Week 9 Street FA Report

Updated: November 1st 2017

Each week we will recommend a group of players that are owned in less than 50% of RSO league that should be rostered. Depending on roster and league sizes not all of these players may be available. For that, we will offer 1 player that is owned in <10% of leagues as our Sleeper add.

Byes: BEARS, BROWNS, CHARGERS, VIKINGS, PATRIOTS, STEELERS

Add of the Week

Kenyan Drake, RB – MIA (Owned 45%)

Week 8: 6 Car/22 yards

Big new coming out of Miami as the Dolphins have traded Pro Bowler Jay Ajayi to the Eagles. This leaves Kenyan Drake and Damien Williams to take on the workload for the remained of 2017. Sources say that while Ajayi has been resting in practices due to injuries the coaching staff has become more impressed with how Drake looks in his sophomore season. This, coupled with the inept ability to produce offense this season is likely why they felt comfortable moving on from Ajayi. Drake worked mostly behind Williams this season but since the trade has gone through the coaching staff has come out to say he will be the primary ball carries with Williams being more involved in passing and 3rd down situations. If he’s still available on the street and you need RBs for the playoffs Drake is a player that needs to be owned in all league now.

Suggested Bid: $3,000,000 – $6,000,000

RB Add

Dwayne Washington, RB – DET (Owned 3%)

Week 8: 6 Car/12 yards, 1 Rec/4 yards

As both a Theo Riddick and Ameer Abdullah owner it frustrates me to no end that the Lions insist on having Washington brought in within the 10-yard line. It’s obvious what his role is which is why the Steelers were able to hold the Lions from getting into the end zone despite having multiple red zone drives last week. But since the coaches clearly want Washington to be their “thumper” back he holds similar value to Matt Asiata from previous seasons. It’s likely that he doesn’t score more than 3 points in any game for the rest of the season but the possibility of having goal-line carries is enough to be bench material in case of an injury to Abdullah.

Suggested Bid: $500,000

WR Add

T.J. Jones, WR – DET (Owned 6%)

Week 8: 4 Rec/88 yards

Kenny Golladay missed week 8 and Golden Tate worked his way back from his week 6 injury giving T.J. Jones an opportunity to be involved in the passing game. He responded with over 80 yards receiving and had his second straight game with over 8 targets. Because of their backfield situation, the Lions are a team that frequently uses 3 receiver formations which means Jones has fantasy value until Golladay and Tate are back to full health. It’s possible that if Jones can be trusted over the next couple of weeks that he may retain the WR3 role regardless of Golladay’s return.

Suggested Bid: $500,000

Tre McBride, WR – CHI (Owned 2%)

Week 8: 3 Rec/92 yards

The Bears receivers are a fickle bunch of players to own, especially since Mitchell Trubisky took over. In his first 4 starts, he has less than 15 completions in every game which makes the week-to-week expectations of Tre McBride risky business. Still, the Bears don’t have a receiver that should command the majority of targets and they just lost their primary TE, Zach Miller, for the season.  McBride has a typical receiver build, 6ft 210 lbs and has similar metrics to that of Pierre Garcon, according to Player Profiler. This late in the season there is likely more valuable to be had in a trade than with anything you can find for free on the street. But if you’re strapped for cash McBride could be a matchup-based WR4/5 some weeks.

Suggested Bid: $500,000 – $1,000,000

TE Add

C.J. Fiedorowicz, TE – HOU (Owned 40%)

Week 8: N/A

There’s better than a 50:50 chance that Fiedorowicz is sitting on the streets in your league in which case you should be picking him up now before he is reinstated from IR. In his first game, he caught all four (4) of his targets and this was when Tom Savage was still the starting QB. When he returns, C.J. will take back the TE1 role in what has become one of the most effective offenses in the NFL. There’s no guarantee when he will return but he did practice last week which should be considered a good thing. In the meantime stash him on your bench. He could be a TE1 going into the playoffs.

