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 6 through 9
If you spent a first-round pick on Hopkins this year, chances are you’ve been disappointed with his production. In Week 1, he exploded for eight receptions, 111 yards, and a pair of touchdowns, but he hasn’t topped the century mark or found the end zone since then. It was even more painful watching Will Fuller top 200 yards and score three TDs last week as the Texans trounced the Falcons in a 53-32 win. Even though the Texans scored 53 points, their star WR1 failed to hit pay dirt.
However, Hopkins is still getting star WR1 volume, so there is no reason to panic. Through five weeks, Hopkins ranks seventh at the position in targets, ninth in air yards, and eighth in weighted opportunity rating. With matchups against the Chiefs and Raiders coming up over the next three weeks, there is a strong chance Hopkins reverses the trend and gets back on track. He’s still DeAndre Hopkins, so he won’t be cheap, but he’s worth buying now while his cost is at a relative minimum.
Odell Beckham, Jr.
Beckham has been an obvious disappointment this year, but he’s still on pace for 138 targets and ranks ninth among wide receivers in WOPR. Like Hopkins, now is a good time to trade for the proven stud while his value is at a relative low. The Browns’ schedule is brutal over the next month, but Beckham has been as close to matchup-proof as you can get over the last few years.
After missing Week 4 with a back injury, Williams saw 13 targets and 155 air yards for a massive 0.92 WOPR in Week 5. His 22.8 expected fantasy points ranked second at the position, but he was only able to muster 13.4 actual fantasy points. The Chargers lack depth behind Williams and Keenan Allen, so the former Clemson Tiger should continue to be heavily involved in one of the better passing offenses in the league.
The Chargers’ schedule isn’t easy over the next month, but they should force feed targets to their top two receivers given their lack of depth, especially as long as Hunter Henry is out. Williams is a big play machine and a buy-low candidate after severely underperforming his volume in Week 5.
Outside of a 15-13-164-0 line in Week 4, Woods’ fantasy production has been underwhelming for fantasy gamers who spent a fourth-rounder on him. However, the veteran is still on pace for nearly 100 catches and over 1,100 yards; he just hasn’t found the end zone yet. Woods ranks seventh among wide receivers in expected fantasy points but is only 22nd in total PPR fantasy points. The Rams have one of the easier schedules for wideouts over the next month, and Woods should be able to capitalize considering the volume he has been getting lately. He’s on pace for 150 targets and similar fantasy production to last year in every area except touchdowns. Buy him before regression hits.
With Davante Adams nursing a toe injury last week, Valdes-Scantling was in a perfect position to break out.
Instead, he had one catch on four targets for 18 yards. The Packers had 34 points, but Aaron Rodgers’ WR1 had just 2.8 fantasy points. Four targets marked a new season-low for Valdes-Scantling. However, the 106 air yards he accumulated show that his targets were high-value opportunities that he simply failed to convert.
Adams’ status for Week 6 is up in the air, but Valdes-Scantling is a buy candidate regardless of his availability. After opening the season with a below-average schedule for wide receivers, Green Bay has the fourth-easiest over the next month, including two prime matchups in Weeks 7 and 8.
The second-year man out of South Florida is quietly on a 102-target pace, and his targets are worth more than average given his average depth of target (14.1 yards) and the quality of the quarterback throwing him the ball.
Running Backs – Weeks 6 through 9
Gordon’s much-anticipated return to the gridiron didn’t go as well as many fantasy owners were hoping, as the star running back was only able to tally 38 total yards despite seeing 16 touches. Despite the lack of production, his usage — especially in the passing game — demonstrates the upside he has moving forward. Austin Ekeler stole the show with 15 receptions, but Gordon still saw six targets, indicating that the Chargers still plan to use him in all facets of the game even though Ekeler flashed his receiving prowess during Gordon’s holdout. The schedule isn’t getting any easier — in fact, Los Angeles has the most-difficult schedule for running backs over the next month — but it could be your last chance to get a bona fide RB1 at a discount if the Gordon owner in your league is concerned about the Gordon-Ekeler split. The truth is, both of them can be fantasy-viable, especially considering how involved they both were in the passing game on Sunday.
Bottom line: Gordon finished 12th among running backs in expected fantasy points last week but ranked 40th in actual fantasy points. He had the most fantasy points below expectation of any running back in the league in Week 5. He’s a buy despite the brutal upcoming schedule.
After five weeks, Thompson ranks 16th among running backs in expected fantasy points and 37th in actual fantasy points. It shouldn’t be a surprise that he is scoring fewer fantasy points than expected — Washington’s offense is so bad that Thompson probably won’t score as many touchdowns as his volume would imply — but the magnitude of that discrepancy is noteworthy. Thompson’s 35 targets rank third among the position, and the fact that he’s getting such high-value opportunities — running back targets are worth 2.74 times as much as carries — means you shouldn’t worry about him having only 55 touches through five weeks. Washington has a slightly above-average schedule for running backs over the next month, but the best matchup for Thompson is one in which Washington is facing a negative game script. Washington is actually favored in Week 6 against the Dolphins, but they should be underdogs in the majority of their games after that, giving Thompson the opportunity to gobble up targets.
Thanks for reading the Week 6 edition of the Buy Low Report. Check back next week for the Week 7 article.