This week my co-worker, Jeff Krisko, suggested that starting Marqise Lee is the smart fantasy football play. Jeff also told you that his heart really wanted to go with Pierre Garcon, but since he already suggested starting him last week, he should go with Marqise Lee. This is an excellent example of how our brains can sometimes get in the way of what we know is the right thing to do. Because Pierre Garcon is absolutely the correct start. But the truly best option for this week is to start Amari Cooper.
First off, Jeff’s evaluation is pretty spot on. Marqise Lee is a decent flex option for week seven. Not only is he the 30th in receiving yards for wide receivers, he is 25th in targets among wide receivers. He has been a low end WR2 for weeks now, but not a lot of people have caught on. My brain agrees with Jeff on this.
And the Indianapolis defense through six games is just absurdly bad at defending the pass. The have given up the 6th most fantasy points to wide receivers in standard scoring leagues. Wide receivers have 130 targets against the Colt’s defense on the year, the 2nd most targets against any defense. Of those targets, wide receivers have 76 receptions, the 6th most allowed by any defense in the NFL. And they have given up 1190 yards to receivers this season. That is almost 200 yards per game to the position. But they’ve only given up 4 touchdowns to receivers, which is tied for the 3rd least allowed by fantasy defenses.
If you decide to start Marqise Lee this week, I won’t fault you. I plan on starting him in a lot of leagues to cover bye weeks. But the match-up nobody wants to talk about is Amari Cooper against the Kansas City Chiefs. Because this week, you should definitely start Amari Cooper.
I apologize for all the Amari Cooper owners who started having a stroke at their computers after reading this suggestion. I get it. After his horrendous start to the season, it is hard to get behind this. My brain is yelling at me to make a safer pick. But Waleed likes to go with his heart. And his heart says to start Amari Cooper.
First off, Cooper has a 59% catch rate for his career. This season, he is only catching 46% of passes thrown to him. It has only been six games, which is a relatively small sample size. That means the number should go back to his career average and that will happen after a couple of big games.
Second, the Kansas City Chief’s defense has given up the 2nd most fantasy points to wide receivers in standard scoring leagues. They are giving up 176 yards and 1.7 touchdowns per game to wide receivers. The opportunities for points will be there.
Even with all those numbers, the main reason I say to start Amari Cooper is just because I believe. He has been a really good player throughout his career and I just don’t believe he suddenly became bad at football. And to be fair to Amari, the Oakland Raiders have had many issues. It is unfair to put it all on him, even if our fantasy teams have suffered for it. So while I like the idea of starting Marqise Lee, I would much rather start Amari Cooper.