Suggested Bid: $2,000,000 – $5,000,000

Sleeper Add (<10%)

Dion Sims, TE – CHI (Owned 2.5%)

Week 8: 3 Rec/15 yards

As previously mentioned the Bears have lost Zach Miller for the season so I’m going to double down on the Bears needing to find new targets to throw to. Sims was an early offseason sleeper while as a member of the Dolphins before they traded for Julius Thomas and let him go to Chicago. Many might point to Adam Shaheen as the next man up but he’s still a rookie and learning the position. Sims is the more polished player, for now, at both receiving and more importantly blocking which will allow him to be on the field more. He should be a considered a TE2 going forward.

Suggested Bid: $500,000

The Watch List: Week 10

Updated: November 1st 2017

Welcome to The Watch List, a resource to help RSO owners identify the storylines, players and matchups from the college game that deserve your attention.  To view my weekly picks, follow me on Twitter @robertfcowper.  Check back throughout the season as The Watch List will continue to update you on who is fantasy relevant and worth your draft capital next year. 

Storylines to Watch

  • Heisman Update: Penn State RB Saquon Barkley was mostly held in check against Ohio State but he did total 67 yards and two touchdowns. His first score came on the opening kickoff and just shows how effortlessly he can change the outlook of a game. I’m not yet ready to advocate for him to go first overall in the NFL Draft but he is undoubtedly a Top 3 pick for me. Louisville QB Lamar Jackson had another big game (491 combined passing and rushing yards with 4 total TDs) but the Cardinals lost again, this time to Wake Forest. I just don’t think the voters will go for him on a barely bowl eligible team. Much like stubborn baseball Hall of Fame voters refuse to put anybody in unanimously, I don’t think Heisman voters will want to give Jackson a second award that puts him in the most rarefied of air while playing on a bad team. Bryce Love did ultimately sit out last Thursday against Oregon State which I think hurts his Heisman stock. Playing in a primetime (instead of 10:00pm or later) weeknight game on ESPN would have helped a lot of east coast voters see him live. So, who would I have second? It has to be Notre Dame RB Josh Adams. I am not sold on his prospects at the next level but he put up another huge game against a solid NC State defense. Adams went for 202 yards and a touchdown and is making it harder and harder to ignore him.
  • CFP Rankings: I am writing this on Monday and Tuesday prior to the CFP ranking release “show.” A few thoughts… 1) why does this need to be a weekly show, just give us the rankings. 2) Remember, there is a lot of football left to play. Last year’s initial rankings were Alabama, Clemson, Michigan and Texas A&M. Michigan ended up 6th while A&M finished unranked. 3) Don’t be surprised to see Notre Dame at #4 in the CFP ranking despite being #5/8 in the AP/Coaches polls.  It’s hard for Notre Dame to fly under the radar but they have in my opinion. They are 3-1 against AP ranked teams (nobody else has more than 2 such wins) and that one loss was by a single point to #2 Georgia – the committee will heavily value that.
  • MACtion is Back: The novelty will wear off in a week or two but MACtion is back and I am excited. For the uninitiated, the MAC conference plays some Tuesday and Wednesday games later in the season on the ESPN networks. It gets them some national attention and gives us football every night of the week. Below in my Players to Watch section I highlight a few names you should keep an eye on when you tune in over the next few weeks.

Players to Watch (MACtion Edition)

