Week 13 2017
WAS (24.25) @ DAL (22.75)
I’m going to enter a couple lines into tonight’s slate and I will probably fade this game entirely. While there are certainly some plays to like here, this game scares me as it is a divisional game on a short week, so I feel like there is a greater likelihood for an upset than normal. I also feel like the chances of both teams just slugging it out in a low scoring game is fairly high.
Sean Lee will miss another one here, and obviously this is a huge loss for the Dallas’ D. DAL ranks 28th against the run and, outside of last week’s no-show by the Chargers’ ground game, we have seen them abused repeatedly without Lee. Since Thompson and Kelley have both gone down, we have seen Perine get 23+ carries in back-to-back games and get to triple-digit rush yards in each. He is also seeing involvement in the pass game, so he has a pretty safe floor, and he is a top play in this game. One concern that I have here is that the WAS starting C, Chase Roullier, will miss this one, and obviously the center is a hugely important position for the entire offense.
Dallas is clearly vulnerable across the middle as we saw both Henry and Allen torch them for over 250 yards and 2 TDs combined last week. TEs have also scored in 2 out of the last 3 against them before that as well. As you can imagine from this, DAL currently ranks 27th against TEs and 26th against the pass in general. Reed will miss this one as well, so Davis gets another start this week. He let a lot of people down last week with only 1 target and 0 points in a plum match-up against the Giants and he had seen 6+ targets in each of his last 3 before that, so you could try going back to the well here and get him at low ownership. He has graded out very poorly on the year, however, so I prefer Crowder in this spot even though he will have much higher ownership. Crowder gets the 81st-ranked Orlando Scandrick who has been burned repeatedly over the course of the year, and Jamison has seen at least 8 targets in each of the last 4 that he has played. He also torched Scandrick for 9-123-0 the last time they played in Week 8.
Alf Morris continues to be the lead back here, but only saw 9 carries in last week’s blowout loss. Rod Smith matched this and saw 1 additional target as well, so I’m worried that this is becoming even more of a committee, and Morris’s lack of involvement in the passing game leaves him with a scary low floor. WAS is 15th against the run and have held some teams to low totals recently, but we did see NO’s Ingram and Kamara combine for over 50 points against them. That is a good offense though, and Dallas is not, so I’m fine steering clear of this backfield.
While Fuller grades out pretty well out of the slot for WAS, Washington has given up a ton of points out of the slot, so you could bet on a Beasley break out game here. Cole has had minimal involvement for most of the year, but he also does have a pair of 2 TD games. I prefer to bet on more guaranteed volume, or at least take a flyer on someone in a better offense, but I understand why you might have minor exposure here. Dez seems to have lost a step and has no games above 100 yards yet this year, but his price is all the way down at $5900 here and can avoid Norman for the entire day if he wants to since Norman plays exclusively on the right side. Witten will probably see heavy volume here assuming that they are playing from behind, which seems like a good bet, and he has seen 7 targets in 2 out of his last 3. We also know that WAS is vulnerable to TEs as they rank 24th against the position, but we have reached the point in the year where I refuse to roster aging stars, especially when they will see higher ownership than normal (i.e. due to playing on the TNF game). Overall, Dez is my top target here, and I won’t be surprised if he 3x’s his salary with a line of 6-60-1.
TB (21.5) @ GB (24)
First of all, I need to give a big shout-out to both Hundley and Williams. I know that I have knocked both of them in the past, but they have really turned it around recently. Hundley still doesn’t do a great job going through all of his different options – see my stats about Jordy below – but he is effectively moving the chains, so I guess it doesn’t really matter how he does it. Williams has improved, and he looks much more decisive when hitting holes. He still doesn’t have a great YPC average as he hasn’t gone over 3.4 YPC since Week 3, but he has looked pretty effective in the passing game as he has at least 7.8 receiving points in each of his last 2.
Jones returned to practice in a very limited fashion late in the week, but TyMont got placed on the IR, so he clearly won’t play. I’m still not sold that Jones will return here and, if he is down, Williams will be a premier RB play on this slate, albeit with incredibly high ownership. I actually prefer if Jones is active as I feel like he will play limited snaps compared to Williams, and that will drive down Williams ownership. If we get word that Jones will be out there without limitations and will reprise his 1A role, however, I’m definitely interested in him as he has averaged 5.3 YPC on the year and already has a couple of games of over 120 yards rushing. No matter who starts, TB is a soft 20th against the run and they allow for big YPC numbers and GB is 5th in the league with 4.50 adjusted line yards per FO.
The TB secondary is even worse as they are 30th in the league, and it’s not a secret at this point that Hundley and Adams have a connection. Adams has seen at least 8 targets in each of his last 4 games and he has either a TD or 100+ yards in 3 of them. This week, Adams gets the 79th-ranked Grimes and he should easily win this match-up. Cobb gets an even better match-up in the slot versus the 112th-ranked McClain, but he is seeing limited volume, so I don’t see myself going here. Jordy is averaging about 20 yards per game with Hundley, which is obviously abysmal.
