It is more than five days after the fact but I’m still mildly on tilt over the Dontari Poe touchdown reception that was ruled a run. At the time of that miscall, I was sitting in 35th in the 450K DK afternoon only competition. My sleeper QB, Alex Smith hadn’t done anything in that game yet, and I was pumped to see him join the rest of my offense in “go-mode”. After they changed the ruling on that play my team slipped to 78th, and then the downward slide begun. Shady McCoy got hurt and left the game and the rest of my offense went dormant. I ended up falling all the way into the low 1000’s in place (still cashing but for several hundred less than I should’ve). Yes folks, one miscall can cost you your lunch at the DFS counter. It hurts, but I need to shake off the tilt and plan accordingly for this week. Chasing a missed payday never pays off in the end.
If you are playing in Monday night contests, MNF brings the vengeance game for Brock Osweiler against the Broncos. Brock has to be a little bit upset about not landing a giant contract offer from Denver. Of course at the same time Denver has to be praising (enter deity of choice) for their wise decision to not match Houston’s ridiculous offer sheet. Both Osweiler and Trevor Siemian will lean on their ground games and their staunch defenses this week. That could turn this game into a real snooze-fest from a fantasy perspective. I’d like to get excited over C.J. Anderson’s prospects, but Devontae Booker is starting to eat into his touches. Lamar Miller isn’t losing touches to anyone, but he’ll struggle to grind out yardage against the Bronco’s front-seven. I’d consider starting either defense but just don’t have enough faith in either offense to invest heavily in them. Houston’s secondary injuries could put Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders into play, but I doubt either produces a return value higher than their price tags. Perhaps the only exciting plays would be Nick Novak or Brandon McManus at kicker on FD.
For those playing the London game Sunday morning, Case Keenum could surprise for cheap again. This puts both Brian Quick and Kenny Britt into consideration as cheap options at WR. Todd Gurley will have tough sledding and will underperform his price tag. Eli Manning should get a boost because L.A.’s defense is still short-handed. Eli, Odell Beckham, Jr., and Sterling Shepherd are all safe plays. I wouldn’t dig as deep as Victor Cruz however. Avoid the Giants backfield completely. It is as unappetizing as black and white pudding and blood sausage.
For those playing on FD, I recommend targeting: Dustin Hopkins, Cairo Santos, and Matt Bryant at kicker. Each is playing in a game where they should get multiple opportunities to kick field goals. They are all between 4.7K and 5K. All the kickers are in this same price range so you are gonna spend that much anyways, so you might as well get a kicker destined to score some points. Owners should target their defense from amongst: New England, Cincinnati, and Baltimore. The Bengals are the highest priced of the three at $3.6K on DK. They also have the highest floor and lowest ceiling of the three. New England and Baltimore are both under 3K. Making them my favorite two upside defenses against 2nd string QBs. On FD, both Baltimore and Cincinnati are right around 5K. New England on the other hand is only 4.4K making them the preferred play.
Outside of Matt Ryan and Philip Rivers going head-to-head in a shootout, the top of the QB class is going to mildly underperform. Fortunately there is a very soft middle, where guys like: Alex Smith, Kirk Cousins, and Joe Flacco can be had for a song. Let us not also forget about my “CK-squared” punt plays this week: Colin Kaepernick and Cody Kessler. Both are near league minimum and both have Donald Trump “Huuuu-ge” potential.
Injury concerns and troublesome matchups destroy the upper echelon of RBs. if LeSean McCoy plays he is safe, but no one else is other than DeMarco Murray. He will be a mainstay in most of my lineups. I may also take a few shares of Devonta Freeman. Either way I will be targeting one of the higher priced guys along with James White, Jacquizz Rodgers, or one of the Bengals’ RBs. This week I will also target my DK FLEX from the RB slot where bargain basement replacement players like Mike Davis and Chris Ivory should be DFS gold.
