It was another fairly successful week, especially in the afternoon-only slates. My biggest failure was definitely getting too attached to Drew Brees. His meltdown at home cost me on a bunch of lineups. The Colin Kaepernick stretch didn’t work out so well either. My biggest hits included my double-TE plays at DK. Last week, I set myself up nicely by rostering both Ladarius Green and Travis Kelce. The two-TE strategy is actually quite appealing if you can hit on those bargain tight ends each week. You can often get WR2 production out of both of them for the cost of one WR2. There are quite a few options for deploying this strategy this week and I will discuss them below in the TE section. The biggest issue to be aware of this week is the weather. Only two games are indoors, and many of the games will be played in either heavy wind, precipitation, or both. I’ve factored the potential weather effects into my prognostication for this week, so usual easy plays such as Cincinnati versus Cleveland, or Denver at Tennessee, or Pittsburgh at Buffalo all may have lower rankings in their passing games and boosts in their rushing games.
If you are playing in Monday night contests, know that there is a nearly 90% chance of rain scheduled. Nevertheless, you have an awful pass defense against Tom Brady. This means Brady, Mitchell, Edelman, and Bennett are all easy-peasy plays. I even give a slight bump to Dion Lewis and James White who do more of their damage through short passes. I’m benching LeGarrette Blount because Baltimore just does not give up rushing TDs. New England’s defense is also slightly suspect. Plus, Joe Flacco will be forced to throw to keep up. With weather being an issue, I’m guessing deep threats, Mike Wallace and Breshad Perriman are probably less used, and possession guys like Dennis Pitta and Steve Smith are featured. The Patriots are nearly as good against the run as Baltimore, so I’m ignoring Terrance West, but may give a little more attention to Kenneth Dixon with his short pass potential.
For those playing on FD, I recommend targeting: Dustin Hopkins, Dan Bailey, Matt Bryant, and Matt Prater at kicker. None of these games is projected to be affected by bad weather, and all four of them have plus point potential as well. Hopkins and Prater will probably be my two most often used. Bryant is the only one of those options over 5K.
At defense, there are a few choice options. I like Minnesota versus Blake Bortles. I also like Cincy and Seattle in snowstorms. Two sneaky punt plays would be San Francisco or the Jets against each other. At DK, you won’t pay more than 4K this week and at FD no more than 5K.
Only one of the top five QBs is a sure thing when you factor matchup, price, and weather. Drew Brees should have a great go of this week, and he might be a little ornery after crapping the bed last week. My three favorites this week are: Kirk Cousins, Jameis Winston, and Philip Rivers. That is where most of my rosters will lean. That said there are some reasonable options in the tier-three range and there are a couple possible deep punts (albeit I’m gun shy about going deep-punt after the Kaeper-fail last week).
LeVeon Bell and Le Sean McCoy get to lock horns in a game where there should be lots of running due to potential weather issues. I’m a little perturbed with McCoy getting vultured last week, but they are both about as safe as can be. None of the top tier has a bad matchup, so you could go big RB-RB (and I would not blame you based on the monster scores they have been posting. That said, there is also a huge “Soft-Middle” this week of RBs in the 5.5K-6K range, that make great plays due to either matchup, weather factor, or both. Jeremy Hill in particular makes me lick my chops. I’m likely going to roster one of the big-4 paired with one of these mid range guys. If I don’t go double-TE on DK, I may consider rostering a RB3 at my DK FLEX.
Mike Evans is a sure-thing this week, the rest of the top tier is not. The second and third-tier are loaded with values in the 5.5K-6.5K range. I will have exposure to at least one in that range. The Saints, Chargers, Lions, Giants, and Redskins will be my predominant focus. If I do roster Evans and one of the third-tier guys, I’ll probably have to find a WR3 in the 4K-4.5K range. There is very little of interest as far as punt plays go this week.
Double-TE makes a lot of sense this week since there are three sexy higher-priced options and several cheap mid-priced options. On FD, I’ll probably avoid the higher priced guys and go into battle with someone in the mid-5K range. There are two deep sleepers this week in Jermaine Gresham and Daniel Brown. The mid-tier is pretty cheap though, so I shouldn’t have to dig that deep.
Here are my recommendations for this week’s price range targets by position.
At DK: 6.5K at QB, 8K-9K for a top tier RB1 (McCoy, Ezekiel Elliott, or Bell) and 5.8K for Jeremy Hill. 9K for Mike Evans, and 9K-10K for WR2 & WR3, 8K for two TEs, one as my DK FLEX, and 3.5K for Cincy’s defense.
At FD: 7.5-8.2K for QB, 9K or less for a top tier RB, 6.9K for Hill, 9K for Evans, and 11K-12.5K for WR2 and WR3, 6.5K for one of the top TEs, and less than 10K combined for kicker and defense.
