With so many options to choose from, sometimes fielding a fantasy lineup can be quite the headache. Obvious are the starts akin to Antonio Brown, Brandon Marshall, Matthew Stafford, Andrew Luck and the games other bigger names. However, it’s the tougher choices – namely the less obvious starts – that will end up winning your league.
Here are a few names you might want to consider:
Alex Smith QB Kansas City – Alex Smith has been just ok so far this year. Like so often when he played in San Francisco, Smith is more of a game manager than a passer. In leagues that play two quarterbacks, this week could be the opportune time to take a chance on Smith as he gets the hapless St. Louis Rams at home – a team whose defense is highly disappointing this season, especially against the pass. Top target Dwayne Bowe hasn’t been exactly lighting it up, but did show his presence in Week 7 against San Diego grabbing 5 catches for 84 yards – a good sign for Smith owners. Let’s not forget that RB Jamaal Charles always has the capability to turn a short catch into a long play. Too many indicators point to Smith being a decent play and solid WR2 for Week 8.
Bryce Brown RB Buffalo – We all know what Bryce Brown is capable of doing in a game. With 564 rushing yards and 4 touchdowns in limited game time while filling in for an injured LeSean McCoy in 2012, we got a good taste of the kind of talent Brown has. Brown hasn’t since done very much waiting in the wings behind McCoy before getting moved to Buffalo this season where he has been sitting behind two very serviceable backs in Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller. Now Spiller is out until at least Week 16 with a collarbone injury and a less effective than past Jackson could be out up to four weeks with a groin issue. That leaves Buffalo to rely on Brown. Brown has the opportunity to really show what he can do in the next few weeks and though this week’s matchup at NY Jets isn’t the greatest, he should still put up numbers to qualify him as a decent RB2, especially if he can gain QB Kyle Orton’s confidence early and get targets in the short passing game. Brown has big play ability.
Darren McFadden RB Oakland – McFadden only has 14 carries in each of his last two games but has tallied an above pedestrian 128 rushing yards with a touchdown. This week I suspect will McFadden get more carries and he has a juicy match-up at Cleveland who rank 25 against running backs this season. There is all kinds of potential for McFadden to put up fair numbers this week as neither team is known for slinging the ball around setting the table for a big run game on both ends. McFadden is a fill in option only as a RB3, but don’t be surprised if he exceeds expectations this week.
Mike Wallace WR Miami – Anytime a player goes up against Jacksonville this year, you have to take a close look. This week Wallace gets his chance and he should deliver big numbers. Scoring a touchdown in his last three games, Wallace has gotten fantasy owners double digits in points during that stretch and there is no reason to think he won’t do it again this week. This week would probably also be a good bet for Wallace to finally reach the 100-yard-plus receiving mark, as he has failed to do so far this season. Wallace is a nice WR2 with big WR1 potential.
Eric Decker WR NY Jets – Keep an eye on Decker’s status. He has played with a bum hamstring the past two games but has still managed 10 catches on 17 targets. Now that all purpose wide receiver Percy Harvin enters the fold, Decker could find himself open for QB Geno Smith far more often. Decker should certainly benefit from the surprising acquisition of Harvin and this week’s matchup against Buffalo would have been quite enticing anyway since their defense is ranked 24 against the wide receiver position. Despite a struggling Smith at the helm, Decker could be a decent WR2 in Week 8.
Gavin Escobar TE Dallas – Tightend Jason Witten’s numbers are dwindling while counterpart Gavin Escobar has snagged 3 touchdowns in the past two games. Witten will certainly get more targets moving up and down the field but Escobar has clearly shown his ability to get open in the endzone where a battle-weary Witten may have finally lost a step. There are plenty of decent tightend plays out there for Week 8, but if you are having injury or bye week issues, Escobar could be worth a shot for a touchdown grab or more. Escobar could be a nice fill in option – keep him on your radar.
Week 5 was kind in regards to not many fantasy relevant injuries occurring which is usually the life blood of waiver wire action. Despite the lack of injuries there are still some players out on the wire you should consider picking up to play in week 6 and others that are worth a bench stash. Two teams are on bye this week; Buccaneers and Vikings. Good luck!
Note: all waiver picks listed here will have only been owned in 50% or less of Yahoo leagues at the time of publication.
Alex Smith (KC) - 18% owned - The Chiefs are coming off a bye-week and return to action against a Raiders defense giving up a league-worst 331 yards per game to opposing quarterbacks. This means Smith should be a great streaming option if you're in need.
James White (NE) - 46% owned - White has made the list two weeks in a row which means you're missing out if you haven't added him yet. With Brady returning White put up his best fantasy performance of the season with 26 yards on 5 carries and added another 63 yards on 4 catches. Most of his damage came in the first half so It's reasonable to assume his numbers would've been higher if the Patriots hadn't been dominating the entire game.
Devontae Booker (DEN) - 9% owned - The fourth round rookie ended up receiving only 4 fewer touches than the recently underperforming C.J. Anderson in week 5 which indicates the Denver backfield could be headed into a timeshare if Anderson continues to struggle. If you have the bench space available, Booker is worth an add and stash for a couple weeks to see how the situation shakes out.
Cameron Meredith (CHI) - 4% owned - Last week I thought Eddie Royal would see an uptick in production but instead it was the second year Meredith that exploded for 130 yards and a touchdown catching 9 of 12 targets. He should be locked in as the number 2 receiver behind Alshon Jeffery after this performance.
