Fantasy Football Overvalued/Undervalued: Week 6
That’s the first week of byes out of the way, and our options are only going to become more and more limited for these next few entries in our series. As we discussed last week, the growing pool of information and sample sizes is more than worthy compensation. Having some concrete defensive data paid dividends last week, as is evidenced by the following results:
Matthew Stafford (DET): ECR – 6 / Finished – QB13 / WIN
Joe Mixon (CIN): ECR – 18 / Finished – RB13 / LOSS
Larry Fitzgerald (ARI): ECR – 10 / Finished – WR37 / WIN
Jason Witten (DAL): ECR – 9 / Finished – TE17 / WIN
Brian Hoyer (SF): ECR – 22 / Finished – QB7 / WIN
Andre Ellington (ARI): ECR – 33 / Finished – RB25 / WIN
Michael Crabtree (OAK): ECR – 35 / Finished – WR10 / WIN
Jared Cook (OAK) ECR – 13 / Finished – TE36-T / LOSS
Finally, another good week. There were only two errors and only one that I’m beating myself up over. I like to think that everyone who’s played fantasy had given Jared Cook too much credit at some point in his career, whether that was when he joined Aaron Rodgers last season or way back in 2013 when he exploded out of the gate.
Apparently, this was just my time. The other misfire, Joe Mixon, could have just as quickly gone the other way had he not gotten a good angle on an outside run in the fourth quarter.
Week five also featured two home runs, namely Brian Hoyer and Michael Crabtree. Hoyer, like Mixon, could have gone the other way were it not for a game-tying drive at the very end of the contest.
Crabtree did most of his damage on one big play, but he’s good enough that you really can’t take that away from him. The level of disrespect he continues to garner continues to mystify me.
Only Week 1’s predictions were more accurate, which is ironic based on how much credit I’ve been giving to sample sizes. However last week featured a fair number of gut calls, like with Crabtree and Stafford. This week shakes out to be a fair bit more calculated, so let’s see how that pans out.
Overvalued: Jameis Winston (TB): @ ARI; ECR – QB9
This is the second consecutive year we’ve been told to expect Jameis Winston to have a breakout season, and once again he doesn’t appear to be on pace to do anything of the sort. Make no mistake – Winston is far from a bad player. But his freshman and sophomore campaigns were eerily similar statistically, and so far in 2017 he just hasn’t passed the eye test.
It’s important not to put too much stock in Thursday’s game that, while dreadful (despite the numbers), was still, well, on a Thursday night. He doesn’t seem to have any chemistry with any of his weapons outside of Mike Evans and Cameron Brate, and while the Cardinals are the seventh-most generous defense to fantasy QBs, they also do a great job against #1 receivers and (to a lesser extent) tight ends. Unless Winston can make it work with DeSean Jackson and Adam Humphries, he won’t be finding much success through the air this week.
Undervalued: Sam Bradford/Case Keenum (MIN): vs. GB; ECR – QB 22/20
We’re going to try something a bit different here, and while it might seem odd to group these two together, their projections might be more similar than you’d think. Monday night was a disaster; Sam Bradford was not ready to return, and he almost cost the team the game before being benched for Case Keenum. Who knows why he was allowed to come back if he was this unprepared, but the good thing to remember now is that it’s doubtful that it happens again.
The only way Bradford plays is if the team is 100% confident that it won’t be a repeat of last week’s debacle, and if they don’t think he’s ready, they’ll just give Keenum the start. As scary of a prospect it may seem to trust Minnesota’s QB, last week should add more certainty, not less, as no organization in this league would make such a mistake twice in a row.
As far as the matchup is concerned, the numbers don’t look ideal, with Green Bay being the 12th-stingiest fantasy QB defense, but context is crucial here. They beat up on the typically slow-starting Russell Wilson in Week 1 and the struggling Mike Glennon in Week 4, but in Week 2 Matt Ryan simply didn’t need to throw, and in Week 3, Andy Dalton had a major bounceback performance.
Then there was last week when Dak Prescott went off. The Vikings won’t be able to run the ball down their throats like they could have if Dalvin Cook were still healthy, so Minnesota will have to attack the Packers’ weak secondary early and often.
Heck, even the team’s top running back at the moment (Jerick McKinnon) is a potent pass-catching threat. Minnesota’s QB, whoever it is, will be busy this week.
