Sports

Fantasy football: Dealing with feast-or-famine receivers

There are few things more exciting that a feast. So much to eat and gorge upon, you leave feeling satisfied, if not guilty for your gluttony.

Yet, few things are as miserable a famine. You’re starved for sustenance, you’ll gobble up any crumbs you can find.

The same holds true for certain players in fantasy football. One week, you sit back and relax, having nourished you hunger for fantasy points. Yet the next you might resort to cheering every minimal catch while desperately pleading for more targets or touches.

Few embody this fantasy phenomenon as much as wide receivers. One week, they have the quarterback’s eye, the next they could be the odd man out. And it even happens with some really good players.

Take Tyler Lockett. He is a go-to name when listing feast-or-famine fantasy options.

Over the course of his seven-year career, spanning 96 games, he has had 11 100-yard receiving games, one of which came last week. In the 10 previous times that happened, just once did he managed to top 100 yards in his next game. In his 10 earlier blockbuster games, he had 12 touchdowns. In the 10 games that followed, just four.

So he gains 100-plus yards about 10.4 percent of the time, and a large portion of his 39 career TDs (31 percent) have come in those 10 games. That leaves 89.6 percent of his games as just ho-hum, or worse. If you combined with his trend rates following big games, there is a 1 percent chance of a big game to follow — which jibes, since back-to-back explosive outings have happened just once in 96 games.

Tyler Lockett #16 of the Seattle Seahawks catches a pass
After a big Week 1, Tyler Lockett may be in for a fantasy football letdown.
Getty Images

Of course, Lockett has a juicy matchup this week against a weak Titans defense. Sitting him will be a tough decision (it all depends on your other options), but knowing his past, we fear it will be a DK Metcalf day instead of another Lockett show.

But is Lockett the most feast-or-famine of all the feast-or-famines who have ever feasted-or-famined?

Not necessarily. Meet Amari Cooper. In his seven seasons, he has played 94 games. He has 21 100-yard games (22.3 percent) and 59 career TDs. Of those 59 career scores, 21 have come in those 20 big games (35.6 percent).

And in his games that followed his previous top 20? He has topped 100 yards just twice, and has just two TDs in those 20 games, and zero 100-yard-plus-TD games. In his previous 20 peak games, he averaged 27.7 PPR points. In the 20 games that followed, he averaged 10.9.

Amari Cooper #19 of the Dallas Cowboys catches a touchdown pass
Drafted Amari Cooper? You may want to look into other options for Week 2.
Getty Images

His matchup is a little more precarious than Lockett’s — Dallas faces the Chargers.

So what to do with these see-saw fantasy assets? Well, if the decision involves sitting the likes of Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods, Chris Godwin, Mike Evans or someone of that level, we’re benching Cooper and Lockett. But if you option is someone like a Steelers receiver, Jarvis Landry, Julio Jones or worse, no thanks. The temptation of another feast is just too strong.


Big weeks

Jameis Winston QB, Saints, at Panthers (FanDuel $7,700/DraftKings $6,100)

We’re going to keep going to this well until he proves us wrong. Rookie Zach Wilson had an effective second half vs. the Cats last week. We think Winston can have two.

Leonard Fournette RB, Buccaneers, vs. Falcons (FD $5,900/DK $5,100)

Atlanta showed no fight last week against a lesser Eagles team. If the Bucs get ahead, the Falcons’ defense could be in for a heavy pounding by Fournette.

Damien Harris RB, Patriots, at Jets (FD $6,200/DK $5,400)

After a game-changing fumble late last week, Harris will be determined to make sure he doesn’t fall into Bill Belichick’s doghouse. Got a huge share of the rushing volume in Week 1.

Kenyan Drake RB, Raiders, at Steelers (FD $5,500/DK $4,900)

With Josh Jacobs ruled out, the door opens for a heavy does of Drake. He is useful in the passing game as well. We’d be surprised if Peyton Barber is anything other than a short-yardage/relief option.

Small weaks

Tua Tagovailoa QB, Dolphins, vs. Bills (FD $6,600/DK $5,500)

Has yet to have a game with more than two passing TDs and has just one with three total. The Bills held Ben Roethlisberger and a better group of WRs in check last week.

D’Andre Swift RB, Lions, at Packers (FD $6,700/DK $7,100)

Very concerned over how the carries were split in this backfield last week. Expecting similar game script, in which Detroit falls far behind.

Julio Jones WR, Titans, at Seahawks (FD $6,300/DK $6,300)

We’re in wait-and-see mode with Julio. We need to see him play a good game, or at least hint that one is on the horizon, before we award him with a spot in our starting lineup.

Rob Gronkowski TE, Buccaneers, vs. Falcons (FD $5,800/DK $4,700)

Coming off an eight-target game, consider: He got eight targets just twice all of last season. If the Bucs get ahead of Atlanta, the way the Eagles did last week, offense will likely shift more toward the run.

Fantasy Insanity Daily Duel

Site: DraftKings

Slate: Sun. main (13 games)

Type: $12 tourney

Top prize: $30K

Pot: $300K

Drew’s Crew

QB: Russell Wilson (Sea, vs. Ten) $7,500

RB: Elijah Mitchell (SF, at Phi) $5,000

RB: Ezekiel Elliott (Dal, at LAC) $6,200

WR: DK Metcalf (Sea, vs. Ten.) $6,900

WR: Marquez Calloway (NO, at Car) $4,200

WR: A.J. Brown (Ten, at Sea) $6,900

TE: Dallas Goedert (Phi, vs. SF) $4,600

Flex: Kenyan Drake (LV, at Pit) $4,900

DST: Cardinals (Ari, vs. Min) $2,900

Wilk’s Warriors

QB: Tom Brady (TB, vs. Atl) $6,900

RB: Chris Carson (Sea, vs. Ten) $6,100

RB: Austin Ekeler (LAC, vs. Dal) $7,300

WR: Brandin Cooks (Hou, at Cle) $5,900

WR: DeVonta Smith (Phi, vs. SF) $5,400

WR: Robert Woods (LAR, at Ind) $5,700

TE: Blake Jarwin (Dal, at LAC) $3,100

Flex: Chris Godwin (TB, vs. Atl) $6,600

DST: Colts (Ind, vs. LAR) $2,500

Season risked: $3

Season winnings: Drew $5, Jarad $0

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