Each week, as we prepare to make some difficult lineup decisions, our team, which includes Rob Willette, Ryan McDowell, and Sal Leto, will bring you a few sleepers and landmines for each position. Our sleeper picks could be on your waiver wire or a low-priced DFS target or could simply be going overlooked this week. On the other hand, our landmine players are getting attention, too much attention. These are players we feel are being overvalued and overpriced and would avoid for this week.
Carlos Hyde $6,300
Browns starting RB Carlos Hyde has been solid so far this season, posting fantasy finishes of RB21 and RB22 as Cleveland has been surprisingly competitive. This week, they host the Jets and are home favorites, a role that typically greatly benefits the RB position. While Hyde is just 23rd on the year in fantasy points, he has 38 carries through two games. Only Todd Gurley and James Conner have more. Hyde should see plenty of volume in Week Three. – Ryan McDowell
Corey Clement $3,900
An offseason target of mine in both dynasty and redraft Corey Clement just might have as clear a path to touches as ever before in his NFL career. His previous high in a game was Week 9 last year, 13 total touches 66 total yards three touchdowns. Last week with Ajayi out for parts of 2 quarters he received 11 touches 88 total yards and a touchdown. As of this writing, Ajayi is likely not going to play on Sunday. Proving he can handle three-down work with pass catching skills he faces off against a Colts defense that gave up 13 receptions for 92 yards to Chris Thompson and three more for 30 yards to AP in week 2. Clement will be entrenched in my lineups whether Ajayi plays or not. – Sal Leto
Latavius Murray $5,300
Dalvin Cook’s hamstring injury looks to be nothing more than a cramp, but there should be no need to overexert him on Sunday. Buffalo is flat awful, the type of bad which once was only trademarked by the band Hinder. Most importantly, the Bills inability to be competitive has led to teams racking up 60 rushing attempts against them in two weeks, sixth most in the league. While they have held up fairly well given the volume, it is the volume which leads us to Murray. Even with Cook siphoning his usual 15-18 carries, there should be plenty leftover for Murray as the Vikings milk the clock in the second half. Murray is a good bet for a touchdown and enough of a workload to make for a quality flex play. – Rob Willette
Matt Breida $6,600
The league’s leading rusher, 49ers second-year RB Matt Breida, might be in for a let down after his big Week Two game. It appears to be a good spot as the 49ers face the Chiefs, who have already allowed three top 12 running back performances, but those RBs- Melvin Gordon, Austin Ekeler and James Conner did much of their damage as pass-catchers out of the backfield and Breida has just four receptions through two games. When the Chiefs expected to take an early and sizable lead, fantasy players chasing last week’s points might be very disappointed. – Ryan McDowell
Talk about a landmine. This three-headed concoction, because monster would be to much credit, should be avoided at all costs this week. Maybe one falls in the end zone but which one? I’m not willing to take that dart throw. Not against the Eagles who held opposing running backs to under 60 rush yards a game last season and are off to a better start of only 45 a game through two weeks. After watching them combine for 5 receptions and 3 receiving yards against Washington last week I doubt they will be bailed out with pass catching ability. Wentz will be back and the Eagles pass offense will start to take shape, the Colts will need the arm of Andrew Luck to keep pace in this one. – Sal Leto
Kareem Hunt $7,800
It seems everyone is enjoying the fantasy bonanza in Kansas City, though there is reason to be concerned about Kareem Hunt. He’s received a single target in each of Kansas City’s first two games, with the Chiefs trio of explosive pass catchers doing the heavy lifting in the passing game. This severely limits his upside, especially given Andy Reid is unlikely to tinker with a formula which has made Kansas City the league’s most explosive offense. Throw in a matchup with a stout San Francisco front which ranks 9th in Football Outsiders’ DVOA rankings for rush defense, and it could be another week of Hunt being an ancillary piece. It is enough of a reason to downgrade Hunt this week and have concerns about his status in season-long leagues.. – Rob Willette
Sal Leto (@LetoSal), Ryan McDowell (@RyanMc23), and Rob Willette (@RobWillette24) are freelance contributors for the SportsHub Games Network, Inc., Fanball’s parent company. Any advice or strategies provided by SportsHub contributors represent their personal opinions; they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of SportsHub Games Network and are not necessarily reflective of the strategies they may employ in their own lineups.
