Fantasy Football Mailbag: Tuesday 8/30/16
Fantasy football research never stops, and offseason news can really complicate things, especially when coaches talk up second- and third-string players. That's where our fantasy football mailbag comes into play.
Have a question about a certain player, team, draft strategy, or anything football? Shoot us a question on Twitter or send an email to Jim.Sannes@FanDuel.com, and we can talk anything fantasy football related -- even daily fantasy football.
Now, let's answer some questions.
@numberFire with the presumed ownership of Dak being sky high, what inexpensive QB do you recommend for GPP? Torn between RG3 & Bradford
— James Haack (@Lroomwormhole) August 29, 2016
This would depend on where you want to set the parameters on "inexpensive." With Vontae Davis out for the Indianapolis Colts, Matthew Stafford at $7,400 on FanDuel is probably the top option. The Dallas Cowboys' injuries on defense vault Eli Manning into the discussion at $7,200, as well. But if we're looking at quarterbacks at $7,000 and lower -- as much as people dislike him -- Joe Flacco is hard to ignore.
In looking for a big-game quarterback for DFS, we want a guy who is at home and favored. Of the cheaper quarterbacks, that gives us a list of Alex Smith, Sam Bradford, Brock Osweiler, and -- of course -- Flacco. Smith and Bradford never showed a ton of upside for DFS last year. Osweiler is up for consideration, and you could make an argument for him over Flacco, but the presence of Lamar Miller and the Houston Texans' slowing pace make him a bit more of an unknown. This gives Flacco a slight edge.
Flacco played 10 games prior to his knee injury last year, and he surpassed 20 points on FanDuel in half of them, and he fell just short at 19.7 points in another. Each of the other four came against teams in the top nine in numberFire's Adjusted Defensive Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per play, the schedule-adjusted metric we use to track the efficiency of a team's pass defense. Basically, as long as he wasn't in an overly tough matchup, Flacco was solid for fantasy. The Buffalo Bills were not in that realm last year, and they've seen the injuries mount up the past month. This is a good spot for Flacco.
With Steve Smith, Breshad Perriman, and Mike Wallace joining Kamar Aiken in the offense, the Baltimore Ravens have the weapons to be a quality unit. It might not be bad to invest in Flacco early in the season before the gains of their investment become too obvious.
@numberFire @FanDuel Do you think Brock Osweiller will have a good fantasy year or will he struggle?
— DJKfrmJCKS (@KunkelDJ) August 29, 2016
It's good to tackle this here after touching on Osweiler above. There's a wide range of outcomes for Osweiler, but within that range is his being a quality fantasy option.
Given the defense that the Texans have assembled, Osweiler doesn't figure to face an oppressive amount of negative game flow. This is critical for a young, inexperienced quarterback, and reducing that quarterback's exposure to these situations is important.
Additionally, we know that Osweiler will have weapons in Houston. Not only do they have Lamar Miller and DeAndre Hopkins, but Will Fuller has set the world aflame the past two preseason games. If everything clicks, Osweiler could be a solid asset.
There's another end of the spectrum that we must consider, too.
After the defense picked up last year, the Texans slowed their offensive pace significantly. At least based on preseason numbers, it doesn't seem like they're reverting to their high-paced ways.
Top-5 Preseason No-Huddle Rates (2015%; rank)
SF 70% (6%; 20th)
DET 62% (7% 17th)
NYG 45% (54%; 2nd)
MIA 42% (9%; 14th)
CAR 38% (20%; 6th)
— Pat Thorman (@Pat_Thorman) August 29, 2016
When you combine that with the potential they could pound away on the ground, there's the possibility that Osweiler becomes the Teddy Bridgewater of the AFC South. That's not going to provide you with a whole lot of fantasy goodness, no matter how efficient Osweiler may be.
Week 1 should give us a good idea of this. If the Texans allow Osweiler to pass while in positive game script, then he'll likely be a good streaming candidate in the coming weeks. If not, though, we'll want to look elsewhere at the position.
@numberFire Rank these super-late round TEs for season long: Jared Cook, Zach Miller, Vance McDonald, Virgil Green and Jordan Cameron
— Samir (@TexasBlueMoon) August 30, 2016
Of this list, Jared Cook would be the topper in that high-powered Green Bay Packers offense. However, we've spilled a bunch of ink the past few days on why Cook is the illest of the group, so we'll leave him there for now. After Cook, Zach Miller would likely be the one best suited for success.
Because tight ends are so dependent on touchdowns, we want to make sure we get one with a decent quarterback. Vance McDonald has the pace that we love, but his quarterback is certainly not even close to decent. As much as Trevor Siemian's story is dope, we don't know what he'll look like in the regular season. Finally, Jordan Cameron has big-time competition for targets and a largely inefficient quarterback in Ryan Tannehill. That leaves us with Miller.
As numberFire's Austan Kas laid out earlier this month, Miller combined volume with efficiency when he was freed from Martellus Bennett's shadow last year. Now, Bennett is out of town, and Miller's the lone ranger at the position. Jay Cutler has his flaws, but he was decently efficient when both he and Alshon Jeffery were healthy last year. That's enough to put Miller atop this list once we take Cook out of the equation.
Want to have your questions answered in our mailbag? Submit your questions by tweeting @numberFire or sending an email to Jim.Sannes@FanDuel.com.