15 Fantasy Football Transactions for Week 6
I don't think it's necessary for you to see Big Daddy if you haven't already. It's a pretty average Adam Sandler movie where this five-year-old boy is dropped off at the apartment of Sandler's character, Sonny, who also happens to be an unmotivated, lazy 30-something. Sonny just kind of sucks. But, to be heartfelt and to have some semblance of a plot, Sonny decides low-key to adopt the kid, and he falls in love. He starts to become a real person in society -- because there's nothing more inspiring than raising a child.
There was some Sonny character building prior to the kid showing up at his doorstep, just to show the audience that he didn't have his life together and always seemed to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Like the scene where there was a surprise going away party. Sonny, who wasn't at the party yet, opened up the door to his apartment, and everyone shouted, "Surprise!" But the surprise wasn't meant for him. It was meant for his roommate, who was leaving to go to China for work.
Seconds later, Sonny's roommate entered the party. There was no "Surprise!" for him, though, because everyone had spoiled it on Sonny.
"We wasted the good surprise on you!" his roommate's girlfriend (she might've been his fiancÃ©e) shouted.
The first two guys on this list of 15 transactions are in great spots. They're set up so well. But there's a chance that their upcoming cakewalk schedule gets ruined, just like the surprise party. Because...well, because one of them is Alex Smith. And the other one is closely tied to and associated with Alex Smith.
Add Alex Smith
Look, let's just be honest here. Alex Smith isn't a fantastic fantasy football option. He's a game managing quarterback who's fine in real life, but he doesn't put up the gaudy numbers we want from our fantasy team's signal-caller.
So when things look so optimistic for him, I have to talk and write about Smith with a grain of salt. I have to let you all know that this can go from butterflies and rainbows to short two-yard dump-offs on 3rd-and-10 that result in a punt.
But, whew. This Kansas City schedule looks promising. Over the next four weeks, Smith and the Chiefs get the Raiders (3rd-most fantasy points allowed per game to the position this season), the Saints (12th), the Colts (6th), and the Jaguars (7th). That's then followed up with Carolina (11th) and Tampa Bay (15th).
At the very least, Smith should provide you a high floor in each of these matchups. This really is a quarterback streamer's dream.
Buy Jeremy Maclin
Naturally, this soft schedule should really help Kansas City's top wideout, Jeremy Maclin.
Maclin owners are frustrated right now -- in four games, he's ranked no higher than 18th in weekly PPR scoring at the wide receiver position, despite the fact that he's seen nearly 40 targets. But he has a decent 22.5% target market share in the offense, and a reason for his lack of success is his lack of touchdowns (he's scored once). Using the last five years worth of data and associating how many touchdowns a player should have based on his yardage totals, Maclin's single touchdown should actually be 2.03, which would make him closer to a top-30 wide receiver rather than a top-50 one on a points-per-game basis (standard scoring).
That certainly doesn't make him elite, don't get me wrong. But when you combine the slow start with the slight positive touchdown regression and the upcoming schedule, he makes for an attractive buy-low candidate.
Add or Buy Sammie Coates
The Steelers have a void behind Antonio Brown on the wide receiver depth chart -- that's not news. Some figured Markus Wheaton would play that number-two role, but spoiler alert, Markus Wheaton isn't good. For analytical proof, he's been below average in Reception Net Expected Points (NEP) per target -- essentially, how effective a pass-catcher is with each target -- in two of his three completed seasons. And that's with Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback.
Enter Sammie Coates, who's now seen 31 targets through five games, with 11 of them coming this past week against the Jets. His snap rates haven't changed much week to week (his season high is 67%, with his low just under 50%), but his increased volume in the offense should make us feel pretty good about his presence on the field more moving forward. At the very least, he's a deep-play threat in an offense that likes to throw the ball vertically with one of the best quarterbacks in the league. The ceiling is what you're buying here, though.
