Well, last week was crazy. So many absurdist outcomes, despite the small slate of games. Fortunately for my pocketbook, the Primetime slate was one of my biggest winners of the year. Let us hope for more sanity this week or at the very least some strong alcohol to mellow our spirits. Only four teams are on bye, so we have that going for us. Of course, those four teams each have a top ten fantasy running back.
The Evening Slate:
Sunday night, Chicago faces the Rams in a battle of which team has fallen harder this season. Coming into the year, both teams were on a positive trajectory led by a young franchise QB and a bevy of young talent on both sides of the ball. Now we are looking at two teams that will be very lucky to even make the playoffs. Both teams still are very strong against the pass, so I’m going to avoid both Jared Goff and Mitch Trubisky. I’d rank them three and four on this slate. The Bears’ run defense has struggled of late, but so has every part of the Rams’ rushing offense. With better matchups on Monday, I’m not going to overuse Todd Gurley. David Montgomery has a rough spot here as well, so I’ll fade him too. Tarik Cohen is my only thought here (and then only at FLEX). I want no part of Allen Robinson lined up against Jalen Ramsey (despite their familiarity with each other). Anthony Miller and Taylor Gabriel have both been hit or miss this year (mostly miss), so I will pass on them as well. Brandin Cooks’ brain looks like cottage cheese, and he is probably closer to early retirement than playing this week. This means that Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp and Josh Reynolds should see more action. Last week, Cooper Kupp was so missing that milk cartons wouldn’t even show his image. That has to change this week. I don’t love the matchup, but Kupp always has slate-breaking potential, and hopefully, players will be skittish after last week. I may have some exposure to Woods (WR1) and Reynolds (WR3), but if I do choose a Ram, it will likely be Kupp. George Everett was the actual benefactor in Cooks’ absence last week. This week, he may be under-owned with Hunter Henry and Travis Kelce available on MNF. I love him at TE here, and possibly even at FLEX. The Rams are actually pretty atrocious at covering tight ends but do you really trust any of the Bears’ group. If two members of their TE-job squad are announced as out before the game, I may consider the third option for Chicago there, but otherwise no. The Rams’ defense is the best play on this slate, but it is closer than you might think. I have Chicago ranked third behind the Chiefs.
Monday night should be more offense forward. The Chiefs are also in LA, but considering the Chargers’ apathetic fan base, we will likely see more Chiefs jerseys than powder blues in the stands. Both QBs are in play, but Pat Mahomes is the obvious preferred option. At running back, Melvin Gordon is my top option of the week, and Damien Williams is my favorite #2 choice. Austin Ekeler could be used as a FLEX, but he isn’t my first thought there. Keenan Allen and Tyreek Hill should be the top two WR options on this slate. I definitely want Hill in my lineup, but if I also roster Cooper Kupp, If I do go both Hill and Allen, I’ll probably pivot from Kupp to Josh Reynolds to save money. If I go Hill and Kupp, I’ll probably consider Mike Williams as my WR3. Sammy Watkins, Mecole Hardman and Demarcus Robinson are all in play at FLEX. Obviously, both Travis Kelce and Hunter Henry are great plays. I like Henry’s recent usage a bit more, so he will be my first choice. I wouldn’t be mad if you rostered them both. Heck, on Fanball, I could see rostering both of them and Gerald Everett. The Chiefs’ defense is a sneaky pivot here from the Rams. I also don’t hate the Chargers defense, but still have them ranked fourth on this docket.
The Main Slate:
There are five choices I like this week up top: Lamar Jackson, Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Dak Prescott and Josh Allen. Brees might be the best option since owners are likely afraid to play him after he crapped the bed last week. That said, Jackson has a sweet matchup and Brady may have the best matchup of them all. There isn’t much I Like that is cheap here this week. I might have some access to Kyle Allen, Sam Darnold or Derek Carr, but I’m not going to get too crazy. The above five will cost me 13-16% on DK and 13-15% on FD.
