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November 25, 2015

Week 12 Fantasy Football: Some Undervalued Players in PPR Leagues

A look back to Week 11's recommendations:

Best of the week -- LeSean McCoy +28.1: McCoy was a beast on Monday night, providing the lone offense for the Bills. Comparatively, while Darren McFadden had a solid week, Danny Woodhead struggled mightily.

Runner up -- Richard Rodgers +1.3: Not a great week when the second-best player barely broke even. The Packers offense got it going this week, as predicted, but it didn’t turn into production for Rodgers. However, Charles Clay didn’t do much either.

Worst of the week -- Alex Smith -11.4: This was a bit of an unfortunate day for Smith. The offense was productive but Smith didn’t get any TDs, although he did have one overturned.

Runner up -- Michael Crabtree -6.2: Crabtree had a real shot at a big game, but the Lions secondary is actually playing better despite the multitude of injuries. He still turned in a decent day, and definitely better than his counterpart Amari Cooper, but not enough to outperform Allen Robinson and A.J. Green.

Week 11 Results
QBsRBsWRsTEsTotal
-11.4+23.7-10.3-1.3+3.3
YTD Results
QBsRBsWRsTEsTotal
+75.8+135.9-80.4+2.7+134.0

* Stats are based on players recommended (compared to options listed to start those players over).

[View all of my picks from Week 11]

Quarterbacks

Brian Hoyer – Houston Texans
FantasyPros ECR – 12

There isn’t much to defend this other than the fact that Hoyer gets the Saints this week. And that has been a lucrative proposition of late. The Saints rank dead last in pass defense efficiency and fantasy points allowed to QBs. Even with the departure of Rob Ryan, the Saints defense is a sieve and Hoyer could pull off a Kirk Cousins-type performance.

Consider starting him over:
- Matthew Stafford – ECR 8. The Lions have won the past two games on defense and defense alone. The offense may have picked it up slightly, but it is still a bottom-tier offense in terms of productivity. The Eagles defense is actually pretty solid against the pass.
- Russell Wilson – ECR 10. The Steelers defense is middle of the pack against the pass, but Wilson hasn’t been a strong fantasy option this year, and the loss of Marshawn Lynch will only make it more difficult.

Running Backs

Matt Forte – Chicago Bears
FantasyPros ECR – 20

Forte will return from injury this week, and while he will likely lose some work to Jeremy Langford, I expect the Bears to steadily feed the run game to keep the ball out of Aaron Rodgers' hands. With his work in the pass game as well, there is no need to worry about Forte’s usage this week.

Consider starting him over:
- Eddie Lacy – ECR 18. The Bears run defense hasn’t been good, but neither has Lacy. He will get his touches, but James Starks will be the primary option at RB and it's hard to trust Lacy.
- Giovanni Bernard – ECR 16. Bernard has been the top option out of the Bengals backfield, but he has a tough matchup against the Rams.

Chris Johnson – Arizona Cardinals
FantasyPros ECR – 21

Despite a bit of a slowdown the past two weeks, Johnson is still the workhorse for the Cardinals. This week against an awful Niners defense, those carries should turn into a solid performance. San Francisco ranks 30th against the run in efficiency and gives up the second-most points to RBs.

Consider starting him over:
- Danny Woodhead – ECR 15. Definitely a better matchup this week, but split work and a struggling offense leaves something to be desired here.
- Giovanni Bernard – ECR 16. See above.

Wide Receivers

Alshon Jeffery – Chicago Bears
FantasyPros ECR – 18

Jeffery is expected to play this week, and as the only legitimate WR on this team, he should receive a lot of targets and opportunity to produce. Green Bay ranks 27th against WR1’s in efficiency, so this could be a good chance for Jeffery to reach WR1 numbers.

Consider starting him over:
- Dez Bryant – ECR 11. Dez … meet Josh Norman.
- Jarvis Landry – ECR 14. Tough matchup and the offense hasn’t been putting it all together.

John Brown – Arizona Cardinals
FantasyPros ECR – 32

Last time I recommended Brown, he put up a total of zero points. Let’s hope I don’t curse him again. This week, Brown gets a very vulnerable Niners defense. They rank 31st in efficiency and 24th in FPA to WRs. As Brown approaches 100-percent health, he has an opportunity to get back to his mid-season form.

Consider starting him over:
- Brandon LaFell – ECR 31. Denver’s secondary is top-notch and LaFell lacks separation skills.
- Jordan Matthews – ECR 25. The Lions secondary has actually been good the past few weeks despite the injuries. Don’t trust Matthews to finally turn it around.

Tight End

Gary Barnidge – Cleveland Browns
FantasyPros ECR – 11

Barnidge is likely the happiest person on the planet now that Manziel has screwed up AGAIN. Barnidge is the number one target of Josh McCown and will be in line for a huge game, regardless of matchup.

Consider starting him over:
- Jason Witten – ECR 10. The Panthers are one of the best defenses in the league, and rank third in efficiency against TEs.

Thanks for reading and good luck in Week 12!

Check out my full Week 12 Fantasy Football PPR Rankings and follow me on twitter @rw11687.

Continue reading "Week 12 Fantasy Football: Some Undervalued Players in PPR Leagues" »


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November 19, 2015

Week 11 Fantasy Football: 6 Undervalued Players in PPR Leagues

Week 10 Results
QBsRBsWRsTEsTotal
+39.7+12.7-32.8+9.9+29.5
YTD Results
QBsRBsWRsTEsTotal
+87.2+112.2-70.1+1.4+130.7

* Stats are based on players recommended (compared to options listed to start those players over).

[View all of Ryan's Week 10 recommendations here.]

Best of the week -- Kirk Cousins +39.7: Cousins ended the week as the No. 1 QB, at least in most formats, after tearing up the Saints. In fact, Cousins had a perfect QB rating last week – that’s not easy to do. Conversely, the Manning brothers had an interesting week. Eli did better than I expected, but still fell short of Cousins. Peyton pulled off a rarity in fantasy circles – a negative point total.

Runner up -- Ryan Mathews +17.4: Mathews put together a solid outing, thanks in large part to a touchdown run. He did little else with his carries, but posted a few catches to spruce up his point total. But the primary difference here were the two backs I suggested sitting in favor of Mathews – Antonio Andrews and Chris Johnson. Andrews basically did nothing (.8 points) and Johnson was held in check by the Seahawks run D.

Worst of the week -- John Brown -19.4: Well, if I got one thing right, it was that a Cardinals WR would have a good day despite the matchup. I just didn’t figure it to be the two guys facing the ‘Hawks best CBs. What a bust!

Runner up -- Pierre Garcon -13.4: I’m still a little baffled by this. In a dream matchup, and in a game where your QB posts the best outing for his position, how in the world do you manage three lousy points?

Quarterbacks

Alex Smith – Kansas City Chiefs
FantasyPros ECR – 17

My rankings fall pretty well in line with the ECR this week, at least in the sense that there aren’t many major differences. But I do have Smith ranked higher than most. First, the Chargers rank 21st in FPA to QBs and 27th in defensive pass efficiency, so it’s a good matchup. And while the Chiefs are a run-first team, and the Chargers won’t do much to slow them down on the ground, I have a sneaky feeling this will be a rather high-scoring game. The Chargers are coming off a bye and their only shot at winning resides on the offensive side of the ball – that defense isn’t slowing anyone down. I think that results in more passing attempts for Smith, who should be able to take advantage.

Consider starting him over:
- Matthew Stafford – ECR 12. The Lions have scored more than 20 points in a game twice this season, one of those coming in Week 1. Their offensive line is one of the worst in the league and they have zero run game. Even against the Raiders, I wouldn’t feel comfortable with Stafford in my lineup.
- Ryan Fitzpatrick – ECR 16. The Texans defense we all expected before the season began is finally starting to show up and just shut down a very good Bengals offense. This game is shaping up to be a defensive slugfest.

Running Backs

LeGarrette Blount – New England Patriots
FantasyPros ECR – 17

With Dion Lewis’ injury, Blount is the primary back in New England and has even gotten involved in the passing game a little. We all know the Patriots game plan every week is focused on exploiting their opponent’s weakness, and while the Bills defense is good, their weakest point is definitely against the run. They are middle of the pack in terms of FPA to RBs, but they are 29th in defensive run efficiency. With Julian Edelman out and a solid opposing secondary, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Blount approach 30 carries this week.

Consider starting him over:
- Jeremy Langford – ECR 14. I don’t know if Matt Forte will be back this week, that would be a quick turnaround for an MCL injury. But even if Langford gets a full workload, I don’t see him continuing his hot streak against the Broncos vaunted run defense.
- James Starks – ECR 15. Eddie Lacy is practicing this week and appears on track to play. I know Starks will be the starter regardless, but Lacy isn't just going to sit on the bench, he will still be involved. And his most likely involvement will be at the goal line, stealing potential TDs from Starks.

LeSean McCoy – Buffalo Bills
FantasyPros ECR – 11

McCoy is returning to form, evidenced by his manhandling of the Jets No. 1 ranked rush defense. The Patriots are solid against the run, but if McCoy can light up the Jets, he can do it to anyone. I think the Bills will attempt to get him out in space via the pass game as well, where his speed and agility will be a tough match for the Patriots run-oriented LB corps. Perhaps this is a reach, but I just have a feeling we see McCoy continue his upward trend despite the matchup.

Consider starting him over:
- Danny Woodhead – ECR 7. Yes, I said I think this will be a game where more points than expected are scored. But the Chiefs are actually pretty good against RBs as receivers, ranking 9th in efficiency. I have no doubt Woodhead will be involved, I’m not suggesting a bust, just that an ECR of 7 is a little too generous for my taste.
- Darren McFadden – ECR 9. The return of Tony Romo this week will open up some space for McFadden to operate. But at the same time, how effective will Romo be coming off the long absence? I think the Dolphins will focus on stopping the run and bet that Romo will be rusty.

Wide Receivers

Michael Crabtree – Oakland Raiders
FantasyPros ECR – 14

Crabtree has revived his career in Oakland this season and is a favorite target of the pass-happy Derek Carr. The Lions are on deck this week and despite a valiant defensive effort against the Packers, the Lions are one of the worst pass defenses in the league. They are 28th against WR2’s in efficiency, and this was before Rashean Mathis went down for the season. Crabtree is setup to have a big day.

Consider starting him over:
- Allen Robinson – ECR 9. Tennessee has been a solid pass defense this year under Dick LeBeau’s new leadership. Robinson should be a fine WR2 this week, top 10 seems a little high though.
- A.J. Green – ECR 13. Green has been a bit of a disappointment this season and gets a matchup against a top-five secondary.

Jeremy Maclin – Kansas City Chiefs
FantasyPros ECR – 27

As mentioned before, I think the Chiefs passing game will be active this week. Maclin is far and away the favorite target of Smith and has a good matchup, San Diego is 26th against WR1’s in efficiency. Expect Maclin to crack top-20 this week.

Consider starting him over:
- Brandon LaFell – ECR 23. Even with Edelman out, LaFell has a tough matchup and I think the Pats go run-heavy.
- Jordan Matthews – ECR 24. Mark Sanchez … ’nuff said.

Tight End

Richard Rogers – Green Bay Packers
FantasyPros ECR – 15

Rodgers has seen an uptick in production the past few weeks and has an opportunity for that to continue this week against the Vikings. Minnesota is 29th in efficiency against TEs and gives up the 11th most points to TE’s.

Consider starting him over:
- Charles Clay – ECR 13. New England is top 10 against TEs in both efficiency and fantasy points allowed.

Thanks for reading and good luck in Week 11!

Check out my full Weekly Fantasy Football PPR Rankings and follow me on twitter @rw11687.

Continue reading "Week 11 Fantasy Football: 6 Undervalued Players in PPR Leagues" »


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November 18, 2015

DFS Roundtable: Favorite DraftKings Play for Week 11

Every week this season, our contributors will give their favorite plays for the week in DraftKings contests.

Q: Who is your favorite DraftKings play for Week 11?

Brendan Donahue - Charcandrick West, RB, Kansas City Chiefs (at SD), $4,500

Anyone that puts up 31.1 points against Denver, in Denver, immediately gets my attention. Digging deeper, there is a nice trend with West.

He has gotten at least 20 carries in his each of his last three games and has rewarded his fantasy owners by putting up 23.9, 22.2, and 31.1 points in each. I don't see any reason why this trend can't continue going up against the Chargers, who give up the most points in the league against opposing running backs. At $4,500, he is an absolute steal this week.

Kevin Hanson - Charcandrick West, RB, Kansas City Chiefs (at SD), $4,500

Heavy workloads? Check. Consistent production? Check. Favorable matchup? Check. What's not to like about West this week? And despite his high usage rate and strong production, his salary has actually dropped from his Week 10 price tag ($4,800). Thank you, DraftKings!

Not only does West have a minimum of 20-plus carries in three consecutive games, but he has at least 22.2 DraftKings points in each of those three games. Priced at more than $1,000 less than the average starting salary, West will be a staple in my cash-game and GPP lineups alike.

Dan Yanotchko - Davante Adams, WR, Green Bay Packers (), $

This week, I really like Davante Adams at quite the nice $4,700 price point. Adams has finally broken through with Aaron Rodgers in the past two weeks, as he has compiled 17 receptions on 32 targets, and 173 yards total.

I know the Packers haven't exactly lit the offensive world on fire lately, as they only compiled 16 points against Detroit at home. This will be a Rodgers bounce-back game, and of course I love the fact that Adams had 21 targets last week alone.

Ryan Watterson - Stefon Diggs, WR, Minnesota Vikings (), $

There are two low cost WRs firmly on my radar this week -- Allen Hurns and Stefon Diggs. But if I have to choose between the two, Diggs is the choice. His salary is lower and he has a lot of upside this week. While he has slowed down the past two weeks, matchups and game flow can be blamed for the decrease in production.

This week, the Vikings take on the Packers. Call me naive, but I actually believe the Packers figure it out this week and the Vikings will be forced to throw more than they have been. In terms of FPA, the Packers have been solid against WRs, which will lead a lot of people to overlook Diggs in their lineups. However, that can be deceiving.

The Packers are 27th in efficiency against WR1's, so if the Vikings are forced to throw more, Diggs could be in for a big day. I'll be taking a flier on him in a lot of lineups this week.

Week 11 DFS cheat sheets:

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November 12, 2015

Week 10 Fantasy Football: 6 Undervalued Players in PPR Leagues

Week 9 Results
QBsRBsWRsTEsTotal
-8.8+34.8+15.2+0.0+41.2
YTD Results
QBsRBsWRsTEsTotal
+47.5+99.5-37.3-8.5+101.2

* Stats are based on players recommended (compared to options listed to start those players over).

View all of last week's recommendations

Best of the week -- Michael Crabtree +32.3: Crabtree went nuts against the Steelers Sunday. Jarvis Landry had a good PPR day as well, but fell short of Crabtree’s nearly 30 points. On the other hand, Stefon Diggs struggled as expected against a solid Rams defense.

Runner up -- Jeremy Langford +25.7: Langford played quite well against the Chargers, getting production in both the run and pass game. McFadden and Latavius Murray both cracked double digits, but couldn’t hold a candle to Langford’s output.

Worst of the week -- Martavis Bryant -17.1: It’s not that Bryant was bad, he got a respectable 12 points. But given all of the WR production in this game, I would have expected more. And when compared to Dez Bryant and Randall Cobb….it didn’t turn out well.

Runner up -- Derek Carr -7.2: You probably aren’t upset if you played Carr, I mean the dude did finish as a top-five QB. I just made the mistake of thinking the Packers D might show some pride after the beating from the Broncos. I was wrong.

Quarterbacks

Kirk Cousins – Washington Redskins
FantasyPros ECR – 10

Cousins is no fantasy stud, but he has had his moments this season. This week is a perfect opportunity for another moment. The Saints pass defense is, well, not very good. The Saints rank dead last in pass efficiency and fantasy points allowed to QBs. After getting lit up by Eli Manning a few weeks ago, they let Marcus Mariota run wild last week. Cousins doesn’t have the talent level of either of those guys, but he has enough to exploit this defense.

Consider starting him over:
- Eli Manning – ECR 8. I’m sorry, but New England is on a rampage, and you know the Giants were high on their list of teams to bury. Don’t see this going well for the Giants.
- Peyton Manning – ECR 9. The Broncos will win in all likelihood, but the claims of “Manning is back” because of one good game against the Packers were premature. I can’t trust him until he strings together multiple good games. I think this week turns into a defensive battle.

Running Backs

Doug Martin – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
FantasyPros ECR – 10

Martin was on a tear until the past two games before taking a step (or two) back. Well, he has a great chance to get back on that tear this week. The Cowboys are 27th in run defense efficiency and give up the most points to RBs. This sets up very well for Martin to crack the top-five this week.

Consider starting him over:
- Marshawn Lynch – ECR 8. Lynch just hasn’t been the same this year and the Cardinals are a top-tier run defense, ranking third in efficiency and 10th in FPA.
- Lamar Miller – ECR 6. Miller has been a great fantasy asset since the coaching change, but the Eagles represent a strong run defense, giving up the fourth-least FPA to RBs.

Ryan Mathews – Philadelphia Eagles
FantasyPros ECR – 26

Mathews has been highly effective in a limited role and will continue to see between 10-15 total touches. The Dolphins haven’t turned much around on defense under Dan Campbell, as they still rank 28th in run defense efficiency and 26th in FPA to RBs. Even splitting time with DeMarco Murray, Mathews will have the chance to post RB2 numbers with the role he has been carving out in recent weeks.

Consider starting him over:
- Antonio Andrews – ECR 24. David Cobb may steal a little work this week and even if not, the Panthers are efficient against the run, ranking 11th in DVOA. Plus, I would be surprised to see the Panthers jump out to an early lead, much like the Saints did, forcing a high volume pass game.
- Chris Johnson – ECR 25. Seattle is the best team in the league against the run, in terms of FPA to RB. I actually think Ellington may be more involved in the game plan, as getting to the edge is more effective than running up the middle against the Seahawks. Johnson doesn’t have the explosiveness anymore, Ellington does when healthy.

Wide Receivers

John Brown – Arizona Cardinals
FantasyPros ECR – 32

Brown is on track to play this week and while Michael Floyd is getting more involved, Brown is a better field stretcher and Palmer loves him. With Richard Sherman likely focused on Larry Fitzgerald and Floyd, Brown could be a primary target this week and break a few big plays. The Seahawks have been stout against WRs this season, but I think Brown's speed and shiftiness will cause them problems, whereas Fitz and Floyd will struggle to get open consistently. Maybe this is a “gut call,” but I like him this week.

Consider starting him over:
- Jeremy Maclin – ECR 26. Maclin gets a lot of targets, but there is no other WR on this team the Broncos need to fear. They can put Harris or Talib on him and shadow over the top without giving up much else. I don’t like his chances of defying the odds and winning that matchup.
- Rishard Matthews – ECR 27. The Eagles are terrible against WR1’s but rank eighth against WR2’s in efficiency. Landry should get a lot of targets while Matthews has a quiet week.

Pierre Garcon – Washington Redskins
FantasyPros ECR – 33

What about this Saints pass D scares you? Nothing? Me neither. They rank 30th against WR1’s and 25th against WR2’s, so whatever you consider Garcon with DeSean Jackson back in the mix, he still has a great matchup. I already mentioned previously how they have been torn up in the pass game recently, I don’t expect that to change this week, especially given how poorly the ‘Skins are running the ball right now. Garcon has a sneaky shot at high-end WR2 numbers this week.

Consider starting him over:
- Jeremy Maclin – ECR 26. See above.
- Rishard Matthews – ECR 27. See above.

Tight End

Crockett Gillmore – Baltimore Ravens
FantasyPros ECR – 18

Gillmore shares time at the TE position, but he is the most talented pass catcher of the group. With Steve Smith out for the season, they need all the help they can get in the receiving corps. Kamar Aiken steps into the No. 1 WR spot and doesn’t exactly have the separation skills required to be a No. 1 WR. I think Flacco looks over the middle more often and Gillmore gets an increase in targets as a result. While the Jags rank eighth in FPA to TEs, they rank 29th in efficiency against the position. I think that gets exploited this week.

