Things get a little tougher this week as we have a few better offenses included in the player pool. It is further opened wide by multiple “underdogs” sneaking into round two. So, make sure that you, and your life-partner and the family dog are all max invested this week to cover all the possibilities. Or, you could just take our lineup advice and enter a few smaller pool tourneys and not have to worry about max entrants. Either way, always remember that goal number one is profit, goal number two is profit and goal number three is profit. The ‘ship is probably goal number nine or ten down the list.
Minnesota Vikings @ San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers defense has slipped of late allowing 18 total TDs and only one interception versus opposing QBs over their last seven games. The Niners did have an extra week to get healthy and Kyle Shanahan has an intimate knowledge of Kirk Cousins’ repertoire. Of course, Vikings Asst. Coach, Gary Kubiak has an intimate knowledge of Kyle Shanahan. All that said, Cousins is certainly in play this week, and I would argue that he is QB2 on the Saturday-Only slate. Overall, he may be as low as QB5 or QB6 though. Downgrade his numbers if Stefon Diggs (illness) or Adam Thielen (ankle) miss this game. If both play, Cousins should be safe for 280-2 as a floor. Jimmy Garoppolo gets to face a Vikings’ pass defense that will be without its CB3 and CB4. Unfortunately, he is facing two of the best linebackers in the league and two very good safeties. When your favorite target is your TE, and you are facing a defense that allows a fair amount of receptions to the position, but no scores; you need to be comfortable throwing to other people in the red zone. Still, the Vikes have allowed one or zero passing TDs in eight of their last ten games. So, Garoppolo has a ceiling of 280-2, even with the DB injuries.
San Fran will try to win this game on the back of their defense and running backs. Tevin Coleman has done nothing the last five weeks, and he is truly TD-dependent. I’m not going there. Raheem Mostert has been the better play and he has also scored at least once in six straight games. At his price, he should be at worst the Saturday-Only FLEX. I could even see starting him over Derrick Henry or Dalvin Cook. He is also a strong play on the main slate, since his price will be cheaper than many. Speaking of Cook, based on talent alone, he needs to be RB2 on Saturday-Only. That said, the road will be tougher for him since San Francisco expects to get back Jaquiski Tartt, Dee Ford and Kwon Alexander. I’m still planning on playing him unless Mark Ingram is ruled out for his game. Then, I would pivot to Gus Edwards or Justice Hill. Leave the Vikings’ backups on the bench, they don’t touch the ball enough.
Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs are both dealing with health issues this week, but both expect to play. They are both legit WR2 options on the main slate and each is a good WR1 on the Saturday-Only slate. San Francisco has struggled with both WR1s and WR2 recently. I actually feel stronger about Stefon Diggs this week, he should top 100 yards and score. Thielen will finish with about 7-70, but the score isn’t as secure. I’m not super-pumped for any of the Vikings’ backup WRs this week, but for depth purposes, it should be noted that Alexander Hollins was active last week, while Laquan Treadwell was a healthy scratch. Emmanuel Sanders and Deebo Samuels are both WR2 options on the Saturday-Only slate, but I feel better about Sanders on the main slate. I still wouldn’t use either of them as more than a WR3 on the main. Kendrick Bourne is always a TD-dependent punt play, and with holes on the Vikings’ backend, he may be a sneaky play.
The return of Tartt, takes some of the shine away from Irv Smith and Kyle Rudolph. I’m not trusting Smith here, and with better TEs on the docket I’m only going to use Rudolph as a punt play. George Kittle on the other hand faces a defense that gives up lots of receptions and yards to the position, but that tightens up in the red zone. I still think based on volume alone Kitttle posts 7-70-1. That will be good enough for TE1 or TE2 on Saturday-Only, and no worse than TE3 overall.
Either defense is in play on either slate, but both pale behind Baltimore. Use one of them to save money here.
Tennessee Titans @ Baltimore Ravens
Ryan Tannehill was fortunate to survive New England. Of course, he had very little to do with the victory. Things won’t be any easier this week. Only someone, and their significant other, with 300 total lineups will have any investment here. Lamar Jackson is pricy this week. He is also the safest play at a guaranteed 30 fantasy points. Jackson’s value will shoot up even more if Mark Ingram misses this game. I’m not sure I can feel comfortable fading him on either slate, but I will occasionally do so for variance.
