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Sunday 11th Dec 2016

We enter Week 14 with the Bucs in first place. I must say that I did not see that one coming. But their defense has held strong recently and their passing offense has been really good. Now the Saints come down to Tampa (in fact, the Bucs play the Saints two of the next three weeks) in what is the highest Vegas point total on the board.

Drew Brees and Jameis Winston highlight the QB list to no surprise. I am torn on Marcus Mariota. He has been playing so well and nobody will be on him this week. Eli Manning is due for one of those big games, but I just don’t know if he has it in him.

QB Drew Brees NO 7400 Tampa will not keep the ball away like the Lions did
QB Jameis Winston TB 6700 Anyone vs. the Saints
QB Philip Rivers SD 6600 In a good spot
QB Russell Wilson Sea 6600 Packers pass defense not up to NFL standards
QB Kirk Cousins Was 6300 Looking to keep Redskins in race and guarantee money
QB Marcus Mariota Ten 6200 Bad spot but playing so well
QB Eli Manning NYG 5500 Makes me very nervous but in a good situation for points

With a couple of cheap wide receivers, you can still fit David Johnson or Le'Veon Bell in your lineup. However, dropping down to LeSean McCoy to save the money does allow a ton of flexibility. As long as there are no vultured touchdowns.

RB David Johnson Ari 9800 Not priced high enough yet
RB Le'Veon Bell Pit 9000 Not a good spot - but matchup proof catching passes
RB LeSean McCoy Buf 8200 Touchdown vulture hurting total - $1600 discount from Johnson
RB DeMarco Murray Ten 7000 Rest helps toe recover
RB Matt Forte NYJ 6800 As long as Jets don’t fall behind - in for big game
RB Jeremy Hill Cin 5800 Torched Browns on limited carries in first meeting
RB Thomas Rawls Sea 5700 Showed he is all the way back
RB Carlos Hyde SF 4900 Only legitimate 49er weapon
RB Darren Sproles Phi 4400 As long as Mathews is still out

Mike Evans will be in my lineup this week at all costs. I will be surprised if Evans is not the highest scoring receiver in the league this week. Taylor Gabriel is also a recent favorite of Matt Ryan and should see more targets with Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu banged up.

WR Mike Evans TB 8900 How does he not have ten catches this week?
WR Michael Thomas NO 6700 Brees' top target
WR Golden Tate Det 6600 Fits right in with recent Lions short pass style
WR Emmanuel Sanders Den 5700 Can beat Titans downfield
WR Jamison Crowder Was 5600 Still not being taken as a legitimate threat
WR Allen Robinson Jax 5000 Price pick only
WR Randall Cobb GB 5000 With Sherman likely on Nelson - maybe this is the week?
WR Tyler Boyd Cin 4900 Filling the Green targets
WR Dontrelle Inman SD 4800 Scoring with good target numbers
WR Taylor Gabriel Atl 4300 Becoming a popular Ryan target
WR J.J. Nelson Ari 3600 Someone besides Fitz has to step up

Jimmy Graham and Cameron Brate fit into my two favorite QB-WR-TE stacks this week. There is no “safe” place to go for tight end numbers.

TE Jimmy Graham Sea 5500 Seahawks stack should be popular this week
TE Zach Ertz Phi 4900 Double digit targets in two of the past three
TE Delanie Walker Ten 4400 See Mariota above
TE Cameron Brate TB 4100 In the Bucs stack
TE Ladarius Green Pit 3900 Price going up but producing with Pitt short receivers
TE Vance McDonald SF 3000 Good goal line target

I certainly can’t argue with going for any of the top three defenses but I am having trouble fitting one of them in my lineup, so I am looking further down the list at Miami and San Diego.

DST Vikings Min 3900 Anyone vs. Jax is high on the list - but you pay a price
DST Lions Det 3600 Lions playing keep-away helping their defense
DST Bengals Cin 3500 Cleveland and RGIII
DST Dolphins Mia 2600 Should be better at home vs. QB who can't move
DST Chargers SD 2600 Carolina has pretty much mailed it in

We will see if the Bucs stack can outscore the Seahawks stack. 

QB Jameis Winston TB 6700
RB Jeremy Hill Cin 5800
RB LeSean McCoy Buf 8200
WR Mike Evans TB 8900
WR Taylor Gabriel Atl 4300
WR Dontrelle Inman SD 4800
TE Cameron Brate TB 4100
DST Chargers SD 2600
RB Darren Sproles Phi 4400
      49800

In Week 13, we have one of the most productive QB/RB pairs in Marcus Mariota and DeMarco Murray on a bye and then we have the lowly Browns on a bye. Week 12 was a major DFS disaster for Seahawks backers – Wilson, Rawls, Baldwin, Graham – all turkeys. They can’t possibly have been that bad. How can anyone fade the Lions-Saints this week? Their Vegas total of 53.5 is four points higher than any other game. 

