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 6 is in the books and with it comes another round of injuries and changes that will shake up the fantasy landscape. Devin Bush’s knee injury will be a question mark on the Pittsburgh D and Taylor Lewan’s knee injury could severely impact the Titans offensive game. Those two don’t necessarily have straight-up impact on fantasy numbers but for those who have Pittsburgh rostered or Derrick Henry, there might be some worries. Bigger worries come from team owners who have Raheem Mostert, Miles Sanders, Jonnu Smith and Zach Ertz. Each of these players are looking at time missed with Jonnu being the best bet to play Week 7.
I’ll admit some of last week’s picks were shaky but we nailed a few. I hope you didn’t find a better D on the market and stuck with Pittsburgh like I did. Tom Brady and the Bucs surprised us all with their dismantling of the Packers. Then, wow, did Kirk Cousins and the Vikings let me down along with thousands of waiver wire owners trusting their bye week or former Dak spot (that’s me) to him. Let’s get onto Week 7 and may the injury odds ever be in your favor!!
Drew Brees – New Orleans Saints
I almost went with a layup to get a QB right (or give hope to readers that love the Browns) and said Baker Mayfield, but he hasn’t been close enough to a Flame to even be considered a Fluke. So basically, as everyone knows, stay away from Baker. As for Mr. Brees, he has his high mark of the early season in Week 3 against Green Bay and has kind of floundered ever since. With two games against bottom 10 passing defenses, he never broke 25 points in half PPR. He has played 5 games and only met/surpassed projections twice. Now, he has four straight games against good pass defenses. His next two games, Carolina at home and at Chicago, are two of the top 3 defenses opposing QBs. Follow that up with a trip to Tampa and they are in the #4 spot as of now, before Week 7. That’s not good for Brees or for your fantasy projections. He still has both of his games against Atlanta after that in Weeks 11 & 13 so there is hope and reasons to keep him rostered. But while you wait, you can look for short term pickups in Joe Burrow who has Cleveland coming to play this week or the ever popular Justin Herbert facing Jacksonville.
Carson Wentz – Philadelphia Eagles
Alright, alright, I can hear the boos from here. This pick could have been a couple of guys but I’ve already had Herbert on the Flames list and Burrow is close but not quite this week. I’m picking Wentz because I think he has found his footing again, has a favorable schedule ahead, and has been meeting/passing projections with constant change around him. His next three games are against the Giants and Cowboys with a bye week mingled in. That is mouthwatering when you think about it. After that 3 out of 4 games in the Week 11-14 range are against teams that are bottom 7 in points allowed to QBs. Wentz may have not filled the stat sheet last week against Baltimore but he scored over 30 fantasy points against a good defense. Trends are pointing up and the time is now to stash or start Carson if you need a QB. He is available in many standard 10 or 12 team leagues in all fantasy outlets.
Kenyan Drake – Arizona Cardinals
What a week he had in Dallas! For those team owners that have been waiting, I hope you had him in the lineup. But I’m going to rain on your parade right now. The Cowboys are bad on defense and just laid an egg on Sunday with Dalton stepping into the QB position. Its too bad they don’t play them again. After the next three weeks, in which they play two middling run defenses and have a bye week, the schedule becomes one landmine after another. The only decent matchup after their Week 9 hosting of Miami is their trip to play the Giants in Week 14. Almost all of the rest of the schedule is in the red against teams not giving up points to RBs.
Ronald Jones II – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Ronald is owned in almost every league so this pick isn’t a call to pick him up off waivers but if you have him rostered, now is the time to look to see if he is part of your playoff plan or a candidate to fetch a good return to round out your team’s playoff push. His remaining schedule is super favorable and his usage is a plus even with Fournette returning. This week is a potential boom week with the Bucs going to Las Vegas and facing the Raiders, who have given up the most points to the RB position. For those looking for waiver wire candidates, best bets are D’Andre Swift in Detroit playing Atlanta this week and Boston Scott in Philly taking over for Miles Sanders against the Giants. Both are projected in the double digits for this week.
Cooper Kupp – Los Angeles Rams
These Rams receivers have been showing up regularly in the Fluke list these last 3 weeks. The reason for that has been horrible matchups. This week is no different for Kupp and the Rams. Kupp has been seeing targets but the catches have been slowly dwindling and the schedule isn’t great for the foreseeable future. For any Rams receiver, look for them to be boom or bust for a while unless they can balance their attack and be able to make some plays against a few of these defenses coming throughout the rest of their schedule. Search your waivers for Travis Fulgham in a plus matchup and top target in Philly and grab Deebo Samuel if he is still available as his connection with Jimmy G is coming back into form.
Tee Higgins – Cincinnati Bengals
After a few weeks of blasting past opposing defenses and weekly projections, this shouldn’t be much of a surprise. Tee has quickly become one of Joe Burrow’s favorite targets and has made the most of the opportunity. It won’t be long until the big yardage plays begin to add more TDs to the total. Cincinnati’s schedule looks pretty solid for WR points and this week is no exception. Cleveland is giving up the 3rd most points to the WR spot and this Bengals team can throw the ball around. Higgins would be a great pickup to plug and play for injury fill ins or to stash for later which keeps other teams from getting their hands on him for the stretch run.
Robert Tonyan – Green Bay Packers
After a couple of big time outburst against the two teams giving up the most points to the TE position, Tonyan came back down to earth in Week 6. Tampa Bay is a little bit tougher on D than the Falcons or Saints but the biggest reason that Tonyan gets the Fluke label is the return of Davante Adams to the Packers offense. The target share is still positive and in the barren TE landscape, he can still be a top-10 TE, but the big value days could be few and far between as the schedule flips between stretches of tough matchups and better ones.
TJ Hockenson – Detroit Lions
In this truly horrible year for TEs there have been a few bright spots for those of us that haven’t traded for or drafted Kelce, Kittle or Waller. TJ has been one even though the yards have been few the last 2 weeks he has played. Anytime a player draws focus in the redzone, he needs to be rostered. TJ is widely rostered but with his limited yards and points recently, there could be a trade to be made to bolster the TE position. The Lions have Atlanta (2nd most points to TE) this week and their remaining schedule is up and down but not terrible. If you can find a way to add him to your team cheaply, it would be a positive and possibly playoff-making move.
I’m going to hang this moniker on Cleveland because I see a repeat performance of Week 2 coming. They have been good scoring fantasy points on defense, but they give up a lot of real points. After last week’s debacle, if the offense doesn’t help out then it will be a low point total for the Browns D.
Is there a Philly theme this week? Maybe! This team is 4th in sacks this year even if they have given up some points. But this week against the Giants they have the 2nd worst offense in the league in total PPG, they give up an INT per game, plus a fair number of sacks allowed. This would be a good streamer and is under 50% owned almost everywhere. The other choice, if you miss on Philly, is Washington since they have the now defunct Dallas offense coming to town.
Greg Zuerlein – Dallas Cowboys
Only two games so far in double digits and with the Dak injury, the offense looks stagnant. He is 92% owned and I see a ton of drops ahead if they can’t move the ball and score in Dallas.
Matt Prater – Detroit Lions
The offense moves the ball but doesn’t always reach the endzone. That spells points for the kicker. Look for multiple upcoming games with plus projections for Prater in the next four weeks.