  • Logan Woodside, QB, Toledo:  Woodside has a shot at being a late-round QB prospect if he finishes the season strong.  So far this season his stats have been a mixed bag.  He threw 45 TDs in 2016 and has 19 so far this season, so he’ll regress there; it’s hard to say that 35 TDs is a bad year but it’s regression nonetheless.  He has significantly improved his INT rate this season (just 2 INTs on 232 attempts) but his completion percentage is down nearly 7%.  I watched Woodside a few weeks ago against Eastern Michigan, it was actually one of my Games to Watch, but he struggled; Toledo got the win but he but he threw for just 289 and no touchdowns.  I expect him to get drafted but will likely start his career as a third stringer – little upside for RSO owners but he’s still a fun college QB to watch.
  • AJ Ouellette, RB, Ohio:  Ouellette is leading the MAC in rushing (752 yards) and has seven total touchdowns.  He’s the best offensive player on the best East division team so we’ll probably see a lot of him in the coming weeks.  I would be concerned about his durability if I was a scout so I doubt we see his name mentioned in the Spring.  He missed last season due to a foot injury and was supposedly injured earlier in the season with an “undisclosed injury” per RotoWorld; maybe the same foot but not sure.  Ouellette has 121 carries this season and will surpass his previous totals (151, 160) in the coming weeks so it will be telling to see if he can finish the year healthy.  He is a former walk-on so maybe I shouldn’t be counting him out.
  • Corey Willis, WR, Central Michigan:  I was high on Willis to start the season but he was slowed by a hand injury that forced him to miss multiple games.  In his second game back he went for 5-98-3 against Ball State so hopefully he is now fully healed.  Willis is not big (5’10” 175lb) or very fast (4.50 speed) but he has a knack for big plays.  In the preseason, I compared him to John Brown and Travis Benjamin; both have had weeks of fantasy relevance this season so I think Willis should be on your sleeper radar.
  • Anthony Johnson, WR, Buffalo:  Admittedly, I have not watched a minute of Buffalo or Johnson play this season.  I am including him simply because he leads the conference in receptions and reception yards and is second in receiving touchdowns.  Per the Buffalo media guide, Johnson is a JUCO transfer who honestly did not see much success at that level (40 receptions, 993 yards and 7 TDs over two seasons at two different schools) so it’s surprising to see his 55-888-6 line in his first season of FBS competition.
  • Anthony Winbush, DE, Ball State:  Nothing new to report, Winbush is good.  I’ve written about him twice now and still think he should get talked about more.  He had a disappointing game against Toledo (just 2 tackles) but his dominating games against Illinois and Central Michigan show his potential (combined between those two games: 14 tackles, 7 tackles for loss, 5 sacks, 1 forced fumble).  Winbush leads the conference in sacks and forced fumbles.  I have no idea how he projects to the next level because he’s undersized (6’1″ and I have seen his weight listed at 207, 225 and 240lbs); it will come down to his 40-yard dash and cone drills to see if he has the speed and explosiveness to play upright as a 3-4 edge rusher.
  • Darius Phillips, CB, Western Michigan:  Phillips is a darling of Pro Football Focus and is one of their draft board risers.  He started the year strong with two great games against USC and Michigan State (4 tackles, 3 passes defended, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery and two kick return TDs) but has since slowed.  Phillips was originally recruited as a WR and actually saw his first offensive touches since 2014 a few weeks ago against Ball State.  In 2014, Phillips had 32 receptions, 479 receiving yards and 2 TDs as a freshman receiver.  He’s a talented player and I think the Broncos coaching staff will use some of these nationally televised MACtion games as an opportunity to get their guy some pub.  If you play in an IDP league you should consider Phillips because he has good ball skills and the chance for touches on special teams (or even offense in a limited package).

