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Tired or Wired: Latavius Murray's reward is worth the fantasy risk


There's nothing wrong with conventional wisdom. But being predictable is usually a pretty good way to get beat. Sometimes it's best to zig when people zag. Yin when people yang. Be unpredictable like an M. Night Shyamalan film (one of the good ones). That's where this column comes in. The tips below aren't for everyone and not all of them may be appropriate for your draft. But keep these handy when you want to throw your league-mates a curveball each week.

The midpoint of the fantasy regular season is here and with byes and injuries (Patrick Mahomes, no!) we're going to have to dig deep into our bag of tricks to build some solid lineups. Never fear, I'm back yet again with a quartet of contorted concepts to help you open your fantasy third eye to the cosmic possibilities that await in the seventh week.

Is Latavius B.I.G.?

Tired -- Beware the Bears Yes, Chicago's defense was torched by Josh Jacobs a couple of weeks ago in London but that was mostly a fluke, right? Maybe a trick of the light facilitated by the Bears not fully making the adjustment to the flight over to Jolly Olde England. Beyond that, no one has really found much running room against this defense. Even Dalvin Cook -- who has roasted everyone -- was held to a piddly 35 rushing yards against that defense. Alvin Kamara's status appears in doubt, which would leave a bigger workload for Latavius Murray ... but you're starting him at your own peril.

Wired -- Living the Latavius Life. Instead of thinking what the Raiders did was juat a hiccup, maybe it's worth asking whether they found something in the Chicago defense. The Raiders leaned heavily on outside zone runs, which worked for 120 yards and a pair of touchdowns in their win. Offenses finding success with the outside zone has been a bit of a theme against the Bears, though many of their opponents haven't featured it this year. The Saints run tends to feature a little more balance but Sean Payton is crafty enough to try and target any perceived weakness. With the team still limiting Teddy Bridgewater's exposure, this might be the way for New Orleans to go.

Let Jared Cook

Tired -- Jared Cook is not trustworthy. Jared Cook is back on our radars because he's had touchdowns in back-to-back weeks. But we've seen this movie before. Right about the time we start to get interested and think we can plug him into our lineups, he makes like Keyser Soze and disappears. Even with his recent resurgence, the yardage numbers have left something to be desired. Touchdowns are fickle beasts and once they go into hiding, Cook won't offer enough to be relevant week to week. We won't be fooled again!

Wired -- Get Cook in your kitchen. All of those above statements about Cook are 100 percent true. But have you seen the available tight ends lately? Why wouldn't you take a chance on one that you know is getting snaps and targets every week? But that's probably not enough to push you to add Cook to your roster via a trade. Then how about this? The Saints have the second-easiest tight end schedule down the stretch. That means games against the Cardinals, Falcons, and Bucs. It's crazy to think, but Jared Cook could get you to the playoffs.

Making moves with Mattison

Tired -- Mattison is merely a handcuff. You can find plenty of fantasy rosters that have Alexander Mattison but most fantasy managers will tell you the rookie is insurance for Dalvin Cook. Usually, if you're taking a backup running back, you want him to have some sort of standalone value. That seems hard to come by in an offense has been The Dalvin Cook Show.

Wired -- Flex Mattison. In three of the past four weeks, Mattison has played enough snaps and run for enough yards that he's an intriguing play this week. Yes, Cook is going to dominate the backfield touches for Minnesota but the Vikings play a Detroit defnse that has been awful against the run this season. That alone should make Mattison intriguing -- especially if he can find the end zone like he did in Week 3. If you're struggling with bye week vacancies, you might do worse than the second running back in a run-heavy offense.

Lazard vision

Tired -- Give Lazard a shot. I don't know if you've paid attention to the Packers practice reports this week, but it's not good. Davante Adams, Geronimo Allison, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, and Jimmy Graham are all hobbled and in danger of missing this week's game against the Raiders. Combine that with Lazard's breakout performance in the fourth quarter of last Monday night's game and it's easy to see why he should get a shot in deeper leagues.

Wired -- Avoid Allen Lazard. What Lazard did last week was pretty amazing but can you really trust him to be the focal point of the passing game? In the past, we looked at the Raiders defense as a soft target for your fantasy skill position players but hasn't been nearly as much of a pushover this season, ranking in the middle of the pack when it comes to stopping wide receivers. This could end up being a week where the Packers leand lot more heavily on Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams and a little less on Aaron Rodgers and the aerial attack.

Marcas Grant is a fantasy analyst for and a man who could really go for a PB&J right now. Send him your snack cravings or fantasy football questions on Twitter @MarcasG or Instagram at MarcasG.