Now that I am out of the playoffs in the seasonal leagues that I care about, I can bow focus fully on DFS for the remainder of the season. To be fair, it really is my primary focus throughout the season given the instant gratifying nature of it. However, now there will be no leaky thoughts related to dynasty and fantasy playoffs bleeding into the opinions I share.
Week 13 was a strange week where Dante Pettis and Zay Jones were the top two receivers on the main slate, and Tyreek Hill was a major disappointment. Two non-quarterbacks threw as many TDs as their respective QBs. This is why the NFL is so fun; the constant dynamism and random ways the games will play out often keep us on the edge of our seats from week to week. Although it can be equally frustrating, we keep trudging along in the murky waters of NFL statistics and film-watching for that elusive mega payout. Hopefully, my insights this week get us closer to the gold and further from frustration.
With this section I refuse to waste anymore time on obvious stacks like New Orleans and Pitsburgh this week. There are two reasons behind this…. A: they are typically higher owned, thus not giving you an edge over the field and B: while those types of stacks are great foundations to build onto with options in this article, you likely know this already if you somehow found this post.
Philip Rivers – $6500 / Keenan Allen – $7500 vs Bengals
This is a game we simply cannot pass up. The Chargers are the heaviest favorite on the slate (15.5 points). Even though their most recent games have them allowing the 6th least points to receivers, they have allowed the 9th most points to passers during that span. Also, take into consideration 3 of their 4 opponents during that span: Cleveland, Denver, and Baltimore. These were hardly potent offenses, but the Bengals will face a hot Chargers team at home. Allen had 19 targets last week, which may cause some to be concerned for a drastic regression to the mean, but against this defense it shouldn’t be a concern. Tampa Bay, Kansas City, Pittsburgh, and early season Atlanta dropped an average of almost 400 yards and 35 points on this team. The one concern we have is whether or not the Bengals will be able to put on enough offensive pressure to keep LA’s foot on the pedal.
Nick Mullens – $4600 / Dante Pettis – $4400 vs Broncos
This is a cheap stack that we should all give careful consideration. Mullens performed pretty well against Seattle in their house, and by the looks of it he has built chemistry with Pettis. Pettis is actually looking really solid as his rookie season matures and he has the makings of a true WR1 moving forward. Admittedly, this is a player that will be on my radar come the off-season, but we aren’t worried about dynasty. Getting a pair like this that will probably be low-owned due to the surface appearance of the Broncos recent performances, is a great opportunity for us for a few reasons. First, the Broncos have given up the 5th most per game receiving yards to wideouts over their last 3. Second, they just lost one of their best corners: Chris Harris. If they can repeat their performance at home against a weakened defense we could see more than 5x value.
Baker Mayfield – $5800 / Nick Chubb -$6700 / Jarvis Landry – $5800 vs Panthers
Last week was underwhelming for Baker, but it wasn’t completely unexpected. The Texans are playing great defense right now and when it happens like it did Sunday, then it will heavily impact expected fantasy performance. This is the first we have seen Chubb essentially scripted out of a game since he started getting the workhorse share in week 7. There were some encouraging signs though: Landry had one of his best games in a while and the Browns showed an increased willingness to include Chubb in the passing game (season high 6 targets). The Panthers have given up the 4th most QB points and the most WR points in their last 4 games. Given how the Panthers have looked sub-par lately, this makes sense for us to exploit the match up.
Tom Brady – $5800 / Julian Edelman – $7100 vs Dolphins
It’s both frustrating and challenging to provide any opinions on divisional games, but the Dolphins performance against QBs in their last 3 games is intriguing. Miami has allowed the second most points per game to passers during that span. On the year Miami has allowed the 3rd most YAC on the season which is Edelman’s bread and butter. Brady hasn’t been a top-12 performer since week 7 so everyone in the DFS world is probably off of him. Reasonable cost and metrics to support a high ceiling must stay in consideration if it projects to be low owned.
Courtland Sutton – $4500 @ 49ers
Sutton showed that he could be developing into the type of player that the Sutton-truthers thought he could be. Four receptions for 85 yards and a score is nice, but more encouraging was the number of targets. Keenum looked his way 7 times: a season high. What if this is the beginning of a trend that defines a hopeful run to the playoffs for Denver. Sure they need a lot of help, but they first have to help themselves. Targeting Sutton more and diversifying their offense is a key to doing this. Perhaps he gets one of the 3 TDs the 49ers have been giving on average lately.
Tre’Quan Smith – $4500 @ Buccaneers
Let’s not let Cam Newton’s multi-pick game fool us into thinking the Bucs defense is any better than it is. Instead let’s remember who they have been all season: the 4th worst defense against receivers, 3rd worst against passers, 7th worst against rushers, and 5th worst against tight ends. If the Saints don’t drop points in droves on this defense then Brees should easily be out of the running for MVP. Tre’Quan Smith is an inexpensive piece of this offense and an easy way to buy into production. Smith has had two games where he absolutely exploded this season and why not in this great contest?
