Welcome back! The regular season has come to a close, everyone’s dynasty and redraft leagues are finally wrapped up (everyone should actually have been done at the close of week 16, just sayin’). We daily players are blessed to continue playing our favorite fantasy sport with some small slates for the next few weeks. Below there are a few bullet points everyone should keep in mind moving forward through the playoffs:
- Don’t forget to play the playoff challenge; it’s free and fun
- Contrarian plays become so much more important with few players in the pool
- You must be right about your ‘chalk’ plays
- Continue to have fun and not stress about making money for the remainder of the season
This week will be a little different than I have done this season, kinda going back to a style I have done before where we will ‘Drop Stacks’ and ‘Pinch Pennies’ to try to build the best lineup possible.
Andrew Luck – $6400 @ Texans
Luck, who has the mos air yards on the slate, seems to have the Texans number. In his last two contests against them he has thrown for over 800 yards and 6 TDs on about 100 attempts with over 100 passer rating. Based on REVA-FP, Indianapolis has the best overall match up on the slate and it is somewhat confirmed by Houston’s 18th rank in Pass DVOA (second worst on the slate). Fire up Luck as the safest floor / great ceiling play.
Ezekiel Elliott – $9000 vs Seahawks
This is the most chalk play on the slate, so there may be some value in fading Zeke on the off chance that his 26+ opportunities per game don’t convert to 30+ point production as expected. The Seahawks have the worst rushing DVOA defense and 2nd worst fantasy points allowed to running backs on the slate, therefore his crazy opportunity should convert into the points we expect.
Chris Carson – $6800 @ Cowboys
Carson is a pure volume play at 22.5 opportunities per game in his last four. The Cowboys have shown some vulnerability on the ground twice in their last four games and the Seahawks have established the run as the focal point of their offense this season. The fact that the Cowboys have been solid against the run on the season (5th in rush DVOA), might shake some people from this obvious choice, dropping his ownership.
DeAndre Hopkins – $8700 vs Colts
At 10.25 targets per game and 26 red zone targets on the season Hopkins is the chalk floor play on the slate. The Colts are 20th in overall pass DVOA, 17th against the WR1, but they have only given up the 17th most passing yards (3rd best on the slate by that metric). Hopkins has scored in both games against the Colts, but one game was an absolute explosion (10 recs, 169 yds, TD) where the other was somewhat of a dud (4 recs, 36 yds, TD). The great thing is that the opportunity should be there since he had 22 targets between those two games. Of all the times where Hopkins was targeted 10+ times he had only one poor performance.
T.Y. Hilton – $7800 @ Texans
In their first meeting, Hilton turned 6 targets into 4 receptions and 115 yards. The second time he turned twice the targets into 9 receptions and 199 yards. Given that production and the fact that Houston has given up the 5th most passing yards on the season, we can be reasonably confident that he will capitalize on this match up. Hilton could be a decent pivot from the ownership percentage Hopkins is sure to have, but he could also be a great game stack with Hopkins as I don’t think the defenses are going to dictate the script of this game.
Zach Ertz – $6400 @ Bears
There might be a rare opportunity this week to utilize Ertz with a lower-than-normal ownership percentage due to Chicago being the best against the tight end in fantasy points yielded, not to mention 3rd in DVOA vs the tight end. The risk of Ertz facing one of best defenses on the slate is offset by his high amount of red zone TDs (29) along with the most targets per game. Looking back at Chicago’s opponents this season somewhat mitigates the dissuasive feeling posed by the DVOA and “fantasy points against” stats mentioned earlier.
Eric Ebron – $5200 @ Texans
Hilton may not be getting the TDs, but that’s because they are going to Eric Ebron who has 20 red zone targets this season. Add that to the fact that the Texans have the 2nd worst defense in fantasy points to the tight end and he becomes the type of chalk play we look for at tight end.
Nick Foles – $5400 @ Bears
This looks like a terrible week to play Nick Foles, being that he is on the road against arguably the best defense in the game, but Foles is a gamer. Foles loves to thrive in the most impossible of circumstances. We only have to think back to the NFC Championship where Foles was matched up against the Vikings who ranked similarly against the pass and the run at the time. Pederson will surely have the game schemed up for Foles success and this gives us a great opportunity to go against the grain. In truth, the defensive front is the only thing allowing the Bears secondary to be as good as it has been this season. If the pass rush in neutralized, Foles has the ability to drop downfield dimes that could give you the victory over all doubters.
Jordan Howard – $4600 vs Eagles
19.2 touches per game in his last five games and four touchdowns in his last three. How can we pass up this type of opportunity at this price? Even if the Eagles defense is ranked 9th in rush DVOA and have held their last three opponents to an average of 55 rush yards, the Bears seem intent on running the ball, and specifically running Howard.
Gus Edwards – $4200 vs Chargers
Edwards has averaged more than 5 yards per carry in his last three games. Two weeks ago against the Chargers he had 90 yards on 14 carries. With that kind of efficiency we can get a nice return if he falls into the end zone. The Chargers have given up the 9th most fantasy points on the season to running backs. Baltimore’s formula for winning has favored the ground game.
Darren Sproles – $4100 @ Bears
There is little reason to believe that the Eagles are going to be able to get anything going on the ground in a traditional manor, but that is what makes Sproles such an interesting tournament play. The Bears are 2nd in rush DVOA which should dissuade everyone from and Eagles running backs, but when they played the Texans (#1 rush DVOA) two weeks ago, Sproles had 100+ total yards with 3 receptions and a score, good enough for more than 4x return. It could happen again easily.
Keke Coutee – $4000 vs Colts
A full participant in practice this week, Coutee could be one of the sneakiest, penny pinching plays on the slate. His last full game he drew 9 targets and the last time he faced the Colts he saw 15 targets turning that volume into 11 receptions and 109 yards. Definitely worth a shot along side Hopkins. A contrarian stack of Hopkins and Coutee may be unconventional, but worth it.
Nelson Agholor – $3800 @ Bears
Agholor is the definition of a tournament play, but it’s not too crazy if you happen to believe in MVP-caliber Foles. In his last two games Agholor has 3 TDs and 156 yards on 13 total targets; plenty of upside at his price. You know that feeling after the slate ends and you are thinking, “Really! How could we have guessed that this player would blow up against that defense?” Yeah, Agholor feels like one of those unexpected plays.
Blake Jarwin – $3300 vs Seahawks
Chase these points! Chasing points is often not recommended, but the Cowboys have been looking to establish a Witten replacement all season. We shouldn’t expect a blow up game like last week, but half that production would be a crazy return at this price.
Dallas Goedert – $2600 @ Bears
The Eagles have been more committed to the run as of late, trying to force the issue of staying more balanced and imposing their will. This has impacted the snaps for Goedert in a positive fashion with more 12 personnel. While this only directly correlates with more snaps, the targets should come as the Bears defense tries to solve the riddle of Ertz. All he needs to do is catch 2 passes for 30 yards and fall in the end zone to return value.
Eagles D/ST – $2200 @ Bears
Trubisky has turned over the ball seven times in his last 5 games. In two of those games facing formidable defensive lines he had 5 picks. The Eagles have been generating more pressure as of late, even against mobile passers, but they have still been getting home. The pressure they should be able to put on Trubisky could generate some errant throws which could become turnovers. An added bonus is Darren Sproles ability in the punt return game which is awesome upside for a play this cheap.