Jeremy Kerley (SF) - 9% owned - Kerley has put up back to back big games now catching 14 of 22 targets for 190 yards and two touchdowns over that span. What's most interesting is he is averaging 9 targets per game throughout the season which means he should have a decent floor week to week.
Honorable mention: Robert Woods (BUF) - 29% owned
Jesse James (PIT) - 23% owned - James has now found the end zone in 3 of the last 4 games after scoring in week 5 on top of catching 6 of 8 for 43 yards. If you need a fill in for tight end this week look to James for a decent chance for a touchdown.
Honorable mention: Cameron Brate (TB) - 41% owned
Tennessee Titans (TEN) - 6% owned - The Titans defense has been consistently average for fantasy purposes all season, but I knock them up a few pegs this week since they play against Cleveland.
Time to set your lineups for your Week 7 matchups. Remember that the Giants and Rams are playing in London on Sunday morning, so those players need to be locked in early. This week we really like Alex Smith and Jeremy Maclin to do good things against a bad Oakland Raiders passing defense. We also think you should shy away from DeSean Jackson and Ryan Mathews, at least until they can prove to be more consistent.
Welcome to Statistically (in)Significant, the place to find great stats that probably only matter at the water cooler (or bar). Each week I'll dig through the stats of the week gone by and deliver you some choice conversation starters.
0-4 vs the Chargers
Eli Manning is now 0-4 against the team that he shunned on draft day, way back in 2004. Sure, he probably made the right call, considering the Giants have two Super Bowl rings to the Charger's zero since that draft, but karma's a bitch. The Giants lost all 4 of their wide receivers on Sunday, with Odell Beckham Jr. and Dwayne Harris out for the season. We'll see what happens going forward with Brandon Marshall and Sterling Shepard, but the Giants are really hurting now and have an 0-5 record to show for all their struggles. For now, the Giants are a fantasy wasteland, best avoided until they can get some things figured out.
73 Seconds to Win the Game
When Aaron Rodgers has the ball in his hands at the end of a game, it just feels like a TD is inevitable. Perhaps the biggest mistake the Cowboys made in their own late fourth quarter touchdown drive was leaving too much time on the clock for Rodgers. This game delivered on its marquee matchup status, with 5 lead changes in the fourth quarter and a ridiculous end of game lateral play that worked a lot better than most - and resulted in the Packers D/ST gaining two fumble recoveries in the same play. Can we get an official scorekeeper explanation on this? As a commissioner, I sure can't explain it to people in my league. Sorry, @Shawn_Foss.
125.8 Passer Rating
Alex Smith has a 125.8 passer rating for the 2017 season, through 5 games. This leads the league, and it's not even very close. Brady is second with 112 - but Brady is closer to Deshaun Watson at 7 than he is to Alex Smith. Smith is also leads the league in completion percentage (76.6), yards per attempt (8.8), game winning drives (3) and has zero interceptions so far. In fact, he has zero turnovers at all and over 100 rushing yards already! All this maybe makes this last stat a little more impressive - he's only second overall in fantasy points this season, now just 0.32 points behind a guy who didn't even start in Week 1.
5 (more) Passing TD's
Deshaun Watson scored another 5 TD's last night, and has 10 in the last two games (9 passing, 1 rushing). He has now put up over 70 points in the last two weeks, with those games basically splitting that total. This has catapulted him into the top fantasy spot after 5 weeks, and with his 30.8 point average over the last three weeks, he's not just in the QB1 discussion, he's near the top of it. The Texans get Cleveland next week, followed by a bye week and a pretty easy looking schedule with a couple of tough road games sprinkled in. Watson has made a whole bunch of guys fantasy relevant in Houston, including Will Fuller and D'onta Foreman, not to mention the re-emergence of DeAndre Hopkins as a solid WR1.
Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger threw 5 INT's on Sunday, yes F-I-V-E. Two of those went as a pick-six and perhaps the better story here is that the Jaguars DST has 12 or more points in 4 of their 5 games this season. Yesterday's 28 points matches their Week 1 total, and a home game against the Rams and a road game in Indy means you fire them up for a couple more weeks before their bye. It also is likely to mean you find a way to keep them through your bye week. On the other side, you've got the Steelers juggernaut offense that is just....not. Roethlisberger knows it's basically on him to figure this out and improve so as to not squander the great talent they have surrounded him with. Matchups in KC and Detroit over the next three weeks do not give a good outlook that he gets it turned around quickly.
For Fantasy Football team managers, playing in week 15 is all about making the right starts to get to the championship. Whether you fought hard to get into the playoffs from the bottom of the league or coasted into a bye spot early on, everyone is on an even playing field and (in most cases) only has one shot.
We'll be paying special attention to the players that you should and shouldn't start in week 15 and what matchups to keep in mind should you make the championship game in Week 16. We're joined by regular guest and drinkfive.com contributor Mike Mocerino.
Welcome back! We're joined this week by fantasy football veteran Matt Ellis to discuss the best starts moving forward into Week 13. This is the last week of the regular season of most fantasy football leagues, so put your best foot forward!
Peterman completed 6-of-14 passes for 66 yards with five interceptions. Wow, Buffalo. Nice work. In this episode, we'll be touching on the Bills' and NFL fantasy players going forward as well as the other highs and lows of Week 11 and what they mean to your fantasy squad.