George Banko

George Banko

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Tuesday, 26 September 2017 00:00

Episode 191: We know nothing part II

On Tuesday's Week 3 recap pod, the Helpers discuss the protests in response to Donald Trump's twitter comments. They discuss the weird week that was with many 0-2 teams winning in surprise fashion. They also talk about trends to feast on, including why the New England Patriots are one of the best teams to play against in fantasy so far. All that. plus waiver wire pickups and buy-low candidates. 

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Editor's note: This season-long series looks to find the best opportunity to score fantasy points at the running back position. It factors targets, goal line and red zone carries, and rushing attempts. This volume probability is predicated on game script, snap counts, and overall talent of the individual player.

This is Week 3 of this list. You can expect more data as the season goes along and trends emerge. Also, be sure to check out our weekly rankings for complete rankings at every position for Week 3.


Week 2 has come and gone and while the overall picture is still cloudy, some small trends are starting to emerge in the fantasy football world.

For one, Kansas City running back Kareem Hunt has been on a whole different level than any other running back. Hunt's 71 fantasy points through two weeks dwarfs the next highest running back, which is Ty Montgomery at 48.3. To put it in perspective, the highest fantasy scoring running back through two weeks in 2016 was DeAngelo Williams with 48.

Todd Gurley continues to look more like the rookie who dominated for over 1,000 rush yards during his rookie season. Through two weeks, Gurley has finished as an RB6 and RB2.

The Oakland Raider backfield remains messy. Marshawn Lynch is getting considerable volume and goal line work but lacking in the receiving category. DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard have combined for eight targets. Each back curbs the others ceiling from week to week.

Los Angeles Rams at San Francisco 49ers (Thursday game recap)

Total team scoring expectation: 42 points

Actual points scored: 80

Game script: Run heavy, defense-based game with high likelihood of turnovers.

Los Angeles RB's: Well everyone was wrong on this one in terms of the game script. Todd Gurley was nothing short of amazing, rushing for 113 yards and two scores and catching 5 passes for 36 yards and another score. He's been incredible through 3 weeks and is currently the top scoring fantasy running back until the Sunday games.

San Francisco RB's: Carlos Hyde saw his highest carry total yet with 25 rushing attempts for 84 yards and two touchdowns. He's a great shot to continue producing as the 49ers coaching staff keep increasing his volume. Rookie Matt Breida didn't do much in the run game, but he did have three catches on four targets for 20 yards in this one. He's not worth a stash unless you're in a 16-team points per reception league at this point, but he's worth monitoring going forward.

Baltimore at Jacksonville (London game)

Total points expected: 40 (Baltimore favored by 4.5)

Game script: Run heavy, defense.

Baltimore RB's: Javorius Allen was the volume guy in Week 2 with 42 snaps to Terrance West's 15. Allen also received six looks in the red zone but it was West that got the lone carry inside the five and scored a touchdown on it. West did not practice this week and is dealing with a thigh injury, making Allen a primary RB1 candidate for this week against Jacksonville. Through two games, the Ravens have the second most rushing attempts in the league with 37. 

Jacksonville RB's: Rookie Leonard Fournette ranks second in rush attempts through two weeks. He's also been sprinkled into the pass game with five receptions on eight targets. If T.J. Yeldon is active in Week 3, expect him to steal targets from Fournette. Either way, Fournette is still the primary back and should see his usual volume. Fournette is an RB8 through two weeks this season.

Cleveland at Indianapolis

Total points expected: 40 (Cleveland favored by 2)

Game script: Low-scoring. Grind game.

Cleveland RB's: Isaiah Crowell hasn't gone off yet through the first two weeks, ranking as an RB18 through two weeks. But he's had decent volume with 27 carries through two games. The Colts have been stout against the run, holding both Todd Gurley and Chris Johnson to under 50 rushing yards. The Browns should keep Indy's quarterbacks in check, as the Colts QB's have yet to throw a passing touchdown this season. This could lead to Crowell's best volume of the young season.

Indianapolis RB's: Both Frank Gore and Marlon Mack have struggled through two weeks. But Frank Gore is still a solid RB2 option thanks to his volume. Worth noting that Robert Turbin increased his snap count from 14 to 28 in Week 2, but didn't do much with it as he finished with just three carries for 11 yards. Cleveland has been decent against the run so far, making Indy's backfield more risky in Week 3.

Pittsburgh at Chicago

Total points expected: 45.5 (Pittsburgh favored by 7.5)

Game script: Potential high-scoring with Pittsburgh's offense getting considerable upside.

Pittsburgh RB's: Le'Veon Bell is due for a big game here. His volume was crazy in Week 2, as he saw 68 snaps to James Conner's 4. The Bears surrendered over 110 yards to Jacquizz Rodgers and Peyton Barber in Week 2. Bell's role in the receiving game also makes him game script proof in case this game favors more passing. The only worry is the unfavorable road splits for quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, but a good matchup should buck that trend. Bell is a great option in all formats this week and in DFS lineups.

Chicago RB's: Tarik Cohen is the guy you want to start for Chicago going forward until Jordan Howard shows some of the effectiveness he had as a rookie. Howard is dealing with a shoulder injury, as he was reportedly wearing a sling in practice this week. The Steelers kept the Browns and Vikings run games in check which makes Howard a risky play. Cohen, meanwhile, leads all Bears offensive players in targets with 21 and is a strong start with so many injuries at wide receiver. Cohen also ranks fourth in yards per route run (2) trailing only Shane Vereen, James White and Melvin Gordon.