You can try to be cute and ride the Kaepernick train, and maybe it will work. Or you can just pay up for a QB that always seems to post numbers that support the price. Brees at home – check. Roethlisberger at home – check.

QB Drew Brees NO 7600 Has to be under consideration every week
QB Ben Roethlisberger Pit 7400 Every week at home
QB Matthew Stafford Det 7000 Game with Saints has highest Vegas total by a lot
QB Russell Wilson Sea 6300 Big bounce back. Under-owned after last debacle
QB Colin Kaepernick SF 6100 Becoming a trendy pick
QB Eli Manning NYG 5900 Cheap price for productive QB
QB Tyrod Taylor Buf 5700 Getting primary deep threat back in form

Try hard to fit either Johnson or Bell into your lineup. The price is steep, but they deliver every week. There are other attractive cheaper options to pair with them.

RB David Johnson Ari 9500 He has been gold, but now must get 30 to earn value
RB Le'Veon Bell Pit 9200 Same as Johnson, but is always in the play
RB LeSean McCoy Buf 7800 Nice discount off Johnson and Bell
RB Jordan Howard Chi 6900 Start the RB against SF - always
RB Mark Ingram NO 6000 Played like his mind was altered after the concussion
RB Theo Riddick Det 5800 Figures to be heavily involved
RB Carlos Hyde SF 5300 Primary offense for SF when healthy
RB Jeremy Hill Cin 4300 Caught plenty of passes with Gio out

Cheaper receivers continue to post useful numbers and there are plenty of receivers in the $4k range to choose from. Sure they all come with risks, like the QB can forget that the receiver plays on the team (see Shepard and Cooks). But that scenario is unlikely.

 

WR Antonio Brown Pit 9100 Has to be a consideration every week
WR Odell Beckham Jr. NYG 8500 Will be focused on outperforming Brown
WR Michael Thomas NO 6900 Brees' solid primary target
WR Julian Edelman NE 6800 More looks if Gronk is out
WR Davante Adams GB 6300 From the dog house to the Pro Bowl in one season
WR Golden Tate Det 6200 Figures to be right in the middle of highest scoring game
WR Sammy Watkins Buf 5500 He's back and in GPP play
WR Sterling Shepard NYG 4900 Nice when QB apologizes for forgetting about you
WR Tyler Boyd Cin 4800 8-9 targets for under $5k - I am in
WR Marvin Jones Jr. Det 4400 Falling way out of favor but is so darn cheap
WR Anquan Boldin Det 4100 Boldin, Lee, Wilson, Rogers all in play in this price range

My off-season project is to search for a dependable way to project TE usage. There seems to be little rhyme or reason that leads to a tight end posting a zero or being a hero.

 

TE Jordan Reed Was 6400 Dislike the pick due to injury - was this close to being a dud on turkey day
TE Greg Olsen Car 5100 A nice discount off Reed
TE Eric Ebron Det 3900 These guys do not need much to earn value - but they do tend to disappear
TE Cameron Brate TB 3600 Fitting in nicely as second look for Jameis
TE Vance McDonald SF 2900 Knack for the end zone
TE Ladarius Green Pit 2800 Continues to round into form

There are three defenses that appear to be worth paying for, but on the flip side there are two cheaper options.

 

DST Broncos Den 3900 Premier matchup against turnover-prone Jax
DST Patriots NE 3700 Pats against a rookie QB
DST Seahawks Sea 3500 Neither team is at Super Bowl level
DST Chargers SD 2900 Been sneaky good all season
DST Dolphins Mia 2600 Getting better every week

Count me among the victims of the Seahawks walking the plank last week. This week I want a piece of the Lions-Saints game, but I am going to lean towards the Lions, who should be lower owned.

QB Matthew Stafford Det 7000
RB David Johnson Ari 9500
RB Theo Riddick Det 5800
WR Michael Thomas NO 6900
WR Golden Tate Det 6200
WR Eli Rogers Pit 3900
DST Chargers SD 2900
TE Vance McDonald SF 2900
WR Tyler Boyd Cin 4800
      49900

Week 11 is the last major week of byes (Falcons, Chargers, Broncos, Jets). Then only the Browns and Titans (Week 13) will have byes remaining. From a DFS perspective, it does not really matter, but from a season-long game perspective, I wish that the NFL would just have eight teams on byes in Weeks 6-9 and get them all out of the way. There is no reason to have some teams with byes in Week 4 and others more than two months later. The Titans-Colts game pops off the chart with a whopping Vegas total of 53 and a close point spread. As we saw last week in the Steelers-Cowboys game, a ton of points can be racked up with teams going back and forth in the fourth quarter. How many more points could Marcus Mariota have scored last week if the Packers could have kept the game closer?