Overvalued: Lamar Miller (HOU): vs. CLE; ECR – RB9
Lamar Miller has had one good game this season, and that was in Week 4 when his team put up a historic 57 points. The real trap here is Cleveland’s defense, which has been phenomenal considering that the team just held its first lead of the season last week. They’re the 11th-toughest fantasy RB defense, and their opponents are always trying to chew clock.
No team has even accumulated over 100 rushing yards against the Browns. The Texans are seemingly content to let their emerging QB air the ball out, and even if the team decides to play conservatively, there isn’t going to be enough running room for Miller to have a top-10 week.
Undervalued: Mike Gillislee (NE): @ NY; ECR – RB18
2017’s Patriots haven’t resembled the world-beaters they were hyped up to be, but this is the first game of their season against an undeniably weak opponent. Don’t let the Jets’ 3-2 record fool you: it’s possible they don’t win another game all year after having racked up their wins against the league’s worst quarterbacks. Suffice it to say that New England should be able to take their foot off the gas a bit with this one, even if it is a divisional bout on the road.
They might not have much of a choice given Tom Brady‘s recently announced shoulder injury. It’s always a gamble to trust a Patriots running back, but Gillislee has gotten the most consistent workload on the ground and is still the best bet to find the end zone even after suffering through a drought these past three weeks.
Overvalued: Mike Evans (TB): @ ARI; ECR – WR7
Don’t let the numbers fool you: Arizona might give up the sixth-most fantasy points to receivers, but it’s not #1 wideouts doing any of the damage. Alshon Jeffery, Dez Bryant, and T.Y. Hilton: all elite receivers who have put up pedestrian numbers this season in the wake of Patrick Peterson’s shutdown coverage. Peterson is one of the few defensive backs in the league who follows one guy around all game, and it shows in the numbers.
Furthermore, we’ve seen Mike Evans be frustrated at the hands of tough corners this year. Stephon Gilmore held him in check last week, and Xavier Rhodes sent Evans into a rage on the sideline. Even a touchdown won’t be enough to put Evans in the top 10 this week.
Undervalued: Marvin Jones (DET): @ NO; ECR – WR32
There are a few receivers this year who have had brutal schedules, and everyone knows who they are. These are the Dez Bryants and Alshon Jefferys of the world – guys who had their fantasy draft stock drop as a result. But one of the players who has had it just as bad but doesn’t get brought up is Marvin Jones.
In fact, Week 5 was the first game that didn’t see Jones match up against a shutdown corner. While six receptions for 54 yards isn’t winning anybody their league, it’s a significant step up from what he’s been laying down most weeks and a very respectable output against a tough Panthers defense. This week against the Saints will be his first chance to truly feast, and the Lions are coming off a game where conservative play calling just burned them.
Overvalued: Austin Seferian-Jenkins (NYJ): vs. NE; ECR – TE5
Picking these players can be pretty time consuming depending on the week, but this is the first time I’ve ever glanced at the rankings and immediately scrunched my face into an expression of utter confusion. Austin Seferian-Jenkins? The guy who produced just 29 yards and one touchdown against the second worst TE defense in the league?
The Patriots may only be a couple of spots behind them, but if New England plays man coverage in the same vein as they did last Thursday, that means that ASJ will basically be shadowed by Patrick Chung, who is surprisingly efficient at limiting opposing tight ends. Even if Seferian-Jenkins gets loose for a touchdown, that won’t be good enough to put him in the top five, regardless of how shallow the position is. Nobody can deny that he’s getting a commendable target share, but believe it or not ASJ has some competition on that roster for looks.
Jermaine Kearse and Robby Anderson are both sitting at over five targets per game, and Jeremy Kerley is very much still in the mix. He might be intriguing this week, but fifth-best TE prospect? He’ll need to show us a lot more before he deserves to be listed between Delanie Walker and Jordan Reed.
Undervalued: George Kittle (SF): @ WAS; ECR – TE17
Kittle is in a spot very similar to Seferian-Jenkins, so it might be a bit hypocritical to buy in on the former and not the latter. Both had their best games of the season last week, and both have very favorable matchups this week. But what George Kittle did last week – almost single-handedly willing his team into overtime on a game-tying drive – is the type of performance that jettisons a player into a much bigger role in an offense.
He’s third on the team in targets so far this season and has reeled in almost all of the balls that have come his way. The Redskins have given up over 90 yards to tight ends in three out of the four games they’ve played in 2017, which bodes well for the emerging Kittle.