2018 fantasy football composite rankings: WR

The NFL Draft is now over and the next big event for football fans is likely their very own fantasy football drafts. The Game Haus will have rankings by both Joe DiTullio and Braxton Angle, as well as composite rankings, coming out over the coming weeks. These will be adjusted when the season gets closer, but it’s never too early to look ahead.

Tiebreakers were decided by both Joe and Braxton.

For longer explanations, you can find their individual rankings here: Joe and Braxton.

Here are the composite wide receiver rankings:

Wide receiver rankings: 1-10

1. Antonio Brown- Pittsburgh Steelers

Braxton’s rank:1

Joe’s rank: 1

2. DeAndre Hopkins- Houston Texans

Braxton’s rank: 2

Joe’s rank: 2

3. Odell Beckham Jr.- New York Giants

Braxton’s rank: 3

Joe’s rank: 4

4. Julio Jones- Atlanta Falcons

Braxton’s rank: 5

Joe’s rank: 3

5. Michael Thomas- New Orleans Saints

Braxton’s rank: 4

Joe’s rank: 6

6. Keenan Allen- Los Angeles Chargers

Braxton’s rank: 7

Joe’s rank: 5

7. A.J. Green- Cincinnati Bengals

Braxton’s rank: 6

Joe’s rank: 7

8. Davante Adams- Green Bay Packers

Braxton’s rank: 8

Joe’s rank: 8

9. Mike Evans- Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Braxton’s rank: 9

Joe’s rank: 9

10. Tyreek Hill- Kansas City Chiefs

Braxton’s rank: 10

Joe’s rank: 10

Wide receiver rankings: 11-20

11. Larry Fitzgerald- Arizona Cardinals

Braxton’s rank: 12

Joe’s rank: 11

12. Alshon Jeffery- Philadelphia Eagles

Braxton’s rank: 11

Joe’s rank: 13

13. Adam Thielen- Minnesota Vikings

Braxton’s rank: 15

Joe’s rank: 12

14. T.Y. Hilton- Indianapolis Colts

Braxton’s rank: 14

Joe’s rank: 14

15. Doug Baldwin- Seattle Seahawks

Braxton’s rank: 16

Joe’s rank: 15

16. Amari Cooper- Oakland Raiders

Braxton’s rank: 17

Joe’s rank: 16

17. Demaryius Thomas- Denver Broncos

Braxton’s rank: 18

Joe’s rank: 17

18. Golden Tate- Detroit Lions

Braxton’s rank: 20

Joe’s rank: 18

19. Pierre Garcon- San Francisco 49ers

Braxton’s rank: 19

Joe’s rank: 24

20. Brandin Cooks- Los Angeles Rams

Braxton’s rank: 13

Joe’s rank: N/A

Wide receiver rankings: 21-30

 21. Marvin Jones- Detroit Lions

Braxton’s rank: 25

Joe’s rank: 19

22. Jarvis Landry- Cleveland Browns

Braxton’s rank: 23

Joe’s rank: 21

23. Julian Edelman- New England Patriots

Braxton’s rank: 22

Joe’s rank: 23

24. Allen Robinson- Chicago Bears

Braxton’s rank: 26

Joe’s rank: 20

25. Josh Gordon- Cleveland Browns

Braxton’s rank:21

Joe’s rank: 27

26. Robbie Anderson- New York Jets

Braxton’s rank: 24

Joe’s rank: 25

27. JuJu Smith-Schuster- Pittsburgh Steelers

Braxton’s rank: 27

Joe’s rank: 26

28. Devin Funchess- Carolina Panthers

Braxton’s rank: 28

Joe’s rank: 30

29. Stefon Diggs- Minnesota Vikings

Braxton’s rank: N/A

Joe’s rank: 22

30. Randall Cobb- Green Bay Packers

Braxton’s rank: 29

Joe’s rank: N/A

 

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wide receiver rankings

2018 fantasy football wide receiver rankings

When it comes to fantasy, wide receivers can be some of the most volatile players on a weekly basis. Even players at the top of the league can have games where they record less than 10 points. So if you’re going to spend a first-round pick on a wide receiver, they better consistently be seeing double-digit targets between the 20’s and one or two red zone targets per game. Let’s find out who fits that description in the first edition of my 2018 fantasy football wide receiver rankings.

Wide Receiver Rankings: 1-10

1. Antonio Brown – Pittsburgh Steelers

Antonio Brown is the only player to finish in the top three in targets since 2015. He’s an absolute monster. Brown has what we all want in a player, the workload of a running back and the upside of a wide receiver. The 2017 season was the first time Brown didn’t score double-digit touchdowns since 2014. There are some minor concerns about Brown heading into this season. Todd Haley is no longer the offensive coordinator, and Ben Roethlisberger is another year older, and more susceptible to injury. However, there is no disputing Brown is the unquestioned number one option at the wide receiver position.

2. DeAndre Hopkins – Houston Texans

By the end of 2018, DeAndre Hopkins might have something to say about my last statement. Apart from Brown, Hopkins is the only other player to finish top three in targets since 2015. All the while, he’s been doing it with sub par quarterback play, not a future hall-of-famer like Roethlisberger. We saw a taste of what Hopkins did last season with Deshaun Watson. During that stretch, he averaged 9.8 targets, 6.3 catches, 91.83 yards, and one touchdown per game. At that rate, Hopkins would have the best year of his career, and it may be enough to unseat Brown atop rankings like these.

3. Odell Beckahm Jr. – New York Giants

Despite the inconsistency of his quarterback, OBJ ranks inside the top five heading into 2018. Even though he’s coming off an injury, it occurred on a freak play and did not result in the tearing of any muscles. So, he will likely not suffer from the confidence issue that most player do when they are recovering (I also find the notion he’ll lack confidence to be laughable based on what we’ve seen). He’ll be playing with an improved running game and offensive line, which will alleviate some attention he receives from opposing defenses. But what makes OBJ so incredible, is his ability to seemingly score from any point on the field at any time.

4. Michael Thomas – New Orleans Saints

Although he plays in a run-first offense, Michael Thomas is the unquestioned number one target of Drew Brees. Thomas will likely see more single coverage this season as a result of the success of New Orleans’ running attack in 2017. So, even if he isn’t seeing the volume of other players on this list, the efficiency and quality of the targets he’ll receive will help bridge that gap. The only other perceivable knock on Thomas is his red zone usage, as the Saints like to pound Mark Ingram, or exploit a mismatch with Alvin Kamara.

