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NFL FAAB Strategy for Week 6

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This weekly column will serve as a supplement of our traditional FAAB column, but with its own spin. Specifically, for the many of you who play higher stakes at NFFC and FFPC. The basis for our weekly bid review will the $350 NFFC Online Championship (OC). It’s the perfect weekly framework for our purposes for several reasons. Its entry fee at the mid-stakes level brings forth an extra level of seriousness and skill from the entrants, thereby providing a more realistic grasp of the market as well as weekly FAAB results. Moreover, there is a big enough sample to draw from as there will be record number of teams in OC this season – nearly 4,200 teams (348 leagues). Those who play at other sites or less competitive leagues can leverage this piece into making optimal informed FAAB decisions.

As is the case with FFPC, all NFFC leagues provide you with a $1,000 FAAB budget to start the season and run the first FAAB Wednesday nights at 10 p.m. ET. A second FAAB run happens at 10 p.m. ET Saturdays. For FFPC, that second FAAB run is Sundays at 10 a.m. The second weekend runs allow fantasy managers the opportunity to ensure that they can field full lineups on rosters that may have been hit with a surprise inactive player.

Week 5 Overview

For purposes of this analysis, I reviewed data of the 68 leagues of the $1700 NFFC Primetime. 

Here were the most added players in last Wednesday’s first FAAB run:

  1. Khalil Herbert, RB, Chicago Bears – 65 leagues
  2. Randall Cobb, WR, Green Bay Packers – 44
  3. Maxx Williams, TE, Arizona Cardinals – 36
  4. Arizona Cardinals DST – 35
  5. Jeremy McNichols, RB, Tennessee Titans – 34
  6. Dallas Cowboys DST – 33
  7. Chris Evans, RB, Cincinnati Bengals – 32
  8. Minnesota Vikings DST – 32
  9. Brandon Bolden, RB, New England Patriots – 30
  10. Las Vegas Raiders DST – 30

Bears running back Khalil Herbert provided valuable early returns, though it’s likely he didn’t crack most folks’ starting lineups. Prior to last week’s first FAAB run, Herbert was only taken on three of 68 Primetime squads. His average bid in 65 leagues this week was $91 with a high of $312 and low of $4. Herbert was expected to see light work behind Damien Williams in the absence of David Montgomery (out four to five weeks), but he ended up with 18 carries (75 rushing yards) seeing plenty of late-game work as the Bears worked with a rare lead. Herbert could prove viable in bye week coverage.

The highest average bids among those won in at least 10 leagues were Seattle Seahawks RB Alex Collins and New York Jets WR Jamison Crowder. Collins had an average bid of $216 in 21 leagues (high: $511, low: $76) while Crowder’s average winning bid was $203 in 13 leagues (high of $389, low of $40). Those who started them this week were left disappointed as each of them failed to top 10 PPR points. Last week’s early vibes on the health status of Chris Carson led to some large bids on Collins, who would continue to see the bulk of the carries if Carson missed anymore games.

Brandon Bolden was added for an average of $71 in 30 leagues while 19 fantasy managers were prescient enough to grab New York Giants’ back Devontae Booker (all bids between $1 and $7). Well, “lucky” is a more apt description than “prescient,” depending on how much time Saquon Barkley could miss.

The darling of the FAAB period appears to be Giants rookie wideout Kadarius Toney. He was scooped up in 11 leagues with a high of $287 and a low of $16 in 11 leagues. Toney was the lead dog against the Cowboys Sunday with Kenny Golladay getting hurt (again) as Toney scored 29.6 fantasy points (10-189-0 on 13 targets). Toney is now available in just 1% of Primetimes and 4% of Online Championships but picked up an ankle/foot injury toward the end of that game.

An early look at this Wednesday’s FAAB doesn’t portend to any overwhelming expenditures but I’m sure bidders will find a reason to spend. Most of this week’s attention will focus on Giants’ RB Booker, Chiefs’ running back Jerick McKinnon (behind Darrel Williams with Clyde Edwards-Helaire now sidelined) and Washington tight end Ricky Seals-Jones. Pittsburgh Steelers’ wideout James Washington is currently dealing with a groin injury but could see bid action with JuJu Smith-Schuster expected to miss the rest of the season.