On a good note for the Bucs and all of the receiving options not named OJ Howard, Winston will return here without limitations. While GB does rank 22nd against the pass, they have been shredded by any competent passing attack as they have given up 20+ point games to AB, MJ, Tate, and Ginn over their last 5 weeks. D-Jax missed practice on Wednesday with a foot injury, but this mostly seems like a rest day as he practiced on both Thursday and Friday. He is still listed as questionable on Saturday, but is fully expected to play. He will primarily line up against the 81st-ranked Randall, and I expect Jackson to win this match-up repeatedly. At only $4700, he is way too cheap in this great match-up, and I will have high exposure. Evans also has a superfluous matchup against the 93rd-ranked Davon House, and we know that he will likely see double-digit targets. I’m definitely going to have some lines with the Winston-Jackson-Evans stack rolling. If you want to be more contrarian, you should look at Cameron Brate. In Winston’s 6 games at full health, Brate has averaged a line of 4.2-55-0.5 (12.2 DK points), and he only costs $2900 here.
Doug Martin is out this week with his concussion, so Peyton Barber and Quizz Rodgers will probably split early-down work. Either way, GB is 7th in DVOA against the run, and I don’t love the timeshare here. I suspect that TB will just throw the ball a lot due to their poor run game, and this will only occur more so if they find themselves behind, which is what Vegas predicts.
MIN (22.25) @ ATL (24.75)
Freeman has finally cleared the concussion protocol, so he should return this week, and this will plunge the backfield back into a RBBC. The Vikings rank 8th against the run and have only allowed one 20+ point game on the season to a RB. I’m going to ignore both Coleman and Freeman here.
Julio finally had his breakout game last week against the terrible Bucs, gets a much tougher match-up against Rhodes this week. Rhodes has shut down the opponent’s WR1 for most of the year, but we did just see MJ put up 6-109-2 against him last week and Julio is averaging 10.7 targets/game over his last 6. Simply put, Julio isn’t human and can win against anyone in the league as long he continues to get fed. I assume he will see another 10+ targets here, and will have some exposure even if his salary is tough to swallow (this assumes ownership around 10%). Gabriel is only seeing 2-3 targets per game over this same period, so I’m not going there. Sanu will probably see around 5-6 targets here and I would think about him on Duel in the case where he scores a TD or 2, but I can’t pay $5600 for him on DK with D-Jax being $900 cheaper. Instead of Sanu, I prefer Hooper if you want a secondary receiving option on this team as he has seen 5 or more targets in 4 out of his last 5 and will see very low ownership.
While ATL does rank dead last in DVOA against the run, they haven’t given up any big games recently, but they also haven’t faced many effective run games. Vikings RT Mike Remmers will miss this one and this will hurt both the ground game and pass protection as he is the #17-overall tackle so far this year, and grades out well in both. Even with him in there, MIN ranked only 21st in the league with their 3.77 adjusted line yards, so I expect this to be even lower than normal here. Between this and the RBBC we have between Murray and JET, I’m going to stay away from Murray, but I might end up with some exposure to McKinnon. He has had double-digit carries in each of his last 7 and is much more involved with the passing game. It’s hard for me to justify him at $5100, when we have Burkhead, Lewis, Hyde, and Collins all in the same area though.
Trufant remains in the concussion protocol and will not play this week, so that puts Diggs against CJ Goodwin. While Goodwin hasn’t played enough snaps to officially rank among CBs, if we do rank him at his current grade, he clocks in at t-103rd in the league. Diggs is quietly in an amazing spot here and you can get him at low ownership. Even though he is only seeing 5-7 targets in the 4 since returning from injury, he has tremendous talent and can put up big numbers on limited touches. While Thielen does currently get the toughest match-up against Poole in the slot, Poole just got downgraded to Questionable. If he cannot play this will be a big boost to Thielen – not that he really needed it as he has seen at least 9 targets in each of his last 6 and has gone over 16 points in 5 of them. Brandon called it first, but I love the Keenum-Thielen-Diggs stack in that scenario. Rudolph continues to see heavy volume as he has 7 or more targets in 6 out of his last 7 games, and he has 7 RZ targets in his last 5 alone. ATL also ranks 20th against TEs. I’m not sure if I will have exposure or not just because I like Thielen and Diggs more, but there is definitely upside here.
