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Fantasy Hipsters guide to Week 3: Derrick Henry time

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  • By The Fantasy Hipsters: Matt Franciscovich & Matt Harmon NFL.com
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The Fantasy Hipsters are back for the 2017 season with their weekly guide to how to approach fantasy football a little bit off the beaten path. In this space, Matt Harmon and Matt Franciscovich (Franchise) will give you a mix players to add, overlooked weekly plays and in-depth stats all layered with the type of unique, off-the-mainstream tone you can only expect from these two well-groomed hipsters. Since the communal approach to creating a living space is the only way to exist in harmony, the duo will split the work. Here's this week's division of labor.

Harmon:
Sustainable pickup
Most ironic stats

Franchise:
Vintage veteran
Barrel-aged bargain

Communal living space:
Pour over your lineup

Sustainable pickup


Sustainability is all about preparing for the future. From discovering and developing new sources of energy like wind and solar to crop rotation and water conservation, we all have to do our part to mitigate our impact on the environment. A small investment now goes a long way down the road. And when it comes to fantasy football, a major key to building sustainable depth from waiver wire adds means finding players that you can rely on for the long term without wasting resources. So in this section, the Fantasy Hipsters will get ahead of the curve and offer up one player to add for depth who should pay dividends in the future. Hey, man, turn that light off in the other room. It's not hard, okay?

Rishard Higgins, WR, Cleveland Browns

Sustainability is important. Last time I checked, we only get one Earth. Unless you all know something I don't. I keep a compost pile for all the disposable portions of organic vegetables after I'm done preparing them. All the cans and bottles from my IPAs go right into the recycle bin.

But look, we don't see immediate results. You don't just get to see the results of all the little steps you're taking to save the planet as soon as you drop that can in the bin. It takes time. Sometimes it takes a bit to see the talent a player showed you when scouting him in college come to fruition at the NFL level, too. That time has arrived for the Cleveland Browns' 2016 fifth-round draft pick, Rashard Higgins.

When I say I've been lighting a candle hoping for this breakout to happen for quite some time now, I'm not in the least bit kidding. Higgins was one of my favorite sleeper prospects in the 2016 NFL Draft, a stellar performer in my receiver charting methodology Reception Perception. Higgins is the kind of great technician who runs smooth routes that I just can't say no to. Pass on the trendy 6-foot-5 athletes at the position and fall for the guys who win with craft and precision.

Anyway, so Higgins is on the fantasy radar after coming up from the practice squad last Saturday (talk about underground) to catch seven passes for 95 yards on a team-high 11 targets in Week 2. Higgins was on the field for more plays last week than any other Browns wide receiver, and after Corey Coleman went down with a hand injury and Kenny Britt continuing to fall out of favor with Cleveland's coaching staff, we should expect that to continue.

For Week 3, Higgins gets a dream of a spot against the Colts secondary. Indianapolis allowed the third-most passing yards (616) through the first two weeks. However, they're particularly vulnerable down the middle of the field. The Colts have given the third-most yards to slot receivers for far this season and Higgins took 90 percent of his snaps from the slot in Week 2.

Of course, we're talking about sustainability here not just getting a good Week 3 play. The former Colorado State star has an excellent fantasy outlook for the rest of the season. With Britt getting phased out and Coleman now on injured reserve for at least eight weeks, Higgins has little competition. Not only will he likely lead the Brows wide receivers in targets on the year now, he'll see a ton of high-percentage routes lining up in the slot. We shouldn't be shocked if he approaches 80 catches and cracks the top-40 wide receivers in PPR leagues.

Vintage veteran


Some things get better with time. Like a full-flavored cask of aged bourbon or that one pair of skinny jeans you've worn in so much that they feel like sweatpants (let's be honest, I have, like, eight pairs of those). Same goes for fantasy football players. Did you draft Hunter Henry thinking the shiny new young tight end would be the next big thing? Get in line with the rest of the herd. While you and the rest of the mainstream horde are all about the up-and-coming young talent in the NFL, we Fantasy Hipsters are sticking with experience over youth. Each week in this space, we'll deliver one Vintage Veteran player of the week that you can rely on to produce for your fantasy team. Now where did I put my great-grandpa's brogues?

