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.
Injury news is tough yet again. More big names going down for significant time. Kenny Golladay and Miles Gaskin look like a multi-week outs and both 49ers, Garoppolo and Kittle, are already on IR for long periods of time. Ezekiel Elliot and Aaron Jones are questionable and with the Packers playing on Thursday, that’s bad news for Jones keepers. COVID is also rearing its ugly head this week with several Packers and 49ers being benched due to contraction or exposure. The Packers are left with one healthy RB now, not counting practice squad while the 49ers may be finding new WRs with seemingly their entire roster of wide outs injured or sick. Matthew Stafford is down with COVID too so there goes what little offense the Lions had.
I believe Week 8 may have been my best week so far. I would say I nailed everything but Fulgham’s flame and the kickers. So close but not quite! Leave it to the NFC East to blow up a perfect week. What a 2020 thing to happen! Let’s see what Week 9 has in store. Hopefully it will be good for all of us!
Aaron Rodgers – Green Bay Packers
Rodgers rebounded fairly well over the last two weeks after the big loss to Tampa Bay. He used a couple of weak pass defenses to pass projections in a big win against Houston and a loss to the Vikings. Now he has some tougher assignments, some COVID problems and some injury worries among his skill set compadres. This week’s opponent, San Francisco, is a bit of a question mark. The defense is still decent and ranks well against the pass. The offense on the other hand is a patchwork without any major star power after being decimated by injury. The positive for the 49ers is that they managed to move the ball after Nick Mullins took over. The negative is who knows if that was garbage time moves or a real change in gameplan. I’m going to err on the side of caution and add the fact that he also has the two top teams in overall fantasy defense against the pass upcoming in Weeks 11 and 12. Week 10 could be a big week for him against Jacksonville but with all of these problems facing the Packers, that would be the only week that I would trust him to meet or break projections.
Deshaun Watson – Houston Texans
Breaking out from the Bill O’Brien funk with game after game of 300+ yards passing, Deshaun comes out of the Week 8 bye with two games against a bad team and a team with a bad pass defense and a wishy-washy offense. Jacksonville this weekend will be a superb matchup with Luton behind center instead of Minshew. Watson already burned them for over 32 points in Week 5 but threw 2 INTS. As long as game flow doesn’t get out of his hands too quickly and he doesn’t toss many INTS, he could match that or score a few more. The next week at Cleveland could be another great point producer as long as weather doesn’t mess it up.
Todd Gurley – Atlanta Falcons
This might be a bit of a lay up to put Gurley in the fluke list but one thing is for sure, if the defense is good his points fall off. He has scored double digits against five teams and three of those teams are in the top four of points given up to RBs. Those three games are the only times that he pressed past projections. Last week, his game against Carolina was a let down when he barely broke double digits against their weak run D. Now, he has two strong run defenses blanketing a bye week. Past those weeks are back and forth matchups and very well up and down points. It will be hard to find replacements in this injury filled fantasy season but if you have roster depth or can make a trade, it would be wise to find some alternative at least for bad matchups.
James Conner – Pittsburgh Steelers
After playing against some stout run defenses in the past few weeks and still getting close to projections, Conner has a few mouthwatering opponents in the next three weeks. First up, is the absolutely puny defense in Dallas. With the incapable offense stalling constantly, the defense is constantly on the field and with a good rushing team such as Pittsburgh, it may be a long day for the Cowboys. That spells big points for Conner and if he breaks into the end zone, it could be a 20 point day fairly easily. The following matchups are pretty sweet as well with a home date with Cincinnati and a road trip to one of the worst against RBs, Jacksonville. Ride Conner for these three weeks and enjoy some large point totals.
A.J. Brown – Tennessee Titans
The Titans has struggled through the last 2 games after starting 5-0 and while the struggles haven’t effected all the offense, it has been enough to dampen expectations. The next few games against some stiff defensive competition will not help either. With Chicago this week, two games against Indy and one against Baltimore, Brown may be TD dependent on having a decent week in the next four games. Don’t look for 20 points again any time soon.
Allen Robinson II – Chicago Bears
I’m taking a risk on this pick. Picking a Bears player to hit is like seeing the Marlins in the MLB playoffs this year. You know they are there, you know they can win a game, but at some point they will fall apart. But let’s look at the stats! Robinson has put up good numbers against bad defenses and now he has a slew of bad defenses on the horizon. Tennessee and Minnesota are 2nd and 3rd in most points allowed to WRs and both are struggling to win games at the moment. After their Week 11 bye, the best defense on the schedule is Green Bay in Week 12 and they are suspect. If the Bears can get into some sort of rhythm on offense in any game, Robinson could have big games at any point down the stretch. If you’re making a trade before the deadline and can sneak Allen in one as a second player or a throw in, it could be a big win!
Hunter Henry – Los Angeles Chargers
This season with the lack of major producers that stay healthy, it is pretty easy to put anyone in this fluke list. This week it is Hunter’s turn. It has been awhile since his last big week but his slide will continue for at least two more weeks. Somehow, he has been lost in the whole “Herbert scores 30+ points every week” awesomeness. His point total has barely topped 10 points all year, even with good matchups and an awesome up and coming QB. The next two weeks hold a couple of less than appealing matchups before a few better ones but even then, I wouldn’t hold my breath. If you have him and some extra bench room, look for streamers when you can.
Darren Waller – Las Vegas Raiders
The only other steady producer in the TE realm that has stayed healthy (knock on wood now team owners!) is looking at some fairly good news on the horizon. The best defenses on the remaining schedule either have offenses that are sputtering or LV matches up well with and have already scored 40 points on. Waller is a big cog in this offense and whenever there is a good matchup so far this season, he has delivered with only last week at the exception. This week looks like a double digit point total fairly easily.
Washington Football Team
The Giants showed at least a pulse last week against a much better defense so I could see Washington easily not meeting projections this week in what looks to be a cherry matchup for streamers.
This defense is pretty special for fantasy players. Even in matchups that have been probable for fantasy owners, they have come up big on the regular. They have only majorly disappointed once this season and now they have Dallas, Cincinnati, and Jacksonville on the schedule and anyone who has this D on their squad should be smiling wide.
Matt Prater – Detroit Lions
With Stafford going down with COVID this would be a boom or bust streamer. It seems like a little more probable to be a bust even against the team giving up the most points to the K position. Be careful with picking up Prater this week.
Younghoe Koo – Atlanta Falcons
Projected as the # 4 or 5 kicker this week, Koo has a good matchup at home verses Denver. Koo has constantly produced points, even when the Falcons haven’t and this week looks like another good week.