"Where is my mind?" - Pixies
My mind is many things. Calculator. Worrier. Constant radio station. At any given time a song could pop into my consciousness that I haven't thought about in 20 years. Likewise last night as I tried to fall asleep, I found myself wondering who the backup PG for the 1999-00 Sacramento Kings was. I could not rest until I figured it out, finally: Darrick Martin! The mind is a wonderful, chaotic, mysterious place.
As I analyze this week's WR slate, I find myself wondering what my mind is telling me. As a Raiders fan, it is nearly impossible for me to be optimistic. That is what 13 years of negative conditioning will do to you. That is the type of logic that stopped me from expecting greatness from Amari Cooper, Derek Carr, and Latavius Murray. My own bias toward my favorite football team clouds my judgment. You can imagine the difficulty of being a Raiders fan for the past decade and a half. Countless coaches, quarterbacks, top 5 draft picks, and always the same horrible result. We had momentary hope when Hue Jackson breathed life into our offense, but then he crippled the future by bringing in Carson Palmer.
The last two weeks of Raider fandom have been shocking to my system. The Raiders usually play in the later games, so I'm usually good and drunk by then and ready to absorb another terrible performance from a group of awful football players. Then I saw the Raiders absolutely clobber San Diego. Next week, I'm fully expecting a loss to the Jets ferocious defense, instead Derek Carr skillfully knives them up for 4 TD passes. What the hell is happening! Pundits are calling them a sleeper playoff pick. I keep rubbing my eyes in disbelief wondering when the Raiders will revert back to, well... the Raiders.
To view things objectively, I have to see what the experts think about the Raiders. They usually will point to Michael Crabtree's high volume of targets weekly as a sneaky DFS play. PFF, who hated Derek Carr last season suddenly like him a lot and have him on the cusp of elite. For as talented as Amari Cooper is, we also have to take into consideration that he has yet to see a single red zone target. Carr has found the likes of Seth Roberts and Andre Holmes in different scenarios, which shows he is an advanced knowledge of the opposing defense and where the weak spot is. Cooper is already being regarded as a top tier WR by NFL defenses and the attention he's seeing is paying dividends both for Carr and the Raiders ancillary weapons. I suddenly have to view my perpetual disappointment of a team as fantasy relevant.
Let's take a look at some chalky WR picks this week. Julio Jones once again commands top price with a tag of $9300. I think you will see a fairly high ownership on Julio just because there are a lot of good pay-down options across the board and people will look to fit in expensive plays to mix in with their punts. I am not sure I like the Julio play this week just because of game-flow concerns. With Blaine Gabbert under center for the 49ers, we may see the Falcons jump out early and ride Tevin Coleman most of the 2nd half. Remember, at the $9300 price tag, you need a LOT of production to get a decent ROI.
We then have Odell Beckham Jr. facing Tampa Bay. ODB is definitely a stud, but I don't like his away stats so far. If you take away what he did last week in the shootout of the century in New Orleans, you see very average numbers for ODB away from home. Yes, I do think ODB will produce here against a shoddy TB secondary, but I will be fading him this week because I see better options elsewhere. For our other top price Ferraris, we have Antonio Brown and Julian Edelman. With Edelman, there are going to be gameflow concerns as a lot of experts are thinking this could turn into a "Blount game". This leads me to favor Antonio Brown as my Ferrari of the week. He's still underpriced for what he's capable of, and with facing a Raiders team that is pretty good against the run, we should see Big Ben look for Brown early and often.
We like BMWs. They aren't as sleek and elegant as the Ferraris, but when it comes down to it, they are efficient, well-engineered, and more affordable. At the top of the list is the trending-up Demaryius Thomas. DT showed impeccable chemistry with Peyton last week and easily tore through the Green Bay defense for chunks of yardage. We still have only seen 1 TD catch on the season, but we have to expect from what we know in the past, that Demaryius is going to go off soon, and last week was a good indicator that he's starting to click in the Kubiak offense. Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree should both be in play in what figures to be a high scoring game in Pittsburgh.
I still believe Mike Evans is capable of putting up a great day, but I am only going to be comfortable in going there if Prince Amukamura is out of the lineup, and Austin Seferian-Jenkins is in. Let's also mention Randall Cobb as a good contrarian play this week. Most astute players will know the Carolina secondary is exceptional with Josh Norman, but some will fail to recognize that the Packers line up Cobb in the slot, where he can do a lot of damage against a weak nickel corner. Fire up that Cobb pipe and smoke it. Finally, Brandin Cooks is tending up and Alshon Jeffery draws a tougher matchup, but is still underpriced for his ability.
The Ford Tauruses
Exceptionally affordable, American-made, trying to prove they're reliable. These are the guys we pick up and hope they don't burn us. We see the potential. We've analyzed the data. Maybe we're just using them as a temporary loaner while the Ferrari is in the shop. But we need them. They are the backbone of our economy. We can't afford a fleet of Ferraris. Stevie Johnson, we see you. You were good to us in the past, but then you fell out of favor. Now you're back and ready to reemerge. Allen Hurns, you've been reliable and steady all season. With your Allen in crime stuck on Revis island, this is your time to shine. Willie Snead, keep doing you. Keep getting those targets.
The Dodge Darts
Ugly, unreliable, but still with the potential to find some nitrous and surprise the hell out of everyone at least for one day. Robert Woods, Brandon Lafell, Dorial Green-Beckham, you have your work cut out for you. One of you is going to have yourself a day in the sun. But figuring out which boils down to pure luck.
That's a wrap for now. Sorry, I got a little long winded on this one. I'll try to tighten it up tomorrow for my final Week 9 blog on TE/D and Stacks.
Word to your mothers