So, apparently Derek Carr isn’t talented enough to take advantage of one of the worst pass defenses in the league without their only talented cornerback. What can I say? Sometimes the best laid plans fall through. Fortunately, I pivoted to Philip Rivers enough to ease that pain. This further strengthens the argument that you need some variance in your lineups. If I truly went all-in on Carr last week, my pocketbook would be flatter than Kyrie Irving’s view of the earth. Just because I recommend you pound your lineups with a certain player (such as Carr last week), it should not stop you from mixing and matching some. That is why we give you those big charts on the side of the page. It lists all the players that you could consider and all the players that you should ignore.
Saturday features two games with the potential for some big points. Chicago and Detroit both have exploitable holes in their defense. The game will be played indoors, so there is no chance of weather terrorism. I like, but don’t love, the Detroit passing game. Matthew Stafford showed he was healthy last week, but Chicago is solid against the pass. I will probably skip him and go with either Philip Rivers or Alex Smith instead. This may make Stafford an interesting pivot play on the short-slate. From the receiver side, I will have more exposure to Golden Tate than Marvin Jones. Both Theo Riddick and Jordan Howard will be in play at RB as they are both cheaper than Melvin Gordon and Kareem Hunt. I love all four of them though, so this is where I will mix and match. Eric Ebron had a huge game last week, which means he is droppable in all formats because he won’t do squat again for at least another ten months. I also wouldn’t touch Adam Shaheen, since Travis Kelce is just sitting there ready for 100% ownership. If you decide to start Mitchell Trubisky or any of the Bears’ wide receivers; you obviously have money to burn. Dilly, Dilly to you, enjoy the pit of misery. The other game will be high scoring as well, with both Los Angeles and Kansas City fighting for the division lead. Keenan Allen is a must-start. Tyreek Hill is as well (despite a tough-on-paper matchup with one of the best teams against deep passes). Much like Ebron, Tyrell Williams had his one big game for 2017. I want nothing to do with him or all the other receivers for both teams, except for maybe Travis Benjamin. Detroit’s defense will be 100% owned, so feel free to pivot there to Los Angeles.
Sunday Night features two teams with horrid pass defenses and premium wide receivers. Unfortunately, both quarterbacks have burned us in easy games recently. I’d probably pass on both, and play the chalk that is Matt Ryan on MNF. I’m not going to hold back from rostering Dez Bryant and Michael Crabtree though. They both are strong enough to make up for subpar quarterback play. Amari Cooper’s ankle injury makes him far too risky of a play to rely on in any format. These two run defenses are going in reverse directions. Oakland is trending negatively, while Dallas has performed solidly over the last few weeks. Both Alfred Morris and Rod Smith are fine plays on the Primetime-only slate. I’d probably ignore Marshawn Lynch though. The Raiders are rotten against tight ends, making Jason Witten a premium play. The Cowboys aren’t much better, but Jared Cook is more inconsistent – so use him with caution. Dallas’ defense is the better play between the two, but Atlanta is the defense for the Primetime-only slate.
Monday night should bear witness to the final decimation of the Buccaneers. They might score once or twice, but you know that Jameis Winston is going to be sacked multiple times and turnover the ball at least thrice. After two straight rough outings, most people will probably fade Mike Evans. This could make him an interesting pivot-play. I’m not sure I’d trust him though. I think DeSean Jackson is the better option. Cameron Brate disappeared last week, but Atlanta gives up reception volume and scores to the position – just not many yards. That sounds like Brate’s game. Doug Martin is an ok play, but I feel that I would rather have either Falcons’ back or either Dallas’ back instead. Speaking of those Falcons backs, I might start both of them against this awful, injury-riddled run defense. If Tevin Coleman fails to emerge from the concussion protocol, then Devonta Freeman instantly becomes the best play of this slate, and arguably the best play of the whole dang weekend. Matt Ryan is easily the safest of the four primetime QBs. Basically, fill your roster to the maximum number of Falcons players that the site will allow. Mohamed Sanu, Julio Jones, Taylor Gabriel and Austin Hooper all make nice plays. Atlanta’s defense is also the best play of this slate.
For those playing on FD the top kickers are all over $5K. Greg Zuerlein, Stephen Gostkowski, Jake Elliott and Justin Tucker are all worth spending up for. If you wish to save a little, go with Josh Lambo, Chris Boswell or Robbie Gould. Of course, don’t choose any of them without checking the weather first.