This week I am paying up at WR with studs like Julio Jones, Allen Robinson, and A.J. Green all set to dominate. I’m going to probably buy one stud this week and pair them with a middle priced guy like Jeremy Maclin or DeSean Jackson (stacked with their respective QBs). My third WR will be one of the following: Brandon LaFell, Torrey Smith, or Justin Hunter. The biggest knock here this week is that third tier (which has been juicy recently) is loaded with injury question marks. You just cannot count on nabbing several guys from that tier, and with cheap value at QB/RB this week…you don’t have to.
This is the yuckiest week for TEs in recent memory. Either you pay up for and enjoy the spoils of Rob Gronkowski or you might as well just punt down to Vernon Davis, Jack Doyle, or C.J. Ozumeh (if Tyler Eifert doesn’t play). Both the second and the third tier are devoid of value this week (except for Hunter Henry and Julius Thomas).
Here are my recommendations for this week’s price range targets by position.
At DK: 6K-6.5K at QB, 7.2K at RB1 (DeMarco Murray), 4K-4.5K at RB2 and 3K-3.5K for a FLEX, 18.5K-20K total for all three WRs, 7.2K for Gronk, and 2.9K for the Patriots’ defense.
At FD: 7.5K-8K at QB, 8.7K at RB1 (still DeMarco), 5.6K for Jacquizz Rodgers, 21K-22K for all three WRs, 8.5K for Gronk, 5K at kicker, and 4.4K for the Patriots’ defense.
Prices indicated: Red = Negative Value and Black = Acceptable Value and Green = Great Value
Weekly strategy – I will have some shares of Matt Ryan and Philip Rivers in head-to-heads and 50-50’s but will be digging deeper for GPPs. Most of my rosters will have Alex Smith, Kirk Cousins, and Colin Kaepernick. Each will be paired with their top WR as either a WR2 or WR3. I might also go way down the rabbit hole and throw Cody Kessler into one of my lineups. Kessler could win you some big bucks. I mean you did follow my instructions and played Case Keenum last week, right?
Your Fantasy Four Pack
Tom Brady, Patriots @ PIT ($7900 DK, $9100 FD)
This should be an easy week for Tom Brady. He will do enough by halftime that he might not play past the third quarter. I expect the second half to be LeGarrette Blount-heavy. This and his high price tag are the only reasons I don’t have a full GREEN rating on him. Expect Brady to finish with a better than average 285-3.
Matt Ryan, Falcons vs. SD ($7200 DK, $8700 FD)
Matt Ryan made a believer out of me by taking it to the Seahawks in Seattle. His matchup is light years easier this week against a short-handed and short-talented and just-plain-short San Diego secondary. Four of six QBs to face the Chargers have topped 300 yards. I expect no less this week and would not be surprised to see a 350-2 line out of Ryan.
Philip Rivers, Chargers @ ATL ($6500 DK, $7800 FD)
The other half of this point orgy is Philip Rivers. He has a larger volume of deep weapons than Ryan, but he lacks a dominator like Julio Jones. The middling collection of Tyrell Williams, Dontrelle Inman, and Travis Benjamin should be able to stretch the field against some uninspiring Atlanta CBs. Both teams will have more than four touchdowns. Based on volume, I could easily see Rivers approaching 300 yards and he will likely throw for 3 TDs (one more than Ryan, who will cede two of his scores to his RBs).
Matthew Stafford, Lions vs. WAS ($6400 DK, $7900 FD)
Cheaper than the other top options, Matthew Stafford is one of the safest high floor plays this week. Without any semblance of a running game, Stafford will be forced to throw the ball excessively. It won’t matter because Washington has exactly one decent CB. Josh Norman is good but he cannot cover all of the Lions’ weapons. On volume alone Stafford is a certainty to top 300 yards and 2 TDs smells about right.
