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.
Most ironic stats
Communal living space:
Pour over your lineup
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 off dividends in the future. Hey man, turn that light off in the other room. It's not hard, okay?
I remember when it was cool to say Carson Palmer was done, like, three weeks ago. He threw a few picks against the Lions and Colts in the first two games and it seemed like my entire timeline lined up in formation to kick the dirt on his grave. Sheep! Here we sit heading into Week 5 and Carson Palmer is second in the NFL in passing yards.
Everyone knows a good concert venue is about 60 percent ambiance. A band can be as killer as they want but without the right acoustics or vibe of the setting, the show can't truly be great. Not to mention, if it's a place that just overcharges you for mediocre mixed drinks, forget about it. I'm willing to pay out the nose for a well-brewed IPA, obviously, but if you're charging me $12-plus for some poorly concocted well drink, it's going to ruin the whole show.
In that same vein, the poor pass protection for the Cardinals has the potential to wreck Palmer's stellar play at any given moment. A line with this many holes isn't exactly the best venue for an immobile, gaining Palmer at this stage of his career. But don't worry, just like you can get around the overpriced drinks with a good vibe in the surrounding musical compatriots in the crowd, the Cardinals are making up for their protection issues with a stellar cast of receivers.
Jaron Brown has 29 targets over the last three weeks, that's one more than Larry Fitzgerald in the same span. He also gets more vertical targets than his veteran counterpart, averaging 14.9 air yards on his targets this season. Brown draws a matchup with the Eagles pass defense that is in the bottom-10 at defending the deep ball (20-plus air yards) in the left and middle portions of the field by passer rating allowed.
If you haven't picked up Brown by now, you must do it now. He's getting reliable volume in a Cardinals offense that leads the NFL passing play percentage with 69.9 percent. Everything about that screams sustainability. Brown is in an ideal spot this week and should be able to help you going forward.
Some things get better with time. Like a full-flavored cask of aged bourbon or that one pair of skinny jeans, you've worn 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?
Marshawn Lynch, RB, Oakland Raiders
Yeah, that's right. Beast Mode. You've probably never heard of him.
Straight out of retirement, Marshawn Lynch was a borderline second-round fantasy pick in redrafts back in August. All the sheeple were nostalgic for the Beast Mode of old to come back to form. Newsflash: He hasn't quite been the dominant running back we grew to love back in his heyday with Seattle. Must be something in the fair trade, locally sourced and organic coffee up there.
This week, while all of you mainstream bums are sipping pumpkin spice tea and raking leaves from your front yard, Beast Mode is going to light it up against the Ravens. There are a few factors that should lead to a big day for Lynch, that only us Hipsters are, well, hip to.
First, Oakland will be without quarterback Derek Carr who is set to miss a few games with a fractured back. That means EJ Manuel is going to start under center, and you'd have to think the Raiders coaching staff would rather not have him throwing the ball a ton. That means more handoffs to the Vintage Veteran Lynch early and often. And if Lynch can get rolling, there might be no stopping him.
Second, there's a good chance he gets rolling. The Ravens defense has been torched by running backs. A combo of Jaguars and Steelers backs combined for 428 scrimmage yards and three rushing scores against Baltimore the last two weeks. And on the season, the Ravens are allowing the fifth-most fantasy points per game to opposing backs (21.3).
Plus, Lynch's workload hasn't been huge recently with the Raiders falling behind early the last two games in tough matchups. It's true, he hasn't produced because of it, but Oakland is returning to their home turf to face an east-coast team making a cross-country trek. Lynch has fresh legs and he's going to put this struggling Raiders offense on his back.
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.
It's bye week time. You can't be afraid to go shopping at the quarterback thrift store for our bargain this week. We have Matt Ryan, Drew Brees, Kirk Cousins and future Hall of Famer Trevor Siemian unavailable this week. I sincerely hope all those fellas enjoy their little week away but we have lineups to set.
If you need quarterback help this week, you should go all the way to the bottom of the barrel for this bargain and stream Jacoby Brissett. The 49ers and Colts game has the best chance to be the beautifully bad shootout of the week. Neither team features a stellar stop unit and Brian Hoyer and Jacoby Brissett have at least one explosive fantasy game on their 2017 resumes. San Francisco allowed a combined 649 yards to Jared Goff and Carson Palmer in back-to-back weeks.
I know you mainstream folks want some upside in a quarterback streamer and Brissett has it. He's averaging 9.1 intended air yards on his passes this season, which means he's comfortable chucking it deep. I mean, did you see his sick touchdown throw to Donte Moncrief in Seattle last week? Come on. This guy can sling it. The icing on the cake is his rushing ability. Brissett has taken off 10 times through his three starts and popped in a pair of touchdowns against the Browns in Week 3.
Maybe you didn't know about him until he got traded to the Colts. That's fine, I can't remember where he played before this, either. Probably some small market team no one has ever heard of. Here's the deal though: after Sunday, you'll remember Jacoby Brissett when you start him in fantasy and he's a top-10 quarterback. Yep. I said it.
Most Ironic Stats of Week 5
-- Amari Cooper has caught just 12-of-31 intended targets this season (38.7 percent), the lowest rate in the NFL. Yikes.
-- Kareem Hunt has more rushing yards in the second halves of games this season (372) than any other player has in their full games. (He might be good, which ironically, nobody saw coming.)
-- Carson Wentz leads NFL quarterbacks with a 54.0 percent conversion rate of his third and fourth downs this season (via either pass or rush). Dude still has haters.
-- Joe Flacco has averaged 4.45 fantasy points per game this season against teams that are not the Cleveland Browns.
-- Deshaun Watson is the only rookie in NFL history with 7-plus pass TDs and multiple rushing TDs in his team's first 4 games. Sell high, kids.
Pour over your lineup
Franchise: What's up, Harmon? Ready to dominate this lineup for another loyal Hipsters follower?
Harmon: Not really, but I guess if we have to be here we can look at this team.
Franchise: He started Evans on TNF ... not off to a great start. There's one dude on his bench who I think he can slot in at WR2 for some upside ... I know you know who I'm talkin' about.
Harmon: I'm just going to go ahead and assume you're talking about Devin Funchess. I'm about it. Look, I wasn't a big of him as a college prospect, but I can evolve. Just like I started drinking these gorgeous coffee stouts when my palette grew, my view on Funchess has changed.
Harmon: I dig Watson again this week but give me Russ here. People were trying to throw shade at me for my preseason call of naming him fantasy player of the year, well, guess what? He's the QB3 in fantasy after four weeks and he's totally on fire the last two games with seven total touchdowns. Not to mention, he's so fun to watch. Seeing him scramble out of the pocket and throw outrageous passes on the move is the best fever dream ever induced.
Franchise: Ironically, and in perhaps the most shocking development of the week, I have to agree with you here. Wilson is hot right now, and if the Seahawks want any chance to win, they'll have to put up a ton of points against the Rams (that feels weird to say). Watson's been great, but he was also on my sell high list this week.
Can we talk for a second about how he has a punter on his roster? This has to be, like, the most hipster fantasy league ever.
Harmon: Seriously. Like, I can't even handle that. So hipster. I'm feeling a little too mainstream after this follower just shamed us with his punter fantasy league. Should we head out to the local consignment shop, buy some vintage threads and tell everyone we see we're better than them?
Franchise: Marquette King for the win. That might be the only way we can regain our hipster street cred, my friend. Hipsters out?
Harmon: Hipsters out.