Jacksonville’s defense is priced in “LeVeon Bell- Territory” compared to the other defenses. They deserve to be. I’d just feel so much better paying less and starting Minnesota, the Saints or Miami. The Dolphins will face either Nathan Peterman or Joe Webb for $1.7K less than Jacksonville on FD. That is money well saved. It is the same on DK, where Miami is $1.8K less than Jacksonville. I will probably go with them on both sites, but Minnesota and New Orleans are more appealing on FD due to their prices.
Ben Roethlisberger at home versus New England is the obvious stuff the ballot boxes choice. I also like both Jimmy Garoppolo and Nick Foles for a few bucks less. Blaine Gabbert is the only punt play I like, but something about this game scares me slightly.
None of the top priced running backs excite me. I will save money here to throw at WR and TE. There are five running backs that I will mix and match from: Christian McCaffrey, Alex Collins, Kenyan Drake, Rex Burkhead and Derrick Henry. I should be able to get two of them on the cheap.
Wide Receiver will command most of my salary once again. My top two WRs will come from this list: Jordy Nelson, Adam Thielen, Michael Thomas, Josh Gordon and Devin Funchess. I may even roster three of them. That said, most of my lineups will have Dede Westbrook as my WR3. The only other options I will consider are Stefon Diggs, the Rams’ receivers, Marquise Goodwin or maybe one of the Eagles.
I will have all the Rob Gronkowski shares. I will also use my DK-FLEX occasionally on Zach Ertz if he plays. If I need to save money here (I shouldn’t), I will target one of these values: Charles Clay, David Njoku, Ben Watson, Ricky Seals-Jones or Jesse James.
Here are my recommendations for this week’s price range targets by position.
At DK: $6.7K for Ben Roethlisberger; up to $12K for two of: Kenyan Drake, Rex Burkhead, Christian McCaffrey, Alex Collins and Derrick Henry; up to $14K for two of: Jordy Nelson, Adam Thielen, Michael Thomas, Josh Gordon and Devin Funchess; $5.1K for Dede Westbrook; $7.3K for Gronk; $2.9K for Jesse James; and $2.7K for the Miami defense.
At FD: $8K for Big Ben; up to $13.5K for two of the above-listed running backs; up to $15.5K for two of the above-listed WRs; $5.7K for Westbrook; $8.5K for Gronk; and $9K for the Dolphins’ defense and Chris Boswell.
Prices indicated: Red = Negative Value and Black = Acceptable Value and Green = Great Value
Weekly strategy – Big Ben will be my primary play here. That said, I will have some exposure to Jimmy Garoppolo, Kirk Cousins, Blake Bortles, Nick Foles and Blaine Gabbert.
Your Fantasy Four Pack
Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers vs. NE ($6700 DK, $8000 FD)
In their last five regular season meetings, Ben Roethlisberger is averaging 376-2 against New England. With so much on the line this week (and both teams missing their best defensive player), I can’t imagine this game not approaching 80 combined points. POUND THE OVER!
Tom Brady, Patriots @ PIT ($7600 DK, $8800 FD)
Brady will be a little surly after last week’s Miami debacle. He gets back Rob Gronkowski (who owns Pittsburgh). He has Chris Hogan with the rust shaken off. Plus, Pittsburgh just got eaten for dinner by pass-catching backs in that Baltimore game. Both of these two will TOP 300-3.
Drew Brees, Saints vs. NYJ ($6500 DK, $8400 FD)
Historically, Drew Brees performs better at home. He has 124 career road games and 123 career home games. On the road, he has 205 career touchdown passes. At home, he has 279 career touchdown passes. Let me repeat that, 74 more home passing touchdowns despite playing one fewer game at home. That is the most-absurd split I have ever seen. Brees hasn’t passed the ball nearly as much this year, but the Jets have allowed the second-most passing touchdowns this year. Plus, New York has been top-5 against the run over the last five weeks. So, New Orleans may have to lean more on Brees’ arm this week.
Jimmy Garoppolo, 49ers vs. TEN ($6300 DK, $7300 FD)
It is amazing what happens when you put a confident, competent and composed quarterback onto a team with a good running back and talented receivers. Jimmy Garoppolo just skipped over the Sleeper Class completely. With all the QB injuries now, he is a legit top-12 quarterback. This week he will finish as a top-5 quarterback. Only eight teams have allowed more passing TDs than Tennessee. Marquise Goodwin stack anyone?