Christian McCaffrey doesn’t have as great of a matchup this week, nevertheless, he needs to be considered. That said, I won’t have as much exposure to him as I had last week. The main reason being that Ezekiel Elliott is in a blow-up spot. I also will be all over Josh Jacobs and could go big and buy them both. I will definitely have at least one of these three in all of my lineups. There aren’t many other pivot options of interest to me. Perhaps Devin Singletary, but I’m going to remain concerned that Josh Allen or Frank Gore will steal red zone touches. My preference will be to go cheap at RB2. Brian Hill will be chalky, but the matchup screams play me. If I decide to pivot away from him at RB2, I may go with J.D. McKissic or Raheem Mostert. I could also consider one of them at FLEX (although I am leaning WR this week). Zeke and Jacobs will cost you a combined 32% on DK and 27% on FD. If I go Zeke and Hill, I will only be committed at 28% on DK and 24% on FD. If I do choose C-Mac, I will likely be forced to use one of the cheaper options.
This is the week to avoid the top dollar options at WR. That said, I love both Michael Thomas and Julian Edelman and could see me trying to fit both of them into my lineup. I will have at least one of those two as my WR1. Beyond them, you have to go all the way down to Michael Gallup to find another player I really like this week. Gallup or D.J. Moore might be a pivot from Edelman at WR2 if I cannot afford both Thomas and Julian. My WR3 will likely come from this list: Curtis Samuel, Jamison Crowder, Marquise Brown, Tyler Boyd, Mohamed Sanu, Randall Cobb, Phillip Dorsett and Deebo Samuel. That group, plus Ted Ginn and Demaryius Thomas are FLEX options as well. Thomas and Edelman will run 35% on DK, but only 27% on FD, making them easier to use together there. For DK, I would probably lean Thomas and either Gallup or Moore for $1K less. Don’t spend more than 12% for WR3 and keep your FLEX under 10%.
This TE corps is awful this week. The only sure thing is George Kittle, and he may not play. Jared Cook may end up being the best performer with all the injuries and bad matchups. His DK price is reasonable, but his FD price is high. This week, I will probably go cheap and roll with Jason Witten, Kyle Rudolph (If Adam Thielen doesn’t play), T.J. Hockenson or Ross Dwelley (If Kittle doesn’t play). If I really decide to punt, I might go Tyler Eifert, Luke Stocker or Dawson Knox. If you don’t get Kittle, just keep your spending under 8% here.
The Vikings, Jets and Saints are my three favorite defenses to play this week. None will cost you more than 7% on DK or 8% On FD.
Here are my recommended lineups.
At DK: $6.9K for Drew Brees. $6.9K for Josh Jacobs. $4.8K for Brian Hill. $9.9K for Michael Thomas. $10K total for WR2 and WR3 (leaning D.J. Moore and Deebo Samuel). $3.4K for Ross Dwelley. $4.6K for J.D. McKissic at FLEX. $3.4K for the Vikings’ defense.
At FD: $7.8K for Tom Brady. $8.4K for Ezekiel Elliott. $5.9K for Hill. $16.4K total for Thomas and Julian Edelman. $6K or less for WR3 (leaning Moore). $4.9K for Dwelley. $5.6K for Hollywood Brown at FLEX. $4.7K for the Vikings’ defense.
At Fanball (includes Sun Night): Kyle Allen, Christian McCaffrey, Zeke, Thomas, Curtis Samuel, Deebo Samuel, Dwelley, Hill, and the Jets’ defense.
At Fantasy Draft (includes Sun Night): Lamar Jackson, McCaffrey, Zeke, Moore, Deebo, Dwelley, Hill, McKissic, and the Jets’ defense.
|Dwayne Haskins Jr.||$4,800||$6,500|
Weekly strategy – Drew Brees, Tom Brady and Lamar Jackson are my favorite choices this week. Dak Prescott and Josh Allen will be my pivots. I will also have a small amount of exposure to Kyle Allen or Derek Carr (DK only). Allen, in particular, could be a fine punt play if you want to spend like the Yankees elsewhere (i.e. getting Christian McCaffrey, Ezekiel Elliott and Michael Thomas).
