Hi, hello & welcome to the column that’s not just your favorite, not just my favorite, but Brent Musburger’s favorite! I don’t know about you guys, but the whole NFL thing just isn’t working for me so far. My fantasy teams went 1-5 last week, the Bengals are the worst team in the league, and my picks against the spread are just below .500. Add in Louisville’s sorry showing against Clemson last week and you’ll see why I’m spending more time writing about baseball & hockey.
Nevertheless, it’s that time of week where I tell you which players will carry your fantasy teams, which won’t, and who you need to go pick up right now. Then I’ll let you know who to bet the house on. LET’S GO!
This one’s pretty self explanatory. Booker T was doing the Fave 5 gimmick back when the Ocho was starting up, so we figured it only made sense to make it part of our fantasy football podcast over at offtheteam.com. These are five guys that are going to have tremendous weeks and lead your team to fantasy glory. And maybe even lead their actual team to glory, but we’re not worried about that too much here.
Jay Ajayi: The experts were trying to keep people from drafting Ajayi, warning everybody about how Jay got most of his fantasy points last season in four games and was pedestrian for the rest of the season. After seeing him run all over the Clippers on Sunday I can only assume that the experts were sandbagging and trying to get Ajayi on their teams by pumping out negative vibes. He’s got the Jets this week, so you know that’s going to be a good time.
Ameer Abdullah: Got a career high of 86 rushing yards in Week 2 against the Giants and is establishing himself as a bigger part of the Lions offense as long as he stays healthy. I take a look at a Falcons matchup that should result in a high-scoring game with plenty of points to go around & a Falcons run defense that isn’t great, and I see Abdullah getting another career high this week.
Kelvin Benjamin: Carolina’s offense didn’t get on track at all last week, but I’d say that the New Orleans Saints & their sadsack defense coming to town are just what the doctor ordered. Kelvin looked to be on the same page with Cam last week though the yardage wasn’t much, and they’ll have plenty of room for improvement this week.
Zach Ertz: Ertz has gotten nine points in Week 1 & 2, which you’ll gladly take from your tight end slot every single week. This week he & the Eagles host the New York Football Giants, who gave up 59 yards & a touchdown to 74-year old Jason Witten in Week 1 & 42 yards & a touchdown to Eric Ebron in Week 2. Expect Ertz to find the endzone this week as well.
Green Bay DEF: This has to be the first time I’ve ever listed the Packers defense in the Fave Five. Why would I do such a thing? They’re playing the hapless Bengals this week. Cincinnati has yet to score a touchdown this season and fired their offensive coordinator this week. Maybe Bill Lazor will do better with the job (he couldn’t do worse), but I don’t expect an immediate turnaround. Andy Dalton still looks like a shell of his former self, AJ Green will be in quadruple coverage most of the time, and Tyler Eifert is injured and might miss this week. I’m as shocked as you are.
Last Week’s Fave 5 Results: 3-2 (Ty Montgomery, Coby Fleener & Baltimore Defense over, Cam Newton, Brandin Cooks under)
These are four people that you’re probably going to have to start, but you’re not going to be very happy about it. Our track record on this one is somewhat mixed over the years.
Leonard Fournette: The Jaguar RB has made people that stayed away from him in the second round due to his injury history and his status as a member of the Jags sorry so far, finding his way to the end zone the first two weeks. It’s going to be much tougher sledding this week on another continent against a Baltimore defense that’s shutting everybody down so far. Expect Leonard to have his “Welcome to the NFL, rookie” moment this week.
Mike Evans: Evans & the Bucs offense got off to a heck of a start in their first week against a sorry Bears defense. Things get a little tougher this week as they go to Minnesota and Evans gets a Vikings secondary that made freaking Antonio Brown look like an average receiver. He won’t get shut out, but he won’t carry you with double digits this week either.
LeSean McCoy: Shady pretty much is the Bills offense at this point, which was a pretty big problem for Buffalo last week when they lost 9-3. Don’t expect much more from the Buffalo offense this week when they host a Denver defense that’s made mincemeat of the running backs they’ve faced. McCoy will have a target on his chest & Broncos defensive coordinator Joe Woods will make sure that everybody knows where he is at all times.
Trevor Siemian: The top-scoring QB in fantasy after two weeks is Trevor Siemian. Who would have expected that one? Unfortunately for those of us that have shoehorned him onto our rosters due to our QB picks not doing so well very far, Siemian & the Broncos are going to Buffalo this week. Maybe Siemian is a step up from Josh McCown, and maybe the Broncos are better matched up with the Bills than the Panthers were. But don’t expect another 25+ week from Siemian here. You might be stuck with that sorry, no-account Hall of Famer Russell Wilson again.
