the more expensive adds, but he’s just too good to ignore even at that price.
$$: Chris Carson ($5,700): If one thing is true this year, it’s that the Seahawks are going to run the ball a ton. Carson may not be the defacto bell-cow he was last year as Rashaad Penny matures, but Cincinnati represents the kind of opponent that should play to Seattle’s strengths, and in particular, that of Chris Carson. With a receiving corps in Seattle that’s more questions than answers, and a defense facing them that’s ranked in the bottom half of the league, expect Carson to put up decent numbers and maybe find the end zone once or twice.
$: Matt Brieda ($4,000): Currently sitting atop the depth chart, Brieda is one of the better values in daily fantasy in week one. If the game stays close, Brieda showed he’s efficient enough to do damage with limited touches, especially against a poor rushing defense, but if the game goes to the air, I feel he could contribute regardless. With little risk but a ton of reward, he’s a guy I’m targeting for a lot of lineups this week.
$$$: Tyreek Hill ($7,600): Despite the Jaguar’s defense ranking in the top 5 against receivers, I like Hill to have a big week as his blend of speed and Mahomes big arm is too much for any defense to contain for 4 quarters. If the rest of the offense get’s bottled up, it’s the kind of down the field play that Hill is known for that tends to pop up in the game plan. Even if the Jaguars keep the rest of the Chiefs weapons from being efficient, Hill only needs a few looks to turn plays into home runs.
$$: Chris Godwin ($6,200): I’d consider Mike Evans as well, but Godwin is cheap considering he should see a large volume of the teams targets nearly every week. Unlike Evans who’s a home run hitter with high YPC numbers, Godwin could very well approach 10-15 targets any given week, and against a poor secondary, he’s a lock to have heavy volume early on.
$: Trey Quinn ($3,400): It’s not the kind of offense you’d want to over invest in, but against the worst ranked passing defense, and with no real top receiving option, we defer to the teams unofficial depth chart which lists Quinn as a starter. With the ball needing to go somewhere, we like Quinn’s chances of being a target hog this week. I don’t expect the ceiling to be immense, but he’s a safe floor if you need an ultra cheap option to fit a player like Barkley into your lineup.
$$$: George Kittle ($6,600): There may seem like there’s a lot of mouths to feed in San Fransisco, but with Jimmy G just returning from season ending injury and Dante Pettis nicked up, the 49ers would be wise to use their elite receiving TE early and often in week 1. This game could easily turn into a shootout, and Kittle is going to be fed his fair share of targets.
$$: Evan Engram ($4,800): His career has been a roller coaster, but we’ve seen how well he performs when he becomes the focal point of the passing game. OBJ is gone, Tate is suspended, Shepard is returning from injury, and the rest of the bunch are just too unproven to be leaned on too heavily. While Saquon will shoulder the burden, Engram is a safe bet to outperform most of his predictions, at least until Tate returns in week 5.
$: C.J. Uzomah ($2,600): Strangely enough, it’s not Tyler Eifert that’s listed as the starter at TE according to the Bengals unofficial depth chart. It’s Uzomah, who is one of the least expensive “starters” on draft kings. We’ve mentioned previously how the Bengal’s offense may look a little different early on with the absence of AJ Green. I’m not confident in John Ross as a leading man, so behind Boyd and Mixon, Uzomah might get more work than you’d think, especially in the red zone. Eifert may be used as well, but I find it telling that he’s no longer listed as their starter on their on website.
D/ST: Los Angeles Chargers ($3,000): There’s no advantage to saving on your D/ST since most of them are around the $3,000 mark. Still, it’s clear that the DK algorithm hasn’t account for Andrew Luck’s retirement, as the Chargers are listed 10th. Not only do they have an excellent defense, but that front seven will be facing Jacoby Brissett, who has had precious little time to prepare as the starter. It’s unlikely that you’ll see a D/ST value like this for the rest of the year.
It’s been a hectic couple of weeks and we’ve been unable to provide you our unique brand of fantasy analysis, but we’re back to rectify that. Our weekly DFS article will be delayed somewhat, but we’ll hopefully post our Sunday games targets, so keep an eye out for that.
For now, we’ll take a final look at players who are trending up and trending down, and touch on a few major pieces of NFL news that broke over the last few weeks.