There is no shortage of viable QB options in Week 11. Some figure to be on the positive side of blowouts, which usually provides a nice floor but a limited ceiling. Titans-Colts and Packers-Redskins figure to be close back-and-forth games.

QB Tom Brady NE 7800 Disappointed on Sunday night - fear running TDs
QB Aaron Rodgers GB 7600 GB is all pass with no defense
QB Ben Roethlisberger Pit 7500 Needs early TD passes as Pit figures to roll Cle
QB Andrew Luck Ind 7200 Highest Vegas total we have seen in a long time
QB Marcus Mariota Ten 6700 See Luck - can't deny how great he has played
QB Eli Manning NYG 6300 Giants should steamroll Chi but Eli has failed before
QB Kirk Cousins Was 5800 GB will score, so Wash will have to keep up

It is becoming very apparent that the upper-echelon running backs have returned to the NFL. The weekly “formula” has been to fill up with high-priced backs and save at receiver. All four of the guys at the top figure to put up big numbers again.

RB Le'Veon Bell Pit 8800 Best matchup of the upper tier backs
RB DeMarco Murray Ten 8200 Been as good as the Dallas days
RB Ezekiel Elliott Dal 8000 Speaking of Dallas - earning every bit of first round
RB David Johnson Ari 7900 27 was a disappointment - Minn will be a test
RB LeSean McCoy Buf 6900 Should be back to full health - will be overlooked
RB Frank Gore Ind 5000 Fits with Colts stacks - catches passes and scores
RB C.J. Prosise Sea 4200 Bulk of work in Seattle and all the passes
RB Kenneth Dixon Bal 3900 Looked good last week

Very hard to justify a lineup with more than one of the high-priced receivers. There is just too much value in the mid-tier receivers and too much risk in the lower tier backs.

WR Antonio Brown Pit 9500 Very expensive and might be out before 4th quarter
WR Odell Beckham Jr. NYG 8500 Bears defense can get torched
WR Jordy Nelson GB 7800 I can't explain it - but getting most of the looks
WR T.Y. Hilton Ind 7700 Colts stack
WR Stefon Diggs Min 7000 34 catches on 42 targets in past three games
WR Julian Edelman NE 6300 Been disappointing but coming on lately
WR Donte Moncrief Ind 6100 Very cheap in the Colts stack
WR Terrelle Pryor Sr. Cle 5600 Steelers D will give up some points
WR Golden Tate Det 5300 Re-emerged as top dog in Detroit
WR Sterling Shepard NYG 4700 Great hands and knack for end zone
WR Tyreek Hill KC 4500 Consider if Maclin is out again
WR Eli Rogers Pit 4300 Underpriced value

Finally, I hit on a DFS tight end last week. Why do I feel like that was more luck than skill? The tight end spot has been an absolute crap shoot in 2016. Any of the five below could excel, or they could just lay an egg.

TE Jordan Reed Was 5900 Tight end seems like a wasteland - Reed gets targets
TE Delanie Walker Ten 5700 Been the shining star of the TE group
TE Eric Ebron Det 4100 Highly inconsistent
TE Kyle Rudolph Min 3900 Been Diggs and Rudolph in Minn
TE Martellus Bennett NE 3700 Moves up if Gronk is out

There are a few home teams that are big favorites. They are always a threat to get out to a big lead and generate defensive points when their opponent has no choice but to pass on every down.

DST Patriots NE 3600 Have to look at anyone playing SF, but Ari failed
DST Giants NYG 3500 Defense improving and Bears are a mess
DST Chiefs KC 3400 KC at home against mistake-prone TB
DST Lions Det 3200 Det defense not great, but Jax turns the ball over
DST Dolphins Mia 2900 Defense has really stepped it up lately

Last week, the Titans stack and a late switch to Shepard from Hogan (in a full-slate tournament) put me in the money. Here is my DraftKings GPP game lineup as of today. I may be over-Colted and I would like to figure out how to get a Titan or two into the lineup.

