We finally have a decision on Todd Gurley. He’s been an absolute stone cold mortal lock so far this season given that he’s been under $10K for most of the season and was only $10.2K last week – an insanely cheap price given the team he plays for and the role he has on it (namely, that 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). FanDuel finally jacked his price up to something like $1,000,000,000 (note – it may just be $11,000, as I may be exaggerating for comedic effect). Now it becomes a decision. He’s still an absolute monster. 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. And if you’re unsure on who to play, check out Rudy’s projections here at Razzball!
Jameis Winston, $7,800 – I really like the over in this game and thus like both QBs. Both teams should force the other to put up points and just continue to throw all game. The Bucs have weapons all over the field, except RB, which bodes well for Winston and the passing game. The other plus is no matter who has played QB for the Bucs, they have put up numbers. Given the weapons and the Todd Monken, it’s not a surprise. The fact that Winston has been good shouldn’t be a surprise as he is quite good and he’s setting career highs in completion % and yards per attempt and he’s averaging an absurd 301.7 yards per game this year.
Andy Dalton, $7,800 – The entirety of the Bengals are in good spots. I know the likelihood of everyone smashing is pretty low but it seems like the entire team should get points, even the waterboy. The Bucs come into this game banged up all over the place and then last week, they lost their stud LB, Kwon Alexander, giving the Browns the freedom to throw the ball wherever they wanted. The Bengals are a much better offense than the Browns (ranked 16th in offense vs 30th) and given that they are at home, the Bengals should be able to throw to whoever they want or run with whoever they want.
Pat Mahomes, $9,200 – Mahomes is good, Reid is good, they are going to score a lot of points. He’s probably too expensive but if you can make it work, again, he’s good, Reid is good, and they are going to score a lot of points. Next.
Also viable: Matt Stafford, $7,300, Ben Roethlisberger, $8,400
GPP Recommendation – Aaron Rodgers, $8,600 – This one is pretty simple. The Packers must put up points to beat the Rams, most of those points will come via Aaron Rodgers, who before the bye was dominating teams. Plus, he’s Aaron Rodgers, so he’s got GPP winning upside every single week he takes the field.
Todd Gurley, $1,000,000,000 – This is obviously the highest price he’s been this year, and justifiably. He gets the volume week after week. He’s been a guaranteed 20 touches on the best offense in football, giving him massive TD equity, and boy has he capitalized, scoring a TD in every game. He’s facing the Green Bay Packers, who are terrible at defense (ranked 25th in DVOA) even though defense is kind of tough to gauge when you aren’t elite or unbelievably bad. They also have Aaron Rodgers, who should be able to put up points because he’s Aaron freakin Rodgers, which means the Rams are going to have to score points giving Gurley even more TD equity. The question is whether or not you’re comfortable with the punts elsewhere to fit Gurley into your lineups. Also, the price I listed may be an exaggeration, but let’s be honest, you had to double check.
James Conner, $8,000 – Do you think the Steelers are going to lose to the Browns at home and be down all game? Because if you do, you should probably fade Conner because in those 2 games, he has 17 runs for 36 yards and 8 catches for 38 yards with a TD, and that’s combined. In the wins (or ties) he averages 21.5 carries for 104.5 yards with 1.5 TDs and 4.5 catches for 46 yards. Volume is king in DFS and when the Steelers are winning, Conner gets the volume.
Saquon Barkley, $8,900 – If you just take Saquon Barkley in the passing game, he averages 11.2 FanDuel points per game (it’s 12.6 if you remove the first game of his career). Now throw in some 10-15 runs per game and you see why he has an insanely high floor. Playing against the Washington [email protected]#$%^&* means you’re going to playing a mega slow game, which limits his ceiling, but the floor might be unmatched outside of a certain Los Angeles Rams RB.
David Johnson, $7,300 – This is banking on Byron Leftwich actually getting him the ball in space and as a receiver, because if they do, he’s actually a legit great play, but if they don’t, he’s a fish play and one you shouldn’t make because this isn’t a good offensive line and it’s really hard to get yards if your offensive line is hot garbage fire (his TD equity is good here, but it’s relative to the team, since the offense is very very very bad), particularly if the game plan is “plow David Johnson up the middle on first and second down and wonder why it’s not working”.
Also Viable – Kareem Hunt, $8,100, Joe Mixon, $7,800
GPP Recommendation – Phillip Lindsay, $6,500 – I don’t normally like to use running backs facing elite offenses because the negative game script often will kill their value, but Denver loves to #establishtherun and Lindsay’s pretty good. When you add in that the Chiefs defense is spectacularly bad, there’s a chance Lindsay has already hit value before the game gets out of hand (or he’ll do his damage in the passing game, as he is capable of doing) given how cheap he is. It’s certainly not a safe play, but his cheap price can open up a lineup in other areas. The Chiefs offense is also not always an offense that marches down the field like Brady, Brees or Rodgers can do, they tend to hit big chunk yardage, thus if they are off a bit to start the game, Lindsay can do quite a bit of damage early.
