Last week was proof that sometimes the chalk is the right play. Pittsburgh’s skill position players dominated the leaderboard, along with high-priced staples: Tom Brady, Julio Jones and Russell Wilson. Of course, this week was also proof that sometimes the obvious can be your downfall as in the case of Kareem Hunt and Vernon Davis. Fortunately, I had enough of the prior options to make up for my overabundance of the latter. Hopefully you did as well.
Sunday Night features a certain shootout where the only players not in play are the Seattle running backs and defenses for both teams. I will have massive exposure to this game on FD especially Carson Wentz, Russell Wilson, Doug Baldwin, Paul Richardson, Nelson Agholor, Zach Ertz, Jimmy Graham and Alshon Jeffery.
Monday night is kind of scary. Ben Roethlisberger is never very good on the road, and Cincinnati has both a decent defense and familiarity with the Steelers’ offense. Joe Mixon and LeVeon Bell are both ok plays, but on a crappy RB-laden Primetime only slate, they will be nearly 100% owned and neither will dominate. With most of my passing game exposure to the SNF game, I don’t need to worry about Dalton, Ben, or any of their WRs. Perhaps, I will throw Martavis Bryant in one lineup if Juju Smith-Schuster is a no-go. I’m not going to be excited to pay Antonio Brown or A.J. Green’s prices though. At least Chris Boswell will be a nice play.
For those playing on FD my top kickers this week are Stephen Gostkowski, Graham Gano, Justin Tucker and Greg Zuerlein. Gano is the only one under $5K, but none cost more than $5.3K, so feel free to pay up. Kai Forbath and Josh Lambo could offer minor salary relief, if necessary.
Jacksonville, the Chargers and Rams are the top three priced defenses and they have the best matchups. I feel I will only have minor exposure to them on DK. Instead, I expect to take shots in the dark with Oakland or Detroit for a lot less on DK. The price tag is not that much different between the values and the top options at FD, so I will pay up there.
I will spend up here this week. I like the top quarterbacks: Tom Brady, Russell Wilson, Carson Wentz, Philip Rivers and Cam Newton. I will primarily focus on them and their top WRs as the backbone of my rosters. To save a little on DK, I may pivot to Jameis Winston. That said, this is his first game back so I am a little worried about rustiness. The best punt options are Brett Hundley, Tom Savage and Mitchell Trubisky. I promised it on the @BlitzedPodcast, so I will do at least one Voltron-Stack of: Trubisky, Jordan Howard, Dontrelle Inman (if he plays) and Adam Shaheen. Yes, I do like Schadenfreude.
Leonard Fournette is a solid option against a weak run defense but I feel he will be over-owned. Besides, I really love the idea of a mix of: Christian McCaffrey, Jordan Howard, Rex Burkhead, Dion Lewis and Adrian Peterson. I can get two of them for under $14K on DK or $15K on FD, so I should be set. I will also consider one of them as my DK-FLEX. If I do not roster one of them, then I might choose one of my punt options: Duke Johnson, Frank Gore, Jamaal Williams, Danny Woodhead or Isaiah Crowell.
I love both Mike Evans and DeAndre Hopkins. If I roster one of their QBs, I will definitely pair them for the hookup. Those two will also be my favorite WR1 investments. I am also very high on Devin Funchess, Davante Adams and Cooper Kupp. One of those three could easily be my WR2. That said, If I don’t roster Evans, DeSean Jackson may become my primary WR2. My cheaper WR2/WR3 options include: The Jaguars, the Browns (yes Gordon too), the Raiders, Zay Jones, Travis Benjamin, Jordy Nelson, Josh Reynolds and Dontrelle Inman. I could also roster one of those options at DK-FLEX (although I am leaning towards the Punt-RB strategy there this week.
Rob Gronkowski’s numbers versus Buffalo are insane. If I roster Brady, I will pair him with Gronk more often than Brandin Cooks. That said, I will probably be a little hamstrung here, so I will likely choose between: Jared Cook or Hunter Henry. I also like the idea of punting with either C.J. Fiedorowicz or Adam Shaheen. Two other potentially sneaky plays (they will definitely be low-ownership) are Julius Thomas and Cameron Brate.
Here are my recommendations for this week’s price range targets by position.
