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.” Every season a few players will blow up, leaving opposing fantasy teams completely in the dust. This happened to me this week facing the likes of Cooper Kupp, Aaron Jones and Latavius Murray. Even without a dud from the concussed Brandin Cooks, along with poor performances from the rest of my heavy-lifters, I was doomed from the start. 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.
Allen Robinson, WR, Chicago Bears
The Eagles secondary has been atrocious to say the least. Routinely exploited by opposing teams aerial-attacks, expect Robinson to get his way against Sunday. You may be questioning this play with the Eagle’s ability to rush the quarterback, but even with Trubisky’s struggles connecting deep down the field, Robinson has the elite-level talent to rack up yards after the catch on shallow crossing routes.
Kenny Stills, WR, Houston Texans
Stills has solidified his position as the number two receiver on the Texans. After trading away star cornerback Jalen Ramsey, the secondary for the Jaguars has become much more vulnerable. With Will Fuller still on the shelf with a hamstring injury, Stills will see a lot of targets from the pass-happy Texans offense.
Kenyan Drake, RB, Arizona Cardinals
A trade for Kenyan Drake was made after the top two options in the Cardinals backfield began dealing with injuries. Drake has been stuck on the perpetual losing hamster-wheel called the Dolphins, unable to truly show his dynamic running ability. Add Drake into the core of Kyler Murray, Larry Fitzgerald and complementary role players this week and his production will likely explode.
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.
Mark Walton, RB, Miami Dolphins
After shipping out Kenyan Drake to the Cardinals has left the doors wide open for Walton. While he hasn’t been on the scene for long, Walton has shown the ability to run hard and pass protect. Because the Dolphins lack star-studded offensive players, a lot of the lifting will likely fall to Walton, who can prove to be a good flex addition by the end of the year.
Derrius Guice, RB, Washington Redskins
After beginning the season on the IR, hype for Guice has still grown. The Redskins are clearly high on Guice, and with Peterson dealing with nicks and bruises, Guice will likely step into the lead-back role everyone expected during draft day. While the offense doesn’t offer much upside, the pure amount of opportunities for Guice will prove fruitful.
Jaylen Samuels, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers
James Conner left Monday Night Football against the Dolphins with an A/C joint sprain in the fourth quarter, offering Samuels the chance to make his mark late in the season just like last year. Samuels has shown a knack for racking up yards after the catch and also has the versatility to charge between the tackles and gain tough yards. Even if Conner returns this week, he has shown durability issues, so stash Samuels in the event that Conner will miss more time.
Look, a Golden Nugget!
Often times, fantasy owners use appealing matchups to help decide who to start. A common factor often overlooked in this decision-making process is how the weather will factor into gameplay. Last week we saw lots of dropped balls, fumbles and miscues related to weather conditions. Even if the defense the player is facing is favorable, Mother Nature plays for her own team. To get that extra edge over your competition, think about putting the city in on your weather app to see if rain is in the forecast or any other obstacles your player may encounter.
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.
- Gardner Minshew, QB, Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Houston Texans
- Dalvin Cook, RB, Minnesota Vikings vs. Kansas City Chiefs
- Julian Edelman, WR, New England Patriots vs. Baltimore Ravens
- George Kittle, TE, San Francisco 49ers vs. Arizona Cardinals
- Buffalo Bills D/ST vs. Washington Redskins