So instead of a bunch of running backs going down to injuries, this past week it was quarterbacks knocked out of pretty much every game. Three popular DFS plays last week: Trevor Siemian, Cam Newton, and Carson Palmer all left their games due to injury. Cam’s injury actually saved Greg Olsen’s line because Derek Anderson force fed him the ball constantly. Siemian’s injury was also a boon for both Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders as the Broncos’ offense was in a funk prior to Paxton Lynch entering the game. Palmer’s injury on the other hand killed everyone’s mojo for Arizona.
For those playing MNF-involved contests start everyone in the passing games with a pulse (including Derek Anderson if he starts for Newton). This is a safe play because both Tampa and Carolina have shown ineptitude at covering WRs. Both of these teams do have strong run defenses though, so pass on Cameron Artis-Payne and (the dinged up) Charles Sims. If you need to start a RB in this contest, roll with Fozzy Whitaker.
For those playing on FD on the Sunday-only docket, I recommend targeting either Josh Lambo or Sebastian Janikowski at kicker in what should be the highest scoring game of the week. They cost $4.6K and $4.8K respectively. Owners should target their defense from amongst: Pittsburgh, New England, Minnesota, and Buffalo. On DK each of those four run between 3K and 3.5K. On FD, you can get any of those four between $4.6K and $4.9K.
As for the skill position players, there is not a lot of value to be found at RB this week so you might as well go all in on DeMarco Murray and Melvin Gordon. The same goes at QB where Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, Andrew Luck, and Joe Flacco are the only players that should exceed value. Brian Hoyer is the only other option I’d consider. The top tier at WR is brutal this week so I won’t even consider anyone in it. Both the second and third tier are loaded with value (T.Y. Hilton, Demaryius Thomas, Michael Crabtree, Julian Edelman, and Travis Benjamin). I’ll gladly consider two of those guys and pair them with a guy like Cole Beasley or Chris Hogan. Tight end is once again loaded with value from top to bottom so I will have my pick of the litter. I’ll also likely roster my FLEX from this spot for DK.
Here are my recommendations for this week’s price range targets by position.
At DK: 7.5K at QB, 7K at RB1, 7K at RB2, 18.5K total for all three WRs, 6.5K total for TE and FLEX (also a TE or bottom tier WR), and 3.5 for one of the four defenses I listed above.
At FD: 8.5K at QB, 8.5K at RB1, 7.5K at RB2, 20K for all three WRs, 5.5K at TE, 5K at kicker, and 5K for a defense.
Prices indicated: Red = Negative Value and Black = Acceptable Value and Green = Great Value
Weekly strategy – Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, and Andrew Luck are the smart plays this week. They will also be the chalk. That said I just cannot find enough value in anyone outside of Joe Flacco to avoid them. Philip Rivers and Derek Carr are playing in what should be a high scoring affair but their price is nearly as high as the top tier guys. My only other option is to punt the position completely with Brian Hoyer.
Your Fantasy Four Pack
Tom Brady, Patriots @ CLE ($7500 DK, $8700 FD)
The Deflate-Goodell tour starts this week. Tom Brady will be facing the team giving up the sixth-most points per game and the fourth most passing TDs per game, including eight over the last three weeks. Expect Brady to throw for a floor of 200-3 in the first half, After that, he will demand to stay in and run up the score in the second half despite the Patriots already leading by 21. 400-5 is probably wishful thinking, but it is within the realm of possibility. If Gronk is limited it might only be 300-3. Either way, he is never going to be cheaper than this week, so take advantage now.
Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers vs. NYJ ($7200 DK, $8600 FD)
With Darrelle Revis battling a hamstring issue (and declining talent), Ben Roethlisberger should have minimal issue throwing the ball at will against the Jets. Even if Revis is up to 100% by game time, there is no guarantee that he would shadow Antonio Brown. Even if he did, would it matter considering how poorly Revis has performed this year? Big Ben is a monster at home. Since the start of 2014, he has thrown for more than 300 yards in 13/17 contests. He also has multiple TDs in all but three of those games, including three or more touchdowns in ten of those games. How incredulous has it become? He has a whopping 1682 yards and 18 touchdowns over his last 5 home games.
Andrew Luck, Colts vs. CHI ($7300 DK, $8600 FD)
Chicago’s defense is maligned due to their historical ineptitude and recent injury but the numbers suggest that they haven’t been that bad this year. Keeping that in mind, Chicago has faced two rookies, a struggling Brock Osweiler, and Matt Stafford in his worst game of the year. Andrew Luck is frankly just more talented than those guys. Luck will likely be the contrarian play by people fading Brady as their prices are almost identical, so if you are willing to sacrifice some ceiling for the non-Brady play then Luck be your lady this week.
