Bad beat stories, everybody has hundreds of them, and nobody wants to hear yours…Nevertheless, this is my article, so you all get to hear me out as I tell my tale of woe. Last Monday, I missed out on $100,000 by half of a yard. That half of a yard was the non-touchdown plunge by Ameer Abdullah on Monday Night Football. At the time it occurred, I didn’t know how close I would end up being to winning the Draft Kings $750K Primetime-Only GPP. However, as the game dwindled down I found myself in 43rd place with no one in front of me having Ameer Abdullah on their roster. I finished 3.6 points out of first. If Abdullah got the ball across the stripe, I win $100K. Making matters worse, Abdullah fumbled during the game, so Detroit benched him for the last couple drives. Odds are, had he been in the game, he would’ve gained enough yardage to get me first place. I still walked away with one of my highest profits of the year this weekend, thanks mainly to that Primetime-Only slate: finishing 2nd on Fanball, 4th on Fan Duel and a couple other lesser cash payouts. So, you don’t have to feel that sorry for me, but still know that the pain of being so close to the big win can cause your mind and head to spin out of control sometimes for days. Perhaps, I should start a GoFundMe account for the new truck I had hoped to buy with that win.
Sunday Night features an explosive and well-rested New England offense traveling to the mile-high city to face Denver. Now, Denver’s defense has been known recently as the “No Fly Zone”. That said, in recent weeks there has been a lot of flying done by opposing quarterbacks against that defense. I’m not going to be scared off from starting Tom Brady on FD. I will be less exposed to him than normally, but I won’t ignore him. Odds are that Chris Hogan doesn’t play, leaving Brandin Cooks and Danny Amendola as the two targetable wide receivers. I will probably choose Amendola, because he will be cheaper, and will draw lesser coverage. Choosing a running back from that collection is impossible (on both sides). I don’t want any part of the New England mess facing a still very-stout Denver rushing defense. New England’s rushing defense is borderline putrid, but we have no clue who will be featured for Denver. In a pinch, I could see starting either C.J. Anderson or Devontae Booker, but neither is a must-start. Brock Osweiler brought some value back to Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, last week. New England’s pass defense has been one of the worst in the league this year. This means that all three of them are in play, especially since they will likely be playing from behind. That said, the only must-start from this game is Rob Gronkowski, who has owned Denver historically.
Monday night has Jay Cutler playing against one of the best defenses in football. What could go wrong there? Obviously, the Panthers’ defense is in play this week and the Miami running game is out-of-play this week. Carolina has been beaten over the top by explosive wide receivers (Julio Jones last week – despite the drop), but most of the touchdowns they have allowed have come to slot wide receivers. That said, I will probably keep Davante Parker and Kenny Stills on the bench, but I will still have some exposure to Jarvis Landry. Miami’s pass defense is also pretty good, but they are beatable with pass-catching running backs and tight ends. This means, that both Ed Dickson and Christian McCaffrey are easy picks to play. Cam Newton, however, is ok to play, but you could do better. I’m also not going to bother rostering any of the Carolina wide receivers.
For those playing on FD my top kickers this week are Matt Prater and Greg Zuerlein. They are both just over $5K. That said, I will be mostly exposed to Kai Forbath, Ryan Succop and Mike Nugent for a few hundred dollars less.
The Rams, Detroit and Jacksonville are the top options at defense on the main slate. Each is over $5K on FD and in the high-$3K range on DK. The three cheaper options that I will use more often will be the New York Jets, Minnesota Vikings and Pittsburgh Steelers.
There is not a lot to love at the top of the QB listings this week. I have reasons to fear most of the usual suspects. Matthew Stafford and Jared Goff are the only two sure things among a myriad of question marks. I’ll have some exposure to those two, but I will also roster a few punt options. This will include: Andy Dalton, Eli Manning and even Brock Osweiler.
This is the week to pay up at running back. LeVeon Bell, Leonard Fournette and Melvin Gordon all should produce ridiculous lines. I will have a hard time not having two of that threesome in each of my lineups. At the very least, one of them will be in all of my lineups. There are three mid-tier RBs that I like: Chris Thompson, Jordan Howard and Lamar Miller. I will have some exposure to these three. That said, when I don’t roster two of the big four, I will usually pair the one with either: Orleans Darkwa, one of the Jets’ running backs or one of the Browns’ running backs.