Philip Rivers, QB, Los Angeles Chargers

Attention loyal, devoted followers of the Fantasy Hipsters commune. I have a legit dad-type quarterback to offer you for my Vintage Veteran play of Week 3. His name is Philip Rivers (he told me to call him Phil) and there's more than just a few reasons to believe he'll come through this week for your fantasy squads if you have the gusto to start him.

Ole' father Phil is already off to a great start, with over 17 fantasy points in each of the first two weeks. He's slingin' with success too, thanks to the healthy return of Keenan Allen. Allen's 14 receptions so far put him tied for third-most among wideouts, and all the mainstream fantasy drafters were sleeping on him because of his injury history. Wrong move, kiddos. Allen's presence has helped lead Rivers to a 261.5 pass yards per game average and a four-to-one TD-INT ratio. I mean, sure, maybe the ceiling hasn't quite been there, but the floor is about as safe as it gets.

This week, the 35-year-old Rivers will take on the Chiefs in Los Angeles. The Chiefs offense has been firing on all cylinders this season, but the usually stout Kansas City defense hasn't held up its end of the bargain (fear not, we'll hit the flea market for a barrel-aged bargain in a bit). In fact, the Chiefs have the 27th ranked pass defense in the NFL through two weeks. That's like, the opposite of good. Chiefs corner Marcus Peters should cover Allen frequently, but Allen has owned him in the past hauling in all four targets with Peters covering him in Week 1 of last year. Plus, Peters allowed 50 yards on four receptions to Eagles receivers a week ago. Not exactly what we'd call "shutdown." So roll with Rivers. He might be old, but he's still sustainable for fantasy purposes.

Barrel-aged bargain:


When we're building lineups for the week, we're always looking for a bargain. The thing is, those of us who don't want to live cookie-cutter lives aren't chasing for some boring old fill-in; we're still after something fresh. Just like a good barrel-aged craft beer that's off the beaten path away from dull domestic brews, we want a different kind of bargain brought on by a unique spin on an outcome of a game that the public just hasn't considered yet.

Derrick Henry, RB, Tennessee Titans

I've been waiting for this for a while.

Last August, during Derrick Henry's rookie preseason, I and my Hipster partner fell in love with the prospect of Henry in the NFL, while we watched a late-night replay of a preseason game and sipped IPAs. It was after a Dave Matthews Band show in Irvine, which doesn't sound like the most hipster behavior in the world, but who doesn't like live music?

Anyway, at 6-foot-3, and somewhere around 240 pounds, Henry basically dwarfs linebackers that are squaring up to attempt to tackle him. We knew he was big coming into the league, but it makes sense that it's taken a season for him to really find his groove and hone his style. And then, last week, it all came together.

DeMarco Murray, who's been dealing with a nagging hamstring injury since August, was sidelined. Hamstring injuries are so last year's training camp, man. The Titans had a big second-half lead, so they fed Henry often, and he did more than impress. He took his 14 carries for 92 yards and a score, averaging 6.5 yards per rush. That's more efficient than I am when I'm late and have to race to work on my fixed-gear bicycle. Real talk.

This week, Henry falls under the barrel-aged bargain category because he was far cheaper than his teammate, Murray, in redraft formats this season and he's cheaper in DFS for Week 3 too. He faces a notoriously tough Seattle defense, but the unit was just gashed by Carlos Hyde last week on their home turf. Everything is lining up for the second-year back to blow up this week. As my mainstream acquaintance Alex Gelhar has been saying all week, this might just be a case where the Titans coaching staff has let the genie, Henry, out of the bottle, and if he continues to do well, there's absolutely no way they can put him back in. Speaking of bottles, I need to refill my cold brew growler.