Well that was embarrassing.
No Week 17 entry, no cash for this guy. @mvergin showed us all how it’s done with 205.08 points, 10.02 ahead of second place @mailmanmarv. I was way down at 791st place with 121.64, finishing with the 677 folks who didn’t earn an entry into the Week 17 finale with a $5,000 top prize. The good news is that 586 of you did earn entries, and we’ve got another crack at it this week!
This was a classic case of do what I say and not what I do. I noted I’d be hard pressed to pass on Jimmy Garoppolo, and that’s where I landed. Meanwhile, I noted Charch’s Ben Roethlisberger play was a good one, as was Patrick Mahomes. This was the first destructive domino for me—not because Garoppolo was bad, but because in using him I also made it a point to play George Kittle AND forced in Dante Pettis when Marquise Goodwin was ruled out, pivoting away from two-TD Chris Hogan, who I also touted in last week’s column. Woof.
Speaking of woof, Eric Ebron of course scored again and Jack Doyle did nothing, and my other reccos at the position were just as lackluster. Same with that Texans defense, which was hugely disappointing against Blaine Gabbert and Tennessee’s bag of tricks.
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We started to see more concentrated ownership this week, as last week there were only three players that barely topped 20% and in Week 2 we had a couple surpass the 30% threshold—the aforementioned Kittle (again, my apologies) and James Conner. The Texans defense (again, my apologies), Alvin Kamara and Tevin Coleman all topped 21%. Not a ton to take away from this just yet, but it will curious to see if we start seeing more and more concentrated ownership as the season goes.
Also, we mostly didn’t believe in the power of Tampa Bay after the Week 1 explosion: Ryan Fitzpatrick and Mike Evans were both just over 2%, while DeSean Jackson was a little over 1% owned. Can lightning strike thrice? And are we betting on it??? (The answer: no. At least as far as the Charch Chase goes, because Bucs/Steelers won’t be on this slate.)
Charch’s Week 3 lineup starts with Chris Thompson at the RB position for just $6,800 against Green Bay. I like the play a lot considering his usage thus far, and my expectation that the Packers will be playing from ahead in this contest. Thompson has 11 and 17 touches in his first two weeks, respectively, with the latter coming from behind and including 13 receptions. Given Fanball’s PPR scoring, Thompson’s got top five potential at the position but an RB2 price.
At wide receiver he’s chasing Chris Hogan’s two touchdowns last week, who is now priced at $5,500 after being discounted at $3K in Week 2 (and yet just 10% owned after hitting 20% in Week 1). Hogan’s cheap enough here that I don’t have any problem with the play at Detroit, but he’s not a must-have with just five targets each of the first two games. Josh Gordon’s acquisition adds even more risk to the equation, but there’s still upside here.
Is this the week that Tyler Eifert makes an impact on Cincy’s offense? Or is it the one where he gets hurt? Why can’t it be both? Regardless, Charch is pouncing while the price is a relatively low at $5,000 at Carolina after the Panthers just let Austin Hooper go for 5-59-1 in Week 2. But with just 5 catches for 67 yards and no touchdowns games where the Bengals have totaled 57 points, I’m willing to be wrong here and will look elsewhere for TE help.
And finally, the Vikings defense is somehow not the highest priced despite playing the Bills either without LeSean McCoy or with a banged up McCoy. At $4,600, Minnesota isn’t cheap. But it might just be the best defense on the board. If I don’t play them, it’s only because I can’t afford them while putting together a lineup I like enough to turn around my luck this week.
Speaking of my lineup…
If Leonard Fournette were to miss this game, I’m going Blake Bortles way down at $6,200. The sample is small in games with Fournette (14) versus those without him (4), but the per game numbers are stark enough (210.6 yards and 1.21 TD passes versus 323 yards and 2.25 TD passes) that I’m willing to gamble with that low of a price. If it’s not Bortles, I love Matt Ryan down at $6,800 against the should-be-0-and-2 Saints in Atlanta, and Cam Newton hosting Cincinnati for just $600 more is tantalizing, too. I’m fading Aaron Rodgers on the road at Washington since he’s only $200 less than Mahomes, and taking a wait-and-see approach with Carson Wentz in his first game back against an Indianapolis defense that was surprisingly tough against Washington on the road last week. Patrick Mahomes is rightfully the highest priced QB and I’m certainly not betting against him, but it’s tough to shell out the $8,200 to make it happen. That said, there are enough values—especially at running back—to make it happen.