Miami at New York Jets

Total points expected: 41 (Miami favored by 6.5)

Game script: Miami defense favored heavily. Run-heavy for Miami, pass-heavy for New York.

Miami RB's: Jay Ajayi is the clear bell cow running back in this offense. His 28 carries in Week 2 should be replicated in Week 3 against a bad New York Jets run defense. The Jets have been lit up by LeSean McCoy and the Oakland Raider backfield in Weeks 1 and 2. With points hard to come by for New York, you might have to worry about Miami getting out to an early lead and taking Ajayi out. But Ajayi's floor is probably 70-80 yards in this one and he has significant touchdown upside.

New York Jets RB's: Matt Forte took on a slightly larger role, out-touching Bilal Powell 13 to 6 and he's clearly the back to start in deeper leagues. Rookie Elijah McGuire also got into the mix for the first time, receiving six touches of his own for 29 yards and adding one catch for seven yards. Though this backfield is messy, there's some value at the position as the Jets will likely be playing from behind a lot and all of these backs are decent pass catchers. Good garbage time points are a very real possibility. This is a game to steer clear of the backfield for now, but keep an eye out for McGuire on waiver wires in deeper leagues. There's potential for him to see more opportunity in the future.

Denver at Buffalo

Total points expected: 41 (Denver favored by 2)

Game script: Lots of running, low-scoring.

Denver RB's: C.J. Anderson leads the league in rushing attempts and finished as the top fantasy running back in Week 2 with 27 points. Anderson is looking like a good option due to an improved line, strong defense and quarterback. The Bills have been stout against the run so far this season, so this is far from a dream matchup. Still, Anderson should see around 20 touches in this game and add a few catches in as well.

Buffalo RB's: Carolina stifled LeSean McCoy last week. The Broncos come into this matchup riding a wave of confidence after holding Ezekiel Elliott to just eight rushing yards. It's hard to like McCoy this week, even though he's averaging close to seven targets per game. He's a running back to avoid this week.

Houston at New England

Total points expected: 43.5 (New England favored by 13)

Game script: Defensive battle. Low-scoring.

Houston RB's: Lamar Miller ranks among the top 5 in attempts with 35. He also has five catches on five targets through two weeks. Still, he hasn't been effective with just 3.6 yards per carry and zero touchdowns. Rookie D'onta Foreman saw his snap count jump from 2 to 17 last week. He also received 12 touches to Miller's 20. New England is also giving up just 20 points per game, which ranks among the Top 5. Both backs are good fade options this week.

New England RB's: It's been about as down the middle as it can get with the Patriots running backs. Last week, James White and Mike Gillislee each saw 30 snaps last week. Rex Burkhead's snap count slightly decreased from 10 to 8 but he was efficient with 3 catches for 41 yards and a score. Whatever, it doesn't matter. Overall, the volume belongs to Gillislee and White for right now, with White being the primary receiving back and Gillislee getting the goal line carries.

New Orleans at Carolina

Total points expected: 49 (Carolina favored by 6)

Game script: High scoring. Pass heavy game.

New Orleans RB's: Mark Ingram is the lead back in this offense. He also has some receiving upside with five targets per game through two weeks. Alvin Kamara also has some upside in a game that could be pass-heavy, but there's still some risk with Adrian Peterson seeing more snaps in Week 2. This is a muddy backfield. Even more frustrating is the fact that Drew Brees is still passing at an elite level. There could be more scoring opportunities but the crowded backfield limits upside. Carolina has also been stout against the run this season. Best to steer clear of this backfield in Week 3.

Carolina RB's: Cam Newton could hit Christian McCaffrey quite a bit more in this game. James White caught 8 passes for 85 yards against New Orleans and the Saints are giving up close to 30 points to running backs this season. Jonathan Stewart could also be a good start, but his receiving upside is limited and he's yet to find the end zone on the ground. McCaffrey actually has more upside in both standard and PPR leagues this week.

Tampa Bay at Minnesota

Total points expected: 41 (Minnesota favored by 2)

Game script: Lower scoring.

Tampa Bay RB's: With 34 snaps last week, Jacquizz Rodgers is the main back until Doug Martin returns. Charles Sims saw all of the passing-down work with three targets. Both aren't great options this week as Minnesota kept the Saints in check and held Le'Veon Bell to just 87 yards on 27 carries. The interior has been strong for Minnesota, as they're allowing just 6.9 fantasy points per game according to Pro Football Focus. Rodgers is a risky play this week.

Minnesota RB's: Dalvin Cook had a favorable game script in Week 1 thanks to Sam Bradford's dominating performance. Week 2 was a different story, as Pittsburgh got out to the early lead and Minnesota passed the ball 66 percent of the time. It didn't help that Case Keenum struggled mightily at quarterback either. Bradford was ruled out on Friday, tough matchup for the Vikings running backs. Tampa is a solid defense against both the run and pass, but they've only played Chicago and Cook is a more complete back than Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen. There's dark horse potential for Cook in this matchup, but if Keenum struggles again, expect Tampa to focus on Cook.

Atlanta at Detroit

Total points expected: 49 (Atlanta favored by 3.5)

Game script: Potential high scoring with a lot of passing.

Atlanta RB's: In case you haven't noticed, there's not a clear-cut high fantasy scoring game this week. However, this game could be one of those higher scoring games. Devonta Freeman flourished last week against Green Bay has double the amount of snaps as Tevin Coleman through two weeks. Even though the Lions have been strong against the run, they haven't really played against a decent running back yet. They got David Johnson in Week 1 who excited early with an injury and the New York Giants inept backfield last Monday night. Freeman has some intrigue this week in a potential high scoring matchup.

