Last week was painful to watch with all the gruesome injuries. Fortunately, in the world of DFS, Odell Beckham’s absence doesn’t kill our chances to win money. In fact, the Giants’ clean slate at wide receiver opens the door for some new bargain DFS values going forward. That said, I want nothing to do with Roger Lewis or Tavares King versus the Denver Broncos.
Sunday Night has those Giants and Broncos locking horns. The Broncos defense is an easy consideration on FD. I want nothing to do with any part of the Giants’ offense in this game. Truthfully, I don’t want most of the Broncos’ offense either. I’ll give some interest to C.J. Anderson, in primetime-only slates, but there are better Sunday slate RBs to choose from. Even with Dominic Rodgers-Cromartie’s suspension, the New York secondary is solid enough to shut down a Trevor Siemian-led offense. The only player I will have excessive exposure to is A.J. Derby. The Giants have no clue how to stop opposing tight ends.
Monday night brings us “Backup Bowl” as Jacoby Brissett and Matt Cassel kill the NFL’s primetime ratings (in addition to their skill position brethren’s value). Brissett could actually have some value this week, and he is arguably the best choice at QB for the primetime-only slate (that is a scary thought). T.Y. Hilton will have his second-best game of the year and both Donte Moncrief and Kamar Aiken could produce enough for consideration. I will probably ignore Frank Gore, even if Marlon Mack (elbow) does not play. Neither is a must-play here. DeMarco Murray is a very good start this week and Derrick Henry should even draw some FLEX appeal. If you have a lot of antacid at hand, you may want to roll with Matt Cassel. That said, I don’t think I can keep a straight face and actually do that. Fortunately for them, both Rishard Matthews and Delanie Walker at least have a prayer of scoring against the Colts’ rotten secondary.
For those playing on FD my top kickers this week are: Wil Lutz and Greg Zuerlein. Lutz is the cheaper of the two, but neither will break the bank. You can also get some value from playing Robbie Gould, Nick Novak or Harrison Butker. Each of these three is $4700 or less.
As I mention above, Denver is a great defense option on FD. They are also the most expensive team on the docket. To get your defense for under $5K on FD, I recommend either Baltimore or Jacksonville. Unfortunately, there isn’t a clear safe punt option this week, so prepare to pay up some.
Tom Brady could go off against his division rival, but don’t sell the Jets’ pass defense short at home. They outperformed expectations this year. Brady will also be very chalk, and at his price could burn you. There are also several quality second-tier options this week: Drew Brees, Matt Ryan, Philip Rivers, Matthew Stafford, and my favorites Kirk Cousins and Deshaun Watson. I could also punt here with Josh McCown or Case Keenum.
I will anchor my running back position with one of: Leonard Fournette, Kareem Hunt or Todd Gurley. If Derek Carr plays, Marshawn Lynch will be my RB2. Otherwise, I will punt down to either Jerick McKinnon or Alvin Kamara. I could roster both of them on DK, but if I choose to go another way, I will roster one of the pass-catching backs: Tarik Cohen, Chris Thompson or Theo Riddick as my DK-FLEX.
I don’t dislike any of the expensive WRs (except Julio Jones). I just feel the third-tier is so loaded that I’d be hard pressed to not roster at least two of the following: Mike Evans (not really third-tier but his price is), Larry Fitzgerald, Jarvis Landry, Adam Thielen, Davante Adams, Terrelle Pryor, Randall Cobb or DeSean Jackson. If I don’t roster three of those guys, my third wide receiver will likely be Will Fuller.
Is it really “paying up” for Ryan Griffin or Austin Seferian-Jenkins just because they have the fourth and fifth highest salaries on the slate. They both have huge point potential at a middling cost. I also like George Kittle and A.J. Derby a lot, based on their matchups. David Njoku also makes an interesting play at a bottom of the barrel price.
Here are my recommendations for this week’s price range targets by position.
At DK: $6.5K – $7K for your choice of Matthew Stafford, Jameis Winston, Kirk Cousins or Deshaun Watson, $8K for one of my top running backs (Hunt, Fournette or Gurley) and another $5K for Marshawn Lynch, plus an additional $4.5K for either Jerick McKinnon or Alvin Kamara at DK FLEX, $13K – $14K for two of the following WRs: DeAndre Hopkins, Mike Evans, Larry Fitzgerald, Jarvis Landry, Adam Thielen, Randall Cobb or Desean Jackson, and another $5.2K for Will Fuller, $3.4K for George Kittle, and $3.7K for either the Ravens’ or Jaguars’ defense.
