Week 9 was one that was up and down for me. While I did have a lot of good plays, I just did not get the right combination of good plays in one single lineup. Week 9 was also one that was not very out of the ordinary, the person who won the $1 Millionaire Maker on DraftKings had a fairly chalky lineup. You can read more about my week 9 in review here.
Week 10 is actually full of low Vegas totals and is actually one of the lowest average totals of the entire year. The Vegas total of the entire week is just over 43 while the total has mostly been over 45 this entire season. Therefore, there will be a few games that I will entirely fade for the most part but it also means there are some sneaky high scoring games that I think will be overlooked. DraftKings has also done a very good job this year with the pricing making high value cheap players very hard to find this year and this week is no different. I mainly focus on the main slate (1 pm and 4 pm games) on DraftKings so here are my favorite and least favorite plays of the week.
My Favorite Week 10 Plays
Stud: Quarterback Matthew Stafford (DK: $6,800)
Matthew Stafford has started to trend positively in the last few weeks. In week 9 he torched a Packers defense for 361 passing yards and 2 TDs on an extremely efficient 26 completions on 33 pass attempts. After struggling early on in the season against decent secondaries, Matthew Stafford has finished the last 3 weeks with at least 20 fantasy points. This week he faces off against the Cleveland Browns who have shown to have a very strong pass funnel defense. They are tops in the league in rushing DVOA and 28th in the league in pass rank defense. Gregg Williams still inexplicably continues to employ a defense that lines up one safety over the the middle of the field about 25 yards away from the line of scrimmage. This essentially gives opposing QBs plenty of room to attack the middle of the field which is the easiest part of the field to throw to. This means that Stafford’s pass catchers over the middle of the field will have lots of success as well. Look for Golden Tate to be successful and either Eric Ebron or Darren Fells to play above expectations as well.
Contrarian: Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (DK: $6,700)
Big Ben is one of my favorite plays of the week. Jared Goff had a monster game last week scoring over 31 DK points. Big Ben is about the same price as Goff but he’s coming off a bye and Goff is coming off a big game, recency bias means that everyone will be clicking on Jared Goff’s name. This is a great opportunity to differentiate your lineup from the field. The Indianapolis Colts pass defense is one of the worst in the league ranking 25th in pass DVOA. They also recently cut veteran CB Vontae Davis due to a bad groin that requires surgery. One of the brightest minds in the DFS industry tweeted this about the Colts:
Basically if you’re not a QB, then you will be successful against the Colts. And I don’t think Big Ben is bad yet! Just last season Ben put up 221 passing yards and 3 TDs against the very same Colts team. He also has one of the best WRs in the league in Antonio Brown who also ranks as the #1 graded WR on PFF. Jared Goff is still a great play and could very easily score more points than Big Ben, but Ben is a great play from a game theory perspective.
Sleeper: Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (DK: $4,600)
I’m not going to lie, I might actually have a lot of Ryan Fitzmagic this week. This is one spot where we can take advantage of the pricing that comes out on Sunday evening. This means that it does not take into account the fact that Winston was ruled out after Sunday. Ryan Fitzpatrick is very cheap and is not a bad football player (unlike Tom Savage and C.J. Beathard). I think this game is one of the games that will be more high scoring than most people expect. The Buccaneers have the highest pass to run ratio in the first two quarters in the entire league. They also face a Jets defense that is somewhat of a pass funnel. I’m also high on the #revengegame narrative of Fitzpatrick. He is going up against a team that he led to a 10-6 season in 2015 but still refused to pay him. I’m sure he is licking his chops after seeing the Jets on the schedule this week.
Contrarian: Running Back LeSean McCoy ($8,300)
LeSean McCoy disappointed so many fantasy owners with a very weak 2.5 fantasy points on 12 touches. The disappointing performance against the Jets lowers McCoy’s ownership percentage making him a very enticing play. But that is not the main reason why I like McCoy this week. He actually has an excellent matchup at home against the New Orleans Saints. Let’s not over react to last week and remember that LeSean McCoy is 50% of the Bills offense. They are playing against the Saints who have a reverse funnel defense as they rank 4th in pass DVOA and 28th in rushing DVOA. The Saints defense will funnel plays to the ground game against a team that already likes to run the ball on the ground. This is a major plus for McCoy. The Saints also rank 28th in Open Field rank, so there is plenty of big play potential for McCoy. Even if the Saints take a lead and control of the game, McCoy is still a major part of the Bills passing game so he will rack up some nice PPR points in a negative game script as well. McCoy is a solid play at home this week.
