There is a common ailment that plagues fantasy owners every year, every week, every game. It is an affliction that is easily spread, that without the proper treatment can infect even the most determined.
This mental virus is called “recency bias.” It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking whatever happened in the most recent game will carry over to the next.
Let’s go back to Week 1. We can’t say the Dolphins do what is known as “playing” football, so we’ll say: The last time we saw the Dolphins engaged in football-ish activities, they were getting torched by Lamar Jackson for five touchdowns and 324 yards on just 20 pass attempts. Last time we saw the Patriots, Tom Brady was manhandling the Steelers to the tune of three TDs and 341 yards.
So naturally, Brady is going to add another Hall of Fame day to his Hall of Fame résumé by lighting up the Dolphins. That’s obvious, right? Well, the NFL has a way of making what seems obvious at kickoff look ridiculous by the late afternoon. The Madman suspects the Patriots-Dolphins game could take one of those trips from obvious to ridiculous. Follow us here:
Last week, the Ravens were in full-blown ruthless mode — continuing to throw when up huge, running a fake punt with a 35-3 lead, giving South Florida native Jackson the opportunity to have a monster homecoming. The Pats are unlikely to overtly run up the score in the same fashion, particularly against a divisional opponent.
We also know the Pats have struggled at Miami in recent years, having lost five of their past six games there. Thus, once the Pats pull ahead, we think they will sit on the ball and shorten the game, leaving the Dolphins fewer opportunities to miraculously rally. To do that, New England will run the ball.
Which brings us our favorite fantasy player in this game: Sony Michel. Yes, we know, we know. He had just 14 yards on 15 carries last week. In fact, he also had one 5-yard rush, meaning he had just 9 yards on the other 14 carries. Abysmal.
But remember, the obvious is going to become ridiculous, which allows for the ridiculous to because obvious. Lost in Jackson’s blastin’ last week was the fact the Dolphins gave up 265 rushing yards on 46 carries (5.7-yard average) and two TDs on the ground. So it isn’t as if the only way to exploit this defense is through the air.
Michel averaged 4.5 per carry in his rookie season last year. Let’s say he gets 20 carries — he had at least that many in both games versus the Dolphins last season. He needs just 5 yards per carry to hit 100 yards. If Bill Belichick goes to what we call his Jonas Grey Day game plan, figure that number is about 50 percent higher with 30 carries. Throw in a TD or two, and you have a monster fantasy day by Michel.
It must seem ridiculous now, but it will seem obvious come late Sunday afternoon.
Ben Roethlisberger QB, Steelers, vs. Seahawks (FanDuel $7,600/DraftKings $5,800)
Big Ben comes home after an embarrassing opener. His career home/road splits are stark. The Seahawks gave up more than 400 yards passing to Andy Dalton last week, at home.
Baker Mayfield QB, Browns, at Jets (FD $7,500/DK $6,000)
Expecting a bounce-back performance against an unproven Jets secondary under the Monday night lights. Should benefit from Odell Beckham Jr. putting on show in his former home.
Austin Ekeler RB, Chargers, at Lions (FD $7,500/DK $6,100)
We worry how he will hold up long term with 20 touches a game, but while he is healthy, use him in all formats. The Lions yielded a big day to Arizona’s David Johnson last week.
Bennie Fowler WR, Giants, vs. Bills (FD $4,900/DK $3,300)
By process of elimination. Sterling Shepard is out, and some receiver has to get some targets — they won’t all go to Evan Engram and Saquon Barkley.
Aaron Jones RB, Packers, vs. Vikings (FD $6,400/DK $5,400)
Had a rough opener against a stiff Bears defense. Though we still like him long-term, Vikings won’t make it easy this week.
Danny Amendola WR, Lions, vs. Chargers (FD $5,400/DK $3,900)
Had a huge Lions debut last week (7-for-104, and 13 targets, with a touchdown). But this week he draws tough matchup with Chargers slot corner Desmond King II.
Antonio Brown WR, Patriots, at Dolphins (FD $7,800/DK $7,000)
The NFL won’t stand in his way to play this week, but you shouldn’t use him. It will be his first game in a new offense, with limited prep time, and maximum distractions. Maybe next week. We’ll see.
Jamison Crowder WR, Jets, vs. Browns (FD $6,200/DK $4,700)
With Sam Darnold sidelined with mono, we don’t trust Trevor Siemian to pepper Crowder with 17 targets like he got last week.
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