Welcome, all you fantasy football junkies, flunkies and rookies! Every Tuesdayday 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 was downed by huge performances by the Chiefs star duo of Tyreek Hill and Patrick Mahomes. Each week star players have the chance to explode. Keep your head high and have faith in your team. One big loss doesn’t determine your season (unless it’s the playoffs). 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.
Randle Cobb, WR, Dallas Cowboys: The Cowboys will face the depleted Detroit Lions who are uncertain when QB Matthew Stafford will return in what should be an easy task. With a subpar aerial attack, this game has the looks of a stinker leading hard-nosed runs, but more importantly; bubble screens, quick outs and slants. This is Cobb’s specialty, so if you’re in need of WR/Flex help, you could do worse than the former Packer who has seen his fair share of the Lions.
Mohamed Sanu, WR, New England Patriots: Tom Brady showed immense confidence in his newly-acquired number two receiver, peppering him with 14 targets in his second game with the Pats. This week draws a vulnerable Eagles secondary in what should be another big performance from the big-bodied receiver. Start Sanu with confidence even with Edelman being the go-to-guy.
Deebo Samuel, WR, San Francisco 49ers: Deebo Samuel caught fire after fellow WR Emmanuel Sanders exited the game with a rib injury, ending with eight catches on 11 targets for 112 yards. The Niners will face the Arizona Cardinals in a divisional showdown that presents a juicy matchup for this game-breaker. Samuel’s speed makes him a threat from anywhere on the field, and San Francisco will look to exploit that with misdirection and tricky screen plays.
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.
Derek Carr, QB, Oakland Raiders: Derek Carr has been one of the best QBs in the NFL on the field statistically, and now it is starting to translate to fantasy production on phone screens. Carr will host the Bengals, who have been playing more like house cats. Carr has his full arsenal of weapons, along with an emerging slot option in Hunter Renfrow, setting up a great week of production for the Raider QB, so start away.
Brian Hill, RB, Atlanta Falcons: Devonta Freeman exited last week’s game with an ankle injury and early reports are saying he will be out 2-3 weeks. With backup Ito Smith recently placed on injured Reserve, Brian Hill will assume lead-back duties, seeing plenty of work this Sunday against a weak Panthers run defense. If you’re in need of a flex in a pinch or possible starting Hill could push you over the hump this week and maybe next week too.
Russell Gage, WR, Atlanta Falcons: The Falcons’ top runner is out of action, and tight end Austin Hooper is banged up as well. After trading Sanu to the Patriots, the role for third receiver was given to Gage. If Hooper isn’t able to play this coming week as he seeks a second opinion on his MCL sprain, Gage should see those short-yardage opportunities in a big-time matchup between two division rivals.
Look, a Golden Nugget!
One of the biggest mistakes fantasy football owners can make is not putting in a waiver request on the must-have player free agent of the week. Even if you’re towards the back of the waiver order, you never know when other people will slip up and gift you a game-changing player. Also remember to look for forgotten impact players returning from an injury such as Will Fuller, N’Keal Harry or Josh Gordon who may be available to provide depth.
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.
- Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- David Montgomery, RB, Chicago Bears vs. Los Angeles Rams
- Chris Godwin, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. New Orleans Saints
- Darren Waller, TE, Oakland Raiders vs. Cincinnati Bengals
- Pittsburgh Steelers D/St vs. Cleveland Browns