Buy James White, Sell LeGarrette Blount
In this column a couple of weeks ago, I mentioned LeGarrette Blount as a sell because of Tom Brady's eventual return. It's not that Blount wouldn't get touchdown opportunities -- he will, as he did in Week 5 -- but the team's offensive philosophy is and will be different with Brady under center.
Without Brady through the first four weeks, no team had a lower drop-back-to-run ratio than New England at 0.95. But in four of the five seasons prior to this one, they hit the 1.40 mark.
That showed in Week 5. Well, sort of. The game got out of hand, so the Patriots ran the ball a lot down the stretch, and their end-of-game drop-back-to-run ratio was 1.20. Up through the third quarter, though, it was 1.52. And the pass-catching James White -- not LeGarrette Blount -- was on the field a whole lot. In fact, White ended up playing 48% of New England's snaps in Week 5, while Blount was on the field for just 39% of them. In a blowout. For reference, Blount saw 59%, 64%, 72%, and 54% of New England's snaps in the four weeks Tom Brady was suspended.
Again, Blount will get goal-line looks and should score touchdowns. But he's become a much more unpredictable fantasy asset with Brady under center than he was without him.
Add Cameron Meredith
When you saw the Bears' numbers this week, you probably were surprised to see Cameron Meredith with 12 targets, 9 catches, 130 yards, and a score. But with Kevin White's injury and a hobbled Eddie Royal, the usage was sort of logical. Maybe not to this degree, but Meredith was next in line for targets and drew a great matchup with Vontae Davis covering Alshon Jeffery.
It'd be shocking if Meredith sees this type of work consistently, especially once Royal is fully healthy -- Royal played just 56% of the team's snaps on Sunday. But the Bears currently rank fifth in drop-back-to-run ratio thanks to so many negative game scripts. That type of game flow shouldn't change moving forward, as the Bears rank 17th on defense according to our numbers.
Add Brian Hoyer
Speaking of that Bears' offense, how about Brian Hoyer? He's now started three games for Chicago since Jay Cutler went down with an injury, and he's thrown for 300 yards and 2 touchdowns in every single one of them. He's averaged 20.81 fantasy points per game over these contests, which is the same as Aaron Rodgers this season. And it's not really a fluke -- per Passing NEP, Hoyer has added more points for his team than all but eight quarterbacks in the league.
The Bears have some nice matchups upcoming, too. Week 6 sees them against Jacksonville (7th-most fantasy points allowed to passers), then Green Bay (14th), Minnesota (avoid!), and Tampa Bay (15th). Hoyer isn't a bad low-owned option for quarterback streamers.
Drop Tajae Sharpe
Yeah, this whole Tajae Sharpe thing needs to end for fantasy football owners. He's been treated as the top receiver for Tennessee all season long, playing 87% of the team's snaps through five weeks. No other wideout on the team has hit 60%. But all he has to show for it -- aside from 36 targets, which is 12 more than any other wideout -- is 3.8 standard fantasy points per game. Those are like, WR85 numbers.
He's still considered a flier, sure, and I can understand holding onto him in 14-teamers. If you're in shallower ones, there's no reason to hold onto him.
Add Devontae Booker, Hold C.J. Anderson
After the first two weeks of the season, it looked like C.J. Anderson was going to be a league-winner. However, since then (Weeks 3 through 5), Anderson's scored 5.10, 12.20, and 9.20 PPR fantasy points. While this has happened, Devontae Booker has watched his own snap rate go from 10% in Week 1 all the way to 41% this past week against the Falcons. Booker also had just five fewer rushes than Anderson in Week 5.
What's it all mean? Well, Booker needs to be owned if he's on your waiver wire. If his role continues to become more important, then he'll not only be a handcuff but also someone with standalone value. That could happen, too. As it stands, Anderson has just a 35.71% Success Rate, which measures the percentage of positive runs a back gets, per NEP. Among the 25 backs with 50 or more carries, that rate is ninth-worst.