5. Julio Jones – Atlanta Falcons

Julio Jones scares me. I have to rank him this high because of his talent, production, and quarterback. However, there are a few major red flags. One, he’s injury prone. Two, he’s wildly volatile, maybe even the most volatile fantasy player of all. He can have 10 catches for 200 yards and 2 touchdowns, or 3 catches for 36 yards and zero touchdowns. Three, his team inexplicably ignores him in the red zone and goal line. And four, he’s unhappy about his contract. It’s not being publicized, but Jones is currently the eighth highest paid receiver behind players like Jarvis Landry and Sammy Watkins. I don’t think this will cause Jones to hold out, but it’s been reported that he is not happy with the situation. I’d be cautious taking Jones in the first round if you’re in a 10 or 12 team league.

6. AJ Green – Cincinnati Bengals

2017 was not a good year for AJ Green. He had a career-high in single digit-fantasy performances with seven (according to standard and .5 point ppr scoring). Green also acted out of character this year with that outburst against Jalen Ramsey. Green appears to be in line for a bounce-back season. Cincinnati has made upgrades to their offensive line and should have a more productive running game. Both would allow Green more time to get downfield, as well as provide him with more single coverage situations.

7. Keenan Allen – Los Angeles Chargers

Keenan Allen, unlike AJ Green, had a career year in 2017. He played in all 16 games for the first time, and the results were great. Allen finished with top five in targets, catches, and yards. Hopefully he will increase his touchdown output in 2018. However, he still had more touchdowns than Michael Thomas and Mike Evans, who were consensus first and second round picks.

8. Davante Adams – Green Bay Packers

I want to put Davante Adams higher on this list; however, he’s had a bit of an injury history. Like Allen, he’s only had one season in which he played all 16 games. Since he’s not the physical specimen Allen is, he ranks just beneath him. Adams is in line to be Aaron Rodgers number one target, which is great. But, something tells me Green Bay will make an effort protect Rodgers by running the ball, as they did with success during his absence. Adams could very easily jump players like Allen, Green, and Jones if he sees a true number one’s volume.

9. Mike Evans – Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Conversely, I’d like to rank Mike Evans lower on this year’s wide receiver rankings. I had 100 percent exposure to him last year in fantasy leagues and was not pleased with this output. But, I learned from my mistake so it wasn’t a total loss. What keeps Evans from being higher is his inability to make plays after the catch. Evans averaged 1.6 yards after the catch. At his height, he would average more yards after catch if he simply fell forward every time he caught the ball. This severely limits Evans’ upside, and hampers his effectiveness between the 20’s.

10. Tyreek Hill – Kansas City Chiefs

Tyreek Hill impressed many last year by being more than a speedster and developing into a wide receiver. Kansas City was able to deploy him all over the field and become less predictable as an offense when he’s out wide or in the slot. Hill has the upside of a Jones, Beckham, and Brown, but has since built up his output floor. While Patrick Mahomes may seem like an upgrade, his accuracy and effectiveness at the NFL level is still unpredictable. Given this fact, I don’t think I’d take Hill until the third round.wide

Wide Receiver Rankings: 11-20

11. Alshon Jefferey – Philadelphia Eagles

What makes Alshon Jefferey a surprisingly valuable asset, was his effectiveness with both Nick Foles and Carson Wentz. So, we won’t have to worry if Wentz isn’t available week one. The Eagles deployed Jefferey in the redzone as well as deep down the field. While he’s not the most consistent game-to-game, he plays in a great prolific offense with two capable quarterbacks.

12. Larry Fitzgerald – Arizona Cardinals

Larry Fitzgerald somehow figured out a way to finish top five in targets, second in catches, and top 10 in yards. He managed to do this with multiple quarterbacks throwing him the ball, and, without the threat of David Johnson to take attention away from him. Fitzgerald will be a player I’m targeting this season, especially if I have a volatile or injury prone wide receiver as my number one.

13. Brandin Cooks – Los Angeles Rams

Brandin Cooks might be the luckiest receiver in NFL history. He’s played for Sean Payton, Josh McDaniels, and now, he gets to play for Sean McVay. Cooks is incredibly talented. Other than Randy Moss and Larry Fitzgerald, no player had more catches, yards, and touchdowns through their age 23 season. Cooks looks to add to his historically great start in Los Angeles. I’m of the belief that this whole offense will take a step back. Also, Cooks’ volume will likely be unpredictable until the fourth or fifth game of the season.

14. T.Y. Hilton – Indianapolis Colts

Disclaimer, T.Y. Hilton’s place on these wide receiver rankings are assuming Andrew Luck is the week one starter. We all saw how incredibly explosive Hilton could be in the right matchup. However, we also know that Hilton can disappear in any given game. Hopefully, Luck’s return will raise his floor and make him a value on draft day. Like my theory with Fitzgerald, I would shy away from Hilton if I have a volatile number one like Jones or Hill.

15. Adam Thielen – Minnesota Vikings

If last year didn’t establish Adam Thielen, at a minimum, top 20 receiver, then I don’t know what will.  Thielen finished top 10 in catches and top five in yards in an offense led by Case Keenum. He’s not a bad player by any means, but Kirk Cousins is objectively superior. With the return of Dalvin Cook, and Mike Zimmer’s overall disdain for throwing more than necessary, it’s likely he won’t see the same volume. However, Thielen proved he can score from anywhere on the field and run a complete route tree.

16. Doug Baldwin – Seattle Seahawks

This is a pivotal season for Doug Baldwin. Despite Russell Wilson leading the NFL in touchdown passes, Baldwin was only able to snag eight of them. He also had his lowest output in terms of catches since 2015, and yards in 2014. It’s likely he will have a regression to the mean in those categories, but, will it be worth the draft pick you used to acquire him?

17. Amari Cooper – Oakland Raiders

Everyone remembers that Thursday night game against the Chiefs in which Amari Coper went unconscious with 11 catches for 220 yards and two touchdowns. Sadly, that game made up about 30 percent of his production for the entire season. There’s honestly no telling what his production will be with Jordy Nelson and Jon Gruden’s new offensive scheme. Unless Cooper I can get Cooper as my third receiver, I’ll likely take a pass on him.

18. Demaryius Thomas – Denver Broncos

I haven’t decided how I feel about Demaryius Thomas and this Denver offense yet. Case Keenum will no question be the best quarterback to lead this team since Peyton Manning. Hopefully reports from training camp won’t inflate Thomas’ value before draft season. Thomas is a player who has big-play upside, it’s just a matter if Keenum’s line will hold up and allow him to connect on the deep and intermediate routes.

19. Pierre Garcon – San Francisco 49ers

Pierre Garcon should be a target of everyone who drafts a boom or bust player in their first two rounds. Garcon is slated as the number one receiver in this offense. Marquise Goodwin could cut into his volume, but he’s a deep threat and not as polished as a possession receiver. Not to mention, Goodwin suffered a brutal concussion at the end of last season. Garcon could have one of his best years since leaving Indianapolis, even with his advanced age.