Colin Kaepernick, 49ers vs. TB ($5300 DK, $6500 FD)
With Colin Kaepernick you get all of his passing yards and all of his rushing yards. Most weeks, that will guarantee you a 270-yards-from-scrimmage performance. Tampa has allowed multiple passing TDs in every game except Week 5 versus a struggling Derek Anderson. Kaepernick has the arm to take advantage of deep threat, Torrey Smith. Plus, with Carlos Hyde likely to miss this game expect Colin to pick up the slack for the ground game as well. I’d say anything less than 275 total yards and two scores would be a disappointment.
Cody Kessler (What is with all these QBs with the initials C.K.?), Browns @ CIN ($5000 DK, $6600 FD)
This is a deep, deep dive. The Bengals have allowed the third most total passing TDs and a lot of those touchdowns have come to teams featuring the TE position. With every WR on their roster injured, Gary Barnidge will likely be option #1, option #2, and option #3 this week. I wouldn’t expect more than 250 passing yards, but you can count on him to get a couple TDs. His yardage might even grow a little in garbage time, if the Bengals jump out to a lead as I expect them to.
|Duke Johnson Jr.||$3,900||$5,300|
Weekly strategy – I love LeSean McCoy but am scared about his injury-status (true game-time decision/out depending on who you trust). If he plays he gives you a great contrarian RB1 play instead of the obvious play of DeMarco Murray. Jacquizz Rodgers will probably be my RB2 in most lineups since San Francisco sucks and every other Tampa RB is hurt. I am also leaning towards playing my FLEX here. Chris Ivory, Mike Gillislee (if Shady is a no-go), and Mike Davis are my favorite options there.
Your Fantasy Four Pack
DeMarco Murray, Titans vs. IND ($7200 DK, $8700 FD)
Indianapolis has allowed nearly 170 combo yards per game to opposing RBs and every team has either topped 100 RB rushing yards and/or scored a rushing TD against them. This is a guaranteed 150-1 performance week for DeMarco Murray. Five or six receptions are also a sure thing and a second TD is quite possible.
LeVeon Bell, Steelers vs. NE ($8000 DK, $8600 FD)
Call this one the ultimate risk/reward play this week. His line was mediocre and he didn’t score in two games that Landry Jones started last year. Of course, he will also be forced to be the featured element this week for Pittsburgh and you cannot take away his potential to blow up at any time. The Patriots don’t allow a ton of rushing yards and they have given up only two rushing TDs. That said, they have allowed the fourth-most receptions to opposing RBs. Bell will probably finish with 115-125 total yards (a lot of which will come from Jones’ dump offs – keeping him a safe play in PPR) but I cannot safely predict a TD.
LeSean McCoy (IF HE PLAYS!), Bills @ MIA ($7600 DK, $9000 FD)
All signs point to LeSean McCoy missing this game, If Shady plays, he should be in your lineup against a rotten and injury-riddled, Miami defense. My main concern (outside of the injury) here is that while Miami gives up oodles of rushing yards, they don’t give up many rushing TDs. I still trust that Shady will get into the end zone since he has scored in four of six contests. If McCoy doesn’t go, start Mike Gillislee immediately.
Devonta Freeman, Falcons vs. SD ($5900 DK, $7500 FD)
No team has allowed more RB receptions and only one team has allowed more RB receiving yards than San Diego. Both Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman are splitting the pass-catching responsibilities out of the backfield for Atlanta, but Freeman is dominating the rushing yards. I think both are good starts in DFS this week, but I always prefer the guy who will get the lion’s share of the touches.
Jacquizz Rodgers, Buccaneers @ SF ($4300 DK, $5600 FD)
This is a MUST-START this week, thanks in part to the continued injuries to every other RB on the Bucs’ roster. San Francisco’s run defense has been whipped more than the freaky albino dude in Angels and Demons. They have given up 140 more rushing yards than the next closest team and their nine rushing TDs allowed is second to only New Orleans. Oh yeah, those nine TDs have all come in the last four weeks. During that span they are allowing opposing RBs to average 177 yards per game just on the ground. I have Jacquizz Rodgers on a combo platter line of at least 150-2. I thoroughly expect him to finish as a top-4 RB this week.
