As much fun as I have had with the two major sites this season, I would be amiss if I didn’t give a shout out to Fanball.com. Over the last two weeks, I have several big wins at their site. The format is the same as DK or FD, but they have smaller prizes and smaller pools of players. They also dramatically limit the number of entries in their GPPs, which keeps the 100+ lineup bots at bay.
Sunday Night features a potential high-scoring divisional matchup between Dallas and Philadelphia. The only players I fear using in this game are LeGarrette Blount, Alfred Morris and the two defenses. Otherwise, it is fair game and I heartily encourage you to include any other members of either offense.
Monday night has lesser point potential than Sunday. That said, there are still some players to target. Tevin Coleman is a Primetime-only slate free space this week. The passing game for Atlanta is also in play with Richard Sherman out and Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas both less than 100% for the Seahawks. Nevertheless, I won’t have huge usage of Matt Ryan or Russell Wilson simply because the Sunday QB options are that much better. Still, Julio Jones, gets a bump in value with Sherman out. Amazingly, I like Austin Hooper as a better play than Jimmy Graham this week. That said, Graham isn’t an awful play by any stretch of the imagination. Finally, no one else will be on this, but I like Atlanta as the best defense option on the Primetime-only slate.
For those playing on FD my top kickers this week are Stephen Gostkowski and Greg Zuerlein. They are both just a hair over $5K. The only cheaper options that I am somewhat excited about are: Kai Forbath, Nick Rose and Josh Lambo. Each of them are between $4.6K and $4.8K. So, the savings ae really pretty low.
Kansas City and Jacksonville are the top options at defense on the main slate. Jacksonville will be chalk even at a very high price, and rightfully so. Kansas City is much cheaper on DK than FD, so I will have more exposure to them on the DK site. Two cheaper options that I will use for variance are the Chargers and Lions. You can save $1.3K on FD by fading Jacksonville and playing the Chargers. That could come in handy.
Fan Duel makes it easy on the QB position this week with Carson Wentz and Dak Prescott in play. On DK, it will be much tougher, as Tom Brady and Derek Carr are the only upper-echelon quarterbacks most likely to outproduce their price tag. Alex Smith and Matthew Stafford are solid plays this week, but neither is likely to wow us with their point total. I feel if I don’t go for Brady, Wentz, Dak or Carr, I will just punt and throw out Blake Bortles, Eli Manning, Jay Cutler or even Blaine Gabbert.
I will likely pay up at running back again this week. The big four that I will target from are: Kareem Hunt, Melvin Gordon, Jay Ajayi (On FD) and Jordan Howard. I could easily roster two of them and then target my DK-FLEX from this list: Kenyan Drake, Orleans Darkwa, Duke Johnson, Isaiah Crowell, Ameer Abdullah, Marshawn Lynch, Samaje Perrine, one of the Baltimore backs or one of the New England backs. To save money, I might take just one from the top four and pair them with one of those secondary options.
The prices are not as high at WR this week. That supports my wish to spend up at running back. I will target WRs from the following teams: New England, Oakland, Dallas, Philadelphia, Miami, Baltimore, Jacksonville and Detroit. My favorite plays this week are: Brandin Cooks, Michael Crabtree, Jarvis Landry, Sterling Shepard and Jeremy Maclin. They will make up the backbone of most of my rosters. I will also have some WR3 – punt exposure to Dontrelle Inman and Bruce Ellington.
Simply put – play Travis Kelce at ALL costs this week. The only three players I will diversify with (and then very seldom) are: Zach Ertz, Tyler Kroft and Marcedes Lewis.
Here are my recommendations for this week’s price range targets by position.
At DK: $5.5K for your choice of Blake Bortles, Eli Manning, Jay Cutler or Blaine Gabbert; up to $14.5K total for two of: Kareem Hunt, Melvin Gordon, Jordan Howard and (perhaps) LeSean McCoy; $4.8K for Orleans Darkwa or Kenyan Drake as DK-FLEX; $15K for three WRs as detailed above; $7.3K for Travis Kelce; and $3K for the Chargers’ defense.
