By Sean Weymouth
It’s Thursday Night Football on a Saturday x3!! We have two games that could be the Shootouts of the week and one game that could be the lowest scoring of the week. Let’s get that $$ and make the Holidays Merrier!
Tampa Bay Buccaneers be Houston Texans (Houston at Home).
– Deshaun Watson ($7,000)
– DeAndre Hopkins ($8,500)
– Wil Fuller V ($5,909)
– Kenny Stills ($4,400)
– Darren Fells ($3,000)
– Jordan Aikins ($2,900)
– Carlos Hyde ($5,000)
– Duke Johnson ($4,100)
– KeKe Coutee ($3,000)
Probably the most fantasy points on the day will come from this matchup. Let’s start with the Texans who have a great chance to lock up the division with a win here. Deshaun Watson is in a smash spot here facing the third worst secondary in the league, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Did you know that when not pressured Watson has a completion percentage of 78%? Really amazing, however this is the one thing the Bucs don’t do a bad thing doing – rushing the QB. For instance did you know that Buc’s Line Backer Shaquil Barrett still leads the NFL I’m sacks with 16.5? So there is some risk, but I do think Watson is an excellent choice for QB with an unreal opportunity and a fully healthy set of weapons. Also with him $100 more than Jameis Winston, who I expect will be the most popular QB on the slate, Watson could make an excellent pivot. Getting a Quarterback who can get it done in the air and on the ground, at potentially low ownership – sign me up!
While the obvious play here is DeAndre Hopkins, the Bucs have had a measure of success limiting #1 receivers. So while I still think Nuk is an excellent play, I’m most intrigued by Wil Fuller. The Bucs are giving up passing plays of 20 yards or more, at a higher rate than any other team except the Dolphins. This is where Wil Fuller shines and he really has multi-touchdown upside here. That type of ceiling is what can win a tournament. Additionally you have Kenny Stills out there who had 2 touchdowns last week and will see Targets from Watson too. With Fuller likely being chalk, Stills could go lower owned and we now know he also has multi-touchdown upside.
The other thing that the Bucs do well, outside of sacking Quarterbacks, is stopping the run. Even the mighty Christian McAffery can tell you, the Buc’s run defense is no joke. So while I will be fading Carlos Hyde, I do have some interest in Duke Johnson who is averaging 5 targets per game and in what should be a shootout, The Duke could be a fun flex choice catching the ball out of the backfield.
Additionally Tight End Darren Fells is largely going overlooked with some bigger name Tight Ends on the slate – but Fells, who caught his last TD three weeks ago against New England, could be a sneaky play as a Red Zone target for Watson. But with bothering Hopkins and Fuller healthy, Fells is really only a dart throw for tournaments
I do not like either defense in this game
– Jameis Winston ($6,900)
– Breshad Perrimam ($6,000)
– Justin Watson ($4,900)
– OJ Howard ($4,000)
– Cameron Brate ($3,500)
– Ronald Jones II ($4,400)
– Peyton Barber ($3,900)
– Ishamael Hyman ($3,000)
– Spencer Schnell ($3,000)
– Cyril Grayson ($3,000)
The only quarterback to throw for over 450 yards and four touchdowns in back to back games in history is Jameis Winston. How do you not like this guy? Talk about a gunslinger, Winston could throw as many interceptions as he does touchdowns and could still throw more passes. Now the question remains, can he do it without his #1 and #2 options in Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. As a fan I can tell you, I sure as hell can’t wait to see him try! Jameis makes for an interesting play at Quarterback and he is also the expected highest owned Quarterback on the slate too. That’s ok as with a myriad of options to pair him with, you can still stand out.
Breshad Perriman, the journeyman receiver, now finds himself in the driver seat as Jameis’ #1 receiver. Last two weeks Perriman has been awesome. 183 yards and 4 touchdowns. But keep in mind he had this success with either or both Evans and Godwin on the field – can he repeat? Against the 20th ranked Houston secondary, he certainly has a shot to! Then there is Justin Watson. I like Watson a lot as it appears he will be operating out of the slot, but also will garner less ownership than Perriman which makes Watson a nice pivot. Watson also has scored a touchdown over the last two weeks and could have a big time uptick in Targets, if he indeed does take that Godwin role.
Apparently Winston said to both Howard and Brate at the start of the week “look, you guys are gonna get the rock”. If that is the case, don’t start a lineup without a Buccaneers tight end. Brate has been a trusted red zone target for Winston and at a cheaper price I like what he offers. Don’t be surprised if Brate catches one or more touchdowns. OJ Howard has had a tough season but has really come on over the second half of the season having 4 or more targets over the last 3 weeks and a season high of 73 yards two weeks ago. Don’t be surprised is Howard crosses the 100 yard threshold for the first time this season. Howard will be a very popular play, with him being a popular name due to his season long fantasy ups and downs.
