Fantasy Football Overvalued/Undervalued: Week 4 (2020)
Here we go. Deep down, most of us knew the NFL was unlikely to get through the entire season without a Covid-19 outbreak, but there wasn’t really enough discussion about how it would all play out for fantasy. Most commissioners (the good ones, anyway) established a set of parameters for calling off the fantasy season in the event of COVID issues, but those rules — and those commissioners — are going to be put to the test now.
In my leagues, our standard is that if three or more teams fail to play their first 10 games, we cancel the monetary aspect of the league (you can keep your bragging rights). If this week’s postponed Steelers-Titans game is simply moved to Week 7, as now appears likely, we’ll have mostly dodged a bullet. It will just mean Pittsburgh and Tennessee had their bye weeks early and fantasy commissioners will have no real need to change any league rules or settings.
If you play fantasy baseball, you should be familiar with this kind of outcome by now. As fantasy managers, we had to adjust when the Miami Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals had COVID-19-induced interruptions to their seasons, but it didn’t completely ruin our fantasy leagues. That’s basically what we’re dealing with here, too…for now.
The difference, of course, is that Major League Baseball had all sorts of scheduling flexibility that isn’t available to the NFL. Each NFL team has one bye week to work with should they suffer an early-season COVID outbreak, but beyond that the only apparent options would be playing multiple times in a single week (the football equivalent of a doubleheader) or, more plausibly, playing additional games after Week 17. Either one of those options would create a big mess for fantasy leagues.
In the end, we need to take a deep breath and work with the art of the possible. We all know there are bigger issues going on in the world right now that fantasy football, which is first and foremost a nice distraction from everyday life. So I for one am trying to embrace the chaos as an additional strategic element to our game.
As good as Week 2 was for me, Week 3 was not a great one for my picks against FantasyPros’ Expert Consensus Rankings for 0.5 PPR formats. At QB, I made the mistake of underestimating Aaron Rodgers and cursed Ryan Tannehill by pointing out that he had accounted for two-plus touchdowns in all 12 of his regular-season starts for Tennessee (he threw for 321 yards but nary a TD last week). I was also off-base on Todd Gurley, who found the end zone, Noah Fant, who mostly flopped despite getting 10 targets, and DeSean Jackson, who got injured in the first half. My best calls were touting Jerick McKinnon, who finished as the RB14 and fading Stefon Diggs, who was the WR33.
This is a particularly challenging week to set lineups, so I am going to try to look a little deeper than usual to find flex options for those of you who were counting on Titans and Steelers.
Overvalued: Cam Newton (NE)
My Rank: QB13
I’m on board with Cam as a rest of season QB1, but I’m not convinced this will be one of his better weeks. He was off his game last Sunday, evoking bad memories of his final days in Carolina, and the Patriots’ receiving corps. is still very much a work in progress. Although it’s tempting to think that Newton will benefit from game flow against the highly-favored Chiefs, the reality hasn’t tended to play out that way for Kansas City’s opponents. The Chiefs boast a solid defensive unit that allowed the 12th-fewest fantasy points to QBs last season and just got finished holding Lamar Jackson to 97 passing yards and his worst overall fantasy performance in almost a calendar year. Cam’s best games tend to involve rushing scores, so he doesn’t necessarily benefit from a game where he’ll need to constantly drop back to pass to make up a big deficit.
Undervalued: Jared Goff (LAR)
My Rank: QB9
I took Goff for a test run in Week 1 and ended up in a ditch, but I’m getting back behind the wheel for this week’s matchup with the Giants. New York hasn’t been giving up huge passing numbers so far, but they did surrender three TDs to Ben Roethlisberger in his first game back from elbow surgery in Week 1, two TDs to the since-benched Mitch Trubisky in Week 2, and 343 yards to 49ers backup Nick Mullens last week, so I certainly wouldn’t call this a bad matchup. Goff has also been running hot himself, accounting for six touchdowns in two games since that Week 1 letdown. He’s at home and all his pass-catchers are healthy, which can’t be said for most teams across the league.
