By Dan Trader | @RotoNostra
It’s week 8 on our favorite day of the week. Sunday mornings are reserved for #TinkerTime during the NFL season, and as per usual, here are my picks:
First and foremost…let’s get our minds right.
AGAINST THE SPREAD
Not a great week 7 ATS but I still managed to stay over .500 at 7-6-1. On the year, I’m 52-32-2. Since lines change and inactives are released on Sunday morning, be sure to check back before game time for any updates. My picks are in BOLD.
JAX @ TEN -3.5
WAS @ CIN -3
ARI +2.5 @ CAR
DET @ HOU -2.5
SEA @ NO +2.5
KC @ IND +2.5
NYJ @ CLE +4.5
NE -6.5 @ BUF
OAK +.5 @ TB
SD @ DEN -5.5
GB +3 @ ATL
PHI @ DAL -4
MIN -6.5 @ CHI
For selfish reasons only, FanDuel salaries will not be included, because I play on DraftKings. Why? Two words: no kickers. These are the players I’m looking at for both cash and GPP lineups. Honorable mentions for each position are listed below each position but should absolutely be included in your lineup considerations. The following are listed in alphabetical order by last name, not importance or strength of play. Enjoy.
Tom Brady: He’s the highest price option this week but <insert angry Bill and Tom narrative + stats here>.
Derek Carr: This is probably my favorite play of the week. I was all over Carr last week in cash games and it paid off. His salary is still underpriced at $5900. I guess people still don’t believe in the auto-start. See what I did there? Tampa Bay has the 17th ranked DVOA vs. the pass and 15th vs. the run; Oakland is is 26th and 27th. There will be passes.
Cam Newton: He’s among the higher priced options, but Cam is always in consideration for cash games.
Brock Osweiler: This is a tournament play. He’s been catching a lot of flack, but his opponents have been brutal to open the season. If he’s going to get right, this is the week. He has aerial weapons, Lamar Miller is banged up, and he’s at home against a Lions defense surrendering the most DraftKings points per week to QBs.
Aaron Rodgers: Atlanta is giving up the fourth most DraftKings points to QBs per game. The shootout potential makes this an easy game to target. See more under Matt Ryan.
Matt Ryan: This is a chalky play. He’s playing at home in Vegas’ highest implied total game of the week against the Packers for $7k. Word to the wise though, it may be a trap considering Aaron Rodgers is only $500 more.
Jameis Winston: He’s probably going to be the highest owned QB this week at only $5500 against Oakland at home. The Raiders are giving up the sixth most DK points to QBs per game and have the 26th ranked DVOA vs the pass.
Honorable mentions: Ryan Fitzpatrick, Josh McCown, Carson Palmer (GPP), Russell Wilson
Giovani Bernard: Jeremy Hill is in play here as well but you’ll obviously need to be playing the London slate to use them. This isn’t rocket science, but Washington has the 31st DVOA against RBs and is giving up the sixth most points on DK per game to the position as well.
Devontae Booker: With CJ Anderson’s fantasy season over, Booker finds himself in a great position to produce. Don’t over think this one. At $3700, your cash line-ups should be littered with him, just keep in mind that I don’t ever recommend 100% exposure on any player.
Ezekiel Elliott: Philly’s defense is tough, but they’re tougher against the pass and the matchup will most likely have Elliott lower owned than the other high priced options. Philadelphia has the #1 ranked DVOA vs the pass but 13th vs the run. With opposing backs averaging 23.6 DK points per game and Dallas proving to be pretty efficient on offense, I think the game script will favor heavy doses of Elliott.
Mike Gillislee: With Shady out, Gilly is in line for RB1 volume possibly. It’s not a favorable matchup against the Pats, but at $3800 on a run first team, I like his chances of exceeding his salary.
David Johnson: He’s the highest priced RB on the slate with six teams on bye but for good reason. Johnson doesn’t just beat up on bad defenses. Albeit at home, DJ has gotten it done against the Seahawks and Jets the last two weeks; Carolina shouldn’t scare us away from a guy accounting for almost 40% of his teams’ offense.
Christine Michael: This might be the chalkiest play of the week as C-Woke is playing in the Big Easy and the Saints defense is bad with a capital F. You’re paying for that juicy matchup though. At $7300, the most DK RB points surrendered per game is certainly priced into his salary.