Prices indicated: Red = Negative Value and Black = Acceptable Value and Green = Great Value
|Robert Griffin III||$5,000||$6,200|
Weekly strategy – I’m going to play it safe and avoid potential weather fiascos this week. Kirk Cousins, Jameis Winston, and Philip Rivers are the easy plays and they are all cheaper than Drew Brees who is also safe. Eli Manning and Carson Palmer both have upside at lower than average prices and Jared Goff is a potential punt option.
Your Fantasy Four Pack
Drew Brees, Saints @ TB ($7400 DK, $8700 FD)
Drew Brees really destroyed a lot of peoples’ dreams last week. He failed mightily in a must-win situation for many season-long and dynasty leagues. Fortunately with DFS, you don’t have to worry about last week. Live in the moment. Tampa Bay’s secondary is atrocious. Seven different times they have allowed multiple passing TDs in a game. Brees ought to be frustrated with his performance as well. I expect he does everything in his power to wash that foul taste out of his mouth and ours as well.
Matthew Stafford, Lions vs. CHI ($6800 DK, $8500 FD)
This is one of two games being played in a dome so we know there is zero chance of weather terrorism here. Matthew Stafford should have little difficulty picking apart a short-handed Chicago defense. Stafford should come in at 300-2 making him an ok play on DK. Unfortunately his FD price is really pushing the edge of reasonable.
Philip Rivers, Chargers @ CAR ($6600 DK, $8000 FD)
Carolina’s pass defense has been atrocious this season. Over their last nine games, they have allowed 285 or more passing yards seven times and multiple passing TDs five times. Philip Rivers is always an automatic 280-2, which is his floor this week. What makes him extra appealing is that this is one of few games with no weather concerns.
Jameis Winston, Buccaneers vs. NO ($6700 DK, $8200 FD)
If Drew Brees is going to have himself a game, then Jameis Winston will have to throw the ball a lot to keep up. New Orleans’ secondary is actually worse than the Bucs. They have given up multiple passing TDs in eight of their last ten. This includes games against Jared Goff, Alex Smith, Trevor Siemian, and Colin Kaepernick. Jameis Winston is so much better than any of those four. Two touchdowns are a lock, and 275 yards is his floor. That said, I feel Winston could top 300-3 with a lot of that going to Mike Evans and Cameron Brate.
Eli Manning, Giants vs. DAL ($5500 DK, $7700 FD)
Back in Week 1, Eli Manning threw for three touchdowns against Dallas. This was against a fully healthy secondary. Dallas is a little shorthanded right now so you’d think that Eli would produce more. Over the last four weeks, Dallas has given up two 400-yard passing games – each with three passing scores – to good offenses. They also faced two awful offenses, who each still posted an average of 261-1. The price tag is too low to ignore and I will probably stack Eli with Sterling Shepard or Will Tye.
Jared Goff, Rams vs. ATL ($5000 DK, $6700 FD)
Jared Goff is battling a sickness right now, but if he gets the all-clear to play this weekend, he may set new personal highs against an Atlanta defense that has allowed the most passing yards and the second-most passing TDs. Goff got it done against a rotten Saints defense two weeks ago. This game should be even easier. At this price, he will be my favorite punt play, particularly stacked with Lance Kendricks or Kenny Britt.
|Duke Johnson Jr.||$3,500||$4,900|
Weekly strategy – David Johnson may have finally priced himself completely out of my wallet. He is one of four guys along with: LeVeon Bell, LeSean McCoy, and Ezekiel Elliott that I will pair with a RB in the second or third tier: Jeremy Hill, Thomas Rawls, Devonta Freeman, Jay Ajayi, Jon Stewart, and Todd Gurley. Most of my DK FLEX will be TE2s but I could go with a punt RB3 option featuring one of the Cleveland, Minnesota, or Philadelphia backs.
Your Fantasy Four Pack
LeVeon Bell, Steelers @ BUF ($9000 DK, $9000 FD)
I don’t need to rehash LeVeon Bell’s stats but know that early weather reports were 80% chance of precipitation and double-digit MPH winds. Pair that with a very strong Buffalo secondary, and you have the makings of a run-heavy script for Pittsburgh. Only two teams have allowed more RB rushing TDs than Buffalo. This includes three over the last two weeks. Bell will score twice, and he might be more involved in the short-passing game if the winds get too ridiculous.
Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys @ NYG ($8400 DK, $8500 FD)
The Giants biggest strength is their secondary, which is why I expect Dak Prescott and Dez Bryant to struggle this week. This game still has a high point potential, so Dallas will likely have their greatest success when they run Elliott straight down their throats. In every game this year Elliott has either topped 100 combo yards and/or scored. This week, 125-2 is very much in play.
