We made it to Week 10. Part of me is surprised that the season hasn’t been completed unraveled due to this pandemic. Fortunately, the league and the players association have been flexible in their handling of positive tests. There still have been some ridiculous things like the Green Bay vs. San Fran game from last Thursday that should have never happened. As of now, there aren’t any planned changes in the schedule for this week but keep tuned in just in case.
DFS: The Primetime Slate
Baltimore Ravens @ New England Patriots
When the schedule makers drew this one up, they probably were expecting a battle of one of the most electrifying young QBs in the game going up against one of the best defenses in football. Well, Lamar Jackson has not lived up to his high-end billing and the Patriots’ defense just did everything in their power to try and lose a game to Joe Flacco. This alone should give you hope that Jackson might do something this week. Considering the lack of QB talent on the rest of this slate, he actually gets top billing here, just don’t expect the world. Cam Newton’s receiving corps is almost as deep as the group San Francisco suited up last Thursday. Still, just like Jackson, Newton can make hey with his feet in the red zone keeping his value high. Baltimore’s defense is very good, so I’ll not rank Newton higher than QB2 here, but don’t be surprised if he finishes with the fewest points among any of the four QBs on this slate.
Mark Ingram could return this week, but it would almost be better for Baltimore RB fantasy owners if he just didn’t come back this year. His return will only further murky the waters of value for J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards. With all three active, none is better than a FLEX play. It’s too bad because New England can be beaten on the ground. If Ingram sits, I like Edwards to score a TD and Dobbins to catch five or six passes while rolling up 60-70 yards. Still, I doubt I would use either as anything more than FLEX. IF the Baltimore RB group is murky water, then the New England one is straight-up road tar. Damien Harris injured his chest on Monday night and it appeared that he knocked himself unconscious too. I have a hard time believing he will play this week. Baltimore has an elite level run defense, so he wouldn’t have been a great play anyways. James White may be the better play as the Ravens can give up some yards through the air to opposing backs. Even with lesser usage this season, he still makes a decent FLEX play here. Still, Rex Burkhead may be the best play of all for the Patriots’ run group as he can do both ground and pound and catch the ball and run. I’d actually list hin as my choice for RB2 or RB3 on this slate. Of course, the whole situation could get even muddier if Harris plays or if Sony Michel manages to return this week. If that happens just fade the lot of them.
If no one told you that Dez Bryant was active for the Ravens last week would you have known? I’ll wait until he actually shows up on a stat sheet before considering him. Marquise Brown tried to be a squeaky wheel, but he hasn’t gotten any oil over the last two games. This week, he could have value, especially if Stephon Gilmore is out again. At worst, he is WR5 on this slate. I could see using Willie Snead at WR3 to save some money, but his ceiling is very low. Miles Boykin has an even lower ceiling. Jakobi Meyers absolutely blew-up on MNF against the Jets. This week will be much tougher. Only two teams have allowed fewer WR touchdowns than Baltimore. They have given up some yardage (and most of it has come to larger physical receivers like Meyers so he is in play, just don’t count on a score. I would rank him as WR3 on the board here and I’ll certainly use him some this week. Damiere Byrd was second in targets for NE last week, but against a tough pass defense neither him nor Gunner Olszewski should be used outside of Showdown slates. If healthy, N’Keal Harry could receive some FLEX love. His being healthy is always a stretch though.
Over the last three weeks, Nick Boyle has actually outproduced Mark Andrews. New England is beyond the elite against the TE position, so the name alone won’t save his role here. In fact, his name alone may drive his salary off of the playable list. Just don’t waste your time with Boyle either. Ryan Izzo is supposedly the top TE for New England. He didn’t even net a target against one of the worst defenses against TEs last week. Don’t get cute here. New England’s defense couldn’t stymy the immobile corpse of Joe Flacco, they have zero chance of intimidating Lamar Jackson. Leave them on the bench. Baltimore’s defense is in play but I like the Monday night options slightly better.
Minnesota Vikings @ Chicago Bears
Kirk Cousins against a stingy Bears’ pass defense is not a smooth play. That said, he has the weapons on offense to produce a 230-2 floor, which may be the second-best line on the slate. More likely, Cousins finishes as QB3. Nick Foles has a much easier row to hoe throwing against the inexperienced Vikings’ secondary. That said, the young-uns are starting to gel there thanks to Mike Zimmer’s coaching. Plus, this is Nick Foles we are talking about. He doesn’t exactly scare anyone. Fortunately for Foles, he has Allen Robinson and Jimmy Graham to do some damage. This should secure him QB2 on this slate, but not by much.
