So the chalk stacking Buccaneers actually paid off in GPP for several owners last week, further proving that sometimes the chalk is the right play. Of course, that strategy doesn’t often work since by definition those chalk play will be on everyone’s roster. That said you cannot win if you don’t have some high scorers in your lineup. If you feel strongly that Mike Evans will produce 30 points in a soft matchup for $6.5K, then by all means play him instead of Amari Cooper (that you believe will post only 16 points) at the same price just to be contrarian. Too often we find ourselves pushing away the obvious play just to be contrarian. You don’t need to completely ignore the obvious, and frankly it will hurt you in the long run, especially with a shorter slate such as this week. Choose wisely which chalk plays to avoid and which ones to go all-in on. Hopefully our rankings here help you make that decision and pad your e-wallet.
If you are playing in Monday night contests, might I suggest benching everyone? Chicago’s offense will struggle to move the ball against a dynamic Vikings’ defense. They will be starting a still-injured turnover-prone QB and they will feature a RBBC. Plus, Minnesota’s offense will struggle because A) Chicago’s defense is better at home and B) Minnesota’s offensive line is made up of a bunch of slappies. You can’t even count on either kicker in this game. Chicago’s defense is better at home but I won’t go that far in choosing a DST. The only possible play in this game is Minnesota’s defense.
For those playing the London game Sunday morning, A.J. Green and Andy Dalton are a nice QB-WR stack. The contrarian play would be Dalton and Tyler Eifert, who will be low-owned after the minor usage last week. Heck, you could play all three. Both Jeremy Hill and Gio Bernard are effective choices since Washington has handed out RB touchdowns like they are going out of style. Both have sexy-good prices, but it appears that Hill is back as the leading man making him the better choice of the two. Brandon LaFell is a potential play, but I feel his red zone usage will dry up now that Eifert is healthy. The Redskins have a couple solid plays in Chris Thompson, Rob Kelley, and Kirk Cousins. None of them is a gimme, but they won’t hurt you at their reduced prices. With his fumble issues, I’d avoid Matt Jones. He could be benched on a dime. DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon, and Jamison Crowder are all WR3-level at best. If I had to choose one of them, I’d go Crowder. That said, I’d rather avoid them all. I’m also not too keen on either defense. If I needed to choose a kicker from this contest, I’d consider Dustin Hopkins.
For those playing on FD, I recommend targeting: Mason Crosby, Cairo Santos, Nick Folk, and Matt Bryant at kicker. Those games present the best opportunity for kicker points. None of those four is over 4.8K. There aren’t any great defense matchups on the Sunday-Only slate. I’m probably gonna take Kansas City or the Patriots or punt with Detroit or the New York Jets.
Aaron Rodgers, Matt Ryan, and Russell Wilson all will produce even money returns, but with so many crappy matchups at the top of the QB list. They are also the safest. I’m going to be highly invested in Derek Carr and Jameis Winston. This should leave a bunch of bucks for a very top-heavy RB class.
You have money to spend. This is the position to spend it at this week. Eight of the top 11 RBs are projected to outperform their price tag. Coupling that with only one glaringly obvious value (Devontae Booker) to be found in the lower ranks, leads to an easy open the wallet strategy at RB this week. In all likelihood, I will pay up for my DK FLEX from this position too.
The top WRs all have good but not great matchups. The one glaring exception is Mike Evans who will feast for the second straight week. There are a couple values in the WR tier three range, but it is a huge fall off of either “over-priced” or “bad matchup” guys after that. One sneaky play is T.Y. Montgomery (who qualifies only at WR on DK and only at RB on FD). I always like getting a RB’s production out of my WR3 and his price tag is still low enough to exploit.
The thin slate of games limits the potential for the TE position this week. Rob Gronkowski is cheap enough that you can afford him and Travis Kelce is just begging you to roster him at his price. With so little bargain talent at the other positions, I will likely roster my FLEX from here if I don’t draft a third high priced RB at DK.
Here are my recommendations for this week’s price range targets by position.
At DK: 6K at QB, 13.5K for RB1 & RB2 and potentially 6K more for a RB-FLEX, no more than 17K total for all three WRs, 4.9K for Kelce, and 2.8K for the Chiefs’ defense.
At FD: 7.5K-8K at QB, 15K for RB1 & RB2, 20K-22K for all three WRs, 5.7K for Kelce, 4.8K at kicker, and 4.5K for the Chiefs’ defense.
