We have finally reached the dawning of bye week terrorism. Add to that, an early London game, and you have a smaller roster of players to choose from. This means that there are fewer combinations to choose from. Alas, it also means that you need to hit on everyone to win big. Last week was my second-best finish of the year, fueled by the likes of Deshaun Watson, Christian McCaffrey and Will Fuller. If only I had more exposure to Aaron Jones. Ah well, it’s important to have a bad memory when dealing with DFS, as every week is a new week. This week we will begin our coverage of the evening slate (SNF-MNF). There is a lot of money to made in this very small slate, and with even fewer combinations, our advice can fill your wallet fast.
The Evening Slate:
Sunday night, Pittsburgh and their new QB, Devlin Hodges, travel to Los Angeles to face the depleted Chargers. The Chargers have injuries on both sides of the ball which should make Hodges’ job a little easier. That said, this will be his first start and the LA coaching staff has had a week to study his tendencies. So, don’t get cute and play Hodges over the likes of Rodgers and Stafford. James Washington is out for the foreseeable future (not that he has done anything this year anyway). This means that JuJu Smith-Schuster, Diontae Johnson and Vance McDonald should see more looks. JuJu will be shadowed by Casey Hayward, which doesn’t bode well for him (even if he had Big Ben throwing him the ball). If I was using any part of the Steelers’ passing attack, it would be Diontae. The Chargers have actually stifled all opposing TE groups except Houston. So, I’m probably off of McDonald. James Conner is healthy and Jaylen Samuels is out for the next few weeks, so Conner is a very good play here. I will have some shares of him at FLEX, but I feel he still finishes fifth at the position this week. LA is allowing nearly 140 combo yards per game to opposing RBs, so he isn’t an awful play. Since acquiring Minkah Fitzpatrick, Pittsburgh has allowed only two passing TDs. Pair that with Rivers’ recent struggles and LA’s injuries, and you can see why I’m not starting Rivers this week either. Both Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler had solid lines last week, and Ekeler was a PPR beast. The Steelers are giving up more than 150 combo yards per game to opposing backs, with a ton of RB receptions. Ekeler is a must-start on this slate, and Gordon is a potential FLEX (although Kerryon Johnson is my favorite play). Keenan Allen is one of three “stud” WRs on this slate (assuming Davante Adams is out again). Again, since Fitzpatrick joined Joe Haden in the defensive backfield three weeks ago, opposing #1 WRs have posted a TOTAL of 8-96-1. Allen will be in a couple of my lineups based on volume alone, but I’m not excited about it. Mike Williams is dinged up but he should play. He was targeted a ton last week and could be a WR2 option. That said, he is no guarantee either. I would only use Travis Benjamin in a Showdown slate. As for TE, I won’t even use Virgil Green in that format. Facing the unproven QB, the Chargers are the defensive team lock here.
Monday night, Aaron Rodgers will get another game without Davante Adams. His numbers fell off last week, leading to the huge game from Aaron Jones. The Lions shut out a hobbled Pat Mahomes last week, but they are beatable through the air. Rodgers will likely be chalk here. I may actually pivot to Matthew Stafford just to establish some differentiation. Aaron Jones went bonkers last week without Jamaal Williams. He is locked in as my RB1 against a Detroit defense that has allowed at least 140 combo yards per game to each RB group they have faced. They have also allowed every team to score at least one RB touchdown against them. Darius Slay will return this week, but no one knows who Green Bay considers their WR1 with Adams out. I’m guessing that Slay covers Marquez Valdes-Scantling, leaving Geronimo Allison as the better play. You will need to roster one of the two, with so few weapons in the SNF game. Allison would be my choice. Detroit has allowed big games to both Zach Ertz and Travis Kelce on back-to-back weeks. Jimmy Graham is no longer in their tier, but he should be a good play on the short slate. Meanwhile, Dak Prescott had a good game against the Packers despite multiple offensive line injuries. I feel confident that Stafford will have a big game too. Green Bay has allowed a ridiculous 170 combo yards per game to opposing RBs. Kerryon Johnson will fight with Austin Ekeler for my RB2 slot. In reality, I will likely roster Ekeler, Johnson and Jones, since the WR crew is not as hot this week. Opposing #1 WRs have done very well against Green Bay. I’m liking Kenny Golladay at WR1 this week. Opposing #2 WRs have done ok too, just not as much. I’m probably fading Marvin Jones. Danny Amendola might battle with Diontae Johnson for WR3 consideration. TEs have fared well against Green Bay the last three weeks, so T.J. Hockenson will be my favorite TE play on this slate.
