15 Sep Fantasy Football: Championship Winning Moves
If you have played fantasy football for a decent amount of time you are aware that you can not win your league on draft day, but you can lose it. This is especially true for your first two or three picks. Moreover, it’s not necessarily all about nailing the highest scoring players in those rounds, whereas avoiding the busts is crucial to success. Where you really can gain an edge on your league-mates is hitting on players in the middle-to-late rounds. Nevertheless, capitalizing on those high upside flier-type picks is not the most integral part of winning a championship.
Now I will pose the question; what do Charcandrick West, Gary Barnidge, and Tim Hightower all have in common? Well, all of whom were not drafted in fantasy circles last season, but all were among the top-10 players owned on the highest percentage of championship teams in ESPN leagues in 2015. The nitty-gritty aspect of manning the waiver wire on Tuesday’s or Wednesday’s became the route of acquiring such players a year ago. This just goes to prove that mining the waiver wire is the paramount piece of championship contention. That being said, you can check back every week for advice on the players to grab who can potentially lead you to fantasy stardom.
First things first, if you know me or have read any of my content you will know that I am a big prognosticator in the wait on quarterback approach. If you have followed suit, you obviously missed out on the every week “no doubt” starters like the Aaron Rodgers, Cam Newton, and Andrew Luck’s of the world. Every week I will give you one low-owned quarterback that you can look to pick up and stream in a favorable matchup.
QB: Joe Flacco (BAL) @ Browns- Flacco always seems to find his name tossed around in conversation revolving the word “elite” in pro football circles (also believed by teammates, illustrated by the awesome t-shirts they had made to the left). Nevertheless, he is never brought up in similar conversations by fantasy communities, and for good reason. Even though he “walked the walk” in his contract year by winning a Super Bowl, and therefore earned himself elite-level type money; he never really has put up consistent fantasy elite QB1 numbers. Coming off of a one touchdown performance in a snooze-fest versus the Bills, he will get a much softer opponent in Week 2 at Cleveland. A team that just gave up 278 yards and two TD to rookie Carson Wentz, who a few weeks prior was third on the Eagles depth chart sporting fractured ribs. While it all depends on who you have and who is available come Week 3 and moving forward for your QB position, one must note that Flacco does have the Jaguars, Raiders, and Redskins in the coming weeks. While all of those defenses made some improvements this offseason, they still are not teams that scare me away by any means.
Honorable mentions: Jameis Winston (if available) @ Cardinals, Brock Osweiler vs. Chiefs.
RB: Terrance West (BAL) @ Browns- Looking for RB with low ownership but solid opportunity is, and will continue to be a tough task on the waiver wire each and every week. West fits the bill even though he is coming off an underwhelming 12 carry for 32 yard performance in Week 1. The workload is what’s important here with 10+ touches seeming imminent, and even though he is a medium-ceiling player he is worth the pickup in the muddled Baltimore backfield. Nevertheless, when rookie Kenneth Dixon returns from his sprained MCL in a few weeks he could end up surpassing both Forsett and West as the starting RB. West is the immediate pickup especially in shallower leagues, whereas Dixon is the long-term stash and preferred if you have an IR spot.
Honorable mentions: Tevin Coleman (if available, out performed Freeman in opener) @ Raiders, Theo Riddick (if available) vs. Titans.
WR: Tyrell Williams (SD) vs. Jaguars- Obviously devastating news to Keenan Allen, but this opens up the door for major opportunities in San Diego. Travis Benjamin will see an increased role, but more than likely he is owned unless you play in a four person league, three of which are grandmothers with dementia. In the wake of Allen’s injury last week, Williams saw five targets hauling in two receptions for 71 yards. As fantasy analysts, we love WR who offer the unteachable measurable of size, which usually leads to better production and a higher ceiling (Antonio Brown is the exception). Tyrell stands at 6-foot-4, and with his opportunity exponentially increasing, foreshadowing a Malcolm Floyd deep-ball type connection with Rivers is not a far-fetched notion. Dontrelle Inman also should see an increased role, but we have seen his limited capabilities on the field, and Williams simply offers more upside with the same floor.
Honorable mentions: Will Fuller (if available, would be my top waiver priority this week) vs. Chiefs, Tajae Sharpe (if available, would be my second waiver priority) @ Lions. Victor Cruz vs. Saints, Cole Beasley @ Redskins, Mike Wallace @ Browns, Jeremy Kerley @ Panthers.
TE: Dwayne Allen (IND) @ Broncos- If you read my mock-draft article before the season kicked off, Allen would not be available because he would be on your squad. With the TE position being so volatile beyond Gronk and Reed, I believe it was most advantageous to wait until the double digit rounds to snare a guy like Allen or Gates. With Allen being more readily available than a guy like Gates (38% owned in ESPN leagues), he becomes the easy addition here. As advertised in a shoot-out with the Lions in Week 1, the Colts are poised to throw the ball a s*!t ton sporting that awful defense of theirs. Coby Fleener has moved on to New Orleans leaving all of the tight-end duties to Allen (Doyle will not snake two TDs again). Take advantage while Allen is healthy, as he has shown that he is not capable of staying on the field consistently.
Honorable mentions: Jesse James vs. Bengals, Jacob Tamme @ Raiders, Eric Ebron (if available, would be second behind Allen) vs. Titans.
D/ST: Baltimore Ravens @ Browns- Again if you know me, for one you know that I am leading the charge to end the usage of kickers and team defenses in the fantasy realm. Secondly, if you are forced to play in a league using those positions it is best to wait until your two very last picks to select a kicker and defense. Defense especially as I found it to be most successful playing matchups each and every week, known as “streaming” defenses. This weekend the Ravens fit the bill facing a Browns team that just lost their starting QB in RG III, and are still missing their top wideout in Josh Gordon. Coming off of a solid performance against a better offense in the Bills, they should be able to take advantage of a depleted Browns offense.
Honorable mentions: Eagles D/ST @ Bears, Jaguars D/ST @ Chargers.
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