Derrick Henry is on an absurd pace. I would not blame you for starting him this week despite the less-than-favorable matchup. On Saturday-Only, you have to play him, or Cook, or both of them. On the main slate, I am likely fading him due to his salary. As for Dion Lewis, he had his chance last week in the revenge game and did squat. That is all you need to know. Mark Ingram still isn’t practicing and his status is slowly drifting downward. If he goes, he would be a solid pivot from Cook or Henry (although I prefer Mostert), but I’m not going to trust him on the full slate. Gus Edwards and Justice Hill would each be gorgeous plays if Ingram is out. That said, if Ingram plays, then they should be on the bench.
Adam Humphries is expected to miss this game. It is too bad, since slot WRs have been the only bright spot against this pass defense. By process of elimination, that suggests that Tajae Sharpe would be the wise play here. He should get some WR3 love on the Saturday-Only slate and be considered as a punt WR3 on the main slate. A.J. Brown is a great young WR. I’m just not paying the price to roster him this week. Corey Davis is dead to me and most of the world. As for Baltimore, they also have a rookie WR named Brown. Marquise has a better matchup, but he has been very hit-or-miss all season. I don’t mind him as WR3 on either slate. Most of the passing game damage against Tennessee has come at the hands of WR1s, and particularly speedy ones. This suggests Marquise Brown may be an even better play then I am suggesting. That also means that the rest of the Ravens’ WRs can remain on the bench.
The Ravens have stifled every TE they have faced since Week 5. I’m doubting that Jonnu Smith or Anthony Firkser is going to change that trend. Meanwhile, Tennessee has been rotten against every capable TE they have faced. Mark Andrews definitely qualifies in that discussion. He is actually a higher upside play at TE1 than George Kittle on the Saturday slate. Both Nick Boyle and Hayden Hurst could also be used (only on DK) as punt plays. Andrews also should be in consideration as TE2 or TE3 on the main slate. I would even consider playing him at FLEX in a Double-TE.
The price difference between the Ravens’ defense and the other options is small enough that you should just roster Baltimore. If you don’t need to punt and save money just use them. Tennessee has a defense that would be in play if they were facing a different team. This week, using them is suicide
Houston Texans @ Kansas City Chiefs
Deshaun Watson carried his team to victory last week. He also led his team to a victory Week 6 against this same Chiefs’ defense. In that game, he scored three TDs including two on the ground. A similar line is possible here. I like him as QB2 or QB3 on the Sunday-only slate, and he is a decent pivot play on the full slate. Pat Mahomes should have little trouble equaling or besting his earlier line of 273-3. I’ll use him as my primary QB1 on Sunday, and he should be at worst QB2 overall.
Carlos Hyde was one of the last RBs to post a strong line against the Chiefs. He should have a good game again, but he is still no better than RB3 on Sunday-only. This means he should be no better than a FLEX play on the main. Duke Johnson outplayed Hyde last week. He is definitely a FLEX option on Sunday-only but I am not likely to use him on the main. Damien Williams has returned as the lead back for Kansas City. Houston has been miserable when attempting to stop opposing RBs. Put these two items together, and you have the recipe for Williams having a monster game. He is no worse than RB2 on Sunday and no worse than RB4 overall. The other RBs are not getting enough looks to be used this week. I suppose you could try LeSean McCoy in a Showdown slate but that is about it.
Will Fuller is supposed to return this week from his groin injury. The team could certainly use him. His presence on the field makes the team nearly impossible to stop on offense. Unfortunately, a groin injury could knock him out of the game at any point. I don’t know if I trust him as more than a WR3 on the Sunday slate. If he does play, I will bump DeAndre Hopkins up in value. Hopkins may still be only my WR3 on Sunday, but he is a great WR1 play on either slate. Kenny Stills loses some value if Fuller plays, but he is still a possible WR3. If Fuller is out, Stills becomes a very strong WR3. Tyreek Hill needs to be in your lineup as he is primed for a huge game. He is my favorite WR1 option on either slate. Sammy Watkins has done nothing since Week 1, so leave him on the bench. If you want additional exposure to this passing game, I recommend going with Demarcus Robinson or Mecole Hardman.
