Fantasy Football Overvalued/Undervalued: Week 9
Can you believe it’s November already? Halloween and the World Series are in the rearview mirror, which can mean only one thing, it’s crunch time for the fantasy football season. Hopefully, this column can continue to help you navigate tough lineup decisions and identify diamonds in the rough to get you through the bye weeks. And then before we know it, the fantasy playoffs will be here.
As for last week, I’m pleased to report that I finally nailed my quarterback selections. Carson Wentz barely finished inside the top-20 quarterbacks, while Derek Carr was even better than I anticipated. Beyond that it was a bit of a mixed bag. The running back, wide receiver, and tight end I pegged as overvalued all finished well below their Expert Consensus Rankings (ECR), but so did my undervalued picks. In the end, I’d say going 5-for-8 isn’t too shabby.
As always, my picks for over- and undervalued players are based on the ECR for 0.5 PPR formats. If you want my take on a start/sit question or anything else fantasy football-related, you can reach out to me on Twitter @andrew_seifter.
Overvalued: Deshaun Watson (HOU)
My Rank: QB5
Every time I pick a quarterback as talented as Watson as my overvalued player, it seems to blow up in my face (see Jackson, Lamar and Rodgers, Aaron). But there are some pretty good reasons to believe Watson will finish outside the top-four quarterbacks this week. First and foremost is track record. Sure, the Jaguars no longer have Jalen Ramsey, but it’s still at least somewhat concerning that Watson has averaged a meager 158.5 passing yards and 0.5 touchdown passes in his four career starts against Jacksonville. This time, he’ll go up against the Jags without his favorite deep threat, Will Fuller, who is out at least one more week. This game will also be played in London, where teams have tended to score fewer points than projected.
Watson is currently the QB2 on the year, but he’s alternated huge games and relative duds, and this week could be one of the latter. You’re still starting him in 99.99 percent of season-long leagues, but I’d avoid him in DFS.
Undervalued: Philip Rivers (LAC)
My Rank: QB11
I also like Matthew Stafford and Jameis Winston more than the industry consensus this week, but let’s focus on Rivers, since this ranking discrepancy could be the difference between streaming or not streaming him in many 12-team leagues. Rivers is coming off a subpar outing against the Bears, and the Packers are another tough matchup on paper. But Green Bay’s pass defense numbers are inflated by the first three weeks of the season when they held Mitchell Trubisky, a slow-starting Kirk Cousins, and Joe Flacco to 230 or fewer yards and one combined touchdown pass. But over the last two weeks, Green Bay has surrendered 267+ yards and two touchdowns apiece to Derek Carr and Matt Moore.
Meanwhile, Rivers has quietly thrown for at least 293 yards in six of his eight starts, establishing a very high floor. There is some speculation that the Chargers will try to run the ball more following the ouster of offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt, but we all know those plans tend to go out the window once you’re trailing, as LA is likely to be against Aaron Rodgers and Co. As with Winston, it isn’t always easy or pretty for Rivers, but he tends to get the job done from a fantasy perspective — and that should continue this week.
Overvalued: Carlos Hyde (HOU)
My Rank: RB29
A lot of the reasoning I provided for Watson could also apply to Hyde, as the Texans could struggle to reach their implied total of 24 points across the pond. Then there’s the fact that Jacksonville has been really tough against the run lately. Outside of an outlier game by the incomparable Christian McCaffrey and his backup Reggie Bonnafon in Week 5, the Jaguars have not allowed more than 53 rushing yards to an opposing rusher since Week 2. Yes, it was Hyde himself who ran for 90 yards against them in Week 2, but the list of running backs the Jags have shut down since then is an impressive one: Derrick Henry, Phillip Lindsay, Alvin Kamara, Latavius Murray, Joe Mixon, and Le’Veon Bell. Hyde has virtually no role in the passing game, so if the running lanes aren’t there, he is going to struggle to provide anything close to RB2 value.
