Week 10 2017
Well, we had another week where most of my picks went absolutely ham with another handful that were complete wastes. Hunt, Martin, and Collins all hurt me quite a bit last week, and it seems like I have had RB issues a couple of weeks in a row now. Looking back at it, while it clearly didn’t work out, I still think Doug Martin was a fine play here. He was a very reasonable price against a bottom-10 run defense and you got him at 5% ownership. Maybe I’m just trying to justify it, but I’m going to just move forward and trust the process #TTP. Speaking of the process in general, I’ve taken a look at how my personal lines have done over the past 3 weeks, since I have had RB issues like I mentioned. I seem to get too cute while paying up for certain WRs, so I’m definitely going to try and rectify this over the next couple of weeks. In general, I recommend looking at what you are doing well and what you are doing poorly regardless of whether you are winning or losing.
There is a lot of value opening up this week, and I feel like that gives us a big advantage as it spreads out ownership among the cheap options. That means the sharp players, us, can target the best of them while the fish go after the less ideal targets.
SEA (23.25) @ ARI (17.75)
While they have only received 28% of the bets, the line has swung the Cardinals way by 0.5 points. This feels very similar to the BUF @ NYJ game from last week in that sharp money is going towards the home dog, while public money is going away. I obviously cannot guarantee a similar outcome, but something to think about.
With Lacy going down with what seems to be a relatively severe groin strain, this will thrust Rawls into the starting position. While Rawls hasn’t returned to his 2015 form and the Cardinals are stronger against the run, 14th in DVOA, game script should be going his way and he costs only $3400. He also makes for an excellent leverage play against Russ who will likely be northwards of 30% owned on the Thurs-Mon slate. While the Cardinals have allowed 3 straight 15+ point days, only one RB has gone over 53 rushing yards on them during this span and we have seen a lot of the production come through the air. Even with Prosise coming back, I will absolutely have exposure to Rawls on DK as Rawls is still a decent pass-catcher and I won’t be surprised if Prosise plays limited snaps due to his injuries or if he ends up re-injured.
Literally the only team not able to take advantage of some part of the Cardinals so far has been the inept 49ers. Other than them, teams look to take advantage of ARI through several receiving positions:
|Torrey Smith||Outside WR2||5||1||-3||0||3||70||1||15.7|
|Brice Butler||Outside WR2||3||0||0||0||2||90||1||17|
|Kenny Golladay||Outside WR2||1||0||0||0||4||69||2||22.9|
Thankfully for the Seahawks, they have a very good slot receiver – Baldwin – and TE, Graham. Unfortunately for them, it seems like Graham is a little nicked up at this point as he missed Tuesday’s practice. He then returned on Wednesday and was subsequently taken off of the injury report, but I feel like he still might have some nagging injuries. If he ends up being limited or sitting (highly unlikely), Luke Willson should be their starting TE. I don’t like him on the large slates, but I might have some exposure on my Mon-Thurs teams. Getting back to their other WRs, I’m not sure what the Cards will have PP do here, but I’m not that scared of him going into the slot as we saw Baldwin put up 6-69-0 and 13-171-1 on them last year. Richardson has also failed to practice all week, so he is highly questionable to play, so I would assume that PP will end up shadowing Lockett on the outside.
Stanton was predictably not great in his first start as he averaged only a 50% completion rate and 201 yards on 15 attempts (on the other side of that one, CJ Beathard managed 294 yards just for reference). Fitz is clearly Stanton’s safety blanket as he targeted him 9 times – with 1 coming in the RZ – and I expect him to be heavily targeted again in this one due to the likely deficit. Fitz costs only $5400 and goes up against the “Average” (per PFF) Coleman in the slot. Furthermore, John Brown will find himself matched up against Sherman for most of the day, and Seattle ranks 3rd against TEs, which should eliminate Gresham. Thus, the offense will have to funnel through Fitz in this one and I like him as a volume based option.
While SEA does rank a much weaker 19th against the run, most of the big games came earlier in the year before they got Sheldon Richardson. Yes, Lamar Miller did put up 22.3 points against them two weeks ago, but that mostly came from the 2 TDs he had as he mustered only 54 rushing yards. I expect AP to be fairly popular after his outburst last week and due to the Cardinals’ clear game plan of running him into the ground, but I’m looking forward to fading him here.
PIT (27.5) @ IND (17.5)
Here is another line where sharp money is on the home ‘dog. While Indy has only received 34% of the bets, the line has moved their way by 0.5 points.
Martavis is now back to practicing with the first team, but I have no idea how he will be utilized this week since JuJu was already seeing more targets than him before the suspension. Since he handled his timeout so well, they might draw up a couple of plays for him, but how knows. Even if they do, he will have the toughest match-up against Rashaan Melvin. Regardless, Indy ranks 25th against the pass and have given up at least 1 receiving TD in every game so far this year. AB lines up on the left side for more than 50% of the time, so this means that he will see the 102nd-graded CB, Pierre Desir, for all of this time. My oh my this does not look good for the Colts. Juju will definitely see ownership here after his monster game right before their bye, but I don’t really like him with Martavis back. While he did see 10 targets in his big game, he only saw 3 each in the two before that when Bryant played. Not that his impacts anything I just said, but the Colts just released Vontae Davis and he will miss the rest of the season regardless due to groin surgery. The biggest concern that I have with the PIT passing game is that they just don’t do it after they get out to a massive lead. If you feel that Big Ben will continue to air it out, he is definitely in play here, but I prefer Stafford in the same price range.