Dalvin Cook is the best active RB in football right now. Meanwhile, Chicago’s run defense is nowhere near as good as you think it is. Cook won’t have 200 total yards this week, but he’ll still easily top 100 yards. This means he is RB1 on this slate and it isn’t close. Lamar Jackson is the only athlete who might finish with more total yards than him here – and HE ISN’T A RB! Alexander Mattison won’t play enough to be valuable here. David Montgomery is recovering from a concussion. He gets an extra day to get healthy, but it is no guarantee that he plays. If Montgomery plays, he is the definite RB2 on the slate. If he doesn’t play Ryan Nall becomes at worst RB3 on the slate and a near-must start.
Allen Robinson versus the inexperienced Vikings’ pass defense is the clear WR1 here. Both, Darnell Mooney and Anthony Miller are starting to see more targets. Either could be used as WR3. Cordarelle Patterson could also be used out of the backfield and as a WR in a revenge game script. I like him as a possible punt-FLEX. In general, WRs have not done much this year against Chicago. The ones that have had success are bigger outside guys. That role has fallen onto Justin Jefferson of late. Still, Adam Thielen can take a pass from anywhere to the house, and he remains a red zone threat despite not scoring the last weeks. One of these two should be your WR2. My money is on Jefferson. The Minnesota WR relevance depth chart ends at this point.
Cole Kmet returned last week. Minnesota gives up a ton of yards to the TE position, but they have been stingy allowing only three scores all year. Jimmy Graham is the safer play and the TE1 on this docket as he has scored five times this season and he has produced a few solid games against Minnesota over his career. For Minnesota, Irv Smith has finally started to be used in the red zone. It was only a matter of time before he inherited this role from veteran Kyle Rudolph. Chicago has struggled mightily against the position, especially in the red zone. So either one might score here. Considering the price difference between them and Graham/Andrews, I’d rather take the flyer on Rudolph or Irv. Chicago’s defense should cause Kirk Cousins to make a few mistakes and Nick Foles should cause himself to make a few mistakes, so either defense is a good play here. That said, I favor Chicago because they are more proven.
The Main Slate: My recommended DFS lineups
At DK: $8K for Kyler Murray. $7.1K for Aaron Jones. $4.9K for J.D. McKissic or $4K for Mike Davis if Christian McCaffrey doesn’t play. $7.4K for Michael Thomas. $5.7K for Christian Kirk. $3.5K for Josh Reynolds. $3.5K for Jordan Reed or $4.4K for Eric Ebron if you use Davis instead of McKissic. $6.9K for James Conner at FLEX. $2.6K for the Lions’ defense.
At FD: $7.4K for Jared Goff. $8.8K for Jones. $5.4K for Davis (if no CMAC) or $5.8K for Duke Johnson. $9.5K for Davante Adams. $8.5K for Thomas. $5K for Reynolds. $5K for Reed or $4.6K for Greg Olsen or $4.5K for Gerald Everett. $5.3K for McKissic at FLEX. $4.8K for the Lions’ defense.
At Fanball (SuperFlex – includes Sun Night): Murray, Goff at SF, Jones, McKissic, Thomas, Robert Woods, Kirk, Reed, and James Conner at FLEX.
Weekly strategy – I normally hate spending up for my QB. That said, with so many premium options here it will be hard to say no. Kyler Murray and Deshaun Watson are the safest plays of the week. Aaron Rodgers should be right in the mix as well, but the game script could limit his final stats. Considering that Jared Goff’s price is so low, it will also be tough not to choose to use him. Teddy Bridgewater would be an interesting pivot from any of them as would Ben Roethlisberger (If he clears the COVID protocols). There are also several cheaper options that I like such as Tua Tagovailoa, Drew Lock, and Nick Mullens.
Fantasy Four Pack
Kyler Murray, Cardinals vs. BUF ($8000 DK, $8800 FD)
Last week, I was wrong about Kyler Murray. I feel he really proved that he is matchup proof. Buffalo is not a pushover, but they have given up a few points to opposing QBs this season. They have also faced a few QBs that could move around, but they have not faced a rushing QB as explosive as Murray. Kyler will post three total scores en route to a near 30 point fantasy afternoon. Giving him the safest floor among the higher-priced options.