Games to Watch

  • #7 Penn State at #24 Michigan State, 12:00pm Saturday on FOX:  This matchup has lost some of it’s hype after both teams lost last weekend.  Still, it’s an important divisional matchup because the two 4-1 teams are just one game back of 5-0 Ohio State.  The winner will be like a dog waiting under the table for scraps as the Buckeyes finish out their season.  Plus, you should take any opportunity to watch Saquon Barkley.
  • South Carolina at #2 Georgia, 3:30pm Saturday on CBS:  We know that Georgia is a very good team but I’d bet that most fans don’t realize that the Gamecocks are 6-2 (I didn’t).  South Carolina’s rush defense is ranked 39th so it likely won’t stop the duo of Nick Chubb and Sony Michel but maybe they slow UGA enough to give sophomore QB Jake Bentley a chance.
  • #18 Stanford at #25 Washington State, 3:30pm Saturday on FOX:  An odd afternoon game for these two teams who are used to playing “PAC-12 after dark” games.  I hope that Bryce Love is back from injury so that he doesn’t miss his second straight chance to capture the national spotlight.  Prediction: Love goes but is outshined by the Cougars RB Jamal Morrow who has 747 total yards and 8 total TDs.
  • #19 LSU at #1 Alabama, 8:00pm Saturday on CBS:  I can’t remember the last time CBS had a primetime regular season game.  Maybe I just haven’t been paying attention but I don’t think it’s common.  So, let’s hope this one is uncommonly good.  I expect a low scoring game because of the strength of the two defenses; Alabama’s defense is Top 10 in most categories while LSU’s is Top 25.  LSU’s defensive weak spot is against the run where they are giving up 145 yards per game.  Considering that Alabama averages 298.8 yards per game on the ground (7th in the FBS, 3rd if you remove the triple option teams), I give them the edge.  Alabama’s one knock this season is their strength of schedule.  Only one of their wins came against a ranked opponent and that was the opener against Florida State who lost their quarterback and were obviously overrated in the preseason.  This one will be telling as it’s the Tide’s toughest test yet.
  • #13 Virginia Tech at #9 Miami, 8:00pm Saturday on ABC:  I have been saying over the last few weeks that Miami is overrated.  Their last four wins have been by a combined 18 points against middling opponents.  They have a tough schedule over the next two versus #13 Virginia Tech and #5 Notre Dame.  It’s time for me to pay more attention to the Hurricanes and that’ll start this week.  I’ll double down and guess that Miami loses both of these ranked contests.

Note: When watching film for a player in the offseason, I typically pick two games at random to watch.  If game film is not available I will search for highlight reels, but keep in mind these are the best plays that player had all season so they really need to jump off the screen.  I do not necessarily want to watch games where they did very well or very poorly as that may not be a great illustration of their true ability.  If possible, when comparing players at the same position I also like to watch film against common opponents.  Full disclosure, I am not watching film of every single game any player plays, instead I am looking for a representative sample.  When researching college players I use a number of resources, I would recommend bookmarking the below sites…

  • Stats: espn.com, sports-reference.com, cfbstats.com
  • Film: draftbreakdown.com, youtube.com (but be wary of highlight only reels)
  • Draft info and mocks: draftcountdown.com, nfldraftscout.com, walterfootball.com, mattwaldmanrsp.com, draftek.com
  • Draft history: drafthistory.com
  • Combine info: pro-football-reference.com, espn.com, nflcombineresults.com
  • Season preview magazines: Phil Steele, Lindy’s, Street and Smith’s
  • Podcasts: ESPN’s First Draft, Strong as Steele with Phil Steele, The Audible by Football Guys (specifically episodes w/ Matt Waldman), UTH Dynasty

Robert F. Cowper is a freelance writer who lives in New Jersey.  Robert works as a recreation professional, specializing in youth sports, when he isn’t acting as commissioner for his many fantasy sports leagues.

RSO Staff Picks: Week 8

Updated: October 26th 2017

Week 7 Results

1. Wendell – 12-3

2T. English 10-5

2T. Papson 10-5

Overall Standings

1. Wendell – 66-40

2. English – 65-41

3. Papson – 61-45

After 7 weeks at the top of the standings, Wendell has caught up with English. Led by his Raiders and Chargers correct predictions, Wendell goes 12-3 and wins the week and takes over first place on the year with a slim one game lead over English. And at 61-45, Papson is only five games out of first place. There will not be much ground made up this week however as the three of us only differ on two games with Kyle liking gunslinger Matt Moore tonight on the road in Baltimore and Wendell liking Derek  Carr and the Raiders on the road in Buffalo. It is a rare week that there is this much agreement amongst us, so we are either going to be really right or really wrong. Here are our picks for Week 8:

NFL Game Picks

Game

Wendell

Papson

English

MIA @ BAL

SF @ PHI

MIN @ CLV

OAK @ BUF

IND @ CIN

LAC @ NE

CHI @ NO

ATL @ NYJ

CAR @ TB

HOU @ SEA

DAL @ WAS

PIT @ DET

DEN @ KC

 

The Watch List: Week 9

Updated: October 25th 2017

Welcome to The Watch List, a resource to help RSO owners identify the storylines, players and matchups from the college game that deserve your attention.  To view my weekly picks, follow me on Twitter @robertfcowper.  Check back throughout the season as The Watch List will continue to update you on who is fantasy relevant and worth your draft capital next year. 

