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Sell these RBs before the NFL Draft

By: Andrew Metcalfe

NFL Russian Roulette

Ever since I started playing Dynasty Fantasy football, the NFL offseason became so much more exciting to me. Holding on to mid-tier running backs can be like playing Russian Roulette with your Dynasty roster. One news flash of the team signing another starter and their value could instantly come crashing down. This is especially true during the NFL Draft, as we have no idea what coaches and front office executives are discussing in their war rooms.

The following running backs are all RB1s for their respective teams at the moment, but I don’t have much hope for their future outlook by the conclusion of the NFL Draft. I’m suggesting that you consider trading them away while they still have value.

Chase Edmonds, Arizona Cardinals 

Once the news broke that Kenyan Drake was leaving Arizona to sign with the Raiders, Chase Edmonds owners rejoiced. He quietly had a top 25 RB season in 2020 as the number two behind Drake, finishing with career highs in carries, targets, yards, and TDs. At that point, Edmonds was the RB1 for the Cardinals by default, but then James Connor signed in April and now things are a bit murky. Connor hasn’t shown the ability to stay healthy throughout his career and seemed to have lost a step last year, despite only being 25 years old. His signing actually bodes well for Edmonds, but the chances he survives the NFL Draft without the team bringing in additional competition are low.    

The track record for running backs that have not secured a lead role by their third season isn’t good (Edmonds will be going into his fourth). There have been opportunities in the past for Head Coach Kliff Kingsbury to hand the backfield over to Chase, but he does not seem to have much confidence in Edmonds as a lead back. In 2019, after David Johnson injured his ankle and was essentially benched for the season, AZ decided to trade for Kenyan Drake midseason instead of rolling with Edmonds. Last year, they could have easily let Drake walk and named Edmonds as the starter, but chose to transition tag Drake for an additional year. The most recent signing of James Connor is confirmation that Edmonds will never be “the guy”.  

Don’t get me wrong, I believe that Edmonds could still have fantasy relevance if another running back is added. If the Cardinals decide to draft a bigger back like Rhamondre Stevenson or Trey Sermon, I’m sure that Edmonds will continue to have a receiving role. I just think what we saw in 2020 was his ceiling and his value has peaked. There were only two games last season in which Edmonds was a top 30 RB without having to score a TD. That is not the type of guy you want to rely on in your lineup on a weekly basis. The downside for Chase would be AZ making a splash by drafting one of the top-tier running backs (Najee Harris, Travis Etienne, or Javonte Williams), which would absolutely crush his value. Given the tough competition and offensive firepower the Cardinals face in the NFC West, this is certainly a possibility. I would be looking to trade away Edmonds for an early to mid 2nd round rookie pick.  

Myles Gaskin, Miami Dolphins

Myles Gaskin was a 2019 7th-round pick out of Washington that ended up becoming one of the unsung heroes of the waiver wire in 2020. While some were hoping to see Jordan Howard revive his career in Miami, Gaskin came out of nowhere to take the starting job and was a Top 20 running back in PPG through the first eight weeks. He battled injuries for most of the second half of the season while maintaining solid production in the games he did play, including a monster 35 point (PPR) game against Las Vegas during Fantasy Championship Week (Week 16). On the surface, it seems like Gaskin would have job security going into 2021, but I’m not confident that Miami won’t be looking to upgrade in the Draft. 

As I mentioned before, Gaskin was a decent fantasy running back, but teams don’t care about his fantasy production. It’s about what they see on the field, and his inefficiencies as a runner are a concern. He only created 1.22 yards per touch which ranked 31st among RBs and his 4.0 true yards per carry (removes runs of 10+ yards) ranked 49th in the league. I typically don’t like to remove a players’ big plays to make a point, but Myles had a Big Run rate of just 2.1% (credit: PlayerProfiler), which ranked him 55th. He’s a subpar NFL athlete, so long runs aren’t a major part of his game.  

The Dolphins were rumored to have interest in both Chris Carson and Aaron Jones during free agency before they were extended by their respective teams. It’s clear that Flores is looking for a more dynamic running back. The arguments against Miami drafting a back to replace Gaskin are similar to the ones we heard about Indianapolis and Marlon Mack last year. Mack was a feasible starter, he even had over 1,000 yards rushing in 2019, but Indy did not hesitate to pull the trigger on Jonathan Taylor when he fell to them and their offense soared in 2020 because of it. You should try to move Gaskin for 2nd round rookie pick value before the hammer comes down in the Draft.     

Mike Davis, Atlanta Falcons

I mentioned earlier that I’m not a fan of RBs that don’t secure a lead role by Year 3.  Well, Mike Davis took 6 seasons to find himself in a starting role and it was only because of an injury to Christian McCaffery.  I understand why Davis supporters like him, he looked great last season while filling in for McCaffrey.  He was Top 10 in Fantasy Points Differential (measures his production compared to what an average RB would do with his same touches), yards after contact per attempt and he even led the league in broken tackle rate.  Based on those metrics, you would expect him to be a solid backfield option, but I think his success was more about his situation than actual talent.  

When McCaffrey was first injured in Week 3, Carolina didn’t have a choice but to promote Davis to the starting job.  The other backs on the roster were Reggie Bonnafon who is more of a gadget player (never had more than 5 carries in a game before 2020) and Trenton Cannon who is primarily a special teamer.  Davis walked into a ton of volume, seeing the fifth most targets, tenth most redzone touches and a career-high 64.2-percent opportunity share.  He didn’t do anything special though, just 4.5 yards per touch (48th best) and an unimpressive 3.89 yards per carry.  His best trait is breaking tackles, but when you don’t have much burst or speed, it doesn’t mean much.  The longest run of his CAREER went for 23 yards. 

Atlanta should have the RB position high on their priority list going into the draft.  Davis signed a two-year deal, but there is no guaranteed money next year and the average annual compensation is just short of what Devontae Booker and Cordarrelle Patterson (recently signed by the Falcons as primarily a return specialist) are going to make.  That does not sound like a guy that was brought in to take on a significant role.  Even if he escapes major competition from the Draft, he will not see the same volume that he had in 2020.  If you can get one or two 3rd round rookie picks for Davis, take it and run.  

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Top 5 Landing Spots For Antonio Brown

Antonio Brown is one of the more intriguing free agent players this offseason for me as I still believe that if he were to get a starting role, he would be able to play at a high level. We saw it at times last season while Brown was on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He even “turned back the clock” against Atlanta in Week’s 15 and 17, cooking the Falcons poor secondary for a combined 231 receiving yards and three touchdowns. In that Week 17 game alone, Antonio Brown saw a season-high 14 targets, catching 11 passes for a 73.3% catch rate.

To me, Brown still has some juice left. He just needs to stay out of the news and out of trouble. Currently,  Antonio Brown is looking to get another contract as he’s a free agent heading into the 2021 season. The Bucs are looking to re-sign him as contract negotiations with Brown are reportedly still on the table. Brown was reportedly looking for a deal similar to what wide receivers DeSean Jackson and TY Hilton got in free agency. The Phinest Crew and I talked about this on the latest episode of the Fantasy’s Phinest Podcast too. Let’s play with this though. Where could Antonio Brown go if he doesn’t return to the Bucs? I have five landing spots that would not only let him reignite his career at the starter level, but would also allow him to be a viable asset for fantasy this season.

Continue reading “Top 5 Landing Spots For Antonio Brown”
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Still Holding on to Deshuan Watson?

So as Dynasty guys it can be nerve wrecking seeing all this drama unfold. Also for us Redraft guys who been targeting Watson as their QB1 in those mid rounds when all the big dogs like Patrick Mahomes , Josh Allen, Lamar Jackson and Kyler Murray are all gone. The recent news from the sexual misconduct civil lawsuit against Watson has been interesting for the past couple days. Some of the women names are being revealed and as of yesterday Tome Pelissero had this to report.

This doesn’t mean Watson is in the clear. So to just speak on the “Fantasy” aspect of things as a Dynasty owner i would still be very worried in what to do with Watson. Redraft he’s a clear DO NOT DRAFT guy because he’s not worth the headache. Even if Watson makes it out without being charged with anything or being suspended… Watson doesn’t wanna play for the Texans and that is a fact. So we could see Watson sit the season out. If you were Watson and seeing how your employer is treating you would you return back to that toxic work place? The answer here should be NO.

In Dynasty i would be looking to sell Watson while i still can for other positions of need and some draft picks. I would be looking for a 3rd round pick for Watson with a package of 2 positions of need for my roster. Now that may sound expensive to you but Watson name still ringing bells for those “Super Flex” Dynasty leagues. Find the team who has Dak as their QB1 and wave Watson in their face and see how much attention you get. Shoot ur shot at his draft picks and players. Dak and Watson sounds like a beautiful “SF Combo” if Watson plays tho… or go find the team who got stuck with Kirk Cousin or Matt Ryan as their QB1s and see there eyes light up as well. So you have many options to go with here just to stay clear when that Watson bomb goes off and we find out he’s going to jail… or he’s suspended for x amount of games… or he makes it out clear and he decides to sit the entire szn. Either way the Waston bomb is coming and i would like to be as far as i can be from that headache.

Overall you have to act fast on what your going to do with Watson. The longer you wait the harder it will be to sell him for his true value. It’s also been reported that some teams have backed out of the race to make a push for Watson so… its becoming less likley he will be traded this szn. Which makes you stuck with him until someone throws you a wildly disrespectful trade offer you will have no choice to accept because your team is crashing and burning 6 weeks into the szn. So don’t be that guy please and thank you.

Another way we can look at this situation is if Watson ends up staying in Houston and plays this Szn.. The Texans did not get any better this off-szn when if came to free agency. So its not like Watson will have the motivation to play for a team that held him captive and tried to destroy his image. They lost Will Fuller this off-szn to the Miami Dolphins. They resigned David Johnson only to sign Mark ingram a few weeks after. Then just shortly after that signing they picked up Phillip Lindsay…. i just don’t understand it… They also signed Tyrod Taylor 1 year 12.5M deal. Which all lead us all to believe Watson was going to be traded but they were bracing their selves from the drama that happened several days later. The accusations. Smart play by the Texans but im pretty sure they’ll be the first team in history to go 0-17 with the now additional game the NFL added to the schedule.

So what did you learn from this? Dynasty sell while you can. Redraft stay far away.

Your Welcome. #BringHomeTheGold Szn.

Written by LaQuan Jones

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Put Some “Respeck” On Justin Fields Name! Why He’s Better Than Most People Think

I don’t want to go completely down the rabbit hole on this subject, but for whatever reason it seems like it’s the popular thing to downplay the talent and dedication that Justin Fields has when it comes to football. Lately, word out of both the NFL (via unnamed NFL executives) and certain media outlets have been piling on Justin Fields. From questioning the young quarterbacks work ethic to snap character judgements and everything in-between. Recently, ESPN NFL Analyst Dan Orlovsky caught heat for some comments that he shared on The Pat McAfee Show when asked about why Justin Fields was falling on draft boards around the league. Here’s what he said on the show:

Notice that he said that “these are not my opinions”. People may have missed that part. I understand that some may feel that he shouldn’t have shared those comments as he is “continuing to perpetuate the narrative of slandering a black quarterback” (I’m paraphrasing but stay with me), but these thoughts don’t stem from Orlovsky himself. I can’t fault Dan Orlovsky for doing his job. Should Orlovsky been smarter in vetting those statements and following up with thoughts of his own or digging deeper into these narratives? Of course. That’s just good journalism. I can only hope that Orlovsky learns not to make this mistake again but overall I won’t bury him for it like others have.

These thoughts are coming from the NFL. Those “that are decision makers” in the league. The guys that have some juice in their respective team’s front offices are the ones spilling this out into the media. No one is going to put their name on those statements either so there’s no reason to get butthurt about it because we know that’s not how these things go down.

Dan Orlovsky even went back to social media and added more clarity to response to the “firestorm” that those comments caused from Pat McAfee Show appearance:

I’ll be the first to say I don’t follow college football closely as other fantasy football writers but I will say this… Google is free. There’s plenty of ways to find out what the truth could be and what falsehoods are being planted out there. Sometimes you just have to be able to sift through the nonsense and see what it is for yourself. What I have found from my own research is this… Justin Fields is being slept on. I might even add “drastically” to that sentence.

One of the things that I have heard is that Justin Fields can’t get pass his first read on the field. He apparently has trouble processing information quickly. It’s either one read and then he’s gone. Contrary to that narrative, there were several examples of Justin Fields processing plays not only quickly but correctly.

Even ProFootball Focus jumped in with some stats, dispelling the “one-read” narrative on Justin Fields.

As mentioned before, Justin Fields work ethic and character were also brought up. NFL Media Analyst Bucky Brooks jumped all over this one.

And there was this nugget that popped up via Barstool OSU.

Now let’s close this out with a comparison. Zach Wilson has been talked about so much lately that he’s the perceived potential number 2 QB coming off the board in the 2021 NFL Draft. Is he better than Justin Fields to have that spot on lock? I don’t know. By their college numbers, I would beg to differ. Based on their numbers, Justin Fields comes out on top in most categories on the surface.

Fields vs. Wilson (College Career):

Completion percentage: 68.4% to 67.6%

Passing Yards: 5,701 to 7,652

Yards per attempt: 9.2 to 9.1

Adjusted yards per attempt: 10.7 to 9.7

Touchdowns: 67 to 56

Interceptions: 9 to 15

Passer Rating: 179 to 163

Now I’m not saying Zach Wilson is bad. At the same time, what is it that he does better than Justin Fields that he should just be considered the number 2 QB in the draft? Both are mobile QBs who can make plays with their feet but Fields looks better in the pocket to me over Wilson. Fields is also faster, running a 4.44 40 time during his pro day.

I’m not sure why Justin Fields is getting so much shade but he won’t get it from me. Fields needs a good landing spot to further showcase his talents. I have a sneaky suspension that the San Francisco 49ers could be in his future with them moving up to 3rd overall after trading with the Miami Dolphins last week. Combine that with ProFootballTalk’s Mike Florio’s report that the 49ers are looking for a 1st rounder for Jimmy Garoppolo and that could be one of the best landing spots for the rookie QB.

I can’t wait to see what this kid does when he hits the NFL.

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An Affair on Matt Ryan?!

An Affair on Matt Ryan?! Let me just preface this by saying I cant tell the future. But I sit here on April 2nd having just walked away from yet another debate about the Atlanta Falcons and who they should take at pick 4 in the 2021 NFL Draft. I write this knowing full well that it could age poorly in just a few short weeks. I don’t know whats going to happen in the draft. I’m just a simple nerd reading tea leaves. …and those tea leaves are SCREAMING that the falcons will not be taking a Quarterback 4th overall in April’s draft. The Falcons have laid out a number of clues that indicate what they will – or more accurately wont do in the draft. And that’s draft a Quarterback. And yet every day this week, I’ve found myself in discussions with people on twitter, reddit, facebook, the water cooler, and everywhere in-between that it simply wont happen. The masses seem CONVINCED that they could take a QB. And that’s cool. Everyone has their own opinion. But lets explore this a little bit, shall we? I’ll start off with the “why they will” arguments. Because they do deserve some merit. There are factors that point to a need. Matt Ryan is now 36 years old. The team went 4-12 in 2020. They have an aging roster with a number of holes to fill, and are in salary cap hell. None of these are unreasonable as it relates to moving on from a quarterback and looking to rebuild things from the ground up. That would likely mean having to move on from franchise stalwarts like Julio Jones as well, but I digress. Taking a quarterback likely means entering at least some amount of a rebuild. And conceptually, that’s reasonable, given the roster. That said, the team has functionally told us that they’re not electing to go that direction. No, it wasn’t a public statement, a press conference, or even an implication to a beat reporter. Rather, it was their handling of Matt Ryan and his contract. Before I go any further in this piece, I want to pose a question. And I need you to answer it in your mind, as the answer has some amount of importance as to the direction of this piece. And don’t worry, I’ll steer you back if you come up with the “wrong” answer. Lets assume the first 3 picks off the board are Lawrence, Wilson, and Fields. (You can substitute Lance for Fields there if you wish, it makes no difference to me. The Vegas odds currently favor Fields going #3, so that’s who I’m rolling with, but you do you. Hell, put Mac Jones or even “Kellen Trask” (intentional) as we joked about on the Not Analytics podcast here if you wish, it still doesn’t change the direction of this article. Question: You’re the Falcons and you DO want to take Trey Lance at pick #4. WHEN was it that you fell in love with him? Chronologically, I mean. Was it sometime during his one-game season? Was it a pro-day? 2019? Stop and seriously answer that for just one second. Keep in mind that this is your Quarterback of the future. “Your guy” for the next 10-15 years. How long have you loved Trey Lance? The answer should be that you’ve had an idea about him for a decent while now. Maybe you didn’t love love him just yet, but you were at least dating and had those butterflies of “oh man this could be it.” And those feelings have all but certainly existed for a while now. I’ll tell you this much, you shouldn’t have just developed those feelings out of nowhere in the last 3 weeks. That’s a crush, that aint love. Yeah sure maybe you could get to love, but over the course of a couple of weeks? That makes me a little nervous. I know this seems like some wild tangent, asking about your process in scouting and evaluating a player, and the timing of how him as “your guy” is a bit… weird. I know, I get it. But lets circle back to Matt Ryan. You know, the guy you’re currently committed to. Right now, your franchise is committed to Matt Ryan. But he’s 36, and you’re thinking it might be time to see what else is out there. Maybe someone younger (don’t make my relationship analogy weird) with more potential for the future who you could see yourself with. The problem comes with Matt Ryan’s salary. And you can thank your lucky stars, we’re moving off of the relationship analogy, unless you really want to shoehorn in some jokes about relationships having a cost and all of that. Yada yada. Matt Ryan is committed to cost you $40m against the cap in 2021, $41m in 2022, and $36m in 2023 (all numbers rounded for ease). Out of those three years, he is guaranteed $40m, broken down by signing bonuses in 2021-2023 as $17m, 17m, and $8m, respectively. Because these are signing bonuses, any separation from the Falcons results in these charges immediately accelerating against the current year’s cap. So if inexplicably the Falcons were to cut Matt Ryan on April 3rd of 2021, he would could $43m as dead money against the cap… or such was the case. Three weeks ago, the Falcons elected to restructure Ryan’s contract. A restructure works by taking some amount of a player’s salary and reducing- but guaranteeing it by converting it into a signing bonus. This allows the team to prorate that bonus across the remaining life of the deal. In the case of Ryan, It reduced his salary by $21m in 2021, but increased his signing bonus proration by $7m in each of 2021, 2022, and 2023. Because of this conversion, if the Falcons were to again inexplicably cut Ryan tomorrow, he would now count $65m in dead money. This is because before his salary wasn’t guaranteed, but now converting the money to signing bonus does ensure it as such. And the question is why. And hopefully that “why” is the incongruence we can come to understand in the coming few paragraphs. Because the crux of the discussion is that restructure, and why it doesn’t make sense. That question of when you fell in love with Trey Lance? Yeah that’s closing in on this very point. If you’re the Falcons and you choose to take Trey Lance, why are you restructuring Matt Ryan? Essentially what the Ryan restructure does is that it ensures that a breakup between player and team will be messier than originally planned. No, theres functionally no chance the Falcons move on from Ryan in the coming days. But that’s fine, most people consider Lance to be a project worthy of sitting behind Ryan for a year. But if you sit Lance for one year, you’ll move on from Ryan in the 2022 offseason. Except that you cant do that either, his dead cap charge would still be $40m. Moving on from Ryan in the offseasons of either 2021 OR 2022 is functionally prohibited by the nature of the dead money hits. Its either going to cost you $65m now or $40m next (2022) offseason. And those figures are locked in. There little to no way of skirting them by way of trade, as they’re all signing bonus proration. Hell, even in the 2023 offseason, moving on from Ryan is going to cost you almost $16m. So lets circle back here. You take Trey Lance 4th overall. Congrats, you just got your guy. You now have forced yourself to either sit him for multiple years behind Ryan, pay $40m to your backup quarterback, or take the largest dead money hit in the history of the NFL as part of the transition. And most of this could have been avoided. You didn’t have to restructure Matt Ryan. You’ve locked yourself into $21m more in guarantees (or more realistically $14m in 2022 or $7m in 2023) to move on from your current quarterback. For what? Cap space in the short term? Yeah sure its beneficial now, but short term cap space wont help you if you take a Quarterback and signal a rebuild anyway. Of those options, you simply have to stick with Ryan. You didn’t have to restructure his deal, and yet you did anyway. And if you truly loved Trey Lance prior to March 16th, 2021 (the day of Ryan’s restructure), you knew that invariably the day of a breakup from Matt Ryan was to come. Why are you making things more messy and difficult on your cap than needed? There exists virtually no benefit, and only pain when the invariable breakup occurs. All that to say, the Falcons either aren’t taking a QB at 4, or their front office is extremely incongruent with how they’re handling Matt Ryan and his salary. So can we PLEASE stop mocking them a Quarterback? Epilogue: I’ve told you what the Falcons wont do at 4, but what I think they should do is trade down. If a team like Carolina, Denver, New England, etc wants to move up to take Lance at 4, do it. That would be fantastic. Fill holes elsewhere on your roster and accumulate picks. If you stay at 4, honestly any of the blue-chip talents would make sense, be it Pitts, Chase, Sewell, etc. Epilogue #2: Yes, I know the cap is expected to go up in 2022, and thus a Ryan dead money charge is theoretically more palatable. That’s true. But a larger dead money hit is still illogical, as you knew you were moving on from Ryan when you first fell in love with Lance. You’ve still made the breakup more painful for no reason. Plus, an increasing cap combined with your dead money hit is actually bad for you, as you’re still eating the charge and now you’re behind relative to other teams in competing for free-agents. That dead money hit reduces your spending power, no matter where the cap is. Hopefully you enjoyed this piece, and the rantings and ravings of my lunatic self didn’t drive you off too bad. If you enjoyed this, please feel free to check out my other work at http://notanalytics.com or follow me on twitter @FF_AHayslip. And for the love of god, please stop mocking the Falcons a QB at 4.

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Dynasty Targets: WRs with New QBs in 2021

By: Andrew Metcalfe

Should Fantasy players be afraid of change for their players?

Most Fantasy managers tend to avoid the unknown with their rosters.  We all love WRs that are in familiar situations from the previous year because they are easier to project.  Sometimes, you can take advantage of a player’s changing circumstances.  This is especially true with receivers that get new QBs who are perceived as a downgrade from the previous signal-caller.  Here are 3 WRs that will have new QBs in 2021, that I am looking to acquire in Dynasty leagues:

Allen Robinson, Bears

You don’t need me to tell you that Allen Robinson is an elite WR.  What I will tell you: it’s a mistake to move him down WR ranks because of the Andy Dalton signing.  I was excited like everyone else at the potential of Russell Wilson or Deshaun Watson to Chicago, but those are unlikely scenarios at this point.  Lost in the disappointment of them losing out on an elite QB, is the fact that Dalton is still an upgrade over what Robinson has played with for most of his career. 

Here’s a refresher on some of the QBs Robinson has had to deal with: Blake Bortles, Chad Henne, Nick Foles, Mitch Trubisky.  Not one of them are expected to be an NFL starter in 2021.  Andy Dalton gets a bad rep, but he is a competent QB, which is more than we can say for the other signal callers on Robinson teams.  In 2020, Dalton had a better True Passer rating (excludes throw aways and WR dropped passes), deep ball completion % and Accuracy Rating (according to Player Profiler) than Mitch Trubisky.  Dalton also showed that he can support a solid Fantasy WR1 during his time in Cincinnati with AJ Green, although those days of Green dominating seem so far away now!

Acquiring Allen Robinson still won’t be cheap, but I’d bet you can find some Fantasy managers that are panic selling after the Dalton signing. Turning 28 years old this Fall, he’s still in his physical peak and will likely see the best QB play up until this point of his career. Buy the dip in value!

Quintez Cephus, Lions

I’ve discussed Cephus here recently, but I want to bring him up again now that we know Kenny Golladay won’t return to Detroit.  I’m confident that Detroit will address the WR position early in the rookie Draft, but as of now, the Lions’ WR depth chart is led by Tyrell Williams and Breshad Perriman in front of Cephus.  Perriman has never seen more than 70 targets in a season and Williams only did it once back in 2016.  Even if Detroit ends up with one of the top rookie WRs, there is more than enough opportunity for Cephus to work his way into a consistent starting role. 

I understand that no one is excited about the QB transition of Goff from Stafford.  Like my argument for Andy Dalton, Goff catches a lot of heat from the community, but he has been a competent QB for fantasy purposes for most of his career.  In 2018, LA had three top 15 fantasy WRs. Head Coach Sean McVay gets most of the credit, but Goff was the one on the field, making the throws. 

Goff’s favorite target with the Rams was Cooper Kupp, another mid-tier college prospect like Cephus was.  I don’t have any confirmation of how the Lions will deploy Cephus, but it would make a lot of sense to turn him into a big slot WR and give him a role similar to Kupp’s.  The similarities between the two receivers are interesting:

 Cooper KuppQuintez Cephus
Height6’2”6’1”
Weight204 LBS202 LBS
Breakout Age20.220.4
Dominator Rating40.4%35.7%

Michael Pittman Jr., Colts

I’ll touch on another WR from the 2020 class, Michael Pittman Jr, son of the former Buccaneers RB.  I’m always a fan of players that have family members who were also in the NFL.  It’s a major benefit for him to have a parent with NFL experience which gave him a first-hand look of what it takes to be a successful pro. 

Free agency was a major win for Pittman, from my viewpoint.  With TY Hilton coming back, he avoided competition from the top-tier guys like Godwin and Kenny Golladay whom the Colts were rumored to have interest in.  Hilton will have a role, but his days as an alpha WR are behind him.   

Going into 2021, new Indy QB Carson Wentz will have Michael Pittman, TY Hilton, and Parris Campbell as his top targets.  Campbell mainly plays in the slot and Hilton will be the main deep threat, so that leaves Pittman as the favorite to be the “Alpha” WR that we all look for in Fantasy.  Pittman has a similar physical profile to Alshon Jeffrey, except he’s even bigger and more athletic.  Jeffrey was always a favorite target for Wentz in Philly (when he was healthy), along with Zach Ertz.  Both over 6’3” tall, it’s fair to say that Wentz loves his big receivers.  Standing at 6’4”, Pittman has the clear size advantage over Campbell and Hilton which should get him plenty of looks from their new QB.     

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RDFHQ Dynasty Showdown: CeeDee Lamb vs. Justin Jefferson

We all know that Fantasy Twitter loves a good debate!  One that I’ve seen discussed before is CeeDee Lamb vs Justin Jefferson: who should be higher in Dynasty rankings?  Lamb was considered the best WR prospect from the 2020 class, but Jefferson had the better stats.  I decided to take a closer look at various factors to determine which one I would prefer going forward. Enjoy!

College Production

CD: CeeDee Lamb was a 4-star recruit out of High School that committed to the University of Oklahoma in 2016.  After a redshirt year, he recorded 807 receiving yards and 7 TDs in his first eligible season.  His final season as a Junior earned him All-American honors in 2019, after he exploded for over 1300 yards and 14 TDs with QB Jalen Hurts. 

3 YR College career totals:

REC173
YARDS3292
AVG19.0
TDS32

JJ: Justin Jefferson was a 3-star prospect and not highly recruited like Lamb was.  Fortunately, he had connections with LSU including two older brothers that had previously played for the Tigers and one of his childhood friends being the son of the LSU Head Coach at the time, Les Miles.  Despite not being the typical LSU recruit, he was still able to leverage his ties into a scholarship with them.  He only caught 1 ball as a Freshmen but cracked the starting lineup as a true Sophomore and put up a respectable 875 receiving yards.  The blow-up came his Junior season while playing with Joe Burrow: 111 receptions for 1540 yards and 18 TDs put him on the radar of every NFL team looking for WR help going into the 2020 Draft.

3 YR College career totals:

REC165
YARDS2415
AVG14.6
TDS24

Even though Lamb had an extra year as a starter, I still have to give him the nod over Jefferson for College Production because of his ability to get onto the field and produce as a Freshmen. 

Winner: CeeDee Lamb

NFL Production

CD: Lamb was the 3rd WR taken in the 2020 NFL Draft, pairing up with Dak Prescott in Dallas.  He spent most of his time lined up inside, setting the rookie record for receiving yards from the slot (877).  His 109 targets were just 17.7% of the team’s total targets. 

Lamb faced stiff competition for targets from Cooper and Gallup, which is even more reason to be impressed by his production.  His full season pace during the 5 games he played with Prescott (before his season-ending injury) was 92 receptions for 1,385 yards and 6 TDs.  Keep in mind that Dak was averaging a ridiculous 50.25 attempts per week through the 4 games that he finished, so I’m not going to expect these numbers from Lamb in ’21.  There is still plenty of upside for him though.

TGTS111
REC74
YARDS935
AVG12.6
TDS5

JJ: Similar to their college careers, Jefferson got off to a slower start than Lamb.  He ceded snaps to Olabisi Johnson in the first two weeks of the season (remember when Johnson was a concern for Jefferson managers in training camp?  Good times!).  In week 3, he was plugged into the starting lineup and thrashed the Titans with 175 receiving yards.  From that point, he went on to set the rookie record for receiving yards and quickly became a fantasy stud. 

Jefferson surprisingly played very few snaps out of the slot position, which is what most expected from him based on his college career.  He lined up on the outside for over 80% of snaps.  If we just look at the games where he started (weeks 3-17) his full season pace would be 94 receptions for 1,520 yards and 8 TDs. 

TGTS125
REC88
YARDS1400
AVG15.9
TDS7

Even though total # of routes run and target counts were similar for both rookies, Jefferson saw 500 more air yards than Lamb on the season so it’s understandable that the yardage totals look the way they do.  With that being said, Jefferson still had the more productive season by a wide margin.  This section is a clear win for the “Jet”. 

Winner: Justin Jefferson

Analytical Profiles

CD: Now, I want to dive in beyond the surface stats and really look at efficiency and surrounding factors.  As I mentioned before, Lamb mostly played as the Dallas slot WR and typically ran short to intermediate routes (9.1 average target distance was ranked 71st among WRs).  His 1.82 yards per route run ranked 43rd and he achieved an average of 1.56 yards of separation per target which was the 68th best.    

Fantasy-wise, Lamb ranked 39th in fantasy points per route run and 40th in fantasy points per target.  We also must consider that he dealt with subpar QB play for most of the season after Dak went down, which had a negative impact on his production.  Player Profiler gave his “Target Quality Rating” a 5.7 which ranked 56th among WRs. 

JJ: Jefferson earned a much higher target share than Lamb’s 17.7%, as he received 25.7% of the Vikings’ targets.  Adam Thielen was the only other legit receiving threat for Minnesota, so Jefferson was put in a great situation for opportunities.  Even as a rookie, he was one of the most efficient receivers in the NFL.  His 11.2 yards per target was 4th best and 2.66 yards per route run ranked him at #5 in that department. 

Looking at his fantasy output, he had the 7th most fantasy points per route run and ranked 14th in fantasy points per target.  His QB situation was much better than Lamb’s, as Kirk Cousins had the 9th best completion rate (67.6%) while putting together the best season of his career in 2020.  Jefferson’s “Target Quality Rating” was 6.6 (13th highest among WRs). 

Side-by-Side snapshot of the metrics that were discussed: *(credit to Player Profiler for stats)

LambJefferson
Target Share17.70%25.70%
Yds/target8.611.2
Yds/route run1.822.66
Target Quality Rating5.76.6
Fantasy pts/target1.922.16
Fantasy pts/route run0.410.51

Even though I’m sure that Lamb’s profile would look better if he played with Dak for the full season, I still have to give this one to Jefferson.  His efficiency levels were off the charts for a rookie WR and he did the most with the opportunity that was given to him.

Winner: Justin Jefferson

Final Thoughts

Based on this exercise, Justin Jefferson edges out CeeDee by a score of 2-1.  As I’ve mentioned several times, this might have gone differently if Dak didn’t dislocate his ankle midseason and force guys like Andy Dalton and Ben DiNicci to QB for the Cowboys.  Regardless of their situations, you have to give credit to Jefferson for his historical debut year.  While both guys are set to be future fantasy studs for years to come, Justin Jefferson has more Dynasty value in my opinion. 

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The Patriots Come Out Guns Blazing! Signing Free Agency’s Top 2 Tight Ends Jonnu Smith And Hunter Henry

The tampering period for free agency is underway and some teams are firing right out of the gate to add to their team. The Patriots, coming into the start of the free agency period being one of the top 5 teams in salary cap space backed up the brinks truck to make moves early and didn’t look back. The Patriots went ahead with the big bank and signed Jonnu Smith, the former Tennessee Titans tight end to a 4-year deal worth $50 million dollars. Smith is also guaranteed $31.25 million dollars in the deal that works out to about $12.5 million a year. The new deal puts Jonnu Smith as the 3rd highest-paid tight end in the league.

The money truck didn’t stop there either. After scooping up Jonnu Smith on his contract, the Patriots went back to the tight end well and grabbed former Los Angeles Charger Hunter Henry. Henry signed on with the Patriots on a 3-year deal for $37.5 million dollars with $25 million guaranteed. I have to admit that the Patriots signing both TE’s was definitely giving me “Gronk/Hernandez 2.0” vibes.

The Breakdown

I can’t lie that I was a bit concerned about the Jonnu Smith signing and as fantasy owners, you would have to be too if you’ve been paying attention to the Patriot’s tight end situation over the last few seasons. It’s been a dark spot for fantasy (and reality for that matter) since the departure of Rob Gronkowski. Gronkowski spoiled us as fantasy owners for several seasons because of his production and his use in the red-zone with Tom Brady. Since 2015, Gronkowski was pumping out fantasy points and was able to finish no lower than 11th during that span. And yes, I’m not counting 2016 when he got hurt.

With two of the best tight ends landing in New England for Cam Newton, or whatever quarterback is the starter (my money is on Cam though), this could be the return of the two-tight end sets. Having Jonnu and Henry on the field at the same time would give Newton the best tight end tandem to work with. This could also work well with what the Patriots really like to do in terms of offense, using short to intermediate passes to move the ball up-field in concert with running the ball as opposed to just chucking it all over the place. The wide receivers on staff, including the signings of Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne don’t scream “let’s throw it deep all the time” to me. What it does tell me is that the Patriots are adding speed to the outside to help draw defenders away from the middle of the field and allow Smith and Henry to take advantage of mismatches against opposing defenses.

Fantasy Impact

I mentioned earlier that the tight end position has been a bit of concern since Rob Gronkowski retired back in 2019. Ryan Izzo and Matt LaCosse were not the answers as neither player had more than 13 catches in either 2019 or 2020. Adding legit pass catchers in Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry, as well as paying them what they’re getting lends to the line that those guys will be the focal points in the Patriots offense. In 2020, the Patriots ran 12 personnel just 22 times totaling just 2% of the total play called as opposed to the 53% for the 11 personnel.

The Patriots wide receivers at the moment don’t seem like much to write home about right now either. Neither Agholor or Bourne have ever been number 1 wide receivers at any point in their careers. Even with the Patriots, its hard to see that change. While the Patriots could still add a number 1 type of receiver in the draft or free agency, right now it looks like the tight end position will be featured as one of the main aspects of the Patriots offense in 2021. It also fits well with Cam Newton at this point of his career too. Cam averaged 7.2 yards per attempt last season throwing to basically nothing. He also didn’t have great options in the red-zone. Now he gets two different tight ends with different strengths to boost the offense. Jonnu Smith is a YAC machine, averaging 5.8 yards after the catch with the Titans last season. He also averaged nearly 11 yards per catch too. Smith also averaged 1.75 yards per separation last season as well, ranking 5th among TE’s in 2020.

Hunter Henry isn’t a slouch either. Henry averaged about 8 yards in the aDOT category and ranked 11th among tight ends with a true catch rate of just over 88% and ranked 11th in contested catches with a 55.6% catch rate. I wouldn’t mind targeting either tight end during the fantasy draft. If I had to pick one, I’d probably go with Jonnu Smith over Hunter Henry and I think it comes down to who’s the better scorer when they get into the red-zone. Jonnu Smith had 9 touchdowns last season, 8 receiving, 1 rushing touchdown, and seems to be the more dangerous weapon inside the red-zone compared to Hunter Henry who scored 6 touchdowns.

Smith ranked 2nd overall inside the 20 among tight ends last season with Hunter Henry ranking 20th. Smith boasted a 61.1% catch rate on 11 of 18 passes and 68 yards. Conversely, Hunter Henry was ranked 20th overall among tight ends in the same category with 6 of 14 passes caught inside the 20, 27 yards, 4 touchdowns, and a 42.9% catch rate. In terms of fantasy value, it tells a different story. After the shakeup signings, Hunter Henry’s average draft position is actually higher than Jonnu Smith Hunter Henry currently sits at the 7.10 mark while Jonnu Smith is much lower, falling into the double-digit realm at the 11.06. If I don’t plan to reach for a tight end early, Smith is right where I would want to grab a tight end.

What do you think? Who would you target between Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry?

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Dak Prescott Gets New Deal And What He Means For Fantasy Owners in 2021

Getty Images via CBSSports

What’s going on guys! A quick introduction before I go gaga over the Dak news for the article. I just recently joined on with the RDFHQ squad as a content contributor and I just wanted to say thanks for the opportunity to lend my fantasy talents to the site. This is going to be a fun experience and I want to not only make sure that you readers enjoy my content here but come away informed behind my perspective on things. I also want you guys to know that yes, I am a Cowboys fan so this flows right into my wheelhouse. One thing I’ve learned while playing fantasy football is that you can’t be bias. There’s always some value to find in fantasy, even if it comes from a rival squad.

You can follow me on Twitter (@hype_phinest) and you can see I do beef with NFC East rival fans but it’s largely all in fun. I mean, if you can’t talk trash in football and fantasy, what’s the point, right? I’ve gone on long enough though so let’s get into this news!

Continue reading “Dak Prescott Gets New Deal And What He Means For Fantasy Owners in 2021”
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3 Players to Buy for a 3rd Round Rookie Pick

A rookie draft pick that “hits” is a player that goes on to produce at least one Top 24 (Top 12 for QB and TE) fantasy finish at their position.  Many studies have been conducted on rookie pick hit rates, but the estimated rate for 3rd round picks is about 10-12%.  That means that we can only expect to see 1-2 players picked in the 3rd round of dynasty rookie drafts to ever become fantasy relevant. 

During this time of the year, rookie hype is at an all-time high and most dynasty managers have already pegged their favorite late-round rookie sleepers.  Capitalize on this hype by offering mid to late 3rd round rookie picks for the following players that have either shown they can produce at a high level or already found themselves in a good situation:

Phillip Lindsay

The future seemed bright for Lindsay after he became the first Undrafted Free Agent RB to rush for 1,000+ yards in his first two seasons.  But the signing of free agent Melvin Gordon to a 2-year deal was a sign of bad things to come for the 3rd year back.  The team was verbally committed to Lindsay remaining a major part of the offense, but that was not the case in 2020.  While battling injuries, Gordon out-carried Lindsay 215-118 and Lindsay finished the year as RB65.

Despite a disaster 2020 season, there is some hope for Lindsay’s fantasy outlook.  Throughout the entire season, Lindsay battled various hip and knee injuries which clearly affected him on the field.   He posted his career lows in Yards per carry, Yards per target, and evaded tackles.  He still ranked 12th in big runs (20+ yards) and saw a 6.8% big run rate which was 5th best among RBs, so the speed is still there.  While Gordon will remain with the team in 2021, a healthy Lindsay should be able to establish a solid 1-2 punch.  The Broncos plan to tender Lindsay, who is a Restricted Free Agent, for 2021.  He will then become an Unrestricted Free agent in 2022.  Melvin Gordon might also be facing suspension to start next season as he currently deals with a DUI charge from last October. 

Quintez Cephus

Cephus plummeted down draft boards after he ran an abysmal 4.73.  Pair that with a mediocre production profile at Wisconsin and Cephus slipped into the 6th round of the 2020 NFL Draft.  He saw an immediate opportunity to get onto the field when Kenny Golladay missed Week 1 because of an injury.  Cephus played 80% of the snaps and saw 10 targets.  Unfortunately, we didn’t see much more of him throughout the year, other than a couple of splash plays.  He only saw 35 targets in his rookie campaign. 

Scouts liked his large frame, good hands and physical style of play but his overall athleticism has always been a question.  That sounds very similar to the Rams’ Cooper Kupp, who was the favorite target of new Detroit QB, Jared Goff:

 Cooper KuppQuintez Cephus
Height6’2”6’1”
Weight204 LBS202 LBS
Breakout Age20.220.4
Dominator Rating40.4%35.7%

Regardless of what happens with Kenny Golladay or the Draft, Marvin Jones and Danny Amendola alone will vacate 184 targets from 2020.  Cephus will have a great opportunity to take over the “Big Slot” WR role and hopefully establish the same chemistry that Goff had with Kupp. 

Cole Kmet

Kmet was quiet to start 2020 while Jimmy Graham operated as the Bears’ top TE for most of the season.  Nagy finally came to his senses after their Week 11 bye and unleashed Kmet.  From that point, he saw an average of 5.5 targets/game which is a 16-game pace of 88 targets. That would have put him tied for 10th most among TEs in 2020.  Jimmy Graham is expected to be a cap casualty soon, with the Bears able to save $7 million by cutting him.  Cole Kmet would become an instant TE1 candidate once Graham is gone. 

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Superbowl Showdown – DFS Strategy & Picks – Chiefs Buccaneer – Brady Mahomes & YOU!

Well we have finally come to the end of the Covid Season and what a super showdown do we have on tap today. Oh to be a younger NFL Fan today. When I was younger the Superbowl was dominated by teams hundreds of miles from Foxboro and games that were largely over before they started. To have had a recent string of competitive Super Bowls over the last 6+ seasons has been a treat… but today’s offering of Da Big Game has the promise of something that all us DFSers love: A SHOOTOUT! No, not at the OK Corral and No not at Swarangens in Deadwood… no today’s shootout is primed to occur in the Sunshine state with Swashbucklin’ cannons and at least 10,000 witnesses live on hand.

Ok, hyperbole aside we do have a DFS Showdown slate to talk about. So let’s get down to business.

Lineup Construction and Contest Selection strategy:

When I think of this game and the Chiefs and Buccaneers I think it may be very easy to fall into the trap of Patrick Mahomes at Captain and one of either Tyreek Hill or Travis Kelce in the Flex, paired with Brady and whichever Buc Wideout you can afford and maybe a cheap kicker. I would say 90% of lineups will look like that today – and why not? Patrick Mahomes is the highest projected player on the slate and rostering both Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce will be cost prohibitive so you have to choose – right? Well I am not saying that is right or wrong but what I am saying is you need to think differently if you want to get a leg up on 90% of your competition.

The first bit of strategy I am going to employ is to Mass Multi Enter. I don’t usually talk or recommend what contests to put your money towards, but here I want to explain how I am and why. If you think of the Super Bowls of the past, think of all of the times a star rises from the crowd that at the start of the game the majority of the 20 million viewers at home are like – Who? Be it a Defensive Stud, a Wide Receiver, a Kicker … I think we all have memories of Super Bowls where someone stepped up. So while I am not saying to base a lineup on the past, what I am saying is multi entering (mass multi entering really) will allow me the room to have flexibility in some of my lineups that kinda get weird, while still allowing me to have a lineup with the headline studs… does that make sense? It also will allow me the chance to not just have Patrick Mahomes in my captain slot but have several lineups with a different captain.

