Each week Bobby Smith previews the Flukes or Flames from the fantasy world! Follow Bobby on Twitter at @fosterfantasy
Week to Week, we know that we have surprise fantasy producers, wild weeks from regulars and disappointments from all over the board. This column is to help you, the waiver-wire searching, deep stat diving, FAAB spending fantasy enthusiast, know which players are worth picking up or stashing. I will give you one fluke and one flame for each position, unless there are a couple that have major boom or bust capability. Flakes 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 5 continued the addition of names to the casualty list. It seems that no team, fantasy or real, or position is immune to the injury bug and it continues to spiral out of control. Many prayers out to Dak Prescott, who not only lost his season but has the type of injury that can jeopardize the next season and put careers in question. Dalvin Cook looks to miss Week 6 and will hopefully be back after the Week 7 bye week for the Vikings. COVID looks to be in check so far for Week 6 with no major fantasy players out as Wednesday.
Last week’s picks were pretty solid in my book. Damien Harris didn’t play so that one is still TBD. Justin Jefferson got lost in the balanced attack the Vikings deployed against the Seahawks. Jonnu Smith stiff-armed his Fluke stamp like Derrick Henry throwing Josh Norman like ragdoll. Ebron still looks good in a barren TE landscape and the Chiefs lost. So I’ll give myself a C-. Let’s see if we can improve! Week 6 here we come!!
Tom Brady – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tom has had a fairly good season. He is currently sitting around the QB 6 ranking and the Bucs are in the playoff race. But this week will be a playoff test against the Packers. It isn’t that the Packers are superb against the pass but in fantasy they are currently in the top 10 against QBs. For Brady this season, that spells a down week. He is projected as QB 8-9 for the week and it could be closer to 14-16 if his trend of less than 20 points to top defenses continues. Projections range from 18ish to 24 something so I would avoid a volatile situation and look for a backup. Kirk Cousins has the absolutely deplorable Atlanta Falcons for a cupcake matchup and Gardner Minshew has a favorable date with Detroit.
Kirk Cousins – Minnesota Vikings
I wanted to go with Minshew here with his consistency and slightly better turnover rate (4 INTs to 7 for Kirk ) but the matchup against the Falcons is too good to ignore. Up until last week, the Falcons had given up 30+ points to every team. The Vikings are a bit more powerful than the Panthers but even Teddy was plus projection by a couple points due to over 300 yards passing and 2 TDs. Kirk can match that and sit above projection for whomever wants to take a flier, especially those who lost Dak for the season ( I’m one of those ) last week.
Devin Singletary – Buffalo Bills
The Bills finally got an L hung on their record in emphatic style from the Titans and the holes on the team were either uncovered or put on blast. The D is unusually weak which puts some strain on the offense. If they play from behind, the already muddy waters of the running game gets even more murky. Plus the fact that it seems that every time that Singletary gets a chance to have the majority of the reps, he lays an egg. Zack Moss is supposed to be back for Week 6 and the Bills have the Chiefs coming to town. All of this spells a missed projection for Devin and the Bills on Monday night.
Miles Gaskin – Miami Dolphins
This is becoming a harder thing to find as the year rolls on and the injuries pile up. We have backups step up and lower ceiling RBs have field days against teams riddled with injuries and tired defenses. Miles was a benefactor of the latter instance against the 49ers in Week 5 and now has the lowly Jets in Week 6. He has outperformed his projections in every week but one and should remain the starter at least through this week. After the bye week in Week 7, Jordan Howard may be a little more in the mix. Gaskin is a little wider owned at 77% of Yahoo leagues so if you can’t find him available, look for Chase Edmonds (65% rostered in Yahoo) against Dallas or grab Alex Mattison while you can (45%).
Michael Gallup – Dallas Cowboys
I have three reasons for this pick. First, the Dak injury leaves him with Andy Dalton. Dalton is an ok QB but I wouldn’t trust him to put up anything close to Dak numbers even if he throws as much. Second, CeeDee Lamb is quickly becoming a star and getting the targets with Cooper and Gallup being covered or just quiet in games. Third reason is the Cardinals defense in Week 6 being a great pass D, not to mention that the Washington D following is surprisingly good against WRs in fantasy. Keep looking at Laviska Shenault and Chase Claypool as replacements trending positively and widely available on the waiver wires for fantasy team owners to pickup happily.
Laviska Shenault – Jacksonville Jaguars
Another rookie that has been superb in his role for his team, Laviska has met or exceeded projections four out of five weeks and has hit double digits in 3 of 5. This week, he may have DJ Chark out with an injury and facing a not so good Lions D, even if he draws Jeff Okudah in coverage. He is projected for 10-12 points depending on league scoring and if he hits paydirt, he could blow that out of the water. He will be a great WR3 or Flex choice if you have injury problems or a bye week hole to fill. His following matchups look pretty good as well against some middling defenses and a bye week on Week 8.
Zach Ertz – Philadelphia Eagles
The TE landscape is a cratered and barren one. Outside the top five guys you are looking at a crapshoot at best. This week’s Fluke is usually pretty solid but with the Eagles and their QB being supremely inconsistent, has a bit of a matchup problem in Week 6. Ertz has not hit projections at all this year, with the closest coming in Week 3 against Cincinnati ( 10.50 w/ 11.30 projected in half PPR ). He has Baltimore, the top fantasy D, coming to town on Sunday. Baltimore may be 15th against TEs but that provides little comfort. All this may not leave you dropping him out of your lineup due to the lack of alternatives, but if you have all your other bases covered and the capability to pick up someone, look at this week’s Flame or last week’s (Eric Ebron) as good potential.
Mike Gesicki – Miami Dolphins
This may be a one that you want to pick for this week and stash for later or just roll the dice and see if he can be worthy after the Week 8 bye. Mike has the Jets this week and in Week 12. Add that to some other middling matchups and you have a viable bye week replacement or streamer with some juicy plus upside. His 70 yard catch last week shows his potential and if he can land in the end zone, there could be a week winning move to be made with the Dolphin TE.
The Cleveland Browns are rolling after the Week 1 debacle. 30+ points each week since then and even after a Nick Chubb injury. The Pittsburgh D is good but haven’t been great point producers against average offenses. This will be one you could, and should, sit out if you have the Steelers as your team defense.
New England Patriots
For Belichick and the Patriots, it seems that it is really a plug and play team. Next man up and they do the job, at least well enough to get the victory. They have put together double digit points against two teams that haven’t been great for fantasy defenses to put up numbers against. Now, NE gets Denver, who has given up the most points, and then has matchups against SF and the Jets in the next three weeks. It is time to pick up this D and hang on for some major points.
Stephen Gostkowski – Tennessee Titans
Big points have been found off the boot of this future HOFer, including a 25 point outing against the Vikings. The next few games may be a little bit harder to get close to those type of points. Houston and Pittsburgh are up next and while K points are hard to judge sometimes, the trend for Gostkowski may be a 6-8 point range in the near future.
Rodrigo Blankenship – Indianapolis Colts
A good matchup with Cincinnati and the range of Blankenship all together with the offense of Indianapolis spells some good points possibility this week. He has a bye week next week and them the Lions before the schedule gets tough so he could be a stash if you can afford to do so.