I want to get Antonio Brown into my lineups but his price tag is high. I may have to settle for either Martavis Bryant or Juju Smith-Schuster. A.J. Green is the other high-priced option I like this week, but with so much spent at RB, I won’t get much exposure to him. In addition to one of the Steelers, I will fill out my WR2/3 slots with two from this list: Robby Anderson, Robert Woods, Kendall Wright, Sammy Watkins, Mohamed Sanu, Brandon LaFell and the Cowboys’ backup wide receiver corps (Brice Butler, Cole Beasley and Terrance Williams).
I will have some shares of Gronk on FD, but most of my tight end expenditures will be of the penny-pinching variety. Most of my rosters will feature one of four options: Kyle Rudolph, Eric Ebron, Darren Fells or Garrett Celek. Rudolph is the only one of those four that will require some wallet-opening.
Here are my recommendations for this week’s price range targets by position.
At DK: $6.8K for your choice of Matthew Stafford or Jared Goff, up to $16K total for two of: LeVeon Bell, Melvin Gordon, Jordan Howard and Leonard Fournette, $4.5K for Orleans Darkwa or Matt Forte as DK-FLEX, $9.5K for Antonio Brown, 8K total for WR2 & WR3 as suggested above, $2.5K for Garrett Celek, and $2.8K for the Jets’ defense.
At FD: $8.2K for one of those top two QBs, no more than $17K for two of the above listed RBs, $9.3K for Antonio Brown, up to $11K for WR2 and WR3, $4.5K for Garrett Celek, and no more than $10K for both your kicker and defense.
Prices indicated: Red = Negative Value and Black = Acceptable Value and Green = Great Value
Weekly strategy – I will use either Jared Goff or Matthew Stafford on most of my lineups. I will also have minor exposure to both Ben Roethlisberger and Tom Brady (On FD only). If I choose to punt this position (I will do very little of this), I may go with: Eli Manning, Andy Dalton, or Brock Osweiler.
Your Fantasy Four Pack
Matthew Stafford, Lions vs. CLE ($6800 DK, $8200 FD) Matthew Stafford has been solid all year. He is sixth in total passing yards and seventh in passing touchdowns. Meanwhile, only four teams are allowing more points per game than Cleveland. This week he should easily hit 300 yards again, and with no faith in their running game at the stripe, three passing touchdowns is a lock.
Dak Prescott, Cowboys @ ATL ($7300 DK, $8800 FD) No Ezekiel Elliott, means that we should see Dak Prescott throw the ball more, especially in the red zone. Atlanta has allowed two passing touchdowns in three of their last four games. They will allow two again, plus, I like Dak’s chances of scoring on a design option play as well.
Jared Goff, Rams vs. HOU ($6700 DK, $8200 FD) Jared Goff’s price tag has finally reached commensurate levels with his production this season. It apparently takes ten weeks to rinse the stench of Jeff Fisher off of a quarterback. Houston was torched the last two weeks for a combined line of 760 yards and 6 touchdowns. If Goff gets half of that he will easily return 3x value.
Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers @ IND ($6600 DK, $7600 FD) Ben Roethlisberger has arguably the easiest matchup on paper this week. The only problem being, that it is a road game. Big Ben has been a head case on the road in recent seasons. Nevertheless, this Colts’ team is foul enough to reverse any jinx that Ben might have. Even weighted down for the road-factor, anything less than 275-2 would be embarrassing.
Eli Manning, Giants @ SF ($5100 DK, $6700 FD) Let me make this abundantly simple, San Francisco stinks. They cannot stop the run. They cannot stop the pass. They cannot even stop getting out of their own way. Eli Manning has a wide receiver again. He also has a top-flight tight end. Perhaps most importantly, he also has a huge chip on his shoulder with his own coach. I expect Manning to use this game to make a statement putting Ben McAdoo in his place.
Andy Dalton @ TEN ($5300 DK, $7100 FD) Tennessee is allowing the seventh-most passing touchdowns per game. Even Andy Dalton can perform against this squad. Dalton actually has eleven touchdown passes this season over five games against subpar defenses. His numbers look depressed, however, because he was shut out by three premiere defenses. This week, I think Dalton is safe to floor out at 250-2.
|Todd Gurley II||$8,700||$9,600|
|Duke Johnson Jr.||$4,100||$5,500|
Weekly strategy – I am going to spend through the nose here this week. Two of: LeVeon Bell, Leonard Fournette, Melvin Gordon and Jordan Howard will be on most of my rosters. I will also have some minimal exposure to Chris Thompson and Lamar Miller at RB2. My DK-FLEX will come from this group: Orleans Darkwa, Alfred Morris, Duke Johnson, Isaiah Crowell, Matt Forte, Bilal Powell and Theo Riddick. On DK, I will have 41% of my budget going here – when you include the DK-FLEX. On FD, my budget will be closer to 29%.
