Well did you survive Thanksgiving Thursday with the family? Surely the football games provided some relief from the political bickering, kid wrangling, and whatever that green gelatinous goo was that Aunt Melba brought over. Perhaps you even woke from your tryptophan-induced coma to find yourself sitting in the money on one of the DFS sites. You would have if you read my Turkey Day Domination article earlier this week. As for last week, let us just say that weather had its way with a few of our matchups. Always make sure to double and triple check Sunday morning, to make sure that your QBs and WRs aren’t playing in 40 MPH winds. This goes for kickers obviously too, although Chris Boswell was one of the most effective last week, despite the gale-force winds.
If you are playing in Monday night contests, we get to see a young cock-sure QB pick apart an awful pass defense. If this was two years ago, you’d assume that young QB was Aaron Rodgers. Unfortunately for the Green and Gold, Rodgers has grown older and is frankly tired of being the Pack’s Atlas. The Packers lack any semblance of a running game, although Christine Michael may get his first action of the year with the team. Everyone else they trotted out there this year was so bad that Michael may look serviceable in comparison. I’m still not advocating starting him however, since the Pack will inexcusably continue to give snaps to James Starks as well. I can’t even recommend Rodgers and the passing game since Philly is allowing only 9.5 PPG at home. In addition, they have given up only TWO passing touchdowns at home all season. The only Packer that I would even consider touching this week would be Mason Crosby on FD. Carson Wentz has slowed down considerably since his early season heroics, but he still is producing adequate DFS lines. If there was ever a week to strongly consider him as a punt play, it would be this week versus a defense that has allowed 153 points over their last four games. Jordan Matthews has double-digit targets in each of the last four weeks making him the safest WR to stack with Wentz. Zach Ertz is also potentially deployable since Green Bay has allowed 29-355-2 to the TE position over the last four games.
For those playing on FD, I recommend targeting: Josh Lambo, Matt Bryant, Chandler Catanzaro, and Greg Zuerlein at kicker. Those games present the highest scoring potential for kickers as they are each facing a kicker-friendly defense. Plus each of those four are kicking in a location where weather should not be a factor. Bryant is the only one above 4.7K and even then he is only 5.1K.
At defense, the four most intriguing options: Buffalo, the Giants, Miami, and Baltimore all are over 3K on DK. I’m likely going to pivot off of them and go for the discounted price Tennessee Titans versus a sub-collegiate-level, Matt Barkley. The Titans are 2.8K on DK and 4.5K on FD. The price isn’t that far apart for each of these teams on FD, where only Miami is above 5K, so on that site I will be more open to mixing and matching.
Tom Brady and Drew Brees both have favorable matchups but each has a very high price tag. I’ll likely avoid them since Cam Newton, Russell Wilson, Derek Carr, and even Eli Manning are cheaper and have equally sexy matchups. Carson Palmer is the obvious cheap option here, but behind him is a barren wasteland that you should avoid.
A couple of the top RBs are going on Thursday, leaving David Johnson and Jay Ajayi as the only premiere running backs with an elite matchup. I will likely have representation of one of them but not both. There are quite a few mid-priced (Thomas Rawls, Doug Martin, Rashad Jennings, and Carlos Hyde) and bargain-basement options (Chris Ivory, Isaiah Crowell, and Jeremy Hill), so I will pair those guys with one of the top two and throw in a third for my FLEX on DK.
I’m looking to skip most of the top-priced WRs. Only Odell Beckham has a marginally favorable matchup, and I’m slightly concerned that he will be shadowed by Joe Haden. Both, Amari Cooper and Allen Robinson, have some appeal, but the next tier all have higher upsides. I might have some exposure to those two, but will likely have more shares of guys like: Julian Edelman, Doug Baldwin, and Larry Fitzgerald. I’m not sure how much more Rishard Matthews has to do to see his price rise. Matthews along with DeVante Parker and Tyler Boyd are woefully underpriced and can make a gorgeous (albeit popular) WR2/WR3 combo.
This week at TE I’m using some of my WR dollar savings to buy one of my top three options: Delanie Walker, Jimmy Graham, and Greg Olsen. Jermaine Gresham and Will Tye are my punt options but I doubt I’ll need to go there since I have saved a fair amount of money at RB and WR.
Here are my recommendations for this week’s price range targets by position.
At DK: 6-7K at QB, 8.9K for David Johnson and 5.6K for Rashad Jennings, plus 4-5K for a DK FLEX, no more than 7K for WR1 and 10K combined for a pair from Matthews, Parker, and Boyd (or equivalent WR2/WR3 types), 5-6K for your choice of premium TE, and 3-3.6K for a defense.
