It was another winning week for me last week as some of my recommendations like Andrew Luck, Todd Gurley, Arian Foster, Doug Martin, Antonio Brown, TY Hilton, Jarvis Landry, Stefon Diggs, Robert Woods and Rob Gronkowski hit big. I had a couple of misses (Alfred Morris was not a good recommendation) but generally, if you took my advice, you did well. Let’s see if we can keep it up.
Don’t hesitate to hit me up on Twitter @AssemblyNeil if you have any questions.
Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons ($7,100): The Falcons take on the Tampa Bay Bucs, who made Kirk Cousins look like Tom Brady last week. The Bucs are only ranked 29th overall against the pass, per the excellent Football Outsiders Defensive Efficiency ratings. Ryan is 4th in the NFL with 2,002 passing yards and should be able to do some damage in this one.
Bang for Your Buck
Phillip Rivers, San Diego Chargers ($6,600): Rivers has been forced to do a lot of passing this season, as is evidenced by the fact that he is first in passing yards, first in passing yards per game (with a crazy 350!) and tied for 3rd in touchdowns. He faces off against the Ravens who have allowed the 3rd most passing yards per game. Rivers will probably be passing early and often. My favorite QB play of the day.
Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs ($5,000): If you are shopping the discount bin, you can do much worse than Smith who is priced at the lowest possible level for quarterbacks. Smith is in London against the Lions, who are an abysmal 31st in Defensive Efficiency against the pass. Even against more stiff competition, Smith has been over 13 points per game in every game but one this year. Excellent value here.
Todd Gurley, St. Louis Cardinals ($6,300): The Rams’ first round pick has been absolutely on fire this year, and he is still not priced highly enough. Gurley ranks 1st in the NFL in rushing yards per game with 110.5, and 3rd in yards per attempt at 6.0. He faces the 49ers who are ranked 28th in Defensive Efficiency versus the run. I think Gurley comes through with another 100 yard game and a touchdown.
Justin Forsett, Baltimore Ravens ($6,100): Forsett has had either 100 total yards or a touchdown (or both) in each of his last 4 games. After facing the tough Arizona rushing defense last week, he gets a reprieve against the Chargers who are abysmal against the run. San Diego is ranked dead last in the NFL in yards per attempt allowed and 31st in the NFL in rushing yards per game allowed. Forsett is in line for a huge game.
Bang for your Buck
Chris Johnson, Arizona Cardinals ($4,600): After looking like he was a washed up former superstar over the last couple of seasons, CJ2K has found the fountain of youth in Arizona. Amazingly, he ranks 2nd in the NFL in rushing yards with 567. He now gets a sweetheart match-up against the Cleveland Browns who are ranked 32nd in Defensive Efficiency against the run, 32nd (i.e. last) in yards per game against the run and 31st in yards per carry against. Johnson may slow down at some point, but I don’t think that it will be this week.
Giovanni Bernard, Cincinnati Bengals ($4,800): Bernard looked like he was done as a useful fantasy player as well after he lost many of his carries to Jeremy Hill last year. This year he is out-touching Hill and is making the most of his carries as he ranks 5th in the NFL in yards per carry at 5.5. He matches up against the Steelers who allowed Charcandrick West to run wild for 110 yards and a touchdown last week.
Dexter McCluster, Tennessee Titans ($3,400): Weekly reminder – Draftkings is full PPR format! The Titans have been using McCluster more and more and he has 9 catches over his last two games, including 6 last week. The Texans rank 32nd in Defensive Efficiency against the pass versus running backs. 7 catches and 100 total yards are not out of the question for McCluster this week,
Orleans Darkwa, New York Giants ($3,600): The Giants have not been able to muster up much of a rushing attack recently, but Darkwa looked like their best option last week. In his only drive of the game, he managed 8 carries for 48 yards and a touchdown. If the Giants give him more work this week against the defensively challenged Saints, he could score in double digits for a low price.
Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons ($9,200): Jones is the most expensive player on the board, but he is worth it this week. The Bucs rank dead last in the NFL against #1 receivers in Defensive Efficiency, and there is no #1 receiver quite like Jones. Julio ranks 2nd in the NFL in catches, 2nd in targets, 2nd in yards and 4th in yards per game. This will likely be a banner performance
Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers ($7,800): This is a bit of a discount for Brown, as this price reflects his Michael Vick/Landry Jones value. All signs are pointing to Big Ben returning this week, and Brown has been the best receiver on the planet for the last 2 years when Roethlisberger throws him the ball. On top of that, while the Bengals defense is formidable, they rank a surprising 29th in Defensive Efficiency against #1 receivers. Brown is a nice play this week.
Odell Beckham, Jr., New York Giants ($8,500): By his lofty standards, Beckham has been relatively pedestrian his last two games. He should be back to his world beating ways this week as he faces off against the Saints who rank 30th in the NFL against the pass in Defensive Efficiency. This is likely a good week for high priced receivers and I would pay up.
Bang for your Buck
Keenan Allen, San Diego Padres ($7,700): Allen is having a great season, ranking 5th in the NFL in yards per game, 3rd in targets, 3rd in yards and 1st in catches. Baltimore gives up a lot of passing yards, and Allen catches a lot of passes. A recipe for a nice game.
Brandin Cooks, New Orleans Saints ($5,800): The Saints rank 3rd in the NFL in passing yards per game, and the Giants are 4th from the bottom in passing yards allowed per game. Cooks has had 7 or more targets in every game this year, and he should be able to take advantage of his targets against the Giants middling defense.
Stefon Diggs, Minnesota Vikings ($4,800): Pop quiz – name the 4 receivers in the NFL who are averaging over 100 yards receiving per game? Alshon Jeffery, DeAndre Hopkins and Julio Jones are fairly obvious choices, but the last member of the list is Stefon Diggs who ranks 3rd with 108.0 yards receiving per game. Diggs faces off against the Bears who rank 31st in Defensive Efficiency against #1 receivers. I stumped for Diggs last week and I am doing it again!
Albert Wilson, Kansas City Chiefs ($3,000): Wilson is priced at the lowest point possible for wide receivers and he has been playing above that price point. Wilson has had 6 targets in his last two games and at least 57 yards receiving in each of his past two outings. He faces off against the Lions who are ranked dead last in the NFL in Defensive Efficiency against #2 receivers. Could give you a pretty good game for a very low price.
Nate Washington, Houston Texans ($3,600): Washington has had 11, 8, 9 and 16 (!!) targets thus far this season. Last week he went for 9 catches and 127 yards and 2 touchdowns against the Dolphins and now gets to face the Tennessee Titans who struggle to the tune of 30th in Defensive Efficiency against #2 receivers. Cecil Shorts III is likely out again and Washington can be the prime beneficiary.
Stevie Johnson, San Diego Chargers ($3,200): Johnson returned from injury and promptly got 8 targets last week. The Chargers have been throwing the ball more than any other team, and Antonio Gates looks like he will be out of the game – meaning more targets for other guys. Johnson will likely see a lot of targets and the Ravens let up a lot of yards. I think both him and Keenan Allen will have big games.
Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys ($5,200): Seattle defends almost everything at an elite level, with one exception – they struggle covering tight-ends. On the season, the Seahawks are next to last in Defensive Efficiency against the big guys. While Dez Bryant may be back this week, I think that Witten will be Matt Cassel’s primary target and is in line for a nice game.
Bang for your Buck
Larry Donnell, New York Giants ($3,300): The only team worse than the Seahawks against the tight-end is the Saints. Donnell has had some problems with the dropsies this season, but he will likely get some looks both in and out of the red zone this week. Nice value at this price.
Scott Chandler, New England Patriots ($2,500): This is my hunch pick of the week. Chandler has gone for over 30 yards in his last two weeks for the first time as a Patriot. I have a suspicion that Gronk will be pass blocking more than usual against the Dolphins’ stout defensive line and that the Pats will play a lot of 2 TE sets. For the minimum price, I will be rolling the dice on Chandler in a couple of lineups.
Bang for your buck
Carolina Panthers ($3,200) vs. Indianapolis: Andrew Luck and the Colts have been very turnover prone this year. The Panthers defense is elite and should be able to take the ball away a couple of times.
New York Jets ($2,900) at Oakland: The Raiders are having a surprisingly good season on the offensive side of the ball, but the Jets have a great defense and should be able to bait Derek Carr into a couple of mistakes.
For my complete lineup, follow me on twitter @AssemblyNeil