At DK: $6.8K for Cam Newton (assuming that New Orleans’ corners remain out) – otherwise $7.8K for Tom Brady; $6.5K or $7.2K for one of Christian McCaffrey or Jordan Howard paired with either Rex Burkhead or Dion Lewis for up to $5.5K; $7.3K for either Mike Evans or DeAndre Hopkins as WR1 (unless you get Brady) – then $5.7K for Rishard Matthews; $6.8K for Devin Funchess at WR2 (if you got Newton) – otherwise up to $11K total for WR2 & WR3 from this list: Cooper Kupp, Davante Adams, Robby Anderson, Marqise Lee, DeDe Westbrook, DeSean Jackson, Jordy Nelson, Josh Gordon, Corey Davis, Zay Jones or Dontrelle Inman; up to $4.5K additional for one of those WRs as your DK-FLEX; $7.3K for Rob Gronkowski (if you got Brady), otherwise $4.7K for Hunter Henry ; and $3.1K for the Raiders’ “defense”.
At FD: $8.2K for your choice of: Russell Wilson, Carson Wentz, Philip Rivers or Cam Newton; up to $7.5K for your choice of McCaffrey or Howard; up to $6.3K for your choice of Burkhead or Dion Lewis; up to $8.1K for Alshon Jeffery, Keenan Allen, Devin Funchess or Doug Baldwin to pair with our QB; up to $13K for WR2 and WR3 (including all the names listed above for DK plus Mike Evans and DeAndre Hopkins); $7.5K for Zach Ertz, and $9.7K for the Rams defense and Kai Forbath (you can sub in Greg Zuerlein by saving a little more at WR3).
Prices indicated: Red = Negative Value and Black = Acceptable Value and Green = Great Value
Weekly strategy – On FD, I will have maximum exposure to Carson Wentz and Russell Wilson. Otherwise, my allegiance will be split between Tom Brady (DK-only based on price) and Cam Newton. I may also have a couple lineups with Philip Rivers, Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston. I also promised at least one lineup featuring a Bears’ stack headlined by Mitchell Trubisky. If I’m feeling frisky, I may even throw in a stack of Packers too. Geesh, that sounds dirty.
Your Fantasy Four Pack
Russell Wilson, Seahawks vs. PHI ($XXXX DK, $8200 FD)
The Eagles have been very stingy recently to opposing QBs. That said, they haven’t faced an NFL-grade offense since Week 7. Meanwhile, Russell Wilson has been on fire. Over that same stretch, Wilson leads all quarterbacks in total touchdowns.
Carson Wentz, Eagles @ SEA ($XXXX DK, $8000 FD)
This game is likely to turn into a shootout. Seattle’s pass defense is a shell of what it was at the start of the year. Carson Wentz has proven capable of big scores against great defenses. He has 22 passing touchdowns over the last seven games. He will throw for another three here.
Tom Brady, Patriots @ BUF ($7800 DK, $9300 FD)
Tom Brady would get an even higher ranking if I knew he was going to play the full game. Right now, I think he is probably pulled in the late third quarter. He still will top 250 total yards and score at least 3 touchdowns.
Cam Newton, Panthers @ NOS ($6800 DK, $8100 FD)
Cam Newton has been a little off this year. One thing he has going for him is that he is carrying the rock a lot lately. Over his last six games, Newton has averaged 9-62-0.5 on the ground. That is at least as good as several starting running backs. Any passing love is just cake on top of that. In his past five games versus New Orleans, Newton has averaged 287 total yards and he has 13 total touchdowns. This is impressive, because it includes a horrible start back in Week 3.
Jameis Winston, Buccaneers @ GB ($5600 DK, $7300 FD)
This is a risky play since Jameis Winston is coming off a multi-week injury. That said, Green Bay is easily torched through the air. Plus, this game will turn into a shootout, since neither team can cover anyone. When Tampa Bay starts to watch the digit counters fall against them, Winston will need to throw it. He will probably toss a couple of interceptions, but he should approach 300-2 as well.