Note: All players listed are rostered at or under 90% of NFFC Online Championship leagues.

Quarterback

None of the quarterbacks on bye this week will be missed as our starting options should not be affected. 

Here is who is out this week:

Instead of looking for a starter for Week 6, we should be planning around our current starter’s bye week. This week’s chart is a bit different – no bid amounts (all could be snagged for single digits) and I’ve listed the most viable options’ upcoming schedules for the next four weeks. Green is a good (startable) matchup, red is a bad one. Use this to help make decisions on a backup if you don’t already have one. 

Rank Player Team YTD PPG Roster % Week 6 Week 7 Week 8 Week 9
1 Jameis Winston NO 24.8 51% bye at SEA v TB v ATL
2 Taylor Heinicke WAS 23.6 68% v KC at GB at DEN bye
3 Mac Jones NE 17 18% v DAL v NYJ at LAC at CAR
4 Baker Mayfield CLE 20 60% v ARI v DEN v PIT at CIN
5 Teddy Bridgewater DEN 21 46% v LVR at CLE v WAS at DAL
6 Carson Wentz IND 20.5 33% at HOU at SF v TEN v NYJ
7 Geno Smith SEA n/a 0% at PIT v NO v JAX bye

As you may be able to tell on your own, there is absolutely no reason to prioritize Russell Wilson’s replacement, Geno Smith, since his upcoming matchups are anything but tantalizing. The best option after this week is Jameis Winston, and I’d probably skip out on the remaining alternatives unless it is absolutely necessary. 

Running Back

Rank Player Team Roster % Bid Range
1 Devontae Booker NYG 58% $75-$150
2 Jerick McKinnon KC 28% $75-$150
3 Brandon Bolden NE 90% $25-$50
4 Jeremy McNichols TEN 85% $10-$20
5 Mark Ingram HOU 78% $5-$10
6 David Johnson HOU 86% $5-$10
7 Darrynton Evans TEN 60% $5-$10
8 Jaret Patterson WAS 84% $5-$10
9 Ty Johnson NYJ 52% $2-$5
10 DeeJay Dallas SEA 3% $1
11 Wayne Gallman ATL 75% $1
12 Larry Rountree LAC 86% $1
13 Joshua Kelley LAC 1% $1

I’m bidding on Devontae Booker ahead of all the others depends on Saquon Barkley’s ankle. Barkley is expected to be out 2-3 weeks, and in that time, Booker will handle the bulk of the carries. There are few concerns though. First and foremost, the Giants’ matchups the next two weeks aren’t easy ones – the Rams in Week 6 and the Panthers in Week 7. Moreover, this offense is decimated between Daniel Jones’ concussion, Barkley, and the team’s four best wideouts all dealing with injuries. Vegas odds will likely designate the Giants as massive underdogs in both these games, which won’t bode well for gamescript assumptions in terms of the running game. Booker won’t be a three-down back but surely has capabilities as a pass-catcher. 

That’s why placing our top bids on Jerick McKinnon makes much more sense in terms of upside. With Clyde Edwards-Helaire sidelined at least a few weeks, McKinnon could carve out a worthwhile role on this offense over the next month. And if primary back Darrel Williams were to get hurt, McKinnon would find himself as the lead dog in a smashmouth offense. 

Brandon Bolden only available in 10% of OCs, but he’s mostly a bench depth guy who we hopefully won’t have to rely upon during the bye weeks. But he does have minor value taking on the James White role for the Patriots. The Jeremy McNichols love will continue to die down with Darrynton Evans now eligible to come off IR and possibly returning to mix in on snaps. 

We could throw a few bucks on the Houston guys (Mark Ingram, David Johnson), but doing so is likely an exercise in futility as neither moves the needle all that much. If you catch yourself throwing more than a few bucks on them as a conditional bid, make sure you step away from the computer immediately, then come back an hour later and reduce that bid amount some more. We’re better off prioritizing rookie back Jaret Patterson over the Texans duo, since he’s an Antonio Gibson injury away from relevancy. Patterson played on just 6% of snaps in Week 5 (Gibson – 57%, J.D. McKissic – 41%) but would likely take on Gibson’s role (over McKissic) should Gibson miss any time.

