What a game last night between the Chiefs and the Raiders. I think one thing we learned is that the Raiders offense is FOR REAL and could spell trouble for the AFC Stalwarts that they face rest of season. Additionally there are no flies on Mahomes and company either. I especially have to applaud the resolve of the Chiefs defense who really turned a corner in the second half after literally being trampled under foot during the first two quarters. But that was last night …
Tonight brings us a fun clash between Jared Goff and the Rams and Tom Brady and the Buccaneers. On a whole and as a fan, I love the idea of these two high powered offenses facing off – but if you duck under the hood a bit, you also have two very good defenses facing off too. Which side will win. Let’s take a look at the last 4 games by each squad and see if that gives us an edge.
Week 10 vs Seattle: Rams win 23 – 16
Week 8 vs Miami: Rams lose 17 – 28
Week 7 vs Chicago: Rams win 24 – 10
Week 6 vs San Fran: Rams lose 16 – 24
It isn’t the 50/50 record that concerns me. It is that the Rams defense is only allowing an average of 19.5 Points over the last 4 games. Moreover that the Rams offense is only scoring an average of 20 points per game. Now what about the Buccaneers…
Week 10 vs Carolina: Bucs win 46-23
Week 9 vs New Orleans: Bucs lose 3 – 38
Week 8 vs Giants: Bucs win 25 – 23
Week 7 vs Raiders: Bucs win 45 – 20
So Tampa Bay has had a winning record over the last 4 games, which is certainly a plus. But I think we need to consider the rather unpredictable scoring of this offense. If you subtract the Week 9 game here, the Bucs are averaging a fantastic 38.7 points per game on offense. But when you add in the Week 9 game that number drops significantly to 29.8 points. You can consider the New Orleans Saints game an anomaly or you can look at it as what happens when Tom Brady & Company face a GOOD defense. Could that be a harbinger of things to come? However I also think you need to consider what the Bucs’ defense is allowing in an average 26 points per game as more of a message to take home.
My point in all of this is that you need to consider that both of these teams are allowing less than 30 points per game on defense and despite the high powered nature of both offenses, this could be a rather low scoring affair and if you keep that in mind when building your lineup, I think it will force you to think differently than the majority of DFS players in the field.
My Captain/MVP Picks
The top two projected highest owned players on this slate are Tom Brady and Jared Goff. Brady threatening nearly 80% ownership and I think he will be the natural choice for people at Captain tonight. There are plenty of reasons for this by the way. Only once this season has Brady failed to crack 200 yards passing while 6 times he has thrown over 250 yards, 3 of which he went for over 300 yards. He is averaging roughly 28 attempts per game and he has gone for 40 or more three times. Also his only game not to throw a touchdown pass all season was week 9 against the Saints whereas seven times this year he has thrown for 2 or more. So Brady has the stats to back up the ownership, however the Rams are allowing an average of 221 passing yards per game and are one of the best in the league against Quarterbacks, allowing 17.3 fantasy points to the position per game. So where does this leave us. On FanDuel he is an obvious choice as Captain where salaries don’t mater but on Draft Kings for me, the opportunity cost is too high at ⅓ of the total salary and should he be closer to his Week 9 score with Aaron Donald and company rushing him every snap, I just don’t see a path where he blows up to the point that you need him in the spot to cash.
This brings us to Jared Goff. At a full $2,000 less than Brady on Draft Kings, his salary is a little easier to swallow but for me I will be looking elsewhere and let me explain why. Goff has gone over 30 Fantasy points only once this season and twice he has scored 11. Moreover the last 4 weeks we just examined? Goff finished at 14.5, 17.2, 16.9 and 15.9 Fantasy points and against a nasty Tampa Bay defense I don’t know if I’d expect more from him than what his recent history is telling me. I like both Brady and Goff as Flex Plays on DK for sure tonight but I think I am staying away from Quarterback at Captain. On FanDuel I much prefer Brady to Goff – but Goff could end up being the more contrarian play of the two…
The difficulty then is finding whom is the right Captain. Both the Rams and Bucs are allowing less than 100 yards on the ground this season, with the Bucs specifically only allowing an average of 76 yards – so running backs also don’t present the best opportunity on paper either. So for me I think I need to rely on what the data says and roll with a Rams Wide Receiver at Captain tonight as the Buccaneers rank 15th against the position allowing over 20 Fantasy Points on average. We saw just what the Rams can do to high powered passing attacks like Seattle just a short couple weeks ago, so sticking with Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods or Josh Reynolds at Captain is most likely where you will find my lineups. Of the three the one who is standing out the most to me is Josh Reynolds. Not only because he is the cheapest of the three and not only because he is the least owned of the 3 (to be fair all of the Rams receivers are projected at 30% ownership or higher) but it is also the recent performance that leads me this way. Over the last 3 weeks Reynolds has seen 8 plus targets and he is just coming off a 94 yard game as well. Could that be because the other two studs aren’t seeing the looks? In the case of Cooper Kupp I would say no as within that same span he did have a 20 target game. In the case of Woods though, I say maybe as over the last 3 weeks Woods has seen 8 targets only once while the other two weeks he saw 5 and 6 targets. So if you believe that in this game Kupp or Woods is the one to go off, I don’t hate it – of the two I prefer Woods due to him coming in at less ownership, but Cooper Kupp is always a threat to go off. For me though I feel good at using Reynolds in that spot leaning on a continuation of the recent trends.
