Leveraging the NFL’s most volatile players for fantasy football upside in Week 7

by Matthew M. Stevens ·

Unlocking the potential of weekly player volatility in fantasy football gives gamers a competitive edge. Using matchup, volume and usage data combined with advanced stats, metrics, and analytics to pinpoint the best matchups will yield the best ROI from volatile players. A key metric on PlayerProfiler.com, Weekly Volatility measures a player’s week-to-week fantasy point scoring oscillation. Throughout the season, this article will track fantasy football’s most volatile players and provide insight on how to deploy them. The focus will be on those highly volatile players who make ideal buy-low and sell-high targets, and those whose low ownership percentages make them speculative waiver wire and free-agent adds.

Sam Darnold’s return boosts Le’Veon Bell’s stability & upside

Last week, Sam Darnold saved Robby Anderson‘s fantasy football season. Next, it’s Le’Veon Bell‘s turn. Already dominating touches, Bell has registered 102.8 (No. 10 among qualified running backs) Weighted Opportunities despite the Jets having their bye week and averaging 20.8 (No. 27) run plays per game. He’s made up for it as a receiver, and his 28 catches on 33 targets both rank inside the top-10 at the position. It’s safe to say Adam Gase leaned heavily on Bell during Darnold’s absence.

After struggling through castaway Trevor Siemian and third-string rookie Luke Falk at quarterback when Darnold succumbed to mononucleosis, Bell offers big bounce-back, buy-low potential. He currently sits outside the top-15 in PPR formats, has failed to reach 20-plus fantasy points in a game since Week 2 and scored his first rushing TD in Week 6.

Check out Le’Veon Bell on PlayerProfiler’s Updated Weekly Rankings and Projections:

Darnold’s return made an immediate impact on the Jets offense. He led them to their first win of 2019, scoring more points (24) than in their previous three games combined. Anderson promptly returned to WR1 status by posting a 5-125-1 line. In true form, Anderson caught a strike from Darnold in step and raced to a 92-yard TD.

Further icing the cake, Bell’s 12.3-point performance in Darnold’s first game back didn’t light the world on fire, which will make it easier to trade for him. New York also draws a Week 7 matchup against the Patriots, whose -9.55 (No. 31) fantasy points below the mean allowed to opposing running backs signals a tough test. After that game, the Jets enjoy a stretch of matchups that includes the Dolphins, Jaguars and Redskins, who all rank in the bottom third for defensive DVOA. Pursue Bell now before his fantasy production catches up to his 37.0-percent (No. 4) Dominator Rating.

Double down on Corey Davis

Which wide receiver boasts first-round draft capital, posted three top-five fantasy finishes in 2018, sports a College Dominator Rating and Breakout Age in the 96th-percentile and is widely available on waivers? The answer is the oft-maligned Corey Davis. At 6-3, 209-pounds, Davis profiles as a prototypical X-receiver and boasts an elite skillset. Unfairly left for dead by the masses, Davis is an intriguing add with the Titans switching to Ryan Tannehill at quarterback. His ownership sits below 50-percent on the major platforms according to FantasyPros, so strike while the iron is hot (or cold, in this case). Judging by Davis’ Player Popularity Index (PPI) of No. 60, savvy Underworld minions already thought about pulling the trigger on him. The PPI ranks PlayerProfiler page views for the past 30 days. For example, the No. 1 PPI player page is the most frequently visited.

Corey Davis Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

Acquiring Davis is a move with little to no risk involved. Sure he’s a risky play, evidenced by his 8.3 Weekly Volatility mark last season, but one not lacking in upside. His situational adversity this season – poor QB play on a run-heavy team whose tight end owns the largest Target Share – faded him to bust status. He’s still a free square with WR1 potential and leads the Titans receivers in Snap Share (89.9-percent), targets (27) and receptions (16).

Rookie A.J. Brown eats into Davis’ workload, but he’s only playing 56.7-percent of the snaps. Brown’s talent also helps draw the attention of opposing defenses, so his presence compliments and benefits Davis. Tennessee’s offensive line ranks No. 32 in pass protection per Football Outsiders. They can’t figure out how to deploy Davis and Brown and instead seem content throwing short passes to Delanie Walker, who averages 10.2 yards per reception. For comparison, Brown averages 19.5 (No. 3) YPR (No. 3) and Davis averages 14.8 (No. 33) YPR. What happens next depends on how incoming starter Tannehill plays after Tennessee benched incumbent Marcus Mariota, and how the Titans game-plan with Tannehill under center.

It makes sense for Tennessee to get the ball in Davis’ hands more often, as he’s their most proven pass-catcher. All Spiderman pointing meme jokes aside, it’s hard to find more positives about Tannehill than Mariota, but a change is a change and sometimes that’s all it takes to spark a player. Gamers who still have Davis rostered need to do their best Braveheart imitation and hold. For those who possess true fantasy fortitude, send out a low-ball offer or make Davis a priority free-agent add for the stretch run.

It’s always buy-low season on Mitchell Trubisky

Primed to make a great buy-low target before he injured his non-throwing shoulder, Mitchell Trubisky can now be picked up off waivers and his upside remains the same. No quarterback who played more than 10 games last season showed a higher degree of Weekly Volatility than Trubisky. His mark of 11.9 screams fluctuation and his company in that tier includes Ryan Fitzpatrick (12.6, played eight games) and Josh Allen (11.5). Trubisky posted five top-five fantasy finishes in 2018, including an overall QB1 performance in Week 4 against Tampa Bay. Displaying a ceiling of 43.5, he also showed an extremely low floor by posting four games with fewer than 10 fantasy points.

Mitchell Trubisky 2018 Boom Weeks and Bust Weeks

Fast-forward to Week 7 and Trubisky looks primed to make his return against New Orleans in a fantasy trap game. The matchup earned the lowest over/under of the week at 38.5 per FanDuel Sportsbook. Trubisky faces a capable Saints defense and he’s set up for another failure, but better matchups loom on the horizon and he’s capable of salvaging the second half of the season with a handful of top-10 fantasy finishes. Games to target playing Trubisky in: Week 9 at Philadelphia; Week 10 vs. Detroit; Week 11 at Los Angeles Rams; Week 12 vs. New York Giants.