Last Week’s Fearful 4 Results: 3-1 (Jordan Howard, Stefon Diggs & Bilal Powell under, Carson Wentz over)
A lot of the fantasy experts out there love to give you their sleeper picks. It’s not a bad idea. The flaw in the execution is they’re typically not highlighting people you can pick up. I saw experts last week telling me that Mike Gillislee could have a big day in New Orleans and would be a great sleeper pick. That’s all well & good, but Gillislee is owned in 94% of Yahoo leagues. Let me know if you’re in one of the six percent of leagues that Gillislee isn’t owned in, and then invite me to join your league next season. That information does nothing to help us.
So what we’ve been doing on the Ocho for the past five seasons is highlighting some sleepers that are actually Off The Team. They’re owned in less than 50% of Yahoo leagues, just sitting on the wire waiting for you to pick them up.
Samaje Perine (35%): This guy might be over 50% by the time the Penguin & I podcast this week so I might have to swap him out for somebody else. But right now you can go ahead and swoop him up. Rob Kelley left Sunday’s game with a rib injury and might not go this week against Oakland. Even if he does, you have to figure it’s only a matter of time before Jay Gruden gives the rookie the lion’s share of the carries anyway, right? Fat Rob can’t hold down that spot forever. Consider this a speculative add along the lines of Chris Carson last week.
Rashard Higgins (35%): Higgins started the season on the Cleveland Browns practice squad. He was placed on the 53-man roster in Week 2 & got himself 7 catches for 95 yards. With Corey Coleman on IR with a hand, expect Higgins to pick up a lot of that work. I usually don’t recommend Browns, but they are playing the Colts this week, so yeah.
Benjamin Watson (16%): Holy poop, he’s still alive. I remember picking Watson up around the midpoint of the 2015 season when he was somehow the Saints tight end and getting good numbers every week at the age of 68. He’s 70 now and he went off for 91 yards as the Ravens tight end of note against the Browns last week. The Jaguars aren’t a whole lot better no matter what people might tell you, so expect Watson to get more points this week than a lot of guys that were drafted as TE1s.
Week 3 Picks Against The Spread
LA Rams (-2.5) at San Francisco: Jeez. Talk about getting the week off to a rip-snortin’ start.
Baltimore (-4) vs Jacksonville: LONDON GAME! LONDON GAME! It’s being aired on Yahoo dot com, which would be cooler if the wi-fi at my workplace was better. Oh who freaking cares? It’s a Jaguars game, I wouldn’t watch it if I was at home.
Cleveland (-1) at Indianapolis: Speaking of games I wouldn’t watch.
Pittsburgh (-7.5) at Chicago: The Steelers are good. The Bears are not good.
Miami (-6) at NY Jets: The Dolphins…might be good. We know the Jets are not.
Denver (-3) at Buffalo: The Bills are pesky. The Broncos look much improved from last season, but we’ll see what happens when we take them out of Denver this week.
Houston at New England (-13): DeShaun Watson looked good for a play in Week 2. That’ll be good enough to beat the Bengals, but it won’t cut the mustard in Massachusetts.
New Orleans at Carolina (-6): Road Saints? I’ll pass.
Tampa Bay at Minnesota: There’s not even a line posted on this game at vegasinsider.com right now, so I’m not really sure what’s going on. I guess we’re waiting on Sam Bradford news? Either way, I like the Vikings at home and Jameis Winston’s going to have a tough time with that defense.
Atlanta (-3) at Detroit: Don’t sleep on the Lions, man. The Falcons looked really good in their new crib last week, but I’m liking what I’m seeing from Matt Stafford & the D.
NY Giants at Philadelphia (-6): Eagles showed up well in a losing effort last week. Giants haven’t shown up yet this season. Six points is a lot but I’m willing to risk it.
Seattle at Tennessee (-2.5): I’m still not 100% sold on the Titans, but that Seahawk offense looks almost as bad as the Bengals right now. Not as bad, but it’s still rough times for Seattle.
Kansas City (-3) at LA Chargers: The Chiefs are the team to beat in the AFC.
Cincinnati at Green Bay (-9): You can’t make this line too high for me.
Oakland (-3) at Washington: Washington hasn’t looked half-bad so far, but Oakland has looked all-good.
Dallas (-3) at Arizona: Are Arizona games still home games for the Cowboys? Guess we’ll find out this week. I don’t trust the Cardinals at all, but it still kinda feels like a coin flip type of game so I’ll take the home dog.
Week 2 Record: 8-8
2017 Season Record: 15-16