Each week Bobby Smith previews the Flukes or Flames from the fantasy world! Follow Bobby on Twitter at @fosterfantasy
Week to week we know we have surprise fantasy producers, wild weeks from regulars and then our disappointments from all over the board. This column is to help you, the waiver-wire searching, deep stat diving, sometimes FAAB spending fantasy enthusiast know which players are worth picking up or stashing. I will give you a fluke and a flame for each position, unless there are a couple that either have major bust or boom capability. Flukes will be those who have put up big numbers and are either down or are trending down. Flames will be those who are lighting the fantasy world on fire or look to keep stacking up points for those who took a chance on them.
This might be the first week in a while where COVID might hold more players out than fresh injuries. Christian McCaffery is back on the list with a shoulder injury that will at least keep him out this week. Preston Williams is on IR and may miss more than the minimum of three weeks. Texans RB David Johnson is in concussion protocol so his week is at least in jeopardy. COVID is all over the place and still has the 49ers, Steelers and Packers with players questionable for this week.
My limb outings last week weren’t the best and some teams let me down. I’m looking at you Pittsburgh! Gonna play it a little safer this week and not let my strange thoughts overpower my common sense. Let’s look at Week 10 and see who looks fluky and who is set up for future flames!
Drew Lock – Denver Broncos
Don’t let the stat trends fool you into picking up Lock, even if it is as a streamer. He has improved game by game but last week’s 300 yard outing had to be bolstered by a weak 2nd half from the Falcons pass D. Have we heard that storyline before? Garbage time and 2nd half against the Falcons with a big lead is a recipe for points and comebacks. Too bad a QB can’t face that more than twice a year in fantasy. This week looks good on paper ( LV has 25th ranked pass D but 13th to fantasy QBs ) but after the lackluster performance against Atlanta, I would steer clear of Lock and the Broncos this week and hope that Jared Goff is available against the Seahawks, who give up points to QBs like Oprah giving gifts. Lock’s future schedule isn’t convenient for future use either with only one bottom 10 fantasy QB D in the near term, Week 12 in New Orleans.
Jared Goff – Los Angeles Rams
This week’s QB flame was a hard decision. Like I said on Lock’s fluke page, this matchup is wonderful for every QB that comes along to face Seattle. It is basically a cure-all for ailing QBs. Josh Allen was having a rough stretch and then looks like an MVP for a week. Even Nick Mullens put up 21 points in a game that he didn’t start. Goff has been in a bad way over the last few weeks. Three weeks out of the last five have been under 20 points and turnovers galore. But this week should be the week that lifts him up out of the doldrums even if it just for one week. The next few weeks are question marks as TB is coming off a blowout by the Saints and SF is riddled with injuries and COVID. If you have room on your bench and want to stash him for the playoffs, the Rams have the Seahawks again in Week 16 during the playoffs if you need a streamer.
Dalvin Cook – Minnesota Vikings
This week, RB matchups are either positive for players coming off bad streaks or middling for top tier RBs that score points anyway, barring injury or illness. The obvious choices for Fluke this week are Derrick Henry ( home verses the Colts ) and Dalvin Cook ( at Chicago ). The other tough matchups are injury tossups that need to be avoided, if possible, with either backups that will lose their value next week or starters that will be eased back into duty. So for simplicity, I have chosen Dalvin Cook just for this week. We are getting to the time of year when Derrick Henry gets the ball and eats yardage in chunks. Dalvin Cook may be in that same realm when it comes down to it, but the problem is the Vikings just aren’t as good. Now this doesn’t mean that Cook will suddenly be a single-digit back. But you can basically guarantee that a return to his floor is probable this week and after Week 14. Those who ride-or-die with Cook can expect 15-18 points during these tough matchup weeks. There could be worse ride-or-die players but you have been warned!
James Robinson – Jacksonville Jaguars
I have been wrong before on James but one thing is abundantly clear on Mr. Robinson, he provides points. He has been under 10 points only twice in the eight weeks that he has played. Neither of those have been since he has been seeing 20+ touches per game. Plus, something akin to a miracle has happened in Jacksonville. The offense seemed to open up and reach a new level under Jake Luton in Week 9. We will see just how much this is truth and how much is smoke and mirrors by Week 11 against Pittsburgh. But one thing you can be sure of, Mr. Robinson will score points barring injury or COVID. Usage will guarantee this fact! Plus matchups come this week against Green Bay, in Week 12 at home verses Cleveland, and Week 14 against the Titans.