Spencer Ware: This is another chalk play, but chalk has been hitting. Indy has the worst DVOA vs the run and they’re giving up the sixth most RB points per game in DraftKings scoring. With KC’s offense revolving around the run, Ware is ostensibly a must start at $6800. If it turns into a shootout, Ware is capable receiving out of the backfield as well.
Honorable Mentions: LeGarrette Blount, Devonta Freeman, Lamar Miller, Theo Riddick, Jacquizz Rodgers
Cole Beasley: He’s not a sexy pick, but in cash games he’s a great option in my opinion at $4800 due to a relatively safe floor and decent touchdown upside. In six games this year, he’s seen fewer than six targets twice, has only caught fewer than four passes once, has yet to go for fewer than 50 yards and has also scored three times. Mind you two of those scores came last contest vs the Packers, but with Dez back soaking up the defense’s attention, I think Beezus’ floor is safe if you’re looking to save.
Michael Crabtree: Amari Cooper is probably the tournament play, but I’m looking to stack Crabtree with Carr in some cash lineups. Tampa’s defense is better against the deep ball and WR1s but have the 25th ranked DVOA vs WR2s. Crabtree has also been money in away games. Starting week 1, Crabtree has scored 17.7, 21.2, 33.8, and 23.6 fantasy points on the road this year, compared to 13.1, 13.7, and 3 at home.
Mike Evans: He’s projected to be the highest owned WR of the week in a beautiful matchup against Oakland’s 26th ranked pass coverage via Football Outsiders. With V-Jax out of the picture, his role is all the more solidified. He’d already seen double digit targets in all but one contest (week 1) and his 9 RZ targets are over 32% of the team’s market share; he’s even seen over 32% of his team’s total target share over the last four weeks. Dude’s just a monster, how’s that for analysis? Fine. He’s scored less than 19 points only once this season...in week 4…against the Broncos. Salud.
DeAndre Hopkins: He probably didn’t kill you last week, but I’m doubling down for a great tournament play at $7400. He’s an elite talent suffering from the woes of his QB. But the defenses have been rough thus far for Brock and Nuk is still seeing over 26% of his team’s total targets, which means he’s just bound to explode at some point and I don’t want to be on the ground when it goes off. Going up against the Lions, this might be as good as it gets from a matchup perspective. Will Fuller should additionally be considered in all formats at only $1400 cheaper.
Julio Jones: If you haven’t guessed who the highest priced player across positions was, look no further. Green Bay has the 10th ranked DVOA vs the pass but the 26th vs WR1s and Julio isn’t a typical receiver. Matty Ryan knows this as he’s sending the ball his way over 32% of the time.
Brandon Marshall: His price might make him a stronger GPP candidate, but it’s no secret that Cleveland is awful against the pass. They’ve given up only the 11th fewest receptions in the league…but have also surrendered the eighth most yards and the second most TDs to WRs. So Cleveland. Marshall’s happy his boy is back under center, who targets B-Marsh almost 30% of the time. Quincy Enunwa should also be considered in this spot.
Ty Montgomery: Don’t forget about Adams in this one, but Jordy will be shadowed (most likely), Cobb is out, and Montgomery has the rushing equity that we love in fantasy. Priced at only $5300, he’s coming off consecutive games with double digit targets, 10 catches and the combo of Don Jackson and Knile Davis together probably don’t match Montgomery’s upside. Furthermore, Atlanta is poor against the run and very generous to RBs catching balls out of the backfield.
Honorable mentions: Doug Baldwin, Brandin Cooks (GPP), T.Y. Hilton, Donte Moncrief, Terrelle Pryor
Cameron Brate: Football Outsiders have Oakland ranked 21st in DVOA vs TEs and Brate’s seeing 40% of the team’s target share inside the 10-yard line. At $3200, I can see him out-producing his price against a team giving up the eighth most DK points to TEs per game.
C.J. Fiedorowicz: He’s scored in the top-5 among TEs over the past month and the Lions are giving up the fifth most DK points to TEs each week. At $2800, he’s probably the best value at the position this week.
Jimmy Graham: Let's just take a walk down Narrative Street and leave it at that. #RevengeGame
Travis Kelce: He hasn’t been performing like a top-tier option for most of the season due to KC relying primarily on the run game and more offensive options, so his ownership should be low. He definitely has bounce-back potential against Indianapolis’ awful defense among the worst in TE coverage (15+ DK points per game to TEs).
Honorable mentions: Gary Barnidge, Antonio Gates, some dude named Gronkowski
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