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?
Trying to decipher the New England backfield will indeed give you a headache but don't you think wearing this peacoat despite it being over 70 degrees out makes me a little uncomfortable, as well? Look, sometimes a little discomfort is worth the potential reward. And just like I look incredible in this definitely not ridiculous coat in the heart of Los Angeles, Dion Lewis is going to look quite nice with a big point-total in your lineup this week.
We got some signal last week that the spotlight is officially about to turn to Dion Lewis this week. Lewis played a season-high 42.6 percent of the Patriots' offensive snaps against the Jets. Actually, Lewis' playing time was already trending up. He had snap shares of 18.8, 20 and 24.3 percent heading into Week 6.
A first-quarter fumble by Mike Gillislee caused Lewis' playing time to take a big jump last week, but it's painfully clear that he's their best back, anyway. Gillislee is not the new LeGarrette Blount in New England. He hasn't scored since Week 2 and averages just 11.5 carries over his last four games. Blount averaged 18.7 carries per game last season. Just like those Oakley shades aren't working for you anymore, bro, it's time the Patriots tried something else.
Sustainable pickup of the week:
Sustainability is all about preparing for the future. From discovering and developing a new source 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?
The mainstream wide receivers on the Redskins, like Terrelle Pryor and Jamison Crowder, are getting all of the playing time, while second-year player Josh Doctson is stuck shoegazing on the sidelines, like 80 percent of the snaps. So yeah, it's difficult to make a case for Doctson right now because he has logged just four catches on nine targets on the season. Advising a Doctson pickup is like trying to convince one of your sheep friends that the local independent coffee shop is actually better than that Starbucks on the corner. You know the potential is there, and all signs point to it being great, but the other option is just easy and comfortable.
But eventually, your sheep pals will come around and forget about Starbucks. Because the beans at the local shop have a much bolder, brighter taste. And there's no extra cost for the brand name. Heck, Pryor is even on some drop lists at this point. He has not been good for fantasy purposes, and we're literally half way through the fantasy regular season.
Maybe you hadn't heard, but Docston's measurables from the 2016 NFL Combine were stud-like. Heck, he was a first-round draft selection for Washington. But an Achilles injury kept him off the field for much of his rookie year. So this is basically his rookie season, from a game-experience standpoint. And man, like NOBODY, is picking him up right now. Like I said earlier, the playing time isn't there and those four receptions remain a concern. But 50 percent of those catches have been touchdowns! You know how many touchdowns Pryor and Crowder have combined for this season? One. That's right. Uno. In SIX games. Open your mind, sheep. That ain't good.
So put down that Starbucks frappuccino loaded with sugar and ingredients that are probably bad for you. (Translation: put Pryor and Crowder on your fantasy bench.) And head over to the local coffee house, order yourself an Americano, and before your first sip, let it cool off, and take in the aroma. (Translation: Pick Doctson up off waivers now, and wait until his role expands to unleash him on your opponents.) Tell em the Fantasy Hipsters sent you, and maybe you'll get a discount. We know people.
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.
Just because we are hipsters doesn't mean we can't like some things that are popular. Like, I was bummed out when Tom Petty passed a few weeks ago. He has some good jams, even if literally everyone knows them. Much in the same way, I'm dreading the rest of the regular season without being able to watch Aaron Rodgers.
While there's no replacing an act like that, sometimes you show up to a concert and the "small-time" opening act takes you by surprise. Hundley is that guy this week.
Hundley draws a matchup against the Saints defense this week. Yes, New Orleans is improved on that side of the ball, but come on. I see all these sheep out there talking like this isn't a unit we should attack. They aren't that good yet just because the disassembled the Jay Cutler-led Dolphins and the overrated Lions. The new Packers should find a much softer landing spot here than he did when thrown into the fire against the actually good Vikings defense in Minnesota without a second of preparation.
