Top Draftstreet Football Values for Week 6
With the amount of injuries we have seen around the fantasy football world over the first five weeks of the season, it’s more important than ever before to find value where you least expect in weekly leagues.
In what has been a weekly article here at Pro Football Focus, we will be providing readers with the top Draftstreet football values in weekly leagues.
For the purposes of these articles, I will utilize Draftstreet cap numbers and base them off total cap numbers of $100,000 per team.
Last week’s version was hit and miss to an extent. We included the likes of Ray Rice and Keenan Allen in the article, and both had huge fantasy weeks. Meanwhile, the inclusion of Johnathan Franklin in that article as a flier backfired big time. Sorry about that!
As is the case with a vast majority of these articles, it’s all about looking at recent performances and perceived matchups. Despite struggling throughout the past two seasons, Can Maurice Jones-Drew at least outperform his rather pedestrian Draftstreet value against a Denver Broncos defense that has struggled against fantasy running backs? What about Jay Cutler’s recent struggles? Are the New York Giants the perfect tonic for that?
Let’s take a gander…
Jay Cutler, QB, Chicago Bears ($13,317)
Where Brandon Marshall might see the emergence of Alshon Jeffery as a problem for his bottom line, Cutler has to be as giddy as a school boy chosen first in a street-yard football game. Jeffery has put up 325 yards and two scores in the Bears’ last two games. During that same span, Marshall has tallied just 109 receiving yards and one score. Once both get it clicking with Cutler, watch out.
We can expect that to happen on Thursday Night Football against the lowly New York Giants defense. Perry Fewell’s unit has yielded the third-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks and is allowing a 95.9 rating. Quarterbacks are averaging 276 passing yards and 2.6 total touchdowns against the Giants through the first five weeks. According to our official grades, the Giants currently possess the fourth-lowest pass-rushing grade in the league. This is going to be huge for Cutler on a prime-time stage Thursday. He was sacked three times in the first three games of the season and put up six touchdowns compared to three interceptions in those games. In the two games that Cutler has struggled since, he’s been sacked a total of six times. That’s not a coincidence.
Draftstreet currently has Cutler as the ninth-most expensive quarterback this week. That’s right on par with our ninth overall fantasy ranking for him. With that said, all the indicators here are that he will have a huge game against Tom Coughlin’s winless club.
Andy Dalton, QB, Cincinnati Bengals ($10,045)
To say that Dalton has struggled thus far this season would be an understatement. He’s failed to throw a touchdown in each of his last two games and is currently our 23rd-ranked fantasy quarterback. That’s simply not going to get it done, especially for who someone who many counted on as a late-round QB1 option. Dalton did show signs of turning it around last week in less-than-stellar conditions against the New England Patriots. He completed nearly 75 percent of his passes and put up 237 total yards.
Dalton and Co. now go up against a Buffalo Bills defense that has struggled big time against the pass. Without the services of Jairus Byrd and Stephon Gilmore through the first five games, Buffalo is in the middle of the pack against fantasy quarterbacks, but a lot of that had to do with Joe Flacco’s five-interception performance against its defense two weeks ago. Take that singular performance out of the equation, and Buffalo’s pass defense has been less than average thus far this season.
As it is, Dalton is Draftstreet’s 22nd-most expensive quarterback this week. If you can get value just outside of the top 10 from your QB2 in a two-quarterback league, you jump all over it.
Nick Foles, QB, Philadelphia Eagles ($9,642)
Do you buy into what Foles brings to the table in replacement of the injured Michael Vick? The second-year quarterback performed extremely well in extended playing time last season and helped Philadelphia defeat the New York Giants in relief last week. Foles actually ended a game that he didn’t start as the 14th-ranked fantasy quarterback. Considering Philadelphia’s inability to stop anyone on defense and its affinity for a fast-paced offense, Foles will be given the opportunity to put up some rather surprising numbers against a winless Tampa Bay Buccaneers team.
While the Greg Schiano-led squad has performed well against fantasy quarterbacks this season (13th in the NFL), there is something to be said about opportunities. With Mike Glennon making his second NFL start for Tampa Bay, you can expect Philadelphia to start multiple drives with short fields. This gives Foles ample chances to hit DeSean Jackson on the outside, Brent Celek between the hashes and LeSean McCoy out of the backfield from within shouting distance of the end zone. As Draftstreet’s 24th-most expensive quarterback this week, you could go with a high-upside QB2 on the cheap. This gives you the ability to fill out the rest of your roster with elite fantasy talent, assuming Vick is indeed out this week.