Your Fantasy Four Pack
LeVeon Bell, Steelers @ IND ($9800 DK, $9400 FD) Could you define a better potential matchup than this? You get the best running back in football, facing a rushing defense that allows more than 150 combo yards per game to their opponents. They are also giving up on average more than one running back touchdown per week. If Bell fails to top 150-2 this week, a meteor must have hit the stadium.
Melvin Gordon, Chargers @ JAX ($7200 DK, $7600 FD) Jacksonville is allowing a league second-worst 4.9 yards per carry to opposing backs. Once Los Angeles realizes that they won’t be able to throw the ball against this secondary, look for them to grind it out with Melvin Gordon. Philadelphia and Denver are the only two teams to hold Gordon out of the end zone. They are each allowing nearly 1.5 yards per carry less than Jacksonville. The Jags have no chance of corralling Gordon here.
Leonard Fournette, Jaguars vs. LAC ($8400 DK, $8700 FD) This game will feature ground and pound on both sides of the ball. Leonard Fournette has done very well this year when he was permitted to play. Despite missing two games, his seven total touchdowns rank third among running backs. A score is a certainty here, and two are not out of consideration. I envision Fournette racking up well over 100 total yards as well. Just be sure to check Twitter Sunday morning in case he gets penalized for missing any more team events.
Jordan Howard, Bears vs. GB ($6100 DK, $7200 FD) Green Bay has allowed at least one running back rushing touchdown and/or 100 yards of running back rushing yards in every game except Week 1. Tarik Cohen isn’t a thing anymore, so all the yardage and scores should go to Jordan Howard. It isn’t like Chicago has anyone else to potentially score, right?
Orleans Darkwa, Giants @ SF ($4500 DK, $5300 FD) Orleans Darkwa has the 14th-most rushing yards among all running backs since Week 5. This week, he gets to barrel through a San Francisco defense that is allowing 183 combo yards per game to opposing running backs. If he will ever reach 100 yards again, it will be this week.
Duke Johnson, Browns @ DET ($4100 DK, $5500 FD) Only once this season has Detroit not allowing a running back to score a touchdown. That came way back in Week 2. Duke Johnson continues to split snaps with Isaiah Crowell, but both are potential sleepers this week. I like Johnson a bit more because he is the primary pass-catcher between the twosome.
|Marvin Jones Jr.||$6,200||$6,400|
|Ted Ginn Jr.||$5,300||$5,900|
|Will Fuller V||$4,700||$6,600|
|Terrelle Pryor Sr.||$3,500||$4,900|
Weekly strategy – It is my goal to get as many shares of Antonio Brown as possible. I know I won’t be able to do it in every lineup, and when I don’t, I will roster either Juju Smith-Schuster or Martavis Bryant. The Steeler of my choice, will be paired with two of: Robby Anderson, Mohamed Sanu, Brandon LaFell, one of the Rams and/or one of the Cowboys. Expect to spend right around 35% here this week.
Your Fantasy Four Pack
Antonio Brown, Steelers @ IND ($9500 DK, $9300 FD) Much like the game Tetris, I will twist and bend things as much as possible to squeeze Antonio Brown into most of my lineups. Indianapolis was already short-handed in their secondary and now they have cut their only half-decent cornerback in Vontae Davis. He wouldn’t have helped this week anyways since he is heading for surgery, but it still stings to see the sad state of that defense.
A.J. Green, Bengals @ TEN ($7700 DK, $7900 FD) If things do not work out for A.J. Green this week versus Tennessee, he could audition for the WWE or for UFC. Somehow, Green managed to avoid being suspended, despite placing Jalen Ramsey in a rear-naked chokehold on the field in front of the referee. Perhaps, the ref last week was Earl Hepner, and it was all part of a Jacksonville Screw job? Either way, Tennessee is allowing the fourth-most receptions per game to opposing WR1s. Green should approach 10-125-1.