Sleeper: Running Back Lamar Miller (DK: $5,200)
This is another RB play that I am not very comfortable with but he is one of the best cheap RBs available. One of the toughest things about fantasy football is predicting what a coach will do. Sometimes you can have all the data that finds an optimal play for an offense but coaches are sometimes so stubborn and they run what they want to run until it works no matter how many times it fails. One of the worst examples of this was the Steelers in week 5 throwing the ball 55 against the #1 pass defense and a terrible run defense in Jacksonville despite having one of the best RBs in the league. Yes they were in a negative game script but they abandoned the run early. If you listen to Warren Sharp, he did an excellent analysis on the entire situation.
Bill O’Brien is an offensive minded head coach but the play calling last week was absolutely atrocious. He called plays that led to Tom Savage throwing the ball 44 times despite the game being a one score game for most of the game. This was while Lamar Miller rushed for 57 yards on just 10 carries. And D’onta Foreman rushing for 37 yards on 11 carries. The LA Rams biggest weakness is its run defense. They let Orleans Darkwa rush for 71 yards on 4.4 yards per carry. That is very efficient for a very below average RB. The only problem is negative game script but Lamar Miller still got 3 receptions on 4 targets last week.
Stud: Wide Receiver A.J. Green (DK: $7,700)
A.J. Green had a forgettable week 9. After being frustrated by stud CB Jalen Ramsey, A.J. Green was ejected from the game for putting him in a headlock. Many people may be scared of the Titans pass defense because of its recent success. But this pass defense is still not very good as it ranks 22nd in pass DVOA. Not only that, but the Titans have had one of the easiest schedules in terms of opponent pass efficiency since week 5 where they have faced the Dolphins, Colts, Browns and Ravens. A.J. Green primarily lines up at RWR position and will be defended a lot by rookie CB Adoree’ Jackson who ranks 70th in PFF’s CB rankings out of 115. Despite the Bengals having a bad offensive line, the Titans defensive front also ranks near the bottom of the league in adjusted sack rate by getting to the QB only on 5% of their pass attempts. This means Dalton should have enough time to get the ball to Green should they decide to take some deep shots down the field.
Sleeper: Wide Receiver Sammy Watkins (DK: $4,800)
There aren’t a lot of cheap plays this week but Watkins is still a high upside player. Last week I had a lot of Robert Woods because I saw that Watkins would be covered mostly by Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie who is still a solid CB and Woods would be going against a very burnable Eli Apple. But then I switched some Woods into Watkins to live the #hedgelife, oops. This week I’m going in on hard on Watkins. He will primarily line up on the left side of the field which is mainly covered by struggling CB Kevin Johnson who recently returned from injury. Kevin Johnson currently ranks second to last on PFF’s CB grades. This is the week where Goff and McVay scheme to try to get their best pass catcher the ball more. The Texans still have an average run defense so there should be plenty of opportunities for Goff to hit Watkins. This play becomes even better when the 95% of the people in the Millionaire Maker missed out on Woods last week go point chasing for Woods this week. If Watkins is ever going to come back to life this year, then this is the week it’ll happen.
Stud: Tight End Jack Doyle (DK: $5,200)
Doyle Rules!! Sorry, I just had to say that. Jack Doyle’s price has steadily gone up over the last few weeks. He is now the second most expensive TE in the main slate. They go up against a tough Pittsburgh pass defense that is 5th in passing DVOA. But one thing about the Pittsburgh pass defense is that they have not faced a lot of tough opposing offenses. Here are the QBs the Steelers pass defense have gone up against this year: Deshone Kizer, Case Keenum, Mike Glennon, Joe Flacco, Blake Bortles, Alex Smith, Andy Dalton and Matthew Stafford. They did a solid job against Stafford but the defense hasn’t really been tested yet. Jacoby Brissett does not provide a tough test either but Jack Doyle is still a good play. Here’s why: Jacoby Brissett has targeted his TE at an over 20% rate ever since he was in college, he just loves throwing to TEs. It’s just an easier throw because the TEs usually operate in the middle of the field which his the closest distance to the QB. I expect this game to be a blow out and for plenty of garbage time plays for the Colts. Jack Doyle is the guy that has found lots of success in garbage time for the Colts this season, NOT T.Y. Hilton.
Sleeper: Tight End Cameron Brate (DK: $4,100)
I am going to have so many Fitzmagic and Brate stacks this week at such low prices. Cameron Brate is probably the best value play of the week. He is a super cheap $4,100 going up against the NYJ who struggle against the pass. WR Mike Evans has officially been suspended for this game and DeSean Jackson will likely be shadowed by Morris Claiborne. Many people will flock over to Evans’s replacement on the outside, Chris Godwin, who is a decent tournament flier due to his ridiculous athleticism. But Brate is the best play. Fitzpatrick is not known for throwing the ball down field so Jackson is already in a negative situation and that is a plus for Brate. In the game vs Arizona where Fitzpatrick played most of the game, Cameron Brate had 8 targets. All of these factors are pushing for Brate to have a lot of targets and a potentially big game.
Stud: DST Rams (DK: $3,600)
This is my favorite defense of the week. The Rams defense ranks 6th in adjusted sack rate while the Texans offensive line ranks 30th in adjusted sack rate. This means that the Rams get to the QB a lot and the Texans offensive line lets their QB get sacked a lot. Tom Savage is a sitting duck in the pocket with very little pocket awareness. This will likely be a negative game script for the Texans which means Savage will throw the ball a lot while being pressure which will likely lead to a lot of interceptions for the defense and a potential pick six.
Sleeper: DST Bears (DK: $3,000)
The Bears quietly have a very good defense. This game is at Soldier Field where the Bears have been a significantly better defense. This is just a high floor defense for me but the Packers just lost Bryan Bulaga to a torn ACL. Brett Hundley has shown some propensity to throw interceptions but the short passing offense makes it hard to get lots of turnovers. The Bears run defense should also limit Aaron Jones and Ty Montgomery on the ground. I also expect the Bears offense to run the ball 30 times and control the ball for most of the game which will keep the score very low.
Other plays I love this week:
- Antonio Brown will line up against rookie CB Rashaan Melvin who has been pretty good this year. But Antonio Brown is playing on turf and is nearly unguardable.
- Leonard Fournette is dying to play after being suspended last week and he has a great matchup at home against the Chargers. The west coast to east coast 1 PM games mainly affect defenses which puts Fournette in a great position. Not to mention, the Chargers are a run funnel defense that allows 4.7 yards per carry down the middle which is where Leonard Fournette gets most of his carries. Expect an efficient day for Fournette this week.
- Jordan Howard is still getting an absurd workload. This week should be no different against the Packers at home. He basically a lock for 100+ rushing yards and the 3 point bonus.
- I think the TB vs NYJ game will be a high scoring affair which means that Robby Anderson is in play this week. He is 2nd on the team in red zone targets. He is also 9th in the league in terms of his team’s air yards market share. The only people ahead of him? Antonio Brown, A.J. Green, Dez Bryant, DeAndre Hopkins, Michael Thomas, DeVante Parker, T.Y. Hilton, and Julio Jones.
- Evan Engram is playing against the SF defense which is 7th in fantasy points allowed to opposing TEs on DraftKings. This may scare people off but the main reason for such a high ranking was because of safety Jaquiski Tartt who is now out for the season. Again, Eli Manning has no one else to throw to and Engram’s matchup just got better.
- The Lions and Steelers D are my two other favorite defenses as both defensive fronts should be able to get pressure on the opposing QBs who will be throwing more than usual as both the Lions and Steelers will likely lead early in the game.
My Least Favorite Plays of the Week
Quarterback Kirk Cousins (DK: $5,900)
The Minnesota Vikings have an excellent front seven and secondary. The injuries to the offensive line means that Cousins will be under pressure most of the day. The Vikings have an adjusted sack rate of 8.40% which ranks 7th best in the league. This is an easy fade for me as there are so many other great QB plays on the slate.
Running Back Melvin Gordon (DK: $7,200)
The Jaguars have been one of the worst teams in terms of fantasy points allowed to opposing RBs so this may seem like a good play. But the problem is that the Jaguars just traded for Marcell Dareus who is a run stopping specialist. Not only that but LB Telvin Smith grades as the best run stopping LB in the league according to PFF’s rankings. The Chargers have also been getting Austin Ekeler and Branden Oliver back and healthy which means that Melvin Gordon may not see the massive usage he had earlier this season. His day can be salvaged by getting into the end zone or catching a lot of passes.
Wide Receiver Julio Jones (DK: $8,000)
Julio has been trending upwards but man if Julio had caught that TD pass last week, we’d be having a completely different conversation. The Cowboys pass defense has been trending up in recent weeks but my main concern about Julio is his injury. He has not practiced at all through Thursday which is usually not a good sign. And a terrible sign is that according a study done by Chris Raybon, whenever a WR shows up on the injury report throughout the week with an ankle injury, his fantasy production goes down by an average of 11.5% which can be significant in GPPs. Julio Jones has played well through injuries before but this is a risk that I may not want to take due to other great plays this week as well. Julio’s injury situation is one to keep a close eye on, if things look positive on Sunday morning then he could potentially be in a great position.