Your Fantasy Four Pack:
Lamar Jackson, Ravens vs. HOU ($7700 DK, $8800 FD)
Prior to keeping the Gardner Minshew-led Jaguars out of the end zone, Houston allowed 14 QB touchdowns over their prior four games. Lamar Jackson has been elite all year. Racking up points both on the ground and through the air. His scoring only appreciates in value when he adds on TDs. He has seven of those in just his last two games. Expect 200-2, and 80-1 here in a slate leading game.
Drew Brees, Saints @ TB ($6900 DK, $8300 FD)
Odds are that people will be hesitant to use Drew Brees after last weeks’ fiasco. Hopefully, that will keep his ownership down in GPPs. Tampa Bay has allowed 23 total TDs to opposing QBs since Week3 (seven games). This included a 332-4 to Teddy Bridgewater in Week 5. Brees could easily duplicate that figure.
Tom Brady, Patriots @ PHI ($6400 DK, $7800 FD)
You cannot run against Philadelphia. That said, most Pop Warner teams could throw for 300 yards against them. Tom Brady and Bill Belichick will be anxious to wash away any Super Bowl memories of this matchup. Expect them to throw excessively, early and often. He probably won’t post another 500-yard passing game, but 375-3 is a safe floor.
Dak Prescott, Cowboys @ DET ($6700 DK, $8100 FD)
Detroit has allowed 15 passing TDs over their last five games. This includes nine over their last three games against: Derek Carr, Daniel Jones and Mitchell Trubisky. Dak Prescott is so much more talented than that threesome. If they can throw for three TDs. Dak is guaranteed to throw for three TDs. The only thing that may stunt Prescott’s final line is that Ezekiel Elliott may run for nearly 200 total yards as well.
Sam Darnold, Jets @ WAS ($5700 DK, $7300 FD)
Washington’s defense has not allowed a ton of points to opposing QBs recently. Those numbers are slightly deceiving though. One of those games was an ugly Thursday meeting with Minnesota. One was a windy contest against San Francisco. Yet another was a battle of who wanted to lose more started against them by Josh Rosen. Prior to their recent “hot streak”, this defense allowed three passing TDs in four of five games to start the year. Sam Darnold isn’t going to blow up here, but 300-2 is certainly a possibility.
Kyle Allen, Panthers vs. ATL ($5300 DK, $7200 FD)
Atlanta allowed Drew Brees to throw for over 300 yards, but somehow managed to keep him out of the end zone. That performance was truly an outlier. Prior to that game, they had allowed multiple QB scores in every game. This included 18 over their prior five games. Kyle Allen has posted serviceable numbers in five of his seven starts. I really love the thought of pairing Allen with either Curtis Samuel or D.J. Moore. This combo would save me enough money to roster Christian McCaffrey, Michael Thomas and Ezekiel Elliott.
|Mark Ingram II||$6,600||$7,500|
|Ronald Jones II||$5,200||$6,400|
Weekly strategy – There are three top options this week: Christian McCaffrey, Ezekiel Elliott and Josh Jacobs. The plan is to use at least one of these three in all of my lineups. The obvious choice is to pair one of them with a cheap volume option such as: J.D. McKissic or Brian Hill. Devin Singletary is the only other back that I will have a lot of exposure to. I’ll consider using both McKissic and Hill (or maybe Raheem Mostert) if I take my FLEX from this position.
Your Fantasy Four Pack:
Christian McCaffrey, Panthers vs. ATL ($10500 DK, $10500 FD)
You know you want to do it. The Saints just recorded 12 running back receptions against this defense. Christian McCaffrey is in a golden spot to put up another 30-point performance. It may not equate to 3X, but it is hard to not love that kind of output.
Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys @ DET ($9000 DK, $8400 FD)
Ezekiel Elliott had an off day last week, against a short-handed Vikings’ run defense. Kudos to the Minnesota coaching staff for going out of their way to put a clamp down on Zeke. One of the biggest issues is that Dallas didn’t attempt to get the ball to Zeke in space via the pass. That will change this week. Detroit has allowed five different RB groups to top 70 receiving yards against them. They have also allowed at least one running back score in every game. Zeke should top 150 total yards this week and score twice as the Cowboys roll.