At FD: 8K or less at QB, 9.5K for Johnson, and 6.5K for your choice of RB2 (I’m still leaning Jennings), 7K or less at WR1, and 12K combined for a pair from Matthews, Parker, and Boyd, 6-7K for a top tier TE, and less than 10K combined for kicker and defense of your choice.
Prices indicated: Red = Negative Value and Black = Acceptable Value and Green = Great Value
Weekly strategy – I’ll do one lineup each with Drew Brees and Tom Brady, but will pivot away from them on most of my lineup cards. I will also have a few shares of Carson Palmer based on his price. That said, I have the money to spend up here, so I will roster mainly: Russell Wilson, Cam Newton, and Derek Carr. By price default Palmer is the only possible punt play, however if I’m really pinched I could roll a couple lineups out with Colin Kaepernick or Ryan Tannehill – but I seriously doubt I’ll invest much (if anything) on them.
Your Fantasy Four Pack
Tom Brady, Patriots @ NYJ ($7800 DK, $9100 FD)
The New York Jets are awful against the pass and very good against the run. This suggests that Tom Brady should be able to do some serious damage against them. He fared well last week against an awful defense despite having half of his weapons injured. Some of them are bound to be healthy this week, right??? Plus, you know Brady and Bill Belichick want to pick on Darrelle Revis.
Cam Newton, Panthers @ OAK ($6800 DK, $7800 FD)
Cam Newton is starting to get confident about carrying the ball again following his early season injury. He won’t need to run the ball a lot this week but consider his rushing numbers gravy. This game has the second highest line on the Sunday schedule, and neither team’s defense is any good against the pass. If Newton doesn’t throw for 300-2 here, he won’t do it anywhere anymore.
Drew Brees, Saints vs. LAR ($7100 DK, $8600 FD)
Drew Brees is super-human at home. Only once since Week 8 of last season has Brees not thrown for three or more TDs at the Superdome. The Rams have allowed zero or one passing TDs six different times this year, but they won’t be able to stop the Brees from blowing.
Russell Wilson, Seahawks @ TB ($6700 DK, $7500 FD)
Tampa Bay has allowed multiple passing TDs in six different games and they rank eighth in passing yards allowed. Russell Wilson has accounted for eight total TDs over the last three weeks. He should be safe for a floor of 275-2 with a small amount of rushing yards too.
Carson Palmer, Cardinals @ ATL ($5300 DK, $7100 FD)
Atlanta has allowed the second-most passing yards and second-most passing TDs per game to opposing QBs. Carson Palmer has been battered and beaten into oblivion recently but Atlanta lacks a pass rush so he should have time in the pocket. At this price, he will be hard to ignore. Of course that also means he will be very chalky.
Colin Kaepernick, 49ers @ MIA ($5700 DK, $7200 FD)
With a severe lack of cheap talent at the QB position this week, this matchup is probably the least disinteresting. Colin Kaepernick should be able to gain yards on the ground against one of the worst run defenses in the league. The Dolphins also have (statistically speaking) a good pass defense. That said, the only two decent QBs they have faced since Week 5 each threw for three TDs against them. Kaepernick is borderline decent so I feel he should safely gain two total scores and probably close to 300 total yards.
|Duke Johnson Jr.||$3,600||$4,900|
Weekly strategy – I’ll be spending up for one of David Johnson or Jay Ajayi in each of my lineups. They will be paired with Rashad Jennings, Doug Martin, or Carlos Hyde. I may also have a slight exposure to Melvin Gordon and Spencer Ware as RB1 (but not a lot). My DK FLEX will likely be Chris Ivory, Isaiah Crowell, or Jeremy Hill, although if I have the money I might add a second from that middle tier.
Your Fantasy Four Pack
David Johnson, Cardinals @ ATL ($8900 DK, $9500 FD)
The Falcons have only allowed nine RB rushing TDs this year, but seven of those have come in their last five games. They are also far and away the worst team in the league in terms of RB receptions and receiving yards allowed. David Johnson is able to destroy you both on the ground and through the air. I fully expect him to score at least twice here while piling up six receptions and a total of roughly 150 yards.
Jay Ajayi, Dolphins vs. SF ($7600 DK, $8400 FD)
The 49ers have allowed the most total rushing yards and most rushing TDs to opposing RBs. Only twice all year have they allowed fewer than 130 RB rushing yards in a game, and five different times they have allowed opposing backs to top 170 yards on the ground. Jay Ajayi has already proved (on a couple occasions) that he is capable of racking up huge yardage. 150 total yards and a TD should be a floor for Ajayi this week.