Darren Fells paid off as a punt play last week. I like him this week too. KC has allowed five or more TE receptions 13 times this season. Back in Week 6, Fells and Jordan Akins combined for 9-108 against them. Akins is battling a hamstring g injury (he missed last week) and third-stringer, Jordan Thomas has done little since returning from the IR. This could set up for a large output for Fells, especially if Akins misses this game too. It should be pretty obvious that Travis Kelce is a solid play this week. Houston held him in check in their earlier meeting, but since then their TE defense has gone pear-shaped fast. I could easily see using both Kelce as part of a double-TE lineup on either slate.
I’m not high on either of these defenses for the main slate, but I could see trying the Chiefs on Sunday-only. There really isn’t an obvious Sunday only play, so they are just as likely to pay off.
Seattle Seahawks @ Green Bay Packers
Russell Wilson advanced by throwing for 325-1 against a soft Eagles’ defense. This game has more shootout potential, but Green Bay has been playing tighter defense in the second half of the season. I wouldn’t count on more than 275-2, unless this game really devolves. Aaron Rodgers has not been himself this season. Since Week 8, he has more than one touchdown pass only twice. This does not bode well for this game since Seattle has held 11 of their last 14 opponents to one TD pass or less. Again, unless this game turns into a pinball contest, I can’t confidently call for more than 275-1 for Rodgers.
The points in this game are more likely to come from the RB position. Marshawn Lynch and Travis Homer are both in play as pivots at RB2 or FLEX on Sunday-only. I also like Lynch as a FLEX on the main slate, since the team has vowed to up his usage. Green Bay has been pretty bad against the run all season, and lately they have struggled with pass-catching backs (which is why Homer is also in play). Seattle on the other hand, has really been bad against the run. Eight times this year Seattle has allowed multiple RB scores in one game. This includes four of their last contests. This is why Aaron Jones should be your RB1 on Sunday-only (paired with Damien Williams). I also want him in multiple full slate lineups (mixed and matched with Dalvin Cook, Williams, and Derrick Henry). This defense is even bad enough to consider using Jamaal Williams on the Sunday-only slate at FLEX if you need to save some money.
DK Metcalf has passed Tyler Lockett on the depth chart for Seattle. He has the best shot at a score between the two this week. Green Bay has struggled more with big outside receivers like Metcalf, than they have with speed receivers like Lockett. Tyler should still post a solid PPR game, but at virtually the same price, I’ll have more exposure to Metcalf. Neither should be more than WR2 options on either slate. I also like David Moore as a cheap punt play, but I’m not going to call a TD for him. I wouldn’t go deeper on their depth chart, unless you are looking for a cheap punt showdown option. Premium WR1s have succeeded against Seattle, so Davante Adams is definitely an option at WR1 on either slate. That said, I still have him behind Hopkins and Hill on the Sunday-only. I doubt Rodgers will throw more than two TDs, so Adams is truly the only reliable WR option for the Pack. I could see playing Allen Lazard as a punt WR3 on Sunday-only, but there are more reliable options available there. One of those more reliable options could even be his teammate, Geronimo Allison. Seattle has struggled all season with slot receivers.
Tight end could be an interesting position in this game. Both defenses are absurdly bad against the position. Obviously, Travis Kelce is TE1 on Sunday. That said, I could make a strong case for pivoting from him with Darren Fells, Jacob Hollister or Jimmy Graham. That is why I may visit double-TE land on Sunday. Seattle is so bad against the position, that I could even see the argument for punting with Robert Tonyan.
Both of these teams could be used for Sunday-only defense, but I don’t love either. I doubt I would consider using either on the full slate.
Here are my Full-Slate recommended lineups.
At DK: $7.5K for Pat Mahomes. $12.2K total for Aaron Jones and Marshawn Lynch. $15K total for DeAndre Hopkins and Tyreek Hill. $4.4K for Marquise Brown. $7.3K total for Jacob Hollister and Jimmy Graham. $3.6K for the Ravens defense.
At FD: $8.6K for Mahomes. $15.1K total for Jones and Damien Williams. $21.3K total for Hopkins, Hill, and Marquise. $5K for Graham. $6K for Lynch at FLEX. $3.7K for the Vikings defense.
