Happy New Year everyone! Last week was hugely frustrating for me – I had a lineup with David Johnson (34.6 DK points), LeSean McCoy (28.5), Allen Robinson (26.7), Adam Thielen (47.6), Delanie Walker (11.3), Mark Ingram (25.3) and the Chargers defense (10.0) heading into the Sunday night game. I was in about 150th place out of 23,529 and still had my quarterback, Tom Savage, and a WR, DeAndre Hopkins still to play. A pretty good night from each (20+ DK points for each) and it would have been a 4 figure score for me. But the Hopkins/Savage duo was a dud – Savage put up 8.14 points and Hopkins 7.3. I finished in 113th place and made significantly less. At least I had a good sweat in the 2nd to last slate of the 2016 regular season. Let’s see if we can do even better this week.
For you FanDuel players, don’t forget to check out Eric’s Plays and Stay Aways.
If you have any questions – don’t hesitate to hit me up on Twitter at @AssemblyNeil.
Matt Ryan vs. Saints ($7,400) – Ryan and the Falcons still have a lot to play for as a victory clinches the 2nd seed and first round bye for Atlanta. He gets a nice match-up against the Saints who rank 29th in DVOA versus the pass. Ryan has thrown multiple touchdowns in his last 3 games and that should continue this week.
Bang for Your Buck
Blake Bortles vs. Colts ($5,600) – Doug Marrone’s debut as a coach seemed to unleash something in the Jaguars offense as Bortles finally started to show some of the promise that many had for him to start this year. He put up 29.70 points last week and one of his best games early in the year was against these Colts against whom he put up 25.88 DraftKings points. The Colts rank 24th in pass yards per game allowed and I think Bortles will shine again.
Landry Jones vs. Browns ($5,000) – Ben Roethlisberger looks to be missing this meaningless game for the Steelers against the Colts, so in will step in Jones against a pass defense ranked 30th in DVOA. The Browns have also allowed the most passing touchdowns this year with a whopping 33. Jones is minimum priced and should put up a very nice number.
David Johnson vs. Rams ($9,800) – The Cardinals do not have much to play for, with the exception of making Johnson the first player in NFL history to go through the entire season with 100+ total yards each game. Apart from that lofty achievement, Johnson has 7+ targets in 8 of his last 9 games and multiple TDs in his last 2. With so many viable cheap options this week, Johnson’s salary is quite easy to absorb. He should be a staple in cash game and GPP lineups alike.
Devonta Freeman vs. Saints ($7,000) – While the Saints’ run defense has improved this year, they still struggle against running backs catching passes out of the backfield, ranking 31st in DVOA in that metric. Freeman also lit up the Saints in their first meeting where he put up 152 yards on the ground and added another 55 through the air. I expect another nice performance from Freeman this week.
Bang for your Buck
Thomas Rawls vs. 49ers ($5,800) – The Seahawks also have a lot to play for this week because if the Falcons falter and the Hawks win, the Hawks capture the 2nd seed and 1st round bye. The 49ers rank dead last by a wide margin in rushing yards allowed per game at 171.1, which is 25 yards more than the 2nd worst team. The 49ers are also giving a new meaning to their team name as they are allowing 4.9 yards per carry which is tied for last in the league. I expect Rawls to get the ball early and often and score nicely against the 49ers.
LeGarrette Blount vs. Dolphins ($5,700) – The Patriots still have plenty to play for this week as they lock up the #1 seed and home field advantage throughout the playoffs with a victory. The best way to attack the Dolphins is on the ground as the Fish rank 30th in rush yards per game allowed and are tied for last with 4.9 yards per game allowed. Blount should put up a good number again this week.
Fitzgerald Toussaint vs. Browns ($4,300) – LeVeon Bell has already been declared out and DeAngelo Williams has barely played recently, leaving Toussaint as the default workhorse this week. Even if Williams gets 10-12 touches, that should leave plenty of work for Toussaint against the Browns run defense ranking 31st in DVOA and 31st in rush yards per game allowed. Toussaint should have a nice game at a cheap price.
Cameron Artis-Payne vs. Bucs ($3,400) – WARNING! GPP PLAY ONLY! Artis-Payne has actually not carried the ball since week 5 against these same Bucs when he went for 18 carries 85 yards and 2 touchdowns. Jonathan Stewart is listed as questionable with a lingering foot issue, but I cannot imagine that the Panthers will want to use him much (or at all) in what amounts to a meaningless game for them. Watch the game day inactives, but if Stewart is out and Artis-Payne is in, I like this for a sneaky GPP play.
