It’s interesting to follow daily fantasy football touts every week and the traps they fall into, repeatedly. Green Bay’s secondary is terrible, right? They’re "garbage" and Julio Jones is at worst the second best receiver in the league. The Packers have one of the best run defenses in the league. Matt Ryan will throw all day in a shootout. Julio’s floor is +20. How did that "lock" work out for you? It didn’t work out for me either. Yes, I’m vulnerable to falling into the same trap. Jones dinged his knee, but there was a larger issue in play here. The truth is these are all elite world-class athletes or they wouldn’t make NFL rosters in the first place. Take "bad" NFL cornerbacks, add safety help over the top and most of the time that will neutralize the best receivers in the game. No matter how bad a defense is, if they decide to eliminate an offensive weapon, they can do it. We don’t ignore matchups obviously, but they take a back seat to game flow, defensive focus, and potentially other factors.
I like to focus on volume. It always depends on the slate, but if I had my druthers, I prefer to pay up at RB, targeting a high volume back on a team favored to win. Generally speaking, that maximizes the potential number of carries as the team with the lead milks the clock or protects their advantage. Among the more expensive options, there’s more volatility at wide receiver than at running back, so again, I look for wideouts that are targeted frequently but cost less than the top tier options. There are exceptions, but typically I go cheap or punt Tight End. If I have a lot of cash to pay up for Rob Gronkowski, I may shell out the bucks once in awhile. So, what does the slate look like this week?
Ezekiel Elliott – He costs an arm and a leg this week, but Elliott will be the cornerstone I build around. The former Buckeye averages just under 23 carries per game, and has seen less than 20 only once this year. He’s been targeted in the passing game 12 times over the last three weeks. The game has the 4th highest total on the slate. Cleveland is weak at stopping the run and has a porous secondary, so I can’t see the Browns stacking the box to stop the run with Dez Bryant back in the starting lineup.
Ty Montgomery – Outside of Elliot, there are too many question marks for me to pay up for my RB2. Aaron Rodgers targeted the Packers hybrid over 25 times in Weeks 6 and 7 and handed off to him nine times against the Bears. Mike McCarthy has repeatedly used subterfuge to try to convince the gullible that Don Jackson and Knile Davis were going to be a meaningful part of the offense.
Carlos Hyde – There is a very good chance starting this oft-injured back could backfire. He wore a non-contact jersey at practice Tuesday and Wednesday. I need to see an upgrade to full practice before I start this Ohio State University alumnus outside of GPPs. Even if he plays, he could be eased into action, but the matchup against the Saints is juicy. Fade Hyde in cash games.
Tim Hightower – Another GPP-only option here. After fumbling early, the second stringer toted the rock 26 times in relief. The San Francisco defense has been a sieve since linebacker NaVorro Bowman was carted off and lost for the season in Week 4 against the Dallas Cowboys. No, the 49ers aren’t going to stack the box and open up things for Drew Brees. The real question here is whether or not Sean Payton lets Mark Ingram’s backup carry the mail again on Sunday.
Davante Adams – Thirty targets the last two games, playing host to Andrew Luck and T.Y. Hilton, and the slate’s highest total at 52.5. Where do I sign up?
Mike Wallace – Joe Flacco threw to him 13 times against the Jets, and nine times the previous game. The Ravens figure to be trailing in the second half so the stage is set.
Stefon Digs – The Vikings second-year receiver has been quiet since a breakout performance against the Packers in Week 2. Sam Bradford targeted Digs 13 times in the Windy City, finally scoring a touchdown in the closing seconds in garbage time. The Detroit Lions secondary visits Minnesota and will have trouble keeping the Vikings sophomore out of the end zone this weekend.
Torrey Smith – GPP’s only if you need salary relief. The 49ers should be playing from behind and the Saints corners can be beat. Not a high percentage play but could pay off pretty big if it hits.
Corey Coleman – Not to be used in cash games, Coleman may go overlooked. Cleveland will be playing from behind and Terrelle Pryor figures to get the most attention if he suits up on Sunday (he did not practice Wednesday).
There’s no reason to pay up at Tight End. Greg Olsen is great, but Cam Newton can go three quarters forgetting he’s on the Panthers roster. Gary Barnidge and Antonio Gates are adequate punt plays.
Don’t overthink this one. As stated previously, the Colts-Packers matchup carries the highest total, with two of the best quarterbacks in the game. Both teams present interesting stacking options. I’ll be on the Packers side of things with Aaron Rodgers probably my highest owned QB.
Packers – The Colts offensive line gives up sacks to everyone and the Colts will be playing from behind in this one. Not to mention the price is right.