LeSean McCoy, Bills vs. PIT ($8200 DK, $8300 FD)
LeSean McCoy would probably be ranked even higher this week if Mike Gillislee and Tyrod Taylor weren’t there to vulture him. As I mention above, the weather should force these two teams to feature their running games and short-passes. The Steelers have been pretty stout on the ground against opposing RBs, but they have allowed the most RB receiving touchdowns. Gillislee won’t vulture those from McCoy.
David Johnson, Cardinals @ MIA ($9800 DK, $9700 FD)
I couldn’t, not rank David Johnson in the top-4, even against a stingy Miami rushing defense. My biggest knock on Johnson this week is that price tag. In previous weeks, it took some stretching, but I managed to put together a couple rosters with both Bell and Johnson. I just don’t see how it is possible this time out. I’ll have some exposure to Johnson, but know that he is my least favorite of the high-priced guys.
Jeremy Hill, Bengals @ CLE ($5800 DK, $6900 FD)
Let me be only mildly-preposterous for a second, Jeremy Hill may out produce LeVeon, Zeke, and Johnson this week. Hill gained 24% of his season yardage in Week 7 versus Cleveland. That was with Gio Bernard involved as well, and in perfect weather. If you combine Hill and Bernard’s lines from that game, they posted 279 combo yards and 2 scores. Heavy winds and snow are predicted for this game and that should limit Andy Dalton’s aerial attack. It shouldn’t matter because Cleveland can’t stop opposing RBs. They are allowing an average of 160 combo yards per game to the position. Hill could top that easily this week. He will be the backbone of most of my lineups.
Todd Gurley, Rams vs. ATL ($5000 DK, $6900 FD)
I consider it amazing, that a guy who was taken in the first round of most drafts has slid all the way down to sleeper territory. His price tag finally is acceptable for usage, especially against an Atlanta defense that has given up very few RB rushing yards, but a metric ton of receptions and receiving yards. Todd Gurley is certainly capable of producing in the passing game, and Jared Goff would be amiss to not do everything in his power to get Gurley the ball as frequently as possible. This will be Gurley’s best offensive output of the year.
|Odell Beckham Jr.||$8,000||$8,500|
|Terrelle Pryor Sr.||$5,900||$6,700|
|Marvin Jones Jr.||$4,900||$5,900|
|Will Fuller V||$4,500||$5,400|
|Ted Ginn Jr.||$4,000||$4,700|
Weekly strategy – Mike Evans will be the backbone of all of my rosters and I’ll fade almost all of the other high-priced guys. My WR2 will likely be from Washington, Detroit, San Diego, The Giants, or New Orleans. I’m leaning Ted Ginn, Jr. for my WR3, but a second player from one of the five teams could also be in play. I also really like Cordarrelle Patterson and Robby Anderson as punt plays.
Your Fantasy Four Pack
Mike Evans, Buccaneers vs. NO ($8900 DK, $8900 FD)
Jeremy Hill will be on most of my rosters, and so will Mike Evans. New Orleans’ secondary is a mess. This game projects as a high-scoring affair, and we know how Evans is a target hog for Tampa. This is the only truly safe play amongst all the high dollar options. If I decide to spend more at RB2, I will likely be forced to look elsewhere for my WR1.
Odell Beckham, Jr., Giants vs. DAL ($8000 DK, $8500 FD)
Dallas is dealing with injury loss in their secondary, but they still have one very good CB who is healthy, and who will be tasked with wrangling Odell Beckham, Jr. This is no easy task as Beckham has scored four times in five career games against Dallas. Of course, all four of those TDs came in Odell’s rookie season. Since then, Beckham has averaged 4.3-51 against them. I think Beckham will get loose at least once this week, but I’m more interested in stacking Sterling Shepard.
Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals @ MIA ($7100 DK, $6800 FD)
Miami just got lit up by the “elite” Joe Flacco. Carson Palmer is a wee-bit more “elite” than him. With John Brown perennially questionable, and Michael Floyd perennially MIA, Larry Fitzgerald is the only sure thing in this passing game, aside from David Johnson. Winds could play a factor, but Fitz is a sure-handed possession option. He will still post solid PPR numbers in the wind. Fitz has double-digit receptions in three of his last five contests. I would expect him to do that once again.
Antonio Brown, Steelers @ BUF ($8700 DK, $8800 FD)
Weather is definitely a concern for this week for Antonio Brown. Buffalo’s secondary is no slouch, either. Antonio Brown is an effective PPR weapon even in bad conditions, so I feel he will still catch a fair amount of passes. I’m just scared that the yardage won’t be there. Even with 7-80-1, Brown is playable. He just isn’t nearly as exciting as Evans at the same price.
