Well dear readers, let’s just get right to the good stuff today.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, $7,600 – “Bucs QB” would be worth playing since you wouldn’t have to deal with the possible benching. Ryan Fitzpatrick, on his own, carries some risk of being benched. But that risk is entirely outweighed by the fact that he’s the starting QB in Air Monken. And Air Monken throws a lot. And volume is king.
Jared Goff, $8,100 – Goff is a home favorite, and he’s got Kupp back. When Kupp plays this year, Goff averages a 71.8% completion % on 34.3 attempts and 353 yards with 2.5 TDs. Without Kupp, Goff averages a 59.7% completion % on 29 attempts and 232.6 yards and 1.6 TDs. So yeah, Kupp makes a difference this year to Goff’s efficiency and TD equity, which does make sense when you consider that Kupp and Gurley have equal target share in the red zone. The route to failure here is one of two options, either the good Seattle defense (5th in DVOA and 5th in passing DVOA) stiffles the Rams and it’s low scoring or The Rams blow out Seattle and they just don’t need Goff. But the upside here is good and he’s still a strong play, since McVay is involved and the Rams do average roughly 300 points a game and have failed to score 30 only twice (one was 29 points).
Also viable: Mitchell Trubisky, $7,700, Marcus Mariotta, $6,700 (Their rushing potential gives them a solid floor and that’s critically important for any Quarterback in DFS) and Pat Mahomes, $9,800
GPP Recommendation – Josh McCown, $6,000 – Josh McCown was not that bad last year. Up through week 13, he was the 9th best QB in terms of FP per game (before you ask – I picked Week 13 because in Week 14 he got knocked out of the game – twice, and then didn’t play the rest of the year). Now he’s spent all of this year happily cashing game checks and holding a clipboard and being the “veteran mentor”, and now he’s being thrust into an actual game against a competent defense, but for stone minimum and with the Jets having their WRs back (although they may still be banged up), there’s definitely enough of a chance he pulls out whatever old-man-river magic he used last year to drum up some solid games. If that happens and you have him in your lineup, you’re going to be sitting quite pretty given all the money you saved here (and thus all of the spending-up you were able to do at other positions)
Dion Lewis, $5,800 – Lewis has become the feature back in Tennessee, with touches the last 2 weeks of 19 and 23, he’s gobbling up the runs and the passes. He doesn’t always get the goal line work, but that’s fine because he’s $5,800 and you barely need any points to make this work. This amount of volume for this price is pretty much a lock in cash games and a really hard fade in GPPs . Rudy agrees, putting him as the top RB value of the slate.
Todd Gurley, $10,800 – I’m just going to repost what I wrote last week on Gurley: “He gets the volume week after week. He’s been a guaranteed 20 (note: 19 touches) touches on the best offense in football, giving him massive TD equity, and boy has he capitalized, scoring a TD in every game…[it’s clear] once the Rams get into the red zone, something they do with insane frequency, they just give it to Gurley and let him run it in, and also, they’re the best team in football so they have a big lead late and let Gurley get all the kill-clock yards in the 4th quarter…[but] is he worth it? Ultimately it’ll come down to how comfortable you are with the value that you’ll need to play to roster him”. Last week he “dudded” in the shootout at Coors Field, only dropping a 16.9. This week he’s at home vs Seattle. Seattle is a good defense, but their offense likely won’t be able to match the Rams, giving Gurley a lot of work this week. Once again, it’s just a matter of the price and what it does to the rest of your lineup. If you can make it work, you play him. If you can’t, it’s not a big deal because his price really is still really high.
Melvin Gordon, $8,900 – Melvin has had at least 15.4 FanDuel points every single game and can be expected to carry the bulk of the load against the horrific Oakland Raiders. So we have a full time running back who is a 10 point favorite and oh yeah, he’s tied for 2nd on the team in target share and he gets all of the red zone carries. He’s a truly elite play this week.