Wide Receiver

Rank Player Team Roster % Bid Range
1 Will Fuller MIA 87% $75-$180
2 Bryan Edwards LVR 84% $75-$180
3 Preston Williams MIA 0% $10-$20
4 James Washington PIT 4% $10-$20
5 DeSean Jackson LAR 52% $10-$20
6 Darius Slayton NYG 52% $5-$10
7 Marquez Valdes-Scantling GB 56% $5-$10
8 Amon-Ra St. Brown DET 35% $5-$10
9 Russell Gage ATL 48% $5-$10
10 Parris Campbell IND 35% $2-$5
11 K.J. Osborn MIN 88% $2-$5
12 Quez Watkins PHI 42% $1
13 Kendrick Bourne NE 47% $1
14 Donovan Peoples-Jones CLE 14% $1
15 Tavon Austin JAX 0% $1
16 Adam Humphries WAS 3% $1

Though there’s a possibility of Will Fuller’s season being a lost one, we should still pay attention and confirm that he wasn’t dropped in any of our leagues. He will be out a few more weeks (at minimum) with his finger injury. But having a stash of Fuller’s upside for the late regular season and fantasy playoffs could prove fruitful. Everyone has at least one easy drop on their 20-team rosters. Hopefully there’s a bit of a discount available for him.

Some 14% of OC leagues have lost faith in Bryan Edwards and it’s understandable. But a wideout of his talent level should not be left idling in the free agent pool. It should have been clear to us to be patient with the Raiders’ passing game. At least, for those of us who paid attention to that difficult early season schedule (vs. BAL, @ PIT, vs. MIA, @ LAC, vs. CHI). Hopefully now with Gruden’s ousting and some better matchups on the horizon, we should have some optimism for Edwards. Still, plenty of talented mouths to feeds between Darren Waller, Henry Ruggs and Hunter Renfrow. There is still room for growth and fantasy viability.

Preferred order of the $10-$20 range is at your discretion, but Preston Williams certainly stands out as a guy we can spot play the next couple of weeks with matchups against the Jaguars (in London) and the Falcons. The Dolphins are shorthanded with Fuller out and DeVante Parker (hamstring). He was in on 73% of snaps in Week 5, coming through with three catches and 60 yards on five targets. James Washington would be one of the top bids of the week if not for the injury he’s currently dealing with. The Steelers have Ray-Ray McCloud and will be trying out some free agent wideouts this week. Ultimately, there’s no one of interest for us to spend too much of our budget on. 

DeSean Jackson, Darius Slayton and Marquez Valdes-Scantling (again) would be near the top of bid groups where I could use a receiver. Jackson is still that speedy, big-play monster he has always been. DJax is not an every-week play, but Matthew Stafford always seems to dial him up on deep shots a few times per game. One of these weeks, he’s going to hit on a couple of them. Slayton could be viable if he returns this week, especially he might be the only man standing given all the injuries to this receiving corps. MVS is a must-stash. I’d keep an eye on his progress, hoping he can return in a couple of weeks and help rosters out in the middle of the season. 

With Quintez Cephus likely done for the season, rookie Amon-Ra St. Brown might be relied upon even more, even though we’re talking about one of the league’s most inept offenses. St. Brown has been steadily improving in the young season. He’s seen eight targets in each of the last two games and has caught at least six balls in consecutive outings. Not a huge ceiling guy since he’s primarily a slot man but is steadily becoming one of Jared Goff’s safety blankets. 