Ownership is important in DFS but the one thing to keep in mind is with only one game – two teams – getting away from having some Chalk players in your lineup will be impossible. So you have to think more in terms of your construction in that landing on the right combination of Chalk vs lower owned players will be extremely tough to pinpoint in a single entry or even a 3 entry max. So my first advice here is to consider your bank roll and consider mass multi entering and give yourself more ability to cover the field. I will help you here with picks to help you build from but if you can afford it, I recommend mass multi-entering and creating variance. The reality is that if indeed 90% of the field will construct a lineup with Mahomes, Hill or Kelce, Brady, Cheapest Buc pass catcher and Kicker and only 5 of your 20 linueps look like that, but the other 15 are built differently – the leverage those other 15 lineups have given you could be the difference between cashing or not… If you have further questions on this approach send me a DM @DelRayBoston

THINK DIFFERENTLY:

DFS is tough and most people do not win money. Let’s get that out in the open. I am currently on a NBA losing streak that makes me want to pack it in and give it up. But if you love the thrill of a DFS Contest like I do – you can’t give up! As long as it doesn’t bankrupt you in the process I mean.

So when I say think differently, the first thing to do is to think back as much as you can at losing lineups that you thought were going to be winners and think about how you could have built that lineup differently. Maybe you thought I need to build this lineup so I am not just playing all of the Chalk players and you went real deep on value targets that you thought carried no ownership, to the point that you sacrificed high scoring targets that ultimately you may have needed to cash. Or maybe you built a lineup where it was all chalk and you ended up winning $1.00 because 6,300 players all had the same lineup and you all split 56th place. You can go back to past contests right in Draft Kings and FanDuel and you can see the results … spend a minute and do that today. Look at past Showdown Lineups you built and then look at the winners of those contests. See what they did that you didn’t. Sometimes when you do that you will see something you missed. Yes there is a lot of luck in DFS – it’s gambling after all… but if you employ a strategy not just of thinking differently against the field but against yourself, you could find lineup construction today to be a lot more fun and hopefully more profitable.

So who says you can’t roster both Tyreek Hill AND Travis Kelce in the same lineup? A podcast you listen to every week? A pundit who tells you that it is impossible for both guys to have mega performances at the same time in the same game? Well let me give you permission to buck that line of thinking. What if you have Tyreek and he puts on another 3 touchdown 200 yard performance – but Kelce also had 90 yards and a touchdown and not having the combination of the two lost you money? Are you going to tell me that couldn’t happen? If 90% of lineups have one or the other – I want to have both. Am I eating chalk here – yes, but in this case eating MORE chalk made me different.

Who says you can’t build a lineup with a Buccaneers Domination theme? Brady, 2 of 3 wide receivers, Fournette AND Jones? Again did you hear it somewhere or read it somewhere that you shouldn’t? Listen if 90% of lineups have Mahomes at Captain I want to have at least one with Brady in that spot – don’t you? And look at how the Buccaneers have been playing recently. Brady has at least 3 touchdowns in like five of his last 6 and by the way – the Chiefs over the last half of the season have fielded the WORST Red Zone Defense in the league coming into this game. They have more wins with 1 touchdown or less lead than the Atlanta Falcons all season. Are you going to tell me that the Chiefs and the Falcons are the same caliber team? If you believe that I have some ocean front property in Iowa to sell you. So seriously – be different, build a Buccaneers domination lineup and don’t be afraid of it.

And who says that this game is going to shoot out? Well I did but that isn’t my point. Vegas has this line at 56 and the Chiefs at 3. The last time these two teams met the Chiefs won 27-24 so if you do the math in essence Vegas is giving the Chiefs 4 more points… so what if the UNDER HITS? Seriously if you are mass multi entering like I am, you need to have think this way. As a safety net I’ll have a couple lineups with a Kicker at Captain and for certain a few lineups with the Defense in a stack with an opposing kicker … is it likely we see a defensive struggle for 4 quarters? No … but in case we do, be prepared. Most players in your contest will not… I can guarantee that.

Last bit of advice here – I think it is paramount that you have both Patrick Mahomes and Tom Brady in your lineup, somehow. You have two quarterbacks that ultimately run their offenses, two offenses that are high powered and can beat you in many ways. I think fading one over the other is going to be a mistake. If you are multi entering I am not saying every lineup needs to look like that, but if you had a gun to my head and asked me to predict what the winning lineup of the Millionaire Maker looks like, my best guess would be a lineup with both quarterbacks rostered. Using Brady in the Captain spot and Mahomes in the flex is the way I will attack this mostly, for what it’s worth.

INJURIES AND VALUE

My last bit of strategy to talk about here before I get into picks is using injury news to your advantage. This carries over to not just injuries but likely scenarios we could see play out today due to news we have advantage of knowing.

The BuccaneersAntonio Brown and Cameron Brate are both questionable and while both are expected to play after logging practices this week, the thing to note here is how much are they expected to play? I find it hard to believe that the Bucs will throw AB out as a decoy to open up lanes but it is possible. The reports are that he is still not operating at 100%. So while I am not saying fade AB here, what I think is important to NOT do is to chase Scotty Miller or Tyler Johnson if you are worried about AB’s condition. While I think it is a good idea to sprinkle some Miller and/or Johnson in a few lineups if you are mass multi-entering, I wouldn’t do it at the expense of not rostering AB – unless Brown is ruled out entirely. Tom Brady loves Antonio Brown and if he is out there, don’t think for a second Brady won’t try to give Brown a Super Bowl moment… so just don’t fall into the trap of thinking he is a decoy and you need one of the other guys (Miller or Johnson) to cash….

The Cameron Brate news though does have more implications I think. If you have already looked at the slate Draft Kings has Rob Gronkowski at ONLY $3,000. If Brate was out, I would have hit the lock button on Gronk in a hot minute. But the reality is that Brate over the last 4 games has run more routes than Gronk, out targeted Gronk 4 to 1 and has been a go to target for Brady. Now same mentality regarding Tom Brady and Gronk as it is to Brady and Brown. Tom Brady and Gronk’s relationship runs deep and if you don’t think Brady would love to give Gronk one more reason to spike the ball in the endzone in the Superbowl, well have I told you about my ocean front property for sale yet? My point here is that with Brate in, Gronk can’t be seen as a lock even at that ridiculously cheap price. The Bucs have been using Gronk for run blocking a lot recently and anything can happen – but I think if you are multi-entering Brate is as important as Gronk even at $1,200 more on DK. There is only a $500 difference between the two on FanDuel so this isn’t as much of an issue. Either way – keep in mind, the Chiefs have been torched by Tight Ends all season long and in their first meeting Gronk had 6 catches for 106 yards. I would keep a Tampa Bay Tight End in your player pool for sure today … or both of them.

The Chiefs – The big name to keep an eye on is Sammy Watkins. Watkins is expected to suit up for this game but will he also play a significant role – it remains to be seen. This could be Sammy Watkins last game with the Chiefs – it could be his last game period too. The oft injured Watkins has contemplated shelving the cleats. So there is emotion attached to this news here. We have seen time and time again one game per season is the Sammy Watkins game – could that be today? I don’t know but with the news circling him, it seems unlikely that he sees a full compliment of snaps. We won’t know for sure until around 5PM. Why this matters is directly tied to the age old question on the Chiefs. Who else do we roster other than Mahomes, Hill and Kelce? If Watkins is out I will have a lot of Mecole Hardman and Demarcus Robinson and a sprinkle of Byron Pringle. Most people will gravitate to Hardman but I am going to make a rule I only use Hardman in lineups without either Hill or Kelce and that I have some lineups with Hardman and the Chiefs defense stacked in the event there is a kick return touchdown. I do not think it is a good idea to ignore Demarcus Robinson however. We have seen Robinson be the right man at the right time for Mahomes more than once and could this be a Demarcus Robinson Superbowl? Weirder things have happened. I wouldn’t roster Hardman and Robinson in the same lineup – but I don’t mind rostering Robinson with either Hill or Kelce and in this case I prefer lineups WITH Tyreek Hill. The Buccaneers have a soft spot in their secondary and especially have been beaten by the long ball. So even if Watkins is in, I don’t mind Hardman or Robinson but if he is out or limited I think both guys carry a little more priority. If we get news that Watkins is playing and starting, I likely won’t have much for any of the other three – minus the Hardman stacks with the Chiefs Defense I mentioned. If this is indeed Watkins swan song on this team, I could see Patrick Mahomes looking to send him home happy. So like I said – pay attention to this Sammy Watkins news.

My Captain/MVP Picks

If I am playing a Chief at Captain I think you may assume that Patrick Mahomes is my priority. After all in week 12 against Tampa Bay, Mahomes dropped 482 Yards on this team and 3 touchdowns completing 37 of 49 passes enroute to 35.3 Fantasy Points. Now am I saying that will happen again – no, but it certainly could! The thing is though 269 of those yards went to Tyreek Hill as did all 3 of Mahomes’ Touchdowns. Mama Mia. It makes me lean towards Hill as my favorite Chiefs captain. It is not like Tampa Bay’s secondary has improved right? Well … the thing to keep in mind is that the strategy that Tampa Bay must imploy is how do we keep Patrick Mahomes on the sideline and if they are successful at that it could severely hamper either Mahomes or Hill from having those monster performances. So while I like Mahomes and Hill a lot in this matchup, my favorite Chief Captain pick is Travis Kelce. On both sites Kelce is more expensive than Hill, so because of that I think he will be the least popular of the 3. But look at Kelce’s last 8 games and you can just see how much this offense is running through him. Since week 11 he has gone over 100 yards receiving 5 of 8 games and more notably less than 80 yards only once. Additionally, he has had at least one touchdown in 7 of the 8 games, with 2 in the victory over Buffalo in the AFC Championship. The only game in that stretch that the Thor didn’t score was against the Buccaneers. I like the odds of Kelce getting that missing touchdown back today, maybe even twice. The Bucs come into this game 16th against Tight Ends for what it’s worth.

If you are mass multi entering I don’t mind looking at a lineup with Watkins (if he plays), Hardman or Robinson at Captain/MVP if you want to be different and save some salary, but when you do that you run the risk of multiplying 7 – 10 points by 1.5 and sacrificing multiplying 20 – 30 points by 1.5 by not rostering Mahomes, Hill or Kelce in the spot. So my advice to you if you do go the route of a cheap secondary receiver at the top spot that you use that salary savings to stack you flex spots as much as possible.

The two most interesting low owned Chiefs captains though that I will have in my player pool are Clyde-Edwards Helaire and Harrison Butker. In the case of CEH no one is going to roster him at Captain. The Buccaneers run defense is too good and his usage is too low – right? Well yes, but for me this is the exact type of game script I want to attack in a showdown especially one in the Superbowl. Do I think we see CEH run for 120 yards? Probably not. Do we think he will catch 80 yards? Hmm, unlikely… but is there a real chance he takes 1 or 2 touchdowns to the house from the goal line? Definitely possible. So don’t let the the narratives scare you. If you are multi-entering, having a lineup or two of CEH at Captain definitely interests me. For Harrison Butker it’s just simple math. The Chiefs won by a field goal in Week 12. Vegas is basically giving the Chiefs 4 more points today to get to the 56 mark. That is a field goal and an extra point. If Butker kicks two or three field goals and delivers on 2 or 3 more extra points, he is well worth a nod on at least one lineup at Captain for me.

On the other side of the ball, I love Tom Brady at Captain. First he is the fourth most expensive player on the slate which is ideal for a little variance rostering him over Mahomes, Hill or Kelce at Captain. Second Brady threw for 345 and 2 against this team in week 12, so really right behind Mahomes in that regard and if it wasn’t for the two picks he threw, he also would have cracked 30 Fantasy Points. Interceptions have been a problem for Brady, but Touchdowns have been a problem for his opponents. Since week 14 Brady has thrown 2 or more Touchdowns in EVERY GAME. Why are you going to consider fading that at Captain. If he can throw even close to the yardage in Week 12 and have 2 or more Touchdowns and no interceptions today … he makes an EXCELLENT Pivot from the more chalky Chiefs at the top spot.

If I am not going Brady, I think my next favorite Buc is Leonard Fournette. It has been clear that Fournette has taken over this backfield with 12 or more carries over the last 3 weeks and a touchdown or more in every game since week 15. He also has averaged 4 catches per game in that span. The Chiefs are 21st against the run and have been gouged by dominant running backs all season. With Brady the focus of the defense I could see a lot of check downs going Fournette’s way and I could see Fournette having a nice game on the ground as well. In Week 12 Ronald Jones went 9 for 66 and caught a 37 yard pass for a score. If Fournette has taken over this role, I don’t think it’s a far stretch to say he could match or surpass that.

You also can’t talk Bucs captains without mentioning Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. I think if you are playing Cash Lineups Godwin is your guy, but I love Evans for Tournaments. The Red Zone upside Evans carries against the worst redone defense in the league coming into this game, is too much to pass up. We have seen Evans with multiple touchdown games numerous times this season and I wouldn’t be surprised at all of it happens here. It isn’t to say I don’t like Godwin a lot – I do – but I think his target share and yardage are safer play in cash. My biggest piece of analysis here on Evans and Godwin is ownership. Both Evans and Godwin are priced in that range where you could go up for Brady, Hill or you could go down for Fournette, Antonio Brown. Which I think will keep their ownership in check and that is where I like to attack in Showdowns.

I also think if you are multi entering, having at least one lineup with the Buccaneers Defense at Captain isn’t crazy. The Bucs are at home and they have been playing great football recently defensively. Can anyone fully stop Patrick Mahomes, no … but if they can shut down the run and bottle neck the pass. the Bucs have as much of a shot as anyone at sacks, fumbles, interceptions and I don’t think it’s crazy to have at least one lineup telling that story. And when you play Patrick Mahomes it is always smart to have the opposing Kicker on at least one lineup as Captain/MVP – the thought being that teams want to keep pace however they can and that means field goals are better than a goose egg in the red zone. So Ryan Succup – Please Stand Up, Please Stand Up.

Flex, Flex, Flex it Up!

As always – anyone I mentioned above is firmly in play for me in the flex. I want to mention that if you are new to this article but it is a way for me not to mention a player twice and waste time.

The common theme people will build around is a domination of one team over the other but I am more inclined to think that balanced builds win Superbowl tournaments. So make sure you are stacking your quarterbacks with your favorite target for them and filling your lineup with the most potential points that you think could happen. If you think Demarcus Robinson catches more balls and has more yardage than Harrison Butker, than play him. If you think Patrick Mahomes goes out and lights up the field and throws another 200 yard game to Tyreek Hill, but maybe roster Mike Evans or Chris Godwin at captain so you can have some salary left over to still use on more likely point scorers and not going full Stars and Scrubs with your lineups.

I think the only player that I haven’t talked about already is Ronald Jones. Yes I like Fournette at Captain, I also like Jones as a Flex Play. He is too cheap on Draft Kings and no one is better at breaking a 60 yard score out of nowhere than RoJo. So he is firmly in my player pool as a Flex but I fear his lack of volume will keep him out of Captain consideration for me. I also think Jones is more of a Tournament play than cash play due to the volatility. I also want to mention another favorite low owned tournaments play for me is Darrel Williams who sees enough snaps to warrant consideration here. Especially as a pass catcher and change of pace I think Williams should be in consideration and especially if Sammy Watkins plays I like him over Hardman or Robinson from a low ownership high upside standpoint.

If Sammy Watkins and Antonio Brown Sit, I would rank the options available like this for Flex Consideration:

Mecole Hardman

Tyler Johnson

Scotty Miller

Demarcus Robinson

Byron Pringle

Last bit of flex strategy to think about is lineups that favor a positive game script for one team over the other (aka Domination lineups). I think it is a common trap for a lot of DFS players to say – I think the Chiefs will dominate this game and load their lineups with Chiefs players … but the reality as we saw in Week 12, the dominating Chiefs performance really came from only 2 guys – Mahomes and Hill. So for me, if I am building a lineup with the game script of a Chiefs domination than I want my lineup to be chalk full of Buccaneers as they will be needing to play catch up ball and minimally with the Chiefs. Or vice versa. Does this make sense? THINK DIFFERENTLY

Here are some example lineups for you that I built this morning:

DRAFT KINGS

Captain: Tyreek Hill

Flex: Patrick Mahomes

Flex: Demarcus Robinson

Flex: Tom Brady

Flex: Chris Godwin

Flex: Ronald Jones

FAN DUEL

MVP: Mike Evans

Flex: Tom Brady

Flex: Patrick Mahomes

Flex: Mecole Hardman

Flex: Antonio Brown

GOOD LUCK IN YOUR CONTESTS and THANK YOU for reading Real Deal Fantasy DFS all season long! PS I’m serving St Louis Ribs and Skyline Chili (homemade) today – how about you?! Tweet me your Superbowl Spread @DelRayBoston! I’ll be sharing pics of mine at Kick Off!

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SATURDAY Wild Card Weekend DFS Strategy & Picks

What a long strange trip it has been to get us here. 2020 was at best unpredictable and at worst, well the worst. Between positive Covid-19 tests (outbreaks in some cases) and real injuries t key players, the teams in the Wild Card hunt today have has a tumultuous 2020. They are ready to put that behind them however and go for glory. So should you. With only 5 NFL DFS Slates left for this season (counting tomorrow’s) this is where the rubber meets the road – the cream rises to the top. So let’s try and cash today ok?

I am excited to announce that Real Deal Fantasy has a new member to the team! Lee will be joining me each week next season breaking down the DFS slates … and you may even see him pop up a few times before this season ends. Give Lee a follow today @MatechLee on Twitter. And if you have been reading Real Deal DFS all season long and not following me – what’s up with that? @DelRayBoston.

I will break this slate down by position and who I like and do not like today. At the end my new partner in crime Lee is going to provide a Draft Kings lineup for you to check out. Maybe I will too..

QUARTERBACK

I think everyone likes Josh Allen today, and why not. Allen is the highest projected point getter at QB today and playing at home in front of a partial Bill’s Mafia – a home game playoff game something Buffalo hasn’t seen in 20 years… you have to think that the Gunslinger will be coming out firing. The Colts Defense by the way is living off a bit of an early season rep too when you break it down. Prior to meeting the first round draft pick earning Jaguars in Week 17, the Colts were on a streak of 5 games where they gave up 350 yards or more to opposing offenses including a back to back against the Raiders and Texans where the Colts allowed 425 Total Yards. However it is Week 16 against the Steelers that stand out to me. This was the game where the Steelers came all the way back in the second half to win all while dropping 354 Total Yards on the Colts. The reason why I look at this game is that Big Ben and the Steelers Pass at a higher clip than any other team in the league. This should play into Allen’s hands nicely who only 4 Times this season attempted less than 35 passes. Allen is the most popular Quarterback but on small slates like this, ownership matters especially regarding stacking. In this case Stefon Diggs for example, which he and Allen will be the highest owned and highest projected stack on the slate. Diggs by the way is Questionable with an Oblique injury but expected to play. I am in no way say fade that Allen – Diggs stack but I think you may gain some leverage if you look at a Bill’s 3 man and include Tight End Dawson Knox or John Brown – or even Gabriel Davis. This is the first game of the 3 game slate, so I wouldn’t go much further than a 3 man as you don’t want your entire lineup in the first game, logically speaking you may miss a player going nuclear in the 3rd game for example. It should also be noted that Cole Beasley has been upgraded from doubtful to questionable so keep and eye on that. If Beasley plays he makes an excellent pivot from the uber chalky Diggs and depending on when his eligibility is announced you may be able to catch Beasley at all time low ownership.

No one is going to tell you to play Philip Rivers and I am not really going to suggest it, well kinda. Rivers is shaping up to be a pretty solid leverage play today if you are looking to go that route however. Here is why. First his running back Jonathan Taylor is the second highest owned player (behind Stefan Diggs) on the entire slate. So first leverage play Rivers represents is if you want to play the Colts passing game over the run game. This includes explosive pass catching back, Nyheim Hines. The other leverage you could get from Rivers is to stack Rivers and Diggs vs Allen and Diggs. QB ownership aside, the stack ownership on a Rivers Diggs stack is in the basement. You can also build around that stack a little easier as Rivers is a lot less expensive than Allen. Now am I worried that Philip Rivers could blow up in my face after saying this, possibly. I would assume the Bills will stick star cornerback Tre’Davious White on comeback kid TY Hilton, so I may look at secondary options more like Hines, Michael Pittman or Trey Burton or Jack Doyle for stacking with Rivers and Diggs. But I’ll also have at least one Rivers TY Stack in my lineups too. The Bill’s defensive strength has been their secondary this season so it may be tempting fate but since the Colts’ bye in Week 7, Rivers has failed to score 17 or more fantasy points only twice and as a cheap pivot play that can help you build a stronger lineup around it … works for me.

Russell Wilson – at home today and facing the #1 defense in the league … with glory on the line and an MVP nod within grasp. I do like a warm and fuzzy story don’t you? Remember the Titans after all. But here’s the thing, in week 16 the Rams limited Wilson to 225 yards and 1 touchdown. He did run for 52 yards however finishing with 19.9 Fantasy Points … but what else are you going to do with a team in the Rams ranked #2 against the Pass, #2 against QBs, #2 against the Pass and #1 against Wide Receivers? Me thinks you run the ball. But back to Wilson. He is the 3rd most popular quarterback play but what makes me so interested in him is the stack. DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett are literally HALF the ownership of Stefan Diggs and for the first time all season – DK Metcalf is the cheaper on on Draft Kings! Tyler Lockett finally broke out of his slump in Week 17 with a monster performance and with Jaylen Ramsey likely doing what he can to slow Metcalf down I like the Lockett-Wilson play as a contrarian stack. It isn’t to say that the Rams are a one trick pony with Ramsey by the way as Troy Hill has been a stud in the second half of the season. But I think Russ may be looking at the Hot Hand in Lockett. I also love to use David Moore as a cheap contrarian piece to Seahawks stacks. Moore is good for a Touchdown when you don’t expect it and at 1% ownership, those touchdowns can come in very handy. Additionally tight end Greg Olsen made his way back in Week 16 but on a pitch count. With 2 weeks rest we could see Olsen return to when he was averaging 5 targets a game earlier in the season. Tight End Jacob Hollister additionally is a favorite target of Russ’ when Russ needs a bail out. I think many will shy away from a Seahawks stack due to Ramsey in the secondary and Aaron Donald in the trenches. But if Russ can scramble for 50 more yards, it may be enough to keep the Rams pass rush at bay and I like Russ and his hawks as am upside Pivot from the Chalkier Bills.

Tom Brady needs to make a statement. The issue here is the Washington Football team has one of the most lethal pass rushes in the NFL led by Chase Young and Brady historically has had a lot of trouble when being hurried in the pocket. However now you have Tom Brady on a new team in the playoffs with the team he left at home on the couch. You have Tom Brady chasing history and you have Tom Brady with WEAPONS. We have not seen Tom Brady facing a wicked pass rush in the playoffs with actual WEAPONS since Randy Moss wore a Patriot jersey. I think we are on the verge of seeing Big Game Tom do it one more time and at literally 60% of the ownership of Allen, I like the play. Much like the Seahawks too, the Buccaneers receivers are at most half the ownership of Stefan Diggs and at least under 20% ownership for Mike Evans and Antonio Brown. I like ’em all. I don’t think any fantasy analyst will tell you to stack Brady with Evans, Chris Godwin and Brown but to be honest – if you happened to have done that last week you would have been happy. Seriously though, Mike Evans intends to play in this game and I have loved the Brady-Evans Stack all season long. BUT the question is will he be a decoy or only in on half his normal snaps? We don’t know. The safest I think is the Brady – Godwin stack which has the second highest projection behind Allen and Diggs. But I like Antonio Brown too who in the last quarter of the season has really come on as a favorite target for Brady in the Red Zone. If you are multi-entering I think it would be wise to stack Brady with 2 of the 3 in a few lineups. I would prioritize it as (1) Brady – Godwin – Brown, (2) Brady – Evans – Brown, (3) Brady – Evans – Godwin. However you can’t ignore Rob Gronkowski‘s connection with Brady either. The Football Team ranks 20th against Tight Ends and at under 20% ownership Gronk also makes a fine inclusion on a 3 or 4 man Bucks stack. I kinda like this game as a SHOWDOWN Tournament pick. If Evans can’t go, I’d take a flier on TE Cameron Brate or WR Scotty Miller especially if you do play a Showdown on this game – but on the main Saturday slate I think you have to play the studs.

I also want to give you additional plays that I am looking at, that I haven’t mentioned already by position. These will be quick hits as time is of the essence, but the above should be looked at as building blocks for your lineups while these picks will help round the lineup out and bring you some green!

Running Backs

Cam Akers – the CHALK Running Back today and only $5,100 on DK. I’d expect the Rams to lean on the run with Jarod Goff potentially being limited with his finger injury. The Seahawks are 16th against running backs and that is enough for me…

Chris Carson – Carson went 16 for 69 and caught all 3 of his targets against the Rams in Week 16. The only difference between that game and this game is that Carlos Hyde is probable and it is unknown how much that will effect Carson. I mention him here as he is the 2nd highest owned Running Back behind Akers by only .5%. I am as good with playing Carson as I am fading him.

Jonathan Taylor – Has been Lights Out over the last month. Since week 13 he has 7 touchdowns and twice he has gone over 100 yards including last week’s 253 yard performance. At 35% ownership he is very chalky (which is why I like Rivers and the passing game) but the Bills rank 23rd against running backs and are allowing nearly 120 yards on the ground. In competitive games over the last month Taylor is averaging 17.5 carries per game and I’d expect that here.

Ronald Jones – If you are to believe that the Bucs are up in this game than you should believe in the volume that RoJo should see. Additionally, with a high powered offense around him the touchdown upside is always there in this backfield. At nearly 36% ownership again, he is chalky – BUT it is a slight pivot from the Rams/Seahawks guys and I’ll be honest, I like RoJo today better than Akers or Carson – but maybe that is me. Uncle Lenny will be hanging around but I think this is RoJo’s time to shine.

JD McKissic – the Tampa Bay Run Defense is no joke. We know that. However interestingly, as good as the Bucs have been between the tackles – did you know that they give up the 2nd most passing completions to running backs out of the backfield? Do you know who Alex Smith targets more than anyone else? Do I need to keep going here? He is moderately priced and going underowned in my opinion at sub 20%. I like McKissic. I should mention, it isn’t that I don’t like Antonio Gibson at all today (anything can happen and Washington is at home) I just think McKissic has more upside in this matchup.

Nyheim Hines – as much of a Pivot Play from the Chalk Jonathan Taylor as it is a game script play with that script being the Colts are playing from behind. At 15% ownership the elusive pass catching back should be in your player pool.

Wide Receiver

Cooper Kupp – just because I don’t like Jared Goff today doesn’t mean I don’t like his receivers. Kupp is back and is playing the historically worst team in the league against wide receivers. Don’t over think it. The Rams receivers are going overlooked today and I think that is an error I do not plan to mirror.

Robert Woods – see Cooper Kupp above. Rinse Wash Repeat #Analysis

Cam Sims – I think you’d expect to see Terry McLauren here and while I like Scary Terry, too I want to highlight Cam Sims for a second. Over the last 3 weeks Sims has averaged 7.5 targets per game and while he has topped out at only 63 yards, last week he should have had 2 touchdowns that Alex Smith just missed him on. If the Bucs are keying in on Scary Terry, Sims may be the outlet. He is cheap and at less than 5% ownership he is a contrarian play I do not mind playing.

Van Jefferson – I know I am talking a lot about Rams here but they are playing the Seahwak’s defense and who have we not liked against the Seahawks all season long. Jefferson stepped up last week with most Rams sitting taking 4 targets for 50 yards and it does make me wonder if he found his way into the playbook for this game. Like Sims he is cheap and no one is playing him, I don’t mind a contrarian dart throw with upside on a 3 game slate.

Zach Pascal – This is another contrarian play here and low owned and cheap, but I mention him because he is the Wide Receiver 3 in this offense and if the Bills do key in on TY Hilton it may cause Rivers to look elsewhere – to Pittman and Pascal. Again this is a contrarian play with low ownership. Not one to build from but one to finish a lineup off with.

TIGHT END

Logan Thomas – the CHALK tight end of the day, Thomas is the most likely WFT player to catch a pass or a touchdown not named McLauren. He has seen 6 or more targets his last 3 games and had a touchdown last week. I am just as easy play Logan Thomas as I am fade him due to his ownership, but he should be a key to this offensive game plan today so I understand the attention.

Tyler Higbee – Again, Rams Pass Catchers against Seattle. Higbee has averaged 4.5 targets all season long and I don’t mind taking a flier here. Thomas, Gronk, Knox are all popular plays today and Higbee is going unowned for a player on the field nearly every snap. Don’t be surprised if Higbee gets a TD today when no one but me is playing him. Hey it could happen.

DST

I like the Rams and Seahawks Defenses today. I think of the 3 this will be the lowest scoring games and so from a Defense standpoint, I don’t mind rotating these two in my lineups. For what its worth the Seahawks are the CHALK defense today.

The Buccaneers Defense has the best overall matchup and are the most likely optimal play here. They are projected at 25% ownership but they are also only $3,300 on DK. I’d take a shot here.

The Bill’s Defense is also going very overlooked. The Bills are at home and 25% of the Bil’s mafia will be in the house. From an emotional standpoint of the historical significance of this game for this franchise – they are in play.

The ultimate pivot is to roll with the Colts Defense and leave Stefon Diggs out of your lineup. It takes bravery and guts, but I’ll have a lineup like that. Anything can happen on any given Sunday.

And NOW my buddy Lee’s Saturday Lineup for you to review:

QB: Josh Allen

RB: Ronald Jones

RB: Jonathan Taylor

WR: John Brown

WR: Stefon Diggs

WR: Robert Woods

TE: Gerald Everett

FL: JD McKissic

DST: Seahawks

I like this lineup don’t you? He is using Allen and Diggs but offsetting the chalk with John Brown. He is also using JD McKissic as an upside flex that helps to offset the chalk with RoJo and JT. Lastly he has a unique strategy attacking the Rams and Seahawks that I don’t think many will play.

Good Luck LEE and Good Luck in YOUR Contests!

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Sunday Night Showdown – NFC East hangs in the balance – Washington vs Philadelphia!

Week 17 never disappoints and if you read my earlier article you know that there was plenty to talk about and plenty of excellent plays to make in your lineups. Hopefully you came out ahead. I should have listened to myself more, but that is what a Sunday Night Showdown is for – absolve your past errs… right?

This game between the Washington Football Team and the Philadelphia Eagles has a lot on the line for the NFC East. Earlier today the NY Giants defeated the Dallas Cowboys which now means that the G Men are waiting with baited breath for what will happen on Sunday Night. If the Philadelphia Eagles are able to defeat the Washington Football Team, the Giants are NFC East Champions and get to play Tom Brady next week. However if the Washington FT are able to get the W, it will be Washington taking on Tampa Bay next week as NFC East Champion.

Win lose or draw I think this has to be a very big moment for Alex Smith, who looks to be good to go and starting tonight. To have a comeback story add another chapter like an NFC Title and playoff appearance would be nothing short of incredible. But they have a red hot Philadelphia Eagles team to contend with tonight so we shall see if sparks fly.

Before I begin I just want to go through the actives and inactive up front, because earlier today I dealt with an angry reader who couldn’t believe I didn’t mention a player was inactive… I will hold my comments for another day. But here we go.

Eagles Inactive/Questionable

Miles Sanders (RB) – OUT

Dallas Goedert (TE) – OUT

DeSean Jackson (WR) – OUT

Richard Rogers (TE) – OUT

Washington FT Inactive/Questionable

Terry McLaurin (WR) – Probable

Alex Smith (QB) – Probable

Antonio Gibson (RB) – Probable

Kyle Allen (QB) – OUT

Alright, now that we have that out of the way – let’s talk SHOWDOWN DFS and let’s have some fun!

My Captain/MVP Picks

Jalen Hurts has made the last 3 weeks of Eagles football fun and successful. It does make you wonder, what could have been. However here we are, week 17 and win lose or draw The Eagles will be on the outside looking in come next week. The gloves should be off for Hurts to perform tonight, but he does face a Washington Football Team with a ton of motivation and who are 7th Best in the NFL against Quarterbacks. The FT D is also allowing the 2nd fewest passing yards per game (218) and only giving up a hair over 110 yards on the ground. So my guess here is it will not be a walk in the park for young Jalen. However, since taking over under center in Week 14 has 2 300+ yard passing games under his belt, 238 yards rushing and 7 touchdowns including 1 on the ground. With Miles Sanders out, I could see the Eagles leaning even heavier on Hurts’ legs tonight especially if it can help to dispel the pass rush of Chase Young and company. So despite the tough matchup I do like Hurts at Captain and MVP tonight. If the Eagles have a hope of playing spoiler to the FT tonight, Hurts will need to have a big game and I think he has a chance to do so.

It has been a long time since I have said this, but I also like a likely top target for Hurts at the top of the lineup and that is Zack Ertz. Since returning from a long injury absence, Ertz has been involved but playing second fiddle to Dallas Goedert – however he is coming into the game with 7 targets in each of the last 2 games and with Goedert now out, I could see that target volume continue to rise. The Football Team is in the bottom half of the league against Tight Ends and that is has been a position to attack them with all season long. Especially with top back up Richard Rogers also out, Ertz could be the #1 Target for Hurts tonight and I think he could make a solid option at Captain/MVP.

With Miles Sanders out, I also have some interest in Boston Scott at Captain/MVP. He is coming in surprisingly inexpensive tonight on Draft Kings at only $1,400 and only $6,500 on FanDuel. But you have to love that price on Draft Kings. Scott should see the majority of the work tonight in the backfield and I think most people will not look to roster him at the top spot with the red #3 matchup symbol on DK. Yes the Football Team are 3rd Best in the league against running backs, but with an extremely mobile quarterback to deal with – plus Scott’s ability to catch balls out of the backfield, I think Scott makes for an interesting choice at Captain.

I don’t mind taking a look at an Eagles wide receiver at the top spot either, but to be honest I am worried about the upside. First, the Football Team ranks in the top 10 against Wide Receivers and a lot of that has to do with the hell that their defensive line puts on Quarterbacks. Second, the Football team has only allowed over 27 points against them once this season and in fact NINE Times this season the Football Team has held their opponents to 20 points or less. Now with a quarterback who will be mobile and able to scramble could anything happen – of course – but I don’t like the wide receivers as much as I do Ertz or Scott, if I am not using Hurts at Captain. I would rank the Eagles Receivers like this however: Jalen Reagor, Quez Watkins, Greg Ward, Travis Fulgham. With the Deep Play ability of DeSean Jackson as gone just as quick as it came, I could see Watkins get more involved – he has seen 4 and 3 targets in the last two games going for a total of 97 yards and a score. He could be a deep threat that could pay off at a cheap price and low ownership. I do think Jalen Reagor will see decent ownership in tournaments, but he does have the most targets out of the bunch consistently. Ward and Fulgham are much more of a leverage play from the what I will expect to be a chalky Reagor. But I just like Watkins at only $1,600 on DK the best…

I think I will just feel good about myself playing Alex Smith at Captain/MVP tonight, but I also think there are some reasons to consider doing so. I think you have to like the matchup against a continually banged up Eagle’s Secondary who is allowing nearly 270 passing yards per game, being part of a defense that on a whole is giving up close to 400 total yards per game as well. However there is certainly a narrative that Smith isn’t playing risky with the ball and is more playing to short yardage high probability throws. Quite frankly – I don’t care. If he completes a boat load of passes and throws for 300 yards and a couple scores, he makes a great Captain in my book. However I do have a theory here that I want to express. If Antonio Gibson is “good to go” and assumes his role in this backfield, the Football Team could have a shot at establishing the run game against the Eagles defense allowing over 120 yards on the ground. If they can do that and Smith can work play action to Scary Terry and Tall Thomas, the Football Team could control the clock and the scoreboard. So I am willing to take a shot at Smith at Captain.

Speaking of Antonio Gibson, if this stud is in fact back and healthy and ready to go, I like him a lot against this Eagles defense. After firmly cementing himself as the lead back in this backfield, Gibson has seen double digit touches in 8 of 13 games he has been healthy for. Moreso in two division matchups against Dallas, Gibson saw 20 carries. Additionally he has averaged 4.6 targets per game across his season of injury woes. I’d look for the Football team to get Gibson going early and control the pace and the clock of this game and I will take a shot at him at Captain.

With Gibson healthy and active, a contrarian play at the top spot may open up with JD McKissic. Just because Gibson is starting or playing a majority of snaps does not mean McKissic won’t be involved especially with such motivation behind him. McKissic has seen 10 Targets in 3 of his last 4 games going over 70 yards in two of those games. He also is coming into tonight’s game on a two game touchdown streak. I’ll have my share of McKissic in the Captain/MVP Tonight.

Perhaps though, my favorite WFT player for my top spot tonight is tight end Logan Thomas. Thomas has emerged over the last quarter of the season as a real weapon in this offense. He has seen 9 or more targets in 3 of his last 4 games and has scored Double Digit Fantasy Points in every game since week 12. Additionally, he has been severely lacking in the touchdown category BUT tonight he gets the Eagles – 23rd against Tight Ends and they certainly have had their troubles with the position all season. I think Thomas has an excellent upside tonight in this must win matchup.

And you really can’t talk the WFT without talking Scary Terry McLaurin. The unquestioned #1 receiver, McLaurin needs to have a big game tonight to help this team get into the playoffs. It has not been an easy season for McLaurin so far. Only 5 times this season has he seen double digit targets. In fact he averages 7.3 per game. When these two teams met in Week 1, McLaurin went 5 for 61 and no scores. It comes with a lot more risk than you may assume, but I’ll have at least one lineup with McLaurin in the top seat.

I will be honest here. I do kinda feel like this could be one of those games where Kickers are the optimal Captain/MVP. This is a divisional game first and foremost and while the Eagles aren’t playing for a playoff berth, they are playing for pride. Meanwhile the WFT should have their full rosters available but there are notable offensive skill players banged up. So if you are multi entering, throw together a lineup with Dustin Hopkins (Wash) and one with Jake Elliot (Philly). It may not work out, but if it does – you’ll be glad that you did!

Flex, Flex, Flex it Up!

If I am using Jalen Hurts in the Captain spot tonight, I am likely to make sure I have Zach Ertz plus Boston Scott and a Wide Receiver with Watkins and Reagor being my favorites. Likewise if I am using any of the pass catchers at the top spot I will want Hurts in the Flex to stack with. I do like the play of including Kicker Elliot in the stack and if you want to get really contrarian, give Alshon Jeffery a shot on a lineup. I always like to play at least one Alshon lineup when I see the Eagles in Showdowns. I don’t mind taking a shot on Corey Clement as another dart throw if you are building a 5 man Eagles stack, you know he is always that guy who scores the errant touchdown on prime time, so why not take a shot on him if you are multi entering. Also being a divisional game in prime time in 2020, I’d be remiss if I didn’t suggest at least one lineup built around the Eagles Defense.

If I am running an Eagles stack back with Washington Football Players I am likely focused on pass catchers – be it McLaurin, McKissic or Thomas. I do not mind also using Gibson and the Washington DST either. I do not think you need to go too much deeper for a run back.

My Washington Stacks will primarily depend on my Captain Picks. If I have Alex Smith at Captain I am going 5 deep on FT players – Smith – Logan Thomas, JD McKissic and two Receivers – be it McLaurin or Cam Sims (who has seen 8 or more targets over the last two weeks) or going deeper on Stephen Sims. If you want to go really cheap and dart throw, Dontrelle Inman is only $200 on DK and Isaiah Wright also caught a couple balls last week too. If I am going with Gibson at Captain, I don’t mind also using McKissic in the Flex – I think that will be a contrarian play, with Alex Smith and the Washington FT.

The run backs for me on the Eagles side are Jalen Hurts and Jalen Hurts and Jalen Hurts. No Just Kidding, but I think Hurts should be heavy in your lineups. I don’t mind using Zach Ertz as a run back or Boston Scott but on Washington heavy lineups I am most likely going Hurts and either kicker Elliot or the Eagles DST. I know it sounds weird but sometimes you have to be weird to win a showdown.

Good Luck in your Contests!

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Week 17 – DFS Strategy & Picks – Happy 2021 and Goodbye 2020

Week 17 is one of my most favorite weeks in the NFL DFS Season. You have so many different situations with Playoff Implications to consider that both Must Plays and Stay Aways go hand in hand. Plus the amount of value that opens up if you know the right places to look for it, is at a peak. I have been working on this article for two days for you because there is a LOT to talk about and 15 GAMES on the main DFS Slate. You’d think this was a MLB or NBA slate if you looked too fast. SO thus begins – Week 17 The DFS Opus of Articles….

I want to start with the AFC teams that have either confirmed or are likely to confirm that they will be resting players due to Week 17 having little to no impact on Playoff Standings.

The Kansas City Chiefs – Coach Andy Reid has said earlier this week he is planning on resting “some guys” on Sunday. This is because the Chiefs have locked up the #1 Seed in the AFC and the only first round bye available. The impact of Sunday’s game is irrelevant. Both Patrick Mahomes and Tyreek Hill are already out and I would suspect Travis Kelce to be in that category as well, along with some of the Chiefs Defensive starters. While we may not know until 90 minutes or so before kickoff who exactly will be getting a rest, we do know that backup Chad Henne will be starting under center and the whole situation really makes me want to X any Chiefs out of my player pool. It does also make me much more interested in Chargers and the Chargers defense. Keenan Allen is OUT but Justin Herbert, Mike Williams and Austin Ekeler – yep, I’ll buy.

The Buffalo Bills – While there has not been any official word coming out of Buffalo on the matter, I would suspect that there is a plan in place to give some of their key starters a lessened load on Sunday or even a day off. The reason is simple – the Bill’s have little to play for here as win or lose their standings in the playoffs will not alter. In fact it would take nearly every other team in the AFC playoffs to lose on Sunday for a Buffalo win to matter in any way. Cole Beasley has already been ruled out. So I would be very careful on going all in on Josh Allen or Stefan Diggs or even Zack Moss – unless we hear otherwise from the Bills. Miami however NEEDS to win to have a shot at getting into the playoffs so they are in the exact opposite situation from the Bills and in fact, Myles Gaskin is one of my favorite plays at Running Back because of it. This also is a chance to find some values in the Bills secondary receivers – Gabriel Davis, Isaiah McKenzieDawson Knox at Tight End – or if he is finally active, Tyler Kroft. I think these all of these guys will be in play on Sunday for some value in your lineups.

The Pittsburgh Steelers – Coach Mike Tomlin has already said that Big Ben will get a day off in Week 17. The Steelers clinched their division title in Week 16 and are therefore locked (just like the Bills) in their Playoff Seeding and winning or losing in Week 17 will not change anything for them. The question is will we see other starters also get either a day off or a lessened amount of snaps especially as the game goes on. There has been a lot of chatter that perhaps star defensive player TJ Watt may fall in that category. Couple that with Mason Rudolph having been announced as the Starting Quarterback and my interest in Steelers players in my lineups on Sunday is at a 0.00. The Browns however NEED to win this game to get into the playoffs, so I have some interest in Baker Mayfield especially now that he has all of his wide receivers back on the field with him – but in general I am kinda staying away from this game. We will talk about the Browns later as they need a lot of help and not just a win, to get in.

The next set of teams I also think should be top of mind as you look at this slate and the 15 games to choose from. These are the AFC and NFC Teams that NEED to win to get into the playoffs – nothing else, just the win.

Arizona Cardinals – This team is largely being overlooked on this slate and will be in a dog fight against the Rams Defense but they are the only remaining team in the NFC Wild Card Race that a WIN – JUST a win – no matter whatever any other team does, if the Cardinals Win they are in. So we are talking 4 Highly Likely 4 Quarters of Football here, unless Kyler and company find a way to blow out the Rams – which you probably will have wanted to roster Kyler Murray and Deandre Hopkins and Kenyan Drake for anyway. Christian Kirk is on the Covid-19 IR, so I think Larry Fitzgerald is also in play and to a lesser extent Andy Isabella as a deep threat. Don’t forget about Tight End Dan Arnold too who has become a bit of a security blanket for Kyler, lately. I have a lot of interest in Cardinals – especially in Cash Games. Plus with Cooper Kupp OUT and Jared Goff OUT and Cam Akers Questionable the Cardinals DST could be a sneaky value play.