SF (18.75) @ CHI (22.25)
Jimmy G will start this one after getting thrown in last week due to Beathard going down with multiple injuries. It’s really hard to predict where his targets will go since we have a 2 pass sample size and Shanahan’s offense is notoriously hard to grasp. If you feel like you have to take a shot here, go with Goodwin since he only costs $4000, is SF’s best WR, and gest the 85th-ranked Kyle Fuller for most of the day. Unless we hear news about how Jimmy and Goodwin have become a hive mind over the past week, and I’m not holding my breath for this, I won’t go here.
Instead, let’s look at the SF running game, which I assume that they will lean heavily on. Hyde projects to be chalky here, but he is one of my favorite RBs on the week. While CHI does rank 12th against the run, Hyde’s price of $5900 is simply too cheap for his talent and his touches. Per Mike Clay, Hyde has by far the “unluckiest” TD total on the year based upon his opportunity-adjusted TDs (OTD), so he is due for massive regression. He has also seen the 7th-most RZ carries on the year so far with 24, and he has also seen double-digit targets in 2 out of his last 3, which is insane (he has also seen 8 or more in 4 out of his last 5). While he might not have a 40 point game here, I can see him hitting 25 pretty easily.
While SF has allowed the 2nd-most points above expectation to RBs over their past 5 with +7.3, this is mainly due to massive outlier games to AP (20.7 DK points) and Zeke (43.9 DK points). Bears’ RG Josh Sitton might miss this one with a concussion, which will be a downgrade to Howard if it comes to pass as he is the Bears’ highest-graded o-lineman. Even with him in, the Bears only rank 22nd in adjusted line yards. Cunningham and Cohen have also combined to average almost 44 snaps per game to Howards 28ish over their last 3 weeks, and Howard is incredibly game-flow dependent. Cohen isn’t an option here as he has seen more than 3 targets only once in the past 8 weeks, and Cunningham is also seeing incredibly low volume. It scares me to do this, but I’m probably going to fully fade Howard in this spot.
SF has allowed TDs to TEs in 5 straight games, but I cannot trust Shaheen here as he only has 1 game above 2 targets on the year and this is even without Miller. Kendall Wright gets the best match-up against Williams in the slot, who ranks 114th out of 118 CBs on the year. It’s also interesting to look at Wright’s usage over his last 4 as he has seen an average of 4.5 targets against the Eagles and Lions, while he saw 8 per game against the Saints and the Pack. Knowing John Fox, I assume that this is more happy coincidence than actually targeting a weak spot in the defense, but maybe they have a quant guy who pays attention to this. Either way, Wright is their best WR and gets the best match-up here, but I’m not bold/foolish enough to say that he will get you 5-80-1. If he does end up with that, he is potentially a GPP winner, but this would be a season-high in yardage and double his TDs on the year. Inman is somewhat intriguing as well since he will go against the 107th-ranked Dontae Johnson and has averaged 7.3 targets per game since becoming a Bear. The biggest concern here is their overall poor offense and Trubisky since he has only one game above 180 passing yards on the year, which is #bad.
DET (20.25) @ BAL (23.25)
There is some sharp money on the Ravens here as the line hasn’t moved even though they have received just 38% of the bets.
Abdullah sat out on both Wednesday and Thursday with a neck injury, but he returned on Friday in limited capacity. I assume he plays here, but could end up as a GTD. If he sits, Dwayne Washington will take over his role, and I assume Riddick would see an extra couple of carries as well. Either way, while BAL is slightly weaker against the run (10th in DVOA), I’m not rostering any ground component here. If Abdullah does sit, I might have some shares of Riddick as we saw him have huge usage last year without Abdullah, but it still doesn’t feel good. The Ravens have also really tightened up against the ground over their previous 4, and they haven’t allowed a single back to score more than 13.5 on them.
While BAL does grade out an incredibly stingy 2nd against the pass, they are only 28th against TEs. Even with this, I still cannot go to Ebron when Brate is $100 less. While MJ has an incredibly tough match-up against Jimmy Smith, we have seen BAL falter against WR1s recently:
|Rec TDs||DK Points|
After digging into this, it mostly seems like opponents are just not lining up against Jimmy Smith as he plays sides. Thus, I’m going to assume that Tate becomes the de facto WR1 in this one as he will spend his day against the weakest part of the Ravens’ secondary, the 76th-ranked Brandon Carr. Tate has seen at least 7 targets in 6 out of his last 7 and no one will be on him here. Finally, with Stafford in questionable health, it makes sense to me that they would try to get the ball out of his hands as quickly as possible, which plays into Tate’s incredibly short aDoT of 6.7 yards perfectly. I love him as a GPP option here.
While I have liked Collins at various points throughout the year, he hasn’t really been all that efficient recently outside of his big game against Miami. He has faced a couple of tough run DSTs in GB and MIN though and a not so great one in TEN, so perhaps this is mostly match-up driven. The good news for him here is that he gets the 23rd-ranked run D, which has given up big chunks of yardage recently. The other good news for him is that he saw an amazing 7 targets last week, and that is with Woodhead back. Perhaps this is a one game outlier, but it could also be a trend of his involvement in the passing game, which would really solidify his floor. He also has 18+ carries in 2 out of his last 3 – both of the wins – so I’m absolutely going to have exposure at only $4500.
