By Sean Weymouth
As a Patriots mega fan, yesterday was a bitter pill. However as a DFSer today is another day and if you look back on losses too long, you are likely to repeat. So let’s dust ourselves off shall we and for those who won cash, congrats. All I can say is thank you in game flash drafts, appreciate it.
So I am going to do this article a little differently than yesterday’s. I think with only 2 games today, you have to be very careful on roster construction and even your choice of contests. This may be a good day to go heavier on Cash Contests (head to head, 50/50s etc) where you just need to beat a single player or half the field to cash. The similarities in most lineups today will be a real issue and while sometime Chalk is good and needed to win – we have mega chalk warning on two players in particular.
Michael Thomas is projected to be at an absurd 91% ownership today. He is a great play for obvious reasons – he’s at home where he averages 11 targets per game and where he carries a ridiculous 78% catch rate. He has Drew Brees throwing to him, who at home in the dome is damn near unbeatable too carrying an average of 315 passing yards per game at home. When a player is 91% owned, the first thought is “pivot” from him – but consider this warning, if Thomas goes off today and you don’t have him, you suddenly are at a disadvantage against 91% of all other players in your contest. As much as I hate to say it – Michael Thomas at 91% needs to be in your lineup. At $9,300 he is the most expensive player on the slate. So it will be tough to play Thomas and …
…Alvin Kamara who unbelievably also is projected to carry 90% ownership today. Again – with good reason. The Vikings are ranked 14th against the run and are giving up 108 yards on the ground – but that is across the whole season. When you dig deeper, recently, the Vikings run defense has been much worse – as they have struggled against pass catching backs. Couple that with Kamara at home in the dome with Brees the magic man tossing him the ball and you can see why Kamara’s ownership has skyrocketed. At $7,400 only Dalvin Cook carries a higher price tag. However again – if Kamara goes off and you aren’t rostering him, 90%+ of your competitors are and that is a serious mountain to climb. While not as much of a lock as Thomas – its tough to think about fading Kamara today.
Let’s talk QBs. Drew Brees ($6,500) at home is no surprise the most popular play, currently carrying 31% ownership. To me, though, you can’t go wrong where you go for who you choose at QB. Kirk Cousins ($5,900) however makes for an interesting play as the narrative here is that the Vikings will be playing from behind and Cousins will need to throw to keep up. Cousins at 3.1% ownership currently could be a very interesting piece to a Thomas, Kamara stack as most will obviously stack with Brees. Cousins carries a lot of risk – but it isn’t a Prime Time game, so I’m sure he’ll be fine. In the later game you have Carson Wentz ($6,000) at home, potentially with Zach Ertz ($5,400) back and Russell Wilson ($6,700) against the basement level Eagle’s secondary. Both Wentz and Wilson are currently carrying 12% & 10% ownership so there is little advantage gained by rostering either over the other. It comes down to which one projects to have a better game and how you believe this game will play out. I personally think we are looking at a shoot out, particularly on the Wilson side as the Philadelphia Defense ($2,900) have been much better against the run than the pass. So I may lean more Wilson than Wentz. But that is just me. What makes both guys nice plays is they are in the later game, so should you stack either with Thomas and Kamara and the unthinkable happens and both studs stink, your lineup isn’t dead as you have a great play lined up in the other game – does that make sense? Haha.
Dalvin Cook is an interesting play today as the Saints haven’t been as dominant against the run in the second half of the season after key injuries have occurred and with Cook being more expensive than Kamara, I don’t feel he will be as popular a play. We have seen the opportunity Cook gets in this Vikings offense when he is healthy and last night we saw a similar back (Derek Henry) demolish the supposed #1 defense, with a similar snap share to what Cook gets. I will have some shares of Dalvin Cook and a very sneaky play here would be Cook and Kamara together, without Brees or Thomas.
The nice thing about Kamara taking 90% of Draft Kings ownership is every other back is being rostered 10% or less. So in a way, whomever you pair Kamara with will give you a contrarian play.