The Washington Football Team – A win on Sunday Night clinches the NFC East crown no matter what the Giants or Cowboys do. So make sure you check out my Sunday Night Football DFS Article later in the weekend.

Now let’s talk about THE COLTS and why I think a Phillip Rivers, TY Hilton, Jonathan Taylor stack has upside and plus being a contrarian start to a lineup:

The Colts are in a unique scenario. They first NEED to Win at Jacksonville. Nothing happens if they do not win. But if they do win AND one of these teams LOSE: Tennessee Titans, Baltimore Ravens, Cleveland Browns – the Colts are in the AFC Playoffs. However specifically if the Titans lose, the Colts are the AFC South Champions. Now you could say, yes but there are other teams in similar scenarios – but the COLTS play at 4:25. They will very likely already know the results of the Ravens and Browns games which kick off at 1PM. If both the Ravens and Browns win, the Colts will need to be on their A Game ASAP. I also would not be surprised if they aren’t scoreboard watching the Tennessee game (also at 4:25) for AFC South Title dreams. To me the Colts primary weapons NEED to be in your player pool. I don’t mind taking a shot on Michael Pittman or Trey Burton as a fliers but Phillip Rivers, Jonathan Taylor and TY Hilton are my primary targets. Also the Colts DST is going very overlooked here against the Mike Glennon led Jaguars.

Next up are the “ORs”. These are the teams that clinch with a win OR a loss by another team. I will lay these out in the order of priority in my opinion. Some situations are not what they seem … and some “locks” may not really be the “locks” that you think they are.

The LA Rams: Believe it or not, the Rams don’t actually have to win on Sunday to advance to the NFC Wildcard. This is because if the Chicago Bears LOSE to the Green Bay Packers, the Rams are IN. The only issue with this is that that both the Rams/Cardinals and Packers/Bears games will be playing at the same time. So while I think there is a very popular thread going around of “If Cam Akers plays he is a lock” and even if he doesn’t Malcolm Brown should be (since Darrell Henderson is out), but I’m not sold on that. Or even with back up quarterback John Wolford (who has never taken snap of NFL football mind you), Robert Woods and Josh Reynolds, Tyler Higbee are priorities (Cooper Kupp is out) – again, I am just not ready to commit. There is a real chance that Coach McVay scoreboard watches in the game and if he sees the Packers go up BIG against the Bears (which could likely happen), I could easily see McVay starting to pull players – especially Akers, Woods and Key Defensive players who he will need healthy for the playoffs. So while I do not mind taking a shot on a lineup with Wolford and Reynolds or Higbee stacked as a contrarian play, I just don’t have a lot of interest in the Rams in general. I will say if Akers is out and it is Malcolm Brown, the volume he will see does make him viable too. Play at your own risk in other words.

The Chicago Bears – are in an identical scenario to the Rams. If they win they are in, but they are also in if the Cardinals lose to the Rams, the Bears are also in. With both of these games playing at the same time, again there is risk in playing Bears on the basis of playoff implications. BUT there is one reason why I prefer Bears players to Rams players on Sunday – the Bears are playing Aaron Rogers. If the Bears get any sort of lead on Aaron Rogers there is no way they are slowing down unless it is a HUGE one. Aaron Rogers can turn a game around and come from behind on anyone and so I see the Bears playing hard for 4 Quarters. I really have a lot of interest in David Montgomery who has literally been on fire all month and is in a must win against the 24th ranked run defense. Montgomery will be a chalky play, but there are a lot of ways you can get different in your lineup to off set. I think you need to take a look at Mitchell Trubisky and Allen Robinson and Darnell Mooney. Plus both Jimmy Graham and Cole Kmet are cheap and will go under owned on a slate that also has Mark Andrews, George Kittle, Darren Waller and oh yeah Travis Kelce on it. The Bears DST has a lot of missing pieces on it and a full game stack here is not out of the question. We will talk about Packers targets later. I kinda love the Bears here.

The Tennessee Titans – The Titans do need to win – if they win they get in BUT they can also get in if either Baltimore, Miami or Indianapolis loses. The thing is, when the Titans take the field at 4:25 they will already know the fate of the Ravens and Dolphins. If both of those teams win, you can expect the Titans to go all out against the Texans. But if the Bills beat the Dolphins or somehow Cincinnati upsets the Ravens… the only thing left to accomplish would be the AFC South Title which they would secure if Indy Loses and they win. Derek Henry should smash the texans and he will be the Chalk running back on Sunday because of it. The last time these two played he took 22 carries for 212 yards and 2 Touchdowns. He even had 52 yards receiving. How can you not like him in a must win scenario. I will have a lot of Henry and I will eat the Chalk. Ryan Tannehill, AJ Brown, Corey Davis, Jonuu Smith, Anthony Firsker … they all are in a great matchup and again in a must win. In that same week 6 game Brown went 5 for 58 and 2 Touchdowns. Firsker went off – 8 for 113 and 1 and that was with Jonuu on the field. I love Derek Henry in this spot but I do worry if the Titans are up big and Coach Vrabel knows that they are in the playoffs because of a Baltimore loss or Miami loss, if we will see 4 quarters out of Henry. Maybe 3 Quarters will be enough. It is why as much as I like Henry, I like Tannehill and his pass catchers just a smidge more. Corey Davis didn’t even play in that Week 6 game so now he gets a crack at a defense giving up a league WORST 426 yards per game. I like the stack of Tannehill and Brown or Davis as pivot from Henry – but I also like Henry a lot. Deshaun Watson will play in this game and I expect the chalk stack will be Watson – Henry – Brandin Cooks. I think Tannehill – Davis – Cooks will be a contrarian way to stack or Brown in place of Davis there. Don’t sleep on KeKe Coutee or Chad Hansen on the Texans side either. Or the Tight Ends Jordan Akins or Darren Fells too as cheap dart throws. In fact just by including either Coutee or Hansen in your Watson-Henry-Cooks stack will give you some leverage. I like the Titans on Sunday and I like this game to kinda go off so I also like the full game stack too … but keep in the back of your mind, Tennessee may have less to play for than you think when they take the field based on the results of the earlier games.

The Baltimore Ravens – Just play Lamar Jackson and don’t think about it. Pair him with the Ravens DST and Mark Andrews is my favorite pass catcher. The Ravens are in with a win OR a Cleveland or Indianapolis Loss. Lamar isn’t going to wait for the chance that the Colts lose and the Browns will be in a close game (most likely) against the Steelers. So expect the Ravens to pour on the offense. Even if he only plays 3 quarters, I think Lamar is a smash play here at QB and with no Mahomes on this slate, he is also the highest projected QB on the slate. Play all the Ravens you want. Outside of Lamar and Andrews, no one is seeing much ownership and with the Ravens DST pricey, they aren’t seeing much ownership either. To be honest, Lamar himself isn’t really the Chalk at QB either. Honestly I am starting to like a Lamar – Henry – Montgomery – WR? – WR? – Andrews – Ravens DST lineup a lot right now. I do think JK Dobbins is in play as well but I kinda like Gus Edwards more. If the expectation is the Ravens go up big here, Gus the Bus will be the grinder. No one is going to play Gus Edwards on a 15 Game slate and he makes for a cheap flex play with some upside. It’s not that I don’t like Hollywood Brown or Willie Snead in this matchup, I just like Andrews more in this matchup. I also don’t mind not stacking anyone with Lamar as with his legs alone he is likely to provide the fantasy points you need. I also don’t mind not running the stack back with a Bengal either. If you do want to, Tyler Boyd should play in this game and he would be my favorite to do so with. Just play Lamar and collect your winnings after. #Analysis

The Miami Dolphins – The Dolphins are in if they can win against the Bills. However they are also in if the Ravens OR the Browns OR the Colts, lose. Their opponent we have already discussed has clinched the AFC East and their playoff seating and have very little to play for in this game except maybe to try and keep the Dolphins out of the playoffs. So what are we going to see on Sunday? Well first Tua Tagovailoa will be under center. Ownership will be way down on Tua with the specter of Fitzmagic looming after last week – BUT many players may not know that Fitzpatrick is now on the Covid-19 IR. So barring injury, this should Tua’s show and that makes him a sneaky QB play. The Bills are the second WORST team in the league against Quarterbacks and are giving up nearly 360 total yards in offense on average. Plus, with little to play for, we don’t even know what defense the Bills will field on Sunday. DeVante Parker is questionable but he did practice on Friday and local beat writers have said he looked good. I’d be shocked if he didn’t play in a game of this magnitude. Jakeem Grant did play in Week 16 and is likely to play on Sunday, I could see his role increase with the Playoffs on the line. If either of those two aren’t playing you have hero of last week Mack Hollis, Lynn Bowden Jr, Isaiah Ford, Malcolm Perry – all of them cheap and with little to no ownership may be worth a look (My favorites out of that group would be Hollis and Ford btw). But the two Dolphins I have the most interest in are RB Myles Gaskin and Tight End Mike Gesicki. If there was any doubt Gaskin wasn’t the Dolphin’s “guy”, week 16 should have erased that and Gesicki is seeing targets at a near elite level for a TE in 2020. 6 or more over the last 3 games and averaging 60 yards over that span as well. Plus in Week 2 he took the Bills to school scoring 30 Fantasy Points with 8 catches for 130 yards and a touchdown. The Dolphins on a whole are projecting at low ownership, so I think taking a piece or two from this offense could pay dividends. I also don’t mind taking a shot at the Miami DST either. We just don’t know how much of Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs we will see (at least at the time of this writing) and again in a must win situation, the already excellent Miami Defense could step up even more.

The Dallas Cowboys AND The New York Giants – I am grouping these teams together because they are both in the same situation and playing each other. If Washington loses on Sunday night, the winner of this game will be NFC East Champion and advance. Which means of any game on Sunday, you have the best possible chances of the entire offenses playing all 4 quarters in this Cowboys Giants matchup. Since the winner’s fate will not be decided for hours after the conclusion neither team can afford to take their foot off the gas. So here are some notes that may interest you. First the Giants DST has only allowed 2 teams to go for 30 or more points against them all season. One of those 2 teams was the Cowboys, with Dak Prescott under center in Week 5. This happened to be the game Dak Prescott’s season came to an end and in relief Andy Dalton threw for 111 yards on 11 passes (ie; averaged a little over 10 yards per throw). Second the Cowboys DST carry a narrative that they have been playing “better recently” but in reality they have given up 30 or more points in 3 of their last 5 games and in that week 5 game, the Giants (with Daniel Jones under center) put 37 points on them and won. I am telling you this because I think this game has the potential to be a shootout with a lot of points scored and no one is really talking about it. Both defenses are giving up 250+ passing yards per game, so I think Andy Dalton and Daniel Jones make for contrarian plays at QB with upside. The Last time these two teams played CeeDee Lamb dropped 124 yards on the Giants with 6 Catches while Michael Gallup went 4 for 73. Amari Cooper was the lone ‘dud’ but perhaps that had a lot to do with James Bradbury on the other side of the ball. It’s hard not to go back to the well on Lamb who has really broken out over the last half of the season and I think Gallup also is in play. Whether it’s Cooper, Lamb or Gallup though – all of them are under $6,000 on Draft Kings and I think they all are viable. On the other side of the ball, Sterling Shepard wasn’t available in Week 5 but he should firmly be in play on Sunday in a must win. Darius Slayton however put on a show going 8 for 129. Golden Tate is Doubtful by the way, so I really also like Evan Engram here in a must win scenario and the same goes for Dalton Schultz of the Cowboys. Both Tight Ends should come in relatively low owned with bigger names on the slate. But I think the real heart of this game will be the running backs. Ezekiel Elliot will play in this game and while he has been bad for pretty much the entire season from a fantasy perspective, if there ever was a game where Zeke needs to show up for his team it is this one. I don’t mind taking a shot on Zeke and I think Tony Pollard is definitely in consideration for a Flex Play as he certainly has earned a share of touches even with Zeke on the field. On the other side of the ball, Wayne Gallman has disappointed lately but against the Cowboys defense that ranks last in the league for yards BEFORE contact, he should find room to run. I also think, believe it or not, Alfred Morris is worth a look as a cheap cheap low owned dart throw flex…. this game is seeing very low ownership across the board and with each team trying to be the one holding their breath for the Sunday Night results, I really do think it has a chance to be the sleeper game of the weekend.

The Cleveland Browns – the Browns are in a unique spot where a win isn’t enough and a win plus a loss by another team isn’t enough but it has to be a Win OR a Tennessee Loss PLUS a win by Baltimore, Indianapolis and Miami. That is a lot to take in for the Fabulous Baker Boys. The Browns and Steelers will play at the same time as the Ravens and the Dolphins … so I’d be shocked if the Browns aren’t scoreboard watching. That being said we know that the Steelers will be starting Mason Rudolph under center – so I think the Cleveland DST is in play. What we don’t know if there are any other starters who will be sitting or playing limited snaps – including any defensive starters. Against this Steelers team, I have faith that Big Game Baker Mayfield will show his face and with his wide receivers back I don’t mind at all a Mayfield – Jarvis LandryRashard Higgins stack. I also think you can mix in Tight End Austin Hooper who has seen an uptick in usage since returning from injury. I also like Kareem Hunt here as a pass catching option, but if the Steelers are going to rest any Defensive starters (Including TJ Watt) I think Nick Chubb is certainly in play with extremely low ownership. The only thing the Browns can control here is their own win, after that it will be prayer time that somehow the stars align. Speaking of the stars aligning, Donovan Peoples-Jones is also worth a Dart Throw flex look. He has been a down the field threat for Baker recently.

The last grouping I will talk about is the teams in the NFC that have Motivation to win. Despite having clinched their playoff berth, these teams have more to play for and I think it would be wise to consider the options.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers – I want to bring the Bucs up here because while they have already locked their seeding in for the playoffs, they kinda are also in a MUST WIN situation. You see if the Buccaneers win they will play the winner of the NFC East in the first round. That could be the Washington Football Team or the New York Giants or the Dallas Cowboys. I don’t think it takes a lot of thought to think that the Bucs would much prefer that matchup to potentially the Cardinals, Rams, Seahawks or most notably – the Saints. So I would expect Tom Brady to be ready to go and for me Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Antonio Brown and Gronk are all strong plays on Sunday against the Falcons. I also don’t mind Ronald Jones and to a lesser extent Leonard Fournette. Even with Brady taking the second half off last week, his first half performance and most notably Mike Evans’ and Rob Gronkowski’s performances led to some bit payouts in week 16. Could lightning strike twice? The Bucs certainly have a reason to play hard on Sunday.

The Green Bay Packers – The Packers are already the #1 Seed but they need a win against the Bears to claim a first round bye. Since this year only one team will claim a bye in each division, this is a very valuable asset to have entering into the playoffs. So Aaron Rogers and Devontae Adams stacks should the highest owned and highest projected stacks on the entire slate. In fact I think there will be a lot of Rogers – Montgomery – Adams stacks in the field on Sunday. For me though, I also think TE Robert Tonyon and he will be in my player pool. After breaking a Five Game touchdown streak, Rogers may be looking for him again in the end zone here. I don’t mind looking at a secondary receiver, be it Marquez Valdez-Scantling or Alan Lazard for leverage, but I don’t know if you will need to if you are stacking Rogers and Adams and including Tonyon and then running it back with a Bears receiver instead of David Montgomery,.. But make no mistake, I think it would be wise to have a good amount of Rogers and Adams on Sunday if you are multi-entering. The question mark for the Packers though is the running game. Aaron Jones is expected to start and play, but did AJ Dillon show enough last week to cut into Jones’ workload – especially if the Packers want to try and save Jones as much as possible for the Playoffs. Jamaal Williams will also work his way into the mix as well. I don’t mind taking a shot on Jones on a lineup or two, as I think he could be a great play, but I’m not as high on him as I am Rogers and Adams. If you are multi-entering, I don’t mind a shot on Dillon as a flex play if you are multi entering and to a lesser extent Williams.

There is one pause to the Green Bay Party however. The Packers also earn the First Round Bye if the Seahawks Lose. Both the Packers and Seahawks games are at 4:25 so if the Seahawks are losing in the 4th quarter there is a real chance the Packers will rest some players – Rogers, Adams and Jones most notably. So here’s to hoping the big numbers come early and often from the Green & Yellow.

The New Orleans Saints – The Saints have already clinched their division too but if they win AND the Packers lose AND the Seahawks win, then they will earn the First Round Bye. So Drew Brees and Company certainly have plenty to play for … but they will have to do it without Michael Thomas (IR) and now both Alvin Kamara and Latavius Murray due to Covid-19 IR placements. So Who DAT starting at Running Back for the Saints? Enter journeyman Ty Montgomery as you first candidate. Montgomery has been an adept pass catcher in the past, so I could see him soaking up a lot of targets that would have gone to Kamara and he should see the lionshare of work. He is a cheap play as the sites haven’t caught his salary up with the news, so I do expect him to be popular – but I feel safe using him as a high upside Flex Play. The Saints have also called up Tony Jones from their practice squad who I would expect to see some snaps as a backup to Montgomery. Jones is not in the Draft Kings player pool but he is on Fan Duel for $4,500. Lastly and perhaps most notably, I think we will see a good amount of Taysom Hill on Sunday with designed run plays. The problem there is, both Draft Kings and Fan Duel now have Taysom Hill only QB Eligible and I cannot justify you starting Taysom Hill at QB, unless news breaks late that he and Brees will have a true Timeshare at the position. It doesn’t get any easier either with Wide Receiver. Tre’Quon Smith is also now on IR. Which means Emmanuel Sanders needs to be in your player pool. The Panthers are giving up nearly 260 yards through the air and I can’t see Brees not looking Sanders way early and often here. Over the last two weeks Sanders has taken 5 targets for 76 and 83 yards respectively and he is also due for a Touchdown having last caught one from Taysom Hill during Brees’ absence. I also think you need to look at Tight End Jared Cook. The Panthers rank 26th in the league against Tight Ends and last week Cook 3 Catches for 83 yards. Cook is also due a score, since his last came on the arms of Taysom Hill. You can get cute with WR names like Marquez Callaway, Juwan Johnson or Austin Carr but last week with both Smith and Thomas off the field only Callaway saw enough targets to have a fantasy impact. All of them are cheap and will carry no ownership, if you pick the correct dart throw here – more power to you. I do have to wonder though if we may see the former Packer, Jake Kumerow get back on the field and a decent amount of snaps. The Saints claimed him off Waivers on Christmas Day so he wasn’t eligible for week 16 – but he will be for week 17. Aaron Rogers was high on Kumerow as a Packer and in his first game as a Saint (week 15) he did catch a touchdown pass. Of the 4 Wide Receivers I just mentioned, I have the most interest in Kumerow on Sunday.

The Seattle Seahawks – The Seahawks are in the playoffs but if both the Packers and the Saints LOSE, they will earn the #1 Seed and First Round Bye. All they have to do is beat the 49ers who earlier this season Russell Wilson threw for 261 and 4 Touchdowns against and ran for 23 yards. However anyone with a pair of eyes can tell you, Russell Wilson hasn’t looked or played the same as he was earlier this season over the last month. BUT we do have DK Metcalf to lean on. In that game against Seattle, Metcalf accounted for 161 of Wilson’s 261 yards as well as 2 of the 4 Touchdowns. I will have no issue playing Metcalf as a one off on Sunday. Ownership should be a little down on Metcalf too as I think the Seahawks are going a little overlooked since what they are playing for seems a out of reach, at least on paper. Then we have the curious case of Tyler Lockett who since week 7 when he had 200 yards and 3 Touchdowns has had 67 yards or fewer in his last 9 games also only 1 touchdown in that same span. Ownership on Lockett is in the basement and frankly, that is really why I don’t mind taking a shot on him here. Isn’t it just like a Must Win situation to bring out the best in us after all? Tight End Jacob Hollister is also riding a two game Touchdown streak and I think you can also take a shot there – he is cheap and no one is going to play Hollister over the other bigger names on the slate at that position. I also like Chris Carson. Carson has seen 15 and 16 touches since returning from injury but with Carlos Hyde out, I could see that number rise to potentially 20 touches. He also has seen 3 targets in each of his last two games and again with Hyde out, he could be more involved in the passing game. I also think the Seahawks DST is as sneaky cheap play that could go overlooked. C.J. Beathard will be under center for the 49ers and with both Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk out – it will be George Kittle and … Richie James? Kendrick Bourne? Oh my. If you are making a Seahawks stack with Wilson and Metcalf for instance, I think a run back from the 49ers that can give you some leverage off off Kittle (who will be a very popular play) is Jeff Wilson. With Raheem Mostert ruled out in Week 16, Wilson had 22 carries plus a nice catch and run for 20 yards and the Seahawks run defense doesn’t scare me too much to take a shot on near guaranteed workload.

Alright you have now gotten my picks for every team with something to play for this weekend. However there are teams playing that have nothing to play for except pride. Some of those teams have plays on them that I think you should target. Some of them don’t. If it burns me, it burns me but I won’t have a Patriot, Panther, Jaguar or Bengal in any of my lineups or in my player pool for Multi Entry. The teams in this “playing for pride only” category that I will be targeting are:

Atlanta Falcons

New York Jets

Minnesota Vikings

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

LA Chargers

Las Vegas Raiders

Denver Broncos

San Francisco 49ers

So going position by position – here is who I like, who I haven’t already mentioned above, from this group of teams with only pride on the line:

QB:

Matt Ryan vs Tampa Bay – 2 weeks ago Ryan put up 356 yards and 3 TDs against this defense. With potentially his job on the line going into next season, he will want to put on a show.

Kirk Cousins vs The Lions – Dalvin Cook will not play Sunday and Cousins threw 3 TDs against Detroit already once this season.

Mathew Stafford (if he plays) vs The Vikings – coming off of one of the worst statistical games of his career in Week 16, Stafford now gets a Vikings team giving up nearly 270 yards of passing offense per game.

Justin Herbert vs The Chiefs – there is a real chance that it isn’t just Chief’s Offensive starters that will get a rest on Sunday and Herbert will want to cap his stellar rookie season off with a strong performance, cementing his spot under center for 2021.

Derek Carr vs The Broncos – I am mainly interested in Carr as a stack with Darren Waller and or Nelson Agholor as I don’t think many will be rostering a stack like that and I like the potential against a Broncos team ranked 22nd against QBs and giving up nearly 250 yards through the air.

RB:

Melvin Gordon – Philip Lindsey is out and he plays the 27th worst Defense against Running Backs

Ty Johnson – Jets Running Back? Frank Gore and La’Michel Perine are out and he catches passes too!

Alexander Mattison – will draw the start against the leagues second worst run defense, allowing nearly 140 yards on the ground on average. In week 9 Dalvin Cook had 252 total yards and two touchdowns against this team. If Mattison can do half that, I’ll be ecstatic.

Deandre Swift – with Stafford starting I like Swift’s potential for targets here and the Vikings are nearly as bad as the Lions, ranked 26th in the league against running backs and giving up nearly 140 yards on the ground per game.

Austin Ekeler – with Keenan Allen officially out, Ekeler could be in for an even deeper workload and against a Chiefs defense ranked 20th against running backs, you could do worse than a low owned Ekeler in your lineup.

Josh Jacobs – I haven’t liked the time share with Deandre Booker and Jaylen Richard recently, but with nothing to play for except pride – I think Jon Gruden leans on his work horse to show Raiders nation there are better days ahead. For what it’s worth, Jacobs ran for 112 yards and 2 scores against the Broncos in Week 10 and you may not find him at any lower ownership than you will this week.

David Johnson – coming off his best performance as a Texan in Week 16, Johnson should be a prime position to stay hot. The Titans are just behind the Lions at 28th in the league against running backs allowing 120+ yards on the ground. Johnson also scored a touchdown against them in Week 6.

WR:

Justin Jefferson – only 50 or so yards from breaking Randy Moss’s single season rookie receiving record and hard pressed not to think he will break it with 4 of his last 6 games totaling 85 yards or more. Especially with Cook out, Cousins may be given the green light to let it fly in Week 17.

Adam Thielen – the thunder to Jefferson’s lightning, Adam Thielen has also had a spectacular 2020 with 14 Touchdown catches. Hard not to think he doesn’t make it 16 against a Lions team ranked 31st against Wide Receivers and giving up nearly 290 yards through the air per game. You may not catch Thielen at this low ownership again, by the way.

Calvin Ridley – Ridley has just gone bananas over the last 4 weeks, smashing the 100 yard mark in each of those games and scoring 2 touchdowns along the way. In Week 15 he went 10 for 163 and 1 against the Bucs. Fly Falcon Fly. He will be a popular play, for good reason.

Russell Gage – the immediate pivot from a Chalky Calvin Ridley, Gage has quietly had a nice season as well and he found success against the Bucs in Week 15 going 5 for 68 and a score. His price tag is a little higher than I’d like but if Ridley’s ownership skyrockets, I like Gage as a leverage play.

Marvin Jones Jr – who else but Marvin Jones right? With 8 or more targets in 5 of his last 7 and a Touchdown Catch against the Vikings in Week 10, I kinda like Marvin Jones as Stafford’s go to this weekend. The Vikings are allowing nearly 270 passing yards per game. Give me 70 and a score from MJJ and I’ll be happy.

Nelson Agholor – Phillie be Damned – a star has been born in Las Vegas! 8 or more targets in 3 of his last 4 and TWO 100 yard games in that same span along with 2 touchdowns. He has become a big play threat for Gruden and I could see him featured heavily in this season finale. The Broncos are giving up nearly 250 yards through the air and while he is a little more expensive on the sites than I normally like, I do like the stack with Carr and Agholor as a low owned option with tons of upside.

Mike Williams – he is the ultimate boom or bust guy but with no Keenan Allen and nothing to lose, would it shock you to see Herbert take multiple deep shots to Williams in this game against the Chiefs? If so, I’ll be happy to be rostering Williams. He saw 11 targets last week without Allen by the way.

Jerry Jeudy – I really don’t trust his quarterback and in general Broncos Wide Receivers have been disappointing us all season long, but Jeudy saw 15 targets last week and even if he sees half, he should find more room to move against a Las Vegas Defense allowing nearly 270 yards through the air on average.

Tight End

Darren Waller – Waller the Baller has been on a TEAR over the last month. 537 Yards through the air between weeks 13 – 16 and 3 touchdowns. It doesn’t matter the defense he has played he has been ELITE in the last month of the season. With Kelce’s playing time in question, Waller will be very popular as the second most expensive tight end – but if you are paying up for the position, I think Waller needs to be in serious consideration. I will have my fair share of him in my lineups.

George Kittle – After 7 weeks on IR the 49ers said that Kittle would be limited. No problem, he took his limited snaps to 92 yards. Now a week removed there should be no question who the 49ers offense will run through in Week 17. This is the Kittle revenge game by the way since it was in week 8 against Seattle that he went down. Clear the way – big George is coming through and with Waller above him in price and Mark Andrews below him in price, George could be coming in at an ownership discount and I’ll take it!

Irv Smith – with so much fanfare on Justin Jefferson, Irv Smith’s breakout campaign has gone a little unnoticed. But with Kyle Rudolph off the field, Cousins looked to Big Irv and in Week 16 Irv delivered with a 6 for 53 and 2 line. I’d look for Irv Smith to be involved again here with Dalvin Cook and his target share not on the field.

Hayden Hurst – Hurst has been hit or miss all season but he is riding a 2 game touchdown streak including one against the Bucs in week 15 and sometimes I like to ride the hot hand.

Noah Fant – I can never seem to get Noah Fant right (by the way, don’t you just wish he was as dominating as Kelce or Kittle or Waller so we could nickname him Noah FantASY?) He has seen 11 and 9 targets over the last two weeks and had a touchdown in that span. The Raiders have been pretty good against Tight Ends this year, but he should see solid volume and so I do not mind taking a shot, possibly as a run back on Raiders stacks more than anything else.

TJ Hockenson – I am only going to use him if I am playing a Lions stack with Stafford, but for what it’s worth Hockenson has been seeing a fairly consistent amount of targets all season long and nothing about the Vikings pass defense scares me.

Donald Parham/Stephen Anderson – in the wake of Hunter Henry’s Covid positive test, Parham and Anderson got the start in week 16 and both saw targets (Parham 3, Anderson 6) and both went for about the same yardage (Parham 47, Anderson 48). One of these guys is going to catch a touchdown pass and both are cheap and have NO ownership. My bet is on Parham who already has two TDs on the year but for cheap low owned dart throws – you could do worse.

DST

The Jets – as much as I hate to say it about my beloved Patriots, they stink. The Jets are on an actual roll and the Patriots are not. Pair the Jets D with Ty Johnson as a mini stack in your lineup. I just think the Jets are ready to pay some comeuppance after a lot of years of frustration.

The Raiders – The last time these two teams played, Drew Lock threw 4 Interceptions. #Analysis

The Chargers – Chad Henne is starting for the Chiefs. Worth a shot in my book.

The 49ers – If it’s true that Defensive Coordinator Robert Saleh is in line for a Head Coach job in 2021 there sure isn’t a better resume builder left this season than “I built the Game Plan that kept the Seahawks form the first round bye and number one seed last year”. #Analysis

Good Luck in your Contests!

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Monday Night Showdown – Bills Patriots – The Shoe is on the other foot this time in the AFC East – Week 16 Concludes

I hope as you are reading this you are in the lead or have won your league championship. I will be honest, I decided to celebrate my own victory a little too much last night so my #Analysis on the Sunday Night Game stayed in my head and not on the page… if you had Davante Adams in you Captain spot though, you should be pretty happy right now …

Tonight’s matchup with the Bills and the Patriots is an interesting one because in truth, it doesn’t really matter for either team in the grand scheme of things. The Bill’s have already locked up their playoff berth with the AFC East Title and the Patriots have already been eliminated from playoff competition. So sure the Bills can win out and have a shot at being a higher seed in the race, however by and large their destiny is playing in January.

Tonight I expect two things. First the Patriots will try and play spoiler and beat the Bills to show there is still some life in the old bones and the Bills will (I hope) run the ball down the throat of the Patriots Defense and carve up the field with play action. So let’s get into it.

My Captain/MVP Picks

I really don’t have a good statistical reason for saying this, but I like Cam Newton at Captain tonight. With his recent performances his ownership should be way down and I do believe most players will rush to have a Bills player at Captain or perhaps a Patriot receiver. But if you read any media that covered Cam after last week’s loss, he really came across as a guy that not only knows he can do better – he is disappointed in himself and his play. Now this may be his last chance on Prime Time to give the world one more dose of CAM and I don’t mind taking a shot.

I also don’t mind looking at Jacobi Meyers at Captain. No other Patriot comes remotely close to the Target Share that Meyers has been seeing (over 33%) and as I expect the Patriots to be throwing to get points on the board, Meyers should be a big part of the effort.

It may sound really crazy but I also don’t mind looking at the Patriot backfield for Captain or MVP tonight. The Bills are ranked in the bottom 3rd of the league against running backs and are giving up over 120 yards. Damien Harris is inactive again and last week Sony Michel did have 74 yards on the ground and with a much better matchup tonight, I could see the Patriots leaning on the run heavily. I will be taking a look at Michel especially if we get news that JJ Taylor if he is also inactive. If Taylor is active though, I don’t mind taking a flier on him either. James White is always much more popular of a play in Showdowns because of his pass catching – so I don’t mind White as a flex – but no one is going to look at Michel or Taylor especially at Captain/MVP and I could see a path to 75 and a score for one of them if the Pats can get their game plan in action.

With Stephon Gilmore placed on IR I believe Stefon Diggs will be a very popular Captain pick – however it is expected he will see a lot of JC Jackson tonight who is in the Top 3 for Interceptions this year and has been solid. Jackson has been beaten on the deep ball a few times this year, so you will need to hope that Diggs can take advantage of some shots. Diggs leads the Bill’s receivers in target share and raw yardage – and is due for a touchdown too. So I don’t mind Diggs at Captain.

But with John Brown again out tonight, I like taking a look at Gabriel Davis as a cheaper option to get a piece of the Bill’s passing attack. Last week David snapped a 3 game Touchdown streak and I am sure he is hungry to get a new streak going – plus with a lot of attention being paid to Diggs, I think Davis may be a sneaky play.

I also like looking at Zack Moss at Captain. Moss has apparently taken the lead back role on this team and as I said in my opening, I am expecting the Bills to run the ball early and often tonight. He also is a threat on the goal line. Again I think Diggs and Beasley will be some of the most popular Captains, so I do not mind shifting to secondary pieces to gain some leverage.

That being said though – it is very likely the optimal lineup tonight will be with Josh Allen at the Captain/MVP. Let’s face it – Allen has been fantastic this season. With the Patriots Defense in a bit of a rut and down key pieces too, he will for all intensive purposes take advantage. It doesn’t help too that as a proud member of Patriot nation that I know that running quarterbacks give the Patriots fits. As much as I like Davis and Moss, I think I will have the most Bills exposure to Allen tonight.

Flex, Flex, Flex it Up

I think if you are stacking the Patriots you need to think about it one of two ways. That they will try and run the game plan that they have all season, in which case stacking Cam + Meyers + Running back will make the most sense OR with nothing on the line they just go for broke, in which case I’m stacking Cam + Meyers + Dameire Byrd + James White. I don’t mind swapping White with N’Keal Harry in some lineups, but Harry has been as bad as Cam has recently and I don’t mind at all if you want to fade him. I also think you may want to consider using the cheap Tight Ends here – not together – but as a way to fill out the lineup taking a shot on Dalton Keene or Devin Asiasi. If the Patriots use this game as a way to see what they have in their young tight ends, the matchup with the Bills may be the best of the remaining two games to do it. I am not saying to load up on these guys, but they are cheap and can make a lot of things work in your lineup.

For the Bills I think stacking Allen with Diggs, Davis and Cole Beasley is going to be the very popular and pricey. So I might recommend using either Diggs or Beasley and rotating Davis with Isaiah McKenzie and then look at including Zack Moss or Devin Singletary in the stack… I think that the running game of the Bills will be a little underowned tonight but I see them having a big role, unless somehow the Bills fall behind I think including them with one of the secondary receivers will give you leverage on the field.

I don’t want to ignore the kickers in this game entirely but I am not as interested in them as Normal. Nick Folk has been very solid for the Patriots for sure, but if I am going to use him it will be in a stack with Cam and a receiver and not as a run back option on Bills stacks. Tyler Bass also has been solid but I am concerned with his field goal opportunities tonight. I could be wrong and this could be a game where it is slow and low scoring, but again I prefer using Bass in a stack with Allen and not as a run back.

I also think you can take a shot on the Bill’s defense if you are multi-entering. You can’t ignore how bad Cam has been recently and certainly both fumbles and interceptions are at play. And because it is 2020 and anything can happen – having at least one lineup with the Patriots Defense is something to think about. I don’t mind using the Patriots D in lineups with Allen either.

Good Luck with your Contests!

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Week 16 DFS Strategy & Picks – Real Deal Fantasy HQ – The most value heavy slate EVER!

This may be the most interesting DFS Slate of the Season. With 4 Games already played containing a lot of our the biggest ‘studs’ that we target each week – plus Green Bay, Tennessee, Buffalo and New England all playing in prime time, this slate contains a really significant funnel for “top plays” and loads of value.

I am going to take this by position on my favorite plays. I will also introduce up my primary strategy on attacking the slate too. I am hoping that if you aren’t in your season long Championship game, you can be a Champion in DFS today.

Quarterbacks:

Quarterback today, from an ownership perspective is pretty simple. It’s Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurts and then everyone else. So what I am going to focus on here are pivots from the top two dogs… but before I do, let’s talk about Mahomes and Hurts.

Patrick Mahomes gets to plat the Atlanta Falcons who are giving up the MOST fantasy points to Quarterbacks and the 3rd Most to Wide Receivers. I don’t think you need me to discuss the reasons why Mahomes may be the TOP play at Quarterback on the week. What I am going to mention though is that since his ownership puts him as a ‘chalk’ play, consider how you are rostering him. I will say the same thing about Jalen Hurts in a moment. Most players will stack Mahomes with Tyreek Hill or Travis Kelce and why not. Today though I will be thinking a little differently and stack Mahomes with Falcons. For instance game stacking with Mahomes and Calvin Ridley or Russell Gage or both… It isn’t that either of those guys won’t also be popular plays – but the correlation that you create with a stack like this can help you create a unique lineup. If I was to stack Mahomes, I do prefer Hill to Kelce today but only slightly.

Jalen Hurts has been a phenom in Philadelphia over the last two weeks alone. Did you know that he is averaging over 10 Fantasy Points on his rushing alone? Now he gets a Cowboys team that is first in the league for yardage allowed BEFORE contact on the ground and is allowing over 160 yards per game on the ground. Hurts will be the second highest owned QB on the slate – but instead of attacking this with a stack of a Philadelphia Wide Receiver or tight end, what about a game stack with Hurts, Myles Sanders and Ceedee Lamb or Amari Cooper or Michael Gallup? Or Hurts with Zeid or Tony Pollard. Just think a little differently. Game stacking led to the winning lineup last week in the Milly Maker … so it isn’t without warrant. If I am going to stack Hurts with anyone it is either Dallas Goedert or I will go back in time and nab Alshon Jeffery. By the way – Desean Jackson is BACK too … what will Hurts do with a field stretcher like that and how will that open up things for the other receivers. There is a lot to like about this Philly offense today.

The bottom line is that Mahomes and Hurts are excellent plays today – but a lot of people know that and the standard stack of Mahomes and Hill or Hurts and Raegor will be extremely common. So by all means, fire these guys up – just think differently when you do it.

So let’s talk Pivots for a minute. To me the perfect Pivot from Patrick Mahomes is Lamar Jackson at 8% ownership playing the New York Giants. The Giants have been better on Defense lately is the narrative. Don’t care. The Ravens need to win out to make the playoffs and Lamar has all of his weapons on the field today. It should be a competitive matchup with the Giants who also need a win to stay atop the NFC East. The reason I think Lamar is a pivot from Mahomes is he is a QB that you do not necessarily need to stack with any player, for him to deliver for you. If I am stacking Lamar with anyone it is Mark Andrews for what it’s worth.

My pick for a Jalen Hurts pivot – hold your breath – Mitchell Trubisky. Trubisky gets to play the boys from DUUUUVALLL who bleed fantasy points. The reason I like Trubisky as a pivot is his rushing floor, not as prolific as it was – but he does give you points with his legs. Now I would stack Trubisky with either Allen Robinson or Darnell Mooney (Mooney especially if Robinson is out) but at under 10% ownership, Trubisky could be a path to a DFS Victory.

Surprising Low Ownership on a few other QBs I want to mention.

Russell Wilson – playing the Rams and the #1 Rated Defense, Wilson and the whole Seahawks offense is coming in severely underowned. However this game could very well decide the NFC West and I don’t know, Russell Wilson – DK Metcalf – Tyler Lockett all under 10% owned seems like a sneaky play, with risk of course.

Baker Mayfield – Baker has been lights out for weeks now and in a matchup with the Jets you would think his ownership would be through the roof. You would be wrong – the entirety of the Browns’ Starting Wide Receiver corp is out today and on the Covid 19 list. That has helped keep Baker around 7% ownership. In fact outside of the Browns Defense, no Brown is even close to 10% ownership. Take advantage! Austin Hooper, Kareem Hunt, Harrison Bryant, David NJoku and a host of value Browns wide receivers are available and they are playing the JETS. Could be the sneakiest of all plays today.

Matt Ryan – People hate playing Matt Ryan and I get it. But the guy is throwing the ball 40 times per game and in a game with the Chiefs … yes the Chiefs secondary has been very good, but volume here wins out. Outside of Calvin Ridley (the second highest owned Wide Receiver) the Falcons are going unowned and I like the play of Ryan and Russell Gage as a pivot. Additionally cheap Ito Smith is now the starting running back and while I wouldn’t touch him in Season Long, in DFS – a cheap underowned starting running back in what should be a high scoring game… give it to me.

MY FAVORITES TODAY

I am going to go through my player pool for you to consider. Where value exists I will highlight and where low ownership exists I will highlight – but with a limited amount of players available because of a limited amount of games, I think hitting this quick will give you the most bang for the buck.

Running Backs:

David Montgomery – been playing lights out lately and now he gets the 30th ranked Jaguars who themselves are down their own starting back – James Robinson. I think Montgomery is in store for a big work load and a big day. He is my #1 Running Back on the slate

Austin Ekeler – with Keenan Allen likely out or limited and playing a shaky Denver defense in California, I think Ekeler will be involved from start to finish and is firmly in play today. His targets alone make him a tremendous play.

Myles Sanders – gets to play a Dallas Defense that as I mentioned is #1 for yards allowed BEFORE contact. Big play Sanders should eat today and since Hurts has been entered in the lineup, he has actually seen his usage INCREASE. Going Underowned today by the way. A Unique Stack is Hurts – Sanders – Lamb. Just sayin’

Washington Running Backs – Antonio Gibson is expected to play but is coming back from Turf Toe… yikes. I don’t mind taking a shot on Gibson but I really like JD McKissic as a flex today. Dwayne Haskins will be under center and Terry McLauren is out. Targets, Targets, Targets for McKissic I predict. Both guys going way underowned for the opportunity against the Panthers allowing 120 on the ground per game.

JK Dobbins – gets to play the Giants Defense who rank 25th against Running Backs especially those who catch passes. I like Dobbins as a flex because I’d expect Gus Edwards to get some carries – but the Ravens like Dobbins on the goal line… keep that in mind.

Kareem Hunt – very simple, Baker will need someone to catch passes. The Jets have been pretty good against the run, but the Cleveland Browns have one of if not the best Offensive Line in football and again all of the starting Wide Receivers are out today. Hunt catches passes. Let’s go. Going a bit underowned today.

Melvin Gordon – No Phillip Lindsey Today. Royce Freeman is banged up. This will be the Gordon show – the Gordon REVENGE matchup against the Chargers and this is a Volume Play. In games where Lindsey did not play Gordon has had 20+ touches. Really underowned today for the opportunity.

Gio Bernard – Two Touchdowns against the Steelers #2 defense against the run last week and now he gets the Texans #32 ranked run defense today. With QB issues in Cincy, I think they lean on Gio today. CHEAP VALUE PLAY with a TON of Upside.

Wide Receiver

Tyreek Hill and Calvin Ridley are the top owned wide receivers and both could be EXCELLENT choices to roster – but who else am I looking at?

Allen Robinson – Darnell Mooney. The Bears play Jacksonville and Jacksonville loves to give up points and big plays to Wide Receivers. Robinson is the Alpha but is questionable. Mooney is the X. If Robinson doesn’t play, Mooney becomes the Alpha and the X. Don’t sleep on these guys … many others are.

Robert Woods – The Seahawks have been getting better on defense, yes. Jamal Adams of the Seahawks I think will be keeping a keen eye on Cooper Kupp and Carlos Dunlap on Jared Goff. Will be a tough matchup – that is why Robert Woods is going severely unowned today. Mr Reliable for the Rams is in play for me today.

Houston Texans Wide Receivers. I should mention Deshaun Watson here, also a solid Pivot from the higher owned QBs – the Bengals though have been actually limiting teams over the last 4 weeks to 20 or under points. However Watson, Cooks, Coutee – upstart Chad Hansen. No one is looking here and in fact David Johnson (after 11 targets last week) has more ownership today than any of the pass catchers. I trust Watson enough to make these wide receivers, all values in their own right, viable for you.

Bengals Wide Receivers – Tee Higgins, AJ Green – yes Ryan Finley at QB is a question mark, but when have we not played Wide Receivers against the Texans this year? Why stop now?

Jamison Crowder – Breshard Permian – the Browns for their solid win streak have been allowing big plays to wide receivers and with the Browns offense severely limited today, you could have a very tired Browns defense playing especially as the game drags on. I like the volume of Crowder and I like the Big Play ability of Perriman.

Russell Gage – great pivot from Calvin Ridley, Gage has stepped up in Julio Jone’s absence and has also scored a touchdown twice recently. Cheap, under owned and in potentially the most competitive game on the slate. Don’t be afraid at look at a cheap Gage here.

