Recap from Week 4
Last week I missed on a couple of players in my line-up, but I did well enough with most of them to ensure finishing in the money in all of my contests.
If you recall, my lineup looked like this as of last Wednesday:
QB Matt Ryan
QB Eli Manning
RB Arian Foster
RB Le'Veon Bell
WR Odell Beckham, Jr.
WR Kendall Wright
TE Owen Daniels
D/ST Tampa Bay Bucs
Flex Boobie Dixon
Flex Justin Forsett
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 big bust from the lineup was Matt Ryan, who under-performed for the second week in a row. Things were really bad against the Redskins on Sunday, as he had trouble holding onto the ball. For as clever as I thought the Daniels low-risk play was against the Raiders, it is a good thing that he was so cheap -- Daniels scored exactly ZERO fantasy points on Sunday. Boobie Dixon was a non-factor in the Bills rushing game, and Kendall Wright failed to have an impact.
So how did I win anything at all with so many miscalculations? Well, Ryan was my only top-dollar miss. Eli posted studly numbers against the 49ers -- and was aided by Beckham in the process. Bell was his usual great self -- and saved me (as well as the Steelers) with the game-ending TD. Foster and Forsett were both fine. My favorite, though, has to be the Bucs D, which was one of the cheaper fantasy defenses last week, and scored 15 points for me. That play alone helped to negate the Ryan mishap.
Conflicted QB Strategy
I am torn a bit this week at QB. I think there are 2 ways to go: spend heavy and downgrade other positions. Or, go cheap at QB but load up at most of the other positions. I ordinarily prefer not to under-spend at QB because even the lousier ones are still expensive. So if I am going to spend $120K for the 20th ranked QB, why not spend $20K more for a top 5 option.
The can't-miss prospect this week is Tom Brady. He costs $158,200, which is a lot of cap space for a single guy. He's got that look of the guy back in 2007, who wanted to prove to the world that Spygate was not the reason that the Pats were winning Super Bowls. This week, he also happens to play the same Colts team that blew the whistle on Deflategate in the AFC Championship Game. Think he wants to show Indy that he can pass the ball up and down the field regardless of how much it weighs? I think you can chalk up 25 fantasy points up to him without much question, which is a reasonable return on the $158,200 investment.
So why not simply plug him in and roll with it? The way I see it, I have missed badly with Ryan the last two weeks in a row -- but made up for it with well-timed RB selections. For as confident as I am about Brady, I would still rather keep some cash in the bank for elite RBs and WRs, rather than load up on Brady and dumpster dive for one of those other positions. For example, I have Joe Flacco against the 49ers as a strong Sleeper play this week. Yet, he is priced at just $119,000, the 16th ranked QB. That is almost $40K less than Brady. To get roughly the same percentage return on investment, I would need for Flacco to score 19-20 fantasy points. he's done just that in 3 of his 5 starts, none of which were as great of a match-up as the Niners are this week. And that $40K is the difference between landing a stud fantasy RB and dumpster diving for a RB. We'll get to that in a minute.
So while I am going on the cheap at the QB position, why not do the unthinkable and REALLY slum? Tyrod Taylor sprained his knee against the Titans on Sunday. You could tell on the play, where he was questionably horse-collared, that he was in pain -- but we didn't find out until Monday night just how serious the injury was. He is not officially out -- but, well, he ain't playing this week.
Enter E.J. Manuel and his bargain basement price of $75,000. That is Fantasy Feud's lowest possible price for a QB. Am I expecting a huge game from Manuel against the Bengals on Sunday? Not really. But the game is at home, it looks like Sammy Watkins will be back, the Bills are running out of running backs, and Manuel has had some fantasy success in the past. Last season in his 4 starts -- where the coaching staff thought he "sucked" so bad that they benched him for Kyle Orton -- he racked up at least 12 fantasy points in each contest. He averaged over 200 yards, 1.5 TDs, and less than 1 turnover per game.
Let's Keep the RB Train Going
The QB low-balling gives me plenty of flexibility. I have no problem plugging Bell in again, but I don't love him at $144,100 against Arizona's defense. The sneaky play I like this week is Eddie Lacy at $121,900 against the Chargers. I know he has under-performed this year, but he started slow last year too. I LOVE his match-up against the Chargers this week. The Chargers are the second-worst team in the NFL in giving up points to fantasy RBs, a fraction of a point better than Cleveland. I have Lacy ranked #2 in my personal RB rankings this week. So that is great value.
Lacy is actually cheaper than another guy I like but have ranked slightly lower, Matt Forte. Forte is $128,700 and gets a great match-up against the dying Lions.
A third RB in the 100,000+ range? You bet. How about Danny Woodhead? He is a PPR machine, which means he is also excellent in 0.5 point PPR formats like this one. The Chargers are probably going to have to pass the ball to stay in the game against the Packers, too.
No Reason to Dis' Receivers
Even after spending heavily on RBs, I have enough money to spend on my favorite WR this week, DeAndre Hopkins. With Julio and Beckham hurt and Brown hating life with Mike (Vick), Hopkins is the no-brain choice for me at the top of the WR heap, even at $139,200.
Can I possibly have enough in my budget to pick up another top 10 WR this week? There was a time when Megatron was THE undisputed fantasy WR stud. This week, I only have him ranked #6. Yet, Calvin Johnson costs just $111,200 -- 16th at the position. I think that is great value -- (despite the struggles that Matt Stafford has had) I think this is the week that the Detroit passing game finally gets on track against the Bears.
My Sleeper play at WR this week is Anquan Boldin. Last week he broke out with a big (8 receptions, 107 yards and a TD) game against the Giants. I envision another strong performance this week against the Ravens, the team that is allowing the 2nd most points to fantasy receivers.
There really won't be much of that this week, as I have pretty much already done that with the EJ Manuel gamble. That allowed me to fill out my QB, RB, WR, and flex positions with strong plays. I feel pretty good about the balance I have this week between high floor and high ceiling players.
As usual, I am choosing to go the economic route at tight end. One player I have in my top ten this week at the TE position is Delanie Walker. He is a bit banged up but looks to play against the Dolphins this week. Miami is a mess. At $67,800, Walker is priced as the 15th fantasy TE.
Looking for a bargain at defense, I see the Carolina Panthers inexplicably priced at just $44,800. The Panthers have been one of the better fantasy defenses this year and are coming off a bye. The Seahawks are a good football team, but the offense isn't typically explosive.
And that is it. I have $100 left over. Provided the EJ Manuel gamble pays off, I really like this lineup this week. Of course, Rex Ryan is playing mind games, saying Tyrod Taylor could play this week. I know he is BS'ing, but will it be enough to scare me into loading in a higher-priced QB and downgrading one (or more) of my other positions?
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