Ok, so you probably didn’t start Deshaun Watson, DeAndre Hopkins, Russell Wilson, et al in that afternoon game. Vegas had it pegged as a middling potential score (only three games on the main slate had fewer predicted total points). Even the smartest people in the room get it wrong sometimes. Needless to say, the Houston offense had pretty much locked up matchup-proof status. Now that matchup-proof status just got pimp-slapped back into reality thanks to the evil turf-monster. The loss of Deshaun Watson basically is forcing me to re-write half of my article late Thursday. If you need me I will be in seclusion in the west wing.
Sunday Night features the new-look, Miami Dolphins hosting Oakland. Neither team is great on pass defense, so DeVante Parker, Jarvis Landry, Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree are all reasonable (but not spectacular) plays. That said, based on price, I cannot recommend Derek Carr. Jared Cook is a potential tight end play, but there are several at that same price point that I like more than him. Marshawn Lynch should return for Oakland, but aside from last week, Miami has been pretty tough against opposing RBs. Plus, DeAndre Washington probably earned a few more touches after last week. I’ll avoid both of them this week and look for better opportunities. The Raiders are worse against the run, but Miami’s offensive line is atrocious. We also don’t know how the carries will be divvied between Kenyan Drake and Damien Williams. Nevertheless, based on price and volume, I will probably have minor exposure to each of them (especially in Primetime-only slates).
Monday night features a very good offense (Detroit) versus quite possibly the worst defense in the NFC. Matthew Stafford, Ameer Abdullah, Golden Tate, Marvin Jones, T.J. Jones and even the untraded-corpse of Eric Ebron are all playable. Abdullah has the potential to have a huge game, as he will likely be running the clock in the second half. Green Bay is a dumpster fire on offense with Brett Hundley under center. Plus, Detroit actually has one premiere and one very good cornerback to shadow Jordy Nelson and Davante Adams. Randall Cobb or Martellus Bennett may be the safest plays this week for their passing game, but I’m going to avoid the entire kit and caboodle. The one player with some value for Green Bay is Aaron Jones, but game script could squash that value too. The Detroit defense may be the best option available this week based on price point. You won’t ever hear that statement again.
For those playing on FD my top kickers this week are Harrison Butker, Greg Zuerlein and Will Lutz. They are all just over $5K. If you are looking for variance, or to save some money, I’d recommend Justin Tucker or Blair Walsh.
Houston and Philadelphia are the best options at defense on the main slate. Each is $5.2K on FD and roughly $3.5K on DK. Arizona and Atlanta are each a little cheaper and could be decent fades.
Once again, I will pay up for a premium quarterback this week. Drew Brees and Dak Prescott are the two most likely to put up huge points. If I decide to punt the position, Drew Stanton, Jared Goff and Joe Flacco could have some appeal, but I doubt I will sway from the big two.
The high-priced options at running back are all just ok plays. I feel I will fade most of them this week and draft two players from this list: Adrian Peterson, Joe Mixon, Christian McCaffrey, Chris Thompson, Lamar Miller and Alfred Morris. I may also look to save even more money and go with Orleans Darkwa or Alex Collins. My biggest concern with those two is that they might be chalky based on their bargain-basement prices.
I will pair my quarterback with his number one wide receiver. Michael Thomas and Dez Bryant will both dot my lineups, often. They will be paired with two from the following list: Larry Fitzgerald, Jeremy Maclin, DeSean Jackson, Marquise Goodwin, one of the Rams’ secondary receivers or one of the Cowboys’ secondary receivers.
I am going to use my savings from the RB position to nab a top tight end this week. In addition, I will also roster my DK-FLEX Here. I very well could roster both Zach Ertz and Travis Kelce on DK. Kelce will likely be on most of my rosters. I also will have some exposure to: Jason Witten, Vernon Davis and Jimmy Graham. I will also throw out a couple (very few) lineups where I flip the script and spend big at RB, while rostering one of the Rams’ tight ends for near the league minimum.
Here are my recommendations for this week’s price range targets by position.