Derek Carr, Raiders vs. SD ($6800 DK, $8100 FD)
This game has big point potential. At the very least Vegas thinks that, since this game has the highest line of the week at 50. Both of these offenses can score fast and neither defense is that good. That said a quick look back at their recent history shows that they have only topped a combined 50 points twice in their last eight meetings. With the Chargers’ only decent CB, Jason Verrett going down to an ACL tear, I expect that Carr will be the brighter bulb of the two this week. He may have to carry the load with starting running back Latavius Murray expected to miss the game.
Joe Flacco, Ravens vs. WAS ($6200 DK, $7600 FD)
The Redskins secondary is down to Josh Norman and a bunch of paperclips. Not that they were very good with everyone healthy anyways. Through four games three different QBs topped 290 passing yards against them. The only one that didn’t was Cody Kessler and he still managed a workmanlike 223-1. Joe Flacco has far too many weapons to not exploit this defense’s injuries. I’m expecting 300-2 from his this week.
Brian Hoyer, Bears @ IND ($5500 DK, $6000 FD)
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again Brian Hoyer is a better quarterback than Jay Cutler. The Bears coaches may finally start to be sensing this as they have admitted that Cutler will not just be handed the job back when he returns. Hoyer has been a consistent 225-250 yard per game guy his whole career and he usually throws a couple TDs. This type of game-manager line is just enough to help you stack your lineups with superstars at other positions. He is definitely my favorite punt play of the week as Indy has already allowed three different QBs to throw for more than 260 yards against them.
|Duke Johnson Jr.||$4,100||$5,300|
Weekly strategy – There are two sure thing plays this week here as well. DeMarco Murray and Melvin Gordon are easy plays that will outperform their lofty salaries. I don’t dislike LeVeon Bell, Ezekiel Elliott, or C.J. Anderson but none seem likely to score more value than their cost. The next tier is awful. With the exception of Frank Gore, there isn’t a bargain to be found. If you don’t target two of the high priced guys you could roll with DeAndre Washington (who will likely be over-owned and still split time with Jalen Richard), Bilal Powell, Jerick McKinnon, or James White. None is a sure thing, but each offers upside at a decent price. The ultimate punt play is Josh Ferguson who has carved out a PPR-niche opposite Gore.
Your Fantasy Four Pack
DeMarco Murray, Titans @ MIA ($7200 DK, $8400 FD)
Miami has been trucked by opposing running backs this year. Only four teams have given up more yards on the ground than they have. That said they have only allowed one RB to score against them this year and they have held pass-catching backs to basically zip and pip. DeMarco Murray is a dual-threat for the Titans. He has averaged 124 combo yards per game with five total scores. The yardage is a given, but I expect Murray to pierce the goal line as well. Plus this game could turn into a ground-heavy game for both teams if any of the hurricane terrorism is lingering come Sunday.
LeVeon Bell, Steelers vs. NYJ ($7500 DK, $8600 FD)
Ok, I was wrong about how much of the rushing game script would fall to LeVeon Bell in his first week back. He is a stud and deserves his due. This week however he will have to may hey against the second-best rushing defense in the league. Opponents are averaging just over three yards per carry against them and no RB has topped 78 yards against them. In two career games, Bell has a total of 70 rushing yards against them. The positive for Bell is that he is very active in the passing game, and no team has allowed more running back receiving TDs than the Jets. This is also proven in his two career matchups against them as he has gone for 11-55 through the air. You’ll get a solid total line from Bell either way this week (I’d estimate 100 total yards, five catches, one TD), but with the price the same I’d rather go with the safer plays of Murray or Gordon.
Melvin Gordon, Chargers @ OAK ($7000 DK, $7700 FD)
Oakland has no clue what to do with opposing RBs. Only the Redskins have allowed more rushing yards to opposing backs this year. This includes an average of 141 rushing yards per game for opposing RBs over their last three weeks. That’s also not even including the torrent of receiving yards they gave up to DeMarco Murray, Tevin Coleman, Devonta Freeman, and Terrance West over that same span. Melvin Gordon couldn’t score a TD last year so he is making up for by leading the league this year. He has scored at least once in every game despite putting up marginal yardage totals. He will get both the yardage and the score(s) this time out.