20. Golden Tate – Detroit Lions

Tate is another example of an underappreciated fantasy asset. Since coming to Detroit, he’s never had less than 90 catches, 800 yards, and four touchdowns. What truly makes Tate valuable, is his run after catch ability. Last season he finished fourth in yards after catch with 6.9. It’s unclear whether or not new head coach Matt Patricia will alter the offensive philosophy from featuring Matt Stafford as a high volume passer. However, Tate’s track record shows us that he will maximize every opportunity given to him.

Wide Receiver Rankings: 21-30

21. Josh Gordon – Cleveland Browns

Josh Gordon’s position in these wide receiver rankings has nothing to do with football. It’s great that he’s back in the NFL, but in no way should he be viewed as a top 15 player at his position. Last season, when everyone in the DFS community was pounding the table on Josh Gordon against the Packers as a “must play”. He didn’t completely disappoint, as he scored 14.4 points. But, I paid $1,000 less for his teammate Corey Coleman, who scored 14.7 points that day. The moral of the not so humble brag is that you cannot depend on Josh Gordon. If he proves he can put an entire season of productivity together, he’ll rise up the ranks quickly.

22. Julian Edelman – New England Patriots

Julian Edelman will start week one. He suffered his injury during the preseason last year, so he’ll be more than prepared to dominate out of the slot. My hope is that Edelman slides on draft day because of his injury and his perceived lack of production. Last season wasn’t the first time he missed multiple games due to injury, so there is a risk that he could get hurt again. Not to mention, the Patriots love getting fantasy players’ hopes up just to crush them. I’ll certainly have Edelman on my list of players to be targeting.

23. Jarvis Landry – Miami Dolphins

Jarvis Landry was a target monster in Miami. Whether that trend continues, remains to be seen. If Baker Mayfield was set to start week one, I’d have Landry higher on the list. Mayfield is substantially more accurate than Taylor, and attacks the middle of the field well. As soon as he becomes the starter, Landry’s value will increase.

24. Robbie Anderson – New York Jets

If Robbie Anderson can go the rest of the summer and not threaten to sexually assault a police offer’s wife, I’ll be happy (if you want to laugh I encourage you to look up his exact wording). Anderson emerged as the number one receiver with Josh McCown at the helm. Hopefully, that will continue when Sam Darnold inevitably gets the start. Anderson’s combination of height, speed, and run after the catch ability make him dangerous, even if he’s playing on a below average team with average quarterback play.

25. Marvin Jones – Detroit Lions

I feel like I’m saying this about a lot of players in this range, but I want to target Marvin Jones. As the second, or co-number one option on the Lions, Jones had more than 60 catches, 1,000 yards, and accumulated nine touchdowns. This, in large part, is a bi-product of Stafford and the high volume of pass attempts. However, Jones sees most of the team’s red and green zone targets. Stafford loves throwing fades to Jones and assuming Stafford’s volume stays the same, Jones will be a good value.

26. Allen Robinson – Chicago Bears

I have no idea what to do with Allen Robinson. He’s the unquestioned number one in Chicago, but, believe it or not, he’s downgraded from Blake Bortles. Mitchell Trubisky, to this point, doesn’t give me the confidence that Robinson will see the volume or the production of a number one receiver.

27. JuJu Smith-Schuster – Pittsburgh Steelers

JuJu is a good player, but he’ll likely be over-drafted relative to other players at his position because of the team he plays for. Volume is so important for wide receivers. So why should we consider JuJu as a top 20 option if he has to compete with Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell for touches? His talent is undeniable, but his involvement in the offense will be unpredictable with the new offensive coordinator.

28. Devin Funchess – Carolina Panthers

I’m retroactively regretting ranking Funchess this low. Even though he finished with less than 70 catches and 1,000 yards, he caught eight touchdowns and had to compete with Kelvin Benjamin for almost half of the season. Despite Greg Olsen coming back and the addition of DJ Moore in the draft, Funchess could be in line for his first 1,000 yard season.

29. Randall Cobb – Green Bay Packers

Cobb, for the first time in two seasons, is the projected number two for the Packers. The organization clearly values what he can do and featured him in the offense even when Nelson and Adams were on the roster. Cobb’s injury history keeps him from being higher in these rankings.

30. Will Fuller – Houston Texans

Wrapping up the top 30 is Will Fuller. Fuller isn’t particularly special. In my opinion, he’s a less skilled version of T.Y. Hilton. But, he plays in an offense with a quarterback that isn’t afraid to target him deep, and across from one of the NFL’s best receivers.

 

Featured Image courtesy of; Youtube.com

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2018 fantasy football WR rankings

The NFL Draft is now over and the next big event for football fans is likely their very own fantasy football drafts. The Game Haus will have rankings by both Joe DiTullio and Braxton Angle, as well as composite rankings, coming out over the coming weeks. The rankings are for standard leagues. These will be adjusted when the season gets closer, but it’s never too early to look ahead. Here are Joe’s WR rankings:

Wide receiver rankings: 1-10

1. Antonio Brown- Pittsburgh Steelers

Brown has totally proven himself over the last couple of years and will be the first wide receiver off the board in most drafts. He finished second in scoring last season, but sat out the last two games of the season. Brown did have some off games last season (five games of under 10 fantasy points) but did enough in other weeks to make up for it.

2. DeAndre Hopkins- Houston Texans

The leading fantasy receiver last season was DeAndre Hopkins. He has proven that it doesn’t matter which quarterback is playing, he still produces. Hopkins will be hoping that Deshaun Watson is healthy though, as three of his top four performances were with the rookie under center. With Watson improving in year two, Hopkins should be near the top of most fantasy rankings.

3. Julio Jones- Atlanta Falcons

Jones finished sixth among receivers last season and that was with Steve Sarkisian, who couldn’t figure out how to get him the ball properly. He also was coming off of a foot injury that led him to sit out of offseason workouts. While Sarkisian is still there, Jones will now have Calvin Ridley lining up with him and Mo Sanu. He is simply too talented not to give the ball to. Sarkisian needs to spend his offseason figuring out how to get the most of his players, Jones included, or he will be out of a job.

4. Odell Beckham Jr.- New York Giants

He only played four games last season before getting injured but was able to rank fourth among receivers in those four weeks. If Beckham can get healthy and stay healthy he will produce. He will be aided by the fact that the run game will be better, which will keep defenses honest.

5. Keenan Allen- Los Angeles Chargers

2018 fantasy football wr rankings

Keenan Allen (Photo by nbanflnobody.com)

Last year was the first season in which Allen has been able to play in a full 16 game schedule and he shined. Allen finished fourth in fantasy points last season with help from a few very good weeks. With Mike Williams coming back healthy and the offensive line being more healthy at the start of the season, Phillip Rivers will not only have more time to read defenses, but will have more options to throw to, as teams can’t solely focus on stopping Allen.