Jamison Crowder, Redskins @ PHI ($5600 DK, $6400 FD)
After starting the season white-hot, Philly’s pass defense has turned to hot-garbage. They have given up over 200 WR receiving yards four times in the last six weeks, to go along with nine TDs. Just in their last two contests, they have allowed 36-519-3 to the position. Weather is not predicted to be a factor here, so Kirk Cousins to Jamison Crowder may be the best stack of the week. At the very least, it provides a sneaky, cheaper alternative to the Winston-Evans stack.
Dontrelle Inman, Chargers @ CAR ($4800 DK, $5500 FD)
With Tyrell Williams and Travis Benjamin less than 100%, Dontrelle Inman has scored in back-to-back games. Even before that he was getting targeted regularly. Carolina has been routinely burnt by opposing WRs. It won’t be any different this time out. I wouldn’t count on more than 6-60 out of Inman, but a third-straight TD is a near certainty.
Weekly strategy – There are just so many appealing options at TE this week. Jimmy Graham and Tyler Eifert are both facing potential weather terrorism, but unlike their WR-brethren, the weather issues should provide them more short passes. I also like Greg Olsen versus a Chargers defense that has slipped up on TE-coverage of late. The bad weather could also provide more opportunities for Ladarius Green and Gary Barnidge. If you wish to avoid the bad weather all together the safest options are Olsen, C.J. Fiedorowicz, and Cameron Brate. I also will have some punt TE2 exposure to Daniel Brown, Jermaine Gresham, and Lance Kendricks.
Your Fantasy Four Pack
Tyler Eifert, Bengals @ CLE ($6000 DK, $6700 FD)
If the weather was better this matchup would be epically good. Of course, Andy Dalton may need to emphasize short passes to Eifert if conditions won’t allow him to go downfield. Eifert is a red zone beast. It is safe to assume a TD for him every week, matchup be damned. It just gets that much sexier when he faces a dumpster fire like Cleveland. They are tied for the league lead in TE touchdowns allowed.
Greg Olsen, Panthers vs. SD ($5000 DK, $6400 FD)
Facing two middling TEs corps the last two weeks, San Diego has allowed a total of 16-180-1 to the position. Greg Olsen is a more known quantity than Cameron Brate or C.J. Fiedorowicz, but physically speaking all three are similar. Olsen leads all TEs in targets and yards, and he ranks second in receptions. With no weather concerns here, Olsen should easily approach his typical line of 5-68.
Jimmy Graham, Seahawks @ GB ($5000 DK, $6400 FD)
The Green Bay Packers have allowed an average of 7.5-80-0.5 to the position over the last six weeks. Only three times this season have they failed to give up at least 60 yards and/or a score to the opposing TEs. Weather is a big concern for this game, but that could equate to more short-passes to Jimmy Graham.
Zach Ertz, Eagles vs. WAS ($4900 DK, $5700 FD)
The Redskins have been destroyed by opposing TEs recently. Over their last five games, Washington has allowed an average of 7-82-0.6. Zach Ertz has been targeted a ridiculous 47 times over the last five weeks. This has allowed him to accrue 67% of his entire season’s receptions and receiving yards over that short span. Ertz finished last year white-hot as well, perhaps he is settling in as the anti-Martellus Bennett.
Gary Barnidge, Browns vs. CIN ($3300 DK, $4500 FD)
Robert Griffin III failed to complete a pass to Gary Barnidge in Week 1. Here is hoping they are more in sync this time out. With weather being a huge concern here (along with Griffin’s shoulder), I expect lots of running and short passes. That should equate to a serviceable line from Barnidge (as well as Duke Johnson). Cincy has allowed the most receptions and receiving yards to opposing TEs. This included a 6-66 line by Barnidge earlier this year.
Daniel Brown, Bears @ DET ($2500 DK, $4500 FD)
Who in the bloody hell is this? A Google search brought up millions of hits to the author of the Da Vinci Code. However, I doubt that he is lining up at TE for the Bears. This guy is tied for 75th in the league amongst TEs with five receptions this season. His yardage pales behind such tight end luminaries as: Seth DeValve, Ben Koyack, and even the immortal Ifeanyi Momah (who has been a FA since Week 8. Then why in the heck am I recommending this jabroni? Matt Barkley has targeted him more than any other TE, and MORE IMPORTANTLY, he is facing the Detroit Lions. There have been only two games this season where Detroit has both limited their opponents’ TEs to less than 80 yards, and held them out of the end zone. Last year, I made Gary Barnidge a thing. This week I (with Detroit’s help) make Daniel Brown a thing! – I mean other than the whole author thingy.