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.
Welcome back to the Buy Low Report. As usual, we will combine insight from the SoS Streaming App and the RotoViz Screener to identify players who are buy-low candidates. The SoS Streaming App reveals matchup data for each fantasy position. The Screener reports expected fantasy points (EP) — which measures the value of a player’s opportunities — and fantasy points over expectation (FPOE) — which measures a player’s efficiency.
Wide Receivers – Weeks 5 through 8
After lighting the world on fire in the first two weeks of the season, Hollywood Brown returned to Earth in Weeks 3 and 4 with back-to-back disappointing performances. However, his volume hasn’t dropped off at all; over the last two weeks, Hollywood has 16 targets and 258 air yards, but he’s only been able to turn that into six catches for 71 yards. The Oklahoma speedster has seen his snaps rise each week of the season thus far — topping out at 81% in Week 4 — and his subpar efficiency over the last few weeks presents a clear buying opportunity.
The Ravens have a slightly-above-average schedule for wideouts over the next month — starting with a Pittsburgh defense that has been lit up in three of four weeks. Brown should return to fantasy relevancy sooner rather than later.
Will Fuller and DeAndre Hopkins
Over the first four weeks of the season, the Houston Texans had the fourth-hardest schedule for wide receivers. Over the next month, they have the 10th-easiest. The tough schedule has clearly impacted both Fuller and Hopkins so far, as the former is scoring 3.1 fantasy points below expectation on the season and the latter has underperformed in three consecutive weeks after opening the season with an 8-111-2 line.
Fuller was inches away from a 75-yard touchdown last Sunday, but a slight overthrow by Deshaun Watson kept his value down for at least one more week. The long touchdowns will come for the Notre Dame product; over the last two seasons, he has six touchdowns of 20 yards or more. There’s no reason to panic after four weeks, especially now that it looks like Kenny Stills will miss some time with a hamstring injury. With Fuller, it’s a question of when — not if — he’ll break a long touchdown. His average target comes 17.3 yards down the field and he’s had some close misses over the last few weeks, so I’m betting on him hooking up with Watson for a house call sooner rather than later.
At this point, Hopkins’ track record speaks for itself. He’s still been getting solid — although not Nuk-like — volume recently, but mainly you’re buying his history of elite WR1 production. With the schedule lightening up, there is no reason to think Hopkins won’t return to the WR1 overall contender he has been over the last few years, and his price will never be lower.
Odell Beckham, Jr.
Like Hopkins, Beckham has a proven track record of elite WR1 production but has underperformed over the last couple of weeks. He only has one vintage OBJ performance through a month of the season — Week 2 against the Jets when he snagged six balls for 161 yards and a score — but the volume has been there. After four weeks, Beckham ranks 12th among wide receivers in expected fantasy points and seventh at the position in weighted opportunity rating (WOPR). The Browns had a below-average schedule for wide receivers to open the season, but they now get two solid matchups against the 49ers and Seahawks before their bye in Week 7. Buy the volume and the history with Beckham before the production catches up.
The argument for buying Robby Anderson goes all the way back to last season. Over the final six weeks of 2018, Anderson ranked 11th among wideouts in target share, seventh in air yards share, 10th in WOPR, and 13th in fantasy points. He was largely considered a disappointment until he strung those games together at the end of the year.
What happened to cause such a large resurgence?
Well, it just so happened that Anderson’s turnaround coincided with Sam Darnold’s return from injury. Darnold has missed most of this season with mononucleosis, but he appears set to return in either Week 5 or Week 6 — great news for all Jets, but Anderson might be the one who benefits the most. In Week 1, Anderson logged only three catches for 23 yards, but he totaled seven targets and 121 air yards. Jamison Crowder stole the show with 17 targets, but Anderson quietly had rock-solid WR2 volume, and his value will be lower than Crowder’s because he didn’t have massive fantasy production in Week 1. The Jets have a difficult schedule for wide receivers over the next four weeks – including matchups against the Patriots and Jaguars – but Anderson’s value is too low to ignore right now. Despite the rough matchups, he’s a buy in anticipation of Darnold’s return.
Running Backs – Weeks 5 through 8
Don’t look now, but David Montgomery is finally getting the volume his fantasy owners expected him to get at the start of the year. After playing fewer than 50% of snaps in Weeks 1 and 2, he has played at least 67% of snaps in each of the last two games. He had 24 touches (including five targets) in the Bears’ Week 4 win over the Vikings, dominating Mike Davis (one carry) in opportunity share. The efficiency isn’t there yet — Montgomery is averaging only 3.4 yards per carry and 5.1 yards per target and has only one touchdown on the season — but the fact that the Bears are now treating him like a workhorse is encouraging. This shift in usage is coming at exactly the right time, as the Bears have the sixth-easiest schedule for running backs over the next month. He stumbled out of the gates, but it looks like the rookie out of Iowa State could still become the high-end RB2 fantasy owners drafted him to be.
Rolls Royce was on this list last week, and I’m going back to the well and recommending him again after a subpar Week 4 performance. Freeman only had six carries, but he also had four catches on six targets, giving him 18 targets over the last three weeks. That type of usage as a receiver is intriguing, and the 0-4 Broncos are likely to have to throw the ball a lot moving forward due to game script. The second-year pro out of Oregon still has yet to find the end zone, in part because the Broncos had the third-hardest schedule for running backs over the first four weeks of the year. From Weeks 5-8, their schedule ranks in the top half of the league, making Freeman (and, to a lesser extent, his backfield mate Phillip Lindsay) a prime buy candidate.
Thanks for reading the Week 5 Buy Low Report. Check back next week for the Week 6 edition.