Robert Woods, $7,600 – Let’s see here. #2 scoring offense? Check. #1 offense in terms of yards per game? Check. The #1 WR for said team who averages a solid 8.3 targets per game? Check. Said offense being essentially 3-WR deep (and one RB, as noted earlier), and missing one of those WRs, freeing up targets for Woods? Check. A reasonable price tag? Check. Am I overrusing the rhetorical question format for this blurb? Check. But hey, if you aren’t convinced, check out Rudy’s projections, where he’s the #2 WR on the slate and much cheaper than the #1 guy, giving you very good production for a very affordable price. Speaking of the #1 WR in Rudy’s projections…
AJ Green, $8,800 – Green has quietly gone back to being the target monster was before Tyler Boyd’s hot streak. In the last 4 weeks, Green has a 31% market share compared to 24% for Boyd. Green is the #1 WR on a team who has a 29 total and the Bucs are banged up after losing stud LB Kwon Alexander last week. They won’t be able to stop this Bengals offense and Green (and Mixon above) should be the primary beneficiaries.
Jarvis Landry, $6,700 – Last week I recommended Jarvis Landry and said the following – “If I could guarantee a player with 10 targets a game, you would snap play him. But he just has not connected with Mayfield yet…if he continues to get 10 targets a game from Mayfield at some point they will start to connect and the explosion will come”. He then proceeded to get 15 targets, and turned those 15 targets into 10 catches for 97 yards and a touchdown. He was also quite chalky, so I have no idea why his price only moved up $200, given that the pricing algorithm puts an incredible amount of weight on the most recent performances and ownership (in other words, the easiest way to see a massive price increase is to put up a big game while being massively owned). I don’t see how anything has changed from last week. He’s going to get targets and he’s not that expensive.
Jordy Nelson, $5,300 – I’m not saying he’s good (he’s not, although he used to be). I’m not saying the Raiders offense is good (it’s likely not). I am saying that he’s now the #1 WR on a team that is very likely to be down and thus will have to throw a lot, and he’ll get an insane number of targets in the process. You’re going to need value this week given that FanDuel jacked up the prices of Quarterbacks, and that’s not even factoring in whether you want to play Todd Gurley for his price of One Billions Fantasy Dollars (possibly exaggerated). If you can make a lineup work without dropping down to a guy like Jordy, by all means, but if you find yourself needing a value spot, he’s certainly an option. I will warn you, Amari wasn’t a target hog (14%), so it’s not like there’s 30% targets to go around and Jordy is getting a ton of those. Jordy wasn’t doing anything when Amari was getting 1 target, so while Jordy is definitely viable, he’s not without a ton of risk.
Also Viable: Tyreek Hill, $7,800 (see bottom), Christian Kirk, $5,400, Larry Fitzgerald, $5,800
GPP Recommendation – Davante Adams, $8,600 – The way I see this game is one of a few ways. Either the Rams just absolutely destroy the Packers early, leaving a lot of garbage time, or this game is a shootout, where there will be monster points scored on both teams and you’ll need to have a WR on this team to ship your GPP. Adams is obviously the #1 guy, but Cobb, Allison, Scantling, Graham all work since Rodgers is excellent at spreading stuff around when he has the talent to. It’s just that Adams is the best WR on the team, so odds are that he will be the one who hits.
Travis Kelce, $7,300 – I’m not sure much needs to be written here beyond pointing out that Rudy’s projections have him #1 for TEs by a wide margin – he’s projected for 16.2 FanDuel Points and the next highest TE’s projected for 13.4.
David Njoku, $5,700 – Njoku is the 2nd pass catcher on the Browns. The last 4 weeks, he has a 22% target share and since we expect the Browns to be throwing a lot, even if he just has 22% of 35 targets, that gives him 7.7 and a chance to smash value if he can sneak his way into the end zone
George Kittle, $6,800 – In the last 4 weeks, Kittle leads the team with a 21% target share and the 49ers will be without Garcon and his 19% market share. Last week, Kittle upped his target share to 30% and if he does that again, he’s likely to put up another big time game.
Also viable: Jimmy Graham, $6,400, Jared Cook, $5,900
GPP Recommendation – Jack Doyle, $4,900 – Andrew Luck has an obsession with throwing to his TEs in the red zone. Eric Ebron has 27% of his team’s targets in the red-zone, and all the TEs (keep in mind, Jack Doyle has been hurt most of the season) combined account for 41% of the team’s red zone targets. That includes “Eric Swoope” and “Mo Allie-Cox”, and I’m not convinced either of those people are real. Anyway, Doyle returns this week, and while both the risk that he’s on a play-count plus the presence of Ebron pretty much nuke any cash viability (which sucks because given his price he’d be a nice cash play on the slate), all it takes is one red-zone target being completed for a TD to have him hit value at this price. This is how you work Gurley into your lineups – using punts like this who have realistic chances at hitting or exceeding value.