Consider starting him over:
- Julius Thomas – ECR 16. The Ravens may be terrible against the pass this year, but it’s not because of TE production. They give up the second-fewest PPG to TEs. Expect Blake Bortles to look to Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns to exploit the secondary, not Thomas.

Thanks for reading and good luck in Week 10!

Check out my full Week 10 Fantasy Football PPR Rankings and follow me on twitter @rw11687.

Continue reading "Week 10 Fantasy Football: 6 Undervalued Players in PPR Leagues" »


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DFS Roundtable: Favorite DraftKings Play for Week 10

Every week this season, our contributors will give their favorite plays for the week in DraftKings contests.

Q: Who is your favorite DraftKings play for Week 10?

Sean Beazley - Allen Robinson, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars (at BAL), $6,700

Before I get to my picks this week, I strongly recommend every DFS player to support FanDuel and DraftKings with their fight to keep DFS legal in NY. I'm not only saying this because I'm a resident of NY, but it's for the overall general good of the industry.

My DFS career is on the line, so why not go all-in on the mighty Jacksonville Jaguars this week! One player I absolutely love this week is receiver Allen Robinson. Robinson has a modest salary at $6,700 and faces the Ravens, who have one of the worst pass defenses in the league. Pairing Robinson with QB Blake Bortles ($5,600) on DK will be one of my favorite GPP stacks of the week. I believe Robinson could be under-owned in tournaments considering all the WRs in that same price tier that are coming off big weeks (Randall Cobb, Mike Evans, Amari Cooper, Alshon Jeffery, etc.).

Bonus Pick: Bears WR Alshon Jeffery was the focal point of my DFS lineups last week, and he will continue to be in my cash lineup until his price hits elite level. There is no reason why he shouldn't be priced in the same range as the elite WRs in the game. At $7,100, he is a must play in your cash lineup.

Brendan Donahue - Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots (at NYG), $8,000

With Dion Lewis out for the season, look for Gronkowski to return to the focal point (or even more of the focal point) of the offense again. Lewis missed Week 7 vs. the Jets and Gronkowski had a season-high 16 targets that resulted into 11 catches for 108 yards and a TD. Couple that with the fact that the Giants have given up the third-most points (Draftkings scoring) to tight ends this season and this is shaping up for another monster game for the monster known as Gronk.

Kevin Hanson - Kirk Cousins, QB, Washington Redskins (vs. NO), $5,200

While he has been a bit boom or bust, Cousins has finished as a top-five fantasy quarterback twice over his past five games. While his overall level of production has varied, one constant has been passing volume. Cousins has thrown for 40-plus pass attempts in three consecutive games and in five of his past six.

This week sets up as a potential "boom" week for Cousins. Not only have the Saints allowed the most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season, but they have allowed an average of 351.3 passing yards per game and a total of 13 passing touchdowns over their past three games.

At only $5,200 (or just $200 above the position-minimum salary), Cousins has a ton of upside while creating plenty of salary-cap relief to load up elsewhere. He will be a staple in both my cash game and GPP lineups in Week 10.

Dan Yanotchko - Allen Robinson, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars (at BAL), $6,700

This week, I am going with Allen Robinson of the Jaguars for $6,700, as he has one of the best matchups possible against the Baltimore secondary. Robinson has had an amazing stat split over the last four weeks, having 25 receptions on 41 targets for an average of 93.0 yards per game and four touchdowns. I feel Robinson is primed for a breakout week, and also fellow No. 2 Allen Hurns has already missed Wednesday practice with a sprained foot. Baltimore has been quite rough in the secondary this year, as they have given up 284 yards passing and 16 touchdowns, so I am green lighting Robinson this week.

Ryan Watterson - Jarvis Landry, WR, Miami Dolphins (), $6,700

Although Landry gets a Philly defense that is giving away a lot of production to WRs, ranking third to last in FPA to that position. In addition, the Eagles are 31st against WR1's in particular. Landry continues to produce on a weekly basis despite some of the Dolphins passing game struggles. I think he blows up for a big week and pushes towards a top-5 finish at his position.

Week 10 DFS cheat sheets:

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Keep track of our site's updates: (1) follow us on Twitter, (2) LIKE us on Facebook and/or (3) add us to your Google+ circle

Continue reading "DFS Roundtable: Favorite DraftKings Play for Week 10" »


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November 07, 2015

Week 9 Fantasy Football: 7 Undervalued Players in PPR Leagues

Week 8 Results
QBsRBsWRsTEsTotal
+34.6+12.9+15.5-11.3+51.7
YTD Results
QBsRBsWRsTEsTotal
+56.3+64.7-52.5-8.5+60.0

* Stats are based on players recommended (compared to options listed to start those players over).

Best of the week -- Eli Manning +34.6: Last week, I suggested taking a chance with Manning over Aaron Rodgers. That turned out fairly well.

Runner up -- Charcandrick West +31.9: West was the No. 3 RB in Week 8, while Gio Bernard and Chris Ivory both struggled significantly.

Worst of the week -- Chris Polk -19: Polk played behind Alfred Blue, despite being the primary backup when Foster was active, not to mention he is the more talented back. Although neither did much of anything against a bad Titans defense.

Runner up -- Chris Conley -17.1: Conley surprisingly played behind Albert Wilson, who did almost nothing as well. Despite the Chiefs putting up 45 points, there wasn’t much production from a receiver not named Jeremy Maclin.

Quarterbacks

Derek CarrOakland Raiders
FantasyPros ECR – 10

Carr has been very strong of late, posting two huge games against solid pass defenses. The Steelers are not on the same level as the Jets, who Carr just torched last week (333 yds, 4 TDs). Given the Raiders own struggles against the pass, and the Steelers prominence in that area, this game could be a shootout. And the way Carr is playing, that could mean another big day.

Consider starting him over:
- Cam Newton – ECR 8. Newton has been a solid fantasy QB this season, but the Packers are coming off an embarrassing loss, and it’s not like the Panthers offense are world beaters. Good teams coming off embarrassing losses tend to come and prove a point.


Ryan FitzpatrickNew York Jets
FantasyPros ECR – 18

Fitzpatrick has been cleared to play this week after injuring his non-throwing hand. As long as he can handle the ball, the injury should not have any impact on his capability this week. Once he goes into a throwing motion, that hand isn’t even involved. The good news for Fitzpatrick is that he gets the Jags this week, who are 28th against the pass in efficiency and bottom 10 in FPAs to QBs. Before leaving last week with the aforementioned injury, Fitzpatrick had posted two consecutive big games against solid defenses.

Consider starting him over:
- Jameis Winston – ECR 16. Winston has been playing better of late and the Giants just got torn up by Drew Brees. So consider this more of a “gut call.”
- Andrew Luck – ECR 14. After what they just did to Rodgers, you think Luck is going to do anything?

Running Backs

Jeremy LangfordChicago Bears
FantasyPros ECR – 19

Langford steps into a workhorse role for the Bears with Matt Forte’s injury. As his first game in the spotlight, he really couldn’t ask for a better matchup. The Chargers are 31st against RBs in terms of points allowed, and 32nd against the run in efficiency. The Bears aren’t a great run team, but they are good enough to exploit this matchup.

Consider starting him over:
- Darren McFadden – ECR 12. McFadden is the lead back with the release of Joseph Randle, but the Eagles run defense is good. They rank top 10 in both run efficiency and FPA to RBs. Given the pass game has no real threat until Tony Romo comes back, they can focus in on the run even more.
- Latavius Murray – ECR 15. While this game could be a shootout, it’s going to be through the air. The Steelers are a top-notch run defense and the Raiders could be down early.

Ryan MathewsPhiladelphia Eagles
FantasyPros ECR – 31

Mathews has been effective in limited work recently and should continue to get around 10-12 touches a game. Against a Cowboys team that has been vulnerable to the run (fifth-most FPA to RBs, 20th in efficiency), he has an opportunity to post back-end RB2 numbers in a week with six teams on bye.

Consider starting him over:
- C.J. Spiller – ECR 30. He is touchdown dependent and without the goal-line role, that makes it risky.
- Shane Vereen – ECR 27. Vereen has had two big games and very little outside of that. Like Spiller, he’s too tough to call.

Wide Receivers

Michael CrabtreeOakland Raiders
FantasyPros ECR – 15

Crabtree has been on a roll the past few weeks and actually leads the team in targets on the season, not Amari Cooper. As previously mentioned, the Raiders/Steelers game could turn into a shootout, and while the Steelers are very good against the run, they are less so against the pass. The Raiders are likely to air it out often, and Crabtree is in line for a big game.

Consider starting him over:
- Stefon Diggs – ECR 13. Diggs has been a revelation in Minnesota, but the Rams are seventh against WRs in FPA. Temper expectations this week.
- Jarvis Landry – ECR 12. Landry has a tough matchup, likely to face off with Stephon Gilmore. The Bills rank No. 2 against WR1’s in defensive pass efficiency.

Martavis BryantPittsburgh Steelers
FantasyPros ECR – 19

Sensing a trend here? I am expecting a lot of passes in this game. And surprisingly, the Raiders are pretty solid against WR1’s, leaving a few more looks to go Bryant’s way. With Big Ben hopefully using last week to shake off the rust, he should look to push the ball downfield early and often.

Consider starting him over:
- Dez Bryant – ECR 14. Matt Cassel….’nuff said.
- Randall Cobb – ECR 16. The Panthers are No. 1 against WRs in efficiency. Cobb should still produce, just closer to backend WR2 numbers.

Tight End

Austin Sefarian-Jenkins - Tampa Bay Buccaneers
FantasyPros ECR – 17

Obviously, this depends on if he plays. But if he does, ASJ is in a good spot to produce. The Giants rank 23rd in efficiency against TEs and dead last in FPA. The Bucs will have to throw to keep up in this game and I think ASJ is a prime candidate to approach the top 10.

Consider starting him over:
-
Jason Witten – ECR 12. Matt Cassel, again. Not to mention the Eagles are sixth against TEs in efficiency and fourth in FPA.

Thanks for reading and good luck in Week 9!

Check out my full Week 6 Fantasy Football PPR Rankings and follow me on twitter @rw11687.

Continue reading "Week 9 Fantasy Football: 7 Undervalued Players in PPR Leagues" »


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October 31, 2015

Week 8 Fantasy Football: Undervalued Players in PPR Leagues

No intro this week, although I’m sure that might be good news for most of you. Right into the meat of it!

Week 7 Results
QBsRBsWRsTEsTotal
+2.3+22.5-36.4-10.5-22.1
YTD Results
QBsRBsWRsTEsTotal
+21.7+51.8-68.0+2.8+8.3

* Stats are based on players recommended (compared to options listed to start those players over).

Best of the week -- Doug Martin +31.2: Martin had a solid week posting 20 points against a solid Redskins run defense. He continues to be the focal point of the Bucs offense and may be inching towards being matchup-proof.

Runner up -- Brian Hoyer +2.3: Despite a horrible real-life performance, Hoyer ended up with a good fantasy day with a ton of garbage-time production.

Worst of the week -- Martavis Bryant –22.6: This had a lot less to do with Bryant, who actually had a decent day, and more to do with Mike Evans finally doing something relevant and Allen Robinson exploiting a usually solid Bills secondary.

Runner up -- Pierre Garcon -13.8: Might as well be a repeat of the Bryant pick.

Quarterbacks

Eli ManningNew York Giants
FantasyPros ECR – 10

Manning has been up and done this season, but has a fantastic matchup this week. The Giants get a Saints defense that is ranked 30th in efficiency and 31st in FPA to QBs. With Odell Beckham practicing in full this week, Manning should have his full complement of weapons and relatively healthy. It all sets up well for a potentially big outing from Manning.

Consider starting him over:
- Aaron Rodgers – ECR 5. Ok, you’re probably not sitting Rodgers ever. But if you have Manning as well, it may be something to think about. Rodgers faces the best pass defense in the league, and while Rodgers has been good this year from a fantasy perspective, he is just barely fifth at his position. It could be a game where Rodgers disappoints.

Running Backs

Charcandrick WestKansas City Chiefs
FantasyPros ECR – 16

West broke out last week as the primary back for the Chiefs, pushing Knile Davis further from competing for opportunities. The Lions made a bunch of changes to the coaching staff last week, but that was all on the offensive end. The Lions defense hasn’t exactly been lights out either, ranking in the bottom half of the league. The Chiefs like to run their offense through the RB, and West proved he can handle the load last week. Expect another good showing.

Consider starting him over:
- Giovani Bernard – ECR 13. The Steelers are solid against the run and Bernard is still splitting work. Not to mention, Jeremy Hill was called out during the bye week by the RB coach. I think he may come out on fire and garner more looks than he has been receiving.
- Chris Ivory – ECR 12. No question, Ivory has been great this season. But he isn’t right now and the Raiders are surprisingly good against the run, ranking 11th in efficiency.

Chris PolkHouston Texans
FantasyPros ECR – 38

The Texans have already stated they will be going with a committee approach at RB. But Polk is the most talented (of those that are healthy) back on the roster and was the primary backup when Foster returned. I think he will get the majority of opportunities this week, and against a Titans run defense that ranks 30th in efficiency, he has the chance to produce sneaky good numbers.

Consider starting him over:
- Dexter McCluster – ECR 36. Committee approach, bad offense, enough said.
- C.J. Anderson – ECR 35. The Packers defense is above average against the run, and really, what’s he done to show he could do anything against even the worst run defense?

Wide Receivers

Tavon AustinSt. Louis Rams
FantasyPros ECR – 38

Austin has had his best season of his career to this point. The Rams seem to be focused on ensuring he gets the ball every game, which gives him a decent floor. But the explosiveness that led to being a first-round pick a few years ago hasn’t gone away, and he always threatens to break a big play. Against the weak Niners defense, that could happen this week.

Consider starting him over:
- Anquan Boldin – ECR 36. Rams are solid against WR1’s and I just can’t trust this passing game to be any good.
- Michael Crabtree – ECR 27. Crabtree has been a nice addition for the Raiders this season, but he gets a lockdown Jets team this week. They rank No. 1 against WR2’s in efficiency.

Chris ConleyKansas City Chiefs
FantasyPros ECR – 63

Want a really really deep sleeper this week? Check out Chris Conley. Expecting Maclin to return this week, he will fly way under the radar. But he is the No. 2 guy in this pass game and the Lions rank dead last against WR2’s in efficiency. With Alex Smith focused on protecting the football, he will take what the defense gives him, which could be a lot of Conley this week.

Consider starting him over:
- Dorial Green-Beckham – ECR 58. Didn’t do much of anything last week with increased playing time. Don’t think he all the sudden figures it out.
- Andre Johnson – ECR 54. If you have to make the decision between these two guys, go with the youth with the better matchup.

Tight End

Larry DonnellNew York Giants
FantasyPros ECR – 14

Same reason Manning is on this week’s list, the Saints defense stinks. They are last in efficiency against TEs and 28th in FPA. I expect this whole passing game to get on the right track this week.

Consider starting him over:
- Jimmy Graham – ECR 7. Graham is still working to be a more consistent option in this offense, and I don’t expect him to break out this week against the Cowboys, who rank fourth in FPA against the TE position.

Thanks for reading and good luck in Week 8!

Check out my full Week 8 Fantasy Football PPR Rankings and follow me on twitter @rw11687.

Continue reading "Week 8 Fantasy Football: Undervalued Players in PPR Leagues" »


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October 29, 2015

DFS Roundtable: Favorite DraftKings Play for Week 8

Every week this season, our contributors will give their favorite plays for the week in DraftKings contests.

Q: Who is your favorite DraftKings play for Week 8?

Brendan Donahue - Todd Gurley, St. Louis Rams (vs. SF), $6,300

I am going to keep riding the Gurley Train until DraftKings decides to wake up and price him accordingly. Was he the most owned player last week? Yes, but he still delivered and if you didn't have him, you most likely had a hard time cashing. Coming off of a 35.3-point performance, he is still only $6,300 and going against a San Francisco defense that has given up the sixth-most fantasy points to running backs this season. Fade at your own risk!

Sean Beazley - Todd Gurley, St. Louis Rams (vs. SF), $6,300

Chasing big weeks is generally something I don't do, but sometimes it is warranted. One cash game must for me this week is Rams RB Todd Gurley. Gurley's price was bumped $1,300 to $6,300, but I believe this is still too good to pass up. Gurley had 23 touches last week, and I expect the same, if not more, vs. the 49ers. The Rams are eight-point favorites at home so the game script in this one should go Gurley's way.

Bonus Play: Saints D $2000. The Saints defense has scored in double digits the past two weeks and that is against two pretty good offenses (Indy and Atlanta). I do not like a lot of options this week at the position, so punting with a home team who does have a return threat to take one to the house is a very sneaky play. This play along with some of the other value plays really sets you up to roster some of the big stars this week that I absolutely love.

Ryan Watterson - Stefon Diggs, WR, Minnesota Vikings (at CHI), $4,800

Diggs is Teddy Bridgewater's new favorite target and the only Vikings WR that has produced much of anything with his opportunities. Coming off a strong performance against the Lions, Diggs takes on a Bears defense that is one of the worst in the league against the pass. Diggs represents great value this week at the WR position and allows you to spend elsewhere.

Kevin Hanson - Mike Evans, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (at ATL), $6,800

For me, Gurley is an obvious choice at running back and a strong consideration to list here, but considering Brendan and Sean both went with Gurley, I'll change it up for a little variety. I also considered listing Justin Forsett as the Chargers have allowed the most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season. In fact, they have allowed a top-9 weekly finish in six of seven games, four 100-yard rushing games and 10 touchdowns to the position this year.

My favorite receiver for tournaments this week is Tampa's Mike Evans. One of the more talented young receivers in the NFL, the 22-year-old Evans had a huge game following Tampa's bye with eight catches on 12 targets for 164 yards and a score against Washington last week. While it was Evans first touchdown of the 2015 season, he is one of the better red-zone options at 6-foot-5 and finished with 12 touchdowns as a rookie last year. Given the team's injuries at receiver (Louis Murphy out for the year and Vincent Jackson expected to miss this week's game), Evans should be targeted heavily in a game they are expected to trail. There is plenty of upside for Evans this week at a modest cost ($6,800).

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October 22, 2015

Week 7 Fantasy Football: 6 Undervalued Players in PPR Leagues

Week 7 is the first real week where we are going to feel the effects of the bye weeks. To this point, it’s almost felt like there haven’t been any byes even though they started three weeks ago. Outside of New England in Week 4, there haven’t been many teams on bye that are loaded with fantasy studs. The occasional player sure, but nothing to the extent that most fantasy teams were impacted to any real extent.

That all changes this week with Cincinnati, Green Bay, Chicago and Denver all on bye. While each team has a presumed fantasy stud struggling, there are still plenty of regular fantasy starters and early-round draft picks that will be out of commission this week. This puts an emphasis on making the right decisions with your team’s depth in order to escape “byemageddon” with a win.

Looking at Week 6 results, it was a pretty solid week altogether. The total YTD points moved into the positive and while the WR YTD total is still in the negative, it is trending in the right direction and is the only negative position total.

Week 6 Results
QBsRBsWRsTEsTotal
-4.0+21.1+23.8-2.7+38.2
YTD Results
QBsRBsWRsTEsTotal
+19.4+29.3-31.6+13.3+30.4

* Stats are based on players recommended (compared to options listed to start those players over).

Best of the week -- LeGarrette Blount +35.3: Blount received the most touches out of the Patriots backfield last week, converting 16 carries into 93 yards and a TD, while also catching 1 ball for a second TD. Comparatively, Melvin Gordon and Duke Johnson had sub-standard games, to say the least.

Runner up -- John Brown +34.1: Another big game for Brown. Jarvis Landry also had a solid day, but paled in comparison to Brown’s 29-point outing. Willie Snead wasn’t awful, but fell just short of 10 points.

Worst of the week -- Marcus Mariota -18.3: Well, my assumption that Miami wouldn’t be able to turn it around under a new head coach ... that quickly was wrong. It didn’t help that Mariota got hurt and couldn’t finish the game, but even before then, he was struggling against a reinvigorated Dolphins defense. Russell Wilson and Jay Cutler both had solid outings, scoring 21 and 22 points, respectively.

Runner up -- Antonio Andrews -14.2: Again, I was wrong about the Dolphins. Andrews started the game fairly well, but fell off the map as the Titans fell behind early. Neither Ameer Abdullah or Rashad Jennings put together a big game by any means, but they did more than Andrews.

Quarterbacks

Brian Hoyer – Houston Texans
FantasyPros ECR – 15

Hoyer has been effective since taking over the Texans job from Ryan Mallett. Last week he put up 293 yards and 3 TDs, albeit against the Jags. Regardless, he does have DeAndre Hopkins to throw to, who can get open against just about anyone. Miami looked much better on defense last week and are top 10 in FPA to QBs, but they still rank 25th in DVOA against the pass. Hoyer has put up back-to-back big games against teams that ranked 26th and 31st in pass defense DVOA, so I think it sets up well for another sneaky good week.

Consider starting him over:
- Ryan Fitzpatrick – ECR 13. He gets the Pats this week. They will do everything they can to take away Brandon Marshall, which severely impacts Fitzpatrick’s fantasy production.
- Matthew Stafford – ECR 12. I’m a Lions fan and I’m still not buying last week’s performance as a sign of things to come.

Running Backs

Doug Martin – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
FantasyPros ECR – 16

Martin has been on a tear the past two weeks. And I fully understand that he gets a Redskins run defense that has been very good this year, but they have given up big games to RBs the past two weeks and are looking more vulnerable. The game flow should give Martin plenty of opportunities, as neither team has the offense to pull away from their opponent. I like Martin to continue his productive pace as the focal point of this offense.

Consider starting him over:
- Dion Lewis – ECR 9. Lewis is still not fully healthy and Blount is eating into his playing time more and more with his recent production. Also, the Jets are the No. 1 run defense in the league. Additionally, they rank 10th against RBs as receivers, so all in all, it doesn’t setup well for Lewis.
DeMarco Murray – ECR 14. Carolina gives up a good amount of points to RBs, but they rank No. 5 in terms of total rush yards allowed. Additionally, nearly 50 percent of Murray’s points this season are via the pass game – Carolina ranks 10th in DVOA against RBs as receivers.

Rashad Jennings – New York Giants
FantasyPros ECR – 27

Jennings has been limited by the Giants offensive line and the timeshare that is the Giants backfield. It’s not like he is setting the world on fire when he does get his opportunity, but he has been the most effective RB on the team. Additionally, while Shane Vereen was supposed to eat into his work in the passing game, Jennings has still managed around three catches per game, which has boosted his weekly point total an average of seven over the past four weeks. He faces off against a Cowboys defense that gives up the second-most fantasy points to RBs and ranks 29th against RBs as receivers in DVOA. While he will continue to share looks, I think his recent production (4.4 YPC over last three games) will garner him some more looks. I could see 15 carries with a handful of catches, which should be enough to be productive against the Cowboys. Hell, maybe he will even get his first TD since Week 1.

Consider starting him over:
- Jonathan Stewart – ECR 23. Before last week, Stewart had yet to score a TD or crack 70 yards on the ground. As up and down as Philly has been, their run defense has been stout, ranking third in both FPA and DVOA. Expect Stewart to struggle.
Chris Thompson – ECR 25. Thompson draws his value primarily as a receiver out of the backfield. Well, guess who is surprisingly very good against RBs as receivers? You got it, the Bucs, who rank fifth in DVOA.

Wide Receivers

Martavis Bryant – Pittsburgh Steelers
FantasyPros ECR – 25

Bryant picked up where he left off last season, putting up a huge game in his season debut. Expect more of the same this week. Big Ben may be returning (although Landry Jones had zero issue connecting with Bryant) and they get the Chiefs defense, who not only give up the most FPs to WRs, they also rank 29th in DVOA against WR2’s specifically. Bryant should enjoy this one.

Consider starting him over:
- Mike Evans – ECR 19. Evans continues to disappoint and the Bucs continue to focus more on running the ball. Even if they do air it out this week, Evans hasn’t been all that effective and gets a defense that is eighth against WR1’s in DVOA.
- Allen Robinson – ECR 11. Robinson has been impressive over the last three weeks, but expectations need to be tempered this week due to the matchup. The Bills are No. 1 against WR1’s in DVOA, so while they surrender a lot of FPs to WRs, I see a lot of those points going to Allen Hurns and company. Bortles has shown the ability to spread the ball and not force feed any single receiver, with five players having at least 20 targets on the season.

Pierre Garcon – Washington Redskins
FantasyPros ECR – 23

Garcon has been heavily targeted over the past several weeks with DeSean Jackson injured, producing solid numbers for the most part. This week, he gets a chance to break out with a big game. Facing the Bucs, who are 24th in FPA to WRs and dead last in DVOA against WR1’s, Garcon will have ample opportunity to exploit a weak secondary and reach WR1 status this week. If you're debating between him and another player borderline WR2, I suggest Garcon due to his upside.

Consider starting him over:
- Mike Evans – ECR 19. See above.
- Jordan Matthews – ECR 21. After a hot start to the season, Matthews’ production has been trending downwards. That’s bad news against a Panthers ranked third in defensive pass efficiency and eighth in FPA to WRs.

Tight End

Charles Clay – Buffalo Bills
FantasyPros ECR – 7

With all of the injuries in Buffalo, Clay is likely to be a target monster this week. Against the Jags, that’s bound to be a good thing. Jacksonville is 19th in FPA to TEs, but 30th in efficiency. With the potential number of opportunities he could get, Clay could exploit that inefficiency and have a big week.

Consider starting him over:
- Gary Barnidge – ECR 6. Barnidge has been one of the biggest fantasy surprises this season and is the focal point of Josh McCown’s targets. But St. Louis is pretty good against TEs, ranking 9th in FPA and 10th in DVOA. Barnidge is sure to produce given the number of targets, but I would temper expectations this week.

Thanks for reading and good luck in Week 7!

Check out my full Week 7 Fantasy Football PPR Rankings and follow me on twitter @rw11687.

Continue reading "Week 7 Fantasy Football: 6 Undervalued Players in PPR Leagues" »


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DFS Roundtable: Favorite DraftKings Play for Week 7

Every week this season, our contributors will give their favorite plays for the week in DraftKings contests.

Q: Who is your favorite DraftKings play for Week 7?

Brendan Donahue - Todd Gurley, RB, St. Louis Rams (vs. CLE), $5,000

If you want the definition of a workhorse running back, take a look at Todd Gurley's past two games. Gurley has averaged 24.5 carries per game for 152.5 yards per game, so I think it's safe to say he's recovered from his injury and you can start him with confidence. He couldn't have a much better matchup this week going against the Browns at home who are giving up a league-high 149.8 yards rushing per game. At just $5,000, I expect him to be highly owned but he is just too good of a value this week to pass up.

Sean Beazley - Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons (at TEN), $9,100

There are a number of extremely chalky plays this week. If you aren't all over players like Antonio Gates, and Todd Gurley this week in your cash game, then you're probably a losing player in DFS. Gates was a lock for me before the salaries were released playing the Raiders who are awful vs TEs. Gates has been targeted 27 times in his first two games of the season. At the price of $5,000 you would be extremely foolish to not target him. Gurley, the other chalk play of the week, also sits at $5,000. Gurley will no doubt get 20-plus carries this week, and it wouldn't shock me to see him get around 30 given how I expect the game to go on Sunday.

My favorite tournament option of the week is Julio Jones. Jones is the perfect pivot off DeAndre Hopkins. I expect Hopkins to be among the highest owned players this week given receny bias. I believe this same bias (Julio's recent struggles), and the fact that Julio Jones costs $500 more than Hopkins will make Jones extremely under-owned. I also believe that Julio's teammate Devanta Freeman will be very popular, which also should keep people off Jones as pairing a RB/WR together is not usually a smart move. The Falcons played the Titans this pre-season and Jones absolutely dominated the Titans secondary. This was without CB Jason McCourty, but let's be honest, nobody can slow down a healthy Julio Jones. There are plenty of cheap options this week so you should have no problem fitting Jones in. You have the Rams D at a ridiculous $2400 vs. the Browns at home, and you could always go double TE for the savings.

Ryan Watterson - Todd Gurley, RB, St. Louis Rams (vs. CLE), $5,000

Gurley won't be this cheap for long, take advantage while you can. Gurley gets a Cleveland team that ranks 28th against RBs by DraftKings standards, and he will be the primary focus of this offense given the lack of other weapons - he had 30 carries last game. Given he is likely to touch the ball as much as anyone else this week, and has one of the best matchups, he is a must-start. Without question, he will be one of the most highly-owned players this week, but you can't afford to fade him in the majority of lineups.

Kevin Hanson - Todd Gurley, RB, St. Louis Rams (vs. CLE), $5,000

Coming off a torn ACL, Gurley sat the first two weeks of the season and was eased into action in Week 3. Since then, however, the talented top-10 pick from Georgia has carried the ball 49 times for 305 yards in his past two games. Now healthy and coming off his team's bye, Gurley is in line for another massive workload and the matchup couldn't be much more favorable.

The Browns have allowed a 100-yard rusher -- Latavius Murray (Week 3), Justin Forsett (Week 5) and Ronnie Hillman (Week 6) -- in three of their past four games. (And in Week 4, Danny Woodhead had 138 yards from scrimmage.) There is no doubt that Gurley will be one of the highest-owned players this week, but he's as safe as it gets with the upside for a monster game.

Dan Yanotchko - John Brown, WR, Arizona Cardinals (vs. BAL), $5,500

This week I am going with John Brown of Arizona, who has one of the best matchups against a very bad Ravens secondary. Brown has had a great start to the season, registering 33 catches for 497 yards and two touchdowns. The Ravens have been very bad on the back end, giving up 286 yards and 27 points per game. The league's highest-scoring offense, going against Baltimore in their second week in a row out west on the road? Yes, please.

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October 15, 2015

Week 6 Fantasy Football: 8 Undervalued Players in PPR Leagues

Week 5 turned in mixed results, with some big winners and big losers in regards to the players picked in last week’s article.

Wide receivers continue to be extreme highs and extreme lows, and represent the only negative YTD return for each position. Let’s see if we can turn that around and get it moving in a positive direction this week!

Week 5 Results
QBsRBsWRsTEsTotal
0.0-5.9-16.4+23.0+0.7
YTD Results
QBsRBsWRsTEsTotal
-23.4+8.2-55.4+16.0-7.8

* Stats are based on players recommended (compared to options listed to start those players over).

Best of the week -- Tyler Eifert +23: Eifert had a monster game and turned in the second-best TE performance, save Antonio Gates. He scored 2 TDs and made one incredible catch along the way. On the other side of the same game, Jimmy Graham continued to disappoint his owners with a measly 6 points.

Runner up -- John Brown +19.7: See what I mean about extreme highs and lows? My second-best individual pick of the week was a WR, yet the position as a whole still was a negative return. Brown had a great game against the Lions as expected, while Kendall Wright and Amari Cooper both had sub-par performances.

Worst of the week -- Leonard Hankerson -33.3: Hankerson only received four targets after averaging eight per game over the previous three outings. It’s not like Julio Jones was a man on fire and stealing all the looks either. Just one of those odd games where the situation was set up well, but it just didn’t play out. As for the players I suggested starting him over, Brandin Cooks finally had a big game despite the Saints offense struggling for the entire game. Golden Tate was extremely inefficient, but had plenty of opportunities (18 targets!) in a game where the Lions were down big in the first half.

Runner up -- C.J. Spiller -13.8: Sean Payton is losing his status as an offensive genius, at least in my eyes. The Saints offense has largely struggled this season, yet they fail to utilize their most physically gifted weapon with any level of consistency. It’s truly mind-boggling. I figured after Spiller won the previous game for them with a game-breaking 80-yard catch and run, they would realize he should be more involved. Nope. Seems they are content with struggling offensively and watching their defense get lit up. On the flip side, Jeremy Hill did nothing either, but Carlos Hyde’s performance is the primary reason for the negative discrepancy.

Quarterbacks

Marcus MariotaTennessee Titans
FantasyPros ECR – 15

Mariota had his first poor game as a pro last week, putting up only 13 points. I think that has more to do with the Bills defense than anything else, and don’t believe it to be a foreshadow of continued struggles. The one positive from that game was the 47 rushing yards Mariota put up. He has the skill set to run, but we haven’t seen a lot of it so far. Perhaps this is a sign of more to come.

This week, Mariota gets a Miami defense that is second to last in defensive pass efficiency, not to mention in a complete state of flux with the recent coaching changes. Maybe the interim staff helps turn this around, but even if that does occur, it isn’t likely to be in the first game. I think Mariota bounces back in a big way and puts up a big outing.

Consider starting him over:
- Russell Wilson – ECR 10. The Panthers are a top-notch defensive unit, ranking third in fewest FPA to QBs and fourth in efficiency. Given the continued offensive line struggles, I think Wilson turns in a mediocre performance.
- Jay Cutler – ECR 14. The Lions have been awful this season, but they are desperate to get off the winless mark, but the problem hasn’t really been the defense. While they got beat up last week, they have actually held their own fairly well. I think they put up a strong defensive performance and Cutler struggles this week.

Blake BortlesJacksonville Jaguars
FantasyPros ECR – 16

I had a hard time even writing his name. But the matchup is good and we know he will get the volume. Houston is 27th in both defensive pass efficiency and FPA to QBs. Last week, they let a 40-year-old Matt Hasselbeck look good enough to produce some rumblings on whether the Colts should sit Andrew Luck in favor of him (I’m not one of those people, just to be clear). Bortles has been an effective fantasy QB for most games this season, scoring at least 19 points in every game since Week 2, and coming off a 28-point performance last week. He has the opportunity and the playmakers around him to put up a top-eight performance again this week.

Consider starting him over:
- Russell Wilson – ECR 10. See above.
- Jay Cutler – ECR 14. See above.

Running Backs

LeGarrette BlountNew England Patriots
FantasyPros ECR – 23

Blount has averaged over 15 carries in the past two games, and while Dion Lewis is in the mix, he has taken on more of the passing game role since Blount’s return. Anyone remember what Blount did to the Colts the last time they played? 148 yards and 3 TDs in the AFC Championship Game. That also happens to be the game that brought along Deflategate. (I hate myself for even using that term. Can we stop with adding “gate” to the end of every scandal, please?) I don’t think the Patriots are going to be very forgiving in the first matchup with the Colts since then. They will attempt to bury them and Blount will be a big part of that, either in milking the clock during the second half, or with multiple goal line carries in a blowout.

Consider starting him over:
- Melvin Gordon – ECR 22. Four out of five Chargers offensive lineman are hurt in some fashion. And I expect the Chargers to be passing a lot to keep up with the Packers. Gordon has been more involved in the passing game, but Woodhead is still the better option for those scenarios.
- Duke Johnson – ECR 19. Johnson is still in a committee situation with Isaiah Crowell and they face the daunting Broncos defense this week. Not overly optimistic about his situation this week.

Antonio AndrewsTennessee Titans
FantasyPros ECR – 32

Andrews was on here last week as well. While he did very little with his seven carries from a yards perspective, he did get a TD and is the goal-line back as expected. He also caught three of four targets for a solid 45 yards. As I stated last week, Sankey has had more than enough opportunity and it’s clear the Titans don’t trust him anymore. Andrews will continue to be involved and at least has the goal-line duties. His production in the passing game is also a path to increased playing time. Similar to what I said with Mariota, the Dolphins are below average against the run, and I don’t think that changes the first week after firing their head coach and defensive coordinator.

Consider starting him over:
- Ameer Abdullah – ECR 28. This offense is about as bad as it gets right now, and the Bears are ninth in FPA to RBs. Abdullah has had no running room, has had significant ball-security issues, and it’s been rumored that Zach Zenner may be getting more involved. Stay away from this team if you can until they prove otherwise.
- Rashad Jennings – ECR 29. Jennings leads the committee, but has the worst role from a fantasy perspective. Vereen is the passing-down back and Williams is getting the goal-line carries. Tough to be a reliable fantasy player in that situation.

Wide Receivers

John Brown – Arizona Cardinals
FantasyPros ECR – 26

Another repeat from last week, but for good reason. Brown again has a great matchup against the Steelers, who rank 30th in efficiency against WR2’s. There isn’t much more to say, he’s the No. 2 guy in a good offense with a great matchup.

Consider starting him over:
- Jarvis Landry – ECR 19. Landry has a tough matchup against the Titans. Sounds crazy, right? Its true though. They rank second in FPA to WRs and are No. 1 against WR1’s in defensive efficiency.
- Willie Snead – ECR 22. The Thursday games tend to be hard on offenses, and while Snead has been a bright spot, the Saints offense as a whole has struggled. The Falcons are No. 5 and No. 11 against WR1 and WR2’s respectively, so whatever you consider Snead to be on this team, it’s not a great matchup. I like Snead, just not in love with him this week.

Kendall Wright – Tennessee Titans
FantasyPros ECR – 23

Wright has been on and off this season, either putting up a big game or doing next to nothing. I think this is one of the good weeks. He is clearly the No. 1 option in the passing game and has a good rapport with Mariota. The Dolphins rank dead last against WR1’s in efficiency and 25th in FPA to WRs. The matchup is set for him to have a solid outing.

Consider starting him over:
- Jarvis Landry – ECR 19. See above.
- Willie Snead – ECR 22. See above.

Tight End

Jacob TammeAtlanta Falcons
FantasyPros ECR – 17

A gamble, I know, but Matt Ryan showed faith in him last week and was rewarded with a big game. The Saints represent a fantastic matchup, ranking 31st against TEs in efficiency and 28th in FPA. With an ailing Julio Jones, they will need others to make plays as Jones may serve as a bit of a decoy. Tamme is in a good situation to match last week’s output.

Consider starting him over:
-Kyle Rudolph- ECR 15. Kansas City isn’t necessarily strong against TEs defensively, but this looks like a low-scoring game, and it’s hard to trust the Vikings pass game at this point.

Thanks for reading and good luck in Week 6!

Check out my full Week 6 Fantasy Football PPR Rankings and follow me on twitter @rw11687.

Continue reading "Week 6 Fantasy Football: 8 Undervalued Players in PPR Leagues" »


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October 14, 2015

DFS Roundtable: Favorite DraftKings Play for Week 6

Every week this season, our contributors will give their favorite plays for the week in DraftKings contests.

Q: Who is your favorite DraftKings play for Week 6?

Sean Beazley - Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots (at IND), $7,600

Last week for me was pretty rough especially with Jamaal Charles in all my cash lineups, and heavily used in the majority of my GPP lineups. This week, I'm going nearly all-in again and I'm going with Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski. I was completely wrong on Gronk last week, and paired with Charles you can get how awesome my Week 5 was.

Gronk is the most expensive TE on the board again at $7,600 but still is much cheaper than some of the elite WRs on the site. The Patriots sit as nearly double-digit fanvorites on Sunday, and the total is at 55.5. This is by far the biggest total of the week. This is the biggest FU game of the season for Tom Brady and the Pats since this is where Deflategate started. There is a concern that the Patriots take to the ground vs. the Colts since they racked up over 400 yards versus them last year in two meetings, but I think this is all about Brady.

I'll be trying to squeeze Brady in as my QB in my cash lineups as well, but for $400 savings you can get Aaron Rodgers, who has just a high as floor this week as Brady does in my opinion. The Patriots have scored six offensive touchdowns in each of their last three games vs. the Colts. I don't see any reason why they can't do that again on Sunday. I'm calling for a 30+ point week for Gronkowski, and the best part of it is the game is on Sunday Night. If you do not have a piece of this offense in your cash game this week, you will most likely lose.

Bonus GPP Stack - Colin Kaepernick/Anquan Boldin ($9,300 combined): The Ravens secondary has been god awful this season. They have made Derek Carr, Andy Dalton, and Josh McCown all look like Hall-of-Fame QBs. Playing this stack will definitely allow you to get a piece of all the top totals games (NE/IND, SD/GB, PHI/NYG) this week.

Brendan Donahue - Matt Forte, RB, Chicago Bears (at DET), $7,100

If you want someone who is guaranteed touches on a weekly basis, then Forte is your guy. He's averaged 20 carries and four receptions per game through the first five weeks. The only week he didn't have a reception was when Cutler was out so with him back, expect Forte to continue to get his targets in the passing game against a weak Detroit defense who will be out with Deandre Levy this week, so I expect him to finish as a top-three RB this week.

Ryan Watterson - Charcandrick West, RB, Kansas City Chiefs (), $4,000

With Jamaal Charles done for the season, West will be first in line to take the lead role for the rest of the season. He has the speed to be a game-breaker and with the increased opportunities, West has the chance to return significant value for his $4,000 salary.

Kevin Hanson - Willie Snead, WR, New Orleans Saints (vs. NO), $3,300

Leading the team with 381 receiving yards, Snead has emerged as the team's most reliable receiver through the first five weeks of the season and he's on pace for 1,219 yards for the season. With 89 and 141 yards in his past two games, respectively, Snead now has at least five catches in three consecutive games. Even though the Saints are underdogs, they are still projected to score the fifth-most points this week based on Vegas odds. In what should be a high-scoring game, Snead has a solid floor with plenty of upside and his $3,300 price tag (60th-highest WR salary) offers owners plenty of salary-cap relief to afford higher-priced studs in other spots.

Dan Yanotchko - Anquan Boldin, WR, San Francisco 49ers (vs. BAL), $4,300

This week, I really like Anquan Boldin of the 49ers, as he has a great matchup, and awesome price point at $4,300. Boldin had a great week against a bad Giants secondary, as he had eight catches for 108 yards and a TD. This week he gets another bad secondary in the Ravens, who have given up 288 yards passing per game, and their defense allows 27.4 points per game.

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October 08, 2015

Week 5 Fantasy Football: 8 Undervalued Players in PPR Leagues

Week 4 sucked. Every week has its ups and downs, especially when you play in multiple leagues – you’re bound to lose a few every week unless the stars align – but usually the good outweighs the bad, or at least there is some good to keep the morale up. Last week had next to nothing for me. My teams struggled across the board, my advice in this column was poor, and my DFS results were less than mediocre. All in all, a pretty terrible week.

But guess what? That’s gonna happen. Everyone is going to have weeks like that. No matter how good or bad a fantasy owner is, the ups and downs happen to everyone. We have to remember, fantasy sports is very much a gamble. I liken it to the stock market or poker. You can be as educated and skillful as possible, but ultimately we are at the mercy of something we have zero control over. The best we can do is make decisions based on reason and logic, while taking the right amount of calculated risks, and hope for the best. In the long run, the better players will come out on top.

I have won at least one championship every year for the past decade, and have always come out profitable to varying degrees. And in every single one of those seasons, I had at least one horrible week. Probably closer to two if I am being honest. That is not intended to be a “brag” by any means, I am simply using my own experiences to illustrate the point. No matter how bad one week can be, keep your head up. Don’t let it impact your decisions, or cause you to lose interest and be less diligent in your weekly preparation. If anything, use it as motivation to buckle down.

Now on to the results from last week.

Week 4 Results
QBsRBsWRsTEsTotal
-0.8+2.8-40.10.0-38.1
YTD Results
QBsRBsWRsTEsTotal
+23.4+14.1-39.0-7.0-8.5

* Stats are based on players recommended (compared to options listed to start those players over).

Best of the week -- Chris Johnson + 19.1: Johnson had a solid, if unspectacular, outing last week. I expected a bit more from him, but he did outperform his ECR and outscored both Lamar Miller and Matt Jones by a good margin.

Runner up -- Michael Crabtree +1.8: Similar to Johnson, Crabtree didn’t wow anyone but put up a good day and outperformed his ECR. This number would actually have been much better if it weren’t for a strong outing from Pierre Garcon. Mike Evans was a dud, which helped counter Garcon’s output and put this pick in the black.

Worst of the week -- Percy Harvin -38: My goal by season's end is to have all positive numbers in the YTD results section. I think a positive overall +/- would be pretty good considering I am picking “underdogs” each week. But if that is going to happen, I can’t have results like this. Harvin (and really, the Bills as a whole) was a total disappointment last week. The offense posted 10 points, after averaging 33 per game previously. Compounding the problem were the aforementioned Garcon, and a back from the dead Vincent Jackson, who had more receptions and yards in Week 4 than the first three games combined.

Runner up -- DeMarco Murray -16.3: Think Murray regrets leaving Dallas? The Eagles are not utilizing Murray very well. He is not a timeshare back, he gets better with the more carries he receives. Thought Chip Kelley would figure that out; I was wrong.

Quarterbacks

Alex SmithKansas City Chiefs
FantasyPros ECR – 14

Smith is the 12th-overall QB in fantasy so far this season, and had it not been for a poor Week 2 performance, he would likely be somewhere between 6 and 10. I know, we can’t just ignore that performance, but consider that is was against Denver and on a Thursday night. That’s a tough combination. In every other game, Smith has scored at least 21.8 points, and they weren’t exactly cupcake defenses either. The fact is, the Chiefs defense hasn’t been very good this year. The offense has had to open up more to stay in games. And while the Bears don’t represent a high-powered offense, Jay Cutler is back and reports say Alshon Jeffery should return as well.

I expect the current trend to continue, with Smith having to throw more often than we are accustomed to seeing. Against a Bears defense that gives up the eighth-most points to QBs and ranks 29th in pass efficiency, Smith should have no trouble putting up points.

Consider starting him over:
- Marcus Mariota – ECR 13. I love Mariota and have been extremely impressed with how he has started his career. While the Bills have been a bit up and down so far this season, the talent is there defensively. Coming off a bad loss, I expect them to turn it up a notch. And while the Bills give up the fifth-most points to QBs, their pass efficiency rating is actually No. 7 in the league. Typically, that indicates the fantasy points allowed are going to trend downwards, which I think starts this week.
- Russell Wilson – ECR 10. The Seahawks offensive line has been a sieve and Wilson has been under siege quite a bit this season. He has the scrambling ability to mitigate those issues, but he isn’t getting time to stand in the pocket and deliver the ball downfield. The Bengals are sixth in the league in sacks and have an all-around good defense. While the Seahawks typically travel well, I think a cross-country trip on a short week, against a good team, is a tough task. Wilson may struggle a bit as a result.

Sam BradfordPhiladelphia Eagles
FantasyPros ECR – 12

Bradford showed his potential in this offense last week, throwing for 270 yards and 3 TDs. It’s hard to know what to expect from him after just one good week, but against a Saints defense that is terrible against the pass (second-most fantasy points to QBs; dead last in pass efficiency), I believe we will see another big performance. My projections have him at the 11th QB this week, but with an upside of top four. He’s worth the risk. If he can’t perform well in this matchup, it’s safe to say the Eagles season (and most likely Chip Kelly’s NFL career) are in serious jeopardy.

Consider starting him over:
- Tyrod Taylor – ECR 11. I’m back and forth on this guy. I bet against him two weeks ago, then suggested him last week, and now back to betting against him. I just don’t have him figured out I guess. I will say that without Sammy Watkins, LeSean McCoy, and potentially Karlos Williams, it’s hard to see how he can perform. Plus, this Titans defense isn’t a pushover. They currently rank sixth in overall team defense efficiency. I don’t think it’s a fluke either, given Ray Horton and Dick Lebeau are two of the best defensive minds in the league.

Running Backs

Antonio AndrewsTennessee Titans
FantasyPros ECR – 41

Andrews is a second-year undrafted free agent from Western Kentucky who didn’t play the first few games due to an injury. In the Titans last game, Andrews had 12 carries for 49 yards and a TD, while adding on a reception for 12 yards. At 5’10” and 225 pounds, Andrews is a power back that can pick up the tough yards. The Titans clearly don’t trust Bishop Sankey, and forgive me for not getting on the Dexter McCluster train, he is who he is at this point in his career. That gives Andrews the potential for more opportunity, especially at the goal line given his stature. I think this backfield will remain a committee for the forseeable future, but I like Andrews to lead the way this week. The Bills haven’t given up many points to RBs, but they rank 28th in run efficiency, so I would expect the run game to be effective if they stick to it.

Consider starting him over:
- C.J. Anderson – ECR 30. It was announced this week that Hillman and Anderson are essentially co-starters in Denver and will be splitting carries. That’s a death sentence for a back whose only current value was tied to opportunities. Anderson has been as big of a bust as you can find this year and there is nothing to suggest that trend will reverse. And not that Denver needs much resistance in the run game to falter, but the Raiders run defense has actually been good, ranking ninth in efficiency.
- Isaiah Crowell – ECR 36. Duke Johnson will only get more and more involved, taking carries from Crowell in the process. The Ravens had a few extra days to prepare and let’s face it, the Ravens are going to focus on shutting down the run. They aren’t scared of Josh McCown beating them.
- David Johnson – ECR 38. With Ellington set to return this week and Chris Johnson earning a larger role. It seems the rookie is going to see a reduction in playing time. It’s not due to talent, but Arians has been rough on Johnson at times and doesn’t seem to trust him enough at this point to give him work over either of the other two backs.

C.J. SpillerNew Orleans Saints

FantasyPros ECR – 22

Call it a hunch (or common sense), but I expect the Saints to give Spiller more touches this week. After returning from injury, Spiller was surprisingly underutilized in the first few games. Last week, there was talk of a concerted effort to get Spiller involved. That was mildly true, as he had four catches and two carries through regulation. However, he took a screen pass 80 yards for a TD in OT to clinch the Saints a win. Given the lack of production the receiving corps has provided to this point, wouldn’t it be wise to get Spiller in a Sproles type role to add a consistent receiving threat to the mix? I think Sean Payton realizes this and is going to incorporate him heavily into the game plan.

Consider starting him over:
- Jeremy Hill – ECR 20. Hill is essentially a TD-dependent option at this point. Gio Bernard is getting more touches and has been significantly more productive. Hill just happens to be the goal-line back, which makes him very hit or miss on a weekly basis. With Chancellor back, the Seahawks run defense is scary again. I think Bernard has a better chance of success by getting into open space, which will phase Hill out of the game plan early on. Perhaps he does get a TD, but those are so hard to predict, especially against this type of run defense.
- Carlos Hyde – ECR 17. Hyde hasn’t done much since Week 1, and I’m not sure why that would change this week. The Giants are actually the No. 1 run defense from an efficiency perspective, and the Niners pass game doesn’t exactly help open up run lanes.

Wide Receivers

John BrownArizona Cardinals
FantasyPros ECR – 26

Brown is the clear No. 2 WR in the high-powered Cardinals offense. He has scored at least nine points in every game this year, and put up a 7/75/0 line last week against a vaunted Rams defense. This week the Cardinals get the Detroit Lions. While their offense has been atrocious, the defense has been making strides. However, they struggle mightily against No. 2 WR’s – ranking 30th in efficiency against that position. Darius Slay will likely be covering Larry Fitzgerald most of the day, leaving John Brown against an aging Rashean Mathis. I see at least eight targets going Brown’s way, and the potential to break a deep one.

Consider starting him over:
- Kendall Wright – ECR 23. Wright is clearly the top dog in Tennessee, becoming the favorite target of Mariota early this season. The problem this week is Stephon Gilmore. The Bills rank No. 1 in efficiency against WR1’s largely due to his coverage skills. Mariota is not a gunslinger willing to throw into tight spots. He is a very smart QB that prides himself of not turning the ball over. With Gilmore blanketing Wright, I see Mariota looking elsewhere most of the day.
- Amari Cooper – ECR 19. Cooper is a stud, but it’s hard to see a rookie WR doing much against the top CB tandem in the league, regardless of who covers him. The Broncos are 4-0 solely due to their defense. We can no longer expect shootouts or garbage time production from their opponents trying to play catchup. This offense is focused on producing enough points to win, and allowing the defense to carry the torch.

Leonard HankersonAtlanta Falcons
FantasyPros ECR – 29

Hankerson has clearly surpassed Roddy White as the No. 2 WR on this team. Last week he had the most targets on the team and put up a line of 6/103/1 against Houston. This week, the Falcons get the Redskins, who rank 29th in efficiency against WR2’s. Against WR1’s, they actually do quite well, ranking eighth. If last week is any indication, Ryan is beginning to trust Hankerson and will get him the ball when the defense is focused on limiting Julio Jones. While I expect Julio to bounce back from a rough game last week, I think Hankerson will see a lot of targets again as he primarily sees 1-on-1 coverage.

Consider starting him over:
- Golden Tate – ECR 27. Can’t trust anyone on the Lions offense at this point, especially against a stout Cardinals secondary.
- Brandin Cooks – ECR 25. Cooks is the No. 1 target in this offense, but he primarily runs underneath routes and doesn’t gain a lot of yardage per target. He is good for somewhere around 5/50 each game, give or take a few, but lacks the big play upside. His longest gain on the season was 30 yards in Week 1. Since then, his longest gain in each game has steadily decreased. He is a safe play in PPR due to his catches, but he won’t break long gains and isn’t a red-zone threat. Hankerson has more upside.

Rueben RandleNew York Giants
FantasyPros ECR – 33

Randle has been more involved the past two weeks and gets a Niners defense that has struggled mightily on the road, giving up an average of 45 points in their two road games this season. They rank dead last in efficiency against WR2’s, and in the two aforementioned games, the WR2’s averaged 13.5 points. With Randle getting more involved, a struggling run game, and OBJ getting a lot of defensive attention, Randle has a chance to post a big game.

Consider starting him over:
- Golden Tate – ECR 27. See above.
- Terrance Williams – ECR 32. While Williams is the de facto No. 1 WR, he still has Weeden throwing him the ball. And the Cowboys host the Patriots, who are coming off a bye week. Those are some tough variables to overcome.

Tight Ends

Tyler EifertCincinnati Bengals
FantasyPros ECR – 7

After an explosive start to the season, Eifert has slowed the past two weeks. He will be up and down given the number of weapons the Bengals have, but I think this is an “up” week for him. For as good as Seattle has been defensively over the past few seasons, they have always struggled against TEs. This year is no different, as they give up the ninth-most fantasy points to TEs, and rank 30th in efficiency against the position. Eifert should get a lot of looks over the middle this week.

Consider starting him over:
- Jimmy Graham – ECR 6. On the contrary, the Bengals are quite good against TEs. They give up 10 PPG to TEs, which is 12th-best in the league. They also rank ninth in efficiency. Graham has been inconsistent this season and will likely continue to be. I don’t see this being one of his better games.

Thanks for reading and good luck in Week 5!

Check out my full Week 5 Fantasy Football PPR Rankings and follow me on twitter @rw11687.

Continue reading "Week 5 Fantasy Football: 8 Undervalued Players in PPR Leagues" »


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October 07, 2015

DFS Roundtable: Favorite DraftKings Play for Week 5

Every week this season, our contributors will give their favorite plays for the week in DraftKings contests.

Q: Who is your favorite DraftKings play for Week 5?

Sean Beazley - Jamaal Charles, RB, Kansas City Chiefs (vs. CHI), $7,800

I rarely have 100-percent exposure to a player, and there is good reason not to in tournaments, but this week I absolutely love Jamaal Charles and he will be the centerpiece in the majority of my lineups. The Chiefs are heavy favorites at home vs. the Bears so Charles should have plenty of opportunity to get into the endzone. Charles ($7,800) comes in at a bargain -- $700 cheaper than Le'Veon Bell.

Both RBs are in great situations this week, but the savings you get from Charles allows you a little more cap relief to roster some of the other studs this week. I'm trying to find combinations to get three studs into a lineup together. Rob Gronkowski will surely be my No. 2 stud, and I'm trying to find a way to get Julio Jones in the lineup as well, but it is very difficult with no clear-cut chalk value play like Karlos Williams was last week. One value play I'm considering is Saints WR Willie Snead. I think the Saints-Eagles game could be the highest-scoring game of the week.

Brendan Donahue - Jeremy Maclin, WR, Kansas City Chiefs (vs. CHI), $6,000

Maclin has been a target machine in the first four weeks with at least seven targets each week including a season-high 13 targets last week. He's turning those targets into great fantasy stat lines, particularly the last two weeks, with 19 catches for 289 yards and a touchdown. He has a plus matchup this week vs. a Bears secondary that has allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers so far this year. Listed as the 17th-highest WR salary this week, he has plenty of potential to finish as a top-5 WR at a discounted price.

Ryan Watterson - Le'Veon Bell, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers (at SD), $8,500
Rueben Randle, WR, New York Giants (vs. SF), $4,400

I'm going with two players this week. First off, while it's important to identify low-cost value players, value isn't just about cost. The point of finding low-cost players is to spend it elsewhere. This week, my high-spend player will be Le'veon Bell in a lot of leagues. He is always a workhorse, but with Michael Vick under center, he figures to be even more involved (he had 29 touches last week). Vick will be more acclimated with the offense this week, but I would expect another conservative gameplan, putting Bell in a position to get a lot of checkdown passes as well. Against a Chargers defense giving up the second-most points to RBs by Draft Kings scoring, he should explode for another huge week.

My low-cost play this week is Rueben Randle. This is a risk/reward play, so probably a better tourney option. Randle has been more productive the last two weeks and will continue to see targets as the only legitimate option opposite Odell Beckham. The Giants take on the Niners, who actually looked decent (defensively, that is) last week holding the Packers offense in check. But that was at home, where they have given up an average of 18.5 points per game. The road is a different story, where they have allowed an average of 45 points per game. And guess where this game is being played? I wouldn't be at all surprised to see Randle post something like a 7/115/1 line this week. He could also go 3/35/0, but thats why it's a risk/reward.

Kevin Hanson - Owen Daniels, TE, Denver Broncos (at OAK), $2,700

My debate here was between St. Louis rookie running back Todd Gurley and Daniels. I'll have ton of exposure to both, but I'll likely have more of Daniels. With DraftKings, there is the ability to play two tight ends (with a flex spot) so playing Daniels doesn't mean you can't play Rob Gronkowski. Although Daniels has scored in back-to-back games, his production has been relatively modest -- 12 catches for 61 yards and two touchdowns over four games.

That said, no team has allowed more fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season than the Raiders. In addition, they have allowed a top-two weekly finish at the position in PPR scoring (DraftKings uses full PPR) in every game this season -- Tyler Eifert (TE2), Crockett Gillmore (TE1), Gary Barnidge (TE2) and Martellus Bennett (TE1). If there's a week that Daniels has a huge game, this is the week. (Or Week 14 for this second matchup with the Raiders.)

Dan Yanotchko - Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers (at NYG), $5,200

I'm going with another tournament play this week, and while I say this rarely, I like Colin Kaepernick this week. He has a great matchup this week against the Giants, who have allowed 316 yards per game an 68-percent completion rate to opposing quarterbacks. Kaepernick does have big game potential as he threw for 335 yards against Pittsburgh, and he has not rushed for less than 40 yards in a game this year as well.

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October 01, 2015

2015 Fantasy Football: 6 Undervalued PPR Options for Week 4

As Week 4 is upon us, things are starting to take shape and we can begin to have more faith that the results from the first three weeks may hold some water. Of course, there is a lot of time left and without question things will change. But it would be wise to begin taking caution on struggling studs and going with a wait-and-see approach, or believing in late rounders that have been producing as regular starters.

As always, it’s about maximizing your weekly lineup; don’t let preconceived notions alter that goal when there is enough relevant information to work with.

Week 3 was a solid week overall, with positive results for all positions except tight end, which only had a minimal loss.

Week 3 Results
QBsRBsWRsTEsTotal
+12.5+6.2+43.7-2.4+60.0
YTD Results
QBsRBsWRsTEsTotal
+24.2+11.3+1.1-7.0+29.6

* Stats are based on players recommended (compared to options listed to start those players over).

Best of the week -- Larry Fitzgerald +42.2: Pretty crazy when scoring 34 points doesn’t even crack the top-five WRs for the week. Regardless, Fitz had a huge game while Jordan Matthews was underwhelming. Calvin Johnson turned in a decent stat line, but still nearly 20 points less than Fitz.

Runner up -- Andy Dalton +10.1: Dalton put up a great outing, finishing as the No. 2 QB on the week. Drew Brees didn’t end up playing, so his outing doesn’t count towards the totals, which left only Tyrod Taylor. Taylor had a nice showing in his own right, but Dalton outscored him by 10 points.

Worst of the week -- Eric Ebron -2.4 : Ebron was the only player from my Week 3 picks that had a negative score. Even then, he probably should have outscored Witten, as he dropped about a 30-yard pass that was very catchable. Regardless, Witten put up a decent showing and finished one spot above Ebron in the TE standings.

Quarterbacks

Tyrod Taylor – Buffalo Bills
FantasyPros ECR – 9

It’s time to start believing in Taylor as a legit fantasy QB. The funny thing is he hasn’t been solely dependent on his running ability for production. He has been performing well as a passer and that makes him a true dual-threat QB. The Giants haven’t been great against QBs this year, ranking 11th in most FPPG. Their defensive pass efficiency is in a similar range, so it tells the same story. To be honest, it's somewhat surprising given their solid CBs, but the numbers don’t lie. I like Taylor to continue his breakout with another top-five performance.

Consider starting him over:
- Carson Palmer – ECR 6. I know – it seems crazy given how ridiculous Palmer has been to start the season. But consider this – the Steelers are no slouch offensively and they were struggling mightily against the Rams defense well before Big Ben went down with the injury. I am not suggesting Palmer is going to struggle, but I would expect something closer to the back end of QB1 production this week.
- Matt Ryan – ECR 5. Ryan has been solid this season, not spectacular. It helps having Julio Jones. Regardless, he hasn’t seen a defense like the Texans so far this season. They haven’t been the dominant defense some thought they would be, but they still are far more talented than any of the defense the Falcons have faced this year. If Ryan is the No. 8 QB against lesser defenses than Houston, I don’t have a ton of confidence he will improve on that this week.

Running Backs
DeMarco MurrayPhiladelphia Eagles
FantasyPros ECR – 39

This is all dependent on whether or not he will play this weekend. He practiced towards the end of last week and didn’t play, so the fact he is practicing this week makes me think he was inactivated for precautionary reasons. If he doesn’t look to be a full go on Sunday, then sit him accordingly. But if he does play and is expected to jump into a full workload, he is worth a shot. A complete disappointment to this point, most of that has not been his fault. The offensive line gave him almost no room to run and he was hit in the backfield often. Let’s not forget this guy is still very talented. The Eagles started to put together a run game last week against a stout Jets defense, so perhaps things are starting to turn for this offense. I am not expecting high-end RB1 numbers by any means, but would be very surprised if he didn’t outproduce his current ECR.

Consider starting him over:
- Lamar Miller – ECR 27. Miller (and the Dolphins as a whole) have been one of the biggest disappointments this year. He has yet to crack 10 points in any week and faces a Jets defense that is No. 1 against the run in efficiency.
- Doug Martin – ECR 34. Martin currently ranks as the 47th RB in total fantasy points. So much for his return to glory. Charles Sims is getting more involved as the passing down back, and considering how bad this team is, they will likely be behind on the scoreboard early in most games.

Chris JohnsonArizona Cardinals
FantasyPros ECR – 33

I would be surprised if Andre Ellington were to play this week, reports say that he is 50/50 at best and is still clearly limited by his PCL injury. The Cardinals would be wise to get him closer to 100%, but if he does play, then please ignore this recommendation. Operating under the assumption he sits, I like Chris Johnson this week. Last week against the Niners, he showed flashes of his old self. I was down on him a few weeks ago, but it appears he may still have something left in the tank and perhaps he just needed to adapt given his late signing with the Cardinals. As good as the Rams have been against the pass, they are actually not that great against the run. The have surrendered the seventh-most fantasy points to RBs so far this season. Given the strong passing game the Cardinals boast, that should leave some open lanes for Johnson to exploit.

Consider starting him over:
- Matt Jones – ECR 26. Given all of the talk over the last week about how Morris is still the lead dog and the attempts to explain away his low usage last Thursday, I expect a heavy dose of Morris this week. Not to mention, Philly is no slouch against the run, ranking eighth in efficiency and FPPG allowed to RBs.
- Lamar Miller – ECR 16. See above.

Wide Receivers
Steve SmithBaltimore Ravens
FantasyPros ECR – 12

This may seem like a reaction to last week’s performance, and I guess in some ways it is. But this has more to do with the matchup. The Ravens are desperate and get a game against the rival Steelers, who rank 29th in efficiency against WR1’s. Joe Flacco really has no one else to throw to on a consistent basis, so Smith will be peppered with targets and I wouldn’t expect much resistance from the Steelers secondary. Given their struggles in finishing close games this year, I would expect them to keep their foot on the gas all game to get as much of a lead as possible to avoid another fourth-quarter letdown.

Consider starting him over:
- Emmanuel Sanders – ECR 9. The Broncos are 3-0 in spite of their offense, which really only had one good half of football against the Chiefs in Week 2. Other than that, they look nothing like last year’s offense. Minnesota has looked good defensively this season, ranking 12th against the pass in efficiency. Given the Broncos are essentially one-dimensional right now, they will be easier to defend and Sanders will fall short of his ECR.

Michael CrabtreeOakland Raiders
FantasyPros ECR – 25

It’s been a long time since anyone has been able to say this with any level of sincerity – I love the Raiders offense this week. They have looked good in the past two weeks and have the talent to continue to do so. This week, they get the Bears defense, who are about as bad as it gets defensively by almost any metric. While Amari Cooper and Latavius Murray will get their production, Crabtree is also in line for a big week, as the Bears rank 30th in efficiency against WR2’s.

Consider starting him over:
- Pierre Garcon – ECR 24. You could make the argument that the Eagles give up the fourth-most FPPG to WRs, and that’s legitimate. I would say that is likely misleading given their top-10 in efficiency against the pass. I think it has a lot to do with the fact they couldn’t move the ball at all in the first two weeks, giving a lot of possessions (while wearing down their defense) to their opponents. Again, their offense got something going last week and I think that will continue. As a result, I think Garcon will underwhelm this week.
- Mike Evans – ECR 18. Panthers rank No. 7 against WR1’s. Jameis Winston is still throwing the ball. Maybe Evans has a big week, he certainly has the talent, but I am willing to take the risk given the other variables outside of his control.

Percy HarvinBuffalo Bills
FantasyPros ECR – 32

I would consider him regardless this week, but especially if Sammy Watkins sits this week. Harvin continues to be highly involved in the offense (leads the Bills in targets) and has shown a good rapport with Tyrod Taylor. The Giants aren’t great against the pass as mentioned previously, giving Harvin an opportunity to do some damage with his expected increase in targets if Watkins is a no go.

Consider starting him over:
- Pierre Garcon – ECR 24. See above.
- Vincent Jackson – ECR 31. For many of the same reasons I described about Mike Evans. Only Jackson isn’t targeted nearly as often and appears to be losing a step at age 32.

Tight End

Sorry folks – no real sleeper tight ends I see this week, at least no enough to recommend them. I will say I think Jason Witten has a solid game against the Saints, but I can’t recommend sitting anyone ranked ahead of him. If you’re desperate, Gary Barnridge would be a flier. Hard to recommend him based on one good outing, but if you’re out of options, plug him in and pray.

Thanks for reading and good luck in Week 4!

Check out my full Week 4 Fantasy Football PPR Rankings and follow me on twitter @rw11687.

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September 30, 2015

DFS Roundtable: Favorite DraftKings Play for Week 4

Every week this season, our contributors will give their favorite plays for the week in DraftKings contests.

Q: Who is your favorite DraftKings play for Week 4?

Sean Beazley - Derek Carr, QB, Oakland Raiders ($5,300)

There are a bunch of players I like this week. I like Donte Moncrief again despite the news today that Andrew Luck is nursing a shoulder injury. I'm on Martellus Bennett against the Raiders defense that has been dreadful against TEs, and I'll have my fair share of Karlos Williams as well even if LeSean McCoy plays on Sunday.

My favorite pick of the week though is a QB/WR stack and it's coming from a team that hasn't had fantasy relevance in like a decade. That team is the Oakland Raiders. I love Derek Carr at the $5,300 bargain price playing the Bears, who seem like they have already packed it in this season. Carr has had back-to-back 300-yard games and I think he has another one on Sunday. Carr is in play in both GPPs and cash games.

I'll have separate Carr stacks with both Amari Cooper ($6,300) and Michael Crabtree ($4,600). I'll have more exposure to Cooper, who should absolutely eat vs. the Bears on Sunday. Cooper has been targeted 31 times in his first three games, and I expect another 10-12 this week. I think Cooper finds the endzone twice in this one.

Ryan Watterson - James Jones, WR, Green Bay Packers ($5,300)

Jones has shown a fantastic chemistry with Aaron Rodgers, which was never more evident than the two offsides that turned into huge plays against KC. It takes strong chemistry to convert those free plays as the WRs essentially improvise their routes and Rodgers needs to know what they are going to do in a split-second decision. The fact that he hit Jones on two such plays for huge gains (and a TD) demonstrates a lot of trust. With Davante Adams reaggravating his ankle, Jones is in line for a lot of work against a Niners secondary that has been awful to this point.

Kevin Hanson - Karlos Williams, RB, Buffalo Bills ($3,400)

For me, this is a fairly easy choice this week. In a secondary role to LeSean McCoy, Williams has been highly productive on a per-touch basis (7.8 YPC) so far this season. The only player to rush for a touchdown in all three games this season, Williams should be in line for a significant workload with McCoy a likely inactive for Week 4. The Giants have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points (PPR) to opposing running backs so far this season. At his price point, Williams should be the highest-owned running back, but he offers tremendous value and flexibility with 46 RBs priced higher.

Dan Yanotchko - Lance Dunbar, RB, Dallas Cowboys ($3,600)

This week I really love the matchup of Lance Dunbar and his 21 receptions, going against the New Orleans Saints. So far, Dunbar has been a PPR monster, and since Brandon Weeden does not throw the ball more than 7 yards downfield, I am looking at a similar day like he had against Atlanta -- 10 receptions for 100 yards. New Orleans also has an awful run defense, giving up 126 yards per game and 4.2 yards per carry. I really like the price point of $3,600 for Dunbar given his favorable matchup.

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September 24, 2015

2015 Fantasy Football: Undervalued PPR Options for Week 3

Week 2 was definitely a boom-or-bust week for my suggested players.

Unfortunately, the busts (one in particular) outweighed the booms. I’m not really too upset about it though, I admit some of them were risky picks and that’s one of the downsides in picking players based on upside – often times their floors are low.

Week 2 Results
QBsRBsWRsTEsTotal
+8.4-13.8-16.2-15.9-37.5
YTD Results
QBsRBsWRsTEsTotal
+11.7+5.1-42.6-4.6-30.4

* Stats are based on players recommended (compared to options listed to start those players over).

Best of the week -- DeAngelo Williams +37.8: Huge week for Williams as he wound up as the No. 1 RB in Week 2. Latavius Murray had a solid outing, but still came up way short of Williams. On the other hand, Jonathan Stewart was a dud, as expected.

Runner up -- Carson Palmer +15.1: Palmer lacked in the yardage category but made up for it with 4 TDs. Matt Ryan turned in a good performance as well, but well below his ECR in Week 2. Tony Romo was injured during the game, but he wasn’t doing all that much before then.

Worst of the week -- C.J. Spiller -51.6: Well, I did mention that this was only a suggestion if he played. Unfortunately for me, he played just enough to qualify for that statement, but not nearly as much as expected. I knew he would be on a pitch count, but seven snaps?! In a game where your offense can’t get anything going?! Why not use one of the most explosive guys on your team to try and get something started? Anyways, the plethora of guys I suggested to bench in favor of Spiller had mixed results. Three of them scored under 10 points, the other three had good showings. The best of the bunch was Dion Lewis – what can I say, I expected LeGarrette Blount to get the majority of work. I got Belichicked.

Runner up -- Charles Johnson -16.1: I still expect Johnson to turn things around soon. You might be able to get him very cheap right now, and it may very well be worth the risk if you can. He’s very talented and I expect the Vikings passing offense to get going sometime in the next few weeks.

On to week 3!

Quarterbacks

Marcus MariotaTennessee Titans
FantasyPros ECR – 13

Mariota was solid again in Week 2 after a stellar first game in the NFL. He managed to put up over 250 yards and 2 TDs against a solid Browns pass defense. Against the Colts this week, I see two potential scenarios – both of which play out well for Mariota’s fantasy numbers. Scenario 1 is that the dumpster fire continues for the Colts and the Titans walk all over their defense. Now, they actually haven’t given up a ton of fantasy points to QBs, but that has a lot to do with the offensive styles of their opponents - the Colts have had the third-lowest pass attempts against them. The Titans like to throw the ball a lot more than the Bills and Jets. And given the Colts rank 29th in defensive pass efficiency, that could equal big numbers for Mariota.

Scenario 2 is that the Colts come out strong in desperation and pour on the points, forcing the Titans to throw a lot to keep up. I can see either scenario playing out, and I want to be on the Mariota train if they do.

Consider starting him over:
- Eli Manning – ECR 10. This is less of an indictment on Manning than it is a belief in Mariota’s upside this week. I could see Manning turning in a good game due to the desperation to avoid 0-3, but he also gets a surprising Redskins defense this week. Washington has gotten off to a very strong start defensively and while its hard to trust, you can’t deny the results so far.

Andy DaltonCincinnati Bengals
FantasyPros ECR – 16

Déjà vu. Dalton was on this list last week and posted a very solid outing, going for 214 yards and 3 TDs. Baltimore represents an odd matchup as it’s difficult to imagine they drop to 0-3, but they just got lit up by a Raiders offense that isn’t as talented as the Bengals offensively. This is the best offense the Bengals have put together in recent memory and they don’t have many weaknesses. I think that gives Dalton a chance to crack QB1 on a weekly basis, this week being no different.

Consider starting him over:
- Drew Brees – ECR 14. If the Saints can’t do anything at home against a putrid Bucs team, to avoid going 0-2, I have no confidence they can do anything against a tough Panthers D. The Saints continue their rapid descent.
- Tyrod Taylor – ECR 15. Taylor has been a very strong fantasy QB so far this season and Miami’s defense has not lived up to expectations. But Taylor is also turnover-prone and I think this is the week Miami shows their potential defensively. They are at home coming off an embarrassing loss to the Jags, which should light a fire under them.

Running Backs

David JohnsonArizona Cardinals
FantasyPros ECR – 32

Johnson has impressed in a very limited workload – he ranks 12th in total fantasy points despite only having five carries and two receptions on the season. No one can maintain that level of efficiency, but it shows how impactful he is when he touches the ball. Andre Ellington is not expected back this week and Chris Johnson has been underwhelming, with a 3.6 YPC average. Bruce Arians has already stated Johnson’s workload will increase a little in each week, but I imagine they will be a little more aggressive with his workload than that. Arians can’t ignore the explosiveness Johnson brings to the table, and the impact it has on the rest of the offense’s effectiveness. They face a Niners defense that just gave up the best RB performance of Week 2, so I like Johnson’s chance of performing in the RB2 range.

Consider starting him over:
- Shane Vereen – ECR 29. Vereen has been the Giants best back this year, but he is still in a split-workload situation, operating primarily as the passing-down back. The Redskins have been very good against RBs as receivers so far this season, ranking eighth in efficiency and FPPG. I just think Johnson and Vereen will have a similar amount of touches this week, and Johnson has a better matchup to do something with those touches.
DeMarco Murray – ECR 19. I’m in a wait-and-see mode with almost everyone in Philly right now. Murray is clearly frustrated, and rightfully so, as he has only 11 yards rushing on the season. The interior offensive line is getting blown up consistently and leaving no room for Murray to even get started. The Jets have arguably the best defensive line in the league, so I don’t imagine things improving this week.

Giovani BernardCincinnati Bengals
FantasyPros ECR – 23

Bernard has been very effective so far this season, averaging 6.6 yards per carry and 4.5 catches per game. He has earned a more prominent role in this offense, especially considering Jeremy Hill has struggled. After Hill’s second fumble last week, Bernard got all of the work and showed he is capable of carrying a full workload when needed. As a result, I think we will see a near even split in workload this week. While Baltimore has not given up a lot of fantasy points to RBs, a lot of that has to do with the matchups to this point. The Broncos run game has been ineffective thus far this season behind a new offensive line, and the Raiders are a pass-first team. The efficiency numbers tell a different story, as the Ravens rank 23rd against the run. The Bengals will feed their RBs early and often, and Bernard will get additional work in the passing game. This will be a week where the Bengals expose the Ravens run defense, especially given Terrell Suggs is out for the season.

Consider starting him over:
- Eddie Lacy – ECR 18. Lacy’s injury isn’t serious and there is speculation he may be able to play this week. If he does, I don’t expect him to be anywhere near 100%, which will impact his effectiveness. He already has a tough matchup against a stout Chiefs run defense, being less than 100% isn’t going to do him any favors. On top of all that, James Starks is an effective and trusted RB that the Packers have no concerns with giving a full workload. If Lacy does play, I still expect Starks to get a lot of work to limit Lacy’s workload.
- DeMarco Murray – ECR 19. See above.
- Lamar Miller – ECR 16. Miller is still recovering from an ankle injury and it remains to be seen if he will suit up on Sunday. If he does, I would stay away from him if you can. Miller is a guy who relies on his speed and agility to gain yards, an ankle injury is going to have a greater impact on his effectiveness than it may for other backs. Not to mention he faces a tough Bills defense.

Wide Receivers

Larry FitzgeraldArizona Cardinals
FantasyPros ECR – 16

Fitz is in the midst of a renaissance season, at least as long as Palmer is spinning the ball. He has been extremely effective and highly targeted, shedding speculation that he is no longer the best fantasy WR on his own team. The Cardinals get a matchup with the Niners this week, who are less than stellar against the pass. They give up the sixth-most FPPG to WRs, and rank 25th in defensive pass efficiency. Additionally, they rank 30th against WR1’s. This sets up for another WR1 performance for Fitzgerald.

Consider starting him over:
- Jordan Matthews – ECR 14. Matthews has been the lone bright spot for the Eagles, at least from a fantasy perspective. He could produce another good game despite the offensive struggles of the team, but I would venture to guess he cannot keep up the pace until the whole offense turns it around. Again, the Eagles get a strong Jets defense this week. Matthews will see a lot of Revis, and Sam Bradford is going to be under pressure all game. I’m willing to take the chance of sitting him if I have legitimate other options this week.
Calvin Johnson – ECR 12. As a Lions fan, I hope I am wrong about this. But looking at this objectively, I don’t have any evidence that suggests he will have a good week. The Lions offense has been bad so far, against much less imposing defenses than they face this week. The Broncos sport the best CB tandem in the league and if Matthew Stafford has improved anything in his game, it has been his decision making and not forcing the ball to reduce turnovers. I would gladly take the hit in my performance tracking to watch him go off this week, I just don’t see it happening.

Doug BaldwinSeattle Seahawks
FantasyPros ECR – 40

Baldwin is the most consistent receiving threat on the Seahawks, racking up 14 catches on 17 targets the past two weeks. The ‘Hawks will look to get “right” this week against a porous Bears team who rank in the bottom two against the pass by almost any metric you wish to use. While I think that means Jimmy Graham will get more looks this week, I also expect Baldwin to continue his steady play from the slot and rack up catches underneath.

Consider starting him over:
- Mike Wallace – ECR 36. The Vikings passing game has been a disappointment to this point. Wallace has been the best WR of the bunch, but that hasn’t necessarily equated to many fantasy points. The Chargers rank second in FPPG allowed to WRs, and rank sixth in efficiency against WR2’s specifically. While Wallace has been the most effective receiver, he is still considered the No. 2 in Minnesota, at least for the time being.
- Anquan Boldin – ECR 31. Boldin is still getting the targets, but his age is finally catching up to him in terms of his ability to do anything with the catches. The Cardinals rank fourth against WR1’s in terms of efficiency…this may be a long day for Boldin.

Tight End

Eric EbronDetroit Lions
FantasyPros ECR - 14

This may seem a bit odd given my previous statement on Calvin Johnson. However, I think Ebron will be the primary beneficiary of the stout Broncos CBs. While they will be locked up in 1-on-1 coverage with Johnson and Tate, Ebron will have the middle of the field to operate. He has been solid in the first two weeks, posting 15 points in each game. He is obviously much more involved in the passing game this year, and let’s not forget he is an athletic freak. I can see Ebron putting up a big game as the primary target this week.

Consider starting him over:
- Jason Witten – ECR 8. Witten is about as banged up as he can be and has Brandon Weeden at QB. Maybe he becomes Weeden’s security blanket, but Weeden’s MO has never been as a check down guy. He’s a gunslinger, just not a very good one.

Thanks for reading and good luck in Week 3!

Check out my full Week 3 Fantasy Football PPR Rankings and follow me on twitter @rw11687.

Continue reading "2015 Fantasy Football: Undervalued PPR Options for Week 3" »


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September 23, 2015

DFS Roundtable: Favorite DraftKings Play for Week 3

Every week this season, our contributors will give their favorite plays for the week in DraftKings contests.

Q: Who is your favorite DraftKings play for Week 3?

Sean Beazley - Donte Moncrief, WR, Indianapolis Colts ($4,800)

There is one game I am looking forward to this weekend for DFS purposes and that's the Colts at Titans. There are a number of good plays I like in this one, but by far my favorite is Colts WR Donte Moncrief. Moncrief has 13 receptions on 19 targets this year, and has been the best Colts offensive playmaker thus far. Moncrief gets a juicy matchup vs. the Titans, who got torched last week deep by the Browns Travis Benjamin. Moncrief's salary is too low at $4,800. There are a lot of decent plays around this price point, so pairing Moncrief with one of those other players will give you the salary you need to pay up for an elite WR, RB or paying up for Andrew Luck. Titans CB Blidi Wreh-Wilson is my guess on who will draw Moncrief. He is one of the worst CBs in the league. He gets beat routinely down field, so I expect another big outing from the Colts wideout. I think he is a top-15 WR this week with upside to finish in the top-five.

Bonus Play -- Marcus Mariota, QB, $6,100: Mariota won the DuganBrothers $2,000,000 last week, and I think he makes for a very solid play this week. I think the Titans are going to get their asses handed to them by Luck & Co. so the Titans should be playing from behind. Mariota finished with 18.18 points last week. I think he finishes in the low 20's this week as I see pass attempts in the 40's for him. Mariota is the perfect GPP pivot off Tyrod Taylor ($5,800), who should be one of the most popular cheap QB plays this week.

Brendan Donahue - Danny Woodhead, RB, San Diego Chargers ($4,400)

Woodhead continues to be undervalued on Draftkings. After putting up 22.2 and 16.4 points in his first two games, he still is only $4,400 this week with a good matchup against the Vikings, who rank 22nd in fantasy points given up to RBs so far this year. With 10 catches on 13 targets for 88 yards through two games, Woodhead is a safe play to put up points even if he doesn't score a TD.

Ryan Watterson - Danny Woodhead, RB, San Diego Chargers ($4,400)

Being that I recommended Woodhead last week, this isn't exactly a creative choice. But he is still a great value at $4,400 this week. Woodhead has been more productive than Melvin Gordon and is essentially splitting snaps with him, so there is plenty of opportunity. The Vikings are vulnerable to RBs as receivers, giving up a combined eight catches for 66 yards to the Lion's RBs last week. Additionally, they are ranked 24th in efficiency against RBs as receivers. Add Woodhead to your lineup while he is still a bargain, as I'm not sure how long that will last.

Kevin Hanson - LeGarrette Blount, RB, New England Patriots ($4,000)

Not safe for cash-game lineups, this is a high-risk, high-reward play that I'll use in many of my tournament lineups this week. Entering the week as a two-TD favorite with the highest projected Vegas total, the game plan for the Patriots should be different than last week's where Tom Brady threw it 59 times, the second-most of his career.

Jacksonville has allowed just 2.9 YPC, second-best in the NFL, and Blount had just two carries for four yards on Sunday, both of which should lead to ultra-low ownership levels this week. In his past 13 games with the Patriots (counting the postseason), however, Blount has rushed for 14 touchdowns and he has five multi-touchdown games during that stretch. While Dion Lewis should have a much higher ownership level this week, it wouldn't surprise me if Blount scored a touchdown, or two, at an ownership level of one or two percent.

Dan Yanotchko - Allen Robinson, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars ($5,200)

I'm going with Allen Robinson of the Jaguars this week at $5,200. Fantasy points do not care about garbage time, and garbage time could come early on Sunday. The Patriots have allowed 260 yards per game, and four touchdowns so far this year. Robinson has also been Blake Bortles favorite receiver with 19 targets, seven receptions for 182 yards, and two touchdowns so far.

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September 17, 2015

2015 Fantasy Football: Undervalued PPR Options for Week 2

Well, Week 1 was fun, wasn’t it?

There were a lot of unexpected performances, both good and bad, which is pretty typical for the first week in any season. Marcus Mariota had one of the greatest first-game performances I can remember, while the perennial fantasy stud Peyton Manning put up a rather horrific line. Dez Bryant and Odell Beckham Jr. didn’t crack WR3 numbers, while Percy Harvin and James Jones turned back the clock with top-10 performances.

There were numerous other examples, but one word of advice – don’t overreact to any of these performances. We won’t truly know if these were one-off situations, or a sign of things to come, for at least a few more weeks (with the exception of Bryant). Simply use the Week 1 performance as another data point in your roster building and starting lineup decisions.

If anything, Week 1 should illuminate the importance of maximizing your starting lineup on a weekly basis. While the above examples are on the extreme sides of the spectrum, there are numerous examples of players with strong output that could easily have been justified as starters, but wound up on benches because of draft position. There are very few things that we can actually control in fantasy football, but maximizing your lineup is one of the few. You would be surprised how often the team with the most points scored doesn’t even crack the top 3 of total possible points in any given league.

Maximizing your lineup is what I aim to help with in my weekly article. While rankings are very beneficial, you have to dig deeper to identify the best possible lineup on a weekly basis.

Before heading into this week's underrated PPR players, let’s take a look at the outcome of my picks from last week.

Week 1 Results
QBsRBsWRsTEsTotal
+3.3+18.9-26.4+11.3+7.1
YTD Results
QBsRBsWRsTEsTotal
+3.3+18.9-26.4+11.3+7.1

* Stats are based on players recommended (compared to options listed to start those players over).

Best of the week -- Mark Ingram +23.6: Ingram could have had an even bigger day, but for some reason the Saints abandoned the run early even though the game was close throughout. He also split carries with Khiry Robinson, at least more than expected. However, he made up for it in the pass game, leading the team with nine targets, catching eight of them for 98 yards. Frank Gore didn’t do anything against the Bills and LeSean McCoy was equally underwhelming with a 2.4 YPC.

Runner up -- Heath Miller +11.3: I wrote last week that Miller could see a lot of targets as the check down option in a game that should feature a lot of passing. He ended up with eight catches on 11 targets, second only to Antonio Brown. Meanwhile, Larry Donnell essentially disappeared on Sunday night.

Worst of the week -- Nelson Agholor -15.2: I guess I shouldn’t have bought into the preseason hype. Agholor caught a grand total of one pass and was a non-factor against a weak Dallas secondary. Brandon Marshall had a solid outing against Joe Haden, hats off to him. If the same matchup were tomorrow, I would still pick Haden over Marshall. However, I was right about Sammy Watkins. He posted ZERO points, but when Agholor barely tops a 0 on his own, it doesn’t mean much.

Runner up -- Rueben Randle -7: The Giants were just off offensively most of the night. In a game that scored a total of 53 points, the Giants were surprisingly ineffective, gaining only 289 yards on offense and producing one touchdown, while their defense and special teams put up 19 points. On the other side of the coin, Eric Decker had a decent game primarily due to a TD, while Marques Colston was nearly as bad as Randle.

Quarterbacks

Carson Palmer – Arizona Cardinals
FantasyPros ECR – 8

Palmer had a very solid outing last week against the Saints, putting up 307 yards and three TDs. Not too bad. This week, he faces a Chicago defense that doesn’t have much of a leg up on the Saints D. Both finished bottom-five in pass defense DVOA last year, and don’t look to have improved much as they rank bottom-three so far this season. Granted, its one week, but neither team showed they were much better than last season. I expect Palmer to have a solid outing and have a chance at a top-five finish this week.

Consider starting him over:
- Matt Ryan – ECR 4. The Giants are going to play with a lot of fire after the variety of mistakes that led to a loss against Dallas. They successfully shut down Dez Bryant well before he left the game in the 4th quarter, and have a solid pair of cornerbacks in Prince Amukamara and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Ryan is a significantly worse player on the road, averaging 11 points less in passer rating compared to home games.
- Tony Romo – ECR 5. Romo is ranked highly because of the expected game flow against Philly. The O/U currently sits at 55.5. However, I’m not sold on this being a shootout. First, let’s not forget Bryant isn’t playing. Even when he doesn’t produce, he draws a lot of defensive attention. Their other receivers are complementary players and fit well with Bryant on the field, they aren’t guys that can excel when the attention is focused on them. The run game struggled last week as well, averaging 3.5 YPC. This doesn’t set up well for a big outing from the ‘Boys. On top of that, Romo’s combined passer rating in two games against Philly last season equals his second-lowest rating for the year. Finally, I think the Eagles feed DeMarco Murray early and often against his former team, giving the Eagles a longer time of possession than expected.

Andy Dalton – Cincinnati Bengals
FantasyPros ECR – 18

Say what you want about Dalton, but the man can produce fantasy numbers at times. We are not far removed from a season in which he finished as a top-five QB in fantasy points. A.J. Green is healthy and Tyler Eifert’s Week 1 performance was not a fluke, he will be a great safety valve if he stays healthy. Add a dynamic run game for balance, and Dalton appears to be in a great situation. I’m not sold on the Chargers defense despite a good performance against the Lions, especially since they will be traveling to the east coast for an early game on Sunday. Traditionally, teams don’t perform well in those scenarios.

Consider starting him over:
- Cam Newton – ECR 16. Newton was less than mediocre against Jacksonville last week. Not sure I see him improving on that performance against a good Houston defense that has something to prove after giving up 27 points in the first half to the Chiefs.
- Peyton Manning – ECR 13. This may be a risky pick considering competitors like Manning rarely play back-to-back poor games. However, I’m not sure what we saw in Week 1 was an aberration anymore. Manning is getting old and his arm strength has weakened each year for the past few seasons. Kansas City has a solid defense on par with the Ravens, and we saw what they did to Peyton. Not to mention, this is a quick turnaround game as they play Thursday, which means a shorter recovery time.

Running Backs

DeAngelo Williams – Pittsburgh Steelers
FantasyPros ECR – 21

Williams looked great against a strong Patriots run defense. He hit the hole hard and showed good speed and vision. The Steelers are coming off a 10-day rest to host the 49ers, who are coming off a short week and traveling cross country for an early game. I know the Niners held Adrian Peterson to 31 yards, but I would consider that the exception rather than the rule until proven otherwise. This is still a team that lost a lot of talent. Le’Veon Bell returns next week from suspension, so they will have no issue riding Williams on Sunday. I would expect 100-plus yards again with a chance for a TD or two.

Consider starting him over:
- Latavius Murray – ECR 18. The Raiders take on the Ravens, who just shut down C.J. Anderson in Denver. Even without Terrell Suggs, this is a solid run defense. Not to mention, the game flow probably won’t allow for a lot of ground and pound. The Ravens are sure to be upset about their offensive performance last week, so I expect them to jump out early, forcing the Raiders to play catchup via the air.
- Jonathan Stewart – ECR 17. Similar to Cam Newton, bad performance last week with a much better Houston defense on deck this week. Hard to imagine improving on his Week 1 stat line.

C.J. Spiller – New Orleans Saints
FantasyPros ECR – 41

Just a quick caveat: this obviously assumes Spiller ends up playing this week. All indications point to that being the case, but just a forewarning to monitor this situation for any news to the contrary. The Saints signed Spiller to fill their passing down back role, similar to a Darren Sproles or Pierre Thomas. Spiller has all the talent in the world and should excel in this role. He is best in space and that is how the Saints plan to utilize him. This is definitely a risk/reward play due to the unknown of how much he will play. But against a Tampa team that just let the Titans walk all over them, he may not need many touches to produce. Regardless, I see too much upside to let him ride the bench this week unless there is an indication he will be on a very limited pitch count.

Consider starting him over:
- Devonta Freeman – ECR 40. Tevin Coleman looks like the better back and should continue to see the majority of work.
- Dion Lewis – ECR 38. Yes, he looked good against the Steelers. But his role will be reduced with the return of LeGarrette Blount. Lewis should have a role spelling Blount and as the third-down back, but it’s always so hard to trust a Patriots back, especially if they aren’t getting the goal-line work.
- Joique Bell – ECR 37. Ameer Abdullah out-touched Bell 11-8 in Week 1. Based on the results of those touches, no reason to think that will change. If anything, Abdullah will see a few more looks given his effectiveness.
- Chris Johnson – ECR 29. Only thing in his favor is potential opportunities. But he is well past his prime and at some point, opportunities don’t mean much if you can’t capitalize on them. David Johnson has been hyped all pre-season, and we saw why last week. His first touch as a pro was a 55-yard TD reception. Arians has said he doesn’t want to throw the rookie into the fire, but Andre Ellington had a role as a rookie, so it could just be coach speak. There is no ignoring the gap in explosiveness between Chris and David Johnson.
- Giovani Bernard – ECR 27. Gio is hard to figure. Hill is definitely the primary back, but Bernard saw a fair share of work and produced against the Raiders. How much of that was due to the score of the game, I don’t know. I would rather bet on Spiller than Bernard given the matchup and role definition.

Wide Receivers

Brandon Coleman – New Orleans Saints
FantasyPros ECR – 43

Coleman was the MVP of training camp this offseason and is an intriguing player. At 6’6”, he has incredible length for a wide receiver, which bodes very well in the red zone. Coleman has displaced Marques Colston as the No. 2 WR, out-snapping him by 12 plays in Week 1. As the No. 2 in the Saints offense against the putrid Tampa defense, Coleman has an opportunity to build on a good Week 1 performance, which saw him go 4-41-1.

Consider starting him over:
- Percy Harvin – ECR 40. This is just a reminder that Harvin is still Harvin. I’m not ready to believe in his Week 1 stat line as anything other than an anomaly. Do you think a Pats defense is going to let him run wild coming off a 10-day break?
- Sammy Watkins – ECR 36. Let’s just say I have faith that a Belichick game plan will be enough to expose the Bills offense. The Bills are coming off a big win, which usually leads to a big letdown, especially against a team like the Pats. You think Belichick and Brady have suddenly forgotten the pointed comments Rex Ryan made as the Jets coach? They don’t forgive, and they don’t forget.

Stevie Johnson – San Diego Chargers
FantasyPros ECR – 31

Offseason reports had Stevie Johnson looking rejuvenated and establishing a rapport with Rivers during training camp. That showed in Week 1 as Johnson caught all six of his targets for 82 yards and a TD. As mentioned previously, I expect the Bengals offense to produce this week, which will mean San Diego will need to throw a lot to stay in the game. I wouldn’t expect Keenan Allen to get 17 targets again, so Johnson should see closer to 10 this week. That should give him ample opportunity to post WR2 numbers.

Consider starting him over:
Davante Adams – ECR 29. With the return of James Jones, who obviously still has a rapport with Aaron Rodgers, Adams will become third in line for targets. I know he led the team in targets last week, but he was much less efficient and Rodgers has more trust in Jones and Cobb. The Packers can support three viable WRs, but not in a week where they play an angry Seahawks team looking to avoid an 0-2 start. I expect we will see a strong performance from the Seahawks D, limiting the potential for Adams to produce.
Jeremy Maclin – ECR 27. Alex Smith isn’t going to force the ball to anyone as a game manager, and I don’t see Maclin creating much separation against Chris Harris or Aqib Talib.
Pierre Garcon – ECR 26. Garcon had a respectable performance last week against the Dolphins. But the Dolphins are not in the same league as the Rams, from a defensive standpoint. St. Louis had 6 sacks against a good Seattle offensive line. The Redskins will be under siege all day, and Kirk Cousins isn’t nearly as poised as Russell Wilson under pressure. In fact, Cousins typically turns into a turnover machine when he is uncomfortable. I don’t see their passing game doing much this week.

Charles Johnson – Minnesota Vikings
FantasyPros ECR – 39

Yes, he had a poor Week 1 outing despite all of the preseason hype. But you can bet the Vikings will be looking to rebound from a poor performance, and Johnson has an opportunity to show what all the hype was about. The Lions got picked apart last week by Keenan Allen and Stevie Johnson. Their best CB, Darius Slay, is questionable at best to play this week. This is a risk/reward play, but Johnson has potential for a big game.

Consider starting him over:
- Sammy Watkins – ECR 36. See Coleman, Brandon.
- Nelson Agholor – ECR 38. Reversing course after getting burned last week. The Falcons D didn’t represent a difficult matchup, and Agholor produced next to nothing. Looks like it may take some time for him to get comfortable with Bradford and this offense.

Tight End

Austin Sefarian-Jenkins – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
FantasyPros ECR - 11

ASJ was the lone bright spot in Week 1 for Tampa. Winston targeted him seven times, which he converted into 110 yards and two TDs. Tampa faces New Orleans this week, who just let some guy named Darren Fells put up 82 yards and a TD against them. There is no reason to expect the flow of this game being any different than last week against the Titans, so Winston should be throwing early and often, leaving ASJ with plenty of opportunity.

Consider starting him over:
- Heath Miller – ECR 10. Miller had a solid Week 1 performance, but the game situation was much different than what I expect this week to be. The Steelers will either be up early and turn to the run game, or this will be a surprisingly low-scoring game. I don’t see the Niners jumping out to a lead and forcing the Steelers to throw a lot. Thus, Miller will not have anywhere near 11 targets again.
- Jordan Reed – ECR 8. Pretty much the same reason I don’t like Pierre Garcon. See Johnson, Stevie.
Thanks for reading and good luck in week 2! Follow me on twitter @rw11687.

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September 16, 2015

DFS Roundtable: Favorite DraftKings Play for Week 2

Every week this season, our contributors will give their favorite plays for the week in DraftKings contests.

Q: Who is your favorite DraftKings play for Week 2?

Brendan Donahue - Chris Ivory, RB, New York Jets ($4,700)

After posting 20 carries for 91 yards and 2 TDs for 23 points last week, Ivory has another great matchup against the Colts this week. The Colts gave up 147 yards on the ground last week to Buffalo and I think the Jets will try to control the clock and pound the run with Ivory all game. Great value for Ivory this week and should easily outproduce his salary.

Sean Beazley - Sam Bradford, QB, Philadelphia Eagles ($6,900)

My play for Week 2 is the same play I had Week 1 in all my cash games, and that is Sam Bradford. I absolutely love this spot for him. The total is set at a juicy 55.5 points, and that's even with Dez Bryant ruled out. Bradford and the Eagles offense was clicking in the second half vs. Atlanta, and we know how quick of a pace they play.

This will be the last week you can get Bradford (QB12) at a discount ($6,900). I honestly think Bradford is the safest bet for 300 yards this week. I'll have him rated as my No. 3 QB this week behind only Andrew Luck and Aaron Rodgers. I'll have a healthy dose of Jordan Matthews as well, and could pair the two together in both cash games and GPPs. The Eagles front-seven is pretty good against stopping the run, and I think Dallas takes some chances deep in this one, which could lead to some quick possessions. I'm a big fan of Terrance Williams in GPPs. I'm fading the DeMarco Murray revenge game, and actually believe Chip Kelly will go to the air more often using a little more play-action. My prediction is 350/3 for Bradford and at under 7K, that's a bargain.

Ryan Watterson - Danny Woodhead, RB, San Diego Chargers ($4,000)

Woodhead has always been a key piece to the Chargers offense when healthy, and last week proved Melvin Gordon's presence isn't going to change that. Woodhead is not only the third-down back, but he also had 12 carries to Gordon's 14, and out-touched Gordon 6-0 last week in the red zone.

While I don't expect that to always be the case, it goes to show that Woodhead will not be forgotten in this offense. This week, the Chargers take on a tough Bengals D. I would expect a lot of third-down situations, meaning a lot of potential opportunities for Woodhead to put up solid receiving numbers, in addition to around 10 carries. It won't take much to create value at his current salary, and the upside is there for another big game.

Kevin Hanson - Lance Dunbar, RB, Dallas Cowboys

In last week's DFS Roundtable, I went with a high-priced running back (Jeremy Hill). This week, I'm going with a minimum-salary option in Dunbar. Playing 32 of the team's 71 offensive snaps last week, Dunbar didn't get any carries, but he racked up eight receptions for 70 yards against the Giants, which was good for 15 DraftKings points (PPR scoring). With Bryant out this week, Dunbar should once again be heavily involved in the passing attack. The Cowboys are 5.5-point underdogs in the game with this week's highest over/under. Given his position-minimum salary, Dunbar gives me plenty of flexibility to load up elsewhere.

Dan Yanotchko - Carson Palmer, QB, Arizona Cardinals ($6,700)

This week, I am really loving Carson Palmer at $6,700. Palmer had a great Week 1, posting 307 yards passing and 3 touchdowns against the much-maligned New Orleans pass defense, and this week he gets an even worse pass defense in Chicago. I know Aaron Rodgers only had 189 yards last week, but he still threw for three touchdowns, and completed 78 percent of his throws. I love the Cardinals weapons in Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd, and John Brown, and I feel that with Andre Ellington out, the game plan is to air it out more.

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September 10, 2015

7 Undervalued Options in PPR Leagues for Week 1

Welcome to a brand new season! I can’t tell you how excited I am that the season is finally upon us, seems like it took ages to get through the preseason. I am equally excited and honored to return for my second season with EDSFootball. I want to thank Kevin Hanson for allowing me the opportunity to continue contributing as a fantasy analyst.

For those that are new to the article, I publish a weekly breakdown of undervalued PPR players. I select a few players from each skill position who I believe to be undervalued for the given week. In addition, I will identify a few players currently ranked ahead of them, for which I would bench in favor of the undervalued player. All rankings are based on the FantasyPros.com Expert Consensus Ranking (ECR).

Finally, I will also be tracking my performance each week. Performance will be measured by comparing the points scored by the undervalued player against the points scored by each player I recommend benching. The results will be calculated on a weekly and year-to-date basis. With so much fantasy advice available these days, it can be hard to know who to trust. Many analysts make bold predictions or identify sleepers, but without an established track record of performance, it’s hard to know who to trust. My goal is to own my performance, for better or for worse. The performance tracking will be available beginning in Week 2!

Now, on to Week 1. To me, the first week of any season represents one of the most challenging weeks as an analyst. As the season goes on, there is more relevant information to base decisions on. Week 1 has very little recent information to work with, the preseason can only be trusted to a very limited extent. Most of the information is based on 2014 performances and pure speculation of circumstance. With the countless changes in personnel, head coaches, and coordinators, it definitely makes for a unique challenge in projecting Week 1 performances. But, I have always enjoyed a good challenge, so here we go!

Quarterbacks

Typically, I like to pick 2 QBs, but there are not many this week that deviate significantly from the ECR. So, instead of trying to conjure up another player, I stuck with just the one this week.

Ryan Tannehill – Miami Dolphins
FantasyPros ECR – 8

Tannehill is setup to have a big season, and a matchup with the Washington Redskins in Week 1 should be a fine launching pad. The Redskins are a mess, and haven’t made any significant improvements to a defense that gave up the most FPPG to QBs last year, and finished last in pass defense DVOA. Tannehill was a bit raw coming out of college, but has steadily improved each season and looks to be coming into form. He will be more comfortable in the offense entering the second season with OC Bill Lazor, who runs a pass-happy, up-tempo offense. Pair that with an underrated receiving corps and you have a QB that could crack the top 3 in Week 1.

Consider starting him over:
Peyton Manning – ECR 6. Baltimore’s defense isn’t great, but much better than the Redskins. Kubiak wants a much more balanced offense and they will try to preserve Manning throughout the season to avoid the late-season slump, so I see Manning’s pass attempts descending again this year.
Andrew Luck – ECR 2. Crazy? Probably, but it’s a calculated risk. I still like Luck as the No. 1 overall QB this year, but this is a tough opening matchup. The Bills were the No. 1 team in pass defense DVOA, and third in FPPG allowed to QBs. Luck’s passer rating is 7 points lower on the road than at home. Still a top-10 QB this week, but I don’t think he will go gangbusters.

Running Backs

Mark Ingram – New Orleans Saints
FantasyPros ECR – 17

Ingram finished as a top-15 back last year, despite only playing in 13 games. He displayed the talent we all expected from him earlier in his career, but better late than never. With C.J. Spiller out for Week 1, Ingram will play an expanded role and likely become a three-down back. Ingram has been recognized this offseason for improving his receiving skills, which will give him more opportunities to produce this week. While the Arizona defense is solid, the Saints offense is still really good and will be able to move the ball. I expect we will see 20-plus touches from Ingram, with a handful of catches sprinkled in. That, combined with the goal-line work, gives him RB1 upside this week.

Consider starting him over:
Frank Gore – ECR 14. Again, tough matchup. The Bills were sixth in FPPG against RBs last year, and their D may even be better this season. Indy has already indicated he will be on a pitch count to open the season, and let’s not forget he is 32 with a lot of wear on the tires. He may be in a top offense, but there are enough concerns to make me weary of him this week.
LeSean McCoy – ECR 13. The Bills passing game doesn’t scare anyone, and Indy has the talent in the secondary to play one-on-one and allow them to stack the box. McCoy likely won’t be 100 percent and may even share some of the load as a result. I expect closer to RB2 numbers than RB1 this week.

Darren McFadden – Dallas Cowboys
FantasyPros ECR – 36

By now, we all know this much – McFadden’s risk isn’t about talent, it’s about health. Well, he’s at least healthy for Week 1 – how long that will last is another story. Reports are stating he will be the starter, and that he will not be on a pitch count. I would still expect a split of some sort, but regardless, this is still a talented back running behind one of the best offensive lines in the league. Last year, the Giants ranked 27th in run defense DVOA and gave up the eighth-most FPPG to RBs. Even if he is limited to 15 carries, McFadden has the opportunity to produce well, as long as he is healthy. He’s worth a look as a flex.

Consider starting him over:
Tre Mason – ECR 35. Not much of a stretch in terms of ECR difference, but if you are deciding between the 2 players, go with McFadden. Mason is hurt and going up against a Seattle defense that is still one of the best against the run.
Joseph Randle – ECR 33. A lot of people handcuffed Randle with McFadden. If McFadden does end up getting the start, this is a week where you want to start him, even if Randle was drafted higher.

Wide Receivers

Jarvis Landry – Miami Dolphins
FantasyPros ECR – 13

As mentioned previously, the Redskins stink against the pass. Landry is the unquestioned No. 1 WR on this team and has a strong rapport with Tannehill. The ‘Skins ranked 29th against WR1's in DVOA last season and gave up the second-most FPPG. This sets up very favorably for Landry to crack the top 10 this week.

Consider starting him over:
DeAndre Hopkins – ECR 9. I get that Hopkins produced well despite his QB situation last season, but it still hasn’t gotten much better. At least Andre Johnson and Arian Foster prevented defenses from focusing their sole attention on Hopkins last year. He doesn’t have that luxury this week, so expect KC to take Hopkins away and let Cecil Shorts/Nate Washington/Alfred Blue try to beat them.
Alshon Jeffery – ECR 12. There are just too many unknowns to feel confident in Jeffery as a sure fire WR1 this week. We don’t know how healthy he will be, we don’t know how the new offense will impact him, and we don’t know which Jay Cutler will show up. Similar to Hopkins, Jeffery loses a player that helped take attention away in Brandon Marshall. Not sure the Packers are all that scared of Eddie Royal, so I expect them to shadow Jeffery with a safety over the top.

Nelson Agholor – Philadelphia Eagles
FantasyPros ECR – 31

Agholor is the clear-cut No. 2 in a top-notch offense that can definitely support multiple fantasy WRs. He also gets to start his NFL career against one of the worst pass defenses in the league. The Falcons were bottom-six in DVOA and FPPG against WRs in 2014, and I don’t expect much to change. In addition, while the Falcons were terrible against the pass in general, they actually defended opponents No. 1 WRs pretty well, ranking eighth in DVOA. Conversely, they were 28th against WR 2's. Jordan Matthews will draw the top coverage from Atlanta, which could leave Agholor with a lot of opportunity.

Consider starting him over:
Brandon Marshall – ECR 25. Marshall will draw Joe Haden, one of the best corners in the league. Cleveland isn’t nearly as strong on the other side, where the Jets have a more than capable Eric Decker. On top of all this, its not like this will be a high-scoring game. Both teams will lean on their defense throughout, and given Cleveland’s ineptitude on offense, the Jets won’t need to do much offensively.
Sammy Watkins – ECR 27. Tyrod Taylor is his QB and he will draw Vontae Davis. Not a situation that gets me too excited.

Rueben Randle – New York Giants
FantasyPros ECR – 44

I’m a little baffled by his current ranking. Victor Cruz isn’t likely to play this week, leaving Randle wide open for No. 2 duties on a pass-friendly offense. While Randle didn’t breakout to the level some expected last season, he still showed improvement, especially late in the season. He was talented coming out of college, but needed some time to adjust to the NFL. While Dallas was better than expected defensively last year, they still ranked in the bottom third in pass defense DVOA. While they were middle of the road against WR1’s, they were downright awful against No. 2’s. Brandon Carr is a solid DB who will shadow OBJ, and I expect a safety over the top for much of the game. Randle will see plenty of single coverage against a defense that ranked 29th in DVOA against WR2’s, and that was before Orlando Scandrick was placed on IR.

Consider starting him over:
Eric Decker – ECR 35. While I mentioned Decker as having a favorable matchup previously, the expected flow of the game works against him.
Marques Colston – ECR 42. Colston has been running as the WR3 in the preseason and his age is creeping upward. It seems we will continue to witness a decline in production from him, as he is no longer a top option on this offense.

Tight End

Heath Miller – Pittsburgh Steelers
FantasyPros ECR - 11

Admittedly, there weren’t many undervalued TEs this week. My rankings only vary slightly from the ECR, so there was no one that significantly stood out. But, I wanted to at least provide one option. So, I went with Heath Miller as his situation gives him a good opportunity. This game projects to be a high-scoring affair with the second highest O/U on the week at 51 total points. This makes sense as both offenses are strong, finishing in the top-seven PPG in 2014.

Additionally, both defenses have some question marks. The Steelers were mediocre last season and had some eye-raising performances in the preseason. Namely, letting the combination of Tyrod Taylor/Matt Cassel/EJ Manuel drop 43 points on them in the preseason dress rehearsal. While it is tough to glean much from the preseason, it says a lot about their talent on the defensive side of the ball. From New England’s perspective, they were very good last season, but lost both starting cornerbacks to free agency. It’s reasonable to expect some regression, at least early in the season.

All that said, Miller could have a lot of targets in this high-scoring game. The Patriots struggled against TEs last season, giving up the ninth-most FPPG and ranking 30th in DVOA. Big Ben trusts Miller and even though the Patriots secondary has a lot of question marks, their pass rush should be very good, forcing Ben to get rid of the ball quickly. Miller could see a number of balls in the short to intermediate levels for solid PPR production.

Consider starting him over:
Larry Donnell – ECR 10. Donnell had a strong start to the season last year, but faded away as the season wore on. Over the last eight games, Donnell only topped 10 points twice, including a Week 12 game against Dallas where he scored 4.4 points.

Thanks for reading and good luck in Week 1! Follow me on Twitter @rw11687.

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September 09, 2015

DFS Roundtable: Favorite DraftKings Play for Week 1

One of the benefits of playing daily fantasy football in Week 1 is that prices were set more than a month ago, which leads to plenty of cheap options.

Going into Week 1 this year, the most obvious bargain is Green Bay's Davante Adams. I'd expect Adams to be the most-owned play in cash games and GPPs alike.

There was plenty of buzz with Adams in the offseason (as Coach McCarthy dubbed him MVP of the OTAs) and he continued that momentum into training camp. With the torn ACL injury that cost Jordy Nelson his season, however, Adams immediately moves into the starting lineup opposite Randall Cobb. As the No. 2 receiver in an Aaron Rodgers-led offense, Adams should exceed 1,000 yards in his sophomore campaign.

For Week 2, Adams will be priced much higher than his bargain $4,400 salary for this week.

Every week this season, our contributors will give their favorite plays for the week in DraftKings contests.

Q: Who is your favorite DraftKings play (aside from Adams) for Week 1?

Sean Beazley - Doug Martin, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers ($4,500)

There are a number of easy targets to pick Week 1. I expect Packers WR Davante Adams ($4,400) to be heavily owned in cash games, and he will be locked in on all of mine. I tend to play more tournaments than cash games, so for these roundtable questions, I will be focusing on tournament plays that I like. Finding value like all daily games is the key to success, but in tournaments, you need to differentiate yourself with the field if you want to place higher.

My favorite this week is Tampa Bay RB Doug Martin at a bargain price of $4,500. I think Martin will be very low-owned this week considering there are some other great value plays right around the same price. (Chris Ivory being one of them.) Martin has looked very sharp this preseason and he should be poised to have a big game vs. the Titans, who were 31st in the NFL against the run last year. The Titans added defensive legend Dick LeBeau to their coaching staff. And they have also made some good offseason moves (Brian Orakpo, re-signing Derrick Morgan, etc.), but I think this defense as a whole can and will get beat all season on the ground. Tampa Bay will still be a little vanilla with the play-calling with Jameis Winston so I expect the Muscle Hamster to shoulder the load -- 125-150 total yards, a few receptions and a touchdown or two is not out of the question here.

Brendan Donahue - Sam Bradford, QB, Philadelphia Eagles ($6,900)

This is maybe the only time you will be able to take advantage of Sam Bradford at this price this season. I'm not saying that just because I think he will excel in Chip Kelly's offense as he showed us a glimpse with his 10-for-10, 3-TD performance against the Packers, but also because with his injury history, you may literally not be able to put him in your lineups again this season. That being said, he has a great matchup against the Falcons, who gave up the 11th-most fantasy points to opposing QBs last year and did little to improve that in the offseason.

Ryan Watterson - Doug Martin, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers ($4,500)

Many of the top RBs this week have a tough matchup or some level of uncertainty associated with them. Martin has a clear-cut lead-back role and a fantastic matchup against a Titans defense that ranked in the bottom five against the run in almost any method of measurement. As opposed to previous years when Martin had a lead role and disappointed, he has looked very good by all accounts and it showed in the preseason. With a rookie QB, the Bucs will lean on their run game and Martin should exploit the Titans awful run D. At a mere $4,500, Martin could produce strong numbers and enable you to spend elsewhere.

Kevin Hanson - Jeremy Hill, RB, Cincinnati Bengals ($7,100)

Given the values to be had elsewhere this week, it's easy to afford higher-priced backs like Hill, although he is still a value in relative terms. With the ninth-highest salary among running backs, Hill is my second-ranked running back for the week. From Week 9 on, Hill led the NFL in rushing yards (929, 5.40 YPC) with five 100-yard games over that nine-game span. No team allowed more fantasy points to opposing running backs last season and the Bengals had the fifth-highest run-play percentage (47.59 percent) in 2014. With a high floor and ceiling alike, I can see Hill get 20-plus carries, 100-plus yards (DK scoring gives three bonus points for a 100-yard rushing game) and a touchdown (or two) with a few receptions.

Dan Yanotchko - Doug Martin, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers ($4,500)

I love Doug Martin of the Buccanuthis week, as I feel he's a great value play at $4,500. The Muscle Hamster has looked great in the preseason, showing off that great quickness that made him a star in 2012. I love his matchup against the Titans, who were second worse in the league in giving up 2,195 yards and 4.3 yards per carry last year. The Titans also surrendered 17 touchdowns on the ground as well, giving Martin the potential for great numbers at his price.

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December 18, 2014

Fantasy Football Week 16: Underrated Players in PPR Leagues

Championship Week! At least for most of us. All the hard work pays off and you are guaranteed a top-two finish. In most leagues, that represents a payday.

But there is one common pattern I see in owners come championship time -- a tendency to overthink and overanalyze. Analysis paralysis some might say. Don’t get stuck in that loop. Trust the cadence that got you to this point. Don’t get crafty, don’t get cute, don’t try to pull off the miracle sleeper. If you have to step out of the box, base your decisions on logic and reasoning. There is no reason to stray at this point, just put your best foot forward and hope for the best.

Good luck to everyone playing for a championship this week.

As always, last week’s breakdown is below (see last week's post here). Modest gains to be sure, but I’ll take anything in the black after the previous week’s season-crushing debacle.

Week 15 Results
QBsRBsWRsTEsTotal
+8.7+6.7-3.1-0.4+11.9
YTD Results
QBsRBsWRsTEsTotal
-81.1+204.3-47.0-28.3+47.9
* Stats are based on players recommended (compared to options listed to start those players over). YTD stats are from Week 5 with my first post.

Best of the week -- Kelvin Benjamin +10.9: – Benjamin had a solid game despite Cam Newton missing the game. In some respects, Derek Anderson may actually represent the best passer of the group. No, he isn’t the better player by any stretch; Newton brings a dynamic to the game that is hard to match. But Anderson is more accurate and was throwing some darts on Sunday.

Runner-up -- Eli Manning +8.7: Manning had a very solid day, posting 250 yards and three scores. The vast majority of which went to Odell Beckham Jr. And that ladies and gentleman, is the sole reason I am not playing for a championship in one of my leagues this week. I love ODB, but hated him on Sunday.

Worst of the week -- Steve Smith -14: This Ravens offense, especially the passing game, is hard to figure. They perform well when they are expected to struggle, and they struggle when they should perform well. The Jags represented a great matchup for Smith, and he was not able to capitalize.

Runner-up -- Delanie Walker -.4: Walker had a solid outing by most TE standards, posting 13+ points in a PPR. But Antonio Gates had a big game, leading to the net negative.

Quarterbacks

Alex SmithKansas City Chiefs
FantasyPros ECR – 17

Smith comes off his best outing of the year from a fantasy perspective, dismantling the porous Oakland Raiders. I don’t expect a repeat performance, but the Steelers don’t exactly inspire confidence defending the pass game, ranking 30th in efficiency. Given the Steelers offense should continue to be productive, the Chiefs will need to pass more often than usual. Smith has a good chance to carry over his momentum from last week into another solid outing.

Consider starting him over:
Joe Flacco – ECR 16
RG3 – ECR 13

Kyle OrtonBuffalo Bills
FantasyPros ECR – 22

Orton gets the Raiders defense that just let Alex Smith look like Aaron Rodgers. The Bills are a run-first team, but the Raiders are actually decent against the run. Buffalo is in the thick of a playoff battle and cannot afford to let a team like Oakland hang around and risk an upset. I expect them to take advantage of the weak pass D and try to pull away early.

Consider starting him over:
Colin Kaepernick – ECR 21
Eli Manning – ECR 17

Running Backs

Steven JacksonAtlanta Falcons
FantasyPros ECR – 21

We have all heard the story line, multiple times probably, the NFC South winner is guaranteed to be no better than 8-8, best-case scenario. The Falcons are currently in third place, but control their own destiny and a chance to host a home playoff game if they win out. They have a tough task in New Orleans this week. Both teams struggle on defense, but NO is even worse against the run (ranked 31st in efficiency) than Atlanta. Given the Falcons passing defense woes, their best bet is to hand the ball off and hope to keep Drew Brees off the field. Jackson's usage has been up over the past several weeks, so I would think he is in line for around 20 carries this week.

Consider starting him over:
Latavius Murray – ECR 20
Alfred Morris – ECR 18

Pierre ThomasNew Orleans Saints
FantasyPros ECR – 24

When I said New Orleans had a worse run defense than the Falcons, I didn’t say it was by much. Atlanta is also a bottom feeder against the run, but that’s not why Thomas is here. Thomas has been getting more involved since returning from injury, and is becoming the dominant passing-down back he is known for. Last week, he posted five catches for 83 yards. This week, he gets a Falcons D ranked 27th against RBs as receivers. Seems like a good spot for Thomas to continue his resurgence in the Saints backfield.

Consider starting him over:
Giovani Bernard – ECR 23
Matt Asiata – ECR 22

Wide Receivers

Nate WashingtonTennessee Titans
FantasyPros ECR – 37

This is contingent upon Kendall Wright sitting again this week. If that happens, look for Washington to have a productive outing. Since Justin Hunter’s season ended and Washington regained the starting spot, he has posted no less than eight points in a game, with an average of 13 points per game during that stretch. As the default No. 1 WR last week, he put up six catches for 102 yards. This week, he gets a Jags defense that ranks 32nd against WR1’s in terms of efficiency.

Consider starting him over:
Eric Decker – ECR 36
Andre Johnson – ECR 28 (Seriously, he has Case Keenum or Thad Lewis at QB)

Sammy WatkinsBuffalo Bills
FantasyPros ECR – 24

Watkins had a down week against a good Packers secondary, and in a game where the Bills wanted to run clock as much as possible to escape with the victory – and kudos to the them for a strong performance. Watkins gets a shot at the Raiders defense that made an awful Chiefs receiving corps look good last week. Can you say bounce-back game?

Consider starting him over:
Vincent Jackson – ECR 21
Kelvin Benjamin – ECR 18

Tight End

Travis KelceKansas City Chiefs
FantasyPros ECR - 5

Kelce has been up and down this season, primarily because of his questionable usage by Andy Reid. Although, this is the same guy who has basically ignored Jamaal Charles on three occasions this season … remind me again why everyone thinks he is such a good coach? Anyhow, Kelce has produced in recent weeks and gets a great matchup against the Steelers, who rank 27th in defensive pass efficiency against TEs. KC is likely going to have to throw to keep up with a strong Pittsburgh offense, in a very important game for both team's playoff hopes.

Consider starting him over:
Martellus Bennett – ECR 4
Greg Olsen – ECR 3

Thanks for reading and good luck in Week 16! Follow me on Twitter @rw11687.


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December 12, 2014

Fantasy Football Week 15: Underrated Players in PPR Leagues

Well, that was embarrassing. An outright fiasco. Frankly, I’m still not sure how it could go that wrong. For those that don’t know what I am talking about, this is in reference to my Week 14 suggestions.

Week 14 Results
QBsRBsWRsTEsTotal
-30.8+5.9-59.3-61.0-145.2
YTD Results
QBsRBsWRsTEsTotal
-89.8+197.6-43.9-27.9+36.0
* Stats are based on players recommended (compared to options listed to start those players over). YTD stats are from Week 5 with my first post.

The fact that my picks didn’t have great games doesn’t bother me, all we can do is make educated guesses, it happens. What is eating at me is the perfect storm that essentially crushed my work to this point. Not only did my selections perform poorly despite good situations, SEVERAL of the players I suggested to sit hit top-five status. There is no point in looking back and justifying the selections, but let’s just say I don’t blindly pick players to sit. In all cases the combination of matchup, game flow, and situation aim towards a sub-par performance.

Not this week, and it literally wiped out all progress I made this season. One bad week can ruin it all. I guess it’s fitting though, given that is essentially the definition of the fantasy playoffs.

In an effort to preserve my sanity, I am going to bypass the snippets on the best and worst performances from last week. It would be too painful to relive. I will simply list the numbers and move on.

Best of the week: Jonathan Stewart +6.4
- Runner-up: Golden Tate +5.4

Worst of the week: Randall Cobb -44.2
- Runner-up: Antonio Gates -32.8

Moving on from this debacle ...

Quarterbacks

Eli ManningNew York Giants
FantasyPros ECR – 14

While the Giants have been awful all season, Manning has been fairly steady from a fantasy perspective. With the emergence of Odell Beckham, Manning has a go-to receiver he can count on. The Giants get a horrible Redskins defense this week, who rank 32nd in defensive pass efficiency. Last time these two teams met, Manning went off for 300 yards and four TDs. That may be a little ambitious this week, but a QB1 stat line is not unrealistic.

Consider starting him over:
Russell Wilson – ECR 13
Tony Romo – ECR 10

Special offer from DraftKings: Get a 100-percent deposit bonus (up to $600) when you sign up for an account.

Running Backs

Chris IvoryNew York Jets
FantasyPros ECR – 24

Ivory keeps showing up on this list with mixed results. But given the QB situation in New York, this team needs to be focused on the run game. Ivory did well last week averaging 4.6 YPC. Against a weak Titans run defense, I expect that to continue. Tennessee ranks 28th in defensive run efficiency and should not present much of a challenge to the bruising style of Ivory.

Consider starting him over:
Dan Herron – ECR 23
LeGarrette Blount – ECR 21

Fred JacksonBuffalo Bills
FantasyPros ECR – 19

Jackson is the lead dog for a Bills offense that is run-oriented. In a must-win game, at home against the Packers, the Bills should lean heavily on the run game. They do not stand a chance if this turns into a high-scoring affair. They will focus on a ball control type of offensive scheme and attempt to keep Aaron Rodgers on the sideline as much as possible. Luckily for them, the Packers struggle against the run defensively, ranking 23rd in efficiency. As important, they rank 20th against RBs as receivers, a place where Jackson excels, as evidenced by 10 catches last week.

Consider starting him over:
Jonathan Stewart – ECR 15
Latavious Murray – ECR 18

Wide Receivers

Steve SmithBaltimore Ravens
FantasyPros ECR – 27

Smith had a big game last week against a very tough Miami secondary. This week, the ride gets much smoother with a matchup against the Jaguars. Jacksonville ranks dead last against WR1s in defensive efficiency. This game lines up well for a performance equivalent to what we saw from Smith early in the season.

Consider starting him over:
Brandon LaFell – ECR 25
Roddy White – ECR 20

Kelvin BenjaminCarolina Panthers
FantasyPros ECR – 16

Many people look at Cam Newton’s injury as a detriment to the Panthers fantasy outlook. All the best to Cam and good luck with a speedy recovery, but its not like he was burning it up on the field. While it is a small sample size, Anderson has looked good in his one start and several minor stints in blowouts. During that time, Anderson has posted a 115.0 rating. In his lone start, he connected with Benjamin to the tune of six receptions, 92 yards and a TD. Against a Bucs defense that ranks 31st in efficiency against WR1’s, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a similar line this week.

Consider starting him over:
Josh Gordon – ECR 14
Randall Cobb – ECR 13

Tight End

Delanie WalkerTennessee Titans
FantasyPros ECR - 7

Walker has cooled down considerably after a hot start, other than a big game a few weeks ago. But Jake Locker has resumed starting duties with Zach Mettenberger done for the season. Most of Walker's success came with Locker under center, and that could very easily continue this week. The Jets rank last in the league against TEs and Walker is arguably the Titans best overall receiving option with the injuries to Justin Hunter and Kendall Wright. This could be one of the 100-yard games we have seen from him in the past.

Consider starting him over:
Antonio Gates – ECR 6
Martellus Bennett – ECR 3

Thanks for reading and good luck in Week 15! Follow me on Twitter @rw11687.


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December 05, 2014

Daily Fantasy Football Roundtable: Favorite Week 14 DraftKings Plays

The fantasy playoffs are under way for most as Week 14 typically marks the beginning of the playoffs in fantasy leagues. With daily fantasy sports, however, it's like championship week every week as the season lasts for only that week's games.

Like in previous weeks, our contributors have offered their favorite DraftKings play for the remainder of this week's games.

Here are our picks for Week 14:

Brendan DonahueJonathan Stewart, Carolina Panthers (at NO), $3,800

This is purely a value pick. Stewart is the 41st-most expensive running back this week, but with the news that D'Angelo Williams could miss Sunday's game, Stewart should be the featured back. The Panthers should be giving Stewart the lion's share of the work anyway. Stewart is averaging 4.25 YPC on the year compared to 3.47 for Williams, and Stewart is also tied for fifth in the entire league in yards after contact per attempt. New Orleans has given up the fifth-most fantasy points to running backs (DK scoring) this season so I would expect Stewart to provide top-25 production and is a great value pick this week.

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Ryan WattersonRandall Cobb, Green Bay Packers (vs. ATL), $7,400

The Packers offense has been on a tear for several weeks with Cobb playing a large role in their success. Cobb gets a matchup with the hapless Atlanta secondary this week -- the Falcons rank 31st in defensive pass efficiency, but Cobb really benefits from the matchup within the matchup. As porous as the Falcons have been, Desmond Trufant has been very solid as their No. 1 CB. The same cannot be said on the other side of the ball, especially with the injury to Robert Alford (although he wasn't doing all that well even when healthy). Trufant is expected to shadow Jordy Nelson, and we all know Rodgers is not the kind of QB to force anything. As a result, Cobb should be the go-to guy this week and take advantage of a very positive matchup. At $7,400, you can't call this a bargain or value play, but Cobb should significantly outperform his salary this week.

Sean BeazleyBrian Hoyer/Josh Gordon, Cleveland Browns (vs. IND), $5,200/$8,100

This Sunday, I will be rolling out a QB-WR combo that only takes up $13,500 off my $50,000 cap. The big news this week was that Brian Hoyer will start for Cleveland and I love the Hoyer/Gordon combo this week. Hoyer will be on a short leash with Manziel looming, but the Colts pass defense has been horrible the past few weeks so I think Hoyer will rise to the occasion. I have Josh Gordon as my No. 1 fantasy WR this week, and Hoyer is a steal at $5,200. With the savings at QB, it allows me to roster a few more higher-tiered players (Jordy Nelson/Odell Beckham Jr.) I really like this week.

Dan YanotchkoJarvis Landry, Miami Dolphins (vs. BAL), $5,600

This week a guy on my must-have list on Draft Kings for $5,600 is Jarvis Landry of the Miami Dolphins. Landry has one of the best matchups of the week, as the Ravens defense allows a whopping 274 yards passing per game, which is second-worst in the league, and also they have surrendered 20 touchdowns as well. Landry also has an impressive stat line this year, as he has 57 receptions for 518 yards and five touchdowns, and he has evolved into a WR2 that is knocking on the door of WR1 with a split of 27 catches on 37 targets, 217 yards receiving, and three touchdowns in his past four games.

Kevin HansonEddie Lacy, Green Bay Packers (vs. ATL), $7,800

Although he finished with just 13.5 DK points last week, he had more than 20 DK points in each of his previous four games and has at least 13.5 points in six consecutive games. A workhorse back with more than 20 carries in each of his past two games, Lacy is set up for another huge workload as the Packers are this week's biggest favorites and projected by Vegas to score the most points. Lacy is averaging 5.21 YPC over his past three games and he has five touchdowns in his past four games. Not only are the Packers expected to win big this week, but Lacy's matchup against the Falcons (second-most fantasy points to RBs) is also one of the best at the position in Week 14. With a high floor and plenty of upside, Lacy is ideal for both cash games and GPPs.

More Week 14 content:

Good luck in Week 14!


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December 04, 2014

Fantasy Football Week 14: Underrated Players in PPR Leagues

Win or go home.

For pretty much everyone reading this, that’s what is at stake this week. In most cases, this week represents the first round -- a championship is only a few wins away. But heartbreak and anger are only one loss away. There are no pushovers in the playoffs, you don’t get the opportunity to face the guy who stopped submitting lineups in Week 5. There are no garbage teams to run over. Every week from this point forward will be a challenge.

Trusting the studs that got you to this point is always a good decision, but those are usually no-brainer lineup decisions anyways. It’s the ancillary starters that make or break you. Picking the right WR3 out of a group of boom-or-bust options. Deciding between upside or steadiness. Championships are won and lost on these critical decisions, and it’s not for the faint of heart. We’ve all been there -- you've pulled your hair out all week deciding between two players, only to watch the player you benched put up just enough points to give you victory, while the player you started lead you to defeat. Below are some underrated options that just may help steal victory from the jaws of defeat.

As always, we will first take a look back at my previous picks. Due to technical issues last week, there was no Week 13 version. So, we have to go all the way back to Week 12 for review. Seems like ages ago, doesn’t it? Other than the QB position, I had a strong showing and hope to continue in Week 14.

Week 12 Results
QBsRBsWRsTEsTotal
-30.6+40.8+79.3+1.9+91.4
YTD Results
QBsRBsWRsTEsTotal
-59.0+191.7+15.4+33.1+181.2
* Stats are based on players recommended (compared to options listed to start those players over). YTD stats are from Week 5 with my first post.

Best of the week: Odell Beckham Jr. +42.0 -- Wow. ODB lit up the Cowboys to the tune of 10 catches, 146 yards, and 2 TDs. Not to mention one of the most incredible catches you will ever see. Beckham turned in the best WR performance of Week 12, and blew Roddy White and Jeremy Maclin out of the water. White had a very solid game in his own right, but couldn’t hold a candle to ODB’s incredible performance. This kid is fun to watch.

Runner-up: Anquan Boldin +34.0 -- Boldin is the lone bright spot on an anemic 49ers offense. He continues to perform at a high level despite Colin Kaepernick’s continuing struggles. Boldin turned in the third-best fantasy performance for WRs in Week 12.

Worst of the week: Joe Flacco -20.0 -- I am in a slump when it comes to QB picks, and it continued in Week 12. Flacco was mediocre at best, putting up 16 fantasy points. But he was thoroughly outperformed by Russell Wilson and Ryan Tannehill, with Tannehill responsible for the majority of the negative spread.

Runner-up: Brian Hoyer -10.0 -- Hoyer had everything lined up in his favor to put up a strong game. Instead, he limped to another mediocre finish which began the whispers of Johnny Football's potential emergence. An unexpected outbreak from Eli Manning was the reason for the -10, but I guess I was playing with fire when suggesting to start ODB and sit Manning.

Now, let’s get to players that hopefully will help you take the first step in the quest for a championship.

Quarterbacks

Philip Rivers -- San Diego Chargers
FantasyPros ECR -- 11

I typically like to suggest two QBs, but this week just didn’t line up well for that. There was only one I really felt comfortable with and I don’t want to make a suggestion just for the sake of it. But honestly, given my recent QB track record, who the hell is going to listen anyways??

As for Rivers, there is no question the Patriots secondary is a bit daunting. However, they can be had, as Aaron Rodgers showed last week. Rivers isn’t Rodgers, but he does spread the ball around and makes good decisions like Rodgers does. With Keenan Allen returning to his rookie form recently, the Chargers have an underrated set of receiving options. But more than anything, I think Rivers has a big game as a result of game flow. The Chargers secondary (and defense in general) has struggled mightily since a strong opening to the season. They rank 30th in defensive pass efficiency -- you think Tom Brady may have some fun with that? Coming off a tough loss, the Patriots are going to come out firing. With the Chargers in a heated playoff battle, they will do everything they can to keep up, which should mean throwing early and often.

Consider starting him over:
Russell Wilson -- ECR 6
Matthew Stafford -- ECR 8

Running Backs

Lamar Miller -- Miami Dolphins
FantasyPros ECR -- 24

Miller has been a very solid fantasy RB this season, ranking as a low-end RB1 in PPR formats. He often gets overlooked for some reason, and that remains the case this week with a ranking of 24. Granted, the Ravens defense has been good against the run this season, but Miller has been fairly matchup proof this season. He rarely explodes for huge games, but that is more a result of his limited usage -- he has yet to see 20 carries in a single game and has only topped 15 a handful of times. But when he gets the rock, he produces. Consider he has only had two games where he has averaged less than 4 YPC, and that was in Weeks 5 and 6. And this isn’t a result of an easy schedule, as one-third of his games have been against top-10 rush defenses (three games were against top-five defenses).

In addition, Miller averages nearly 1 YPC more at home than on the road -- checking in at an impressive 5.4 YPC. To me, this has the makings of a grind it out game as both teams are lock-step in the AFC playoff race. I think the Dolphins go to Miller more than usual and he outperforms his current back-end RB2 ranking.

Consider starting him over:
Isaiah Crowell -- ECR 18
Fred Jackson -- ECR 23

Chris Ivory -- New York Jets
FantasyPros ECR -- 36

Admittedly, this is a risky choice. Ivory has been up and down all season. His usage varies drastically from game to game for some unknown reason. Oh, wait, I guess it’s not that much of an unknown… Marty Mornhinwig is the OC and he just isn’t that smart. The fact is Ivory is productive when given the opportunities and he faces a Vikings defense that is ranked 27th in defensive run efficiency. Given the Jets horrible QB situation, and Rex Ryan’s motivation to screw his soon-to-be former employer out of a potential No. 1 pick (just guessing, but doesn’t he seem like the vengeful type?), perhaps the Jets actually mix it up for a change and put together a game plan that exploits the opponent's weakness. Or not. I will readily admit this could go the other way, but Ivory has upside this week, and upside can be all you need to pull off a victory.

Consider starting him over:
LeGarrette Blount -- ECR 32
Reggie Bush -- ECR 34

Jonathan Stewart -- Carolina Panthers
FantasyPros ECR -- 27

DeAngelo Williams has a fractured finger and even if he does attempt to play, I can’t imagine they get him overly involved with Stewart available. Stewart has been solid this season, albeit in his typical split role. But if he gets the opportunity to be the lead back this week, the potential for a big game is there. In his previous game against the Saints, Stewart put up 46 yards on only eight carries, averaging 5.8 YPC. New Orleans has consistently been near the bottom of the league in rush defense, and they check in at 29th this week. Not to mention, Stewart was already involved in the passing game, but an uptick in targets is likely with increased playing time and the potential to be in catchup mode early. That bodes well for his PPR prospects.

Consider starting him over:
Frank Gore -- ECR 26
Joique Bell -- ECR 14

Wide Receivers

Randall Cobb -- Green Bay Packers
FantasyPros ECR -- 11

Look, if you have Cobb, you are more than likely starting him regardless. But this is just a reminder -- don’t try and get cute. Cobb is my No. 1 WR this week. The Packers offense is rolling right now and the Falcons defense isn’t going to slow it down. Atlanta ranks 25th against WR2’s, but almost as importantly, they rank 8th against WR1’s. Rodgers isn’t one to force anything, especially when he has a talent like Cobb as the second option. This is setup for Cobb to explode as the primary target while Jordy Nelson is stuck against Desmond Trufant, who is really playing well.

Consider starting him over:
Julio Jones -- ECR 6
Antonio Brown -- ECR 3

Brandon LaFell -- New England Patriots
FantasyPros ECR -- 24

LaFell has a great matchup against the Chargers this week, who rank 22nd against WR2’s. He continues to be heavily involved in this Patriots offense and has Brady’s trust in any scenario. Coming off a painful loss to the Packers, the Patriots will come out with a vengeance and look to pour it on the Chargers. This feels like a game where regardless of the score, Brady keeps flinging the ball around.

Consider starting him over:
Jeremy Maclin -- ECR 23
Mike Evans -- ECR 16
Roddy White -- ECR 22

Golden Tate -- Detroit Lions
FantasyPros ECR -- 20

While the Lions offense has largely struggled this season, Tate has been a steady, and sometimes stellar, fantasy performer. Even with the return of Calvin Johnson, Tate has continued to put up numbers. Coming off of their best offensive performance of the season, the Lions take on a porous Bucs secondary. Tampa ranks 21st overall against the pass, but 27th against WR2’s. Conversely, they rank 12th in rushing defense, meaning the matchup suggests a heavier passing attack may be in order. While Johnson will always get a lot of targets, his presence gives Tate a lot of single coverage, which he is more than capable of exploiting.

Consider starting him over:
Josh Gordon -- ECR 9 (Josh, meet Vontae Davis. Oh, and over here is Brian Hoyer. He will be serving you ducks today.)
Brandon Marshall -- ECR 14

Tight End

Antonio Gates -- San Diego Chargers
FantasyPros ECR - 6

As mentioned previously, I think this game has shootout potential. At the very least, I think the Chargers will be forced to throw a lot. This bodes very well for Gates’ fantasy prospects, given that the Patriots rank 31st against TEs. With the strong corner play the Patriots can offer, Rivers will be looking old faithful’s way time and time again. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Gates take top TE honors this week.

Consider starting him over:
Greg Olsen -- ECR 5
Martellus Bennett -- ECR 4

Tim Wright -- New England Patriots
FantasyPros ECR -- 20

If you are desperate or in need of large upside, Wright is a valid option this week. For all the reasons I have already mentioned about this game, he has the potential to put up a big week. He is very up and down, and could just as easily put up a one-catch game. But I think the Chargers will focus on taking away Gronk, which leaves Wright in a position to be open often. The image of Wright standing wide open in the front corner of the end zone against the Lions keeps running through my mind. It seemed like he was the very last option and it took Brady hours to find him. But there he was, not a Lion within 10 yards for what felt like an eternity. There is a good chance we see that same thing this week, whether it is in the end zone or not is the question. My guess is yes.

Consider starting him over:
Charles Clay -- ECR 18
Jared Cook -- ECR 19

Thanks for reading and good luck in Week 14! Follow me on Twitter @rw11687.


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