By Sean Weymouth
It’s difficult to write a “picks” article for DFS when you are talking about 8 teams full of studs. I like all of them. They are good. They have gotten further along than everyone else. In fact with ownership of these players in tournaments and in cash games being so hyper focused it on this dwindling player pool, I think the best thing to offer here is my strategies on how I am attacking the slate.
Let’s start with QB. Mahomes, Jackson, Watson, Cousins, Tannehill, Garoppolo and Russell Wilson. What a cast of characters – how do you pick? Common sense says that where most of the field of players goes one way, you may want to go the other. Betting on a great performance on your guy and a sub par one for the most popular player, allowing you an advantage.
I don’t know if this will apply today though. Both Lamar Jackson ($8,400) on Draft King’s and Patrick Mahomes ($7,500) have had a week off and have matchups that they should be able to carve up. They will be chalky plays but it may not be chalk you can avoid, as I’d expect one of these two players to be in most winning lineups today. Jackson and Mahomes are the 1a and 1b plays of the day, on paper. If you are able to, I would play them and I’d even play them without a stack. Both guys are on a mission here. Don’t over think it in other words.
I think there will be a lot of players trying to “contrarian” today with the underdog plays of Kurt Cousins ($5,700) and Ryan Tannehill ($5,400). I understand that way of thinking. However keep in mind, in both upsets last week – neither QB scored over 15 DK points. In fact if you played Tannehill, you probably lost with his 7 point performance. Now anything can happen, but if I am the Titans and Vikings my offensive scheme isn’t going to beet away from what brought me here – run first. Tannehill only completed 8 passes for 72 yards to beat the Patriots. Cousins did throw more including amassing 242 and a score – but that resulted in a paltry 13 fantasy points. I am staying away from both of these guys today – but Dalvin Cook ($8,000) and Derek Henry ($8,200) should be on your radar!!
Then you have Aaron Rogers ($6,500) who I actually expect to be the lowest owned on the day. The reason is clear – it’s tough to trust him from a DFS perspective. Do you know that including Week 17, Aaron Rogers only scored 20 or more DK Points 5 Times? Yes, 5. So for all other 12 weeks Aaron Rogers – from a DFS perspective – stunk. Today he plays the Seahawks and Russell Wilson ($6,600). The narrative says this will be a shootout. But I am looking at both defenses with a glaring obvious issue with that narrative. Neither the Green Bay or Seattle defenses can stop the run ranking 17th and 22nd and giving up 117 or more per game on the ground. Aaron Jones ($7,400 and to a lesser extent Jamaal Williams ($4,600) will has a major role in the Packers Game Plan. Coach Pete Carroll has already said he wants to feature Marshawn Lynch ($4,800) today and don’t sleep on pass catching back Travis Homer ($5,100) either. Both the Packers and the Seahawks rushing options should be on your radar. I’d additionally expect that only Aaron Jones will see a high tick in ownership. If I had to pick between Rogers and Wilson, it’s Wilson because of his legs…but I’m not excited about it!
This brings us with Jimmy Garoppolo ($5,600). Garoppolo will be popular today as the cheapest option out of the Elite 8. He also has been inconsistent this year, with the run first offense of Kyle Shanahan in play. He will be facing a Minnesota Defense with a chip on their shoulder after shutting down Drew Brees in the Superdome. He also has one of the best clutch time weapons to throw to George Kittle ($6,200). What to do with Jimmy? Well let’s start with that Handsome Jimmy has even less 20+ DK point games this season than Aaron Rogers – 4! Let’s even look at his last regular season win, where he put up 285 yards and no touchdowns against Seattle. If I don’t like Tanehill, Cousins and Rogers for the same reasons… I think you catch my drift. Raheem Mostert ($5,800), Matt Breida ($3,300), Tevin Coleman ($3,500) should all be on your radar. Mostert mainly but if desperate Breida and Coleman will get touches and be involved. Also – just because I don’t like Jimmy G doesn’t mean I don’t like the big guy … George Kittle is my favorite play today at Tight End.
Lastly I think Deshaun Watson ($6,700) will be overlooked by many players going up for Mahomes and Jackson or going down for Cousins and Garoppolo. There is some fear here. The Kansas City Defense has quietly become the 8th best in the league against Quarterbacks, holding teams on average to 221 yards through the air. Additionally the KC pass rush isn’t one to sleep on and there is no other QB in the league that has taken more sacks than Watson. Lastly, while you can run on KC – the Texans feature backs do not carry an “elite” feel to them versus Dalvin Cook, Derek Henry, Aaron Jones or evening Lynch – all of the run first offenses we have discussed this far. Watson however is an AFC South winning QB and can break a slate and take over a game at a moments notice. He is an explosive play maker and believe it or not, a very sneaky play today. With Mahomes less than $1,000 more, I think most of the field will gravitate there. I think Duke Johnson ($4,700) could be a very sneaky play with the Chiefs being middle of the road against pass catching backs. DeAndre Hopkins ($7,400) is in play especially with Wil Fuller again coming up questionable. If the Texans are to win though, they will need a big game from Nuk. Unfortunately if Fuller sits, there just isn’t another receiver on this team I trust to see the targets. I’m not falling into a Kenny Stills trap again. Lastly on the Texans I’d expect Carlos Hyde ($5,000) to be virtually unowned and we have seen Hyde pop off big games against teams that aren’t elite against the run.
Some other plays I like today:
Davante Adams ($7,800) – despite not liking Rogers, it is clear where the targets are going and Adams will need to step up today to get a win at home.
Tyreek Hill ($7,600) is in an absolute smash spot against the leaky Texans secondary. Hill is my favorite Wide Receiver Play today.
DK Metcalf ($6,800) who really broke out last week will be popular but is in a great spot to repeat…. Tyler Lockett ($6,600) also has this same great matchup and with a few dollars savings from Metcalf, may make Lockett a better play today – especially with ownership likely moving toward Metcalf.
Deebo Samuel ($5,200) has proven to be a very capable and versatile number two to Kittle and has a great opportunity against a Vikings Defense who has been up and down all season against Wide Receivers.
Mark Ingram ($6,700) Ingram’s biggest games of the season have come on Lamar Jackson’s biggest fantasy weeks. If you are playing Jackson for that kind of upside, don’t sleep on Ingram.
Damien Williams ($6,000) Since returning from injury Williams has regained the clear cut #1 RB in the offense and if the Chiefs and Mahomes are putting up massive points, I want his running back on my squad.
Marquise Brown ($4,400) I have no evidence of this and am certainly nothing from his up and down season could tell me this, but I think Hollywood is a great play today. You heard it hear first.
Mark Andrews ($5,600) and Jacob Hollister ($4,000) I group these guys together because they have so much buzz on them week after week and I’ll just say it’s worth it. Hollister damn near one beat the 49ers in week 17 and Andrews is riding a Two Game Touchdown Streak – Let’s Go!
Jimmy Graham ($3,300) the ghost of Graham got 7 targets last time on the field and he is near minimum salary. He makes for a very contrarian play at flex double stacking Tight Ends in your lineup. Trust me you’ll be amazed.
My dart throw of the week – David Moore ($3,900) who saw 4 targets last week and if the Green Bay Defense comes to play at home today, there could be a role for Moore especially in the red zone.
And my Lock of the Week? Travis Kelce ($6,400). Kelce is the #1 Tight End in Football and he is a big time target of Pat Mahomes. Set it, forget it, it just feels good. Additionally you are getting Kelce at a discount from where his price was all season. Man, speaking of double stacking Tight Ends – if you can get a Kelce/Kittle Lineup together – I like your odds.
Good Luck in your Contests!