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Extracting Fantasy Value from Winless Teams


It's typically a good rule of thumb to invest in good offenses when playing fantasy football. After all, good offenses score points and points are kind of what makes this whole fantasy football train roll down the tracks. But that doesn't mean all bad offenses deserve to be quarantined from fantasy owners' rosters.

Let's take a look at the four worst teams in the NFL right now, at least according to their win-loss records, to uncover some options worth playing.

The following teams have yet to put up a single win but still have some very valuable fantasy assets.

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New York Jets

QB Sam Darnold

The sophomore quarterback will finally return to action after battling through "the kissing disease" for the last few weeks. That's great news for the Jets skill position players, but it's also great news for any fantasy owners in need of some help at the quarterback position.

It's easy to overlook Darnold's rookie season because he got off to a rough start, missed a handful of games, and thus finished the season with some unimpressive stats. But during the last four weeks of the season, after returning from a foot injury that kept him sidelined for three games, Darnold was the QB13. He also broke a couple of franchise records when all was said and done, including the highest single-season completion percentage by a rookie and highest rookie quarterback rating.

Darnold has the sixth-easiest strength of schedule for the rest of the season. He's only owned in 15% of Yahoo leagues, so go get him now.

Recommendation: Pickup

WR Robby Anderson

If the Anderson owner in your league has become impatient waiting for the fourth-year wideout's breakout game, send out a low-ball offer. If you're one of the lucky 40% that has him available in your league, go pick him up right this instant.

Anderson was playing through a calf injury in Week 1, and was thrust onto the QB carousel the following week, playing with a combination of Trevor Siemian and Luke Falk. The Jets will get Sam Darnold back from his mono-related slumber this week which bodes extremely well for Anderson, who historically plays significantly better with Darnold under center.

In the games he played with Darnold last season, Anderson was on pace for 109 targets, 58 receptions, 881 yards, and seven touchdowns. And that was with Darnold making a lot of typical rookie mistakes. Those projected stat lines should only improve after another full offseason together, once they're finally healthy and on the field together.

Recommendation: Buy Low

 

Miami Dolphins

WR Preston Williams

The rookie undrafted free agent has been the lone bright spot on an otherwise calamitous season for the Dolphins. Williams currently leads Miami receivers in all major categories, including targets, receptions, receiving yards, and touchdowns. Granted, even prior to the Dolphins bye week, all that still added up to make him just the WR47 in PPR formats.

Still, Williams has looked QB-proof when it comes to targets, making him the ideal bench stash and flex play against soft matchups. For instance, this weekend against a Washington defense that's given up the eighth-most yards through the air and the second-most receiving touchdowns.

Recommendation: Pickup

WR Albert Wilson

On the opposite end of the spectrum is Wilson, a home run hitter who only needs one well-placed target to put up 75 yards and a touchdown. Wilson's rarely healthy, as is the case so far this year, but when he is the guy is capable of monster production. He proved that last year, finishing as the WR26 on a points-per-game basis in his first season wearing a Dolphins uniform.

Wilson is a Will Fuller-esque fantasy asset. You play him when he's healthy and you need a player with a very high ceiling. If he suits up this weekend, you absolutely must play him against the honeycomb Washington defense.

Recommendation: Pickup

 

Cincinnati Bengals

WR Tyler Boyd

You have to hold onto Boyd if you drafted him. You just do. He's been the model of consistency and has come out of the Bengals' wreckage unscathed to this point. Boyd has seen fewer than 10 targets just once all season. Bad quarterback play, bad offensive line play, and bad scheming haven't hindered Tyler Boyd, so there's no reason to jump ship on the fourth-year wideout.

You may be considering selling him on the basis that when A.J. Green finally returns to the lineup, Boyd's value will take a hit. A couple of things about that: 1) With this team's arrow pointing directly into the ground, Green may not risk returning this year or could get traded before the deadline, and 2) With Green active last season, Boyd actually produced better fantasy results than when he was sidelined. Be strong like William Wallace in the final battle scene from Braveheart and HOOOOOOOOLLLLD.

Recommendation: Hold

WR A.J. Green

Again, you're targeting impatient owners in your leagues that are lacking depth at the wide receiver position. It's possible you can get him for pennies on the dollar right now. Green's week-to-week status may not even be about his ankle injury at this point, but whether it's worth it for the star wideout to return to a team competing for the No 1 overall pick in next year's draft.

Green is currently in the last year of his contract with no developments on a long-term extension with the Bengals. Trade rumors are swirling as we near the trade deadline, and there are a handful of suitors that could utilize his skills. If he gets shipped off before Oct. 29 or returns to Cincinnati's lineup around the same time, he could very well return Top 15 value on a weekly basis.

Recommendation: Buy Low

 

Washington Redskins

RB Chris Thompson

It's entirely possible that Chris Thompson remains a buy-low candidate for the rest of his career. The 28-year-old pass-catching back has certainly had his peaks and valleys over the last few years, but most of that has been due to injuries. When healthy Thompson is a surefire 10 fantasy points sitting in your lineup.

Thompson has seen at least five targets and four receptions and has averaged 67 yards per game this season. And new interim HC Bill Callahan said he wants to lean on the running game more. Thompson may not see a significant number of carries, but he'll be as consistent as they come in the pass-catching department. We don't know who the team's starting quarterback will be from week to week, but we know this team will likely be playing from behind quite often. That's where Thompson thrives.

Recommendation: Buy Low

WR Terry McLaurin

When a rookie wide receiver hits big in his first week of action, there's a temptation to sell him. Because it just has to be beginner's luck or a mirage. This man is not an illusion. He is everything he looked to be in Week 1 when he lit up the stat sheet to the tune of 125 yards and a touchdown.

McLaurin will get Case Keenum back under center for at least this week against Miami, which is a cheat code defense for fantasy purposes. Keenum and McLaurin's connection on the field is obvious and has helped establish the young wideout as the undisputed No 1 receiving option in Washington. When you're able to put up three receptions for 51 yards against dominant New England CB Stephen Gilmore as a rookie, you're worth holding onto.

Recommendation: Hold

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