Melvin Gordon, Chargers @ HOU ($7000 DK, $8200 FD)
The Texans have been fairly tough to run against this year. That said they were just absolutely abused by the Raiders’ pass-catching backs last week. Melvin Gordon has been Mr. Automatic at scoring TDs, so I’m not concerned about that (he’ll get his at some point this week). What I’m most excited about is what type of damage he will be able to do through the air. Over the last four weeks he has averaged 5-56 through the air. This has helped boost his per game average to 167 total yards per game over that span. He won’t have that many yards this week, but 125-1 is a safe floor.
Spencer Ware, Falcons @ DEN ($6100 DK, $7000 FD)
The Denver Broncos do not allow anything through the air to good QBs. Alex Smith might finish with less than 150 passing yards in this game. Denver on the other hand, has been very beatable on the ground. Only eight teams are allowing more than the 4.4 yards per carry that they have allowed. Both Jamaal Charles and Charcandrick West scored as the respective featured backs against the Broncos last year. That was when they were good against the run. They aren’t anymore. Ware will likely top 100 yards and a score is a sure thing.
Rashad Jennings, Giants @ CLE ($5600 DK, $6600 FD)
Just like the end of last season, Rashad Jennings has re-emerged as the gang leader of the Giants’ RBBC. He has topped 100 combo yards in each of his last two games as he has faced reasonably bad run defenses. This week he faces an even worse run defense, one that has allowed at least one RB rushing TD in nine of eleven games. They are also allowing the third-most yards per carry and each of the last five teams to face them have topped 100 running back rushing yards against them. Jennings will top 125 total yards this week and cement himself as the back to own for the Giants heading towards your fantasy playoffs.
Carlos Hyde, 49ers @ MIA ($4800 DK, $6800 FD)
The Dolphins have allowed only four RB rushing TDs this year, but three of them have come in their last four games. They are also allowing the third-most rushing yards per game. Carlos Hyde proved last week that if he was healthy he would be the featured element in the 49ers offense. His 19 touches were five times more than their second RB and his three catches tied for the team lead. Game script doesn’t even come into play as Hyde will be the primary ball handler whether San Francisco is down 30 or up (yeah I know SF is never up). Miami is one of the few teams that San Fran can stay with from an offensive standpoint; this could be Hyde’s best statistical performance of the season.
|Odell Beckham Jr.||$8,800||$9,000|
|Steve Smith Sr.||$6,000||$6,300|
|Terrelle Pryor Sr.||$5,600||$6,900|
|Ted Ginn Jr.||$3,900||$5,200|
Weekly strategy – As I mentioned above Rishard Matthews, Davante Parker, or Tyler Boyd will be in pretty much every one of my lineups. I will then pair a couple of them with one of the following: Larry Fitzgerald, Kelvin Benjamin, Julian Edelman, Doug Baldwin, or Steve Smith. I may also choose to go cheaper at RB1 (Melvin Gordon or Spencer Ware) and roster two from this group instead of Boyd. There are a couple decent punt-options here (Including Boyd) but none, other than him, that I feel the need to chase.
Your Fantasy Four Pack
Odell Beckham, Jr., Giants @ CLE ($8800 DK, $9000 FD)
I’m certainly a little concerned about him being shadowed by Joe Haden, but if Odell Beckham can even sniff a bit of freedom from the Iron Haden, he should brutalize the Browns’ other CBs. After all, this team has allowed multiple WR touchdowns in six different games. The price tag is high enough that I’m not going to have a ton of ownership here, but I might sneak him into one or two lineups (perhaps in a stack with Eli Manning).
Amari Cooper, Raiders vs. CAR ($7700 DK, $7800 FD)
Amari Cooper’s ownership on my teams is growing as I type this. If not for his inconsistency and prior back issues, I might be inclined to give him a GREEN rating this week. At the very least, he will be part of a few stacks for me with Derek Carr. The Panthers have allowed ten WR touchdowns over the last seven weeks. Cooper and Michael Crabtree will split two this week. I’m just not sure who gets how many between them.
Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals @ ATL ($7000 DK, $7200 FD)
Atlanta has been brutal against opposing WRs. Only three teams have allowed more WR touchdowns this year. Prior to holding the inept Eagles WR corps in check last week, Atlanta gave up 58-732-7 to opposing wide receivers over their prior three games. Larry Fitzgerald has been the most effective receiving option for the Cardinals this year. He has 50 more targets than the next closest WR on their roster. Plus, he has 2.5 times as many receptions and nearly twice as many receiving yards as the next closest WR on their roster. Fitz will score and top 100 yards in this game. I’ll even make the bold prediction that he finishes with the most WR fantasy points of anyone this week.
