Here’s a look around the NFL in what is going to be the beginning of a blog series for the next two weeks about all of the happenings in the NFL. Our next piece in this series will come out on the 7th of the month and run daily until I write the last one on the 17th. This will include news and analysis about free agency, rumors, Franchise Tags and some Combine info.
With the All-Star break upon us it seemed like a good time to track a few players that should be on your radar coming out of the break for DFS purposes. There were a few trades before the break and some teams have already looked towards the future moving players into new roles. Listed below are some good values to take advantage of until their price catches up to their minutes/production. Prices listed are for both Draftkings (DKs) and Fan Duel (FD), in some cases they were not available.
Ish Smith, DET, DKs ($3,900) FD ($4,200) – Quietly Smith has eaten into Reggie Jackson’s minutes this season and he finished the break with at least 22 fantasy points in four of his last six games before the break. Jackson has been the subject of trade rumors for teams needing a backup point guard so he could be on the move in the next few days. Even if Detroit gets back a point guard in a deal there should be a bit of a “grace period” before that player is active and Smith would be starting point guard for the Pistons.
Yogi Ferrell, DAL, DKs ($4,700 before break) FD (?) – Ferrell had trouble finding a home and it was Mark Cuban who ultimately chose to sign him to a 10-day because he was a Hoosier. Since then, Ferrell has been a fantasy darling especially when he’s been a starter for the injured Deron Williams. Williams has missed a lot of time due to injury this season and his name has been mentioned in trade rumors over the last few weeks. The fact is Ferrell has more of a future in Dallas than Williams averaging 14.2 points, 4.7 assists, 3.0 rebounds and 1.6 steals since joining the Mavs. Deploy him whenever he gets the start over the next couple of weeks.
Derrick Williams, CLE, DKs ($3,500) FD ($4,100) – After expressing his concern about bringing in more players for a playoff run, Lebron James has also expressed his pleasure with the team signing Williams. James typically comes in early in the second quarter playing with the second team and has actively tried to get Williams involved. Williams has scored 17 and 22 fantasy points over his last two games with Cleveland playing minutes in the mid-20s. While the ceiling is limited here Kevin Love is likely out for another five weeks and Williams is still just 25-years-old.
Terrence Ross, ORL, DKs ($3,800) FD ($3,500) – Ross should be in line to play Thursday for Orlando which would mark his first game with his new team. With no Serge Ibaka he should be in line for more playing time than he was getting with the Raptors (22.4 minutes per game) and see a higher usage rate. Ross There’s a lot of upside with Ross from a scoring perspective but he won’t contribute a lot in the other fantasy categories. Aaron Gordon ($4,900, $4,500) is another option to look at as the team’s new starting power forward with over 30 minutes a night.
Kosta Koufos, SAC, DKs ($3,500) FD ($3,500), Willie Cauley-Stein, SAC, DKs ($3,600) FD ($3,800) – It’s seems like it’s a 50/50 proposition as to if DeMarcus Cousins will be with the Kings in a week from now. In the case he gets moved (the Pelicans are the latest rumor, the Celtics are in play as well) it would be a huge boost to both KK and WCS. Between the two there’s more potential with Cauley-Stein who is almost five years younger and is still developing his offensive game. If Cousins is dealt don’t be afraid to use both of these guys on Draftkings; when Cousins was suspended on 2/8/17 they combined for over 52 fantasy points at similar prices.
Jusuf Nurkic, POR, DKs ($4,300) FD ($3,700) – Nurkic replaces Mason Plumlee in Portland and there isn’t much in the way of competition considering the upside of Ed Davis and Noah Vonleh. Myers Leonard ($3,300, $3,500) is probably the second-most intriguing big man but it’s Nurkic who has more upside. In his first contest with his new team he scored 29 fantasy points in only 21 minutes of playing time. Those minutes could easily go up and while it was one game it was against the Jazz one of the better defensive teams in the league. The return of Al-Farouq Aminu will cloud things a bit here.
Kelly Olynyk, BOS, DKs ($4,500 before break) FD ($4,600 before break) – Olynyk didn’t want to see the break come as he was one of the hotter players in DFS when taking his price into account. Before the break scoring at least 24 fantasy points in six straight games and over 30 fantasy points in three of those contests. The second team offense runs a lot through Olynyk and his ability to knock down three-pointers only adds to his value. The Celtics figure to make a move before the trade deadline and Olynyk could be part of a deal moving him to an even better fantasy spot.
– Jimmy Graham was a full participant in practice Wednesday and appears to be on track to start Week 1 against the Dolphins. Pete Carroll stated there were now “good” odds of Graham playing this week putting him back on the fantasy radar. The Seahawks are the biggest favorites on the slate this week and should have no problem putting up points at home. Graham may not see a full complement of snaps but if you drafted him he’s likely a better option than anything on your bench or waiver wire.
– It appears the fantasy prospects’ for Graham’s teammate Thomas Rawls are a little cloudier. Rawls wasn’t listed on the injury report today but Pete Carroll stated that the only restriction on Rawls would be his “workload.” This puts his fantasy status in jeopardy this weekend as Christine Michael is 100 percent healthy and listed at the top of the depth chart. C.J. Prosise will work himself into the mix on third down as well and the decision for most as to whether to start Rawls is probably on a case-per-case basis considering the other options. A factor that doesn’t help Rawls’ owners is on the outside chance he’s inactive the Seahawks play the late slate of games Sunday and that report won’t come out until after rosters lock.
