Happy NFL Sunday everyone!
Welcome to my first Sunday morning Player From Every Game article, where I take the luxury of the last minute and look at someone from every game that hasn’t garnered enough to any discussion.
While I really enjoyed my Deep Field GPP Stacks series, it didn’t fit with my research process, which ends in just this fashion, and around this time. Sunday mornings are my favourite time to make NFL decisions. Everything is super fresh, and you didn’t take the whole week filling your head with information you ended up needing to forget anyway. I want to keep this quick and simple, so let’s get at it, my PFEG Selections.
RB, Tennessee Titans
I’m actually floored by how few people have been talking up the Titans’ RB Dion Lewis. I have to be honest, last slate I tracked Mariota to be incapable of throwing a ball, and while I was mistaken, this slate it seems like everyone is convinced Taywan Taylor’s salary is the next coming of Calvin Ridley. Don’t get caught in the hype of this season’s breakout value WRs. There’s nothing to suggest Mariota will be forced to throw; the Bills shouldn’t be putting up points, and that’s before we consider how good the Titan’s defense has been. Lewis is clearly the #1 RB for the Titans, don’t let Henry concern you, and if anything let it drive down Lewis’ ownership.
Dion Lewis is cheap, low owned, and in a game that should script completely into his hands. Get the Titan’s RB into your exposure this weekend, there’s a big game coming, and hopefully from his feet.
RB, Atlanta Falcons
This one has been eating at me all weekend. Honestly, you could have asked me Friday morning who Ito Smith was, and I would have had no idea who you were talking about.
It all has little to do with me, and more to do with my ears. All weekend, my best friend has been going on and on about Ito Smith. Frankly, I did my best to ignore him for the first 20min, but eventually I caved and decided to see what exactly he was talking about. Turns out, it’s not only him. A lot of people are willing to risk the literal min-salary on Smith with the idea Freeman is going to Fournette himself out of this game, and Smith will be looking at similar action that he has seen over the past couple weeks. The two biggest factors outside of salary are ownership and the game total. Smith will be less than 2% owned, and in a game total that could potentially end as the highest scoring game of the season. Smith has seen goal line work, and targets. He costs nothing, and has a GPP script upside. Most importantly, how often have we seen a random guy go off in the highest total of the week? Enough times, that’s how many.
Personally, I prefer when my buddy was going on about Austin Hooper, but I will take the Ito Smith talk, because he checks all the boxes, and has drawn zero discussion.
TE, Denver Broncos
If you are wondering where my head space has been all week, I haven’t been able to shake the Broncos’ Heuerman off my mind since the salaries came out.
The first, biggest, and maybe only reason I was drawn to Hermz was his bare min-salary on DK. He has improved in every game, and has seen a more targets as such. He knocked off a couple big catches in the first and fourth weeks, and while I don’t necessarily see a ton of upside to this game, Hermz stands out because he will draw less than no ownership, and have no salary risk involved. Five targets, and you are swimming. If he turns one of those five into a 20+ yard catch, you are flames. If he somehow manages a TD, Takedown City, where the grass is green and the girls are pretty. Hermz could very much take you home.
This obviously isn’t the biggest play of the slate, but something has been eating me about the Broncos’s TE Heuerman, and nobody has even considered bringing him up yet. Probably for good reason, though not good enough for me.
RB, Kansas City Chiefs
If there was one player I have been actively avoiding all season, it’s the Chief’s Running Back Kareem Hunt. There was a reason, I wasn’t just hating.
The main reasons I have been avoiding Hunt were the two massively talented air targets in Tystreak and Kelce. Mind you, Mahomes didn’t hurt the conversation either, but I felt it was safe to say going forward the Chiefs running game wouldn’t be the exclamation point.
Here’s one of my bold takes for Week 5; The Chiefs are going to start running the ball more. Mahomes, while incredible, has been slightly unsustainable, given basically every script this season has warranted him throwing non-stop. The fact is, the Chiefs defense suck, especially when compared to how talented their offense is. At some point, the coaching staff will end up saying “wow, we need to keep the ball out of the other team’s hands”, because nothing will stop these shootout narrative until the Chiefs run the ball. It just so happens in the past couple weeks Hunt has been looking great. He is running through, around, but not yet over people, and his salary definitely hasn’t caught up to the notion his team can put up points in a number of different ways.
