Sometimes you make that last second swap, and sometimes you don’t. Sometimes your player blows away the competition, and sometimes their quarterback forgets that they are on the team. Sometimes you make your fantasy playoffs, and sometimes you fall three-yards short. So, maybe you failed in your quest to reach the fantasy bowl playoffs this season. All is not lost young explorer, for now it is time to dip your toes in the wonderful world of DFS. Wade on in…the water’s fine.
Sunday Night features a game that I fear could be lower scoring than you might want. Yes, Pittsburgh is at home, and that is where Ben Roethlisberger does his best work. Nevertheless, Baltimore’s defense is legit. Pittsburgh’s defense is not scoff-worthy either. They will be without their leader, Ryan Shazier, but they are still solid enough to hold off a pathetic Ravens’ offense. I would never risk playing a Ravens’ skill position player in a playoff game, and I don’t recommend burning your DFS dollars on them either. I also don’t see myself racing off to play LeVeon Bell, Antonio Brown, or Martavis Bryant this week, especially since I can’t play them in the Millionaire contests. Yes, Fan Duel has now removed the SNF-game from their Millionaire slate as well. I might consider them on the Primetime-Only slate, but even then, I’m not going to love it.
Monday night could be interesting. It could be high-scoring or it could be low-scoring. New England torched Miami two weeks ago, so that beatdown is fresh in both teams’ minds. Miami’s defense is better at home. They have only allowed nine passing touchdowns through six home games this year. They will also be facing a Patriot offense minus its’ two top tight ends. Plus, Miami has Jay Cutler back, which should allow their offense to be less one-dimensional, than it was two weeks ago. I’m not saying Tom Brady and Company won’t win again. I just don’t think it will be the rout they delivered two weeks ago. In fact, don’t be surprised when this game ends 24-20. For Primetime-Only slate players, Brady will be a popular play option, but I’d rather do a stack with Cutler and Jarvis Landry. I can take that money I saved and guarantee myself LeVeon Bell and Antonio Brown. I should still have enough for Brandin Cooks at WR3 and Rex Burkhead at RB2.
For those playing on FD my top kicker this week is Greg Zuerlein. His salary is only $5.2K, so you can likely afford him. To get under $5K, take a chance on Graham Gano, Harrison Butker or Travis Coons.
I don’t really trust any of the defenses 100% this week. Green Bay has too many holes, Jacksonville’s defense faces an MVP-caliber QB and Buffalo is over-priced. I will take a shot on the Jets or Bengals for $4.5K or $4.6K.
If Matthew Stafford is cleared to play, he is a near must-start. If he plays but is limited, I still may start him. If Stafford looks like he will be doubtful or worse, Derek Carr becomes the obvious and chalky play. I don’t care, I still want him on my roster. If I don’t go with Carr, I may go with either Dak Prescott (on DK only due to price) or Jimmy Garoppolo. There are also two punt options that I like: Blaine Gabbert and Tom Savage.
I don’t love the top dollar options at running back either this week. Melvin Gordon is the only sure thing, and even I don’t think he is that sure of a thing. I will probably roster my RB1 and RB2 from this group: Alfred Morris, Lamar Miller, Jamaal Williams, Samaje Perrine and Marshawn Lynch. I will probably roster my DK-FLEX from the WR position, but there are six volume-play RBs that could be worth consideration: Frank Gore, C.J. Anderson, Gio Bernard, Theo Riddick, Mike Davis and Bilal Powell.
I will be blowing my wad on the WR position this week. Each of my rosters will have AT LEAST two of the following high-priced guys: Mike Evans, Tyreek Hill, DeAndre Hopkins, Dez Bryant, Marvin Jones and Michael Crabtree. I will supplement them with Josh Gordon, Nelson Agholor, Sterling Shepard, Marquise Goodwin or Dede Westbrook. One of that group will be my WR3 and another will likely be my DK-FLEX.
I am not sold on the high-priced tight ends either. Travis Kelce is probably the safest option but he isn’t really a value. I think I will roll with Jason Witten, Austin Seferian-Jenkins or Cameron Brate. The only other player that even slightly tickles my fancy is Stephen Anderson. Now that is an exciting name – NOT! I suppose Antonio Gates could be in play if Hunter Henry cannot play, but still yuck.