At DK: $7K for your choice of Dak Prescott or Drew Brees, $12K total for two of: Christian McCaffrey, Adrian Peterson, Chris Thompson, Alfred Morris or Joe Mixon, $7K for one of: Dez Bryant or Michael Thomas (to pair with our QB), $9K total for WR2 and WR3, $6.7K for Travis Kelce, up to $4.5K for another tight end or running back at DK-FLEX, and $3.6K for the Houston defense.
At FD: $8.3K for one of those top two QBs, no more than $13K for two of the above listed RBs, $8K to pair up WR1 with your QB, $13K for WR2 and WR3, $7K for Travis Kelce, and no more than $10.4K for your kicker and defense per my above recommendations (likely Harrison Butker and Houston).
Prices indicated: Red = Negative Value and Black = Acceptable Value and Green = Great Value
Weekly strategy – Dak Prescott and Drew Brees will be my primary quarterbacks. I will pair each of them with one of their WRs. I will punt very few lineups here. When I do, Jared Goff, Joe Flacco and Drew Stanton will be my cheap plays.
Your Fantasy Four Pack
Drew Brees, Saints vs. TB ($7000 DK, $8300 FD) Drew Brees’ production at home last week was mildly disappointing. He didn’t throw for a touchdown, and he fell just short of 300 yards. Nevertheless, this is the same guy who has averaged 340 passing yards per game at home since the start of 2015. Also, last week’s game was against a solid Chicago defense. The Tampa Bay defense is about as solid as chicken broth. The Buccaneers have a fair amount of defensive injuries currently. Brees will pick them apart.
Dak Prescott, Cowboys vs. Chiefs ($6700 DK, $8200 FD) Dak Prescott gets to take on a Chiefs team that has given up 12 passing touchdowns over their last five games. Prior to a dud last week, Dak was on a huge run with 14 total touchdowns over his prior four games. With Ezekiel Elliott likely out, Prescott will be forced to drive the offense. I like his chances for throwing for two scores and rushing one in as well.
Russell Wilson, Seahawks vs. WAS ($7300 DK, $8500 FD) Russell Wilson did some major damage against the Texans last week. This week, his test gets a little stiffer against a Washington defense that got Josh Norman back last week. The reason that Wilson could have a giant game this week lies at the feet of Jimmy Graham. Wilson has started to target him recently (especially in the red zone). This presents a huge problem for a Washington team that hasn’t attempted to cover a tight end since the turn of the millennium.
Alex Smith, Chiefs @ DAL ($6500 DK, $7900 FD) The Cowboys have performed better the last two weeks but they still have some holes in their secondary. Prior to their bye they had given up 11 touchdowns over a four-week span. Alex Smith has literally alternated great weeks with ok weeks. He has scored big in every odd-numbered week this season. I could see him hitting 280-2, with another 30 on the ground.
Drew Stanton, Cardinals @ SF ($4700 DK, $6400 FD) Bruce Arians had an extra week to work with Drew Stanton and attempt to get him up to speed with this offense. It certainly helps that Stanton has plenty of reliable targets to throw to. It also helps that San Francisco has plenty of unreliable targets to throw at. The Niners have allowed seven passing touchdowns over the last three weeks, and only one team has neither topped 300 yards nor thrown for multiple touchdowns against them. I think Drew will finish at about 250-2. That isn’t bad at this price on a shorter slate.
Joe Flacco, Ravens @ TEN ($4600 DK, $6800 FD) The Tennessee Titans have allowed only two passing touchdowns over their last three games. Of course, that was against three of the worst quarterbacks in the league. Prior to that, they faced some varsity teams and gave up eight touchdowns in a two-game stretch. Joe Flacco finally has some healthy wide receivers to throw to. Don’t sleep on him this week, at this price he could easily post 3x – 4x value. I especially like the stack with Jeremy Maclin.
|Todd Gurley II||$8,100||$9,100|
Weekly strategy – I don’t mind any of the top dollar RBs this week, but I don’t love any of them either. I will target my running backs from the group: Christian McCaffrey, Lamar Miller, Chris Thompson, Adrian Peterson, Alfred Morris and Joe Mixon. The only punt running backs I will consider are Alex Collins, Tevin Coleman (if Devonta Freeman does not play) and Orleans Darkwa. I expect to spend about 22% to 24% here.