You will need to hit on a few under-the-radar performers this week to qualify for Draftstreet’s main event entry in Vegas. Foles could help you towards that ultimate goal.
Bilal Powell, RB, New York Jets ($8,531)
Powell has been a top-tier RB2 option thus far this season. He’ ranks 15th among fantasy running backs in points and has really caught the attention of fantasy owners over the past three weeks. The former fourth-round pick is averaging over 100 yards 20 touches per game during that span.
The Jets go up against a Pittsburgh Steelers defense that has been uncharacteristically bad against the run this season. They’re giving up an average of 130 total yards and nearly two touchdowns to opposing running backs this season. In doing so, the Steelers have given up the most fantasy points to that position in the NFL. While running backs are averaging just 3.8 yards per attempt against the Steelers, they are going for first downs nearly one quarter of the time they run the ball. That’s pretty amazing.
Powell is Draftstreet’s 13th-most expensive running back this week, but it’s not foolish to believe that he will put up top-seven fantasy production. The key here will be him finding the end zone. He has scored just one touchdown in five games, which is holding back his fantasy production a great deal.
Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars ($5,532)
How the once mighty have fallen. Jones-Drew was a solid RB1 option for years, but has regressed a great deal due to a combination of different factors and simply cannot be relied on to be much more than a decent FLEX option, if that. So, why am I recommending him here? That’s the five thousand dollar question.
First off Jones-Drew, is less expensive than the likes of Willis McGahee and Andre Ellington this week. That should tell you enough about how much his value has dropped over the past couple seasons. Second, he represents a ton more upside than either of those two options as a FLEX guy. Jacksonville may be four-touchdown road underdogs against the Denver Broncos, but it has one minor thing working for it. At least from a fantasy perspective, Denver’s defense hasn’t been anything to write home about. Outside of the fact that it has yielded a ton of passing yards through five games, Jack Del Rio’s unit has actually given up the seventh-most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season. A lot of that has to do with the 44.6 receiving yards that running backs are gaining against the Broncos per week.
For his part, Jones-Drew is coming off his best single-game performance since Week 3 of the 2012 season. He put up 86 yards on 19 attempts against an equally lackluster defense in the form of the St. Louis Rams last week. Give him those totals plus a touchdown and he’s a legit RB2 option this week. Not bad for someone that Draftstreet has valued as the 31st-most expensive running back.
Imagine if Jones-Drew enables you to be one of the qualifier winners to receive flight and accommodations to Las Vegas on December 15th for Championship Event. It’s a shot worth taking at his current cost.
A.J. Green, WR, Cincinnati Bengals ($11,738)
How Green is Draftstreet’s ninth-most expensive wide receiver this week, I will never know. While Andy Dalton has had trouble connecting with his No. 1 wide receiver over the past two weeks (nine receptions, 112 yards and zero touchdowns), it’s foolhardy to believe this trend will continue, especially going up against the Buffalo Bills. As I mentioned above, Buffalo is struggling defending the pass this season. That has equated to it yielding the second-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers through five weeks. With the likes of Torrey Smith, Santonio Holmes and Stephen Hill (13 receptions, 428 yards and three touchdowns combined) torching Buffalo’s secondary, there is absolutely no reason to believe that Green will not go off this week.
Listen, Green is always going to be a WR1 option because of where he went in fantasy drafts prior to the season. With that said, Draftstreet is valuing him ridiculously low right here. All the indicators seem to show up that Green will finish as one of the top-five fantasy wide receivers this week. If you can get that production at just over 11 percent of your total cap room, pull the trigger.
According to Draftstreet, Green is a bottom-tier WR1 option this week. There are two to three qualifiers to Draftstreet’s main event each week, use Green against them in Week 6 with a solid addition to your roster.
Alshon Jeffery, WR, Chicago Bears ($9,530)
Jeffery’s production over the past two weeks is not a fluke. There is a reason why he was considered a first-round prospect leading up to the 2012 NFL draft. The South Carolina product has untapped potential and is just finding his way in the NFL. That’s scary considering that he’s tallied 325 yards and two scores on 15 receptions over the past two games. In fact, Jeffery was our seventh-ranked receiver in Week 4 before coming in at No. 1 overall last week against the New Orleans Saints. Jeffery is also catching nearly 70 percent of the passes thrown in his direction over the past three weeks.
