Let’s get right into this week’s plays. There is a quarterback play this week that I think is the sharp plays of all sharp plays. He is the only quarterback I am going to write up. There are a few other guys who are in fine spots that I would be chomping at the bit to roster most weeks, but I like my guy so much this week that I’m just playing him and moving on.
Check out these game logs:
Okay, I’ll stop. Those are the home game logs (most recent at top) for a quarterback playing this week at home. Care to guess who?
I’m going to assume you guessed Drew Brees?
Well if you did, you’re wrong. Those are Ben Roethlisberger’s ($8,300) home game logs back to early 2014. In fact, two of his three worst games (259-3-2, 262-1-3) came against the Bengals. I pointed this out in an article earlier this season before he played the Bengals; they just have his number. Tough divisional opponent who plays against him often. So, if we throw those two games against the Bengals out, his average over his other last 12 home games is 365/3.67/0.42.
That is absolutely incredible.
On top of all this, everyone is going to be playing Brees and Stafford, leaving Big Ben criminally underowned in this spot.
Running back presents us with many different options this week, but it all starts with Big Ben’s teammate, LeVeon Bell ($9,300). Bell is a staple here every week and it’s impossible not to mention him. You’re getting a WR1 plus an elite 20 carry running back in one player. Just pay the price and move one.
You could do the same with David Johnson ($9,200), as his targets equal a top-tier receiver as well. His only knock is that he plays for Bruce Arians and Arians doesn’t like to run the ball at times. I always like to try to pay up for both of these guys, but with the level their price has risen to, it makes it really hard this week without punting multiple other positions.
So, where do we go if we don’t pay up at both spots?
I scroll all the way to Theo Riddick ($6,500). Everyone will be on this game, and Riddick is one of the main pieces I want exposure to since I won’t be on the quarterbacks here. The Lions have played stall ball all year and want to slow the pace and keep opposing offenses off the field. While that will be hard this week, especially without an effective running game, I think the way they’ll keep the clock running and the chains moving is by short passes to Riddick. He’s in a great spot, and if he’s fully healthy come Sunday, there’s a good chance he’ll be in my lineup.
Another guy at the same price that I am giving a long hard look at is Doug Martin ($6,500). Martin has been a workhorse the past two weeks, with 47 total carries and 6 targets. The only thing that worries me here is his matchup, as the Chargers have been fairly stout versus the run. We’ve seen that the Buccaneers want to run the ball as much as they effectively can. A healthy Martin gives them that ability, and the opportunity alone is worth looking at.
The last guy I have to mention is Jeremy Hill ($5,800). Hill is a strong play due to price and workload. He received 18 touches last week, and I think that’s his floor this week. He managed a double-digit scoring effort against the elite Ravens run defense. It’s not often we can get a talented workhorse running back at this price in a decent matchup.
Let’s complete the Steelers stack with Antonio Brown ($9,000). This is such a high upside trio and the total ownership on the complete stack is going to be miniscule. This situation reminds me of the Steelers first game in December last year when they played the Colts, and Big Ben threw for 364 yards and four touchdowns, DeAngelo Williams(Bell was injured) rushed for 134 yards and caught five balls, and Brown had 8-118-2. That stack won a lot of people a lot of money that week. You’re seriously looking at a ceiling around 80-90 points with just these three guys.
The next guy I like is Julio Jones ($8,300). Jones will be slightly underowned this week as well. The average DFS player will see Kansas City on the schedule and not love the matchup. But we know that he’ll actually have a juicy matchup lined up away from Marcus Peters a large part of the time. The Falcons have been great this year at taking what the defense gives them and I think Julio will be open often.
I hate being too late to the party on a guy, but if you remember, I recommended Michael Thomas ($6,900) last week before his big game. He’s a solid play again this week, but Brees spreads the ball around. While I don’t think we have to play Thomas this week, he is a solid option.
Jamison Crowder ($6,600) is going to be very sneaky this week. It’s hard to believe a guy who has had fewer than 11 FanDuel points just once in his past 10 games is going to be sneaky. But with so many Saints receivers in this range along with a couple other top names like Edelman and Hopkins, Crowder will go over looked. The weak spot against the Cardinals plays right into Crowder’s strength. It will be the path of least resistance for the Redskins to move the ball, so I expect plenty of balls thrown his way.
Because there are so many high-priced guys I like, I’m trying to find more value down lower. Golden Tate ($5,900) is a solid play for the same reasons I pointed out with Riddick above. They’ll use him a lot around the line of scrimmage to keep the clock running. This should give him plenty of targets in the paced up game against the Saints on turf. I’m also fine with Marvin Jones ($5,600) or even Anquan Boldin ($5,000). Boldin is a very enticing salary saver.
One situation I’m watching closely is the Philadelphia Eagles. If Jordan Matthews is out, I really like Dorial Green-Beckham ($4,500). He’s seen 18 targets for 11 catches, 136 yards and a touchdown in his last two games. At minimum price, he’s definitely in play. Even if Matthews plays, I’m still interested in him if Nelson Agholor is inactive again.
The dilemma at tight end is that I don’t have much salary left when I get here. If I pay up, it will be for Tyler Eifert ($6,800). Eifert is the main cog in this pass game now with A.J. Green out, and he saw 11 targets last game. He’ll continue to see targets in that range, and is likely to have a couple of chances to snag a touchdown.
From there I go all the way down to Vance McDonald ($4,900). He’s been Kaepernick’s favorite target since taking over as the starting quarterback. He’s seen no fewer than six targets in his last five games, making him a decent play at this price.