If Flacco can’t score against the Texans, there is no way that he scores against a fairly competent pass defense.
DEN (20.75) @ MIA (19.25)
There is slight sharp money on Denver here as the line has gone their way by 0.5 points with only 45% of the bets.
Damien Williams won’t play here after dislocating his shoulder last week, so that leaves Kenyan Drake and practice squad call-up Senorise Perry to fill in for him. Obviously, this bodes well for Drake’s usage, especially in PPR formats. He gets another bump as Denver’s top 2 run-stoppers, Derek Wolfe and Domata Peko, will also miss this one. With them in DEN ranks 1st against the run, but they do rank 21st against receiving backs and have given up 4 receiving TDs to them over their past 4 games. Drake is going to see big ownership here at $4900 and, while I don’t think that he can hold up between the tackles, I do think that he can put up a decent receiving line here. Further hurting his running chances is that MIA is dead last in the league with only 3.05 adjusted line yards. I’m not sure where I will land yet, but I will at least be underweight and take the savings that Collins provides, and I might go for the full fade and hope that he doesn’t burn me through the air.
Cutler will return for this one, so feel free to completely disregard Stills here. Aqib Talib will miss this one due to his suspension, so things will be slightly easier for Cutler and Parker, but he has shown little upside and only threw for over 250 yards once this season, which came against the Raiders’ abhorrent secondary. In a major shock to me, the Denver secondary doesn’t seem to be worlds better as they are allowing an opposing passer rating of 102.7 on the year, which is bad enough for 29th in the league. Parker will run about 37% of his routes against Talib’s replacement, Langley, and they should jack that rate up if they are smart as he would grade out as t-110th in the league if he had enough snaps to qualify. You could also think about going Thomas here as he has 4 or more targets in each of his last 4, and Denver is giving up plenty of TDs to TEs:
|Rec TDs||DK Points|
Both D-Thom and Sanders are too cheap for their respective talents as they clock in at $5300 and $4900 respectively. While I generally like Sanders better, I prefer Thomas here as big-body receivers have simply destroyed the Dolphins recently:
|Rec TDs||DK Points|
As you can see, I’m including TEs here since D-Thom is a hybrid WR/TE in this offense. It also helps that he is QB-agnostic and has seen 8 or more targets in each of his last 5. Regardless, he is Siemian’s favorite target anyway. Finally, MIA ranks 31st against the pass in general, and Thomas will run over 50% of his routes against the 117th-ranked Xavien Howard (this is second to last).
While Miami does rank 16th against the run, they have given up plenty of ugly RB numbers recently. I cannot trust any of Booker, Charles, or CJA in this horrible RBBC though.
IND (15.25) @ JAX (25.25)
Well, I guess Jack Doyle doesn’t have anything to worry about since Erik Swoope will now remain on IR for the rest of the season. Regardless of Doyle, I’m not taking any of the Indy pass catchers here against the best defense in the land.
The Jags D will be without #4 overall LB, Telvin Smith, for this one, and he is particularly strong against the run. Even without him though, Dareus has been dominant since he came over from BUF, and I’m frankly not sure how the Colts will score a TD here. The Jags are clearly a top-2 DST option on the week.
In a big blow to the Colts secondary, Rashaan Melvin will miss this one after a “significant” injury to his hand. Hurns still hasn’t returned to practice, so this opens up a huge opportunity for both Lee and Westbrook. Indy already ranks only 28th against the pass and, without Melvin, they might have the worst secondary in the league. While Lee has had some good lines this year, he has been shut down by both PP and McCourty over the previous two weeks. This is a prime bounce-back spot as he gets Kenny Moore who would rank as the 107th CB if he had enough snaps to qualify. Westbrook has seen his targets rise each week as he saw 6 and 10 over his last 2, and he only costs $4100 here. He also gets the 91st-ranked Desir here, but Westbrook’s biggest problem is that he hasn’t graded out all that well so far. While I’m normally a Westbrook fan, I’m going to give the edge to Lee here even though he costs $1.1k more. If you want to be really contrarian for GPPs, I also like using Bortles here as he cannot really get a better spot and has surprisingly put up 18+ points in 2 out of his last 3, which came against the Cards and Chargers.
The Colts grade out a much stronger 13th against the run and the only person that they allowed to go over 13.5 points on them in the last 4 was Bell, who put up 16.2. Fournette finally practiced in full this week, so we will see what kind of usage he has, but in the 3 weeks since he has returned from injury, he has gone below 18 carries in two of them. Between the funnel nature of this defense and everyone thinking Indy is weaker than they are against the run (i.e. driving his ownership up), I’m not sure if I will have any Fournette this week. Game script should definitely favor him and we know that he can put up 100+ yards and a TD, so this might burn me.