Undervalued: Mark Ingram (BAL)
My Rank: RB14
It’s easy to take a quick look at Ingram’s matchup with New England’s historically-dominant defense and say “no thanks,” but the Patriots have actually been quite vulnerable to the run of late. Le’Veon Bell and Nick Chubb have combined to run for 201 yards on 35 carries (5.74 YPC) over the last two weeks, and Frank Gore also gashed the Patriots for 109 yards on 17 carries in Week 4. Yes, it’s true that New England has yet to allow a single rushing touchdown, but that has at least as much to do with the quality of the offenses they’ve faced as it does with their own run defense.
You’re not going to beat New England by throwing the ball against Stephon Gilmore and Co., especially with Lamar Jackson at quarterback, so expect Baltimore to take a very run-heavy approach. Ingram is currently the RB13 on the season and should be fresh coming out of the Ravens’ Week 8 bye. He’s got a good shot to become the first running back to find the end zone against the Patriots and could even provide one of his better rushing totals of the season.
Overvalued: John Brown (BUF)
My Rank: WR23
Considering he’s a deep threat in a Josh Allen-led offense, Brown has proven to be a surprisingly consistent fantasy commodity, accumulating 50+ yards every single week so far. But he hasn’t displayed the immense weekly upside that many fantasy pundits were envisioning. Since a big Week 1 performance against the Jets, he has just one touchdown catch and hasn’t surpassed 83 receiving yards in any game. Those are not the numbers of a guy I’d feel comfortable ranking among my top-15 wide receivers. Washington does seem like a fairly favorable matchup, but while they were flat-out terrible against the pass over the first three weeks, they’ve only given up two touchdowns to wideouts since Week 4. Buffalo-Washington also has the lowest over/under on the Week 9 slate, and the Bills are heavy favorites, which suggests that Allen may not need to throw a lot of deep balls to win the game.
Undervalued: Danny Amendola (DET)
My Rank: WR31
I’m frankly a little surprised to see Amendola way down at ECR 48 after what he’s done the last couple weeks, especially in leagues that award even partial points for receptions. With Kerryon Johnson on injured reserve, the Lions have no running game to speak of, and in those situations, teams often look to slot possession receivers like Amendola to make up for the lost production in the short-to-intermediate areas of the field. It should come as no great surprise, then, that Amendola has 16 catches for 200 yards over the last two games. Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford is absolutely on fire right now, and this week Stafford and Amendola go up against a Raiders’ secondary that has been consistently roasted by opposing wideouts. The odds of Amendola finding the end zone are always remote, but he should be regarded as a high-floor WR3/flex option this week.
Overvalued: Greg Olsen (CAR)
My Rank: TE16
I know tight end is awful, but what exactly has Olsen done lately to deserve a top-eight ECR ranking? After a big first game with Kyle Allen under center in Week 3, Olsen has fallen completely off the map, catching just eight balls for 70 yards over the last four games combined. With Cam Newton still on the mend, Allen will get another start this week against a pretty solid Titans’ defense. With an over/under of 41.5, this is another game that Vegas expects to be low-scoring, so it’s hardly the best spot for Olsen to break out of his funk. I understand the urge to turn to a household name like Olsen when you’re scrambling at tight end, but I would prefer to take a shot on someone who has been more involved in a better offense over the last few weeks. Someone like…
Undervalued: Darren Fells (HOU)
My Rank: TE10
If there’s one piece of the Texans’ offense I do want to invest in for Week 9, it’s the one who comes the most cheaply, and that’s Fells. Fells already has two multi-touchdown performances on his 2019 resume, and he has six catches in two of his last three games. At the wasteland that is tight end, that is more than enough juice to merit strong streaming consideration over guys like Olsen, Dallas Goedert, and Jimmy Graham. The Jaguars gave up two touchdowns and a two-point conversion to Jets tight end Ryan Griffin just last week, so it would hardly be surprising if Bill O’Brien seeks to exploit the Jags’ D in a similar fashion. Fells has been more productive than the Texans’ slot receivers this year, and I expect that to continue in Week 9.