If you weren’t already thinking about playing Bell, a) you are doing it wrong, and b) the Colts just lost DL Hennry Anderson for the rest of the year. He graded out as a top-15 run stopping tackle, so this is a big loss to their run D. Even before this, they only ranked out as 21st against the run and dead last against receiving backs. We have also already seen players like Yeldon and Henry go for 100+ rushing yards on them and DJ-lite and Mixon putting up 6-81-0 and 3-91-0 receiving on them respectively, so Bell should have an absolute field day here. Labs has him projected at only 21-25% owned here, and I will certainly be going higher. If there is any concern it is only that he has seen 3 targets in back-to-back weeks, but that’s barely a blip on the radar.
Hilton got added to the injury report on Thursday with a groin injury, and mid-week injuries are never great. I assume he will probably play here – or maybe he won’t in protest of the owner’s recent hot takes on injuries (he basically said that Luck’s issue is all in his head) – but I won’t roster him. Groin injuries can easily flare up and a lot of people will be on him to begin with after last week, so I’m happy to look elsewhere. Moncrief and Aiken have tough match-ups as well, so I doubt they will be able to do much here (shout-out to Joe Haden as he has really turned his game around this year after the trade and a few weeks getting acclimated in PIT). Unfortunately for Doyle, the Steelers are 2nd in DVOA against TEs, so I don’t really love him here either. His price is all the way up at $5200 now and we saw PIT hold Kelce to 4-37-0 a couple of weeks ago. We do know that Brissett will target Doyle heavily as he has been in double-digits in 3 out of the past 5 weeks, and hasn’t gone below 7 in the other two, but I just prefer other TE options this week.
PIT is also strong against the run, 9th in DVOA, and the strength of their d-line, the interior with Heyward and Tuitt, will go against the weakest part of the Colts o-line. They are slightly weaker against receiving backs, 17th, but we have seen Mack’s usage fluctuate wildly as he saw 0 targets last game but averaged 5.5 over the two before that. Neither are particularly interesting to me here.
MIN (21.75) @ WAS (20.25)
Overall, this game doesn’t excite me all that much since both teams are fairly stout defensively. WAS ranks 11th and 13th against the pass and run respectively, while MIN ranks 13th and 4th.
The Vikings just put Bradford on IR after he just underwent arthroscopic surgery. Sigh. I had a bet with my buddy Ed on who would score more for the season between Bradford and Dalton. Looks like I’m going to have to pony up a six pack even though it took Dalton 3+ weeks to put up what Bradford did in the first week alone. With Diggs getting healthier, we saw Thielen start to move back to the slot more in their week before the bye. I believe that Diggs is finally fully healthy now (even though is on the injury report with a tooth issue – not kidding), so Thielen should run most of his routes out of the slot this week. Unfortunately for him, Kendall Fuller has graded out fairly well so far. With that being said, however, WAS is susceptible across the middle and we have seen some Agholor and Baldwin roast them out of the slot at various points. Speaking of being vulnerable across the middle, Rudolph looks like an excellent option to me this week. He has averaged a very stead 8 targets per game over their last 4, so unless their game plan has changed dramatically during their bye, he should see another 7-9 here. WAS also ranks a lowly 29th against TEs and we have seen the position victimize them repeatedly:
|Week||Recs||RecYards||Rec TDs||DK Points|
Rudolph will probably also see fairly low ownership here, so I’m in favor of rostering him.
Vikings fan probably won’t want to hear this, but I’m not sure if I actually like McKinnon here. Murray already has 13 RZ carries even though he has only started to really be involved in the offense over the last 4 weeks. At this point, he is currently the back with the most RZ touches without a TD as he has converted none of these into TDs. This is clearly in line for positive regression. He has also seen his carries increase over each of the last 6 weeks from 2 to 7 to 12 to 15 to 18 to 19. Clearly there isn’t too much more room for growth, but you are potentially getting almost 20 carries for only $4000, which is insane. McKinnon has also been utilized heavily as he has seen 14-16 totes in each of his last 4 and is much more involved in the passing game, but he has only seen 8 RZ carries all year (he hasn’t seen many RZ targets either). He also costs $2600 more as he is all the way up at $6600. While the Vikings project to lead per Vegas, they only have a slight edge and they are coming off of their bye, so we could see more variance from them than we normally do. We have also seen their line create only 3.82 adjusted line yards, which is only good enough for 21st in the league. I don’t feel great about their run game here, but would lean towards Murray if I had to choose.
Reed’s status is TBD for this one, but he did practice on Thursday, so he is trending in the right direction. Davis was little banged up with a hand contusion after last week, but he should also be fine to play. WAS has also talked about finally lining both Doctson and Pryor up on the outside together, which seems long overdue. Assuming that this occurs, I’m not sure if Rhodes will shadow or just play a side because of how poorly Pryor has played. In general, MIN has been very stout against the pass, and haven’t shown any glaring weaknesses since Week 3 when D-Jax put up 4-84-1 on them. Since then, they have led a fairly charmed life since they faced the Browns, BAL, GB with Rodgers leaving early, the Bears, and the Lions. The only team there with even a somewhat competent passing game was the Lions, but I believe that MJ was somewhat injured for that one, so it’s not like they even had their full complement. Either way, Cousins is much better than the competition they have faced recently, but his pass catchers need to get their act together if they want a chance at beating the Vikes.