Until the Chiefs defense show up, it will only be a matter of time before the Chiefs start running and not throwing, meaning all the fantasy greatness we have seen from the Chiefs will be funneled into one guy, running back Kareem Hunt.
RB, Detroit Lions
This one has me a little stunned, and on Monday morning last week I figured the Lions’ Theo Riddick would be one of the chalkiest PPR plays of the entire slate. Good thing I’m wrong.
The Lions and Packers have consistently combined for some incredible performances. Both QBs historically shred each other’s defense, and this season (especially the Lions) neither team defense have been particularly capable. Honestly, this is my shootout game of the slate, and that notion isn’t an unpopular one. The thing is, everyone is talking about how the game will shootout, and how both team will need to throw it, but nobody is talking about the exclusively pass catching back on DK that costs 1k above min salary? I don’t know, this is pretty cut and paste for me. Don’t give this much thought, he’s getting more than five targets in a game that should explode for fantasy production. I also have feelings for Kerryon Johnson, but as I feel the shootout potential script is far more favourable than the run the ball because we are ahead script, my money will be on Riddick this weekend. You could also look to the other side of the field with Valdes-Scantling, but at the very least, Riddick has a well documented history, where VS is still completely untested.
Obviously, I would keep this to PPR formats, but a pass catching back in a game that is going to shoot out that has no ownership and barely any salary? If you like Ito Smith, than you have to love the Lions’ Theo Riddick this weekend. LOVE.
RB, Cleveland Browns
Just so everyone is clear, the Brown’s RB Carlos Hyde leads the league in all sorts of volume based statistics, you knew that, right?
Well, I didn’t, why didn’t you mention it already? Listen, every single person knows how good the Ravens pass catching defense is. Everyone knows how little faith the Browns deserve, especially a rookie QB with a history of making rash decisions. I can’t imagine a scenario where if the Browns somehow get up and get the ball back, they decide to throw it back to the Ravens. It just so happens so far this season Hyde has dominated volume metrics, and should again see a massive healthy dose with Baker looking to get rid of the ball quickly. I think there should be an honourable mention for fellow RB Nick Chubb, and teammate WR Rashard Higgins, but needless to say, neither of them lead the league in something good, Hyde sure does.
The script is completely written for a league leader to dominate this game, and while doing so achieve it with little to no ownership nor fanfare, and cost comparatively nothing to other RBs who see half the volume.
TE, New York Giants
There’s tons and tons of reasons not to like this game, but if there was someone who went from borderline chalk to the excluded section of your lineup builder, it’s the NYG’s TE Rhett Ellison.
Honestly, I don’t even blame him. His QB has been tepid at best, and playing behind an offensive line who would struggle to be relevant if not for the fact their WRs are legit. I get that every NYG game this season has been a massive under, but that doesn’t mean someone from 2.6k with a weekly increase in targets can’t continue to improve. Especially with Vance McDonald’s salary on FD and all the other options, nobody will be looking at this game for production, let alone the TE role.
Like I said, my first choice of this game would probably be the Panthers DST, but since that they cost a lot compared to their field and Ellison does not, I have no issues taking a risk on his ownership and salary, both which barely exist.
TE, Miami Dolphins
Here’s another guy who isn’t in any way to blame with what’s been going on, Dolphin’s TE Matt Gesickiki.
By every definition, Tannehill has been borderline amateur league. Things aren’t going to get any easier for him come this slate, and a lot of that has to do with the fact the Bengals are getting all their injuries back to full health, and are one of the more under-priced/undervalued defenses of the slate. I know with the injury of Tyler Eiffert, a lot of people will be looking to C.J Ozomah, and for good reason. However, he also has Kroft on the wings, where the Dolphins’ other TE A.J. Derby will be out hurt. The Dolphins need to start simplifying things, and there shouldn’t be anything simpler this slate than the Dolphins starting to better utilize their TE.
This is by no means my favourite play of the slate. However, this game has brought in a ton of attention, whether Mixon returning or Boyd seeing a massive uptick, there has been lots of discussion. I love attacking those unknowns in games of chatter, and there are few more unknowns than the Dolphins’ passing attack, and few more unknown with that than the TE Matt Gesickiki.
