You Can Find Me on Twitter @DelRayBoston
There is an air of danger in the air these days. Unfortunately that danger is actually in the air in the form of Ominicron which sounds more like a Decepticon name of a giant baddie, than it does a strain of the worlds worst villain – Covid-19. The NFL has been hit hard by Covid-19 just like all of us but it particularly has seemed like a superspreader recently. The core of this article will be about who is out and who is questionable and the value plays that have opened up that you need to be aware of – or avoid. Then I’ll touch on core stacks to build around.
So let’s start with who we know is out or doubtful, and what that has already opened up:
Jimmy Garoppolo is doubtful and hasn’t practiced all week. Enter Trey Lance who at $4,800 is already looking to be the highest owned Quarterback by a mile at 20%. The Niners play Houston and the matchup is only helping to drive Lance’s ownership as much as the price.
Lamar Jackson is out in a big game against the Rams. Tyler Huntley $5,600 will start and he offers TREMENDOUS value, having dropped 35 Fantasy Points in Week 15 against another tough defense in Green Bay including 73 rushing yards and 2 rushing TDs.
Justin Fields though only Questionable, Matt Nagy all but ruled him inactive already by announcing that the Red Rocket himself Andy Dalton ($5,200) would start against the Giants. Dalton is going wildly underowned (1%) in dare I say an equally appealing matchup against the G-Men.
Tedy Bridgewater has been ruled out which lines Drew Lock ($5,100) up for a start against the Chargers. Start the Chargers Defense ($3,100) considering Lock will also be without both Jerry Jeudy and Tim Patrick due to Covid Protocols. I’d also be worried about both Javonte Williams ($6,400) and Melvin Gordon ($6,200) both also questionable but expected to play.
Jared Goff is doubtful for the Lion’s matchup against the Seahawks with all signs pointing to Tim Boyle ($4,600) getting another start. Additionally 3 of the Lions top 4 receivers also won’t be on the field with Josh Reynolds and Kalif Raymond unlikely not to play due to Covid protocols and Quintez Cephus on IR. Start the Seattle Defense ($3,300) in other words and I’d also be worried about D’Andre Swift ($6,000) despite his being 100% ready to return.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire has been ruled out as the Chiefs square off against the Bengals. Darrel Williams is likely to start at RB here and at $5,800 and 11% ownership and climbing, I am not very interested…Derrick Gore, likely to be the change of pace at $5,100 and .1% ownership has my attention however.
Antonio Gibson likely out due to the Covid protocols, this ideally would open up a great value play against the Eagles in Jaret Patterson ($4,800) but with Jonathan Williams ($4,600) and Wendall Smallwood ($4,300) both also active, it is a bit of a murky backfield situation I am likely to avoid.
Leonard Fournette has been placed on IR and likely won’t be available until the playoffs, potentially. DK Players are racing to plug Ronald Jones ($6,300) into their lineups with Jones sitting at 25% ownership currently, but was I the only one really impressed by what I saw from Ke’Shawn Vaughn ($5,200) last week? I think so as he only has around 1% ownership. I’ll take a chance on Vaughn. Not to mention they are playing the Jets and it is entirely possible in a blow out they rest Jones in advance of the playoffs. Which reminds me to mention that the the Bucs are now also the proud contract owners of Le’veon Bell ($4,500) and again in a blow out situation, I could see Bell getting some touches to conserve Jones and or Vaughn for the playoffs.
Darrell Henderson has been placed on IR. Sony Michel ($5,800) I think needs to be in your player pool even in a matchup against Baltimore. Let’s face it, Michel has looked good and you know he will see nearly every goal line run that this offense sets up for him. Michel is looking to have around 25% ownership, but I like him too much in this game to let that bother me. Especially since Cam Akers, disappointingly, has also been ruled out
Miles Sanders has been ruled out with the hopes he can return in Week 18 against the Cowboys. Normally when this news hits DFS players are prone to lock in Boston Scott ($4,900) but my pick to lead this backfield is Jordan Howard ($5,200) who is now officially expected to play. I also expect Scott ti have a role too but how much, who knows. Oh yeah and Kenneth Gainwell is still hanging around. I love the prices on Howard and Scott and will have some shares of each sprinkled into my lineups.
David Johnson is unlikely to play due to Covid Protocols. Flexy Rexy Burkhead $5,000 needs to be in your player pool against the 49ers after he just took 22 carries for 149 yards and 2 touchdowns against the Chargers.
