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   Daily Fantasy Football: Week 5

November 25, 2017
Al Lackner
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Recap from Week 4

In the typical format that I use for Fantasy Feud, where we start 2 QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, 1 TE, 1 D/ST, and 2 Flexes, most weeks the average score is right around 120 points. Back in Week 3, scores went through the roof, and averages were more like 150. Last week the trend reversed itself with many of the usual big plays (Julio Jones, Odell Beckham, Antonio Brown, Marshawn Lynch, Andrew Luck, etc.) either seriously under-performing or not playing at all. As a result, many contests were won last week with just a 100-point lineup.

If you recall, my lineup looked like this as of last Wednesday:

QB Matt Ryan
QB Derek Carr
RB Matt Forte
RB Joseph Randle
WR AJ Green
WR Brandon Marshall
TE Maxx Williams
D/ST Baltimore Ravens
Flex Karlos Williams
Flex Roddy White

I was actually very happy with this lineup as of Wednesday afternoon, and decided to stick with it rather than tweaking it by Thursday's deadline as usual.

The results were ho-hum, as this lineup pretty much represented the median for Week 4. As a result, I won some contests with this lineup but lost others. Right off the bat, I got little from Maxx Williams or the Baltimore defense in Thursday's weekly opener. (I hate Thursday night games!) The Falcons got off to a big lead, so Matt Ryan became somewhat of a non-factor. Similarly, I missed on my bet on Roddy White who saw no action whatsoever. (It is safe to drop him now in season leagues, I think.)

The rest of the lineup performed at a modest level. Karlos Williams proved to be a reasonable value, but he was owned at such a high rate (over 50%) that I failed to capitalize. I suppose this could be a segway to chat about the "Insider Trading" scandal that broke on the NY Times this week, but I won't go there.

Load up on those "studs"!

Sometimes the stars and moons align with a stud player also having a great match-up. It's moments like those where I am willing to dig deep in my pockets and pay the hefty asking price for the most elite players in DFS. One such player this week is Le'Veon Bell, who gets a GREAT match-up against the Chargers. His price tag of $150,100 seems outlandish. In order to justify that cost -- and shooting for a lineup that nets at least 150 points (or, 1.5 points per $10,000 spent) -- I would need for Bell to accumulate 22.5 points. Well, 100 yards rushing, one TD and 5 receptions for 40 yards receiving pretty much gets me that point total. Honestly, I think those numbers are conservative for Bell this week; the guy is averaging 23.6 fantasy points per week -- so I am willing to spend big on him.

I see the running back position at the top as being safer this week than the WR position. (More on that in a bit.) I am very tempted to load up on my two top RBs -- Bell and Jammal Charles ($143,200) -- but they are both priced as they should be, and I am not sure that I can wrap up almost 30% of my budget on these 2 players. Last week showed us just how volatile receivers can be. As I mentioned, Julio, Odell, Antonio, and Cobb all under-performed. Of these guys, I like for Odell Beckham to have the best chance to bounce back this week against a suspect 49er defense. I have him ranked as the #2 option at WR this week behind Julio, and he is priced at $133,600 -- almost $14K less than Julio.

Dare I roll with Matt Ryan again? He may have under-performed a bit last week, but he wasn't awful: he completed 19 of 27 passes for 256 yards and a touchdown. The pounding of the Texans put him in the position of being able to sit back and watch Devonta Freeman run the ball at will. This week Matty Ice gets some more home cookin' against the Redskins. Ryan is usually money at home, and the Redskins are allowing the fewest fantasy points of any team in the league to opposing running backs. That probably means less of Freeman and more of the passing game, which is why I expect Ryan to post better numbers this week. I have him ranked #3 in my QB rankings this week, and he is priced as such. The price differential between him and the #2 QB (Aaron Rodgers) is about $10,000 even though my projections for them are close. So in a rather contrary way, I am going to re-up with Ryan this week.

