The Fantasy Hipsters are back for the 2017 season with their weekly guide to how to approach fantasy football a little bit off the beaten path. In this space, Matt Harmon and Matt Franciscovich (Franchise) will give you a mix players to add, overlooked weekly plays and in-depth stats all layered with the type of unique, off-the-mainstream tone you can only expect from these two well-groomed hipsters. Since the communal approach to creating a living space is the only way to exist in harmony, the duo will split the work. Here's this week's division of labor.
Most ironic stats
Communal living space:
Pour over your lineup
Sustainability is all about preparing for the future. From discovering and developing new sources of energy like wind and solar to crop rotation and water conservation, we all have to do our part to mitigate our impact on the environment. A small investment now goes a long way down the road. And when it comes to fantasy football, a major key to building sustainable depth from waiver wire adds means finding players that you can rely on for the long term without wasting resources. So in this section, the Fantasy Hipsters will get ahead of the curve and offer up one player to add for depth who should pay off dividends in the future. Hey man, turn that light off in the other room. It's not hard, okay?
When you're checking the waiver wire this weekend, before games kick off, make sure to add this rookie running back that nobody has ever heard of except me. I bet you didn't even know that D'Onta Foreman outscored Lamar Miller in PPR scoring last week. That's what happens when you don't pay attention, you miss important stuff like this. Good thing you're a Fantasy Hipsters follower, seriously where would you be without us? Probably caring so hard while you sort by "most added players" and picking up the top guy. Don't be doing that.
Foreman was a workhorse during his higher education days at the University of Texas. He's a big, powerful running back with shocking quickness and great agility. The Texans know he's special. In fact, he's recorded double-digit touches in each of his last two games working behind Lamar Miller, who was so 2015, honestly. Foreman has also recorded four red zone rush attempts this season, compared to Miller's one. It seems like he's got a good relationship with fellow rookie and franchise quarterback Deshaun Watson, too, which always helps.
It's only a matter of time until Foreman usurps Miller as the go-to back in Houston, so go pick him up now, before the masses attempt to move on him in the eleventh hour. You'll be looking like the keenest fantasy manager your pals have seen in centuries. Just make sure to pretend not to care.
Some things get better with time. Like a full-flavored cask of aged bourbon or that one pair of skinny jeans you've worn in so much that they feel like sweatpants (let's be honest, I have, like, eight pairs of those). Same goes for fantasy football players. Did you draft Hunter Henry thinking the shiny new young tight end would be the next big thing? Get in line with the rest of the herd. While you and the rest of the mainstream horde are all about the up-and-coming young talent in the NFL, us Fantasy Hipsters are sticking with experience over youth. Each week in this space, we'll deliver one Vintage Veteran player of the week that you can rely on to produce for your fantasy team. Now where did I put my great-grandpa's brogues?
Whatever. Denver is like, way cooler than either Oakland or Vegas, honestly. Some of the least mainstream artisanal markets on the planet are in Denver. Plus, not sure if you've heard this before, but the city is a mile above sea level, so the air is like, way more rare.
Thomas already leads Denver with 236 receiving yards this year. And while it seems like quarterback Trevor Siemian prefers Emmanuel Sanders, the market share remains a basically evenly split between these two receivers. Even in a bad matchup last week against Buffalo, Thomas posted 98 yards. In PPR leagues, Thomas is as safe as they come in terms of a floor play. You can lock him in for at least six grabs a game, and since he hasn't found the end zone yet, that can only mean one thing. He's DUE, because analytics, man.
You always want to roll with a guy who's on the field a ton too. And Thomas is averaging well over 80 percent of the Broncos snaps through three games. Man, can you imagine if the local craft brewery came out with a quadruple IPA that was like, 80 percent ABV? I'd be refilling my growler on a weekly basis. And that's exactly how you should treat Thomas, he's a weekly starter with tremendous upside at home on Sunday.
When we're building lineups for the week, we're always looking for a bargain. The thing is, those of us who don't want to live cookie-cutter lives aren't chasing for some boring old fill-in; we're still after something fresh. Just like a good barrel-aged craft beer that's off the beaten path away from dull domestic brews, we want a different kind of bargain brought on by a unique spin on an outcome of a game that the public just hasn't considered yet.
Sometimes being a hipster doesn't make much sense. Frankly, I wonder what I'm doing sometimes. Am I contrarian just for contrarianism's sake? Should I be ashamed of listening to that mainstream The Chainsmokers song with Coldplay? I like it. Do I have to immediately disavow something just because everyone else likes it? You have to wonder if there's a point to any of this.
Oh, you weren't here for a round of my own existential questions, just looking for a fantasy take, right? Well, fine.
Back in the early goings of the offseason, when those of us who just can't stop scratching the fantasy itch are doing early drafts, Jamison Crowder was a great hipster pick as a sleeper. He's a former fifth-round selection who looked good in his first two seasons with 59 and 67 catches. Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson were out the door and Crowder looked set to take a big step forward as one of the team's few established returning receivers operating out of the slot.