As I alluded to earlier, the Vikings have been very strong against the run and have only allowed Crowell of all people to put up 20+ on them in a fluky game over in London. They have also not allowed a runner to top 100+ yards on them all year, so I don’t really love any parts of this RBBC. It also doesn’t help that Linval Joseph will have his way with the interior of their line.
LAC (18.75) @ JAX (22.25)
This is another game without a lot of pieces I like and I’m surprised that Vegas has it this close. JAX should absolutely shutdown the outside WRs, and the Chargers have moved away from Henry over the past couple of weeks with Williams back. They really should start utilizing him again, but I have no idea when that will occur, and the Jags are a relatively strong 10th in DVOA against TEs regardless. You could look to target Keenan Allen out of the slot as that is clearly where the Jaguars are most vulnerable and he only costs $5400 at this point, but he has also seen his usage drop drastically as we haven’t seen him get the double-digit targets that we became accustomed to since Week 5. The common denominator for all of these players has been Rivers as he just hasn’t looked very good over his last 3. He hasn’t gone for over 300 passing yards since Week 4 and only has 13 passing TDs on the year. The good news for the Chargers is that he also doesn’t have many INTs thrown (6) or sacks taken (11), but JAX just creates chaos with their defense, so I’m expecting those numbers to rise this weekend.
JAX remains 31st against the run and the Chargers should feed Gordon here, but the problem is, as we discussed last week, the Jags just got Dareus and that DVOA hasn’t had a chance to really adjust yet. We also always need to monitor Gordon’s health as whether he shows up on the final injury report or not really dictates how much usage he will get. For example, he was fully healthy against the Giants and Raiders and saw 20 and 25 carries respectively. He was then banged up with shoulder and foot injuries against Denver and the Pats where he only saw 18 and 14 carries respectively. He also gets heavy usage in the passing game when fully healthy. If we look at the splits between these 4 games again, he saw 20 targets in the 2 where he was fully healthy (this is a little high IMO) and only 6 in the other two. After the bye, he should be fully healthy, so we can expect another heavy workload here, but he will probably need around 8 catches to pay off his salary for GPPs. In general, I feel ‘meh’ about him here.
While the Chargers seem to have tightened things up against the run as they haven’t allowed anyone to rush for 70+ yards since Week 4, they haven’t really faced any good rushing offenses since then. They also gave up two 13+ point receiving games last week to Burkhead and White. If you look at who else they have faced since Week 4, it’s a pretty dismal list that consists of the Broncos, SEA, and the Giants. Prior to that, they gave up big days to two Eagles’ backs, Hunt, and Ajayi. Their current rank of 26th versus the run feels well deserved to me. After missing back-to-back weeks due to an injury and then a suspension for violating team rules, Fournette should have a chip on his shoulder here and will almost certainly see his normal 20 carries. These touches are also game script agnostic as he has seen 21 and 24 carries in their last two losses. If you can’t quite make it up to Bell, Fournette looks to be in a great spot here.
The Chargers are a much stouter 9th against the pass and sport one of the best outside CB tandems in the league with Hayward and Williams. King also grades out very well from the slot. Furthermore, with Fournette back and Westbrook finally returning from IR, this muddies the waters quite a bit with who they will target – or even if they will in general. The Chargers pass rush is also #fierce as Bosa and Ingram should have their way with the poorly graded left side of the line. For now, I’m not on any of the Jags’ receivers even though I really want Westbrook to pop off for a massive line.
NO (24.75) @ BUF (21.75)
It remains to be seen if Clay will return here yet, but he did get in a limited practice on Thursday and things are trending in the right direction. Even if he does return, I’m not that interested in him since the Saints are 4th against TEs and TyGod now has other receiving options (remember, we really liked him early in the year since he was the only legit receiver the Bills had). The only TE to do anything substantial against them was Gronk as he put up 6-116-1. No other TE crossed the 12-point mark. The Saints are exceptionally strong against boundary WRs with Lattimore ranking as the best overall CB in the league. I’m absolutely expecting him to shutdown K-Benj here. Jones had by far his best game as a pro last week as he put up 6-53-1 (this was almost a third of his total yards on the year), but he is going to miss this one, so Thompson should replace him. Crawley should have no issues shutting him down. J-Matt originally would have lined up against the 108th-ranked Kenny Vaccaro out of the slot, but he has just been ruled out, so I’m not sure who will start in his place. Either way, J-Matt should be able to take advantage of the match-up, but Matthews has looked pretty terrible throughout the year. He does seem to finally be getting healthy though, and I do expect K-Benj to open things up for him, which will help immensely (as I mentioned previously, he needs a WR1 to flourish as we saw from his time with the Eagles). He also saw a season-high with 8 targets last week that he turned into 6-46-0. I’m not sure if he will see 8 targets again since K-Benj didn’t play there and will take some of the volume moving forward, but he seems like a decent salary relief option for this week especially since Zay will be out for this one. Another hit to this passing offense is that starting LT Cordy Glenn just got ruled out. While he didn’t grade out phenomenally, any disruptions to the line are a bad thing at this point.