Let’s keep going down. Jermaine Gresham ($4,500) has caught a touchdown in two consecutive games and saw a season high in targets last week at 10. As I mentioned above, Arians loves to throw, which gives more targets to go around. If a couple of the Cardinals questionable receivers don’t suit up, my interest in Gresham will be pretty high.
How many Steelers are too many Steelers this week? I really want to play Ladarius Green ($4,500), but we just don’t know how many snaps he’ll play. He only played 14 plays last week, but he still received three targets. Word is that he’ll see increased snaps this week. I wish I knew what that meant. If it’s 30-35 snaps, sign me up. Then, my biggest decision will come down to whether or not I want all four Steelers.
Defense presents us with a few different options this week. I’m trying to do everything I can to fit in the Denver Broncos ($5,000). This Broncos defense gets the offense I’ve been targeting against with below average defenses in week’s past (See Detroit Lions). There’s going to be opportunities for multiple defensive touchdowns here as I fully expect Blake Bortles to throw to the wrong team multiple times.
If I can’t afford the Broncos, the New England Patriots ($4,600) provide a little salary relief and I think they are a safe option. They don’t force a lot of turnovers, but Jared Goff might be willing to give them the ball with little resistance.
There is one cheaper option that I am taking a long hard look at, the Miami Dolphins ($4,400). The Dolphins have been very opportunistic as of late, forcing nine turnovers in their last four games. The Baltimore Ravens aren’t an offense that scares me by any means. Joe Flacco has only thrown 11 touchdowns and has thrown 10 interceptions. The more I dig in, the more the Dolphins are becoming my favorite option.
Once again, I’m going to have to pay down at kicker. There is one guy I think I’ll end up on and you’ll have to scroll all the way to the bottom to find him. That guy is Nick Novak ($4,500). No one is going to play him, so it’s actually a good spot if he has a big game. Novak has been the definition of consistent, and has flashed plenty of upside. I don’t understand why he’s so cheap to be honest. He’s the 6th highest scoring FanDuel kicker this year and he’s playing the Green Bay Packers, who lets everyone march up and down the field on them. Novak has four double-digit games, with a high of 14 in his last ten. His worst game in that time frame is 7.
Week 13 Stay Aways
My quarterback stay aways this week reads like this: Stay away from everyone not named Ben Roethlisberger. I’m kidding, kind of. I’ll obviously be staying away from everyone but Big Ben, but I could see a case for playing everyone down to Russell Wilson. But seriously, just stay away from them all and play the top scoring QB this week at low ownership.
Let’s move on to running back.
It should go without saying, but don’t play Jay Ajayi ($7,500). He’s priced too high going against the top run defense.
Box score watchers might be tempted to play Devonta Freeman ($7,400). He’s still priced like a bell cow back, but Tevin Coleman is back and will continue to tip the scales closer to a 50/50 split in that backfield.
Spencer Ware ($7,400) is another guy that is still priced well above where he should be. He has 34.5 FanDuel points combined over his last four games. I want guys with that kind of upside in one game.
Do you want to see something funny? Click on Brandin Cooks ($6,800) name on FanDuel. It’s like he didn’t even play last week. The last game in his game log is from 11/17. Of course that’s because he failed to register a target in Week 12. The squeaky wheel narrative is there this week, but there’s just one problem. Thomas is the better player and only costs $100 more, and Willie Snead has the best matchup of them all at only a couple hundred dollars cheaper. I’m not going to just play Cooks because “he didn’t get a target last week so he has to get a ton this week”. Could he have a good game? Absolutely, but he’s the third guy in that receiving corps that I would consider.
It seems like there is going to be a lot of people on Tyreek Hill ($5,800) this week. He’s the new shiny toy and boy is he fun to watch. He held a special place in my heart only a couple years ago. Some of you may remember this, but allow me to jog down memory lane. Flashback to 2014. I’m a die hard Oklahoma State Cowboy and I bleed orange. We were down seven with less than a minute left to our hated rival, the Oklahoma Sooners, in a game fittingly called “Bedlam”. OU is forced to punt. Hill calls for fair catch at the 15 yard line, but penalty flags fly. Running into the kicker. Luckily just a five yard penalty; not enough to give them a first down. What happened next is still questioned. Bob Stoops (OU coach), decided to re-punt the ball to Tyreek the Freak (aka The Cheetah), instead of making OSU drive 85 yards in under 50 seconds to tie the game. Then this happened:
Then we won in OT.
Unfortunately, Hill punched his pregnant girlfriend that next offseason and was kicked off of the team. It really surprises me he’s made it this far following a domestic violence incident to that degree. I guess as long as it’s not on tape (ie. Ray Rice), then the NFL is fine letting it slide.
Okay, back to where this all started. A lot of people want to play Hill this week, but I think it’s a trap. Sure he has upside, but he’s not going to have a rushing touchdown and a return touchdown most weeks. Heck, he probably won’t have a receiving touchdown each week. With Jeremy Maclin returning his targets will take a hit. It just seems like a trap. He’s at his highest price of the season and I’m not sure he’ll keep getting this many touches (even though he should). Andy Reid has always been a frustrating coach for fantasy owners.
The last receiver I’ll recommend against is Taylor Gabriel ($5,700). He had a BIG game in Week 12, but that was by design. I already mentioned that the Falcons exploit their opponents weaknesses better than anyone and that’s what last week’s game was. Gabriel will line up mostly against Marcus Peters, limiting his upside. (On the same team, Mohamed Sanu is a much better play at the same price)
Well, that’s it for this week. Be sure to follow me on twitter at @mrclutchdfs if you want to get any updates from me on which way I’m leaning on some of these plays once Sunday gets here.
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