This week we get our first real taste of bye week terrorism. Pair that with an early London game and DK still not using the Sunday night game on their main slate, and you have a smaller pool of players to choose from.
Those playing in a slate with London players, consider every member of the Minnesota Vikings and zero members of the Cleveland Browns. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a shutout here.
Sunday Night could feature some fireworks or it could be a total dud. Ben Roethlisberger typically struggles away from Heinz Field, but Detroit’s pass defense is just so-so. In the Primetime-only slate, he is probably the safest quarterback. That said, I wouldn’t risk it in All-day slates or on FD. Obviously, both Antonio Brown and LeVeon Bell are premium plays. In Primetime-only slates they will be nearly 100% owned. JuJu Smith Schuster will be a popular play with Martrade-Me Bryant sitting out this week. If I do go to the SNF well on FD, he will be the guy I target. Matthew Stafford has been under extreme duress recently, and there is no guarantee his top receiver, Golden Tate will be ready to play this week. Even if he does, Pittsburgh’s pass defense is premiere. I wouldn’t trust any member of that passing offense in this game. You can run against Pittsburgh (although they have improved recently), but I also don’t love Theo Riddick or Ameer Abdullah.
Monday night also features two very good defenses locking horns in a divisional scrum. Denver may once again be without Emmanuel Sanders and their other WR1, Demaryius Thomas is coming off his most embarrassing game of the year. It also doesn’t help that the best QB currently in the Denver organization is V.P. of Football Operations, John Elway. Paxton Lynch is probably a week or two away, Trevor Siemian has been borderline Browns-esque, and Brock Osweiler is the next man up – UGH! The Chiefs are beatable through the air, but I don’t trust any part of this passing game. The Chiefs can also be beat on the ground, but C.J. Anderson has been under-used making him far-from-safe. There is a part of me that wants to like A.J. Derby this week. You could do worse at that price. On the Kansas City side of the ball, Alex Smith has been very good this year. That said, the Denver pass defense is elite and it makes Smith a QB2, at best, for this week. Tyreek Hill is fast enough that he could beat the Denver defensive backs, so he remains in play. Denver has been beaten by tight ends, so Travis Kelce should remain an elite option this week.
For those playing on FD my top kickers this week are Jake Elliott and Will Lutz. You can have either for just under $5K. If you are looking for variance, or to save some money, I’d recommend Robbie Gould at league-minimum $4.5K.
New Orleans and Cincinnati are the only strong options at defense on the main slate. Each is $4.8K on FD and roughly $3.5K on DK. With the SNF game in play on FD, Pittsburgh is another option.
I’m going to load up my lineups with Drew Brees and Carson Wentz (just like everyone else will). It is chalk, but it is worth it. Kirk Cousins and Philip Rivers are the two fade options I like this week, but they will be highly owned as well. My favorite punt play will be Andy Dalton, but his FD price isn’t enough savings to go away from those top-four options. I will have more exposure to him on DK.
LeVeon Bell is a smart buy at a high price on FD. I should have some exposure to him. The two guys I will have the most exposure to though are Melvin Gordon and Mark Ingram. I also am very interested in both Bilal Powell and Joe Mixon, as well as the Philadelphia Eagles’ backfield. There isn’t an obvious punt play this week, but the Raiders duo: DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard should produce enough to entertain this option.
With both A.J. Green and Julio Jones in strong matchups, this is a week to spend up at wide receiver. I could easily roster both of them, but will have at least one of them on all of my rosters. My WR2/WR3 will be from some combination of the Chargers, Eagles, Saints and Jets’ wide receivers. On FD, I will have brief exposure to Antonio Brown, and when I don’t, I will make JuJu Smith-Schuster my WR3.
I’ve got four great choices at tight end: Hunter Henry, Austin Hooper, Jason Witten and Cameron Brate. Most of my lineups will feature one of them, and I could easily roster a second as my DK-FLEX. Nick O’Leary, Ed Dickson and Tyler Kroft would be cheaper punt options as well. I would also consider one of them at DK-FLEX.
Here are my recommendations for this week’s price range targets by position.