As FantasyLabs pointed out, the Saints have given up the most rushes of 20+ yards in the league so far this year with 9. Unfortunately, BUF grades out as 22nd in the league with only 3.78 adjusted line yards created. McCoy also tied his season-low with only 12 carries last week – he got banged up and left the game for a while and then didn’t play at all in the 4th quarter with the game out of reach – and he also saw only 1 target. Perhaps this was an outlier, but perhaps J-Matt is starting to compete for the short yardage targets to some degree. I think it is probably a combination of the two of them, so I won’t be surprised if he gets back to the 3-5 target range this week assuming he doesn’t aggravate an injury. The good news for him is that he is 4th in the league with 24 RZ carries and, as we previously discussed, will be in line for further positive regression in the TD category.
While the Bills do rank only 17th in DVOA against the run, they have only given up two 20+ point days to RBs so far this year (these have come in back-to-back weeks, however, so perhaps they are weakening). DeAndre Washington obviously wouldn’t have reached this mark without his 8-62-1 line receiving, but if he can do that, this obviously bodes well for Kamara who has just been electric. He also continues to be hyper-efficient as he scored another 2 TDs only 16 touches last week. I don’t think I can pay $6900 for this type of workload when we can get Howard so much cheaper. Even after his fumbles from the week before, Ingram still saw 16 totes and a target last week, so he should see at least the same workload here. Even though he is more expensive at $7400, he would still be my choice due to his increased workload and lower ownership. He is also has 13 RZ carries so far this year, so he is clearly their goal line option.
Michael Thomas continues to be exceptionally steady as he has had 3 straight games of 14.5+ points, and he has reached this mark in 5 out of his last 6. This is particularly surprising since he only has had 1 RZ target in his last 4 and hasn’t scored a TD in any of them. While Thomas will see the Bills best CB for 30% of his day, 10th-ranked Tre’Davious White, he will obviously miss him for the other 70%. The lack of RZ work is a clear concern here as well is the projected game script, but he should see at least 8 targets in this one regardless as he has gone below that mark only once this year. I’m also not as sold as Vegas is that the Bills will trail in this one as they have been a markedly better team at home this year with fairly decisive wins against the Jets, Broncos, Bucs, and Raiders and no losses. We have also seen the Saints start off slowly on the road before (I’m especially thinking about the game against the Packers). Ginn can clearly take a top off of a defense and has gone over 15 points in 3 out of his last 4, so I don’t hate him if you think the Saints will trail here.
GB (16.25) @ CHI (21.75)
Bryan Bulaga tore his ACL, which is a big hit to the Packers’ o-line. Further dampening my expectations here is how McCarthy decided that they will use a RBBC moving forward. Going into last week, Jones was another player that I had exposure, but we suddenly saw TyMont rack up 6.6 YPC to Jones’ meager 2.4 YPC. While Jones did out-target him 5 to 1, I assume that TyMont will be the primary pass-catching option moving forward. With the limited usage that we have seen, I don’t love TyMont here even though he is priced at $4300, and I will be taking a “wait-and-see” approach on him. I still think that Jones is an excellent runner, but paying $6400 for him in a negative game script with the RBBC aspect seems like highway robbery. I suppose you can hope that he breaks a long TD, which he is clearly capable of doing, but I hate counting on fluky plays, so I won’t go there.
CHI grades out as 10th against the pass and haven’t allowed a WR to put up over 15 points on them since Week 4. I don’t have high hopes that Hundley will be able to do that for one of his wideouts here. We have seen him target Adams and Nelson 15 and 11 times respectively over his two weeks as a starter, but you need the receiver to break a long run if you want a TD here. Especially with Bulaga out, I have even less faith in Hundley than I normally do.
The pairing of Howard and CHI is one of my favorites on the week. While GB ranks 11th against the run, I don’t think that they are all that good as we saw Kamara and Ingram combine for 39.7 points on them and they gave up 25.9 to McKinnon the week before. Game script should absolutely be in Howards favor here and the Bears will ride him hard as he has seen 19+ touches every week since Week 2.
While GB does rank an abysmal 23rd against the pass and I have loved picking on them all year, can you really trust Trubisky as he has had more than 25 pass attempts only once this year?
CIN (18) @ TEN (22.5)
There is sharp money on the Bengals here as they have received 41% of the bets, but the line has swung their way by a point.
DeMarco briefly exited last week’s game with a knee injury, but then came back in the second half and is practicing in full as of Wednesday. He should be fine here and game script will be in his favor, but the Bengals are much stronger against the run as they rank 7th in DVOA, and the only player that did anything to them on the ground was Bell when he pasted them for 35-134-0. The timeshare will also continue here and I cannot guarantee that Henry doesn’t get mop-up work late in the game.
The Bengals are much weaker against the pass as they grade out 17th in general and 27th against TEs, and I much prefer attacking them that way. We saw Doyle abuse them for 12-121-1 two weeks ago, but unfortunately we cannot project Delanie for that kind of volume since there are more mouths to feed on this team. He also saw only 5 targets last week, but I’m going to chalk that up to him not being healthy rather than a departure from the game plan, and I won’t be surprised if he gets back to the 7-8 range this week. I don’t love his price, but he makes for an excellent pivot off of Doyle. Davis only played 75% of the snaps last week and saw 5 targets during them, but Mike Mularkey confirmed that he will see an increased workload moving forward. The Bengals CBs also strictly play sides, so he will see the 111th-ranked Dre Kirkpatrick for 30% of his day, and he should definitely take advantage of that match-up. Matthews will see Dre even more, 45%, and will probably see a similar target share here. I actually like both of them and expect someone to have a good day here, but I’m not sure who it will be. Davis is my preferred dart between the two of them at only $4000, but you should probably have exposure to both. You could also just roll Mari-GOAT-a here under the assumption that he will just spread the love around.