CeeDee Lamb – my favorite pairing with Jalen Hurts, he has more targets than any other wide receiver on the Cowboys over the last 3 weeks AND Amari Cooper has struggled against Big Play Slay’s shadow coverage in the past. Let’s go CeeDee…

Tyler Lockett – He has been terrible recently. Doesn’t this just feel like the right time for a Lockett explosion game? We have the DK Metcalf Jalen Ramsey thing going on. We have the Aaron Donald Russell Wilson thing going on. I think Lockett is being largely ignored and I wonder if he will be ignored by the Rams too a little bit. No one is playing Seahawks today – but I am.

Chargers Wide Receivers – Mike Williams is healthy. Keenan Allen (even if he plays) is not. I like Mike Williams. Jaylen Guyton – cheap and most likely to fill the Allen Role should he sit. Tyron Johnson, already a part of this Wide Receiver corp and even cheaper than Guyton. I really don’t mind a Justin Herbert stack with Ekeler and any one of these guys.

Darius Slayton – Danny Dimes will be back under center and Golden Tate will be on the sidelines. With the Giants likely playing from behind, Daniel Jones will take some shots on his big play guy Slayton and if a couple of them are successful, I want to have a piece.

Curtis Samuel – yes the Football Team has a wicked pass rush and have been very good against wide receivers but how Samuel is used makes him a solid value play today that no one is looking at. Lining him out of the backfield and on wheel routes – these help to slow pass rushes. I think he is a solid dart throw and cheap and unowned at that.

Tight Ends

Travis Kelce is the alpha today no question. But he is very pricey and very highly owned. Pretty much every other tight end today is a VALUE…

Logan Thomas – 10+ Targets in back to back games and no Terry McLauren today. He could be in line for a monster game against the Panthers.

Browns Tight Ends – Austin Hoopper, Harrison Bryant, David NJoku. Baker needs someone to catch passes and by the way – You can’t even play any of the wide receivers they will have on the field on Draft Kings. Literally – they aren’t there. Cycle Browns TEs in your lineups.

Donald Parham – Hunter Henry is out with Covid and Parham has been named the Starter. He is big. He has two touchdown catches already this season. He was a stud in the XFL. He is also VERY CHEAP – $2,500 on DK.

Mark Andrews – great pivot from Kelce with a great opportunity

Noah Fant – coming off his biggest game of the season and playing the Chargers ranked 20th against TEs

Tyler Higbee – could be a safety valve for Goff today and always a Red Zone threat. The Seahawks have been better lately, but they still aren’t great against pass catchers.

Hayden Hurst – again the Chiefs and Falcons should have a competitive game and Julio Jones will miss it. I will be taking a look at any of the pass catchers in this game and Hurst has been getting more targets recently.

Dalton Schultz – the Eagles stink against Tight Ends and the Cowboys need a win just as bad as the Eagles do. Cheap, underowned, what else can you say here?

Dallas Goedert – mentioned already, a favorite of Jalen Hurts and probably the most likely stacking option with the young QB. But what about a Goedert – Lamb game stack?

DSTs

Honestly I think you can make a case for all of them but I’ll give you one to consider that maybe you will think I am crazy to mention … but

The JETS. $2,000 on DK and the Browns are doing walk throughs as we speak in the stadium parking lot lining tight ends up as Wide Receivers. Yes, really. I’ll have some shots on Gang Green Today.

Good Luck in your Contests!

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Saturday DFS Strategy & Picks – Holiday Edition – 3 Games to Glory!

I took a holiday from pretty much everything yesterday minus family, food and Santa Claus. What a game for Alvin Kamara and the Saints. They needed that win almost as much as my. Daughter needed a new Barbie Dream Closet.

Today we have three games and with people’s Season Long Fantasy Championships on the line, there certainly is a lot of drama going on this weekend. So maybe you need a break from it all or perhaps your own season long fantasy dreams have gone up in smoke. Thankfully we have our old friend DFS to get us through! Today when 3 games on tap should provide some fun and fantasy points and where there is fantasy points there can be DFS Winners. So let’s see what we can do about making YOU one of those!

Arizona Cardinals – San Francisco 49ers

Arizona Cardinals Favored by 5.5 points

This game has an over/under of 48.5

If this was a healthy 49ers team I could see this total pushing 60 however this is anything but a healthy 49ers team. Most recently, back up QB Nick Mullens went on IR which only adds to the woes of the gold and red. Jimmy G will not be walking on that field. Nick Bosa will not be walking on that field. Deebo Samuel … you get the picture. BUT YOU KNOW WHO WILL BE? GEORGE KITTLE IS ACTIVE!

Meanwhile you have a surging Arizona Cardinals team that need a win to keep playoff hopes alive… so I don’t Cliff Kingsbury taking his foot off the gas pedal today.

Quarterback:

Kyler Murray played like the Kyler Murray at the beginning of the Season last week. 406 Passing Yards, 3 Touchdown Passes plus 29 yards on the ground and a rushing score. Now admittedly, the 49ers Defense poses a little more threat than the banged up Eagle’s secondary, but I have little doubt that Kyler will be able to move the ball today. He will be the most popular QB play on both sites today but perhaps also the safest, so he makes for an excellent Cash Game option. I don’t mind him for tournaments too, but at close to 40% ownership and a hefty price tags I have other options I will be looking at.

One of those options believe it or not is CJ Beathard the expected starter for the Niners with Nick Mullens on IR. When he stepped in for Mullens last week he threw for 100 yards and a touchdown and I don’t hate the matchup with the Cardinals 30th in the league against QBs. With the Cards favored by over 5 Points the expectation is that the Niners will be playing catch-up which means Beathard will be throwing and at $5,000 on DK an $6,800 on FD he can really help make your lineup come together nicely. Do I expect him to break the slate – NO – but I do like the options Beathard at QB can give you. Currently right now only 4% of DFSers agree with me, so take advantage of low ownership if you got the guts.

Wide Receiver

Deandre Hopkins is the logical pick here as the Alpha and Omega on the Cardinals offense. He makes a great pairing with Kyler naturally but I also like the game stack of Beathard and Hopkins. While the Niners are Top 10 overall against the pass, they are middle of the road against Wide Receivers and a talent like Hopkins should be in line for a big performance. Hopkins will be the Chalk Wide Receiver today, so being different and game stacking with the 4% owned Beathard is a way to gain leverage on the field. I think you can also take a look at Christian Kirk who has developed into the #2 for Kyler and a real deep threat as well. With a lot of other Stud receivers on this slate, I could see Kirk being overlooked. The guys I am looking at most however outside of Hopkins is Larry Fitzgerald. Fitz may be playing for his swan song this year and was targeted in the red zone and caught a touchdown, but I also like the volume that Fitz is seeing for a Cheap Low Owned Play. Last week he saw 4 targets, but earlier in the season Fitz was averaging 6 per game and I don’t mind taking a shot there. He is only $3,400 on DK.

On the 49ers side – it should be the Brandon Aiyuk show. With Deebo sidelined, Aiyuk is has seen 16 and 13 targets over the last two weeks and has gone for 73 or more yards over the last 3. If Beathard is going to have success he will need to lean on this shifty player, who also sees some work in the run game. Aiyuk will be popular today and he could see a fair amount of Patrick Peterson but I think he is still in play. It may sound like a cop out, but I really don’t have a lot of interest in any other San Fran wide receivers. You have Richie James and Kendrick Bourne available and I am ok with taking a flyer on one or the other but I don’t know if I am building a team with more than one of them on there…I may have no exposure to either. I do have a little interest in River Carcraft however. At the minimum salary on DK he is more of a price play for me, but he should see a few targets today and he is so cheap, kinda like Beathard, I don’t mind taking the shot.

Running Back

Kenyan Drake could be in store for a very heavy workload if Chase Edmonds (Currently Questionable) can’t go. Even if Edmonds can’t go, I think Drake is in play especially if you believe the Cardinals will be playing with a lead. The 49ers have been ok against running backs but with Kyler himself running, I believe it opens up the lanes for Drake and we have seen him make use of his opportunities over the last month. There is always the threat of Kyler taking the goal line work himself, but especially if Edmonds can’t play Drake is a volume play for me. I don’t know how much interest I will have in Edmonds if he can go. As the Pass Catching back, I could see him being eased into the game as if the Cardinals can get into a lead his services may not need to be employed the way they were last week against the Eagles and the Cardinals may want to rest him as he could be very useful in the playoffs. Drake is in my player pool and if Edmonds can go, I don’t mind taking a shot with him as a flex but I won’t be very heavy on Edmonds in lineups.

On the other side of the ball it looks to be the Jeff Wilson Jr show with Raheem Mostert out. Wilson is a dynamic runner and we also know the 49ers like to run Wilson on the goal line. The Cardinals have been tough on Running Backs – top 5 against the position, so it may be tough sledding – but I think you have to take a look at Wilson again as a volume play. I could see the Niners going very run heavy in this game with the backup to the backup under center. Believe it or not though, I think the 49er Running Back to own here is Jerrick McKinnon. The 49ers like McKinnon a lot and I expect him to get solid work today as the pass catching running back. Again if you think the Cardinals go out ahead – McKinnon could be the guy on the field and he is cheap and is going very underowned, surprisingly.

Tight End

Dan Arnold has been a great DFS Tight End in the back half of the season. With 4 Touchdowns over the last 5 games and seeing 3 plus targets he is a cheap option with upside every week. But he is questionable today and if he can’t go, I think taking a shot on Max Williams isn’t a crazy idea. Kyler likes targeting his tight ends on 3rd downs and in the red zone and while not popular plays, I will have some shares of a Cardinals Tight End – either Arnold or Williams.

GEORGE KITTLE IS ACTIVE. He is potentially going to go a little underowned with the news breaking this morning. Currently projected at 20% ownership vs Darren Waller at 42%. George Kittle is also only $5,000 on DK and $6,000 on FD. Play George Kittle. #Analysis To be fair however, it isn’t 100% Green Means Go here. The Cardinals are top 5 against tight ends and you have the backup to the backup throwing to him. So could Kittle bust? For Sure. But I will be playing a lot of George Kittle.

(Here is what I wrote about the other SF Tight Ends, before the Kittle News if you are interested) Jordan Reed still plays football. He is seeing 5 targets per game and has 2 touchdowns over the last 3 games. I could easily see Beathard targeting his tight ends today so while there is risk here, I also don’t mind taking a shot on Reed or Ross Dwelley (the other 49er Tight End) as both are being targeted and if Beathard is throwing to play catchup, I think his tight ends are viable. I prefer Reed to Dwelley but like the Cardinals guys – Reed and Dwelley are cheap and no one is playing them.

Many say Defense Doesn’t Matter … I tend to agree as I usually just play the cheapest defense I don’t think will kill me and with the Backup to the Backup under center for the 49ers under center The Cardinals DST is in play for me.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs Detroit Lions

Tampa Bay is favored by 4 Points

This games projected total is 54 points

Tom Brady gets to play the second worst defense against the pass and he has all of his pass catchers healthy. Good Luck Charlie. (Charlie being the Detroit Lions) Brady is the second highest owned QB on the slate behind Kyler, but it is with Good Reason. Just like the Cardinals, the Bucs are playing for the playoffs and I don’t see Brady slowing down. Without sounding like a homer for Brady, I think he is an excellent play today.

Matthew Stafford is a questionable today with a thumb injury and of course his rib injury from a week or so back. If Stafford can play, I don’t mind taking A shot but I am not going to be very heavy on him. First, the Bucs have a solid defense. They rush the passer and are stout against the run. Which means Stafford will need to be throwing and will need to be likely rolling outside the pocket a lot, I don’t see him just standing back there with a ton of time on his hands. His injuries give me pause because of this. Coupled with over the last two weeks in arguably much better matchups against the Titans and Packers, Stafford has barely cracked 15 fantasy points. I think that is injury related. So if he plays, I don’t mind taking A shot, but not multiple. If he doesn’t play, I have no interest in a Lions QB.

Wide Receiver

Marvin Jones Jr will be the second highest owned WR on the slate behind Hopkins. With Kenny Golladay out Jones is seeing close to 10 targets per game and has gone for over 100 yards to 2 of his last 3 games. In both of those games he also scored a touchdown. He will be a popular run back play on a Brady Bucs receiver stack. I also don’t mind taking a shot on Danny Amendola. Amendola has not seen the volume he was earlier in the season, recently – but if the Bucs are able to key in on Jones, Stafford could lean heavy on Amendola particularly on third down. I think you can also take a shot on Qunitez Cephus. At the minimum salary on Draft Kings he makes for an interesting pivot from Jones and in a matchup with a similar tough defense recently (the Bears), Cephus had his best game of the season with 63 yards and a score. He is a pricing play, but he is in play for me.

I’m just going to say it – I like Mike Evans a lot today. He will be the 3rd highest owned of the Bucs receivers but I just like the report that Brady has built with Evans and I like the chances of Evans finding the Endzone. The most popular play of the Bucs will be Chris Godwin who against the Lion’s 28th ranked passing defense, Godwin should eat. He has been a volume target option for Brady in the past. Then there is the boy of the hour – Antonio Brown who found the last week for the first time since 2019. The Lions are terrible against wide receivers and I don’t need to spend a ton of time telling you that. Nearly 280 yards per game over the year and giving up close to 30 fantasy points to the position. Who is you favorite Buc Wide Receiver today? Mine is Evans, but if you like Godwin or Brown more – play ‘em. I think an interesting way to attack this game is to game stack one or two Bucs pass catchers with Marvin Jones and not stack with Quarterbacks. It is an upside leverage play to consider in your lineups.

Running Back

I am not planning on playing a Detroit running back against Todd Bowles stout run defense that is holding opposing running games to league high average of under 90 yards. I’m just not going there. If you believe that the Buccaneers will focus solely on stopping Stafford and that will open up some lanes for Deandre Swift, more power to you. I make a hard rule to not play a running back against the Bucs. #Analysis

Leonard Fournette however may be my favorite Running Back on the slate however. The Lions are ranked 31st against the run and are giving up nearly 140 yards per game to running backs. He will be the highest owned running back on the slate but I don’t mind eating the chalk. With Ronald Jones out last week, Fournette carried the ball 14 times and had 2 rushing TDs. He also caught 3 of 5 targets for 16 yards. I like Fournette a lot today.

Tight End

TJ Hockenson will be the second highest owned Tight End on the slate behind Darren Waller. Hockenson certainly has become a target for Stafford but after a couple costly fumbles and drops over the last 3 games we saw his target share plummet from 11 in Week 14 to 4 in Week 15. The Bucs are middle of the road against Tight Ends so I don’t mind taking a shot on Hock here, but he is far from my favorite Tight End play today.

GRONK SMASH. BRATE CATCH. Both Gronk and Cameron Brate should be in your player pool and Tom Brady loves his tight ends. Gronk makes an excellent pivot from Hockenson on the other side of this game and Cameron Brate is a sneaky play who will see targets and may even see a red zone target now and again. I actually prefer the Bucs Tight Ends more than I do Hockenson.

Defenses don’t matter, but I don’t mind taking a shot on the Buccaneers against Stafford and the Lions.

Miami Dolphins vs Las Vegas Raiders

Miami is favored by 5

This game has a projected total of 49 Points

This should be the main event of the day. Two AFC Teams not only playing for respect but also the playoffs. The Miami Dolphins are close to a playoff berth and a win here will only help to solidify their hopes of a wild card. Meanwhile the Raiders are all but eliminated with only a slim chance of making a wild card. A loss here would close that window for good this season. So both teams have a lot to play for.

Quarterback

Tua Tagovailoa has been good, recently. In fact he certainly has cemented himself as the starter in Miami. He has topped 20 Fantasy Points in 3 of his last six and has been using his legs to his advantage including 2 rushing scores last week. I like Tua’s upside in this matchup with the Raiders who rank 20th against Quarterbacks and are giving up close to 275 yards per game through the air. Especially with a must win situation I could see Big Game Tua taking over here. I think Tua is going underowned here with Brady and Kyler also on this slate, coming in around 13% and I think he could for sure be a slate breaker here in a prime time matchup against an AFC rival.

Derek Carr has been cleared to play, but Jon Gruden is not saying who is starting – Carr or Marcus Mariota. So without having a solid answer on who will start I can’t recommend either. Blame Gruden for that. I am hoping that we will have more clarity tonight so look for my take on a Raiders QB in the Showdown Article on the game. But if you are playing the all day slate, I think locking in one or the other is a fools mission without Gruden confirming who will start. I am sorry. My gut says it will be Carr but again, I would avoid Raiders QBs in the all day slate of games. We just don’t have an answer from Gruden to go off of.

Wide Receiver

Davante Parker and Jakeem Grant are in a prime position to deliver today against the Raiders 21st ranked defense. The problem is both Parker and Grant are listed as questionable. If they do not play Lynn Bowden and Mack Hollis should open up as value plays and Isiah Ford should see a continued up tick in targets. With both Parker and Grant game time decisions the strategy I may suggest is to roster one of them. The Game is late, so you will be able to late swap if need be. Or avoid a Dolphins receiver all together. Again – with no real guidance to say who will play, it is tough to give analysis. Isaiah Ford may be the safest of any of them at the time of this writing as the #3 he will see snaps and targets no matter who he is running alongside.

For the Raiders, I think Nelson Agholor will go unowned in the all day slate and will be a popular play in Showdowns. Over the last 5 games Nelson has dipped below 8 targets only once. However the Dolphins defense has been tough against Wide Receivers ranking 11th in the league. So it comes with risk to target Agholor, Henry Ruggs or Hunter Renfrow especially without knowing who is throwing to them. I will be staying away from Wide Receivers in this game in general in the all day slate.

Tight End

Mike Gesicki got practices in on Thursday and Friday but still carries a Questionable tag. If he plays he will be a sneaky start at Tight End seeing under 15% ownership and coming off back to back Monster performances against Kansas City and Cincinnati. If he doesn’t play Durham Smythe seems to be the Tight End in Miami with the most upside, seeing 5 targets from Tua last week. I don’t mind taking a flyer on Smythe. The issue is that the Raiders have been stingy against tight ends – top 10 against the position. So if Gesicki doesn’t play, I don’t have a ton of interest in Miami Tight Ends. Even if he doesn’t play I likely will only play him stacked with Tua.

Darren Waller is the highest owned tight end and at nearly 45% ownership one of the highest owned plays on the entire slate. I think Waller is the ONLY safe pass catcher in this game that you can lock in for the all day slate. The Miami Defense has been good, yes, but Waller is a special athlete and no matter who is under center you know he will get the majority of targets from the Raiders. I don’t mind Waller at all as a late game hammer in the all day slate – but I do prefer Kittle if you are paying up for Tight End.

Running Back

Josh Jacobs, along with Waller, is a safe play in regards to if he will be on the field and playing. He also is very likely to be the focal point of the Raiders offense as I believe that the offense will run through him especially early in this game. Volume alone puts Jacobs in play and we have seen even in tough matchups, Jacobs excel especially near the goal line. He is the second highest owned Running Back on the slate behind Fournette so it isn’t a sneaky play, but a safe play. He is the most expensive running back on the slate however so keep that in mind as you build your team. The Dolphins are allowing over 120 yards on the ground, so Jacobs could be in line for a big day and the volume of touches should be there.

On the other side of this game you do have a bit of a guessing game. Myles Gaskin is back and healthy and ready to go. Gaskin has been fantastic for the Dolphins in the second half of the season with double digit fantasy points in 7 of the games that he has played in. He last played in Week 13 amassing 90 yards on the ground and 51 yards through the air. He should be a smash against the Raiders who rank 28th against running backs and also are allowing over 120 yards on the ground. The issue is the layoff and if the Dolphins will ease Gaskin in – which means you could see a lot of Salvon Ahmed who had a monster performance last week running for 122 yards and a score, plus Matt Brieda who also had a good game taking 12 carries for 86 yards. Even Patrick Laird had a target last week. So the Dolphins backfield is a bit of a mess … my gut says it’s Gaskin’s show but be mindful of the committee. Gaskin makes an interesting pivot from Jacobs at half the ownership.

Again Defenses don’t matter and without a lot of knowledge on the particulars of this game… I am staying away from both sides, defensively.

Good Luck in your Contests!

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Monday Night Showdown – Steelers Browns – DFS Strategy & Picks – Week 15 Concludes

The Steelers better be on their A Game tonight because the way that the Ravens and the Browns played this weekend – nothing is going to be a gimme in the AFC North. Thankfully the Steelers have what should be a “Get Right” game on tap tonight after back to back losses. We shall see, but we will also be ready to reap the rewards of fantasy points in our DFS Lineups, so let’s get right into the game!

My Captain/MVP Picks

Ben Roethlisberger: Big Ben is far and away projected to be the highest owned player on the slate as well as the highest projected scorer on the slate. Couple all of that with him being the highest priced player on the slate too. Unlike last night where the highest priced player was Nick Chubb and I believed he would be lower owned at Captain due to the salary, I actually think much of what is driving Ben’s ownership tonight is that he will likely be the most popular choice for Captain/MVP. Despite the Steelers’ most recent losses, if you look back to Week 10 against the Bengals, Ben was unstoppable. 333 Yards, 4 Touchdowns and no interceptions. That performance led to Ben’s highest fantasy point total of the season: 32.3 FPTs. However since that game and more specifically over the last 4 weeks, Ben has had his troubles. First he has had an interception in each of his last 4 games including 2 last week against the Bills. He also has thrown for over 300 yards once over the last few weeks. The plus side over the last month is that he has also thrown 7 touchdown passes. However, I want to point out that the Bengals come into this game now ranked 11th in the league against Quarterbacks. Granted that is largely due to a stretch where they faced Andy Dalton, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Daniel Jones and the returning Alex Smith, but still. Couple a Bengals defense that has probably had 4 weeks to prepare for a return match with Ben and Ben’s own struggles plus his enormous ownership tonight and his high Salary – and for me Ben isn’t a lock and load Captain on DK. On FD where salaries don’t matter as much, I am more apt to play him at MVP despite the ownership.

This would normally be where I would suggest a contrarian pivot off a very chalky and popular pick but tonight that will prove trickier than expected. Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool, James Connor and Tyler Boyd are all projected at 40 – 60% ownership. I believe that the reason Johnson and Claypool are so high in ownership is due to stacking as they are the most popular plays to stack with Ben and likely Tyler Boyd is the most popular Bengal to run that stack back with.

Editors Note: James Connor has been ruled out tonight as of 3:45p. Benny Snell will start for the Steelers and Anthony MacFarland will be the primary backup with Jaylen Samuels having a role as a pass catching back.

So for me, if I am targeting a Steelers receiver at Captain instead of Ben, I am looking at the lowest owned of the bug three Ju Ju Smith-Schuster. Ju Ju is currently hovering in the 30% ownership range and that would make him enough of a pivot for me to play him at the top spot. Over the last 5 weeks Ju Ju has only failed to see 7 or more targets once and over that stretch he also has 4 touchdown passes. In week 10 against the Bengals, Ju Ju racked up 22.7 FPTs with 9 catches for 77 yards and a score. Don’t sleep on Ju Ju tonight.

I also don’t mind taking a shot on Chase Claypool who is the cheapest of the three Steelers’ receivers. I think the salary discount on Claypool is driving his near 50% ownership as his performances over the last 3 weeks certainly aren’t warranting that level of attention. But despite the recent drought in touchdowns, we know from watching the games that Claypool is a target for Ben in the Red Zone and he has proven he has multiple touchdown upside as well. So I don’t mind rolling the dice there.

Diontae Johnson looks to be the most popular to pair with Ben in a stack and is actually projected to be the second highest owned player on the slate becuSe of it. Johnson has the highest target share on this team – but what scares me are the Drops, of which he has had several over the last two weeks. For me if you are going to stack him with Ben, I would make sure you have another pass catcher with them and I would also use Ben at Captain and not Johnson. Drops are really.

With the news that James Connor will be out tonight I think Benny Snell will be a popular pick at Captain. The Bengals are giving up over 130 yards per game on the ground so there is a chance that Snell could deliver – but what I am worried about is how much the Steelers offense has been favoring the passing game over the run since the second half of the season began. They are the most Pass friendly team in the league so I believe that Snell’s opportunities may be limited. Keep in mind that Connor’s ownership was pushing 40% tonight so I would expect that Snell’s will end up in the same range. For me if I am multi entering and was looking at a running back to start at Captain/MVP I may take a flyer on Anthony McFarland who even in limited opportunities last week showed some explosiveness. There is a chance that he is figured more into the mix tonight and I could also see if the Steelers have this game in control they give him a shot to see what they have. For what it’s worth I believe a lot of the Steelers Pass/Run disparity has come from the troubling running back situation with Connor out and in. We may see that alleviate itself if the Steelers get up big.

On the Bengals side I think Tyler Boyd will be the natural pick at Captain but seeing where his ownership is currently makes me want to stay away and pivot to taking a shit on Tee Higgins who is seeing about 30% ownership but much like what I mentioned on Ju Ju, that is just enough for me to consider going to Higgins as a pivot from Boyd. Higgins saw 9 targets and took them for 115 yards and a score in week 10 and if the Steelers double team Boyd, I could see Ryan Finley looking Higgins’ way on the outside.

If you really want to save some salary and go contrarian I also don’t mind taking a flyer on AJ Green believe it or not. Since Week 10, Green has been on a bit of a Renaissance seeing 5 or more targets in 3 of his last five and scoring 2 touchdowns in that span as well. Week 15 has already seen Larry Fitz and Dee a Bryant score touchdowns, what’s to say one more throwback could get in the end zone here too?!

I bet you are all saying – well what about Ryan Finley? If Finley was seeing no ownership, I would be all for it. But Finley is nearing 50% ownership which says to me that over half of the players in tournaments will have either Ben or Finley as Captain tonight. I immediately want to pivot. Especially because I am just not sure what we will get out of Ryan Finley tonight. His season high of 7 attempts and 40 yards isn’t enough for me to invest in him at Captain. I will use him I’m a flex but I prefer Higgins or Green as a contrarian Captain and Boyd, probably the best Bengal to play despite the heavy ownership.

Flex, Flex, Flex it up!

For me if you are stacking the Steelers I would try and build a 4 man including Ben with two of the “big 3” Wide Receivers plus either Tight End Eric Ebron or ever present third down ace James Robinson. I just don’t see the Steelers going away from their pass heavy game plan especially with Connor missing. The other way I would go is to use Ben a receiver and a running back with the Steelers Defense. Both of these stacking philosophies are if you believe the Steelers will roll. I think mixing Snell and McFarland into your player pool is a good idea. Snell should lead this backfield and you never know the Steelers could go run first – but I also think McFarland will see some action. And don’t forget Jayden Samuels who could see some third down work and if for some reason the Steelers fall behind, would be very prevalent as a pass catcher.

I am going to try and avoid Tyler Boyd as a a run back to my Steelers stack as I believe that will be an uber popular move. Instead I would consider stacking Finley with either Higgins, Green or Tight End Drew Sample. Just to be different.

Despite the Steelers being heavy favorites I could actually see a lineup with 2 Steelers and 4 Bengals being the optimal to cash assuming the Bengals will be playing catch up. In this case I think you need to include Finley and Boyd with Higgins or Green. You can look to Tight End Sample or I also don’t mind Gio Bernard in a stack like that since he will be getting the majority of snaps and he could break off a solid run, or a solid catch and run and certainly fall in the end zone if the Bengals can make it to the goal line. I also think a kicker Austin Siebert may be an important piece to your Bengals stack. The Bengals will want points any way they can and I could see Siebert having a busy night…

Using Ben as a run back with a pass catcher will be very popular so if I am building a Bengals stack I’m going a 5 man with Ben by himself. Finley, Boyd, Higgins or Green, Sample, Siebert and Ben. Just to be different.

And this is 2020 and anything can happen – so taking a shot on the Bengals defense on a lineup or two is not the craziest idea. I mean Ben has thrown 5 interceptions in 4 weeks and we do have back up running backs starting tonight. Anything can happen – Interceptions, Sacks, Fumbles included!

Good Luck in your Contests!

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Real Deal Fantasy HQ & A – WEEK 13 Edition!

READERS – WE NEED QUESTIONS!!  Send them in to us so we can answer them here!  Tweet your questions for Week 14 (Fantasy Playoffs) to @DelRayBoston 

Now Without further ado – it’s the Week 13 Real Deal Fantasy HQ & A! 

1. What was you biggest ‘Wrong Answer’ from the Week 12 that you regret:     

Sean:  Recommending any Las Vegas Raider and Brian Hill were a waiver wire pickup last week. 

Laquan:  Jonnu Smith screwed alot of ppl

2. What was your biggest “I Told You So” from the Week 12 RealDealFantasyHQ & A? 

Sean:  Sitting CEH and starting someone else over him 

Cody: Not starting Brian Hill

Laquan:  Antonio Gibson breakout game

3.  Perhaps the biggest news of the week is that Will Fuller has been suspended for 6 games, eliminating him for this season and the first game of next season. Additionally Randall Cobb is on IR and the Texans parted ways with Kenny Stills as well.  

If you were a Will Fuller Owner and Brandin Cooks is not available on Waivers – is KeKe Coutee your number 1 priority, or is there another wide receiver you prefer on Waivers to fill the void?   

Sean:  I’d be pretty high on KeKe.  He has back to back weeks with Touchdowns, both of which Fuller was on the field for and now he could slot into the #2 role behind Cooks in the offense.  If I needed a WR, I think Coutee is a smart add.  

Cody: I like keke, but he’s just not as talented as fuller. I’d rather go after Chark or Pittman Jr. if they’re available.

TY: As a fellow Canadian once famously said, KeKe do you love me? I’m sure hoping he loves producing for my fantasy team at least because I picked him up in 3 leagues.

Laquan: Keke is cool but not the player u can trust in ur line up come playoffs

Andrew: I like Denzel Mims, he has 7+ targets in 4 out of his 5 starts and a good schedule remaining except for LAR week 15 

4.  Staying on the Texans – with Fuller gone for 6 games and Cobb not available, is Jordan Aikens or Darren Fells worth a waiver add and possibly a start if you needed a tight end?  Which do you prefer?  

Sean:  I prefer Aikens only because of the targets.  Fells is a red zone threat though for Watson because of his size.  I think both are worth a waiver add and stash, pick whichever you prefer.  It is a tough matchup this week and you can see which one gets the usage before potentially starting either.  

Cody: I like fells better, but I’m only playing if I have an injury. I’m not starting them over the TEs currently on my roster

TY: I really don’t like either, last week against Detroit who let the offense feast to the tune of 318 passing yards and 4 TDs, neither TE had a single catch. To me, this is definitely a wait and see situation even in the deepest of leagues.

Laquan:   i mean they dont have enough volume for me to trust either of them in line ups   

Andrew:  I don’t like either when they are both active 

5. Josh Jacobs appears to be trending towards doubtful against the Jets (Editors Note: Jacobs has been ruled OUT).  If you were a Jacobs owner and Davante Booker was available on waivers, would you pick him up in the event Jacobs can’t go?      

Sean:  100% Yes     

Cody:   ABSOLUTELY

TY: Even if you’re not a Jacobs owner, go grab Booker this week. He should be a RB2 against the Jets. I grabbed him and plan on starting him in 2 of my leagues this week.

Laquan:  Full Send. 

Andrew: I would not only pick him up, but keep him even when Jacobs is back 

6.  Kyler Murray has scored under 20 Fantasy Points in the last two weeks and this weekend he takes on the Rams with Aaron Donald and company lurking on the line and Jalen Ramsey likely shadowing Deandre Hopkins.  Would you still start Kyler this weekend or would you be looking for a one week waiver flier?  Kyler practiced in full on Friday and no longer carries a questionable tag.    

Sean:  I own Murray in 2 out of my 3 leagues and I am nervous, but the last time he played the Rams he threw for over 330 yards and now he has a much improved offense.  I think I have to roll with him.   

Cody: If you have another usable QB I’d consider it… see below for my QB waiver pick 👀

Ty: The only way I sit him is if you (somehow) have a top-5 QB sitting on the bench, definitely don’t go grab a guy off the waiver wire.

Laquan: Not the match up for Murray owners to be hoping for big points if u can look elsewhere

Andrew: You can’t bench him for any QB that’s on waivers. Just hope the shoulder is better 

7. Kenny Golladay is again out for Week 13.  Is he now droppable?  Keep in mind his Fantasy Playoff Matchups if he can get healthy:  Week 14 Green Bay, Week 15: Tennessee, Week 16 Tampa Bay, Week 17: Minnesota. If you are dropping him, who on the waiver wire are you making the bench room for?  

Sean:  I think if you need a win to get into the Playoffs and you think you can upgrade a position with someone on the waiver wire to start this week, then yes. If not and if you have the bench space, then I am ok holding onto him for at least another week and see if he can’t make it back on the field.  

Cody: I’m not dropping him, but I certainly don’t mind if you do.

TY: It depends if there’s decent guys on the waiver wire. I wouldn’t go dropping him for a Darnell Mooney but if a guy like Sammy Watkins or better is on your waiver wire, I’d consider it. 

Laquan: im keeping him for sure he’s a WR1 when healthy and if i can get him healthy in the playoffs thats a plus. 

Andrew:  It would be hard for me to drop him, look for a player with little upside on your bench to drop instead, if needed 

7. Who was the player that you have held onto all season and finally dropped this week – or what player, after 12 weeks is the most droppable in your opinion? 

Sean:  Not really all season, but I have been holding onto Duke Johnson for half the season and finally dropped him with the news that David Johnson is active.  

Cody: Josh Kelley

TY:  I cut ties with Duke Johnson this week in any league I had him in. I was really high on him a few weeks ago and for the most part he disappointed. With DJ back on the field this week, he should go down to <5% ownership and for good reason.

Laquan:    Duke Johnson and Alexander Mattison

Andrew: Tony Pollard has been stashed, but not sure I would want to start him on that offense even if Zeke went down

8. Who is your favorite SMASH play, on your lineups, that you can’t wait to see dominate your competition in week 11?  

Sean:  Davante Adams against Philadelphia 

Cody:  Thielen against the Jags

TY:   David Montgomery against the Lions. It’s finally Monty time

Laquan:   Kirk vs the jags today

Andrew:  He’s been struggling but I think Miles Sanders gets back on track against GB   

9.  Who is your normal starter that you are sitting this week, bye week and injured/inactive players not included:   

Sean:  Antonio Gibson.  Yes he has been good but the Pittsburgh Run Defense has been lights out and I think this is a low scoring, slow, game in general.   

Cody: Kenyan Drake. That Rams defense is gooood.

TY: Kareem Hunt is seeing the bench this week, simply can’t be trusted especially if you need a win to stay alive/clinch this weekend.

Laquan:   DJ Chark vs MIN 

Andrew:  Kareem Hunt had a hot start but he’s been TD dependent since Chubb returned. He’s not a must start for me anymore

10. Who is your favorite Waiver Wire QB that you would pick up and play this week if you needed him?  

Sean:  Call me crazy, but I kinda like Phillip Rivers against the Texans 

Cody: GIVE ME ALL OF THE KIRK COUSINS. Great matchup in a game against the Jags, Cook isn’t 100%, and they should lean on their stud WRs.

TY: Go grab Trubisky. He’s gonna torch the Lions (see his QB7 performance against them in Week 1). He has a great ROS schedule too if you’re hard done by at QB.

Laquan: Kirk is a full send 

Andrew:  This is really deep, but Sam Darnold is auditioning for other teams and LV tends to play down to their opponent. You could do worse this week 

11. Who is your favorite Waiver Wire RB that you would pick up and play this weekend if you needed him?  

Sean:  Myles Gaskin.  He is currently on IR so someone in your league may have dropped him – but has a chance to play this weekend. (Editors Note: Gaskin is Active against the Bengals) So maybe this is more of a stash – but look at his next 4 weeks during Fantasy Playoffs:  Week 14 KC, Week 15 NE, Week 16 Las Vegas, Week 17 Buffalo 

Cody: Devonte Booker has the best value this week.

TY: It’s gotta be Booker.

Laquan: Booker 

Andrew:  Booker should get 20 touches in place of Jacobs 

12. Who is your favorite Waiver Wire WR that you would pick up and play this weekend if you needed him?  

Sean:  Michael Pittman Jr against Houston 

Cody: Call me crazy, but TY Hilton averages 100yd and a 1TD against Houston for his career. If your desperate…

TY: If he’s available, Breshad Perriman has sneakily scored 52.4 PPR points in his last 3 games, making him the WR14 during that stretch.

Laquan: Corey Davis is still floating out there

Andrew: I mentioned him earlier but Denzel Mims  

13. Who is your favorite Waiver Wire TE that you would pick up and play this weekend if you needed him? 

Sean:  If Adam Humphries remains out, Anthony Firsker – Jonuu Smith has already been ruled out.  If Humphries is in, Trey Burton vs Houston 

Cody: Gesicki against a Bengals defense that Evan Engram ate up last week.

TY: It must be December because Kyle Rudolph is looking like one hell of a pickup.

Laquan: Schultz has been getting the volume id give him a shot with Jonnu out. 

Andrew:  Seahawks Jacob Hollister has been more involved since Olsen was injured. He should be available in most leagues 

14. Who is your favorite Kicker to Stream this week off the Waiver Wire?  

Sean:  I could see the Chargers needing to call on Michael Badgley a few more times than normal against the Patriots this weekend.  

Cody: Jason Myers

TY: Whoever your team’s favourite kicker is, because why not have more reason to root for them? It’s the only real reason to have kickers in your league anyways lol.

Laquan: ewwww

Andrew: who ever is in a dome  

15. Who is your favorite Defense to Stream this week off the Waiver Wire?  

Sean:  If they are available, Seattle going against the now Daniel Jonesless Giants. If not, I picked up Da Bears against Detroit  

Cody: Bears against the Lions w/o Swift and Golladay

TY: Start thinking playoff schedules guys. Look at getting either the Seahawks or Rams if they’re available and hold them for the next few weeks. Browns are a great option too.

Laquan:  Raiders vs jets 

Andrew: It’s a tough week for streaming DST but Tennessee against Baker and the Browns should be decent 

Have a question?  Send them in to us at Real Deal Fantasy HQ and you may see your question show up here in this new Weekly Article!  We can answer your Start/Sit, Season Long, DFS or whatever you want to ask! 

Featured

Week 13 NFL DFS Strategy & Picks – Real Deal Fantasy HQ

Week 13 is here and the madness of Covid19 absences seems to be behind us, at least for this week. NICE! However just because a player isn’t out with Covid doesn’t mean we don’t have injuries or other circumstances to take advantage of and find some DFS Value. Good news – we do! Additionally we have some bad defenses playing some questionable offenses, in several key matchups. What that means is overall ownership on players will be a bit more spread around and there is a higher chance of variance winning the day. That is good news for all of us week in and week out DFS Players. There will be more options to pivot away from Chalk Players and more ways to build a contrarian lineup even with Chalk players rostered. So this should be a fun one.

There is a storm raging here in the Northeast and outside of Shoveling, my focus is right here on DFS and this article. So I hope you can sit back with your beverage of choice and get something out of it that will help you build a better lineup or two and win some cash tomorrow! I know I hope to!

Before I begin I want to humbly thank you if you checked out last week’s DFS article. Last week’s article on the main DFS Slate had the most views in the two years I have been writing it and so Thank You! By the way if you found success from anything you saw here – please tweet me @delrayboston. I love hearing someone winning any money from advice that they found here. I am humbly proud to see that Real Deal Fantasy DFS is beginning to resonate with all of you and I am contemplating a video series for the last 3 weeks of the regular season and into the playoffs. If that is something you’d check out and watch, please let me know. I’d love to be able to interact with you guys and get your real time DFS questions too.

OK – so I did get some feedback on last week’s article which was a collection of my “Darts”… people liked it. I have been testing a few different takes on this article this season and I heard from more of you that the structure of my free flowing thoughts was solid. So that is what I will do again today. Now to reference if you are new here – when I say “My Darts” this isn’t to say my dart throws as picks. There will be dart throws referenced but my ‘Darts’ are my thoughts on the slate, games to key in on, strategies I am employing and of course picks. Enough of the jibber jabber – let’s go!

DARTS – Week 13

The Running Back Room:

What if I were to tell you that on a slate where Dalvin Cook is playing Jacksonville, Derek Henry is playing Cleveland and Nick Chubb is playing Tennessee the three projected highest owned Running Backs are Austin Ekeler, Devontae Booker, David Montgomery and James Robinson? How fast would you lock in Cook, Henry and Chubb? Right. I thought so. In essence these three studs are ‘pivots’ off of Booker and Montgomery. When has that ever happened? Oh Never. Some factors are at play here. First, Ek is coming of his highest target share in his career in Week 12 and the narrative that is at play is that the Patriots will make things tough on Justin Herbert and his receivers. Ekeler is an awesome player no doubt but for only 600 more on DK you could get to Nick Chubb at projected 5% ownership and in his last 3 games he has had 126 yards or more and two touchdowns and I just kinda like Chubbs matchup more than I do Ekelers.

So the question becomes really – are you paying up at Running Back or are you saving money. David Montgomery is only $5,500 on DK and is playing the leagues worst run defense. With 80% of Offensive snaps expected, he should smash – but IT’S STILL DAVID MONTGOMERY. He just had his first 100+ yard game of the season with his previous high being 89 yards. If his ownership stays where it is or goes higher, he is an easy fade for me. Davontae Booker is even cheaper ($1,500 less) and if Josh Jacobs can’t go (Editors Note as of early Sunday Josh Jacobs is inactive) he should absolutely smash against the Jets…but it’s the Raiders here. This should be a ‘get right spot’ after the implosion last week against Atlanta – but will it be? Look I am not saying Austin Ekeler, David Montgomery or Davontae Booker aren’t great plays on Sunday – nor would I be shocked if any of the 3 do indeed smash. For me though, I’m paying up. I am paying up for Dalvin Cook (who hasn’t seen less than 20 touches in any game he has been healthy for) at 15% less ownership. I am paying up for Derek Henry who is like Cook, THE GUY, in his offense at nearly 20% less ownership. I am paying up for Nick Chubb at a eye opening 32% less ownership. I also do like James Robinson a lot too, so I’ll eat that Chalk even at $7,300 on DK and $7,800 on FD (great value on FD by the way).

(Editors Note UPDATED. Josh Jacobs is inactive)

Paying up at Running Back is always a tough measure and by no means am I saying every lineup I build will have Chubb, Cooks and Henry or James Robinson in them – it would be cost prohibitive first and foremost and second I never like stacking two stud running backs from the same game. The chances of both going off at the same time just aren’t there. One way to be able to pay up for at least one of these guys is to pair them with a cheap/cheaper RB2 and so I do believe we will see plenty of lineups with Cook or Henry paired with Montgomery or Booker. So if you want to go that route and don’t want to get caught in the chalk – I remind you what I said earlier ownership on this slate is a bit more spread around, outside of the top 4 I mentioned and you can find some great plays, moderately priced with surprisingly low ownership that can help you pivot from the chalk Montgomery or Booker.

Kareem Hunt: Normally I’d say a great pivot off Chubb but at 4% ownership for Chubb, the pivot is the salary savings. Only $5,900 on DK and $6,300 on FD and projected at 5% ownership. There is a real possibility that the Browns are playing catch-up in this game and if so Hunt should see an uptick in snaps and targets and we have seen how dynamic he can be in the redzone. In lineups that don’t contain Nick Chubb, I’ll have some shares of Hunt. Interesting stack with Baker as well …

Miles Sanders: Sure he put up a dud last week but the Green Bay Run Defense has been trash and his offensive line seems to be getting healthier. Coupled with the fact that he is seeing the lion share of snaps in the backfield, why not? He isn’t ‘Cheap Cheap’ at $6,700 on DK and $7,200 on FD but at projected 7% ownership – take a shot here, please! Or how about Flexing Boston Scott if you want to go Cheap Cheap and .10% ownership and could be an interesting pivot from Booker at close to the same price. Scott clearly has a role in this offense and against the Packers, the Eagles will be trying to use every offensive weapon they can!