Aaron Rodgers, Packers vs. JAX ($7900 DK, $8400 FD)
Aaron Rodgers has perhaps the easiest matchup among the high-priced options this week. This may actually hurt Rodgers’ chances at a huge week. We also know that Rodgers won’t be affected by any potential weather in Green Bay this weekend. What we don’t know is whether or not Jake Luton will keep this game competitive. If things go south fast for the Jacksonville signal-caller, this game may become the Aaron Jones show fast. All of that said, Rodgers is still a stud QB facing a below-average defense. That alone should be worthy of nearly 3X value.
Deshaun Watson, Texans @ CLE ($6900 DK, $8300 FD)
Deshaun Watson also has an easy matchup this week. Cleveland is ninth in passing yards allowed per game and seventh in passing TDs allowed per game. Deshaun is also working on a string of six straight multiple score games and he has topped 25 rushing yards in each of his last four contests. Coming off of the bye, Cleveland should be able to post some points against a so-so Houston secondary. This will keep the game script in a pass-forward mode putting all pieces of both offenses in play. I particularly like the Watson-Cooks-Fells stack, with a run it back of Rashad Higgins.
Russell Wilson, Seahawks @ LAR ($7700 DK, $8900 FD)
Much like Kyler Murray, Russell Wilson continues to produce outlandish numbers even in tougher matchups. This may be the toughest matchup of the season for Wilson on the road in Los Angeles against Aaron Donald, Jalen Ramsey, and Company – who are coming off of a bye to prepare. Still, Russell has one game this year with fewer than three total TDs. Meanwhile, in three home games, the Rams have allowed a total of ONE passing touchdown and a league-low 12 points per game. Wilson will damage these stat trends this week but expect a floor game out of him. I almost prefer the upside of Jared Goff in this contest instead.
Drew Lock, Broncos @ LV ($5500 DK, $7100 FD)
Drew Lock gets sleeper status with me for a second-straight week. Ignoring the windstorm game against Cleveland two weeks ago, Las Vegas is allowing an average of 331-2.5 through the air to opposing QBs, since Week 4. Plus, three of the last five QBs to face them have rushing TDs as well. Meanwhile, Lock has five passing TDs over his last two starts and two rushing TDs over the last three games. Another three total scores are in the works here as well.
Tua Tagovailoa, Dolphins vs. LAC ($5600 DK, $6800 FD)
So far we have seen two victories for Tua Tagovailoa. One of them was an awful statistical performance, the other was an average performance. Fortunately for Tua, those two games came against an elite pass defense and an above-average one. The Chargers’ pass defense is below-average at best. One-Touchdown-Teddy (Bridgewater) is the only QB to not account for multiple TDs against this defense. That means that Tua should post a pair of scores as a floor.
Weekly strategy – Aaron Jones has the blow-up seat this week against Jacksonville. He and James Conner are the easy 1-2 combo up top. Rostering both of them should be attainable if you spend down at QB. James Robinson is a potential pivot, as is Kareem Hunt (if Nick Chubb is out), or Miles Sanders (if he plays). Either way, try to roster two of that fivesome. Outside of that group, Antonio Gibson and J.D. McKissic are both studly options at FLEX. I also like the Tampa Bay duo and D’Andre Swift. There are a few possible punt plays. Whoever starts for Miami, Mike Davis, or Duke Johnson in volume roles, and Adrian Peterson in the revenge game.
Fantasy Four Pack
Aaron Jones, Packers vs. JAX ($7100 DK, $8800 FD)
Jacksonville is allowing over 140 combo yards per game to opposing backs and more than one RB touchdown per game. Aaron Jones played most of the snaps last Thursday despite not being 100%, he will be back to full health here and the game script will be right for him to blow-up for 150-2.
James Conner, Steelers vs. CIN ($6900 DK, $7600 FD)
James Conner was left out to dry last week as Pittsburgh decided to go five-wide virtually the entire game. Against the Cowboys, this was the most absurd strategy that Mike Tomlin has ever come up with. I expected after the game that the Scooby-Doo gang was going to come up to the podium and unmask Tomlin as Adam Gase. Amazingly, Tomlin survived that brain fart, so I doubt he screws up again like that this week. Cincinnati is actually worse again the run than Dallas, so Conner has no reason to not top 125-1 here.