Elijah Moore has been ruled out due to Covid protocols. Should bring up too that Jamison Crowder is also doubtful to play. In a matchup against the Buccaneers, that I personally think the Jets will be playing catchup ball from jump – I think both these things help Running Back Michael Carter ($5,100) as an adept pass catcher. I think it also opens some cheap dart throws on Denzel Mims $3,000, Braxton Berrios $3,700 and Keelan Cole $3.600
Tevin Coleman is unlikely to play due to Covid Protocols. I already mentioned Michael Carter when referencing Elijah Moore and Jamison Crowder being out. I’ll mention him again here. Michael Carter. I don’t mind a dart throw on Ty Johnson either $4,000
Julio Jones has been ruled out due to Covid Protocols. I’d say lock in AJ Brown $7,200 except for the fact that the Dolphins have been playing nothing short of inspired football, particularly the Defense. I think this game will be a lot lower scoring than expected and I’d bet the under here.
Darius Slayton, Kadarius Toney, Sterling Shepard all ruled out for the Giants. Why is this important? I think Saquon Barkley is going criminally under valued at $6,000 and under owned at 3%. The Bears will put all the pressure Jake Fromme or Mike Glennon can handle and Barkley who is 100% should be not only busy, but the primary offensive weapon for the Giants. If his ownerships stays where it is, I think you need to have Barkley in your player pool.
Nelson Agholor has been ruled out, while Jacoby Meyers ($5,100) remains questionable. This is a must win for the Patriots and if Meyers ends up playing, I think both he and Kendrick Bourne ($5,000) need to be in your player pool. If Meyers is out, I don’t mind taking a chance on N’Keal Harry ($3,000) who has had back to back weeks of 5 or more targets. PS if Meyers is out, Bourne is as close to a lock for me as possible. Should mention that Damien Harris ($6,600) is questionable but likely and he should be a smash play as well. I’d also mention that Rhamondre Stevenson ($5,300) is back 100% and if Harris is out, Stevenson is a lock for me at RB. Even in Harris is in, I think Stevenson is a strong Flex consideration at no ownership.
Darren Waller will not clear Covid Protocols and will not play. Expect Foster Moreau ($3,800) to garner a ton of ownership despite doing very little with the TE1 Opportunity thus far – though he has had 2 straight weeks of double digit fantasy points. The Colts rank 30th against the TE so on paper, Moreau could have a shot at his best game yet.
Jared Cook is not likely to clear Covid Protocols and is unlikely to play. With Donald Parham also on IR that opens up some value dart throws. Stephen Anderson ($2,500) is likely to act as the TE1 while also Tre Mckitty ($2,500) and Hunter Kampoyer ($2,500) will also be active. The matchup against Tennesee is horrible for Tight Ends, but considering all of Cook’s backups are the Bare Minimum Salary, they are worth mentioning.
James O’Shaughnessy will not play due to Covid Protocols, as are his first two backups Chris Manhertz and Jacob Hollister. This leaves Luke Farrell and Kahle Warring – both $2,500 – as Jacksonville’s only healthy Tight Ends. Again the matchup against the Patriots is horrible for Tight Ends, but we did just see Dawson Knox have a solid game against them. Again – bare minimum salaries here – worth mentioning.
Tyler Kroft will not play due to Covid Protocols. Kroft was already thrust into the #1 TE slot for the Jets after Ryan Griffin went on IR. This leaves Kenny Yeboah and Dan Brown – both at $2,500 – left as the only healthy Jets tight ends. This one carries more weight than just bare minimum salary, since as mentioned the Jets will also be without Elijah Moore and Jamison Crowder. The Buccaneers are middle of the road against Tight Ends and I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see either Yeboah or Brown to see 4 or more targets.
AND some other players, listed as Q, to keep an eye on:
Carson Wentz has been activated off the Covid List but has not yet been cleared to play. In a must win against Las Vegas I like his price tag of $5,700 if he plays. If he doesn’t the Colts will lean on Rookie Sam Ehlinger ($4,500) and if that is the case, the Raider Defense ($2,700) will have a lot of appeal for me.
James Connor looks to be a game time decision. If he is in at $6,100 and multiple touchdown upside in any game, I like the matchup against Dallas. If he is out, I think Chase Edmonds $5,700 takes a big step up. However, Cardinals receiver Rondale Moore ($4,100) is also questionable. If Connor is in but Moore is out, I still like Edmonds to have a role in this game plan as an adept pass catcher.