In another hit to one already in contention for “Worst Line in the League,” the Bengals will now be without starting RT Jake Fisher for the rest of the year. He wasn’t very good to begin with, but I can only imagine how bad his replacement will be. Hill was a surprise scratch last week and is has already been ruled out for this week, but Mixon only received 13 carries last week with him out (i.e. around his normal workload). The Titans are better against the run anyway as they rank 12th in DVOA.
While they are stronger against the run, they only rank 22nd against the pass, which clearly bodes well for AJG. I’m honestly a little worried about him here as he only saw 6 and 8 targets in the two weeks before last (I’m tossing out last week’s 2 target effort since he got suspended early). While we might be able to toss out that game against the Steelers due to their strong defense, the 8 target effort was a 1-point victory against the Colts. I previously had some interest in LaFell mostly due to the 5 RZ targets he saw over two games, but outside of that stretch, he hasn’t seen any in the 4 games bookending those two. Dalton has already taken 24 sacks this year, so they really need to get back to short passes and centering their offense on Green. I like having some exposure to him here, but will not be going all in.
NYJ (22.75) @ TB (20.25)
Jameis is now getting shut down for a couple of weeks due to his AC sprain, which makes FitzMagic the starting QB for the Bucs. Mike Evans is also suspended for this one after decking Marshon Lattimore last week. With his suspension, it seems like Chris Godwin should become more involved here, and I love him from a dynasty perspective. Dan also pointed this out, and I like his line of thinking since we saw this type of connection in the past – Godwin has played primarily with the second stringers as has Fitzpatrick, so they should have the most chemistry together at this point. This is a pure punt play since Godwin is the league minimum of $3000, so I kind of doubt that I will actually end up there, but we do need to think about it. Morris Claiborne does figure to return for the Jets this week, and he has been their best CB so far this year, so between his return and my skepticism around whether Fitz can actually get it to D-Jax, I’m staying away this week. Humphries will go up against the 97th-ranked Buster Skrine in the slot, but he only saw 2 targets last week. Maybe he will see more after he gets a full week of practice in with Fitz, but I’m not very excited about the play. While the Jets are 5th against TEs, we have seen Hooper, Gronk, and Njoku all score on them, and Brate will be their biggest target out there. All-in-all, they will probably have to throw it here, but none of the options are all that appealing even against a relatively bad defense.
Inexplicably, last week was the first week where Doug Martin didn’t get double-digit carries on the year. Peyton freaking Barber out-touched him. While the Jets are only 18th in DVOA against the run, they haven’t allowed a runner to go over 12 points on them in 4 straight weeks. They have allowed a couple of backs – Tevin Coleman and Dion Lewis – to go over 4.7 YPC on them during this time, so it’s not like they have been completely lights out. The Bucs might use a run heavier game plan here as well, but it’s really tough for me to go back to the well on Martin this week after his usage last week. I assume that if I do fade him, he will probably end up with 100+ yards and 2 TDs.
I still cannot figure out how the Jets are semi-competent this year, but I have to give a lot of credit to Todd Bowles here – he definitely seems to be getting the most out of very little talent. Jeremy Kerley just got suspended for 4 games, so that will give ArDarius Stewart and Chad Hansen increased roles moving forward. As I mentioned earlier in the year, I’m excited about Stewart in particular especially in dynasty formats, but I doubt he will really step in and produce immediately here as it’s a bad sign if you cannot beat out Kearse and Kerley for a starting spot. He also tweaked his groin late in the week, so he might not even play come Sunday. Brent Grimes will return in this one for the Bucs after missing the last two, but it wasn’t like they were terribly effective as a unit even when he was in there previously and he only grades out as the 78th-best CB per PFF. Robby Anderson should see most of his coverage and will probably see his normal 5-6 targets. He has scored in his last 3 straight, so obviously he can’t continue scoring one per game, but he is in another great spot here. TB is 16th in DVOA against TEs, but I always love ASJ. While he only had a line of 2-20-0 last week, this really should have been 3-40-1 as he had a 20-yard TD taken away on a BS penalty call. This is the second TD that has been taken away from him recently due to a bad call, but the calls should start going his way sometime soon. I have some interest in McCown here as TB is 31st against receivers, but they haven’t allowed a game over 22 points since Week 4. It’s also kind of crazy that he is more expensive than Cousins here, and I think I prefer Capt. Kirk.
Forte sat as of Friday with swelling to his surgically repaired knee, and has already been ruled out for this weekend. This makes Powell a premier play on this slate. As I harped on previously when Forte sat, Powell thrives in this scenario, and he didn’t disappoint us before with a 21-163-1 rushing line and 32 DK points. DE William Gholston will also sit for the Bucs, and he grades out better against the run than the pass, further improving Powell’s outlook here.