His price is creeping up, but Christian McCaffrey continues to be a relative value among the high-priced running backs at $8,500. A Kareem Hunt game is certainly coming sooner than later, so if you’re fading Mahomes I think Hunt could be a good leverage play against the field at $7,800, and will be especially low owned considering these next two guys. The free square of the bunch, assuming no Jay Ajayi, is Corey Clement at $3,900. With no Ajayi, Clement’s ownership should soar over 50%, and for good reason. Darren Sproles missed last week, and Clement can excel in all facets of the game. Giovani Bernard is also darn-near a must-start at $6,700 with Joe Mixon on the shelf. But since this is a tournament, not a cash game, there is plenty of value in fading Mixon and getting top-end guys like Todd Gurley or Alvin Kamara, who won’t be rostered as much with many people taking the low-hanging fruit at RB with Clement and Bernard.
Julio Jones is plenty spendy at $8,900, but there’s a good chance I’ll be stacking him with Ryan and bringing it back with Kamara in a game with a 53-point over/under (only the San Francisco/Kansas City game is higher on this slate). You’re getting what you pay for with most of the higher end guys, though TY Hilton on the road against Philly at $7,700 is a hard pass for me. Kenny Golladay remains severely underpriced at $5,200 and will almost assuredly be in my lineup. If practice reports are glowing this week for Marquise Goodwin he’ll be another guy I think about at $5,600 given that aforementioned O/U—though honestly I won’t be in the least bit surprised if Dante Pettis turns in the better fantasy day at $4,100 now that everyone is off him following Week 2’s dud. Cheap exposure to high game totals is a great way to make money in DFS, so I’ll consider giving Pettis a second chance—especially if Goodwin winds up shelved again. Kenny Stills at $5,800 is another low-priced bounceback candidate.
I’m not going to recommend Doyle and crap on Ebron again this week, but I just want the record to show that I’m still firmly in the Doyle over Ebron camp. Given the matchup, though, this is no place for me to be stubborn. I’ll wait a week and hopefully Doyle’s price goes down even more so I can take advantage in the coming weeks. I’ve got no problem paying up for Travis Kelce this week at $7K despite it feeling like point chasing, nor would I fault anyone for rolling with Rob Gronkowski or Zach Ertz for $200 or $100 more, respectively. I could go back to the Kittle well, but $5,700 seems a touch high. He’s not out of the question, but also far from a lock. As much as I hate recommending Jared Cook, his targets and his price ($4,900) make it feasible. And if you want to punt the position to spend up elsewhere, you could do worse than Jake Butt at $3,100. He’s got 10 targets in two weeks, and Demaryius Thomas’ seeming disinterest in playing football could lead to even more Butt work. Yeah, I wrote that.
Any of the top four defenses are in play for me this week, and if Jadeveon Clowney returns from injury this week and you can’t find the extra $200 to get to the Rams, I think Houston is also in play at $3,900. Miami’s defense hosting Oakland for just $3,600 is my favorite mid-tier play, while the Arizona defense at home against Mitch Trubisky and the Bears could force a few turnovers for just $3K.
Here’s hoping things go better for me in Week 3. And of course, here’s hoping you beat Charch, too. Good luck to you all, and if I don’t take down this week’s tourney, I hope you do!
Anthony Maggio (@MplsMaggio) once threw a chair at a bar and is co-host of The Fantasy Football Party at ZoneCoverage.com. Subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher or anywhere Android podcasts are given away for free. He is a freelance contributor for the SportsHub Games Network, Inc., Fanball’s parent company. Any advice or strategies provided by SportsHub contributors represent their personal opinions; they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of SportsHub Games Network and are not necessarily reflective of the strategies they may employ in their own lineups.