Sunday Morning Huddle: Week Six
Let’s face it, there’s an enormous amount of information out there on Sunday mornings. We’re not going to waste your time by repeating the news and notes about who’s in or out this week, since that’s really not what you visit us for. We’re also not going to do another article on starts or sits this week – we already have the personalized lineup advice for you on the premium content. Again, there are 100 places you can go for that, so no reason to repeat ourselves or others.
The Sunday Morning Huddle goes through each game and states what we’re looking to see from a dynasty perspective. One player will be picked from each team who has dynasty value tied to the game – players at a pivot point where their value could increase or decrease based on opportunity and performance.
San Francisco at Buffalo
Let’s start week six off with an obvious pick in Colin Kaepernick. He gets his first start of 2016 on the road against a surging Bills defense. The talent around him is underwhelming at best, and the leash is probably pretty short considering two other “capable” quarterbacks are on the team in Blaine Gabbert and Christian Ponder. Despite those odds stacked against him, Chip Kelly’s offense has proven to be good for quarterback fantasy production and Kaepernick theoretically has a great skill set for it. This could go either way.
I said it a few weeks ago and I’ll say it again, LeSean McCoy is a beast in this new running offense. At home against a suspect team, expect it to continue. McCoy is a running back who could be a league winner in 2016 if he keeps this up, and that is money in terms of value.
Pittsburgh at Miami
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Miami has been absolutely shredded by opposing WR1s, and Antonio Brown is from another planet. If Brown continues his assault on the NFL I think he has a shot at a Jerry Rice-like career. Another big if – if Odell Beckham, Jr. doesn’t start putting up consistently good fantasy production, Brown will become easily my top dynasty player.
Not many quarterbacks have been given a longer leash than Ryan Tannehill over the past half decade. Realistically, that leash should begin to get shorter and shorter, as he just isn’t turning this team around. In what should be a high scoring game against a mediocre defense while playing at home, this is a spot where Tannehill needs to produce.
Cleveland at Tennessee
Surprisingly, Terrelle Pryor’s value still has room to grow even with Corey Coleman’s eventual return from injury since someone will be around to take pressure off of Pryor. Tennessee’s defense isn’t what we call “good”, but Cleveland’s defense is what we call “bad,” so I expect Pryor to be involved heavily as the Browns race to put up points. The more consistency he has, the higher his value can climb.
How good has DeMarco Murray been this year? He really looks like a league winner in 2016, at the direct expense of Derrick Henry’s value. Raise your hand if you thought Derrick would be the second highest fantasy scoring rookie named Henry. Small crowd, that. While he has decent production with his touches, he simply isn’t getting enough touches to have short term value.
Cincinnati at New England
New England has a reputation for game planning against specific teams, and Cincinnati has made it no secret that AJ Green is pretty much their team. As he goes, so go the Bengals. Can Green overcome the Patriots game plan to stop him? He couldn’t surmount the Steelers game plan, but it was also a rainy game that could have impacted throw accuracy. He is a premier fantasy player regardless of outcome, but I have to think he moves up if he can produce in this spot on the road.
Guess who’s back, back again, Brady’s back, tell a friend. With Tom Brady returning in week five, Chris Hogan put on a show. If that continues, the upside is huge with Hogan. Not much to do but sit back and watch to see what happens, because as mentioned above, the Patriots game plan for specific teams and Hogan’s week five may have been a product of exploiting the Browns inefficiencies. Thank Eminem for that intro.
Philadelphia at Washington
My two for one special didn’t go as planned with the Eagles last week. Jordan Matthews, in the meantime, has not been putting up WR1 stats despite the team’s successes. We’re far enough along in the season to question whether Carson Wentz is simply spreading the ball around enough that Matthews may not be the fantasy asset that he once was.
While Matt Jones has been running well of late, Chris Thompson will continue to get his touches and Robert Kelley is apparently in line to get more touches. How much of the pie is going to be left for Jones? More importantly, is the pie big enough in the first place? I’m not sure what to do with Jones, but this weekend’s results should help us figure it out. On a different, but very serious note, Jordan Reed has his concussion total mounting up into scary territory. It feels weird to talk about fantasy value when a guy has his long term health at stake, but that’s the job and Reed has to be a clear retirement risk going forward.
Baltimore at New York (Giants)
It looks like Steve Smith, Sr. will be out and everyone (probably rightfully) assumes Mike Wallace and Kamar Aiken will be the primary beneficiaries of his absence. But what if they aren’t? Breshad Perriman has the draft pedigree and skill set that the Ravens need, and after a month of building chemistry, he could begin to blossom into his potential. I really don’t think any receiver for the Ravens has the potential for a value explosion here that Perriman does.
While Rashad Jennings was out with his injury, no one really put a stamp on the running back role. If he can return to form and help the team, his value should return to normal. The running back position for the Giants is theoretically valuable, but it hasn’t come to fruition. Jennings needs to be the man here, or it will be next man up. It may be a hard spot for him against a stout Ravens run defense.
Los Angeles at Detroit
Case Keenum has looked terrible in two of his five starts this season, bleh in one, and just okay in two more. Which Keenum shows up this week? With Jared Goff presumably developing in the background, it should only be a matter of time until Keenum’s value is completely played out, and another terrible outing could expedite the process.