Most Ironic Stats of Week 2


-- The Cowboys ran the ball on 49.4 percent of their offensive plays last year but sit on a run play percentage of just 32.8 percent so far in 2017. Hey, this whole regression thing we talk about might actually be real.
-- The Seahawks have lost their last 5 road games in September and are 2-10 on the road in September, scoring just 14.7 points per game. From now on, I'm not drafting Seahawks in fantasy. I'll just trade for them in mid-October after they get over their annual slow start.
-- The "McVay effect" is real. Last season, Jared Goff led all quarterbacks with 25.4 percent of his passes going into tight windows (less than one yard of separation), per Next Gen Stats. So far in 2017, just 14.8 percent of his throws have gone into a tight window. Such an approach isn't unusual for a McVay quarterback. Kirk Cousins threw just 14.3 percent of his passes into tight windows in 2016, the second-lowest among starting quarterbacks.
-- The Cincinnati Reds are scoring more than the Bengals so far this season, averaging 4.7 "runs" per game, while Andy Dalton and the Bengals are averaging 4.5 points per game. Adam Rank told me this stat and apparently, the Reds are a baseball team. I wouldn't know. I don't watch that sport, obviously.
-- Russell Wilson and Deshaun Watson rank first and second in terms of percentage of passes coming outside the tackles. No. 3 on the list? Matthew Stafford with 23.8 percent. He didn't light up the fantasy stat line last week but he's making some excellent plays and escaping pressure. The points will come this week against the Falcons in a shootout. - Harmon

Pour over your lineup


Every week we'll put a call out from @FantasyHipsters for you to send us in your weekly lineups. The hipsters will take a pour over approach to examining your squad, a careful, patient and fresh taste on the best players for you to deploy.

Franchise: Ah a little 2QB action. That's about as hipster as it gets these days, my comrade.

Well they're already correct with Philip Rivers starting, as per my Vintage Veteran advice above.

Harmon: Our followers are so woke they clearly know what we're going to say before we even say it.

What about that other quarterback spot, though. I have to say I'm not really about Eli or Flacco this week (or ever?).

Franchise: Same. It might be slim pickins' on the waiver wire in a 2-QB league though. Otherwise, I'd say Jay Cutler could be nice. I guess I'd lean Flacco over Eli if I had to choose. But try out a real hipster move like DeShone Kizer perhaps?

Harmon: Have to imagine those guys are picked up in a 2-QB league unless our guy here is playing with total sheep. Of the two he has, I'd lean Manning and just hope Odell Beckham gets over on the Eagles corners. He's off the injury report at least.

What are your takes on this running back situation. He must have read our Week 1 guide and has the sustainable pickup Chris Carson on his roster. What about him over Jacquizz Rodgers?

Franchise: Neither has a great matchup, but I have to stick with my boy here in Carson. Jacquizz faces the Vikings who haven't allowed a rushing TD to a running back yet. Even Le'Veon Bell couldn't get it done. And we saw the Bucs rotate their backups in during a blowout last week. Carson at least has more upside against the Titans. You feel me or nah?

Harmon: Totally feel you. So that just leaves us the flex, where it looks like we're picking between two Ravens. What's with all the Ravens on this team, by the way? I really want to get Buck Allen in the lineup, maybe even over Carson, because he's getting so much work, but Maclin has a nice ceiling.

Franchise: For me, I'd lean toward Allen. I think the Ravens are trying to be more run-heavy this season. And we already talked about how we're not about that Flacco life. Maybe the preseason back injury is lingering. So Allen for me based on the potential volume. Volume is good, especially when it comes to IPAs and cold brew. And fantasy projections.

Harmon: Oh man, all this talk about IPAs has me ready to head out to my local dive bar right now, it's Friday after all. But before we go, we're cool with Jack Doyle over Jimmy Graham, his nine total yards and ankle injury?

Franchise: You know about Doyle's 1000 percent catch rate, right? I mean, it's unreal how the ball sticks to his hands. Plus, tight ends have done well against the Browns this year, so yeah I'm cool with Doyle. Graham is injured now too, because, of course.

Harmon: Obviously, I know that. Alright, hipsters out?

Franchise: Hipsters out.

Follow the Fantasy Hipsters on Twitter @MattHarmon_BYB and @MattFranchise. You can also see them on Sunday morning on the NFL's Twitter Blitz show streaming live 8:30 am PST on Twitter.com. You've heard of that website, right?