James Robinson, Jaguars @ GB ($6600 DK, $7300 FD)
The presence of Jake Luton did not affect the running game value of James Robinson last week. What perhaps should concern you is that Chris Thompson had all of these RB targets last week. As long as Luton can keep this game close (no guarantee), he should lean on Robinson to run the ball against a Packers’ defense that is allowing nearly 150 combo yards per game to opposing RBs. Robinson has also scored in five of eight contests and he has four total TDs over the last three games. This sets up nicely as Green Bay has allowed the league-worst 15 total TDs to the position.
Alvin Kamara, Saints vs. SF ($8200 DK, $9000 FD)
I really don’t care for Alvin Kamara in this matchup as the San Francisco 49ers have been beasts against opposing backs. Still, this is Alvin Kamara. he can always do damage with swing passes and he has a nose for the end zone. I mean, he is averaging 7.5 catches per game and one total TD per game. That sort of production should guarantee him a top-5 final point count most weeks. Even if the matchup is subpar. Needless to say, I won’t have much exposure to him, but this could make him a sneaky play, in a game that could feature some higher scoring
Mike Davis, Panthers vs. TB ($4000 DK, $5400 FD)
This is not a great matchup on paper, but if Christian McCaffrey misses this game, as is expected, then Mike Davis gets to return the featured role that he ate at earlier this year. Even if Davis cannot get going on the ground against this stingy run defense, he should approach double-digit targets and receptions. At this ridiculously low price, if he gets in the end zone he will break the slate. This is one of those chalk plays that you cannot avoid and still expect to cash.
J.D. McKissic, Redskins @ DET ($4900 DK, $5300 FD)
I love both Antonio Gibson and J.D. McKissic this week. Each will produce 3X against a run defense that is still licking its wounds from last week. I’ve decided I prefer McKissic here since he is Alex Smith’s apparent binky. In the two games that Smith has played significant snaps, McKissic has 22 targets. 15 receptions, and 111 receiving yards. In both of those games, he led the team in targets and receptions. Gibson is the better bet to score here but use either as often as you can.
Weekly strategy – I don’t mind the idea of paying up for Davante Adams. I just know it will be hard to fit him under the cap. Especially since you can nab Cooper Kupp or Michael Thomas for a lot less. I see Will Fuller as a pivot (although I will probably opt for his running mate Brandin Cooks at WR2 instead). The other WR2 options that I really like are JuJu Smith-Schuster, Jerry Jeudy, Christian Kirk, and Diontae Johnson. As for WR3, I really love Curtis Samuel this week. DeVante Parker could be worth using with Preston Williams out. Rashard Higgins could be a high volume play this week and Jalen Reagor could be a sneaky play with Travis Fulgham locked up against James Bradberry. There are also a couple of punt-plays that I really love, Josh Reynolds and Mack Hollins. Reynolds is a great WR3 option in the stack with Jared Goff if you don’t use Cooper Kupp at WR!
Fantasy Four Pack
Michael Thomas, Saints vs. SF ($7400 DK, $8500 FD)
Over their last six games, every WR1 except Jakobi Meyers has scored at least one TD against this defense. This includes 22-344-3 in the last two weeks against Davante Adams and DK Metcalf. Michael Thomas is certainly in their wheelhouse talent-wise. Thomas is fully healthy now and it is hard to run against SF, so expect New Orleans to use short passes to both Thomas and Alvin Kamara in lieu of running the ball.
Davante Adams, Packers vs. JAX ($9000 DK, $9500 FD)
Against a weak defense like Jacksonville, Davante Adams will score and will top 100 yards. Unfortunately, he has been given CMAC pricing. At this cost, you are praying he meets 3X rather than counting on it. In a game that Green Bay could jump out to a big lead, we might not see a ton of Adams in the second half as Green Bay drains the clock with Aaron Jones.
Cooper Kupp, Rams vs. SEA ($6900 DK, $7700 FD)
All Cooper Kupp did in Week 8 was haul in 11 of 20 targets for 110 yards. That was despite facing a team with two of the top CBs in football. This week he faces a defense that is allowing 22 receptions and 280 receiving yards per game to opposing WRs. Not to the entire offense – TO JUST THE WRs! They’ve also given up 13 WR touchdowns. Robert Woods is also in play as is Josh Reynolds. If you don’t use Kupp, please use Reynolds at WR3.