CLE (16.25) @ DET (27.25)
Starting RG TJ Lang is now in the concussion protocol, so this will be a huge hit to the o-line if he cannot play as he is a top-10 guard in the league (this will affect both their pass protection, which is currently ranked 26th in blocking efficiency, and run-blocking as they are already dead last in the league with only 2.88 in adjusted line yards). This does concern me quite a bit in regards to Stafford’s protection since he has already taken 26 sacks on the year (6th-most), and it is also worth noting that the Browns are getting both McCourty and Boddy-Calhoun back this week, which will be big boosts to their secondary (McCourty in particular has graded out well this year as he is the #2 CB per PFF). The good news for my man Marvin is that McCourty primarily plays on the opposite side from him, so he will primarily see the far weaker Jamar Taylor this week. MJ has seen 11+ targets in 3 straight weeks and has scored 21+ points in each of them. It is also worth noting that the Lions have an exceptionally high pass rate in the RZ and the Browns have allowed the highest passing TD rate in the RZ in the league so far this year. Right now, Stafford is the #1 QB in my Labs model this week, and I like him quite a bit. I feel like the loss of Lang and the additions to the Browns secondary are not properly factored in, however, so I would put him around the 3-5 range in my price adjusted rankings with Eli, Mariota, Goff, and Dak.
Blah blah blah, Browns are bad against TEs, blah blah blah:
|Week||Recs||Rec Yards||Rec TDs||DK Points|
Ebron continues to see around 4-5 targets per week and continues to be extremely unimpressive with them. He saw 2 RZ targets against the Steelers, but 0 against the Pack and 0 against the Saints, as Stafford seems to be looking towards Fells more in this area. Fells is only seeing around 3 targets per week, but costs the stone minimum of $2500, is seeing RZ targets, and goes against a terrible TE defense. If he catches 1 TD pass from the 5-yard line, he immediately goes for 3x his value. If you are running a ton of lines out there, I like have small exposure to him about commensurate with the odds of him getting 2 TDs here (maybe 3% likelihood).
Cleveland is the #1 run defense. Do not try to run on them. Especially not with Abdullah who cried about his usage before last week and then promptly fumbled twice as soon as they gave him more short yardage and goal line work against the Packers.
Detroit is a premier defensive option for the week as the Browns have given up 23 sacks so far (tied for 13th most) and have thrown by far the most picks with 17. DET is 12th against the pass, 10th against the run, 3rd against receiving backs, and a surprising 31st against TEs (see the 5-175-0 line that Dickson put up against them a few weeks ago). Njoku has been fairly uninspired recently, but he has 3 straight games with 5+ targets and costs only $2600 here. He is another low priced tourney TE option I like quite a bit due to his usage, price tag, opponent’s weakness, and ownership. I do not recommend going more than 10% though since he has looked so bad.
HOU (17.25) @ LAR (28.25)
The Texans just activated Fiedorowicz – henceforth known as “Fied” since I’m not typing that out each time – and he should step right back in since he is coming back from a concussion rather than any kind of leg or arm issue. Griffin will also miss this one, so Fied should be out there for quite a bit. TEs have also seen the most success out of any receiver type against the Rams recently as they have had two games over 15 points, while no receiver has gone over this mark since Week 3.
The Rams are a much weaker 20th against the run, but they are a team that you really have to commit against, and Miller only has one game of 20+ carries all year. He only saw 10 last game against the Colts, and Foreman out-carried him by 1 there. I still think that Foreman is the better runner here, but I’m not sure if we will ever see him unleashed this year. Regardless, the Houston RBs will find themselves in a very negative game script very quickly here and I can’t really recommend either.
HOU is now allowing the 2nd most fantasy points in the league to QBs and we just saw Jacoby Brissett put up over 300 yards and 2 TDs on them. The week before that, Russ Wilson went for an amazing 452 yards and 4 TDs. I’m going to not count the week before that because it was Kevin Hogan. Before that, we had Alex Smith go for 324 yards and 3 TDs. Goff has seen his price rise all the way up to $6700 after a shellacking of the Giants last week where he threw for 311 yards and 4 TDs on only 14 (!!!) completions. This is clearly extreme efficiency that we cannot always count on, and we have seen him only make 22 or fewer attempts in 2 out of the last 3 weeks. The Rams don’t necessarily seem to limit him though as they had him cut loose for 37 attempts in their 33-0 stomp of the Cardinals. He clearly didn’t need to throw the ball here, but he did anyway. As we saw last week, Watkins is still immensely talented as he had 1 catch that he turned into a 67-yard TD. His targets remain a concern as they dipped all the way down to 2, but perhaps they will rebound to the 4-5 area where they were for the previous 3 weeks before that. Either way, I don’t think I can count on Watkins again anytime soon with this type of volume. Woods also saw a slight dip in targets as he only saw 5 last week, but I think we can probably count on the normal 6-8 here. He does get the Texans’ toughest corner for most of the day, but they do move him around, and the rest of the secondary is hot garbage. As you probably know, I don’t really like rostering Kupp, but I will this week. He gets the 95th-graded Kareem Jackson out of the slot and he is tied for 2nd in the league with 15 RZ targets. He continues to be very inefficient as he has only put up 7-105-1 over his past two weeks even though he has seen 15 targets over this span. This is insane, high worth volume for only $4600.
Malcolm Brown has some kind of MCL issue, probably a tear, that will keep him out for the next several weeks. This means that Gurley should see even more volume than he was already as Brown saw double-digit touches in back-to-back weeks. While HOU is 6th in DVOA against the run and have only given up one 20+ point game to a RB, they haven’t faced very stiff competition. Hunt and Fournette have been the best backs that they have seen and each has hit the century mark. I certainly don’t mind Gurley in a very positive game script and since he has seen the 3rd-most RZ carries in the league with 34.