Overvalued: Devin Singletary (BUF)
My Rank: RB24
Undervalued: Zack Moss (BUF)
My Rank: RB32
I said I would go a little deeper to help you find a flex option, and this week the place to look is in the Buffalo backfield. Moss missed last week’s game with a toe injury, but he got in back-to-back limited practices this week. We’ll know more on Friday, but it’s looking like he should be available against a Raiders defense that has given up the single-most fantasy points to running backs. Now granted, two of those games were against Christian McCaffrey and Alvin Kamara, but Las Vegas also just gave up huge numbers to Sony Michel and Rex Burkhead. Moss is unlikely to usurp Singletary in his first game back, but the rookie has more red zone carries (8) than Singletary (7) despite missing a game. Moss is also a more-than-capable pass catcher and should be able to accumulate at least 10-12 touches, with the potential for much more. That’s enough to at least merit RB3/flex consideration in Buffalo’s high-powered offense.
Singletary, meanwhile, had a nice game last week against the Rams, but he probably won’t be able to match last week’s 17 touches if he has to share the backfield with Moss instead of T.J. Yeldon. Singletary is less likely than Moss to find the end zone, and it can’t be 100 percent taken for granted that he’ll remain the primary passing-down back, either. As the slight overall touch favorite in an excellent offense, Singletary still deserves low-end RB2 consideration, but expectations for him should be kept in check if Moss is active.
Overvalued: Allen Robinson (CHI)
My Rank: WR14
Look, if you’ve got Robinson, you’re starting him. I also accept that he gets a boost to his rest-of-season outlook now that Nick Foles has replaced Mitch Trubisky under center. But the fantasy community appears to be all-in on Robinson this week, and I’m not willing to go there yet. Even with Foles at quarterback, the Bears have an implied point total of just 20.5 points this week, which makes sense considering their opponent. The revived Colts D has given up the 11th-fewest fantasy points to WRs so far and has yet to allow any wideout to top 65 receiving yards, including D.J. Chark and Adam Thielen. Yes, Robinson looked great in his first game with Foles, but that was against Atlanta’s bottom-2 pass defense. I’d rather wait to see how Robinson’s connection with Foles develops before slotting him into my top-six WRs, especially in a tough matchup.
Undervalued: Greg Ward (PHI)
My Rank: WR38
Ward is quite literally the last man standing in the Eagles bruised and beaten wide receiver corps. As Philadelphia prepares to face off against San Francisco without DeSean Jackson, Jalen Reagor, Dallas Goedert, and Alshon Jeffrey, Ward should see no shortage of targets as Carson Wentz’s only proven pass-catcher other than Zach Ertz. Ward was an undrafted free agent in 2019 who had little in the way of expectations, but he’s shown the ability to produce when given the chance. He averaged seven catches for 58 yards over the final three regular-season games of last season and popped up again with eight catches for 72 yards and a score last week. A road date with San Francisco is far from an ideal matchup, but that kind of potential target volume at least puts Ward on the WR3/flex radar.
Overvalued: Tyler Higbee (LAR)
My Rank: TE9
As a Higbee owner in dynasty, it pains me to say this, but he is simply not running enough pass routes to be a top-five fantasy tight end right now. Given the lack of routes, it is no surprise that Higbee has a total of just 11 targets through three games and has yet to top 54 receiving yards. Contrast that to the end of last season, when he had at least 11 targets in *each* of the last four games (and four straight 100-yard games from Weeks 13-16). As I mentioned up top, I like Jared Goff to have success against the Giants, but Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp are more likely to benefit than Higbee is given what Sean McVay’s squad is currently doing offensively. Higbee’s three-touchdown performance in Week 2 hints at his weekly upside, but his floor is infinitely lower right now than it was last year.
Undervalued: Rob Gronkowski (TB)
My Rank: TE13
I’ve got Gronkowski in the same FantasyPros dynasty league in which I’ve got Higbee. After holding Gronk throughout his entire retirement period (it’s a 30-man roster), I was getting the urge to drop him after he was barely a rumor through the first two weeks of this season. But then Gronkowski played a season-high 93 percent of the snaps in Week 3, hauling in six of his seven targets for 48 yards. Those aren’t earth-shattering numbers, to be sure, but they do qualify as signs of life. Now Gronk’s role could grow significantly with Chris Godwin and Scotty Miller sidelined, and we already know he has a solid rapport with Tom Brady. The Chargers are not a great matchup, but Travis Kelce eviscerated them for nine catches, 90 yards, and a score in Week 2, so it’s not like they’re invincible.
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