Outliers Week 5 - 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.


Ben Roethlisberger

  • Top 200 ranking: 9
  • Weekly ranking: 1
  • Difference: +8

The 1-2-1 Steelers desperately need a win this week and get a great matchup against a dome team outside whose is missing several key defenders. The Falcons have ceded big production through the air the last few weeks and should do the same in Pittsburgh. Atlanta is the fourth-best matchup for opposing quarterbacks.

Matt Ryan

  • Top 200 ranking: 10
  • Weekly ranking: 2
  • Difference: +8

Yes, we like both passers from this contest. It should be high-scoring and pass-centric as each team will be without their best running back for the game. The Steelers have yielded the second-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season. Freeman’s absence should put even more pressure on Ryan to throw the ball more frequently.

Drew Brees

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

The Washington pass defense has played surprisingly well this season. This defense ranks as the second-best at containing opposing fantasy quarterbacks. We expect to see a run-oriented attack from both offenses and the elite Brees should be treated with caution. His displacement on redzone snaps is worrisome, too.

Kirk Cousins

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

Cousins and the Vikings are in a must-win situation at Philadelphia. The Eagles defense has not played well of late, but we are expecting a rebound with the game at home. The 1-2-1 Vikings desperately need a victory. The lack of a running game has put more pressure on Cousins and the pass offense the last few weeks.

Running Back

Dion Lewis

  • Top 200 ranking: 20
  • Weekly ranking: 14
  • Difference: +6

Lewis and the Titans offense have a plus matchup against the Bills this week. Buffalo is giving up 31 PPR fantasy points per contest. This is a great matchup for Lewis. He has easily gained a stranglehold on the Tennessee backfield and will be used as a receiver on screen passes and dump-offs. Lewis has seen his role increase with the injury to tight end Delanie Walker.

James Conner

  • Top 200 ranking: 25
  • Weekly ranking: 7
  • Difference: +18

Now that there is an expectation that Le'Veon Bell will be back in a few weeks, Conner’s long-term outlook looks less rosy. However, he has a great matchup against Atlanta this week. The Falcons are the third-best matchup for opposing tailbacks, coughing up a whopping 34 PPR points per game, on average. Conner’s involvement in the Pittsburgh passing game buoys his fantasy stock as Atlanta has been susceptible to pass-catching backs this season.

Kareem Hunt

  • Top 200 ranking: 8
  • Weekly ranking: 18
  • Difference: -10

Hunt had a breakout game Monday night against the Broncos and now he faces another top defense in the Jaguars. There is little upside in Hunt this week, but he makes a solid RB2 for fantasy. Jacksonville will be fired up to slow down the high-powered Kansas City offense. The lack of pass targets this season has been troubling. Hunt will need passing-game action to be a fantasy RB1 this week and for the remainder of the season.

Joe Mixon

  • Top 200 ranking: 9
  • Weekly ranking: 33
  • Difference: -24

Mixon looks to be returning to game action this week against the Dolphins after missing a few weeks with the knee injury. We expect Cincinnati to ease him back into the lineup, especially with the strong play by Giovani Bernard in his stead. If the Bengals are able to jump out to an easy lead, Mixon will not be used as much as fantasy owners desire.

Wide Receiver

Keenan Allen

  • Top 200 ranking: 13
  • Weekly ranking: 6
  • Difference: +7

After missing most of the week with an injury, Allen looked to be healthy in last week’s game and now gets the sweet matchup against the sieve of a Raiders defense. Every team has moved the ball at will against the Oakland defense. The Rivers-to-Allen connection should be strong this week.

Julio Jones

  • Top 200 ranking: 6
  • Weekly ranking: 1
  • Difference: +5

Jones has been terrific this season and the touchdown category is the only area missing from what would be an all-time great season. Like several others on this list playing in the same game, we expect Jones to have a monster game against the pass defense that allowed Baltimore to run up and down the field a week ago. The Pittsburgh pass defense has struggled against speedy receivers, making Jones our top-ranked fantasy receiver this week.

DeAndre Hopkins

  • Top 200 ranking: 2
  • Weekly ranking: 8
  • Difference: -6

As the Texans are coming off their first victory of the season, the game against the Cowboys will be a difficult task. We expect the Dallas pass defense to have a plan to stop Houston’s top threat. This is a much-improved defense that has held opposing receivers in check for most of the season.

Tyreek Hill

  • Top 200 ranking: 10
  • Weekly ranking: 18
  • Difference: -8

Hill was held in check for most of the game against the Broncos Monday evening. The difficult matchup against the Jaguars will be another tough matchup, especially if Sammy Watkins is out of commission. Jacksonville will be able to focus its efforts on stopping Hill from making big plays. The Chiefs will be looking to assert their offensive dominance over the defensive greatness of the Jaguars. Should be a great game for fans.

Tight End

Rhett Ellison

  • Top 200 ranking: 36
  • Weekly ranking: 13
  • Difference: +23

The injury to Evan Engram has opened the door for Ellison to be fantasy-relevant. Even the tough matchup at Carolina is not enough to dissuade up from recommending Ellison as a spot fantasy starter. The Giants offense is void of weapons and Ellison has touchdown upside.

Vance McDonald

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

McDonald has been playing lights-out since returning from injury. In what appears to be a high scoring game, we like the Steelers tight end’s chances of having a big fantasy outing at a cheap price. Still available on many waiver wires, McDonald could put up 20 PPR fantasy points this week.

Rob Gronkowski

  • Top 200 ranking: 2
  • Weekly ranking: 6
  • Difference: -4

Gronkowski left last week’s game early with an ankle injury. With the short week for the Thursday night tilt against Indianapolis, we do not expect the big tight end to be much more than a redzone threat and a decoy the rest of the time if he plays. After missing Tuesday’s practice walkthrough, Gronkowski’s status is very much up in the air.

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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