Top Draftstreet Football Values for Wild Card Weekend
Just when we thought the fantasy football season was over, these daily leagues pop in to give us an opportunity to redeem ourselves after what were disastrous seasons for some of us. As one of the best sites when it comes to daily leagues, Draftstreet has been a weekly feature here on Pro Football Focus.
While we have hit and missed with our projections, it’s always a solid tool to have someone else (myself) do the research that most of you simply don’t have the time to do. And we are more than happy to help.
Let’s start the New Year’s off with a bang, shall we?
As has been the case each week this season, Pro Football Focus will provide you with the top Draftstreet values for NFL’s wild card weekend.
For the purposes of these articles, I will utilize Draftstreet cap numbers and base them off total cap numbers of $100,000 per team.
Colin Kaepernick, QB, San Francisco 49ers ($13,330)
The Green Bay Packers gave up the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks during the regular season. They are already going to be without outside linebacker Clay Matthews and 2012 breakout star Casey Hayward for this one, both of whom played in Kaepernick’s last two outings against the Packers. You also have to look at what Kaepernick did in those two games, accumulating 878 yards, seven touchdowns and a total of 77 fantasy points. That’s utterly ridiculous.
Kaepernick finished the regular season strong, going for nearly 1,700 total yards with 12 touchdowns and just one interception in his final six outings. Kaepernick comes in as the sixth-most expensive quarterback of the eight that will start this upcoming weekend. Pick him up and expect another dazzling performance.
Pierre Thomas, RB, New Orleans Saints ($6,921)
While Thomas did miss practice on New Year’s Day with a chest injury, I think it’s safe to say that he will be ready to go when Saturday night rolls around. Of any Saints running back, especially in Draftstreet’s PPR format, he’s the likeliest to put up solid numbers. Thomas finished ahead of the likes of Matt Forte, Eddie Lacy and LeSean McCoy in PPR points per opportunity, a signature fantasy stat here at PFF. He averaged nearly five receptions per game, which is huge in this type of daily league.
Thomas will line up against an Eagles defense that may have ranked in the top 11 of the NFL against fantasy running backs, but did give up nearly 50 receiving yards per game to that position. Thomas comes in as the ninth-most expensive fantasy running back in Draftstreet leagues this week. He’d be a steal as a RB2.
Trent Richardson, RB, Indianapolis Colts ($6,788)
If Richardson ruined your fantasy season after you selected him in the top five, here is his chance to redeem himself. Do you take a shot? It’s that whole, fool me twice quote I am too scattered brain to actually quote here. Either way, Richardson might have himself an intriguing performance against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday. Despite a stellar season on the defensive side of the ball, the Chiefs yielded an average 138 yards on the ground over the course of their final eight regular season outings, including 135 to these very same Colts. For his part, Richardson put up a pedestrian 58 yards on 19 touches in that one…imagine that.
The former first-round pick of the Cleveland Browns did see his snap count increase in the final two regular season games before the Colts sat their starters in the second half last week. He went from averaging 22 snaps per game in his previous five outings to 45.5 in those two outings. Is this an indication that he’s getting more comfortable in the Colts system? As it is, Richardson is priced out between the aforementioned Thomas and Darren Sproles in Draftstreet league this week. His upside is much higher than that.
Da’Rick Rogers, WR, Indianapolis Colts ($5,293)
A rookie that went undrafted (despite the fact that some of us had a first-round grade on him), who wasn’t even in the Colts active roster until last month, becoming their most consistent receiver. Is this real life? Since seeing his first regular action in the NFL back in Week 13, Rogers has put up 14 receptions for 192 yards and two scores in parts of four games. Not great statistics there, I understand that. However, he has taken over for Darrius Heyward-Bey as the the starter opposite T.Y. Hilton. This is magnified by the fact that DHB has tallied a total of 31 snaps over the past three weeks compared to 161 for the rookie. During this span, Rogers has caught 64 percent of the pass thrown in his direction.
The interesting dynamic here is that Rogers will likely line up against fellow rookie Marcus Cooper. The former seventh-round pick of the San Francisco 49ers came out like gangbusters early in the season, but struggled in coverage a great deal over the final seven regular season games, accumulating a negative 13.0 grade during that span. As the 15th-most expensive receiver in Draftstreet leagues this week, Rogers represents a ton of upside. Slot him in the FLEX and expect solid WR2 production.
Kenny Stills, WR, New Orleans Saints ($5,204)
Not only did Stills average a whopping 20 yards per reception during the regular year, he put up a ridiculous 13.9 yards per target. For Comparison’s sake, Marques Colston averaged just 8.8 yards per target. That tells you just how explosive of a player Stills has been for Drew Brees and Co. as a rookie. While Stills averaged just three targets per game during the regular year, he has the ability to go up against a lackluster Philadelphia Eagles secondary and put up a big play or two in this one. After all, Philadelphia did allow the most fantasy points to opposing receivers this year.
The interesting thing to look at here is who Philadelphia decides to line up against Colston. If it is Brandon Boykin, then Stills immediately becomes a solid play this week. That’s what I am banking on. At just over five percent of your cap, this is tremendous value.
Quinton Patton, WR, San Francisco 49ers ($2,500)
Three touches for 60 yards in his first extended playing time last week against the Arizona Cardinals, including a huge late-game reception from Colin Kaepernick to set up Phil Dawson’s game-winning field goal. Those of us who were extremely high on the Louisiana Tech product have been waiting a long time for him to produce this season. Injury issues kept him from seeing the field. Now fully entrenched as the No. 3 wide receiver behind Anquan Boldin and Michael Crabtree, you can expect Patton to see the field a lot on Sunday against a pretty bad Green Bay Packers defense. Fellow rookie Micah Hyde will likely line up opposite Patton on Sunday, which bodes well for the young receiver.
In addition, Green Bay yielded the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing receivers during the regular year. I am also really intrigued to see how Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers schemes against what is suddenly a plethora of receiving targets for Kaepernick in the passing game. Vernon Davis will have to be doubled between the hashes and when he lines up outside. This means that two of three receivers when San Francisco goes to that offensive set will have to be single covered. There is no reason to believe that Green Bay will decide to double up on Patton, leaving both Boldin and Crabtree in single coverage. It’s all about matchups, people. And this one benefits The General.
Andrew Quarless, TE, Green Bay Packers ($2,793)
San Francisco has struggled recently against tight ends. While it ranked No. 8 overall against that position from a fantasy aspect, Vic Fangio’s defense simply hasn’t been up to snuff there over the past few games. Relying more on rookie Eric Reid to play coverage from between the hashes, there have been some issues. The likes of Rob Housler (Arizona), Tony Gonzalez (Atlanta), Tim Wright (Tampa Bay) and Luke Willson (Seattle) have put up a total of 23 receptions for 293 yards and three scores against San Francisco in its last four outings.
Quarless, a fourth-year player from Penn State, replaced an injured Jermichael Finley in the lineup after Week 7 and has played pretty well in the passing game. He caught 70 percent of the passes thrown in his direction during the regular year and is averaging nearly 50 receiving yards in his last four outings. If you plan on going cheap at tight end, Quarless is your guy.