At DK: $7K for your choice of Carson Wentz or Drew Brees, $8.1K for Melvin Gordon, $5K for your choice of Joe Mixon or Bilal Powell, $8.5K for either A.J. Green or Julio Jones, $10.5K-11.5K for both WR2 and WR3 (likely to include Nelson Agholor), $4K-$5K for Hunter Henry, Austin Hooper, Jason Witten, or Cameron Brate, $3K for Tyler Kroft, and $3.5K for either the New Orleans or Cincinnati defense.
At FD: $8K-$8.5K for your choice of: Wentz, Brees or Kirk Cousins, $9.4K for LeVeon Bell, $7.9K for Melvin Gordon, $8.5K for either Green or Julio, $11.5K total for WR2 and WR3, $5.5K for one of the four tight ends: Hooper, Witten, Henry or Brate, $4.4K for Pittsburgh’s defense, and roughly $4.8K for Jake Elliott or Will Lutz.
Prices indicated: Red = Negative Value and Black = Acceptable Value and Green = Great Value
Weekly strategy – I have four legitimate choices at quarterback this week: Drew Brees, Carson Wentz, Kirk Cousins and Philip Rivers. Brees and Wentz will dominate my rosters with the other two sprinkled in. I will also have minor exposure to a stack with Andy Dalton and both A.J. Green and Tyler Kroft.
Your Fantasy Four Pack
Tom Brady, Patriots vs. LAC ($7600 DK, $9400 FD) The Chargers aren’t allowing many yards or touchdowns to opposing quarterbacks, but they also haven’t faced Tom Brady and the Patriots yet. Only one team has thrown for more yards per game than New England. Brady will get another 300 yards here, but I can’t predict more than two scores.
Drew Brees, Saints vs. CHI ($7000 DK, $8500 FD) Drew Brees at home is money. The Saints are averaging an incredible 36 points per game at home, compare that to the 24.8 points per game they are scoring on the road. Chicago has only allowed one quarterback to throw for more than one touchdown, but that was Brees’ contemporary, Aaron Rodgers. Drew will cede some of the points to the running game, but I still expect him to roll out 300-2.
Carson Wentz, Eagles vs. 49ers ($7200 DK, $7900 FD) The 49ers have given up five passing touchdowns over the last two weeks. Meanwhile, Carson Wentz has thrown for three more touchdowns than any other quarterback since Week 5. Wentz will finish with at least 270-2, but don’t be surprised if he hits 300-3. A lot will depend on how huge of a lead the Eagles jump out to. If they get to far ahead, expect a healthy dose of LeGarrette Blount and Wendell Smallwood.
Matt Ryan, Falcons @ NYJ ($6800 DK, $8100 FD) Yes, the Atlanta offense is a train wreck. Yes, Matt Ryan failed to dominate a pathetic Patriots’ pass defense last week. Yes, the Jets are allowing the most passing touchdowns per game. If Ryan fails in back-to-back slump-buster games, you might as well cut him in your season-long leagues. This week will prove that even Steve Sarkisian can find a nut some time.
Andy Dalton, Bengals vs. IND ($5700 DK, $7600 FD) Andy Dalton has been more miss than hit this season, but this week presents his best opportunity to return 3X-production. Only one team is allowing as many passing yards per game as Indianapolis. They have given up 300-yard passing games to the exciting quintet of: Carson Palmer, Jared Goff, Brian Hoyer, Blake Bortles, and a not fully recovered from injury Marcus Mariota. Even the two teams that didn’t throw for 300 yards against them, Cleveland and Seattle, averaged 270-2 against them. That is Dalton’s floor, but 300-2 sounds more realistic.
C.J. Beathard, 49ers @ PHI ($5100 DK, $6300 FD) C.J. Beathard didn’t reward my judgement on him last week. I’m going to give him one more opportunity, in another easy matchup. The Eagles are allowing the fourth-most passing yards per game, including an average of 309 per game over their last five contests. During that same span, they are also allowing two touchdowns per game. Beathard will be playing from behind, so expect lots of passes here.
Weekly strategy – On FD, I will have a fair amount of exposure to LeVeon Bell. I will also have one of Melvin Gordon or Mark Ingram on most of my rosters. To save a little money I might roster a pass-catching back like Christian McCaffrey or Chris Thompson. I also could target my RB2 from: the Philadelphia backfield, the Patriots’ backfield, Bilal Powell or Joe Mixon. The only real punt option would be going with Rob Kelley or one of the Raiders. That said, I probably will not stoop that low unless I choose to roster two high-priced WRs. Expect to drop about 28% on either site here.