Here are my recommendations for this week’s price range targets by position.
At DK: $6.4K for Derek Carr; up to $12K for two of: Alfred Morris, Lamar Miller, Samaje Perrine, Marshawn Lynch or Jamaal Williams; $8.5K for DeAndre Hopkins as WR1; up to $7K for your choice of Mike Evans, Tyreek Hill, Marvin Jones and Michael Crabtree; up to $10K for two of: Dez Bryant, Josh Gordon, Nelson Agholor, Sterling Shepard, Marquise Goodwin, Dede Westbrook or Trent Taylor at WR3 and DK-FLEX; $3.2K for Stephen Anderson; and $3.3K for the Bengals’ defense.
At FD: $7.7K for Derek Carr; up to $13.4K for two of the above-listed running backs; $15.9K for Hopkins and Evans; up to $6.2K for WR3; $8K for Travis Kelce, and $9.1K for the Bengals defense and Travis Coons.
Prices indicated: Red = Negative Value and Black = Acceptable Value and Green = Great Value
Weekly strategy – I will be mostly invested in Derek Carr (or Matthew Stafford if he isn’t limited). I may also have some exposure to Dak Prescott and Jimmy Garoppolo, on DK only, due to their price tags. I will also throw out a couple punt lineups with Tom Savage or Blaine Gabbert.
Your Fantasy Four Pack
Derek Carr, Raiders @ KC ($6400 DK, $7700 FD)
Derek Carr has one of the best matchups of the season here. First, he gets back Michael Crabtree and possibly Amari Cooper. Then, he gets to face an atrocious pass defense that will be without their only serviceable cover-man. Anything short of 350-3 would be a major failure.
Philip Rivers, Chargers vs. WAS ($6800 DK, $8100 FD)
Only three quarterbacks have thrown for more total yards this season than Philip Rivers. That includes 778 yards during his two most recent games. Washington is middle of the road against the pass. This includes them allowing 14 passing touchdowns over their last seven games.
Matthew Stafford, Lions @ TB ($6300 DK, $8000 FD)
This all comes down to the health of Matthew Stafford’s hand. If he is not at all limited, this matchup will be even more appealing than Carr’s. That is however a big if. Making matters worse, Stafford has struggled in the past while playing through hand injuries. If you have any doubt that he is 100% come Sunday, ignore this play. If he is fully cleared, he will take advantage of the leagues’ second-worst team in pass yardage allowed per game.
Jared Goff, Rams vs. PHI ($6600 DK, $7000 FD)
Prior to last week, Philadelphia had allowed two passing touchdowns total, over their previous four games. Of course, those four games were against D-III level opponents. Jared Goff isn’t a sure thing, but he has shown some gunslinger tendencies. He will need them in this potential shootout.
Dak Prescott, Cowboys @ NYG ($5600 DK, $7700 FD)
Dak Prescott has been rotten without Ezekiel Elliott. In the five games since the suspension was upheld, Prescott has thrown for more than 180 yards only once. He also has only six total touchdowns during that span, with three coming in one game. The prognosis should improve this week against a Giants’ pass defense that has allowed the second-most passing touchdowns this year. New York’s corners may finally play with some heart knowing that Ben McAdoo is gone, but I wouldn’t count on it.
Tom Savage, Texans vs. SF ($4800 DK, $6000 FD)
Move over Rice-A-Roni, the real San Francisco treat is facing this defense. The Niners are equally inept at stopping the run and the pass. How bad has it been? Mitchell Trubisky is the only quarterback since Week 6 to not throw for multiple touchdowns against them. Tom Savage doesn’t have many healthy targets to throw to, but that shouldn’t matter, since all he really needs to do is throw the ball at DeAndre Hopkins 20-30 times. With Nuk on almost all of my lineup cards, I would be ignorant to not stack him at least a couple of times.
|Todd Gurley II||$8,100||$8,500|
|Duke Johnson Jr.||$4,600||$5,900|
Weekly strategy – I am going to roster two running backs from this list: Alfred Morris, Samaje Perrine, Lamar Miller, Marshawn Lynch and Jamaal Williams. The other three I am interested in are Bilal Powell, Frank Gore and Gio Bernard. I will use one of them as my DK-FLEX when I don’t roster a fourth WR for that slot. Expect to keep your expenditures to 24% or less, unless you choose a DK-FLEX from here, in which case you will spend around 32%.
