Sunday Takeaways: Carr’s Offense Can Sustain Two Fantasy-Relevant Recievers

Concentrated offenses continue to produce monster fantasy efforts and need to stop being ignored. For whatever reason, DeAngelo Williams was only around 20-percent owned in cash games while Antonio Brown hovered around the 50-percent mark. A few weeks ago I took the time to write an article about negative correlations in football lineups and how using them has been prosperous this NFL season. In cash games, you’re simply looking for value per dollar. Most weeks 160 will cash in 50/50s and double ups and FantasyDraft’s salary cap is $100,000. Therefore, you need 1.6 fantasy points per $1,000 spent to reach the goal. This week Williams was priced at $10,500 against an admittedly tough run defense in the Oakland Raiders. Still, Williams was fantasy football’s top scoring running back (RB) after two weeks this season, so it’s not like he hadn’t done it before. At his price, he needed just 16.8 fantasy points to reach value after posting 17.20 and 31.20 fantasy points in his two starts earlier this season. Even if you were already set on rostering Brown due to his chemistry with Ben Roethlisberger, the value was too great to pass on in cash games, despite the perceived negative correlation. Earlier this year the Julio Jones-and-Devonta Freeman stack won all the GPPs on FantasyDraft, so it’s not like this is a new concept. Other offenses such as the Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings fit the bill, plus they have a clear-cut top back as well as a single option in the passing game superior to all the rest. If the value is there, do not just pass on it because the players are on the same offense… especially in an excellent matchup.

Here are other observations I had watching an eventful week number nine:

Quarterback

Marcus Mariota, Titans – After missing two games, Marcus Mariota returned with a vengeance. He completed 28 of 39 passes for 371 yards and four touchdowns (TDs), including the game-winning score to Anthony Fasano in overtime… a “walk-off” TD, if you will. With this performance, Mariota became the first rookie ever to throw four TDs in a game with zero interceptions (INTs) twice. Although most of this performance was obviously a positive, the lack of rushing attempts is a bit of a concern moving forward. He suffered a MCL injury, which probably still is affecting him a bit even if he will not admit it. He rushed for at least two attempts in three of his four starts prior to injury, but only attempted one run in this game. What fantasy owners thought they were getting from Mariota to begin the season was a high floor on game-by-game basis due to his scrambling ability. The good news is he absolutely tore up the Saints, so his success through the air could be to explain for this. Regardless, it’s probably nitpicking because Mariota was incredibly impressive. Assuming his price does rise much, he’ll make for an interesting GPP option next week against a (tough) Panther passing defense that was just eaten up by Aaron Rodgers. Mariota has firmly solidified his spot as a QB2, meaning he can be considered as a solid lower-priced option in order to spend up at most other positions.

Andrew Luck, Colts – Drawing a matchup against the best defense in the NFL, many (including myself) wrote Andrew Luck off after his recent tough stretch. That turned out to be a mistake because Luck churned out his best performance in reality since probably week three and a bounce-back fantasy performance after a stinker last week versus Carolina. Look, his offensive line hasn’t magically improved, but Rob Chudzinski did take over as offensive coordinator this week and it looks like he had a logical plan. They actually committed to establishing the run with Frank Gore (season high 28 attempts) which opened up the passing game. If they commit to a balanced attack, it will help T.Y. Hilton run passed the defense and just overall have the defense thinking twice about fully committing to pass. If that is the case, Luck should be able to re-emerge as one of the top-five fantasy QBs in the game down the stretch. Do not miss out.

Running Back

DeAngelo Williams, Steelers – As mentioned in the opener, DeAngelo Williams enjoyed another monster performance filling in for Le’Veon Bell. He has now either rushed for 127-plus yards or scored two-plus TDs in each of his three starts (he accomplished a combination of both this week). In this offense, he’s simply a RB1 every time he steps on the field as he’ll contribute not only solely on the ground but in the passing game as well… somewhat similarly to Devonta Freeman. Hell, Williams provided owners with 7.5 fantasy points alone via two receptions. Two! The loss of Ben Roethlisberger will not help as the defense can key in slightly more on the run than they could have previously. Still, until Williams’ price increases to $13,000 or more, he’s worthy of weekly consideration because he has the potential to put up some bonkers stat lines.

