Post Week 6 Buys

Updated: October 18th 2018

The fantasy world starts obtaining a decent picture of offensive roles and performance after six weeks in the NFL season.  When combined with a view of upcoming schedules, we can predict player who are good bets to provide good fantasy numbers going forward.  The article gives a number of options, with current PPR points per game, ranging from cheaper options to more expensive players who might be available in your league.

Cheap Quarterback: Joe Flacco QB21

No one wants to start Flacco in fantasy football.  He provides nothing in the rushing department and has never been much of a fantasy asset during his career.  There are a few things going for him however.   He currently sits with the second highest attempt total and ranks eighth in passing yardage.  The Ravens face one of the easiest remaining schedules for passing offenses including one game against each of the dreadful NFC South defenses.  Flacco is a viable second QB or streaming option the rest of season.

Expensive Quarterback: Drew Brees QB4

The ageless wonder once again plays at an extremely high level.  Brees threw for zero interceptions this year and recently broke the all-time passing yards mark.  He gets a fantasy friendly remaining schedule, particularly toward fantasy playoff time where he also receives the privilege of taking advantage of his fellow division teams.  The risk with Brees comes from a possible return to last year’s phenomenon where Brees performs at a high level but is used sparingly due to big usage by Kamara and Ingram.  That risk is mitigated by a Saints defense among the worst in the league.  New Orleans must throw more heavily in order to stay competitive this year.

Other option: Jameis Winston QB17.  Winston will be pricy coming off a big first start back from suspension but worth it.  He retains the advantages of Brees with a nice schedule to finish the year, strong supporting receiving corps, and awful defense but with little running game to lean on.  He should be a very high volume passer going forward.

Cheap Running Back: Austin Ekeler RB21

The former undrafted free agent was a nice surprise last year and followed it up this season producing the second highest yards per carry.  He maintains useful production each week amassing at least 55 yards in every game.  Ekeler plays on the league’s fifth highest scoring offense with a quarterback who utilizes running backs in the passing game at the third highest target percentage.  Looking beyond his standalone value, he also possesses incredible upside as Gordon’s primary handcuff.

Other option: Phillip Lindsay RB29.  Continuing with undrafted free agents, Lindsay’s production has also been a pleasant revelation.  He generated at least 66 yards each week (except for a game he was thrown out of) despite seeing only about a third of snaps in Denver.  Lindsay ranks fifth in yards per carry.  The upside is probably not as high as Ekeler’s with a far worse quarterback situation and a third running back who receives consistent weekly usage.  Lindsay was likely a waiver wire add in your league so he should be attainable from the right team.

Expensive Running Back: David Johnson RB13

Trading for true top-tier running backs is nearly impossible in fantasy leagues.  The disparity between elite options and other running backs is much greater than the difference at other positions.  The supply of high volume RBs remains extremely limited as most teams move to a committee approach.  Just sixteen running backs manage 60% of their team’s snaps so far and only five garner at least 80%.  Let’s focus on one of those backs.  There are a lot of negatives with Johnson.  He plays with one of the worst offensive lines contributing to an abysmal 3.2 yards per carry on the second lowest scoring team in the NFL.  The Cardinals’ coaching staff has limited his receiving opportunities and turned him into a more between-the-tackles grinder. So where is the upside here?  New head coach recently commented on his own job security just six games in meaning a shakeup in scheme could be on the horizon.  Johnson ranks fourth in snap percentage in the NFL on a team now starting a rookie quarterback and whose best receiver might be a rookie.  He will continue as the focal point in this offense and hope remains Josh Rosen improves enough as the season goes on to make this a viable offense.  Johnson is a huge gamble but one of the only backs with the opportunity (outside of injury) and skill-set to reach weekly RB1 levels.

Cheap Wide Receiver: John Brown WR35

The positive fantasy attributes for Flacco going forward extends to Brown and the rest of the Ravens receiving group.  Brown’s remaining schedule is filled with defensive backs who have trouble matching up with any NFL receiver much less anyone with Brown’s speed.  Per NFL Next Gen Stats, Brown ranks first in average targeted air yards and fifth in percentage of team’s air yards.  Put another way, Flacco throws deep to Brown a lot.  Expect some big games from Brown the rest of season.

Expensive Wide Receiver: Julio Jones WR9

Some stats are just hard to explain.  Jones’ zero touchdowns while accumulating the second highest total of receiving yards is one of them.  Take advantage of the discouraged owner who can’t get past the touchdowns.  Jones ranks first in percentage of team’s air yards by a good margin at an incredible 48%. He has a borderline WR1/2-type floor without scoring touchdowns.   Jones has record breaking overall WR1-type upside if he ends up on the plus side of touchdown luck going forward.

Other option: Keenan Allen WR26.  Targeting voluminous underperforming fantasy receivers with good quarterbacks is never a bad idea.  Allen ranks 14th in targets and 12th in receptions.  Look for better days going forward.

Cheap Tight End: David Njoku TE16

Njoku gained no less than 5 receptions, 7 targets, or 52 yards in the three games Baker Mayfield started with double digit targets the last two games.  Mayfield’s success with his wide receivers may generously be described as a work in progress.  We may very well consider Njoku a weekly TE1 going forward this year and in future years.

Expensive Tight End: Zach Ertz TE1

I am choosing Ertz out of the consensus top three tight ends (Kelce and Gronkowski being the others) for a couple of reasons.  First, the Eagles lost Jay Ajayi and are down to Clement and Smallwood in the backfield whereas the Patriots (Michel, White) and Chiefs (Hunt) feature superior talents in the backfields.  I fully expect the Eagles relying on the pass more going forward.  Second, Philadelphia’s passing game largely concentrates on Ertz and Jeffrey.  New England (Edelman, White, Gordon) and Kansas City (Hill, Watkins) feature more diverse receiving corps which spreads targets out to a greater extent.  This combination so far results in Ertz leading tight ends in targets by 12 and in receptions by 15.  He is my safest bet of the top tight ends going forward if I am looking to spend big at the position.

Bio:  Bernard Faller has degrees in engineering and economics.  He currently lives in Las Vegas and enjoys athletics, poker, and fantasy football in his free time.  Send your questions and comments (both good and bad) on Twitter @BernardFaller1.

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