At Fanball SuperFlex: Mahomes, Dalvin Cook, Jones, Hill, Tajae Sharpe, Hollister, Graham, D. Williams and Lamar Jackson.
At Fanball Classic: L. Jackson, A. Jones, D. Williams, Hill, M. Brown, Graham, Mark Andrews, Lynch, and the Vikings defense.
At Fantasy Draft: L. Jackson, D. Williams, Derrick Henry, M. Brown, DK Metcalf, Graham, A. Jones, Lynch, and the Vikings defense.
Weekly strategy – I expect to use Lamar Jackson or Pat Mahomes in most of my lineups. I will also have some exposure to Deshaun Watson. Everyone else has a fair amount of risk, so I will have only minimal exposure to anyone else.
Pay to Play:
Lamar Jackson, Ravens vs. TEN ($8400 DK, $9400 FD)
Tennessee has been middle-of-the-road in terms of points allowed to QBs, but they really haven’t faced a QB with Lamar Jackson’s rushing acumen. Even when he underperforms, Jackson has a floor of 25 points. This week he will hit 3x easily, and if Mark Ingram cannot go, he may approach 4X.
Aaron Rodgers, Packers vs. SEA ($6500 DK, $8100 FD)
This game could turn into a shootout, putting Aaron Rodgers into play. More likely, we see the slumping Rodgers top out at 275-2. That isn’t horrible, but his price is high enough, that I would rather roster Deshaun Watson or Pat Mahomes for a similar cost. The Seahawks don’t allow many scores to the position and Rodgers has struggled to top one passing TD recently as well. If there is a ton of scoring in this game, it will come on the ground, since both of these defenses suck mightily against the run.
Kirk Cousins, Vikings @ SF ($5700 DK, $7600 FD)
There really isn’t a value play I love this week. You could take a shot on Russell Wilson, but as I mention above the scoring in that game will likely come from the RBs. Kirk Cousins at least has some upside going against a defense that will have a few returning faces that may need to shake off some rust. Plus, he has two legit WR1 targets and an elite pass-catching RB to throw to. I won’t have a ton of exposure to him, but he could be an interesting Superflex QB2, if you want to differentiate from the chalk play of both Lamar Jackson and Pat Mahomes.
|Mark Ingram II||$6,700||$7,500|
|Jeff Wilson Jr.||$3,000||$4,600|
Weekly strategy – My favorite four players this week are: Aaron Jones, Dalvin Cook, Damien Williams and Raheem Mostert. Most of my lineups will feature two of them. I may also use Derrick Henry, but his salary is higher than I like. My pivots would be Marshawn Lynch or Carlos Hyde, and I may also use Gus Edwards if Mark Ingram misses the game. I could also use one of those three at FLEX. In addition, if Ingram is out, Justice Hill could be a decent punt play. The other punt options I like are: Jamaal Williams, Duke Johnson and Travis Homer. All of this said, I’m torn between using three running backs this week, and two running backs and two TEs. It may come down to money.
Pay to Play:
Aaron Jones, Packers vs. SEA ($7400 DK, $8200 FD)
Seattle has only allowed nine RB touchdowns over the last six games. Plus, they are giving up 160 combo yards per game over that span. A returning Jamaal Williams may steal a few looks, but Aaron Jones will still top 125-1.
Derrick Henry, Titans @ BAL ($8200 DK, $9600 FD)
I apparently didn’t learn my lesson, benching Derrick Henry last week. I’m accepting of the fact that Henry has been psycho-good lately, still the matchup on paper just isn’t great. Baltimore gave up four RB touchdowns to the Browns in Week 4, outside of that they have allowed only eight other RB scores all year. Based on how hot he is, Henry will probably still post 125-1 here. That isn’t horrible at his DK price, but the FD price is way too high. Also, know that I will still use Henry as one of my top three RB choices on the Saturday-only slate.
