This is a weekly series where I break down the best contrarian plays for the upcoming NFL week. I’m going to be focusing on high upside, low owned plays and pairings that could really pay off big for you in a large tournament. Major outside the box thinking, cheap pricing and upside is the goal…
Last Week: None of our contrarian picks did much of anything last week. It was a complete swing and miss, our first one of the year. We’ll try and rebound with some high-upside picks this week and there’s some matchups I am definitely liking…
Joe Flacco/Kamar Aiken
With Steve Smith banged up Kamar Aiken will once again be the WR1 for the Ravens and in the last two games as the #1 he’s averaged 8 targets. While he’s yet to produce a big game for fantasy this could be the week it finally happens. The 49ers are brutal in the secondary right now and just let Eli Manning shred them in week 5. The Ravens might actually be without their top two RBs in this game too meaning Joe Flacco, who already has multiple 300+ passing games on the year, could be throwing early and often. We saw last week how much fantasy goodness can come out of a game between two bad defenses and this game has many similar trademarks to the Bucs-Jags game from week 5. The Ravens haven’t been able to stop anyone on defense either and it’s quite possible Flacco/Aiken will be tasked with more late game heroics as a result. This is a very cheap stack with good potential that no one is really discussing, one of my favorites this weekend
Marcus Mariota/Kendall Wright
The Titans face off against the helpless Dolphins week 6, a team who just let Ryan Fitz-magic and the Jets accumulate over 400 yards on offense. Marcus Mariota struggled against the Bills tough D in week 5 but should find the going much easier against the Fins D. I loved the way Mariota finally starting using his feet last week and am hoping the Titans continue allowing him to run more in week 6. Meanwhile Kendall Wright has been one of Mariota’s favorite targets so far this year and should find the going much easier this week as well as Miami has been giving up a lot of yardage to the WR position. Wright spoke out about needing more targets after last week’s loss and I’m guessing he might see more in a potential high scoring game between two desperate teams. This duo has legitimate highest scoring stack of the week potential.
Teddy Bridgewater/Mike Wallace
If ever there is going to be a big game from the duo of Wallace/Bridgewater I feel like this is the week it has to occur. The Chiefs have been pummeled through the air so far in 2015 but have a pretty decent run defense. Mike Wallace has looked like a true number 1 WR working with the insanely accurate Bridgewater and his quickness should give all sorts of problems to the KC secondary. While the Vikings are near the bottom of the league in attempted passes they could flip the script in this game and choose to attack more through the air. KC’s offense is still pretty decent and there’s also the possibility this becomes a bit of a back and forth, last possession wins type of game. Easily my riskiest recommendation for tournaments stacks but there’s more upside than usual with this pairing week 6.
I’ve already discussed the possible fantasy goodness that may come out of the Ravens/49er game and the other player I’m interested in from that matchup is Carlos Hyde. Hyde’s been running it extremely well all season and is one of the few backs in the league who legitimately sees work on all three downs. Reggie Bush still isn’t healthy meaning Hyde is locked for at least 75% of the snaps regardless of game flow. The Ravens have been just as bad as the 49ers this year and I think that means that SF will be able to keep it close and run Hyde more. Hyde got going last week against the Giants and had a nice game, and this week, at home, against a weak opponent, I think an even bigger game awaits him.
Jones has had a few decent games thus far in 2015 and I think this matchup sets up very nicely for him to have another. The Bills have been good at shutting down teams #1 WR but have let some teams secondary wide-outs get free for decent games. Jones looked great after the catch last week and I could see him exploiting the Bills secondary who will likely have their best CB Stephon Gilmore on AJ Green. I think this is a good spot to deploy Jones especially considering that most teams have found running against the Bills impossible.
Rookie Nelson Agholor looks almost certain to miss week 5 and that means more opportunity for Huff. The Eagles passing attack has looked pretty decent the past couple weeks and will be getting a banged up Giants secondary who has been letting other teams pile up yardage against them. Huff’s a great runner after the catch and with the short passing attack used by the Eagles he could see his second big game in a row this week. I love this spot for the entire Eagles offense on MNF but really like Huff’s chances to be a big min-priced sleeper.
While many people might be chasing the points from last week with Blake Bortles my recommendation is that you take a look at the bigger picture before doing so. Last week was only the second time Bortles has thrown for over 300 yards or more than 2 TDs in his career. While Houston has been an utter disappointment to start 2015 this is an incredibly weak and injured Jacksonville team who might get run over by a healthy Texans squad. I could see Arian Foster and the Texans jumping out early in this game and forcing Bortles to pass lots again with the result being a pick 6, or a JJ Watt fumble/TD. Houston’s not to be fully trusted but there’s great tournament upside and potential at defense whenever a team plays the Jags.