Brett Hundley, Packers vs. TB ($5100 DK, $6400 FD)
When Aaron Rodgers get to pick apart every single part of your game each week, you are destined to improve some. Brett Hundley did improve last week against a softer-than-expected Pittsburgh defense. This week, Hundley faces an exponentially softer defense. Tampa Bay is allowing the most passing yards per game on the road with 315.2. Even Hundley will put up a big spot here.
|Todd Gurley II||$8,200||$8,800|
|Duke Johnson Jr.||$4,800||$5,700|
Weekly strategy – The only high-priced back that I like this week is Leonard Fournette and his price is so high I doubt I can justify rostering him. This is why I am targeting two second-tier backs as my RB1 (Christian McCaffrey and Jordan Howard). My RB2 will likely come down to one of the two New England RBs (Dion Lewis or Rex Burkhead). I might also consider Adrian Peterson or one of the Browns’ rushers there. The only other backs I will consider will be for DK-FLEX (Frank Gore, Jamaal Williams or Danny Woodhead).
Your Fantasy Four Pack
Leonard Fournette, Jaguars vs. IND ($7800 DK, $8700 FD)
Leonard Fournette (ankle pain or not) gets to face the Colts this week. They have allowed 11 running back touchdowns this year, including two to Fournette’s backups in Week 7. In that game, the Jaguars’ running backs rolled up a total of 234 combo yards. Fournette won’t gain 234 by himself, but he will top 125 and score at least once.
Christian McCaffrey, Panthers @ NOS ($7200 DK, $7300 FD)
Christian McCaffrey is dealing with a mild shoulder issue, but he is probable for this Sunday. Assuming he plays, McCaffrey can count on similar usage to his game earlier this year against New Orleans. In that game, he finished with 9-101 through the air on 11 targets. Since then, McCaffrey has also taken over the lions’ share of the ground game. He will have six or seven catches, top 100 total yards and score through the air here.
Jordan Howard, Bears vs. SF ($6500 DK, $7500 FD)
One of the best matchups of the week places Jordan Howard versus the abysmal 49ers. Every decent running back that has faced San Fran this year has lit the lamp. In comparison, Howard has absolutely abused every mediocre run defense he has faced this year. Yes, Howard will be a part of my Bears Voltron-stack.
Melvin Gordon, Chargers vs. CLE ($7400 DK, $7900 FD)
Melvin Gordon has ceded far too many touches to Austin Ekeler over the last few weeks. Fortunately, he still has scores in every game but four. Cleveland’s defense against the run is better than last year. Of course, most Division-1 colleges had a better run defense than the Browns last year. That said, they have started to slip the last four weeks allowing an average of 155 combo yards and one touchdown to opposing RBs.
Rex Burkhead, Patriots @ BUF ($5000 DK, $5900 FD)
Against the Bills, all the Patriots’ running backs could score. Rex Burkhead is going to get the first look at the stripe, and probably the second. Dion Lewis will also add a touchdown or two. James White might even score through the air. Burkhead has three scores in his last three games. If the Patriots didn’t share the rock, he might double that figure this week.
Adrian Peterson, Cardinals vs. LAR ($4800 DK, $6400 FD)
Adrian Peterson is dealing with a neck issue. I’m hoping he gets the go ahead to start this week, because he will make a sneaky nice play against a rotten Rams’ run defense. The Rams have allowed an average of 157-1.2 to opposing rushers. This includes 488 combo yards and FOUR touchdowns allowed to the position over the last two weeks.
|Marvin Jones Jr.||$6,000||$7,100|
|Ted Ginn Jr.||$5,100||$5,500|
|Will Fuller V||$4,300||$5,600|
Weekly strategy – With the exception of DeAndre Hopkins and Mike Evans (Both of whom I’ll roster as often as my budget allows), I will try to roster my WR1 to stack with my QB of choice. This includes Doug Baldwin, Devin Funchess, Alshon Jeffery and Keenan Allen. Note – I will not stack Tom Brady with Brandin Cooks. My WR2 and WR3 will likely be members of the Rams, Jaguars, Chargers, Raiders, Titans or Packers.
Your Fantasy Four Pack
Mike Evans, Buccaneers @ GB ($7100 DK, $7500 FD)
Mike Evans is one of my favorite plays this week. Evans produced solid numbers even with Ryan Fitzpatrick at quarterback. With Jameis Winston back in the saddle, expect him to pepper Evans. Green Bay has allowed the most receptions per game to opposing WR1s, along with the second-most yards per game and the third-most touchdowns per game to the opposition’s top option.