Mike Davis, 49ers vs. TB ($3000 DK, $4500 FD)
Mike Davis has bypassed Shaun Draughn as the handcuff to Carlos Hyde. Right now it appears that Hyde will miss this weekend’s game. If that is indeed the case, Davis will be asked to shoulder the load. The Buccaneers defense is short-handed right now and they have allowed six RB rushing touchdowns over their last four games. Draughn may steal some receptions and Kaepernick may steal some yardage, but Davis will be the man at the stripe.
|Marvin Jones Jr.||$7,000||$7,700|
|Terrelle Pryor Sr.||$6,200||$7,300|
|Steve Smith Sr.||$5,500||$6,200|
Weekly strategy – For what seems like the first time all season I will be throwing big bucks at the WR position this week. That is mainly because the second and third tiers that have been full of values recently have the appeal of drinking castor oil this week. I’m especially high on Julio Jones, A.J. Green, Mike Evans, and Allen Robinson. One of those four will be in each of my lineups, and I may even construct some sort of crazy roster where I have two or even three of them. Jeremy Maclin, Tyrell Williams, Mo Sanu, and Michael Thomas are my favorites in the middle of the price pocket. My top two punt plays are Torrey Smith and Justin Hunter.
Your Fantasy Four Pack
A.J. Green, Bengals vs. CLE ($8600 DK, $8500 FD)
A.J. Green will deliver you green in DFS this week. The Browns have allowed multiple WR touchdowns in four of six games and three different WR groupings have topped 185 receiving yards against them. Plus Green has scored five times in ten career games against Cleveland. I’m expecting an 8-110-1 type of floor for Mr. Green
Allen Robinson, Jaguars vs. OAK ($7300 DK, $8400 FD)
Allen Robinson’s line was disappointing last week, but he gets a chance to redeem himself this week versus a rotten Oakland secondary. Four different teams have had receiver groupings top 190 yards versus them. This has led them to having allowed the most total yards and the sixth-most receptions to opposing WRs. With Allen Hurns dinged up (but still playing) expect Blake Bortles to look A-Rob’s way early and often in what should be a pass-heavy contest.
Julio Jones, Falcons vs. SD ($9200 DK, $9200 FD)
Julio Jones posted huge numbers in Seattle. This week will feel like he is facing the J.V. San Diego has given up a TD and a sizeable chunk of yards to each opponent’s WR1 in every other game this year (Week 1, 3, and 5). The trend should continue this week. Jones meanwhile leads all WRs in yards. I doubt anyone will catch him this week. The only reason I haven’t given him a full GREEN grade is the high price tag. This feels like a 9-125-1 type of game. That is still studly but not that much higher than the line A-Rob will post for 2K cheaper on DK.
Mike Evans, Buccaneers @ SF ($7800 DK, $8000 FD)
Mike Evans was already getting double the targets of any other player on the Buccaneers roster. Now that Vincent Jackson is all but retired, Evans’ targets will actually increase. San Francisco hasn’t given up many receiving yards lately because teams have just run wild all over them. That said, they still have allowed two WR touchdowns in each of their last three games. Even with a run-heavy script, I expect Evans to post 10-100-1.
Torrey Smith, 49ers vs. TB ($3800 DK, $5600 FD)
Colin Kaepernick has the arm to take advantage of Torrey Smith’s dynamic field stretching ability. They were on the same page last week (as I predicted) and that familiarity will grow this week versus a Buccaneers’ defense that has allowed multiple WR touchdowns in every single game except the Derek Anderson fiasco in Week 5. In Smith’s only career game against Tampa, he scored twice while with the Ravens.
