The fantasy carnage has been devastating for some. The Zero RB Theory has been a veritable mine field: Sammy Watkins, Josh Gordon, Eric Decker, Keenan Allen, Dez Bryant, Corey Coleman, Donte Moncrief and others out of commission. Tyler Lockett, Devin Funchess and Tyler Boyd have been unplayable. Is there help out there on the wire? If you play in the NFFC, the answer is not much. Let’s look at the football "basket of deplorables" that may be on the wire.
Dontrelle Inman hauled in 7 of 11 targets for 120 yards. The bulk of fantasy scoring came on a 57-yard catch where Inman simply blew by Saints cornerback Ken Crawley, who allowed Inman free release to the outside and the safety missed his assignment as well. I don’t know that it will be that easy for Inman most of the time, but 11 targets are 11 targets. You can’t wait for Philip Rivers to "prove" it a second week in a row unless you want to pay heavy freight down the road. Tyrell Williams hurt his arm on a play in the third quarter and was helped toward the sidelines, but he later returned to the game and seemed unaffected.
Dez Bryant is somehow week to week with a hairline fracture in his knee….or is it a bone bruise? Does anyone remember the last time Bryant was healthy for more than a couple of plays? Will the Cowboys hold out the oft-injured receiver until after the Week 7 bye so he can heal up? If Dallas’ #1 gets reinjured, Brice Butler’s stock goes way up. Dak Prescott targeted Bryant’s backup nine times in Week 4, good enough for 17th most targets among wide receivers.
With Sammy Watkins out for the bulk of the season, Tyrod Taylor has to find a new target. Buffalo doesn’t like to pass much, but they do pass some, enough to support 10 targets of Robert Woods.
Digging even deeper, New York Jets undrafted rookie Robbie Anderson is someone to keep an eye on. Brandon Marshall has been a little dinged up and the former Temple Owl is only an injury away from a bigger role in the offense. Even as the #3, Anderson saw six targets last week. Although his pro-day 40 time was 4.34, that type of speed doesn’t seem apparent on his game film. Nevertheless, he’s fast enough and has an excellent stop-and-go move that can burn corners for a big play. Consider him a desperation WR3 or Flex play if he gets more looks. I wouldn't be ready to start him at this point, but he's someone to keep on your radar. Or, if you have chaff like Josh Gordon to discard, he might be worth a $1 bid as a stash.
Kevin White has been placed on Injured Reserve. That means Eddie Royal should be owned. Keep an eye on Cameron Meredith to see if his role increases.
I haven’t watched film on every game in the NFL this year, but I’ve watched a good bit. The worst game for cornerbacks has to be the Lions dismantling of the entire Green Bay secondary. Until they fix this broken defense, I’m riding the aerial attack of whatever team the Pack is facing.
Eli Manning - There’s good Eli and bad Eli, and I think this matchup is just the tonic that the Giants QB needs.
Tom Brady – I always find it interesting when I hear people flippantly dismiss the "angry Tom Brady" theory, as if emotions or level of focus have no bearing on performance. I never try to convince them otherwise. I just smile, tell them they’re right, and ask them to join my league.
Carson Wentz – The rookie is accurate, sharp, makes excellent decisions, doesn’t make mistakes, spreads the ball around and gets a great matchup against the Lions.
Odell Beckham Jr. – We’ve already addressed the matchup. ODJ is due.
John Brown – Led the NFL with 16 targets in Week 4, but with Carson Palmer not traveling with the team and Drew Stanton slated to start, Brown is relegated to a high-risk, GPP-only play.
Brice Butler – We talked about Butler earlier. If Dez is inactive, this speedster is dirt cheap and should easily cover his cost.
Julian Edelman – The man that can find Edelman finally returns, and he’s angry.
Eddie Royal – Alshon Jeffery has been dinged up with ailments in his knee and hamstring, and now Kevin White is out of the picture. Some of those extra targets figure to go to the former Charger.
Melvin Gordon – The sophomore has speed to burn, but the line has not been opening up holes. The fantasy production from the former Badger has been buoyed by touchdowns and his YPC against the Saints and Colts was right around 2.0 YPC. I’m fading Gordon this week.
Terrance West – Justin Forsett’s release has catapulted the mediocre journeyman into fantasy relevance. This is a situation to watch closely. It’s hard to read the tea leaves as to whether West or Kenneth Dixon gets the most carries. Either makes a decent GPP play, and if you’re boxing permutations, floating two similar lineups with both Ravens backs makes sense given their low cost and matchup against the Redskins. Cash game players may want to steer clear and opt for someone with guaranteed touches.
DeMarco Murray – Has received between 18 and 27 touches each of the first four weeks of the season and gets to face the Dolphins.
Zach Ertz – If you’ve been playing DFS much this year, you probably know that attacking Detroit is a common chalk play. It’s worth reiterating that Carson Wentz loves to spread the ball around, but Ertz should still get looks in the end zone. The Eagles first-string tight end has been out since Week 1 and a full practice points to his availability this weekend. But if Ertz has a setback, Trey Burton would be a sneaky play at near minimum salary.