At FD: $8K for your choice of Cousins, Watson or Winston, $8.4K – $9.3K for one of the above listed top running backs, $5.8K for McKinnon or Kamara, $21K for three of the WRs in the $6K-$7K range, $5.5K for your choice of Kittle, Austin Seferian-Jenkins or Ryan Griffin, and $4.7K for any of the above kickers and $4.9K for Baltimore or Jacksonville’s defense.
Prices indicated: Red = Negative Value and Black = Acceptable Value and Green = Great Value
Weekly strategy – I’m going to dodge the Tom Brady Chalk and the Aaron Rodgers bad matchup. Pushing most of my ownership towards Kirk Cousins and Deshaun Watson. I’ll also have a little exposure to Matthew Stafford, Drew Brees and Jameis Winston. I will also post a couple punt lineups with either Case Keenum or Josh McCown at QB stacked with one of their wide receivers.
Your Fantasy Four Pack
Tom Brady, Patriots @ NYJ ($8300 DK, $9500 FD) Tom Brady will have a very good week against a Jets’ defense that has only been tested by one quality quarterback. Derek Carr posted 230-3 against the Jets, that is close to what you should expect this week. Nevertheless, you cannot discount that the Jets have only allowed one team to throw for more than 230 yards against them. I’m probably going to fade Brady because I feel he will be very chalk, and because the other options present substantially more value.
Kirk Cousins, Redskins vs. SF ($6800 DK, $7800 FD) San Francisco has allowed the fourth-most 299 passing yards per game over the last three weeks. This bodes well for Kirk Cousins, especially since Jay Gruden wants to get one of Cousins’ strongest weapons, Jamison Crowder, more involved this week. At $1.5K less than Brady, Cousins should produce a similar line making him a better buy.
Drew Brees, Saints vs. DET ($7200 DK, $8600 FD) Drew Brees has thrown for nearly 100 more yards per game at home than on the road this year. This isn’t a new trend as last year he threw for more than 70 more yards per game at home. The Lions’ pass defense was shown as the frauds that they are by Cam Newton. Detroit has one very good cornerback, the problem is Brees has multiple good weapons. This game will be a shootout, and 300-2 sounds safe for Drew.
Deshaun Watson, Texans vs. CLE ($6700 DK, $7900 FD) You’ve taken my advice and played him as a sleeper the last couple weeks, right? Well, Deshaun Watson is no longer a sleeper. He has joined Kareem Hunt in the offensive rookie of the year conversation. Fortunately, the DFS sites haven’t completely caught up yet. Following another monster week this week, Watson’s salary will be up there with Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady for next week’s slate. In the interim, enjoy one more week of reasonable pricing for his 270-3, 50-1 combo line.
Case Keenum, Vikings vs. GB ($5000 DK, $6700 FD) Green Bay has allowed six passing touchdowns over the last three weeks. Meanwhile, Case Keenum has been better than expected, including throwing for 140-1 in just one half of football versus Chicago. Keenum will have to pass to keep up with Aaron Rodgers, putting him in position to post 270-2. Not bad for nearly $2.5K less than Rodgers.
Josh McCown, Jets vs. NE ($5200 DK, $6900 FD) New England has allowed every quarterback they have faced to top 300 yards passing. In addition, four of the five teams they have faced have thrown for multiple touchdowns against them. 300-2 would be awfully nice for Josh McCown, it also would be his season high by a lot. Worst case, McCown finishes with a floor of around 250-2.
|Todd Gurley II||$7,700||$8,400|
|Duke Johnson Jr.||$5,100||$5,600|
Weekly strategy – If I can finagle a strategy for it (such as punting QB), I will roster two of the following threesome: Kareem Hunt, Todd Gurley, and Leonard Fournette. Aside from those few opportunities, I will have at least one of those three in all of my lineups. I will also have some exposure to Marshawn Lynch (If Derek Carr plays) and Lamar Miller. My RB2 will either be a pass-catcher: Chris Thompson, Tarik Cohen, Theo Riddick or James White; or either Jerick McKinnon or Alvin Kamara. I’ll also roster my DK-FLEX from this six-pack. With that FLEX expect to spend nearly 35% of your DK budget here and at least 25% of your FD budget.
