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
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?
Chris Hogan's return was disappointing. The avocado toast I had from a local spot down the street from me this week was a letdown too. Like, you put cheese on it? Are you serious? I don't get whole grain avocado toast to have it sprinkled with hyper-fattening cheese. No, it doesn't make a difference if it's organic. Even if it's vegan, that's still not the taste palette I'm looking for.
After I left my plate behind at that joint, I bounced out and went to a more reliable coffee shop. They always have a good avocado toast. Shame on me for trying something new. This place I know sprinkles a bit of red pepper flakes, puts some arugula on it and leaves the avocado and bread to do the real work. Honestly, not that hard, man.
Just like I didn't let one disappointment turn me away from the best food ever, I won't let a one-catch effort keep me from playing Chris Hogan in Week 15. I mean, Chris Hogan had one catch in Week 1 and then rattled off five touchdowns in his next four games. So, that's bound to repeat, right? And if we're sticking with what's happened before will happen again, Hogan roasted the Steelers for 180 yards and two touchdowns the last time these two played during last year's playoffs. This year, the Steelers defense allows a 95.5 passer rating on deep passes this year. Hogan can still get vertical. I'm playing him this week.
Sustainable pickup of the week:
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?
On Monday, I was eating a wrap from favorite local artisanal sandwich (seriously the fella who constructs these masterpieces is a true visionary, you've never seen sandwiches like this) when it was brought to my attention that people don't think Jimmy Garoppolo has been amazing in his two starts this year. Are you serious? I guess I shouldn't be shocked what some mainstream basics get into their head but here we are.
Sure, Jimmy Garoppolo has been the QB24 and QB16 in his first two games leading the San Francisco offense. But if you think that raw fantasy points are a true indicator of quarterback ability, well, I think you just told on yourself. You might not watch too much football. At least you might not be too good at watching it.
If watching football isn't your things (weird, if you ask me) and you still just want to look at the numbers, here are the following metrics in which Garopplo is thriving:
He leads all quarterbacks with at least 70 pass attempts with a 109.3 passer rating on those throws, per Next Gen Stats.
He averages 9.0 yards per pass attempt. The league average is 7.0 per attempt (100-plus attempts).
He carries an 8.3 adjusted yards per attempt. The league average is 6.8.
He has a quarterback rating of 92.7. The league average is 87.3.
Basically, he just hasn't thrown that many touchdowns, with just one over his two starts. Touchdowns are not only one of the most fickle stats in football but they're what influence fantasy scoring the most. And with this in mind, you're going to let that be what you judge him by? Talk about a sheep.
Garopplo gets the Titans in Week 15, who allow the 11th-most passing yards per game (233.3) this season. He's one of my favorite streamers this week. So much so that I'm starting him against Adam Rank in the NFL Fantasy LIVE league playoffs over Kirk Cousins. Wait. Is Rank one of these guys that don't think Jimmy is good? I don't know, don't really have time to listen to him talk about Star Wars for the 100th time.
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.
Way back in August, before players like Jamaal Williams and Jimmy Garoppolo were cool, rookie tight end O.J. Howard was getting drafted as a mainstream tight end in many fantasy leagues. He went ahead of guys like Jared Cook, Evan Engram and yes, even his teammate Cameron Brate. Back then, Brate was the underground tight end nobody was drafting because Howard was getting all the hype.
Howard was an NFL Draft sellout (any player selected in the first round usually is) selected on Day 1 by the Buccaneers. So, of course all of the sheeple were over-hyped about him ... and they were WRONG. Howard got off to a slow start with fewer than two fantasy points in six of his first eight games, though he did have a couple spike games in Week 4 and Week 7 but we're sweeping those under the rug for narrative sake.
Anyway, Brate was the consistent pass-catching tight end for Tampa Bay for the first half of the season, and there was an early four-game stretch where he averaged eight targets a game. But lately, things have shifted more in Howard's favor. Brate is so Week 1, man.
Since Week 10, Howard has totaled five more receptions, 97 more receiving yards and has the same number of touchdowns, two, as Brate.
Bucs TEs Since Week 10
O.J. Howard: 11 rec / 175 yds / 2 TDs
Cameron Brate: 6 rec / 78 yds / 2 TDs
In fact, Brate has recorded a single catch in five of his last six games while Howard is seemingly trending up with at least 50 yards in three of his last four games, plus the two touchdowns. The rookie's 175 yards over the last month ranks him ninth among all tight ends during that span. I looked at the numbers.
Howard has been lauded all season for his ability as a blocker but has clearly been given more to do as a pass-catcher over the last few weeks, in a Buccaneers offense that's lacking explosiveness. A recent article from a locally-sourced Tampa Bay news outlet suggested the Bucs coaching staff is more comfortable giving Howard more to do later in the season and that Howard has been "cleared for takeoff," for whatever that's worth. And in what should be a potentially negative script this week for a Tampa Bay team that is basically playing for nothing at this point, the Bucs might as well get the kid more looks since he's the future at the position.
Most Ironic Stats of Week 15
-- Carlos Hyde is facing a Titans defense that has allowed just 73.8 rush yards per game to running backs this season, second-fewest in the NFL. Temper your already mediocre expectations for Hyde.
-- The Bills have allowed 16 touchdowns to running backs this year. Kenyan Drake could legit end up being the RB1. Drake just put up 19 fantasy points against the Patriots.
-- Drew Brees is at home, against a Jets defense that has zero takeaways in their last three games. I think you know what to do here.
-- Tyreek Hill is facing a Chargers defense that hasn't allowed a 100-yard receiver all season. Hill has three 100-yard games. For the sake of irony, I say he gets his fourth.
-- Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu are facing a Buccaneers defense that is allowing 221.3 receiving yards per game to wide receivers the last four weeks, most in the NFL. I still wouldn't start Matt Ryan.
Pour over your lineup
Harmon: So. First things first: I don't even know which one is this fella's team.
Franchise: Like we've been saying all week, maybe now that it's the fantasy playoffs, we should start caring more about some lineup decisions. The populous is stressed out. But yeah, is this dude on the left or the right?
Harmon: On the real, I don't know. There are no hints that I can see through my RayBan glasses. So, I guess we should just say which team we like more. Which squad do you think is best set up to win?
Harmon: Wow, picking the Le'Veon Bell team. How mainstream, bro. I have to say, the Tom Brady team is set up well, too. Brady is ready to erupt after two quiet weeks and the Patriots always smash Pittsburgh. His guy Rex Burkhead keeps scoring touchdowns and Melvin Gordon and Hunter Henry can take it to the Chiefs on Saturday.
Harmon: Today is your birthday, so you should definitely be old enough to know that Marvin Jones racked up over 100 yards and two scores on Rhodes a few weeks ago. Are you saying Jones is better than Green? Now that's a hipster take.
Harmon: As much as I slammed your analysis just a moment ago, I agree the other team (perhaps our guy's, perhaps just another sheep) is quite stacked. I feel like the upside of Goodwin and his air yards volume is a better bet for a ceiling play. This team will need that over Sanu's floor.
Franchise: Bruh! Now we're on the same page. It's Hipster Harmony, Harmon. There's a joke in there somewhere but I'm too lazy to make it work.
Harmon: Wow. On that note, I need to depart on my bike to get as far away from this dad joke as possible.
Franchise: Fine. See you later at the most underground venue in town that nobody knows about.