But Anderson owners can't exactly sell him right now. He's had three poor performances in a row, so his value isn't exactly sky high. The ceiling is still there as well, assuming last week was more flukey than not. I'm certainly not optimistic about Anderson's rest-of-season value, though.
Hold or Sell Matt Forte
Matt Forte's season has been a lot like Anderson's, except you could argue there's a bigger threat to his workload. He went beast mode through the first two weeks, but since then, backup Bilal Powell has outscored him in PPR leagues in each of the Jets' last three games.
The thing is, each of those contests saw big negative game scripts for the Jets. When that happens, Powell will see the field more as a primary pass-catching back -- he's seen 24 targets over this three-week span. The Jets haven't been good this year and our numbers don't love them (they rank 22nd in nERD, which measures the number of points we'd expect a team to win by against an average squad on a neutral field), and the team's upcoming schedule features games against Arizona and Baltimore (two tough matchups) before things ease up versus the Browns and Dolphins.
In other words, if you can afford a potential Forte struggle over the next two weeks -- maybe your team only has one loss -- then hold onto him. If you need to climb back after a slow start, I'm not against trying to sell move him. Powell, without injury, isn't going to disappear magically.
Buy Chris Hogan
Chris Hogan is a great case study as to why snap rates matter. With Tom Brady suspended, he played number-two wide receiver snaps for the Pats, never falling below 78% in a single game. At the same time, because New England's quarterback play wasn't Brady-esque, Hogan was mostly irrelevant in fantasy football, but the high rates were why I was into him in last week's 15 Transactions column.
Week 5 showed us that he could be a solid asset this season. He missed some time due to a head injury in Week 5 but was able to come back, and he totaled 114 yards on 4 catches. As long as he's on the field with one of the best passers in football, he should be able to help your fantasy team.
Add James Starks
It appears as though Eddie Lacy's ankle injury isn't serious, but there are questions as to whether or not he can play this weekend. That means James Starks would be the lead dog. While that's not amazing news considering Starks had zero positive runs on the year, per NEP, entering Week 5 (that's not a typo -- all 12 of his runs were failures), anytime you can get a team's top running back on the waiver wire, you try to add him.
Drop Torrey Smith
There's a real chance Colin Kaepernick is under center for the 49ers against Buffalo this week, which could salvage Torrey Smith's value in fantasy football. But I doubt it. So far this year, Smith has seen 23 targets, failing to score just seven PPR fantasy points in all but one game. Jeremy Kerley is the wideout to own in this offense -- if you really want to own a receiver on the 49ers -- not Smith.
Add Charles Clay
Charles Clay isn't a sexy play at tight end in fantasy football, but he can give you a relatively high floor. That's what he's done over the last two games without Sammy Watkins, gathering 12 Tyrod Taylor targets for 120 yards. He's yet to score a touchdown this year, but with a big implied team total against the 49ers this week, Clay makes for a decent tight end streaming option.
Hold Isaiah Crowell
One of the more interesting, under-the-radar fantasy football storylines has been early-down back Isaiah Crowell's production despite the Browns seeing so many negative game scripts. On the year, Crowell has the 10th-most standard scoring fantasy points at the running back position, ahead of players like the aforementioned C.J. Anderson and Matt Forte. And, per our numbers, Crowell's 7.12 Rushing NEP is fifth-best in football.
Folks have noted that Crowell's buoyed his production with some big plays, and while that's not completely incorrect, his 42.47% Success Rate tells us that he's still making positive plays consistently -- that rate ranks 11th out of the 25 backs with 50 or more carries this year.
I wouldn't be buying him, though. Over the Browns' next nine games, eight of them are against teams that currently rank in the top half within our schedule-adjusted rush defense metric. So he should continue to see volume, and he's performing at a high level. There's just a chance he slows down a bit given the upcoming matchups.
Add the Tennessee Titans' Defense
They're at home. They're seven-point favorites. They're facing an offense in Cleveland that has questions at quarterback. And the Browns have surrendered a top-11 performance to four of the five defenses they've faced this season.
The Titans are a great streaming option this week.