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.
Week 4 was another week of big injury news. It may not have been as much as previous weeks but with Austin Ekeler and Nick Chubb going down, that is two more big names out of the picture for at least 4-6 weeks if we are lucky. Hopefully, those of us team owners that need them can find the backups on the waiver wire and have favorable waiver positions to grab them. COVID also brought havoc to the fantasy landscape and dropped one of last weeks flames to the IR position. Unfortunately, it will not go away and it is another hurdle that we will have to jump as the season goes on.
Last week’s picks were a little shaky but we will see how things pan out after another week. Keep an eye on them and this weeks choices to stay ahead of the competition! Here are my Week 5 Flukes and Flames!
Matt Ryan – Atlanta Falcons
This may be a stretch but I am going to go this route anyway. His offense has seen it’s fair share of injuries but you could say that a QB of his caliber would find a way to get the ball into the hands of his receivers. He is still QB9-10, since his first two weeks were big producers, but after two straight thuds landing on fantasy scoreboards you might want to bench him until the offense gets healthy or finds better matchups. One thing is for sure, you don’t want him playing if you make it to the playoffs. If you don’t have another QB stashed or maybe Cam is still on the COVID list, look for Justin Herbert (hot rookie and good matchup this week), Teddy Bridgewater (Falcons horrible D this week) or for a longer term pickup look for Derek Carr (QB10-11) who is looking at a favorable schedule and is both consistent and always good in garbage time.
Justin Herbert – Los Angeles Chargers
He has only played three out of the four weeks and has already worked his way up to the QB15 spot above Fitz, Teddy and Watson. Two of those three are above 80% owned on Yahoo leagues and are widely owned elsewhere as well. If he had played Week 1 and put up just 20 points, he would be right above Matt Ryan and right behind Lamar Jackson. The only thing that may hamper his pickup rate is if the coaching staff decides to give Tyrod Taylor the starting job again when he is back from his freak injury. It would be difficult for me to do that with Herbert doing so well but stranger things have happened. If you need a QB, look long and hard at the rookie in a good position to score big points.
David Montgomery – Chicago Bears
Mr. Montgomery may be another in a line of mistakes of the Bears front office. Unless they change their coaching staff or offensive style, they may never know but it looks that way. The volume is there but the yards and TDs are not. It is hard to believe that he is 94% rostered in Yahoo leagues, even with injuries and him being the main guy in Chicago. Hopefully, in his case and for team owners, the change to Nick Foles will bring out more opportunities for yards and scores. I wouldn’t hang my hat on that though. If you can find Joshua Kelley still unrostered (63%) or Damien Harris (45% and sheer volume) while you wait and see on Montgomery, those two would be great pickups for anyone in a pinch.
Damien Harris – New England Patriots
It does my heart good to see this Alabama product step into the starting position and make good on the opportunity given. If this team continues to run the ball well, he will have value even with some tough matchups in the next 4 weeks. The schedule gets easier after week 8 but as for next week, the Broncos D doesn’t look as menacing with a weak offense on the other side. Look for plenty of volume from Harris and a TD to boot.
Robert Woods – Los Angeles Rams
What a let down for team owners last week! The Rams went to the running game against the Giants and left Woods with a clunker of a score. This Fluke rating for Woods has more to do with the schedule than anything else, even with up-and-down scoring. Six of the next eight games are against some of the better pass defenses in fantasy scoring, including this week’s matchup in Washington. With Goff spreading the love through the air and the Rams leaning more on the run, this spells trouble for fantasy owners. With 5-7 targets, 12 points might be your ceiling with the floor looking more like 8 in half PPR leagues. While he may not be a drop candidate, you should look for someone available that is doing more with their targets or picking up higher volume to play when Woods has a bad matchup.
Justin Jefferson – Minnesota Vikings
Speaking of someone doing more with their targets, Mr. Jefferson is doing a TON! The last two weeks he has seen 9 targets and 5 targets. He has turned both of those weeks into double digits in points and 175 yards and 103 yards, respectively. There are still 18% of leagues in Yahoo that have him available and with some BEAUTIFUL matchups coming his way, there could be more where those two weeks came from. I’m thinking that this week against Seattle may be another 20+ point week in a shootout against the worst passing D in the fantasy leagues.
Jonnu Smith – Tennessee Titans
Another pick that has more to do with the upcoming schedule than anything else. Jonnu and the Titans have some solid defenses coming up through Week 12 and all of them but this weeks’ matching with Buffalo are among the Top 15 against TEs except Baltimore in Week 11. This all is said also knowing that Tennessee is struggling with COVID right now as well. His numbers may suffer going forward, especially if the Titans receiving corps gets healthier soon. Keep him on your team but look for Dalton Schultz in Dallas or Eric Ebron in Pittsburgh with easy upcoming schedules in case you get uneasy or COVID forces another postponement.
Eric Ebron – Pittsburgh Steelers
I’m looking at the upcoming schedule for the Steelers and I see a LOT of favorable matchups for TEs and for the team in general. Weeks 9-11 are absolutely RIPE for the Steelers to score big points and this week’s battle for Pennsylvania against the Eagles looks good too. The Eagles are 3rd worst against TEs and Ebron’s projections look too low to me. The target counts have been rising and his stats rise with them and TDs are inevitable. Grab him while you can if you need TE help, he is only 34% rostered in Yahoo leagues right now.
Kansas City Chiefs
They picked on a limping Patriots team and scored a TD last week. Las Vegas may be a little tougher to stop this week and I don’t see a repeat on the TD either. Look to a reversion to the mean and about 7 points to come an owner’s way.
This defense may have given up a good bit of points in the last 2 weeks but they are a machine when it comes to creating points to make up for that. 9 sacks, 2 ints, 5 fumble recoveries and a TD so far this year. With a rookie coming to town in Joe Burrow, they may give up yardage and some points but there is ample opportunity for fantasy points to be scored.
Ka’imi Fairbairn – Houston Texans
Up and down production plus misses on PATs along with some upcoming unfavorable matchups look to keep his points down. Plus it doesn’t help being in Houston and their turmoil right now.
Jason Myers – Seattle Seahawks
Yes, Seattle scores a ton of TDs and that limits K points, but they face the Vikings this week and they are the worst at giving up points to the K position. A shootout in Seattle would be a big point boost for Myers if he can kick even one FG in the game.