Your Fantasy Four Pack
Melvin Gordon, Chargers vs. WAS ($7800 DK, $8600 FD)
Over their last six games, Washington has allowed an average of 124 yards per game on the ground to opposing running backs. Most of this damage was inflicted by power runners such as: Ezekiel Elliott, Mark Ingram, Latavius Murray, and Alfred Morris. Austin Ekeler has stolen some of Melvin Gordon’s passing game work, but Gordon is still the between-the-tackles choice. I don’t really want to spend this much on him, but he is far and away the safest play amongst the expensive back options.
LeSean McCoy, Bills vs. IND ($7200 DK, $9000 FD)
Indianapolis’ defense has been mostly oxymoronic this season. That said, they have held some decent runners in check the last few weeks. LeSean McCoy’s value this week hinges on who starts at QB. If Tyrod Taylor plays, McCoy will not face nine-man fronts. If Nathan Peterman plays it is another story. Either way, McCoy will do the heavy lifting here, it just remains to be seen how easy that lifting is. One thing Shady has going for himself is that Indy has allowed the third-most receiving yards to opposing running backs. Don’t be surprised to see him reel in close to double-digit receptions out of the backfield.
Marshawn Lynch, Raiders @ KC ($5700 DK, $6400 FD)
The Chiefs have allowed six of their last eight opponents to reach 100 running back rushing yards. They have also allowed six running back rushing scores during that stretch. Marshawn Lynch should have zero trouble extending his touchdown streak to three straight.
Lamar Miller, Texans vs. SF ($5800 DK, $6600 FD)
San Francisco has been very generous to opposing backs this year. My only reason for concern here, is if Andre Ellington steals a majority of Lamar Miller’s passing game targets. Even if Ellington gets involved, Miller could still score twice.
Samaje Perine, Redskins @ LAC ($5600 DK, $6600 FD)
I feel as if I am cheating including Perine and Alfred Morris at sleepers. That said, they both will get the lions’ share of the work, and neither will break the bank for you. The Chargers have allowed a running back to score in three of four. I am certain they allow one this week.
Alfred Morris, Cowboys @ NYG ($5500 DK, $6800 FD)
Alfred Morris should have little difficulty running through the Giants’ defense third-stringers. Over the last five games, New York has allowed over 4.5 yards per carry by opposing backs. To go along with a five-pack of rushing scores. Morris will definitely score and sniff close to 100 yards on the ground.
|Marvin Jones Jr.||$6,800||$7,000|
|Will Fuller V||$4,300||$5,400|
Weekly strategy – Since I am spending so little at RB this week I will spend heavily at wide receiver. DeAndre Hopkins will be on most of my lineups. I will also have heavy exposure to Mike Evans once again. Tyreek Hill, the Detroit Lions’ WRs, Dez Bryant and Michael Crabtree will be my other WR2 options. I will even consider one of them at WR3. Otherwise, I will roster two of the following at WR3 and DK-FLEX: Josh Gordon, Nelson Agholor, Sterling Shepard, one of the Jaguars or one of the Niners. On FD, expect to have 37% of your budget in play here. If I roster my DK-FLEX from here, my DK investment may top 50%.
Your Fantasy Four Pack
DeAndre Hopkins, Texans vs. SF ($8500 DK, $8600 FD)
With Bruce Ellington and C.J. Fiedorowicz going on IR, and Braxton Miller and Will Fuller both not 100%; DeAndre Hopkins could see nearly 20 targets this week. The Niners have allowed a league-worst seven touchdowns to opposing WR1s. It is not a matter of, if Hopkins will score this week, it is a matter of how many times Hopkins will score this week. I’m placing the line at two now and I’m placing his catch line at 12. That said, I’d still take the over on both.
Mike Evans, Buccaneers vs. DET ($6900 DK, $7300 FD)
Mike Evans underwhelmed in his first game with Jameis Winston back under center. That won’t happen twice in a row. Last week, Winston was simply doing all he could to Make Cameron Brate Again. Now that Brate has had his annual blow up game, we return you to your regularly scheduled program. That will feature Mike Evans burning a Detroit secondary that isn’t smart enough to have Darius Slay follow Evans on the outside.
