Written by Anthony Reimer, Writer and Contributor, @reimeras on Twitter and @mrmeseeks on the Fantasy Life App
Week 1 is in the books and what a hell of a week it was. Hopefully you're full of pride from crushing your opponent rather than wondering how it all went wrong. Odell Beckham Jr. and Brandon Marshall looked like an unstoppable duo coming into last week, now they look like an albatross.
Maybe you drafted Tyrod Taylor as your only quarterback and now you're concerned that he may drag you down. Fear not my good friend; this is where I come in. If you loaded up the depth on your roster and waited to grab a guy like Tryod late, trust me when I say that you've still made the right decision. So don't go trading your second best running back out of desperation for a quarterback, tight end or defense. Instead, read this column and use a guy off the waiver wire to give you good production from the position.
There are two important things to remember after you read this column: 1) don't fall in love with the player! Every now and then you'll find a gem that turns into an every week starter for you, but for the most part these guys were on the wire for a reason. Always look at the player's schedule and read the next issues of this column before thinking you've turned coal into a diamond. 2) This is not a start/sit column; always consult the FLAFFL House rankings before making lineup decisions.
1) Matt Ryan, at Oakland, ownership percentage: 40.8
Marty Ice worked out last week so let's ride the hot hand once again. This week he's going up against the Oakland Raiders and their not so improved 16th ranked pass defense by DVOA. Last week Drew Brees put on a clinic in New Orleans to the tune of 423 yards and four touchdowns. While we have years of evidence that shows Ryan isn't Drew Brees, he showed last week that he's still an above average starter in this league. The addition of Mohammed Sanu gives Ryan a much needed target opposite of Julio Jones.
Last year Oakland ranked twelfth and fourteenth against number one and number two receivers, and I think Jones and Sanu are both talented enough to take advantage of the mismatch. In 2015, Oakland was 30th in the league by DVOA in reception yards allowed to running backs and Coleman seems to have emerged as another threat coming out of the backfield to pair with Freeman, giving Ryan a nice pair of outlets if the receivers aren't beating their coverage. In all I expect this to be a high scoring game and Ryan to be a safe top 12 quarterback with top six potential.
2) Ryan Fitzpatrick, at Buffalo, ownership percentage: 34.7
The beard is back baby! Well, sort of. Fitzpatrick had an up and down week 1, throwing for only 188 yards and two touchdowns, but that's why he's sitting on your waiver wire. While he may not be the best quarterback in the league, the Buffalo Bills defense isn't the Cincinnati Bengals. Last year Buffalo was the 18th ranked defense by DVOA and lost more talent this offseason than it was able to acquire. In week 1 Buffalo allowed 258 yards through the air to Joe Flacco and Baltimore's group of middling receivers.
While Stephon Gilmore and Ronald Darby aren't the worst cornerback tandem in the league, they are still a mismatch against on e of the best receiving duos in the league in Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker. In 2015, Buffalo was 28th in a he league in reception yards allowed to running backs, so look for Fitzpatrick to get Forte involved early and often. I view Fitz as a reliable quarterback with nice upside, and while I tend to avoid players in the Thursday night game, he will give you the advantage of knowing if you can play it safe or if you need to shoot for the moon with the rest of your roster in week 2.
Deep League dart throw:
3) Joe Flacco, at Cleveland, ownership percentage: 14.9
I'm reaching a little bit deeper for this one, but admit it; Joe Flacco looked decent last week. If that doesn't instill much confidence in you than at least admit that the Browns still suck at football, only this time it's intentional. Cleveland seems to be adopting a Philadelphia 76ers mindset of throwing young players out there and trying to stock pile as many draft picks as possible. Considering Cleveland was already 2015's 23rd pass defense, their lack of experience and talent makes them the perfect team to stream against.
In week 1 Cleveland allowed rookie quarterback Carson Wentz to throw for 278 yards and two touchdowns. While Flacco may not be the most consistent quarterback, he proved he can still throw it deep, hitting Mike Wallace on a 66 yard touchdown pass. In 2015 Cleveland was DVOA's 26th ranked pass defense against the long ball, so look for Flacco to try to hit Wallace or Perriman deep, making him a top 15 QB with top 10 upside.
1) Eric Ebron, vs Tennessee, ownership percentage: 46.2
46 percent ownership doesn't carry a very high likely hood that Ebron is available in your league, but I'm the event that he is run to your waiver wire to pick him up. The third year former first round pick showed in week 1 why the Lions drafted him so high and proved to be a much needed red zone threat for Detroit. In 2015, Tennessee was DVOA's 26th ranked defense versus the TE and in week 1 they proved they haven't improved much in that department by allowing Kyle Rudolph to catch 4 passes for 65 yards for Shaun Hill. So use your priority or throw some FAAB on Ebron who is in a high volume passing attack and could have a Tyler Eifert like breakout season.
2) Kyle Rudolph, vs Green Bay, ownership percentage: 23.3
I know what you're thinking: do I seriously expect you to trust someone who has Shaun Hill or Sam Bradford throwing him the ball? In this case, yes I do. There is a long and storied history of tight ends producing in offenses with terrible quarterbacks. Last week, Rudolph caught all four of his targets for 65 yards and is facing a defense that allowed Julius Thomas to catch 5 for 64 and a touchdown in week 1.
With Clay Matthews moving to his more traditional role at outside linebacker, that leaves a gapping hole in the middle for teams to exploit. While I do expect the Vikings to slow down Green Bay's offense Minnesota will still need to throw to keep pace. That gives Rudolph a decent chance of scoring a touchdown and from the TE position sometimes that's all we can hope for.
Deep League Dart Throw
3) Larry Donnell/ Will Tye, vs New Orleans, ownership percentage: 3.2/1.9
I know I'm cheating here and giving you two, but I have a good reason: I have no idea which one to start. What? That's not a good reason at all? I don't know what to tell you, I'm reaching for the bottom of the barrel here. Last year New Orleans was the worst defense in just about every possible category, including tight end.
While they did mostly shut down Clive Walford last week, that was mostly due to how open the Raiders receivers were able to get, and they gave up 35 points to Oakland. I expect this to be another high scoring game, so go out and grab one of these guys. I'm sure one of them will score a touchdown in week 2, and if you're this desperate at tight end m, then just hope you guess the right one.
1) Baltimore Ravens, at Cleveland, ownership percentage: 9.5
Until proven otherwise, the Browns will be the offense I am streaming defenses against in 2016. Last week Baltimore only allowed 160 total yards to a much better offense and quarterback with a similar scheme and skill set to Cleveland. RG3 looked like the RG3 of 2014, going 12/26 for 190 yards and taking three sacks. I view Baltimore as the perfect streaming candidate: a high upside play versus a terrible offense with little to no chance of getting you negative points.
2) Philadelphia Eagles, at Chicago, ownership percentage: 30.6
The Eagles finished last season middle of the pack in just about every defensive category. However, in week 1 they showed the ability to take advantage of a mediocre offense allowing 288 yards and 10 points, most of which came when the game was already out of hand. Jim Schwartz was brought in as the defensive coordinator and has installed a Wide 9 style 4-3 defense that seems to play more to Philadelphia's personnel. Alshon Jeffery is concerning, but as a Bears fan I can tell you that Cutler loves to throw interceptions in prime time games. I view the Eagles as a pretty safe play, one that will get you 5-10 points with little upside but little chance of getting you negative.