Fantasy Football Overvalued/Undervalued: Week 2
If Week 1 is any indication, maybe I should just listen to the other experts.
Some of my Week 1 overvalued and undervalued calls proves prescient. Deshaun Watson and Jimmy Graham delivered duds, and Mike Evans even defied my optimistic expectations by eviscerating Marshon Lattimore and the Saints.
I also whiffed wildly in a few other instances. Adrian Peterson shut me up by posting 166 yards and a touchdown on 28 touches. Giovani Bernard touched the ball twice in 12 snaps, and John Brown taught a lesson against holding a fantasy grudge. In the interest of full disclosure, I also fared poorly in the Week 1 accuracy rankings.
OK, now here’s the part where I have to turn around and convince you to trust my opinions over those of over 100 experts. There aren’t many cases where my rankings deviate wildly, but here are some noticeable differences between my lists and the standard (non-PPR) ECR, as of Thursday evening.
Undervalued: Russell Wilson (SEA at CHI) – ECR: QB11; My Rank: QB5
The experts are getting into my head on this one. I’ve considered ranking Russell Wilson as high as No. 4, but I’ve dropped him below Aaron Rodgers (assuming he’ll play). Maybe Tom Brady and/or Philip Rivers also leapfrog him by Sunday. I understand the cases against the Seattle quarterback. He lost Doug Baldwin to knee injuries after already losing Jimmy Graham and Paul Richardson in the offseason. His atrocious offensive line surrendered six sacks in Week 1, and a hazardous pocket sparked two fumbles and interceptions apiece. Although the Bears collapsed against a one-legged Rodgers, they’re an awfully dangerous defense with Khalil Mack in tow. This road game carries the third-lowest over-under line (43). I get the skepticism, but I’m trusting the player who averaged a full three points per game more than QB2 Cam Newton last season. He still managed to submit 298 passing yards and three touchdowns in another tough road matchup at Denver, and let’s not forget he also offered 36.6 rushing yards per contest in 2017. While he’s certainly not a conventional DFS choice, DraftKings is practically daring everyone to ignore him for just $6,000.
Overvalued: Deshaun Watson (HOU at TEN) – ECR: QB4; My Rank: QB9
Yep, again. Watson looked worse than I feared at Foxboro, completing half of his 34 passes for 176 yards. The looks on DeAndre Hopkins’s face would have led someone to believe he was still playing with Tom Savage or T.J. Yates. Speaking of Hopkins, the star wideout was limited in Wednesday’s practice. So was Will Fuller, who could nevertheless make his 2018 debut after missing Week 1 with a hamstring injury. With both of those receivers healthy, Watson could make downfield magic against a Tennessee defense burned by Ryan Tannehill and Kenny Stills last Sunday. The second-year quarterback certainly flaunts QB1 upside, but the risk is once again not reflected in his ECR.
Undervalued: James White (NE at JAC) – ECR: RB36; My Rank: RB24
I fully expect the ECR to come around to my side by Sunday. Some might simply be waiting for more clarity on Rex Burkhead, who may not play because of a concussion. While Sony Michel is preparing to make his NFL debut, it’s difficult to trust a rookie rusher battling a knee injury. That leaves James White in a golden position to headline New England’s backfield after leading the team with nine Week 1 targets. Tom Brady targeted his running backs 14 times during the AFC Championship Game win over Jacksonville, and that was with Julian Edelman in the fold. White played just two fewer snaps (36) than Burkhead and snatched a red-zone carry against Houston, so he should receive plenty of pass-catching work if Burkhead is not cleared. Usually at best a PPR flex play, White now merits a look in all formats.
Overvalued: LeSean McCoy (BUF vs. LAC) – ECR: RB18; My Rank: RB25
The Bills haven’t fielded a strong offense in quite some time, but it hasn’t contaminated LeSean McCoy’s fantasy appeal because of wholesale volume. Only Le’Veon Bell handled more handoffs last season, and Shady also led the team in catches (59) and targets (77) to boot. The desolate offense, however, did not revolve around the 30-year-old back in a 47-3 debacle. He instead touched the ball just eight times for 21 yards in 34 snaps. While the game script undoubtedly mitigated his role, it probably will again. The Bills are 7.5-point underdogs against the Chargers in Josh Allen’s first career start. Their defense looked lost against Joe Flacco, so Philip Rivers and Co. could compel them to face another major deficit. While the Chargers yielded the second-most rushing yards in 2017, they contained Kareem Hunt to 49 yards on 16 carries last Sunday. McCoy, who is averaging 2.8 yards per carry over his last four games, is unlikely to get the heavy workload needed to fend off Father Time.
Undervalued: Ryan Grant (IND at WAS) – ECR: WR64; ECR: WR50
Does a Revenge Game mean nothing anymore? In all seriousness, all the wideouts tend to blend together after a certain point. We’re just throwing darts beyond the top 50, so even a 14-spot difference isn’t egregious in this range. Ryan Grant secured eight of Andrew Luck’s nine targets in his Indianapolis debut while playing 65 of 82 snaps. He also averaged 7.4 yards per catch with a long reception of 13 yards, so the experts aren’t buying the empty volume in the standard rankings. Yet his ECR is still WR61 in PPR, so that’s where I’d raise a bigger objection. (He’s my PPR WR46.) While Luck won’t throw 53 times per game, it also wouldn’t be shocking if he led the NFL in pass attempts for a team with a terrible defense and nonexistent ground game. A shaky offensive line has also compelled the Colts to prioritize short strikes to keep their star quarterback upright, so Grant should remain a target guzzler as their No. 2 receiver. That could especially be the case if T.Y. Hilton sees a lot of Josh Norman this Sunday. This late down the board, give me the volume in hopes of Grant getting one or two red-zone looks.
Overvalued: Robby Anderson (NYJ vs. MIA) – ECR: WR31; My Rank: WR37
Robby Anderson scored a 41-yard touchdown in Week 1. That’s good. It was his only target. That’s bad. The Jets didn’t need to overextend a debuting Sam Darnold in a 48-17 win, but that didn’t deter Quincy Enunwa from drawing 10 of his 21 targets. Both could receive more competition from Jermaine Kearse, who led the team with 65 receptions last season. The decision to start Anderson depends entirely on your risk tolerance. Even his WR31 ECR will almost certainly prove too low or too high. Last year, the boom-or-bust wideout finished six games with 4.0 or fewer standard fantasy points but produced 14.5 or more on four other occasions.
Undervalued: Evan Engram (NYG at DAL) – ECR: TE8; My Rank: TE6
For better or worse, I couldn’t locate any major discrepancies at tight end. This difference probably doesn’t say as much about Evan Engram as my trepidation to trust Jimmy Graham and Trey Burton after they left Week 1 with eight and 15 yards, respectively. Engram barely topped them with a putrid 18 yards, but at least he has some excuses. He was facing the Jaguars after spending the week in concussion protocol. He also had a big early catch negated by a holding penalty. The Cowboys, who are very much not the Jaguars, relinquished 12.0 PPR points per game to tight ends last season. Besides, is there anyone left at the ransacked position anyway?
My rankings played out eerily similar to the consensus, so I’m going to skip the overvalued section and elaborate on the tight ends dropped below Engram. This is what you signed up for with Graham, who has now finished four of his last five games with single-digit receiving yards. He’ll drop outside the top 12 if Rodgers doesn’t play. I’m not giving up on Burton just yet. He garnered six targets, which somehow did not include this play. Bobby Wagner’s Seahawks, however, simply aren’t an ideal opponent to trigger a bounce-back outing.