Prices indicated: Red = Negative Value and Black = Acceptable Value and Green = Great Value
Weekly strategy – I like Aaron Rodgers, Matt Ryan, and Matthew Stafford and I may roster a share of each in a stack with their top WR. That said I am actually leaning much more so towards Jameis Winston and Derek Carr. One of these two would also be paired with their top WR. The only punt plays I like are Trevor Siemian and Josh McCown and their price is not that much lower than Winston and Carr.
Your Fantasy Four Pack
Matt Ryan, Falcons vs. GB ($7000 DK, $8500 FD)
Take the best QB in terms of passing yards and put him up against one of the ten worst pass defenses that is both short-handed and under-talented and you have a cake matchup for Matt Ryan. This game should be a shootout and both QBs make good plays expect roughly 325-2 out of each of them.
Aaron Rodgers, Packers @ ATL ($7500 DK, $8800 FD)
The other side of this point-fest, Aaron Rodgers should produce a similar line to that of Matt Ryan. I have him ranked slightly lower because he has no running game for Atlanta to worry about stopping and because he has been a little “off” this year. He is a safe bet for 300-2 but I’m not sure I want to pay up for either of these chalky QBs with so little value to be found elsewhere. Atlanta is giving up the fourth-most passing TDs overall and the most passing TDs at home.
Derek Carr, Raiders @ TB ($5900 DK, $7800 FD)
I fully expect both Derek Carr and Jameis Winston to outperform every QB not names Ryan or Rodgers. The Buccaneers have allowed multiple passing TDs in four of six contests. This week will be no different. Carr will top 275 yards this week and I’d be surprised if he didn’t throw for three touchdowns. Plus, he is a lot cheaper than the other top options.
Matthew Stafford, Lions @ HOU ($6400 DK, $7700 FD)
Houston’s secondary remains a shambles leaving Matthew Stafford as an easy play this Sunday. After allowing only one passing TD over their first four contests, the injuries finally piled up and they have begun to give up yards and TDs at a much more sieve-like rate. I’m not sure I like his upside as much as Winston or Carr, but that 1K savings from Ryan and Rodgers is bankable. Either way in a craptastic week for QBs Stafford will top 275-2 making him one of the best options.
Jameis Winston, Buccaneers vs. OAK ($5700 DK, $7400 FD)
As bad as Tampa’s secondary is, Oakland’s is actually worse. No team has allowed more passing yards per game and only seven teams are allowing more passing TDs per week. His price tag is perfect to roster if you want to save bucks for the RB position. Just make sure that you pair him with some combination of Mike Evans, Russell Shepard, and/or Cameron Brate.
Josh McCown, Browns vs. NYJ ($5200 DK, $6400 FD)
I don’t know how well Josh McCown will hold up in his first game, but if he can survive the entire game his line will read quite attractively. The Jets are allowing the seventh most receiving yards per game and four different QBs have topped 300 passing yards against them. They have also allowed three or more passing TDs in three different contests. I wouldn’t be surprised if McCown finishes with about 270-2 here.
|Duke Johnson Jr.||$3,900||$5,100|
Weekly strategy – I will gladly invest huge chunks of change at this position this week. I will choose pairs from amongst: David Johnson, Ezekiel Elliott, Spencer Ware, Christine Michael, Devonta Freeman, Jacquizz Rodgers, and Matt Forte. I will likely also use my DK FLEX spot on one of these seven. There is a lot of ugly beyond these guys, so if you want to save money at this position you’ll be begging for volume over quality. The only players that will demand high ownership for a cheaper price are James White and Devontae Booker. I’ll have at least a little exposure to each of these two.
Your Fantasy Four Pack
David Johnson, Cardinals @ CAR ($7700 DK, $8700 FD)
David Johnson proves time and again that he is matchup proof. He didn’t score a TD last week against the Seahawks but his combo yardage line was still great. He has topped 100 combo yards in every game this season and he has over 1000 yards from scrimmage already. Carolina is better against the run than the pass, but he can beat them either way. In a playoff blowout by the Panthers last year, Johnson still topped 125 total yards and netted nine receptions. This was particularly amazing because Andre Ellington vultured 12 touches and 83 total yards from Johnson in that game. 125-1 is a mortal lock and he is a very safe play if you want to open up the checkbook.
Devonta Freeman, Falcons vs. GB ($6500 DK, $6900 FD)
No Tevin Coleman means that Devonta Freeman will get to monopolize all the backfield touches for the Falcons this week. Green Bay has dominated some awful run offenses earlier this year, but the last two weeks they are giving up 4.8 yards per carry. That number gets worse this week as Freeman is guaranteed to top 125 total yards and score in a shootout.
Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys vs. PHI ($7200 DK, $8500 FD)
Ezekiel Elliott has also reached matchup proof status so I’m not scared of this meeting with a strong run defense. Only one team has topped 100 rushing yards against the Eagles but their two worst outings were the last two weeks including a 231-yard white washing by a Matt Jones-led, Redskins’ offense. Elliott should be able to exploit some of the holes in the Philly D, especially in the passing game. He is still safe to play and a combo platter of 110-1 is his floor.
Spencer Ware, Chiefs @ IND ($6800 DK, $7400 FD)
Every team that has faced Indianapolis has had at least 100 running back rushing yards and/or a touchdown. Jamaal Charles remains shelved due to his knee recovery leaving Spencer Ware as one of eight feature backs to hold their job all season. Ware has topped 100 total yards in all but two games this year. That number is a sure thing this week, but don’t be surprised if he tops 150 total yards in this one.
James White, Patriots @ BUF ($4800 DK, $5800 FD)
Since Tom Brady’s return, only LeVeon Bell has more receptions and receiving yards out of the backfield than James White. He also has three receiving TDs during that span. In their earlier meeting White posted 5-50 through the air with Jacoby Brissett at QB. With Brady under center, I can expect White to nearly double that and throw in a few rushing yards for good measure. Oh yeah, Buffalo just got gutted by Jay Ajayi so they may still be licking their wounds.
Devontae Booker, Broncos vs. SD ($3700 DK, $5600 FD)
Devontae Booker is the most obvious cheap play of the week and he will likely be owned by well over 50% of the teams despite the fact that everyone knows he will be chalk-squared. If you want to be contrarian you could go with Kapri Bibbs, who might steal some of Booker’s thunder, but Booker is still very safe. He has RB1 ceiling against a Chargers’ run defense that has been gouged for an average of 147 combo yards per game by opposing RBs. Of course if he has one early fumble, Bibbs could dominate the touches.
|Marvin Jones Jr.||$6,600||$7,400|
|Terrelle Pryor Sr.||$6,100||$6,900|
|Ted Ginn Jr.||$3,900||$5,600|
Weekly strategy – Julio Jones is worth every penny…but not a penny more than his price. After that, Mike Evans and Amari Cooper make great stacks with their QBs. The mid tier has more questions than answers and Demaryius Thomas and Terrelle Pryor are the only two I’m considering. Perhaps my three favorite options this week are Golden Tate, Quincy Enunwa, and (only at DK) T.Y. Montgomery. I’m likely rostering two of those three paired with one of the five more expensive guys I mention above. If you really need to dig deep for savings, don’t roster Evans, roster Russell Shepard instead.
Your Fantasy Four Pack
Julio Jones, Falcons vs. GB ($9600 DK, $9200 FD)
Green Bay has been absolutely lambasted by opposing WR1s. Alshon Jeffery is the only number-one WR to not top 70 yards against them. How bad have they been? Through six games opposing number-ones are averaging 6-101-1 against them. Julio Jones will post 120-1 here, in his sleep, making him the potential top scorer overall this week. Of course it will cost you to get them points. I’m not sure I can afford him in most of my lineups but I will have some exposure in a stack with Matty Ice.
Mike Evans, Buccaneers vs. OAK ($8100 DK, $7900 FD)
Don’t be surprised if Mike Evans actually out produces last week’s incredible line. Evans is averaging “only” 7-91-1 this year, and that is well below his floor this week. Oakland has allowed five different offenses to top 190 WR receiving yards in a game. Mike Evans has nearly as many targets as every other Tampa wide receiver combined. I am already cashing my DFS paychecks which will be paid for by his 10-135-2 line this week.
Amari Cooper, Raiders @ TB ($7600 DK, $7500 FD)
If I am going to get stack-happy at QB-WR, I need to also consider the top guy on my Derek Carr-led Raiders. Only three teams have allowed more WR touchdowns than Tampa. This includes four different teams scoring multiple WR touchdowns against them. Amari Cooper was held in check last week, but prior to that he had posted 16-267-1 over the prior two weeks. This will become a throwing fest and Cooper should top the century mark again.