QB Andrew Luck Ind 7200
RB Le'Veon Bell Pit 8800
RB Frank Gore Ind 5000
WR Donte Moncrief Ind 6100
WR T.Y. Hilton Ind 7700
WR Eli Rogers Pit 4300
DST Dolphins Mia 2900
TE Martellus Bennett NE 3700
RB C.J. Prosise Sea 4200
      49900

Turkey Day marks the three-quarter mark of the NFL regular season, and while two teams have not yet had their byes (Titans, Browns), we have a full slate for the weekend. It is definitely a week of haves vs. have-nots. The challenge is trying to predict the games that could stay close and generate some back and forth points as opposed to watching a team just grind clock for an entire quarter or half. The Bills, Dolphins and Saints are big home favorites. The Titans, Seahawks and Patriots are big road favorites. 

It should be little surprise that most of the recommended quarterbacks this week are from the heavily favored teams. These certainly reflect the safest floor among the quarterbacks. There will be at least one quarterback from the underdog side of these games that piles up big stats playing catch up, but I challenge you to go guess which one.

QB Tom Brady NE 7800 No concern over injury report
QB Marcus Mariota Ten 7200 At least 17.68 in past seven
QB Drew Brees NO 7100 Brees big favorite at home
QB Russell Wilson Sea 6700 Lack of healthy backs leads to more Wilson
QB Eli Manning NYG 6500 Eli should excel - so why am I too scared to use him?
QB Derek Carr Oak 6100 Home against a subpar Carolina defense

Tough week for running backs on the Sunday slate as Lev Bell and Zeke Elliott both play on Thursday. I see minimal options to roster a team that fades David Johnson. After Johnson, there are several players with nice ceilings.

RB David Johnson Ari 8900 Matchup proof
RB DeMarco Murray Ten 7700 Should have no trouble earning 3x price
RB Jay Ajayi Mia 7600 Would be at top of the list with healthy offensive line
RB Thomas Rawls Sea 5700 Ran well in season debut and now has no split
RB Rashad Jennings NYG 5600 Very good in past two with a great matchup
RB Latavius Murray Oak 5500 Primary ball carrier with all goal line looks
RB Jeremy Hill Cin 3900 No Gio - what do the Bengals do?

Another week with a good mix of “safe” expensive receivers and riskier less-expensive receivers. I would much rather pay up for the points at running back and take my chances with some of the lower end receivers.

WR Odell Beckham Jr. NYG 8800 Solid but unspectacular in recent efforts
WR Julio Jones Atl 8500 Highest game total on Sunday slate
WR Julian Edelman NE 6800 Four straight good scores
WR Michael Thomas NO 6600 Might be hitting rookie wall but in good spot
WR Doug Baldwin Sea 6400 A lot of Seahawks on the list this week
WR Rishard Matthews Ten 5800 Been a ball hog recently
WR Sterling Shepard NYG 5500 Has a knack for touchdowns
WR DeVante Parker Mia 4700 High-risk, high-reward
WR Marqise Lee Jax 4000 Surprisingly very good most of the season
WR Tyler Boyd Cin 4000 Figures to get AJ's targets

Jordan Reed, Jason Witten, Kyle Rudolph and Eric Ebron have all been popular DFS tight ends this season and all are gone from the Sunday slate. Add in the Gronk injury and proceed to throw a dart at the board. 

TE Greg Olsen Car 5800 Top TE on the board
TE Jimmy Graham Sea 5300 Been a top target in the new Seahawks passing game
TE C.J. Fiedorowicz Hou 3300 Never thought he would be on my list
TE Will Tye NYG 3000 Does not need to do much at $3k
TE Vance McDonald SF 3000 Been a TD target lately
TE Austin Hooper Atl 2800 Tamme officially to IR

All of the defenses on my list are from the group of heavy favorites except for the Chargers.

DST Bills Buf 3800 Expensive price to pay, but Jax is sloppy with the ball
DST Giants NYG 3600 Just look at mediocre Steelers D last week
DST Patriots NE 3400 It's the Jets
DST Dolphins Mia 3300 Dolphins D has been good recently
DST Chargers SD 2700 Chargers have been surprisingly good all season

Last week’s Colts stack with Lev Bell and Rashad Jennings had me dreaming of big money after the first half of the early games, with a score of 106 in the bank. But they all faded badly in the second half and I was left to withstand a Sunday night shootout between the Packers and Redskins just to cash. But it was fun for awhile seeing a 1 next to your name in the standings, even if it was short-lived. This week, we are going with a Seahawks stack on the road against the Bucs. The Bucs have the ability to score and keep the game relatively close for awhile. 