Detroit RB's: This backfield is messy but the matchup is dripping with opportunity Theo Riddick and Ameer Abdullah split snaps last week with Abdullah seeing 28 to Riddick's 27. Riddick finished as an RB20 in Week 1, which is the highest finish of any Lions back so far. The Lions have a long history of not having a true feature back, and this year is looking no different so far. Still, the Falcons have been getting lit up by pass catching backs this year. Tarik Cohen and Ty Montgomery both caught touchdown passes and combined for 14 catches and over 120 receiving yards.

New York Giants at Philadelphia

Total points expected: 43.5 (Philadelphia favored by 3.5)

Game script: Lower scoring. Turnover potential on Philadelphia's side.

New York RB's: The Giants have looked awful through two weeks. Second-year back Paul Perkins is averaging 1.9 yards per carry and no Giant running back has scored a touchdown through two weeks. Orleans Darkwa saw a slight uptick in snaps and saw four touches to Perkins and Vereen's nine. Still, he's not a back you can rely on this week against a Philadelphia team that's fared well against the run so far. Vereen has slight upside because of his volume in the passing game with 13 targets through two games. This is also a desperation game for New York, as losing would put them at 0-2 in the division and 0-3 overall.

Philadelphia RB's: The Eagles have been equally poor in the run game, with no running back over 50 total yards through two games. Darren Sproles remains the dominant PPR back, and the Giants have been susceptible to pass catching backs so far. They gave up five catches on five targets to Ezekiel Elliott in Week 1. Sproles is a good streaming option in deeper PPR leagues and has upside in DFS tournaments as well. No other Philadelphia back is worth starting as of now.

Seattle at Tennessee

Total points expected: 43.5 (Tennessee favored by 1)

Seattle RB's: The Titans are a good run-stopping unit, holding both Marshawn Lynch and Leonard Fournette to under 100 yards. Chris Carson remains the high-volume guy and rushed for 93 yards and a score on 20 attempts against San Francisco in Week 2. This will be a tougher matchup for the Seattle backfield though, and the Titans have struggled more against the pass than the run so far.

Tennessee RB's: DeMarco Murray is banged up and all signs point to Derrick Henry getting more volume this week. Henry strung 92 yards and a score together in last week's outing against Jacksonville, a tough defense. Seattle is another difficult challenge, but the volume potential makes Henry a good RB2 play in standard leagues. Probably best to avoid him DFS since there's high bust potential with the matchup and there are better options out there at similar prices. For example, Henry's price tag is $5,300 on DraftKings and Ameer Abdullah has similar upside at $4,700.

Kansas City at Los Angeles Chargers

Total points expected: 45.5 (Kansas City favored by 3)

Game script: Potential high-scoring. Both teams can throw and run the ball.

Kansas City RB's: Kareem Hunt saw his workload explode in Week 2 and he's the only startable KC back going forward barring a severe slump or injury. He's a great Daily Fantasy play as well since some might be scared off by his expensive price. You should still have some exposure to him in your lineups this week regardless. The Chargers have been soft against the run, surrendering over 100 yards to Denver running backs C.J. Anderson and Jamaal Charles in Week 1. They also gave up 122 yards to Jay Ajayi last week.

Los Angeles Chargers RB's: Melvin Gordon struggled on the ground last week against a tough Miami front. Still, his hybrid status makes him close to matchup proof this season. He's averaging seven targets a game and saw good volume against Denver in Week 1 with 18 carries. Expect him to see a similar opportunity in Week 3 against Kansas City. Branden Oliver is nothing more than a change of pace back at this point and hasn't seen much work in the receiving game with just one target on the year.

Cincinnati at Green Bay

Total points expected: 45.5 (Green Bay favored by 10)

Game script: Balanced with equal amount of running and passing.

Cincinnati RB's: Cincinnati's backfield remains the most puzzling and perhaps frustrating this season. The numbers tell all really. Through two games, the rushing attempts have been Joe Mixon (17), Giovani Bernard (12), and Jeremy Hill (12). Mixon has been the most effective as of late, rushing for 36 yards on nine carries last week. Still, it's hard to get excited about him until the Bengals let him loose, which may or may not happen anytime soon.

Green Bay RB's: Ty Montgomery continues to be a force and has a solid matchup against Cincinnati, an average run defense so far. He's slowly stepping into that hybrid role and received seven targets last week, catching six of them for 75 yards and a touchdown. Montgomery's 65 snaps last week dwarfed all other Packer backs and Jamaal Williams is no threat to overtake him right now. He should also see more rushing attempts unless Andy Dalton and A.J. Green really go off in this one and force Green Bay to play from behind.

Oakland at Washington

Total points expected: 54 (Oakland favored by 3)

Game script: High scoring. Defense optional.

Oakland RB's: Marshawn Lynch is a good option in this one since Washington has fared poorly against the run but I worry about the game script in this one. If Oakland comes out throwing, DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard could see an increased role. Never much of a receiver, Lynch might see the majority of his work around the goal line if Washington and Kirk Cousins get off to a hot start. Jordan Reed is 50/50 right now but Vernon Davis is still a strong backup and Oakland struggles against tight ends. They also gave up two scores to Jermaine Kearse and Josh McCown of the Jets last week. There's a chance the Redskins put up a lot of points on them which would take Lynch out of the equation somewhat.

Washington RB's: Samaje Perine saw his first action in Week 2 and rushed 21 times for 67 yards. While the numbers aren't eye-popping, he's the clear No. 1 back going forward. Chris Thompson continues to be ruthlessly efficient, rushing for 77 yards and two scores on just three attempts and is averaging six targets per game. Despite his performance, it's not looking like the Redskins will increase his touches anytime soon for fear of injuring his slight frame. Perine is a risky play this week but definitely worth an add in deeper leagues.

