Don’t Be Fooled by Patriots’ Dion Lewis, Trade for Bucs’ Cameron Brate
We are six weeks into the Fantasy season and while some trends are beginning to emerge, others are just getting more and more confusing. Let’s look at what’s been noteworthy and what’s been a trend in the 2017 Fantasy season.
Adrian Peterson, RB Arizona Cardinals
Peterson had one fewer carry, two more touchdowns and 53 more rushing yards in Week #6 with the Arizona Cardinals than he had in Weeks 1-5 with the New Orleans Saints. One good game doesn’t a superstar or a career revived make, but at $11,000 on FantasyDraft.com, Peterson is an affordable risk against the third-worst rushing defense in football (Los Angeles Rams) in Week 7. The Cardinals faced a really bad pass defense in his debut, while they face a really bad run defense in his second effort. The only argument against owning shares of Peterson this week is that everyone else will too; so, he may be a better cash game choice instead of tournament play.
Marvin Jones, WR Detroit Lions
Jones was targeted 14 times, twice as many as Golden Tate, against the Saints Sunday. He has six receptions in each of his last two games for 54 and 96 receiving yards on eight and 14 targets respectively. His targets and production are increasing week to week and while he hasn’t reached the level of a trend yet, it’s getting there.
Marqise Lee, WR Jacksonville Jaguars
Lee was targeted 10 times in week six and that’s noteworthy, but what is even more noteworthy is that he was targeted four and three times in the two weeks prior. Watch Lee but don’t start him until I say otherwise.
Dion Lewis, RB New England Patriots
Lewis led the Patriots in rushing attempts and yards in Week 6, but “Don’t be Fantasy Fooled.” The attempts came because Bill Belichick was slapping the wrist of Mike Gillislee for an early game fumble. Gillislee ended up with 10 carries, one fewer than Lewis, and Lewis didn’t receive a single target in the passing game.
Chris Hogan, WR New England Patriots
A consistent narrative in the lead up to Week 6 was Hogan as a sell high and he came out as a non-factor in response. He was fifth on the offense in targets with only one catch for 19 yards and zero touchdowns. It looks like Fantasy owners unable to sell their Hogan shares missed their limited window.
Orleans Darkwa, RB New York Giants
Darkwa had 69 rushing yards and a touchdown in Week 5, and 117 yards in Week 6 against a Denver Broncos run defense that ranked number one in the league. In Week 7, he faces a stingy Seattle Seahawks run defense that allows only 19.5 points per game to Fantasy running backs. If Darkwa can be relevant again, then he becomes a Flex play going forward.
Baltimore Ravens Committee
Weeks 3 and 4, Alex Collins had back to back 82 yard rushing games, making Week 5 an opportunity for the Ravens staff to cement him as their leading running back going forward. Instead, Buck Allen led the team in carries 21 to 12. Then, in Week 6, they went back to Collins as their lead carrier, 15 carries to 10. There are too many rushing attempts in the Ravens’ game plan to completely ignore this “committee of confusion”, and while Collins is the most explosive option, Allen is the more versatile one and therefore the more reliable horse to back until we start to see a consistent trend in their distribution.
Jordan Howard, RB Chicago Bears
The Fantasy world was all over the Tarik Cohen bandwagon in the first four weeks of the season while I was all up in arms against it, mainly because of Jordan Howard. Howard ranks second in rushing attempts and rushing yards and fifth in scoring over the last four weeks. He has always been at least a RB2 but with his recent emergence as a RB1, Cohen is becoming a penny stock destined for Chapter 11.
Cameron Brate, TE Tampa Bay Buccaneers
In the last four weeks, Brate leads tight ends in receiving yards (257), touchdowns (4) and Fantasy scoring (57.50), while ranking fourth in receptions and targets (27). Target him in trade discussions if you can.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE New York Jets
Seferian-Jenkins ranks fifth in tight end scoring in the last four weeks and that’s with points lost for a fumble (-2 penalty) that cost him a touchdown (six points) on a controversial call in Sunday’s game against the New England Patriots. He also leads the position in receptions and is tied for second in targets over the last month. He is a must-own tight end whose value is rising in dynasty leagues.
Ben Roethlisberger, QB Pittsburgh Steelers and Matt Ryan, QB Atlanta Falcons
Two of the biggest stunners of the 2017 Fantasy season are Ben Roethlisberger ranking 19th and Matt Ryan 24th (in five games) in quarterback scoring. You want to avoid Big Ben this week because he faces a Cincinnati Bengals pass defense that allows 12.9 Fantasy points per game to quarterbacks, while Matt Ryan is a different story entirely. I will explain in more detail below.
Will Fuller, WR Houston Texans
He’s garnered 14 targets, eight receptions and five touchdowns in three games played. “All he does is catch touchdowns” is one thing, but 2017 Fuller takes this joking sentiment to the absurd. More than 50 percent of his receptions and more than a third of his targets have been for six points. I have to label him “Don’t be Fantasy Fooled” don’t I?? And yet, how can I?? This is a freak anomaly of insane proportions while being part of an extremely small sample size that can’t be ignored. A good argument can be made that he is a must-start…. while I could make just as strong an argument that Fuller is a must-sit. Stay tuned.
New England Patriots Defense
I mentioned it above, but I need to reiterate it here because of how stark it is in New England right now. The Patriots have allowed 300 passing yards and at least two passing touchdowns to every quarterback except Jameis Winston, who had one. The Patriots have also allowed the most receiving yards (457 yards) and tied for the most receiving touchdowns (3) to running backs, while wide receivers are scoring 39.1 points per game, ranking them fourth-worst in that category. Tight ends have scored five touchdowns, tying them for third-most. Matt Ryan, Tevin Coleman and Devonta Freeman are all must-starts while at least one of Julio Jones, Taylor Gabriel and Austin Hooper are going to have a nice game in Week 7. Stacking against the Patriots has been the most consistent trend in the 2017 Fantasy Football season.