C.J. Anderson, Broncos vs. ATL ($6900 DK, $8000 FD)
C.J. Anderson’s yardage totals are really uninspiring this season. He has only topped 75 rushing yards in one contest. This can be a bit misleading though as he has faced three elite rushing defenses already. Plus, what makes him most valuable is that he has scored at least one TD in three of the four games. Atlanta does not have an elite rushing defense. They don’t even have a marginal rushing defense. You might even say that there is no defense for their defense (or lack thereof). Over the last three weeks, Atlanta has allowed opposing rushers to average 5.1 yards per carry, despite this number being artificially kept down by Carolina’s crappy 10-19 performance against them. In addition, no team has allowed more running back receptions than Atlanta. Anderson is an adept pass-catcher out of the backfield even if his stats don’t scream it this year. If Paxton Lynch starts he will probably dump off a few more than normal to his safety blanket.
James White, Patriots @ CLE ($3900 DK, $5500 FD)
Is this the week that James White returns to fantasy value? Surely Tom Brady will be chucking and ducking the fully-inflated pigskin everywhere. LeGarrette Blount remains amongst the league leaders in rushing yardage but he has never caught more than 15 total passes in a season. Contrast that with James White, who while by all accounts is under performing this season still has 13 receptions. Last year, White caught 40 passes. That is more in one season than Blount has caught his entire career. Heck, White has nearly as many receptions through four games as Blount had in his best 16-game season. Throw in that Blount is battling a hip injury right now which may limit him in the rushing game as well and White is suddenly the back to own with Brady under center.
Josh Ferguson, Colts vs. CHI ($3000 DK, $4500 FD)
Josh Ferguson was over-hyped this preseason due to his likelihood as the successor to the aging Frank Gore. Gore of course has gone out and found the Fountain of Youth and he continues to play as well as he ever did back in his heyday. He is even on pace to finish with his second-most receptions of his career and by far the most he has had since leaving San Francisco. Ferguson however is also starting to eat into Gore’s targets and receptions. He ranks seventh in both targets and receptions amongst RBs. If (When) Gore realizes how old he actually is and/or gets injured (it will happen…it always does), Ferguson will become the lead back. Against a Bears’ defense that has been gashed by everyone and that is missing several key contributors, I could see Ferguson as a legit PPR-beast this week.
|Odell Beckham Jr.||$8,500||$8,500|
|Marvin Jones Jr.||$7,600||$7,800|
|Terrelle Pryor Sr.||$5,800||$7,200|
|Steve Smith Sr.||$5,300||$6,300|
|Ted Ginn Jr.||$3,600||$5,700|
Weekly strategy – Another week, another steaming pile of mediocrity atop the WR rankings. There is no way Julio Jones comes anywhere near his line from last week. I also don’t trust any of the other top-tier at their prices. Odell Beckham Jr. is the one possible exception since Green Bay will be without Sam Shields once again. I’ve got about eight WRs in the second/third tier that should out-produce their price tag. I’ll gladly roster some combo of two of them. They will be paired with one of: Steve Smith, Cole Beasley, Eddie Royal, or Chris Hogan. If you overspend elsewhere and want to dumpster dive might I also suggest Brice Butler (if Dez Bryant doesn’t play) or Seth Roberts? Either of those two could be a nice boom-bust option, if you need such a thing.
Your Fantasy Four Pack
Antonio Brown, Steelers vs. NYJ ($9800 DK, $9600 FD)
The price tag is high, but against a potentially Revis-less Jets defense he seems like a sweet option. Even against Revis, I wouldn’t be afraid to roll with Antonio Brown. Of course without Revis, Buster Coverage, I mean Skrine becomes the Jets’ top CB. YUCK! If you decide to save some moolah elsewhere (go cheaper at RB2???), than go ahead and deploy Brown, especially as a stack with Ben Roethlisberger.
Odell Beckham, Jr., Giants @ GB ($8500 DK, $8500 FD)
Green Bay has one very good CB, Sam Shields. Unfortunately for them, he remains injured. Odell Beckham Jr. has made media waves the last few weeks for his displeasure with how refs are treating him. He should perhaps have more displeasure with his own QB however as Eli Manning has been spreading the wealth. This week the squeaky wheel will definitely get the oil. Beckham is a lock for a long score and quite possibly two. That is unless he is called for OPI on both plays.
A.J. Green, Bengals @ DAL ($8900 DK, $8700 FD)
A.J. Green posted another premium performance last week. He absolutely crushed an aged, depleted, and untalented collection of sots that Miami put out in their secondary. Dallas is considerably tougher to throw against. That said they have allowed four WR receiving TDs already and even the undead-corpse of (default WR1) Jeremy Kerley scored last week against them. If Kerley can score against Dallas, I think Green will produce enough to be fantasy relevant. Just don’t count on another 180 yards.