Chris Carson: Carson gets the Giants who no longer have Daniel Jones under center. How fast will that defense get gassed after a continual string of 4 and outs by the offense. You need to think about things like that – $6,300 on DK and $8,000 on FD, he isn’t cheap but at 10% or less ownership, I’ll stake a claim on Carson. If you believe Carlos Hyde will be involved in a big way too – take a shot, he’s going to be 1% owned and a cheaper than Carson. Think differently here people!

Wayne Gallman: On the other side of that game, if the Giants have trouble passing the ball with Clayton Thorson or Alex Tanney – they have to try and win the game some how and as of right now Davante Freeman is still on IR. Gallman has had a Touchdown or better in 5 of his last 6 games and could be an easy pivot from Montgomery at $5,600 on DK and $6,100 on FD.

I could go on – just a few names that should be on your radar at RB2 that no one seems to want to play on Sunday at least from the projected ownership.

Jonathan Taylor against the Texans. Or if you think the Colts will need to throw Nyheim Hines. Neither guy over 6% projected ownership and both should be in a similar smash matchup as Montgomery, from a defense perspective.

Damien Harris against the Chargers – or James White in a likely very competitive game on a team that favors the running game and running backs. No one is playing a Patriots Running back but even with Sony Michel active it was the Harris and White show only in week 12 and James White had two touchdowns.

Myles Gaskin – just activated off the Covid List and walking into a backfield that he will see James Robinson level snap share – and going against the Joe Burrow-less Cincinnatti Bengals. See the Wayne Gallman entry above on Defenses with already troubled offenses now starting troubled backup QBs if you need a reference. At least right now Gaskin is hovering in the 10% range and is moderately priced. I do think that ownership will rise with the news he is active, but I doubt it will eclipse Ekeler, Montgomery’s or Booker’s (save news that Josh Jacobs will play).

There are two other Running Backs with Stunningly Low Ownership and also eyeopening prices that I do need to mention. Neither are “cheap” and one of them will lead me into my next topics – stacks – but I think it’s only fitting I mention them here as you may be able to catch the competition looking if you choose to roster them.

The first running back I’m talking about is Alvin Kamara, who’s price has drifted all the way down to $7,000 on DK and $7,500 on FD and his projected ownership hovers at just a hair over 5%. First of all, I get it. We have seen Kamara’s usage, especially in the passing game, take a nose dive with Taysom Hill under center. However, I would challenge you to find at least one roster with Kamara on it. First week with Taysom Hill – the Saints were figuring it out. Second week with Taysom Hill the Saints played a team without a Quarterback and ran roughshod. Now they get a rivalry game with the Falcons and if by week 3 Taysom Hill hasn’t figured out how to Check Down to the team’s superstar running back by now – what the heck are they doing in practice? I am not saying we should see Kamara suddenly jump from his current target share to say Brees level target share – but we are talking about one of the most dynamic and explosive running backs in all of the NFL here. He doesn’t need 15 targets to get it done. Maybe it is just me but I think Alvin Kamara could catch a lot of DFSers sleeping on Sunday and I for one will not be one of those snoozers. Also keep in mind, the Saints PAID Kamara before this season starts. Return on investment is a very motivating factor. $7k on DK and 5% ownership on Alvin Kamara. C’mon now.

And if you want to favor the hot hand – Latavius Murray is even cheaper and even less owned, if that is even possible. Murray had a GAME against the Broncos – but part of that I believe had to do with the Saints realizing they could rest Kamara with the game in hand. Even though the Saints have largely owned the Falcons recently, Julio Jones may be back and I expect the Falcons to put up more of a fight. They have a starting QB playing after all.

The second guy I was talking about is Aaron Jones. This leads me to what I believe the top Stack of the day will be – Aaron Rogers and Davante Adams who get to take on the Philadelphia Eagles. There isn’t a doubt in my mind that Rogers and Adams should eat the Eagles and Darius Slay alive on Sunday. Adams is projecting to be the second highest owned Wide Receiver and Rogers the 3rd highest owned Quarterback and for what it’s worth, I am projecting both to have the highest projected points at their positions. So, I love this stack and I expect the stack to be mega chalk. But Aaron Jones’ ownership ranks him below that of Derek Henry who we already mentioned as being a higher priced, lower owned pivot to the Chalk plays of Ekeler, Montgomery and Booker. Jones is hovering around 11% and I think makes an excellent pivot off of the Rogers-Adams Stack as well as the cheap guys up top. Both sites have priced Aaron Jones up a bit – DK to $7,900 and FD to $8,400 and any time that happens, it always makes me think that the DFS sites know something that I don’t. He makes a contrarian 3rd man in the Rogers Adams stack, since his involvement in the passing game doesn’t negatively correlate him from Rogers. Yes Jamaal Williams will be involved but something about this game makes me think, with virtually no one talking about him this could be an Aaron Jones week. I should mention that while I was writing this Deandre Swift was ruled out again, which means the cheap Adrian Peterson and even cheaper Kerryon Johnson’s ownership is likely going to rise. That is fine, if that pushes Aaron Jones’ ownership down below 10% – I am all in.

And sure if you want to go cheaper – Jamaal Williams will be a part of this game as well and he also carries touchdown upside. I am just saying – I love the Green Bay Rogers – Adams stack, but there are other ways to attack that offense and that game and Aaron Jones is at the top of my list.

Talking Stacks and Wide Receivers and more!

With the Will Fuller news it should come at no surprise that Brandin Cooks is projecting to be the highest owned Wide Receiver on the slate and it isn’t even close. What may be a surprise is that his quarterback Deshaun Watson is projecting to be the highest owned Quarterback on the slate, too. For me, Watson has too much of a hill to climb. He loses his number one wide receiver and gets to play one of the top defenses against Quarterbacks and Wide Receivers in the league, all in the same week? Yikes. Now back to Cooks, I believe Watson’s high quarterback ownership is coming from a Watson – Cooks stack. But I’ll be honest, the stack I am more interested in is Phillip Rivers – Brandin Cooks – Colts Pass Catcher. Nobody ever plays Phillip Rivers and it should come as no surprise he projects for less than 4% ownership. Look, if people are on Watson slinging the ball and what not, well there needs to be a reason for that to happen – that reason being Phillip Rivers is putting up points on the other side of the ball. In 8 of 11 games this season Rivers has attempted 30 or more passes. Additionally multiple Touchdowns in 2 of his last 3 games. Rivers gets to ply his trade against the Texans defense 28th against Quarterbacks and giving up nearly 270 yards per game through the air. Plus a Rivers stack is Cheap because he is Cheap and his pass catchers are cheap. For example, if you start a lineup on DK with a stack with Rivers ($5,900) Michael Pittman ($4,900) and Brandin Cooks for example ($5,600) your average player cost remaining is $5,600 and that will only go up once you plug in a defense. So while I am not crazy about the Watson – Cooks stack, I will have a few Rivers – Cooks stacks including Michael Pittman JR or Tight End Trey Burton or even TY Hilton and Nyheim Hines. This is a contrarian way of using the Chalk Brandin Cooks. No one is playing these guys and this could be a sneaky game to stack …

Additionally I’d also like to mention my favorite pivot off of Brandin Cooks is KeKe Coutee. It’s crazy not more people are flocking to Coutee here as he is dirt cheap and should see a significant uptick in snaps and potentially targets. You need to remember that it isn’t just Fuller who is not on the field. Randall Cobb is on IR and the Texans released Kenny Stills. Coutee also has a touchdown in back to back games. I also think you can take a look at Tight Ends Jordan Akins or Darren Fells as pivots from Cooks. We are only 2 weeks removed from Akins putting up a 5 for 83 line against New England who are typically very tough on Tight Ends. Fells is also a Red Zone target for Watson with his 6’5″ frame.

Another Stack I am looking at is Kirk CousinsAdam Theilen or Justin Jefferson. Dalvin Cook had been carrying a Q tag all week and it was finally removed today as he practiced fully on Friday. So while he is projecting right now at 20% ownership, I think on Sunday as word fully trickles out that he is a full go – his ownership will rise significantly, potentially to the top of the list. So I really like using the Vikings passing game as pivots off of Cook. Make no mistake Cook is in a prime spot to smash. The Jaguars defense can’t stop the breeze and this could be another Dalvin Cook highlight reel waiting to happen. However if that doesn’t happen, for whatever reason and Cousins and his receivers play a bigger role – the passing stack could be the optimal play and I want to have a few pieces of it. The only worry here is that if the Jaguars can keep pace enough to make this a competitive game where Cousins needs to throw the ball – risky, yes. But in the event the Vikings do take a commanding lead, I would not be surprised to see Alexander Mattison have a bigger role allowing Cook to rest up – the Vikings are eyeing a wild card after all and they want Dalvin Cook to be as healthy as possible.

I will be rolling out Kurt Cousins pass catchers stacks mainly in lineups without Dalvin Cook, mainly running it back with James Robinson. But I also will have at least one Vikings Onslaught stack where I include Cousins, Cook a Pass Catcher and the Vikings Defense. I think a domination of the Jags is possible.

In a very similar way I have a lot of interest in Ryan Tannehill Stacks with AJ Brown or Corey Davis and Adam Humphries who will be back on the field. Jonuu Smith will be out and while you can also use TE Anthony Firsker (at only $2,500 on DK) I believe it will be Adam Humphries that sees the underneath routes and in fact I think part of the reason Firsker has been a “thing” this season is largely due to Humphries’ absence. I think running this stack back with Nick Chubb or Kareem Hunt is a great way to attack this game and be a little different as I believe as Dalvin Cook’s ownership rises, so will Derek Henry’s. I will roll the Tannehill Stacks in lineups without Derek Henry but similar to what I am doing with the Vikings, I will have at least one Titans domination stack with Tannehill, Henry, a pass catcher and the defense.

Additional Stacks I have interest in:

Jared GoffCooper Kupp or Robert Woods against the Cardinals. Kupp is my preferred option. My favorite run back here is Christian Kirk. I also have interest in taking shots on Cam Akers this weekend. He clearly looked like the most explosive of the runners for the Rams.

Baker MayfieldAustin Hooper or Rashard Higgins. Hooper is my preferred option as the Titans are a great matchup for Tight Ends. I believe a lot of people will chase Jarvis Landry’s monster performance in Week 12 but the Titans have been better against slot receivers than they have been with outside receivers, which is why I mention Higgins. This is a good spot to run it back with a Pass Catcher like AJ Brown or Corey Davis.

Taysom HillMichael Thomas. Tayson may have been a negative for Alvin Kamara but Michael Thomas is still getting his and I love the matchup against Atlanta. My favorite run back here is Julio Jones who’s prices have come down due to the injury weeks – but he’s back on the field on Sunday.

Derek CarrNelson AgholorDarren Waller. This is a total leverage play as first no one is going to play Derek Carr after last week’s disaster while I do feel at least Darren Waller by himself will be a popular play. I should also mention, I don’t mind Henry Ruggs either in this stack or as a one off play to fill out your lineup. Additionally it is a leverage play against Devontae Booker’s ownership. I will run this back with Denzel Mims or Breshard Perriman. I also have some interest in Frank Gore believe it or not, averaging 16 touches per game over his last 3.

Additional Wide Receivers I am eyeing:

I have been using Wide Receivers in the Flex spot more than ever, so to help you fill out your flex here are some of my favorite plays this weekend to fill out my lineups.

Allen Robinson (High Priced), Darnell Mooney (Cheap) vs Detroit – I don’t mind stacking with Mitchell Trubisky, just know he is a couple bad interceptions away from Nick Foles.

DK Metcalf and Sterling Shepard (Game Stack) – Seahawks vs Giants

Damiere Byrd or Jakobi Meyers and Mike Williams (Game Stack) – Patriots vs Chargers

DJ Chark vs Minnesota

Danny Amendola, TJ Hockenson (Tight End) vs the Bears.

Lastly My Defenses:

Dolphins vs the Bengals

Seahawks vs the Giants

Packers vs Philadelphia

Jets vs Raiders

Saints vs Falcons

Bears vs Detroit

Good Luck in your Contests!

Featured

2020’s Most Deceptive Matchups

By Ty Gour and Andrew Metcalfe

Many trade deadlines have passed at this point of the season, which means that it’s time to buckle down and evaluate your current players.  These next few weeks will be vital in separating the contenders that will advance to the playoffs from the pretenders that will be on the outside, looking in.  Making sure that you understand defensive matchups at each position is important when making critical start/sit decisions, so this will help provide some clarity to several teams that are not what they appear to be on paper.

First, here a few teams that your fantasy apps will tell you are bad matchups, but after taking a closer look, we aren’t too convinced that you should avoid them: 

QB

Patriots (Fantasy points allowed to QBs: 6th least)

  • Fitzpatrick was starting Week 1, not Tua.
  • Russell Wilson finished QB4 in Week 2
  • Caught Mahomes in a rain game in Week 4, held him to QB17
  • Drew Lock’s first game back in Week 6, finished QB28
  • Blowout loss to SF, Jimmy G only threw the ball 25 times
  • Got Joe Flacco in Week 9, finished as QB18
  • Lamar Jackson finished as QB8 in week 10

Here’s the deal with the Pats, they’re not a bad pass defense, but they’re not a top-6 unit and in fact should be treated as more of a middle of the pack crew. They have gotten incredibly lucky thus far and caught 2 backups, a rain game against a top-5 offense, a QB coming off injury and performed mediocrely when faced with good QBs in front of them. Their remaining schedule consists of the Texans, Cardinals, Chargers, Rams, Dolphins and Bills so that 6th ranking is bound to plummet back down to earth.

Giants (Fantasy points allowed to QBs: 7th least)

  • Nick Mullens started in Week 3 for SF, finished as QB16
  • Dak Prescott got injured in Week 5. Put up 12.44 points in 3 quarters.
  • Kyle Allen’s first game as starter in Week 6. Finished as QB16
  • Kyle Allen got hurt in Week 9, Alex Smith takes over and finishes as QB25.

Same as the Patriots, they are a fine pass defense but not a great pass defense like the metrics may say. They’ve gotten a backup, caught a QB in his first start of the year, and injured 2 starters. Add all of this with the fact they play in the NFC Least and thus get to play Carson Wentz twice a year and you can see why the numbers are slightly inflated. They get the Bengals, Seahawks, Cardinals, Browns and Ravens after their bye this week so this will regulate shortly.

RB

Falcons (Fantasy points allowed to RBs: 4th least)

  • Zeke finished as RB7 despite Cowboys being down big most of Week 2
  • Montgomery finished as RB41 in Week 3, Bears came from behind in 2nd half
  • CMC hurt in Week 5, Mike Davis finishes as RB1
  • Dalvin Cook hurt in Week 6, also won in a blowout, Vikings only had 13 RB carries
  • CMC still hurt in Week 8, Mike Davis finishes as RB32
  • Up big most of Week 9 vs Broncos, no RB finished above 4 points

The Falcons are the reason we’re doing this article. The reason they are the 4th best run defense is entirely situational. With 4 game situations where teams would seldom be running the ball, and getting to avoid CMC in both matchups is a major reason why they are where they are. They still need to face Kamara twice, Josh Jacobs, Ekeler if he’s healthy by Week 14, Tampa and KC, so it’s likely they plummet back to earth sooner rather than later.

WR

Chiefs (Fantasy pts allowed to WRs: 5th least)

  • Herbert’s first start in Week 2, only really trusted Keenan Allen
  • No Cam Newton in Week 4, also a rain game
  • John Brown seldom used in Week 6
  • Snow game in Week 7
  • No Jamison Crowder in Week 8

I’m not saying the Chiefs are a bad pass defense, but I wouldn’t bench your WR just because KC is on the schedule. They are most likely a top-10 defense, but top-5 seems a little high given the circumstances they’ve faced so far. With pass happy teams like the Falcons, Saints and Bucs yet to come, we could really see what this defense is made of.

TE

Dolphins (Fantasy points allowed to TEs: 6th least)

The case against the Dolphins is simple. They’ve only played 2 top-12 TEs so far, one was George Kittle in a blowout loss where his QB got benched at halftime and finished as the TE16. The other was Hunter Henry who finished as the TE3 last week. Don’t be scared to fire up your startable TEs against the Dolphins, they’ll do just fine. Expect to see the Dolphins return back to earth with matchups against Noah Fant, Travis Kelce and Darren Waller yet to come.

Next are several teams that seem to be “smash plays” based on fantasy points allowed so far this season.  Defenses have been bad overall in 2020, so it was difficult to find deceptively good ones.  Here are some that aren’t quite as bad as we might perceive when you consider injuries and remove outlier games:  

QBs

Bills (Fantasy pts allowed to QB: 5th most) 

  • CB Josh Norman been on COVID list since week 7
  • Tre-Davious White battled ankle and back injuries throughout the first half of the season
  • 3 out of the past 5 matchups have been against Wilson, Murray and Mahomes

Buffalo’s defense has been a victim of both injuries and a tough schedule.  Back-to-Back matchups against 2 MVP candidates (Wilson and Murray) is just brutal.  Especially since Josh Allen and the offense have been scoring at such a high rate, forcing them into many shootouts.  Much of opposing QBs’ success against this defense has come on the ground.  Kyler only had 245 passing yards and 1 TD against them in week 10, which was only the 2nd time this season he failed to reach either 250 yards passing or 2+ passing TDs in a game. 

RBs

Jets (Fantasy pts allowed to RBs: 8th most)

  • Patriots scored 3 rushing TDs against them from within 5 yards out in week 10
  • 182 rushing yards given up to SF in week 2, mostly accumulated by 80 and 55 yard long runs
  • Melvin Gordon has been the only RB to rush for 100+ yards against them this season (week 4)

The Jets have been put into tough goal line situations, mostly due to their poor pass defense.  Six RBs have scored rushing TDs against them since week 3 and four of them were from the 1 yard line.  Their rushing DVOA is actually ranked 10th best in the NFL, it’s not the easy matchup that it appears to be for RBs. 

Packers (Fantasy pts allowed to RBs: 3rd Most)

  • 2 games against Dalvin Cook: 274 total yards and 6 TDs have greatly skewed their run defense stats 
  • Pro Bowl DT Kenny Clark suffered a groin injury in week 1 and missed their next 3 games
  • MLB Christian Kirk, who was brought in to replace Blake Martinez, has missed 5 weeks due to injury

This is a defense that has been missing key pieces from their front 7 for the majority of the season.  They’ve also been burned twice by Dalvin Cook, who pretty much has torched every team he’s gone up against.  With Kirk and Clark back into the lineup and both Vikings games behind them, I expect them to be more of an average run defense from here on out.

WRs 

Vikings (Fantasy pts allowed to WRs: 4th most)

  • Defense has faced the 10th highest attempts per game this season 
  • Week 1: Devante Adams went for 156 yards and 2 TDs on 17 targets
  • Multi-TD games allowed to studs like Adams, Metcalf, and Julio Jones

The Vikings secondary lost both of their starting CBs this past off-season to free agency, forcing them to start two rookies on the outside (Jeff Gladney and Cameron Dantzler).  With a lack of off-season activities this year, it’s no surprise that it has been a rough start. There have been several poor performances against the leagues’ best WRs so far on the year, but the pass defense has actually been closer to average against everyone else (11st best Pass DVOA in 2020).  While Minnesota is not a matchup for any fantasy manager to fear, don’t expect every WR to blow up against them going forward. 

TEs

 Chargers (Fantasy Pts allowed to TEs: 4th most)

Unfortunately for the Chargers, LA is in the same division as Darren Waller and Travis Kelce, who have both had big games against them this year.  It’s hard to fault them much in those matchups, as both players are used more like Wideouts in their respective offenses.  They have also given up TDs to OJ Howard and Jared Cook on plays where they were able to use their athleticism to get behind the defense.  The only other TE TD allowed came from Durham Smythe (Dolphins), who caught a wide open TD on a Goal Line play action fake that was beautifully executed by Tua.  Outside of those blunders, other starting TEs are averaging 2.9 receptions for 36.6 yards per game against this defense. 

*BONUS* DST

Washington Football Team (4th most DST points allowed)

If you play in a league with defenses, don’t sleep on the Redskins as an opponent. While they may have a lot of points against them, their offense has a “new” QB in Alex Smith and in his first full start last week, he looked incredible throwing for nearly 400 yards and putting up 27 on the Lions. While it is the Lions, who themselves rank 27th in points allowed, it’s still worth mentioning how efficient the new-look offense looked especially in the 2nd half. The FT is not a team you can set and forget against anymore. 

Tennessee Titans (5th least DST points allowed)

The Tennessee offense runs through Derrick Henry.  Since they lost star LT Taylor Lewan in week 7, they haven’t been as efficient.  Henry has only scored 2 TDs since Lewan has been out, after producing 6 TDs in the first 6 games.  In that same timeframe, Tannehill has not surpassed 300 passing yards and has also seen a major dip in his rushing production.  A less efficient offense will force them into higher pass volume game scripts, which leads to more opportunities for sacks and turnovers.   

If this article will teach you anything, it’s that the numbers are always deeper than they seem. While defensive juggernauts like the Steelers and Colts are borderline unplayable against week in week out, it doesn’t mean you should avoid playing the top 5 in every position. The same goes with the bottom 5 as the Falcons and Cowboys are smash plays almost no matter what but that can’t be said for everyone. Keep all this information in mind as you’re making those tough lineup decisions during the stretch run. And if you wanna #BringHomeTheGold this season, stay tuned to all of the lights out content we produce here at RDFHQ!

Featured

Week 9 QB Primer

Any experienced fantasy player knows Week 9 is never an easy week as there are several teams on bye and thus players are forced to hit the bench or the waiver wire for a one-week fill-in. This year is certainly no exception with Joe Burrow (QB10), Carson Wentz (QB9) and Jared Goff (QB14) all QBs who are regular starters for most fantasy leagues on bye this week. However, 2020 has made this much harder as there are several QBs that are either questionable or out which is making the waiver wire much thinner, especially in 2QB/SuperFlex leagues. So today, as a special treat to you, I will go through every QB injury, their replacement(s) and what to expect from them!

Jimmy Garoppolo, SF – IR (Ankle) replaced by NICK MULLENS

While Jimmy G hasn’t exactly had a stellar fantasy season, he’s had a couple startable games and probably found a way into some starting lineups and was rostered in 42% of Sleeper leagues before his injury. News came out this week that he re-injured his ankle and is likely done for the year. His replacement, Nicky M (not quite the same ring to it), is proven and actually could make for a good fantasy start the rest of the year. When he took over in 2018, he was the QB13 over the final 8 weeks of the season and in his only full start this year in Week 3 he put up a QB16 week in a blowout win vs the G-Men. Go grab this guy if you need a QB, he’ll make a passable QB1 and a solid QB2/SuperFlex.

Gardner Minshew, JAX – OUT (Thumb) replaced by JAKE LUTON

The Jockstrap King himself got injured in Week 5 and attempted to play injured in his last two games before the bye, however put up his two worst outings of the season and has been given the hook to make room for Jake Luton. Prior to his injury, Minshew was putting up QB13 numbers and while we shouldn’t expect that from Luton, it does show what the offense is capable of. As for the newcomer, he had a spectacular senior season throwing 2700 yards and a 28:3 TD/INT ratio over 11 games at Oregon State. The big knock on this guy though is he straight up can’t run with -87 rushing yards as a starter last year, the 6th worst total in all of FBS. If you’re really desperate in 2QB or SuperFlex, he might be worth a start against a weak Houston D this week but that’s about it.

Matt Stafford, DET – Q (COVID) replaced by CHASE DANIEL

We don’t know for sure what’s happening with Stafford but for the sake of this article, we’re gonna assume he’s out and the Lions are gonna go with Chase Daniel as the starter this week vs Minnesota. While Stafford was the QB20, he did have a promising matchup and may leave bye-week owners scrambling. Unlike some of these rookies, we know who Chase Daniel is, a 10-year backup with 3 starts and parts of 4 games played in the last 3 seasons. Those starts weren’t overly spectacular finishing in between QB16 and QB20 each week. If you’re in a 2QB league, he’s worth the add if Stafford can’t go as he’ll probably get you 10-15 points, but if you expect 20+ out of this guy, you’re dreaming.

Andy Dalton, DAL – OUT (COVID) replaced by GARRETT GILBERT/COOPER RUSH

If you were one of those players in approximately 13% of leagues that still have Dalton rostered, I really hope you had a replacement ready. If not… you should probably just throw away the week. If you start one of these guys, they may not even put up positive numbers given the matchup, but regardless here they are. One of Gilbert or Rush is going to start this week vs Pittsburgh. Gilbert has thrown 6 passes in his 6-year NFL career and was an okay QB in college for SMU, and was actually pretty mobile rushing for 14 TDs in his final two years but that was 7 years ago. Cooper Rush has an awesome name, but not an awesome resume, throwing 3 passes in his 4-year NFL career and was productive for Central Michigan throwing for 12,000 career yards and 90 TDs in his 4 years as a starter. However, he threw 57 picks in that span and was far from productive as a rusher. Whoever starts here, don’t trust them, don’t roster them, don’t even think about them. If you do start them, don’t blame me for the L you’re gonna take.

Hopefully this article helped y’all out and can help you guys #BringHomeTheGold. If you like my content, you NEED to check out my Thursday Night livestream on my Twitter (@goursie19)! Myself and a few members of the RDF crew are gonna be there, we’re gonna watch the game, make some comments, talk about some pressing topics and answer YOUR questions LIVE! You don’t want to miss out!

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Spooky Season – 10 Scary and Paranormal Activity in the fantasy Football world

Tis the season, so lets talk about what’s scaring us in fantasy so far this season. We also can’t leave out the weird and paranormal. Fantasy football can get crazy at times, particularly in 2020, but not even we could see some of this stuff coming!

Scary Hours

  • Michael Thomas is Currently WR 156 – Michael Thomas was arguably the “Safest” pick in the draft when you selected him the first round early this offseason. Since that time he has been anything but safe. Thomas has 4.7ppr points this season, and has yet to complete a full game heading into week 8. After missing time early with an injury, he was designated to come back only to be suspended for a game for disciplinary issues, and is now questionable with a hamstring injury. This pick has been haunting you long before Halloween.
  • 2019 Louisiana State University – LSU won the National Championship early 2020, which feels like a lifetime ago. That team was one of the most dominant in recent history, they’ve continued to be nightmares for people in the NFL. QB Joe Burrow is fantasy QB 13, and while he hasn’t been great due to a terrible offensive line, he’s had some great weeks, and leads all rookies in passing yards. Clyde Edwards-Helaire hasn’t quite been worth of his first RD ADP but he’s been close. Clyde leads all rookies in rushing yards through 7 weeks, and is sitting at RB 10. Justin Jefferson currently leads all rookie WR in receiving yards, and sits as WR 17 in PPR. On a Vikings team that has been playing from behind for much of this season, Jefferson has been dominant, and has easily been the best rookie WR so far. LB Patrick Queen leads all rookies in tackles, and that Ravens Defense has played incredibly, current sitting at DEF/ST 3.
  • Adam Gase – Adam Gase is in my opinion the worst coach in football, and remain the only winless team in the NFL. Jets are absolutely useless on your fantasy roster. Lev Bell has finally gotten his freedom, and the Jets hopefully get their freedom from Gase sooner rather than later. The Jets have one player in the top 20 at their position. AND IT’S THEIR DEFENSE! They do not have a RB in the top 5. They have 1 WR in the top 50 at their position. Terrible.
  • Alvin Kamara – The lead for 1.01 in next years draft, seeing Kamara on your opponents roster gives you nightmares. He’s been averaging nearly 30ppr pts each week, and he has been nothing short of spectacular. He’s the Nightmare on Bourbon St.
  • Cowboys QB situation – We watch DAK absolutely go off the first 5 weeks of the season. After his devastating injury, the cowboys went from a rocket arm to the red rifle. If you own a Dallas pass catcher, after watching the cowboys put up an absolute stinker last week, you have to be nervous. They looked pathetic against Washington.

Straight out of the Paranormal

  • Calvin Ridley > Julio Jones – Calvin Ridley has outscored Julio Jones through 7 weeks, and is currently the WR 3 on the season. Many people thought Ridley was in for his best season as a pro, but I don’t think anyone thought he would be the number 3 WR through 7 weeks.
  • Top TEs – In what is an incredibly odd paranormal phenomenon, a position group has ended up exactly how everyone thought it would so far? The 4 of the top 5 TE’s right now are Kelce, Kittle, Andrews, and Waller. My top 5 TEs included them, and it’s just weird to see it play out like that. I don’t like it. Also, who resurrected Jimmy Graham? Surprise showing at TE 4 so far.
  • Another Sophomore QB – 2 years ago it was Mahomes, last year it was Lamar, and now it Kyler. Currently the Fantasy QB1, watching Kyler through it to Hopkins has been a real treat (no trick) for fantasy owners. Drafted as the QB 5, he has lived up to the hype.
  • Unlikely RB Heroes – MIA and JAX really surprised people with their RBs early this season. MIA traded for 2 RBs in the offseason, and then decided to go with a guy who was already on their roster in Myles Gaskin (and made for some great Carole Baskin themed team names). Currently RB 16 he’s had a great year thus far. A lot of people has JAX with a top 20 RB this season, NO ONE had it be the undrafted James Robinson. After cutting Fournette, Robinson has taken the lead role in JAX and run away with it (sorry for the bad pun). Wild to find 2 top 20 RB on the waiver wire early in the season.
  • The disappearance of the Ravens RBs – What happened? The ravens running backs, after such a dominant year last season, have completely ghosted us. Dobbins is sitting at RB 39 and Mark Ingram is RB 42. What changed? The Ravens are still a 5-1 team. Can this RB group rise from the dead?

For more fantasy Content follow me @SmashHitsSports and the whole @RealDealFantasy Team on twitter and Instagram. We also have some exciting new content on Youtube. Real Deal Fantasy Youtube has all of your Fantasy needs, and I got to play Warzone with Darrell Henderson on Smash Hits Sports Youtube. We’ve got more content coming as we plow ahead through this season. Happy Halloween to all!

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Dynasty Dumpster Diving

This is the time of year in Dynasty leagues that the contenders begin to make their playoff push and struggling teams decide to scrap their rosters and rebuild.  Finding value on the waiver wire or other managers’ benches is pivotal to your overall success.  I’m going to discuss two players that could either be on your leagues’ waivers or an afterthought by their current owner.  If you are looking for a deep stash with 2021 upside, consider going after one of these players while the price is next to nothing:  

Isaiah Coulter, WR Houston Texans 

Isaiah Coulter was the Texans’ 2020 5th round pick out of Rhode Island.  He flashed in training camp, but sustained a neck injury that landed him on IR to start the season.  The Texans WR corps seems crowded at the moment, but there have been rumors that the new regime is openly shopping all of the current WRs.  This includes the recent (and questionable) acquisitions of BrandinCooks, Kenny Stills, and Randall Cobb which likely helped to fuel the firing of Head Coach/GM Bill O’Brien.  Fuller and Stills are set to be unrestricted Free Agents in 2021, which would leave only Cobb, Cooks, and Keke Coutee (who has been in the doghouse for two years). One thing missing from the current WR group in Houston is a legit Red zone option.  Cooks, Fuller, and Stills have primarily been downfield threats for their careers, while Cobb is a typical slot receiver.  At 6’2”, Coulter would give Watson a bigger target that will allow them to improve upon a meager 64.7% TD rate (15th best in the NFL) on drives inside of the 20.  Considering that the Texans don’t have either a 1st or 2nd round pick in 2021, Coulter has a clear path for opportunity to become a starting receiver for Deshaun Watson by next season and likely won’t have much competition for targets.  

Rashaad Penny, RB Seattle Seahawks 

Rashaad Penny is the forgotten 2018 1st rounder that many were excited about as a rookie.  Unfortunately, his early career has been derailed by injuries.  However, his last two healthy games saw a nearly even backfield split with Carson:

2019 snaps

Week 12

Week 13

Penny

30

35

Carson

35

39

Before he went down with a torn ACL in week 14, Penny had been outperforming Carson in both yards/carry and yards/touch. He will be eligible to return from IR after Seattle’s Week 7 bye. Even though Carson has been lights out as the lead back this season, they are still limiting his snaps coming off a 2019 hip injury himself. Carson’s highest snap percentage on the season is just 61% so there will be opportunity for Penny to have a role once he’s back. Looking towards the future, Carson is set to be an UFA in 2021 while Penny is only on the 3rd year of his rookie contract and has a 5th year team option available. I’m sure that Seattle will consider extending Carson, but they also have 2 stars in their secondary (Jamal Adams and Shaquill Griffin) that are coming up on the end of their deals. If Penny can flash the potential that we saw from him last season, Settle might be inclined to move on from Carson and focus on shoring up their future on defense.

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Real Deal Fantasy HQ & A – Week 6!

Week 6 in the NFL is Here!  What a showcase for future stars last week right?  Chase Claypool, Robert Tonyon, Travis Fulgham – outta nowhere!  That is 2020 in the NFL, you never know what you are gonna get … like a box of chocolates .. well my wife’s anniversary box of chocolates had what each piece were on the box…soooo here at Real Deal Fantasy HQ we want to be the images that tells you what is in the box of chocolates, only for fantasy football

So without further ado – it’s the Real Deal Fantasy HQ & A for Week 6!

  1. READERS – WE NEED QUESTIONS!!  Send them in to us so we can answer them here!  Tweet your questions for Week 7 @delrayboston

2.  What was you biggest ‘Wrong Answer’ from the Week 5 that you regret: 

Laquan: I actually think I was on point for the most part. 

TY:  I didn’t really have any last week. I guess not trusting DeVonta Freeman who had 16.7 PPR points last week would be my only wrong guess. Keep that in mind when reading today!

Sean:  Recommending Brian Hill as a waiver wire add.  Todd Gurley looked great on Sunday and he will eat again this weekend against the Vikings.

3. What was your biggest “I Told You So” from the Week 5

Laquan: D.J. Moore’s coming-out party putting up 21 pts against the Falcons.

TY:  Recommending Justin Jackson over Josh Kelley. JJ had 20 touches and looked great while Kelley struggled to break the line of scrimmage.

Sean:  Recommending that Emmauel Sanders IS a thing in New Orleans, especially with Michael Thomas out!  

4. Dak Prescott is now done for the season.  If you missed out on a waiver claim for the Red Rocket, who on the waiver wire are you looking to grab to start this week and potentially rest-of-season?  

Laquan:  Kirk Cousins. He has great back to back matchups against weak defenses. Has ATL this week – full send it. 

TY:  If Matt Stafford is still available, he’s a must-add. Otherwise Kirk Cousins has a pretty easy schedule the rest of the way and the ball should be in the air a lot against the Falcons this week.

Sean:  Jarrod Goff. The bottom line here is that the Rams are playing good football and they have a solid defense and run game.  But take a look at the schedule, I like Goff’s chances to put up solid numbers as we approach the second half of the season.  

5.     Dalvin Cook will not play this weekend due to a hamstring injury. Alexander Mattison will start on Sunday and play against the Atlanta Falcons who haven’t been able to stop ANYBODY.  Two Part Question:  

1). If you weren’t a Dalvin Cook owner, but were able to scoop up Mattison from the waiver wire, how much of a priority is he to get in your lineup?  Would you start him over another “starting running back” this week?  

2). If you were a Dalvin Cook owner, but were NOT able to scoop up Mattison, is there another guy on the waiver wire you could grab if you were desperate?  

Laquan:  100% over any rb2 i have this week. 

TY:  

1) Yes! Start him, find a spot for him, he is gonna be a top-10 back this week. If that isn’t at least good enough to make your RB2 spot then you don’t need to be reading this because you’re winning your league.

2) This week, Royce Freeman has interesting fantasy appeal. It’s doubtful Lindsay is gonna get a full workhorse role in his first game back so he should see some touches.

Sean:  

1). I’m probably one of the lucky ones but Mattison in my NFL League, but now I have a problem.  Do I start him over Raheem Mostert or CEH?  

2). If I were desperate, Mike Boone will likely be the change of pace for Mattison. He saw touches last week and he is an explosive player.  Dollars to donuts, he’s available in your league.  

6. Who is the normal starter in your lineup you are sitting in week 6 and why?  

Laquan:   DJ Chark. He’s dealing with an ankle injury and doesn’t have the best matchup this week against the Lions, so he’s getting the bench.

TY: Kenyan Drake again. Chase Edmonds out touched and outscored him again. Drake will lose the starting role very soon.

Sean:  Deebo Samuel.  It stinks because we ‘just got him back’ but quite frankly the whole 49ers offense stink, stank, stunk in Week 5 and Jimmy G looked terrible.  Tough to trust against Aaron Donald and the Rams this week

7. Who is your favorite SMASH play, on your lineups, that you can’t wait to see dominate your competition in week 6?  

Laquan:   David Monty vs CAR!  This will be a very refreshing game for Monty owners! Cohen out for the szn and Panthers can’t stop a soul in the run game. FULL SEND

TY:  If you need a QB, Kirk Cousins vs ATL. Otherwise, get Justin Jefferson in your lineup for the same reason.

Sean:  AJ Brown vs The Texans. Probably the only thing that will slow AJ Brown down this weekend is how much the Titans run Derek Henry.  Brown looked AWESOME in Week 5 against the Bills and now he gets to play Houston and a secondary that is only slightly better than Cheese Cloth.  He should EAT!  

8. Who is your favorite Cowboys WR THIS week (aka the dawn of the Red Rocket Era of Cowboys Football):  

Laquan:   I look for Dalton to lean on Cooper this week being the #1 WR

Ty:  Michael Gallup was getting a lot of targets under Dalton. Worth keeping an eye on.

Sean:  Michael Gallup! 

9. It’s the Battle of the Bays as a fully healthy Tampa Bay Buccaneers play a fully healthy Green Bay Packers.  The question is, who has the better day?  Touchdown Tom Brady or Goat Aaron Rodgers?  

Laquan:  Aaron Rodgers 

Ty:  Rodgers by a mile

Sean:  Rodgers and he has 5 more Superbowls to win before I consider him GOAT. 

10.  As of this writing the Patriots and Broncos will play on Sunday AND Cam Newton will make his return.  The question is, would you play Cam Newton against the Broncos even if you had another option at QB?   

Laquan:  If Cam can play I’m playing Cam.  He’s been balling out and has the rushing upside.  I like him this week against Denver. 

TY:  If that other option is top-10, no. Otherwise, hell yea I would. 

Sean:  Yes. Newton is a gamer and you have to believe he will want to make a statement on Sunday, considering when he wasn’t on the field the last time the Patriots played … well … it didn’t look good. 

11.  Melvin Gordon was arrested for a DUI and now suddenly has a ‘mystery illness’ that WILL prevent him from taking the field (Gordon has been ruled out).  Would you  start Phillp Lindsay this week against New England AND is Royce Freeman worth an add if you are desperate for RB or Flex Help? 

Laquan:   Lindsay should see most of the workload so yes he should be a RB2 this week for a lot of lineups. Freeman –  I’ll wait and see before reaching for him. 

TY:  Philip Lindsay is gonna be an RB2/3 play for sure this week so he’s a must-start with Gordon out. Freeman could actually be worth a flex start if you really need the help in a PPR league.

Sean:  The Patriots have had struggles against pass catching running backs and I personally think Phillip Lindsey is starting this game.  So if I was in a bind I would start him.  AND if I needed desperate help in my Flex, Royce Freeman isn’t the worst idea to add from Waivers.

12.  Once again we have 5 Games with a line of 50+.  Which of these shootouts do you want the most pieces from in your lineup.  

Laquan:  DAL vs ARZ

TY:   Dallas vs Arizona is gonna be insane. Expect to see 30s on both sides of the scoreboard.

Sean:  I like Dallas vs Arizona to have a lot of fireworks and guys like Michael Gallup, Dalton Schultz, Chistian Kirk and if you are lucky Chase Edmonds are still on waiver wires.  Fire ‘Em Up if you need the help! 

13. We have one less New York running back in the mix, but still with the pieces that are left – can you trust a New York Running Back?  

Laquan: Freeman maybe at a flex spot but the Giants O Line is still trash.  

TY:   Freeman might actually be worth a play but that Washington run defense is scary. Let’s see what (Lamichal) Perine does this week.

Sean:  If I was desperate and he was available to me, I might take a shot on Freeman this weekend against The Football Team.  

14. Ok so NOW can we drop Kenyan Drake?    

Laquan:  No not yet. 

TY:  I just traded him for David Montgomery this past Thursday. So try trading him first, someone is gonna buy on name value alone.

Sean:  It appears Chase Edmonds is the running back to own on the Arizona Cardinals.   

15.   Who is your favorite waiver wire QB to stream this week?   

Laquan:  Kirk Cousins 

TY:  Kirk Cousins

Sean: Kirk Cousins

16.  Who is your favorite waiver wire RB to stream this week?  

Laquan:   None to be honest. 

TY:   JD McKissic is at least worth a stash.

Sean:  Lamichal Perine or JD McKissic

17.  Who is your favorite waiver wire Wide Receiver to stream this week?  

Laquan: Greg Ward Jr –  the only Eagles legit WR to catch balls out there sadly.   

TY:   Christian Kirk if he’s there is gonna feast on the Boys this week. And I don’t buy into the Claypool or Fulgham hype this week.

Sean: Assuming Chase Claypool has been scooped up, Travis Fulgham.  No DeSean, No Alshon AGAIN.  Zach Ertz looks like scorched earth.  I’d take a shot on Fulgham.  In Case you missed it, he just put 172 and 1 on the Steelers. 

18.  Who is your favorite waiver wire Tight End to stream this week?     

Laquan:  ehhh none..  

TY: Austin Hooper just because he’s getting a big target share, even against an awful Steelers team.

Sean:  Big Irv Smith going against the terrible Falcons defense

19.  Who is your favorite waiver wire Defense to stream this week?     

Laquan:   Believe it or not but I’d take Miami this week. 

TY: Titans if they’re available.

Sean:  The Giants vs The Football Team 

20.  Who is your favorite waiver wire Kicker to stream this week?     

Laquan:  ewwwwwwwww

TY:  Graham Gano vs the Football Team

Sean:  Staying with my man Joey Slye – Carolina Panthers 


Have a question?  Send them in to us at Real Deal Fantasy HQ and you may see your question show up here in this new Weekly Article!  We can answer your Start/Sit, Season Long, DFS or whatever you want to ask!    

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RDFHQ Subscriber League Chronicles!

Without a doubt, this year has been the hardest in the history of fantasy football for managers. With the unpredictability of the virus, the high amount of devastating injuries, and the constant schedule adjusting, it has become incredibly difficult to try and keep a competitive roster week in, week out. It feels as though this year more than ever, it takes an awful lot of luck to be a contender. With that being said, it’s time to update the power rankings and show you, the fans, what’s going on in our crazy league.

Tier 6: The Waste of Space

12. Jkreis13 (2-3)

The only reason this team has won any games is because he’s rostering the QB2 and QB6 in Mahomes and Rodgers as well as the RB3 in Aaron Jones. He got lucky enough to get those pieces because the guy auto-drafted. He hasn’t changed his lineup since week 1 and we know this because he’s been starting Kerryon Johnson week in, week out. It infuriates me to see someone who doesn’t even want to be here in this league, can’t wait to replace this bum next year.

Tier 5: The Ones Who Aren’t Very Good

11. Dcaples75 (1-4)

It seemed like this guy was trying, up until about week 4. He left an injured DaVante Adams in his starting lineup that week, but it didn’t really matter because one of the contenders Alvin and the Chipmunks pumped him by 30. Then in week 5, he just gave up leaving 3 players on bye in his lineup and throwing the week to Lemdmcgowan, albeit even if he started his best lineup he likely still would have lost that week. He has pieces to be a good team, however it can get disheartening when you sit 1-4 and your only win is to a fellow 1-4 team. If he continues to not care, he’d definitely fall into Tier 6.

