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?
I was all set to pen a piece on how no one is talking about how good of a season Tyrod Taylor is having here in the year of 2017. Yet, I open my ironically expensive MacBook pro (don't worry I don't use email and still send all my letters by carrier pigeons) and find out that Gregg Rosenthal has Tyrod seventh in his weekly QB Index. That's right. The seventh-best quarterback in the NFL this season, per Rosenthal.
I mean, you know who Gregg Rosenthal is, right? I knew about him back when he was the frontman for the underground hit band "Delaware." I have all three of their first albums on vinyl, obviously. My comrades and I would always throw back a few tangerine-infused IPAs before riding our bikes down to see their shows and close out the night brooding over out newfound feelings post-show at a local late-night diner. Never got backstage, though, still dreaming on that one.
Man, whatever happened to those guys? Delaware had a future if you ask me.
Anyway, these days Gregg is basically the hottest name on the NFL Network circuit, dropping knowledge on various HD color television shows and spilling golden words all through the NFL.com pages. Would some call that selling out? Maybe, but I don't. If you know what you're talking about, like NFL Network's Gregg Rosenthal, you might as well get the system to work for you. He's right on this point; Tyrod Taylor is cooking with organic extra virgin olive oil this season.
Despite only posting seven total touchdowns in six games, Taylor currently averages 14.8 fantasy points per game. Keep in mind he's doing all this while dragging a subpar passing game supporting cast to success in Buffalo. Here in Week 8, all signs point to a massive game for Tyrod Taylor.
The Bills are at home, where Tyrod has been excellent this season. He sports a 103.9 passer rating in Buffalo compared to a 79.0 rating on the road. Taylor and the fellas also draw a matchup with the Raiders, who just cannot stop the pass. Oakland's secondary gives up an NFL-high 109.0 passer rating this season and has not registered an interception. For those of you not exactly up to speed, that's what we in the know call "actually bad."
All signs point to a big game for our Vintage Veteran of the week. If you have Tyrod Taylor on your fantasy team, play him. If he's somehow still on your waiver wire, pick him up, play him, and then write out those carrier pigeon letters to your league-mates mocking them for letting you secure this guy. The notes should get there by Monday morning in time for some trolling. Don't worry about preemptively locking this one in. Nothing could possibly go wrong.
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.
That's right. Bennie "The Freak" Fowler. Ever heard of him? Probably not. That's not actually his nickname, either. But that's what I call him. If you don't like it, too bad.
Fowler is only owned in like 1.2 percent of NFL dot com fantasy football leagues. He checks all the boxes of a Fantasy Hipsters barrel-aged bargain. So I'm telling you, grab him before Denver's Monday night game in Kansas City and you might just have a guy who will seal the deal on a Week 8 fantasy win.
Let's get one thing out of the way. The air Fowler breathes up there in Denver is way rarer than any air in any other city, because it's a mile above sea level. So he's already got that going for him. An obvious advantage.
He's a big slot receiver, playing about 70 percent of his snaps from the slot the last two games. And per Next Gen Stats, the Chiefs are allowing the second-most receiving yards to slot receivers, 509, second only to New England. Kansas City has also given up four touchdown receptions to slot receivers this year, and Fowler currently leads Denver in red zone targets with seven. IT'S ALL COMING TOGETHER NOW.
With Emmanuel Sanders (ankle) out last week, Fowler hauled in five catches on five targets and was second on his team in receiving yards for the week (45). That means Fowler posted more PPR points last week than receivers like A.J. Green, Keenan Allen, Adam Thielen and Larry Fitzgerald. With Sanders potentially out again, the matchup for Fowler against the Chiefs is too favorable to ignore. So go grab him on the cheap and confidently plug him into your lineup if you're struggling at wideout with six teams on a bye.
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?
With Marshawn Lynch suspended for Week 8, the Raiders will finally be forced to let their best running back free. I'm not doing one of those little irony bits here; I really believe Jalen Richard is the best running back on Oakland's roster and asserted as much several weeks ago on the certifiable pages of this here website.