Zeke Elliot, RB – Dallas Cowboys: Yes, this one is low hanging fruit, but with the anxiety everyone felt during the first rounds of their draft, it’s important to remind you that Zeke Elliott is one of the three best fantasy assets in all of football. Even though he didn’t play a snap for the team in pre-season action or see the field in practice, he’s a set it and forget it player who should see massive volume all year long.
Devin Singletary, RB – Buffalo Bills: We teased the possibility previously, but reading the headlines following LeSean McCoy’s release was shocking nonetheless. While Frank Gore and T.J. Yeldon will demand work, Singletary went from being a later round project to being considered the top back in the Bills committee. As a third round pick, it’s clear the team wants to involve him heavily, so don’t be surprised if he carves out a solid role for himself.
Evan Engram, TE – New York Giants: I’ve been pretty vocal about my support for Eli Manning sans Odell Beckham, and while he’s still unlikely to perform in the top 15 at the position, it’s very likely he’s a more efficient passer in 2019 thanks to an improved offensive line and less reliance on forced throws to OBJ. Engram is the most likely to benefit from these factors, as injury and suspension means he’ll likely be the top passing target for Manning this year. We watched him finish atop the position a few years ago in a similar environment, so expecting a top 5 finish at the position is far from a difficult ask.
Honorable Mention: With the news that Jerick McKinnon will likely miss the season, Matt Brieda sees a sizable jump after being placed atop the team depth chart ahead of it’s week one match up. I still feel Coleman should be used heavily, but Brieda could easily work into the RB2 conversation.
The Colts Receiving Group: It’s not their fault that Andrew Luck hung em up following an injury riddled career, but the truth is that with Brissett stepping in on short notice, there’s going to be a tough transition period early in the season. Hilton is likely to continue being a focal point for the office, but even he deserves to fall a few spots in your rankings. Guys like Parris Campbell and Ebron/Doyle need to feel the hammer too as their roles are further reduced until we see how Brissett handles the lead role this year.
N’Keal Harry, WR – New England Patriots: He looked like he may be in for a sizable rookie workload when the Pats brought him in with a first round pick, but the decision to play him early in the preseason despite some lingering injury issues may have led to the IR trip he’ll be taking. While he’s expected back sometime this season, he’ll miss a chunk of games, lending to the idea that he won’t contribute much this year regardless.
Deebo Samuel, WR – San Francisco 49ers: One of the more popular early offseason breakout candidates, Samuel may be a bit behind the curve after seeing the most recent 49ers depth chart. Currently sitting behind Pettis, Goodwin, and Kendrick Bourne, Samuel may not see enough snaps to be worth rostering early in the season. Of course, Pettis and Goodwin have a history of injury, so if a spot opens up, the rookie could see his usage bounce back. Still, temper your expectations early on.
Honorable Mention: It seemed like fate when Duke Johnson slid onto the top of the Texans’ depth chart following a season ending injury to Lamar Miller, but suddenly, he’ll face competition from a former teammate in Carlos Hyde. The two players couldn’t be more opposite, as Hyde profiles as a early down player and Johnson as a top flight pass catcher, but it means fewer touches for Johnson, who was beginning to look like a sneak RB2 candidate. Of course, Hyde could bomb in Houston, but I have to dock Johnson a bit until we know.
It’s been a roller coaster career for the former top overall selection, but all the peaks and valley’s were nothing compared to the news today that at 30 years old, Andrew Luck is set to retire from the NFL.
The news certainly comes as a shock, and if you spent on Indianapolis in your early fantasy drafts, it complicates things. Of course, while the entire offense can expect to feel the effects of his retirement, it impacts the receivers group the most.
T.Y. Hilton will likely continue to be a top target, likely for Jacoby Brissett, but rookie Parris Campell and Devin Funchess are larger question marks as the offense will certainly take on a different feel.
I’ve been cautioning regression for Ebron all offseason, so it should come as no surprise that I still think you should avoid him, even at a discount. Doyle’s value is still somewhat there, but temper your expectations for any of Indianapolis’ offensive stars, including Mack and Hines, who should still be used similarly, but likely to lesser effect.
Good luck to those who’ve found their teams in shambles before the season has even started; take solace in knowing the meme’s should be glorious.