Outliers, Week 12

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 each 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. 

Quarterback

Kirk Cousins

  • Top 200 ranking: 11
  • Weekly ranking: 5
  • Difference: +6

Cousins gets to face the Giants secondary this week.  New York is the third-worst defense holding fantasy passers in check.  The injuries to the Washington running backs should result in more pass attempts for Cousins and the passing game.  His receivers, Josh Doctson and Jamison Crowder, are playing well enough to keep the Giants from clamping down on the tight ends, Vernon Davis and Jordan Reed (if he plays).

Marcus Mariota

  • Top 200 ranking: 15
  • Weekly ranking: 7
  • Difference: +8

Mariota was not sharp last Thursday night against the Steelers.  He threw four interceptions in that contest.  Pittsburgh made it tough with their quality defense, ranking third in limiting fantasy scoring to quarterbacks.  But, the matchup this week is against the Colts. Just the difference between matchups has moved Mariota from Overvalued last week to Undervalued this week.  Indianapolis is the sixth-best matchup for opposing quarterbacks.  We expect the Titans passing game to get untracked in a big way as Tennessee desperately needs a win in order to keep pace with Jacksonville in the division.

Josh McCown

 

  • Top 200 ranking: 19
  • Weekly ranking: 28
  • Difference: -9

 

McCown has been a pleasant surprise for fantasy owners, ranking in the middle of fantasy QB2 production.  The game against the Panthers this week will be a stiff test for the Jets’ passer.  Carolina is tied (with the Rams, see below) for fourth-best defense against opposing passers.  In addition, this defense has played much better of late than to begin the season.  The Panthers have yielded only 41 points in the last three games combined.  This is a great improvement after giving up 88 points through a three-game stretch earlier in the season. 

Drew Brees

 

  • Top 200 ranking: 5
  • Weekly ranking: 9
  • Difference: -4

 

Brees has two things working against him this week.  First, he puts up bigger numbers at home and this game is at the Rams.  Secondly, Los Angeles is tied for the fourth-best defense (see above) in suppressing fantasy points from opposing quarterbacks.  Making this worse is the Rams are great versus the pass and horrible against the run … and the Saints have become a great running game.  While Brees is still a quality QB1 this week for fantasy owners, he may not have his usual upside. 

Running Back

Alfred Morris

 

  • Top 200 ranking: 40
  • Weekly ranking: 17
  • Difference: +23

 

Morris has dominated touches in Ezekiel Elliott’s absence.  The Cowboys get the Chargers on Thanksgiving Day.  Los Angeles is the third-worst rush defense in allowing fantasy points to opposing backfields.  The Chargers yield an average of 28 PPR (Points Per Reception) to opposing running backs each week.  Dallas needs a win in the worst way and will look to establish the running game to take the pressure off quarterback Dak Prescott.

DeMarco Murray

 

  • Top 200 ranking: 23
  • Weekly ranking: 16
  • Difference: +7

 

Murray has disappointed fantasy owners most weeks with his inconsistent production.  The game against the Colts this week should allow him with more scoring opportunities than normal.  Indianapolis is the seventh-best matchup for opposing backfields.  There is upside for most of the Titans offense as this game could turn into a shootout.

Jay Ajayi

 

  • Top 200 ranking: 26
  • Weekly ranking: 45
  • Difference: -19

 

The Eagles are still figuring out how best to utilize their new tailback.  In last Sunday night’s game against Dallas, Philadelphia used Ajayi sparingly as the Eagles rotated four running backs.  The opponent this week, the Chicago Bears, has a solid rush defense.  We suspect that Philadelphia is saving Ajayi – and his much-discussed knees – for the playoffs. 

Jordan Howard

 

  • Top 200 ranking: 11
  • Weekly ranking: 14
  • Difference: -3

 

Howard is not a great play this week versus the Eagles.  This has the look of a game that could easily get out of hand early and leave the conservative Bears trying to pass often in the second half just to keep the game respectable.  Howard has a low fantasy floor this week with most of his expected fantasy production coming from receptions.  Philadelphia is the third-best defense against opposing running backs.

Wide Receiver

DeVante Parker

 

  • Top 200 ranking: 32
  • Weekly ranking: 19
  • Difference: +13

 

Parker should get ample targets this week against the Patriots as the Dolphins will likely be trailing for most of the game.  New England yields the third-most fantasy points (40 PPR points/game average) to wide receivers with much of those numbers coming in garbage time.  Whether it is Jay Cutler or Matt Moore throwing passes, this game will be ugly early.

Jamison Crowder

 

  • Top 200 ranking: 37
  • Weekly ranking: 21
  • Difference: +16

 

Washington will rely heavily on Crowder and Josh Doctson against the Giants this week.  We expect Crowder to get much of the Chris Thompson targets and be able to catch six-plus passes from the slot.  New York allowed Tyreek Hill to catch seven passes a week ago.  Crowder could catch that many against New York this week. 

Ted Ginn Jr

 

  • Top 200 ranking: 22
  • Weekly ranking: 44
  • Difference: -22

 

Ginn has played well this season in New Orleans.  This matchup against the Rams this week is a better one for Michael Thomas than Ginn.  Los Angeles defends the deep ball better than most teams.  He is still worth a desperation flier as he is most weeks.  But, expectations should be tempered. 

Davante Adams

 

  • Top 200 ranking: 17
  • Weekly ranking: 24
  • Difference: -7

 

Adams has seen his production nosedive with Brett Hundley in the lineup instead of Aaron Rodgers.  That is the bad news.  The good news is that Hundley looks toward Adams more than the other Green Bay pass catchers.  The game against the Steelers this week is not a great one for fantasy purposes.  Pittsburgh is the fifth-best defense in holding opposing receivers in check. 

Tight End

Delanie Walker

 

  • Top 200 ranking: 10
  • Weekly ranking: 5
  • Difference: +5

 

Walker will be a sneaky start for fantasy owners in the contest against the Colts.  Walker’s ranking is one that resembles the “rising tide lifts all boats” phrase as Tennessee should score well.  Walker has been a consistent force in the Titans lineup.

Vernon Davis

 

  • Top 200 ranking: 21
  • Weekly ranking: 13
  • Difference: +8

 

Davis should benefit from Jordan Reed still either limited or out of the lineup this week against the Giants.  The loss of Chris Thompson should open up targets for the tight end position.  Davis has produced when starting so keep an eye on Reed’s injury status this week, especially on a short week.

O.J. Howard

 

  • Top 200 ranking: 15
  • Weekly ranking: 25
  • Difference: -10

 

Howard is Overvalued this week as the Buccaneers face the Falcons in a divisional game.  Atlanta is middle-of-the-road defending the tight end position.  With Ryan Fitzpatrick under center for Tampa Bay, we do not like Howard this week. 

Feel free to (email me) with feedback.  Also, I am on Twitter (www.Twitter.com/JeffTefertiller), LinkedIn, and Google+, so you can ask me questions on one of these as well.