At FD: $8.7K for Carson Wentz, Tom Brady or Dak Prescott; up to $16K for two of Hunt, Gordon, Howard, Ajayi and McCoy; $18.5K for three WRs as detailed above; $7.5K for Travis Kelce, and no more than $9.5K for both your kicker and defense.
Prices indicated: Red = Negative Value and Black = Acceptable Value and Green = Great Value
Weekly strategy – On DK, I will likely punt this position and start one of: Blake Bortles, Eli Manning, Jay Cutler, Joe Flacco or Blaine Gabbert. On FD, I will do the opposite and pay up for Tom Brady, Dak Prescott or Carson Wentz.
Your Fantasy Four Pack
Tom Brady, Patriots @ OAK ($7400 DK, $8600 FD)
The Oakland defense is starting to get healthy again, but they are still not 100%. Even at 100%, this defense would struggle against Tom Brady. Over the last three weeks, Oakland has allowed seven passing touchdowns. Meanwhile, Tom Brady threw another three touchdowns last week. This gives him 19 passing touchdowns for the year, which ties for second-most in the league.
Carson Wentz, Eagles @ DAL ($XXXX DK, $8700 FD)
Speaking of passing touchdowns, Carson Wentz leads the league with 23. This includes a ridiculous 17 over the past five weeks. He should have no problem throwing for another trio in a shootout against this mediocre secondary. Dallas is already allowing the eighth-most passing touchdowns per game. That number should get worse for them this week.
Dak Prescott, Cowboys vs. PHI ($XXXX DK, $8500 FD)
This game will be a shootout both ways. If Carson Wentz is going to go bananas, then Dak Prescott will have to throw just as much to keep up. It will help that he doesn’t have Ezekiel Elliott to feed repeatedly. He will even get a boost in the red zone, where he might get more opportunities to run one in. Last year, Dak faced Philadelphia twice. In the first game, he netted three total touchdowns. In the second game, he only played a couple series before getting a rest for the postseason. Playing a full game, Prescott should get three scores again.
Derek Carr, Raiders vs. NEP ($6400 DK, $8000 FD)
It is clear by our top four projected point getters at QB, that this is the week for shootouts. Derek Carr has the tools and weapons to stay tit-for-tat with the Patriots. He also has the home-field advantage which cannot be overlooked. The Patriots have played stronger against the pass the last three weeks, but they still rank last in yards allowed per game.
Eli Manning, Giants vs. KC ($5700 DK, $6500 FD)
Eli Manning gets to face a pass defense that has been repeatedly burned in recent weeks. In the last six weeks, they have allowed multiple passing scores in four games. Eli Manning has fared better with the return of Sterling Shepard. Eli has two passing scores in each of those two games. With two beatable defenses facing off, this could devolve into a shootout as well.
Blaine Gabbert, Cardinals @ HOU ($4900 DK, $6000 FD)
The Houston Texans are getting thrown over, around, and through. In their last three games, they have given up an average of 385-3 to opposing quarterbacks. This wasn’t against Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, and Drew Brees. This was against Jacoby Brissett, Russell Wilson (minus half his offensive line) and Jared Goff. I cannot honestly predict 385-3 for Blaine Gabbert, but considering his price and his weapons, I’d be happy with 285-2.
|Todd Gurley II||$8,400||$8,700|
|Duke Johnson Jr.||$4,400||$5,600|
Weekly strategy – There are five high-priced running backs that I will mix and match to outfit most of my lineups: Melvin Gordon, Kareem Hunt, LeSean McCoy, Jay Ajayi and Jordan Howard. I will also have some exposure to both Orleans Darkwa and Kenyan Drake. They will also feature heavily in my DK-FLEX slots. The other cheaper options that I will consider for the FLEX include: Marshawn Lynch, Duke Johnson, Isaiah Crowell, Alex Collins, Buck Allen, Samaje Perrine, Ameer Abdullah, Dion Lewis or Rex Burkhart. With the DK-FLEX in play here, expect to spend about 39% here on DK. On FD, you will be about 27% committed here.
Your Fantasy Four Pack
Kareem Hunt, Chiefs @ NYG ($8000 DK, $8600 FD)
Only two teams are allowing more rushing yards per game than the Giants. Plus, they have allowed three running back rushing scores in their last two games. Kareem Hunt should finally get back in the scoring column this week. It is about time after being held out the last six games.