10. Cheap Seats (1-4)

Cheap Seats isn’t a bad metaphor for this team. He has some pretty solid pieces on his team, such as the RB5 and 6 in Zeke and Carson respectively, as well as two great QBs in Stafford and Tannehill and lots of depth. And it’s not like he’s trying, in fact his issue is he may be trying too hard. Case in point, he sat Tannehill last week and chose to start Joe Flacco instead… costing him 17 points. In week 4, he started Kenyan Drake and Mike Geisecki instead of Chris Carson and Zach Ertz, a decision that cost him 28.9 points in a week he lost by 30. He deserves a better record, he just needs to get out of his own way.

9. HerbNLegend (2-3)

What a shame. This man was near the contending ranks in my pre-season rankings and just look how far he’s fallen. Kids, this team is why you never go Zero RB strategy. His week 1 starting RBs were Le’Veon and Leonard Fournette and he had no viable replacements for them… they combined for 9 points that week. Ouch. Week 2, he started Hines and Michel, they combined for 3 points. At no point this year has his RBs combined for even 15 points in a week, you simply can’t contend with that poor of production. The only reason he even has wins at all is because of the Russell Wilson-DK Metcalf stack as well as the TE2 in Darren Waller.

Tier 4: The Unlucky Ones

8. Shotgun Fantasy (1-4)

This guy just can’t catch a break. Firstly, he’s had the hardest schedule to date. Secondly, it always seems like he’s a lineup decision away from winning his week. He doesn’t have a great team, as no player he has on his team ranks top 15 at their position, but it doesn’t feel like he should be 1-4 either. He has matchups against Autodrafter, Cheap Seats and HerbNLegend in the next 4 weeks to help right the ship before playoffs.

7. IndieNation (2-3)

It’s not like Indie has a bad team, in fact I like a lot about his team. He has Michael Thomas coming back in Week 7 to give his team a much-needed push. He has Alex Mattison who will be infinitely valuable until D.Cook comes back. And he has tons of depth, just lacking a dependable star player and it’s hurt him to this point. He’ll make the playoffs for sure as the two teams below him in the conference are write-offs, and he has the roster that could beat anybody any week, just not a roster I’d bet on going too far.

Tier 3: The Middle of The Pack

6. The Fantasy’s Phinest (3-2)

“Didn’t y’all say I wouldn’t win 3 games?”

This team has no business being here. The only reason he’s 3-2 is because he ran into the lowest-scoring team of the week for all 3 of his wins. Considering him a playoff team is laughable and yet Lady Luck is gonna carry him there it seems. And yet, through all of this, I actually don’t hate his team. His RB duo of Sanders and Chubb is downright scary when healthy, Herbert and Brees as your two QBs in SuperFlex is a great place to be. His WRs and TEs are horrific, however and that’s gonna hold him back from being anything more than a pretender come playoff time.

5. Anybody Can Get It! (2-3)

“F*** you, <insert any other owner here>, I’m gonna beat the breaks off of <insert opponent here>”

The all-rookie team is actually pretty scary all set and done. Clyde and JT are RB12 and 13 respectively which really isn’t a bad spot to be. CeeDee Lamb is the WR11 to date, and he’s accompanied by the WR6 in Tyreek Hill and WR12 in Mike Evans. This team is deep and skilled where it matters, and he could get even better if Lamar Jackson can step up his play. His biggest issue is if he loses a player to COVID/injury, there isn’t a ton of depth especially for RBs. Regardless, this is not a team I want to face.

Tier 2: The Pretenders

4. Lemdmcgowan (3-2)

This team is one that makes you think. He auto-drafted, but sets his lineup every week and has made roster moves so he’s actually managing his team, I can respect that. He’s the 3rd highest scoring team in the league, but he’s tied for 3rd easiest schedule. He just lost Dalvin Cook which leaves him with next to nothing at RB for at least a week or two as even when fully healthy his starters are Cook and Kelley. That could end up being his downfall, especially once OBJ comes back down to earth.

3. Team A.Js (4-1)

“Applying Humble Sauce all szn”

Is LQ really about to get torched on his own blog? Oh yeah. Week in, week out you just don’t know what you’re getting with this team. He’s beaten Alvin and the Chipmunks, and yet his 1 loss came to Shotgun. He’s had the 2nd-easiest schedule thus far and has been the 4th highest scoring team so it’s tough to say he’s deserving of 4-1. His RB core of Henry and Jacobs is downright scary, his WRs… not so much. Cooper Kupp, AJ Brown and Jamison Crowder don’t exactly have me ready to crown him champion by any stretch, His QBs are shaky as well. He’s got some work to do to prove he’s gonna take a serious run at the title.

Tier 1: The Contenders/The Likely Final

2. Alvin and the Chipmunks (4-1)

“F*** you and your maple syrup”

This team has a lot of upside and downside at the moment. Upside, his RB core of Kamara and Gurley has been downright terrifying thus far coming in as the RB1 and 11 respectively, he has a PPR god in Keenan Allen and his TEs of Hock and Hooper will do great in this TE premium league. However, there’s a big problem for Drew upcoming. He lost Dak Prescott for the season and his next man up is Derek Carr followed by Danny Derps. Not the ideal QB combo, but overcomeable. He gets two cakewalk matchups next in Autodrafter and Cheap Seats to figure it out.

1.Maple Leaf Maulers (5-0)

“You’re gonna have to figure out how to ship the trophy to Canada” Would you look at that? The Canadian kid is running the league so far. Highest scoring team? Check. Moderately hard schedule? Check. Only two wins where my opponent was within 20 points? Check. Mark Andrews being a TE premium god? Check. My Josh Allen/Stefon Diggs stack being absolutely lights out? Check. I’m doing this all without the #1 overall pick, CMC? Check… Wait what? That’s right, the most dominant team so far in this league has not had the best player in fantasy football on their roster the majority of the season. I better start making a place for the trophy on my mantle, the way it’s looking right now I’m untouchable.

If you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading! Please keep supporting all of our content, including all of our posts on the blog here, LQ’s YouTube (@RealDealFantasy HQ), my podcast Cold Hard Sports Talk which you can find on Spotify, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music and more!

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Why You Shouldn’t Trust OBJ

Through the first 4 weeks of the season, OBJ has to be one of the, if not the, most controversial players in the fantasy world right now. Ever since he became a Brown we have become accustomed to seeing him underperform and meddle his way out of our starting lineups. And yet, here he is as the WR6. This can be attributed to his massive WR1 blowup last week, however it still seems so high for a player who disappointed 3 out of 4 weeks. I am here today to make sure you don’t fall into the trap and hurt your fantasy squads!

First off we’re gonna look at some of the bigger stats. We all know about catch rate, simply take a players catches, divide it by his targets and bam you get his catch rate. For OBJ he is sitting at just 53%, which in fact is his career low! Now you’re saying, well if he’s struggling to catch the ball, how is he the WR6?! Touchdowns baby. He is scoring touchdowns at an unsustainable rate of 18% of every touch he gets, his career high is 13.5% back in 2015 and he hasn’t hit above 9% since 2016. Needless to say, at some point he will regress to the mean. So with him struggling to catch the ball, and his touchdown production soon to slow down, he is about to plummet down the rankings fast.

Still believe in OBJ? Don’t worry, I got more. A more telling sign that his production is going to drop is his yards per target. Averaging 7.9 yards per target he ranks 84TH in the league! With numbers like that he needs to maintain a massive target share to stay productive and not be touchdown-dependent. So Cleveland is a good place for receivers to get big target numbers right? Wrong. They have thrown the ball the 3rd fewest out of anyone in the league thus far. The reason for that is simple, they let Baker be a gunslinger in 2019 and it led to him being a turnover factory. Their solution to stay competitive has been to hide him through heavy use of the run game and receivers running short routes, which in reality is an Odell’s owner’s nightmare.

So we see that Odell is struggling to catch the ball, his TD production is about to slow down, he doesn’t run a lot of deep routes and his offense doesn’t trust their QB. Add all of those factors together and you have a nightmare on your hands as far as potential production.

Thanks again to our stats guy here at RDFHQ, Andrew Metcalfe (@drewmet89), for helping me find all of these stats to help substantiate my argument. As well, if you like content like this, stay tuned to the blog we produce content like this all year. And finally, check out my podcast Cold Hard Sports Talk on Spotify for fantasy analysis in both football and hockey all year long!

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Thursday Night Showdown – Jets Broncos – DFS Picks & Strategy

Gone are the days of ‘dog’ matchups in 2020 NFL. Please cite last Thursday’s Dolphin’s Jaguars matchup as proof. Everything about that game going in saw the Jaguars rolling over the hapless Dolphin’s defense and Ryan Fitzpatrick throwing to the moon to try and keep up. Well in case you missed it, the exact opposite happened. So while thinking about tonight’s penny dreadful I can’t help but think that perhaps even though the Jets looked God Awful on Sunday, we could have a bit of a game on our hands – and where there is a game there are fantasy points and where there are fantasy points there is a DFS Slate to attack! So let’s talk…and let’s Cash!

Editor’s Note: The DK Pricing you will see in this article reflects the “Flex” price of a player in Showdown tournaments. If you want to choose that player as your Captain in those lineups you need to keep in mind that their salary will be 1.5x the Flex price. FanDuel includes the M.V.P Spot in their pricing for both spots and that is why it looks higher. Both the Captains spot and M.V.P spot garner 1.5x the fantasy points that is scored by the player.

I have to start this out with the Jets.

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Early ADP Bust

While 2 weeks is not nearly enough time to evaluate a player’s season, we can begin to look at trends that will give us hints offuture production. The players below have fallen short of fantasy managers’ expectations so far this season, based on their Average Draft Position (ADP). I am going to point out some troubling signs for each that do not bode well for them going forward. I never encourage selling low on a player, but if any of these guys have a big week, I would try to move on and shop them to other managers that are willing to pay their pre-season value:

Drew Brees

ADP: QB7

2020 Rank: QB23

Coming off of an underwhelming performance on Monday Night Football, people are beginning to question if Drew Brees still has “it”.  Through 2 weeks this season, his 64.7% completion rate, 93.5 QB Rating, and 6.9 yards/attempt are all his worst marks since 2012.  Not to mention his 4.4% TD rate (16th best among QBs) leaves fantasy managers wanting more.  

I’m sure that the absence of Michael Thomas has had a negative impact on his performance, but we are not sure how much more time he’s going to miss.  There was a time when Drew Brees was the one that made his receivers relevant, not the other way around.  While Thomas is out, Brees is not startable in 1 QB leagues.  Once he has his All-Pro receiver back healthy, he should be a solid streaming option or QB2 in SuperFlex leagues.  

Derrick Henry

ADP: RB5

2020 Rank: RB25

We all marveled at Henry as he carried fantasy managers into the 2019 playoffs with 20+ point performances in weeks 12-14 only to be limited by a hamstring injury in week 15 and miss Championship week 16! Obviously, that’s not what you wanted from him to end the season, but he showed us enough to vault his ADP into top 5 RB range for 2020 drafts.  Despite leading the league with 56 carries through 2 weeks, he’s only managed 3.55 yards per attempt and has yet to score a TD.  Some hoped he would pick up extra targets in the passing game with Dion Lewis gone, but 3 receptions on 5 targets in the first two games doesn’t give me much hope for improvement in that area.  Especially with Darrynton Evans, the Titans’ explosive 3rd round pick RB out of Appalachian State, set to make his debut after recovering from a hamstring injury.  I expect him to take on the pass-catching role that was intended for Lewis last season. I certainly expect better days ahead, considering this interesting tweet from Chris Raybon: 

https://twitter.com/ChrisRaybon/status/1308822225982758915?s=20

Even though Henry will likely increase his fantasy production as the year progresses, I don’t see him returning on his RB5 ADP this year.  The Titans are missing their All-Pro RT Jack Conklin, who signed with the Browns this offseason and Henry is feeling the impact.  Before he blew up last season to score 18 total TDs, his best PPR finish was RB15.  I expect him to end up as a high-end RB2 by end of season. 

Cooper Kupp

ADP: WR16

2020 Rank: WR44

The Rams WRs were a major topic of discussion for the Fantasy community this off-season.  Their mid-season transition to a heavy 12 personnel approach (2 WRS, 2 TEs) in 2019 was detrimental to Kupp’s production. While he struggled to maintain consistent snap counts and opportunities for targets, Robert Woods thrived.  Through the first two weeks of 2020, the Rams have been in 12 personnel on 22% of offensive snaps (only slightly up from 21% in 2019).  What’s interesting is that snap counts are not Kupp’s issue, he leads the team in snaps played for WRs.  There also hasn’t been a significant change in his team target share:    

Kupp Target Share

2019

21.2%

2020

19%

The problem is the Rams’ massive dip in passing volume from last season. In 2019, LA had the 3rd most pass attempts (39.5/game). They begin this season near the bottom of the NFL, averaging only 29 attempts/game. Given the early success they have had, I don’t foresee McVay going away from his run-heavy approach anytime soon. While it’s a positive sign that Kupp has been staying on the field in 12 personnel sets, it is going to be very difficult for him to return value on his WR16 ADP as long as they continue to favor the run game.

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Studs & Duds Week 2

Studs and Duds Week 2 

Studs:

Josh Allen 

Stefon Diggs

Calvin Ridley

Jonnu Smith

Tyler Higbee

Mike Gesicki

Duds:

Julio Jones

Ty Hilton

Aj Green

Chris Herdon

Malcolm Brown

Todd Gurley

Week 2 is in the books and these guys up above are players I believed stood out as clear duds and clear studs for week 2. So lets start off with the Studs of week 2. 

My BOY! Josh Allen putting all the haters to bed with a elite fantasy performance putting up 46 pts against the dolphins. Yea I know ur thinking it was the dolphins that’s what he was suppose to do but that’s not the case here the game was very close at one point and Allen had to put the team on his back and set up his teammates for success to find the endzone. Allen had tones of hate being called a QB2, not a very accurate deep pass thrower , and a risk taker. Meanwhile back to back weeks with elite Qb1 performances putting the haters to bed. While we are on the topic of Allen I wanna bring up Stefon Diggs. 

Diggs and Allen connection is so beautiful to watch and its crazy its only week 2 with very little time spent in the off-szn due to covid. Diggs put up a whooping 29 pts 8/153/1 very impressive performance from Diggs catching long balls and making toe tap side line catches and etc. Diggs is looking like a top 10 WR if Allen and Diggs can keep this going. Its always fun to watch when guys are winning so ill be watching the Bills game very closely to see if this is the real thing or is it just early szn luck. 

MAN! Was I WRONG!Tyler Higbee went off ! 3 TDS putting up a whooping 28 fantasy points looking like a solid target for Goff moving forward BUT I will say I need to see this every week from higbee before I crown him TE1. Higbee finished with 5tgts 4recs and 54 yards. Not a lot of tgts and not a lot of yards I would like to see those yards increase maybe in the 70-100 yd range. Overall look for Higbee in a lot of starting line ups moving forward he earned it. 

Now lets talk some duds of the week. Some back to back duds that we expected a bounce back week or to take a step forward in week 2 but just didn’t pan out that way.

I wanna highlight Todd Gurley for this DUD of the week. Gurley ran the ball 21 times for 61 yards…Crazy we just seen a stat saying if Gurley runs the ball 20+ times the team wins 22-2 times… well lets make it 22-3 times.. Hard lost for the falcons to the Dallas Cowboys comeback victory but Gurley just looked terrible only putting up 6.7 points. Ito Smith looked more explosive and was heavily involved towards the end of the game. This worries me about gurley only because he ran the ball 21 times and didn’t produce much points. Gurley ADP was sitting tight in the 3rdround and he hasn’t returned that price tag for fantasy owners. The falcons aren’t a run first offense we see the WR core going crazy on teams with 3 100+ yard wrs in week 1 and Calvin Ridley turning up this week with 100+ yards as well. So moving forward with Gurley every week he maybe in question for fantasy owners starting lineups come Sunday. 

Next dud…. Chris Herndon..

I think this was a clear dud only because so many offensive weapons were injured he had no choice but to make plays for Sam Darnold and that didn’t happen. With Crowder, Bell, and Perriman catching a injury mid game u would think it would be the Herndon show but it wasn’t…. 5 targets for ONE REC! It should be hands off all Szn for jets players not named Crowder I cant stand that “Offensive Guru” Adam Gase and his questionable play calling and coaching style… it has to be miserable to be in that jets locker room. If he’s not fired mid szn… nvm because I know its not happening… 

Next Dud goes to my fellow ram player Malcolm Brown. I don’t think he’s one and done but the Cam Akers injury did knock the running game out of momentum for a min but Darrell Henderson was the next man up in that backfield behind Brown but I think this was more or less to see what Henderson could do with the potential of handle a decent amount of the workload. Basically Sean Mcvay is still holding try outs for the RB1 roll but watever he’s doing its working u have 3 very talented RBs why not use them all but for us fantasy owners this is very bad owner any of the 3. At the start of the szn I was telling the #Wolfpack to stay clear of the rams backfield this szn til the smoke clears of whos the “Guy” but right now its just nothing but a headache trying to figure out who will get u the most points this week. To be continued.

That was this weeks Studs and Duds article hoping u gained some understanding to lead u to victory in week 3! Make sure you follow me on all social media platforms @realdealfantasy.

Peace Love Happiness.

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Week 1 Recap: 32 Things We Learned

It’s fall. School is back in session, the weather starting to cool off, and FOOTBALL IS BACK! After an electric week one, we have some things to go over. Call this the last review before the final exam. We’re going to go over one thing we learned about each team in week one.

Arizona Cardinals:

The Cardinals are going to be fun to watch this year. Kyler and that offense looked great against one of the best defensive units in football in their win against the 49ers. What did it show us? DeAndre Hopkins isn’t going anywhere. He had a great game with a line of 14-151-0. If you invested in him as a top 3 WR this year, you’re going to get your money’s worth.

Atlanta Falcons:

The Falcons lost in an absolute shootout with the Seahawks this week. IT what was one of the more fun games to watch on the Sunday slate. Matt Ryan balled out, with nearly 450 passing yards. But the biggest winner is Calvin Ridley. Calvin Ridley needs to be in your lineup each and every week. While the Falcons won’t always through for 450yds, Ridley is going to get his.

Baltimore Ravens:

The Ravens absolutely took it to the Browns this week. One thing that surprises no one is Mark Andrews tearing up the Browns defense. While a win also surprises no one, there were a few surprises in this game. The biggest thing is Mark Ingram with single digit fantasy points, and J.K. Dobbins with 2 touchdowns. J.K. Dobbins time is coming, and it may be sooner rather than later. Strike now before he cements himself in the lead back role in this prolific offense.

Buffalo Bills:

The Bills took it to the Jets in a game with a final score much closer than the actual game itself. The Bills have solid chance to win their division this year, and Josh Allen is the real deal when it comes to being a fantasy QB. My biggest take away is that the red zone work in this offense will go through Zach Moss, and I expect more work to follow. Zach Moss is going to be another rookie RB that can take over the lead role by midseason.

Carolina Panthers:

The Panthers lost in their opening contest against the Raiders, and I’m sure everyone was shocked to see that Christian McCaffrey is still good at football. The Panthers offense looked good, and Joe Brady’s scheme is going to keep them as an effective offense all year long. Their WR group is talented, and Robby Anderson is a big play waiting to happen. Given the right matchup, Anderson can score points in a hurry. Very boom or bust though.

Cincinnati Bengals:

As a Bengals fan, thinking about that last game makes me a little queasy. But there were a couple bright spots for the Bengals. Joe Burrow is the real deal, and I expect him to improve as the season goes on. More than anything tho ugh, it is apparent that he has a favorite target. AJ Green was an offensive PI call away from having a monster game, and he is back to being a starting WR on your fantasy team. He should be in your lineup barring injury.

Chicago Bears:

Is Mitch Trubisky the real deal? Has he changed? Is that Bears offense fixed? While the answer to these questions remain to be seen, the Bears stole a win from the Lions in their opener. There was an obvious take away from that offense, and that was that Allen Robinson is legit. Robinson is Mitch’s number one target, and while he didn’t find the end zone this week, I expect him to be a top 20 WR.

Cleveland Browns:

Yikes, what a terrible showing by Cleveland. That offense looked bad, the defense looked even worse. Were the Ravens just that good? Maybe, but we need to see more out of the Cleveland RBs. Chubb and Hunt had an equal number of snaps. Maybe it was just game script, but Chubb owners have to be concerned that they aren’t getting the bell cow work load they paid for. Hunt owners should be elated, he is seeing the field early and often, and they got him at a huge discount compared to Chubb’s ADP.

Dallas Cowboys:

The Cowboys played a terrible game against the Rams. Blake Jarwin tore his ACL, which is devastating for the promising young TE. The offense looked ok, and I think there’s no need to panic. Michael Gallup is going to be a stud. He had a monster 44yd catch called back on an OPI. He will be a great flex play all year, and I don’t see a world he doesn’t finish the year as a top 30 WR.

Denver Broncos:

The Broncos had a tough outing against the Titans. Drew Lock looked ok, but he’s got some room to improve. The RB situation is something that we were looking to figure out. While both RBs were healthy (Lindsay got hurt) they split snaps almost 50/50. Melvin took over after the injury, and will have value if Lindsay misses time.

Detroit Lions:

Look, the Lions blew it. You know it, they know it. It was bad. The good news is they have 16 games to redeem themselves. It was nice to see how their RB situation was going to play out. This is an RBBC. Swift has the most talent, but AP will see a lot of touches. Get rid of your Kerryon Johnson shares, as he is on his way out.

Green Bay Packers:

The Packers put up a ton of points in their win against the Vikings. Aaron Rogers looked great. The WRs made some plays, and Aaron Jones scored a TD. Devante Adams is an absolute animal, but you already knew that. Aaron Jones was a candidate for TD regression this year, and while he will regress some, the Packers still look to him in the red zone, and he will find pay dirt plenty in 2020.

Houston Texans:

DeAndre Hopkins is going to have a… oh wait. Bill O’Brien controls his roster worse than a spiteful 8 year old playing madden. They lost some weapons, and that offense doesn’t look incredible. There is one constant however. Deshaun Watson is a stud, and he’s not going anywhere. He could be throwing to a bunch of high school JV players. Unless he’s playing against the Monstars, play Deshaun.

Indianapolis Colts:

The Colts lost a terrible game to the Jags. That defense didn’t look great, but Philip Rivers didn’t impress in his first start in Indianapolis. He did bring something with him from LA, and that was all of the RB targets. With Mack done for the year, Jonathan Taylor is going to be a league winner for some rosters, but an important add this week in Nyhiem Hines. Grab Hines in every league you can, he has the potential to be the 2019 Austin Ekeler of this offense.

Kansas City Chiefs:

The reigning Super Bowl champs came out hot on Thursday night and absolutely trounced the Texans. This one is going to be short and sweet. Clyde Edwards-Helaire is the real deal. If you drafted him in the first round, you’re going to get your money’s worth.

Los Angeles Chargers:

The Chargers won an absolute stinker of a game against the Bengals. A lock down drag em out football game. Austin Ekeler took over as the lead back for the Chargers this season now the Melvin Gordon is a Bronco. Do not bail on Austin Ekeler. Yes, his targets were down this game, but he received more than 80% of his teams RB touches. The offense will flow through him all year long.

Los Angeles Rams:

The Rams surprised some people, coming out with a win on Sunday Night Football against the Cowboys. They looked good, and Jared Goff looked the like QB they paid him to be. We did get clarity on the RB situation in LA. Malcom Brown is the lead of the RBBC in LA. The Rams used him in the red zone a lot, and he will continue to have value as long as he holds that role.

Jacksonville Jaguars:

Gardner Mishew came out firing against the Colts in their upset Sunday win. Chark is a true number 1 receiver. He’s Minshew’s favorite target, and Jax prioritizes him in the red zone. Big year coming for the young WR.

Miami Dolphins:

The Dolphins lost a tough game against the Patriots. This game didn’t have a lot of fun stuff to look at, and was fairly boring, so we’re going to highlight what we didn’t see. Matt Breida only had 5 touches on Sunday, and Gaskin led the RBs in touches, while Jordan Howard got the red zone work and TD. Matt Breida should not be on your roster. He just doesn’t have the upside.

Minnesota Vikings:

The Minnesota Vikings lost in a shootout with the Packers. There was a lot of turnover for the purple people eaters this offseason. That defense is not nearly as good as it once was. Which means they will need to score points offensively. Adam Thielen as a number 1 WR has returned. He will continue to get a ton of targets, and has looked like his 2018 self.

New England Patriots:

Why did we ever doubt? Cam Newton is a QB 1. There is no reason to believe otherwise. Belichick is going to continue to run him, and that gives Cam all the upside. The Pats WR are a little tough, so that might put a cap on him, but Cam looked scary on Sunday.

New Orleans Saints:

The Saints came out and ran all over the Buccaneers. While Brady didn’t quite look up to snuff, Drew looked pretty good, and Sean Payton has that team dialed in. The Saints are one of the more consistent teams from year to year. Do not bail on Michael Thomas, he will be just fine. You paid a premium for him, don’t do anything crazy.

New York Giants:

The New York Football Giants came out and looked ok against a solid Steelers defense. Danny Dimes made some mistakes, but if you look at the film he really did play a pretty solid game. He’s locked in on his number 1 wide receiver, and its Darius Slayton. He’s their redzone weapon, and will continue to light it up. He’s the WR you want to own in New York.

New York Jets:

The J-E-T-S Jets STINK. They’re terrible. This team is awful. I can only say it so many ways. I believe Adam Gase will be the first coach in the NFL to be fired this year. He lowers the value of every single player on that offense. Sell Le’Veon Bell. If you can, try to get one of those young rookie RB who showed out. Or a WR with some upside. I think Bell finished outside the top 30 at RB.

Oakland Raiders:

Jon Gruden and the Las Vegas Raiders came into Carolina and ran all over them. The Raiders have a bad defense. They aren’t good. But that offense will continue to run through Josh Jacobs. He is the most dynamic threat on that team, and the offense will run through him. Also a side note, don’t miss that Darren Waller lead the team in targets.

Philadelphia Eagles:

Weird week for the Eagles, as Miles Sanders didn’t play, and their O-line was hurt. They looked bad against the Redskins. Dallas Goedert had 1 less snap than Zach Ertz. His time is coming, and its coming now. He is a top 10 TE this year.

San Francisco:

San Fran lost a surprising game against the Cardinals. The offense looked weird, Kittle tweaked his knee a bit but should be ok. They’re missing Deebo Samual on offense, as it makes them one dimensional. However, Raheem Mostert is the lead back in that backfield, and he should be. Dude has all the speed, and should look to lead his team and your fantasy team to a lot of wins.

Seattle Seahawks:

Let Russ cook! The Seahawks looked great in their win over Atlanta. I thought he might start slow this year, and I was wrong. He came out very hot. Their offense does look different, as they look to pass a bit more rather than lean on the run. Chris Carson was more involved in the pass game. I think this will help him be more efficient. He’s been slept on in drafts the last few years, and this year was no exception.

Pittsburgh Steelers:

A grind it out win against the Giants, the Steelers offense looked substantially better with Big Ben at the helm rather than Mason Rudolph. JuJu is back to his old self, and I love to see it. There were 2 HUGE takeaways for me in this game. 1) Benny Snell is the lead back in this offense. He was better than Conner and much more efficient. Pick him up if you can. 2) Diontae Johnsons is the second WR in this offense. While he didn’t have a huge fantasy day, he lead the team in targets, and is a weapon they will continue to highlight.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers:

Brady came out a little rusty. And that’s ok, I’m not worried.  New team with limited camp, I expected him to start a little slow. There was someone on this offense I have been concerned about all year, and it showed in week 1. Gronk is not his old self. He should not be on your roster. He simply doesn’t have the upside he did in the past. Grab a young guy with potential at this position.

Tennessee Titans:

The Titans squeak out a win again the Broncos late on Monday Night. While the Titans didn’t look like world beaters, Derrick Henry was still Derrick Henry, surprising no one. AJ Brown had a tough matchup with AJ Bouye, but he didn’t look great in his first game. Keep an eye on his targets, as he is a candidate to regress in efficiency this year. As long he continues to lead the team in targets he should be fine. Corey Davis tied AJ Brown for the lead in targets this week.

Washington Football Team:

The Redskins Football Team came out with a win against the Eagles, but man they did not look good offensively. While the Antonio Gibson hype came to a peak after AP was cut, he stuttered out the gate week 1. Gibson will need to establish himself before you can insert him into your lineup. Hopefully he can pick it up.

If you learned something, make sure you give us a follow on Twitter @RealDealFantasy and @SmashHitsSports. We’re also on Instagram @RealDealFantasy and on Youtube at RealDealFantasy HQ.

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Monday Night DFS Double Header! Part 1 Stealers vs Giants – Let’s Cash!

What a week 1 it has been. Stunning play by unexpected sources, let downs from those reliable players and unfortunate injuries too. That’s football guys… and thank the stars we have it.

BUT Week 1 isn’t over yet! If you played DFS and lost or maybe didn’t win what you hoped (DAG JARWIN INJURY!) you have a double header tonight that is full of DFS Goodness. Now because it is a double header both Draft Kings and FanDuel are running Classic two game tournaments as well as Single Game Showdown contests. So plenty of variance to play with.

What I want to do for you today is to set the table on both games. Players that I want to highlight for Classic 2 Game tournaments and those that I have on my radar for single game showdowns. Sound Good? Alright – Let’s GO!

Game 1: Pittsburgh Steelers vs New York Giants

The Steelers are favored tonight in what the industry is calling a plus matchup for the returning Big Ben and his Merry Men. Here is the thing… the Colts played in a Plus Matchup against a Jaguars team that many in the industry referred to as a disaster. Look what can happen in Week 1. There will be plays all over this game so let me try and quickly highlight where I am looking for my DFS:

Ben Roethlisberger: $7,000 DK $7,800 FD

Showdown Costs: $15,300 DK Captain, $10,200 Flex, $15,000 FD

Big Ben is back and every account all training camp long is he is HEALTHY. This is a huge upgrade to all of the skill position players on the Steelers, obviously. In addition to that the New York Football Giants rank 31st against the pass and 20th against the run according to PFF based on last year’s model. I like Ben here, a lot. The question though is if the Giants are able to keep this game competitive. Yes, he has his full receiver core healthy but so is James Connor and I do fear that if the Steelers jump out ahead early, the running game will take precedence to control the clock late. That being said, Ben has a lot to prove tonight after his season ending injury in week 2 and I do expect him to have a great game. He is the most expensive QB on the board tonight and I expect him also to be the most popular play as well. So you will need to find variance in your lineups as well as value too… but Ben is a great play in tournaments and in showdown slates.

James Connor: $6,400 DK, $6,800 FD

Showdown Costs: $14,400 DK Captain, $9,600 Flex, $13,000 FD

This could very well be a James Connor game tonight, as much as we all hope that we get to see Big Ben slinging the rock down the field on every drop back. However there is a real chance that Connor takes over this game – for one thing, despite the strong training camp there is a potential that Coach Tomlin doesn’t want to over use Ben’s surgically rebuilt arm and in that case it is Connor early and often. On the other hand, Ben could come out like a Gunslinger putting up score after score until it is obvious it is time to grind. Either way I find Connor to be really underpriced tonight and a great play. The only thing always hanging over James Connor is injuries – however you can’t play DFS without risk. I think that a James Connor Ben Roethelisberger stack could be an interesting play tonight in classic tournaments – as a way to hedge your bet on either of the above outcomes. I likely will shy away from this stack in Showdown slates however as the opportunity costs are too high should one or the other outshine..

JuJu Smith Schuster: $7,200 DK $7,100 FD

Showdown Costs: $13,800 DK Captain, $9,200 Flex, $12,500 FD

The Curious Case of JuJu Smith Schuster. 2019 was a much maligned season for the young receiver. Poised for a breakout his quarterback goes down in Week 2 and with little fear of a passing game in general, he saw double coverage all season long until an injury ultimately put a nail in the coffin. Onward and upward – it can’t get any worse right? Here is the thing – many in the industry are pointing to this year as being the breakout for JuJu and as terrible as this sounds, I’m just not excited about it. JuJu is a great play and the obvious pairing with Ben in Stealers stacks tonight in Tournaments as he is the on paper #1 Receiver in this offense … but keep in mind the last time we saw JuJu in a prominent and successful role, he had Antonio Brown running opposite side of him. Now look you couldn’t ask for a friendlier matchup than the Giants tonight to get things back on track, but I am likely going to be underweight on my exposure to JuJu tonight. I think there are two more likely red zone targets for Ben which I will talk about momentarily that will cost you a lot less – especially in Showdown Slates. This is not me saying don’t play JuJu Smith Schuster… it’s just me saying, I am more likely to fade than to go all in.

Dionte Johnson: $4,400 DK $5,900 FD

Showdown Costs: $8,700 Captain $5,800 Flex$10,000 FD

There is a lot of excitement for Dionte Johnson this season. For good reason too! First with less than stellar QB Play last year over the last 4 games, Johnson Averaged 15.2 Fantasy Points and scored 2 touchdowns. Now he has Big Ben throwing to him and Big Ben recently Praised the Young Receiver coming out of camp. All signs are pointing to a breakout year for Johnson and at only $4,400 (Tournament) and $5,800 (Showdown) he is a lock in my DK Lineups. I also like his price on FanDuel but am a little taken aback by the $10,000 in single game Tournaments. Johnson will be a very popular play tonight at these prices so you need to be wary, but for the upside he offers in what is more likely than not going to be a Steeler’s runaway victory – give me all of Dionte Johnson.

Eric Ebron: $4,300 DK $5,000 FD

Showdown Cost: $9,600 DK Captain, $6,400 Flex $7,500 FD

Play Eric Ebron! No seriously. First off look at the pricing on Ebron. Talk about a salary saver. You want to stack Ben, Connor and JuJu – Ebron will help. But Eric Ebron also offers a TON of Red Zone appeal tonight against a Giants Team that last year ranked 20th against Tight Ends. It has been a couple years removed but remember how Eric Ebron scored nearly ⅓ of the Colts Passing Touchdowns in 2018? I do – he won me a championship. The knock on him has always been he has been touchdown dependent BUT guess who developed great Run Blocking Skills in training camp – Ebron. And on top of that, if he catches 2 Touchdowns and 40 yards worth of targets – he just may have won you some money. Play Ebron! With other Highly Touted Tight Ends on this slate, I think he will go under owned. Plus with Dionte Johnson in that same price range on showdown slates, I think Ebron will go overlooked. Play Eric Ebron. If he puts up a goose egg, hey I’m sorry. But with the savings he gives you, you likely were able to build a roster that cashes anyway. Play Eric Ebron.

Last note on the Steelers: Benny Snell. $4,500 DK, $4,600 FD and Jaylen Samuels $4,000 DK $4,700 FD. While I am not going to have exposure to either player in a Showdown Slate, if you are mass multi-entering in a tournament on either site I would recommend having a little exposure to these two players. Make no mistake – this should be the James Connor show tonight BUT there is injury risk with Connor and on top of that there is also the real possibility the Steelers go out ahead and Snell and or Samuels will get extended run as the game winds down. Just something to think about. Again these are Mass Multi Entering plays and a small exposure at that.

Oh yeah and PLAY SHOWDOWN TEAMS WITH THE STEELERS DEFENSE – not every Showdown team, but have exposure. I do not think you will regret it.

The New York Giants.

Please note – Golden Tate is listed as questionable and a Game Time decision at the time of this writing, so I will not be including him in my write up here. If he plays, I would be cautious that he is used more of a decoy than anything else. This season could be a Golden Tate year and I think the Coaching Staff are going to take their time on him.

Daniel Jones. $6,000 DK $7,200 FD

Showdown Cost: $13,500 DK Captain, $9,000 Flex, $14,500 FD

Here’s the thing. My gut says Daniel Jones is a bad play tonight. My gut is telling me this due to the Pittsburgh Steelers being the 3rd best team in all of football against Quarterbacks. However, as we saw this weekend – it’s week 1 of a wonky offseason and anything can happen? Right? Ok so if you want to play Daniel Jones there are two positives to bring up. First he has Saquon Barkley to dump the ball off to and second Sterling Shepard had a sterling training camp. Oh and Evan Engram is Healthy. Oh and Darius Slayton is a stud in the making … Yeah… still a tough putt against TJ Watt and Co. There is one other positive though – NO ONE is going to play Daniel Jones in DFS tonight. With a potential to be the lowest owned quarterback on the slate in Danny Dimes future, I’ll take a few shots in tournaments. Contrarian Daniel Jones may not be a bad play after all. Hmm…

Saquon Barkley $8,000 DK $9,000 FD

Showdown Cost: $16,200 DK Captain, $10,800 Flex, $16,000 FD

At $8,000+ Saquon Barkley is the most expensive player on the slate tonight. But is he worth it. Not only are the Steelers #3 against Quarterbacks – they are #3 against Running Backs too. BUT this is no ordinary running back! I think that the Giants are going to rely on the heavily muscled thighs of Saquon Barkley to carry them tonight and at the high price of playing him, the field you are playing with may avoid it in droves. I will not be. While I do not think he will have a big night on the ground, I do think he has a real chance at a big night through the air. You have to remember that 3/4s of the Giants starting pass catchers are healthy and with that attention can be pulled away from Saquon when he is running routes. I also see draw plays, delays and even designed throws coming his way. Yes there is a lot of risk but I like Saquon tonight and if I am playing any Giant tonight it will be him. I also like him a lot as contrarian Captain on some Showdown teams I roll out. No one is going to pay that much for Saquon against the Steelers Defense. Again, I’m not saying I’ll be all in especially in Showdowns, but I’ll have some shares. I think you should too.

Evan Engram $5,400 DK $6,300 FD

Showdown Cost: $12,000 DK Captain, $8,000 DK Flex, $11,000 FD

If there is a weak spot in the Steeler’s Defense it has been tight end – kinda. The Steelers still rank in the top ⅓ of the league against the position, but a healthy Evan Engram is (in my opinion) head and shoulders above most tight ends that they face and if Danny Dimes is able to have an effective game in the air tonight I think it will start and possibly finish with Evan Engram. I do believe that if there are any Giants players that will be rostered tonight it will be Engram, so beware I think he will be popular in tournaments but an easy way to be contrarian is to stack him with Daniel Jones who I believe will be significantly underowned. Additionally a Saquon Engram stack has the same appeal as I believe at Saquon’s prices he could also go underowned with Derek Henry, James Connor and Melvin Gordon all available for significantly less. But I like Engram tonight and will even have a few Showdown teams with him as a Captain.

Sterling Shepard $5,200 DK $5,700 FD

Showdown Cost: $10,800 DK Captain, $7,200 Flex, $10,500 FD

Even if Golden Tate plays tonight, Sterling Shepard will be the #1 Receiver for the Giants at least when Daniel Jones drops back. Accounts from Training Camp have been that Shepard has really come into his own as the leading receiver of the team and I’d look to see the Giants try and get him involved early if for any other reason to open the box up a little for Barkley. Shepard is a fine play tonight but just not one that excites me. I worry too much about the pressure the Steelers will put on Daniel Jones and I fear a lot of plays will lead to Engram as a safety net or Barkley as a dump off. That being said anything is possible in Week 1 as evidenced this weekend – so don’t ignore Shepard especially if mass multi entering. He’s just not a priority for me. If he beats me he beats me, I just think there are Sterling Shepard Weeks coming this season and this isn’t necessarily one of them.

Darius Slayton $5,000 DK $5,300 FD

Showdown Cost: $7,800 DK Captain, $5,200 Flex, $9,500 FD

One thing I am really looking forward to in this match up is Darius Slayton vs Dionte Johnson. No of course they won’t be on the field at the same time but coming out of last season these were two of the guys we were excited about coming from two teams that there wasn’t much to be excited about. I like Slayton here for much of the same reasons I like Johnson on the other side of the ball. He has a report with Daniel Jones. He has shown he knows how to get open. He is fast and quite frankly a real deep threat in an offense that (especially if Golden Tate sits) needs a red zone threat not named Barkley. You could do worse than rostering Darius Slayton tonight. If you are playing a lineup with Daniel Jones in it, find a way to pair him with Slayton. If Jones can get a 5 second drop back, I think he will be looking for Slayton crossing every time.

To wrap Game 1 up with some strategy… I think that there is a real chance that the Steelers Offense could break the slate and having pieces of it may be the only way to cash both in regular tournaments and in showdown slates. If I am playing Ben I am playing Connor and at least one other Pass Catcher being JuJu or Dionte Johnson or Ebron. If you are playing the two game tournament though… you will need to save some money to get pieces of the second game. So if I am playing Ben and Connor I’m likely pairing with Ebron for the savings.

On the other hand if I am playing a Giants lineup, especially in Showdown, I am stacking as many pass catchers with Daniel Jones as possible. I think that the Steelers Defense will have him on the run and in that situation any port in the storm will do. Jones – Saquon – Slaton – Engram or Jones – Saquon – Shepard – Engram. I think the only lock play for me will be Saquon on any Giants squad I roll out.

Good Luck in your Contests!

PART 2 – Titans vs Broncos – Coming Up After Dinner!

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Studs & Duds ✅🤦🏾‍♂️

STUDS & DUDS WK 1 

Most of week one is in the books we still have the Monday night games to go but we are attacking the studs and duds early. A lot of big names doing big things but also a lot of big names dropping a nice fat dud on a lot of fantasy owner chest. ( No this isn’t a OBJ joke).. but he was one of them.

So lets start off with the Duds list. 

·      Carson Wentz

·      Michael Thomas

·      Austin Ekeler

·      Joe Mixon

·      D.j Moore

·      Tyler Boyd

Ur probably wondering where’s OBJ, Le’veon Bell, Baker, Mark ingram, Keenan Allen and etc? Well it was either bad match ups to begin with or bad games we should of expected. Also for those who don’t understand the Duds list we don’t count injuries as performing like a dud duh so no Mike Evans talk… ( guy played hurt and it showed) 

But let dig into some of the players named above. 

Carson Wentz: 270/2tds/2Ints

First off Carson Wentz didn’t look comfortable in the pocket and the o line was letting him down causing some miss timed throws, duck balls and overall pocket collapsing more time than not. Wentz was sacked 8 times and 1 fumble. Not to touch on any real life football but lost a 17-0 lead isn’t a good look for overall performance. If they won wentz would still be on the Dud list only because he was suppose to stomp a mud hole in the redskins terrible defense but didn’t do so as we saw. 

Moving forward to wk 2 will be something to watch but I feel bad for guys with Wentz as there QB1 with a mid to low tier Qb as a backup on the bench. Its going to be a long year. 

Next…

Person I wanna touch on is 

Michael Thomas : 3recs 17 yards

So disappointed in Thomas performance only putting up 4.7 on 3 catches.. Thomas was a lot of owners first pick in the first round and didn’t help owners this week coming out with a dub. He was just simply covered and once the saints jumped up 2 scores on the bucs in the 3rd qt. it was the kamara show and a bunch of random WRs getting catches that don’t need to be on the field…and to make stills worst in the 4th qt he left the field limping with a ankle injury and did not return. So moving forward to wk2 he will have to be watched all week for injury reports and practice reps. I hope he’s ok but I will be a worried Thomas owner at the moment.

Now this is painful but I cant say it wasn’t expected but….

Austin Ekeler: 12 pts 84yards 1 TARGET for 3 yards.. 

Tyrod in the driver seat I been preaching it could get ugly and that’s exactly what’s happening. Allen took a hit and ekeler took a hit for sure. Ekeler seeing only 1 target is crazy to me. Ekeler lost the goal line duty to the rookie Kelly as well so things got a bit fishy for ekeler owners scratching their heads of whats going on. The only thing that does worry me a lot is the lost of goal line duty to Kelly so that means he may see less TD opportunities but hoping this week was a hick up of not seeing the catches out the backfield. On paper Ekeler was pose to eat up the Bengals defense but the Bengals had other plans of showing up and showing out. ( yes I know they lost) So moving forward my hopes for a ekeler bounce back in wk2 will be low due to the fact Tyrod is the starter. 