LeGarrette Blount/James White, Patriots – Dion Lewis left week nine and all reports seem to suggest it’s a torn ACL and he’ll miss the remainder of the season. This is a big loss for the Patriots, who had essentially morphed him into a rich man’s Shane Vereen. Like any other Bill Belichick system, it’s next man up when they endure an injury. The next men up are LeGarrette Blount, James White and even Brandon Bolden. He will likely rotate between the three of them like he does every season, but I think their roles are reasonably clear: Blount is the workhorse back on the ground, White will play third downs and Bolden will mix into both roles sporadically. It’ll be up to fantasy owners to correctly predict game flow in order to choose the correct back for that given week. As usual, “good luck.”

Wide Receiver

Sammy Watkins, Bills – So much for “limited snaps” or a “pitch count”; Sammy Watkins accounted for nearly all of the Bills’ passing game on Sunday. Tyrod Taylor threw for 181 yards passing and 168 of them went to Watkins. That equates to 92.8-percent of the Bills’ receiving yards which is the highest percentage (min. 150 yards) since Qadry Ismail in 1999. My analysis of this situation is quite simple: Watkins is a beast as long as he can remain on the field. The problem with him is he hardly ever finishes games, even if he is able to start them. For that reason, he’s hard to trust as a cash option but remains an elite tournament play in the juicy matchups, since his “Mr. Hyde” performances can potentially lead to GPP victories.

Michael Crabtree, Raiders – This feels weird to say but the Raiders’ offense, at least the passing game, is totally legitimate. Never before have I said this, but I feel confident the Raiders’ passing attack can sustain two fantasy-relevant wide receivers (WRs) in the same season (let alone the same decade). Through nine weeks, Derek Carr’s 110.2 passer rating currently ranks fifth in the NFL behind only Tom Brady, Andy Dalton, Aaron Rodgers and Carson Palmer. He has officially moved into QB1 territory in fantasy and he will continue to spread the ball around, meaning there is plenty of value to be had. Even tight end (TE) Clive Walford is emerging as a weekly option as he continues to become more involved; he has now scored in two of the past three games.

Tight End

Garrett Celek, 49ers – Bye bye Vernon Davis, but one guy who will not miss him is Garrett Celek. After passing all obstacles in the concussion protocol, Celek (who was listed as questionable) suited up and scored twice with new starter Blaine Gabbert at the helm. Gabbert magically led the team to victory, so there’s absolutely no doubt who will be starting next week… it’ll once again be Gabbert. New QBs quickly find players they are comfortable with and developed chemistry, and it appears Celek is one of his guys. Celek was priced at the absolute minimum this week, so continue to look to him as a punt TE option in GPPs. He should consistently meet value at a basement price in this fresh offense. Seriously, he’s a player I would be keeping an eye on even on this dumpster fire of a team.

Ricky Sanders

Ricky Sanders

Ricky Sanders is a fantasy sports expert with over 15 years of playing experience. After starting several freelance fantasy sports blogs, Ricky moved up in the fantasy industry when he joined Going9 Baseball. He wrote fantasy baseball content and had a weekly radio spot on the site’s SiriusXM Satellite Radio show. Shortly thereafter, in early 2013, Ricky joined RotoExperts as a three-sport fantasy contributor, eventually becoming one of the site’s lead basketball writers. While writing for RotoExperts, Ricky was introduced to daily fantasy sports and immediately fell in love. With help from some of his mentors, some of the best DFS players in the world, he honed his skills and became the daily fantasy expert he is today. When RotoExperts created a daily-focused website called DailyRoto.com, Ricky was brought on as one of the main contributors. He still makes frequent appearances on the RotoExperts SiriusXM Radio show and on the FNTSY Sports Television Network, talking daily fantasy sports. He also continues to write for a few DFS content sites: RotoCurve and The Fantasy Fix. Ricky is a proud and active member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. He has agreed to be a writer and representative for the FantasyDraft brand and serves as an ambassador to the site. He has no more access to the site than the typical user. Don’t hesitate to contact Ricky with questions on Twitter @RSandersDFS.

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1 Response

  1. Carl says:

    Such a great feeling when you draft Williams and Brown in 75% of your lineups and they go off the charts.

    Just wish Doug Martin showed up!

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