It is time to meet Karlos Williams.
Yeah; he should probably be the first name clicked into your FanDuel lineup this week. More on that later.
This week is a prime example of how it pays to be “fluid” in fantasy football. Who would’ve guessed that Karlos Williams and Latavius Murray would headline this FanDuel Must Plays column within the first month of the season?
Circumstances are constantly changing, and your player evaluations/expectations need to adapt as we gain more information throughout the season.
Like anything in life, finding a happy medium within that is optimal. That is, where we aren’t necessarily overreacting to one week, but seeing the overall bigger picture and what it means moving forward. For example, Matt Forte had 8 fantasy points last week, but he was actually pretty efficient when carrying the ball. That efficiency should translate to fantasy production in a much friendlier matchup vs Oakland at home this Sunday. More on him later as well.
Before I talk about every featured player in the introduction, I suppose we should dive right into this week’s FanDuel Must Plays, starting with our “Platinum” lineup fixtures.
PLATINUM: Build your lineup around these guys
Karlos Williams – RB – BUF (FanDuel Price: $6,300)
Buffalo running back LeSean McCoy is not expected to play in this Sunday’s game. That gives a significant boost in volume to Karlos Williams, who will have little competition for carries with McCoy out of the picture. Williams has been putting up some respectable fantasy scores even with McCoy sharing touches, mostly serving as Buffalo’s goal-line back. This week, he’ll become an every-down back, which should spike his fantasy production and create a nice (albeit popular) value play on FanDuel.
Latavius Murray – RB – OAK (FanDuel Price: $7,500)
He has been known as “the other Murray” for years now, but Latavius has finally usurped DeMarco as the Murray you want in your fantasy lineup. He is seeing a ton of volume, averaging 21 touches and 4.77 yards per carry through the first three games, creating a safe fantasy floor for FanDuel enthusiasts to take advantage of. The matchup against Chicago serves as the proverbial icing on the cake, as the Bears are giving up an average of 110 yards, 1 TD to opposing RBs this season. Some people may shy away from Murray’s ascending price point due to a lack of name recognition. Don’t be one of those people: Murray is a legitimate RB1 this week.
GOLD: Next wave to consider, in terms of priority
Greg Olsen – TE – CAR (FanDuel Price: $6,300)
Without Rob Gronkowski to consider in the player pool (Patriots are on a bye), Olsen looks like an easy pick at TE. His price has increased $400, but he’s still much cheaper than he probably should be, given a whopping 25 targets, 14 receptions, 204 yards, and 2 TD’s over the past two weeks. Olsen looks every part of Cam Newton’s #1 receiving option, and I’m expecting that to continue against an unimposing Tampa defense. They make for a fine pairing yet again this week.
Cam Newton – QB – CAR (FanDuel Price: $8,300)
You can do several different things at QB this week, and I believe a strong argument can be created for each pick. Aaron Rodgers is a top shelf, expensive play … Cam Newton is more mid-range … and Tyrod Taylor is the pseudo-value pick of the bunch. I’m leaning towards Newton at the moment, but it really comes down to lineup configuration, seeing how much cap space you have available for your QB. Even though this Carolina-Tampa Bay game is expected to be low scoring, I believe Newton can find fantasy points within that. So much of the Panthers offense is concentrated through him (passing, rushing, goal-line carries), so the game doesn’t necessarily have to be high-scoring for him to hit value. The appeal of another 10 or so points through the rushing game alone (40 yards, TD) is hard to pass up.
SILVER: Good options that narrowly rank ahead of similar players
Randall Cobb – WR – GB (FanDuel Price: $8,200)
Cobb was mentioned in this post last week, and he paid off with 32 fantasy points in a Monday Night showdown vs Kansas City. Now, he’ll have a similarly good matchup against a 49ers secondary that has gotten torched by Pittsburgh and Arizona in back-to-back weeks. Rodgers and Cobb could have another field day, and they both make strong plays on FanDuel this week … Oh, and Cobb’s price actually dropped $200 since last week’s breakout game.
Matt Forte – RB – CHI (FanDuel Price: $8,300)
I already mentioned Latavius Murray and Karlos Williams to spearhead your FanDuel lineups, but let me throw Forte in as one more RB recommendation. Simply put, he’s all the Bears have right now, as Jay Cutler remains sidelined and Alshon Jeffrey may be limited/slowed by an injury. The matchup against Oakland is a good one, as the Raiders ranked dead last in fantasy points allowed to opposing RBs last season. Forte actually had a respectable showing with the deck stacked against him at Seattle last week, and I’m expecting him to reach the end-zone while piling up yardage between the 20’s as well.
BRONZE: Not 100% necessities, but they mix well into a quality lineup
James Jones – WR – GB (FanDuel Price: $6,000)
Jones has clearly established himself as Green Bay’s #2 wide receiver, which is good news considering Aaron Rodgers is throwing touchdown passes at will. We’ll need to double-check the status of fellow WR Davante Adams, but Friday morning’s reports suggest he is more doubtful than questionable. Jones clearly saw more volume with Adams out of the picture last week (7-139-1), and that could continue against a struggling, porous 49ers secondary.
Percy Harvin – WR – BUF (FanDuel Price: $5,800)
I’m having a difficult time deciding between Harvin and Jones for a similar salary. Ultimately, I believe Jones has more upside, especially if Davante Adams is ruled out. That’s not to say Harvin can’t boast a solid fantasy total either, and they could possibly be used on the same tournament lineup for value, spending up at other positions. Buffalo #1 WR Sammy Watkins looks unlikely to play on Sunday, which means more snaps, targets, and subsequent fantasy points for Harvin.
PARTICIPATION RIBBONS: Fell just short of a featured spot
Aaron Rodgers – QB – GB
A.J. Green – WR – CIN
Amari Cooper – WR – OAK
Frank Gore – RB – IND