6. Michael Thomas- New Orleans Saints

Thomas finished eighth last season and continues to get better every year. He also has Drew Brees throwing him the ball and a lot of bad secondaries to go up against in the NFC South. Since his rookie season, only Antonio Brown has more fantasy points than Thomas at the wide receiver position. Expect more big things to come for Thomas this season.

7. A.J. Green- Cincinnati Bengals

He finished 10th last season and that was without too many viable receivers on the roster. John Ross and Tyler Boyd should have increased roles in the upcoming season, but it is hard to tell with Marvin Lewis coached teams. Tyler Eifert and Tyler Kroft should create a good tight end tandem. This means that there will be less focus on Green. The offensive line will also be vastly improved from last season, meaning Andy Dalton will have time to hit him on more deep balls.

8. Davante Adams- Green Bay Packers

Without Jordy Nelson on the roster anymore, Adams is unquestionably the go-to-guy for Aaron Rodgers. He was just outside the top ten in fantasy scoring last season and should see a huge bump up with Rodgers being healthy as well. Randall Cobb, Jimmy Graham and some young receivers will help keep double teams off of Adams.

9. Mike Evans- Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Evans disappointed fantasy owners last year, finishing 20th overall. While it wasn’t a great season, he still managed to get 1,000 receiving yards. If Jameis Winston can take another step forward this season, Evans should move back up in the final fantasy scoring ranks.

10. Tyreek Hill- Kansas City Chiefs

Hill finished fourth in scoring last season but now has to deal with a new quarterback. Pat Mahomes has potential but needs to improve his accuracy. The reason Hill stays in the top 10 is that they can get him the ball in so many ways and once he has it, he’s a threat to take it all the way. Expect a decrease in production, but not by too much.

Wide Receiver rankings: 11-20

11. Larry Fitzgerald- Arizona Cardinals

The ageless wonder continues to be a great option in fantasy football. He was top 10 in scoring last year and now will now have a new quarterback. If Sam Bradford is the starter, he will hit him on short routes and let Fitzgerald run after the catch. If Josh Rosen gets the nod he will need to rely on Fitzgerald early and often. Fitzgerald will produce with whatever quarterback is throwing him the ball.

12. Adam Thielen- Minnesota Vikings

With Case Keenum having his career year, Thielen also excelled. Now he has Kirk Cousins, who hasn’t had great receivers to work with throughout his career. They have already started to work together and Thielen should post similar, if not better, numbers than last season.

13. Alshon Jeffery- Philadelphia Eagles

Jeffery tore his rotator cuff and may not be ready for the start of the season. He finished 15th last season while playing very sparingly over the last two weeks of the season. No matter who is throwing passes on the opening day of the season, Jeffery is a solid WR2 play.

14. T.Y. Hilton- Indianapolis Colts

He had a bad season without Andrew Luck, ranking outside of the top 20. With Luck seemingly coming back this season, Hilton should move up higher in draft boards. The offensive line is now built to protect Luck and the Colts being conservative with his injury recovery, should mean he stays healthy.

15. Doug Baldwin- Seattle Seahawks

Baldwin is now one of the only decent targets that Russell Wilson can throw to with Jimmy Graham, Paul Richardson and Jermaine Kearse all leaving the team in recent seasons. He should get a lot of targets and be a decent WR2 if Wilson can stay healthy behind a bad offensive line.

2018 fantasy football WR rankings

Amari Cooper (Photo by silverandblackpride.com)

16. Amari Cooper- Oakland Raiders

Cooper struggled last season and didn’t produce. With Jon Gruden now taking over, a healthy Derek Carr and an offseason to get things straight, Cooper should start living up to his potential again. The field should be wide open with Jordy Nelson and Martavis Bryant flanking him.

17. Demaryius Thomas- Denver Broncos

A new quarterback in Denver in Keenum should increase Thomas’ productivity. He finished 23rd last season without good quarterback play, so a healthy bump up the projections should be expected. If Keenum has a season that is even slightly close to his season last year, Thomas will star.

18. Golden Tate- Detroit Lions

Tate has over 90 catches in the last four seasons and is a model of constant production. He is in the last year of his deal, meaning he will want to produce. Matt Stafford targets Tate over one more time per game than his running mate, Marvin Jones Jr.

19. Marvin Jones- Detroit Lions

He doesn’t get as many targets as Tate, but he makes the most of them and finished fifth in scoring last season. He will likely regress to the norm this season and shouldn’t be drafted as the fifth overall receiver this season. He fits in better as a WR2 than a WR1.

20. Allen Robinson- Chicago Bears

Robinson has new digs in Chicago and will be Mitchell Trubisky’s number one target. He’s used to performing with a quarterback that didn’t always play well and should help Trubisky’s development. His 2015 season will give a lot of hopes to fantasy owners this season.

Wide receiver rankings: 21-30

21. Jarvis Landry- Cleveland Browns

The Browns might have some semblance of a passing offense with Tyrod Taylor. Landry is a catch machine who is another receiver used to playing without the best players at quarterback. If the running game can keep the offense balanced, Landry shouldn’t see much dropoff in production.

22. Stefon Diggs- Minnesota Vikings

Diggs has morphed into the second best receiver on his team but still is capable of making big plays. He finished 17th last season and should finish in a similar range depending on how he vibes with Kirk Cousins.

23. Julian Edelman- New Orleans Saints

One of Tom Brady’s favorite targets returns from injury and will need to regain his quickness. Brady’s familiarity with Edelman and Brandin Cooks leaving should open up opportunities that Edelman has had in the past.

24. Pierre Garcon- San Francisco 49ers

Garcon is the number one receiver for the 49ers and his ranking will be very dependant on Jimmy Garoppolo improving. The soon-to-be 32-year-old had a season-ending injury, but should be able to reclaim his place as the team’s most productive receiver.

25. Robbie Anderson- New York Jets

There is no question about Anderson’s talent on the field, but he has off-the-field issues that make him a risky pick. He finished 16th in scoring last year and if he can stay on the field, will produce again this season.

2018 fantasy football wr rankings

JuJu Smith-Schuster (Photo by yahoo.com)

26. JuJu Smith-Schuster- Pittsburgh Steelers

He had a breakout season last year and now Martavis Bryant is gone, making him the undeniable number two target. The 18th wide receiver from last year may not have quite as good of a season with teams being able to scout him for a full season, but he is worth a pick in the middle rounds of most fantasy drafts.

27. Josh Gordon- Cleveland Browns

Gordon is another receiver that needs to stay on the field and can be a solid pick for fantasy. He too will benefit from the skill position players the Browns acquired this offseason.

28. Emmanuel Sanders- Denver Broncos

The 2017 season was disappointing for Sanders due to injuries and bad quarterback play. Keenum is the key here, as if he plays well Sanders should have a much better 2018.

29. Chris Hogan- New England Patriots

Hogan had a shoulder injury that left him unable to compete for the last seven games of the season (Hogan had one catch over that span). He was a great fantasy option last season and now Brandin Cooks and Danny Amendola are gone.