Your Fantasy Four Pack
Todd Gurley, Rams @ NYG ($8100 DK, $9100 FD) The Giants have only allowed two running back rushing touchdowns this year, but they are allowing 146 combo yards per game to the position. Meanwhile, Todd Gurley has scored and/or topped 100 total yards in every game except one. On a weak slate for high-priced running backs, he is the safest play.
Christian McCaffrey, Panthers vs. ATL ($6500 DK, $6100 FD) The Panthers traded Kelvin Benjamin, and Greg Olsen is still injured. Plus, Cam Newton has been anything but accurate on long passes this season. These all add up to an even higher share of targets for Christian McCaffrey this week. Run-CMC leads the league in running back receptions, and he is second in running back receiving yards. This week he should approach double-digit receptions and triple figures in total yards. A touchdown is also in play, since only one team has allowed more running back receiving scores compared to Atlanta.
Kareem Hunt, Chiefs @ DAL ($8600 DK, $9000 FD) Kareem Hunt has watched his star dim slightly recently. He hasn’t scored a touchdown since Week 3. Plus, he finally had a game with less than 100 total yards. Not to mention, that he is averaging only 3.1 yards per carry over the last three games. Hunt’s reception volume keeps his value serviceable and Dallas has been amenable to pass-catching backs this year. He’ll reach value but not much more this week.
Lamar Miller, Texans vs. IND ($6200 DK, $7500 FD) What, me pick on Indianapolis? Why, would I do that? Oh yeah, they are allowing an average of 155-1.25 to opposing running backs this year. Lamar Miller will be very busy in the second half of this game, as Houston attempts to limit the damage that Tom Savage might cause their offense. I don’t ever count on huge yardage with Miller, but he should top 100 total yards and a score is a given.
Alfred Morris, Cowboys vs. KC ($5500 DK, $5600 FD) It would be so Jerry Jones to try to deliver a kiss-off to the league by force-feeding Alfred Morris, Ezekiel Elliott level touches. If he gets that many touches against a breakable Kansas City run defense, he will score. I’m not going to presume huge yardage because Morris has never been much of a pass-catcher. That said, he is averaging over eight yards per carry.
Joe Mixon, Bengals @ JAX ($5100 DK, $6300 FD) Jacksonville is allowing the most (138.6) total rushing yards per game. They are also allowing over 150 combo yards per game to opposing running backs. Joe Mixon still shares some touches, but since Week 3, he has 62% of the Bengals’ running back touches. This will be his statement game, making 125-1 easily attainable.
|Will Fuller V||$7,000||$7,800|
|Ted Ginn Jr.||$5,000||$5,700|
|Terrelle Pryor Sr.||$4,100||$5,300|
Weekly strategy – I will roster at least one of Dez Bryant or Michael Thomas in all of my leagues. I will also have minor exposure to Dallas and New Orleans’ secondary receivers. My WR2 and WR3 will likely be a combination of two from this list: DeSean Jackson, Larry Fitzgerald, Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods, Marquise Goodwin and Jeremy Maclin. Expect to spend about 33%-35% here this week.
Your Fantasy Four Pack
Michael Thomas, Saints vs. TB ($7200 DK, $7600 FD) I mentioned above about the injuries in the Tampa Bay secondary. These put all three of the Saints starting wide receivers into consideration. Michael Thomas has 77 yards or more in five of his last six. Unfortunately, he has only two touchdowns to show for it. Thomas faced Tampa only once last year, but he posted a very good 6-98. That is repeatable, with the added boost of a touchdown.
Mike Evans, Buccaneers @ NO ($7700 DK, $8500 FD) New Orleans may have found a legitimate number one corner in Marshon Lattimore. Nevertheless, Mike Evans has made himself matchup-proof. The only teams to shut him down were the Panthers, the Vikings, and the Patriots (using double-coverage nearly the entire game). He still averaged nearly 6-60 in those “struggling” games. His numbers might be a little down this week, but I still like him for 7-70 and maybe a score. His running mate, DeSean Jackson, on the other hand is guaranteed to score.
Dez Bryant, Cowboys vs. KC ($6400 DK, $7700 FD) Opposing WR1 have averaged 5.8-99-1 against Kansas City this season. They have scored in five of the eight games, and none have been held under 60 yards. Dez Bryant will be targeted more often (especially in the red zone) with Ezekiel Elliott out. He already has scores in four of his last six games. That number will go up one this week.