Your Fantasy Four Pack
LeVeon Bell, Steelers @ DET ($XXXX DK, $9400 FD) LeVeon Bell gets the gold-star matchup of the week against a Detroit defense, minus Haloti Ngata, that just gave up 237 combo yards to the duo of Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram. Bell doesn’t split his reps with anyone, that whole 237 yards of potential offense are his for the taking.
Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys @ WAS ($9200 DK, $9000 FD) This may or may not be Ezekiel Elliott’s last football game for a while. If it is, expect the Cowboys to run him into the ground here and try to fill his stat line. Washington has allowed only one 100-yard running back rushing game this season. That said, they have been absolutely abused by pass-catching backs. Elliott isn’t known as a pass-catching back, but he isn’t out of his element in that role either. I’m guessing he finishes with around 150 total yards and a pair of scores.
Melvin Gordon, Chargers @ NE ($8100 DK, $7900 FD) Melvin Gordon won’t find rushing yards so hard to come by this week. Prior to crashing and burning against Denver last week, Gordon posted 313-4 in his earlier two games. New England’s defense has played better recently thanks to the return of Donta Hightower, err…um…yeah about that. Hightower is gone again. That means the Patriots are back to the defense that allowed 142 combo yards per game to opposing backs Week 2 and 3, when Hightower was out before.
LeSean McCoy, Bills vs. OAK ($8700 DK, $8400 FD) LeSean McCoy gets to lock horns with a Raiders’ defense that has allowed 158 combo yards per game to opposing running backs. Coming off of his best game of the season (and with no real competition for touches), Shady should log another huge game.
Chris Thompson, Redskins vs. DAL ($5800 DK, $6000 FD) Chris Thompson only has 23 receptions this season, but he has 10% more receiving yards than the next closest running back. What is remarkable about this, is that he has already had his bye. Dallas is allowing an average of 6-50 to opposing running backs through the air. That sounds like a safe floor for Thompson. Any rushing yards and scores are gravy.
Joe Mixon, Bengals vs. IND ($4700 DK, $5900 FD) I’m going to pick on Indianapolis a lot this week. They can’t stop the pass. They can’t stop the run. They can’t stop opposing defenses. They can’t stop opposing special teamers. If it wasn’t for Cleveland, they would be guaranteed the number one pick in next year’s draft. Over the last three weeks, Joe Mixon has accumulated 61% of the running back touches and 66% of their yardage for Cincinnati. If he finishes with 66% of the running back yardage in this game, that will mean 105 total yards. That is his floor. Oh yeah, Indy also has given up four rushing touchdowns in the last two weeks.
|Terrelle Pryor Sr.||$5,400||$6,300|
|Will Fuller V||$5,300||$6,500|
|Ted Ginn Jr.||$4,700||$5,900|
Weekly strategy – One of either: Julio Jones or A.J. Green will dot most of my rosters. I may even pay down at RB or QB to fit both of them in. I also like Keenan Allen, Mike Evans and Michael Thomas and each could get sporadic starts if I need to save a couple bucks. Antonio Brown will fare ok on FD, but I don’t really want to pay up for a Steelers’ receiver away from Heinz. There are several teams I will hunt through for my WR2 and WR3. The secondary receivers for: Los Angeles Chargers, Carolina, Philadelphia, New Orleans and the Jets are all possible targets. You can expect to spend about 40% here this week.
Your Fantasy Four Pack
Julio Jones, Falcons @ NYJ ($8400 DK, $8700 FD) Despite Steve Sarkisian’s best efforts to keep Julio Jones out of the end zone last week, the stud took matters into his own hands, high-pointing a touchdown away from the opposition. This week’s matchup is just as juicy. I expect him to approach 100-1 once again against a defense that just gave up three scores to the Dolphins’ wide receiver corps.
