Outliers, Week 8

A comparison of the weekly positional rankings and the Top 200, this is an output of the players who could either have unexpected good or poor fantasy weeks.

This article will take a weekly look at players who are either undervalued or overvalued in a given week. The outlier value players offer is calculated by a comparison between the Top 200 forward, a look at the top 200 players with the whole season in mind, and the initial weekly Footballguys rankings. Both sources are from the Footballguys.com subscriber content. An emphasis will be on the players with the largest differences between the season outlook and this week only. Also, a preference will be given to differences for the higher ranked players. Some of these differences will be due to injury, the matchup of the week, or short-term situation.  Now, let's look at this week's outlier players. 


Philip Rivers

  • Top 200 ranking: 16
  • Weekly ranking: 11
  • Difference: +5

Rivers gets a plum fantasy matchup against the Patriots in New England this week.  This is a Patriots defense which has given up the most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks in the entire NFL.  Not only has New England been the worst in this category, but have yielded more than 10% more fantasy points than the second-worst defense (Tampa Bay).  In a game script that has the Brady-led Patriots jumping out to a lead, and Rivers throwing often in catch-up mode, the Chargers’ quarterback should be a fantasy QB1. 

Cam Newton

  • Top 200 ranking: 8
  • Weekly ranking: 4
  • Difference: +4

Newton has been inconsistent this season.  As he and the Panthers lick their wounds from a pitiful performance last week against the Bears, the Buccaneers next up on the schedule is a welcomed sight.  Tampa Bay is the second-best matchup for opposing passers.  This is a pass defense that has been a bona fide sieve for fantasy quarterbacks.  The matchup comes at a great time for Carolina to right the ship.

Deshaun Watson

  • Top 200 ranking: 6
  • Weekly ranking: 16
  • Difference: -10

Watson has enjoyed an awesome start to his career.  We have been impressed.  But, the game this week at Seattle will be a good test for the rookie and the Texans offense.  The Seahawks defense has played very well of late and will be poised to test the poise of the youngster.  Seattle is the third-best defense at keeping other teams’ quarterbacks in check.  The 12th Man will be loud and hostile. 

Jacoby Brissett

  • Top 200 ranking: 17
  • Weekly ranking: 22
  • Difference: -5

Brissett has played admirably in the stead of Andrew Luck.  His fantasy production has been limited by poor passing and not possessing the ability to hit receivers deep down the field.  As the Colts travel to Cincinnati this week, we do not see much upside. Even though several solid fantasy options are on bye this week, we do not recommend inserting the young quarterback into fantasy lineups unless desperate.  The Bengals are the sixth-best defense at containing opposing quarterbacks. 

Running Back

Jordan Howard

  • Top 200 ranking: 18
  • Weekly ranking: 7
  • Difference: +11

Howard has struggled as opposing defenses key on stopping the Chicago running game without regard for the pass offense.  This week, the Bears travel to New Orleans to face the Saints.  Both teams have playoff aspirations.  The Saints are in the bottom one-third of the NFL in containing opposing running backs as evidenced by the big outing by Aaron Jones last week.  The conservative play-calling will only help Howard get ample touches. 

Jalen Richard

  • Top 200 ranking: 47
  • Weekly ranking: 21
  • Difference: +26

Richard looks to capitalize on the one-game suspension of Marshawn Lynch.  Richard will likely split snaps with DeAndre Washington, but we like Richard’s chances better to be fantasy-viable.  After Lynch was ejected from the Thursday night victory over the Chiefs, Richard and Washington looked great.  The game against the stiff Bills run defense will be a tough test, but Richard makes a great waiver wire pickup for desperate fantasy owners. 

Tevin Coleman

  • Top 200 ranking: 21
  • Weekly ranking: 26
  • Difference: -5

With six teams on bye this week, it is a rare sight to see a player ranked five slots below their Top 200 ranking.  But, as the Falcons travel to New York to face the Jets, we do not like the chances of Coleman having a great game.  New York has played well against the run and given up monster yardage and points through the air.  This game could be high scoring with much of the action coming from the passing games. 

Kareem Hunt

  • Top 200 ranking: 2
  • Weekly ranking: 5
  • Difference: -3

In no way are we suggesting fantasy owners bench the sensational rookie against the Broncos this week.  Denver has been strong defending the run this season, so expectations need to be tempered.  In addition, Hunt has not had a monster game since Week 2.  He is still a must-start, just with less upside than other weeks. 

Wide Receiver

Keenan Allen

  • Top 200 ranking: 14
  • Weekly ranking: 6
  • Difference: +8

Just like with his quarterback above, we like the chances of Allen having a big outing against the Patriots pass defense.  New England is the third-worst defense at containing opposing fantasy wide receivers.  Allen should have at least 10-12 targets once again as the Chargers throw often to keep pace with Brady and company. 

Adam Thielen

  • Top 200 ranking: 24
  • Weekly ranking: 14
  • Difference: +10

Thielen plays best when Stefon Diggs joins him in the lineup.  Diggs should return from the groin injury this week as the Vikings square off against the Browns.  As Minnesota lacking a solid running game, we expect the pair of receivers – led by Thielen – to have a chance for big games. 

T.Y. Hilton

  • Top 200 ranking: 16
  • Weekly ranking: 22
  • Difference: -6

Hilton has been hampered by poor quarterback play while Luck has been recovering from the shoulder injury.  So, when tough matchups come along – like this week versus Cincinnati – we do not like him as anything more than a fantasy WR2/3 option.  The Bengals are the sixth-best defense at defending opposing wide receivers.  Given Brissett’s lack of accuracy down the field, it is difficult to project a sudden rebound game for the speedy Hilton. 

Tyreek Hill

  • Top 200 ranking: 9
  • Weekly ranking: 19
  • Difference: -10

Hill and the first-place Chiefs face the Broncos in a tough divisional matchup.  Denver has the speed and talent at cornerback to contain Hill.  With both teams suffering two recent losses, the loser of the game will struggle to make the playoffs with three or more losses before the mid-way mark of the season.  The game has the appearance of a low-scoring slugfest with both coaches calling a conservative game plan. 

Tight End

Austin Seferian-Jenkins

  • Top 200 ranking: 13
  • Weekly ranking: 8
  • Difference: +5

The bye week hurts the tight end position this week, catapulting Seferian-Jenkins into a solid fantasy starter as the Jets host the Falcons.  He is quickly becoming the team’s top receiver and could garner double-digit targets in a high-scoring affair.  The Atlanta pass defense has not been strong this season. 

Ed Dickson

  • Top 200 ranking: 28
  • Weekly ranking: 14
  • Difference: +14

Dickson has been inconsistent since taking over for an injured Greg Olsen.  The game against Tampa Bay this week should allow Dickson to see enough targets to be fantasy-relevant in a week where many starters at the position are on bye.  He is more of a desperation play, but one with upside against the injured Buccaneers defense. 

Jordan Reed

  • Top 200 ranking: 12
  • Weekly ranking: 6
  • Difference: +6

Reed is another tight end benefiting from both a solid matchup (against the Cowboys) and so many players at the position on bye.  When six teams are off in a given week, it takes a toll on starting lineups.  After the huge game on Monday night, the Cousins-to-Reed connection looks as strong as ever.  Reed is healthy this week which makes him an even stronger fantasy option.

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