Now lets talk about some home run guys showing up Wk 1 with some fire. Here’s the list

·      John Brown

·      Jamison Crowder

·      Robby Anderson

·      Sammy Watkins

·      David Johnson

·      Nyheim Hines

Crazy to say most of these guys up above probably sat on ur bench blowing up. Good news is now u know they mean business. 

Robby Anderson 6 recs / 115 yards/ 1 TD 

Robby had a great camp. So great he killed all Curtis Samuel hype we had all summer. Robby was looking like a good overall WR in a new city with something to prove. I always thought of Robby as a troubled player, a one trick pony on a terrible team and just overall not much trust week to week. Now lets not get ahead of ourselves thinking hes a full send start and forget every Sunday but I have to admit I liked what I saw from robby and hope he can do this most weeks moving forward.

David Johnson: 77 yds 3 recs 1 TD 19 Fpts

DJ looked great in a Houston Texans uniform. He looked refreshed and hungry to play. I don’t wanna get ahead of my self but I have DJ as the Comeback player of the year. 

As long as they keep giving DJ the back in his hands Houston can have something special on their hands with DJ in the backfield. He showed he can still catch and run out the backfield. Looked very explosive in open space. Overall I was happy to see DJ in a good spot putting up Fantasy Points. 

Nyheim Hines: 8 recs/ 1 rec td/ 28 yds / 1 rus TD 27.3 Fpts

Well it must be 2021 and mack is out the door looking for work and it’s the JT and Hines show.. oh wait.. its 2020 and mack is hurt already and could miss a lot of time and here we are… the JT and Hines show. I gave Mack a chance and even said it might take up to 4-6 weeks before we see JT and Hines show but Mack tore his Achilles in the 2nd qt and it was curtains for him. JT did his thing for his first NFL start (14pts) but the guy who stood out to me and everyone else was defiantly Hines. Hines is the Ekeler 2.0 that Rivers will forever lean on when he runs into trouble. Hines was in on all the 3rddowns and most of the redzone opportunies. It warms my hurt that Hines is still floating on waviers to be grabbed because we maybe seeing this for the rest of the szn. Hines is just great after the catch and will see a ton of targets so he’s a stud this week putting up 27 points. He’s a no brainer MUST ADD for Wk2.

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Week 2 Top Waiver target predictions

Now that draft season is over, now is the time to obsess over our lineups and start/sit decisions up until kickoff. Post week 1 waiver claims usually have a huge impact on the remainder of the season. After we get to see the teams in action for the first time, there are bound to be several league-winning players emerge that no one saw coming. A great way to have a successful fantasy season is to be one step ahead of your opponents. Here are my predictions for the top Week 2 waiver adds, so go ahead and pick them up now while they are free:

Derek Carr
The last time that we saw a healthy Derek Carr with two legitimate receiving options at WR was 2016 when he was throwing to Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree. That year he led the Raiders to 12 wins and was an MVP candidate before his season came to an abrupt halt after he broke his fibula in week 15. His 96.7 QB Rating was good for 8th best in the NFL that season. Gruden believes that he’s found his WR tandem of the future in Bryan Edwards and Henry Ruggs and we’ve been hearing the hype out of camp all Summer. This week, Las Vegas faces an inexperienced Carolina defense that gave up the 2nd most points last season and was also bottom 10 in both total yards and yards per play allowed. If you are a proponent of the LATE-LATE QB draft strategy, go ahead and scoop up Carrbefore he lights up Carolina. He could also be useful in week 2 when he goes up against Drew Brees and the Saints, a matchup with “shootout” potential.

Darrynton Evans
Many experts had Evans as a mid-round draft day Sleeper, being a dynamic prospect coming out of Appalachian State. There hasn’t been much buzz surrounding him since he was selected by Tennessee towards the end of the 3rd round. That is better draft capital than Joshua Kelley (UCLA) and Deejay Dallas (Miami), who both seem to be much more popular. There is no chance that he challenges Derrick Henry for the bell cow role,who just signed a 4 year, $50 million extension in August. The Titans have 78 rushing attempts vacated from last season. Dion Lewis began the year in a complementary role that diminished as the season went along because he was highly inefficient. With Lewis now with the New York Giants, the only backs on the depth chart behind Henry and Evans are Senorise Perry and Khari Blasingame. If Tennessee decides to ease the workload of their workhorse back, coming off of his first 300 carry season by the way, Evans should be the main beneficiary. If he busts off one of those long TD runs that he was known for in college this Sunday, he could quickly be on other managers’ radars, so pick him up now before the waiver rush.

James Washington
Without looking it up, do you know who lead the Steelers in receiving last season? It was James Washington, despite playing one less game than Dionte Johnson. Granted, he only had 735 receiving yards on 80 targets. Pittsburgh’s 2019 QB struggles are well documented, so I’m not going to knock him too much for the limited production. Many are concerned about his opportunity for targets with JuJu returning to good health and the emergence of Dionte Johnson, but Washington is one of the most efficient receivers in the NFL. In 2019, out of qualified receivers (80 or more targets), Washington’s 16.7 yards per reception was 8th best in the league. This offense will be muchimproved with Big Ben back behind Center and he has already shown that he trusts Washington as his favorite downfield target. Since 2016, the Steelers have been top 10 in pass attempts every season that Ben has played at least 14 games. There is tremendous weekly upside with each of their top 3 receivers, Washington is the only one that you can grab at absolutely no cost right now.

C.J. Uzomah
Everyone is buzzing about Joe Burrow and the Bengals offense, but Uzomah seems to be the forgotten man. He was quiet for most of the last season while splitting time with Tyler Eifert(who is now in Jacksonville). In weeks 16 and 17, he totaled 10 targets and scored in both games. Cincy also likes Drew Sample, their 2019 2nd round pick, but he has yet to see significant snaps in a regular-season game. Uzomah is in prime position to take over as the top TE in this offense and become a safety blanket for Burrow this season. There are a multitude of potential TE breakouts this season, I’m putting C.J. Uzomah on that list as well. The best part about taking a chance on him, is no draft capital is required.

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The Curious Case of Leonard Fournette

Earlier this week, Tampa Bay made the intriguing move of picking up the recently released Leonard Fournette. Now, this would be an amazing pickup for any offense that lacked RB depth or has to cover for an injury. However, Tampa is quite the opposite with the likes of Ronald Jones, LeSean McCoy, Ke’Shawn Vaughn and more on the depth chart already, making the Fournette pickup all the more puzzling. Now the question lies, how valuable is he now and how should you proceed?

              First off, we’ll start with his draft value. While he was still in Jacksonville, he was being picked around the late 2nd-early 3rd and was being valued as a dependable RB2 with RB1 upside. However, his issue was and always will be that his value was not from big play potential but rather the fact that he was going to get all the touches there. Now, take that volume away and what is he really worth? Since the pickup, many fantasy owners are avoiding him like the plague, his ADP has already fallen to the late 4th-early 5th round and I’ve heard stories of players getting him as late as the 13th and 14th round which would make him an amazing late-round stash target should he carve out a prominent role.

              Now that we know how fantasy owners feel, it’s important to see what his own coach is saying about him. Bruce Arians is already saying that Ronald Jones is the week 1 RB1, despite him having his own issues and only having 20 or more touches in a game twice all of last season. Now, to the untrained eye, it may look like a smoke screen to keep us guessing. However, knowing that Arians has made interesting personnel decisions like this before (ex. OJ Howard getting equal targets to Cameron Brate last season), it wouldn’t be unprecedented to make a proven back like Fournette work for a useful role. As well, from a statistical perspective, there’s a case to be made that Jones may in fact be the RB1 for the foreseeable future.

              When we dig into the deeper stats, we can see that Jones is ,in fact, more explosive than the former #4 overall pick. Jones has a higher yards per target, big run rate, yards created per touch and most importantly, more fantasy points per opportunity. In case you’re not familiar with the meaning of those stats, I’ll sum it up briefly. Jones is more explosive and in a perfectly equal setting, is more likely to produce the higher fantasy points. Factor in that early on, Jones factors to get more touches, it makes the case for Rojo as the more productive back all the more appealing.

              In short, this Bucs backfield is crowded with talented backs and there’s a good chance that roles are fluid on a week-to-week basis all season. As far as redraft goes, if there’s better RB options available in the middle of the draft, take them. However, if Fournette is available late in the draft, jump all over him, he’s one of the best safety net picks to have on your bench should Jones get injured or play himself out of the RB1.

              Now, I want to give a huge shoutout to our stats guy here at RDFHQ, Andrew Metcalfe (@drewmet89 on Twitter)! He provided me with all the advanced stats for this article and we’ll be continuing to work together all season so I can’t wait to keep churning out content with him! Drew is also a talented writer himself, go and check out his most recent article, the link is below. Finally, go check out my brand new podcast (link below!) if you haven’t already, there will be a new fantasy football focused episode coming out next week!

              Stay tuned for more fire content all season long, and keep it real!

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Battle of the RBs

Battle of the RBs

Kenya Drake vs Miles Sanders

Drake : 8 tds 817 yds & 50 recs. RB18

Sanders : 6 tds 818 yds & 50recs. RB15

 Drake has some impressive stats in the 2019 szn since being traded found his self-taking the starting role from Dj fairly quickly. Getting involved in the passing game also a huge plus to ppr owners of course. But what’s next for Drake? Now the lead rb for ARZ rb 1 possibly in a workhorse situation with now Dhop joining the squad this makes the offense even more exciting to watch. Drake has all the signs pointing at him to be the lead back and to see at least 15-20 touches. All sounds good but we have to think.. is Chase Edmonds an actual threat to drakes production. At the moment we do not know completely of the game plan but I will say Drake will have some fire under his ass playing under a one year tag that he may be playing a bit harder than chase. To be fair we seen Chase blow up for one game against a bad giants defense and I believe that’s when the wave was created that chase is an option in the draft. Hand cuff yes of course but an actual draft pick for his actual value no. Drake and Chase could share a 1A 1B situation which wouldn’t be the end of the world for Drakes value come draft day because drake isn’t a high investment. As of now I got Drake in the 3rd round but come Nfl draft night if the cards bring in a rookie rb then might have to re think the investment of drake to be my RB2 on my squad. I look for Drake to be the supporting cast to my roster not the main character to bring home the gold. While drafting him I’m going with the understanding he’s not going to carry my team to the championship but he will be a very important piece to my squad to contribute at least 10-15 points a week if not more with this high power offense. But the question now is Drake or Sanders

Mile Sanders

Sanders has been slowing crawling up my draft board the closer we get to draft day. Corey Clement was basically let go. Jordan Howard signs with Miami and now all that is left is Boston Scott who finished the season off very strong. Now the eagles are known for the RB committee but Sanders was very productive when he was on the field. Giving the eagles a dual threat with his pass catching ability and his ability to get the edge and find open spaces. Sanders almost cracking 1k rushing is actually a surprise for me only because the eagles constant change at the RB position and found his way into the top 15 rbs going into the 2020 szn. Sanders is set up for success with this empty back field for the moment. Eagles would like to move forward with sanders being the number one rb but can we believe they will allow that? If not then Sanders needs to be used like Austin Ekeler if eagles want to bring in another brute body rb. If he’s not going to be having high rushing attempts then let’s get his targets out the backfield up to 100+ no sense of him having less than 200 rushing att. To be splitting carries and not getting the proper reps he deserves. Keep Wentz healthy dump offs to sanders will move the ball up field. Ertz isn’t always going to be open lol. Sanders has the potential to put up Ekeler numbers with the right play calling.

So over all drake or sanders? Both have question marks with situations. if I had to lean towards one of them in the 3-4th rd then I would have to go Drake only for the simple fact hes the workhorse and has 1 year to prove his self and it wouldn’t matter to the team running him to the ground on a one year contract. Sanders holds weight as well but with the eagles they seem to love to hold on to a lot of rbs so no telling what they will do in the draft and still early in free agency so time will tell with that situation.  

Drake for the win!

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One Move Every Team Needs to Make: AFC East

New England Patriots: Tight End

As apparent to everyone last season, the Patriots offense looked terrible without the presence of Rob Gronkowski or just any “good” tight end in general. I decided to take an in-depth look at the Patriots with and without their tight end and these were the results:

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Shown above are the stats related to the Patriots pace of play in 2018 and 2019. As you can see, the Patriots rank more plays (per 60-minute pace and normal pace) in 2018 versus 2019. We can’t necessarily relate this to not having a tight end, but we can use this to show that there was a “hole” in the offense. Next, let’s take a look at the play of the Patriots without Gronk.

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Above are the game splits from 2010 to 2018 for the games that Rob Gronkowski (In-Split) and games he didn’t (Out of Split). I could have added tons of categories and every single one was worse without Gronk. Points for, Points per drive, and win percentage all went down in his absence and rightfully so as Gronk was a huge part of this offense. Now we need to narrow this down to his best friend….Tom Brady.

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Now I know that Brady might not return to the team this year, but we can use the splits chart above to show how the lack of tight end affected Tom Brady. Again, in split is games in which Gronk played and vice versa for out of split. Yet again you can see that the Patriots need a tight end and bad. They need to look to make a splash in free agency and target Austin Hooper or Eric Ebron.

New York Jets: Wide Receiver

Man the Jets were BAD last year and the only way to make this team improve is adding a supporting cast around him (and fire Adam Gase). With Robby Anderson headed out the door in free agency, the Jets will need to find a replacement in free agency or in the draft. Sam Darnold’s supporting cast efficiency ranked 28th, via playerprofiler.com, which measures the efficiency and overall play of the RB, WR, TE on the team. Along with that, Darnold ranked 26th in team dropped passes and 37th in red zone completion percentage on only ranking 25th in red zone attempts to show that the efficiency was just not there.

Although the Jets need a ton of help all around, they NEED to go get Jerry Jeudy in this year’s NFL Draft.

Miami Dolphins: Quarterback

Josh Rosen, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Brock Osweiler, Matt Moore, Jay Cutler, Ryan Tannehill, Chad Henne, and the list goes on and on…

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Shown above is the past quarterbacks for the Miami Dolphins dating back to 2016 and the QBR (quarterback rating) in those years. As you can see the quarterback play has not been good which should force them to go after Tua Tagovailo in the NFL Draft.

Adding a confident, playmaking Heisman candidate quarterback to complement the youth of the Dolphins team is what the Dolphins need to do. Brian Flores…make it happen.

Buffalo Bills: Wide Receiver

Josh Allen was a solid fantasy asset last year, due to his rushing ability, but in terms of an overall football quarterback, he was not that great. Allen ranked 23rd in adjusted yards per attempt and 33rd in true completion percentage. To me, the missing piece for this offense is simple and that is to add a wide receiver to play alongside the veterans of John Brown and Cole Beasley. Since they are in middle of the draft it may be hard to get one of the top two guys in Ceedee Lamb and Jerry Jeudy but Henry Ruggs and Justin Jefferson both stand out to me.

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One Move Every Team Needs to Make: AFC West

Denver Broncos
Biggest Need: Wide Receiver
Things may be finally falling into place for the Broncos offense as they showed flashes of explosiveness last year when Drew Lock took over. Adding the young explosive offense to the new offensive coordinator hire of Pat Shurmur, 6th in total team cap space, and the 15th pick in the NFL draft things are only looking up for the Broncos. With all, the biggest need for this team is to add a wide receiver to fit into Pat Shurmur’s downfield stretching passing attack.

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Shown above is a chart showing the pass/run splits in Shurmur’s coaching career whether that be Head coach or offensive coordinator. As you can see, in three of the last 4 seasons he has coached a team that has thrown the ball over 60% of the time which obviously is very promising for fantasy purposes of the skill players on the Broncos. Although it has been super consistent in the percentages as a whole there has only been two outlier seasons as 54% and 52% instilling confidence in the passing attack for this squad going forward.

Then this now opens the opportunity for the addition of a wide receiver. Currently the Broncos are a little thin at receiving weapons with Courtland Sutton, DeSean Hamilton, and Noah Fant who is a tight end so there is obviously a need. Whether that is addressed in the NFL Draft or Free Agency the Broncos must get busy. Mock drafts so far this offseason have had the names of Henry Ruggs, Jerry Jeudy, Ceedee Lamb, and even Tee Higgins at that 15th spot. As all those names seem nice and promising we must remember one thing…. Free Agency happens before the draft, so as much as we think they will draft a receiver we have to wait and see if they go after a big name FA like Amari Cooper or if they add a couple smaller names like Robby Anderson, Nelson Agholor, or Breshad Perriman.

Best Possible Additions: Amari Cooper, Ceedee Lamb, Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs

Kansas City Chiefs
Biggest Need: Cornerback
Despite the surge of defense that led the Chiefs to the Superbowl, the Chiefs defense struggled overall, and this is where they need improvement. Here are some of the defensive ranks at certain stats from the 2019 season:

  • Yards allowed per drive: 25th
  • Plays allowed per drive: 31st
  • 3 and outs per drive: 31st

All stats via FootballOutsiders.com
32nd being the “worst” rank to get

The Chiefs could probably benefit from any defensive additions, but with Kendall Fuller, Morris Clairborne, and Breshad Breeland set to be UFA this offseason a cornerback addition will be needed.

Los Angeles Chargers
Biggest Need: Quarterback
With the recent news of Phillip Rivers not returning to the Chargers it seems only fitting to make quarterback the biggest need for this team. It has been 15 years and maybe even more since the Chargers have had to worry about replacing a quarterback, but they have made it clear that that is their next intention. The Chargers sit at the number 6 pick in the draft and it has been made almost “guaranteed” by the media and mock drafts that Justin Herbert will be in a Chargers uniform next season, but with the current trading state of the draft who knows if Herbert will be there. Head coach Anthony Lynn has made it obvious that the team would be comfortable with using Tyrod Taylor as a bridge quarterback to find their next Rivers. In multiple interviews he has stated, “Taylor is a heck of a quarterback…. and now he has an opportunity to maybe stepping up into the starting role.”

It will be hard to find their next Rivers, but the Chargers are in a prime spot to add a QB or an immediate impact player to help Tyrod. We have discussed on the channel the other free agency concerns with this team as Austin Ekeler, Melvin Gordon, and Hunter Henry are all UFA. The Chargers have a big decision to make, and I am excited to see what they can do.

Best Possible Additions: Jameis Winston, Tom Brady, Justin Herbert, Jacob Eason

Las Vegas Raiders
Biggest Need: Wide Receiver

Along the same lines as the Broncos needs is the Raiders, but the need of wide receiver for the Raiders is much larger as they lack that true alpha receiver. Raiders handled the offseason extremely well last season as they filled big holes in Free agency and the Draft with Josh Jacobs, Tyrell Williams, Maxx Crosby, and Clelin Ferrell as well as making huge improvements to the offensive line but they still struggled in the 2019 season.

Obviously, you can’t show why a team needs a receiver through a statistical breakdown, but I can give other factors to show the improvement areas of the offense and then tie in a wide receiver to outline why it would help. Oakland ranked 22nd in team touchdown percentage when in the redzone and Derek Carr held a red zone completion percentage of 59.2% ranking them at 20th out of all quarterbacks. When breaking down Derek Carr’s passing stats and overall 2019 season he secretly had a great year. Carr’s true passer rating, via playerprofiler.com, was 106.0 ranking him 7th and his clean pocket completion percentage was 77.9% ranking him 5th. I could break down a ton of bright spots to Carr’s game, but the one part of the game where the team is lacking is deep ball completion percentage and red zone completion percentage. The Raiders ranked 18th in deep ball completion percentage and 20th in red zone completion which screams that this team needs a pass catching identity outside of Darren Waller.

My strong prediction is that the Raiders look to the draft or maybe even exploring a Stefon Diggs trade to fill this need.

Best Possible Additions: Stefon Diggs, Ceedee Lamb, Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs

Featured

Talking some XFL, DFS, Week 3 … bigger, badder, boom

By Sean Weymouth @delrayboston

The title above references the tag line attached to Wrestlemania 3 way back in 1987. XFL DFS is kinda game changing. This is my first DFS article on the XFL and I am going to treat this a bit like none of us have played XFL DFS before – it will be easier that way for me to talk about my main strategy. I want to stress here though, the way both sites are treating XFL contests, you really have to know your stuff. Not just stats and analytics either (it’s only week 3, the sample size is not big enough). So my first strategy is simple – WATCH the XFL. If this is your first time playing XFL DFS I might recommend watching the games on Saturday and playing on Sunday only contests. The XFL has several rules that differ from traditional NFL and it causes a faster paced game that has favored passing. But that doesn’t mean every offense is an air raid either. So how do games with a lot of passing but not necessarily a lot of deep ball throwing, become the fast paced competitive games that have people buzzing – and wait, not a lot of run plays? What? (Ahem) I will say it again – you need to watch the XFL. The daily fantasy gods demand it – and Draft Kings and FanDuel won’t let you get away with not watching –

Don’t believe me? In Draft Kings classic lineups, the words Tight End don’t even exist. Not in the lineup and no player is designated as such. This kinda make sense since, in case you don’t know, there are XFL teams that don’t actually roster a Tight End. So – Draft Kings asks you for 1 QB, 1 RB, 2 WR, 2 FLEX and 1 DST. Whether a player is a WR or TE, to Draft Kings calls you a WR and the Flex spots can be RB & WR.

FanDuel actually does recognize players as Tight Ends but NO DEFENSE! FanDuel roster construction layout 1 QB, 1 RB, 2 WR/TE, 2 Flex – Offense, Offense, Offense!! (I like it!)

So like I was saying, sure you can look at 2 weeks worth of stats and analysis to make a pick but I think if you watch XFL games you will get a better feel for your roster construction on whatever site you choose. Come Week 7, I will lean on analytics a lot more like I would in an NFL Season but for right now, as much as we are figuring out how to play XFL – the players kinda are too. The ones and the teams who have figured it out, that’s who I’m going to highlight and tell you to play in week 3 (spoiler!) but watch the XFL, you’ll be a better DFS player for it.

Also before I dive to much further, i just have to say: I have played the last two weeks on DK and the DC Defenders DST has helped me cash each week. Roll with the hot hand

Ok let’s look at some league leaders and some usage stats you need to know – these are the top line plays I am looking at. Matchups aside, here are the emerging stars of the XFL through week 2:

QB: Studs:

PJ Walker (Houston Roughnecks) – 7 Touchdown Passes in 2 weeks. I mean let’s go! 62.3% Passer Rating – he’s thrown 64 times in two weeks guys. Oh and only 1 INT.

Cardale Jones (DC Defenders) 511 Passing yards leads the league. The Defenders are one of the emerging teams that could win a championship. Jones has 4 TD passes, 1 INT, but he is the focal point of the offense. I like him.

Jordan Ta’amu (St Louis Battlehawks) 78.1% passer rating he has thrown the ball 64 times over two games. He has 4 touchdown passes, a shade under 500 passing yards. Aces

Landry Jones (Dallas Renegades) made his XFL debut last week and did not disappoint 28 – 40, 305 Yards, 1 TD, 2 INT. Feels like a perfectly laid out Landry Jones game right Steelers fans?)

RB Studs. – here is a little strategy tip. You want to roster a running back that is catching the ball out of the backfield and running between the tackles. If that advantage is heightened in the NFL it’s on steroids in the XFL. There are a few that ar redoing it better than the rest.

Cameron Artis-Payne (Dallas Renegades) after a rough week 1 the former NFLer really emerged as the backfield leader in Dallas with 99 yards on the ground, 32 in the air and 2 rushing scores. Gotta like that.

James Butler (Houston Roughnecks) tale of Two Cities between week 1 & 2 with Butker but he has shown his chops as both a runner and a passer and has 3 TDs in 2 weeks. I like those odds

Jacques Patrick (Tampa Bay Vipers) Patrick is listed as the #2 back in Tampa but he took a major step in the right direction in Week 2 taking his share of the carries for 73 yards and also catching 3 balls for 18. I would expect this time share to continue and Patrick is the back to target. He also comes in at a nice Value on both sites too. By the way his running mate De’Veon Smith is a solid pick too. I just like Patrick because he is a little cheaper on both sites.

Lance Dunbar (Dallas Renegades) Dunbar is #2 behind Artis-Payne but has shown real Dual Threat capability. Receiving 5 and 6 targets respectively over the first two weeks. Absolutely could have broken any of his 6 rushes off too. I wouldn’t stack him with Artis-Payne but Dunbar is definitely a consideration.

Receiver: they are all studs. Hahaha. I am going to highlight a few here, but really if you are considering a value play – just look at his target line. In this league if he is targeted more than 5 times per game, that is a guy I am looking at to save some money here. Opportunity in this league isn’t as concentrated just yet. We’ll get to how I’m building my lineups shortly but here are some Receivers I am looking at:

Nelson Spruce (LA Wildcats) no denying that Spruce is becoming a security blanket for QB Josh Johnson but that’s ok if it resulting in 3 TD catches in 3 weeks. He is a lineup starter for sure for me. Additionally Spruce has had no less than 63 yards each week too. It’s Week 2 of a brand new Football League. Nelson Spruce is a lock and load for me.

De’Mournay Pierson-El (St Louis Battlehawks) slot receivers are big deals in this league with the manner most teams are running their game plan and there may not be any more prime example of an XFL receiver than Pierson-El with 13 receptions on 15 Targets 114 yards and a score. Last week’s TD catch was especially impactful. He’s a lineup builder for me for sure. By the way – isn’t Superman also an -El just sayin’

DeAndre Thompkins (DC Defenders) Thompkins misses week 1 with a foot injury but showed up in week 2 ready to go – 6 of 9 for 92 and a score. Boom. Set it and forget it. DC Defenders are on a roll!

Austin Proehl (Seattle Dragons) In week 2 everything the Dragons did offensively was garbage. Proehl included. So I need you to look at the guy and the team we saw in week 1, here in week 3. 5 for 10 for 88 and 2 scores. You need to keep an eye on the Dragon’s quarterback situation this week as things are-a-changing, or not. Either way, I think Proehl is going to be a big part of their game plan and he should be yours.

Ok my strategy here is to honestly look at every contest as I do for NFL Showdown Slates. If you have read any of my articles on those you will know what I mean. I start my builds at QB and then build and roster those players around him that are most likely to help that QB succeed and in turn everyone scores more fantasy points. If that QB doesn’t target his running backs, I don’t stack with his running backs. If the QB is only targeting his backs, I don’t stack with his receivers. There are only a few teams I’d consider “well rounded” so for week 3 I think I will use this as my step 1.

In showdowns I like a classic 2-3 guys from 1 team vs 1 stud from the other. Look at that principle here, just in your classic format. If you are stacking a QB and his two receivers (who also could be a RB or TE) use your two flex spots to do so. Then run that lineup back with the stud on the opposing team who you think will help to keep they game competitive and you are getting fantasy points on both sides of the ball of the game.

If my running back isn’t being selected to stack with my QB then you can bet I am picking the best dual threat option on the board. With only 1 true running back spot available on both sites do yourself the favor and get a guy who can get it done in the air and on the ground. The way these games are played, I believe 100 yard rushing games will be outliers and winning DFS lineups will ultimately look like a QB with 5 (or 6 on FD) receivers.

Also in week 3, pick your offensive weapons first and your defense last. Things are too volatile right now in the league to say a dominant performance in week 2 may end up being the norm for a team. Except for the Defenders DST I mean. Those guys are great.

Which leads me into my game theories for this weekend which I will touch on and wrap this bigger, better look at the XFL up.

Houston Roughnecks vs Tampa Bay Vipers Saturday 2pm ABC The Vipers have played their games with two things in mind – Power Running and Stingy Defense. Now they get to play QB PJ Walker and the Roughnecks whose Offensive Line is actually yet to allow a QB pressure in 2 weeks. I don’t expect this to hold up of course. What I see here is Walker and Roughnecks to open this up with a lot of run and shoot and if the Vipers can’t get to him, it will force Tampa Bay off their run first game plan very quickly forcing them to have to throw the ball which will be great news for the Roughnecks Defense who generate more QB pressure than any other team in the XFL. I like Walker and his receivers here. Final score Houston 24 Tampa Bay 10

Dallas Renegades vs Seattle Dragons 2pm FOX so this is a very interesting game where you have Dallas who loves the draw play, generating the most yards before contact per rushing attempt, playing Seattle who allows the least amount of yards before contact when defending the run. Kinda like a Irresistible force running into a Immovable object (WM3 Reference) – Good luck. This is a stay away spot for me. Final Score: Dallas 18 Seattle 17

NY Guardians vs St Louis Battlehawks 3pm Sunday ESPN so your NY Guardians have an interesting stat of having the highest average hurried drop back by opposing QBs and they get to face Ta’am who has the league leading highest completion rate through 2 games a ludicrous 82%. I believe this will be an exciting game with a lot of points scored. Get me all of it. Final Score Battlehawks 42 Guardians 38.

DC Defenders vs LA Wildcats Sunday 6pm FS1 as I have mentioned I really like the Defenders defense who are allowing a league low 54% completion rate to opposing QBs going against my man Nelson Spruce and his QB Josh Johnson who really likes to pass. Considering the Defenders are not all defense but have a great passing game themselves, led by Rashad Ross and his 2.94 yards per reception – I’m going Final Score Defenders 38 Wild 24

Good Luck in your contests!

Featured

The Class

2020 NFL QB class comes in as a potential all timer

Outlandish. Defined as bizarre and unfamiliar as in this QB class in compared to others is quite different. Why? Well hell to start it’s an actual legitimate class with franchise level talents. As we see the annual panic to grab the QB of the future, we finally as viewers can get excited as well. We may be seeing the earlies stage of one of the best QB classes of all-time and approaching the NFL Combine and Draft, there’s much buzz for many different players.

Now I’m not attempting to slander the following classes. Obviously, we’ve seen classes come out with a multiple all pros. “The Draft of a Decade” with Mahomes and Watson provided to be quite fruitful. Not to forget about the clear excelling class of Wentz and Goff… Ok maybe I’m being a touch bit unfair in my comparisons. But its hard to find a relatable class to this one where I personally see three week one starters who feel like they have all pro floors and following behind them, three dark horse players as well. So, when I look a my personal 2020 QB rankings, I know I must breathe for a second before I lose my mind on where to project their talents reaching. Before we step into that, lets look at the bare rankings I have.

(TIER)uNIVERSITYYearPassing%tdSiNTSrUSHrTds   sTARTS
TuaAlabamaJunior7,44268%8711340925
BurrowLSUSenior8,85269%78118201327
HerbertOregonSenior10,54164%95235601442
EasonWashingtonJunior5,59059%3916-126226
LoveUtah StateJunior8,60060%6029403934
FrommGeorgiaJunior8,22463%781840343
PerkinsVirginiaSenior6,21865%47211,6922027
GordonWashington StSenior5,57971%4816-20013
HurtsOklahomaSenior9,47767%80203,2744343
STANLEYIowaSenior8,30258%6823-104238

            *A lot of numbers here. Some struggle to compare to others and I want to establish truth to them right here off the bat. This is career numbers for the QBs in college. Clearly there was a remarkable difference in starts and injuries also provided to be a factor.

We see a lot of fluctuation amongst the players and their stat breakdowns. Important clarification is needed to be pointed out again. This is career long numbers. We can fully see the stagnation and growth of players when we look at their passing yards throughout their college careers:

            Growth of players is better understood in the chart. We see a better mental picture on the yearly growth of players and how everyone stacks up to the competition around them. Obviously there are some outing issues. First, Tua’s injury of 2019. Secondly, Hurts playing behind Tua in his Junior year. Finally, all the years of absent stats due to playing behind someone, being redshirted, ect. We see the same outlying issues in the TD graph:

            What we can take away from these stats is how the QB is able to continue improvement when stepping into the NFL. Immediate growth perhaps may be most highly touted for NFL scouts. Having a player that can pick up a scheme quickly is the utmost important in a world the strives for immediate success. Being able to show high levels of growth to go along with stats and measurables will lead to a higher faith in a prospect. In turn this comes with better draft capital invested in the player and higher chances of success at the next level. What we can gain as fantast football players in these graphs is a better understanding of the QBs arm as well as how they grow. If we can take QBs with solid passing abilities, solid improvement and playmaking skills, in Dynast leagues, we have better chance of increasing hit rate on picks and can in turn grow our teams for higher successes.

QB1- Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama

            Coming in as my QB1, I strongly believe when we see a healthy Tua, we are seeing one of the best QB prospects of all-time. I had recently done a film study covering his LSU tape. Seeing what he could do coming off of surgery 3 weeks prior and still be able to navigate the pocket and field successfully proves enough to me why he should be placed above Burrow. His stats don’t lie, he keeps the ball safe, he has the best pocket presence in the class and has deadly accuracy. Any QB in this day in age that can lay a ball into a WR at any place on the field would be a top scouted QB. Add that he has deadly legs and an internal sense of what’s around him, he becomes one of the most elite prospects in history. Don’t let injuries fool you into forgetting the dangers of Tua Tagovailoa.

QB2- Joe Burrow, LSU

            Greatest season by a QB ever. I’ll live with that statement until someone else can break the yards and touchdown record in a single season. However, he isn’t my QB1. Sure, he flipped the script from 2018 to 2019 largely due to the change in OCs to Joe Brady. He flew up his completion percentage (18% increase) which is huge for me. The yards (almost 3,000 more) and touchdowns (46 more) as well spiked up but why I find him at 2 is not harshly negative for him. I think that he is a spectacular talent but his single season sample size will follow him until proven he is consistent enough to do it again. Not to say he won’t, but until it’s seen, I can’t trust him to step on to a team and instantly transform an offense like Tua has the proven ability to. The other thing that hurts Burrow and has been clear from after the National Championship, his landing spot is dreadful. I’m sure if your reading this in February, you’re obviously a diehard fantasy fan so you don’t need another analyst pounding it into your head, and I won’t. But position is key. Look for an effort of growth in free agency and drafting for the Cincinnati team on the O-line and defensive side of the ball, or  Burrow will be running for his life and running from behind.

QB3- Justin Herbert, Oregon             My QB3 and QB1 last year, the Senior out of Oregon, Justin Herbert (May have just set the record for capitals in a sentence). Herbert is an all around well versed QB from the Pac 12 who has built a profile of solid accuracy in the short and mid-range parts of the field. Herbert has shown the ability to also be mobile in order to keep plays extended and his jersey relatively clean at the next level. Ability to drop in balls and lead receivers well, his major flaw comes in his deep play ability. While showing improvement in his arm throughout his Senior year,

the QB didn’t establish more than we already knew. A player that has take over ability and can make the important plays, but lacks the ability to stretch out a defense. I saw him as a guy who could flourish with time on a team last year but by giving himself that time this year, he has become more immediately ready. All that’s left for him to prove is can he consistently improve at the next level. I see him along with Burrow and Tua as week 1 starters, showing why they are in tier 1.

QB4- Jacob Eason, Washington

            Nicknamed, “The Cannon” by me and only referred to as that by me, Jacob Eason kicks off the tier 2 of QBs. While other analysts have Fromm sitting in this position I can’t see why people aren’t taking a QB with better overall weapons in his personal arsenal. From his nickname, you can see as to why he developed that name. Arguably one of the top QBs in the class at putting balls in the tightest of windows, the Junior QB walks with a swagger shown only by few on the football field. In my tape watching career, there is limited comparison to the balls this man has to throw some of the attempts he does. This however does lead to problems. His abilities are not refined to be a day one starter, but I don’t think they need to be yet. F Jacob Eason lands at a spot where he is given proper guidance, we may see the development of a future star. He doesn’t have the new NFL style of mobility, but as a traditional NFL pocket QB, many teams will be interested in acquiring a talent like Eason.

QB5- Jordan Love, Utah State            Probably the biggest wildcard in the class is a man from the Mountain West, Jordan Love. Big play ability, shows signs of a strong arm, solid mobility though not used often, and has the talent to extend plays well. On the flip side he faced limited competition, makes very poor decisions at times, and forces plays to work unsuccessfully. I think there’s a lot of refining to do for him but if done correctly, can give a team a solid QB. I think he shows the ability to make plays and extend for his receivers and while he doesn’t have peak talent around him, still finds ways to make things work for himself. Unfortunately, especially in his 2019 season, we saw him try and force balls into poor places. While he doe have solid accuracy, he does have a cannon and can’t rely on putting balls into windows that are slim to none. If Love is put on a team that is confident in him and puts in the work to make him a solid pro, I think he can do wonders for a team and for Fantasy.

QB6- Jake Fromm, Georgia

            Game manager. And I mean no disrespect to the three year starter from UGA. The best QB in this class at monitoring the game, keeping it in his control, and taking over when needing to. I see Dak Prescott as a perfect example. Perhaps that may clear my views up on him. A guy who can sit behind a solid o-line and a good RB and slow the game down. However, he isn’t a QB that just takes whatever is given and plays okay. There is still a dog (no pun intended) in him that will go out and take games for his team. Perfect example: Georgia vs. Florida 2019. Fromm’s ability to when put in a position of take over or lose, takes the offense in his hands and wins the game offensively for UGA. He has the ability, like Dak to take over when running isn’t getting it done, and I believe him to be a solid NFL QB but I struggle to believe he’ll become anything more than a real solid game manager.

QB7- Bryce Perkins, Virginia            2020 classes version of Lamar Jackson, a QB with great legs and solid development of an arm, sits Bryce Perkins as my number 7 QB in my ranks. Incredible pocket presence, wonderful speed/agility and a clean delivery of balls to his WRs is why I see Bryce Perkins as a highly productive future NFL QB for any team looking to capture what the Baltimore Ravens are doing. Having a playmaker like Perkins to keep defenses constantly guessing and chasing is shown to be quite effective in modern NFL and I personally believe that Perkins has a more developed arm his senior year than Lamar. Unfortunately you don’t step on an NFL field and be given the same chances as college. Linebackers are faster, Secondary, and Lineman the same. It takes the drive of Lamar to show rapid improvement to adjusting to the league. If we see Perkins do this however and take the necessary steps, hopefully with a team willing to do the same, we may not only get a good young NFL QB, but an excellent fantasy QB.

QB8- Anthony Gordon, Washington State

            Another prodigy of the Mike Leach offense, Anthony Gordon of Wazzu. However out of the gates, I want to debunk the fact that he’s just another stat stuffing one year player. Gordon threw for almost 1000 yards more than 2018 starter Gardner Minshew and 2000 more yards than 2017 QB Luke Falk. He put up 10 more TDs than Minshew and almost 20 more than Falk. However there was a large uptick of interceptions that we’ll get to in a moment. Obviously you can tend to blend in when tucked away in the upper corner of the North West. However that was highly prevented from happening posting over 400 yards in 9 out of 13 games and even sprinkled in a 9 TOUCHDOWN GAME! So the man can sling it well. His stats scream of success and his 71% completion does the same but there is one issue. Turnovers. If Gordon is able to cool down on the interceptions he can become a very solid pocket QB in the NFL. I do sincerely believe he will be able to do so with how much volume he was getting in college. Again another prospect who with the proper guidance can flourish. I can’t state enough the importance of coaching.

QB9- Jalen Hurts, Oklahoma            Openly a hater of the QBs of Oklahoma does not mean I don’t appreciate what the program is doing. While I predicted a fizzle out of relevancy for Baker Mayfield and eventually the same for Kyler Murray (however with an adapting NFL, survival may be more likely for Murray), I can say with confidence I don’t see a stage where Hurts can peak in the NFL to eventually fizzle. I believe he will be lost in the class and eventually faded away from the game. Its incredibly harsh to say as a writer for Fantasy Football to completely judge a guy who is attempting to make his dreams work, but that’s what I make content for. Lincoln Riley is one of the best NCAA coaches and a genius offensive mind. He knows how to nurture his QBs into success and puts together the best system for their abilities. And this isn’t me saying Hurts is so schlub but I do believe he isn’t ready for the next level. Unfortunately, he’s out of time in college and must take the leap. I think he has good legs and mobility and a solid pocket presence, but doesn’t show the ability to compete with primer talent. What keeps him alive in the NFL is draft capital and legs.

QB10- Nate Stanley, Iowa

            While I see the potential of QB success dying out around Gordon and Perkins, Nate Stanley has NFL size and an arm that can keep him on a roster. He doesn’t have any flashy abilities and struggles to remain consistent. However his traditional pocket QB ability will help turn Stanley into an enticing player for scouts. I believe with Hurts, there is rapid growth that needs to be made in a short time. He has to improve on mobility and consistency as a QB if he wants to gain any successes as a QB in the NFL. There’s a lot of question marks and work that must go in to turn Stanley into a reasonably competitive QB at the next level.

Featured

XFL Fantasy: Early Season Report

XFL Fantasy: Early Season Report

​Here we are, two weeks into the XFL season, and there is an awful lot to take in not only from a fan’s perspective but from a fantasy perspective as well. First off, we need to remember what the XFL is trying to be, not necessarily what it is. For starters, what the XFL has tried to preach is that they were going to be this new league that promoted a faster game that thrived off of the aerial attack and a much more looser return game which was supposed to open up the field for more explosive returns. Which that being said, here are some stats to evaluate how their mission is going so far.• There has been just one 300+ passing yard game (Landry Jones, Dallas, Week 2)• The leading passer, Cardale Jones, is averaging 255.5 yards per game. In comparison, 14 QBs averaged that number or higher this past season• Nelson Spruce from LA has had 192 receiving yards so far, no other receiver is over 150 (or 75 yards per game). In the NFL, there were 13 receivers averaging over 75 yards a game. • There are few dominant running backs as only 4 RBs (and one QB) have even topped 100 yards rushing thus far.• Only 4 TEs have caught more than 5 passes thus far, only 2 have even caught a touchdown• The return game has been a factor as there are 7 returners who have already topped over 100 yards in the return game.

While these stats appear to show that the XFL’s goal of an aerial based game haven’t entirely worked in their favour, the league is not entirely to blame. Unfortunately for them, the league has been incredibly lopsided so far. There are four good teams (Houston, DC, Dallas, St Louis) and the rest are mediocre or worse, of course it just so happens that these 3 also have the absolute no-doubt 3 best QBs in the league in PJ Walker, Cardale Jones, Landry Jones and Jordan Ta’amu. Unfortunately, there isn’t much of a middle ground as the other 4 teams have been bad to worse with each team struggling at the QB position as they either don’t have a starter or their starters are game managers at best.

​With all that being said, is an XFL fantasy league feasible? My answer to that is yes, however it can’t be ran like your typical NFL fantasy league and would, obviously, need to be much smaller. For starters, the absolute maximum you could is an 8-team league due to the fact there is only 8 teams in the league. However, due to the lack of depth and parity, I would personally suggest capping teams at 6 that way you still have a decent size league and would make you think as to what positions are more valuable.

​As far as a roster makeup, here is my suggestion.• 1 QB• 1 RB• 2 WR• 1 TE• 1 K• 1 D/ST• 3 bench (QB/RB/WR/TE only)

The reason I made the bench offense only is that since there are only 8 kickers and defenses available, it seemed as though that would be best in order to maintain whatever a waiver wire could look like in this league somewhat useful. Now, the complications to an XFL fantasy league is the scoring system. With such a focus on aerial attack and the return game, I’ve decided to incorporate this into my system as well. It is a typical half PPR scoring system however passing TDs are worth 6 points and here’s the major caveat, in order to make more receivers valuable/startable, kick and punt return yards are also counted as 10 yards per point!

For this week, I will only do a preliminary position ranking with a few notes, I will delve into them more in next week’s article.

QB Rankings1. P.J. Walker, Houston2. Jordan Ta’amu, St Louis3. Cardale Jones, DC4. Landry Jones, Dallas5. Brandon Silvers, Seattle6. Josh Johnson, LA

I only put 6 in the ranking because honestly, after this it’s not even clear who the starters are. Tampa has went through 3 different quarterbacks through just two weeks and Matt McGloin, who is a game manager anyways, may have just lost his job after his dismal 44 yard, 2 interception performance… however his backup Marquise Williams really didn’t fare much better. Player to watch here would be Jordan Ta’amu who is 3rdin the league in RUSHING with 109 yards on the ground along with being 2nd in passing yards (493) and tied for 2nd in passing TDs (4). 