Terry McLaurin, Football Team @ DET ($6800 DK, $7000 FD)
I’ve doubted Terry McLaurin on a couple of occasions this season. I was wrong. Only once in his last seven games has McLaurin not finished with at least 70 yards and/or a score. The QB change last week didn’t limit Terry’s usage as he still led the team in receiving yards.
Brandin Cooks, Texans @ CLE ($5600 DK, $6300 FD)
Since Week 5, Brandin Cooks leads Will Fuller in receptions, targets, and receiving yards. The only category Fuller leads Cooks in is TDs. Still, Brandin has scored in three of those four contests. Cleveland has allowed the fifth-most WR touchdowns this season, including five in their last three games. I like both Fuller and Cooks this week, but once again Cooks is cheaper, making him easier to roster.
Curtis Samuel, Panthers vs. TB ($4900 DK, $5700 FD)
Curtis Samuel has been used both in the passing game and running game for Carolina. With Christian McCaffrey likely out, Samuel should go back to his change-of-pace role behind Mike Davis. This role gave him back-to-back scores on the ground in Weeks 7 and 8. Pair that with the two air scores that Samuel has locked up the last two weeks, makes him a safe play even with “One-Touchdown” Teddy throwing him the ball. Plus, over their last five meetings, Samuel has scored four TDs and he is averaging 73 total yards per game against the Bucs.
Weekly strategy – Darren Waller at his DK price is very good, but his FD price is not a bargain. Both T.J. Hockenson and Noah Fant are in play, and each costs less than Waller. Still, Eric Ebron makes the best play of the week based on pricepoint. To save a little consider using one of the Niners or Darren Fells. I will also have extensive exposure to Logan Thomas. There isn’t a punt play that I love, but I don’t mind TD-chasing with Donald Parham.
Fantasy Four Pack
Darren Waller, Raiders vs. DEN ($5900 DK, $7000 FD)
Denver can be beaten by opposing TEs. Still, they haven’t given up many TDs to the position. Nevertheless, this game projects as a shootout. That bodes well for Darren Waller since he has twice as many targets and nearly twice as many receptions as his next closest teammate. Waller has also scored in three of his last four games.
T.J. Hockenson, Lions vs. WAS ($5100 DK, $6200 FD)
T.J. Hockenson has scored and/or topped 50 receiving yards in every game this season. This includes TDs in four of his last five games. Meanwhile, Washington is elite against opposing WRs (especially outside WRs), but only two teams have allowed more TE touchdowns. So the strategy for Matthew Stafford should be to throw over the middle to Hockenson and Danny Amendola. Still, keep an eye on Hockenson’s practice status Friday, as he didn’t practice Thursday due to a new toe issue. If he doesn’t play, Jesse James could see some of this thunder at a rock-bottom price.
Noah Fant, Broncos @ LV ($4900 DK, $5700 FD)
As I mentioned above with Waller, this game should be a sneaky shootout, that may fly under the radar. Noah Fant has played through a couple of injuries in the last few weeks, but he is still posting effective stats. Every quality TE that Vegas has faced, except Hunter Henry, has scored against them. With recent-vulture, Albert Okwuegbunam out for the year, Fant will get back in the end zone this week.
Eric Ebron, Steelers vs. CIN ($4400 DK, $5400 FD)
Cincinnati has allowed the third-most receiving yards and TDs to opposing TEs. This includes five scores given up over their last three games. Eric Ebron has scored in back-to-back games and a third straight seems like a lock, especially since Vance McDonald has been ruled out due to COVID.
Logan Thomas, Football Team @ DET ($3300 DK, $4900 FD)
Detroit has given up four TE scores over the last two weeks. Meanwhile, former Lion (revenge game anyone?), Logan Thomas has scored in two of his last three games. Plus, he is playing more frequently lined up as both a WR and TE, so he should see a fair amount of opportunities here.
Jordan Reed, Niners @ NO ($3500 DK, $5700 FD)
Jordan Reed was playing on a snap count last week coming off of the IR. This week, he should be free to run a full game script. In weeks 2 and 3 (while George Kittle was out), Reed combined for 9-73-2. He will still split TE targets with Ross Dwelley, but at $3.5K, his price is cheaper than that of Dwelley on DK. Of course, Dwelley is cheaper on FD, so on that site consider him instead. New Orleans has played the position much better recently, but they did give up six scores to opposing TEs over their first five games.