Dallas at Arizona (Monday night)

Total points expected: 47 (Dallas favored by 3.5)

Game script: Above average scoring.

Dallas RB's: Ezekiel Elliott struggled mightily against Denver after a 100-yard performance against the New York Giants in Week 1. Still, he's yet to record a touchdown this year and Arizona has been strong against the run, granted they've only played Detroit and Indianapolis so far. Elliott is an elite back and has a chance to rebound in this game, and with Arizona's offense playing so poorly, it's unlikely we see a Trevor Siemien passing game script like last week.

Arizona RB's: Chris Johnson and Kerwynn Williams siphoned production from each other in Arizona's first outing without David Johnson. Andre Ellington led them in snaps with 30.


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Monday, 18 September 2017 00:00

Episode 190: Hunt's catch up

On Tuesday's podcast, the Helpers recap Week 2. They discuss Alex Smith's emergence as a consistent QB1, why Kareem Hunt is who he is, the weirdness at the fantasy running back position, increased snap count for players and buy-low candidates. All that, plus waiver wire pickups for your teams.

Visit Mybookie.AG and use the promo code 'FFHelpers' for a 100% bonus.

Stop guessing and start winning. Numberfire.com. Use the promo code 'FFHelpers' and your first month subscription for $9.99.

Check out more Fantasy Football Helpers podcasts here.

Link to original photo

Editor's note: This season-long series looks to find the best opportunity to score fantasy points at the running back position. It factors targets, goal line and red zone carries, and rushing attempts. This volume probability is predicated on game script, snap counts, and overall talent of the individual player.

This is Week 1 of this list. You can expect more data as the season goes along and trends emerge. Also, be sure to check out our weekly rankings for complete rankings at every position for Week 2.

Week 1 saw a bunch of rushers see over 20+ carries, which is the first big indicator of consistency from week to week. We saw Ezekiel Elliott rush 24 times, and rookie Leonard Fournette was the top rusher with 26 total carries. Both backs finished with over 100 yards against good defenses in New York and Houston.

We got our first glimpse of the identity these coaches might be establishing for their teams in Week 1. Fournette has a lot of potential as a rookie in Jacksonville, as the Jaugars look to favor a conservative, defense-first approach. Will that happen every week? Nobody knows. But it worked well in Week 1. The defense forced unproven quarterback Tom Savage into tough throws and Bortles threw just 21 times, which ranked 28th overall for that week.

If you're looking at receiving running backs, Tarik Cohen and Shane Vereen dominated the target category with 11 and 10 respectively. Cohen finished with 25 PPR points after catching 8 passes for 47 yards and a touchdown. With his price on Draftkings being so low, it's no surprise Cohen was the true contrarian play and was featured in several top Daily Fantasy lineups. Vereen didn't find the end zone, but finished 14 PPR points on a respectable 9 catches for 51 yards.

As you can see, it was an interesting week with a lot of surprises. Here's how we can break that down in Week 2.

Houston at Cincinnati (Thursday game recap)

Total team scoring expectation: 38 points

Actual points scored: 22

Game script: Run heavy, defense-based game with high likelihood of turnovers

Houston RB's: Lamar Miller had the highest volume in Week 1 for Houston with 17 carries. Miller saw 29 total snaps in the last game, leading all Houston rushers. But it was rookie D'Onta Foreman who stood out in Week 2. The former Longhorn rushed for 40 yards, gaining 32 of them after contact. Miller still saw the bulk of the carries, but Foreman is starting to creep into the picture. Look to add Foreman to your waiver wire list.

Cincinnati RB's: Cincy's backfield is coming into focus. Rookie Joe Mixon lead backs with nine carries and Giovani Bernard assume the receiving back role. Bernard led all Bengals runners with 4 targets, catching two of them for 16 yards. Bernard will have some value in high-scoring game scripts or when the Bengals find themselves down at half, which is something that might happen more often as the Bengals lost their first two home games so far.

Green Bay at Atlanta (Sunday Night)

Total points expected: 53

Game script: Pass heavy from both offenses. The obvious high-scoring matchup of the Week.

Green Bay RB's: Green Bay's Ty Montgomery played 74 snaps while rookie backup Jamaal Williams played just six. Montgomery also led the team in targets with four. This is the week to start Montgomery in all leagues including PPR and Daily Fantasy. The Falcons recently surrendered eight catches and a touchdown to Bears backup running back Tarik Cohen in Week 1. Montgomery has a real shot to have one of his best weeks of the year.

Atlanta RB's: Both Freeman and Coleman are risky options right now. Freeman was the clear leader in snaps with 36, but Coleman wasn't far behind with 24 and also out-targeted Freeman 6:2. There's a lot to like in this matchup, but you don't know which back will put up points. It's safe to steer clear of this backfield for the time being.

Tennessee at Jacksonville

Total points expected: 43 (Tennessee favored by 1)

Game script: High volume for Jacksonville running backs. Low-scoring. Grind game.

Tennessee RB's:  Tennessee got down early and passed a lot more in Week 1, which hurt DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry's value. Murray out-touched Henry 12-6 but Henry got more bang per carry with 4.2 yards. Henry also created more yards with 2.8 after contact. With no backs receiving any goal line touches, this is a backfield that has some uncertainty heading into Week 2 even with a favorable game script.