30. Devin Funchess- Carolina Panthers

Funchess and Greg Olsen will be Cam Newton’s first options this season, but there is more help around them now. He will continue to use his size to create matchup problems with just about every secondary in the league.

 

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2018 NFL Draft profile

The 2018 NFL Draft is just under a month away, which means that Draftmas is back. Draftmas will take a look at each NFL team heading into this year’s draft, what their needs are and who they could be targeting. Draftmas continues today with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2018 NFL Draft profile.

Summary

The 2017 season for the Bucs can be summarized in one word: disappointing. That does not apply to just one side of the ball or a position group, but to everyone on the roster.

Jameis Winston was expected to take another leap forward entering his third year in the league and second year with Dirk Koetter. Unfortunately, injuries stunted his development and chemistry with new pass catchers like DeSean Jackson and O.J. Howard.

Overall, the Buccaneers finished as the 18th best scoring offense and ninth in yards. Their ability to produce yards more often than points was not the result of red zone woes, but opposing defenses playing more conservative as a result of their early leads.

As a result, this team took to the air early and often. Winston still threw for 3,504 yards in 13 games. He looked as though he had finally returned to form in the last month of the season. Winston completed 67.2 percent of his passes for 1,584 yards and threw nine touchdowns and five interceptions with a passer rating of 99.2 in the month of December. He was by no means flawless, but Bucs fans should breathe easy knowing that Winston’s injury will not affect his play going forward.

Photo from TampaBay.com

The Buccaneers defense and staff took a collective sigh of relief when last season ended. This unit finished last in yards allowed and 22nd in points allowed.

Once again, injuries played a huge role in this unit’s decline. Over the course of last season, the Bucs had more than 16 players miss at least two games, including multiple players being placed on injured reserve on defense alone. There are great pieces in place like Lavonte David, Gerald McCoy and the newly acquired Jason Pierre-Paul that should help them rebound in 2018.

Picks and Needs

The Buccaneers are in a good position. Since multiple teams are in the market to draft a quarterback, the Bucs could find themselves accumulating more picks and trading back to a team like the Bills or the Cardinals. If they decide to stay put, there are multiple prospects that could help them at the seventh spot. The Bucs have seven total picks in the 2018 NFL Draft in the following rounds.

First round (1 pick): 7

Second round (1): 38

Third round (0): 

Fourth round (1): 102

Fifth round (1): 144

Sixth round (2): 180, 202

Seventh Round (1): 255

Offensive needs:

Offensive line – This unit is actually above average if you just consider center, Ali Marpet, right guard, Evan Smith and one of the league’s best ascending tackles, Demar Dotson. But the Buccaneers need to upgrade their left guard and left tackle.

They should ideally target a mauler at left guard, as their line as a whole is more proficient in pass protection than opening up holes in the running game. There are no longer any top-100 free-agent offensive linemen available. They could look to sign veterans like Eric Winston, Byron Bell or Will Beatty to at least secure some depth at the tackle position.

Running back – With the departure of Doug Martin this offseason and Charles Sims still unsigned, the Buccaneers’ remaining backs are Jacquizz Rodgers, Peyton Barber and Dalton Crossan. None of these backs are capable of being a 15 to 20 touch player that also has big-play upside. They should look to upgrade this position in the draft because of the depth at this position in the 2018 class.

Defensive needs:

Cornerback – This group is led by Brent Grimes and Vernon Hargreaves. Sadly, Hargreaves’ development in his second year was stunted due to injury, but he was not playing well before then either. Whether or not Hargreaves improves, he primarily plays in the slot. The Buccaneers should look to upgrade their starter opposite of Grimes in the draft.

Linebacker – Lavonte David is a great player and Kwon Alexander has shown flashes of being a quality linebacker. Alexander has struggled to stay healthy, missing four games in 2015 and 2017, and Kendell Beckwith was not good enough to be a starter last season.

The Buccaneers could do one of two things. They could either continue to play Beckwith or another linebacker at the Sam position in their 4-3 defense, or they could do what other teams like the Seahawks and Rams have done and play a large athletic safety in the box like Kam Chancellor and Mark Barron.

Targets

The prospects listed in this section are players the Buccaneers can realistically target considering their position in the 2018 NFL Draft.

First round:

Pick No. 7: Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State

Buccaneers 2018 NFL Draft Profile

Photo from USA Today

The Buccaneers are in a great situation at their position. They already have their franchise quarterback, and multiple teams in front of them will likely select quarterbacks. Quenton Nelson would be a great pick for this franchise, but it’s highly unlikely he falls to them. If that is the case, the Buccaneers can solidify a need with the best player in the draft at his position.

Denzel Ward is quickly rising up draft boards with a great showing at the combine. His tape during his tenure at Ohio State was impressive as well. He, like his predecessors Bradley Roby and Marshon Lattimore, excels at playing press coverage. Ward also has great feet in addition to the ability to disrupt the catch through batting balls and hand placement.

Pairing Ward with Brent Grimes and Vernon Hargreaves will allow Gerald McCoy and Jason Pierre-Paul to reach the quarterback. The Buccaneers could consider Minkah Fitzpatrick, the do-it-all safety from Alabama. He would certainly have an impact but would have to compete with TJ Ward if brought back through free agency.

Denzel Ward would be the best selection for this secondary in terms of impact and need.

Second round:

Pick No. 38: Isaiah Wynn, OG, Georgia

Isaiah Wynn would be a great fit for the Buccaneers. He excels in run blocking, something that the offensive line as a whole struggled with in 2018. He has been described as a dependable pass blocker and performed well at the Senior Bowl. Wynn also offers versatility because he can play tackle and even bump inside to center if needed. This is ideal if the Buccaneers decide to move Ali Marpet to his more natural position of guard. He also has experience running inside zone, the most popular run play called by the Buccaneers last season. Another player at this position to consider, if he is available, would be Will Hernandez from UTEP.

Conclusion

With less than three picks in the first three rounds, Tampa Bay needs to nail their first and second-round selections. They need to pick two players that will not only fill a need but also start from day one if they hope to keep pace with the Saints, Panthers and Falcons.

Make sure to tune in tomorrow for the Chicago Bears 2018 Draft profile.

 

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Josh Gordon fantasy

Josh Gordon fantasy football: Fantasy impact unlikely

Josh Gordon is set to play this week for the Cleveland Browns for the first time since 2014. Gordon has been on a roller coaster ride the past three years, being suspended for all of 2015 and 2016. He has not played in a regular-season game since December 2014. But head coach Hue Jackson per Pat McManamon of ESPN  has big plans for him to be a big part in the Cleveland offense.

“My plans for him? Oh boy, let me tell you,” Jackson said. “I got big plans for him. I plan for him to play and play as much as he can handle.”

