Last week I was my own worst enemy. I talked myself out of playing LeSean McCoy because he was going to be “chalky”. He was chalky, but that shouldn’t have mattered – he was an excellent play and he dominated. I typically only play one lineup on FanDuel each weekend, and that’s why pivoting off of McCoy was a bad move. I only play in tournaments, but as a single bullet DFS player, I need to almost have a cash game approach to the lineup. Sure, I don’t want a team chalked full of, well, chalk, but I also don’t want to take unnecessary risks.
As always, though, it’s a learning process, and that’s exactly what Week 7 was. It also didn’t help that Matt Ryan was horrible and posted the worst numbers of the year against the Patriots defense. He is unplayable to me the rest of the season. The new offensive coordinator is no Kyle Shanahan.
Now on to Week 8. This week is going to be a little different. I’ve even considered playing a smaller entry fee tournament and entering multiple teams. There are just a lot of good plays I’m debating between. Because of that, I am going to present the case of each below. Most of these start with a quarterback and come with an option to stack with said QB. I will do my best to come back Saturday night or Sunday morning and update what I’ve decided on. At the very least I will post my updates n Twitter.
UPDATE – 10/28 @ 10:30 PM CST
As of Saturday night, I’m starting to narrow down the plays I went over earlier in the week. If you haven’t read that breakdown, you can read it first below.
Over the last 24 hours, I was sure I was going to lock in Ingram and McCaffery as my two RB’s. Then the Panthers OC came out and said he wants to scale back McCaffery’s pass snaps. While it probably won’t mean much, I think I’m going to pivot to:
As I looked at this matchup more, I started to like it more and more. Here are the reason why (on top of what I wrote below). In six games this year, opposing running backs against the Dallas Cowboys have lead their team in targets three times in six games. That says a lot. On top of that, opposing running backs have been first or second on their team in receiving yardage three times and receptions four times. That is a lot of volume for RB’s through the passing game against the Cowboys.
In six games played, Thompson has been first on his team in targets three times, and first in receptions and receiving yards twice. With all that said, I think Thompson is a solid tourney play in this matchup at a great price.
At quarterback, I’m leaning Russell Wilson at the moment. I’m still considering Cam Newton and Kirk Cousins (weather permitting), but Wilson is rising to the top. He won’t have to deal with the same weather issues that the other guys will and they’re all three very close in terms of projections in the perfect environment. Either way, I have almost decided that Doug Baldwin will be in my lineup as his individual matchup is just too enticing.
I really want to pull the trigger on Cam Newton, I just don’t know if I can. I’m going to check the weather before kickoff before making up my mind. Tampa Bay’s already horrendous secondary is down two starting corners. Regardless of whether I end up on him, I think he is going to be the play we see a lot of the sharps on. If you do play him, you can flip a coin on Funchess or Benjamin as either one could blow up due to the nuts matchup.
QB/RB: Kirk Cousins/Chris Thompson – Redskins
This is the combo I’ve spent the most time trying to build around. Kirk Cousins just gets it done week in and week out. He regularly throws for 300+ yards (3 out of last 4 games) and has no issues throwing TD’s (10 in last 4 games). Now he faces the Cowboys who I have tried to target with competent quarterbacks this season. Throw out the rookie in his first start (CJ Beathard), and Eli Manning in that atrocious Week 1 game, and the Cowboys pass defense has allowed 26.85 fantasy points per game to a quartet of Rodgers, Goff, Palmer, and Semian. After Rodgers, the other three aren’t exactly the upper echelon QB’s of the league.
This game has the highest total of the weekend, and I think it’s realistic to expect Cousins to get to 300 yards and 2-3 touchdowns. The problem with stacking him is the ball is spread out so much in this offense. There’s legitimately six targets who can catch the ball any given week. That’s why I prefer to pair him with Chris Thompson. Thompson is quietly averaging 16.2 FanDuel points per game. That’s the fourth highest on the slate after Elliott, Bell, and Gordon. That’s quite the company. Yet he’s priced as the 15th most expensive option, making him an excellent value play. The Cowboys have allowed the 11th most receptions and receiving yards per game to opposing running backs.
QB/WR/TE: Russell Wilson/Doug Baldwin/Jimmy Graham
This offense is starting to heat up, and I think they’ve finally realized that if they want to score points, they need to throw the ball. Their offense isn’t the between the tackles, grinding style that it was during the Marshawn Lynch days. Even if one of the running backs stepped up to claim that role, their offensive line wouldn’t allow it.
Wilson has scored 26.36 or more FD points in three of his last four games (two of the three were played at home). Most people just hear “Houston defense” and shy away, but this isn’t the same defense of the past. Injuries and departures have nearly turned this defense entirely over in the past year. They’ve held up okay against bad opponents, but the top tier quarterbacks have destroyed them.
Case in point: In four games against Bortles, Dalton, Cassell (Mariota started and was injured), and Kizer, they’ve allowed an average of 10.15 fantasy points per. In two games against Brady and Alex Smith, they’ve allowed an average of 38.3.