Jacksonville RB's: Leonard Fournette saw a league-high 29 touches, a feat that could occur again as the Jaguars establish a defensive identity. T.J. Yeldon expects to return for Week 2 which could limit Fournette's targets, as the rookie saw three in Week 1. But the volume should still be there for Fournette and he's a reliable start in redraft and cash games for DFS.

Cleveland at Baltimore

Total points expected: 41 (Baltimore favored by 7.5)

Game script: Favors defense of Baltimore. Low-scoring. High turnover probability with rookie DeShone Kizer playing for Cleveland.

Cleveland RB's: Trust the Hue Jackson touch. The Browns are sneakily becoming a competitive team thanks to an improved defense. However, both running backs aren't a great bet to do damage this week. Kizer's rushing upside limits touchdown probability for Isaiah Crowell. Duke Johnson was used exclusively as a receiver last week and didn't line up in the backfield once according to Pro Football Focus.

Baltimore RB's: There's definitely some upside to giving Javorius Allen a start this week. Allen led Baltimore with 21 carries and outsnapped Terrance West 33 to 27. Plus, Allen could see more targets with Danny Woodhead expected out until Week 10. If Baltimore can control the pace of this game, it's not out of the question Allen could see over 100 yards and a couple catches. Throw in a touchdown and he'll greatly exceed his Daily Fantasy value. 

Buffalo at Carolina

Total points expected: 42 (Carolina favored by 7.5)

Game script: Favors defense of Carolina. Low-scoring.

Buffalo RB's: LeSean McCoy rushed 22 times for 110 yards in a run-heavy game against the offensively pedestrian New York Jets. He also added 5 catches on 6 targets for 49 yards. Mike Tolbert was also effective with 12 rushes of his own for 42 yards and continued his reputation as a touchdown sniper with a short score. Per Pro Football Focus, McCoy did receive one carry inside the five-yard line, so it's not like the Bills used Tolbert exclusively around the end zone. The volume will still be there for McCoy, although this is a tougher matchup for him.

Carolina RB's: Jonathan Stewart remains the top back in this offense with 18 rushes to Christian McCaffrey's 13. McCaffrey saw 47 snaps to Stewart's 29 and saw 7 targets which led to 5 catches for 30+ yards. This is a decent matchup for Carolina's running backs, but low value hurts their chances for a huge day. It's unlikely Stewart goes over 100 yards with McCaffrey taking touches. It's also unlikely McCaffrey scores touchdowns unless he scores on a big play since he's not getting the goal line work.

New England at New Orleans

Total points expected: 53 (New England favored by 6)

Game script: Lots of passing. Favorable for wide receivers and quarterbacks

New England RB's: This is a good game to give James White a start in redraft and Daily Fantasy. White is the receiving back in New England, led them in targets with 5 in Week 1, and New England is likely to score a ton to keep up with New Orleans. The Saints have historically been a high-scoring team at home, so New England will have their hands full, especially with a banged up defense that will put more pressure on Tom Brady to put up points.

New Orleans RB's: Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram are both good starts this week. Kamara led all Saints running backs in targets with six and caught four of them for 20 yards. Ingram wasn't far behind with five targets. Both backs struggled on the ground, but a lot of that had to do with Minnesota's stifling defense. It's unlikely New England puts up the same fight, especially if Donta Hightower is still hurt. Adrian Peterson, who was never a prolific receiver, may be the odd man out in this backfield as the season goes along.

Arizona at Indianapolis

Total points expected: 44 (Arizona favored by 7.5)

Game script: Could be pass heavy for first half, run heavy in second if Arizona gets ahead.

Arizona RB's: Kerwynn Williams is the current starting back for Arizona, a team that also signed Chris Johnson earlier this week. Williams has rushed for over 100 yards in the past, but his receiving upside will likely be curbed with Andre Ellington expected to fill that role. This backfield is cloudy, but Williams is an interesting dart throw if not for the fact that he'll be so cheap and the Indianapolis defense has struggled early on.

Indianapolis RB's: Both rookie Marlon Mack and Frank Gore split carries with 10, with Mack getting the touchdown and the better fantasy day. It's difficult to see who will be the best option in this backfield as of now. Both running backs also saw a similar role in the receiving game, with each catching one pass on one target. There's not much to like about Indianapolis on offense right now in general, and the running back situation is no different. 

Philadelphia at Kansas City

Total points expected: 47.5 (Kansas City favored by 4.5)

Game script: Some scoring potential. Both teams create a good pass rush so sacks are likely. Kansas City will likely favor pass with injuries in Philadelphia secondary.

Philadelphia RB's: LeGarrette Blount wasn't very effective in Week 1 with just 46 yards on 14 rushes. He saved his fantasy day with a one-yard reception score. Darren Sproles tied Zach Ertz for most targets among all Philly players with eight. Neither player is worth more than a dart throw in Daily Fantasy lineups this week.

Kansas City RB's: Kareem Hunt was incredible in Week 1. He gets another plus matchup against a Philadelphia team that surrendered four catches, 52 yards and a score to Redskins running back Chris Thompson in Week 1. Though Charcandrick West saw a lot of snaps in Week 1, expect that to diminish due to Hunt's dominance. It's likely Hunt cracks the 20+ rush attempts and sees at least five targets in Week 2.

Minnesota at Pittsburgh

Total points expected: 45 (Pittsburgh favored by 7)

Game script: Potentially high-scoring. Lots of passing.

Minnesota RB's: Forget the notion that Latavius Murray would take away touches from rookie Dalvin Cook early on after Week 1. Cook is firmly entrenched in the feature back role and should see plenty of carries in this one. Coming off a 127-yard performance where he rushed 22 times, Cook also had more targets than Jerick McKinnon with five. Cook also had four looks in the red zone which led all Viking running backs. Pittsburgh gave up several 100-yard rushing games last season, including over 200 yards to Jay Ajayi.

