Recap from Week 7
Last week was a bit of a down week. Here is what my lineup looked like:
QB Carson Palmer
QB Blake Bortles
RB Todd Gurley
RB LeSean McCoy
WR Brandon Marshall
WR Martavis Bryant
TE Ladarius Green
D/ST Miami Dolphins
Flex Frank Gore
Flex Christine Michael
When you look at the lineup you can see where I swang and missed -- and where I may have actually used bad judgement.
The missed opportunities came at the most crucial position of all, QB.
While Palmer wasn't terrible with 275 yards and 2 TDs, that wasn't enough to justify the top money I spent on him, and Bortles salvaged his game with a last-minute deep TD pass, but still finished with under 200 yards passing. At the QB position in DFS you have to either spend heavily on a safe and prolific player like Brady -- or spend little on an after-thought at QB (like Kirk Cousins, doh!) and spend the rest of your money heavily elsewhere. Although I thought I was doing that with Palmer, truthfully he doesn't pass the ball enough in the Arizona offense to ever justify spending top dollar on him in DFS.
The poor decision came with the Christine Michael play. It seems I bought too heavily into the reports during the Dallas bye week that Michael would be the focal point of the Cowboys' rushing attack. I even picked him up off waivers in one of my seasonal leagues. I should have known better. What has Michael EVER done to justify having faith in him in fantasy? Playing him last week may have made sense in tournament (money) leagues, but his floor (which he hit) was way too low to consider using him in 50/50 or Head-to-head formats. Even then, you roll the dice on a guy like that when he costs the DFS minimum ($30K); Michael was way over-priced at over $74K. To anyone who followed my dubious example last week, I sincerely apologize.
Leading Off with QBs
So in my intro I have reinforced my DFS QB strategy -- and I intend to stick to it this week. Glancing at my rankings, I have Phil Rivers ranked as my #1 fantasy QB this week. Rivers also happens to rank #1 in our Best Bets list, which analyzes strength of schedule and recent trends. He has been on a tear with 330+ yards in each of his last 4 contests. He gets that same great match-up (against Baltimore) that Palmer had last week, but I trust Rivers to put the ball in the air 40+ times, as opposed to Palmer who had only 29 attempts on Monday night. Although he is my #1 fantasy QB this week, Rivers is priced as the #4 fantasy QB at $141,000 behind Brady (I hate those Thursday match-ups), Rodgers (against the stout Denver defense) and Palmer (fools gold as I mentioned).
I am going to rule out those 3 QBs ranked ahead of Rivers for the reasons I alluded to. Although all have a place in my top 10, I just don't see the value in DFS for any of them. My next 4-ranked QBs (all in my top 8) are Cam Newton, Andrew Luck, Andy Dalton, and Eli Manning. Newton and Dalton are priced right in line just behind Rivers. However, there is pretty decent value in both Eli ($131,500) and Luck ($129,800) -- and they both have solid match-ups this week.
I understand the concerns surrounding Andrew Luck, who has regressed badly behind a horrific offensive line this year. Nevertheless, his woes have not translated into fantasy famine. While I understand the outrage of fantasy owners who selected him as the #1 fantasy QB in seasonal drafts (likely spending a 1st round pick on him), he has not been a total disaster in fantasy. Averaging over 18.5 fantasy point per game in this format, he ranks 7th amongst QBs. That is exactly where I have him ranked this week -- 7th. Yet, his price point at Fantasy Feud ranks him 13th. I call that great value. His match-up against the Panthers isn't great, but the Panthers' success against opposing QBs may be skewed. They have only faced one top 15 fantasy QB this year (Russell Wilson), and he put up 18 fantasy points against them.
Value at RB
Last week I relied heavily on our Best Bets tool to help identify RBs, and that worked pretty well with Gurley, McCoy and Gore. Michael was ranked pretty low on that list, and I should have stuck closer to it.
This week the top three RBs on that list (in order) are Justin Forsett, Chris Johnson and Doug Martin. And you know what? I think I will plug in all three.
Justin Forsett has had his struggles this season (just 2 TDs), but he has put up double-digit fantasy points in all but one game. He gets a great match-up against the Chargers this week. I have him ranked 7th in my personal weekly rankings, and he is priced accordingly at $127,500.
Chris Johnson is coming off a fantastic game (122 rushing yards and a TD). I ordinarily advise against chasing the fantasy points, especially in a backfield like Arizona's that splits carries. However, Johnson gets a dream match-up this week against the pathetic Cleveland defense. Even if he sees only 15 touches, I think he puts up double-digit fantasy points. For that reason, I see him as a bit of a Sleeper play at $114,500.
I see Doug Martin as a solid top 10 option this week against Atlanta. In fact, I like him better than CJ2K even though he is ranked a spot below in our Best Bets. The $115,000 price point is reasonable, I think.
Less Enthusiastic About WR This Week
I am very tempted to splurge on Antonio Brown this week, given the likely return of Big Ben. However, there is no guarantee that Roethlisberger will play -- and I worry about rust even if he does. $134,700 is too much to spend on a WR with ANY concerns whatsoever. The value I see at the top this week is with A.J. Green, who is coming off a bye. I know he had been quiet the last couple games before the bye, but I like his $121,300 price point this week against the Steelers.
Jarvis Landry is coming off a big game, and I warn again about chasing points. However, it is hard to pass on his value this week. At $110,900 he is priced as the #22 fantasy WR. Although I do not like Thursday night match-ups, I like for Tannehill to try to zero-in on his favorite target against a Patriots team that may get off to a big lead.
Intermediate Bargain Shopping
With money wearing thin -- and my usual philosophy of spending low on defense and TE -- I have $50K-75K to spend on a 2nd Flex play.
In yet another move that will make it look like I am chasing points, I like Nate Washington this week. No, I am not expecting another 16-target, 127 yards and 2 TD performance from him this week. But if you look back to the first 3 weeks of the season before he got hurt against the Falcons in Week 4, Washington was averaging 9-10 targets per game. With Arian Foster out of the picture, the Texans will have to throw a lot. With DeAndre Hopkins demanding so much attention, I like for Washington to continue to see plenty of targets this week. As an added bonus, the revenge factor is there too, as Nate takes on his former team, the Titans. With his floor being something like 4-5 receptions for about 50 yards, I love him at just $70,000.
There really won't be much of that this week, as I have already filled in my skill positions and have $75,800 to work with for a defense and TE. Since the minimum defense costs $40K, though, I know that I will REALLY have to dig deep for a tight end this week.
Let's start with defense first, since I already know my limited parameters. One possibility that I see is the New Orleans Saints, whose D has really come on of late and ranks in the top 10 in my rankings this week against the Giants. They are priced reasonably at $45,500.
Now lets find that elusive tight end in the $30K (minimum price) range. Yet another guy coming off a big week is rookie Clive Walford, who scored his first career TD against the Chargers last week. He has yet to be targeted more than twice in a game, which explains his minimum price point, but the Raiders claim that they are going try to to get him more involved in the passing game. We'll see. The floor here is ZERO, of course -- but at such a low price, it is worth the risk.
And that is it. I have $300 left over.
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