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.
Javorius Allen $5,300
Although most fantasy players were counting on Alex Collins to be the Ravens workhorse, it has been “backup” RB Javorious Allen who has been the more reliable option. Allen may have a limited ceiling but he also possesses a reliable floor as he’s been a weekly RB35 or better in all five games so far this season. Allen has also become the Ravens preferred red zone weapon, seeing 13 opportunities on the season compared to 10 for Collins. Allen has converted four of those for scores. – Ryan McDowell
Tarik Cohen $5,400
After three weeks of all but being ignored especially in the passing game, Tarik Cohen exploded in week four for 174 total yards and a touchdown. Coincidentally it’s the best the Bears offense has looked all season and I can’t see a reason they would go away from it. Pass catching backs Bilal Powell, Jalen Richard and James White have had success against the Dolphins and they have given up three receiving touchdowns to backs as well. – Sal Leto
Wendell Smallwood $5,200
As Jay Ajayi has popped in and out of the lineup over recent weeks, it has been Wendell Smallwood who has taken advantage. Smallwood has posted at least 54 yards from scrimmage in the past three weeks and posted 13 touches for 91 yards in Ajayi’s absence against the Colts. Philadelphia’s backfield will always pose volume concerns for individual backs – even with Jay Ajayi out for the year – but Smallwood looks poised for double-digit touches Thursday night. With Corey Clement coming off an injury of his own, it should be a Smallwood night (insert laughter here) against a Giants defense which has yielded eight touchdowns to the position thus far in 2018. – Rob Willette
Adrian Peterson $6,400
Through the first four games of the season, Redskins veteran RB Adrian Peterson has flip-flopped elite RB1 games with frustrating flops. He has become completely game-script dependant as the Redskins turn to pass-catching RB Chris Thompson when they fall behind. This week, Washington and Peterson face the Panthers, who allow the tenth-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs. On top of the imposing matchup, Peterson is also dealing with an upper-body injury. While he’s expected to play through the injury, it could have an impact. – Ryan McDowell
Alex Collins $5,800
It’s been a frustrating year to own Alex Collins. Splitting touches and losing goal-line work because he can’t seem to hold on to the ball, he’s been his own worst enemy. It doesn’t figure to get easier this week with the Titans study rush defense. They’ve given up zero total touchdowns to backs and no one player has gone over 85 yards rushing. Without the added bonus of pass catching the likelihood of a double-digit game seems far-fetched for Collins in this one.– Sal Leto
David Johnson $7,700
David Johnson has been able to avoid the full-blown bust label thanks to five touchdowns in five games. While Johnson scoring touchdowns is no surprise, the 2018 iteration of the Cardinals scoring touchdowns are, and it stands to reason an elite touchdown rate is unlikely to continue given Arizona’s continued struggles. The Cardinals have insisted on using Johnson as a running back from Madden 96, failing to find ways to get him the football in space, lending credence to rumors the coaching staff has been given a mandate to secure the top pick in the 2019 Draft. Minnesota’s step backward defensively has been well-documented, but their biggest issue has been stopping the pass. They have not allowed a rushing touchdown to a running back and they have only allowed 18 receptions to the position. DJ does not figure to provide returns on his draft day cost this Sunday. – 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.
Charch’s loss was our gain.
Brandin Cooks’ unfortunate concussion early in LA’s matchup with Seattle left Charch with a zero, which is a good way to get a good chunk of us into the Week 17 $5,000 top prize finale. In all, 290 added another entry to their total, while 250 of us finished in the money—including me in 222nd place despite a relatively disappointing showing.
First place this week went to @Mrblistr, who rode a cash-game type lineup to 205.5 points, squeaking past @Steffen by less than six points.
The chalk hits again! Well, for the most part, anyway. TJ Yeldon was a whopping 48% owned and got a boost from teammate Corey Grant going down early with a Lisfranc fracture that’s since landed him on IR. Blake Bortles had the most Blake Bortles game ever, playing mostly like trash and getting his team in a hole only to wind up with 430 passing yards and another 34 on the ground plus a rushing score to go with his passing touchdown to Yeldon. But you don’t have to watch the game to get the points, so hey, congrats to those who used him! Certainly beat my quarterback plays, which were a bit of a mixed bag in part thanks to this being a LeGarrette Blount week.
My running back calls were solid overall, with the exceptions being Zeke Elliot and Philip Lindsay who both busted relative to salary. Wide receiver didn’t work out quite as well, though Marques Valdes-Scantling was a must-play for me when both Randall Cobb and Geronimo Allison were ruled out and he easily paid off his $2,900 price tag.
The tight end position went mostly how I thought, though of course Jared Cook made me look stupid for highlighting him—which has happened a couple times per year for the last dozen or so years.
And, of course, I somehow wound up paying up for a defense that underwhelmed. Going with the Panthers defense would’ve been good, and as the week went on I liked the Bengals more and more, and that obviously would’ve paid off. Pretty much anything other than the high-priced defenses would have worked out better, because that’s how it usually goes. I just can’t help myself from being stupid sometimes.
Join the Week 6 Charch Chase challenge now for your shot at $500 in total prizes – including $50 to the winner, all for FREE. Everyone who beats Charch earns a ticket to the Week 17 Chase Charch Championship, where you can win your share of a $15,000 prize pool.
