This week will see a match up of traditionally powerful teams. The Packers have been seeing a down tick in the fantasy performances of some of their key performers. The Cowboys have been getting production from two big rookies this season, Both teams are finding ways to win and, perhaps, we can find you some ways to keep winning in your league. We are a quarter of the way through the real season, but already almost a third of the way through your fantasy season. Maybe you are looking for a lottery ticket or maybe you just need some more stable player in the flex slot to go all the way. Either way, week six waits for no one.
You are obviously starting him if you have him, but this has not been the season you were hoping for. At this point, you are not starting Rodgers in Daily leagues. Rodgers has faced two top ten passing defenses. This week, the Packers face a team that ranks roughly where the Giants rank in terms of pass defense. Orlando Scandrick has been injured and this might be a chance for a solid game with Rodgers coming off his highest yardage game so far.
Prescott is actually someone who comes in a little under-rated. He is seventh in ESPN standard scoring and eighth in Yahoo. Of course he has not had a bye yet either. Prescott is available in about 45% of all leagues. He has been doing this with an aging Witten and an injured Dez Bryant. Dak has the additional ability of gaining yards with his feet as well. The Packers finally seemed to put everything together in pass defense this week, holding down a strong and deep passing attack. Dak has also not seen a drop when playing on the road. He is a good starter in fantasy. He could be interesting in Daily leagues. If so, consider pairing him with Cole Beasley (regardless of whether or not Dez plays).
Eddie Lacy/James Starks
I put Starks here because of the injury to Lacy before Wednesday’s injury report. Lacy has been a great running back so far, but his fantasy value has been limited because he has yet to reach the end zone. Even if you are waiting on the news of Lacy’s injury, Starks is not the guy you want. Starks is a clear handcuff in this case. The volume is the only thing going for Starks in a scenario where he plays and Lacy does not. Starks is averaging 1.8 yards per carry. You might be better trying to stash Bobby Rainey or Jacquizz Rodgers.
Sure start if you have him in a redraft league because you certainly will not have a better option. This is a case where you do not want to start him in daily leagues. The Packers have not allowed any team to rush for more than 50 yards in a game through a quarter of the season. Elliott might be the first, but the Packers have been a great rush defense and Elliott is not going to lead the league in rushing for this week.
Jordy Nelson/Randall Cobb
So we saw a role reversal last weekend. Cobb was the game savior and Jordy ended up having a few passes get through his hands (including one that became a red zone interception). Jordy had 13 targets... and four catches, but the touchdown saved the fantasy value. Jordy is still a legit WR1 who has had double digit targets twice in four games. Cobb is coming off his first double target game of the year and only his second game with over five catches. With Orlando Scandrick still hurting the Cowboys might have some depth issues, but this is not a bad pass defense. Jordy is a WR1 and Cobb is mostly a low-end WR2 until he becomes more consistent with the production.
Cole Beasley/Terrance Williams
Beasley started the season as the main target for young Dak Prescott. Unfortunately, Beasley has only seen four targets in each of the last two weeks. Williams has just 19 targets on the season. Prescott has made Jason Witten the highest targeted player on the team. Without Dez Bryant no one here is a big threat. However, Beasley will be getting the slant routes and all the underneath routes that have cut the Packers in the passing game. Beasley will hold some value as a WR2.
THE REST OF THE LEAGUE
Oddly, Dak is one of the best undervalued guys out there. Besides him, there are not many other quarterbacks hanging out there less than 90% owned. One of those players is Tyrod Taylor. The Bills get a home game against the Niners this week. Tyrod Taylor is a more consistent version of Marcus Mariota. Mariota is going to be a big pick up this week after his big game last week, but Taylor is giving you a near guarantee of 15 points as the floor. Tyrod is owned in just 62% of Yahoo leagues and 55.1% of ESPN leagues.
I am going to start this as I have started most of my columns: How is Tevin Coleman not owned in at least 95% of leagues?! Currently, Coleman is available in 23% of Yahoo leagues and 20.7% of ESPN leagues. This is a top ten running back so far. Another interesting mediumly-owned (maybe a word, maybe not) running back is Theo Riddick. Riddick is available in 25% of Yahoo leagues and 15.1% of ESPN leagues. Riddick is the lead back in Detroit and is also a three-down back. He will continue to get high touches in the following weeks (but watch the Lions injury report, as he did not practice Wednesday). One reach if you are desperate is Bobby Rainey. Rainey is owned in only about 5% of leagues. Rainey is going to be filling the Shane Vereen role for the Giants. The Giants keep falling behind and relying on the passing game. Rainey will keep finding himself on the field. By the way, he out-rushed Orleans Darkwa against the Packers last week.
This is a place where there are plenty of highly-owned players. Eddie Royal (yes, a Bear) is an interesting choice in the following weeks. With Brian Hoyer getting the starting snaps now, the target load has shifted some. Eddie Royal has been getting good fantasy numbers (double digits in three of five games) and he has seen the targets increase as he had seven targets in each of the last two weeks. With Kevin White sidelined, Cameron Meredith and Eddie Royal are going to see upticks in their target shares. Royal has an increased value and might be a WR2 in PPR leagues. Royal is available in 49% of Yahoo leagues and 58.8% of ESPN leagues.
Jamison Crowder is another player of this ilk. He is the third option in Washington, but he provides a great underneath target and also gives you some value in the return game. I have been starting Crowder in a flex position in a 16-team half PPR league with great success. Crowder is still only owned in 30-40% of leagues. He has crossed 9 points in both ESPN and Yahoo standard scoring in three of the five weeks so far. Safe flex start and useful in bye weeks. The last name I will throw out there is Sammie Coates, who is still available in about 60% of leagues. If you are in a tough match up and looking for someone to be your Hail Mary flex play, this is your man. Coates is a classic boom-or-bust player. Lots of speed in an offense that is very vertical. Maybe he gets you 25 points, maybe he gets you five. Before you add him, or after you add him yet before you start him, check his status. Coates was listed as questionable with an injury to his left hand.