T.Y. Hilton, Colts vs. CHI ($7400 DK, $7700 FD)
Opposing WR1 have averaged 5-72 against the Bears. That, in and of itself, doesn’t scream value play, but when you consider that DeAndre Hopkins is the only “premiere” WR that they have faced it makes it a little more acceptable. T.Y. Hilton has double-digit targets in every game, and without Donte Moncrief on the field he has scored in back-to-back contests. He is probably the safest bet amongst all WR this week and he will finish with a floor of 7-75-1.
Eddie Royal, Bears @ IND ($4200 DK, $5700 FD)
Keep an eye on Eddie Royal’s injury status heading into this contest. If he plays, he has a great matchup against a Colts’ secondary that is starting to get healthy but still missing a few pieces. Alshon Jeffery will likely draw Vontae Davis in coverage leaving lesser CBs to cover Royal. Eddie has developed a nice rapport with Brian Hoyer, one that should continue this week with no Kevin White. Of course, first he has to get himself on the field.
Chris Hogan, Patriots @ CLE ($4100 DK, $5000 FD)
Chris Hogan has one catch total over the last two weeks and only eight catches total for the year. So why in the blue hell am I recommending him? He actually has more offensive snaps than any other New England WR. Tom Brady will be out for blood this week and every offensive player on this team has upside. Plus everyone and their sister will be on Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman. Drop the chalk and write in Sergeant (Harley) Schultz’s favorite sleeper receiver instead. If he doesn’t perform then just remember “I Know Nussssssing”.
Weekly strategy – Bargains abound once again at TE where I can choose from Zach Miller, Zach Ertz, Hunter Henry, and Martellus Bennett all for under 4K on DK and most in the 5.5K range on FD. On DK I will likely roster two of those five with one as my FLEX. I’ll also have a hard time not throwing Rob Gronkowski into a couple lineups just for fun. He may only run 20 routes this week, but he will be targeted at least three times in the end zone by Tom Brady.
Your Fantasy Four Pack
Rob Gronkowski, Patriots @ CLE ($6500 DK, $7200 FD)
A lot of people will be scared to roll with the high priced Rob Gronkowski this week after getting burned the last two weeks by him. I doubt he catches a lot of passes or gains lot of yards, but I’m certain that he will be targeted in the end zone at least three times. If he finishes with a line of 5-16-3 don’t blame me for not telling you to play him. No team has given up more receptions to the TE position. In fact, two different teams have reached double-digits in tight end receptions against the Browns.
Zach Ertz, Eagles @ DET ($3500 DK, $5600 FD)
This may be the best matchup of the week at TE. His price is low because he is coming off injury, plus Detroit is unwilling to cover opposing tight ends. Detroit has allowed 18 TE touchdowns since the start of 2015. This includes six over the first four weeks of this year. Zach Ertz was a top target for Carson Wentz back in Week 1. There is little reason to think he won’t return to that role.
Jordan Reed, Redskins @ BAL ($6600 DK, $7800 FD)
The price is higher than Rob Gronkowski making him a little tough to stomach. Of course, he will likely produce more receptions and yardage than Gronk. I’d just slow my roll on him some because Baltimore has dominated opposing TEs through the first four weeks. No team has topped 40 yards against the Ravens with this position. Jordan Reed will be the best guy they have faced to date but at this price point I’d rather take the risk on Gronk.
Delanie Walker, Titans @ MIA ($4700 DK, $6400 FD)
Miami has been ran-through by a lot of TEs already this year. Delanie Walker is the next in line to smoke this injury-riddled secondary. With a full week under his belt since recovering from his injury, Walker should be safe to deploy this week. Further boosting his value is the possibility that the Titans plan to fade away from Tajae Sharpe even more going forward. That may or may not be a good strategy, but it is ultimately one that will help Walker move back to the head of the target class. That, my friends, is a place he is familiar with.
Hunter Henry, Chargers @ OAK ($3300 DK, $5400 FD)
Who needs Antonio Gates? Hunter Henry has actually been targeted more frequently in the last two weeks than Gates was in the first two weeks. This defense was even abused by the monument-to-suckitude known as Jace Amaro. If he can post 59 yards on Oakland, Henry should be good for at least double that.
Virgil Green, Broncos vs. ATL ($2800 DK, $4800 FD)
This assumes that Virgil Green actually plays. Early rumors are that he will return this week, but we will be forced to wait til Sunday morning to know for sure. Atlanta has given up the most receptions and yards to the tight end position and they rank second from the bottom in terms of TDs allowed. Green was active in the passing game the first two weeks, if he is back then he can resume where he left off.