As per usual, the masses caught on. By the time we got to August drafts Crowder was a sixth-round pick in most drafts. Everyone wanted a piece. Seriously, there were some weeks where Jamison Crowder propaganda just filled washed over the Twitter timeline hour-by-hour. I mean, Marcas Grant even told us not to fear reaching for Crowder. Ever heard of him? He's on HD color television pretty much all the time, even your lame dad has one of those and has seen Marcas on there.
In a flash, Jamison Crowder went from a flea market treasured gem to the featured rack at a department store. Maybe we shouldn't be surprised at his slow start, with that in mind. Crowder doesn't have more than seven targets in a game yet and has just 113 yards through three weeks. Everyone out there is pretty upset they sunk a big investment into Crowder.
Fear not, my fellow travelers; the journey was worth it because now we're going to get back in on Jamison Crowder at a discount once again. The Chiefs provide a sneakily good matchup for Crowder to finally get rolling here in 2017. Thus far, Kansas City has allowed 271 yards to slot receivers this year, the third-most in the NFL. They made sure to also let them tack on two touchdowns, as well, for good measure. With Marcus Peters taking over 92 percent of his snaps at left corner, players on the inside and at left wide receiver are free to roam. If the Chiefs put heat on Kirk Cousins he could look to Crowder as a short-area dump off option.
I realize Crowder has hurt your feelings so far after you thought he'd be that breakout star but don't think with your feelings in fantasy football. Not only does it seem weird to get your feelings hurt over a game about a game, feelings always just lead to trouble no matter what. Oh no, I feel myself trending into that existential zone again. That'll be enough for this piece.
Most Ironic Stats of Week 4
-- Kareem Hunt leads the NFL with 345 yards in total gained after a defender closes within one yard of him. Second-best is Zeke with 244, per Next Gen Stats. Is there a more elusive player in the NFL right now than Hunt? If I was drafting No. 1 overall for 2017 today knowing what we know now, I'd easily take Hunt. Accept the new reality; he's the best player in fantasy football.
-- The Patriots have allowed an NFL-high 318 yards to slot receivers this season. New England's defense is legitimately not good. Too bad I'm not confident that the Panthers can take advantage of that (sidebar: I miss the old healthy Cam Newton as much as I miss the sound from the first two Mumford and Sons albums). If they can, Russell Shepard might make for the deepest of deep sleepers. He isn't on the field a ton for Carolina but lines up in the slot on 78 percent of his plays.
-- Jared Goff's 118.2 passer rating through the first three games is the second-highest mark by any Rams quarterback at this point in the Super Bowl era. I wish I could say I told you so on Jared Goff but I was all the way out on him coming into the season.
-- The Steelers are on pace for their worst total offense of the Ben Roethlisberger era (302.3 total yards per game). Everyone wants to tell me Eli Manning and Carson Palmer are nearing the edge of their career cliffs. So, why aren't we talking about Roethlisberger in the same vein? This offense is the most disappointing unit through the first three weeks and it starts under center, if you ask me.
-- Josh Gordon hasn't played in a regular-season NFL game since December 21st, 2014. My dog had barely just turned one year's old by that point. So please stop sending us questions about him on Twitter until, you know, something actually changes with his current not allowed status from the National Football League.
Pour over your lineup
Harmon: Harsh start, but yes, he obviously gets it. Still, I'm not starting either of those guys over Dalvin Cook, for sure, but Hyde is a different question. So I'll pose it to you: Hyde, Carson or Chris Thompson at RB2? Personally, I'd probably just go C.J. Anderson in a sweet bounce-back spot vs. Oakland.
Franchise: Man, I feel like I have to stick with the brand here. I wrote Carson up as our Sustainable Pickup before Week 1, and it's a prime spot for him against Indy. It's a tough call, but I'm leaning toward sustainability with Carson here.
Harmon: I can get on board with that. Look, Carson is a heavy home favorite so he fits with my life mantra and well-meditated philosophy.
Looking at the rest of his crew, I think he has the right setup at receiver, but I'd be searching for a new option at tight end. Hunter Henry? Hard pass. I'll give you an underground pick of Austin Seferian-Jenkins, who is probably on your waiver-wire. He had six targets last week, his first with the Jets.
With his depth at wideout, he also asked for a sell high. I usually like to sell my stuff at second-hand or thrift shops but I think he could get some bang for his Brandin Cooks buck after a big game. What say you, wide receiver prognosticator?
Harmon: I'm down with that. Cooks is always going to be wildly unpredictable and he already has a "boom player" in Tyreek Hill. And we can actually count on Hill to lead his team in targets more weeks than not.
Franchise: Definitely. Bro, at the end of the day, this guy's roster is pretty stacked. As long as he shores up his TE spot, I don't think he'll be needing anymore apathetic advice from us. By the way, I have to run to this bicycle sale in my hood. Cars are so 20th century. Good luck this week, my dude.
Harmon: Killer sale, just like this guy's lineup. I might make my way over there after posting this. Alright, hipsters out?
Franchise: Hipsters out.