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.
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.
Week 9 features our second week with six teams on byes (Bengals, Cards, Bears, Texans, Patriots, Redskins). That narrows the regular Sunday DraftKings contests to just 11 NFL games. Several games pop out on the card, including Saints-49ers and Colts-Packers. Expect to see high ownership in both of those games.
The Quarterback list is a little shorter than normal. Three high-end options and two low-price options. That is what happens when Brady, Dalton and Cousins are on byes.
|QB||Aaron Rodgers||GB||7800||Who needs a running game?|
|QB||Drew Brees||NO||7200||Who needs a defense?|
|QB||Andrew Luck||Ind||6700||See Brees above|
|QB||Marcus Mariota||Ten||5900||Three excellent weeks in a row|
|QB||Ryan Tannehill||Mia||5600||Not often on this list - Jets D not good|
Several running back contingencies are on the list this week. Carlos Hyde is in play if healthy. The last man standing in KC, Charcandrick West, is definitely in play if Spencer Ware is out. Same for Derrick Henry if DeMarco Murray can’t suit up.
|RB||Ezekiel Elliott||Dal||7900||Top back with Johnson on bye|
|RB||Le'Veon Bell||Pit||7700||Have to consider every week|
|RB||Devontae Booker||Den||6400||Got pricy quick|
|RB||Carlos Hyde||SF||6100||Solid play if healthy|
|RB||Jay Ajayi||Mia||6000||Back-to-back with over 200 rush yards|
|RB||Derrick Henry||Ten||5000||Cheap play if DeMarco can't go|
|RB||Theo Riddick||Det||4900||Returns with a vengeance|
|RB||Charcandrick West||KC||4400||Only man standing in KC|
A very solid, but short list of wide receiver candidates. Packers receivers have been rolling since the running game went on IR.
|WR||Dez Bryant||Dal||7400||Great return - tops the WR list|
|WR||Jarvis Landry||Mia||7100||Guaranteed points as possession receiver|
|WR||Emmanuel Sanders||Den||6300||Broncos only throw to two WRs|
|WR||Demaryius Thomas||Den||6000||Raiders defense still not playing well|
|WR||Davante Adams||GB||5900||Dominant since the backs were hurt|
|WR||Ty Montgomery||GB||5800||If healthy - and a bump if Cobb is still out|
|WR||Michael Thomas||NO||5500||Very dependable|
|WR||Kenny Stills||Mia||3900||A flyer for a deep ball (or two)|
One of these weeks we will pick the correct tight end. Seems like a wasteland of players in Week 9, so we narrowed the list down to just four (and they all have warts).
|TE||Greg Olsen||Car||6200||TE is really weak this week|
|TE||Travis Kelce||KC||5300||Kelce might be better with Foles|
|TE||Delanie Walker||Ten||4600||Mariota's top target|
|TE||Eric Ebron||Det||3100||Inconsistent but cheap and healthy|
We go short on defenses in Week 9 as only four grace our list. Two big home favorites lead the way.
|DST||Chiefs||KC||3500||Jax is sloppy with the ball|
|DST||Cowboys||Dal||3400||Anyone vs. the Browns|
|DST||Ravens||Bal||3300||If Big Ben is still out|
|DST||Dolphins||Mia||3100||Jets struggle if they fall behind|
Here is my DraftKings cash game lineup as of today:
Here is my DraftKings GPP game lineup as of today:
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:
Week 8 features our first week with six teams on byes (Dolphins, Rams, Steelers, 49ers, Ravens, Giants) and a London game. That narrows the regular Sunday DraftKings contests to just ten NFL games. If you are playing GPPs, it might take a little more of an outside-the-box lineup to differentiate your team from others. My partner in fantasy contests is pushing a Rodgers-Cobb-Adams-Nelson stack. Now that would be different.