Seven QBs are bunched into the $120-130K price range this week, so depth is there. But what about upside and differentiation? I already mentioned that I like the Giants' passing game against the 49ers this week. That is why I have Eli Manning ranked as a borderline top 5 play this week. He is priced as the #9 QB at $125,600, which I think is pretty good value. Another name that is screaming out to me is Marcus Mariota, who is $10K cheaper, coming off a bye and playing against a Bills defense that has allowed plenty of fantasy points to QBs. My concern there is that Rex Ryan will devise a scheme that may bewilder the rookie QB -- something he was unable to do against veterans (and Super Bowl champions) Tom Brady and Eli Manning.

So I have spent over $125K on 2 QBs, 1 RB and 1 WR. In the process I have collected my #3 and #6 ranked QBs, my #1 RB and my #2 WR this week.

Mid-Range Bargains

There are several RBs that I find intriguing in the $100-120K range. In fact, my #5 and #6 ranked RBs, I believe, are priced competitively in this range. That would be Justin Forsett and Arian Foster. My two Fo's. When Steve Smith went down last Thursday night, the Ravens' offense relied more on Forsett and the running game. Smith will be out of the lineup this week, and the Ravens get a great match-up against a Cleveland defense that has had some trouble stopping the run. I love Forsett this week at $113,600. I know Foster had a rough debut to the season last week, but I expect him to be more of the focal point of the Texans' offense on Thursday night against the Colts. Foster has historically had some career performances against these Colts, and their run defense this year appears to be just as bad as ever. A high ceiling? You bet. Foster represents my big risk/reward play of the week.

With money starting to get thin, I want to find one more mid-priced bargain. Maybe I can scratch that Mariota itch by picking up his top WR, Kendall Wright, at a great price of just $82,000. In two of his three games, Wright has been a stud WR. Coming off the bye, in 3 games, Wright has averaged 13.7 fantasy points, which qualifies him as a very strong WR2. Yet, he is priced as a middling WR3. This, despite all of the following facts regarding the Bills: they rank #29 in our Pass Defense Power Rankings, #31 in receiving TDs allowed and #30 against fantasy WRs. Wright represents a smart buy this week, I think.

Dumpster Diving

So, I am in a familiar position at this stage of my lineup formation. In fact, I can probably cut and paste the remainder of this paragraph into this article every week! I have my QBs, RBs, WRs, and one flex position all accounted for. I need one more flex, a tight end, and a team defense to fill out my lineup. The bad news is that I don't have a great deal of money to fill those spots. The good news is that I never spend much on a team defense anyway -- and (unless you decide to go all in on Gronk) it rarely makes sense to spend heavily on a tight end either.

A potential low risk/high reward option I see at tight end is veteran Owen Daniels. He hasn't exactly exploded, but Peyton Manning has found him in the end zone the last two weeks. I like for them to make the same connection for the third week in a row this week against the Raiders who rank #32 against fantasy TEs. At $58,400, Owens is inexplicably priced as the 21st fantasy TE.

Looking for a bargain at defense, I see the Tampa Bay Buccaneers priced at just $43,000. Ordinarily I would not view this porous defense as a bargain, but this week against the Jaguars I like for them to wreak some havoc. I actually have them ranked #6 this week.

That leaves $37,700, and not a lot of wheat left amongst the chafe. At this point there isn't much risk at that price point, where 5 fantasy points has to feel like an achievement. A guy that I don't love but believe may have some opportunities based on attrition is Anthony "Boobie" Dixon at $35,000. Let's quickly review how it has gotten to this point for the Bills. Back in teh off-season, the team cut veteran Fred Jackson. Shortly after the season started, they parted ways with Bryce Brown. LeSean McCoy is battling a bum hammy and is expected to be out for a number of weeks. Rookie Karlos Williams sustained a concussion in the loss to the Giants last week and is Questionable this week at best. That leaves my man Boobie as the last man standing. (The team did just sign Boom Herron, but it is unlikely to expect him to play a major role just days after joining the team.) Bottom line: it is worth a shot to expect 10-12 touches from Boobie this weekend and -- dare I say -- maybe even a cheap goalline TD.

And that leaves me with $2,700 left over.



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