Welcome, all you fantasy football junkies, flunkies and rookies! Every Tuesday before the fantasy week starts, “Mark’s Fantasy Goldmine” will be updating you, LB Nation, on exactly who you need in that oh-so-tricky flex spot, sneaky waiver-wire pickups, one big piece of advice from me to you and my predictions for who will boom and bust this week.
To keep myself responsible to my fellow peers and prove why you should pick up these golden nuggets of wisdom, I will post my personal fantasy team each week, “The Funky Bunch.” This week I made the last-minute decision to sub Sony Michel out for Frank Gore, due to the fact that Patriots often have too many mouths to feed, while Gore had a clear path to plenty of touches with rookie Devin Singletary out of the fold with a hamstring injury. Even with the addition of Michel in my lineup, I still would have recorded my first loss of the season after underwhelming performances from Lamar Jackson and Gore, as well as Brandin Cooks being knocked out of his contest by a concussion. Alright, now let’s get digging!
Flex On ‘Em
Every year, a new crop of players stand out throughout the season due to new opportunities arising, good matchups presenting themselves, or just flat out catching fire on the field. Here are the best risk/reward options you should unearth and plug into your x-factor slot this week.
- Will Dissly, TE, Seattle Seahawks: After the 31-3 thrashing of the Browns by the 49ers Monday night, expect the Seattle Seahawks to continue piling on the points, with Dissly as a dark-horse candidate to lead the team in receiving. Russell Wilson constantly depends on creating something out of nothing, and a safety blanket in Dissly is what will keep this offense afloat.
- Jon Hilliman, RB, New York Giants: With Saquon Barkley still on the mend with an ankle injury and back up Wayne Gallman currently nursing a concussion, the New York Giants will have to turn to Hilliman for offensive production. The rookie out of Rutgers hasn’t done anything on the field to warrant starter status, but with no one else to rely on in the receiving corps, someone will have to propel the offense against the Patriots Thursday night and Hilliman could help if your thin on running backs.
- D.J. Chark, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars: Chark and QB Gardner Minshew are quickly becoming one of the most talked-about rising duos in the NFL. Chark has an uncanny ability to create separation deep downfield, which will likely produce a high scoring affair against the Saints. The Jaguars offense used to cause doubt in fantasy owners’ minds, but not anymore.
Workin’ the Wire
Most fantasy rosters won’t look the same by the end of the season as they did when you first drafted. Working the waiver wire is paramount to a successful fantasy team because unexpected injuries occur, coaching and playing style can change, and players develop throughout the season. Here are the hidden gems and players who fell through the cracks you should target to bolster your bench.
- Rhett Ellison, TE, New York Giants: The Giants are as thin as could be on offense this week, as Sterling Shepard, Evan Engram, Saquon Barkley and Wayne Gallman are all out. Tight end is often one of the most-streamed positions in fantasy, and this week Ellison will have plenty of opportunities to make his mark. Ellison has spent over three years in the system and should fill Engram’s role admirably, albeit without the same athleticism and game-changing talent.
- Micahel Gallup, WR, Dallas Cowboys: With Amari Cooper leading the way for the Dallas Cowboys receivers, Gallup is often the forgotten man, as Randall Cobb tends to have more name-recognition. This will soon change, as defenses are doubling up on Cooper, leading to more room to operate for Gallup. This week’s matchup is a juicy one, against the much-maligned New York Jets. Expect the Cowboys to shake off their previous performance and put up big numbers against Gang Green.
- Sam Darnold, QB, New York Jets: Adding Darnold to your fantasy roster is a play with the future in mind. Darnold is clearly a talented quarterback, and once the offense starts humming as a whole, his numbers will increase. Darnold already has rapport with Robby Anderson and Jamison Crowder, if that can spread to the whole offense, Darnold may end up changing the postseason fantasy landscape.
Look, a Golden Nugget!
This week I went against one of my most trusted theories: Trust your workhorses. Instead of rolling the dice with Michel even though the Patriots have plenty of mouths to feed, I chose Gore, with a considerably weaker team backing him because he had a clear path to more touches. I drafted Michel with the intent of starting weekly, as he gets goal-line touches and has a defined role in the offense, but strayed away from this. Learn from my mistake and play the guys you drafted for a reason because talent usually supersedes game script.
Dope or Nope?
Here is a list of the players/defenses that will make you rich in fantasy scoring at their respective positions, as well as the ones who will prove to just be fool’s gold.
- Russel Wilson, QB, Seattle Seahawks vs. Cleveland Browns
- Sony Michel, RB, New England Patriots vs. New York Giants
- Chris Godwin, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Carolina Panthers
- Greg Olsen, TE, Carolina Panthers vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Dallas Cowboys D/ST vs. New York Jets
- Matthew Stafford, QB, Detroit Lions vs. Green Bay Packers
- Kenyan Drake, RB, Miami Dolphins vs. Washington Redskins
- Jarvis Landry, WR, Cleveland Browns vs. Seattle Seahawks
- Austin Hooper, TE, Atlanta Falcons vs. Arizona Cardinals
- Los Angeles Rams D/ST vs San Francisco 49ers
Stats via fantasy.NFL.com