Marshawn Lynch, Seahawks @ GB ($4800 DK, $6000 FD)
Seattle has stated that they intend to get Marshawn Lynch more involved in their game script. They shouldn’t have much trouble achieving that plan against the Packers’ run defense. The Packers are allowing just under 150 combo yards per game for the season, and only one team has been held below 100 total RB yards. Marshawn Lynch may lose some receptions to Travis Homer, but don’t be surprised if Lynch is used in the passing game too. Frankly, the Packers won’t be able to stop either of them.
|Will Fuller V||$5,000||$5,600|
|Willie Snead IV||$3,800||$4,500|
Weekly strategy – I hope to fit two of: Tyreek Hill, Davante Adams and DeAndre Hopkins into all of my lineups. If I need to shave a few bucks, I may pivot to DK Metcalf, Stefon Diggs or Marquise Brown at WR2. I may also try to stuff one of that threesome at WR3. My other WR3 choices will include: the Houston and Kansas City backups, Tajae Sharpe, Geronimo Allison and David Moore. They are all pretty cheap, so going that route at WR3, should open up some more money for TE.
Pay to Play:
Tyreek Hill, Chiefs vs. HOU ($7600 DK, $7900 FD)
In Week 6, Tyreek Hill torched this defense for 5-80-2. In that game, Hill was without his top running mate, Sammy Watkins. Watkins is back to open up the defense, and both Mecole Hardman and Demarcus Robinson are healthy too. With all these weapons available, Houston is woefully understaffed to stop this offense. Hill is the best of those weapons, so a similar line is certainly in play. That said, I expect him to easily exceed that line as he scores on a pair of deep bombs.
A.J. Brown, Titans @ BAL ($6000 DK, $7400 FD)
A.J. Brown got a taste of reality last week facing an elite shut down cornerback. He caught one measly pass for four yards. It doesn’t get any easier this week as Baltimore has allowed only three WR1s to score this year. Tennessee will be playing from behind, so he may nab some garbage-time value. That said, Baltimore has struggled more with slot receivers, so Tajae Sharpe is the safer play in this game.
Marquise Brown, Ravens vs. TEN ($4400 DK, $5300 FD)
Marquise Brown has been hit-or-miss all year, but his speed puts him in play this week. Tennessee has struggled against both strong, tall outside WRs and super-speedy guys. Brown is neither strong nor tall, but he is very fast. Bump Brown’s value up even more if Mark Andrews is out or limited coming into the game.
|Irv Smith Jr.||$2,600||$5,100|
Weekly strategy – Each of the top three options is nice. I could easily see paying up for Travis Kelce, George Kittle or Mark Andrews. None is overly priced and they all have solid matchups. That said, the matchups for the next two options, Darren Fells and Jacob Hollister are also nice. Either would make a fine pivot, or better yet, either would make a great Double-TE. If Mark Andrews misses this game due to his injury, either Nick Boyle or Hayden Hurst would make a nice punt. I really like Jimmy Graham’s matchup against the Seahawks. At that price, I can use him in the Double-TE as well. I’m just concerned about his intermittent usage this year. A deep punt dive would be to fade Graham and start Robert Tonyan.
Pay to Play:
Travis Kelce, Chiefs vs. HOU ($6400 DK, $7500 FD)
Travis Kelce is nursing a knee issue, but he is expected to play this week. In their earlier meeting, Kelce was held to just 4-58. Since that week, Houston has been gored by every decent TE they have faced. As long as his knee holds up, Kelce should post a floor of 7-80-1. That said, if the knee becomes worrisome, there are many potential pivots.
Jonnu Smith, Titans @ BAL ($3400 DK, $5300 FD)
With so many values at the top of the TE list this week, we have to dip all the way to Jonnu Smith to find a TE that I want to fade. Baltimore has allowed only three tight ends to score all season and only Travis Kelce and Ricky Seals-Jones have topped 40 receiving yards. Since Week 5, they are allowing an average of only 3-27 to the position. Jonnu has been held to just two total catches the last two weeks. Plus, Anthony Firkser is always a threat to vulture a potential Jonnu score. This week just say Jon-no.
Darren Fells, Texans @ KC ($3500 DK, $5200 FD)
Darren Fells had a useful Wildcard game. He was used even more than I expected as Deshaun Watson looked his way regularly to move the sticks. Back in Week 6, Fells combined with Jordan Akins to post 9-108 against the Chiefs. Akins missed last week with a hamstring issue, and his status for this week is bordering on doubtful. If Akins misses this game, Fells could post another solid line. Plus, he is always a threat in the red zone.