Welcome to Week 10. It will definitely be an interesting one, as there are so many different ways you can go this week. I’m finding an interesting roster construction that I think will be somewhat unique, and has a lot of upside (and safety). One thing I will encourage you to do this week is take a stand if you have a conviction. If there is a particular player that you are high on, don’t let every article you read change your mind (unless there is legitimate information to discount your reasoning). Challenge your thinking, but don’t change your core plays with every article you read or podcast that you listen to.
The plays that I write up here are meant to direct you on to some possible core plays that you can use in your lineups. But at the end of the day, it’s your hard-earned money on the line each week, so make sure you are fully behind your plays. Let’s get to them.
SATURDAY UPDATE – All of the plays I wrote up this week are very much still on my radar. However, I’m finding myself on some different plays in a few spots due to new information and roster constructions. Allow me to elaborate.
As the weekend moves along, Eli Manning is jumping out at me more and more. He’s had some atrocious games, but that has been against a gauntlet of pass defenses (Rams, Seahawks, Broncos, and Chargers) with almost no weapons. I’m really high on Sterling Shepard as well, so pairing the two makes a lot of sense and saves a LOT of salary. I think they both have a really solid floor with a lot of upside.
Of course if I go with Manning, I can’t roster Stafford. Being a Lions homer, I have been really excited about playing the Lions offense this week. I still think they’re in a great spot, but something deep in my gut is throwing up caution. Cleveland’s defense actually has some solid skill players, they’ve just been dealt a bad hand this season with a horrible offense that does nothing to help them out. While I do believe the Lions will win this game rather easily, I could see this thing end up being a 20-10 type win where Stafford controls the clock, and throws for 200 yards and a touchdown. Again, this is a total gut feeling, but I’ve been a Lions fan for 25+ years and feel like I have a knack for these type of situations. Coming off a primetime domination of the Packers, in a game they’re going to be chalk, I’m starting to feel okay going elsewhere. I hope I’m completely wrong and the Lions put up 50 points and keep rolling along. (I’ll still have a full stack on Draftkings regardless).
If I end up on Manning and Shepard, I think I’ll end up pivoting off of Orleans Darkwa. I know, I know. I’ve told myself since the start of the week to play him no matter what. I just think to maximize my upside, I need the game script to be an all out passing war. Since that’s the case, I will be fine pivoting to chalky Bilal Powell. Powell has excelled in the right spots, and I hated myself for not playing him earlier in the year when Matt Forte was out. In that game, he rumbled for 163 yards and touchdown and caught four balls for 27 yards. Powell also succeeded when he got all of the work the final four games of last season. In those games, he averaged 20.5 carries for 102.75 yards, and 5.75 targets, catching 5.25 balls per game for 35.25 yards. He also scored three total touchdowns in those games. I think he’s too much of a sure thing to fade.
That’s it for now. I’ll try to update Sunday before lock and let you know where I fall.
QB: Matthew Stafford – Detroit Lions
I thoroughly enjoyed sitting in Lambeau Field on Monday night watching Stafford surgically carve up the Packers. Fun fact: The Lions are 2-25 in Green Bay the last 25 years. When I attend the game in Lambeau during that span, the Lions are 2-0. Maybe the Lions should make it a priority to get me to that game every year? One can only wish!
Anyways, on to this week’s game. Stafford has a dream matchup against the Browns. The Browns have given up multiple passing touchdowns in all but two games this season. While they’ve been soft against the pass, they have been fairly stout against the run. That sets up perfectly here, as the Lions have shown lately that they heavily favor the pass. They began the year wanting to stay committed to the run, but their pass offense has been much better than their run game, causing them to slowly transition to rather pass heavy.
Pro Football Focus did an excellent piece on this game earlier in the week, related to pace. The Browns give up the lowest yards per run in the league, and teams tend to pass the ball a lot in neutral situations against them. The Lions pass the second most times in neutral situations. On top of all that, the pace of this game should be very fast, giving the Lions a lot of plays. The Lions have averaged the second most plays per game over the past month, while the Browns games have averaged the third most combined plays per game over that same span.
Long story short, Stafford is an elite play after averaging 365 yards per game passing the last three weeks. I expect him to cross the 300 mark and have multiple touchdowns.