Storylines to Watch

  • Heisman Update: I am officially out of superlatives for Penn State RB Saquon Barkley. Barkley made mincemeat of the usually strong Michigan defense for 161 total yards and 3 TDs last week. As mentioned in this space last week, Stanford RB Bryce Love was off this past weekend and is questionable for their Thursday night game against Oregon State. I think the Heisman will be out of reach if he misses any time with injury. Lamar Jackson would likely be my number three vote at this point. Jackson had 334 yards and 2 TDs combined passing and rushing. USC QB Sam Darnold had another down game, he threw his tenth interception and lost his sixth fumble.  There are louder murmurs now about the possibility of Darnold returning for another year instead of coming out as a redshirt sophomore.  Maybe my Christian Hackenburg comparison was apt.  Sadly, I don’t see any strong defensive player candidates but somebody who needs your attention is Ball State DE Anthony Winbush.  I tried to get his name out there heading into Week 4 but I still never see him mentioned online.  He is leading the FBS in sacks (9.5) and adds 34 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss and 4 forced fumbles. Winbush may get one lone Heisman vote from some like-minded writer but I’m throwing his name out more for draft consideration instead.
  • AAC Battle: The three top teams in the AAC are battling it out to be the best Group of 5 team left standing at the end of the season. That is important because the best Group of 5 team will get a New Year’s Six bowl bid. Guessing whether that representative will be South Florida (#17), Central Florida (#18) or Memphis (#25) is a pointless endeavor at this point. USF and UCF are undefeated and will presumably stay that way until their late season matchup, but Memphis has the best out-of-conference win (UCLA).
  • Big 12 Standings are a Big Mess: The Big 12 has one team at 4-0 (TCU) and four tied at 3-1 (Iowa State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and West Virginia); all five are ranked in the Top 25. Four of those five play this weekend in a pair of games that could completely throw the conference standings into chaos. Personally, I’m rooting for an Iowa State win over TCU and a West Virginia win over Oklahoma State – that would all but guarantee that no Big 12 team gets into the playoff (all the better for my Big 10 fandom).