Pittsburgh RB's: Recency bias might keep people from drafting Le'Veon Bell this week in DFS, but don't let that happen to you. Bell is likely to rebound in Week 2. Pittsburgh is a different offense at home, as evidenced by Ben Roethlisberger's 59 touchdowns in his last 20 home games. Bell has been on the receiving end of some of those touchdowns, and it's not a bad idea to stack him with Roethlisberger in DFS tournaments since he'll be owned less than Matt Ryan, Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers.

Chicago at Tampa Bay

Total points expected: 43 (Tampa favored by 6)

Game script: High volume for running backs. Clock moves fast. Lower play counts.

Chicago RB's: Tarik Cohen is still going to see targets in this offense with injuries to so many of their wide receivers. However, it's best to remain cautious with him in ppr leagues until he repeats his Week 1 feat. Even if he does do damage again in Week 2, more people will own him in Daily Fantasy than last week which will diminish his value in tournaments.

Tampa Bay RB's: Jacquizz Rodgers gets the start. Not crazy to think he could see 20-plus rushing attempts with just Charles Sims and Peyton Barber playing behind him. If Tampa Bay favors a conservative approach due to Chicago's poor offense, then Rodgers could come close to 100-yard effort. 

Miami at Los Angeles Chargers

Total points expected: 44 (Los Angeles favored by 4)

Game script: Weak Miami secondary could lead to several pass touchdowns for Philip Rivers. Dolphins might be forced to play catch up early.

Miami RB's: Jay Ajayi is fresh after not playing in Week 1 and gets a solid matchup against a Chargers defense that's worse against the run than the pass. Game script might hurt him a bit if Rivers takes advantage of Miami's vulnerable defensive backs. Miami surrendered over 32 fantasy points per game to wide receivers last year. There's also a bit of risk with Jay Cutler potentially turning the ball over and costing Ajayi possessions. Still, Ajayi is the clear No. 1 and also has modest points per reception value. He's a great play in all leagues and in cash DFS games.

Los Angeles RB's: It's another green-light week for Melvin Gordon. With 45 snaps, 18 touches last week and 5 catches for 25 yards and a touchdown, he's the man in Los Angeles. Miami's run defense isn't terrible, but the volume potential for Gordon is among the best in the NFL. He also received all of the red zone looks for Los Angeles in Week 1, and the Chargers will likely have an easier time scoring against Miami than they did against Denver.

New York Jets at Oakland

Total points expected: 43 (Oakland favored by 14)

New York RB's: Matt Forte and Bilal Powell had a similar snap count in Week 1 and each had a similar amount of targets and rush attempts. Powell has a slight edge as he looks to be the preferred running back in the red zone, but this is a cloudy backfield where both running backs are risky plays. It's not a terrible idea to avoid this group. Oakland is middle of the road against running backs, ranking 14th overall and giving up around 22.5 points per game.

Oakland RB's: In a game where the Raiders could be up multiple scores by halftime, Marshawn Lynch is a great start this week. He had three looks in the red zone and no other running back had one in Week 1. His 18 attempts for 76 yards showed good volume and it's hard to see him not getting in the end zone at least once this week. Though he lacks major upside, he's a must-start in cash DFS games. DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard are cancelling each other out but Washington still holds value in PPR leagues as he tied for most targets among running backs with two in Week 1.

Washington at Los Angeles Rams

Total points expected: 46 (Rams favored by 2)

Game script: Medium range for scoring. Rams have potential to go to ground game a lot with weak Washington run defense. Washington also poor against tight ends. Washington has good passing opportunities against weak secondary.

Los Angeles Rams RB's: Todd Gurley is a solid start this week even though he wasn't the most efficient back in Week 1 (just over 2 yards per carry on 19 rush attempts). His five catches give him some versatility though, and Washington struggled to contain Darren Sproles last week in the receiving game as well. There's enough volume here to start Gurley is every league, and he's a good upside guy in DFS tournaments. 

Washington RB's: Though Rob Kelley is the starting running back for Washington, scat back Chris Thompson was the fantasy stud in Week 1 after catching four passes for 52 yards and a score. This matchup will be tougher on Thompson though, as the Rams are stout against running backs in the receiving last week against the Colts. Overall, they held Marlon Mack and Frank Gore to just one catch each in a game that had the kind of game script that favors running backs catching passes.

Dallas at Denver

Total points expected: 43 (Dallas favored by 1)

Game script: Run heavy game with minimal scoring on both sides

Dallas RB's: Ezekiel Elliott is a no-brainer this week. The Broncos match up worse against the run than the pass. Elliott rushed over 24 times last week and should cross the 20-rush barrier again. His five catches for 36 yards gives him PPR upside and if the Dallas defense keeps Trevor Siemian in check, there's a good chance they lean on Elliott for most of the game.

Denver RB's: C.J. Anderson is a good start this week but this is a tough matchup. Dallas looked menacing on defense with Sean Lee and rookie Jaylon Smith running amuck. Still, the volume is there for the Denver RB. Anderson dominated the snap count with 48 to backup Jamaal Charles 21. The Broncos gave him the ball three times inside the five yard-line, but they also gave Charles two goal line touches as well. In a game that could be low scoring, Anderson might see a healthy amount of carries and also saw some modest work in the receiving game.

San Francisco at Seattle

Total points expected: 43 (Seattle favored by 13)

Game script: Favors Seattle defense heavily. Low-scoring, run-heavy game.