The Fantasy Hipsters are back for the 2017 season with their weekly guide to how to approach fantasy football a little bit off the beaten path. In this space, Matt Harmon and Matt Franciscovich (Franchise) will give you a mix players to add, overlooked weekly plays and in-depth stats all layered with the type of unique, off-the-mainstream tone you can only expect from these two well-groomed hipsters. Since the communal approach to creating a living space is the only way to exist in harmony, the duo will split the work. Here's this week's division of labor.

Harmon:
Sustainable pickup
Most ironic stats

Franchise:
Vintage veteran
Barrel-aged bargain

Communal living space:
Pour over your lineup

Sustainable pickup


Sustainability is all about preparing for the future. From discovering and developing new sources of energy like wind and solar to crop rotation and water conservation, we all have to do our part to mitigate our impact on the environment. A small investment now goes a long way down the road. And when it comes to fantasy football, a major key to building sustainable depth from waiver wire adds means finding players that you can rely on for the long term without wasting resources. So in this section, the Fantasy Hipsters will get ahead of the curve and offer up one player to add for depth who should pay dividends in the future. Hey, man, turn that light off in the other room. It's not hard, okay?

Rishard Higgins, WR, Cleveland Browns

Sustainability is important. Last time I checked, we only get one Earth. Unless you all know something I don't. I keep a compost pile for all the disposable portions of organic vegetables after I'm done preparing them. All the cans and bottles from my IPAs go right into the recycle bin.

But look, we don't see immediate results. You don't just get to see the results of all the little steps you're taking to save the planet as soon as you drop that can in the bin. It takes time. Sometimes it takes a bit to see the talent a player showed you when scouting him in college come to fruition at the NFL level, too. That time has arrived for the Cleveland Browns' 2016 fifth-round draft pick, Rashard Higgins.

When I say I've been lighting a candle hoping for this breakout to happen for quite some time now, I'm not in the least bit kidding. Higgins was one of my favorite sleeper prospects in the 2016 NFL Draft, a stellar performer in my receiver charting methodology Reception Perception. Higgins is the kind of great technician who runs smooth routes that I just can't say no to. Pass on the trendy 6-foot-5 athletes at the position and fall for the guys who win with craft and precision.

Anyway, so Higgins is on the fantasy radar after coming up from the practice squad last Saturday (talk about underground) to catch seven passes for 95 yards on a team-high 11 targets in Week 2. Higgins was on the field for more plays last week than any other Browns wide receiver, and after Corey Coleman went down with a hand injury and Kenny Britt continuing to fall out of favor with Cleveland's coaching staff, we should expect that to continue.

For Week 3, Higgins gets a dream of a spot against the Colts secondary. Indianapolis allowed the third-most passing yards (616) through the first two weeks. However, they're particularly vulnerable down the middle of the field. The Colts have given the third-most yards to slot receivers for far this season and Higgins took 90 percent of his snaps from the slot in Week 2.

Of course, we're talking about sustainability here not just getting a good Week 3 play. The former Colorado State star has an excellent fantasy outlook for the rest of the season. With Britt getting phased out and Coleman now on injured reserve for at least eight weeks, Higgins has little competition. Not only will he likely lead the Brows wide receivers in targets on the year now, he'll see a ton of high-percentage routes lining up in the slot. We shouldn't be shocked if he approaches 80 catches and cracks the top-40 wide receivers in PPR leagues.

Vintage veteran


Some things get better with time. Like a full-flavored cask of aged bourbon or that one pair of skinny jeans you've worn in so much that they feel like sweatpants (let's be honest, I have, like, eight pairs of those). Same goes for fantasy football players. Did you draft Hunter Henry thinking the shiny new young tight end would be the next big thing? Get in line with the rest of the herd. While you and the rest of the mainstream horde are all about the up-and-coming young talent in the NFL, we Fantasy Hipsters are sticking with experience over youth. Each week in this space, we'll deliver one Vintage Veteran player of the week that you can rely on to produce for your fantasy team. Now where did I put my great-grandpa's brogues?