Nick Foles, Eagles @ NYG ($5500 DK, $6000 FD)
The Giants quit on their previous coach months ago. I thought that the team might rally around their interim coach, but I was wrong. Instead they played worse. Their secondary is a shell of last year’s lineup, and most of their linebackers are practice-squaders. Nick Foles gets a healthy Zach Ertz back, and we know how many touchdowns New York has floundered to opposing tight ends this year. Foles-to-Ertz alone should equal 100-2, but I expect Foles to find at least one of his WRs as well.
Blaine Gabbert, Cardinals @ WAS ($4800 DK, $6800 FD)
Josh Norman is not 100%, and he has resembled the “tiny blanket” in recent weeks. Philip Rivers would have approached 500 yards last week, if the Chargers didn’t remove their feet from the gas pedal. Blaine Gabbert is not in Rivers’ league, but he does have a few weapons.to throw to. I would expect him to comfortably finish with a floor of 250-2.
|Todd Gurley II||$8,300||$8,400|
|Duke Johnson Jr.||$4,400||$6,000|
Weekly strategy – I am going to roster two running backs from this list: Kenyan Drake, Rex Burkhead, Christian McCaffrey, Alex Collins and Derrick Henry. The only other guys I will consider are Danny Woodhead, DeMarco Murray and the Browns’ running backs. Ultimately, you should be under 25% of your budget on both sites.
Your Fantasy Four Pack
Alvin Kamara, Saints vs. NYJ ($8600 DK, $9100 FD)
Alvin Kamara made as short of work of that concussion as he does opposing tacklers’ ankles. He was back at it full go immediately. As I mentioned above, the Jets run defense has been very good over the last five weeks. That said, Alvin Kamara has been otherworldly, averaging just under 8.4 yards per touch. Plus, Kamara had nine touchdowns over the six games prior to last week’s debacle.
Todd Gurley, Rams @ SEA ($8300 DK, $8400 FD)
Seattle’s run defense is slipping. They don’t allow a lot of yards to the position, but only seven teams have allowed more rushing touchdowns this year. Todd Gurley struggled against the Seahawks, back in Week 5. However, since then, Gurley has topped 100 combo yards in every game except one.
Kenyan Drake, Dolphins @ BUF ($5800 DK, $6500 FD)
So apparently Miami knew what it was doing when they traded Jay Ajayi. Kenyan Drake has been electric, racking up 334 scrimmage yards over the last two weeks. Meanwhile, Buffalo has been gashed for 192 combo yards per game and 11 running back rushing touchdowns over the last six games. That includes a game where KC posted only 29 yards from their running backs. Take that game out of the equation and Buffalo is allowing 224 combo yards per game to opposing RBs, over that stretch.
Leonard Fournette, Jaguars vs. HOU ($7500 DK, $8000 FD)
Leonard Fournette is questionable, but his talent is not. He has scored in eight of eleven games this year. Houston is generally tough against the run, but they were beaten the last three weeks. During this stretch, they have allowed an average of 159 combo yards per game to go with a four-pack of touchdowns.
Alex Collins, Ravens @ CLE ($5000 DK, $6600 FD)
I wonder if Seattle wishes they had Alex Collins back. He has five touchdowns over the last four weeks. Cleveland was stingy against the run at the start of the year. Over their last six games, they have given up four rushing touchdowns.
Derrick Henry, Titans @ SF ($4800 DK, $6200 FD)
San Francisco has played the run better in recent weeks. Of course, they could have put 11 tackling dummies out on the field and performed better than they did at the onset of the year. Derrick Henry has outperformed DeMarco Murray this year, but both are solid plays this week. I just like Henry a little more, since he has scored in back-to-back games despite fewer touches.
|Ted Ginn Jr.||$5,000||$5,400|
|Will Fuller V||$3,500||$5,600|
Weekly strategy – I will be hard-pressed to not try to sneak Antonio Brown into a couple lineups. I should have the money to do this occasionally. That said, most of my lineups will feature two of the following: Jordy Nelson, Josh Gordon, Adam Thielen, Michael Thomas and Devin Funchess. I will also roster Dede Westbrook as my WR3 on most of my rosters. If I need to save some money, I might punt with one of the Rams, one of the Titans, or one of the Eagles. Expect to devote 37% – 41% here.