Kareem Hunt, $9,000 – Let’s run down the checklist for a good RB play in general. Home favorite? Chiefs are 16.5 point favorites. High vegas implied team total? Chiefs have the highest implied total of the week at 33.25. Heavily involved running back? Hunt’s averaging 19.1 touches per game – it’s not quite Gurley level but no one is at that level, and 19.1 touches per game puts him square amongst all the other “bellcow” running-backs.High-octane offense that scores a lot, giving the RB plenty of TD equity? Chiefs are the #1 scoring offense in the league, and Hunt’s tied for fourth in the league in rushing touchdowns with 7. He’s also got 6 receiving TDs, which is tied for the lead amongst running backs. That brings us to the next bullet point, which is whether he is involved in the passing game? Hunt’s averaging over 4 targets per game the last 6 games. It’s not CMC or Kamara but it’s definitely part of his value. So we have a heavy volume running back on a high-octane offense with plenty of TD equity, who also is involved in passing game, on a massive home favorite with a huge implied vegas team total. If for some reason that’s not enough for you, Rudy’s got Hunt as the 2nd best RB by value on the entire slate (only Dion Lewis at his absurdly cheap price is better).
Alvin Kamara, $8,800 – 38.6, 14.9, 26.5, 38.6, 5.4, 14.5, 23.1, 31.6. That’s been Alvin Kamara’s game logs. The 5.4 was the week Mark Ingram returned (and got more touches than Kamara, and got the goal line work, and scored two touchdowns), in a game where the Saints were insanely efficient (and thus ran very few plays overall despite scoring 43), people discounted how ridiculous good, from a fantasy perspective, Alvin Kamara was in the first four weeks. Then the next game (the 14.5) saw Kamara basically in a 50/50 split with Mark Ingram, and most concerning, he wasn’t involved in the passing game (2 targets). This led everyone to basically write off the first four weeks as only the product of Ingram being suspended. However, the last two games have seen the Saint get back to what they were doing in the first four weeks – featuring Kamara heavily. Two weeks ago, Kamara and Ingram split the carries equally but Kamara had 8 targets to Ingram’s 2. And last week, in the shootout against the Rams, Kamara had 19 carries and 5 targets, whereas Ingram only had 9 carries and 2 targets. If Kamara is the main guy, even if he’s not the only guy (like he was in the first four weeks), his productivity and involvement in the passing game for this high-octane offense make him basically matchup proof and a heck of a play. So if you believe Weeks 1-4, and 8-9 represent how the Saints use Kamara (relative to Ingram) going forward, he’s a great play. If you, however, believe that these last two weeks were the “flukes” and that the Saints will feature Kamara and Ingram basically 50/50 (like they did in weeks 6 and 7), then there’s just not enough volume to justify the price.
David Johnson, $6,900 – The Chiefs can’t stop anyone on the ground (32nd ranked DVOA) and David Johnson still gets volume. He averages 18.25 touches per game and he ran a season high 30 routes under new OC and Bruce Arians disciple, Byron Leftwich. Running 30 routes for David Johnson on this offense should lead to a lot more than the 4 targets he received last week, especially if his running gets game scripted out (but, they still may run a bunch since KC is so bad). At this point, given the offense surrounding him, I don’t know how much ceiling is here in this play, but it’s definitely a good floor play, especially given the price.
Also Viable: James White, $7,800
GPP Recommendation – Adrian Peterson, $6,800 – Tampa Bay’s defense is bad. I don’t mean bad in the “one of the worst in the league” sense, I mean bad in the “Nathan Peterman” sense. They give up fantasy points everywhere, to every type of position. They can’t tackle. They can’t get pressure on the Quarterback. They can’t limit big plays. This was absolutely going to be a lock and load spot for Adrian Peterson in cash games because we saw what he did against a very bad defense (but in the “just one of the worst in the league” sense) two weeks ago against the New York Giants (26 carries for 149 yards and a touchdown, and 1 catch for 7 yards and another touchdown) and the Bucs incompetence is well past simply Giants-level bad. But then Washington lost both starting offensive guards (Shawn Lauvao and Brandon Scherff) last week (and they were already missing Trent Williams, their six-time Pro Bowl elite left tackle). Further, their starting right tackle, Morgan Moses, sprained his MCL and has been limited in practice all week. He’s going to try to play through the pain but could easily be unable to do so. Washington brought in six free agent lineman off the street on Monday and signed three of them. It’s highly likely at least two of the guys they brought in off the street are going to be STARTING. I can bash the Bucs defense as much as I want, but it’s at least composed of guys who are not signing a contract on Monday and starting six days later at key positions. Theoretically most of the guys on the Bucs defense, as bad as they are and as bad as the whole unit has been, are good enough to justify being on a roster all season – that’s not the case with multiple Redskins lineman now. That would suggest Adrian Peterson is unplayable. But then again, have you seen the Bucs defense this year? Of course not, because they haven’t had one (ZING!). The defense has been so atrocious that a Redskins offense that will have at least two, and as many as four starting lineman who were signed off the street on Monday, may still be able to run up and down the field. And at this price, it’s well worth the risk in a GPP.
