Yahoo Daily Fantasy Football Primer: Week 7
Each week, this piece will go position-by-position on the main Yahoo daily fantasy slate, looking at high-priced and value options who are viable in cash and GPP lineups.
As I sit down to write this on Wednesday night, I am listening to the Les Miserables soundtrack. More specifically, I'm listening to the music from the original London musical, written by Claude-Michel Schönberg, and performed by actual singers. I am NOT listening to songs from the abomination that was Russell Crowe trying to convince us he could carry a tune, no matter how much Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway tried to make up for his lack of vocal chops. To me, someone who saw the original cast in London at a young age, the facsimile versions that followed were nothing more than amateur adaptations.
In that context, often there is a seemingly strong performance that demands a review with a discerning eye to compare whether or not it matches up with information previously available. We see Kirk Cousins finish as the QB2 in Week 6 with over 28 points, but do we remember that he never had more than 20 points in the five weeks prior. Miles Sanders showed me something, finishing in the top ten running backs, including 86 receiving yards. But how reliable are two catches of over 30 yards in one game when you only rush three times for six yards? Most knew not to pay for the career day for Will Fuller in Week 5, and were rewarded in his matchup against the Chiefs when Fuller scored less than seven points.
So much of fantasy football is about skepticism and context. When we are presented with a new, attractive performance, do we believe it is the new normal, or do we compare the context to the rest of the available data about that performance? This week's GPP-winning Cousins-Diggs stack is more than likely another Mike Zimmer ground and pound game the next time we see them. The proven over time is the reliable. My hope for you in the weeks ahead is that you don't get Russell Crowe'd into something that looks attractive, but ultimately lets you down.
Let's dive into the position-by-position analysis for Week 7.
Kyler Murray ($30) and Josh Allen ($30) - Instead of one high price and one low price quarterback this week, I am pivoting to tout two signal callers at the same price who will make up a significant portion of my quarterback ownership this week. There are so many parallels between the two in Week 7 seven that it is almost hard to differentiate between the two and decide who to lay more chips on.
Besides both Kyler Murray and Josh Allen being priced at $30, these two young quarterbacks both have implied totals north of 24 points, both can beat you with their arms and their legs (Murray 39.7 rushing yards per game, Allen 31.6 - they are also tied for second among quarterbacks with 35 rushes), both attempt more than six deep passes (15+ yards downfield) on average each game, and both face bottom ten pass defenses (New York Giants rank 23rd, Miami Dolphins rank 32nd) in this week's matchup.
I will assuredly scatter some other quarterback exposure through my lineups this week, but for the price, these two options stand head and shoulders above the rest.
Leonard Fournette ($32) - This week, Leonard Fournette is scheduled to visit a small location just outside of Kent, England. It's a town with just over 2,000 people named Chalk. The town of Chalk. Chalk town. Work with me here, people.
When the recipe includes almost 80% of the rushing share, almost 20% of the target share, an average of 23.5 touches per game, and a defense allowing 126.5 rushing yards per game, you are really just supposed to eat the chalk that has been prepared for you. Granted, the Cincinnati Bengals' pass defense has actually been worse than their rushing defense in terms of Net Expected Points (NEP), but when you are constantly the heavy underdog - as the Bengals are again at home this week - teams continue to run the ball and control the game tempo against you. This week, Brandon Gdula tweeted out the chart below, showing that teams continue to have overwhelming success in their rush attempts against Cincinnati.
Success Rates allowed to each position through Week 6 are posted on numberFire: https://t.co/Dgh8vMjALQ pic.twitter.com/zY0XvQWpEM
— Brandon Gdula (@gdula13) October 15, 2019
Tevin Coleman ($21) - Tevin Coleman missed two of the San Fran games due to injury in September, but in the three games in which he has played, his rushing share has increased from 18.8%>40.0%>43.9%. With Jeff Wilson out of the picture and Raheem Mostert looking at a decreased workload each of the last four games, the 49ers rushing attack has evolved into a two-headed monster with Coleman surpassing Matt Breida in rushing share, rushing attempts, and rushing touchdowns over the last two games. The latter is directly correlated to the simple fact that Coleman has out-rushed Breida in the red zone eight to one in the last two games. Not only is Coleman getting more of the overall work, but he is also receiving almost all of the high-leverage opportunities.