HOU (18.25) @ TEN (24.75)
Bryan Cushing just got reinstated after his 10-game suspension, but I’m not sure if they will ease him in or if he will play at all (it sounds like it will be the latter). Regardless, this is more just a note than anything as I expect his impact to be minimal.
Rishard finally returned to practice on Friday, but his status for this week is very much up in the air. Even if he doesn’t play, there are still plenty of weapons for Mariota to look to here and everyone who reads this knows that I like to pick on HOU. Last week was the first week in over a month where a QB has failed to put up more than 21 points on the Texans and, per Mike Beers’ charts above, you can see that HOU gives up the most points above average to opposing QBs over their last 5 games. If we also remove Kevin Hogan from Week 6, there was another huge QB game the week before as Alex Smith put up 29.86 points in Week 5. Take your pick on how to attack them through the air as they have been destroyed both by outside WRs, TEs, and slot men. Out of everyone, my favorite target is Delanie (assuming that Matthews does not make it back for this one). While they grade out 14th against TEs, they have given up multi-TD games to Jimmy Graham and Ricky Seals-Jones recently. Walker is also Mariota’s most trusted target as he has seen 5+ targets in every week from Week 3 on. While you could think about going back to the well with Davis, he hasn’t looked all that good and he gets by far the toughest match-up out of any receiver as he will see Joseph for the majority of the day. Decker still isn’t doing anything even with Matthews down and isn’t seeing any RZ targets. Taylor also only saw 2 targets last week with Matthews out, and he also grades out as “Poor.” It will pretty much be Delanie or Mariota naked for me here.
The Texans are 9th against the run and the Titans continue to trot out both Murray and Henry fairly evenly, so I’m going to avoid this situation.
Will Fuller has already been ruled out here, so it should be another day of heavy volume for Hopkins as, while Fuller has been out, Hopkins has averaged 13 targets per game. Hopkins also runs 83% of his routes on the outside, so he will miss the Titans best CB, Logan Ryan, who mans the slot. While you could take another shot with Fied, he hasn’t looked all that great, and I prefer to just take the receiver who sees a ton of volume and is immensely talented. Hopkins is a top receiving option on this slate and will see commensurate ownership, but I’m not shying away. Tom Savage has been giving the ball away liberally recently, so theoretically the Titans DST is in play here, but I’m not sure how much I will end up with.
The Titans are 18th against the run, and Miller continues to be unimpressive even with Foreman done for the season. While he did put up 29.1 DK points on them when they played earlier in the year, Miller has failed to go over 75 rushing yards in a single game, and I just prefer Hyde at this price point. Miller will probably see his normal 3-5 targets, but I doubt you will regret not rostering him.
KC (23.5) @ NYJ (20.5)
West has now missed every practice this week and has already been ruled out for “non-injury related reasons.” This will provide Hunt with a big bump in usage as West has averaged 4 catches/game over his past 3, so it should give him back a safe floor while also allowing him more space to work with the ball in his hands. If we end up seeing the regular #3 RB, Akeem Hunt, get the passing down work after all, I’m going to scream. While the Jets haven’t given up a big game to a RB since Fournette in Week 4, they do rank only 17th against the run and haven’t really faced a challenge since then. I’m hoping that Andy figures out what is wrong with his offense and just feeds Hunt here, but Reid is notoriously bad at making mid-season adjustments and Hunt has gone over 11 carries only once in his last 3. I like him much more on FD where his price has fallen to a solid point, but I’m just not sure I can roll with him on DK. He has severely disappointed in the past 3 even though he has had beautiful matchups, so you will get him at incredibly low ownership if you decide to go back to the well one last time.
Hill will get a tough match-up against the Jets’ best CB, Claiborne, on the outside, but he has finally started seeing more targets as he saw 11 last game. Correspondingly, we saw Kelce’s target drop drastically to 4 last week. Before that, he saw 9+ in 3 straight, so perhaps this is just a blip, but I am concerned especially since the Jets are 4th in DVOA against TEs. Match-up isn’t that much of a concern for Kelce, but the varying usage is. While he does rate very highly on the model this week, I feel like I’m going to gravitate to the cheaper options.
Robby Anderson will run most of his routes against Marcus Peters, so I’m going to steer clear this week especially since he will see elevated ownership after his recent performances. After a couple of big games earlier in the year, ASJ has cooled off recently, but he has also been incredibly unlucky as he should have at least 3 more TDs on the year at this point due to bad officiating. While KC does rank 9th against TEs, I feel like this is the week that he gets back on track with Anderson getting shut down by Peters on the outside. We haven’t really seen many big TE against the Jets recently, but Clay put up 4-60-0 on them last week while still getting eased back into it, and the last heavily involved TE they saw was Jared Cook in Week 7. He put up 6-107-0 on them.