Players to Watch

  • Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU: Sutton has not attracted as much attention this season as he did last year, at least per my Twitter feed.  Perhaps part of that is the incredible surge from junior WR Trey Quinn over the last three games.  In those three games, Quinn has 49 receptions, 458 yards and 3 TDs.  Sutton is no slouch, he went 24-353-4 in the same span, but he’s definitely not getting the same social media buzz as Quinn this month.  Don’t get it twisted: Sutton is still a top WR prospect.  On the season, Sutton has 37 receptions, 570 yards and 9 TDs (last year was 76-1,246-10).  Sutton has elite size (6’4″ and 216lb) which puts him on par with dynasty favorites like Michael Thomas and Allen Robinson.  If Sutton times faster than 4.50, it would put him in range of AJ Green.  Sutton ran a 4.75 as a recruit per ESPN and NFLDraftScout.com has him in the 4.55 vicinity.  I watched Sutton’s 2017 film against Houston.  There were two great plays that Sutton made that I noted.  The first came late in the second quarter where he caught one over his left shoulder while running towards the left sideline, a very difficult play that his body control made possible.  The second play was in the third quarter when Sutton took a screen pass and used his speed and open-field running skills to turn it into a 30+ yard play.  He got a great block from a teammate but still his juke and hesitation move froze a defender and allowed him to turn it into a big play.  There were a number of other times when Sutton made the first defender miss in an effort to pick up an extra yard or two.  Unfortunately, Sutton did have multiple drops in the first half and he followed up that great over the shoulder grab with an offensive pass interference in the end zone.  The DraftBreakdown.com film I watched only showed two plays when Sutton was called on to block and neither was very convincing.  Per Pro Football Focus, Sutton has a drop rate of 8.8% which is middle of the pack for somebody of his draft potential (for comparison, his teammate Quinn is 1.8% while James Washington is 5.6%).  Sutton clearly has elite size and ability and will be somewhere in my WR2-5 range for the 2018 draft which means he should end up with a first round RSO grade.
  • Josh Adams, RB, Notre Dame: I did a quick preview of Adams in the offseason and was nonplussed, however, at the rate that he’s producing it was time for a second look.  Adams went for 191 yards and 3 scores against USC last week which was impressive to say the least (that Trojan defense is full of NFL talent).  More impressive is that Adams is averaging 9.2 yards per carry on 105 carries.  Averaging 9.2 yards per carry is impressive if the sample size is 20, let alone 105.  One knock on Adams is that he is not a big part of the passing game, just 8 receptions in 2017.  Adams measures in at 6’2″ and 225lb.  For a running back that is quite tall.  Adams would be one of the biggest RB prospects since 2010 (5th biggest per my review of combine stats).  In his weight range, 220-230, he would be just the second to measure 6’2″ or taller (Alfred Blue).  If you increase the upper bound of the weight, you add in guys like Derrick Henry and Matt Jones.  Unfortunately, none of those are great comps.  Henry has a lot of potential but he has not yet been able to unseat Demarco Murray, has been average in his limited role (7 TDs is nice but just 4.4 yards per carry) and the biggest concern of his would be his height making him a bigger target for injury-inducing hits.  There are a number of elite comps who are about an inch or so shorter, so it may seem trivial to care about one inch.  I would argue though that one inch is significant because NFL RBs only measure between 66-75″ which is a range of 9 inches.  So, that one inch is an 11% difference.  Use that 11% difference in terms of weight and we would have a very different outlook on a RB prospect if he weighed 200, 225 or 250lb.  Unfortunately, DraftBreakdown.com does not yet have any 2017 film for Adams so I was stuck watching highlights.  While I don’t love watching highlight reels, I do think Adams’ three rushing scores against USC are instructive.  One the first, Adams shows some patience behind the line of scrimmage as he cuts right then left through the hole and dives forward for the goal line.  One the second, he simply runs past everybody untouched showing his straight line speed; the nearest defender didn’t get within five yards even as Adams ran 86 yards at a sprint.  On the third, he shows some vision and play strength as he finds his way through a narrow hole on the right side of the line and avoids a tackle at the five yard line with a half-hop, half-cut move that gets him into the end zone with the defender on his back.  I need to see way more of Adams to make an educated guess about his draft stock but I am ready and willing to revise my original opinion.  For now, let’s call Adams a 4th-5th round NFL prospect and a 3rd round RSO target pending the team fit.

