It has come down to this: four teams, two games, and four 100K top prizes! You have two maybe three quarterbacks to choose from, four RBs, two or three TEs, and 10 WRs, plus two or three defenses. If you assume this is correct you are looking at nearly 810 combinations between the QB/RB/RB2/TE/DEF spots. That doesn’t seem too daunting – of course that also doesn’t include a factoring in of the 210 or so realistic 4-person WR combos (or 120 3-person combos). Making matters worse is that none of these accounts for a wildcard like Benny Fowler or Mike Tolbert or Keshawn Martin posting big numbers. None of these also reflect kickers who are truly a wildcard this week as they are all quality and fairly even.
I think the wise decision this week is choose your three or four WRs that you are going to roll with in most lineups and then build as many lineup combos around them that you can. Also remember that if you are assuming that a QB-WR stack is going to be effective, odds are that their corresponding RB won’t be. In correlation to that, if you feel that a certain defense will dominate the game don’t roster a lot of the offense against that defense.
Also be prepared for some really low scores this week. We have arguably the four best defenses in football locking horns. Each of these teams could easily cause a shutout on any given Sunday. You also have three QBs that are banged up and AARP-eligible by NFL standards. Cam Newton is the only QB this week that isn’t coming into this game with some sort of malady. I’ll just put this out there: I wouldn’t be surprised if the two games have a combined total of 70 points scored. If that is the case, you will really need to hit the bulls-eye at every spot to win the big money.
Also even though football season is over, feel free to follow me on Twitter @NewClearHarley as I play DFS baseball every day (and basketball most days) and I’m always willing to share my daily plays for either of those sports. I also encourage you to tune in this spring (and follow) @BlitzedPodcast as we will be rolling out our NFL Draft coverage within the next couple months.
Until Next Year,
Prices indicated: Black = Acceptable and Red = Not Worth It and Blue = Gotta Have It
Weekly strategy – With all of these great defenses and all of these injury concerns at QB, Cam Newton is probably the safest play. I really am concerned about Tom Brady going against the Broncos secondary on a less-than 100% ankle and Carson Palmer has a great price but his finger injury clearly affected him last week. I ain’t touching Peyton Manning with a ten foot pole.
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Cam Newton, Panthers vs. ARI ($7200 DK, $8500 FD, $8500 FS)
This ranking wouldn’t have been nearly as high if Tyrann Mathieu was still active. His absence opens up the middle of the Arizona secondary where Greg Olsen should absolutely wreak havoc. Plus Cam Newton has the wheels to do damage on the ground – something that none of the geriatric alternatives has this week.
Tom Brady, Patriots @ DEN ($7400 DK, $8100 FD, $8400 FS)
Don’t get me wrong, I like Tom Brady a lot this week. What I don’t like is his price point adjacent to Cam Newton and Carson Palmer. I’m especially concerned about his maneuverability under duress from a furious Denver pass rush. Plus he has historically struggled in Denver. He’ll still post his 250 to 300 with a couple scores but that just doesn’t seem worth the price.
Carson Palmer, Cardinals @ CAR ($6800 DK, $7700 FD, $8400 FS)
Bruce Arians is claiming that Carson Palmer’s finger is a non-issue. Last week it appeared that it was much more so a problem than they are letting on. If he is indeed 100%, he has the biggest platter of weapons to choose from against a secondary with one stud and a bunch of ‘aight reserves.
Weekly strategy – There are six realistic choices, four quality choices, and two every down options here this week. The easiest and safest play would be to pay up for David Johnson in a tough game and then saddle him with Jon Stewart. I’ll probably choose one of the two and then pair them with either C.J. Anderson or James White. I’m not confident enough in their role to roster Steven Jackson or Ronnie Hillman this time out, but they would be the capable punt options that you shouldn’t need to take advantage of.
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Jonathan Stewart, Panthers vs. ARI ($5900 DK, $7000 FD, $7000 FS)
After topping 100 yards and scoring twice against a tough Seattle defense, Jonathan Stewart feels like the safest option at the position this week. Of course if his foot takes a turn for the worse as the week progresses, than Cameron Artis-Payne would likely gain the boost in value. Either way, the only other back to consider here would be David Johnson and I wouldn’t be disappointed if you chose that route instead.
Steven Jackson, Patriots @ DEN ($3000 DK, $5700 FD, $3900 FS)
With Steven Jackson you are truly resting all your hopes on the TD. With such a thin slate of choices that TD alone won’t cut it when you have to spend money somewhere. This is an especially dicey play if he plans on repeating that 6-16 line from a much easier matchup last week.