Allen Robinson, Jaguars @ BUF ($7200 DK, $7400 FD)
Buffalo has been just “Meh” against opposing WRs this year. They haven’t given up a ton of TDs, but they have allowed more than 150 yards to the position in every game except two. Allen Robinson has gotten himself back on track recently scoring in three straight. That kind of consistency is nice since he struggled earlier this year. You had to know the turnaround was coming though, since he has been targeted on average more than ten times per game.
(Note – I’m not going to list Rishard Matthews here since he is no longer a sleeper in my mind – despite the sites not raising his price)
DeVante Parker, Dolphins vs. SF ($4700 DK, $6300 FD)
Over the last two weeks, DeVante Parker ranks eighth overall in receiving yards and ninth in receptions. Not to mention, that only ten WRs have been more frequently targeted over that span. San Francisco has allowed multiple WR touchdowns in every game but two since Week 2 of this year. This includes, them allowing a ridiculous 65-859-7 to the position over their last four games.
Tyler Boyd, Bengals @ BAL ($4000 DK, $5600 FD)
Tyler Boyd was forced to step into A.J. Green’s very large shoes last week and he fared alright. He isn’t going to approach 150 yards like Green can on any given Sunday, but he could post a serviceable 8-80-1. That wouldn’t be bad at this price. Just be careful because he does smell somewhat chalky this week against a Baltimore pass defense that has allowed the second most WR touchdowns this season.
Weekly strategy – I’m gonna have some money to spend up here so I will roster Greg Olsen, Delanie Walker, or Jimmy Graham on most of my rosters. C.J. Fiedorowicz and Dennis Pitta are my only two money-saving options and Will Tye and Jermaine Gresham are my only punt options.
Your Fantasy Four Pack
Jimmy Graham, Seahawks @ TB ($5300 DK, $6900 FD)
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been awful against TEs recently. They have allowed an average of 5-71-0.75 to the position over the last four games. Meanwhile, Jimmy Graham has reemerged as one of the best TEs in the league. He currently ranks second in total receiving yards and TDs amongst the position.
Delanie Walker, Titans @ CHI ($4900 DK, $6100 FD)
Delanie Walker is averaging over 60 yards per game and he has scored in half of his starts this year. His performance has certainly been boosted by the improved play of Marcus Mariota. Chicago has some holes in their defense right now and it has led to them allowing TE scores in back-to-back games while they have attempted to shut down opposing #1 WRs. At this price owning Walker should be illegal since he will out produce most of the expensive WRs.
Greg Olsen, Panthers @ OAK ($5800 DK, $7000 FD)
Oakland has been historically bad against opposing TEs. This year only five teams have allowed more TDs to the position. In addition, Monday night, Houston became the third team to top 100 yards with the position against them. Greg Olsen leads all TEs in targets, receptions, and yards. Unfortunately he has scored only three times this year. He also has been in a recent slump. Fortunately for him, Oakland is notoriously a slump-buster.
Antonio Gates, Chargers @ HOU ($4200 DK, $6000 FD)
Houston has been pretty good this year against TEs. That said, over the last few weeks, a couple “big” tight ends: Eric Ebron, Julius Thomas, and Jack Doyle have all had success against them. Antonio Gates is the original “big” TE. He also has scored in three straight games while Philip Rivers continues his effort to get Gates the TD record. He’ll get one step closer this week.
C.J. Fiedorowicz, Texans vs. SD ($3300 DK, $5200 FD)
The other TE in this contest, C.J. Fiedorowicz, has been very active of recent as well. Since Week 4, only three TEs have more targets than C.J. He is also averaging 4.7-54 over that period with all three of his scores coming during that span as well. The only quality TE that San Diego has kept under wraps is Coby Fleener (and you can make the argument that he isn’t quality either). All the decent TE groups they have faced have scored and/or topped 80 yards. Fiedorowicz will likely have another 5-70 type game with a solid chance at getting into the end zone.
Will Tye, Giants @ CLE ($3000 DK, $4600 FD)
We already have two ties this year, but this game is another opportunity to unleash the threat of a Tye. Will Tye has been targeted 20 times over the last three weeks as opponents have attempted to take out Odell Beckham. He hasn’t lit the world on fire during this period but it is pertinent to know that Eli Manning is intent on getting him the ball. The numbers should be easier to come by this week, since Cleveland has allowed the most yards, receptions, and TDs to the position.