The aforementioned Yeldon ownership stuck out like a sore thumb, as folks were spending down in order to fit in an extra stud this week. It left ownership relatively flat across the high end running backs, and pretty much the same at quarterback. On the flip side, I was very surprised to see Odell Beckham at less than 1% owned.
Again, this isn’t the world’s biggest tournament so ownership isn’t as important, but anytime you can get a stud at a depressed salary AND low ownership like that, you do it. His big day was boosted by a passing touchdown to go with his receiving score, which obviously you can’t count on. But this is something to back pocket for later. If there’s a stud back or receiver that just isn’t being talked about that much due to underperformance and the salary keeps dropping, this is a great tournament to play said player in. I’ll be keeping an eye out for this in the coming weeks and note it in this column if/when I think we might be in one of those spots.
Spending down on quarterbacks is Charch’s thing, but it’s tough to argue when so many quarterbacks are putting up so many big numbers. I like Andy Dalton plenty this week against the sieve that is Pittsburgh’s defense. And though Tyler Boyd’s price is starting to get a bit more prohibitive, I’m a fan of the stack here as well after we saw Joe Haden shadow Julio Jones successfully last week—the first time Haden’s shadowed all season. If he does the same to AJ Green, Boyd could have a field day.
Perhaps feeling burned by Cooks last week, Charch is going back to the Rams well to take the non-concussed LA receiver Robert Woods. He’s in a solid spot matched up primarily with Bradley Roby, with the potential for a little more work if Cooper Kupp and Cooks both sit this week. That said, I don’t LOVE his price, so if the rest of the crew is cleared I’m probably not considering Woods for my Week 6 lineup.
Not sure how much analysis you need on Travis Kelce—he’s really good, but really spendy. If you’ve got the salary to burn, I’m all for it. In terms of raw points, he’s probably got the highest ceiling at the position on the slate.
As for my squad…
I’m going to be watching the practice reports on Deshaun Watson this week. He seemed pretty beat up by the end of Sunday night’s game (though not beat up enough to cost me $300 in the $30K Take Me to Charch tourney) thanks in part to that offensive line. Between that and a solid Buffalo defense, I think people might be off him. But paired with Keke Coutee I think it could be a sneaky little stack. If you’re spending up I don’t mind any of the top four—they’ve all got high ceilings—but I don’t think you need to spend up to get value. Jameis Winston is who really stands out, as he couldn’t have a better matchup unless he got traded and played against Tampa Bay instead of for them. The best part? He’s just $6,900, which is #nice. If you’re absolutely penny pinching, I think the Chargers/Browns game has sneaky shootout potential—with Baker Mayfield at $6,500 providing good value.
I think the top 7 guys are fairly priced at the position—with the exception of Elliot, who’s overpriced based on his matchup. The whole $7K to $7.7K range is devoid of value, too, even though from a raw points perspective I think Carlos Hyde could be an OK play. If I play anyone in that group it’ll be him. Yeldon at $6,900 should be popular again, for good reason, and James White is still just $6,500 despite being an every-week producer. He’ll crash and burn at some point, but there’s no reason to think it’ll be this week. In the bargain bin, sign me up for Nyheim Hines at $5,900 (assuming Marlon Mack is still sidelined) or Austin Ekeler a5 $5,800.
Another week, another Julio smash spot. It didn’t turn out great last week with the Haden shadow treatment, but he’s long overdue for a blow-up game and has another juicy matchup with no scary pieces in Tampa’s secondary. (If I just keep picking him, I’ll be right eventually, right?) The Julio/Mike Evans game-stack is most definitely in play for me this week, though the tight end I’ll note below will give me some flexibility on Evans if I need to save some $$. Keenan Allen is $700 cheaper, and as I noted above, I think there could be some points in Chargers/Browns. There’s some pretty good value in the mid-$5K range with DeSean Jackson and Chris Godwin—more stacking options to go with Winston. Courtland Sutton at $4,300 is a good cheap play, as he’s looking better than Demaryius Thomas and getting more end zone looks than Emmanuel Sanders (who’s getting the same amount I am). And with the Rams dealing with injuries, Josh Reynolds becomes this week’s Valdes-Scantling at $3,800 if Kupp and Cooks don’t go.
I can actually say that I don’t love Eric Ebron this week since he’s up at $6,200, but he’s still got solid potential with Jack Doyle’s hip being very un-hip. David Njoku at $5,600 is very appealing—especially stacked with Mayfield—but the guy I’ll have a hard time getting off of (that’s a weird way to say it) is Cameron Brate at $5,400. He and OJ Howard have mostly been in each other’s way for fantasy purposes, but with the Falcons susceptible in the middle of the field and Howard out injured, Brate/Winston is where I’m starting my team’s build and we’ll see what happens from there. If you’re really looking to save money there, Austin Hooper isn’t bad at $5,000, and CJ Uzomah at $4,500 is a decent dart throw.
The team that sticks out the most to me is Miami, who gets the Bears in South Beach. Mitch Trubisky is no stranger to turnovers, and the Dolphins’ special teams are no stranger to scoring points. At the low low price of $3,300, you’ve got money to spend elsewhere if you go this route. The Colts aren’t a bad play at the same price, but they’re on the road against a Jets offense that just went berserk last week against what had been a decent Broncos defense. Tennessee home against Baltimore for $100 more isn’t too shabby either. I’m not advocating spending up, but if you feel so compelled, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed with Chicago at Miami.
Here’s to making money and beating Charch in Week 6. If I don’t finish first this week, 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