Tyler Boyd – $6100 @ Chargers
With AJG sidelined, we can expect that Boyd’s opportunities will increase. This may be a bit of a hard sell because the Chargers have been improving steadily as a defense. This is strictly an option based on the reduced price, projected increased targets, and the expected game flow forcing the Bengals to pass.
DaeSean Hamilton – $3000 @ 49ers
Sanders was having such a good season, but alas, he has been put on IR due to tearing his ACL. Based on snaps, DaeSean Hamilton is the next man up and he does have skills in the slot. He is walking into Sanders’ opportunity which has been about 8 targets per game. Hamilton may garner the same amount of targets, and it’s hard to know anything about his chemistry with Keenum; however this is the opportunity on which we could try to capitalize because if he blows up then it will be too late come next week. While he looks like a dart throw we must remember Denver drafted him along with Courtland Sutton indicating they were looking to move on from Sanders eventually. That timeline has now been accelerated.
Ryan Switzer – $3600 @ Raiders
The Raiders just had 4 TDs dropped on them by Mahomes and the Chiefs last Sunday. This week they face an offense that is equally as potent in the Steelers. It makes sense to look at the typical options like Big Ben, AB, and Juju (worthy of stacking by the way), but it is important that we don’t overlook Ryan Switzer this coming week if he plays. His price is cheap, he is in a good offense, and he has the best match up of the three receivers if he lines up in the slot. Somehow Oakland has been really good in DVOA against the top two receivers, but they have been bottom third of the league against other receivers. While his line against the Chargers was very lackluster (2 receptions for 9 yards), there was a near miss on a deep attempt for a TD. Hitting on that changes his night completely from barely 3 points to around 15 which is the value we seek. With Justin Hunter nursing a shoulder injury perhaps the Steelers will try to see what they have in sophomore Switzer.
This, Not That
Sometimes we are stuck between two options that have a similar price, match up, and opportunity. With DeSean Jackson potentially out we have the conundrum of Humphries versus Godwin. Which guy should we ride to DFS victory.
Adam Humphries – $4900 vs Saints
Humphries is the selection because I am still not sold on PJ Williams in the slot for New Orleans. On the season the Saints are bottom 10 in per-game fantasy points to slot receivers. This is primarily where Humpries operates and he is good at it. In his last 3 games he has averaged over 5 receptions for 58+ yards and a score. The fact that he has found the end zone that consistently should be promising. He is tied for the second most red zone targets behind….. Chris Godwin.
Chris Godwin – $4900 vs Saints
With Jackson out, Godwin would likely be the second outside receiver. Looking at Football Outsiders DVOA vs receiver type, their WR2 defense is the worst! This makes Godwin appear exciting. Then I look at his stats from the last 3 games which included the Giants, 49ers, and Panthers. He has averaged 4 receptions and 64 yards per game on a little more than 4 targets. Efficient yes, but hardly dependable volume. On the otherhand his targets have been steadily trending up over that span.
Humphries is the “warm and fuzzy” play here where Godwin is the Charge-full-speed-ahead-into-danger play. Both with their merits, but in my opinion Humphries is the better play.
Bargain Bin Shots
Justin Jackson – $3800 vs Bengals
Justin Jackson managed to deliver RB13 production (15 points)…… on 10 touches! Jackson is my chalk RB of the week and he is cheap. He has the best REVA-FP match up for RBs, the Bengals are 26th in DVOA against the run, and recent weeks confirm that nothing has changed since they are second worst in points to the running back over their last 4 games. What about Austin Ekeler? Well if the coaching staff saw the same game we did on Sunday night, then they would be insane to not try and get him more touches.
Jeff Wilson Jr. – $3800 vs Broncos
How does Shanahan do it? He constantly finds ways to make any running back viable, and it was no different for Jeff Wilson Jr. He was RB8 on the week and no one knew who he was last week. The question is, “Can he do it again against the Broncos?” The Bengals were able to put up 111 yards on the ground, and they are a terrible offense since Green and Dalton went out. So the better question is , “Why not?” The Broncos have given the 7th most rushing yards to RBs on the season; perhaps Wilson coulqd capitalize. Perhaps he could become the 5th running back to score 20+ points against this defense. Far fetched? Perhaps, but this is the thing that makes him a decent tournament play.
Jaylen Samuels – $3700 @ Oakland
This is easy and could be under the “Injury Opportunities” section. Assuming Samuels get’s the bulk of the carries he could be walking into a massive opportunity. Oakland has given up 171 rushing yards per game in their last 7, but they have also limited that production to 5 rushing TDs. The one thing in favor of Samuels’ upside is the Steeler’s 4th ranked power success according to Football Outsiders. He’s cheap and his opportunity is about to spike up: roster him. If only he was Tight End eligible in DK like he is on Yahoo….