WR T.Y. Hilton (DK: $5,900)
T.Y. Hilton was an obvious play last week as evidenced by his ownership percentage being north of 30% in the millionaire maker in week 9. There is a good chance that those who missed out on him will be chasing points on him this week against the Pittsburgh Steelers. He will line up against LCB who has been balling out recently and was once named as one of the toughest CBs to go up against according to A.J. Green. The Steelers do not give up a lot of big plays through the air and they will surely focus on T.Y. Hilton after his eruption last week. There is the garbage time argument but T.Y. Hilton has not scored many fantasy points this season in garbage time. A lot of that has gone to Jack Doyle as during garbage time opposing defenses play deep and try to keep everything in front of them.
Wide Receiver Keenan Allen (DK: $5,400)
I always do my best to avoid that Jacksonville secondary no matter what. They scare the hell out of me. Even though Keenan Allen operates a lot from the slot, Aaron Colvin is an excellent CB himself. He’s just behind an even better duo of CBs. Phillip Rivers no longer has the arm strength that he used to have and has struggled attacking outside the numbers this year. Therefore, Allen will still get his targets down the middle but the guy has not scored a TD since week 1. Also, the best way to attack the Jacksonville Jaguars is at the TE position. Hunter Henry is my favorite play on the Chargers this week.
Other plays I don’t like this week
- DeAndre Hopkins is not in a great position this week despite being priced heavily done. The one good thing about him is that Tom Savage has always looked his way no matter what. Hopkins once said before the season started that he’s played with a lot of QBs and that he thought Savage was the best option for them coming into the season. Deshaun Watson clearly proved that was not the case. Maybe he said that because Savage throws it his way a lot, over 30% of the time on his pass attempts last week. He will be shadowed by Trumaine Johnson. Savage will have no time to throw this week but negative game script could help Hopkins from a terrible day.
- Stefon Diggs is finally healthy again and he is my boy who went to the same school as me. He is still a very productive WR despite playing with mediocre QBs throughout most of his career. Which is why I strongly believe he fell in the draft because of his lack of college production (he had to play with a LB at college his freshman season because the Terps lost 4 QBs to injuries that season). Anyways, Diggs has been rated one of the best WRs according to PFF throughout the entire season, he currently sits at #7. He is in a tough position as he will lineup primarily against Redskins LCB Josh Norman. The Redskins have a very tough perimeter defense to attack. I also believe the Vikings will try to run the ball more against the Redskins who last week let Thomas Rawls have over 4 yards per carry and throw it down the middle where the Redskins are more vulnerable to Adam Thielen and Kyle Rudolph.
- All Packers pass catchers are out of play for me. Opposing offenses have had very little success in Soldier Field including Ben Roethlisberger and Cam Newton.
- After having a strong 4/70/2 line against the New York Giants last week. I don’t see Robert Woods having a repeat performance. He will line up against Houston Texans LCB Johnathan Joseph who is their best CB. This will be a Sammy Watkins week.
- Many people will target DeSean Jackson for the big play this week and increased volume with the Mike Evans suspension but he is not the right play. Jackson has never been the kind of guy to handle large workloads and Ryan Fitzpatrick is not known for the deep ball. Adam Humphries is still a low ceiling play because the Buccaneers should be in a lot of 2 TE sets without Evans and Godwin is the other guy who will likely lineup outside.
- None of the Dallas RBs intrigue me this week either. Draftkings has done a good job continuing to price them up just in case Zeke is suspended which is for now. But either way, I think the Cowboys will try to throw it more against the Falcons secondary which hasn’t been great this year. If I had to choose one, then I would probably go with Alfred Morris as he’s the better runner but I don’t expect him to get more than 12 touches so he would need a TD in order to pay off.
- It’s always dangerous to bet against Todd Gurley as he proved me wrong last week but I’m a hater in terms of being a productive RB in the NFL because who knows where he is today without Sean McVay but I am down on him against this week. The Texans pass funnel defense means that there will likely be more opportunities in the Rams passing game this week. But then again this is fantasy football, not real life football. Due to his volume, touchdown opportunities, and positive game script I think Gurley is always a good play in fantasy football but I am going elsewhere with $8,700 this week.
Vegas Lines I Like
ATL (-3) vs DAL (+3), bet on Dallas covering.
TB vs NYJ (43 o/u), bet on the over.
PIT (-10) vs IND (+10), bet on Pittsburgh covering.