WR: Marvin Jones Jr. – Detroit Lions
I will be stacking Jones Jr. with Stafford this week on FanDuel. I like Golden Tate as well, but Jones Jr. is just priced too low at $6,400. He has seen 44 targets over the past four weeks and is among the league leaders in red zone targets during that span. I expect Stafford to throw multiple touchdowns in this one, and there is a high likelihood that he will be looking to Jones Jr. when in the red zone.
RB: Orleans Darkwa – New York Giants
I tweeted very early in the week, warning myself not to be talked off of Darkwa this week. He’s only $5,300, which is dirt cheap for a mid to high volume running back in the best possible matchup. Darkwa shot out of the gate last week and racked up 50+ yards in no time. The only issue is that the Giants fell so far behind that they had to start airing it out. Darkwa ended up with 16 carries for 71 yards. I think this week we could realistically see him top 20 carries.
In a matchup against the most fantasy generous run defense, he’s just too good to pass up. The 49ers have been torched by anybody and everybody. They have allowed 97 or more rush yards in seven of nine games and have allowed 145 or more of three of those (145, 167, 223). The Giants want to run the ball and they should have no problems doing just that. There is a realistic chance that Darkwa tops 100 yards and finds the end zone, and at his price, you’ll want to have him.
Note: The problem with rostering Darkwa this week is that you leave so much upside on the table with the top guys. Bell, Fournette, Elliott, Gurley, and McCoy are all in excellent spots. I’m fine with any of those guys, but I think my roster construction will be a little different, because I think Darkwa is the best value on the slate at any position.
RB: Jordan Howard – Chicago Bears
My other running back is going to be Howard. Howard is priced well below the upper tier guys I just mentioned above, but he’s in an excellent spot at home against the Packers. Howard is an absolute workhorse back and we can almost guarantee he’ll see 20+ carries barring injury. Due to that safety and upside that could come close to the guys $2,000 more than him, I think he is a solid play.
The Bears want to limit the number of throws Trubisky makes, and as long as they are ahead and in control of the game (which I think they will be), then they’ll feed Howard. I also like the Bears defense as a correlation play with Howard.
WR: Antonio Brown – Pittsburgh Steelers
Brown hasn’t been on my fantasy radar the past few weeks, but this week he vaults back to the top. This Colts secondary has provided no resistance to opposing wide receivers and now Vontae Davis is off the team after a season ending injury. I don’t know what it is, but Brown has absolutely destroyed the Colts the last three years. Over those three games, he’s averaged 114 yards and 2.33 touchdowns per game. I think most people will be spending up at running back, which will leave Brown underowned.
This is part of my strategy to save a little money at running back. Brown is a must play for me.
WR: AJ Green – Cincinnati Bengals
If you can’t afford Brown or if you want to try and pair them together, Green is in a great spot as well. After last week’s debacle, Green should have his nose to the grindstone and be ready to play. He also has a great matchup working in his favor. Tennessee has been a team that I try to target with elite receivers. After the first four games of the year, the Titans had given up no fewer than 165 yards to opposing receivers and were allowing an average of two touchdowns per to the position. Over the past four games, they have held opposing WR’s to 107 yards or fewer in three of four and only allowed two total touchdowns.
That is a bit deceiving though, as they’ve played Indy, Cleveland, Miami, and Baltimore in those four. There is not a receiver on any of those teams that is even in the same neighborhood as Green. While I like Brown better for raw points, Green might be the better per dollar play.
TE: Rob Gronkowski – New England Patriots
Give me all the Gronk as a Sunday night hammer on FanDuel. This is the other part of paying down at running back. I’m making Gronk a priority this week, due to his matchup, playing in primetime, and what I think the Patriots game plan will be. The Patriots are better than anyone at exploiting their opponent’s weakness and for the Broncos, that is the opposing tight end position. Over the past four weeks, we’ve seen the Giants, Chargers, Chiefs, and Eagles (w/out Ertz) dominate the Broncos with their tight end. In his past three matchups against the Broncos, Gronk has at least 88 yards AND a touchdown in all of them.
That’s it for this week. Because of new information and a better gauge of ownership, I may add updates here through the weekend, so be sure to follow me on Twitter at @mrclutchdfs so you don’t miss any additional recommendations.
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