Philip Rivers, QB, Los Angeles Chargers

Attention loyal, devoted followers of the Fantasy Hipsters commune. I have a legit dad-type quarterback to offer you for my Vintage Veteran play of Week 3. His name is Philip Rivers (he told me to call him Phil) and there's more than just a few reasons to believe he'll come through this week for your fantasy squads if you have the gusto to start him.

Ole' father Phil is already off to a great start, with over 17 fantasy points in each of the first two weeks. He's slingin' with success too, thanks to the healthy return of Keenan Allen. Allen's 14 receptions so far put him tied for third-most among wideouts, and all the mainstream fantasy drafters were sleeping on him because of his injury history. Wrong move, kiddos. Allen's presence has helped lead Rivers to a 261.5 pass yards per game average and a four-to-one TD-INT ratio. I mean, sure, maybe the ceiling hasn't quite been there, but the floor is about as safe as it gets.

This week, the 35-year-old Rivers will take on the Chiefs in Los Angeles. The Chiefs offense has been firing on all cylinders this season, but the usually stout Kansas City defense hasn't held up its end of the bargain (fear not, we'll hit the flea market for a barrel-aged bargain in a bit). In fact, the Chiefs have the 27th ranked pass defense in the NFL through two weeks. That's like, the opposite of good. Chiefs corner Marcus Peters should cover Allen frequently, but Allen has owned him in the past hauling in all four targets with Peters covering him in Week 1 of last year. Plus, Peters allowed 50 yards on four receptions to Eagles receivers a week ago. Not exactly what we'd call "shutdown." So roll with Rivers. He might be old, but he's still sustainable for fantasy purposes.

Barrel-aged bargain:


When we're building lineups for the week, we're always looking for a bargain. The thing is, those of us who don't want to live cookie-cutter lives aren't chasing for some boring old fill-in; we're still after something fresh. Just like a good barrel-aged craft beer that's off the beaten path away from dull domestic brews, we want a different kind of bargain brought on by a unique spin on an outcome of a game that the public just hasn't considered yet.

Derrick Henry, RB, Tennessee Titans

I've been waiting for this for a while.

Last August, during Derrick Henry's rookie preseason, I and my Hipster partner fell in love with the prospect of Henry in the NFL, while we watched a late-night replay of a preseason game and sipped IPAs. It was after a Dave Matthews Band show in Irvine, which doesn't sound like the most hipster behavior in the world, but who doesn't like live music?

Anyway, at 6-foot-3, and somewhere around 240 pounds, Henry basically dwarfs linebackers that are squaring up to attempt to tackle him. We knew he was big coming into the league, but it makes sense that it's taken a season for him to really find his groove and hone his style. And then, last week, it all came together.

DeMarco Murray, who's been dealing with a nagging hamstring injury since August, was sidelined. Hamstring injuries are so last year's training camp, man. The Titans had a big second-half lead, so they fed Henry often, and he did more than impress. He took his 14 carries for 92 yards and a score, averaging 6.5 yards per rush. That's more efficient than I am when I'm late and have to race to work on my fixed-gear bicycle. Real talk.

This week, Henry falls under the barrel-aged bargain category because he was far cheaper than his teammate, Murray, in redraft formats this season and he's cheaper in DFS for Week 3 too. He faces a notoriously tough Seattle defense, but the unit was just gashed by Carlos Hyde last week on their home turf. Everything is lining up for the second-year back to blow up this week. As my mainstream acquaintance Alex Gelhar has been saying all week, this might just be a case where the Titans coaching staff has let the genie, Henry, out of the bottle, and if he continues to do well, there's absolutely no way they can put him back in. Speaking of bottles, I need to refill my cold brew growler.