The Rams have been giving up a pretty good amount of production to slot receivers this year, and Golden Tate has been watching his value tumble due to not producing. I view this as a rock meets a hard place type of matchup. I want to see Tate used in the slot and excel. Tate needs to produce or keep dropping, and no one else on the Lions stands to gain or lose nearly as much value as him over the coming weeks.
Jacksonville at Chicago
With TJ Yeldon apparently “taking ownership” of the featured role for the Jaguars, it’s time to sit back and see what that means in terms of opportunities and production against a less than stellar Bears defense. He did well against the Colts in week four, but we will need to see some consistency before we move him up too far.
While Cameron Meredith should have been on every dynasty owner’s radar prior to week five due to his involvement after Kevin White went down, pretty much no one expected what we ended up getting out of him. Can he continue to outpace Alshon Jeffery? What happens if Brian Hoyer isn’t named the long term starter for the Bears? There are so many question marks here, but the upside is salivating.
Carolina at New Orleans
It is hard to nominate one of the premier franchise quarterbacks as someone who may need his value reduced, but Cam Newton has been taking a beating for a while now. After one almost-concussion and one definitely-concussion this season, I worry about him becoming gun shy and hesitant. He isn’t getting the protection he needs and his fantasy value comes from the way in which he is deployed. If anything about that changes, so should his value.
I’m surprised that I have to write this at this point in the season, but Brandin Cooks has quietly been pretty awful in terms of fantasy production since his week one explosion. He had a middling week two performance but has essentially been a fantasy non-factor since. The Panthers have been torched by opposing WR1’s recently with Julio Jones and Mike Evans. While Cooks doesn’t fit their physical profile, he needs to show up here or have expectations and value lowered.
Kansas City at Oakland
One Chiefs wide receiver deserves more buzz than I’m hearing about him. Tyreek Hill has steadily increased his target volume through the Chiefs first four games. With one, two, four, and seven targets in each of those games, he has equalled or exceeded the number of targets that he came into the game with in each game. I cannot stress enough how mind blowing that is for a rookie wide receiver who has multiple touchdowns. In a matchup where Oakland is giving out fantasy production to opposing wide receivers basically for free and Jeremy Maclin and Chris Conley are underwhelming, Hill is my top man for a big value bump in week six.
Last week, Oakland deployed a committee in the absence of Latavius Murray. Despite a relatively equal opportunity share with Jalen Richard, DeAndre Washington got the short end of the stick in terms of actual production. If fullback Jamize Olawale continues to factor into short yardage situations and Washington can’t do better than Richard, who has less draft pedigree, I find myself wondering if DeAndre might be in for a value slide.
Atlanta at Seattle
I really enjoy tough matchups for player value evaluations. This week, Matt Ryan, the mid-round superstar quarterback of 2016, goes on the road against the tough Seahawks defense. Again – rock, meet hard place. Continuing his tear through the NFL’s defenses against the Seahawks will solidify his increased value, and anything less will throw some cool water on it. What’s fascinating for me is to see that he is getting passing production out of all positions depending on matchups. That is impressive.
Turns out Tyler Lockett hasn’t been fully healthy. An off-season darling going up against a team that is vulnerable against opposing WR2’s, I want to see what he can do. Does his target share increase now that he’s healthy? How will he be deployed without any physical restrictions? Obviously the upside is huge here as some analysts smarter than myself have outlined previously. Now is the time for it to come to fruition. Or, you know, not. Value up / down are equally plausible for Lockett.
Dallas at Green Bay
So Dak Prescott has been the guy I look at for the Cowboys values more weeks than I care to admit, but the dude is balling out. Checking various scoring formats in my leagues, he checks in as the ninth to 11th highest scoring quarterback through five weeks as a rookie and missing Dez Bryant for some of those starts. Put simply, all he has to do is keep it up and his value will continue its sharp ascent. That seems likely against a Packers defense that analysts are labeling a “funnel defense” due to its stout run defense and porous passing defense.
As if Randall Cobb’s production coming off of a bye in week five wasn’t enough to bump his value already, reports are that he will see more action out of the backfield where he has been productive in the past. I remain in the camp that believes he is not a true #1 wide receiver as evidenced by his struggles in 2015, but that he has the physical tools to thrive if deployed properly opposite a true WR1 with an accurate quarterback. Luckily, that is his exact situation right now.
Indianapolis at Houston
When Donte Moncrief went down with an injury earlier this year, it was presumed that Phillip Dorsett would step up. To date, no dice for Dorsett. Moncrief will be returning sooner than later and if Dorsett fails to produce before then, it will leave long term doubts about his abilities. This could be a short and long term value down.
So far, Lamar Miller keeps being fed the rock and keeps being inefficient. Getting the Colts at home feels like a get right situation. Luckily this game is nationally televised so we should all know by the end of Sunday if Miller’s efficiency to date in his career actually was a result of his limited usage or if he can be both a workhorse and efficient at the same time.
New York (Jets) at Arizona
While Bilal Powell’s touches have remained steady at ten per week the past three weeks, Matt Forte has gone from 32 to 17 to 16 to 14. This narrative writes itself, as the Jets figure to be down on the road against the Cardinals and Powell stands to haul in a hefty chunk of targets while the Jets are in catch up mode. As goes Powell’s value, Forte’s may go the opposite. Definitely something to keep an eye on.
The Jets have been giving up a lot of production on deep passes, and John Brown is something of a deep ball specialist. This is merely connecting the dots, but if Brown continues to be more involved in the passing game than Michael Floyd, his value should keep getting bumps despite having a high production volatility from week to week.