Fantasy football is weird, isn’t it? Matt Breida leads the league in rushing yards. Ryan Fitzpatrick leads the league in passing yards. David Johnson is being abused and caged by his coaching staff therefor making his fantasy owners cry themselves to sleep. Yup, football is officially back. Luckily we can deduce and predict whose stock is rising and falling, so if you weren’t dominating before now, take a look, and get a week 3 win. It’s Risers and Fallers, let’s get into it!
Quincy Enunwa – WR (NYJ):
When Sam Darnold threw his first NFL pass for a pick-6 we all thought “same old Jets,” and I’m not saying they are in fact the same old Jets, but things didn’t seem to be improving. Now with two games under his belt, he’s posted a 66% completion percentage, and a 4.8 TD and INT%, throwing 3 each. Not good, but not horrible for a rookie. The benefactor of Darnold’s statistics is Quincy Enunwa, who has seen 32% of the Jets receptions, 34% of the targets, and 74% of the team’s total snaps, leading all receivers on the team in each of those categories. He is tied in scores with two others, all with one each, and combining these stats creates a great fantasy player. We have volume, production, and a QB who will hopefully improve as the season progresses. He is currently the WR24 and owned at 57%, so you may be able to pick him up from free agency/waivers for a very safe play, especially in PPR leagues. If Darnold develops quickly or has to rely on the passing game to stay competitive, Enunwa could end up being a steal at his current price, but that price is rising. He is proving to be a reliable play, with a safe floor and tremendous upside.
DeSean Jackson – WR (TB):
I know, I know. Ryan Fitzpatrick will inevitably fall back to his average, mediocre self, and Jackson will become irrelevant again. Well, yes, that is possible. What’s also possible, and what Bucs fans hope to see, is the coaching staff take note of what we’ve always known – DeSean Jackson can fly! If the Bucs continue to air it out with Fitzmagic, he holds the same type of value Tyreek Hill does. Notice I said “type of value,” as in, run down the field, throw it long, and let him burn corners and safeties. Averaging 30.6 Y/R, Jackson is posting 25 fantasy PPG in PPR formats. The bad news is that without those long scoring plays, his average goes to 8.3 fantasy PPG. The good news is that in week 1 he played on just 30.3% of snaps, but that rose to 58.6% in week 2.
If they incorporate him, continue to give him more snaps and let him fly, you can play him as a high risk/high reward flex. More snaps should equal less risk, and that isn’t asking for much given how he and his QB are playing right now. His pace should regress, but you should target him if he’s on waivers still. We have to ride the hot hand, and I’d especially consider Jackson if you’re weak at WR or play a juggernaut in the coming weeks and need some big plays to snag a win.
Matt Breida – RB (SF):
Before the season started I called for one of the San Francisco running backs to become a rising star in the aftermath of McKinnon’s knee injury. It seems that Matt Breida has become that star. He and Alfred Morris have almost split the workload equally, 26 to 24 snaps in Morris’ favor. But the production has separated these two – Morris with just 3.3 YPC and Breida with 8.4 plus a rushing TD. Now add the receptions – 6 targets to Morris’ 2, even playing 5 additional snaps on passing plays than Breida. Now factor in the 2 fumbles by Morris and all signs point to Breida being the safer, more productive play. They both are owned in over 60% of leagues (Breida at 76.6%) so if you want this action you’ll probably need to make a trade offer. We’re only two weeks into the season and as I’ve said before the situation could change, but there needs to be a shift towards Breida both for the 49ers record and fantasy owners alike.
Royce Freeman – RB (DEN):
On paper, this doesn’t look as scary as the eye test does. Freeman is being outworked by Phillip Lindsay, with 23 attempts to Lindsay’s 29. He is also being outperformed, posting a 4.3 YPC to Lindsay’s 6.1. Lindsay also has 4 targets, with 3 hauled in for 35 yards and a TD. Freeman has a lone target which he didn’t catch. Now add in Devontae Booker who is eating into each of the aforementioned RBs workloads, and it could be sayonara Royce Freeman truthers. Back to the eye test – Phillip Lindsay just looks much better. He’s shifty, has a beautiful one cut, and loses defenders in space. In between the tackles he lowers and bends around the chaos and somehow comes out of nowhere, then applies a one cut for extra yardage. I’d be selling my Freeman shares before the Denver RB situation becomes a committee system similar to Philadelphia.
Demaryius Thomas – WR (DEN):
Similar to the Freeman/Lindsay situation, a power struggle has ensued here. This could change through the course of the season, but as of now, Emmanuel Sanders has secured the WR1 spot in Denver for fantasy purposes. The scariest thing about Thomas is his abysmal 7.4 Y/R, compared to Sanders’ 16.5. Additionally, Thomas has 6 more targets than Sanders, but 3 fewer receptions leaving him with just a 52.4% catch rate. Sanders has a 93.3% catch rate. Each has a score on the young season, with a QB who is coming into his own in a new offense. Obviously, it’s early, but if you’re looking for a WR to catch passes and get YAC, you’re starting Sanders. If you’re looking for a WR with name recognition who has so far let you down, start Thomas. He’s currently playing 62% of snaps from out wide, so if they involve him more in the slot, he could get an uptick in targets. Unless we see a shift in that direction, there is nothing to hold onto with Thomas as of now.
Marvin Jones Jr. – WR (DET):
The “K” in Kenny Golladay stands for Kryptonite. There is a noticeable difference in production for Jones when Kenny G is out of the split. Per Rotoviz, from 2017 through week 2 of 2018 Jones is seeing 5 fewer fantasy PPG, 2 fewer receptions, and 4 fewer targets when Golladay plays. Jones has maintained his relevance by scoring TDs, the one stat that hasn’t changed much with Golladay in the picture. Jones is coming off a 1,101 yard, 9 TD season, and has so far played up to the numbers where Golladay was out of the split. The gamble here is whether or not he will slip back into the mean. He is on pace for a 64-864-8 stat-line compared to Golladay’s pace of 104-1624-8. Jones has the highest snap count of any Lions receiver, but the 4th most targets and lowest receiving % between himself, Golladay, and Tate. Stafford seems to prefer Tate and Golladay from their slot and wideout positions respectively, so Jones will have to rely on his team-leading red zone targets and TDs, or else his WR1 finish from 2017 will be long forgotten.
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