Melvin Gordon, Chargers vs. BUF ($7600 DK, $7800 FD)
I think we need to give Melvin Gordon a Mulligan for last week. Austin Ekeler is not an every down back. He is however a serviceable fill-in when Gordon is hurt or struggling. The job still belongs to Gordon, and this week the job is almost as sexy as my job as beer taster. Buffalo just got scorched by New Orleans allowing five touchdowns to Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara. Before that, they gave up 181-2 to the trio of Jets’ running backs. Ekeler will get a couple of touches and maybe score this week, but Gordon will blow up the stat sheet and score multiple times.
Mark Ingram, Saints vs. WAS ($8100 DK, $8200 FD)
Mark Ingram is red hot. He has scored six touchdowns in his last five games and he is averaging 114 combo yards per game over that stretch. Touchdowns could be easy to come by this week since, Washington has allowed five rushing touchdowns over their last five games.
LeSean McCoy, Bills @ LAC ($7800 DK, $8000 FD)
LeSean McCoy gets to be even more the focal point of the Buffalo offense now that Tyrod Taylor is out. He doesn’t even have to worry about Tyrod vulturing him at the stripe. Nathan Peterman had only five rushing touchdowns his entire collegiate career. His presence under center will mean that within the green zone, every touch will go to McCoy. Of course, first the Bills have to get to the green zone (or the red zone for that matter). The Chargers have been atrocious this season allowing nearly 175 combo yards per game to opposing running backs. The Bills would be wise to feed McCoy from every point on the field.
Orleans Darkwa, Giants vs. KC ($4800 DK, $5900 FD)
Kansas City has allowed running back rushing scores in four straight games while allowing 133 yards per game on the ground to the position. Meanwhile, Orleans Darkwa has been steady. He has averaged 5.3 yards per carry over the last five games. Eli Manning tends to throw the ball near the stripe, so I cannot predict a touchdown. That said, Darkwa should have one of his best rushing days this year.
Kenyan Drake, Dolphins vs. TB ($4800 DK, $5600 FD)
Kenyan Drake has the fourth-most rushing yards over the last two weeks. He is averaging just under 9.5 yards per carry during this span. Drake should see that average drop slightly (because it is unsustainable) not because of Tampa’s defense. The Buccaneers are allowing 141 combo yards per game to opposing running backs. They also have given up nine running back scores.
|Marvin Jones Jr.||$5,600||$6,700|
|Ted Ginn Jr.||$4,800||$5,600|
|Terrelle Pryor Sr.||$3,200||$4,700|
Weekly strategy – I will be more diversified here this week than in recent weeks. Most of my rosters will feature two of: Michael Crabtree, Brandin Cooks, Jeremy Maclin, Davante Parker, Jarvis Landry, and Sterling Shepard. I will then mix and match in backup WRs from Jacksonville, Detroit, New England and Arizona for my WR3. I will also consider using Dontrelle Inman or Bruce Ellington as a punt WR3, if I need to save some money. On both sites, be ready to drop 30% of your dollars here.
Your Fantasy Four Pack
Tyreek Hill, Chiefs @ NYG ($7100 DK, $7600 FD)
Over the last four games, the New York Giants have allowed an average of 215 yards per game to opposing wide receivers. They have also allowed six wide receiver scores over that period, including scores to speed receivers: Robert Woods and Marquise Goodwin the past two weeks. Tyreek Hill is a speed freak in his own right. With zero interest in covering the opposition, the Giants’ secondary will get burned yet again.
Brandin Cooks, Patriots @ OAK ($6600 DK, $7700 FD)
As mentioned above, Oakland’s secondary is still not 100%. If they remain shorthanded, they will struggle to cover all of the Patriots’ weapons. Brandin Cooks is the downfield threat for New England. With Chris Hogan likely out, Cooks will need to have another huge week. I feel that this will be his best week of the season.
Dez Bryant, Cowboys vs. PHI ($XXXX DK, $7400 FD)
Ignoring the Week 16 game last year when Dez Bryant only played 18 snaps, Bryant has averaged 5.5-99.8 since 2012 against the Eagles. He also has nine touchdowns in those eight games. Philly’s secondary was gored by every WR group other than the 49ers. In what will be a shootout in primetime, the Dez-Dak stack smells like money to me.