Mark Ingram looks to be a game time decision. Honestly the matchup against Carolina isn’t a great one for running backs even at Ingram’s $5,500 price tag. If he is out though, it just furthers the belief I have in Alvin Kamara ($7,900) in this matchup which the Saints need to win to have any hope of a wild card.
Marquise Brown looks to be a game time decision. If he is in at $5,900 I think he offers great value against the Rams even if it is Huntley is under center and not Jackson. If he is out though, I’d be hard pressed not to lock in Rashod Bateman at $4,800.
Lil’Jordan Humphrey looks to be a game time decision. With Tre’Quon Smith already ruled out, at $3,300 I think Humphrey is a tremendous value play taking 5 targets for 3 catches for 70 yards last week. If he is out I think you need to look at Marquez Callaway ($4,600) and Deonte Harris ($3,000) even in a tough match up against Carolina.
Curtis Samuel looks to be a game time decision. But at $3,600 if he plays, I think you can take a dart throw here. We saw last week how lost this team looked without a clear #2 option behind Terry McLauren and now with Antonio Gibson also likely out, if Samuel plays I expect him to be involved in both the running and passing game.
Jack Doyle looks to be a game time decision. If he plays he has a great matchup against the Raiders ranked 30th against Tight Ends and at only $2,700 he offers excellent value with upside. If Doyle sits though Mo Alley-Cox at $2,800 should be on your radar in this matchup.
STACKS I AM BUILDING AROUND:
Josh Allen + Devin Singletary + Stefon Diggs + either Cole Beasley or Gabriel Davis + Bills Defense
Patrick Mahomes + either Tyreek Hill or Travis Kelce
Tom Brady + Mike Evans + Rob Gronkowski or Antonio Brown + Buccaneers Defense
Kyler Murray + James Connor or Chase Edmonds + Christian Kirk or AJ Green + Zack Ertz
Matthew Stafford + Sony Michel + Cooper Kupp + either Odell Beckham or Van Jefferson or Tyler Higbee
Joe Borrow + Joe Mixon + Ja’marr Chase + Tee Higgins
Jalen Hurts + Devonta Smith + Dallas Goedert + Eagles Defense
Russell Wilson + DK Metcalf or Tyler Lockett + Seahawks Defense
Tua Tagovailoa + Jalen Waddle + either Devonte Parker or Mike Gesicki
Derek Carr + Josh Jacobs + Hunter Renfrow + either DeSean Jackson or Zay Jones or Bryan Edwards
Trey Lance + Elijah Mitchell + Deebo Samuel + George Kittle
Mac Jones + Damien Harris + Kendrick Bourne + Hunter Henry or Jonuu Smith + Patriots Defense
Andy Dalton + David Montgomery + Darnell Mooney + Cole Kmet or Jimmy Graham + Bears Defense
AND SOME MORE PICKS FOR YA, that I haven’t already mentioned:
Jonathan Taylor vs Raiders – $9,000
Cordarrelle Patterson vs Bills – $6,900
David Montgomery vs Bears – $6,500
Rashaad Penny vs Lions – $6,100
Tony Pollard vs Cardinals – $5,900
Devonta Freeman vs Rams – $5,100
CeeDee Lamb vs Cardinals – $7,100
Amari Cooper vs Cardinals – $6,600
Brandin Cooks vs 49ers – $6,000
Brandon Aiyuk vs Texans $5,900
Michael Pittman Jr vs Raiders $5,800
DJ Moore vs Saints $5,600
Tyler Boyd vs Chiefs $5,400
Kenny Golladay vs Bears $5,100
Robbie Anderson vs Saints $4,900
Michael Gallup vs Cardinals $4,800
Marquise Goodwin vs Giants $3,500
Mark Andrews vs Rams $7,400
Dawson Knox vs Falcons $5,500
Noah Fant vs Chargers $4,400
Hunter Henry vs Jaguars $4,200
Gerald Everett vs Lions $4,100
Ricky Seals-Jones vs Eagles $3,300
John Bates vs Eagles $2,900
Juwan Johnson vs Panthers $2,700
Jared Pickney vs Seahawks $2,500
49ers DST vs Texans $3,800
Saints DST vs Panthers $3,400
Chargers DST vs Broncos $3,100
Panthers DST vs Saints $3,000
Colts DST vs Raiders $2,900
Giants DST vs Bears $2,800
Texans DST vs 49ers $2,600
Broncos DST vs Chargers $2,600
GOOD LUCK IN YOUR CONTESTS!