DeAndre Hopkins, Texans @ TEN ($7300 DK, $8000 FD)
This is my other favorite WR1 play this week. DeAndre Hopkins has been so solid this year that he is even performing with Tom Savage throwing him the ball. DeAndre is one target behind Antonio Brown, sixth in receptions and fourth in receiving yards. Oh yeah, he also has more receiving touchdowns than anyone else. Only one team has allowed more passing touchdowns than Tennessee. That includes one touchdown scored by Hopkins in a 10-107 game Week 4.
Keenan Allen, Chargers vs. CLE ($8300 DK, $8100 FD)
Keenan Allen has been white-hot. He has 27 targets over the last two weeks. This has allowed him to post a combined line of 23-331-3. Cleveland has been just middle-of-the-road against opposing wide receivers. That said, their biggest issue is against opposing slot wide receivers. This is where Allen has played recently.
Doug Baldwin, Seahawks vs. PHI ($XXXX DK, $7700 FD)
I mention above that this game will be a shootout. As such, I need to lock up my QB’s top wide receiver option. I don’t love him as much as some of the other top options, but there is no chance that he gets avoided like last week. Prior to that season-worst performance last week, he was targeted 46 times over his previous five games. With that volume, he should produce a solid line.
Rishard Matthews, Titans vs. HOU ($5700 DK, $6100 FD)
As of Thursday, Rishard Matthews was still questionable for this week’s game. If he plays, the matchup is glorious. Prior to holding Baltimore and their “Zero-WR-passing game plan” to minimal yardage, Houston had given up eight wide receiver scores in their previous four games. The last four times that Matthews has faced Houston, he has averaged 4.3-80-0.5. That would be his floor this week.
Josh Gordon, Browns @ LAC ($4100 DK, $5800 FD)
This is the ultimate risk-reward. Josh Gordon is starting, and Hue Jackson has already stated that they will use him often this weekend. The Chargers have been chintzy against opposing WRs recently, allowing only one score over the last five games. That said, if anyone is going to roll onto the scene and smoke the competition, it is Gordon. Perhaps, Josh can convince the league to start the game at 4:20 in his honor.
Weekly strategy – On DK, I will pair Rob Gronkowski with Tom Brady or I will fade back to Hunter Henry or Jared Cook. Zach Ertz will be my primary choice on FD. The only punt plays I will consider are: Julius Thomas, Cameron Brate, C.J. Fiedorowicz and Adam Shaheen (who will be part of the Trubisky-stack).
Your Fantasy Four Pack
Rob Gronkowski, Patriots @ BUF ($7300 DK, $8100 FD)
Rob Gronkowski has six career games in Buffalo. Those six games include five games with 94 or more yards and seven total touchdowns. He has even scored four times in his five home matchups against Buffalo. This is one of those mortal lock games. Unless he gets hurt, he will score and top 100 yards once again.
Zach Ertz, Eagles @ SEA ($XXXX DK, $7500 FD)
Seattle has allowed a tight end score in two of their last three games. This isn’t the time for them to slow down, because Zach Ertz has scored and/or topped 80 receiving yards in every game except his first game back from injury.
Travis Kelce, Chiefs @ NYJ ($7000 DK, $7000 FD)
Don’t get me wrong this isn’t a bad matchup for Travis Kelce. It is just next to impossible to pay this price for him with the Chiefs’ offense struggling and with Ertz and Gronk having cake matchups. Only four teams have allowed more tight end touchdowns. I’m guessing Kelce finishes with about 5-60-1. That’s pretty solid but he doesn’t have the ceiling of the other two.
Hunter Henry, Chargers vs. CLE ($4700 DK, $5400 FD)
Hunter Henry will be my favorite play when I don’t roster Ertz or Gronk. Why, you ask? Two words, “Cleveland Browns”.
Julius Thomas, Dolphins vs. DEN ($3500 DK, $5200 FD)
Julius Thomas gets a revenge game against the Broncos. A Broncos’ defense that has allowed a tight end score in five of seven games. Thomas has seen an uptick in targets and yardage over the last four weeks. This includes a pair of scores. I can’t promise huge yardage this week, but you know Thomas wants the touchdown badly.
Adam Shaheen, Bears vs. SF ($2500 DK, $4900 FD)
Another part of my Bears’ Trubisky-stack this week is Adam Shaheen. Adam did almost nothing last week, but prior to that, he had seen an uptick in targets in his previous two games. San Francisco has allowed six tight end scores in their last five contests. That sounds like gold to mine right there.