Arizona Cardinals, $3,400 – Defense in fantasy football is stupid. The main reason to like Arizona here is their defense actually can get to the passer (7th in Football Outsiders adjusted sack rate) and San Francisco can’t actually pass protect (ranked 26th in adjusted sack rate). That ostensibly should mean that Arizona will get pressures, sacks and turnovers since the 49ers are starting CJ Beathard who isn’t likely to be confused with Joe Montana or Steve Young anytime soon. He’s actually not a horrible QB in real life but he’s incredibly turnover prone (7 interceptions and 3 fumbles lost in his last 4 games) and turnovers are key for fantasy defense scoring. The main reason not to like Arizona is that San Francisco may just run a lot, kill time and because Arizona can’t score either, Arizona’s defense won’t get those precious turnovers or sacks because you can’t get sacks on runs and you can’t get turnovers if no play is being run. And because defense in fantasy is unbelievably stupid, you need sacks, turnovers and fluky TDs. And yes, I used “defense in fantasy is stupid” twice because it is, in fact, stupid.
Pittsburgh Steelers, $3,800 – Defense in fantasy football is stupid. Hue Jackson remains committed to being the worst coach in the league and Todd Haley and Hue remain committed to standing by every busted, clearly inferior, clearly outdated concept of how to run an offense in the NFL. Running on first down way too often? Check. Running on second down after an incomplete? Check. Not incorporating one of your best weapons because he doesn’t fit the mold of a “traditional” RB or a “traditional” WR? Check. Have I once again abused the rhetorical questions model? Check. Anyway, Hue’s commitment to stupidity, combined with a rookie QB who, while a legitimate NFL prospect and one who will likely be a quality QB for many years, is still raw and still does turn the ball over, and a WR group that outside of Jarvis Landry is basically all rookies who make so many mental and physical mistakes that Hue says baffling things like “it’s because he plays too many plays”, leads to a very good spot for fantasy defenses. The Steelers are reasonably priced and are 8-point home favorites, suggesting that once Hue’s stupidity has put the Browns in a deep hole in the 2nd half, the Steelers should be able to pin their ears back and rack up the sacks and turnovers.
San Francisco 49ers, $3,900 – You know a game is shaping up to be a doozy when both teams defenses are being recommended. There are two reasons why I prefer the Cardinals defense – the first is due to fantasy defense scoring (again illustrating how stupid defense in fantasy football is) – turnovers & sacks > not giving up points. As discussed above, the 49ers, and specifically C.J. Beathard, are a turnover producing machine, whereas the Cardinals offense is safer with the ball (although that safety comes at the expense of any ability to actually move the ball and score points – essentially the 49ers are a D+ at not turning it over and a C- at scoring/moving the ball, whereas the Cardinals are a C+ at not turning it over but a F at scoring/moving the ball). The second reason is that with Mike McCoy fired and Byron Leftwich now the O.C., there’s a non-zero chance the offense can actually utilize David Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald and Christian Kirk in competent ways. Leftwich has spoke about time spent with Bruce Arians (one of the most under-appreciated coaches in the league) and if Leftwich can bring back some of Arian’s offense, the Cardinals may actually be somewhat decent offensively. That said, it’s all conjecture and until we see it, it’s more likely than not the Cardinals continue their ineptitude and remain a hilariously inept offense. I may still prefer the Cardinals fantasy defense in this matchup, but there’s nothing wrong with picking the 49ers here either. Oh, and defense in fantasy football is stupid.
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 ($9,200) and Tyreek Hill ($7,800) lineups. They’re back on the main slate after two straight Sunday night games. I mentioned Mahomes as a possible cash play (although given his price it’s probably not feasible), but that absurdly expensive price is going to keep his ownership down enough to make him quite viable in GPPs. I also listed Tyreek as an also viable cash play and given his price, I expect him to have decent ownership – the reason he was listed as also viable and not written up was solely because he has some measure of “dud” in his profile due to the fact that he runs a LOT of deep routes and thus can easily put up lines like his Week Three 2-51 or his week Five 4-61. That said, there’s also done 7-169-2 and 7-148-3 this season. It’s for that fact that he’s still a fantastic GPP play. I cannot stress enough that there is always a significant chance that Mahomes and Tyreek are the high scores of the slate, regardless of matchup (#defensedoestmatter absolutely applies to them – whether or not they break the slate is entirely on them, not on the defense trying to stop them) and given Mahomes’ price, his ownership is going to be low enough that it’s simply too good a spot to pass up. Roster the two of them frequently if you’ve got multiple GPP lineups.
Best of luck to everyone on Sunday!