NYG (22) @ SF (19.5)
Surprise, Jenkins’ suspension only lasted one game. I can’t trust any of the 49ers’ WRs here with Jenkins back and Beathard at the helm. SF will now be without Kittle, so that forces Celek into the starting TE role. We know that the Giants are weak against TEs:
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Celek should be popular since he is only $2500, but I just don’t think he has any upside here.
The Giants rank 25th against the run, and we have seen talented backs like Zeke, Gordon, and Gurley all put up 22+ points on them, but they have managed to shutdown weaker backfields. Hyde continues to see limited touches as he has only carried the ball 12-14 times in each of his last 4, but he is seeing massive volume over this period with 6 being his low water mark (he has seen 8, 9, and 11 in the others). As long as he continues to see this volume, he will continue to return value, and I don’t see any reason why it would stop in a negative game script and with Beathard being unable to throw downfield.
McAdoo didn’t commit to Eli staying as the starting QB, and the players have apparently given up playing for McAdoo. With that being said, the 49ers are 27th against the pass and we know exactly where Manning will throw it to – Shepard and Engram – as they saw over 50% of his targets last week. Shepard will get the pretty bad Leon Hall out of the slot, and literally no one has been able to stop Engram so far as he has now put up 17+ points on the Rams, Seahawks, and Broncos respectively. While SF is strong against TEs, Engram is more of a WR/TE hybrid, and runs a 40 faster than AJG.
SF is extremely soft against the run ever since they traded Navarro Bowman, and we have seen AP and Zeke both put up 147+ rushing yards in 2 out of their last 3. Darkwa has looked pretty solid as he has seen 16+ carries in 2 of his last 3, and he has averaged 4.4 or more YPC in those two as well. We should see another heavy dose of him here and he sets up as another great cost-saving option at only $4500.
DAL (22.5) @ ATL (25.5)
While the Falcons have only received 34% of the bets, the line here remains unmoved.
Tyron Smith is questionable for this one with a groin injury, and this will be a big blow to the line if he cannot go (he is currently trending in the wrong direction). Zeke’s suspension has also been reinstated, and Alf Morris has been anointed as the starter in his stead. Morris has his price all the way up at $5500, which is pricier than several other options that I like better and have discussed already, but I suppose other people will see that as well, so his ownership might not be as high as we would expect. Either way, with Smith probably going to miss this and the projected negative game script, I don’t love the play even though it is against the 29th-ranked rushing D. While they have allowed several backs to put up big days on them, a solid chunk of most of these lines comes from their receiving lines, and I really don’t know which back will receive targets here.
Dez is now dealing with both a knee injury and a high ankle sprain, but he got in a practice on Friday so I assume that he will play here. Terrance Williams saw a season-high 9 targets last week that he turned into a 9-141-0 line, but this feels completely fluky to me since this is the same number of targets that he saw in his previous 3 games combined. Correspondingly, Witten saw a season-low of 1 target. While I definitely expect this to rise, I usually don’t like targeting old vets late in the season since they wear down. Overall, with a negative game script and Zeke out, this should force Dak to do more here. I guess I will probably pair him with Dez, but I want an expert’s opinion on Dez’s injuries before I really commit to this.
Freeman now has multiple injuries as he sustained a knee injury last week to go along with his shoulder stinger, and he definitely doesn’t sound 100% to me even though he was off of the Friday injury report. Regardless, he continues to see limited touches as he hasn’t gone over 12 carries in 4 straight weeks. He is tied for 10th in the league with 18 RZ carries on the season, but Sean Lee has provided a big boost to this run defense, and I don’t love him here. If he somehow gets ruled out, even though this is highly improbable, we should absolutely have exposure to Coleman.
Per Dr. Jene Bramel – you should absolutely follow him on Twitter if you don’t already – when Julio had his leg bent under him, it looked like a mild high ankle sprain as well as a potential sprain to his MCL. Julio returned to practice on Friday for the first time all week and somehow isn’t even on the Friday injury report, but this sounds incredibly sketchy to me. This is another WR that I want to follow-up on with Dr. Bramel. If Julio truly seems good to go, he is an elite option here as he has now seen double-digit targets in 2 out of his last 3 and finally seems to be getting the utilization that he deserves. While he also put up a respectable 6-118-0 line last week, he should have had over 200 yards and 2 TDs as he dropped one long one and was overthrown on another. The one he dropped is not one that he normally misses as there was no one around for a good 15 yards. We did see Sanu’s target share drop to 3 last week, but that feels fluky to me as he saw 17 combined over his previous two before that. He also continues to be heavily targeted in the RZ and makes for an ideal option here especially if it sounds like Julio will just act as a decoy. We have also seen slot receivers repeatedly destroy Dallas over the course of the year with Crowder being the latest to put up a big line on them from there with 9-123-0. I obviously like Sanu a lot. One other target I should talk about here is Austin Hooper. Ryan has targeted him 6+ times in 4 out of his last 5, and he has seen 5 come in the RZ during that stretch. He is only $3000 this week and DAL ranks 26th in DVOA against TEs. As I mentioned before, there aren’t many huge stat lines against them so far, but they haven’t really gone up against any marquee TEs so far other than Kelce who promptly lit them up for 7-73-1. If Julio does indeed act as a decoy, another player we really have to think hard about his Hooper in this spot, and he will see much lower ownership than Sanu.