Jordy Nelson, Packers @ ATL ($7200 DK, $7500 FD)
I like Aaron Rodgers so of course I’m a fan of his top WR this week. We took the opportunity to unmask Davante Adams and found that it was in fact Jordy Nelson in an Adams’ Halloween mask last week. The Falcons have allowed five different teams to top 150 WR receiving yards. This includes allowing 264 yards in a complete destruction last week by the Chargers’ WR corps. Jordy is a lock to score this week, and 7-90 sounds like a safe floor.
Golden Tate, Lions @ HOU ($5100 DK, $6300 FD)
This is yet another WR that I am pairing with a QB. Notice that I am slightly higher on Golden Tate than Marvin Jones, Jr. Take nothing away from Jones’ prospective line, but at 1.5K cheaper Tate is perhaps the better financial option. Houston has allowed an average of 152 yards per game to opposing WRs over the last four weeks. They have also allowed three WR scores over that period. As opposing defenses have started to key on Jones; Tate (and to a lesser degree Anquan Boldin) have reaped the rewards. Over the last two weeks, Tate has twice as many targets and more than double the number of receptions as Jones.
Russell Shepard, Buccaneers vs. OAK ($3300 DK, $4500 FD)
This is the contrarian alternative to Mike Evans. Russell Shepard showed last week that it would be him, not Adam Humphries that would pickup Vincent Jackson’s missing targets. At this bargain basement price you can more easily afford three high priced RBs and Rob Gronkowski too. I’m not saying that he will score another TD here but another 5-75 seems safe.
Weekly strategy – Rob Gronkowski is still low enough in price to make him playable. I will have at least one share of him, but will be able to diversify thanks to Travis Kelce’s low price. Gary Barnidge and Cameron Brate are criminally low priced and either would make a nice tight end or FLEX play if you overspent elsewhere. C.J. Fiedorowicz and Richard Rodgers are my deep dives of the week, but neither is that much cheaper than Brate or Barnidge making them both contrarian-plays at best.
Your Fantasy Four Pack
Rob Gronkowski, Patriots @ BUF ($7000 DK, $8100 FD)
Rob Gronkowski is as safe as ever this week against a Buffalo defense that he has torched repeatedly over his career. In ten career meetings, Gronk has ten touchdowns. He also has five 90+ yard performances over those games. His price still seems low when you compare his potential output to that of most of the WRs at the same price point.
Travis Kelce, Chiefs @ IND ($4900 DK, $5700 FD)
Indianapolis has allowed more than 70 yards to the tight end position in four of their last five contests. This includes a combined line of 17-210-2 over the last two weeks. With Vontae Davis shadowing Jeremy Maclin, that will leave – well frankly no one – to cover Travis Kelce (as well as the rest of the KC Offense).
Jimmy Graham, Seahawks @ NO ($6100 DK, $6700 FD)
New Orleans has struggled with covering similar large TEs recently. Both Hunter Henry and Greg Olsen posted huge games against them in the last couple weeks. Meanwhile, over their last four games, Jimmy Graham leads all Seattle skill position players in targets, receptions, receiving yards, and he is tied for the lead in receiving TDs.
Delanie Walker, Titans vs. JAX ($4700 DK, $6500 FD)
Delanie Walker has six or more targets in four of his last five games. This has allowed him to get back into the top-10 in most TE-only stat categories despite missing one game and being shut down in another. The Jaguars have actually dominated opposing TEs this season but they have only faced one tight end in Walker’s class. That tight end scored against them. I’m guessing Jacksonville gives up a “meager-by-his-standards” line such as 4-50 to Walker, but based on volume alone he still gets into the end zone.
Gary Barnidge, Browns vs. NYJ ($3300 DK, $5000 FD)
Josh McCown is back under center for Cleveland making Gary Barnidge safe to deploy once again. These two have a better connection that even E-Harmony could find. The Jets have been beat up by both Jimmy Graham and Travis Kelce this year and the TEs they have shut down are nowhere near as good as Barnidge. At This price, Barnidge may be my alternate FLEX play on DK when I don’t roster three RBs. He also makes a nice TE1 option if you want to pay up for Julio Jones.
Cameron Brate, Buccaneers vs. OAK ($3200 DK, $5200 FD)
Cameron Brate was a target hog in Weeks 3 and 4 so everyone assumed that without Vincent Jackson his targets would continue to grow. Unfortunately Jackson’s absence seems to have just added more targets to Mike Evans instead of sharing the wealth. Oakland has given up three TE touchdowns over the last three weeks. Plus, they have allowed an average of 5-59 to the position over that span.