While Jameis was talking up his tight ends, his Coach was saying publicly “the backs will need to take on more of a target share”. So now is the curious case of Ronald Jones and Peyton Barber. What do you do here? Start either, ignore either? My gut says Jones starts this game and if he succeeds, will get the lion share – if he doesn’t though, in will trot Barber and out will trot your chances of winning. Then there’s the whole Ogunbowale problem. I am going to stay away from it all – just play Jameis…
This game is going to be explosive, don’t start a Saturday lineup without a piece of it. If you start Watson, stack with Fuller or Hopkins or both. If you start Jameis maybe stack with Watson and a tight end, to combat the expected chalk play of Perriman. Either way make sure you are grabbing a piece of the other team too in your stack. Get as much of this game as you can and sit back and watch. You won’t be sorry.
New England Patriots vs Buffalo Bills (New England at Home)
– Tom Brady ($5,200)
– Julian Edelman ($6,400)
– James White ($5,800)
– Sony Michel ($4,600)
– Patriots Defense ($4,000)
– N’Keal Harry ($4,000)
– Mohammed Sanu ($3,800)
– Phillp Dorsett ($3,100)
– Rex Burkhead ($3,600)
– Jakobi Myers ($3,100)
– Ben Watson ($2,600)
– Matt LaCrosse ($2,500)
– Ryan Izzo ($2,500)
The exact opposite that we will see in the previous game, we will see in this AFC East Battle with the Patriots and Bills. Earlier this season these two teams clashed for a real barn burner of a 16-10 win for the Pats. That was sarcasm if you didn’t pick up on that.
They say Brady has noodle arm. They say Edelman is playing through injuries. They say that the Pats Defense is poised to close the door on the Bill’s winning the AFC East. If we can use the last time these teams played as our guide, the Pats D is in play today. Brady and Edelman … fades for me. Too many question marksand the Bills are formidable against the pass – 4th best in the league at that. Besides – I especially do not trust Edelman after last week’s 2 for 9 in my season long semi finals. Grrrrrr
The Bills are vulnerable against running backs, giving up an average of 101 on the ground. While Sony Michel will start this game and he may also get the most touches on the ground, I believe the Route to a Patriots win will have you run through James White and you a lesser extent Rex Burkhead catching passes out of the backfield. White is averaging 6 targets a game and will be the most popular of the Patriots backs on the slate. It is tough to pivot from White to either Michel or Burkhead but I think you can especially with the salary savings. If I had to rank the three in regards to production I would go White, Michel, Burkhead – but I also would not be shocked if Michel has a good game here.
The other options for targets for Tom Brady is actually lengthy and during the first half of the season if you had asked me who was in “Brady’s Circle of Trust” I would have said Dorsett. Recently though, I think Brady has found something in rookie Harry. First was the non touchdown touchdown two weeks ago and then there was the actual touchdown last week. With Edelman likely drawing the most attention, there could be a little room for Harry to operate and even break out for a long pass or two and/or a touchdown. I also believe with such unbelievable receiver talent on this slate, Harry will go virtually unowned. I will have a few shares.
The Buffalo Bills
Josh Allen ($5,300)
Devin Singletary ($5,500)
– Bill’s Defense ($2,900)
John Brown ($5,700)
Cole Beasley ($4,800)
Andre Roberts ($3,200)
Dawson Knox ($2,700)
Tyler Kroft ($2,600)
The last time these two teams squared off Cole Beasley led ALL receivers in the game with 75 yards. From a yardage standpoint – yuck. This brings me to Josh Allen who looked dynamic against the Steelers a week ago. I think the general narrative is that the Patriots will shut Allen down but we have seen two other successful running quarterbacks (Jackson, Watson) carve the Patriots Defense up – so I think Len has a shot at success. But another narrative about the Patriots is that they figure out your best weapon and eliminate it. If that is the case, I think it will he Allen who gets that respect and if so, it does temper my expectations on what Allen can do. No one will play Allen though so keep in mind if he does figure out a way to go nuts – and you are the only one playing him – you could really put yourself in a good position. I like Allen for that reason alone and will have some shares.
I don’t like John Brown here with Newly named Defensive Player of the year Stefon Gilmore shadowing him. So I do like the pivot to Beasley. The Patriots have some injuries to their secondary and the shifty Beasley could find some holes to operate from underneath. Now I’m not saying to do this but if you want to talk a low owned stack, Allen + Beasley + Harry could be interesting.
If the Bills are able to get something going, it will be with Devin Singletary who has been tremendous as of late and in all but one game that he has started he has averaged 4 yards per carry. The Pats have seemed much more susceptible against the run and I wouldn’t be surprising to see the rookie receive 18+ carries especially if the Bills are able to get a lead.
After all the hype on Dawson Knox it was Tyler Kroft catching a touchdown. Ugh. My issue with the Bill’s Tight Ends are much like my issue with Bucs running backs. I think the easier play is Josh Allen if you are interested in their targets.
While this game doesn’t contain the fantasy potential of the Bucs and Texans, there are pieces you can take from it to give you a well rounded lineup up. First both defenses are certainly in play. I also like running backs on both sides and a dart throw with a Josh Allen, Cole Beasley, N’Keal Harry stack after all.
