A few years ago I ran a weekly series where I created a hypothetical fantasy football lineup made solely on players owned in less than 40-percent of Yahoo and/or ESPN leagues. This series was titled ‘The B-Team,’ I went away from this series last season but am bringing it back for the 2023 NFL and fantasy football season!
The goal for this article is to first and foremost show that there is plenty of value to be had week-in-and-week-out on waiver wires across the fantasy football landscape. My personal goal is to score more than 100 full PPR fantasy points with this hypothetical team.
The team will consist of (1) quarterback, (2) runningbacks, (2) wide receivers, (1) tight-end and (2) flex. In year’s past years, I ran this with a defense but I also run a ‘Streamable Defense of the Week’ series where I offer my favorite three defenses owned in less than 40 percent of Yahoo and/or ESPN leagues with one of those suggestions being owned in less than 10-percent of leagues. Therefore, I’m moving the team defense position in this series to a second flex position.
This gives me eight players to get over the 100-fantasy point goal. In a vacuum, each player needs to average 12.5 fantasy points to make the goal a reality.
In future editions of this series I will post my previous week results here and past week results can be found at the bottom of future articles.
It will also be my goal to get this article out prior to Thursday Night Football but some weeks we may have to excuse that game and the article will come out Saturday night or Sunday morning!
With that all being said, let’s get into this!
Week 1 ‘B-Team’ Lineup
Sam Howell (Washington Commanders) - Owned in 22% of Yahoo and 10.7% of ESPN Leagues
Without any seasonal data at our fingertips as we head into Week 1, I’m going with the quarterback that falls into our parameters with the best matchup. This Arizona Cardinals’ defense is porous and is going to be bad. Their secondary may be the worst part of this defense as well. It’s not that I’m in love with Howell by any means, I’m just in love with this matchup. The Commanders are favored by seven points to win this game as well. Howell is projected to score 17.88 fantasy points this week and if he can do that, he’s setting our ‘B-Team’ up for success
Deon Jackson (Indianapolis Colts) - Owned in 39% of Yahoo and 37.7% of ESPN Leagues
When it comes to this format that we’re following, these are the type of runningbacks we look for. Guys receiving a week-to-week larger role with someone ahead of them on the depth chart out. That is the case with Jackson as Jonathan Taylor begins the season on the PUP list. The Colts will opt for a runningback committee in Taylor’s absence. Those names of course include Jackson and also include the likes of rookie Evan Hull and veteran Zack Moss. Moss may also be absent come Sunday, which would cement my belief in Jackson for this series. I believe Jackson has the best chance to make some noise for this run-first Colts’ offense. If Jackson can get double-digit opportunities this week, that will go a long way for our ‘B-Team.’
Clyde Edwards-Helaire (Kansas City Chiefs) - Owned in 19% of Yahoo and 10.2% of ESPN Leagues
I’m taking a bit of a flier here with Edwards-Helaire and that’s exactly what we need to do with this article series. With the news of Travis Kelce’s hyperextended knee and the uncertainty if he’ll be on the field for Thursday night’s opener against the Lions, the Chiefs may be forced to run the football more. Isiah Pacheco is definitely the back to own and Jerick McKinnon does offer competition to Edwards-Helaire but reports out of Chiefs’ camp suggest that Edwards-Helaire may serve as Pacheo’s main backup. That’s basically the extent of the analysis here. We’re just hoping he can get a decent number of chances and a potential goalline opportunity to push him into double-digit fantasy points.
Van Jefferson (Los Angeles Rams) - Owned in 29% of Yahoo and 24.1% of ESPN Leagues
With Cooper Kupp out to start the season, Jefferson steps into the WR1 role for Matthew Stafford and the Los Angeles Rams. I’m one to believe that this Rams’ offense will be fine this season. They travel to Seattle for Week 1 who has quietly put together one of the better secondaries in the league, but someone has to catch the ball for Los Angeles. If the Rams are to beat the Seahawks on the road in this first week, Jefferson will have to be heavily involved.
Hunter Renfrow (Las Vegas Raiders) - Owned in 7% of Yahoo and 25.6% of ESPN Leagues
With Jimmy Garoppolo under center, I believe Renfrow is the ideal player for us in this series. With this being full point PPR, a reception machine in Renfrow offers great value for us. If you’ve followed me at all during this off-season, you know I’m in love with the Denver Broncos, namely their offense. With a matchup in Denver to open the season, the Raiders will have to throw the ball to hang with Russell Wilson and company. Garoppolo’s arm and range is limited, so someone like Renfrow who can consume a lot of balls underneath will go a long way for us in this series.
Jake Ferguson (Dallas Cowboys) - Owned in 33% of Yahoo and 5.9% of ESPN Leagues
I believe this Week 1 matchup between the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants can be high scoring. The over for this opening Sunday Night Football game is set at 45.5 points. This suggests that even Vegas believes there will be some points scored in this one. With that comes redzone opportunities and that’s what I’m banking on when it comes to Ferguson. A touchdown alone is seven points. If Ferguson can sneak us out at least ten points this week, that’ll go a long way in getting up to our 100 point goal.
Isaiah Hodgins (New York Giants) - Owned in 8% of Yahoo and 6.9% of ESPN Leagues
It’s hard to deem anyone within this Giants’ receiving corps as a WR1 but if we were to give the nod to someone on the roster, all signs are pointing to Hodgins. He’s developed a nice connection with Daniel Jones over the off-season and seems to be in line for a decent week. I talked about this game already when talking about Ferguson a position prior, but this is going to be a decently high scoring affair. If the Cowboys’ offense is clicking, the Giants will have to respond and in turn, so won’t Hodgins.
Gus Edwards (Baltimore Ravens) - Owned in 17% of Yahoo and 23.5% of ESPN Leagues
It would make sense to play a second receiver here in the second flex position, but being the first week and unsure how the new format will shape up, I’m going to opt for a third runningback to at least open the season. Edwards isn’t anything special but we know he’s going to get some chances. J.K. Dobbins and Lamar Jackson will dominate the backfield, no doubt about that, but this is a run first offense and Dobbins can’t run the ball every play. The Ravens also get the Texans this week, which are undoubtedly going to be one of the worst teams in the NFL. If the Ravens get up big in a hurry, they’ll opt for the likes of Edwards to run the football with Dobbins on the sidelines.