San Francisco RB's: Carlos Hyde has tremendous upside week-to-week due to his role in the receiving game (six catches on six targets in Week 1). His rushing volume was low but that was because the 49ers got down early. It's tough to see that not happening again in Week 2 with Seattle's stout run defense, a unit that's giving up just under 20 fantasy points per game to running backs which ranks among the Top 5.

Seattle RB's: Thomas Rawls looks like he's going to start in this one. He's a great upside play against a very bad San Francisco rush defense that led Christian McCaffrey and Jonathan Stewart run effectively in Week 1. Still, you're taking a major risk given that we don't know how much volume Rawls will get with Eddie Lacy and Chris Carson still in the fold. He's still a great dart throw in DFS tournaments since Eddie Lacy looked sluggish in Week 1 and Carson is still developing as a rookie. He might also completely destroy your DFS lineup, but taking those risks is often how you win big money tournaments.

Detroit at New York Giants (Monday night)

Total points expected: 43 (New York Giants favored by 4.5)

Game script: Shootout potential. Both teams like to run hurry up offense and pass.

Detroit RB's: Ameer Abdullah is the lead back with 36 snaps in Week 1. Still, Theo Riddick and Dwayne Washington combined for 35 snaps of their own, further muddying this backfield. New York has a stout run defense and only gave up 100 yards to Elliott because their offense was inept. They should fare better against Detroit and keep the Lions running backs in check.

New York Giants RB's: Another struggling backfield, Shane Vereen led all backs in snaps with 31 to Paul Perkins 17. Perkins was expected to be the go-to run option and his two red zone looks suggest he'll be the goal line guy. Aside from some touchdown upside though, it's best to fade Perkins and Veren this week. No back has established a heavy-volume role and the Lions fare better against the run than in any other category.

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Tuesday, 12 September 2017 00:00

Episode 189: We know nothing

On the first episode with a few games to analyze, the Helpers discuss who the high-volume players were and if those players stand a chance to repeat those performances or not. They also talk injuries, including who's the best replacement for David Johnson. They mention which offenses you should be looking to stream defenses against every week. All that, plus a weekly award and a brief preview of the Week 2 slate.

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Saturday, 09 September 2017 00:00

Episode 188: Week 1 predictions

The 2017 NFL season has begun. It's time for us to start helping you win in Fantasy Football. Here, we discuss all the matchups this week with the highest scoring potential. We tell you which players we're high and low on. We also tell you to visit the following websites...

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Wednesday, 30 August 2017 00:00

Episode 187: Draft strategies w/Alex Ethofer

Got enough draft strategies yet? George welcomes Alex Ethofer, a passionate fantasy footballer who has won several high stakes leagues. They discuss how to avoid risky running backs, how to dominate your draft by combining high upside with consistency, and when to draft a quarterback.

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Check out more Fantasy Football Helpers podcasts here.

Follow Alex on Twitter @robochuck20ten

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George and Scott Sergent discuss who they want to draft to their fantasy teams this season. They advise you to avoid certain rookies, find value in the later rounds and mention which quarterbacks to take.

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George welcomes Daniel Friedman, a dynasty fantasy football enthusiast. Friedman tells you how to build a great dynasty team by sharing his own experiences and strategies. They then talk about how to find your strengths as a fantasy football player, and end the pod with an overview of the current NFL culture and what the future may hold for the sport.

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Check out more Fantasy Football Helpers podcasts here.

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Giana Pacinelli of the the Huffington Post and 2QBs.com joins George Banko of Fantasyfootballhelpers.com to debate which receiver to draft, Randall Cobb or John Brown?

Opening statements

George: Randall Cobb is coming off a season where he scored his lowest touchdown total (4) since 2013. It was also the first time since that same season he failed to play in all 16 games. Here's why we can expect a bounce-back season from the seven-year Green Bay wide receiver.

Giana: John Brown was set to have a breakout year in 2016, following his first 1,000-yard season. Instead, Brown had a disappointing 39-517-2 stat line through 15 games. His struggles had a lot to do with his diagnosis of sickle cell and a cyst on his spine. With both injuries reportedly under control, expect a second-go at a breakout season for the Arizona Cardinals WR2despite his slow return from a quad injury he suffered in practice at the end of July.

Beginning arguments

George: John Brown is an electric player when healthy for sure. Still, there are some things about Cobb's situation that I love. For one, he plays in a pass-happy offense. The Packers threw the ball on 64 percent of plays last season, second only to the Baltimore Ravens. They might not pass THAT much in 2017, but Aaron Rodgers is what makes that offense go and will still throw plenty. Cobb had over 100 targets last season and didn't play in three games. He will have a lot of scoring opportunities based on the offense he plays in.

Giana: While Cobb has more years on Brown in the NFL and a top-tier QB to match, he's competing with the likes of Jordy Nelson and Davante Adams for targets. For Brown, more opportunity exists. Brown is playing second fiddle to Larry Fitzgerald, who is 34 this month. While there is no question Fitz is still a top receiver, his production value has faded down the stretch the past two seasons. In the second half of both 2015 and 2016 seasons, he scored double-digit fantasy points in a standard league only once. Alongside Fitz, Brown saw over 100 targets in both 2014 and 2015. As Fitz fades, the targets will reallocate to Brown. While there’s no doubt JJ Nelson, and perhaps Jerod Brown, will see some production value from it, this is the year Brown could rack up WR1 numbers as long as he can stay healthy.