Justin Hunter, Bills @ MIA ($3000 DK, $4900 FD)
Justin Hunter drops passes in practice far too often for my liking. Nevertheless, if Tyrod Taylor is going to continue to target the tall WR in the end zone, I’ll take the 2-20-1 line for a cheap double-digit point performance at league minimum price. Miami is allowing TDs on 60% of their opponent’s red zone visits. With Robert Woods dealing with a foot injury and Charles Clay dealing with a knee problem (and a general lack of talent), Hunter could continue to be red zone gold.
Weekly strategy – For the first time in a while, I’m not super-excited by the TE class. Travis Kelce and Delanie Walker could be alright but they both have question marks. Tyler Eifert could be a stud or he could be really rusty and a decoy. Plus, Jimmy Graham has his toughest matchup to date. Rob Gronkowski is worth paying up for in a cake matchup, but aside from him, Hunter Henry, and Julius Thomas; I’d almost rather punt the position and take Vernon Davis, Cameron Brate, or Jack Doyle. I could also roster C.J. Ozumeh if Eifert is a no-go.
Your Fantasy Four Pack
Rob Gronkowski, Patriots @ PIT ($7200 DK, $8500 FD)
Rob Gronkowski is fully safe to deploy as he is fully healthy and Tom Brady is en fuego. Miami’s hodge-podge of useless tight ends just dropped over 100 TE receiving yards on Pittsburgh. Prior to that three different teams either scored or topped 80 yards against them in their prior five games. If Gronk doesn’t post 7-100-1-or-2 here I’d be shocked.
Travis Kelce, Chiefs vs. NO ($6700 DK, $8400 FD)
The Saints started the season well handling TEs, but over their last two games everything has unraveled. They gave up a combined 13-178-2 to the position against the Chargers and Panthers facing TEs with similar talent levels to Travis Kelce. Kelce doesn’t have a ton of yardage and he is only seventh amongst tight ends in receptions, but Alex Smith is still targeting him. He currently ranks second on the team with 32 targets.
Delanie Walker, Titans vs. IND ($4900 DK, $6500 FD)
Normally I would be super excited to see Delanie Walker at this price point. However after he completely decimated my DFS lineups last week I am rightfully gun shy. Opposing TEs are crushing it versus Indy in recent weeks. Houston, Chicago, and San Diego have all topped 70 yards with the position and C.J. Fiedorowicz scored against them last week. I’m more apt to trust Walker in season long leagues at this point than DFS, at least until he goes back to being the target hog we pay for.
Julius Thomas, Jaguars vs. OAK ($3900 DK, $5500 FD)
Oakland has no clue how to cover TEs. Both Atlanta and San Diego topped the century mark in yardage against them with TEs and those two teams also garnered a combined three touchdowns by the position. Having played against them in Denver, Julius Thomas is one of the few Jaguars to have faced Oakland previously. In five career meetings (only three where he played a significant volume of snaps), Thomas has 136 receiving yards and three TDs.
Cameron Brate, Buccaneers @ SF ($2900 DK, $5200 FD)
I adore Cameron Brate in this spot. Not only does he get to usurp a fair allotment of Vincent Jackson’s targets, he also will garner some of the dump off passes that would normally have gone to Doug Martin or Charles Sims. The Niners have given up 80 yards or more to opposing TEs in half of their games. Plus they also have given up five or more receptions to the position four times. The two TEs they have shut down (Lance Kendricks and Jermaine Gresham) are total stiffs of epic proportion. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Brate post 6-75-1 at this bargain basement price.
Vernon Davis (assuming Reed is a no-go), Redskins @ DET ($2900 DK, $4500 FD)
A long time ago, in a galaxy far away, Vernon Davis was a fantasy stud. Nowadays he is waiver fodder with upside because the guy he caddies for is as fragile as single-pane glass. Jordan Reed is likely to miss another game because his head is mush allowing Davis to turn back the clock to his glory days. Detroit has allowed every team except one to score a TE touchdown. Plus a lot of those TDs were by crumb-bums that normally wouldn’t be on a fantasy roster. These days, 99.9% of the time Davis would not belong on a fantasy roster. This week is the 0.1% of the time that you actually want him.