James White, Patriots @ DEN ($4600 DK, $6400 FD, $6400 FS)
In Week 12, James White did very little but his backfield mate Brandon Bolden posted 4-84-1 through the air. Bolden has gone MIA of late and the pass-catching role seems to be Whites alone. Denver has proven susceptible to opposing backs in the passing game much more so than backs rushing the ball. White should be the one that takes advantage of this trend.
Weekly strategy – I may roster my FLEX position from this spot, but in a lot of lineups I’ll opt for the Gronk/Olsen Double-TE special. Julian Edelman makes a good play if Chris Harris remains less than 100%. I also really like Larry Fitzgerald, John Brown, and Devin Funchess.
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Julian Edelman, Patriots @ DEN ($7500 DK, $7800 FD, $8100 FS)
This play comes down entirely to Chris Harris’ bill of health. He was a shell of himself last week following his injury. He currently is slated to play and cover Julian Edelman which normally would reduce Julian’s value, but if Harris remains “damaged goods” don’t hesitate to roster the PPR beast.
Michael Floyd, Cardinals @ CAR ($5300 DK, $7500 FD, $7700 FS)
All signs point to Josh Norman not shadowing the slot-dominant, Larry Fitzgerald. This means that Michael Floyd is the best bet to have to suffer the Norman Conquest. I wouldn’t hate the $5300 at DK, but I can’t pay over $7K for him on the other sites if he is gonna get swallowed whole.
John Brown, Cardinals @ CAR ($5200 DK, $6500 FD, $6400 FS)
The sneaky third-option in this game is John Brown. His price is considerably lower than Fitzgerald’s and he may make the nice contrarian play to Fitz. Remember what Seattle’s number three-option (Jermaine Kearse) did last week 11-110-2.
|Ted Ginn Jr.||$4,300||$6,200||$6,400|
Weekly strategy – I could easily arrange a lineup where I have both Greg Olsen and Rob Gronkowski and I might just do that leaving only three WRs. I don’t trust any of the Broncos’ TEs after all of the dropsies last week. I also might go with the sneaky Darren Fells play, if I overpay at the other positions (but I shouldn’t be forced to). In all likelihood though, I will have either Gronk or Olsen or both of them.
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Rob Gronkowski, Patriots @ DEN ($7600 DK, $8900 FD, $8000 FS)
Rob Gronkowski is truly a freakish athlete. He is too skilled to be covered by most safeties. He is also too large to be tackled by most CBs. Even injuries that would shut down most other athletes cannot seem to knock Gronk off his game. It remains to be seen how many “low blows” Denver attempts to utilize to pen him in, but nothing they have tried recently has worked in any semblance. In each of their last three meetings, they have allowed no less than six catches, 88 yards, and a touchdown to the man-beast. Those numbers are his floor once again.
Any Broncos’ TE, Broncos vs. NE (Too Much at any price)
I’m not going to risk my final DFS weekend choosing between a three-headed drop-laden monster facing a team that allowed only four teams to top 50 yards by the position this season. Owen Daniels did catch five passes in their prior meeting but that was with Brock Osweiler at QB.
Darren Fells, Cardinals @ CAR ($2000 DK, $4700 FD, $1700 FS)
The only contrarian play I’d suggest against the top-two. Darren Fells could produce or even steal a score. Carolina allowed nine of the last twelve teams they faced this regular season to record five or more catches by the position.
Weekly strategy – All the defenses are very good but I am mainly concerned about Cam Newton chopping his way through Arizona’s defense. Furthermore none is a real bargain. I’ll probably go with Carolina or New England unless some sort of weather terrorism affects one of the games.
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Carolina Panthers, Panthers vs. ARI ($3500 DK, $5100 FD, $3200 FS)
Carolina gets to face a strong Arizona offense but they have a strong defense too, especially at home. Carson Palmer clearly wasn’t 100% last week despite Bruce Arians’ claims. He was picked twice, fumbled once, and was sacked three times. Arizona will score some points this week but they will also make some mistakes especially if they fall behind early.
Arizona Cardinals, Cardinals @ CAR ($3600 DK, $4900 FD, $3200 FS)
The Cardinals aren’t an awful play – they are just the worst of the best. It doesn’t help their cause that they are also the most expensive. Carolina allowed two or fewer sacks in 12 of their regular season contests and only twice this season has Cam Newton thrown more than one interception.
New England Patriots, Patriots @ DEN ($3100 DK, $4600 FD, $2900 FS)
Peyton Manning is a shell of his former self and he is getting no help from his receivers He is a sure thing bet to toss a pair of interceptions and he is basically a sitting duck in the pocket. It also helps that New England has the cheapest price tag at this position.