Hope everyone out there had a Happy Thanksgiving! This is going to be a little bit of a quicker run through of the picks due to one of the great food holidays of the year.
Lamar Jackson, $7,400 – Rudy’s best value amongst non-stone-minimum-priced QBs, Lamar Jackson checks in as an entirely solid play in DFS because of how the scoring system is designed. Because passing yards are discounted relative to rushing and receiving yards (and passing TDs are discounted as well), rushing QBs have an insane advantage relative to “traditional pocket passers”. Lamar is going to run a lot and Oakland is hot garbage fire.
Jameis Winston, $7,500 – The Bucs throw a lot and whoever is QB for them is a play, even with the risk of getting benched. The matchup vs San Fran in Tampa is about as imposing as a Teddy Bear, so keep on playing Tampa QBs.
Andrew Luck, $8,400 – The Colts are the single fastest team in the league in terms of pace. The Colts also one of the offenses that understand that throwing is good and running is not. Frank Reich gets it. Andrew Luck is also very talented. Need more proof? He’s thrown for 3 TDs in seven straight games.
Nick Mullens, $6,000 – He’s a stone minimum priced punt QB facing the Bucs – the single worst defense in all of football (one that just made a broken and washed up Eli Manning look good enough that some Giants fans and media types are now arguing that he’s not done and could be viable in 2019 – newsflash, no, he’s done, get over it). Only Alex Smith failed to put up good numbers against this Bucs defense. Mullens will get it done.
Also viable: Carson Wentz, $7,700
GPP Recommendation – Baker Mayfield, $7,500 – The Bengals are terrible and just give free points to the opposing offense. Since the Browns fired everyone, they have been way less Browns like and are actually resembling an actual football team trying to win games. Since people think they are still the Browns, take advantage of that and get some Baker Mayfield exposure.
Melvin Gordon, $8,900 – Melvin is the top RB play of the week. He gets a massive workload and the Chargers are huge home favorites vs Arizona. The only question is if he doesn’t play (since he’s questionable), how quickly can you jam in Austin Ekeler?
Saquon Barkley, $9,000 – Saquon is matchup and game script proof. If the Giants have the lead, he gets all the runs. If the Giants are behind, he gets all the passes (and all the red zone rushes). He’s really good at football and gets the usage no matter what, what else do you want from a RB? Since we expect the Eagles to be ahead in this game, they are really bad vs pass catching RBs, ranking 24th in DVOA vs RBs.
Nick Chubb, $7,500- The Bengals are hot garbage fire, they are really really bad and Chubb is pretty good at the whole running thing (though he doesn’t get as much passing work as you’d like, proving the Browns are still kinda the Browns). Chubb has gotten at least 18 touches in 4 straight games and 23 in the last 2. So we have a guy who gets volume vs a team who are really really bad? Yeah, he’s a good play.
James Conner, $7,900 – I have to admit, i’m a little queasy on Conner because we’ve seen games where he just does nothing and then disappears. But the matchup is average and in any positive game script, Conner is just going to crush the volume since the Steelers go with a solo RB for the most part. In a game where the Steelers are -3, you have to expect Conner to do his part which makes him a very solid play (and Rudy’s top value RB), albeit with some downsides.
GPP Recommendation – Jalen Richard, $5,300 – If Doug Martin is out, there’s enough of a RBBC here that he’s probably not cash viable (although it’s arguable he gets enough volume in the pass game and the Raiders will be down this week, because they’re down every week at this point in the season), but between the volume he may get because Martin is out, and the work he gets in hte passing game once the Raiders inevitably fall behind by 21, there’s plenty of opportunities here for Richard to rack up the FP and do it for super cheap.
Keenan Allen, $7,700 – Rudy’s highest scoring WR on the slate by a noticeable margin. And that’s without the fact that Melvin Gordon may not play. If Melvin doesn’t play, it’s possible they just roll Austin Eckler into Gordon’s role, but it’s also possible they just throw that much more, and if they do, Allen’s value skyrockets into obscene levels.
Odell Beckham, $8,500 – The Eagles are really hurting in the defensive backfield and they already allow a ton of catches to #1 WR. Odell should crush because the Eagles pass D is kind of bad and the Giants offense is condensed right now. And even though the Eagles may focus on Odell, he’s still too good to not be the top WR play of the slate.
Jarvis Landry, $6,100 – If you’re noticing a theme here, it’s the Bengals are really really bad defensively and everyone on the Browns is a solid play (except David Njoku, you’ve burned me too many times David Njoku). His price has also dropped to $6,100, which is too cheap.