 

George: While Brown will get a lot of big plays in the offense, I like Cobb's chances for consistency. He's been a reliable touchdown target, catching three scores in three games last postseason. While postseason games don't typically count for fantasy, coaches value them and Cobb's ability to perform in big moments will only lead to more targets in the offense this year. Davante Adams finally broke out in 2016, but it's likely he won’t have another 12-touchdown season with Cobb healthy. Cobb should rack up 2-3 more touchdowns this year without difficulty.

Giana: Yes, Brown had a disappointing 2016. But in reality, the Cardinals had a disappointing season overall, finishing 7-8-1. In the case of determining Brown’s value, it’s best to look at the Cardinals three-year average of 592 pass attempts and 416 rush attempts. Despite their unsatisfactory year, Cardinals are prolific in the passing game (ProFootballFocus ranks them #6 overall). Carson Palmer threw the third most TDs (21) on quick passes (aging suits him) and Fitz tied for second most receptions (63) from the slot. Although they struggle with the deep pass, efficiency is what will win them games. If Brown can increase his yards per route, the Cardinals passing game will be a brutal force in 2017. Another thing of note is that this off-season Brown added an extra 13 pounds of muscle to the chip on his shoulder, showing he’s ready to come back from an injury-ridden season to reinvigorate the offense.

George: Great points on the Cardinals passing attack, but I want to delve deeper into Cobb's reliability. With an average depth of target at six yards last season, Cobb won't score long touchdowns like Brown will, but he will make up for it with consistency. Cobb's catch rate of 71% (per playerprofiler) ranked 14th among wide receivers last season. He was reliable inside the 20-yard line, with 10 red zone receptions and we all know the Packers throw the ball a lot near the goal line. These numbers translated to 11.4 fantasy points per game. That's solid and consistent production for a WR2. Cobb might not score you 33 points in game like Brown could, but he won't be the reason you lose either.

Giana: Agree with Cobb being a safe, consistent pick, but the opportunity for him to get his share of the targets still concerns me. I have no concerns on whether he can deliver, just if he can get the ball. While the sample size for Brown’s production is much thinner than Cobb’s, his consistency is still evident. In the three seasons of his career, he’s averaged a 56 catch percentage and 14 yards per reception. Brown excels at forcing safeties to play deep, opening up the middle of the field. And despite playing alongside Fitz and Michael Floyd, Brown saw 17 red-zone targets across 15 games in 2015. Even more inspiring is his handle of the ball, with just two turnovers on his career. I can’t stress it enough, there’s a major if in the health category that causes Brown’s ADP to suffer. Don’t overthink it – Brown is going to be a beast come September.

George: Agree with you on Cobb lacking targets, but the coaches have a lot of confidence in him as does Rodgers. Since 2012, Packer QB's have had a 116.2 rating when targeting Cobb, according to Pro Football Focus. Not only will he likely see more targets as mentioned earlier, he also has scoring upside. Rodgers has thrown for over 30 touchdowns per season and Carson Palmer has only accomplished that feat twice in his 13-year career. Those factors will lead to Cobb getting more targets in the end zone and his touchdown numbers should increase as a result.

 

Giana: I’ve danced around it a bunch in previous arguments, but here it is. Brown’s disappointing 2016 season was largely caused by the injuries he dealt with related to his sickle-cell trait. Brown claims he is “back to normal” and knows how to manage the trait. And since Denver has been known to heighten symptoms of the sickle cell trait (Tevin Coleman was unsure he could play in Denver last year) it’s important to note that the Broncos are not on the Cardinals schedule this season. This leaves little doubt that it would be a lingering concern into 2017.

Now, onto the quad injury Brown suffered at the end of July. While Brown was able to practice in team reps after a few days, he was incredibly slow to return to the field. It seemed Brown was not going to push himself to return until he felt ready, regardless of Coach Bruce Arians expressing that he was 'concerned' when Brown didn't return until the third preseason game. But when he did return, making a pair of touchdown catches, quarterback Carson Palmer had these positive words to say about his receiver through text: "Wide receiver's impact clear when he's on field — he just needs to be on the field."

Even with the slight uncertainty, Brown is not deserving of his current ADP – falling between the ninth and twelfth rounds in standard leagues. He is only one season removed from a 65-catch, 1,003-yard, seven-touchdown season. It’s hard to argue that stat-line and convince me he’s not worth more than a ninth-round pick. While that might be his ceiling, it doesn’t warrant him being the 44th wide out on the board. But if that's where he'll reside, don't settle or reach for Cobb — steal a starting wide receiver in the second half of your draft instead.

Closing arguments

George: With a strong postseason last year, Cobb will see more targets in 2017. He also has considerable touchdown upside given the quarterback he plays with. He's a great value at his current ADP and worth drafting as a WR2/3.

Giana: The 2016 season is not a benchmark for Brown’s potential. At 27 years old, he is still in his prime and will look to see more targets in 2017 in one of the league's top passing offenses. Brown has the potential to be the most productive receiver per-target this season. He’s an undervalued sleeper in his current ADP and is worthy of your WR2/3 slot.


Giana Pacinelli contributed to this article. She is the author 'Women in Fantasy Sports,' a series featured in the Huffington Post. She also contributes to TwoQBs.com 

Follow her on twitter @Gianaaaa 

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We believe Fantasy Football success comes down to two things — opportunity and talent. You will have Fantasy Football mastered once you understand how good a player is and how good of an opportunity he has to gain yards and score touchdowns. The thing is, you'll never master Fantasy Football. But you can get pretty darn good at it when you have even a slightly better understanding of opportunity and talent than the average Joe. That's what Fantasy Football Helpers is dedicated to doing.

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