San Francisco 49ers vs LA Rams (San Fran is at Home)
– Jimmy Garoppolo ($5,500)
– George Kittle ($6,500)
– Raheem Mostert ($6,100)
– Matt Breida ($3,800)
– Tevin Coleman ($3,700)
– Emmanuel Sanders ($5,500)
– Deebo Samuel ($5,100)
– Kendrick Bourne ($3,600)
– Dante Pettis ($3,000)
– Jordan Matthews ($3,000)
– 49ers Defense ($3,400)
The last time these two teams met the Niners took care of the Rams 20 to 7. Can we expect a similar result? In the rain? Yes I think there is a path to a similar result, Jarod Goff may melt in the rain after all. In all seriousness, Jimmy is a little tough to trust in DFS. Since week 16 half of Jimmy’s performances have scored under 15 points and there is a potential this happens again. The Rams defense has been playing better since the addition of Jaylen Ramsey.
Jimmy’s first hurdle is the curious case of Emmanuel Sanders who outside of the epic encounter with the Saints, has downright stunk: 2.9 points against Atlanta, 8 points vs Baltimore, 2.5 points against Green Bay, 6.3 points against Arizona, 4.4 points against Seattle. Tough to trust.
Deebo Samuel despite having a down game against Atlanta (4.7 points) has found a way to 75 yards or more 3 out of the last six games and may have a slightly better opportunity over the middle of the field but outside of George Kittle, with so many top wide receiver options available both Sanders and Samuel seem very over priced for what they are bringing to your lineup.
So let’s talk Kittle! Start him! He will he Chalk. Eat it! The last time the big man met the Rams he took 8 targets for 103 yards and in a rainy day, the big target Kittle represents will help Jimmy G rumble to victory today!
Speaking of rumbling let’s talk Raheem Must Start Mostert. Mostert has clearly assumed the role as lead back on this team getting the lion share of snaps and touches. With poor weather afoot I believe the San Fran run first offense will be Run First and Mostert has been a strong play with a touchdown in each of his last 4 starts. While Breida and Coleman are getting touches, last week each saw 4, it is Mostert backfield. If you did want to take a dart throw with one of the other two, Breida has been the more explosive with his opportunities in every game except for Week 8 against Carolina.
This is a must win for the 49ers if they are to maintain their seeding in the post season and secure a bye or more. Richard Sherman will be back and I expect their defense to take a step back in the direction of the dominant force it was mid season. Again it looks like rain in the Bay Area and I think the Forty Niners Defense is an excellent play right along with New England and Buffalo. Conveniently it is priced right between them.
– Jarod Goff ($5,800)
– Todd Gurley ($6,300)
– Cooper Kupp ($6,600)
– Robert Woods ($6,200)
– Brandin Cooks ($4,300)
– Tyler Higbee ($5,000)
– Gerald Everett ($4,000)
– Malcolm Brown ($3,500)
– Rams Defense ($2,500)
It’s raining, it’s pouring and Jared Goff is boring – is that how that song goes? I can’t remember. Anyway, here’s the thing about Jarod Goff – he’s not bad and honestly he is not a bad sneaky play at all. Yes it’s the Forty Niners D and Yes Richard Sherman is back but Goff actually has his full compliment of weapons available and healthy and I see no reason to fade him. In fact I believe that Goff will em the least owned quarterback of the day which again should he prove successful will be profitable.
The issue with Goff is who to trust of his pass catchers. For the last few weeks that has been Tyler Higbee who has been amazing in Gerald Everett’s absence with over 100 yards over the last 3 games. Now that Everett is back will those targets immediately switch to Gerald? I don’t think so – in fact I could see Goff using both Higbee and Everett today in bad weather and both having solid games. I may even go as bold as saying a stack with Goff and both of his tight ends may be a very intriguing play leaving a lot of salary to help you elsewhere.
There just seems to be something wrong with Brandin Cooks. Of the three Rams receivers he is the easy fade. I like both Kupp and Woods though – Kupp because of his durability and reliability and Woods because of his versatility. Keep in mind the last time these two teams played, the Rams were embarrassed – REVENGE IS AFOOT! I think you need to stack Kupp and Woods together with Goff however as I do not see either carrying enough value as stand alone plays.
Lastly Todd Gurley. It is possible that there was some truth that Coach McVay was holding Gurley back early in the season for this late December run – and with Gurley playing roughly 90% of offensive snaps over the last 3 weeks I’d say they are right. I think Gurley has a nice game here. The 49ers defense is still a little banged up. The weather will be bad, Gurley out of the backfield with check down receptions and more – Gurley on the goal line … you’re playing Todd Gurley today. He also is at a very affordable price for the opportunity of touches and his ceiling of 2 or more scores – has a $6,300 price tag looking very appealing.
While odds on favorites to NOT make the playoffs, if the Rams have any shot at sneaking in it has to go through the 49ers today and a win will go a long way. Also the Rams Defense was embarrassed the last time they played. Aaron Donald is coming for revenge today. Jaylen Ramsey is coming for destruction – I like the Rams Defense as a very sneaky and contrarian option against the other big three. I think this game is closer than people are projecting.
Good Luck in your Contests!!