If I am going on the other side of the ball, I may consider Ronald Jones strongly. It is about opportunities and more times than not this year RoJo is seeing 20 or more opportunities and even in tough running matchups he has shown he can perform. Plus coming off of a game where RoJo broke Buccaneers record for longest run in a game, I could see him getting the rock early and often. I prefer him to Fournette here, but I think my favorite Buccaneers Captain is Rob Gronkowski. Despite being #1 against Wide Receivers, the Rams are 15th against Tight Ends and so if I am using the same logic as I am for the Rams Receivers, I have to apply it here. Gronk has scored a touchdown in 4 of his last 5 games and seen 6 or more targets in 4 of the last 6 games. The fire has been re-lit between TB12 and Gronk and I could see Gronk figuring in heavily if the Rams are able to contain Godwin, Evans and Brown. Gronk also projects for under 25% ownership tonight which is a luxury I don’t mind exploiting.
If I am going a Tampa Bay Wide Receiver in Captain tonight, it’s Chris Godwin. Over his last 4 games with Brady Godwin is seeing 6 or more targets and twice in that span he has gone for 80 or more yards. I think positive Touchdown regression is coming for Godwin and with 3 stud wide receivers for the Rams to try and contain, I could see Godwin finding some room to move. If you are hunting Touchdowns than perhaps Mike Evans is your man, but this season we have really seen Evans be too touchdown dependent for me to take a shot on at Captain. The wild card here is Antonio Brown who has seen 13 targets come his way since returning and 101 yards under his belt, but something tells me of the three, Brown will see the most of Jaylen Ramsey tonight and that could spell trouble with a capital T.
And if you are like me and believe this game could underwhelm from an offensive production standpoint, I don’t think it is a crazy notion (if you are mass multi-entering) to take a shot a couple shots with the Kickers as Captain. We have some confusion on who will be kicking for the Rams, Matt Gay or Austin MacGinnis but on the Bucs side I think Ryan Succop is a solid choice. Twice in the past 4 weeks he has seen 4 Field Goal attempts and he also has a 50 yarder under his belt. We have seen Kickers at Captain take down the milly maker tournament in the past and while I am not saying go full board Ryan Succop in every lineup, I’ll have a few shots here or there. I also don’t hate the defenses either if you are in the mindset that this game underwhelms. I like the sack and turnover upside the Rams offer and I like the turnover upside that the Bucs offer. So pick your poison but if you are multi-entering I’d have no more than one lineup for each defense whether rostering them at Captain or in the Flex.
Flex, Flex Flex it Up
My strategy here is to try and take 4 guys from one team (the team I think will win) and 2 from the other side. I think if you can manage this strategy it will allow you the right pieces that you will need since each team has multiple weapons to choose from. The 4-2 build has been winning more tournaments this season as well than in the past.
With the Rams I like the stack with Goff, Reynolds and either Kupp or Woods. I don’t often roster both Kupp and Woods in the same lineup as they don’t often both go off and in this matchup I don’t think both will go off. I think rounding it the stack out with Tyler Higbee or Gerald Everett is a decent idea as both will see ample playing time AND the Bucs are being the most generous to the Tight End position allowing 20+ fantasy points per game to the position – but I also don’t hate including a running back in this stack as a way to be contrarian. While Darrell Henderson led the backfield last week, the most buzz was on rookie Cam Akers who also saw more work than he has had in the past. But in a stack with Goff I would include either Henderson or Malcolm Brown only because they have seen targets from Goff more consistently all season. Brown with the most for what it’s worth. I don’t see the Rams getting a ton done between the tackles against this run defense but they could get something done through the air. If you have lineups that don’t contain Goff and a pass catchers stack than I don’t mind plugging in Henderson or Akers but Brown tends to be too Touchdown dependent to roster by himself – at least that is how I feel.
With the Bucs I want a stack with Brady, Godwin and either Evans or Brown. I don’t see a path where both Evans and Brown get there at the same time. I will round my stack out with Gronk or the ever present contrarian play Cameron Brate who will see targets and even nabbed a touchdown this season. I also don’t hate using Leonard Fournette in that stack as a contrarian piece. Fournette I think has lost a lot of his between the tackles duties to the over performance of Jones but he does offer something for targets out of the backfield. I think going a bit deeper if your are multi-entering, you could take a shot on Scotty Miller too. If you are of the theory that the Rams are going to lockdown Godwin, Evans and Brown then I could see Brady looking Miller’s shifty way and in a game where Brady will be facing a wicked pass rush, getting the ball out quickly will be a must. Miller could fill that void. I know the Rams are great against the run, but I just think RoJo has been too good lately to ignore here. I likely won’t be rostering him in lineups where the pass catchers are fully stacked but using him as a one off to a Rams stack isn’t the worst idea…
Good Luck in your Contests!