KC ranks 31st against the run, but the timeshare between Powell and Forte (and some McGuire) continues to be brutal, so I’m going to stay away.
NE (28.25) @ BUF (19.75)
Chris Hogan is still not practicing and is out for this weekend. We are starting to approach the far end of his timeline for return, which obviously does not bode well as it suggests that either the injury was very serious, he has had a setback, or there are additional problems. Either way, Cooks is averaging 6-102-0.7 in the 3 games without Hogan, but he will have a tough match-up against Gaines and White on the outside this week. Both also run fairly quick 40s, so I won’t be surprised to see him struggle here. Buffalo also does grade out a fairly strong 12th against TEs, and they just held Kelce to 3-39-0 last week. Gronk is of course no mere mortal as he did put up a 6-83-2 line against the stronger Jets earlier in the year, and Brady will find ways to get the ball into his hands. Amendola’s usage continues to fluctuate and, with so many other options, he isn’t someone I like rostering. Overall, I will either go Brady-Gronk or naked Brady.
In regards to the run game, outside of last week against the incompetent Chiefs, Buffalo has given up a lot of big games on the ground since they traded Dareus:
|Week||Rushes||Rush Yards||Rush TDs||Recs||Rec
|Rec TDs||DK Points|
|Gordon + Ekeler||11||26||120||2||2||18||0||27.8|
Both Lewis and Burkhead continue to be solid options with Lewis continuously getting double-digit carries while Burkhead seems to be the preferred goal line option. Lewis just parlayed 15 carries into 112 yards against the Jets last week, and I won’t be surprised to see a similar line here. Both are too cheap with Burkhead in particular being egregiously priced at only $5000. I’m going to have exposure to both here.
Zay Jones is averaging 7.6 targets per game over his last 5 and has improved dramatically after his exceptionally poor start to the year. I expect him to be targeted heavily again as K-Benj has already been ruled out for this one, but he still doesn’t grade out all that well per PFF, and he does get a tough match-up against Gilmore on the outside (I expect him to shadow here). They might try to get Clay more involved here, but he still seems injured and hasn’t gone over 4 targets in a game since he has returned. I probably will not go here this week.
Tolbert is also out for this one after missing last week’s match, so Shady will continue to get the goal line carries. Shady makes for an excellent play here as NE ranks 29th against RBs and 29th against receiving backs. While they haven’t given up any big lines recently, the last workhorse back they faced, Melvin Gordon, pasted them for 14-132-1 rushing. Over the course of the season, the Pats have allowed 4.89 YPC, but only 4 TDs, so this number is due for regression. This offense will have to flow through TyGod and Shady here and don’t be surprised if Shady puts up some points.
CLE (15) @ LAC (29)
Mike Williams isn’t practicing as of Thursday, and I don’t expect him to play this week, so Allen should again see heavy volume. With Williams down, he has seen 13 or more targets in back-to-back games now and has put up at least 37 points in each. Obviously, this is unsustainable, so allow me to direct you to my favorite pivot, Hunter Henry. Henry has also seen an uptick in targets recently, and he now has 3 RZ targets in his last two games. As we know, the Browns are dead last against TEs and bleed points to them:
|Week||Recs||Rec Yards||Rec TDs||DK Points|
While CLE does rank 2nd in DVOA against the run, they have now given up back-to-back 100 yard games to Mixon and Fournette. I feel like they are starting to crumble and will look to attack them down the line, but I’m not sure if I can roster any Gordon here. While he has seen 20 or more touches in back-to-back weeks, he has been fairly inefficient on the ground all year and his really big days have been fueled by the pass. He isn’t seeing as many targets in the past couple of weeks as he has only 1 in his past 5 with over 4 targets.
Cleveland continues to lead the league by far with 20 INTs this year and they are tied for 3rd with 36 sacks given up. This all spells disaster heading into LAC as both Bosa and Ingram are top-10 Des and they will go up against the weakest parts of the Cleveland line. One big note is that Casey Hayward hasn’t practiced at all this week due to the death of his brother. He must be in a really tough place right now, and my heart goes out to him and his family. Even though he hasn’t practiced, he does expect to play, but I’m not sure how he can get his head 100% in the game after this. Even if he is slightly less effective though, he is still the #1 CB on the year, and this is obviously very bad news for Kizer and the pass game. On a bright note for the Browns, Gordon will finally return here, and I definitely wish him the best of luck moving forward. This is a pretty bad match-up to start off with and I have no idea what kind of chemistry he will have with Kizer. I’m going to avoid this passing offense entirely.