– Jamaal Charles was limited in practice Wednesday while backup Charcandrick West was a full participant. This further downgrades Charles’ value for Week 1 and West being 100 percent could lead to Charles being inactive this weekend. Even if Charles is active for the Chiefs’ tilt with the Chargers it’s hard to recommend him even as a flex in most standard formats.
– Rob Gronkowski was limited in Wednesday’s practice. This comes a day after he returned to practice so this is likely the Patriots being careful with one of their star players. Be aware it’s unlikely he’s 100 percent to start the season and has a tough matchup this week in Arizona.
– Larry Fitzgerald was not on the injury report suggesting he’s healed from the MCL injury that sidelined him the last three preseason games for the Cardinals. Interestingly, Fitz was drafted after teammate Michael Floyd in most drafts this season despite Fitz’s numbers being much greater as a whole. A lot of that could be attributed to Floyd being banged up early last season although he finished with three 100-yard games over his last six to finish strong. With Fitzgerald getting up in age/mileage this should be the season Floyd overtakes him as the top receiving option in the desert.
– Jordy Nelson wasn’t listed on the Packers’ first injury report. This doesn’t come as a surprise after coach Mike McCarthy stated Monday that “…we expect him to line up and be full bore in Jacksonville.” Even if Nelson’s snaps are reduced this weekend there’s the chance he’s more heavily targeted when he’s on the field. As a player taken in the second/third round he should be in everyone’s starting lineup without hesitation.
- Jamaal Charles is behind schedule from his knee injury and could take a big fantasy hit early in the season. Reading the tea leaves from some Andy Reid quotes yesterday would seem to suggest the Chiefs are fine with the committee of Spencer Ware and Charcandrick West heading into the season and allowing Charles to ease his way back into the fold. During practice this week Ware and West have received the majority of the first team snaps over Charles a telling sign this close to the start of the season. Don’t be surprised if come Week 1 Charles isn’t much of a fantasy option given the possible lack of touches.
– Le’Veon Bell had his suspension reduced from four to three games. This should bump him up from his current ADP of 15.6 and will make his owners very happy. Keep in mind though that most leagues run their regular season for 13 weeks and missing three games is pretty significant. His owners should feel good if they come out of Week 3 with a 2-1 or 3-0 record and being 1-2 isn’t the end of the world with Bell set to return Week 4 against Kansas City.
– Trevor Siemian, not Mark Sanchez or Paxton Lynch, looks as if he’s in line to be the Week 1 starter for the defending Super Bowl champions. Siemian will start Saturday night and has received first team snaps all week in practice. Having being with the team last season Siemian more familiar with the offense than the other two quarterbacks and Denver is still in “win now” mode considering how good their defense is. If Siemian shows he can effectively run the first team offense Saturday he should leapfrog Sanchez when the next depth chart is released. Owners is two-quarterback leagues and super-flex leagues should pay close attention Saturday and grab Siemain now if possible.
A look at the news from camps around the league:
– Kamar Aiken and Mike Wallace are listed as the starting wide receivers for the Ravens. Aiken has been one of my favorite targets, in some draft still on the board after the tenth round. He caught 50 passes for 611 yards and three touchdowns over the final eight games of last season showing the type of upside he has. With both Steve Smith and Breshad Perriman banged up it’s likely Aiken and Wallace open the season as the top-2 receivers. Javorius Allen was listed as the No. 2 running back behind Justin Forsett ahead of Terrance Williams and rookie Kenneth Dixon. Sans an injury it’s unlikely Allen unseats Forsett to start the season but Forsett has never been seen as an every down back and this should develop into some type of timeshare.
– As expected, Julian Edelman returned to practice Wednesday after suffering what appeared to be an injury to his surgically repaired foot. It’s important to note that while Edelman can be a PPR monster the injury bug looms over his head and he’s never had more than seven touchdowns in a season. While it appears he avoided any type of injury it was a reminder of his past and should knock down his value a little if you haven’t had your draft yet.
– It appears the Bills will have to wait until next season to see what second round pick Reggie Ragland can do. It was confirmed this morning he does have a torn ACL and will miss the entire season including the Super Bowl. First rounder Shaq Lawson is expected to miss the first month or so of the season so the Bills will have to rely on their defensive depth immediately. Those in IDP leagues can safely cut Ragland.
– Jimmy Graham came off the PUP list and participated in practice Wednesday. His stock has plummeted so much he now should enter the “sleeper/undervalued” conversation in fantasy circles. He’s available after the 10th round in most draft and isn’t going for anything more than a few bucks in auction leagues. While it will be hard to predict consistency from the 29-year-old it’s worth noting he got at least eight targets in six of the 11 games he played in last season.
– Don’t be alarmed if you don’t see many significant players on the Steelers’ offensive side play in Friday night’s opener. Just about every one of the Steelers significant fantasy contributors – Ben Roethlisberger, Le’Veon Bell, Antonio Brown – are all expected to sit this one out. Chalk this up as the team being cautious and trying to evaluate some of the players on the bubble.