QB Russell Wilson Sea 6700
RB David Johnson Ari 8900
RB Thomas Rawls Sea 5700
WR Tyler Boyd Cin 4000
WR Doug Baldwin Sea 6400
WR DeVante Parker Mia 4700
TE Jimmy Graham Sea 5300
DST Chargers SD 2700
RB Rashad Jennings NYG 5600
      50000

Week 10 features just four teams on byes (Bills, Lions, Colts and Raiders). Several games pop out on the card including Falcons-Eagles, Packers-Titans and Cowboys-Steelers. Expect to see high ownership in both of those games. Speaking of high ownership, I see no way to fade Cardinals RB David Johnson in any game. If there was ever a “lock” for big points, Johnson would be it.

Four of our five quarterbacks come from the three featured games mentioned above. The other is a flier (and one that will make you sweat) in a great matchup – one Jay Cutler. Any QB playing against the Bucs needs to be considered.

QB Aaron Rodgers GB 7600 Another good matchup - still no running game
QB Matt Ryan Atl 7300 Another high total for QB on a roll all season
QB Ben Roethlisberger Pit 6800 Should be fine one week back off injury
QB Marcus Mariota Ten 5700 15 TDs in past five games
QB Jay Cutler Chi 5300 Big risk, great matchup

Cheap Charcandrick West did not work out so well last week. In searching for cheap options for Week 10, I stumbled on Chris Ivory at only $3400 coming off a big game under the Jags new offensive coordinator. Ivory also scored a TD in real life which replay fails to overturn to make it count.

RB David Johnson Ari 8400 Only injury keeps him short of scoring 30
RB Ezekiel Elliott Dal 7900 Consistently earning 3x salary
RB Le'Veon Bell Pit 7700 36 catches in five games - no TDs is a pure anomaly
RB Jay Ajayi Mia 7000 High price but great past three games
RB DeMarco Murray Ten 6900 Consistently excellent
RB Devonta Freeman Atl 6800 Stopped several times at goal line last week
RB Chris Ivory Jax 3400 High-risk off one good game

We have a long list of viable wide receivers in Week 10. The challenge is that you are almost forced to pay up at running back, making it very difficult to construct a roster with any of the three highest priced receivers.

 

WR Julio Jones Atl 9500 Disappeared too many times this season
WR Mike Evans TB 9000 At least 11 targets in every game except the first one
WR Antonio Brown Pit 8900 Worried owners for three quarters but was just fine
WR Demaryius Thomas Den 6700 Ten targets in each of past four after four straight with seven
WR Alshon Jeffery Chi 6600 Another high risk, high reward candidate
WR Randall Cobb GB 6400 Have to consider Packers receivers when healthy
WR Davante Adams GB 6300 See Cobb
WR Stefon Diggs Min 6200 Was a target-monster last week
WR Michael Thomas NO 6100 Has been just a monster all season - tough matchup
WR Julian Edelman NE 6000 Salary keeps dropping - will break out soon
WR Chris Hogan NE 4500 Been making big plays in Pats offense

Finally some potential value at the lower end of the tight end list. Just remember what Zach Ertz did in the games prior to Week 9. Austin Hooper is a nice cheap TE play if Jacob Tamme is out again and does not need to do much at his price to earn 3-4x his price.

 

TE Rob Gronkowski NE 6900 Steep price to pay but getting his targets
TE Jordan Reed Was 6200 In-game concussion is always a concern
TE Greg Olsen Car 5900 Belongs in the upper-tier of tight ends
TE Delanie Walker Ten 4600 Good chemistry with Mariota
TE Zach Ertz Phi 3700 A wakeup call - can he repeat?
TE Austin Hooper Atl 3100 A very cheap option if Tamme is out again

Hitting on a defense continues to be a challenge. We were fortunate last week with the late TD kickoff return by the Dolphins. The Cardinals seem like too obvious of a choice.

 

DST Cardinals Ari 3700 Should force plenty of SF turnovers
DST Redskins Was 3000 Minnesota has not been protecting QB very well
DST Rams LA 2900 Game vs. Jets could end up 3-3
DST Chargers SD 2900 Been generating a lot of points on defense
DST Jets NYJ 2800 See Rams comment above

Here is my DraftKings GPP game lineup as of today:

QB Marcus Mariota Ten 5700
RB David Johnson Ari 8400
RB DeMarco Murray Ten 6900
WR Michael Thomas NO 6100
WR Alshon Jeffery Chi 6600
WR Chris Hogan NE 4500
TE Delanie Walker Ten 4600
RB Chris Ivory Jax 3400
DST Cardinals Ari 3700
      49900

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