Josh Jacobs, Raiders vs. CIN ($6900 DK, $8000 FD)
Cincinnati has allowed at least one RB score in all but one game this year. They are also allowing a 4.79 yard per carry average. Jacobs has topped 100 total yards in six of nine games. He also has three scores in the last two weeks. I like him to continue his scoring streak and top 100 yards again, but that $8K price on FD is less juicy than his DK price.
LeVeon Bell, Jets @ WAS ($7200 DK, $7400 FD)
LeVeon Bell has not been exciting this year. That said, he has been used often in the passing game. Opposing backs have racked up receptions and receiving yards against Washington all season. In addition, they have allowed opposing backs to top 100 yards in seven of nine games. Bell will haul in six passes and top 100 total yards here with a single score. Not a horrible line, I just wish he was slightly cheaper.
Brian Hill, Falcons @ CAR ($4800 DK, $5900 FD)
Brian Hill will be a lock as chalk RB du jour this week. Considering the matchup, the lack of sure things this week, and his price, you can’t fade this spot. The only thing you could do is pivot to J.D. McKissic. As for me, I’m gonna eat this one and play the only healthy back on the Falcons as he faces a Carolina defense that has allowed 12 running back scores over the last four games.
J.D. McKissic, Lions vs. DAL ($4600 DK, $5800 FD)
I will have several lineups featuring both J.D. McKissic and Brian Hill paired with one of the big dollar options. McKissic is also a “last man standing”, and after seeing what the Vikings were able to do to this Dallas defense through the air with Dalvin Cook, I expect McKissic to be used heavily in the passing game this week. The Cowboys have allowed an average of 6.7-53 through the air to opposing backs, that is McKissic’s floor here, any rushing yardage is gravy.
|DJ Chark Jr.||$6,200||$6,000|
|Marvin Jones Jr.||$5,900||$6,600|
|Will Fuller V||$5,800||$6,300|
|Phillip Dorsett II||$4,200||$5,300|
|Ted Ginn Jr.||$4,100||$5,200|
|Willie Snead IV||$3,900||$4,600|
|Paul Richardson Jr.||$3,800||$5,000|
Weekly strategy – While I would love to have both Michael Thomas and Julian Edelman in my lineup, I would have a very difficult time pulling that off. Amari Cooper and Julio Jones are both potential pivots at a slight savings. WR2 will likely come from this list: John Brown, Jamison Crowder, Randall Cobb, Hollywood Brown, one of the Panthers or one of the Patriots. I may also consider one of them at WR3 if I can afford it. That said, most of my WR3 exposure will be to Deebo Samuel and Demaryius Thomas. I may also use Ted Ginn in that role if I don’t roster Thomas.
Your Fantasy Four Pack:
Michael Thomas, Saints @ TB ($9900 DK, $9000 FD)
Tampa has one of the worst passing defenses in modern football history. They have allowed 40-609-6 to opposing WRs the last two games. 15 different WRs have topped 70 yards against this defense this year. One of them was Michael Thomas back in Week 5. In that game, Thomas posted 11-182-2 and that was with Teddy Bridgewater at QB. Considering the matchup, a repeat performance is not out of the question. Thomas has faced Tampa six times in his career. The worst line he has posted was 8-65-0. Over his last three meetings with the Bucs, he has posted 38-460-3.
Julian Edelman, Patriots @ PHI ($7600 DK, $7400 FD)
Since Week 5, Julian Edelman is third in receptions and second in targets. Based on his volume usage, he should be in for another huge game against a defense that has allowed big games to every quality QB they have faced. Edelman should approach ten catches and 100 yards here.
Amari Cooper, Cowboys @ DET ($7700 DK, $8100 FD)
Detroit is starting to phone it in on defense. Meanwhile, Amari Cooper has scored and/or topped 100 yards in seven of nine contests. I don’t love his price compared to Edelman, but if you pivot to Dak Prescott at QB you might as well play his top WR as well.
Julio Jones, Falcons vs. CAR ($7500 DK, $7800 FD)
Julio Jones hasn’t scored since Week 3. Fortunately for his owners, his yardage has remained high. Carolina has allowed 15 or more WR receptions in six games this year. You can never trust Jones to score, but without Austin Hooper on the field, Julio should be targeted more often in the red zone.