Tyreek Hill, Chiefs @ DAL ($6700 DK, $7700 FD) Dallas has allowed nine wide receiver touchdowns over their last six games. Their secondary is still under-manned and realistically they have no one that can keep up with Tyreek Hill. Hill has under-performed recently, but this week he should get back on his horse with nearly 100 combo yards and a score.
Ted Ginn, Saints vs. TB ($5000 DK, $5700 FD) I actually feel almost as strong about the New Orleans’ stack involving Ted Ginn as I do about Michael Thomas. Fact is Drew Brees will throw multiple scores this week. Ginn has averaged 92 yards the last three weeks, thanks mainly to a couple long bombs. Shorthanded as it is, this secondary is primed to be taken over the top.
Jeremy Maclin, Ravens @ TEN ($4000 DK, $6300 FD) Jeremy Maclin has scored in three of the six games he has played in. It is almost the opposite of his time in Kansas City, where he got lots of yards but no touchdowns. Meanwhile, only two teams have allowed more receiving touchdowns to opposing wide receivers than Tennessee. For the few lineups where I spend up at RB, I will definitely consider stacking Joe Flacco and Maclin.
Weekly strategy – It is not very often I spend up at tight end. This week is the exception. Most of my lineups will have Travis Kelce. I will also have solid representation by both Jimmy Graham and Zach Ertz. To save a bit of money, I might choose Jason Witten, Jack Doyle or Vernon Davis. I will likely also choose my DK-FLEX from that six-some. Because I am always interested in variance, at least one of my lineups will have me spend up for Kareem Hunt or Todd Gurley at RB1 paired with one of the Rams’ tight ends (probably Tyler Higbee) for basically league minimum.
Your Fantasy Four Pack
Travis Kelce, Chiefs @ DAL ($6700 DK, $7000 FD) Travis Kelce leads all tight ends in receptions and receiving yards, and he is third in touchdowns. This week he faces a Dallas team that has been pretty solid against opposing tight ends, but that hasn’t truly been tested yet. Kelce should approach his season averages of 6-70 and I like him to score for the third week in a row.
Zach Ertz, Eagles vs. DEN ($6800 DK, $7600 FD) Denver is beatable by tight ends. Despite playing only seven games, only one team has allowed more yards to the position. They have also surrendered scores in four of their last six. Zach Ertz has scored and/or topped eighty yards in every game this season. The only thing potentially keeping him away from that line this week is a hamstring injury which popped up on the injury report Thursday. Keep an eye on his status as we get closer to game time. If he goes, he is money.
Jimmy Graham, Seahawks vs. WAS ($5000 DK, $6200 FD) The only team allowing more total yards to tight ends than Denver is Washington. So how do they get rewarded? A matchup with Jimmy Graham, of course. Graham will toy with this defense and drop at least two easy touchdown passes, before securing at least one that actually counts.
Jason Witten, Cowboys vs. KC ($4600 DK, $5900 FD) Kansas City has run hot and cold versus tight ends this year. Week 1, they held Rob Gronkowski in check, but then they got beat by Zach Ertz. Week 3, they held Hunter Henry in check, and then they got beat up by both Washington and Houston. They then held Jesse James in check, only to be clobbered by Oakland and scored upon by Denver. Jason Witten will likely garner a lot of the short passes that previously went to Ezekiel Elliott. That makes him a solid play in all formats at this price.
Ed Dickson, Panthers vs. ATL ($3100 DK, $4900 FD) It is a rough slate for lower and middling tight ends. That said, someone has to catch the ball in Carolina, and Greg Olsen isn’t ready yet. Ed Dickson is already averaging just under six targets per game, if that number goes up his reception count alone puts him in play.
Tyler Higbee, Rams @ NYG ($2800 DK, $4500 FD) / Gerald Everett, Rams @ NYG ($2600 DK, $4500 FD) Gerald Everett got more targets at the start of the season and Tyler Higbee has seen more recently. Either of these two makes a great league-minimum dumpster play this week, in a stack with Jared Goff. The Giants have given up at least one tight end touchdown in every game. Heck, they both might score.