The second-year stud now goes up against a horrible New York Giants defense that we give a -9.6 grade to in pass coverage. With Brandon Marshall continuing to require double teams and more attention, Jeffery will find himself going up against Prince Amukamara in single coverage. Without any type of a pass rush, that’s going to come back and haunt the Giants in a big way. Jeffery is Draftstreet’s 19th-most expensive fantasy receiver this week. You can expect top-10 production if all goes according to plan.
Terrance Williams, WR, Dallas Cowboys ($8,830)
It seems that Tony Romo has found a new connection with this rookie third-round pick. The Baylor product has caught 11 passes for over 220 yards in the Cowboys’ last two games. While it is important to note that those performances came against less-than-stellar secondaries in the form of the San Diego Chargers and Denver Broncos, it’s still a mighty impressive feat for a rookie. With Miles Austin still banged up due to another hamstring issues, Williams will receive the necessary targets against the Washington Redskins on Sunday Night Football to make a huge impact.
Even if Austin plays, he’s not expected to make a huge impact. Washington is yielding the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers this season and grades out as our worst pass defense through five weeks. Take into account Romo’s out-of-this-world performance against the Broncos last week and you have a perfect storm here. Overall, Williams is catching over 84 percent of the passes thrown in his direction this season. If that doesn’t give Romo confidence to go to him on a consistent basis, nothing will. The rookie is currently Draftstreet’s 24th-most expensive receiver. He’ll perform much better than that and give you tremendous value at under nine percent of your cap.
Draftsteet is offering qualifiers that range from $22 to $420 in their main leagues. Can Williams help you get to that level? If his performances the last two weeks are any indication, you are in good hands.
Brent Celek, TE, Philadelphia Eagles ($5,288)
Interesting that it takes Michael Vick to be replaced by Nick Foles due to injury in order for Celek to make this list. As our 21st-ranked fantasy tight end, Celek has pretty much been a bust for those who were looking to get late-round value at TE1. He’s catching less than 60 percent of the passes thrown in his direction and is averaging just two receptions per outing. Again, that was with Vick under center.
Foles and Celek seemed to have a solid relationship going when the former was under center last season. They connected on 27 receptions in Foles six starts as a rookie last season. Philadelphia now goes up against a Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense that has yielded the ninth-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season. With Darrelle Revis promising to play a major role in stopping DeSean Jackson, there is no reason to believe that Foles won’t be targeting Celek a great deal this week. That’s an interesting dynamic considering that Tampa Bay’s two safeties have a negative grade in pass coverage this season.
Tyler Eifert, TE, Cincinnati Bengals ($4,666)
Bengals’ offensive coordinator Jay Gruden is going to have to change up what isn’t working on that side of the ball. It might start with benching Jermaine Gresham, who is our worst run-blocking tight end in the NFL through five weeks. Just think about that for a second. Imagine just how well rookie Giovani Bernard and veteran BenJarvus Green-Ellis would be performing as a tandem if the Bengals got decent run blocking from the tight end position. Interestingly enough, Eifert grades out as our 11th-best run-blocking tight end in the NFL.
You do the math.
While tight ends don’t get fantasy points to pancake blocks (maybe they should), this seems to indicate that Eifert will see the field more than his counterpart against the Buffalo Bills this week. As our 24th-ranked fantasy tight end, Eifert hasn’t really been a solid start through five weeks. He’s had his moments here and there, but consistency has been somewhat of an issue as it relates to target. With more reps on Sunday, the first-round pick should find himself in a situation to be an under-the-radar TE1 option. He’s catching nearly three quarters of the passes thrown in his direction, which is a great sign considering he should receive more targets this week than what we’ve seen over the first five games. At the very least, maybe consider him as a cheap FLEX option, especially in Draftstreet’s PPR format.
A little more information on Draftstreet’s championship league. December 15th is Championship Sunday where players draft for $1,750,000 in prizes and the winner brings home $1 million in cold hard cash.
Vincent is the head sports editor at eDraft, co-host of eDraft Sports Radio (which airs every Monday and Wednesday from 3-6 p.m. ET) and a fantasy writer for Pro Football Focus. He’s also the news director at PFC and co-host of Football Debate Central with Ryan Riddle every Friday and a contributor for Yahoo! He’s also a former league-wide featured columnist at Bleacher Report.