Each week in Three Breakout Players we highlight a few inexpensive players on the verge of earth-shattering fantasy football breakouts. Or less ambitiously, we discuss players set up to exceed production expectations at low ownership. This week, we highlight a running back walking into a potential dream scenario and identify multiple under-the-radar wide receivers moving into featured roles on historically low-volume offenses.
Aaron Jones, Packers RB: $5,100 DraftKings, $5,900 FanDuel
In week 4 against Chicago, the Packers lost not only workhorse running back Ty Montgomery to injury but No. 2 running back Jamaal Williams as well. Enter Aaron Jones. Pressed into duty, the fifth-round rookie carried 13 times for 49 yards and a touchdown while earning four touches in the red zone, converting his one goal-ling touch into a score.
In 2016, Jones was the offense at the University of Texas-El Paso, accruing 2,006 scrimmage yards and an otherworldly 47 percent (95th percentile) dominator rating. His 20 total touchdowns (not counting his one passing score) were just one less than the rest of the team combined. At 5’9” and 208 pounds, Jones boasts excellent size-adjusted agility, evidenced by an 11.02 (85th percentile) Agility Score. With a 127.3 (87th percentile) Burst Score, Jones profiles similarly to Duke Johnson and Montgomery himself. A slick receiver while at UTEP, Jones’ 13.9 (89th percentile) college target share not only makes him a more than viable target for Aaron Rodgers but also a one-for-one replacement for Montgomery in the Green Bay offense.
While initial reports suggest that his injury isn’t as serious as first thought, Montgomery is still nursing multiple broken ribs and Williams has a sprained knee. In the event that Montgomery and/or Williams is unable to play, Jones could have a massive workload in an ideal spot, as the Dallas defense this year has allowed 29.2 DraftKings and 24.0 FanDuel PPG to running backs. If Jones ends up serving as the workhorse, he could have a big day in a game with the slate’s highest over/under at 52.5 points.
Andre Holmes, Bills WR: $3,400 DraftKings, $4,600 FanDuel
Can a 29 year-old wide receiver be a breakout candidate? In most cases, no, but Andre Holmes finds himself rising up the Bills depth chart just in time to rewrite that narrative. An undrafted player in 2012 out of Hillsdale, Holmes has never had an opportunity to see a true full-time role, even on some bad teams. Holmes now gets his shot with Jordan Matthews sidelined at least a month after thumb surgery.
At 6’4″ and 233 pounds, Holmes has excellent size-adjusted athleticism and the size/speed combo to match up with outside cover corners, evidenced by a 110.3 (91st percentile) Speed Score and a 124.5 (70th percentile) Burst Score. Moreover, Holmes’ 10.23 (86th percentile) Catch Radius provides quarterback Tyrod Taylor with a big target. Holmes flashed in limited time with Derek Carr in Oakland, and with only eight targets through four games this year Holmes has half (three) of his receptions in the red zone. Despite having a mere 48.1 percent snap share, he leads the Bills with two receiving touchdowns.
With Matthews out, Holmes projects as a starter in two-receiver sets opposite rookie Zay Jones, who has struggled to adjust as an outside receiver. The Bills thus far have been running their passing offense through tight end Charles Clay, but that could be an issue this week as Cincinnati has allowed the third-fewest points per game (6.4 DraftKings) to tight ends. While Holmes won’t be a prolific option in the Bills’ low volume pass offense (last in the league with 28 pass plays per game), he makes for an intriguing play in guaranteed prize pools with an ownership projection of less than one percent in the Models.
Ricardo Louis, Browns WR: $3,700 DraftKings, $4,500 FanDuel
Ricardo Louis is steadily climbing the depth chart in Cleveland. He has seen his snaps increase each week, culminating with a 98.3 percent snap share in week 4. With Corey Coleman on injured reserve until at least week 10 and with
Dwayne Bowe Kenny Britt shaping up to be a free agent bust, Louis is now in the running to be the Browns’ de facto No. 1 receiver.
While Louis was not a dominant producer at Auburn, his 31.6 percent (55th percentile) dominator rating did exceed that of fellow SEC wide receiver Laquon Treadwell from the 2016 NFL draft class. Unlike Treadwell, he offers excellent athleticism with his combination of size, speed and explosion. Louis has a 113.9 (91st percentile) Speed Score and a 130.9 (86th percentile) Burst Score on PlayerProfiler.com.
Louis enters week 5 as a featured weapon for a Browns team dialing up the third-most (44) pass plays per game. Louis has been quietly ascending the past two weeks, while Rashard Higgins has been invisible since his week 2 mini-breakout game. The Browns are at home this week, hosting the Jets. Tied for the lowest over/under at just 39 points, this matchup won’t jump out to many DFS players, which provides the opportunity to create unique tournament lineups with Louis as a true contrarian play who has enough potential target volume and upside at close to zero percent ownership.
Good luck this week, and be sure to visit our suite of Tools to research potential breakout players.
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