Julio Jones vs. Saints ($8,400) – Given Jones’ disappointing last couple of weeks (10 pts or less in 3 of his last 4 weeks) and his poor performance against the Saints in week 3 (1 catch for 16 yards), Jones may go low owned this week. I am not worried though as the Saints rank 30th in passing yards per game allowed and the Falcons will surely find a way to get their best playmaker the ball in a must win game. Jones should be stellar this week.
Jordy Nelson vs. Lions ($8,100) – I am actually more hesitant than most to play guys in the Lions/Packers game since if the Redskins lose their tilt to the Giants, this game has much less meaning. That having been said, Nelson’s form has been excellent with double-digit targets in 7 of his last 9 games, 100+ receiving yards in 3 of 4, touchdowns in 3 of 4 and 22+ DraftKings points in his last 4 games. This is a good spot for him.
Doug Baldwin vs. 49ers ($7,200) – One of the best ways to lose money in DFS is to chase last week’s points. Baldwin had his first huge game in a while last week, but I am not merely playing him for that reason. The 49ers are dead last in DVOA versus deep passes and Tyler Lockett is out, meaning that Baldwin should have plenty of deep ball opportunity. He has a high floor and a high ceiling in this match-up.
Bang for your Buck
DeAndre Hopkins vs. Titans ($6,500) – Hopkins burned me last week (in addition to the lineup that I cited in the intro, I had him in 2 other lineups that I cashed in but that could have been much better if Hopkins had performed), but I am going back to the well. The Titans rank 2nd to last in passing yards per game allowed in the NFL and the Texans will likely really like to get their passing game going. Hopkins may be low owned after last week’s debacle and since the Texans presumably have nothing to play for. He may make or break me again this week.
Adam Thielen vs. Bears ($5,600) – I had quite a bit of exposure to Thielen last week (see lineup at the top), but he just missed the cut in terms of guys that I wrote about. Too bad, as I would have looked like a genius with the big week that Thielen had. Stephon Diggs is listed as doubtful for the Vikings and Thielen has 85+ yards in 3 of his last 4 games. I expect another big game this week.
Allen Robinson vs. Colts ($5,500) – Robinson is another guy that I liked last week that I did not write about – but for different reasons. I keep putting him in this column and he keeps underproducing. That having been said, new coach Doug Marrone moved him around the formation last week and that turned into 9 catches for 147 yards. The Colts rank 29th in DVOA versus #1 receivers and Robinson should do well again this week.
Brandon LaFell vs. Ravens ($4,500) – I am beating a dead horse here, but one thing that I should have done going into the Sunday night game last week given my heavy exposure to Hopkins was to pivot a lineup or two to LaFell at a similar price point. LaFell has 7+ targets in 5 of his last 6 games and 90+ yards in 3 of his last 4. The Ravens have quietly been struggling against the pass in the last few weeks and LaFell should have another solid game.
Eli Rogers vs. Browns ($4,000) – Rogers has been in pretty good form recently with 75+ yards in his last 2 games. Even more importantly, he is now the de facto #1 receiver with Antonio Brown out and LeVeon Bell as well. Cleveland ranks 30th in pass defense DVOA and Rogers should be the main beneficiary. This should be a profitable play.
Chris Hogan vs. Dolphins ($3,900) – I actually don’t expect the Patriots to throw a ton this week against Miami’s solid pass defense, but Malcolm Mitchell is likely out, Danny Amendola is already out and Michael Floyd is still learning the offense. That means that Hogan and Julian Edelman are the only real receivers for the Patriots and Hogan should see a good target volume for this price.
Zach Ertz vs. Cowboys ($4,800) – I actually love Travis Kelce at his price ($5,000), but his ownership will be sky-high, so I will likely pivot to Ertz on many a lineup. The Eagles’ tight end has 8+ targets and 79+ yards in 3 of his last 4 games and he faces off against the Cowboys who are 30th in DVOA versus tight-ends. Could be a nice game at a depressed ownership.
Bang for your Buck
Charles Clay vs. Jets ($3,500) – Clay has come on strong for the Bills at the end of the year with 6+ targets in his last 3 games and 4 touchdowns over that span – including scoring in each game. EJ Manuel will likely look for Clay early and often in this one.
Jared Cook vs. Lions ($3,100) – Detroit is not great against tight ends ranking 29th in DVOA versus the position. Cook has been targeted by Aaron Rodgers recently with 5+ targets in his last 2 games. This is my favorite of the cheap plays this week.
Bang for your buck
Seahawks vs. 49ers ($3,700) – The Seahawks defense will be motivated and get to play against the moribund 49ers offense missing their best player (Carlos Hyde). This could get ugly for the 49ers and pretty for the owners of the Seahawks defense.
Cardinals vs. Rams ($3,000) – The Cardinals are criminally underpriced against the putrid Rams offense ranking dead last in offensive DVOA. This will be a popular play, but there is no reason to stay away.
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