The Main Slate:
There are five premium QB plays this week: Pat Mahomes, Deshaun Watson, Lamar Jackson, Dak Prescott and Matt Ryan. I’m leaning Watson this week because I want exposure to that game (and because Mahomes will likely be chalk). Any of those five is a safe play. If you need to save money here, consider Josh Rosen, Kirk Cousins or whoever starts for Washington. Watson, Jackson, Prescott and Ryan will cost me under 14% on either site. Mahomes will be nearly 15%. This is yet another reason to pivot from him to one of the others.
This is an awful week for RB values. Fortunately, the top-priced guys all have decent matchups. Ezekiel Elliott and Alvin Kamara are by far my favorites this week. I will have at least one of them in every lineup. I may have some exposure to both, but most of my lineups will pair one of them with one of: Joe Mixon, Derrick Henry, LeVeon Bell, Mark Ingram or Chris Carson. I may even consider putting one of them at FLEX. The only cheaper options I like this week are the Washington backs, Kenyan Drake and perhaps Duke Johnson (potential game script in his favor). Chase Edmonds could also become chalk if David Johnson is out. They are also all in play at FLEX too. With three of the pricier choices (including FLEX), expect to spend 41% on DK and 37% on FD. With no FLEX, expect to spend 29% on DK and 26% on FD.
DeAndre Hopkins is the only high-priced WR that I feel strongly positive for. That said, I still will probably fade him to save cash. Especially, when I can still stack Watson with Will Fuller. My game plan here is to roster two of: Stefon Diggs, Terry McLaurin, Will Fuller, Demarcus Robinson, Michael Gallup and Robert Woods. I’ll pair them at WR3 with one of: Emmanuel Sanders, Mohamed Sanu, Preston Williams or one of the Jets. WR1 & WR2 should cost a total of 24% on DK and 22% on FD. WR3 should not top 9.5% on either site. I’m not big on using a FLEX here this week.
I’m fine with playing any of the top 6 priced TEs this week. Travis Kelce will likely be the one I fade (based on salary, not matchup). Delanie Walker, Chris Herndon and Ricky Seals-Jones are three possible money savers on DK. That said, if I do decide to punt, I will probably go with either Josh Oliver or Jeremy Sprinkle. The highest-priced six (sans Kelce) will each cost between 10.5% and 11%. With so much spent at the other positions, I may have to go with Walker, Herndon, Seals-Jones, Oliver or Sprinkle on DK for 5.5%. It really all comes down to how much I spend at QB and FLEX.
I don’t love any of the Defense matchups this week. The only ones I feel mildly confident in are: Seattle, Tennessee and Atlanta. Since my remaining cash is low on DK, I will go with the cheapest of the three in Atlanta for 4.6%. I have a little more financial flexibility on FD, so I will roster Seattle for 7%. I really don’t feel comfortable going lower than this.
Here are my recommended lineups.
At DK: $6.7K at QB for Deshaun Watson, $14.6K or less for two of Ezekiel Elliott, Alvin Kamara, Chris Carson, LeVeon Bell, Mark Ingram or Derrick Henry. $5.5K for Joe Mixon at FLEX. $12K total for two of: Stefon Diggs, Terry McLaurin, Will Fuller, Michael Gallup, Demarcus Robinson and Robert Woods. for Odell Beckham, $4K for either Robby Anderson or Jamison Crowder at WR3. $5.4K or less for one of: Will Dissly, George Kittle, Zach Ertz, Mark Andrews, or Austin Hooper. $2.3K for the Falcons defense.
At FD: $8.4K for Watson. $16.4K for Zeke and Kamara. $6.8K or less for one of: Bell, Mixon or Henry at FLEX. $12.5K or less for two of the above listed WRs. $5.4 for one of the Jets at WR3. $6.6K or less for one of the five TEs listed above. $4.1K for Seattle defense.
At Fanball (includes Sun Night): Watson, Zeke, Kamara, Diggs, Gallup, Crowder, Dissly, Kenyan Drake, and Chargers defense.
At Fantasy Draft (includes Sun Night): Watson, Zeke, Kamara, Fuller, Trey Quinn, Dissly, Mixon, Carson, and the Falcons’ defense.
|Gardner Minshew II||$5,000||$6,900|
|Dwayne Haskins Jr.||$4,900||$6,500|
Weekly strategy – Deshaun Watson is my favorite play of the week. I will also have some exposure to Pat Mahomes, Matt Ryan, Dak Prescott and Lamar Jackson. The only punt plays I like are: Kirk Cousins, whoever starts for the Redskins and Josh Rosen.