NE (26) @ DEN (18.5)
Stephon Gilmore will return in this one after missing his last 3, which should potentially boost their secondary, but NE wasn’t all that great when he was in earlier in the year. Sanders was limited in practice on Friday and saw limited snaps last week, but hopefully he is closer to 100% here even though he is still labeled as “Questionable.” D-Thom was taken off the injury report altogether, so he should be good to go. Like I mentioned last week, Osweiler can only barely support one fantasy relevant receiver, and he ended up with just 208 yards and 1 TD last week. Thomas continues to see heavy volume as he put up 8-70-1 on 12 targets, while Sanders saw only 5, but I do expect that to rise. In hindsight, Sanders was clearly not healthy last week, and I’m not sure how BB will deal with both D-Thom and Sanders here even with Gilmore back as we have seen both large WRs and speedy guys torch the Pats in various games this year:
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Pick your poison between the two of them, but I’m probably going to go with Sanders again as I assume that he will re-take the spot as the prime RZ threat with his return to health (I’m banking on this being game plan and not Siemian locking onto him). Denver’s pass protection has been pretty bad, however, as they have already given up 28 sacks on the year, which is bad enough for t-3rd most. I assume that we will see some more sacks here, but this isn’t enough to completely turn me off from their passing game.
NE continues to be weak against the run as they rank 27th overall and 30th against receiving backs. CJA was limited early in the week with an ankle injury and then was held out of practice on Thursday due to illness, but he was apparently fine by Friday as he didn’t make the final injury report. The biggest problem here is that Charles and Booker are severely eating into his workload, and Booker in particular has looked decent. He has now seen back-to-back games with 6 carries and 3 targets, which is obviously not bankable to for a large slate, but I like playing him on the small slates this weekend.
While I realize I’m not going that far out on a limb with this one, Gronk is one of my favorite plays of the week. DEN is currently 15th against the pass and only 25th against TEs. Gronk has already seen 11 RZ targets on the year, but his teammate who will miss this one, Chris Hogan, has seen a whopping 13. This should funnel even more targets towards Gronk. As I mentioned last week in the slack chat, once Ertz got ruled out, Burton became an excellent play and he didn’t disappoint with 12+ points at min salary. I fully expect Gronk to add another big line to this chart:
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Furthermore, as TJ Hernandez pointed out, while Denver only ranks 17th in points allowed to QBs, they have faced the fewest pass attempts in the league and have surprisingly given up the highest passing rating on the year. I’m going to tilt incredibly hard if Bennett, who they just re-signed, ends up having a big game here. He does apparently have a torn rotator cuff, but since he knows the offense from last year and is already practicing with them on Friday, I’m slightly worried about his potential involvement. Another hit to the passing game comes from RT Marcus Cannon missing this one and he is PFF’s #15 tackle, but this might actually favor the short passing game more. Either way, I really like Brady as a contrarian GPP option on FD this week.
DEN is the #2 run defense in the league and the Pats committee is terrible. Feel free to use someone if you feel strongly about them, maybe White or Lewis because of the short passes, but I’m just going to avoid this.
MIA (14) @ CAR (24)
J-Stew had two costly fumbles last week and CMC easily had the best rushing game of his season, so this doesn’t bode very well for J-Stew moving forward. Ron Rivera expressed confidence in him though, and Stewart has never had fumbling issues before (he had 2 all of last season), so he might have avoided the doghouse for now. Suh has missed practice time earlier this week, but he was able to suit up on Friday and expects to play on MNF. If he cannot go, this will be a huge boost for the Panthers’ run game since he is the #2 interior run-stopper per PFF. With him in, the Dolphins have graded out as #5 in DVOA against the run, but they have dipped recently as Lynch just put up 14-57-2 on them and Collins went for 18-113-0 the week before. Neither of these teams really utilized their backs in the passing game, but MIA is ranked 18th against receiving backs, and we saw Forte and Powell combine for 7-81-0, Kamara go for 10-71-1, and Gordon put up 7-65-0 through the air. This is obviously encouraging for CMC.
Miami ranks an atrocious 30th against the pass, and Funchess gets a delicious match-up here. Miami is also bad against TEs, but I’m not sure how to feel about Dickson here. I thought he would get a boost with Benjamin gone, but only saw 2 targets last week. I might Flex him on some small slate lines, but I doubt I’ll have any exposure outside of that.
Ja’Wuan James will miss the rest of the season for the Dolphins with a groin injury. This is bad news for Cutler since he is the #2 RT for pass-protection per PFF. While CAR does rank 7th against the pass, none of their CBs grade out that impressively per PFF, and Cutler will be forced to pass here due to game script. Parker has had an extremely difficult run of match-ups and has performed decently when healthy so far, so I’m looking forward to seeing what he can do against the 92nd-ranked Daryl Worley. With James down, I won’t be surprised if we see more short passes from Cutler, which clearly bodes well for Landry and the RBs. While Julius Thomas easily had his best game of the year last year, CAR ranks 6th against TEs and is pretty lights out with Kuechly back (I need to double-check his coverage rates, but even if he doesn’t cover all that much, him reading the offense is invaluable for the Panthers).
Drake clearly looks like the better runner between him and Williams, and he managed to have a 42-yarder, which was the longest for the Dolphins on the season so far. Drake and Williams also each saw 6 targets last week, but Williams’ line flashes more due to his receiving TD and he seems to be the anointed “3rd-down back.” Anyhow, Kuechly is also super solid against the run and the Panthers rank 3rd in DVOA as a unit. I think Drake is in play on small slates, but again, I’ll be staying away otherwise.