While game script does not bode well for Crowell, over the past 2 games the Chargers have allowed 6.12 YPC to opposing RBs, and Crowell has seen at least 11 carries in each of his last 7. He’s also seeing a steady 2-3 targets in each of these as well, with a couple of outlier 0 and 6 target games. Over his last 4, Crowell has gone for 5.6 or more YPC against the Lions (23rd in DVOA), Vikings (8th in DVOA), and Bengals (14th in DVOA). He didn’t do so well against Jacksonville, but they have been the best against the run since acquiring Dareus. All-in-all, if Cleveland can somehow keep it even or get the lead, Crowell will be an excellent play here at only $4100, but I’m definitely concerned about his usage if they fall behind early. On the bright side, they said that they would get the ball into DJ-lite’s hand’s as much as possible last week, but then promptly rushed Crowell 16 times. DJ-lite continues to put up solid but not spectacular numbers in his limited role, so I’m going to avoid him.
LAR (25.5) @ ARI (18.5)
Woods is out again for this one, so that again makes Watkins the nominal WR1. As we all know, I do not like taking a WR going against Peterson (he has allowed the fewest receptions per cover snap among all full-time CBs this year), so that means I will avoid Watkins. Kupp gets a much easier match-up against Mathieu in the slot, but Mathieu has improved his game recently, so this isn’t as great of a match-up as it was earlier in the season. Kupp has seen at least 7 targets in each of his last 3 and finally went over 100 yards last week against the Saints. His price has climbed all the way up to $6400 on DK, so I will probably be underweight on him there while having higher exposure on FD. Just as a reminder, here are the main receiving lines against ARI so far this year:
|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|
Lance Dunbar and Malcolm Brown will probably return this week, so Gurley will see a small downtick in the number of snaps that he plays, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Even when they were in before, he still had a decent sized role in the passing game in addition to his regular role on the ground. While we have seen him get a couple of light weeks recently, I feel like we can mainly attribute this to a tough match-up against the Vikings where they trailed for most of the second half, and because of blowing out the Texans and Giants in the two weeks before that. I’m predicting he will return to around 20-22 carries here with another 4-6 targets. He will absolutely be one of my highest owned players on the slate.
There is a chance that AP sits for this one – I don’t think it will happen, but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention it – so if he is down, Kerwynn Williams and DJ Foster would probably split the work. Arians likes rolling with a bellcow though, so in this scenario, one of them could rip off a long run early, which would get them a lot more work for the rest of the game. Regardless, I assume that he will play here, and he gets a surprisingly good matchup against the Rams. They rank 19th in DVOA and have just bled points to RBs over the past 2 weeks as they have given up 39.8 to Kamara and 22.6 to Latavius. I don’t think I can roster AP, but it is worth noting that he is in a good spot.
Gabbert has looked surprisingly functional in his two starts so far, and it’s especially noteworthy that he put up 19.34 points on the Jags last week. I’m trying to get some news on this, but it looks like Blake Countess will start in the place of Nickell Robey-Coleman this week. Countess is another one who doesn’t have enough snaps to qualify, but if he did, he would rank t-101st in the league. Fitz should have a field day here as he continues to see heavy usage regardless of who is under center. I also think that this will be a great bounce-back game for him after a very tough matchup last week against the Jags. John Brown is going to miss another one, and both JJ Nelson and Jaron Brown have played only nominal roles in Gabbert’s starts, so I’m going to ignore them.
NYG (17.25) @ OAK (24.75)
In probably the biggest news of the week, Eli Manning got benched for Geno Smith. To paraphrase my friend Will, Kaep’s biggest accomplishment is taking his team to the Superbowl, while Smith’s biggest accomplishment has been to get his jaw broken so that FitzMagic could play. Scott Barrett asked Geno if he has a special rapport with any receiver, and Geno legit answered with, “Travis Rudolph.” Needless to say, I’m wildly unexcited to hear that. I really don’t think I can trust any of the Giants’ receiving options here without first seeing how they play with Smith. It’s also worth noting that Shepard gets the most difficult match-up out of the slot, and Engram has just looked bad over his past couple of weeks.
Oakland ranks a better but still bad 21st against the run, and they have given up 3 games of 18+ points over their last 4. Darkwa continues to see double-digit carries and is the RB I’m most interested in here, but he hasn’t scored over 17 points in a single game this entire year. I assume that he will get more touches here due to Smith starting, but the Giants are just a bad offense.
