Frascella's Fantasy Corner: Could hot seat head coaches be the key to your fantasy playoff run?
The fantasy football season is a lot shorter and quicker than people realize.
Most of us are utilizing the 13-week regular season structure, which means a slow start could be disastrous. Now, as we approach Week 7, it’s make-or-break time in many leagues and formats: Are you going to make a serious playoff run, or fade away into fantasy oblivion?
Before I get into my Week 7 pickups, a couple of general NFL observations to keep in mind:
(1) The “new coach lift” seems to be a real thing: The Texans played their best football of the season the first game after Bill O’Brien’s firing, and the same could be said of the Falcons after Dan Quinn got canned. Is it really real, or just a coincidence this season? Who knows, but just make a note in case Adam Gase, Doug Marrone and/or Mike Zimmer are dismissed to the golf course in the coming weeks.
(2) The mid-game quarterback change is mirage: When the Bears benched Mitch Trubisky, “Philly Special” Foles came in like a man on fire. The same thing happened when “The Red Rocket” took over for the great Dak Prescott. Then, in both instances, the first full game turned out to be a disaster for the new starter. Just don’t get fooled by the temporary boosts in 2 QB or Superflex leagues. Play the long game. Don’t make assumptions about a player based on one half of solid play.
Potential Pickups for Week 7
Boston Scott, Eagles: I’m getting the strangest feeling of déjà vu… we’ve been here before, right? When Miles Sanders came into the season with a “lower body injury” many of us felt compelled to give Boston Scott a shot… and that didn’t work out very well. He doesn’t look as determined this season. Doesn’t seem as hungry or ferocious. Now Sanders is out again – this time only 1-2 weeks – so Scott becomes nothing more than a band-aid to stop minor bleeding. If you are RB desperate, I guess you have to take a shot based on opportunity alone. Unless Scott suddenly kicks things into high gear, I would go in with tempered expectations.
Jerick McKinnon, 49ers: Yup…we’ve read this story before, too. The tenacious Raheem Mostert is down again, and this time it’s for at least three weeks with a high ankle sprain. Seems like it could be even longer; thus, the door is ajar again for Mr. McKinnon. He’s always worth a shot due to his pass-catching upside, but like the aforementioned Scott, something doesn’t look right to me this season. Maybe those major injuries the past two seasons have slowed Jerick on the whole. I was a big fan of his in Minnesota, but watch out for this next kid in San Fran…
JaMycal Hasty, 49ers: Man, I love Kyle Shanahan. The coaching is in his blood. He’s done an excellent job again this season, despite injuries dismantling his once-promising roster. In this instance, he used the phrase “fresh legs” to refer to the youngster, Hasty. That’s like blood in the water for a shark. Fresh legs? At the running back position? Those are like the magic words. And I know exactly what Shanahan is really saying… McKinnon just doesn’t look as bouncy as he used to. If Hasty continues to run like this, he’s gonna be my #1 guy with Mostert out. I would think McKinnon will command more FAAB dollars, so Hasty is the play for me at a lower pricepoint.
Joshua Kelley, Chargers: We’ve talked about this rookie a number of times before, so I’m just going to speed through here… some coaches gave up on him after a disappointing Week 5 performance; just scoop him up for the bounce-back. This is a great buy-low spot until Austin Ekeler returns down the line.
La’Michal Perine, Jets: He didn’t look very good in Week 6, but Frank Gore said something disparaging about his team – that’s like the kiss of death with Adam Gase. You can’t question him or his team in any way, even if you are his supposed best friend (the running joke with Gase and Gore). As soon as Gore opened his mouth, Gase made a comment to the media that “we need to find a way to get Perine more touches.” It’s something to take note of, to be honest.
Tim Patrick, Broncos: I still see him available in some of my leagues. Scoop him up, no questions asked. He’s the Broncos’ No. 1 receiver right now. Big, long and dynamic.
Damiere Byrd, Patriots: Led the Patriots’ receivers in snaps this weekend. N’Keal Harry has been a major disappointment, and it’s clear that Belichick and McDaniels simply like the way Byrd plays the game. He’s working hard out there and looking to improve his game in every single facet. Cam Newton needs a WR1 to step up, somewhere.
Breshad Perriman, Jets: Finally returned from injury and picked up a solid target share. It’s really a two-man show with my Jets: Jamison Crowder and Perriman. Breshad is certainly worth a look in most formats, especially if Sam Darnold gets back under center.
Marcus Johnson, Colts: He’s on the bye this week, but think about stashing him because he seems to be emerging as Indy’s No. 1 receiver. T.Y. Hilton is showing his age and the others are injured or unproductive.
James Washington, Steelers: Only useful if Diontae Johnson misses another game due to injury. Washington is probably the best WR4 in the NFL, but he needs surrounding injuries to really develop fantasy value. He’s a possible Flex stream if Diontae is a no-go.
Demarcus Robinson, Chiefs: Boom-or-bust, as always. He picked up 5 receptions for 69 yards in Sammy Watkins’ absence this week.
Darnell Mooney, Bears: Nothing spectacular, but he’s clearly the Bears’ WR2 at this point. He continues to develop his game and make himself available to Nick Foles in space. He’s more of a 16-team league play.
Hunter Renfrow, Raiders: It hasn’t clicked yet this season for Hunter, but he could always wake up to a productive game in the slot. He’s still the primary slot guy for Jon Gruden, in a year where Derek Carr appears to be on his game.
Week 7 DFS Plays
Safe: Josh Allen $7,700 @ NYJ
Sleeper: Joe Burrow $5,500 vs. CLE
Perfect Storm: Aaron Rodgers $7,000 @ HOU
Summary: These seem like dream spots for both Allen and Rodgers. The Bills will shake their struggles vs. the hapless Jets, and A-Rod will bounce back in a major way against the shaky Texans’ D.
Safe: Alvin Kamara $7,900 vs. CAR
Sleeper: D’Andre Swift $5,400 @ ATL
Perfect Storm: Kareem Hunt $6,800 @ CIN
Summary: I’d like to see the Lions continue to expand the rookie Swift’s role. Worth a shot in this matchup, at this pricepoint.
Safe: Davante Adams $7,900 @ HOU
Sleeper: Michael Gallup $4,600 @ WAS
Perfect Storm: Stefon Diggs $7,000 @ NYJ
Summary: So which stack are you gonna go with… Rodgers and Adams or Allen and Diggs? Decisions, decisions…
Safe: Travis Kelce $6,300 @ DEN
Sleeper: Logan Thomas $3,500 vs. DAL
Perfect Storm: T.J. Hockenson $5,000 @ ATL
Summary: I feel like Detroit is finally finding the right ways to utilize Hock’s size and skill. Arrow is pointing upward.
Best of luck to all!
John Frascella is a published sports author and fantasy football analyst with over two decades of experience. Follow him on Twitter @LegendSports7 for all things fantasy football.