GPP Recommendation – This is an unusually weak WR grouping, so the GPP rec is more, just pivot to the unchalk at the same price point as chalk. So a pivot for Odell is Antonio Brown, or AJ Green if he plays. Or take a shot on DeSean Jackson (if healthy) or Tyler Lockett instead of Jarvis Landry. Alshon Jeffrey off of Allen and Hilton, etc. WR is hugely variable and sometimes just going to the unchalk at the same price point is a viable strategy.
Cameron Brate, $4,400 – Hello injury-caused misprice. He’s priced as if he’s in the role he’s had for most of 2018 – a TE who is on the bad end of a timeshare with O.J. Howard. But Howard’s now on IR, freeing up Brate to catch plenty of passes from a QB who has shown a desire to feed him plenty of targets. And, it’s the Todd Monken #airraid offense once again, and that means throwing all over the field.
Also Viable: Zach Ertz, $7,600, Rob Gronkowski, $6,900 (#nice), George Kittle, $7,500. The Injury-caused mispriced Brate basically means that the only way you’re not playing him in cash is if you have the money to go all the way up to those three.
GPP Recommendation – David Njoku, $5,100 – You’ve burned me too many times Mr. Njoku, so while you’re in a juicy matchup and by all accounts you should do well, I’m not going to put you anywhere near the cash parts of this article no matter how juicy the matchup. Also, all Colts TEs are GPP-eligible as Andrew Luck throws to TEs in the red zone (although last week, they legitimately deviated from that plan for the most part, but I suspect that was an aberration, maybe having Ebron unsuccessfully throw to Luck with the Philly-Philly Superbowl Special caused the space-time continuum to collapse and chaos to reign.
Los Angeles Chargers, $4,900 – I usually don’t like paying up for defense (and once again, defense in fantasy football is stupid), but as long as the Cardinals continue to call way too many “plow David Johnson up the middle” plays and run too much behind the putrid offensive line they have, they’re going to sputter offensively and stink. And given that the Chargers offense is legitimately great (albeit with their own running problems), the result will be the Chargers with the lead late, racking up sacks and interceptions as the Cardinals are forced to throw and wonder why the offense isn’t working. Newsflash – it’s not hard. Saquon, Kamara, CMC and Melvin Gordon have all had games with at least 10 targets this year. David Johnson, who is as good in the passing game as any RB in football, has zero. Fix that. Or the offense will stink. And until they do, opposing defenses will rack up points.
Cleveland Browns, $3,100 – While this play may be a little nauseating at first, the Bengals without A.J. Green simply don’t work as an offense (if Green is playing, this price still makes them viable). The Browns do get some turnovers and sacks (particularly turnovers – they’re third in the league in interceptions, for example), so while the Browns don’t check all the boxes you look for (home mega-favorite against a weak QB), they’re just 100 above minimum at the stupid position that really shouldn’t be part of DFS.
New England Patriots, $4,100 – There are four defenses this week with absurd matchups – the aforementioned Chargers, the Ravens (facing the Raiders) the Jaguars (facing the Bills) and the Patriot (facing the Jets) In all four, the key is that they are facing offenses that are beyond bad due to being helmed by Quarterbacks that are struggling mightily (the reasons for the struggles vary by team – the Bills QBs simply don’t belong in the league, whereas the Raiders QB is struggling because the team is tanking, for example). I’ll take the Patriots over the Ravens and Jaguars this week, because they’re significantly cheaper than the other two. I’d especially take them over the Jaguars, because the Jaguars aren’t a particularly good team right now and I don’t expect them to be able to steamroll the Bills the way I expect the Patriots and Ravens to steamroll. Heck. seeing as how i put McCoy as cash viable, I expect the Bills to win.
GPP Recommendation – Buffalo Bills, $4,000 – I don’t think the Bills defense will be highly owned because everyone knows their offense is a joke, but their defense is legitimately good and the Jaguars offense is quickly approaching the same level of ineptitude as some of the offenses mentioned in the Patriots section written right before this one. And the Bills defense is actually fairly decent and fully capable of racking up sacks and interceptions when protecting a lead and facing an inept passing offense (see – the Bills/Jets game) or facing a passing offense having their 5th percentile game (see – the Bills/Vikings game).
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 and Tyreek Hill…except the week they’re on a bye. If for some reason they’re an option on a slate this week, you probably want to de-register from that slate because it’s not properly administered because the Chiefs aren’t playing tomorrow. Even if you don’t deregister, don’t play them.
Best of luck to everyone on Sunday!