Carr suddenly finds himself without his main weapons here as Crabtree is out with his suspension and Cooper won’t play due to his concussion. Fortunately for him, Janoris Jenkins just got placed on IR, and the rest of the Giants’ secondary is pretty bad. Roberts has the most rapport with him, but gets a tough match-up against DRC in the slot and has generally graded out poorly this year. Patterson grades out better, is the better athlete, and gets the better match-up on the outside. If I’m going to take a flyer on a WR, Patterson is the one I would go with at only $3400. Of course you can just look to Jared Cook instead who gets a plum match-up against a terrible TE defense:
|Rec TDs||DK Points|
The Giants are incredibly soft across the middle and we know that Cook is pretty talented as he already has a couple of 100+ yard games already this season. While he did fail in last week’s game, his score was very close to being much larger as he had a TD that got overturned upon review. He will be incredibly chalky, but he is another play that I don’t mind eating the chalk on.
Lynch has solidified himself as the lead back as he now has 3 games in a row with double-digit carries and had a whopping 26 last week. If Snacks Harrison sits, I don’t mind a sprinkling of Lynch with this projected game script, but I won’t go there if Harrison plays due to his dominance against the run.
CAR (21.75) @ NO (26.25)
Bad news for Funchess here as Crawley has resumed practicing, but Lattimore’s return remains up in the air. He returned in a limited fashion on Wednesday, but then sat on Thursday, and that is never a good sign. If Lattimore sits, I will have some exposure to Funchess, but Crawley is still a top-20 CB, so this will be a tough match-up for Funchess regardless. The good news for them is that Olsen is back at practice after injuring his foot last week. It was severe enough for him to see a specialist, so I have some concerns about how much he will play, and I won’t be surprised if he only plays limited snaps (keep in mind that he hasn’t officially been declared as Available yet). Between Olsen and Dickson splitting snaps and NO ranking 6th against TEs, I will probably pass on both of them.
CMC sat on Wednesday, but then returned on Thursday. As of Friday, he appears to be a GTD, and it’s definitely worrying since he is already seeing miniscule volume, so if they decide to limit his snaps at all, that caps him even further. He did say that he was ready to roll in a presser on Thursday though, so I have no idea how he feels or what his usage will be (players are generally more optimistic about their status than they should be). Either way, the Saints are a much weaker 26th against the run, and we saw CMC put up 9-101-0 on them just through the air earlier in the year. Stewart is literally half of his price at $3600 and continues to see double-digit carries with 6 of those coming in the RZ in just the past two games. While he struggled last week against the Jets, he put up a 17-110-0 line on the weak Dolphins the week before. If CMC does sit, Stewart is an amazing salary saving option this week. It’s tough to truly get excited about him as his ceiling is probably around 20 points, which is not a slate-breaker, but it is hard to pass that up at this price.
Coby Fleener will be out for this one, so Hill will start at TE. I’m not going there as CAR is a very strong 2nd against TEs, so this is mostly just an FYI. I am extremely interested in Thomas though and think that this will finally be the game where he finds the end zone. He has had 8 or more targets in each of his last 6 and gets a secondary that has just collapsed recently. Over the past 3 weeks, here is what they have given up to their opponents WR1:
|Rec TDs||DK Points|
Sign me up for all of the Thomas especially since he plans to go against the 96th-ranked Daryl Worley for most of the day. Ginn also has a great match-up against the 94th-ranked Bradberry on the other side. I definitely like the idea of rolling with a Brees-Thomas-Ginn stack here.
Carolina is 5th against the run and I’m going to fully fade both Kamara and Ingram even in a good game script.
PHI (26) @ SEA (21)
Mike Davis should return for this one, but I’m certainly not excited about his prospects. The Eagles rank 3rd in DVOA and haven’t allowed a single back to get into double-digit points against them in any game in the last 3 weeks.
Jimmy Graham has missed both the Wednesday and Thursday practice this week, so I’m not sure what his status is for Sunday. I’m sure that Seattle hopes that he can play as TEs are the weakest part of the Eagles defense after Hicks went down (they are currently 15th in DVOA to the position). Baldwin gets a surprisingly tough match-up in the slot and has seen 6 or fewer targets in each of his last 3, but he is my pick for a good game if Graham cannot play. Lockett continues to see inconsistent usage, and I won’t go there. Richardson has averaged 7.5 targets over his last 2 and is always as good of a shot as any for a long TD, but the Eagles have been pretty effective against the deep game recently. Overall, the Eagles are 4th against the pass, and Wilson won’t have a lot of time to throw with all of the pressure Philly will bring.
Kam Chancellor will miss this one, and Earl Thomas is currently listed as questionable, which would be another big blow to the secondary if he cannot play. We know that the Eagles want to throw it all day, and they should get good match-ups with both Jeffery and Ertz. Pick your poison between the two of them or feel free to go with the 3-man stack, but if I had to choose one, I would go Ertz as he has just been incredibly solid this year. Just as an FYI, he is also the top-rated TE in Labs this week.
RBs continue to struggle against Seattle and the Eagles’ RBBC is wretched to pick from. I won’t go there myself.