The Strength of Schedule Streaming app allows you to see which players have the easiest or most difficult upcoming schedules, a potentially league-winning edge that gives you the opportunity to buy players right before they explode in plus matchups.
In Week 2, the Buy Low Report tabbed Christian Kirk, D.J. Moore, Chris Godwin, and Calvin Ridley as players to buy. This week, we will once again combine insight from the SoS Streaming app and the RotoViz Screener — which has information on rushing and receiving expected fantasy points (ruEP and reEP, respectively) and rushing and receiving Fantasy Points Over Expectation (ruFPOE and reFPOE) — so you know which players are buy-low candidates.
Wide Receivers – Weeks 3 through 6
Raise your hand if you’ve ever felt personally victimized by Sammy Watkins.
If you’ve played fantasy football in the last five years, chances are you or someone in your league has been burned by Watkins before.
And that’s part of the reason Patrick Mahomes’ WR1 will be available at a discount. After Tyreek Hill’s Week 1 injury, Watkins looked poised for a massive game against the Raiders’ sorry defense. He proceeded to drop a 6-49-0 line. To make matters worse, Demarcus Robinson and Mecole Hardman exploded for a combined 233 yards and three touchdowns.
However, the fantasy point totals don’t tell the whole story — Watkins was the Chiefs’ unquestioned WR1 in Week 2. In fact, the 20.5 expected fantasy points he accumulated in Week 2 were more than what he had in Week 1 even though he scored 35.9 more actual fantasy points in Week 1.
Watkins totaled 13 targets (30% share) and 139 air yards (25%) against Oakland. The production wasn’t there, but better days are ahead for the former fourth-overall pick. And with the schedule the Chiefs have coming up, those better days will probably come sooner rather than later.
Over the next four weeks, Kansas City has three positive matchups for wide receivers, with a Week 3 bout against the Ravens being the lone exception. Fortunately for Watkins and company, the Ravens will be without top cornerback Jimmy Smith and just got torched by Kyler Murray (349 passing yards in Week 2). If the Watkins owner in your league is souring on him, now is the time to make your move.
One week after leading the Rams with 13 targets, Woods had only two in Week 2.
That’s just how it goes when you’ve got three dynamic playmakers at wide receiver. The Rams attempted only 28 passes in a 27-9 blowout, and Cooper Kupp and Brandin Cooks both out-targeted Woods. Despite his horrible Week 2, Woods still ranks 24th among wide receivers in expected fantasy points. Los Angeles had the eighth-toughest schedule for wideouts over the first two weeks, but they have much easier matchups over the next month, starting in Week 3 against a Cleveland defense that is firmly in the green.
I would be fine buying any of the Rams’ fantasy-relevant wide receivers, but Woods is the cheapest right now after a disappointing Week 2.
Lost amidst Emmanuel Sanders’ heroic return is the fact that Sutton has taken a leap forward in Year 2. Through two weeks, the former SMU Mustang has 15 targets and 177 air yards. He ranks 26th among wide receivers in expected fantasy points. Sutton had a tough matchup against the Bears’ lockdown defense in Week 2, but it’s smooth sailing from here on in, as the Broncos’ rest-of-season schedule ranks third for wide receivers.
Currently getting fringe WR2 volume – albeit in an anemic offense – Sutton has underrated breakout potential and will be too cheap due to the perception that Sanders is the only Broncos’ wideout worth playing.
Mike Evans’ price has never been lower.
After two weeks, Chris Godwin has 11 catches for 174 yards and a pair of scores. Evans, on the other hand, has six catches, 89 yards, and zero touchdowns.
Despite the lackluster production, Evans still leads the Buccaneers in weighted opportunity rating. Although he only has 13 targets on the season, he is still sporting a healthy 21% target share and a massive 37% air yards share, largely because his average target is coming 18.0 yards down the field. Above all, I’m betting on past production; Evans has five consecutive 1,000-yard seasons, and it doesn’t make sense to panic after two bad games.
Running Backs – Weeks 3 through 6
Fantasy owners who spent a mid-round pick on Sanders are likely getting antsy after the rookie runner underperformed again in Week 2. The Penn State product has only 53 rushing yards and 11 receiving yards through two weeks, much to the chagrin of those who spent a Round 6 pick on him last month.
Sanders was never going to be a Week 1 starter for your fantasy team, but he could emerge à la Nick Chubb in the latter half of the season. Sanders currently ranks 25th among running backs in total expected points, demonstrating that he is already getting the workload necessary to be a spot starter. The only thing holding him back is efficiency; only Joe Mixon has more fantasy points below expectation than Sanders, but impending positive regression will correct that. Some would see his lack of efficiency as worrying, but Sanders was such a strong prospect that it seems like a mirage rather than a sign of things to come. According to the Box Score Scout, Sanders compares favorably to players like Kerryon Johnson, Devonta Freeman, Sony Michel, and Eddie Lacy, all of whom became viable fantasy starters in relatively short order.
In Week 3, Sanders will square off against a Detroit defense that has been lit up by David Johnson and Austin Ekeler in back-to-back weeks. The schedule tightens up after that with matchups against the Jets and Vikings in Weeks 5 and 6, respectively, but his rest-of-season schedule lightens up considerably after that. From Week 7 on, the Eagles have the fifth-easiest schedule for running backs. Sanders has the potential to be a league-winner in the second half of the season, and his early-season volume has only reinforced that belief.
Like Sanders, Hill rose sharply up draft boards as the offseason progressed. Like Sanders, he hasn’t done much through two weeks. Like Sanders (sensing a theme?), he was never going to be a Week 1 starter for your fantasy team.
In Week 1, Hill finished behind both Mark Ingram and Gus Edwards in snap share. He had seven carries, but most of them came in the second half of a blowout win. In Week 2, he was even less involved, getting just one carry and one reception. He will probably be dropped in a lot of leagues this week as owners target players who can produce immediately.
However, we saw a glimpse of Hill’s potential on Sunday when Ingram briefly exited the game with an injury. It was Hill — not Edwards — who came in for the Ravens before Ingram returned to the field. Regardless of Ingram’s health, Hill’s role should expand throughout the season as he gets more acclimated to the Ravens’ offense, allowing him to capitalize on the seventh-easiest rest-of-season schedule for running backs. If anything were to happen to Ingram, Hill would become the RB1 in one of the league’s better offenses. Hill was never supposed to produce immediately, but he could break out in the second half of the season. If he’s even rostered in your league, his price has probably dropped significantly from the Round 10 cost it took to get him even though the situation is playing out as expected.
Thanks for reading the Week 3 edition of the Buy Low Report. Check back at the same time next week for the Week 4 article.