Jackson also praised the type of player Gordon is and how talented he is and we have seen it before. In 2013 he led the league in receiving yards with 1,646 even though he was suspended the first two games and receiving yards per game (117.6) and posted three consecutive 150-plus-yard games. That has been only done six other times in NFL history and only by Gordon since 1995. In 2014, he was suspended 10 games and finished 303 receiving yards and no touchdowns, catching 24 of 47 targets in five games.

Even though fantasy players are excited to see his return, the impact in fantasy looks unlikely he will perform at a high level. For one reason is the fact he hasn’t played in three seasons, the other is the quarterback situation.

Why Gordon is a Risk

There’s a similar story of Gordon’s return this year. We’ve seen this with Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Martavis Bryant. He had a solid in 2014 when he had 549 yards and eight touchdowns on just 26 catches. In 2016 he was suspended for the whole season.

When he returned in 2017 he was expected to return to form, but he has been one of the biggest disappointments. In his 10 games, he’s averaged 2.7 catches for 34.6 yards and 0.2 touchdowns per game. This has resulted in him asking to be traded and even one week as a healthy scratch.

Gordon has proven to be a better player then Bryant but is possible to become a bust as it has happened to a lot of players who have missed a year for substance violations, some have even never made it back to the NFL.

Josh Gordon fantasy

Josh Gordon (Photo by: seattlepi.com)

The other major factor is Cleveland’s quarterbacks. Cleveland hasn’t had a solid quarterback in a long time. But Gordon has proved to play well with a lower tier quarterback and even went through a trio of them including Brian Hoyer, Brandon Weeden and Jason Campbell. He caught at least one touchdown from all three. But the difference in this situation is that they were experienced.

This year it is quite different. Rookie DeShone Kizer has struggled with only five touchdowns and 14 interceptions. Along with that he could see Cody Kessler and Kevin Hogan. Not the best group of quarterbacks compared to his monster 2013 season.

A small factor to consider but rather more side note is his game shape and if he’s fully ready to go. He hasn’t played a down in three seasons, so he may not have a big game right off the bat especially late in the season.

Why Gordon is worth the risk

But if there’s glimmer of hope, Gordon has proved to play well and posting huge numbers in a broken system. His 2013 season is the big reason why. He’s only 26 years old and still looks to be in his prime. Along with that, he’s their best receiver even missing this much time. The fact that Jackson is starting him right away and giving him a big workload gives the indicator that Cleveland needs some help anyway they can get it.

Josh Gordon fantasy

Gordon (Photo by: profootballweekly.com)

Gordon can also be a big turn around in the Cleveland offense. Per Pro Football Focus’ Nathan Jahnke pointed out Gordon resides in impressive company when it comes to his field-stretching capabilities: “Most Yards Per Route Run since 06 (min 1000 routes): Julio, Brown, Odell, Green, Andre, Demaryius, Megatron, Steve Smith, Evans, Josh Gordon.”

And the good part about that is Kizer is good throwing the ball deep. In 2013, Gordon had the longest reception of 95 yards as well had the most 20-yard plus receptions with 30 and with the most 40-yard plus receptions with nine. The Browns are looking for some big plays and Gordon could be the x-factor to spice up the offense.

Don’t expect Gordon to return to Full form – yet

In the end though I don’t see Gordon producing much in the next four weeks. But Gordon is an intriguing add especially if your team is in the playoffs. For a team that needs to take that big risk, he’s definitely worth a roll of the dice if you’re a fantasy underdog but don’t expect a big game from him. For teams in no contention he isn’t worth the risk unless you like to steal him away if he hasn’t been picked up.

But this is a story to root for. It looks lie he has turned his life around and ready to be a full participant in the NFL. And I expect him to rebound next season. Looking forward to 2018, I rank Gordon a WR2 but has WR1 potential.

 

Featured image from chicagotribune.com.

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Fantasy football: Three injuries to watch for in week 12

The 2017 NFL season has seen key players all around the league go down with season-ending injuries. Like many other years, fantasy owners just have to adapt to injuries and move on with hopes of the backups play just as well. However, the hardest injuries to handle are the ones that linger with your players and cause them to be inactive some weeks and active but not one hundred percent other weeks. Here are three injuries to watch for week 12.

Jameis Winston (tampa bay buccaneers)

The shoulder injury has been nagging Winston since a week six loss to the Arizona Cardinals. Obviously a shoulder injury is something to watch for a quarterback and when Winston missed the second half of the game against the New Orleans Saints. After that game, head coach of the Buccaneers Dirk Koetter, told the media that he would be shutting down his sat quarterback for several weeks to let his shoulder heal.

Now the Buccaneers travel to Atlanta to face off against division rival Falcons. Winston has officially been ruled out for Sunday’s game against the Falcons which means Ryan Fitzpatrick will be under center for the Buccaneers. Last week without Jameis Winston we saw the Buccaneers beat the Dolphins 30-20 with “Fitzmagic” throwing for 275 yards and two touchdowns. Fitzpatrick is merely a desperation start if need be, but otherwise he should stay out of your lineup.

Devonta Freeman (Atlanta Falcons)

Three injuries to watch for week 12.

(Photo Credit:http://www.sportingnews.com)

In the first quarter of a 27-7 win against the Dallas Cowboys, Devonta Freeman took a helmet-to-helmet hit and endured his second concussion of his career. Freeman sat out last week’s victory over the Seattle Seahawks as Tevin Coleman took over lead back duties and struggled. Coleman rushed for 43 yards and one touchdown on 20 rushes against the very solid Seahawks defense.

 

Freeman didn’t practice Wednesday and was a limited participant in Thursday’s practice which is a good step but it seems like he won’t be suiting up in Sunday’s contest against Tampa Bay.

If he does in fact sit out Sunday’s game, it will be Tevin Coleman taking over lead back duties once again as he looks to bounce back against the weaker Buccaneers defense. Plug in Coleman as a steady RB2 and if you’re desperate, pick up Terron Ward to fill a void in your lineup.

Greg Olsen (Carolina Panthers)

Cam Newton’s favorite target looks like he’s about to make a return to the field in week 12 against the New York Jets. This is a necessity as the Panthers traded away Kelvin Benjamin and lost Curtis Samuel for the year due to injury. Olsen has participated in practice Monday and Wednesday this week and Ron Rivera has said that Olsen is looking good for Sunday’s matchup against the New York Jets.

The Panthers receivers have struggled with drops, other than Christian McCaffrey and Devin Funchess, so the addition of Greg Olsen to their lineup should give Cam Newton more consistency in the passing game.

Olsen is going to have to fight for targets from Funchess and McCaffrey but he will definitely see his fair share as outside of those three guys, there isn’t many more reliable receivers fighting for targets on the Panthers. Greg Olsen is a TE1 this week and should be started in all formats.