Your Fantasy Four Pack:
Deshaun Watson, Texans @ KC ($6700 DK, $8400 FD)
Everyone expects that this game will be high scoring. However, I feel Deshaun Watson will still be considerably less-owned than Pat Mahomes. If both sides score big this week, it shouldn’t matter which QB you choose. In fact, I would rather have the one that is lesser owned. Watson paired with DeAndre Hopkins and/or Will Fuller will be money. I may even have some shares stacked with two of them and a TE (Darren Fells or Jordan Akins).
Pat Mahomes, Chiefs vs. HOU ($7500 DK, $9200 FD)
Pat Mahomes clearly had a hitch in his giddy-up during and after last week’s game with Indy. Of course, even limited, Mahomes can throw for 500-5. I’m not going to predict that much, but 300-3 is always his floor. Anything above that is gravy. My only concern this week with Pat is that he will be over-owned. I also have no clue which WR to stack with him. I don’t even think he knows which WR he will gel with this week.
Matt Ryan, Falcons @ ARI ($6400 DK, $8100 FD)
Arizona has allowed multiple passing TDs in four of five games. Meanwhile, Matt Ryan has thrown for over 300 yards in every game and he has multiple passing TDs in four of five. 300-3 sounds like the obvious outcome here. For $1K less than Mahomes, that alone could help you strengthen your RB/WR board.
Lamar Jackson, Ravens vs. CIN ($6900 DK, $8200 FD)
The Bengals have allowed multiple passing TDs in three of five games. That isn’t why you are starting Lamar Jackson though. You are starting him here because Kyler Murray just ran for 9.3 yards per carry against this defense. Jackson is averaging 6.4 YPC over the last four weeks, give him 12 carries this week and he might top 100 on the ground.
Kirk Cousins, Vikings vs. PHI ($5200 DK, $7000 FD)
Last week, Kirk Cousins showed that he could still sling the pigskin when the chains were released. This week, the Vikes will have to unleash Cousins once again, because you can’t run against this Eagles’ front. You can, however, throw the ball all over the field against this secondary. Remember, in Week 1, they made former Viking, Case Keenum, look like an all-pro. Dalvin Cook won’t do much on the ground this week, but he will be very active in the passing game. This makes him a sneaky stack with Cousins. Of course, the best stack this week will be with Stefon Diggs, who gets his “apology tour” game this time.
Josh Rosen, Dolphins vs. WAS ($4500 DK, $6400 FD)
Washington has allowed three passing TDs in four of the first five weeks. This means that Josh Rosen may have a prayer this week. Rosen played well last week completing 17 of 24 passes for 180 yards and a score. Those are by no means elite numbers, but they show a level of competency. It helps that he has some WR weapons to work with. I just wish he had a better offensive line. If you make this risky play, be sure to stack him with Preston Williams. Then use your savings to front-load (Zeke, Kamara, Hopkins, Julio) the rest of your lineup.
|Mark Ingram II||$6,600||$7,500|
|Todd Gurley II||$6,200||$7,100|
|Jeff Wilson Jr.||$4,200||$5,500|
Weekly strategy – There are seven premium plays: Ezekiel Elliott, Alvin Kamara, Joe Mixon, Chris Carson, LeVeon Bell, Derrick Henry and Mark Ingram. I will have at least one of Zeke/Kamara on each roster and then pair them with one of the others. I will also more than likely choose my FLEX from that list. Other money-saving options I may roll into the FLEX include: Chris Thompson, Adrian Peterson, Kenyan Drake, Chase Edmonds or one of the Texans.
Your Fantasy Four Pack:
Alvin Kamara, Saints @ JAX ($8000 DK, $7900 FD)
Did you see what Christian McCaffrey just did to this defense? Let me remind you…237-3. The Titans were the only team to not top 100 RB combo yards against Jacksonville this season. Alvin Kamara has not produced as huge of numbers as expected. That said, he has also faced three top-8 run defenses, and he lost his starting QB. 125-1 with six or more receptions is Kamara’s floor this week.
Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys @ NYJ ($8500 DK, $8500 FD)
The Jets are getting back Sam Darnold, but unfortunately for them, he doesn’t play on defense. This defense has allowed 126 combo yards per game to opposing RBs. They have also given up 6.5 running back receptions per game. With Tony Pollard dinged up, expect Ezekiel Elliott to shoulder even more of the load.