Your Fantasy Four Pack
Kareem Hunt, Chiefs vs. PIT ($8200 DK, $9300 FD) Pittsburgh is allowing 167 combo yards and one touchdown per game to opposing running backs. Now they get to face the league leader in yards from scrimmage – ouch. Kareem Hunt has averaged 157 combo yards per game to start his career. With injuries to most of the Chiefs’ passing game, Kareem will be force-fed this week.
Todd Gurley, Rams @ JAX ($7700 DK, $8400 FD) Jacksonville has allowed 165 combo yards per game to opposing backs. This is mostly because teams cannot throw the ball against them. Jared Goff will lean heavily on Todd Gurley. Fortunately, Gurley won’t mind. He already is accounting for 33% of the Rams yards from scrimmage.
Leonard Fournette, Jaguars vs. LAR ($8000 DK, $8600 FD) This game will feature a heavy dose of ground and pound on both sides of the ledger. Leonard Fournette has scored every week. I see no reason to expect him not to here. The Rams have allowed the most total touchdowns to opposing running backs.
Melvin Gordon, Chargers @ OAK ($7800 DK, $8400 FD) Oakland was gouged by two-headed backfields each of the last three weeks. Melvin Gordon won’t have to share the load against them making his ceiling ridiculously high. Despite the Chargers’ early season struggles, Gordon has scored in every game except one. He will here as well.
Marshawn Lynch, Raiders vs. LAC ($5000 DK, $6000 FD) Marshawn Lynch has not performed even half as well as his owners had hoped. So why am I recommending him here? His salary has finally fallen into the range it belongs in, Derek Carr will likely return under center, and the Chargers’ run defense is a hot mess. No team has allowed more total yards to opposing running backs than the Chargers.
Jerick McKinnon, Vikings vs. GB ($4100 DK, $5600 FD) Dalvin Cook is done for the season. Latavius Murray is a glorified goal line back without much else going for him. Meanwhile, Jerick McKinnon is actually explosive in both the run and pass games for Minnesota. Over the last two weeks, McKinnon has more than double the scrimmage yards than Murray. Green Bay is allowing an average of 135-1 to opposing backs. Murray will get some of that yardage, but McKinnon will be very active in the passing game.
|Terrelle Pryor Sr.||$5,700||$6,800|
|Will Fuller V||$5,200||$6,000|
|Marvin Jones Jr.||$4,600||$5,900|
Weekly strategy – I like all the expensive guys (except Julio Jones), but I don’t love any of them (except DeAndre Hopkins). I’d rather roster all of my WRs from the $5K- $7K range on DK. On DK, I’ll be heavily exposed to the underpriced, Mike Evans or his even-lesser-priced teammate, Desean Jackson. Adam Thielen, Terrelle Pryor, Jarvis Landry, Larry Fitzgerald and the secondary-Packers’ receivers will also find their ways on my rosters. I’ll likely fill out my roster with: Will Fuller, Jermaine Kearse or Martavis Bryant if I need to shave some salary here. In the end, expect to drop 38% of your budget here on DK and 35% on FD.
Your Fantasy Four Pack
Antonio Brown, Steelers @ KC ($9300 DK, $9200 FD) Kansas City just gave up five wide receiver touchdowns to Houston on just eight receptions. Antonio Brown runs a similar route-tree to DeAndre Hopkins. The biggest difference being that Brown has more talent, more experience, and a more experienced QB throwing to him. Brown was targeted 19 times last week versus a premiere Jacksonville pass defense. He netted 10-157. If Brown can do that versus Jacksonville, he will have a huge game this week. The only concern I have is that Ben Roethlisberger is on the road. That means all bets are off.
DeAndre Hopkins, Texans vs. CLE ($8100 DK, $8000 FD) Deshaun Watson is the real deal and he has already resurrected the career of DeAndre Hopkins. When Watson scrambles in the pocket, no defensive back in the league can hold coverage with both Hopkins and Will Fuller. Watson then picks apart the defense with the precision of a young Aaron Rodgers. Hopkins won’t score three times this week, but he will score. He’ll also top 100 yards – in the first half.
Keenan Allen, Chargers @ OAK ($7900 DK, $7200 FD) Oakland has allowed more than 150 yards to opposing wide receiver groupings in three different games. This includes an absolute smackdown by Mike Wallace last week. Keenan Allen has double-digit targets in four of five games, but he has only scored once. This game is a great opportunity for Allen to get back into the scoring column.
Michael Thomas, Saints vs. DET ($7300 DK, $8500 FD) Over the last three weeks, Michael Thomas is averaging 6.7-89 with a pair of touchdowns. Meanwhile, Detroit allowed a combined 11-111-2 to Carolina’s twin tower wide receivers: Devin Funchess and Kelvin Benjamin last week. Thomas is a similarly-built receiver, so his outlook could be similar. At worst, expect a score and 75 yards.