Sterling Shepard, Giants vs. KC ($6300 DK, $6500 FD)
So it seems, that all we had to do was name Sterling Shepard the #1 wide receiver for the Giants, and get him fully healthy, and then sit back and collect fat stacks of cash. Shepard (being the only wide receiver option remaining in New York) has the fourth-most targets, the second-most receptions and the second-most receiving yards of any wide receiver over the last two weeks. He is a guaranteed scorer this week since the Chiefs have allowed the most-WR touchdowns this year. That includes five to #1 WRs, as well as five different games with multiple WR touchdowns scored against them.
Jeremy Maclin, Ravens @ GB ($4500 DK, $6000 FD)
Over the last three games, only one team has allowed more passing yards per game than the Pack. This sets up nicely for Jeremy Maclin because he is the only reliable receiver on the Ravens. Maclin leads all Ravens’ wide receivers in every significant fantasy stat despite missing two-plus games due to injury.
John Brown, Cardinals vs. HOU ($4200 DK, $5700 FD)
John Brown is battling some back issues now, but assuming he is good to go come Sunday he makes a studly play versus Houston’s sorry pass defense. If this Brown cannot go, you could always start the other Brown – Jaron or J.J. Nelson. Houston’ s problems have been primarily with #2 WRs. The Texans are allowing an average of 87 yards per game to #2 WRs, and they have given up six touchdowns to this position. Whoever lines up opposite Larry Fitzgerald to start this game is as good as gold.
Weekly strategy – Travis Kelce. Possibly, Zach Ertz (on FD) for variance.
Your Fantasy Four Pack
Travis Kelce, Chiefs @ NYG ($7300 DK, $7500 FD)
The Giants are the Free Space on your DFS Bingo Card. Plug and play, even though this week the cost is a little more, so plug and pay. If you play him here, he is chalk and he will score. If you don’t play him to be contrarian, he will still score and you will be way behind the rest of the pack.
Zach Ertz, Eagles @ DAL ($XXXX DK, $8000 FD)
To avoid falling too far behind everyone else, the only other truly safe play would be Zach Ertz. Dallas has given up touchdowns to opposing tight ends in back-to-back games. The issue here is that Ertz was dinged up the last couple weeks. All signs point to him playing, but as a Sunday Night game if he doesn’t play you’re going to have to swap out for Jason Witten.
Rob Gronkowski, Patriots @ OAK ($7200 DK, $8200 FD)
He is still Rob Gronkowski and this is still a good matchup for him. I just cannot imagine him outperforming Kelce enough to pay more for him on FD. If you want a variance play on DK, he would be the guy to go to. Better yet, consider rostering both of them and then save some money at WR2.The Raiders have been punishable by tight ends all year, just not as badly as the Giants.
Evan Engram, Giants vs. KC ($6000 DK, $7400 FD)
Kansas City has been downright stingy versus opposing tight ends this year. That said, I cannot ignore Evan Engram’s scoring streak and huge target share. I won’t have any shares of him, because I don’t see him outproducing his salary, but you could do a lot worse.
Tyler Kroft, Bengals @ DEN ($2900 DK, $5300 FD)
This is the one variance angle I will likely roll with when I don’t choose Kelce. Tyler Kroft only caught one pass for four yards last week, but Andy Dalton targeted him six times. This shouldn’t be such a surprise since he is averaging five targets per week since Week 3. Denver is regularly taken to the woodshed by opposing tight ends. Only once all year have the Broncos given up less than 61 yards to the tight end position. Plus, they allowed touchdowns to the position in six of their last eight games.
Marcedes Lewis, Jaguars @ CLE ($2700 DK, $4900 FD)
No, this game is not being played in London. Nevertheless, Marcedes Lewis is facing the Browns. This alone puts him into play. What I am most concerned about, is that he has a knee issue. If he plays, I will throw one lineup out with his name in it. I will probably be the only person to roster him at all. For what it is worth, the Browns have allowed the second-most tight end touchdowns, including scores in each of the last two games.