D.J. Moore, Panthers vs. ATL ($5900 DK, $6000 FD)
Atlanta has struggled all season against opposing WRs, but they have particularly been bad since Desmond Trufant was injured. Trufant claims he is going to play this week, but he is not guaranteed. Also, if he does play, he may line up on Curtis Samuel instead of Moore. This game should be higher scoring and that is why I like Kyle Allen as a sleeper. If I roster Allen, I will have one of Moore or Samuel in my lineup as well.
Deebo Samuel, 49ers vs. ARI ($4000 DK, $5600 FD)
Speaking of Samuels, Deebo Samuel has been solid all season, but now with Emmanuel Sanders dinged up he may need to be more than solid. Last week, he stepped up and posted 8-112 on 11 targets. In Week 9, Samuel posted 4-40 against these Cards, but that was with Sanders active. If Sanders isn’t active this weekend, expect Deebo to approach Sanders’ line of 7-112-1 from that earlier game. Even if Sanders plays, I like Samuel as an upside play at this cheap price.
|Irv Smith Jr.||$3,100||$4,700|
Weekly strategy – It is ugly this week. George Kittle probably won’t play. If he doesn’t, then Ross Dwelley is easy money and mega-chalk. Outside of that, there is a lot to not like here. Mark Andrews and Darren Waller will likely lead the group, but their prices are too high to be over-exposed to. Jared Cook might be my favorite play here, but only if I am not also using Michael Thomas. I’m also not keen on his FD price. If I don’t end up using Dwelley, I will probably go cheap and use Jason Witten, Kyle Rudolph, T.J. Hockenson, Tyler Eifert or Luke Stocker (if he plays).
Your Fantasy Four Pack:
Mark Andrews, Ravens vs. HOU ($6100 DK, $6900 FD)
Mark Andrews is the de facto top option on this slate. I don’t love him, but I do love his QB. I actually feel that Marquise Brown is the stack to play this week here, but considering how slim the TE pickings are, you could do a lot worse. Houston has given up TE scores two of the last three games.
Darren Waller, Raiders vs. CIN ($5500 DK, $6700 FD)
Speaking of Mark Andrews, Cincinnati just got destroyed by him for the second time this year. Strangely enough, Cincy has actually been pretty solid against the other TEs they have faced. Darren Waller is enough of an impact player to expect a solid performance here, just don’t expect Andrews-esque numbers.
Jared Cook, Saints @ TB ($4400 DK, $6000 FD)
Jared Cook may be the safest play on this slate. He has a cheaper price and a favorable matchup. He also was heavily utilized last week in his first game back with Drew Brees under center. Tampa has allowed all but one team to top 50 TE receiving yards this year. They also have allowed five teams to top 80 yards with the position. Plus, they have given up six scores in their last seven contests. 5-65-1 sounds about right for Cook.
T.J. Hockenson, Lions vs. DAL ($3600 DK, $5300 FD)
This should stress how bad it is. T.J. Hockenson has only 19 receptions since Week 1. What he has going for him is 13 targets over the last two weeks, including plenty of looks while playing from behind with Jeff Driskel at the helm last week. Detroit will be playing from behind again here, and Driskel will likely get another start. I would not be surprised to see even more targets headed Hock’s way. Dallas has allowed an average of 6.5-63 to the position. Plus, they have given up four TDs to opposing tight ends over the last four games.
Kyle Rudolph, Vikings vs. DEN ($3600 DK, $4500 FD)
This all comes down to whether Adam Thielen plays. If Thielen rests one more week, then Kyle Rudolph could easily replicate his red-zone usage from last week. In the four games that Thielen has missed time recently, Rudolph and Irv Smith have combined for 32 catches and 260 yards. The biggest difference between the two though is that Rudy has four scores over this stretch.
Ross Dwelley, 49ers vs. ARI ($3400 DK, $4900 FD)
This play should be chalk if George Kittle cannot go. His price is low, he was used significantly last week, and Arizona doesn’t understand that TE is a pass-catching eligible position on the field.