 

Feature Image courtesy of Don Juan Moore/Getty Images

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Is Doug Martin a number one fantasy running back with Winston sidelined?

Doug Martin fantasy: Now a number one option?

Jameis Winston has been dealing with a shoulder injury that has caused him to underperform in recent weeks. The preseason darkhorse for MVP hasn’t performed quite like people thought he would to start this season. Through eight games in 2017, Winston has thrown for 1,920 yards, ten touchdowns and six interceptions, while leading his team to a sub par 2-6 record.

People thought he and the Bucs would be much better in 2017 but they haven’t lived up to the hype. Now Winston is sidelined for a couple of weeks to rehab his shoulder and the question remains, is Doug Martin a number one fantasy running back with Winston sidelined?

The case for Martin as a RB1

Doug Martin had a three-game suspension to start this NFL season. During the offseason, and leading into preseason, he looked like an absolute beast. He cut back on his fatty foods and increased his training to six days a week, cutting out body fat and becoming leaner and stronger. To start this season, Martin hasn’t found as much success as previous years.

Through five games in 2017, Martin has 73 rush attempts for 254 yards and two touchdowns. The Muscle Hamster has faced some tough defenses since his return to action going up against the Panthers and Bills, among others in three of his first five games. That may be a reason for some of his struggles, but don’t be hesitant to start him in upcoming weeks.

Since Winston initially went down with his shoulder injury, Doug Martin received 18 and 20 carries in back-to-back games respectively. This shows fantasy owners that Tampa Bay isn’t afraid to go with a ground and pound offense when their star quarterback is less than 100 percent. Excluding last game where the whole Bucs team got shut down by the Saints, Martin has found more success with more volume of carries.

Now in the next two games, Doug Martin and the Buccaneers offense goes up against the sub par New York Jets defense and the sub par Miami Dolphins defense where, if given more volume, he can find success for the Buccaneers and fantasy owners.

The case against Martin as a RB1

Doug Martin fantasy

https://i.sportstalkflorida.com

Now many people may be skeptical as putting Martin in as their number one running back when he hasn’t done much to prove he’s worthy of that. He’s only put together two good games since re-joining the league in week four and those games were against the two worst defenses he’s gone up against.

Against the New England Patriots and the Arizona Cardinals, Martin had 13 and 14 fantasy points respectively. As a matter of fact, both of his big games have come when he has found the end zone. He’s failed to do that in the last three weeks, which may be a main reason as to his fantasy struggles. That issue may not be resolved with the loss of Winston and Mike Evans this week against the Jets.

Another red flag during Martin’s 2017 season has been his sub par yards per attempt. So far he has put up a weak 3.5 yards per attempt, the second worst mark of his career. This may be because of the 27th ranked offensive line of the Buccaneers. The run game comes directly from the guys up front an if they can’t execute their blocks, Martin has no chance to succeed in the next coming weeks.

Saying Martin is going to regress with Winston out is unlikely, but I wouldn’t put him as a clear RB1. I would place Martin in the high end RB2 category with RB1 potential.

 

Feature Image courtesy of http://img.bleacherreport.net

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Jameis Winston fantasy

Fantasy impact: Jameis Winston shut down

On Nov. 6, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers shut down quarterback Jameis Winston to rest his injured shoulder. He is expected to miss at least two weeks.

Winston said he did not aggravate the sprained AC joint he suffered three weeks earlier. The injury happened before halftime on Sunday when he was sacked by Cameron Jordan and Alex Okafor.

Coach Dirk Koetter said he was definitely hurt after the play. That led to backup Ryan Fitzpatrick replacing him. With Winston out, how will the other players respond without him?

Mike Evans and Desean Jackson

For starters, Mike Evans will miss this week due to suspension. But in the times Fitzpatrick has played, Evans is his first target as he throws to him 21 percent of the time according to Graham Barfield of Fantasy Guru. He should remain a solid starter with Fitzpatrick, who likes his tall receivers.

Jameis Winston fantasy

Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson (Photo by bucswire.usatoday.com)

In 2015 as a the starter for the New York Jets, he had the best season of his career with Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker. He threw for 3,905 yards and 31 touchdowns, making Marshall and Decker remain reliable fantasy players. Evans will remain a key contributor with Fitzpatrick because of his size and ability to catch anything in any area.

As for DeSean Jackson, it’s not the best of news. He has only been thrown to 10 percent of the time even with a touchdown from Fitzpatrick. Jackson is known as a deep threat, and his new quarterback isn’t the best at it.

But Jackson has been inconsistent mostly due to some bad throws and his inability to find other ways to get open. However, Jackson does have a favorable matchup this week against the Jets and is a high flex play this week.

RUNNING BACKS and Cameron Brate

Doug Martin could be the safest play in the next couple weeks. Even though he was dominated by the Saints last week, he should gain a lot of production. As for the other running backs in the passing game, including Martin, Fitzpatrick has targeted all running backs a combined 19 percent of the time, which is second in total attempts by Fitzpatrick. Running backs like Jacquizz Rodgers and Charles Sims could be in play in deep leagues, especially if Martin struggles again.

Jameis Winston fantasy

Doug Martin (Photo by cbssports.com)

Cameron Brate is another intriguing fantasy player. With Evans out, Brate is likely to see a bump in production. The Jets have given up the seventh most fantasy points to tight ends.

Some concern is that Fitzpatrick has only targeted Brate 15 percent of the time, which is behind Evans and the running backs. It’s even behind Adam Humphries! So his fantasy appeal may not be great, but is a safe play for this week in his favorable matchup.

Winston going forward

As for Winston, he is expected to miss only two weeks. But he really isn’t worth it at this point especially with the shoulder injury this late in the year.

I expect that if the Bucs aren’t in a good spot, he could be out the rest of the season. There are other good quarterbacks to go get like Josh McCown of the Jets, Jay Cutler of the Dolphins and maybe even Fitzpatrick.

Winston should be dropped from fantasy teams at this point with the concern of his shoulder.

 

Featured image from profootballtalk.nbcsports.com.

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Week 9 DFS don'ts

Week 9 DFS don’ts: Report card

Week 9 was the first time all season I cashed when the week number was a multiple of 3. I know, why would anyone keep track of that? Well, when you lose badly on Week 3 and 6, you are highly aware of Week 9, 12, 15 moving forward.

Anyways, it was my best week of the year in terms of profit and picks. We nailed almost everything on the Suck My DFS Podcast and our picks for the Week 9 DFS don’ts.

Quarterback: 4/6

On our podcast, my three quarterbacks to build around were Russell Wilson, Alex Smith and Jared Goff. Now, I ended up not playing Alex Smith on my cash games and taking my co-host’s advice on Jacoby Brissett in my tournaments. I missed out on a great game from Goff, but still managed to have a good day as all three of these quarterbacks made value in cash games and probably helped you win a tournament.