Despite the bad O-line, I think Wilson will have a big day here. He should get the ball out of his hand quick to his playmakers, starting with Doug Baldwin. Pro Football Focus did an excellent piece this week on blitz targets. The Texans have blitzed on 41.2% of their defensive plays this season, and Doug Baldwin is a top 10 fantasy receiver against the blitz in both targets and yards. Since 2015 he leads the league in blitz touchdowns. He should be busy in this one.
Lastly, I’m fine going back to Jimmy Graham this week as well. I wrote him up here last week, and he was okay for us, but it could have been much better. Yeah, he scored the weekly TE touchdown against the Giants, but he dropped another TD and a long wide open look. I think he’ll get it together, though, and he is still heavily targeted in the red zone and very close to the end zone. I just keep envisioning a four touchdown day from Wilson with at least three of those going to Baldwin and Graham. If it was only that easy.
QB/RB/WR: Cam Newton/Christian McCaffery/Kelvin Benjamin
Cam Newton has been all over the place this season. As a season long owner, I’ve wanted to pull my hair out multiple times. But in the right matchup, he’s been excellent. And very few matchups are better than the Tampa Bay Bucs.
Newton has struggled against pressure, but the Bucs are not getting any. Newton should have plenty of time to find his receivers, and Christian McCaffery continues to see a plethora of targets. He’s cheap enough on FanDuel to play him, but I do like him better on DraftKings.
Kelvin Benjamin is a guy that I would still play without the stack, as he’s priced very fairly and has the best matchup available. The Bucs secondary has been torched, and Benjamin’s size will give them fits. He should have his biggest game of the year in this one.
QB/WR: Andy Dalton/A.J. Green – Bengals
This will likely be the chalky stack of the week, but for good reason. The Colts have only held one quarterbackunder 295 yards passing this year, and that was against the Browns. They’ve only faced one top 13 QB (Wilson) so far this season, so it’s not like they’ve had a tough stretch of opponents. For that reason, Dalton should be able to put up the yards and touchdowns this weekend.
The only thing that worries me is if they go run heavy, as the Colts have been even worse against the run. I could see the Bengals taking a lead and letting their stable of running backs methodically march down the field and secure the win.
With that said, A.J. Green WILL BE LOCKED IN MY LINEUP with or without Dalton. He’s the LeSean McCoy play from last week. Yeah, he’ll be chalky, but this is too good of a spot to not play him. The Colts have allowed 30.1 fantasy points per game to opposing receivers, and it’s not like there are a lot of receivers on this team that could steal target share from Green. He should see 10-12 targets and is a solid bet to go over 100 yards and/or score a touchdown (or two).
QB: Carson Wentz – Eagles
Wentz benefited from playing Monday night and is priced below where he should be. He has looked like a superstar this season and now faces one of the worst pass defenses in the league, the 49ers. The Eagles are a huge favorite in this one, and that points to a big game for Wentz. The only thing holding me back here, similarly to the Colts mentioned above, is that as bad as the 49ers have been against the pass, they’ve been worst against the run. Matter of fact, they’ve been THE WORST. I worry that on the short week, the Eagles will commit to the run, and if it’s working, they’ll ride it to the easy win here.
I just don’t see the 49ers being able to score points, which isn’t ideal game script for Wentz. However, there is definitely a possibility that we look up Sunday night and see Wentz as QB1 on the week. If pairing him with an offensive weapon, I prefer Nelson Agholor due to his price on FanDuel.
QB/WR: Dak Prescott/Jason Witten – Cowboys
The last stack I’m considering this week is the Cowboys. How can you not? Dak has been outstanding, and I don’t really see anything here that points towards the Redskins slowing him down. The only thing that might cause me to go elsewhere at QB is his price. I think there’s a good chance that the QB’s mentioned above score similarly and they are priced at a discount.
Jason Witten might be my favorite tight end of the week, and I’ll consider him even without Dak. He just never seems to age and continues to put up respectable lines. While I don’t hate Dez Bryant, I think the path of least resistance against the Redskins is through the tight end. They’ve allowed a touchdown and/or 100 yards receiving to opposing tight ends in all but one game this season. Witten is quietly TE6 in fantasy this year, but he’s priced as TE12 on this slate in a great matchup.
RB/RB: Mark Ingram/Alvin Kamara – Saints
This isn’t necessarily a stack, but I do like both of these guys this weekend. I will likely have one in my lineup. We’ve seen the Saints commit to two things: the run, and to throwing the ball to the running backs. Over the last two weeks, these two have combined for 66 carries and have received 20 targets. While the Bears defense has been okay against opposing run games, they don’t have the offense to keep up with the Saints and eventually they will wear down as the game goes on.
I love Kamara’s upside, but if picking one, I’m locking in Ingram for $800 more due to the 56 touches he’s received the past two weeks. He’s just too cheap for that kind of volume.
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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