Tyler Boyd, $7,800 – The Saints are really really bad at stopping other teams from throwing the ball (29th in DVOA) and even better for us is they are amazingly bad at stopping #1 and #2 WRs, 32nd and 32nd in DVOA respectively (they are relatively good at stopping everyone else except RBs). Tyler Boyd has been a stud for Dalton and the Bengals. The last 5 weeks, he’s had a 22% market share, but with AJ Green out, there’s a huge 30% market share that opens up and Boyd should be the primary beneficiary. Projection wise, Rudy has him as a stupidly awesome value, but I will say that without AJ Green, there is some risk the Saints do just focus on stopping Boyd since there really isn’t a lot of skill player depth to hurt you on the Bengals right now.
Keenan Allen, $7,900 – We should be able to time the amount of time Philip Rivers should have in a clean pocket with a sundial. Oakland is really really bad at rushing the passer, which I know is shocking. Oakland has a 2.8% adjusted sack rate, according to Football Outsiders, good for dead last. Clean pocket = good for throwing, good for throwing = good for wide receivers. Allen is a pretty clear #1 WR, for example, in the last 5 weeks he’s got a massive 30% target share. He’s an excellent play in an excellent week for WRs in this price range. I feel like I should warn you that the Chargers recently just have not thrown the ball, the last 4 games they haven’t thrown more than 28 times, so there is a chance that they “play it safe”, don’t throw and Allen doesn’t get the volume. As you can see, WRs tend to be a bit risky.
Cooper Kupp, $6,500 – Goff’s favorite red zone WR put up a big number last week in the shootout vs the Saints. The Saints are legitimately awful at passing defense and pretty much let teams throw to whoever they want, so Kupp didn’t get the volume we normally want, he still was able to get a longish TD. He’s not going to be as lucky this week and is going to need to score vs Seattle the more traditional Cooper Kupp way. Considering the Rams have a massive 30.5 Vegas implied total and are home, we should be looking at a bunch of opportunities for Kupp to get in the end zone.
GPP Recommendation – Josh Doctson, $4,900 – This is pretty good price for a guy who is going up against the unreal bad Tampa defense and is the #1 WR option for Washington. Well, he’s actually tied for the WR lead in market share with Maurice Harris (who also works) over the last 4 weeks. But, Doctson has an adot of 13.5, compared to 6.8 for Harris.
Travis Kelce, $8,000 – Kelce is the best TE in the league right on the best offense in the league who love to throw. Not much else to say here, you know he’s good, it’s just a matter of roster construction and whether or not you want to pay for the very good high of receivers at around the same price as Kelce.
Jordan Reed, $5,200 – The next player the Buccaneers tackle will be their first. Reed has a 19% market share with Washington in the last 5 weeks, which doesn’t sound like much, but then you have to remember, he’s going up against Tampa Bay which basically means there’s no defense on the field, and he’s only $5,200, which is crazy bonkers low. In cash games, you’re pretty much only going here or Kelce (i’m ok with OJ Howard in theory, but in practice I don’t think it’s the week for it), I don’t really see a need to pay up for David Njoku or anyone in the midrange this week.
