Feast or Famine: KJ Osborn, Cordarrelle Patterson, Marquise Brown (2021 Fantasy Football)
My picks hit last week except for my call on Antonio Brown (WR – TB), which was a nice affirmation after a strange Week 1. As for Brown, it will be tough to predict which player will emerge on the team each week since Tampa Bay has four elite pass catchers. Generally speaking, things should start leveling out in the league, giving us a better grasp on expectations. Based on the Fantasy Pros consensus rankings, below is a list of players I think will either feast or suffer from famine this week.
For this column each week, I will assess players with some of the most considerable variances (standard deviations) in the PPR rankings by my FantasyPros colleagues. My goal is to aid with starting lineup decisions by highlighting contrarian plays I feel most strongly about for season-long and DFS leagues. My focus will be on less obvious and trending players when possible.
Cordarrelle Patterson (RB – ATL)
ECR: RB50 – STDEV 14.6
The rankings for Cordarrelle Patterson this week are all over the map – ranging from RB35 to RB98. It’s challenging to gauge gadget players such as Patterson as their production tends to be highly volatile. However, lead back Mike Davis (RB – ATL) has been underwhelming this season, and Patterson has firmly established himself as the backup. As a former wide receiver, Atlanta can deploy Patterson in numerous ways, and he’s already been effective in both the rushing and passing games. The Falcons face a Giants defense on Sunday that has been missing tackles, blowing assignments, and lacking a pass rush. As the underdog this week, look for Atlanta to utilize Patterson often as they try to get off the schneid in a matchup between two winless teams. I think it’s safe to use Patterson as an RB3 this week.
K.J. Osborn (WR – MIN)
ECR: WR65 – STDEV 10.8
There is trepidation regarding K.J. Osborn as the Vikings’ third receiving option, but the consensus ranking of WR65 is still too low. Osborn has burst out of the gate, leading the team in receiving yards with an average of 83.5 per game. What stands out is how extremely efficient Osborn has been on limited opportunities. He is currently WR19 through two weeks with just 15 total targets. This week, the Vikings might lean on the ground game as the Seahawks are the league’s worst against defending the run. But considering how poor Minnesota’s defense has looked, there should be plenty of pass attempts to go around in what could be a seesaw of a battle well into the fourth quarter. The offense has shown it can support three fantasy-relevant pass-catchers, as they did back in Kyle Rudolph’s (TE – NYG) prime. I wouldn’t hesitate to put Osborn in lineups this week as a WR3 with upside.
Marquise Brown (WR – BAL)
ECR: WR31 – STDEV 4.9
Everyone needs to start acknowledging what Marquise Brown is doing on the field. Brown has either scored a touchdown or had at least 98 receiving yards per outing in the Ravens’ last eight games, dating back to Week 12 in 2020. After participating on Wednesday, he didn’t practice on Thursday, but that’s probably just precautionary as he’s still dealing with an ankle issue. Brown had 113 receiving yards and a score despite having the questionable tag entering last week. There’s no reason to view him as less than a WR2 when he faces Detroit. The Lions have already given up six receiving touchdowns. The only caveat is that the Lions can’t stop the run either, so Baltimore may opt to run the ball. Lamar Jackson (QB – BAL) has been keeping Brown involved, however, and someone has to score. The passing game is in a prime spot this week, considering Detroit’s secondary is now without the services of Jeffrey Okudah (CB – DET) and Ifeatu Melifonwu (CB – DET) due to injury. Brown could be in line for a monstrous game.
Marquez Callaway (WR – NO)
ECR: WR58 – STDEV 9.3
Coming off a sensational preseason, Marquez Callaway has been a colossal disappointment. He is barely involved in the offense, but that could be more a function of his quarterback. Jameis Winston (QB – NO) has only completed 25 passes through the first two games, with no receiver catching more than three passes per outing except for running back Alvin Kamara (RB – NO), who had four last week. Unfortunately, things probably won’t improve in a tough road matchup against New England. The Patriots have held both the Dolphins and Jets to under 200 passing yards. Don’t drop Callaway, though, as he still has much potential in this receiver-starved offense. Things could start opening up for the Saints offensive players in Week 4 when they face the Giants at home.
Kenyan Drake (RB – LV)
ECR: RB29 – STDEV 5.0
It might be tempting to start Kenyan Drake this week with lead back Josh Jacobs (RB – LV) likely out again with ankle and toe injuries. In Jacobs’ stead against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Drake was highly ineffective with seven rushing attempts for only nine yards. He showed a little more promise as a receiver, catching five of six targets for 46 yards. Since the Raiders strictly view him as a passing-down back, he only has appeal in PPR leagues as a Flex.
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