Updated: Sep 11, 2019
Eric Giessler & Reuben Mosqueda - ATB Fantasy Experts
Week 1 is over; we are now older, wiser and some of the reckless optimism of the pre-season has been beaten out of us. It has become clear that despite the endorsement of fantasy pundits and fantasy dreamers, not every player in the league will get 12 targets a game or rush for 2,100 yards. I know, two weeks ago it did seem possible. Despite the disappointment, real football games over the weekend did provide us with some new names to consider. Remember that not every move needs to be a certain victory for you. It is important to turn the end of your bench over in pursuit of new upside. If you play in a league that uses FAAB, be sure to price enforce. Identify a player that is desirable, and don't allow another manager to win that player with a $0 bid. Even if you aren't sold on the player, place a bid to ensure they have to spend. Nothing in this world is free.
Player ownership percentages used in the article are from the Yahoo player universe.
My fantasy rival and co-commisioner of 15 years, Reuben "Ruby" Mosqueda has come aboard to co-write this article and the weekly rankings article. In future articles, we will track our recommendations and turn it in to a bit of a friendly competition.
Eric's Pick-Ups Of The Week
John Ross III WR CIN 12% : AJ Green is out and Tyler Boyd is a slot receiver. Opportunity is knocking for this former top 10 overall pick. In week 1, Ross played 82% of the snaps and hauled in 7 catches on 12 targets for 158 yards and 2 TDs. He scored on a flea flicker and a poor play by the Seattle DB. Ross' career, pre-2019 consists of 17 games played and only 21 receptions, but 7 for TDs. The Bengals next 4 games are SF, @BUF, @PIT and ARI. As of now, those matchups appear to be favorable. The Bengals O-line is bottom tier and they will struggle to run the ball, all of the of the tea leaves seem to be pointing to Ross right now. I should point out that I am skeptical of Ross in general; but in week 1 I won't allow my personal bias to lead me away from the perfect situation for a player the Bengals have a lot of draft collateral in. I wouldn't use the #1 waiver on him, but I would throw down some FAAB.
Darren Waller TE OAK 44% : The way fantasy managers handle tight end turns the position into sort of a niche market. Most analyst recommend only rostering one TE in normal size leagues. Any manager who drafted a top 6 TE probably doesn't want to grab a second at the position unless the free agent is too good to ignore; enter Darren Waller. Against Denver, Waller played 100% of the snaps, hauling in 7 of 8 targets for 70 yards. Lets look at the tale of the tape: 6 foot 6, 255 lbs, 4.46 40 time and 4.25 shuttle time. I'll give you a minute to let that sink in.......wow. Derek Carr under Gruden has proven to be a check down artist and Jared Cook left for the Saints leaving behind 101 targets and 68 receptions. Waller was formerly with Baltimore, where he wore out his welcome with a drug problem. Read any account about this reformed Raven and it will tell you he is a changed man. Go get him in your league.
Courtland Sutton WR DEN 55% : In the 2018 pre-season, we heard this name a lot. Everybody wanted in on this former SMU receiver who stands 6'4 with a weight lifters physique; the kind of guy who looks good coming off the bus. He flashed all kinds of big play ability in the exhibitions and his buzz was loud. His rookie year was solid, 84 targets, 42 catches at 16.8 yards per catch. By any standard a fine debut; but when buzz is high and performance is average, the fantasy crowd likes to throw dirt on a player. Last night against Oakland, Sutton hauled in 7 of 8 targets for 120 yards and quite frankly looked like a stud. He has a new quarterback and also a year of maturity; don't let somebody else scoop Courtland up.
Ruby's Pick-Ups of The Week
T.J. Hockenson TE DET 57% : The number 8 overall pick in the 2019 draft didn't have lofty expectations coming into his first season of the NFL, but he exploded on to the scene Sunday hauling in 6 receptions on 7 targets for 131 yards and a touchdown. He set a record by having the most yards by a tight end in his NFL debut. If you missed out on a top tight end in the draft, Hockenson is a must add in any format that could emerge as a TE1 for 2019.
Jamison Crowder WR NYJ 47% : The talk coming out of training camp was that Crowder was Sam Darnolds favorite target and on Sunday that proved to be the case. Crowder hauled in 14 passes on 17 targets for a massive 41.4% of the Jets target shares. Since coming into the league Sam Darnold has favored his slot receiver and uses him as a safety valve which plays perfectly into an Adam Gase offense that likes to utilize the slot. Crowder, a former fantasy pre season darling seems to have re-emerged on the scene as a WR2 in PPR leagues.
Adrian Peterson RB WAS 39% : With the recent news that Derrius Guice could be a out for a few weeks due to a knee injury, the ageless wonder Adrian Peterson is set to become the starter once again in Washington. Last year AP ran for 90 plus yards in 7 Games for the Skins, for a total of 1,042 yards and 7 touchdowns. The severity of Guice's injury is unknown at the moment but until his return AP is the starter and could be in the low end RB2 territory.