Also viable: OJ Howard – He’s not a target monster, but he is involved in the red zone (2nd on the team in red zone target share). This is the in theory guy, and if your lineup lands on him, that’s fine
GPP Recommendation – Literally anyone, this is a garbage position outside of Kelce, Reed and Howard. If I had to list someone, I guess Vernon Davis, $5,100, only because Jordan Reed will be owned and Vernon Davis is also involved in the offense and has had games where he’s outscored Reed – so if it turns out Vernon Davis is the one who takes advantage of the Bucs inability to have any degree of competence at playing defense, you not only get the benefit of those points, you get a second edge on the field as you’re now ahead of all the Reed owners as well. Or you could pick a random Colts TE.
Green Bay Packers, $3,900 – Lest you think that I am not going to once again state this fact, rest assured, I will – defense in fantasy football is stupid. The main reason to go here is we expect the Packers to be up and up big and the Packers defense is ranked 4th in Football Outsiders adjusted sack rate and the Dolphins are ranked 20th in pass protection. If you can hit the QB, you’ll get those sacks and ints, especially against Brock Lobster.
Cleveland Browns, $3,000 – I’m not stopping – defense in fantasy football is stupid. Browns are stone min on a normal week, have the 11th best defense in the league (2nd best pass defense) and are at home. It doesn’t really matter who they play as long as it isn’t the Chiefs or Rams, they are super viable.
Arizona Cardinals, $2,500 – FanDuel, if you’re going to do this, just stop making us play defenses. This is actually a viable play in cash if it gets you everyone you want. This is also reason 1,239,547,345,043 that defense in fantasy sports is so effing dumb.
Buffalo Bills, $3,700 – The Buffalo Bills have a legitimately good defense. I feel sorry for these guys as their efforts are being wasted on a team trotting out Nathan Peterman at Quarterback (and it’s not like they were doing anything remotely good when Josh Allen or Derek Anderson was at QB). There’s a chance Josh Allen plays on Sunday. Either way, the offense will stink (just a question of really bad or historically bad). But they’re up against another really bad offense right now. he Jets skill players are all banged up, and now with Sam Darnold hurt they’re giving the ball back to a 38 year old QB who clearly wanted to just cash paychecks and hold the clipboard all season long. As a result, the Bills won’t constantly be defending short fields and won’t be down the entire game (resulting in very few chances to get sacks or interceptions). So they’ll be in a good spot to put up some fantasy points. Also, this game is going to be Ugly with a capital U. I think it would be a service to the world to not televise this game. We don’t want any proof that it ever happened.
Detroit Lions, $3,300 – It’s beyond stupid trying to figure out what’s the best defense for a DFS lineup. So I’ll just list the team that Rudy’s projections peg as the best value on the slate and not even try to give commentary. Defense in fantasy football is truly mind-bogglingly stupid.
GPP Recommendation – Washington How-Is-This-Still-Acceptables, $3,400 – Air Monken throws, throws deep, and throws often. The Bucs are fully capable of putting up 40 points on a team. But because their current QBs are a 75 year old mountain man and a QB who is actually good, but this year has given away interceptions like people give candy on halloween. And, the mountain man also throws interceptions. Not only is defense in fantasy football stupid, it’s also not even scored reasonably – you score more fantasy points as a defense by giving up 40 points and getting 3 INTs along the way than giving up 17 points with 0 INTs. The former scenario is a definite possibility for Washington.
Random Other GPP Thoughts
I will include this section every week as long as these two are healthy – if you’re a multi-entry GPP guy, always include multiple Patrick Mahomes ($9,800) and Tyreek Hill ($7,800) lineups. Mahomes’s price is beyond absurd – the gap between him and all the other QBs is comparable to the gap between Gurley and all the other RBs, but that’s actually a good thing for GPPs as it’s going to keep his ownership down. Tyreek’s priced quite reasonably (and he’s listed as an also viable cash play due to being affordable). And Mahomes and Tyreek always carry with them the chance to put up truly filthy numbers that break the slate. So if you’re mass multi-entering lineups, please make sure to fire up numerous Mahomes-Tyreek lineups – it won’t be easy to find the value but the potential for slate-breaking numbers from these two make it worth finding value to make those lineups work.
Best of luck to everyone on Sunday!