Tyreek Hill, Chiefs vs. OAK ($7100 DK, $7800 FD)
This game will devolve quickly into a shootout, since neither team has much to write home about in their defensive backfield. Back in Week 7, Tyreek Hill rolled up 6-125-1 against this defense. I’d expect a similar line this week, especially if Alex Smith is given free rein like last week.
Keenan Allen, Chargers vs. WAS ($8300 DK, $8400 FD)
Keenan Allen has been about as hot as a ghost chili. Over the last three weeks, Allen has posted 33-436-4. That is a good half-season for the elite in the league. For Allen, it is less than a month’s worth of games. I’m not sure that Washington will shadow Allen with Josh Norman, because Allen often lines up in the slot. This could create some serious mismatches in Los Angeles’ favor.
Josh Gordon, Browns vs. GB ($5500 DK, $6700 FD)
Rust? What rust? Josh Gordon looked pretty solid to me. Now, he gets to abuse the Packers. If only he had an NFL quarterback throwing him the ball. That said, even with Deshone Kizer chucking ducks at his feet, Gordon should make a mockery of a Packers’ defense that has allowed seven WR scores in their last five games.
Marquise Goodwin, 49ers @ HOU ($5100 DK, $5700 FD)
Marquise Goodwin has averaged 71 yards per game since Week 7. That number would be even better if you ignored a shutout he pitched in Week 8. Without that game, he is averaging 85 yards per game over that span. It would be nice if he could add a couple more scores and receptions, but I am not arguing with solid yardage numbers at this price point. Houston has been rotten against speed receivers making him the preferred play to Trent Taylor this week.
Weekly strategy – I will have exposure to Travis Kelce especially on FD. That said, most of my DK rosters will have Cameron Brate, Jason Witten, Austin Seferian-Jenkins or Stephen Anderson.
Your Fantasy Four Pack
Travis Kelce, Chiefs vs. OAK ($7400 DK, $8000 FD)
Travis Kelce scored in Week 7 against the Raiders. That was one of the nine times this season where Oakland has given up more than 50 yards to the tight end position. The Raiders have been particularly bad the last four weeks allowing an average of 6.5-80-0.5.
Evan Engram, Giants vs. DAL ($6000 DK, $6600 FD)
Evan Engram managed to perform admirably last week despite the worst efforts of Geno Stiff at QB. With five touchdowns in his last seven games, Engram is safe most weeks. This isn’t the best matchup for performance leagues since Dallas doesn’t allow a lot of yards to the position. That said, they have allowed tight end scores in three of their last five games.
Jack Doyle, Colts @ BUF ($4900 DK, $5400 FD)
Buffalo has allowed only two tight end scores this season. They both came in the same game. Otherwise the Bills have been downright stingy to the position. That is, until two weeks ago. Since then, Kansas City and New England pummeled Buffalo with their tight ends. Jack Doyle will add to their misery index this week, but I cannot guarantee a score here.
Jason Witten, Cowboys @ NYG ($4700 DK, $5800 FD)
Yes, the Giants have now gone three straight games without allowing a tight end score. Of course, prior to that they gave up ten touchdowns over a nine-game stretch to start the year. One of those touchdowns went to Jason Witten back in Week 1. Witten has been a stud against the Giants over his career. In 29 career regular season meetings, Witten has 14 touchdowns and 14 games with more than 50 yards.
Cameron Brate, Buccaneers vs. DET ($4100 DK, $5400 FD)
Well, Jameis Winston brought Cameron Brate back to relevance at least for one week. I’m not sure that I’m buying a complete resurgence, but I’ll take a chance that it continues against the Lions. Detroit has allowed four scores to the position over the last three weeks.
Stephen Anderson, Texans vs. SF ($3200 DK, $4500 FD)
As I mentioned above, Houston doesn’t have many weapons left to throw to. Last week, Tom Savage leaned heavily on Stephen Anderson. He was targeted 12 times, hauling in a line of 5-79-1. San Francisco has allowed six tight end scores over the last six games, so Anderson makes more than just a speculative add.