Dalvin Cook, Vikings vs. PHI ($8400 DK, $8200 FD)
As I mentioned above, Philly is very good against the run. They are also, however, susceptible to pass-catching backs. Four-time this season they have allowed five or more receptions to the position. Based on volume alone, Dalvin Cook should approach 70 yards on the ground, his real value this week will be through the air where he could put up 8-60 as well. That is also his best likelihood of scoring here.
LeVeon Bell, Jets vs. DAL ($6400 DK, $6800 FD)
Dallas just allowed a career week to Aaron Jones. I’m not predicting LeVeon Bell to repeat Jones’ feat, but if he hits even half of Jones’ line that equates to 91-2. Sam Darnold may be a little rusty, so I firmly expect the team to lean on Bell. At this price, you can easily pair him with Zeke or Kamara and still have money left to spend up at WR.
Joe Mixon, Bengals @ BAL ($5500 DK, $6400 FD)
Speaking of bargains, Joe Mixon gets to face a Ravens defense that is allowing the nearly five yards per carry to opposing RBs. Plus, they have given up eight total TDs to the position. Mixon has seen his touches and rushing yards increase each week. It’d be a wise decision to continue to feed Mixon with the offensive injuries to Cincinnati’s other skill position players.
Kenyan Drake, Dolphins @ WAS ($4400 DK, $5600 FD)
Don’t look now, but Miami finally realized that Kenyan Drake is pretty good. Drake leads the team in yards from scrimmage and is second in targets over the last three weeks. Drake should post his best game of the season, since Washington hands out points like Halloween candy. We may even get to see Kenyan score this week. At this price, and with this opportunity, Drake is a great FLEX play.
|Odell Beckham Jr.||$6,800||$7,600|
|Will Fuller V||$6,000||$6,600|
|DJ Chark Jr.||$5,500||$6,500|
|Willie Snead IV||$5,500||$5,000|
|Paul Richardson Jr.||$4,900||$4,700|
|Ted Ginn Jr.||$3,600||$5,300|
Weekly strategy – I’m going to mostly avoid the high-priced WRs this week. I don’t dislike them. I’m just spending way too much at RB and TE. If I do spend up, Cooper Kupp and Amari Cooper will be my favorite options, and DeAndre Hopkins should be the top scorer this week. I will personally pivot from Hopkins and use a lot of Will Fuller. My plan is to draft two of the following: Fuller, Stefon Diggs, Demarcus Robinson (if Tyreek doesn’t play), Terry McLaurin, Michael Gallup and Robert Woods. For WR3, I intend to choose: one of the Jets, one of the Dolphins, Mohamed Sanu or Emmanuel Sanders. If I end up spending less at RB, I may be more open to spending up and nabbing one of the high-priced guys. If I do, it will be instead of my current WR3 selection.
Your Fantasy Four Pack:
DeAndre Hopkins, Texans @ KC ($7400 DK, $8400 FD)
#1 WRs have scored touchdowns in three of five games versus Kansas City. Last week, Will Fuller received all the end zone love, and Fuller will be busy as well this week (and I actually prefer him in the stack based on price). That said, DeAndre Hopkins wants his too. In what expects to be a high scoring game, you need to have some exposure to the top receiver on each team. I wouldn’t be shocked to see him post 12-135-2, but 8-100-1 is his floor.
Amari Cooper, Cowboys @ NYJ ($7000 DK, $8100 FD)
Amari Cooper has played through various maladies all season. Surprisingly, none of them have hampered his output. Even going up against top-notch corners hasn’t slowed him down. Dak Prescott has gaga eyes for Amari. Cooper’s 512 receiving yards ranks second and his five receiving TDs trails only Chris Godwin. Michael Gallup’s return last week didn’t hurt Cooper’s numbers as much as I predicted, but I expect both to be stackable with Dak against a Jets defense that has allowed seven different WRs to top 50 receiving yards this year.
Julio Jones, Falcons @ ARI ($8000 DK, $8500 FD)
Arizona has only allowed 62 receptions to opposing WRs, but six of those have gone for TDs. That is the opposite trend of what we have come to expect historically from Julio Jones. He has improved his TD acumen this season, but he is hauling in fewer passes in a more diverse offense. He still is a safe bet to post 6-80-1 here, but I feel better stacking Matt Ryan with Austin Hooper.