The Washington Redskins, well...they're the Redskins. They have the fourth-worst overall defense per our NEP metrics and have allowed the seventh most running back fantasy points per game this season. Despite having to travel completely across the country and play what is essentially at 10 AM for them, the 49ers are nine points favorites, setting up favorably for heavy Coleman usage as the game script develops.
Julio Jones ($31) - If the Los Angeles Rams' Jalen Ramsey and his miraculously-healed back does not suit up for his new team in Week 7, Julio Jones is my WR1 on the week. Should Ramsey stay sidelined, and with Marcus Peters traded away and Aqib Talib placed on injured reserve, the Rams would be forced to rely on either 5'10" Troy Hill or 5'7' Nickell Robey-Coleman to slow down Jones. I think I have seen this matchup somewhere recently.
Jose Altuve and Aaron Judge #Astros vs #Yankeespic.twitter.com/C9Utxa5VrM
— Radical Soles (@SolesRadical) October 12, 2019
This type of mismatch would allow Matt Ryan to pepper Jones with targets all game long. Julio has been disappointing (a relative term) over the past three weeks, so I am sure the Atlanta Falcons are eager to get Jones going, and there is no better environment than a home game where Atlanta is three-point underdogs.
Michael Gallup ($26) - Would you know the answer if I asked you which team has allowed the most touchdowns to wide receivers in 2019? Washington? Miami? Arizona? All incorrect. The Philadelphia Eagles have already given up 11 touchdowns in six games to the position and now face a Dallas Cowboys team in prime time who are third in the league with an ultra-efficient 0.27 adjusted Passing NEP per play.
In Week 6, when Amari Cooper left their game early, Michael Gallup led the team in targets, target share, air yards share, and average depth of target against a stingy Jets secondary. If Cooper were to miss again (he is not expected to practice this week), Gallup would be set up for a potential smash spot against an Eagles team allowing 33 fantasy points per game to the receiver position. Even at $26, his highest price tag of the season, Gallup is substantially mispriced for the matchup he will face on Sunday.
Mark Andrews ($22) - If volume and opportunity are king in fantasy football, we have a double dose of tight end goodness available on the Week 7 slate. For Mark Andrews, the Seattle Seahawks have quietly been a poor pass defense this season, ranking 22nd on the season according to our Passing NEP defensive metrics, while also allowing a 63.8% success rate on tight end targets, 29th in the league.
Andrews owns a season-long 25% target share, frequently showing up as the preferred target for Lamar Jackson. As of this writing, Jackson's other favorite target - Marquise Brown - has not practiced after missing Week 6. With Brown out, and with the Seahawks only allowing a total of 87 rushing yards to quarterbacks on the season (clearly a strength of Jackson), we may see Andrews soar past his average target share number up in Seattle.
Darren Waller ($18) - The Oakland Raiders' new $9 million dollar man is going to need to live up to the investment on Sunday as it looks like Oakland will be without the services of Tyrell Williams as rumors of plantar fasciitis are floating around.
The Green Bay Packers are no pushover when it comes to tight ends (they are in 10th best in the NFL in success rate allowed to the position), but without other viable options, Darren Waller might hit value on volume alone. Waller is averaging a massive 27.3% target share and 7.4 receptions per game on the season, leading all tight ends in both. As 5.5 point underdogs on the road, managers who roster Waller at Lambeau Field in Week 7 can be assured of the fact that the ball will be in the air early and often against the Packers. This type of game script usually bodes well for Waller as he has the league's highest catch rate for tight ends with at least 20 targets at 88.1%.