Top Draftstreet Football Values for Week 9
Hey guys, there are only a few more weeks left of the 2013 fantasy football regular season. While the NFL season continues to fly by, many of us have struggled in standard leagues simply because of a wide array of injuries and a ton of unexpected poor performances.
We cannot use these excuses when it comes to weekly leagues, much like the Draftstreet version many of us have been playing throughout this season.
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.
If you want a chance to win $2.5 million in guaranteed prizes on Draftstreet this year, you are going to have to get creative. The idea here is to find values up and down the board to fill out your weekly rosters so that you are able to actually pick up a couple of the elite fantasy options that remain in Week 8.
As a reminder, check out their qualifier league that enables 40 Players qualify for the Championship Event.
Robert Griffin III, QB, Washington Redskins ($13,385)
RGIII has been a borderline QB1 through the first eight weeks of the season. It has been his inability to push the ball into the end zone that really has hurt the second-year quarterback. All said, RGIII has nine touchdowns compared to eight interceptions and hasn’t scored on the ground yet. He is, however, on pace to put up over 4,800 total yards and is going up against a San Diego Chargers defense that has given up the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season. Overall, we give the Chargers’ pass defense the third-lowest grade of all 32 teams in the league.
As the 10th-most expensive Drafstreet quarterback this week, RGIII offers tremendous value.
Christian Ponder, QB, Minnesota Vikings ($10,215)
I was actually forced to start Brandon Weeden in one of my fantasy leagues last week. Think about that for a second, as he wasn’t even starting for the Cleveland Browns. This is the type of predicament that some of us have gotten ourselves into due to a combination of injuries and byes. The good news with weekly leagues is that you have the ability to pick and choose values throughout the duration of the season. Ponder has the pleasure of going up against a Dallas Cowboys defense that has now given up three 400-yard passing games. Opposing quarterbacks have also tallied an alarmingly high 315.4 passing yards per game against Monte Kiffin’s defense.
In two-quarterback leagues like Draftstreet, its a necessity to find value outside of the normal options. Where Ponder has struggled to even keep the No. 2 job in Minnesota, he’s the 21st-most expensive quarterback and provides top-15 upside. Not tremendous value, but pretty much all you can hope for when digging deep at quarterback.
Draftreet guarantees 2-3 qualifiers per week. Week 1 through Week 14 of the NFL season. Imagine the bragging rights you will earn if the enigmatic Ponder helps you obtain that goal.
Ryan Mathews, RB, San Diego Chargers ($8,443)
For only the second time in his career, Mathews is coming off two consecutive 100-yard games. He put up 102 yards against a really good Indianapolis Colts run defense in Week 6 before tallying 110 and a score against the Jacksonville Jaguars the following week. Mathews seems to be fully prepared to continue this success as San Diego’s primary ball carrier this week against a Washington Redskins defense that has given up the second-most fantasy points and yielding an average of 4.8 yards per rush to opposing running backs this season.
Mathews is valued as a mid-tier RB2 option in Draftstreet leagues, but could easily provide you top-seven production in Week 9. Not bad for someone who would take up less than 10 percent of your total salary cap. The cost for Draftstreet Qualifiers range from $22 to $420. I’d be willing to put that up on Mathews placing among the top-10 in running back production this week.
Trent Richardson, RB, Indianapolis Colts ($6,953)
Richardson is right up there with C.J. Spiller as the most disappointing fantasy player thus far this season. While it might have been too much to expect him to provide top-three running back production after being traded from the Cleveland Browns to Indianapolis after two games, his No. 46 ranking among running backs through eight weeks is downright absurd.
With that lack of production comes lower expectations, and it’s high time you take advantage of that. Following a Week 8 bye, Richardson may start to feel more comfortable in the Colts’ blocking scheme, which could be huge moving forward. Equally as important, he will be lining up against a Houston Texans defense that ranks in the bottom half of the NFL against fantasy running backs and is giving up the fifth-most rushing yards in the league. At the very least, Richardson should be a solid RB2. Considering he’s valued as Draftstreet’s No. 24 running back this week, you should get some solid value here.
Daryl Richardson, RB, St. Louis Rams ($4,583)
There is little doubt that Zac Stacy is the Rams’ running back of the future. He’s proven himself to be quite the find in the fifth round of April’s draft. With that said, the Vanderbilt product suffered an ankle injury on Monday night and may not be able to go this week. Head coach Jeff Fisher refused to update his status on Tuesday, which isn’t a good sign for his availability come Sunday.