Tight End

Rank Player Team Roster % Bid Range
1 Ricky Seals-Jones WAS 19% $15-$30
2 Dan Arnold JAX 43% $2-$5
3 C.J. Uzomah CIN 53% $2-$5
4 Mo Alie-Cox IND 6% $2-$5
5 David Njoku CLE 6% $2-$5
6 Gerald Everett SEA 61% $1
7 Tyler Conklin MIN 88% $1
8 Tommy Tremble CAR 6% $1
9 Ross Dwelley SF 10% $1

The tight end position is easily the least reliable position as many of us are constantly chasing fantasy points painted by recency bias. There will probably be some triple-digits bids for David Njoku following his 7-149-1 outing in Week 5 similarly to how some chased the C.J. Uzomah two-touchdown game from the week prior. Be careful falling into this trap. It’s one thing to get into the Dawson Knox or Dalton Schultz markets early. It’s another entirely to constantly shuffle six-fantasy point-per-game tight ends on and off our rosters. 

The most important data points we should be using when assessing possible fringe TE options: snap share, target share, route running vs. blocking data and matchups. Only five tight ends currently average over 14 PPR per game (Rob Gronkowski, Travis Kelce, Dawson Knox, Dalton Schultz, Darren Waller) and even Gronk’s average is based on just three games played. We’re mostly hoping to optimize upside on a weekly basis and hopefully land a gem such as a Knox or Schultz.

All that said, there is no one on the list above worth spending double-digits on other than Ricky Seals-Jones. Seals-Jones played 99% of snaps in Week 5 and had eight targets, including three red zone ones. He may not see eight targets again this week, but we have to acknowledge that this could be the beginning of a trend, especially with Logan Thomas out for a few weeks. Washington Football Team has been stung by injuries (Thomas, Dyami Brown, Curtis Samuel) and QB Taylor Heinicke simply doesn’t have many guys to throw the ball to other than Terry McLaurin. Seals-Jones is a fine start with matchups against the Chiefs and Packers these next two weeks.

Interest in Jaguars’ Dan Arnold can be justified since they went out of their way to trade for him and Arnold could see some extra targets with wideout D.J. Chark out for the rest of the season. C.J. Uzomah is a viable streamer the next two weeks because of matchups against the Detroit Lions and Baltimore Ravens (who allow the most FP to tight ends). Mo Alie-Cox is also in the mix because of the lack of standout talent at the wide receiver position for the Colts and the fact that he’s a big-bodied target for QB Carson Wentz in a scheme that likes to utilize them frequently. 

Team Kicker Streamers

Rank Player Roster % Opponent Bid Range
1 Broncos TK (Brandon McManus) 57% v LVR $2-$5
2 Patriots TK (Nick Folk) 47% v DAL $1-$2
3 Dolphins TK (Jason Sanders) 33% v JAX $1-$2
4 Vikings TK (Greg Joseph) 30% at CAR $1-$2
5 Packers TK (Mason Crosby) 20% at CHI $1-$2

In case you were curious, here are the top 10 TK points per game through five weeks:

  • Ravens – 13.08 PPG
  • Patriots – 11.84
  • Bills – 11.2
  • Vikings – 11.2
  • Rams – 10.7
  • Packers – 10.6
  • Giants – 10.4
  • Cowboys – 10.2
  • Browns – 10.1

Note that the second-highest team kicker scoring (Patriots) is a team rostered by less than half of OC leagues. Being underdogs against the high-flying Cowboys may not be an ideal spot for double-digit kicking points but that fact that Nick Folk and the Pats are at home does help. Denver doesn’t have a bye until Week 11 so we can roster and start him until then.

Team Defense Streamers

Rank Player Roster % Opponent Bid Range
1 Colts DST 86% v HOU $7-18
2 Dolphins DST 63% v JAX $5-$10
3 Bengals DST 18% at DET $3-$6
4 Cowboys DST 76% at NE $1-$2

The Indianapolis Colts are middle of the pack in DST fantasy points through five weeks but had a tough early schedule against solid offenses. The matchups appear nice on paper over the next few weeks (vs. HOU, @ SF, vs. TEN, vs. NYJ, vs. JAX). If you can then bench them in Weeks 11 and 12, they’ll face the Texans again. The Dolphins DST were one I added on a bunch of my OCs last week since they’ll be facing the Jaguars (in London), Falcons, Texans and Jets in the next six weeks. The Cowboys are last on the list because the matchup is a middle of the road one and we’d then be tempted to drop them ahead of their bye week.

Best of luck and may you win all your bids by a dollar.

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