Will Fuller, Texans vs. CLE ($5200 DK, $6600 FD) Two weeks – six catches – Four touchdowns. Need I say more? Oh yeah, Cleveland (mic drop).
DeSean Jackson, Buccaneers @ ARI ($5800 DK, $6400 FD) Arizona was burned by secondary receivers recently. Last week, it was Torrey Smith and Nelson Agholor. The week before that, it was Aldrick Robinson and Trent Taylor. Week 3, it was Brice Butler and Terrance Williams. Also, if we look back to Week 1, Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones combined for three touchdowns against them. We need to face the facts. Arizona’s pass defense is nowhere near as good as people believe they are. It is a certainty that DeSean Jackson eclipses 80-1 this week.
Weekly strategy – There are four teams you need to start tight ends against this year: New England, Cleveland, the Giants and the Redskins. Needless to say, that will be the way I roll this week. The value is so high with Ryan Griffin, Austin Seferian-Jenkins, A.J. Derby and George Kittle, that I may choose to select a second one of them as my DK-FLEX. That would certainly help me squeeze two of those expensive RBs into my lineup. I’ll have exposure to all four of them, but I have an itchy feeling that Kittle will be the best play.
Your Fantasy Four Pack
Rob Gronkowski, Patriots @ NYJ ($6800 DK, $8000 FD) Rob Gronkowski appears good to go following missing last week’s contest with a thigh injury. Unfortunately, this game doesn’t have the game script demanding heavy usage by Gronk if he is not 100 percent. Nevertheless, if you choose to play Tom Brady, you might as well stack him with Gronkowski.
Travis Kelce, Chiefs vs. PIT ($6100 DK, $7200 FD) I don’t love this game either. Travis Kelce was still progressing through the concussion protocol as of Thursday. If he clears the protocol and gets a clean bill of health, then you can probably roll with him as a solid play. What is more disconcerting, is that Pittsburgh has allowed only one touchdown to the position. Plus, only one opponent’s tight end group have topped 65 yards against Pittsburgh.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Jets vs. NE ($4300 DK, $5600 FD) Austin Seferian-Jenkins has risen like a phoenix from the ashes that was his Tampa Bay career. I never thought I would write that after he bottomed out and signed with a team that didn’t know what a tight end was. Well, I was wrong. The Jets (or more realistically Josh McCown) remembered that one of the 11 players on the field on offense is called a tight end and that this place was eligible to touch the ball on a forward pass. New England has allowed 5.6-66 to opposing tight ends, to go along with touchdowns in four of five games. ASJ will score this week, and 5-50 is his floor.
Ryan Griffin, Texans vs. CLE ($4000 DK, $4500 FD) No this isn’t one of the characters on Family Guy. Ryan Griffin is tight end option-B for the Texans after C.J. Fiedorowicz was placed on injured reserve. We’ve told you repeatedly to start your tight ends versus Cleveland and this is no exception. Cleveland was destroyed by such superstar tight ends as: Jesse James, Ben Watson, Tyler Kroft and Austin Seferian-Jenkins. Griffin is at worst on-par with those dart throws. Since Week 2, DeAndre Hopkins is the only Texan with more targets than Griffin. Certainly, the return of Will Fuller will cut into those targets slightly, but don’t let that dissuade you from a mortal lock.
George Kittle, 49ers @ WAS ($3400 DK, $5300 FD) Coming into this season, the Niners liked George Kittle so much that they traded their veteran tight end, Vance McDonald to the Steelers. Last week, we found out why. The Colts lacked anyone to stop the big rookie from Iowa. This week, he gets to face a team that is even worse against tight ends than Indianapolis. Washington has allowed more than 100 yards to opposing tight ends in three of four games. In fact, only two teams have allowed more yards to the position this season – both of those teams have played five games – Washington has played FOUR. Kittle will be in most of my lineups.
A.J. Derby, Broncos vs. NYG ($XXXX DK, $4600 FD) When I choose to fade Kittle on FD, I will roster A.J. Derby. Derby gets to face an equally pathetic Giants’ defense against tight ends. The Giants have allowed a tight end touchdown in every game and opposing tight ends are averaging 6.8-75 against them. Derby was targeted six times and hauled in 4-75-1 against Oakland. A similar line could come his way versus New York.