Outliers Week 2 - Footballguys

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.

Quarterback

Alex Smith

  • Top 200 ranking: 11
  • Weekly ranking: 2
  • Difference: +9

Smith and the Washington offense exploded for a big game against Arizona last week. This week, the veteran quarterback and his mates host the same Indianapolis defense that made Andy Dalton – yes, THAT Andy Dalton – look good last week. Smith does not have the athleticism or the arm he once displayed but is able to spread the ball around to the open receiver. He is a great fit for the Jay Gruden offense.

Tyrod Taylor

  • Top 200 ranking: 31
  • Weekly ranking: 9
  • Difference: +22

Taylor outplayed Ben Roethlisberger in their game last week. His running ability offers a safe floor and plenty of upside. He and the Browns travel to New Orleans to face the Saints defense that made Ryan Fitzpatrick look like Joe Montana in Week 1. Even if the Saints jump out to a lead, Taylor has plenty of solid weapons at his disposal to play catch up and pad fantasy stats.

Russell Wilson

  • Top 200 ranking: 1
  • Weekly ranking: 10
  • Difference: -9

We worry about Wilson this season as the Seahawks have lost talent on both sides of the ball. Can he sustain the high level of play? With star receiver, Doug Baldwin, out of action, Wilson has few weapons to attack the Bears in Soldier Field. Still a fantasy QB1, Wilson will struggle to avoid the stellar Chicago pass rush … just like Aaron Rodgers last Sunday night.

Tom Brady

  • Top 200 ranking: 2
  • Weekly ranking: 15
  • Difference: -13

It is always difficult to downgrade the best quarterback in football. But, the game in Jacksonville will limit the upside of the Patriots passing game. We expect a low-scoring, low-pass volume game where every point is contested. These may be the two best teams in the AFC battling for playoff home-field advantage.

Running Back

Adrian Peterson

  • Top 200 ranking: 36
  • Weekly ranking: 11
  • Difference: +25

Like his quarterback, Peterson gets a great matchup against the Colts. This is a defense that gave up the quality fantasy game to Joe Mixon. The time to sell the veteran ball carrier will be after this game while everyone sees the production and thinks it is still 2010. Peterson is a fantasy RB1 in a game Washington hopes to control on the ground.

James Conner

  • Top 200 ranking: 22
  • Weekly ranking: 3
  • Difference: +19

Fantasy owners should ride the Conner wave as long as possible. He played well against the Browns and gets another great matchup as Pittsburgh hosts Kansas City. This is a Chiefs defense that yielded over 50 fantasy points to the Chargers running backs in Week 1. Melvin Gordon III and Austin Ekeler had huge production, even though Kansas City controlled the scoreboard. We like Conner’s chances of another good fantasy outing.

Leonard Fournette

  • Top 200 ranking: 11
  • Weekly ranking: 15
  • Difference: -4

When we combine a hamstring injury and a negative game script, Fournette has too much risk as the Jaguars host the Patriots. Insert the bruising back in your fantasy lineups at your own peril. Hamstring injuries are difficult to recover quickly, and the difficult matchup will not help matters.

Devonta Freeman

  • Top 200 ranking: 13
  • Weekly ranking: 19
  • Difference: -6

He, too, is injured but expected to play. With the difficult matchup against the Panthers next up on the schedule, we are encouraging tempered expectations. The knee injury suffered last Thursday evening scared fantasy players, but the matchup should cause concern, too.

Wide Receiver

Nelson Agholor

  • Top 200 ranking: 34
  • Weekly ranking: 16
  • Difference: +18

Agholor is the top wide receiver for the Eagles with Alshon Jeffery still out of action. The game is in Tampa Bay against a solid defense that Michael Thomas exploited. Philadelphia had two extra days to rest and find answers for the anemic passing game against Atlanta last Thursday.

Stefon Diggs

  • Top 200 ranking: 16
  • Weekly ranking: 8
  • Difference: +8

Diggs has emerged to be Kirk Cousins’ top receiver. He is able to get open with tremendous route running. This week, the Vikings offense will get a stiff test in Green Bay this week against the Packers rookie cornerbacks. We still like Diggs’ chances of topping the 100-yard mark in what could be a high-scoring affair.

Golden Tate

  • Top 200 ranking: 15
  • Weekly ranking: 27
  • Difference: -12

Detroit was flat-out horrible on both sides of the ball Monday night. Tate is slowly yielding pass targets to Golladay and will have some fantasy clunkers this year. As the Lions travel to San Francisco to face the 49ers this week, we expect Tate to struggle. He needs Matthew Stafford to rebound in a big way if there is any hope of a playoff berth.

Amari Cooper

  • Top 200 ranking: 19
  • Weekly ranking: 26
  • Difference: -7

Cooper was not involved in the Raiders game plan against the Rams in Week 1. The game in Mile High against arch-rival Denver will make it difficult for fantasy owners to start the talented receiver this week as well. At this point, we do not trust the talented youngster. The issue could be the offense, the quarterback play, or the desire to excel by the receiver. But, all three were lacking Monday night and Oakland will have its hands full versus Denver.

Tight End

George Kittle

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

Kittle was very involved in the 49ers offense in the loss to the Vikings. He gets an easy matchup against the Lions this week. The Detroit defense looked abysmal against the Jets and there is hope of a monster outing by the second-year tight end. With the Goodwin injury, Kittle has emerged to be one of Jimmy Garoppolo’s main receivers.

Trey Burton

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

The Bears host the Seahawks as they look to rebound from the heartbreaking loss to Aaron Rodgers and the Packers last week. Burton was able to get open in Week 1, but Trubisky was unable to locate the athletic tight end. We are expecting a solid outing this week against Seattle.

Jack Doyle

  • Top 200 ranking: 7
  • Weekly ranking: 10
  • Difference: -3

Many fantasy owners are worried about Eric Ebron’s involvement in the Colts offense. The offense is void of weapons, so Doyle should still get his share. As Indianapolis travels to Washington, the passing game will be tested against a defense that shut down Sam Bradford and the Cardinals last week. The matchup is a bigger concern than Ebron at this time.

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.


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