DC Defenders vs Tampa Bay Vipers
Before I start here I just wanted to share a strategy I always try and employ when playing the full slate of games – the “late night hammer”. Now in this case it would be the Sunday afternoon Hammer, but the gist is the same. If you are playing the full slate with all four games, select who you think will be some of the the best plays from the last game available and make sure you have one of those players in each of your lineups you play. That way you are lining yourself up to have points in the last available place. In the event you are winning cash it can help keeping you winning cash and if you go into the last game close to cashing, your late night hammer may help to bring you home. Got it? Ok…
Let’s talk DC Defenders
The Defenders were embarrassed last week on both sides of the ball. I expect the Defenders to come out of the gate hot this week against a Vipers Defense dead last in the league on all fronts. That starts with QB Cardale Jones. Jones was benched last week as the game had gotten out of hand but he’ll be back under Center this week and is a great play against the Vipers who are 8th of 8 teams against the QB.
Who Cardale will throw to becomes interesting to figure out as NFL journeyman Eli Rogers is the favorite target if weeks 1 & 2 are a guide but speedster Rashad Ross is the clear explosive down the sideline option that really highlighted weeks 1 & 2 for the defenders. Then there is the Defenders highly touted first round pick DeAndre Thompkins who returned from injury last week but (like the rest of the team) put up a dud. My favorite tournament play in the group is Ross with his speed and his separation. Rogers also lines up as a great play against this defense and his consistent target share makes him a solid Cash play. It remains to be seen how DeAndre Thompkins will figure in – but he is a very popular play today. I am with the field here as he does have the potential to break out today with a generous Vipers defense waiting for him.
Running back Donnel Pumphrey has controlled the majority of snapshare in this backfield seconded by Juhrell Pressley. Pressley exited early last week which gave opportunities to Nick Brossette and Khalid Abdullah and if there was a bright spot in the Defenders game last week it was this pair of backs. Brossette especially taking 8 carries for 75 yards and a score. Abdullah also had a strong game including 2 targets. But with Juhrell expected back this week it remains to be seen if either Brossette or Abdullah earned more share in the backfield. If I had to guess it will remain Pumphrey and Juhrell controlling the backfield and both are in great spots to capitalize. Winning lineups have running backs that are doing it all on the ground and through the air and I like the Defenders running game here. I don’t mind taking a shot on Brossette either. His performance last week really stood out and it’s potentially possible his coaches took notice. It is risky, but I will have some share of Brossette.
The Tampa Bay Vipers
With Vipers QB Quintin Flowers expected out with personal reasons and #2 Aaron Murray returning from a foot injury, your starting Tampa Bay Vipers QB is Taylor Cornelius. Last week Cornelius came into the game after Murray’s injury and performed well! Throwing for 193 yards and a score. He did have an interception though. He also rushed the ball 6 times for 33 and a score. It remains to be seen if the DC Defenders Defense is smoke and mirrors or the real deal – but one thing is for sure, they dominated two teams in week 2 and getting embarrassed last week could put a huge chip on their shoulder. So recommending Cornelius does come with risk – but at 7k to get a starting QB with wheels … hey crazier things could happen.
A real bright spot in the Vipers games thus far is their two running backs. Both DeVeon Smith and Jacques Patrick have been very capable on the ground and through the air. The danger is that the Vipers are often playing from behind which can take their backs out of the game plan. But this week they get the Defenders who have been rather generous to running backs – in fact they are dead last in the league against the run. Smith is the clear #1 and is as close to a priority for me. With a backup to the backup under center the Vipers could look to lean on Smith even more. Patrick is an ok Flex choice as well. I expect the Vipers running game to be strong today.
Looking at the Vipers receivers there are 3 guys worth talking about. Jalen Tolliver, Dan Williams and Reece Horn. Tolliver had is coming off a 100 yard game last week. Williams has been a target monster through 3 weeks and he saw 7 in week 3. With targets come opportunity and if the Vipers are able to get their running game going, it could open up opportunities through the air. Last but not least is Reece Horn. Horn has seen no less than 5 targets per game over the last 3 weeks – but, it is the connection with QB Cornelius that has me very interested. Horn played a pivotal role in the Viper’s final drive last week and was Corny’s target on the final play of the game. With a week of practice under their belt with Cornelius under center could bring good things for Horn and all the Vipers receivers and I think they will all come in with low ownership. People will be scared off by the little red 3rd regarding their opponent rank and will look elsewhere. But after the total domination that the Wildcats showed versus the Defenders Defense last week, I am not afraid. While it is tough to say which of these three Vipers receivers could go off but I like them and I’ll have my shares. I especially like Reece Horn as I feel like after last week Cornelius will be looking for him.
My DFS Takeways from this game:
⁃ I don’t love this game on a whole but I think Cardale Jones $9,900 is a fine play and could be a bit overlooked with Phillip Walker slightly more expensive and Landry Jones slightly less expensive around him. The Defenders should bounce back here and I think having some share of Cardale Jones in your lineup is a good idea.
⁃ I also like taking a shot on Rashad Ross $8,700 and his deep threat ability especially in tournaments. I think for cash games, Eli Rogers $9,200 is also a fine play.
⁃ For salary relief at QB you can’t find a better option than Taylor Cornelius $7,000 for the Vipers. He offers some upside here outside of his price. He may have the best total receiving core on the slate and a dynamic set of running backs. Plus Cornelius can move. If he goes for 300 yards a couple scores and runs for 54 yards he more than pays off his salary.
⁃ Deveon Smith $6,100 is a great play today at Running Back but is behind only Lance Dunbar in tournament ownership. However I will eat that chalk. The Defenders have not been good against the run and Smith could be in store for a monster game. Don’t sleep on Jacques Patrick $5,000 either.
– I also like the Vipers receivers and especially like their prices! Dan Williams $7,800, Jalen Tolliver $6,000 and Reece Horn $5,000 are all in play for me with Horn my favorite. Yes the Defenders will come out swinging after last weeks embarrassing loss but I like the chances of these Vipers especially if the running game with Smith can get going.
And you can’t I can’t help but have at least a share of the Defenders DST here too. If you are playing a Vipers/Cornelius Lineup, hedge your bet with a Defenders DST lineup too. The reality is these guys were embarrassed last week and they are ready to reclaim their respect and Cornelius is the backup to the backup after all.
Good Luck in your Contests!