Games to Watch

  • #11 Oklahoma State at #22 West Virginia, 12:00pm Saturday on ABC: This matchup features the 1st and 5th ranked offenses by total yards and the 41st and 112nd ranked defenses. This is the new normal in the Big 12 so embrace it.  I took a closer look at WVU QB Will Grier last week and will need to focus on WR David Sills in a future piece; he has 46 receptions for 737 yards and a FBS-leading 15 TDs.
  • Rutgers at Michigan, 12:00pm Saturday on BTN: I will be at this game, making my periodic pilgrimage to the Big House, so of course I need to include it here. Michigan has lost two of three (the win was a close one against Indiana) while Rutgers has won two straight conference games (albeit versus Illinois and Purdue). The Michigan offense has struggled mightily and it might be time to see former 4 star recruit Brandon Peters; Peters was the #3 QB recruit per ESPN in 2016. Rutgers’ freshman RB Raheem Blackshear has touchdowns in back to back games and is a big play guy (7.3 yards per touch).
  • #2 Penn State at #6 Ohio State, 3:30pm Saturday on FOX: This game gets my vote for the Game of the Year; it will not disappoint. I’ve talked a lot about Penn State in recent weeks, specifically about Barkley and QB Trace McSorley, so I’m going to focus on the Buckeyes here. I fear that casual fans may be sleeping on OSU after their early loss to Oklahoma because they have been passed over for nationally televised games. Since then they have dominated, outscoring opponents 266-49 (including three conference foes and a bowl-bound Army). QB JT Barrett started slow and there were calls for his job but he has played better recently; he has thrown for 872 yards, 11 TDs and 0 INTs over the last three weeks. Add in 185 yards rushing and 3 TDs and you have 2015 level Barrett under center. True freshman RB JK Dobbins stole the focus from NFL hopeful Mike Weber and hasn’t looked back (775-5). Forget the rankings, don’t sleep on Ohio State.
  • #4 TCU at #25 Iowa State, 3:30pm Saturday on ABC/ESPN2: I have been a fan of Iowa State RB David Montgomery since early in the season when I first heard about his personal story and first took note of his tackle breaking ability. Pro Football Focus tracks a stat they call “missed tackles forced” that Montgomery leads by a sizable margin. Montgomery has put a number of highlight plays on film this year and it will be interesting to track him in 2018 when he is draft eligible. As noted above, a Cyclones win would throw the Big 12 standings into, well, a whirlwind.
  • #15 Washington State at Arizona, 9:30pm Saturday on PAC-12: It’s time for east coasters like myself to watch Arizona QB Khalil Tate. Tate has started the last three games and is playing very well, especially as a runner. As a passer he is an efficient, if underwhelming, 31-41 for 468 yards, 4 TDs and 1 INT in those three starts. As a runner he is simply unstoppable. He’s racked up 694 yards and 7 TDs in those contests including 327 yards against Colorado. Those three starts for Tate ended up in three big Ws over Colorado, UCLA and Cal. Arizona is now 3-1 in the conference and could challenge for a spot in the PAC-12 Championship if USC falters.

Note: When watching film for a player in the offseason, I typically pick two games at random to watch.  If game film is not available I will search for highlight reels, but keep in mind these are the best plays that player had all season so they really need to jump off the screen.  I do not necessarily want to watch games where they did very well or very poorly as that may not be a great illustration of their true ability.  If possible, when comparing players at the same position I also like to watch film against common opponents.  Full disclosure, I am not watching film of every single game any player plays, instead I am looking for a representative sample.  When researching college players I use a number of resources, I would recommend bookmarking the below sites…

  • Stats: espn.com, sports-reference.com, cfbstats.com
  • Film: draftbreakdown.com, youtube.com (but be wary of highlight only reels)
  • Draft info and mocks: draftcountdown.com, nfldraftscout.com, walterfootball.com, mattwaldmanrsp.com, draftek.com
  • Draft history: drafthistory.com
  • Combine info: pro-football-reference.com, espn.com, nflcombineresults.com
  • Season preview magazines: Phil Steele, Lindy’s, Street and Smith’s
  • Podcasts: ESPN’s First Draft, Strong as Steele with Phil Steele, The Audible by Football Guys (specifically episodes w/ Matt Waldman), UTH Dynasty

Robert F. Cowper is a freelance writer who lives in New Jersey.  Robert works as a recreation professional, specializing in youth sports, when he isn’t acting as commissioner for his many fantasy sports leagues.

Week 8 Street FA Report

Updated: October 23rd 2017

Each week we will recommend a group of players that are owned in less than 50% of RSO league that should be rostered. Depending on roster and league sizes not all of these players may be available. For that, we will offer 1 player that is owned in <10% of leagues as our Sleeper add.

Byes: CARDINALS, PACKERS, JAGUARS, RAMS, GIANTS, TITANS

Add of the Week

Austin Ekeler, RB – LAC (Owned 19%)

Week 7: 7 Car/38 yards, 4 Rec/6 yards, 1 TD

If a player doesn’t solidify themselves as the pass-catching back in their offense it’s only a matter of time before they start to lose snaps to another RB who can. We may be seeing that in Los Angeles with Melvin Gordon slowly losing snaps to rookie Austin Ekeler. Ekeler, 5’9” and under 200lbs, looks like he could fit the Danny Woodhead satellite back role that completed Gordon in his rookie season. He had 4 receptions against the Broncos last week (13 on the season) and also managed 7 carries which shows that he’s gaining a role in this offense. With tough matchups over the next month (Patriots, Jaguars, Bills, Cowboys) there’s a real chance that the Chargers need Ekeler to be available for the check down option more so than Gordon running up the middle.

