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 was one of the most important so far, as I picked up a huge win against the team directly below me in the standings. I went out on a limb and started Ross Dwelley, the backup TE for the 49ers in my flex spot in hopes to balance out my nonexistent WR corps, and it paid off wonderfully. Don’t be afraid to put in backups if they have shown confidence and the role will provide opportunities. 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.
Cooper Kupp, WR, Los Angeles Rams
The Rams are no longer the force they once were. Even though Kupp has only scored 8.3 fantasy points over the past two weeks, he may have one of the juiciest matchups this week against the Ravens in what should be a high scoring affair, due in part to the subpar defense for both teams. Marcus Peters has looked better since the Rams traded him, but with Brandin Cooks returning, the Ravens secondary will have their hands full in his revenge game.
Dallas Goedert, TE, Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles are hurting when it comes to pass-catchers, resulting in more two-TE sets. The Eagles already know Goedert can ball out, and now he’s becoming a viable flex option after being used as a sneaky-play guy while star TE Zach Ertz acted as a decoy. Goedert has now seen 18 targets over the last five games, with four of them in the redzone. If you are looking for points no matter the position, use Philly’s Dallas with confidence.
Mohamed Sanu, WR, New England Patriots
Dallas Cowboys starting cornerback Anthony Brown is done for the season with a tricep injury, while starting safety Jeff Heath missed last week’s matchup against the Detroit Lions, putting a damper on the ‘Boys defensive outlook. Jourdan Lewis will likely be pushed to the outside, leaving pass-catchers working over the middle of the field against backups to have a field-day. Expect the Patriots to exploit this will Sanu’s impressive agility and route-running while towering over traditional slot-corners and inexperienced safeties.
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.
Darrel Williams, RB, Kansas City Chiefs
Damien Williams left the game Sunday after taking a knee to the ribs, once again opening up playing time for the other D. Williams on the Chiefs, who may be equally dynamic. While it is frustrating to guess who will be the standout of the RB stable each week, you want a piece of this offense, especially prominent players. Darrel may prove to be an important piece to the Chief’s attack come fantasy playoffs, so use that waiver on him now, as LeSean McCoy tends to need maintenance regularly as well
Jonathon Williams, RB, Indianapolis Colts
The injury bug has hit the Colts hard this year, with workhouse RB Marlon Mack breaking his hand last Sunday as the latest to blip of misfortune to strike. With Mack listed as out indefinitely, someone will need to fill the role of hard-nosed runner, with Colts coach Frank Reich stating Nyheim Hines will remain his change-of-pace status. Williams ran for over 100 yards and easily has the step up over Jordan Wilkins who is active but nursing a minor ankle injury.
Demarcus Robinson/Mecole Hardman, WR, Kansas City Chiefs
Tyreek Hill is once again on the shelf with a hamstring injury this time, but this go-around he will have a bye week to spend resting and recovering. In the event Hill is still unable to suit up, receivers Demarcus Robinson and Mecole Hardman get a boost in value as they split the role of #2 receiver in offensive sets. Hardman also brings added value in the return game, having five games over 50 yards and five touchdowns.
Look, a Golden Nugget!
The most important aspect of fantasy football is the draft at the beginning of the season. While everyone has their strategy when it comes to picking a squad, there is one train of thought that almost always proves true. The key to a successful draft and prosperous team is to target a quarterback in the mid-to-late rounds that owners may be overlooking. Sure, it’s nice to have Patrick Mahomes, but a third or fourth-round pick means you will likely be missing out on having a top tier starter at a more scarce position. The production differential between a top-five and top-20 QB is a much smaller gap than that of a top-five and top-20 RB, meaning you will lose out on overall team production if you are forced to take a subpar RB/WR in later rounds. I was able to score Lamar Jackson (the #1 fantasy QB this season to date!) in the eighth round, after the likes of Carson Wentz, Baker Mayfield and Matt Ryan. Every one of those QBs listed entered the season with lots of hype surrounding the outlook of their season based on past performance, while Jackson still had doubters when it came to his accuracy and pocket-awareness, but the Ravens were clearly building the team with him as the engine.
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.
- Matt Ryan, QB, Atlanta Falcons vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Mark Ingram, RB, Baltimore Ravens vs. Los Angeles Rams
- D.J. Moore, WR, Carolina Panthers vs. Philadelphia Eagles
- Eric Ebron, Indianapolis Colts vs. Houston Texans
- Pittsburgh Steelers D/ST vs. Cincinnati Bengals