DeAndre Hopkins – Arizona Cardinals
This may be a week late but I’m going to pop Nuk’s name on here this week. After some choice matchups that have been busts more than booms, we have a hot Buffalo team hosting the Cards and Hopkins. If this Buffalo defense is back to form, this could spell problems for the Cardinals and all future opponents. The good news for team owners is that Arizona hasn’t been held under 30 points since Week 4 and has never scored under 21 yet this season. The bad news is that they have not played a team as hot and as complete as Buffalo seems right now. Hopkins has been ebbing and flowing, week to week. Even if the pattern leans toward a flow week, don’t trust your eyes. Prepare for a missed projection.
Will Fuller V – Houston Texans
When your QB basically tells the press that without you the team would be screwed and you back it up with a big week, you might be ready for the Flame list. The Texans aren’t pretty by any means but what you have with Watson and Fuller is a great combo that is finally healthy and not missing a beat. They really need a better RB and a better OL but this offense is a solid scoring threat post-O’Brien and if you can pick up Fuller via trade, it wouldn’t be a bad idea. Time is running out and you don’t want to miss out on the great matchup in the next three weeks. Fuller should be a TD scoring machine and any yardage and catches just add up to gravy. 15+ points, beating all projections, for at least the next 3 weeks.
Logan Thomas – Washington Football Team
This week is a week for those who have cashed in with Kelce all season, to scour the wire to find some sort of production for the week. The pickings are SLIM! Owners of Hayden Hurst (bye week as well), George Kittle and Zach Ertz (injuries) can attest to this fact. There is a TE hole in every team that is barely covered by band-aids, patch kits, hopes and prayers. I think there are two constant producers, Waller and Kelce, and they are more WRs than TEs in their offenses. So the fluke in this position is always a dart throw and see who it lands on. Since this week, lots of teams that are used to double digit points from the dank, dark hole of a position are looking at what us other teams usually see, I’m picking solely from waiver candidates less than 60% owned. Logan is widely available (34% in Yahoo) with a middling matchup. Projections are between 7 and 10. I don’t know if he can get that without at TD, even against Detroit. Targets are low and the catches haven’t broken 4. Without a TD, you are looking at 4-5 points and failure of a pickup. Look elsewhere for anything with a better possibility for a positive outcome.
Austin Hooper – Cleveland Browns
Coming off an injury and a bye week this is a perfect steal for someone to use as a Kelce bye week or an upgrade from the lousiness that is the rest of the TE landscape. The matchups for the next three weeks are great and even if Baker sucks the life out of the week, Hooper usually gets his share of targets. His projection of 8-9 points can be had without a TD and could be blown out of the water with a score. Grab him ( 58% owned ) if you can!
The Eagles had the Cowboys before their bye week and rode the struggle bus to a 23-9 win. Yes, the defense scored 20 fantasy points in the win but the Cowboys showed signs of life the next week and the Giants have played well too. I look to see less than the 9 points they scored against the Giants in Week 7, thus missing projections and landing on the fluke list for the week. If you need a streamer, look for Tennessee and Miami to be surprise candidates for a boom week.
Going out on a bit of a limb to look at a team that is widely available and scoring MEGA points since Week 3. They gave up 31 points last week to the Cardinals and STILL wound up with an eight spot on the scoreboard for fantasy owners. This week should be more of the same and then you have 3 straight super JUICY matchups to play with, even if they are on the road. If you need a D in a pinch, this is your squad!
Chris Boswell – Pittsburgh Steelers
Maybe the only Steelers player that didn’t let me down last week, Boswell has been kicking well all season long, with the exception of Week 8 at Baltimore. Now with some weaker defenses on the horizon before a rematch with Baltimore, the next three weeks could be a little less and stellar. Extra points look to be the norm and missed projections would follow. 5-7 points look to be the common floor.
Mason Crosby – Green Bay Packers
The Packers have found some new gears after some less than stellar performances and with that has come some FGs to go along with their TDs. That spells bigger point totals for Crosby and good weeks with good matchups in the near future.