Your Fantasy Four Pack
Antonio Brown, Steelers vs. NE ($9100 DK, $9300 FD)
I really like Antonio Brown and will attempt to get him into a few lineups. That said, the price tag may be unrealistic based on my other desires. I’m also slightly scared that New England strategizes to take Brown out of the game. Brown will always have one of the safest floors in the game, as well as one of the highest ceilings. I think he hits 20 points, but that might not justify spending so much.
Michael Thomas, Saints vs. NYJ ($7400 DK, $8100 FD)
The Jets have allowed three touchdowns to opposing WR1s over the last two weeks. Michael Thomas saw an uptick in targets last week with Alvin Kamara out, if Kamara misses this game or is limited, it could mean another huge game for Thomas. Even if Kamara plays, the Jets run defense is better than their pass defense. This could mean more passes for Drew Brees, making this a solid stack.
Adam Thielen, Vikings vs. CIN ($7600 DK, $7600 FD)
Cincinnati will likely be without Dre Kirkpatrick this week weakening their secondary. You do not want to be down in the defensive backfield when facing the Vikings’ wide receivers. Adam Thielen is third in receiving yards this season. He should have another solid (if not spectacular) game here.
Josh Gordon, Browns vs. BAL ($6800 DK, $7500 FD)
Did you see what Antonio Brown just did to this pass defense? Josh Gordon isn’t Brown (and Deshone Kizer can barely hold Big Ben’s jockstrap), but Gordon is certainly capable of blowing up as well. Prior to the Steelers’ deep-frying the Ravens, they were torched by a dinged-up Matthew Stafford, Tom Savage and Brett Hundley (not exactly a murderer’s row).
Jordy Nelson, Packers @ CAR ($6300 DK, $7200 FD)
I know he is not really a sleeper, but Jordy Nelson’s stat line has been asleep since Aaron Rodgers went out with his shoulder injury. Rodgers is back, and so will be Jordy’s production. Carolina doesn’t give up a lot of passing yards, but they have allowed 10 passing scores over the last five weeks.
Dede Westbrook, Jaguars vs. HOU ($5100 DK, $5700 FD)
Dede Westbrook has become a staple on my sleeper list. He has not disappointed. Houston held Jacksonville in check back in Week 1. Of course, that week the Jags didn’t have Westbrook, and they had Allen Robinson for only about 15 minutes. Since then, Houston was burned more often than chocolate chip cookies in the office microwave.
Weekly strategy – One Word – GRONK! On DK, I will also consider Zach Ertz as my DK-FLEX (if he plays and I have enough money). Even if he doesn’t play, I will likely roster my DK-FLEX from this position rolling with one of the following: Ricky Seals-Jones, Ben Watson, David Njoku, Jesse James or Charles Clay.
Your Fantasy Four Pack:
Rob Gronkowski, Patriots @ PIT ($7300 DK, $8500 FD)
Rob Gronkowski has eight touchdowns and 496 yards in five career games versus Pittsburgh. Oh yeah, he’s going to be a little cranky after sitting out last week. I would not be surprised to see Gronk hit 100-3.
Zach Ertz, Eagles @ NYG ($6000 DK, $7900 FD)
I will do whatever I can to get both Zach Ertz and Gronk into my lineups on DK. The Giants have been abysmal this year against opposing tight ends. Nick Foles isn’t as mobile as Carson Wentz; I could see him dumping off quicker to both the backs and Ertz.
Delanie Walker, Titans @ SF ($5200 DK, $6500 FD)
San Francisco has allowed six tight end touchdowns over the last eight games. Meanwhile, Delanie Walker has scored and/or topped 60 yards in six of his last seven games.
Jimmy Graham, Seahawks vs. LAR ($4900 DK, $6700 FD)
The Rams allowed three tight end touchdowns to Philly last week. That may have been more about the nature of the Eagles’ offense, than the state of the Rams’ defense. Los Angeles has sustained some secondary injuries, so Jimmy Graham may get lesser coverage. Even against full coverage, Graham is a red zone threat every week.
Jesse James, Steelers vs. NE ($2900 DK, $5200 FD)
With Vance McDonald knocked out last week, Jesse James had a career game. I hate chasing points, but if New England tries to shut down Antonio Brown, James could be peppered again. The Patriots have allowed five tight end scores, but most were early in the season. I think they give up another one here.
Ricky Seals-Jones, Cardinals @ WAS ($3000 DK, $5300 FD)
Washington has allowed the third-most tight end touchdowns this year and the second-most yardage to the position. Ricky Seals-Jones came crashing down to earth last week, but prior to that he had 9-170-3 on 17 targets over his prior three games.