There are some nice quarterback options at the upper end as well as the lower end. Bucs-Raiders figures to be a shootout that can generate some high-scoring QBs.
|QB||Tom Brady||NE||7600||Should we be surprised with how well he has played?|
|QB||Aaron Rodgers||GB||7500||Lukewarm seletion in highest Vegas total on the board|
|QB||Russell Wilson||Sea||7200||The Saints give up points to everyone|
|QB||Matt Ryan||Atl||7000||Tough to envision a low-scoring game here|
|QB||Drew Brees||NO||6900||Brees at home - no matter the opponent|
|QB||Derek Carr||Oak||5900||Bucs secondary getting better, but not there yet|
|QB||Jameis Winston||TB||5700||Bucs are not bad on offense with Evans catching passes|
Like quarterback, the running back position offers several high-price options and a few strong cheap options. The injuries to LeSean McCoy and C.J. Anderson figure to open up usage for Mike Gillislee and Devontae Booker. And we have all seen what marginal running backs can do with usage (see Jacquizz Rodgers).
|RB||David Johnson||Ari||7700||Proved to be matchup proof even in 6-6 tie|
|RB||Ezekiel Elliott||Dal||7200||Has been a beast so far|
|RB||Spencer Ware||KC||6800||Seeing majority of the work and getting the job done|
|RB||Matt Forte||NYJ||6400||GPP only - scores well if Jets play from ahead|
|RB||Jacquizz Rodgers||TB||5800||Has been the "out of nowhere superstar" the past couple of weeks|
|RB||Mike Gillislee||Buf||3800||If McCoy is out - just like last week|
|RB||Devontae Booker||Den||3700||A late addition to the list with Anderson doubtful|
Tough to bypass the lower-priced receivers this week. Several are in ideal high-scoring matchups. You can easily structure a roster paying up at QB, RB, and TE with money saved at WR.
|WR||Julio Jones||Atl||9600||Game should be up and down with Falcons short at RB|
|WR||Mike Evans||TB||8100||Turning into a beast|
|WR||Brandin Cooks||NO||7300||Instant offense at home|
|WR||Emmanuel Sanders||Den||6500||Broncos do not have a third receiver to steal targets|
|WR||Randall Cobb||GB||6400||Coming to life in past two|
|WR||Demaryius Thomas||Den||6200||See Sanders above|
|WR||Ty Montgomery||GB||5300||Is he still going to see touches in the backfield?|
|WR||Golden Tate||Det||5100||Matching expectations the past two weeks - underpriced|
|WR||Michael Thomas||NO||5000||Might be best receiver on the Saints|
|WR||Davante Adams||GB||4900||Tough to trust but getting the job done|
|WR||Cole Beasley||Dal||4800||Solid cash game possession receiver|
|WR||Russell Shepard||TB||3300||Longshot cheap option as Bucs search for second wideout|
Three weeks in a row I have been burned trying to save money at tight end. Not this week. Gronk or Olsen will be in my cash game lineup.
|TE||Rob Gronkowski||NE||7000||I am looking to pay up at TE this week|
|TE||Greg Olsen||Car||6500||And it is Olsen or Gronk by far|
|TE||Jason Witten||Dal||3600||Should lose some looks with Dez back|
|TE||Jack Doyle||Ind||3500||Nice play if Allen is out again|
|TE||Coby Fleener||NO||3400||GPP play for Saints at home|
|TE||Antonio Gates||SD||2700||If Henry is out|
I haven't had much luck getting production from my defense. I was nowhere near the Eagles last week. The Jets-Browns game looks like a turnover-fest waiting to happen.
|DST||Jets||NYJ||3400||Anyone against Cleveland has to be in play|
|DST||Patriots||NE||3300||Pats getting ahead, forcing opponents to throw into mistakes|
|DST||Chiefs||KC||2800||Colts can score, but are sack-prone|
|DST||Cardinals||Ari||2700||Cardinals defense playing very well|
|DST||Browns||Cle||2500||At home against a Jets team that turns the ball over|
Here is my DraftKings cash game lineup as of today:
And here is my DraftKings GPP game lineup as of today: