I am going to start by saying that I really hope we will all still be able to legally play DFS in both the near and distant future. Most people who play daily fantasy sports are guys like me who love sports and spend a couple of hours a day a few days a week trying to pick great lineups. I don’t play for the money – I play because it is fun. I hope that this won’t be taken away from us.
Last week was an interesting one fantasy football-wise. A lot of the big names who were supposed to have big games didn’t – and it led to some low scores finishing in the money. My best DraftKings lineup had 155.75 points, and that lineup easily cashed in both contests I entered it in. In fact, I cashed in a GPP with 136.66 points which is an unusually low score. In any event, it was another pretty strong week, and hopefully I can continue to give you some good advice.
Don’t hesitate to hit me up on Twitter @AssemblyNeil if you have any questions.
Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons ($7,100): Ryan has gone over 300 yards in his last two games and has had plenty of rest with a bye last week. More importantly, the Falcons are at home and play against the Indianapolis Colts who allow the 5th most passing yards in the league with 279 per game. Ryan will likely be throwing early and often and putting up a nice score.
Bang for Your Buck
Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders ($6,300): Carr is having a tremendous season, having thrown for over 300 yards his last three games and for multiple touchdowns in his last four games. He will likely not slow down this week as Oakland faces off against the Detroit Lions who are 5th from the bottom in Football Outsiders defensive efficiency versus the pass and are also 5th from the bottom in yards per pass attempt allowed. Look for Carr to be over 22 points for the 5th consecutive game.
Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans ($5,300): If you are playing the Thursday night slate and are looking for a cheap QB, I really like Mariota this week. The Jaguars are the 3rd worst team versus the pass per Football Outsiders, and Mariota has excelled against bottom 5 pass defenses this year as he threw for multiple touchdowns against both the Saints and Browns earlier in the year. Mariota has proved that he can dominate in the right match-up and this is a good one for him.
Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings ($6,800): Peterson has retaken his perch at the top of the NFL running back hierarchy. He leads the league in rushing yards by over 200 and also leads in rush yards per game, narrowly edging super-rookie Todd Gurley. He is facing a Green Bay team that allows the 9th most rushing yards per game. Minnesota will try to pound the rock in this battle for 1st place and Peterson will be the beneficiary.
Darren McFadden, Dallas Cowboys ($5,000): I’m not a big McFadden guy, but there is no denying that he has been solid this year with over 60 total yards in his last 5 games. He also has a sweetheart match-up against the Dolphins who allow the 2nd most rushing yards per game with 135.6. Tony Romo is returning, but Dallas will probably continue to run the ball this game. I like McFadden for 100 total yards and touchdown.
Bang for your Buck
Charcandrick West, Kansas City Chiefs ($4,500): The Charc-nado might be my play of the day. First off, West has scored 22+ DraftKings points in his last 3 games by being over 110 total yards in each game and also scoring a touchdown in each. West also gets to run against the abysmal Chargers run defense. The Bolts rank dead last in defensive efficiency versus the run, and 3rd from the bottom in rushing yards per attempt. Look for another strong game from West.
Jonathan Stewart, Carolina Panthers ($4,400): Here is another guy who will appear in many of my lineups. Stewart has had double-digit DraftKings points in 4 of his last 5 weeks and is a consistent performer. Moreover, he faces off against the Washington Redskins who allow the 3rd most rushing yards per game at 135.3. Carolina will likely have a run, run, run game plan and Stewart will be a big part of it.
Ronnie Hillman, Denver Broncos ($3,900): Hillman seems to have wrestled the #1 running back role from CJ Anderson and this could be his breakout game. First off, the Broncos will likely have a run heavy game-plan with Brock Osweiler at the helm this week. Second, the Chicago Bears struggle against the run, ranking 2nd from the bottom in defensive efficiency. He is another running back that I feel pretty confident in this week.
James White, New England Patriots ($3,000): This was one of my bad calls last week, but I am going back to the well. The Bills rank last in the NFL in defensive efficiency against the pass versus running backs and I still think that White is the best passing back that will be active for the Patriots. I think the Pats offense will have a short passing game plan and believe White will be heavily involved. Of course, if he has less than 15 total yards again this week, he won’t be in this space next week!
Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons ($9,300): My weakness last week was at wide receiver, so let’s see if I can do better this week. Julio Jones leads the NFL in receptions, receiving yards, receiving yards per game and is 2nd in targets. He faces the Colts, who as I have mentioned allow quite a few yards against the pass. Yes – he will likely be shadowed by Vontae Davis, but Jones > Davis.
Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys ($7,700): Bryant might be the guy most excited about the return of Tony Romo this week. This is a great week for the starting QB’s return as the Dolphins rank dead last in defensive efficiency versus #1 receivers. There are few better #1 receivers than Bryant and I like him to go off this game.
Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Bucs ($7,300): I am watching Fantasy Football Live on NBC Sports Network as I write this and they just mentioned that Mike Evans is the most targeted wide receiver over the last four weeks. That is a pretty good reason to start him this week. So is the fact that the Eagles rank 31st in defensive efficiency against #1 receivers. Evans has struggled to get into the end zone but he has been over 125 yards in 3 of the last 4 games. I like him for another solid effort this week.
Bang for your Buck
Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions ($7,200): Oakland does not have a prolific passing defense as they allow 293 yards per game, 2nd worst in the NFL. Calvin Johnson is still the focal point of the Lions passing offense. I think he has a vintage game. By the way, if you didn’t like the quarterbacks that I listed, I also like Matthew Stafford at $5,400.
Amari Cooper, Oakland Raiders ($6,800): First off, I love watching this guy play – he is going to be a star for many years to come. More importantly for our purposes, Detroit has a bottom 5 pass defense and he is the Raiders’ best receiver. Also in what might be an anomaly, Cooper has not been under 14.5 DraftKings points in a road game this year, and has been over 20 in every game but one. Look for that to continue this week.
Allen Hurns, Jacksonville Jaguars ($5,800): The Titans are the worst team in defensive efficiency versus #2 receivers, and Hurns might be the best #2 receiver in the NFL. Hurns has scored a touchdown in his last 7 games (!!) and has not been under 10 DraftKings points in any game this year. If you are playing on Thursday night, this is a great option.
Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers ($4,600): Adams got an astounding 21 targets from Aaron Rodgers last week. If he gets anywhere near that volume again, he should far exceed the pedestrian 79 yards (on 10 catches) that he had against the Lions. Green Bay’s offense is bound to bounce back at some point and Adams can be a main cog.
Danny Amendola, New England Patriots ($4,000): Full disclosure – Amendola likely won’t be in many (any?) of my line-ups because I think he will be extremely highly owned. That having been said, with Julian Edelman out, Amendola will likely step into the slot receiver role and should get 12-15 targets. He catches most balls throw his way, meaning that it could be a 10 catch day. Weekly reminder – DraftKings if full PPR scoring.
Chris Givens, Baltimore Ravens ($3,200): While Kamar Aiken got most of the looks last week, Givens got the targets in the red zone against the Jaguars late. I re-watched that game on Tuesday and I came away impressed with Givens – he is clearly a more talented receiver than Aiken. The Rams have a nice defense, but I think that Givens will be the Ravens’ top receiver, and he certainly won’t cost you very much.
Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers ($6,200): Olsen has been the most consistent tight-end in the NFL (even more than Gronk) having gone over 65 yards in 7 of 9 games. Washington is a mediocre 19th in defensive efficiency versus the tight-end. Olsen should have a nice game.
Bang for your Buck
Delanie Walker, Tennessee Titans ($4,800): Walker is the Titans’ best receiving option and he gets to face off against the Jaguars who are 2nd from the bottom in defensive efficiency against tight-ends. Walker has gone for more than 55 yards in his last 5 games. I like him for 80 yards and a touchdown this week.
Garret Celek, San Francisco 49ers ($2,500): Celek caught 2 touchdowns last week in Blaine Gabbert’s first week at the helm. And if there is one area where the Seahawks struggle, it is against tight-ends as they rank a dismal 30th in defensive efficiency. Celek will likely be lightly owned but is a sneaky play, especially in GPPs.
Bang for your buck
Seattle Seahawks ($4,000) vs. 49ers: The Seahawks get to face off against Blaine Gabbert and the offensively inept 49ers. I don’t think the 49ers score more than 10 points. Good safe play if you have the budget for this defense.
Baltimore Ravens ($2,700) vs. Rams: The Rams are starting the abysmal Case Keenum at quarterback, who was extremely turnover prone when he was at the helm for the Texans. I think Keenum is good for a pick or two, so I like the Ravens at this price.
For my complete lineup, follow me on twitter @AssemblyNeil