RB Rankings1. Cameron Artis-Payne, Dallas2. Matt Jones, St Louis3. James Butler, Houston4. Lance Dunbar, Dallas5. De’Veon Smith, Tampa6. Donnel Pumphrey, DC7. Trey Williams, Seattle8. Jacques Patrick, Tampa9. Christine Michael, St Louis10. Mack Brown, Tampa

Things to note here are that Tampa’s run-heavy offense is beneficial as they, as well and Dallas and St Louis has multiple fantasy relevant options to throw into your lineup. Another thing is my #10 Mack Brown has yet to take a carry this season, so why is he 10th on my list? Well he has already amassed 123 return yards, putting him 4th in the league in that category, and has him averaging 6.2 fantasy points per game which is good enough for the RB9 spot so far this year.

WR Rankings1. Cam Phillips, Houston2. Nelson Spruce, LA3. Keenan Reynolds, Seattle4. De’Morenay Pierson-El, St Louis5. Rashad Ross, DC6. Keith Mumphrey, St Louis7. DeAndre Thompkins, DC8. Kermit Whitfield, LA9. Eli Rogers, DC10. L’Damian Washington, St Louis

Here you see where good QB play really influences how good your WRs can be. Out of my top 10 receivers, 7 out of 10 catch passes from either Cardale Jones, PJ Walker or Jordan Ta’amu, the 3 early MVP favourites. Some of these guys (notably Whitfield, Mumphrey and Reynolds) are significantly boosted by return yardage as well.

TE Rankings1. Donald Parham, Dallas2. Nick Truesdell, Tampa3. Sean Price, Dallas4. Marcus Lucas, St Louis5. Brandon Barnes, LA6. Jake Powell, New York

There’s something you need to know about these rankings. Donald Parham is the XFL comparable to 2011 Rob Gronkowski. He is nearly doubling what any other TE has put up so far (he has 11.2 points per game, next up is Khari Lee who is at 5.5 points per game and that’s only because he caught one 39 yard touchdown pass in week 1). Any other tight end is all but irrelevant, carry on.

K Rankings1. Austin MacGinnis, Dallas2. Ty Rausa, DC3. Sergio Castillo, Houston4. Nick Novak, LA5. Andrew Franks, Tampa6. Taylor Russolino, St Louis7. Matthew McCrane, New York8. Ernesto Lacayo, Seattle

MacGinnis is the only kicker so far who is perfect and taken more than 2 attempts (5/5), Rausa has gone 5/6 but missed a gimme 35 yarder in week 1. Everyone else has too small of a sample size to truly evaluate.

D/ST Rankings1. DC2. New York3. Houston4. Dallas5. St Louis6. Seattle7. Tampa8. LA

The Defenders are on a tear so far, averaging 24 points a game and putting up 2019 Patriots level numbers early on. They are the clear-cut number 1 and it’s not close. For a bad team though, the Guardians have done a solid job on defense averaging 10.5 per game.

There is your early season XFL fantasy report, if you have any questions, comments or suggestions, feel free to send an email @ tylergour19@gmail.com, I would love to hear from you 😊

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Saturday Divisional Round DFS strategy – it’s beginning to feel like the playoffs!

By Sean Weymouth

TW @delrayboston

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!

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10 Things we learned about the 2019 Szn

2020 has just started, and the fantasy season is a long ways away. Some up us are coming off league titles, and some of us are ready to erase a last place finish. The good news is we can take a look at some of the things that happened in 2019 to get an edge for next year.

  1. Derrick Henry dominates December

Henry is a mammoth of a human being, and it’s been thought that he becomes harder to tackle as the season wears on. As injuries pile up, and teams are eliminated from the playoffs, the big man rumbles with ease, but is it significant? Late season and into the fantasy playoffs (weeks 13-17) Henry steps up his game, right when you need it. His average points per game the last three seasons have been 8.4, 12.6, and 19.6 PPR points per game in 2017, 2018, and 2019. But what is it through the end of the Fantasy season? Henry averages an ABSURD 23.8, 23.7, and 10.5pts per game in the fantasy playoffs. A huge statistical increase each year, missing only one of the 15 possible games during that stretch (Titans sat a bunch of players week 16).  He’s dominant, and that is especially so during the playoffs.

2. Don’t draft a QB early

Drafting a QB early to get a “premier” QB is not worth the risk. WAIT ON QB in the draft next year, there’s going to be value. Here’s a look at the top 5 QB’s drafted this season, and where they finished.

QBADPFinish
Mahomes17
Watson24
Rodgers39
Mayfield420
Ryan511

Not a single QB in the top 5 reached their ADP amongst QB’s. The first QB to meet his ADP or exceed it? Russell Wilson, who was the 8th selected.

3. Defenses  are highly dependent on their schedule

This one is pretty self-explanatory, a good fantasy defense can be predicted by the strength of their schedule. The Steelers, Ravens and Patriots, 3 of the top 4 fantasy defenses this season, had a strength of schedule 12th easiest or better. The top defense in the Patriots, played had the second easiest strength of schedule this season.

4. The youth movement has arrived

Here’s the top 5 players at RB and WR along with their ages:

RBWR
McCaffrey (23)Thomas (26)
A. Jones (25)Godwin (23)
Elliott (24)J. Jones (30)
Ekeler (24)Kupp (26)
Henry (25)Hopkins (27)

Top 5 RB’s are all under the age of 25, and the WR’s are younger than 27 with the exception of Julio. Don’t get stuck drafting older players because of their names. WR’s and especially RB’s hit their peaks early. When your debating picks next year, you might want to give a young guy the edge.

5. Michael Thomas is the best WR in football, and deservedly so

Michael Thomas had elite production this year. Elite level volume (149 catches), would really help you do that. His volume isn’t just a product of the offense however, he creates his own, and here’s how. Michael Thomas this season, has a catch rate of 80.5%, higher than any other WR, its so dominant in fact, that the next closest WR with more than 50 targets (Thomas had 185), was 5% lower than Thomas, and he did that at a higher rate than any WR in the NFL. He quite simply makes catches that other WR’s do not. When you factor that into his target share, that’s what allows him to put up better numbers than anyone has ever seen. The man has hands.

6. Off field concerns have a tendency to come back to bite

When guys have issues coming into the season, sometimes that’s the sign you need to stay away. Four examples of guys with huge potential the past three years who disappointed fantasy managers due to their behavior.

  1. Antonio Brown – Played in 1 game in 2019, and cost many people a championship, but the signs were there in the offseason and preseason when he went wild on social media.
  2. Le’Veon Bell – Had issues with his contract in 2018, held out the entire season, is signed by the Jets, and goes the entire year without a 100yd rushing game.
  3. Josh Gordon – Do not let the potential fool you, the man unfortunately isn’t where he needs to be mentally
  4. Melvin Gordon – While he played this year (Looking at you bell) he finished 23rd at the position, but even more startling had fewer points per game that his back up, who managed to finish the season as RB 4.

7. A great offense is important for RB’s, but even more so for WR

Let’s take a look at offense rank and compare it to fantasy points for elite WR and RB.

RBTeam Points ScoredWRTeam Points Scored
McCaffrey20thThomas4th
A. Jones15thGodwin3rd
Elliott6thJ. Jones13th
Ekeler21stKupp11th
Henry10thHopkins14th

The top 5 WR’s all played on offenses in the top half of the league in points scored. Keep this in mind when looking to draft WR’s next season, while volume is important, also keep in mind the offense that they play for. Teams that put up points are great for WR. While you think the same would be for running backs, its seems that that it not the case. While I’m not saying “Draft a RB on a bad offense” I am saying that it might not be as important as you think. That being said, scoring is always better than not scoring, so if you in a pinch on who to draft, take the guy on the team more likely to be in the end zone.

8. Raheem Mostert is the most talented back in the Bay

You might think this is crazy, but hear me out. Mostert really came on at the end of the season this year, and still has time to make noise in the playoffs. Thus far he’s excelled rushing, despite the fact that he ranks 9th in terms of the percentage of runs against an 8 man box at 32.12% per Next Gen Stats. He averages 5.6 ypc, the highest amongst all qualified running backs, even though he’s 9th (!!!) in number of 8 man boxes faced. This number is higher than Breida, and a whole 1.6 yards more than Coleman. His 8 rushing TD’s are tied with Melvin Gordon, Nick Chubb, Kenyon Drake, and Marlon Mack, despite having 25 less carries than the next closest on that list. The man is talented, and if he can take over the backfield in a prolific offense, he should be poised to break out next season.

9. TE is a premium

Getting a good TE isn’t something that’s nice to have, it’s something you need to have if you are going to compete down the stretch. Including the fantasy playoffs the top 5 TE’s scored an average of 224.14 points this year, and none of the top 5 average below 13.8ppg. The next 3? They only averages a 173.2 points, and only one managed more than 12ppg. If you look outside the top 10? No TE averaged 10ppg. Elite TE’s are tough to come by, and getting one you can depend on can help you excel.

10.   AJ Brown will be a star next season

In a season that many fans did not predict, the Titans have no beat out the Patriots on wildcard weekend and head to the divisional round. After the starting the season in a downward spiral, most credit the change from Mariota to Tannehill with the resurgence of this team, and he’s made a huge impact. But don’t sleep on AJ Brown. Brown has been shown that he can soar on the deep ball. His average air yards per target is 13.4per Next Gen Stats, right up there with another excellent rookie WR in DK Metcalf and OBJ. He accounts for nearly 30% of his teams air yards. He’s what separates him, even with a ton of his targets being deep passes, his catch percentage is 61.9%, which is above both Metcalf and OBJ in that category. With 8 receiving TD’s and no real endzone receiving threat on that roster, Brown is in a position to win a lot of people their games next season.  What can Brown do for you?

As always you can find us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook @RealDealFantasy. And you can find my person pages at @CodyReer24 on all platforms.

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Wild Card DFS Weekend – Saturday AFC Games – Draft Kings Picks and Thoughts. It’s Go Time!

By Sean Weymouth

TW @delrayboston

Wild card weekend is here and back in week 9 who’d a thunk the Titans and Bills would be in the post season?! Or that the Patriots and Saints would be vying for a wild card win?! That is football. Unpredictable. Incredible.

So since there is only a four game slate I am going to break downy picks per game and not per team and will give you my thoughts on how these players should be used in lineups or not. Hope this helps you to win some Wild Card cash!! Draft Kings pricing will be shown, but my picks and plays are for wherever you may decide to play. Let’s go!

Bills vs Texans 1pm EST

Line is at 43

Houston is favored -3.0

– Deshawn Watson $6,500

– Josh Allen $6,400

– DeAndre Hopkins $7,700

– John Brown $6,000

– Wil Fuller (Q) $4,900

– Cole Beasley $5,600

– Kenny Stills $4,600

– Duke Williams $3,400

– DeAndre Carter $3,400

– KeKe Coutee $3,300

– Devin Singletary $6,000

– Carlos Hyde $5,100

– Duke Johnson $4,400

– Frank Gore $4,100

– Darren Fells $3,000

– Dawson Knox $2,900

– Jordan Aikins (Q) $2,800

– Tyler Kroft $2,800

– Jordan Thomas $2,500

– Bills DST $3,100

– Texans DST $2,600

Ok a couple quick notes. Wil Fuller is out. Kenny Stills is an excellent play and one that may be under owned on a slate with so many receiving options.

Also Jordan Aikins is a game time decision and if out it really means only more potential looks for Darren Fells. Of all starting tight ends with Red Zone upside on the slate, I think Fells will be completely unowned largely due to the Bills being 2nd Best in the league against the position – but at only $3k he makes an interesting play which will allow you more money to pay up at other spots.

John Brown and Cole Beasley are both excellent plays today as is Josh Allen. Now it does sound like JJ Watt will be back on the line for the Texans, but even still I think the Bills will get it done in the air today as the Texans have been bottom half of the league against the pass. Additionally Allen can run and often calls his own number at the goal line. I especially like a Beasley Allen stack here as the Texans have been particularly bad against slog receivers.

DeAndre Hopkins is probably the most interesting play today as he will likely see the Bills star corner Tre’Davius White at least 60% of the time. I think people will be wary of this matchup especially with Fuller sitting. A low owned Hopkins in a home playoff game – I am not afraid.

Without Fuller on the field Kenny Stills has absorbed a great target share and has performed. 15.1 points in week 13, 18.5 in week 16 … I think Stills is a must play, especially if you are buying into the above Hopkins vs White narrative.

I like Devin Singletary an awful lot here. He is the clear bell cow in a very fast moving Bills offense and I like to see him catching balls out of the backfield. The one thing to watch for though is Josh Allen calling his own number or the ever present Frank Gore rifling a one yard dive over the goal line.

I also like Carlos Hyde today. As good as the Bills have been against the pass, they have been beatable on the ground and Bill O’Brien loves him some Carlos Hyde. I actually prefer Hyde over the Duke. I understand the narrative that Watson will need to rely on Duke for check downs and that is valid, however I also believe that will drive his ownership up versus the more expensive Hyde who will out touch Johnson even in a negative game script.

Dawson Knox, KeKe Coutee, DeAndre Carter, Tyler Kroft – I just don’t trust the volume they receive and unless Jordan Aikins sits, I also can’t see Jordan Thomas seeing a single route let alone a target. I am slightly interested in Rookie Duke Williams for the Bills. With the starters off in week 17 Williams went off taking 6 catches for over 100 yards. He may be a largely overlooked cheap option today if you are desperate.

Lastly Josh Allen and Deshawn Watson. Both are in play though I prefer Allen to Watson here. While Watson is at home, the Bills Defense has a great way of limiting quarterbacks and air yards. I think Allen has the better day. If stacking I am going Allen, Brown, Beasley or Allen, Bealsey, Singletary. With Watson you can’t escape the Hopkins play and now that Fuller is not playing it is possible Stills sees more attention especially at his price. A contrarian stack may be Watson, Hopkins, Fells … though Stills is likely the better play.

Also I would think that this would be the game to choose your defense from as both come in at good prices. I expect the Texans to have more ownership due to their price, but both are in play here.

The Patriots vs The Titans 8:15pm

The Line is at 44.5

The Patriots are favored -5.0

Tom Brady $5,800

Ryan Tannehill $6,300

Derek Henry $8,200

Sony Michel $4,600

Dion Lewis $4,200

James White $5,700

Rex Burkhead $4,500

Julian Edelman (Q) $6,500

AJ Brown $7,400

Mohammed Sanu $3,900

N’Keal Harry $4,100

Corey Davis $3,800

Tajae Sharpe $3,800

Phillip Dorsett $3,200

Jakobi Meyers $3,100

Ben Watson $2,700

Jonuu Smith $3,800

Matt LaCrosse $2,600

Anthony Firsker $2,500

Between the two AFC games today I think this one, despite being in prime time, will be the less explosive. The Patriots Defense has been exposed recently, yes – but a home playoff matchup and week of planning for the Pats … I think the Pats’ Boogeymen show up in force. While this may be an issue for Ryan Tannethrill, I actually like Derek Henry. The volume, his size and style and the Titans offensive line put Henry in play for me. Also I think people are forgetting Dion Lewis was a part of Patriots Super Bowl teams in the past. Don’t be surprised if Lewis has a sneaky good day against his old team especially on third downs through the air. I think Henry is an excellent play and Lewis is a sneaky flex play too.

The Pats backfield is a tough one to crack but I like Sony Michel today too. If you look at his performance in the playoffs last year, it is quite possible Michel steps up in this game and with Full Back James Declan healthy and leading the way, Michel is an awesome play especially at his price.

James White is in the circle of trust – we know. White also has a knack for showing up when it counts. White is in an excellent spot to lead the Pats in targets especially with Edelman banged up. However I’d expect White to be the most popular Patriot play and possibly one of the top 3 most popular plays on the entire slate. A contrarian play here may be to pivot to Rex Burkhead who has been involved since returning from the injury earlier in the season. Flexy Rexy has been stealing rushes and targets from Michel and White and will be involved. Who can forget Burkhead’s own Super Bowl performance after all. Rex also has been seeing goal line carries and targets and at a big discount to White, he (like Lewis) could be a very sneaky Flex play for salary savings.

AJ Brown vs Stefon Gilmore. I’m excited to see this matchup. If you buy into the narrative that Gilmore will be on Brown like glue, stay away. Gilmore isn’t the Defensive Player of the year for nothing. That should open things up for Corey Davis and Tajae Sharpe to operate. Of the two I prefer Sharpe as I believe Davis’ ownership will be sky high due to the price.

Julian Edelman and the Pats receivers are certainly head scratching. Last week it was Dorsett who saw the most profitable targets. The week before a game Edelman stepped up. The week before it was N’Keal Harry. With Edelman again being labeled as questionable, I am concerned he will be more of a decoy out there than a stud. I will have lineups with Edelman but I also will pivot to Dorsett over Harry and Sanu. Dorsett has emerged as Brady’s deep look and if Brady connects for 1 or 2 that could be a nice game for Phillip.

Speaking of Brady – I prefer Tannehill in this game but honestly prefer Allen or Watson over either. While anything can happen, I think the Titans will rely heavily on Derek Henry and that will keep Tannehill’s volume low. Tom Brady has just not been himself lately and while I will have a share, he isn’t a priority. There is a chance that the Patriots also rely on their running backs here – especially since Titans star corner Adorre’ Jackson looks to be back.

If stacking I am going Brady or Tannehill, Edelman, Henry, Burkhead, Dorsett. Pats D.

Good luck out there today!!

Featured

The 2019 Real Deal Fantasy Awards – Electric Boogaloo

By Sean Weymouth

TW @DelRayBoston

Awards are fun. Awards can be rewarding to recipient and reader. Depending on which you are, we hope you feel rewarded. Let’s begin, so then we can end …

The Best Draft Pick of the Year – Period, Award:

Christian McCaffery

It really didn’t matter if your draft had CM first, second, third or unbelievably in my own draft fifth (yeah that happened) there is no denying that McCaffery was the best this year.

– 363.5 Total Fantasy Points.

– 1387 total rush yards.

– 1003 total yards in the air.

– 19 total Touchdowns.

Bow Down and all Hail McCaffery. Next year’s #1

The Worst Draft Pick of the Year – Period, Award:

Odell Beckham Jr

As good as Christian McCaffery was as a first round pick is as bad as Odell was, mostly being selected in the same round. Only 5 out of 17 games with double digit fantasy points and only 1 of those over 20. Only 4 touchdowns on the season – including a 8 game “goose egg” streak mid season. Somehow Odell limped to 1,000 yards but fantasy managers sure didn’t feel any of that week after week.

My prediction, you’ll find Odell available to you in the fourth round next year.

The Best RB2 of the year Award:

Austin Ekeler

Remember way back in the beginning of the season? Melvin Gordon sitting out – no one knowing will he be there come week 1? Well those who took a chance on Ekeler were rewarded with consistent production yards and touchdowns. Finishing with over 1,500 total yards and 11 touchdowns, you could play Ekeler all season even after Gordon was back. That is mid draft value if you ask me!

The Best rookieWR – of the year

DK Metcalf

First let’s hear it for one of the best overall classes of Rookie Wide Receivers in history. Terry McClaurin, Marquise Brown, DJ Chark, AJ Brown, Mecole Hardman, Deebo Samuel, Darius Slayton… all these guys helped you win some weeks but what made Metcalf stand out was how quickly he became a real weapon for Russell Wilson. Even all the way up to Week 17 it was clear RW was looking for DK. 900 Air Yards, 7 touchdowns, 18 Red Zone Targets and he did not miss a game all season. Plus with the trust of Russell Wilson – that’s a season well done, rook.

The Best Rookie – RB – of the year

Devin Singletary

I know what you are thinking – wasn’t Josh Jacobs better? Mathematically – sure I give you that – but why I was most impressed with Singletary is for three reasons. First, in many (many leagues) he wasn’t even drafted! So for a waiver wire and bench stash, who was better down the stretch than Singletary? Second, he really took on the lead back role right when his team needed him most – as they were vying for a playoff seat from weeks 9 on – and he came through, even with a nightmare of a matchup schedule as a dual threat rushing and receiving. And three: YOU try being the guy that steps in front of Frank Gore and history and live to tell about it. I’m down with Devin Singletary.

Defense of the Year

The New England Patriots

The narrative all season long was that the Patriots Defense wasn’t that good it was just that the Patriots opponents were worse. While lately maybe that seemed to be the case there are still a few facts to keep in mind:

– Double Digit Fantasy Points in 10 of 17 Games.

– An average of 275 total yards allowed, and 12.5 points.

– 47 Sacks, 25 Interceptions, 15 Forced Fumbles, 11 Fumble Recoveries, 4 Blocked Kicks and a Safety.

The Patriots Defense was the least dropped, least benched, defense of the fantasy season and we tip our caps. Oh yeah and one other thing: At 271 total fantasy points scored, the Patriots Defense outscored Odell Beckham Jr by over 140 fantasy points. I rest my case.

The Waiver Wire Find of the year:

Terry McLaurin

It seemed like every week for the first five weeks of the season a new waiver wire superstar emerged. Again I could have slid DJ Chark into this conversation or Mark Andrews or even Jacob Hollister – but of all of them this year I think it is safe to say none have excited like Terry McLaurin has. The Redskins are not a dominant team but on that team McLaurin dominated the targets, yards and touchdowns even through a rotation of quarterbacks, running backs and coaches. Finishing the season with 58 receptions for 919 yards and 7 touchdowns is incredible especially on a team that wants to “run first”. McLaurin clearly will be a coveted draft pick come next season and with good reason. Cheers “Scary” Terry!

The Sequel IS as good as the original, award:

George Kittle

Kittle Smash! As a die hard Gronk Fan I was so psyched to see George Kittle play again this year and he did not disappoint. How many men did he drag down the field? All of them. How many contested yards and yards after the catch did he have – all of them. Seriously. At least that is what it felt like. With Jimmy G back and a very potent running game – Big George rumbled to 85 receptions for over 1,000 yards and 5 touchdowns. He even averaged 4.4 yards per carry if you count his 5 for 22 rushing as a part of his overall line. George Kittle became the clear cut playmaker on the 49ers offense and is a huge part of why the team is the #1 seed in the NFC right now. Well done George!!

The Don’t Call it a Come Back, Come Back Award

Kareem Hunt

First – why Kareem Hunt was suspended for 8 games this season was disgusting act of cruelty and violence that should never have happened and he should have been punished for and will never be condoned by anyone…without question. However as the season progressed and the date of his reinstatement neared the question loomed heavier – what would his role be when he returned? Now that the season has ended it is clear – Hunt’s role is a big one despite being on a team with a top 10 bell cow running back on it. Starting in week 8 on Hunt had a total of 81 touches for 464 total yards and 3 touchdowns. That is a season long pace of 181 total touches and 986 total yards and 6 – and he isn’t even the starter! Now that he is back in the fold with the past behind him, he could be a sneaky pickup in an early round next season.

The Biggest Lead Balloon, of the season, Award

Nick Foles

It’s not like it was Nick Foles’ fault he got hurt in week 1 after an entire pre-season of hype of “Finally Foles” and “DeDe Destiny” … and how could have Nick Foles predicted a long haired mustached guy with a middle name of Beowulf coming in and capturing the nation’s hearts … but it sure was Nick Foles’ fault for a). Getting Healthy b). Coming back and getting Gardner Minshew benched c). Putting on a stinker of a performance forcing the reemergence of Beowulf as the starting quarterback d). ending the season the exact same way he ended nearly every other season – the most highly paid back up in the league. That my friend is a lead balloon. Boom.

And Finally –

The Man, Award.

Lamar Jackson

A famous man once said “To Be The Man, you gotta Beat The Man” and buddy, this season – Lamar was the man. If you had him rostered and starting you probably ended up in the Super Bowl of your league – I know I did. Lamar was tough to beat all season and even on the few times they did beat him, dollars to donuts you still probably beat your opponent with him as your QB. 534.5 Fantasy Points. 3,127 Passing Yards plus 1,267 Rushing Yards. New Record. 36 Passing Touchdowns. Not bad for a running back (his words). Let’s round it off with 7 more touchdowns on the ground, the number one seed in the AFC, a first round bye and home field advantage through the playoffs. That is an MVP season and I say again – Lamar is the Man.

So that’s the awards folks. Agree? Disagree? Did I miss your favorite? Let me know! Or not! Just keep on keepin’ comin’ back to Real Deal Fantasy right here on Word Press! Thanks!

Featured

Way Way to Early Rankings 2020

Happy New Year !!! It’s 2020 and we are at the end of football szn and fantasy football is over. It’s a happy time for new champions and a sad time for the losers. It’s never to early to start your journey to bring home the gold ! Here’s my WAYYYYY to early fantasy football PPR rankings check it out ! 

WRs 

  1. Micheal Thomas 
  2. Chris Godwin
  3. Julio Jones 
  4. Deandre Hopkins 
  5. Davante Adams 
  6. Keenan Allen 
  7. Mike Evans 
  8. Amari Cooper 
  9. Kenny Golladay 
  10. Cooper Kupp 

RBs 

  1. Christian McCaffrey
  2. Alvin Kamara 
  3. Dalvin Cook
  4. Nick Chubb 
  5. Derrick Henry 
  6. Ezekiel Elliot 
  7. Leonard Fournette 
  8. Aaron Jones 
  9. Melvin Gordon 
  10. Joe Mixon 

TEs

  1. Travis Kelce 
  2. George Kittle 
  3. Zack Ertz
  4. Mark Andrews 
  5. Darren Waller
  6. Austin Hooper
  7. Jared Cook
  8. Tyler Higbee
  9. Hunter Henry 
  10. Doesn’t matter honestly 

QB

  1. Lamar Jackson 
  2. Patrick Mahomes
  3. Russel Wilson
  4. Deshaun Watson
  5. Aaron Rodgers
  6. Dak Prescott 
  1. Drew Brees 
  2. Jamesis Winston
  3. Josh Allen 
  4. Carson Wentz 

Potential players with a bounce back top 10 appearance whether they missed time this Szn with injury at some point or looking for a new team come this offseason.
WRs 

  1. A.j Green
  2. Odell Beckham 
  3. Tyreek Hill 

RBs

  1. Le’Veon Bell 
  2. Todd Gurley 
  3. David Johnson 

QBs

  1. Cam Newton 
  2. Marcus Mariota
  3. Nick Foles

Featured

The last Sunday Night Showdown not called the _uper _owl … Seahawks Niners #Beastmode

By Sean Weymouth

TW @DelRayBoston

Heeeeee’s baaaack! Sometimes reality is so much better than fiction! The Seahawks have resigned their former pro bowl running back Marshawn Lynch and just in time for a Pivotal NFC Showdown.

With both the Packers and Saints winning today, the Seahawks need to win to stay the #3 seed in the NFC with a home game on the line. A loss would put them at the #5 seed. Similarly the Niners need a win to maintain the #1 seed with all of the advantages that come with it. A loss would put them in at the #5 seed. So while not as much on the line for the Seahawks you can bet the Niner’s will coming for blood to try and capture the #1 position heading into the playoffs.

So let’s dive in:

The 49ers

– Jimmy Garoppolo $9,600

– George Kittle $10,400

– Emmanuel Sanders $9,200

– Deebo Samuel $9,000

– Raheem Mostert $8,800

– 49ers Defense $4,400

– Robbie Gould $3,800

– Kendrick Bourne $3,200

– Tevin Coleman $2,600

– Kyle Juszcyk $1,800

– Matt Brieda $1,000

– Dante Pettis $800

If you look at how Draft Kings has the Niners priced it is pretty clear where they believe the power lies in the offense, at least from a pass catcher stand point and it starts with George Kittle. As a Pats fan I can honestly say, what Kittle is doing is Gronk like and being a #1 target at Tight End is simply impressive. The last time Kittle saw less than 5 targets a game was way back in Week 2. The big guy is averaging 8 targets per game and in a run first offense no less. 2 weeks ago he saw a season high of 17 and last week he caught his 5th Touchdown of the season. The Seahawks are near the bottom of the league defending against the Tight End (30th) and are giving up over 260 yards per game through the air. I’d expect Kittle to be targeted early and often and he should be a cornerstone of every lineup you build.

Jimmy G also lines you to have a solid game with a healthy Emmanuel Sanders, Deebo Samuel and Red Zone specialist Kendrick Bourne all healthy. Pairing Kittle with Garoppolo will be a smart play but I’d be careful with a full stack of both Samuel and Sanders, as I believe it will be popular. Perhaps pairing swapping one or the other for Bourne may be a contrarian way to build. Sanders is tough to figure out as he has only had two double digit Fantasy days since week 9. Samuel seems much more appealing as he has not only gotten targets but also rushing attempts and I like the dual threat he presents. Bourne is also a wild card with a low target volume. But as we saw two weeks ago against the Saints he has touchdown upside. In that game he turned in 3 catches for 18 yards and Two Touchdowns.

The murky San Fran running back situation seemed to clear up a bit last week as Mostert received the majority of carries, followed distantly by Coleman and Matt Brieda saw none at all. Even if the Time Share returns I think Mostert is still the safest to see the most action and with the Seahawks yielding 117 on the ground on average I could see Sam Fran leaning on Must Start Mostert, especially in the red zone. While I don’t expect another goose egg from Brieda, trying to pin point who between he and Coleman will be the #2 running back on the team is a little too difficult for me to try and use one. Even at their cheaper prices. I didn’t mention Jeff Wilson ($200) but should be be active (he hasn’t been for the last two weeks) he could have a role at the goal line.

I would also suggest that as this game has #1 seeding on the line the Niners Defense will be doing everything they can to shut down Russell Wilson and while I never like to bet against Danger Russ, I think the defense who put up 19 fantasy points against the Seahawks in Week 10 should be a part of your player pool.

As should Robbie Gould who over the last three weeks has recorded double digit fantasy points. Could will be a nice cheaper option for you especially on Seahawks heavy stacks as a come back option.

The only issue I have with the cheap Dante Pettis and other receivers is it is tough to trust the volume that they Wil receive and while anything can happen, and $200, is an excellent price, I’d prefer to stay away and pay for a lesser expensive Seahawk.

I like Jimmy G or Kittle as Captain paired with Samuel, Bourne and Gould and a Seahawk that you can afford.

The Seahawks

Russell Wilson $10,000

Marshawn Lynch $5,000

Travis Homer $7,400

Tyler Locket $9,400

DK Metcalf $8,400

Jacob Hollister $5,000

Jason Myers $4,000

Robert Turbin $2,200

David Moore $1,400

Jaron Brown $1,200

The Seahawks will have a lot to overcome. With an entirely new backfield after Carson, Prosise and Penny all done for the season enter Homer, Lynch and Turbin. If I had to guess it will be Homer that leads the backfield as a recent practice squad call up he has been with the team and seen the playbook longer that his competition – however I would not be at all surprised to see Lynch get his fair share of action particularly on the goal line. The Seahawks worked Beastmode out this week and apparently were happy enough to sign him and Pete Carrol has said the same thing about both men – Ready to Go for this big time match up. Turbin has been a journeyman handcuff and while I could see him having a change of pace roll I think it will be the Homer Lynch combo for most of the work. The 49ers are giving up over 100 yards per game on the ground and I like the Seattle run game tonight to take the lead.

The last time Russell Wilson played the Niners he had 232 yards and 1 pick and 1 TD but also rushed for 53 yards. I’d expect a little more tonight with the Niners Defense coming in a little banged up – BUT Richard Sherman is back and I think he will create issues for DK Metcalf. I do like Tyler Lockett slightly better out of the slot, where the Niners have some issues covering …

How about Jacob Hollister though! This is a Tight End that has plays drawn up for him in this offense that can not be ignored!! Since week 9 he averages 6 targets per game and he is over due for a Touchdown. While the 49ers are 5th best against tight ends, Hollister’s last touchdown came against them – I like Hollister tonight.

Both Jaron Brown and David Moore can be looked at as salary relief as both get looks from Wilson especially on deeper passing opportunities.

With Jadaveon Clowney saying he will be in for Week 17, I think the Seahawks defense is a sneaky play tonight. Sacks and forced fumbles … they can happen and they can add up quick.

Lastly don’t forget Jason Myers as the last time these two teams played, the difference came down to a field goal and if both defenses get the job done, the kickers could be very valuable.

I like a Seahawks stack of Wilson with Lockett, Hollister, Homer or Lynch and Myers with a SF player running it back.

Good luck! #BeastMode

Featured

Week 17 Draft Kings DFS Main Slate, it’s Game Time!

By Sean Weymouth

TW @DelRayBoston

Hopefully you had a chance to read my early look at the Main Slate and how Playoff Implications can help guide your player pool. If not, check it out here: https://readldealfantasy.wordpress.com/2019/12/27/week-17-dfs-strategy-how-playoff-implications-can-be-used-to-your-advantage-in-your-lineups/

With that in mind, you need to be aware of things like the Vikings, Bills, Ravens have nothing to play for today. Zero. No matter what happens today, their spots in the playoffs will be unchanged. When I see that, I have no faith in those starting studs playing or at least playing most of the games. The Ravens for example have already said they are sitting their starters. The Bills have announced they also will not have their starters on the field.

Next you have teams such as the Titans, The Cowboys, The Eagles, The Raiders and Steelers who don’t have a chance to get into the playoffs without a win. So let’s see who we can focus on from these teams.

Lastly you have Patriots, Chiefs, Saints, Packers all playing for better playoff seeding and advantages. So again, let’s try and focus in here too knowing these guys are in win at all costs mode.

Finally you have the Falcons, The Bucs, The Jags, The Colts, The Browns, The Bengals playing each other with nothing on the line. I like it.

Here are my picks, I will put some notes in where needed to help you:

QB

Patrick Mahomes ($7,200) – Projected to be the highest owned QB, nearly 30%

– Ryan Tannehill ($6,800)

– Matt Ryan ($6,500)

– Drew Brees ($7,000)

– Aaron Rogers ($6,900)

– Jameis Winston ($8,100)

– Carson Wentz ($6,100)

– Dak Prescott ($6,300)

– Tom Brady ($6,000)

– Daniel Jones ($6,400)

– Baker Mayfield ($5,700)

– Drew Lock ($5,800)

– Andy Dalton ($5,900) – Could be Dalton’s Swan Song!

– Case Keenum ($4,500)

– Gardner Minshew (5,300)

Sleepers

– AJ McCarron ($5,000) – Expected to receive most of the work over Watson this week

– Will Grier ($4,600)

– David Blough ($4,700)

– Matt Barkley ($4,500)

Keep an Eye on:

– Blake Bortles ($4,500) if Jarod Goff Sits. 

RB

Christian McCaffrey ($11,000) Highest Projected owned RB – nearly 40% ownership

Ezekiel Elliot ($8,700) projected over 20% ownership

– Alvin Kamara ($7,800)

– Aaron Jones ($8,200)

– Derek Henry ($8,800)

– Joe Mixon ($7,300)

– Kenyan Drake ($7,100)

– Miles Sanders ($7,400)

– Sony Michel/Rex Burkhead ($4,900/$4,500)

– Damien Williams ($4,700)

– Nick Chubb ($7,900)

– Phillip Lindsey ($6,100)

– Ronald Jones ($4,900)

– Kerrryon Johnson ($4,500)

– Latavius Murray ($5,400)

– DeAndre Washington ($5,200)

– Austin Ekeler ($6,200)

– James White ($5,900)

– Melvin Gordon ($6,000)

– Gus Edwards ($6,600)

– Kareem Hunt ($5,200)

– Adrian Peterson ($4,900)

– David Montgomery ($5,100)

– Todd Gurley/Malcolm Brown ($6,600/$4,000)

– Mike Boone/Ameer Abdullah ($5,300/$3,900)

– Justice Hill ($4,600)

– Boston Scott ($4,100)

– Tarik Cohen ($4,900)

– Benny Snell/Jaylen Samuels ($4,500/$4,300)

WR

Julio Jones ($8,500) Projected Highest Owned WR at close to 60%

Michael Thomas ($9,900) Projected Second Highest Owned at close to 50%

– Greg Ward ($4,700)

– Davante Adams ($8,000)

– Tyreek Hill ($7,700)

– AJ Brown ($7,000)

– Michael Gallup ($5,400)

– Amari Cooper ($6,500)

– Julian Edelman ($7,300)

– Allen Robinson ($7,200)

– Steven Sims ($4,700)

– Keenan Allen ($6,100)

– Kenny Golladay ($6,300)

– Breshad Perriman ($6,700)

– Justin Watson ($4,900)

– Courtland Sutton ($6,400)

– Christian Kirk ($4,700)

– Tyler Boyd ($6,700)

– JuJu Smith-Schuster ($5,500)

– Sterling Shepard/Golden Tate/Darius Slayton ($6,200/$5,100/$4,900)

– DJ Chark ($5,800)

– Hunter Renfrow ($4,500)

– DaeSean Hamilton ($3,800)

– John Ross ($4,500)

– N’Keal Harry ($4,200)

– James Washington/Diontae Johnson ($4,600/$4,800)

– Anthony Miller ($5,800)

– Kenny Stills ($4,600)

– KeKe Coutee ($3,300)

– Myles Boykin ($3,000)

TE

– Dallas Goedart ($4,900)

– Travis Kelce ($7,000)

– Austin Hooper ($5,800)

– Jonnu Smith ($4,200)

– Tyler Higbee ($5,600) – if he plays

– Noah Fant ($3,600)

– OJ Howard ($4,300)

– Darren Fells ($3,100)

– Jarod Cook ($5,200)

– Cameron Brate ($3,200)

– Hunter Henry ($4,500)

– Darren Waller ($5,400)

Sleepers

– Tyler Eifert ($3,500)

– Hayden Hurst ($3,200)

– Nick Boyle ($3,400)

DST

Bears ($2,100) Projected over 30% ownership. Sitting starters and injuries – could be a trap.

– Patriots ($4,300)

– Steelers ($3,000)

– Saints ($4,000)

– Chiefs ($3,700)

– Packers ($3,000)

– Bills ($3,800)

– Rams ($3,200)

– Ravens ($3,100)

– Cardinals ($2,400)

Featured

Week 17 DFS – Building a Player Pool with Playoff Implications at hand

By Sean Weymouth

TW @DelRayBoston

Week 17 DFS has some incredibly interesting scenarios that you need to keep in mind. This is due to the Playoff implications that you need to be aware of when putting together your player pool. I can tell you that my own strategy will be to target teams that are actually playing for something and considering cheap options with Teams that aren’t – and I don’t mean the teams that are out all together – but if a team has already clinched everything that they can (example, The Ravens) they still need to field a team even if they are sitting their starters. Those backups and handoffs can carry a nice price, as you look to load up on high priced “Must Win” options. Coach Harbaugh has already said Lamar Jackson will not play, so suddenly RG3 is in play, at least he is for me … Get it?

First let’s review what we know from a playoff perspective. As I lay these teams out I will put in BOLD the teams who have clinched, but are still playing for something. Those teams are who I will be my primary targets to build my player pool from.

AFC

– Baltimore Ravens (Clinched AFC North, First Round Bye, Home Field Advantage)

– Houston Texans (Clinched AFC South)

Kansas City Chiefs (Clinched AFC West)

New England Patriots (Clinched AFC East)

– Buffalo Bills (Clinched Playoff Berth)

Plus there are AFC Teams who need to win to get in too. Some with varying levels of scenarios that will also have to happen, but each need to win to even have their shot.

Tennessee Titans

Oakland Raiders

Pittsburgh Steelers

The Patriots need to win as with a win over the Miami Dolphins the Pats will clinch a first round bye. I would expect all of your Patriots Starters to be in the game until a point it is out of hand (either way winning or losing). Brady, Edelman, White, Michel, Harry, Sanu, Myers, LaCrosse, Watson and the Patriots Defense will all new in play.

The Chiefs need to win as well for a first round bye, but they also need the Pats to lose. So against the Chargers I’d expect Mahomes, Williams, McCoy, Hill, Kelce, Watkins, Robinson, Hardman, Chiefs Defense – all will be in play until the game gets out of hand (either winning or losing)

Both the Pats and Chiefs will play at 1pm. So barring blow outs in the first half of both games, where coaches will be watching each other’s games closely… I think you’ll get near full work load from both teams starters.

If the Titans win, they are in. Period. Tannehill, Brown, Henry all should be targets for you as if expect a full workload for the Titans. Including their Defense. They take on the Giants.

The Oakland Raiders have several, long shot, scenarios to getting into the playoffs but none of them matter if they don’t win. So fire up Carr, DeAndre Washington, Renfrow, Waller, Williams and company with confidence of a full work load against Denver.

The Steelers also have a lengthy of scenarios to unfold to see them in the playoffs. While not as bleak as the Raiders, again, none of these scenarios can play out without a Steelers Win against Washington. So Hodges, Smith-Schuster, Washington, Benny Snell, Jaylen Samuels, Diontae Johnson – all will be in play with a full work load expected.

NFC

New Orleans Saints (Clinched NFC South)

Green Bay Packers (Clinched Playoff Berth)

– Minnesota Vikings (Clinched Playoff Berth)

San Francisco 49ers (Clinched Playoff Berth)

Seattle Seahawks (Clinched Playoff Berth)

Plus there are NFC Teams who need to win to get in too. Some with varying levels of scenarios that will also have to happen, but each need to win to even have their shot.

Dallas Cowboys

Philadelphia Eagles

The Saints need a win to start their path to a first round bye, along with a Green Bay OR a San Fran loss. They also need the win to qualify for home field advantage, providing both Green Bay AND San Fran lose. So Brees, Thomas, Kamara, Murray, Cook, Tre’quon Smith, they will all be out there until the game is out of hand (either way) against Carolina.

The Packers are in a similar scenario, needing to win to have a hope of a bye and/or home field advantage. Both of these scenarios rely on the outcomes of the New Orleans and San Fransisco Games but even still Rogers, Jones, Adams, Lazard, Graham and company will be in play until the game is out of hand against Detroit. Keep an eye on Jamaal Williams, he is banged up however. Just more work for Aaron Jones.

Both the Packers and Saints play at 1pm. So much like the Pats and Chiefs, barring first half blowouts, I doubt you’ll see much competitive advantages of either team playing or not playing starters based on the other’s game. So I feel confidant you’ll see enough of both teams starters to play them confidently.

San Fransisco will clinch the NFC West with a win – but they could also clinch a first round bye or home field advantage based on losses from the Saints and Packers. However – San Fran doesn’t play until 8:20 and will have the luxury of knowing if Green Bay or New Orleans won or lost. This could have an effect on how long Garropplo, Kittle, Sanders, Samuel, Mostert and company are on the field – should the Niners go up big on Seattle. While I don’t really see that happening as I think San Fran and Seattle will be a very competitive game – it is something to be mindful of both the Packers and Saints happen to lose earlier in the day.

The Seahawks are in the exact situation. If they win, they clinch the NFC West and if they win they can also clinch a first round bye and/or home field advantage depending on the results of the Packers and Saints. Again with the Seahawks playing at 8:20 they have the luxury of knowing the results of Green Bay and New Orleans game as it comes to how they roll out their starters. Again I’d expect the San Fran Seattle game to be highly competitive so Wilson, Carson, Lockett, Metcalf, Hollister and company should fully be in play – but again, it is something to keep in mind if both Green Bay and New Orleans happen to lose.

If the Packers and Saints lose, the San Fran Seattle Sunday Night Game will literally be for all the marbles with the NFC West and Home Field advantage on the life. Both teams would receive a first round bye with a win too. So it is quite possible that both go all out till the bitter end. But if one has a decisive advantage over the other heading into the half … just saying, there is risk

I’ll be back later in the weekend with my picks and more but I wanted to put this article out to you guys as there is so much strategy to be applied to the players you select for your lineups (on whichever site you play) I thought it would be helpful to have a full view and hopefully it helps you!