Check the Wire – Week 2

Pretty much every job I held during my late teens, and early 20’s, was some form of sales. Cars, jewelry, insurance, dreams… I sold it all. Now, I’ve forgotten damn near everything from those times, but I was once told the “ABCs of sales” – always be closing, and for some reason it stuck with me.

It’s also proven to be (almost) universally applicable.

Job interview? Good idea to focus on closing the person across the desk. See a bad chick/dude you’d like to get to know a little better? Yep, you’ll need to be closing. But, when it comes to fantasy football, there’s a bit of a twist… You should “always be checking the wire”.

Still, ABC… Kinda.

Whether there’s a knucklehead in your league who gives up on Le’Veon Bell after his Week 1 dud, or it’s the splashy Kenny Golladay type who goes undrafted in your league, it’s never too early to take a look at who’s available.

Here are some of the top players (who are likely available) to target…

Quarterback

Trevor Siemian – DEN

Yahoo Ownership: 6%

ESPN Ownership: 4%

Siemian is like the guy you had every class with in high school, but never noticed until the one day you run into him at Chipotle, and he’s like “Hey remember me? We had Geography together… 7th period?” And, after blankly staring for 7 seconds you have to pull the “Oh yeeaaah, what’s good bro?” knowing you have no clue who he is.

I hate those situations. So awkward.

Siemian finished Week 1 as the 4th highest scoring fantasy QB. Yes, 4th. No, he won’t rush for a TD every week (he might not again this season), but he completed 60.7% of his passes for 219 yards, and 2 TDs against a pretty damn good Chargers defense.

The Broncos offensive line looks vastly improved, C.J. Anderson looks to be 100%, and Jamaal Charles didn’t look too bad himself. An improved running game, and time in the pocket, all figure to lead to a big 3rd season for Siemian.

It also doesn’t hurt that he has Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, arguably one of the best receiver duos in the league, catching his passes.

There really isn’t much upside to Siemian, and come season’s end, you’ll probably be able to count the number of 300 yard games he puts up on one hand. But, he seems to be an underestimated QB who could finish among the top-15 on a weekly basis.

DeShone Kizer – CLE

Yahoo Ownership: 11%

ESPN Ownership: 8%

The Browns remaining schedule consists of the Ravens and Bengals twice, Steelers, Vikings, Chargers, Jaguars, and Packers… If Week 1 is any indication, 60% of his remaining games are against tough defenses.

Who cares?

Facing the Steelers, in his NFL debut I must add, Kizer put up an impressive 222 yards, 1 TD, 17 rushing yds, and 1 rushing TD. The Steelers allowed the 5th fewest fantasy points per game to opposing QBs in 2016… Kizer finished 8th in fantasy points at the position.

Now, it’s logical to assume that he’ll improve as the season goes on, so his Week 1 performance caught my attention like a Ferrari on the freeway. Sure, there will be some ups-and-downs (I wouldn’t advise just dropping your starter in favor of him), but he looks to have the potential to be a league changer and if you don’t grab him now, you might not have the opportunity later.

Sam Bradford – MIN

Yahoo Ownership: 18%

ESPN Ownership: 10%

This isn’t the Saints defense we’ve grown accustomed to seeing. The box score doesn’t reflect it, but they were making plays all over the field, and look to be a much improved unit.

Bradford still put in work.

Like Siemian, an improved line and running game seems to have worked wonders for Bradford; who finished Week 1 as the 3rd highest scoring fantasy QB. That’s not likely to be recurring, but given the talent the Vikings have at the skill positions, a Secret Service like security blanket in Kyle Rudolph, and his ability to protect the ball, seems like he’s destined to consistently fall in the 10-15 range without trying.

Tyrod Taylor – BUF

Yahoo Ownership: 49%

ESPN Ownership: 34%

Tyrod finished Week 1 as the 6th highest scoring fantasy QB… He also played the Jets.

Now, if you read any of my pre-draft stuff, you know I suggested that Taylor would regress this season. While I still think he does, there is reason for optimism.

One of the things that caused concern was the fact that the Bills seemed to handicap Tyrod’s what most of us call arms. He was born with a cannon and the Bills replaced their speedy, deep threats with a gaggle of possession type receivers.

Bills tend to favor the run – the big plays in the passing game = less fantasy production

Thing is, only half of the equation was true in Week 1.

Just 6 of the 30 starting QBs attempted less passes than the 28 Taylor threw in week 1. One of them – Tom Savage – was benched and didn’t play the 2nd half, so technically 5. Meanwhile, LeSean McCoy received more carries than all but two RBs.

That’s a check for the 1st half of the equation.

Thing is, while just 4 of Taylor’s 16 completions Sunday went to the aforementioned gaggle, excluding Andre Holmes 1-yd TD, those 4 completions (actually 3) went for an average of 27.3 yards. Again, they played the Jets, and 3 completions isn’t nearly a large enough sample size, but 27.3 yards per completion? Not too shabby.