Suggested Bid: $500,000 – $1,000,000

RB Add

Backup RBs

Speaking of backups, as we have seen throughout the first 7 weeks backup RBs are just players waiting to be fantasy relevant. If you have a locked in RB and his backup is sitting on the street you should add him at this point in the season. You have “roster cloggers” that you won’t be starting the next 6-8 week. Drop them and protecting yourself. If you want to be sneaky you could also pick up the backups of those that are sleeping on their claims. Nothing feels worse than going into the playoffs and losing an RB and having to fight with your league mates for his replacement.

Suggested Bid: $500,000

WR Add

D’eonte Thompson, WR – BUF (Owned 4%)

Week 7: 4 Rec/107 yards

I felt bad after recommending D’eonte Thompson as a sleeper in week 3 especially after he had a 0 catch game in week 5 and then was subsequently released by a Bears team that is starving for WR talent. But now that Thompson has been picked up by the Bills it didn’t take him long to be involved going over 100 yards in his first game. That stat is probably an anomaly but it shows me that what I thought he could be in Chicago wasn’t a farce. The Bills don’t have many pass catchers that are trustworthy which is likely the reason Thompson was added and clearly, they felt comfortable using him right away. Even when Jordan Matthews returns healthy it would be in the best interest of the Bills to use Matthews in the slot where he belongs and allow the big-bodied Thompson to work outside. I’m willing to double down and say that he should be a usable flex option if you need WR help.

Suggested Bid: $1,000,000

TE Add

Vance McDonald, TE – PIT (Owned 16%)

Week 7: 2 Rec/37 yards

It seems like forever ago that Vance McDonald was traded from San Francisco to Pittsburgh and everyone wanted a piece of him. Fast forward to before last week and he’d had 1 catch for 26 yards in 6 weeks of football, not even rosterable stats for the deepest of leagues. He only had 2 catches last week but this might be the sign that he is finally getting comfortable with the Todd Haley’s offense. Another couple of weeks under his belt and McDonald might become what fantasy enthusiasts wanted LaDarius Green to be. Unless you have Gronk, Ertz, or Kelce you’ve probably been streaming/substituting your TE position all season so why not take a shot.

Suggested Bid: $500,000

Sleeper Add (<10%)

Demarcus Robinson, WR – KC (Owned 6.5%)

Week 7: 5 Rec/69 yards

Not every Chiefs game is going to be a shootout like last Thursday but Demarcus Robinson’s usage is something that should be mentioned. He had 5 catches on 8 targets last week which was second to Tyreek Hill and well ahead of Albert Wilson and De’Anthony Thomas (1 each). He’s still behind Kelce, Hunt, and Tyreek in terms of touches but he has firmly taken hold of the WR2 on this team now with Conley out. With the Chiefs being more involved in the passing game this season the prospect of a second Chiefs receiver might not be as fantasy irrelevant as it once was. Robinson could be valuable depth to have moving forward.

Suggested Bid: $500,000

RSO Staff Picks: Week 7

Updated: October 19th 2017

Week 6 Results

1. Wendell – 8-6

2. English 6-8

3. Papson 4-10

Overall Standings

1. English – 55-36

2. Wendell – 54-37

3. Papson – 51-40

Wow, crazy week last week. Papson lost a bunch of close games and suffered a 4-10 week with English going 6-8, and Wendell winning the week at 8-6 (he won both his “island” picks with the Cardinals and Steelers pulling through for him).  Another great slate of games this week in what seems like a more wide open NFL than ever where each week anybody can beat anybody. Who will the big upsets be this week? Our staff picks are below:

NFL Game Picks

Game

Wendell

Papson

English

KC @ OAK

TB @ BUF

CAR @ CHI

TEN @ CLV

NO @ GB

JAX @ IND

ARI @ LAR

NYJ @ MIA

BAL @ MIN

DAL @ SF

SEA @ NYG

CIN @ PIT

DEN @ LAC

ATL @ NE

WAS @ PHI