Aside from the Tight End position where I completely whiffed, it was another nice week for me last week. I was especially proud of my Alex Smith, Brandin Cooks and Nate Washington picks. Let’s see how this week goes. As an aside, because of my love of all things daily fantasy (and all fantasy sports really), I have started to play DFS basketball and hockey as well. I am learning game theory and trying my best, but if any of you have tips for me in those sports, hit me up. Thus far I am up a whopping $1 in NBA DFS and down in hockey, but I had my first profitable week last week.
Let’s get going with NFL picks, which is still right in my wheelhouse.
Don’t hesitate to hit me up on Twitter @AssemblyNeil if you have any questions.
Phillip Rivers, San Diego Chargers ($6,900): I considered Eli Manning in this spot, but Rivers’ match up against the Bears on Monday night is too good to pass up. The Bears are 28th in Football Outsiders defensive efficiency ratings overall and a mediocre 24th against the pass. Rivers will miss having Keenan Allen in the lineup, but he is 2nd in the NFL in yards per game at 344 and 3rd in touchdowns with 18. Should be a nice game.
Bang for Your Buck
Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers ($6,600): I love Big Ben at this price. While it is true that he looked rusty in his return last week, he should be better after a full week of practice this week. The Raiders, even with their surprising success this year, have still allowed the 2nd most passing yards per game with 302. Big Ben is 2nd in the NFL in pass yards per attempt at 8.76. This is a good anchor for your team.
Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears ($5,200): I don’t understand this price. Cutler has put up over 18 fantasy points in each of his last 4 games and now faces the Chargers defense who are 29th in defensive efficiency overall and are 5th from the bottom in passing yards per attempt at 8.2. Cutler is a nice start at this price, especially in tournaments or if you want to pay up for expensive wide receivers.
Devonta Freeman, Atlanta Falcons ($8,000): The NFL leader in rushing yards gets to face off against the 49ers run defense who are 28th in defensive efficiency against the run. He has slowed down a bit after a blazing few weeks, but Freeman should have another dominant effort against San Francisco.
Mark Ingram, New Orleans Saints ($6,500): I know it seems weird after Drew Brees threw for 7 touchdowns last week, but I think the Saints will run the ball this week. The Titans are actually solid against the pass ranking 5th in defensive efficiency, but they are abysmal against the run ranking 30th. Ingram has had a nice year and I think the Saints and Sean Payton will make the Titans pay for their run stopping weakness.
Bang for your Buck
Jeremy Hill, Cincinnati Bengals ($5,200): The Bengals committed to Hill last week giving him 15 carries to Giovanni Bernard’s 1. If Hill keeps getting the carries, he should excel against the abysmal Browns run defense. Cleveland is dead last in rush yards allowed per game at 147.0 and 2nd to last in rush yards allowed per attempt at 5.0. Could be a great play for a good price.
LeGarrette Blount, New England Patriots ($4,800): The Patriots like to take advantage of their opponents’ weaknesses and Washington is weak versus the run, ranking 3rd from the bottom in yards allowed per game on the ground with 128.4. I think Brady will still get his, but Blount could be in line for 75 yards and at least a score.
Jeremy Langford, Chicago Bears ($4,000): Unfortunately Matt Forte is out for this week and likely a few more with an MCL injury. Jeremy Langford should be the bell cow for the Bears and he has a good chance of success against the Chargers’ terrible run defense. San Diego is dead last in defensive efficiency against the run and dead last in yards per attempt allowed. Langford is a nice play at this price.
Melvin Gordon, San Diego Chargers ($4,000): On the other side of the field, I also like Melvin Gordon against the Bears. Darren Oliver is hurt for the Chargers, so Gordon will likely get 15-20 carries. The Bears are 2nd to last in defensive efficiency against the run and rank 4th from the bottom in rush yards allowed per game. I think this might finally be Gordon’s break out game.
Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons ($9,300): Jones leads the NFL in receptions and is 2nd in yards per game and targets. He faces off against the 49ers who are 2nd from the bottom in defensive efficiency against #1 receivers. Jones is expensive but worth it this week.
Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers ($8,100): I like Big Ben and I also like his favorite target. Brown’s numbers have been down recently, but I think he will have a huge 2nd half of the year and it starts here against the Raiders, who are susceptible to giving up passing yards. Look for Brown to break out.
Odell Beckham, Jr., New York Giants ($8,800): The worst team in the NFL in defensive efficiency against #1 receivers? That would be the Tampa Bay Bucs. Beckham is tied for first in the NFL in touchdown passes after he scored 3 last week. He will probably score again and put up some big points.
Bang for your Buck
Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Bucs ($6,800): I expect the Bucs to get down in this game against the Giants and they will have to pass to catch up. Evans has had 9 or more targets in his last 2 games and will be a big target for Jameis Winston. The Giants rank last in the NFL in yards allowed per game in the air with 315, and will likely give up quite a few here. Evans could be a big beneficiary.
Alshon Jeffery, Chicago Bears ($6,700): Because of injury and the lack of success by the Bears, no one realizes what an elite season Alshon Jeffery is having. He is actually first in the NFL in receiving yards per game with 113.7, ahead of Julio Jones (111.5), DeAndre Hopkins (104.8) and Demaryius Thomas (99.8). The Chargers rank only 28th in the NFL in defensive efficiency against #1 receivers and Jeffery will likely be a top receiver again this week.
Jarvis Landry, Miami Dolphins ($6,300): I love this guy. The Dolphins’ #1 receiver has had either 65 yards or a touchdown (or both) in every game but one. The Bills do have a formidable defense, but Landry will likely get a whole bunch of targets this week and should be valuable at this price.
Brandon LaFell ($3,200): LaFell has started to get his sea legs after beginning the season on the Physically Unable to Perform list. He is now playing in 2 wide receiver sets for the Patriots, and will likely round into form this week. The Redskins have actually been solid against #1 receivers, ranking 7th in defensive efficiency, but rank a woeful 30th in defensive efficiency against #2 receivers. Look for the Patriots to take advantage of this and target LaFell often.
Justin Hunter, Tennessee Titans ($3,000): The Saints just allowed the Giants to pass up and down the field in last week’s wild game. They rank dead last in defensive efficiency versus the pass, are 4th from the bottom in passing yards allowed per game and 3rd to last in passing yards per attempt. The problem for the Titans is that they are running out of receivers with Kendall Wright injured. Justin Hunter will likely get a lot of targets and should produce against the weak Saints pass defense.
Stevie Johnson, San Diego Chargers ($3,200): I already told you that I like Phillip Rivers against the Bears defense, but like the Titans, the Chargers are running out of receivers. Stevie Johnson had 5+ targets in every game but one this year. Keenan Allen was 3rd in the NFL in targets and those targets have to go somewhere. Look for Johnson to get every opportunity to be the Chargers #1 receiver. This is a great price for him.
Tyler Eifert, Cincinnati Bengals ($5,400): I should note that I could put Rob Gronkowski in this spot every week. If you have extra budget for your tight-end, feel free to put Gronk in your lineup. For about $3,000 less, I also like Eifert against the Browns who rank 29th in defensive efficiency against tight-ends. Eifert will likely produce well.
Bang for your Buck
Delanie Walker, Tennessee Titans ($4,200): As I mentioned when writing about Justin Hunter, the Saints give up passing yards and Marcus Mariotta has to throw to somebody. Delanie Walker could be a big target as the Saints rank dead last in defensive efficiency against tight ends. Walker usually breaks out for a couple of huge games a year. This could be one of them.
Jeff Cumberland, New York Jets ($2,500): Jacksonville struggles in covering the tight-end ranking only 28th in defensive efficiency. Cumberland has had 3+ targets in 3 of his last 4 games. If he gets 5 or 6 targets this could be a good game for this price.
Bang for your buck
Denver Broncos ($3,000) at Indianapolis: Andrew Luck and the Colts have been very turnover prone this year. The Broncos defense is amazing and should have a few takeaways.
Philadelphia Eagles ($2,700) at Dallas: The Eagles have a nice defense and the Cowboys have Matt Cassell playing quarterback. Love this play at this price.
For my complete lineup, follow me on twitter @AssemblyNeil