Eric's Deep League Recommendations
Mecole Hardman WR KC 15% : The Chiefs are pretty good at scoring and Hardman plays for the Chiefs. Should I keep writing? Is that enough information? Tyreek went down against Jacksonville (possibly a longterm issue), Sammie Watkins stepped up and went off while Hardman didn't do a thing. Lets give Hardman a pass here, he wasn't written into the game-plan at the position he played Sunday. He ran a 4.33 40 at the combine and was drafted 58th overall. In week 1, Hardman played 78% of the snaps; this is the next man up for Kansas City whether he played well against Jacksonville or not. This is a chance to get a piece of the Mahomes/Reid machine for free.
Chris Thompson RB WAS 14% : In 2017, Thompson played 10 games and caught 40 balls at a clip of 13.1 yards per catch; if you watched the Redskins that year you can recall he was downright electric. 2018 came, the Skins were set to start the year with Adrian Peterson as the starting RB. I drafted Thompson everywhere on the cheap and thought I was a genius; well his per catch average dropped down to a putrid 6.5 Y/R. I was sad, you'd think I would learn my lesson, right? Nope. 2019, Guice is out, AP is back in and I am back in on Thompson. Sunday against the Eagles, Thompson had 7 catches for 68 yards. This is a PPR recommendation only; if you're in a position that allows you room for Thompson go ahead and scoop him up.
Alexander Mattison RB MIN 21% : It's hard to recommend a guy who won't be a viable fantasy start in week 2 but sometimes you have to get ahead of the game. The first glimpse we got of Mattison's career showed that if anything happens to Dalvin Cook, he has top 10 upside that can't be ignored. Given 9 carries in a lopsided victory, Mattison ran for 49 yards. The eye test showed this guy is NFL caliber. With no injury to Cook, we can possibly expect Latavius Murray's 2018 numbers of 140 carries, 578 yards and 6 touchdowns. That number seems a bit ambitious, but keep in mind Cook has missed 17 games in a 2 year NFL career. If you own Cook, Mattison is almost a mandatory pickup.
Ruby's Deep League Recommendations
Marquise Brown WR BAL 32% : The first round pick out of Oklahoma was electric in his NFL debut on Sunday catching 4 receptions on 5 targets for 147 yards and 2 touchdowns. His first NFL catch went for 47 yards and a touchdown. He then followed that up with an 83 yard catch for a second score. Although Brown only received 14 snaps on Sunday, his tantalizing speed and big play ability make him a worthy stash in week 2 in hopes that he has earned more playing time in Baltimore.
Ronald Jones, RB TB 29% : Jones was having a good camp in the preseason averaging 4.2 yards a carry, but an injury in week 2 paved the way for Peyton Barber to take lead back duties to start the year in Tampa. But on Sunday, Jones lead the Bucs with 13 carries and ran for a career high 75 yards, with the majority of his work coming in the second half where he received 9 of those touches and averaged 7.5 yards a carry. While Jones is still the number two in Tampa, he is worth a stash in all leagues especially for those that are search of a long term play.
Malcolm Brown RB LAR 14% : There were rumors in the off season about a RBBC in L.A. but the situation was unclear until Sunday. Malcolm Brown had 11 carries for 52 yards (4.8 YPC) and 2 touchdowns to Todd Gurleys 14 carries for 97 yards (6.9 YPC). Many in the pre season assumed rookie running back Derrel Henderson was the handcuff to own in L.A. but Brown was the clear cut number 2, seeing 26 percent of the snaps in week 1. If Brown continues to receive that amount of volume out of the backfield along with goal line work, he could have standalone value as a FLEX play and is the obvious handcuff if anything were to happen to Gurley.
Eric's Dynasty Pick-Up
Miles Boykin WR BAL 4% : In the off-season, there was a lot of noise about how Baltimore wanted to throw the ball. Everybody laughed and thought the two talented WRs taken in the draft were dynasty stock down, due to the heavy run scheme of the Ravens. Well, did you watch week 1? I know a one game sample is anecdotal and not reliable; however, it shows the intent is real. If Baltimore really does throw a lot, where would you have ranked Boykin in dynasty? In my case, the answer is very high, possibly even a 1B to Brown's 1A. Let's look at the facts: the man is 6'4 220 lbs with an NFL.com issued draft grade of 5.69. That is a very nice grade. He ran a 4.42 at the combine, he's a beast. In dynasty, you look at what can be; if everything plays up this is a hidden stud. Don't worry about him only getting 1 target in week 1...which happened to be a touchdown.
Ruby's Dynasty Pick-Up
James Washington WR PIT 35% : Second year wide out James Washington is poised for a break out year after a tremendous preseason in which he recorded 9 receptions for 203 yards and two touchdowns. Even though he was stellar in the preseason, the Pittsburgh Steelers named veteran wide receiver Donte Moncrief as the number 2 to start the year. On Sunday night, Moncrief's play was atrocious, reeling in only 3 of 10 targets for 7 yards. He had multiple drops throughout the night including one that was for an 18 yard touchdown. I don't expect head coach Mike Tomlin to put up with efforts like that for too long and expect Washington to take over number 2 duties in the coming weeks. With over 200 targets to be had from last year with the departures of AB and Jesse James, Washington looks to have the potential to the be the next star wide out for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Eric Giessler and Reuben Mosqueda - Across The Board