The Packers kept the offense largely the same with Hundley under center, deploying 11-personnel on 72 percent of their plays and having the quarterback in shotgun on 67 percent of his snaps. Under Rodgers, the averages were 69 percent with 11-personnel and 69 percent in shotgun, as well. Oh, and of course, Hundley will still get all the same talent at his disposal in place of Rodgers. Making your first start with Jordy Nelson, Davante Adams, and a loaded cast doesn't sound so bad, right? Hundley will be just fine.
Even if you're not convinced of his ceiling, he presents a great floor. We didn't see Hundley take off much last week, but he averaged 43.7 rushing yards per game and scored 30 touchdowns on the ground in college. Running ability is certainly in his leather-bound portfolio and we know that boosts fantasy passers.
Most Ironic Stats of the Week
Every week, there are some pretty crazy stats floating around that you might be able to apply to making decisions in your fantasy lineups. There are also stats that really don't mean anything at all. Like home/road splits. Let's get over that. I mean seriously, the Patriots lost at home to the Chiefs in the season opener on Thursday night. So, just for kicks (actually I need a new pair of vintage Converse), here are the most ironic stats of Week 7. Enjoy. Or don't ... it's more ironic that way.
-- Adrian Peterson will become the first NFL player to play two games in London in the same season when he suits up for the Cardinals on Sunday. We can take a hint, bro. Just move to England already, geez.
-- The Cardinals have 10 players on their starting roster older than Rams coach Sean McVay. You know Father's Day in Arizona has gotta be lit as hell. Dads everywhere, popping out from behind cacti and stuff.
-- Since New Year's Day, the Dallas Cowboys record is 2-5 including playoffs. The only teams with fewer wins in the 2017 calendar year are the Browns (0-7) and 49ers (0-7). Not really sure what all the rage is about Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott. I mean, win a few games first, you know?
-- The Patriots are the first team in NFL history to allow six straight individual 300-yard passing games. If Matt Ryan can't get it going against them on Sunday, well, you're gonna need a different fantasy quarterback.
-- A ridiculous 70 percent of the Steelers' offensive touches have been by Antonio Brown and Le'Veon Bell this year. It'd be extremely nice if it was one fewer percentage point, but that's still pretty good. Ironically, some folks still ask if they should start these guys in fantasy. Yeah, duh.
Pour over your lineup
Franchise: Nothing beats a good Belgian waffle. Man, you're making me hungry. Anyway, the crazy part is that ASJ has just five fewer targets than Graham in two fewer games. It's tough for me to trust Graham right now, and Seferian-Jenkins has been finding the end zone, he'd have one more score if not for that sheep touchdown reversal last week.
Bro, let's go full on Fantasy Hipster here and roll with ASJ. We're part of the problem if we advise Graham, you know?
Harmon: I get it, but Graham does get the Giants this week. They've allowed seven touchdowns to tight ends, the most in the league. I'm no expert but that seems like a lot.
Franchise: If Graham scores more points than ASJ, you owe me a triple IPA. Deal?
Harmon: Oh yes, deal.
Harmon: So I have an actually correct take here, of course. I think he has to go Hogan. Yes, Landry has all the volume and might be a bit safer because of that, but there's no question Hogan has the better ceiling. He averages 11.9 air yards on his targets to just 6.0 for Landry. With mainstream studs like Brown, Fitzgerald, and Gurley, his squad has enough of a built-in floor to accept Hogan's variance.
Harmon: It's like Landry is shopping at the GAP and Hogan is kicking it down there at H&M. One is obviously better than the other.
Franchise: Ha. GAP. What even is that? Cool boot-cut jeans bro! Losers. Oh, I just remembered, I have this limited edition pair of acid wash skinny jeans waiting for me at my local H&M. I gotta go get those so I can wear them to the underground gig tonight on the east side.
Harmon: Cool. I'd ask if I can come along but I already have a bourbon tasting scheduled in the backroom of a local distillery. See you Sunday when everything we just predicted will become fact, just like always, pretty much.
Franchise: BOOM. Peace out!