The Eagles backfield is also in play tonight. Miles Sanders ($6,200) should lead the way and is in a great spot at home against a beatable Seattle run defense. Boston Scott ($5,200) has been an absolute beast lately however and I would suspect that will lead to being a part of the Eagle’s game plan. Both are fine plays. However word from the Eagles’ coaching staff is that Jordan Howard ($4,400) will likely have a role as well. If you believe that to be true, Howard would be a very contrarian piece to your lineup coming it at 1% ownership.
The Eagles have held opposing backfields to under 100 yards per game. This will put Marshawn Lynch ($5,100) and Travis Homer ($5,200) at a disadvantage, though Homer carries a nice upside catching balls out of the backfield. Pete Carroll loves him some “Beast Mode” especially at the goal line so I wouldn’t fade Lynch entirely. Homer however is an excellent play today and at a very reasonable price.
Wide Receivers after Thomas? I like the Seahawks Tyler Lockett ($7,000) and DK Metcalf ($5,900) best against an Eagles Pass defense conceding the most air yards on the slate. However both players are carrying 34%+ ownership currently, so everyone else likes this play too.
The Eagles’ Greg Ward ($5,000) is literally the second most popular WR behind Thomas with close to 50% ownership currently. He is the clear #1 WR for Wentz but honestly, so far, that hasn’t really translated to mega numbers. With Wentz relying on his Tight Ends and Running Backs to get the job done, call me crazy but Ward is an easy fade for me. Sure I could be wrong and this could be the Greg Ward breakout – but at zero ownership JJ Ortega Whiteside at minimum price ($3,300) really stands out to me as a very contrarian play. It comes with risk but with nearly 50% of players taking Ward with his lack of targets and real upside, save the money and take a chance.
Interestingly enough Vikings are getting no love going into the Superdome. Stefon Diggs ($6,300) is coming in at 14% owned while Adam Thielan ($6,200) looks virtually unowned and with a lot of focus likely coming Diggs’ way, Thielan could be a great pivot and he has the talent to break out at any time.
Regarding secondary Saints receivers Ted Ginn ($3,600) and Tre’Quon Smith ($4,000) don’t see the volume of anyone else on the slate but at home with Brees behind center … anything can happen. Both are inexpensive options however Smith is carrying slightly more ownership than Ginn largely due to multiple weeks with a touchdown over the last 5 weeks of the season.
Lastly we get to tight ends and the Eagles Tight Ends are the most watched for sure. Zac Ertz still carries a questionable tag but either way I think Dallas Goedert ($5,200) is honestly the safest play on the entire slate. Wentz looks to his tight ends and both guys are great plays. However with Ertz’s distinction of questionable his ownership right now is literally .2. I’d expect that to jump considerably if he is announced as playing – but if that announcement doesn’t come until near kick off, you could catch a lot of people sleeping on it. The nice thing is there is only a $200 difference between both players, so if you roster Ertz you can pivot easily to Goedert. Or be really contrarian and roster both!
Jacob Hollister ($4,300) is currently your most owned Tight End at 40%. Now if Ertz is announced as playing I expect that to change but in the meantime, if you rostered Hollister in Week 17 you realized how dependent he is on scoring to help you. The Eagles have been quietly very good against Tight Ends too.
It is risky but I kinda like the Vikings’ Kyle Rudolph ($3,500) and Irv Smith ($2,700). Rudolph is also extremely touchdown dependent from a fantasy perspective, but you save $800 vs Hollister who is in the same boat. Irv Smith has been a check down candidate for Cousins and for that role and at a mint price tag, big Irv is worthy of a look.
Then you have Jarod Cook ($4,900) who I think may be the sneakiest of all plays despite the price. The narrative is the Vikings stop tight ends. But Cook isn’t your standard tight end, often times lining up wide or occasionally from the slot. Right now Cook looks to be under 4% owned and for his upside, he could be a perfect contrarian compliment to a Kamara Thomas Stack with or without Brees.
Finally DST. The Saints ($3,000) are your most expensive play and right now the most popular. Followed by the Vikings ($2,200) your least expensive play. My play is he Eagles ($2,500) at less than 1% ownership but the Seahawks ($2,800) are fine too. Just be careful to not negatively correlate your QB with the opposing Defense. Trust me.
Good Luck Today!