A.J. Green, Bengals vs. IND ($8600 DK, $8500 FD) Once again, I get to rail against Indy. Indianapolis has allowed an average of over 200 yards per game to opposing wide receivers. What is most amazing about that, is that they have only given up four wide receiver touchdowns. A.J. Green will post huge yards this week. I also think he will get into the end zone, since he has scored in three of his last four games
Antonio Brown, Steelers @ DET ($XXXX DK, $9200 FD) Darius Slay hopes to hang with Antonio Brown this week. I just don’t see that working so well for him. I don’t even think he feels he has a chance. They say the first step in dealing with a problem is admitting you have a problem. Well Slay, you sir, have a problem. Brown has only three touchdowns this season, but he also has three 150+ yard games. He also has 220 more yards than the next closest receiver. With no Martavis Bryant, Brown will probably see even more targets. I just have a hard time endorsing the score – since it is Ben Roethlisberger on the road. One deep, deep, punt play to consider as a fade from Brown (and JuJu Smith-Schuster) is Darrius Heyward-Bey. He may get more field time this week with Bryant out.
Mike Evans, Buccaneers vs. CAR ($7900 DK, $8200 FD) Mike Evans has scored in four of six games and he is averaging just under ten targets per game. This week, he gets to take on a Panthers’ defense that is easier to beat through the air than on the ground. Plus, the Panthers are likely a little rusty, since they didn’t actually cover any wide receivers last week. Field-stretching receivers: Ted Ginn, Brandon Coleman, Michael Thomas, Chris Hogan, and Nelson Agholor all have scored against Carolina recently. This week Evans joins that list.
Nelson Agholor, Eagles vs. SF ($5500 DK, $6000 FD) Speaking of Nelson Agholor, he has scored in three straight and five of seven. This week, he faces one of the worst pass defenses in the league. What the heck does he have to do to get his price up in the rankings???
Ted Ginn, Saints vs. CHI ($4700 DK, $5900 FD) Michael Thomas is battling a knee issue, but he will likely play. Willie Snead is also still not 100%, but he will likely play. If either of them doesn’t play, or if they are limited, Ted Ginn would become a stud with Drew Brees throwing him the rock at home. Even if all three of them play, Ginn should garner enough targets to make him a WR3/FLEX play.
Weekly strategy – There are four great plays this week: Austin Hooper, Jason Witten, Hunter Henry and Cameron Brate. I will have one of those four in most of my lineups. On DK, I may even roster a second one as my DK-FLEX. I may also roster one of the cheaper options at DX-FLEX, including: Tyler Kroft, Ed Dickson or Nick O’Leary.
Your Fantasy Four Pack
Hunter Henry, Chargers @ NE ($4800 DK, $5500 FD) New England has allowed tight end touchdowns in five of seven games. Plus, they are allowing 5.3-55 to the position. Hunter Henry is red hot. Only one tight end has more receiving yards since Week 5. He also played 81% of the snaps last week, so he is staying on the field. The changing of the guard has occurred.
Jason Witten, Cowboys @ WAS ($4200 DK, $5400 FD) Washington is also atrocious against tight ends. They are allowing an average of 6-86.5 to the position. This includes, allowing three teams to top 100 yards with their tight ends against them. Only four tight ends have more touchdowns than Jason Witten. He will catch another this week to go with 6-75.
Rob Gronkowski, Patriots vs. LAC ($7100 DK, $8400 FD) Rob Gronkowski ranks second in both tight end touchdowns and receiving yards. He will need all of that prowess to do damage against a team that likes to take away opponent’s tight ends. They were beat by Philly and Zach Ertz earlier this year, but the only other team that Los Angeles has allowed to top 30 yards with their tight ends was Denver (twice). I think he’ll do ok here, but I refuse to pay that much for a line that won’t be higher than the one from Hunter Henry.
Zach Ertz, Eagles vs. SF ($7000 DK, $7300 FD) Zach Ertz is another victim of salary cap concerns. Plus, he gets to face a defense that ONLY covers tight ends. Up until the last two weeks, they were one of the stingiest against the position. They have been “touchable” the last two weeks, but I think the Eagles’ points go elsewhere this week.
Tyler Kroft, Bengals @ IND ($3000 DK, $5700 FD) What, you thought I wouldn’t take one more chance to assault the Colts? They actually held one tight end grouping out of the end zone in their last five games. That won’t happen again. Kroft will score – and I wouldn’t be surprised if he scores twice.
Nick O’Leary, Bills vs. OAK ($3100 DK, $4900 FD) The Bills are still without Charles Clay. Not to mention, that they still have zero wide receiver that they trust. Over their last two games, Nick O’Leary is third on the team in targets, second in receptions, and first in receiving yards. The Raiders are allowing 5-56 per game to the position. Expect a similar line from O’Leary this week, with a touchdown possible.