RB, Oakland Raiders
Are we even serious right now? Why aren’t people losing their minds over Lynch this weekend?
Much like Hyde, Lynch helps lead the league in all sorts of volume based statistics, and despite that his salary hasn’t even begun to properly adjust. His usage has vastly improved with each week, and dare I say it, so has his form. He has been running like the beat mode of the past, unlike last season where we could count on our hand number of times he took numerous guys on his back for a ride, this season it’s almost every other possession. The Chargers defense is in absolute shambles right now, and they also posses one of the most volatile starting QBs in the league. The script of Lynch running the ball 24 times in a massive, easy win is already written, we just have to trust it.
The guy literally defines OG, how can we not trust him in a week where he doesn’t cost very much, isn’t highly owned, and is absolutely smashing? Yeah. Beastmode it is.
WR, Arizona Cardinals
It’s really too bad, Larry Fitz has probably been my favourite receiver of this generation, but it seems his time is drawing to a close, and it leaves QB Josh Rosen with limited options in the form of David Johnson, Ricky Seals-Jones, and Christian Kirk. Doesn’t exactly instill a ton of confidence, does it?
The fact is, DJ is one game away from “being back”, and when that does finally happen, it will be one of the biggest release values in the league letting lose, and all the pent up pressure on the Cards DST to preform will decrease. Mind you, the Cards will still need a throw or five, and that’s where Kirk comes in. Seals-Jones isn’t a household name, but he is far from being an unknown. DJ is a household name, and draws all the attention. What people may not have picked up on is the report Rosen and Kirk are making, in particularl in light of Larry Fitz being unable, these two have really connected. Honestly, from this salary, Kirk is borderline cash viable, because if Larry Fitz is in any way incapable, Kirk stands for a massive day.
No talk, no salary, tons of upside. While I’m even considering him for cash, Cardinal’s WR Christian Kirk isn’t getting the attention he deserves, and is probably my next candidate to Calvin Ridley a slate.
RB, Philadelphia Eagles
In a week where there should be a few different games to shoot out, all we need is for a little bit of variance, and someone will break the slate; that’s why I’m looking at the Eagle’s RB Wendell Smallwood.
With Sproles out long term and Clement set to miss another week, the Eagles will be forced to rely on the duo of Jay Ajayi and Smallwood. Now, the latter is near min-salary, should be completely unowned, and already shown to have a decent role on an Eagles run team. Ajayi is well know, probably not drawing enough talk in his own right, but is playing with a literal broken back, and straight up, I’m not messing with that. One hard hit, and Smallwood is the only RB on a team that may be looking to prevent a shoot out from happening. That’s the thing, the shootout script narrative is massively popular this weekend, and in this particular match up numerous people will be looking to jump on it. I also really like the potential situation for Viking’s TE Kyle Ruldoph, but Smallwood is cheaper, less owned, and on the team most likely to win. So, there’s that too.
I like Smallwood’s workload to his salary, and that’s even before we consider the game should shoot out. The Eagles may try to prevent that with the run, and with an injury Smallwood would be a RB1 for the salary of a benched player.
TE, Seattle Seahawks
If there was one team I would give the buy-low mantra to, it’s easily the Seahawks. If there was one player on the buy-low team that would be considered the most buy-low of them all, it’s easily the Seahawks’ TE Nick Vannett.
Not only is RussBuss returning with a ton more throwing options, but his salary is disturbingly too low on DK. On top of this, try to point out a single point of Wilson’s career where he wasn’t borderline attached at the hip to his TE, it simply doesn’t exist. A lot of people may point that Ram’s TE Higbee may miss, so Everett would be the same kind of play, but so far this season Vannett has more catches than Ram’s TEs have targets. The Rams have allowed the most TE yards this season, and while they haven’t allowed a TE to score, from Vannett’s salary, we don’t really need the TD. Especially as the late game, I think this may end up being the sneakiest play of the slate, and while I think it doesn’t have the upside of Stafford and Riddick, this combo with Wilson saves you over 1k in salary, which can make the different between nobody and everything.
Like I said, this isn’t my favourite TE play of the slate, but I think Seahawks Nick Vannett will be someone that should have a big game much sooner rather than later.