Most Ironic Stats of Week 2


-- The Cowboys ran the ball on 49.4 percent of their offensive plays last year but sit on a run play percentage of just 32.8 percent so far in 2017. Hey, this whole regression thing we talk about might actually be real.
-- The Seahawks have lost their last 5 road games in September and are 2-10 on the road in September, scoring just 14.7 points per game. From now on, I'm not drafting Seahawks in fantasy. I'll just trade for them in mid-October after they get over their annual slow start.
-- The "McVay effect" is real. Last season, Jared Goff led all quarterbacks with 25.4 percent of his passes going into tight windows (less than one yard of separation), per Next Gen Stats. So far in 2017, just 14.8 percent of his throws have gone into a tight window. Such an approach isn't unusual for a McVay quarterback. Kirk Cousins threw just 14.3 percent of his passes into tight windows in 2016, the second-lowest among starting quarterbacks.
-- The Cincinnati Reds are scoring more than the Bengals so far this season, averaging 4.7 "runs" per game, while Andy Dalton and the Bengals are averaging 4.5 points per game. Adam Rank told me this stat and apparently, the Reds are a baseball team. I wouldn't know. I don't watch that sport, obviously.
-- Russell Wilson and Deshaun Watson rank first and second in terms of percentage of passes coming outside the tackles. No. 3 on the list? Matthew Stafford with 23.8 percent. He didn't light up the fantasy stat line last week but he's making some excellent plays and escaping pressure. The points will come this week against the Falcons in a shootout. - Harmon

Pour over your lineup


Every week we'll put a call out from @FantasyHipsters for you to send us in your weekly lineups. The hipsters will take a pour over approach to examining your squad, a careful, patient and fresh taste on the best players for you to deploy.

Franchise: Ah a little 2QB action. That's about as hipster as it gets these days, my comrade.

Well they're already correct with Philip Rivers starting, as per my Vintage Veteran advice above.

Harmon: Our followers are so woke they clearly know what we're going to say before we even say it.

What about that other quarterback spot, though. I have to say I'm not really about Eli or Flacco this week (or ever?).

Franchise: Same. It might be slim pickins' on the waiver wire in a 2-QB league though. Otherwise, I'd say Jay Cutler could be nice. I guess I'd lean Flacco over Eli if I had to choose. But try out a real hipster move like DeShone Kizer perhaps?

Harmon: Have to imagine those guys are picked up in a 2-QB league unless our guy here is playing with total sheep. Of the two he has, I'd lean Manning and just hope Odell Beckham gets over on the Eagles corners. He's off the injury report at least.

What are your takes on this running back situation. He must have read our Week 1 guide and has the sustainable pickup Chris Carson on his roster. What about him over Jacquizz Rodgers?

Franchise: Neither has a great matchup, but I have to stick with my boy here in Carson. Jacquizz faces the Vikings who haven't allowed a rushing TD to a running back yet. Even Le'Veon Bell couldn't get it done. And we saw the Bucs rotate their backups in during a blowout last week. Carson at least has more upside against the Titans. You feel me or nah?

Harmon: Totally feel you. So that just leaves us the flex, where it looks like we're picking between two Ravens. What's with all the Ravens on this team, by the way? I really want to get Buck Allen in the lineup, maybe even over Carson, because he's getting so much work, but Maclin has a nice ceiling.

Franchise: For me, I'd lean toward Allen. I think the Ravens are trying to be more run-heavy this season. And we already talked about how we're not about that Flacco life. Maybe the preseason back injury is lingering. So Allen for me based on the potential volume. Volume is good, especially when it comes to IPAs and cold brew. And fantasy projections.

Harmon: Oh man, all this talk about IPAs has me ready to head out to my local dive bar right now, it's Friday after all. But before we go, we're cool with Jack Doyle over Jimmy Graham, his nine total yards and ankle injury?

Franchise: You know about Doyle's 1000 percent catch rate, right? I mean, it's unreal how the ball sticks to his hands. Plus, tight ends have done well against the Browns this year, so yeah I'm cool with Doyle. Graham is injured now too, because, of course.

Harmon: Obviously, I know that. Alright, hipsters out?

Franchise: Hipsters out.

Follow the Fantasy Hipsters on Twitter @MattHarmon_BYB and @MattFranchise. You can also see them on Sunday morning on the NFL's Twitter Blitz show streaming live 8:30 am PST on Twitter.com. You've heard of that website, right?

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