Golden Tate, Lions vs. CLE ($6800 DK, $7400 FD) Golden Tate returned to active duty in Week 8, and he has averaged a tidy 7-100 over these two weeks. Despite giving up a paltry 9.5 receptions per week to opposing wide receiver groups, the Browns have allowed a wide receiver touchdown in every game except two. Detroit will likely double that 9.5-pass average to their wide receivers, and both Tate and Marvin Jones should score.
Adam Thielen, Vikings @ WAS ($6700 DK, $7000 FD) With Josh Norman assigned the task of shutting down Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen should have the other half of the field to work virtually unopposed. I cannot envision any possible way in which Thielen doesn’t hit 100 yards from scrimmage, and the only reason I won’t foretell a touchdown is because I believe Kyle Rudolph will score both of them.
Robby Anderson, Jets @ TB ($5200 DK, $6500 FD) Tampa Bay has multiple holes in their defense. This had led them to allowing over 187 yards per game to opposing wide receivers. Robby Anderson has established himself as the WR1 for New York. Over the last three weeks, Anderson ranks 14th in receiving yards, 12th in receptions, and he is tied for the league lead in wide receiver touchdowns.
Robert Woods, Rams vs. HOU ($5000 DK, $6200 FD) Houston was destroyed by opposing wide receivers the last two weeks. It won’t get any easier against the Greatest Show on Surf. Robert Woods has averaged 5-66 over his last four games, and he just scored twice last week. He should easily top that yardage figure and score, in what will be a shootout.
Weekly strategy – I need to have some exposure to Rob Gronkowski on FD, because he eats Denver for breakfast. I also like Evan Engram, but I doubt I will pay up for him with so much spent at RB. Most of my roster will be bargain-basement with either Garrett Celek or one of the Lions (Darren Fells or Eric Ebron). If I have a little extra money to throw around, I might splurge for Kyle Rudolph or Cameron Brate, or the aforementioned Engram.
Your Fantasy Four Pack
Rob Gronkowski, Patriots @ DEN ($XXXX DK, $8100 FD) Over seven career games, Rob Gronkowski has averaged 7-94-1 against the Broncos. He should have no trouble replicating those numbers this week against a Denver defense that has allowed an average of 6.4-87 to opposing tight ends since Week 2.
Evan Engram, Giants @ SF ($6200 DK, $7400 FD) Evan Engram has scored in three straight games, and he has at least four catches in every game this season. Meanwhile, San Francisco started this season strong against opposing tight ends. Then in Week 7, someone reminded them that they were the 49ers. From that point on, San Francisco has allowed an average of 5.5-68 to the position. In addition, they have given up tight end touchdowns in each of their last three games.
Kyle Rudolph, Vikings @ WAS ($4600 DK, $5400 FD) Washington has allowed the most total yardage to opposing tight ends. They also have given up touchdowns to the position in half of their games. Kyle Rudolph was targeted 32 times over the Vikings last four games. He doesn’t have a ton of yards, but he did haul in 22 passes over that stretch. He also has scored twice during that run. He will score again here, maybe twice.
Cameron Brate, Buccaneers vs. NYJ ($4100 DK, $5700 FD) With Mike Evans serving his suspension, Cameron Brate should see an uptick in targets. This should make him even more tempting than the guy who topped 60 yards in five straight games between Weeks 4 and 8. The Jets have allowed six receptions to opposing tight ends in six different games. They have also allowed more than 65 yards to the position six different times (including each of their last five). More importantly, however, is that they have also allowed five scores to the position over their last five games. O.J. Howard may pilfer some of the looks, but Brate should still be juicy this week.
Eric Ebron, Lions vs. CLE ($3100 DK, $5300 FD) I despise Eric Ebron. The only reason I would ever consider owning him would be as a bottom-of-the-barrel DFS punt play. Even then he would have to face the dregs of society to garner my support. I almost recommended Darren Fells over him here. I may still change my mind about that before Sunday. Cleveland has allowed the most total receptions and the second-most total touchdowns to opposing tight ends. So, I guess I’ll put on the blindfold and lie back on this bed. Just remember if I get uncomfortable, my safe word is FELLS!
Garrett Celek, 49ers vs. NYG ($2500 DK, $4500 FD) Nine weeks – Eight games – Nine touchdowns allowed. Only one team has failed to top 50 yards with their tight ends against this putrid group. You listened to me and played Tyler Higbee last week right. Must I remind you that I am the tight end whisperer? George Kittle is not going to play. For that reason, Garrett Celek steps right into that honey-hole. Celek filled in reasonably well for Vance McDonald last season, now he gets to fill in reasonably well for Kittle.