Cooper Kupp, Rams vs. SF ($7100 DK, $7800 FD)
San Francisco’s defense is very good. Cooper Kupp is just better. Kupp leads the world in targets, he is second in receptions, and only three people have more receiving TDs. Kupp’s usage could increase this week with Brandin Cooks stuck in the concussion protocol. Even without Cooks, Kupp is still technically the #2 WR for the Rams behind Robert Woods. This bodes well for him since SF has allowed touchdowns to non-#1 WRs in three of four games this year.
Stefon Diggs, Vikings vs. PHI ($5900 DK, $5800 FD)
The Vikings chose to grease the Adam Thielen squeaky wheel last week. This week the Kirk Cousins’ Apology Tour continues by dishing up all the love to Stefon Diggs. Minnesota should realize early that you cannot run successfully on Philly. At this point, they will start throwing to Thielen, Dalvin Cook, and Diggs. Stefon is the best play of the three since all the huge stat lines against Philly this year have come from receivers who tend to line up outside. Adam Thielen plays more out of the slot and Diggs is the guy who plays outside.
Michael Gallup, Cowboys @ NYJ ($5600 DK, $6100 FD)
Michael Gallup showed last week that he is capable of posting premium numbers while feeding on Amari Cooper’s scraps. It was only Gallup’s third game of the year, but he is averaging 7-113. The Jets are soft enough in the secondary, that both will eat again this week.
Weekly strategy – I’m not sure I can fade one of the top six TEs this week. Travis Kelce will be my least used, not because I dislike his matchup, but because he is the priciest. Most of my exposure will be to: George Kittle, Zach Ertz, Will Dissly, Mark Andrews and Austin Hooper. If I do need to save some money on DK, I may go with Delanie Walker, Chris Herndon or Gerald Everett. That said, I don’t like their FD prices. The punt options this week include: Ricky Seals-Jones, Josh Oliver, Jeremy Sprinkle or one of the Houston guys (good luck choosing which one this week). None of these punts inspire a lot of confidence, that is why I will likely just pay up here.
Your Fantasy Four Pack:
George Kittle, Niners @ LAR ($5200 DK, $6500 FD)
The Rams have allowed 11-160-1 to the TE position over the last two weeks. This is not the time for them to start falling apart since George Kittle is coming to town. Kittle finally scored last week, but he has been consistently producing all year. Averaging 6-59 is not on par with Kittle’s 2018 pace, but it still ranks him among the top at the position.
Travis Kelce, Chiefs vs. HOU ($7000 DK, $7500 FD)
In what should be a high-scoring game, you might think Travis Kelce would be the top scorer this week. What he has working against him is that Houston is actually pretty good at covering TEs. Based on the score alone, Kelce will have a solid game. That said, his price in so much higher than the next five TEs on DK, eating into his value. I’ll have some exposure, but I just feel so much better starting Kittle, Hooper, Andrews, Dissly or Ertz.
Austin Hooper, Falcons @ ARI ($5000 DK, $6400 FD)
Arizona versus TEs has been the running joke of 2019. Sure, Tyler Eifert was a non-factor last week, but the other teams combined to average 8-108-1.5 against them. Austin Hooper has averaged an impressive 7-73, but he has only scored twice. 10-100-1 is certainly in play here.
Zach Ertz, Eagles @ MIN ($5400 DK, $6600 FD)
Minnesota used to be very good at covering TEs. Not this season. The Vikings have faced three premium tight ends and each has produced a very good line. With Xavier Rhodes, Trey Waynes, and Mike Hughes to shut down all the oppositions’ WRs, tight end is one of the spots to move the ball against this defense. Zach Ertz, and to a lesser extent Dallas Goedert, should be targeted early and often here.
Delanie Walker, Titans @ DEN ($3700 DK, $5200 FD)
Delanie Walker is dealing with a knee issue, but that hasn’t kept him from playing every game this year. Unfortunately, his stats have fallen off the cliff the last two weeks. The Broncos have fared better against TEs the last two weeks, but they historically struggle against the position. I’m not envisioning a huge game here, but at $3.7K on DK, it won’t take much for him to pay off.
Gerald Everett, Rams vs. SF ($3600 DK, $6000 FD)
Gerald Everett has climbed into the TE1 conversation based on 19 targets and 12-180-1 over the last two weeks. Last week, his numbers were bolstered by Brandin Cooks’ concussion. If Cooks is out again, Everett could see similar numbers. I’m definitely not going to trust him at $6K on FD, but his DK price makes him a nice play if you spend too much elsewhere.