Despite struggling in nearly every aspect of the game this season, Richardson has a tremendous matchup Week 9. The Tennessee Titans are giving up an average of 144.4 total yards to running backs this season and currently have a bottom-10 overall grade against the run. At under five percent of your total cap, you might be able to get RB2 production from someone that’s valued as a decent FLEX option.
Terrance Williams, WR, Dallas Cowboys ($9,630)
Williams’ performance was almost disastrous last week against the Detroit Lions. He caught just two of the 10 passes thrown in his direction after hauling in over 80 percent of his targets through the first seven weeks of the season. Some may say that won’t inspire confidence in the rookie receiver moving forward, but one game isn’t the end-all-be-all. Williams is still Tony Romo’s No. 3 receiving target outside of Dez Bryant and Jason Witten. He should also have a field day going up against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday.
Think about this for a second. The Green Bay Packers did not punt a single time against Minnesota last week. In addition, Aaron Rodgers completed a whopping 24-of-26 aimed passes, which doesn’t take into account three throwaways. Talk about a miserable defensive performance. Overall, the Vikings are yielding the 10th-most fantasy points to opposing receivers this season and possess a -21.7 pass-coverage grade, according to our metrics. This is reason enough to value Williams as a bounce-back Week 9 performer. Take into account that he’s the 14th-most expensive receiver in Draftstreet leagues, it’s easy to come to the conclusion that Williams will perform better than what is expected of him.
Vincent Brown, WR, San Diego Chargers ($5,967)
I am all aboard the Keenan Allen hype train. The rookie from California is simply going to be a great fantasy option moving forward this season. The problem with including him in this article is that he’s the eighth-most expensive wide receiver in Draftstreet leagues. If you want an alternative and plan on starting someone against what has been a disastrous Washington Redskins defense, Brown is your guy.
He’s currently coming in at under six percent of your total cap number and has performed extremely well with San Diego’s veteran receivers sidelined for the season. Brown is catching over 72 percent of the passes thrown in his direction and has actually been targeted more than Allen this season. Washington is giving up an average of over 200 yards per game and the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing receivers this season. As the 38th-most expensive reciever in Draftstreet leagues, this is ridiculous value.
Rod Streater, WR, Oakland Raiders ($5,403)
Denarius Moore seemed like a reasonable fantasy sleeper this week. He’s taken over as Terrelle Pryor’s favorite target in the passing game, but I am not terribly sold on him at over 10 percent of your total cap. Instead, the decision to include another Raiders’ receiver in this article was made a bit easier when checking out what Streater has done this season. Surprisingly, he’s catching a higher percentage (67.6) of the balls thrown in his directions than Moore (60.0) and has yet to drop a single pass on the season. He’s also going to be going up against Cary Williams of the Philadelphia Eagles, who possesses a -7.5 coverage grade.
Overall, Philadelphia ranks dead last in the NFL against fantasy receivers at about 35.5 points per game and grades out as our fourth-worst pass defense through eight weeks. The writing is on the wall here, folks.
Martellus Bennett, TE, Chicago Bears ($6,885)
It happens time and time again. A backup quarterback is asked to take over the starting role in a relatively short period of time. His first goal is to find some sense of comfort with the personnel, as he hasn’t taken many (if any) first-team reps prior to the starter going down. This is where tight ends usually come into play. They can act like a safety valve as the new quarterback gets more comfortable with his receivers on the outside.
On that note, I am expecting rather big things for Bennett when Josh McCown makes his initial start of the 2013 season against the Green Bay Packers this week. Green Bay is giving up the third-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season and have struggled covering down the seam and between the hashes. Considering Green Bay’s vastly improved cornerback play, hello Sam Shields, look for McCown to target Bennett more often than normal. He represents top-five upside here.
Jared Cook, TE, St. Louis Rams ($4,434)
Cook has been a fantasy enigma since a stellar Week 1 outing against the Arizona Cardinals. His performance against the Seattle Seahawks on Monday night left a whole heck of a lot to be desired. He dropped a key third down pass attempt near midfield in the the third quarter with St. Louis driving and ran a horrible route on Kellen Clemens first interception of the game. With that said, Cook remains a viable fantasy option simply because he provide Clemens the most consistent and big-bodied receiving threat between the hashes. He also recorded the most targets of any Rams’ pass catcher on Monday.
St. Louis now goes up Cook’s former team, the Tennessee Titans, in a game that should see him a tad inspired on the field. Tennessee also 21st in the NFL against fantasy tight ends. A solid buy-low TE1 option.
– Qualifier winners receive flight and accommodations to Las Vegas on December 15th for Championship Event
– December 15th is Championship Sunday where players draft for $1,750,000 in prizes.