Should we trust the machines? Well, it's difficult to know for sure. On the one hand, it's likely they will someday take over all of humanity and render us mere afterthoughts. Yet, I can't imagine living without Spotify on my iPhone to sort through all the playlists of bands you've never heard of or the finely ground coffee that comes from the electronic ones. Machines have their place.
Here's what I do know, the machine tracking chips that provide the data for our Next Gen Stats (ever heard of it?) confirm my belief that Richard is the best back in Oakland. Richard averaged 4.58 yards after defenders close within a yard of him on his carries, ranking inside the top-10 this year and lapping his teammate DeAndre Washington. Chalk that up as a point for the machines.
The Bills aren't exactly an ideal matchup, especially with the Raiders having to travel across the country. However, I'm confident in Richard's ability to create something out of nothing. So far through two years, he has 17 touches of 15-plus yards, good for 10.6 percent of his career total. Even if the Bills contain the Raiders ground game, Richard's ability as a pass-catcher (75.9 career catch rate) combined with his explosive ability should give you some decent points in fantasy.
Hey, pal, you have six teams on bye this week. Don't get too picky. Jalen Richard is just waiting for his chance to break out. It comes this Sunday.
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.
-- If Orleans Darkwa was able to put up over 100 scrimmage yards on the Broncos, Kareem Hunt should have no issues keeping his streak alive. Worst pick. Very ironic.
-- Will Fuller leads all wide receivers in fantasy points per game (15.43). That's even more than Antonio Brown (13.5). Fuller has a total of eight receptions on the season. No, but seriously. He can't keep this streak going, right? RIGHT?!
-- Cameron Brate is third among all tight ends in fantasy points per game (9.68). Only two tight ends are averaging double-digits per game in standard scoring: Rob Gronkowski and Zach Ertz.
-- Le'Veon Bell leads the NFL with 28.9 touches per game and has 30-plus touches four times this season. That's not even ironic, it's just insane.
-- There are seven quarterbacks averaging over 20 fantasy points per game. At least three of them, Deshaun Watson, Carson Wentz, and Alex Smith, were basically free in fantasy football drafts in terms of ADP back in August.
Pour over your lineup
Franchise: Looks like our guy KodeRed is getting hit with some bye-week issues. So not a ton of options here.
Harmon: Yes, clearly. Starting Duke Johnson. Talk about bye week blues. Side note: how do you feel about Duke this week?
Harmon: He's just not my type of play, man. But hey, it's not like KodeRed has (literally) any other options. So, onward we go.
Franchise: Yeah, it's tempting to chase the points, but Thomas has an unbelievable matchup against the Chiefs, and Fuller is on the road in literally the worst place to play on the road, Seattle. Coffee is good there. NFL away teams, not so much.
At least you know Thomas has a safe floor despite a down week, but Fuller is literally averaging like, two catches per game. I drink more beers in an hour than Fuller has catches a week, man.
Harmon: That's how I feel. Given that, in my view, his running backs don't have a locked-in outlook, he needs a little bit more safety from that flex. Also, did you know Thomas hasn't scored a touchdown yet? You can put it in the books: this is the week.
Franchise: BRO. It's been like 14 straight games dating back to last season that D-Thom hasn't scored. Are we betting a triple IPA again?
Harmon: Well I think he is going to get in the box. You think he isn't?
Franchise: Didn't you see that Bennie Fowler is my guy this week? My bet is on him for the touchdown.
Harmon: Oh, guess I should scroll up, huh? Well, you're on. This should go about as well as last week did for you. Still waiting on that Jimmy Graham beer, by the way.
Harmon: Totally agree with you, on all counts. Speaking of counting, I have to go get my pocket watch fixed. Want to go grab some organic mint tea before we bounce?
Franchise: Damn right I do. You read my mind.
Harmon: Hipsters out.