Then, there’s the things us normal humans call legs… I can’t think of a cannon-to-arm type reference for his legs, but the man is fast, and his 8 rushes for 38 yards were right in line with his average of 38.7 yards/game a season ago. Therefore, it’s a pretty safe assumption to expect about 3 extra fantasy points per week, and he’ll surely add a few TDs on the ground for good measure.

Expendables: Andy Dalton, Eli Manning

Running Back

Tarik Cohen – CHI

Yahoo Ownership: 4%

ESPN Ownership: 2%

You might have noticed, but if not, the Bears stock of receiving options is about as low as a Yeezy release come Monday morning. They lost #1 WR Cameron Meredith in the preseason, Markus Wheaton is dealing with a broken finger, and Kevin White was just placed on IR with a fractured scapula.

Enter… Tarik Cohen?!

Yep, Tarik Cohen. My man had more targets Sunday than all but 4 wide receivers, and caught 8 of the 12 for 47 yards and a TD. He also added 5 carries for 66 yards just for the hell of it. Is it likely he’ll continue at this pace? No. But, if you need RB help – say you lost David Johnson, like myself – he has to be the #1 claim. Especially in ppr leagues.

Javorius Allen – BAL

Yahoo Ownership: 0%

ESPN Ownership: 0%

Let’s make a bet… If the Ravens average 42 rush attempts per game, I’ll give you $100. If not, you owe me $25.

Deal?

No?

I thought so.

It’s ridiculous to think that Flacco will have many games where he throws just 17 passes. As a result, it’s probably not a good idea to bank on Buck’s 21 carries Sunday being an indicator of things to come. However, Danny Woodhead is expected to miss 6-8 weeks, making Allen their best receiving option out of the backfield.

Now, he did less with more carries than Terrance West, so he’s not likely a threat to the starting job. But, he’ll get some passing down work by default, and if West was to go down you have a gem.

Expendables: Eddie Lacy, Danny Woodhead

Wide Receiver

Kenny Golladay – DET

Yahoo Ownership: 15%

ESPN Ownership: 7%

If you read the Week 1 NFL Handbook, you might have noticed I mentioned Golladay as someone to watch out for. While I wasn’t expecting 2 TDs, I did figure he could be in for a nice game; as the Cardinals struggled to defend #2/3 receivers last season.

He’s much more than a match-up play, though.

He has one of the best QBs in the league throwing him the ball, plays in a prolific passing offense, and in targeting him on 7 of 29 attempts, Stafford showed he’s comfortable with the rookie.

Just temper expectations, he won’t finish the season with 32 TDs.

Jermaine Kearse – NYJ

Yahoo Ownership: 2%

ESPN Ownership: 2%

When Quincy Enunwa went down in the preseason, I figured Robby Anderson would emerge as the clear #1 receiving option for the other New York football team.

I think most people did.

He still may, and actually received just one fewer target than Kearse, but Kearse was exponentially more productive on Sunday.

There is risk that comes with drafting a Jets receiver, but only Bilal Powell saw more targets than the 10 thrown at Jermaine in Week 1. And, while no one is comparing Josh McCown to Drew Brees, he’s competent… Someone has to be on the receiving end.

Paul Richardson – SEA

Yahoo Ownership: 6%

ESPN Ownership: 2%

Speaking of Kearse, the guy who “replaced” him in Seattle is kind of a beast, and he led the Seahawks in targets on Sunday.

This offense is much better than we saw in Week 1, and outside of Doug Baldwin and Jimmy Graham, it’s also devoid of receiving options. 1 + 2 = 3… The 4 receptions for 59 yards he put up in Green Bay might just be his baseline.

Tight End

Charles Clay – BUF

Yahoo Ownership: 7%

ESPN Ownership: 4%

Over the last 4 weeks of 2016, Clay averaged 57.3 yards per game, and caught 4 touchdown passes. He didn’t miss a beat in the opener with 4 catches, 53 yards, a TD, and a top-5 fantasy TE performance.

As mentioned earlier, the Bills brought in a new set of receivers, and Clay is the only remnant.

There’s a certain level of comfort which stems from familiarity, and Taylor targeted him on 32% of his passes Sunday. He figures to be busy moving forward.

Week 2 DST Streamer

Detroit Lions @ New York Giants

Over/Under: 43.5

The Lions held the Cardinals to 309 yards of total offense, and intercepted 3 passes – returning one for a TD.

No QB has thrown more interceptions than Eli Manning since 2012.

The Giants offense was fruitless in Week 1, and the Lions defense is better than the unit out in Dallas. Obviously, this is largely dependent on whether or not Odell Beckham plays, but even if he does, the Lions impressed in Week 1 and should be a solid streaming/dfs option in Week 2.

As always, thanks for reading! Be sure to subscribe, and check me out on Twitter: @maxingyourodds to stay up to date with the latest fantasy advice, and betting tips.

 

 

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