On the other hand, Matt Ryan and Marcus Mariota managed to have good games and prove me wrong. However, Brock Osweiler was not good. It might seem cheap, but I saw tournament lineups on FanDuel with Osweiler so I’m counting it as a win.

Running Back: 4/6

I was struggling to predict the running back position all season. But finally, in the running back edition of Week 9 DFS don’ts, I came through. Devonta Freeman, C.J. Anderson and Alex Collins all failed to make value in a cash game, and I couldn’t be happier.

Conversely, Todd Gurley and Christian McCaffrey were great. Gurley was a staple in my tournament lineups.

Sadly, I whiffed on Mark Ingram while my co-host nailed it with Alvin Kamara. Thankfully, Gurley carried my lineups to victory.

Wide Receiver: 4/6

Mike Evans, Michael Thomas and Larry Fitzgerald all failed to make value. I’m not counting Jamison Crowder. He ended up not being active, so I won’t count that as a win or a loss.

Thank goodness for that Tyreek Hill play at the end of the first half! I haven’t sweated a game harder all year. While that play was great, Hill came up just short of doubling his value for cash purposes, so that’s a loss.

I don’t know if you heard, but T.Y. Hilton had a decent game, right? His price was too attractive this week and forced me to play him on all my tournament lineups. Russell Shepard ended up being a dud, but not a bad week as a whole though.

Tight End: 3/5

For my Week 9 DFS don’ts at the tight end position, I named Travis Kelce, Jimmy Graham and Ryan Griffin. Kelce had a great game and finished as the second highest scoring tight end on Sunday. Graham and Griffin both came up short.

On the podcast, I liked Evan Engram and Vernon Davis. Like Tyreek Hill, Davis came up less than a point short of making value in a cash game. I sadly played Jack Doyle instead of Engram. I couldn’t find a way to fit him in at that price despite really liking him.

Kicker: 1/3

This was my worst call of the season at this position. I totally missed on Brandon McManus, but I wasn’t going anywhere near that Denver offense. Mike Nugent came up very small, but he wasn’t needed. Cody Parkey didn’t make value, so that’s my only win at this position.

Defense: 2/3

Jacksonville was the chalk this past weekend, and I was happy to swallow it on all my lineups. Cincinnati wasn’t able to get it done against a running game without Leonard Fournette. And, if not for a touchdown, Houston’s defense would have failed to make value as well.

Overall Score: 18/29

I don’t know if I’ll have a week this good again, but I’ll take 62 percent correct. Hopefully Week 10 will be as good. Check out our latest piece on which kicker(s) and defense(s) to keep off your DFS lineups.

 

Featured image from Grizzly Bear Blues

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week 9 DFS don'ts

Week 9 DFS don’ts: Wide receiver

Last Sunday was a rough day for wide receivers, unless your entire lineup featured the Seahawks and Texans. Top tier players like Antonio Brown and Julio Jones disappointed. DeAndre Hopkins was the only name brand receiver to finish among the top ten in scoring.

Instead, the top ten featured under the radar players like Paul Richardson, Robby Anderson and Marvin Jones Jr. Let’s dive into which players we need to avoid this Sunday in the wide receiver edition of Week 9 DFS don’ts.

Mike Evans: FanDuel Price $8,500

Despite the struggles of the Buccaneers, Mike Evans has still garnered a lot of targets. He should have been a top producer, as he had a long touchdown revoked due to an offsides penalty, which stopped play.

Evans faces the Saints this weekend. Historically, we look at this matchup and automatically insert Evans into our lineups. However, that is not the case anymore.

Wide receiver success, more than any other position, comes down to their individual matchup. This Sunday, Evans will face Saints rookie Marshon Lattimore. Through the first eight weeks, Lattimore is ranked as the best corner in the NFL according to Pro Football Focus. Here’s a look at what Lattimore has done this season when he shadows the oppositions best receiver.

week 9 DFS don'ts

Stats on shadow coverage are provided by Pro Football Focus.

While the Saints have only deployed Lattimore in shadow coverage twice, the results are staggering. Evans’ size and catch radius does allow him to overcome tough matchups. That could very well happen, but I’m not willing to pay the $8,500 price given his incredibly challenging matchup.

Michael Thomas: FanDuel Price $7,600

week 9 DFS don'ts

Can Michael Thomas overcome his recent red zone woes and produce against the Buccaneers? (Photo from UPI.com)

Yes, I believe the two best receivers in this game will disappoint this week. Unlike Evans, Michael Thomas does not have a bad, or even unfavorable matchup. Sadly, Thomas’ placement on my Week 9 DFS don’ts is the result of this New Orleans Saints offense, which is primarily rushing focused.

Thomas is incredibly talented and is playing with a Hall of Fame quarterback in Drew Brees. Traditionally, this is a plug and play, no questions asked.

However, the Saints offense has morphed into a rush-first offense, specifically in the red zone. Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara have taken over the red zone workload, via the run or the pass. In the past two games, Thomas has had a total of two red zone targets, including one target inside the 10-yard line.

That is simply not enough opportunity to score points. The Saints have clearly shifted to being a more balanced offense with their two backs. There is no longer enough volume for Thomas to produce without getting in the end zone. Maybe that changes this weekend, as the Buccaneers can score points. However, I’ll take the wait and see approach when it comes to Thomas and his red zone role moving forward.

Larry Fitzgerald: FanDuel Price $7,000

It’s safe to say that this is the end for Larry Fitzgerald and his DFS production. If Carson Palmer couldn’t target Fitz on a consistent basis, what makes us think that Drew Stanton can fair any better?

Stanton has played 22 games since he started with the Cardinals in 2014. Since then, he’s thrown nine touchdowns and 11 interceptions, with a 6.3 average yards per attempt.

On top of poor quarterback play, Fitz has struggled tremendously on the road. He’s averaged nine catches for 106 yards and one touchdown at home, compared to 4.5 catches for 43 yards and zero touchdowns on the road.

This week he plays on the road against San Francisco. Why on earth would I play Fitz for $7,000 when I could get Jarvis Landry at the same price, or Michael Crabtree for $100 more? A multitude of factors have Larry Fitzgerald on the Week 9 DFS don’ts list.

Jamison Crowder: FanDuel Price $5,600

Here’s a landmine you’ll want to avoid if you’re paying down for a wide receiver this weekend. Before last week’s game, Jamison Crowder went the entire season without scoring more than 6.7 points or having more than six catches. Production aside, he is going to get tossed around like a rag doll against this physical Seattle secondary.

Crowder also did not practice on Wednesday due to a hamstring injury, so his health is in question as well. Save your money and pivot to a player like Ted Ginn Jr. or Robert Woods for $100 more. Crowder joins Mike Evans, Michael Thomas and Larry Fitzgerald on the Week 9 DFS don’ts list.

 

Featured image from Sports Illustrated

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