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NFL Game by Game Breakdown Week 9

NFL Game by Game Breakdown Week 9

After a not-so-great Week 8, it’s time to get back on the horse and get ready for Week 9! We have a bunch of injuries that are looming and some great spots to sift through, along with some plays that have a crazy price. Let’s get into all that and plenty more in NFL Game by Game Breakdown Week 9 and find those green screens!

Panthers at Chiefs, O/U of 52.5 (Chiefs -10.5)

Panthers – Pace of 28th

QB – It was a pretty disappointing day for Teddy Bridgewater in the rain last Thursday and on paper this matchup is far worse. Kansas City is inside the top five in DVOA against the pass and have only given up a 9:9 TD:INT ratio on the season. Only the Bears and the Dolphins have given up fewer touchdown passes so far and KC is third-best as far as giving up passing yards at just 201 yards per contest. Bridgewater doesn’t have a ton going for him as he sits 24th in fpDB (fantasy points per drop back) and 24th in points per game. We’ve talked all year how he was mostly just missing touchdowns since he’s fifth in yardage. That’s impressive since Carolina is only 24th in passing plays per game but this doesn’t scream out as a spot he can throw 2-3 touchdowns, so I’ll likely go elsewhere.

RB – It sure looks like Christian McCaffrey will be back for this game and I find it being a tough decision. On the one hand, he is wildly cheap. CMC has been in the $10,000 range for the better part of a full season, going back to last year. You have to believe if the Panthers bring him back, he’s ready to go full tilt and they’re not going to force it. If he’s active I expect a full workload and $8,500 would be cheap. Kansas City is a great matchup on the ground as well, since they rank 28th in DVOA against the run and 29th in rushing yards allowed per game. The Chiefs have given up over 1,200 scrimmage yards but just four touchdowns. The fear is KC pulls so far ahead that CMC doesn’t get a full run.

WR – Since it was a down day for Teddy B, no receiver did much other than Curtis Samuel. He scored twice on a total of seven touches (four receptions and three rush attempts) so I think we can safely say that was a bit flukey. Samuel hauled in a 29-yard touchdown and finished with 31 receiving yards. Do the math on that one. Robby Anderson had his quietest days of the season with just 9.8 DK points. He would mostly draw Charvarius Ward, although Ward is right around 52% snap rate. Ward has allowed a catch rate over 63% so far but I don’t feel Anderson is needed and would be more a game stack option.

D.J. Moore was silent for about 57 minutes of game time before he charged back for two big catches late. He still holds the air yards lead over Anderson at a 40.1% rate to 38% for Anderson so he big play is definitely in his repertoire. Both receivers have four EZ targets as well so the pricing should likely be just a little closer. Moore gets to face Bashaud Breeland who is at about a 60% snap rate but only allows a 0.80 pPT (points per target).

TE – Thursday was only the second time Ian Thomas has been over five DK points all season and he’s still under a 6% target share. Even at a punt price, it’s hard to find a reason for the targets being so low and only being on the field 66.2% of the time.

D/ST – The Chiefs only have five turnovers, have only given up 10 sacks and score the second-most points per game. There’s no redeeming factor here for Carolina.

Cash – CMC

GPP – Moore, Anderson, Bridgewater

Chiefs – Pace is 17th

QB – Patrick Mahomes is the most expensive player on the slate and why shouldn’t he be, coming off a five touchdown game? Despite the Chiefs only being 19th in pass plays per game, Mahomes is fourth in fpDB at 0.59 and in touchdown passes at 16. He’s up to seventh in passing yards and RZ attempts, not to mention inside the top 12 in deep attempts. Carolina is only average in DVOA against the pass but unless it’s the most difficult matchup, Mahomes is at the stage where you can play him without a second thought. Carolina could be without rookie safety Jeremy Chin, which would be a big blow as well.

RB – I’d love to know what the actual plan here is for the Chiefs and the running backs, since both games with Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Le’Veon Bell in the backfield have been blowouts. CEH has definitely out-snapped Bell so far at a 51.3% rate to 29.1%. The attempts are close with 14 to CEH and 12 to Bell while CEH has seven targets to three for Bell. I’m still leaning playing CEH this week since Carolina is so weak against the run. I’m not sure Bell should be over $5,000 and CEH is just barely over $6,000 himself. I’d rather take the snaps, targets and a slight edge in attempts for this matchup. Carolina has allowed the most receptions to backs, second-most receiving yards, the sixth-most yards and 10 total touchdowns. Using that production and seeing the 28th ranked DVOA against the run makes this a beautiful matchup.

WR – In the three weeks without Sammy Watkins, the receiver position has been a little tough to figure. Sure, Tyreek Hill is the same as ever with a 19.6% target share and being the only player with an air yards share over 20% at 32.2%. Even with Panthers corner Rasul Douglas back in the lineup, he ran a 4.59 40-yard dash. That won’t cut it against Cheetah.

The secondary options have been the roller coaster. Both Demarcus Robinson and Mecole Hardman have had their games in the sun. Over the three week period, Robinson holds the snap edge at 73.2% to 50.5% over Hardman. The targets are dead even at 12 each, neither player has a RZ target but both players have one touchdown and Hardman has the edge at 153 yards to 136. However, Watkins is practicing in limited fashion. If Watkins is back, he’s the secondary receiver we want.

TE – Travis Kelce had a down week in Denver but came back with a vengeance last week. In this same three week period without Watkins, Kelce leads the team in targets at 22, RZ targets at four and receiving yards at 205. He and Hill both have three touchdowns as well and Kelce is the TE1 in PPR settings by almost 45 points. Much like Mahomes, Kelce is an option in all formats if you can afford him and is not really matchup sensitive at all.

D/ST – Kansas City has the second-highest pressure rate in football but so far has 17 sacks to show for it. Where they have shined is the turnover department as they are tied for first with 14. They also rank third in points allowed per game so the price is justified, but I do prefer one that is cheaper this week.

Cash – Mahomes, Kelce, Hill, D/ST

GPP – CEH, Bell, secondary WR is TBD

Seahawks at Bills, O/U of 54.5 (Seahawks -3)

Seahawks – Pace is 21st

QB – If this was last year, this could be a scary matchup for Russell Wilson. Buffalo was a nasty defense last year but they rank 19th in DVOA against the pass this season. Russ has been in another stratosphere and ranks first in fpDB, points per game, passing touchdowns, true passer rating and eighth in passing yards. He’s under $8,000 and there’s no reason for him to be at such a price. There’s also no real reason to be the third quarterback in salary as well. This is being written on Tuesday so about the only reason I would back off of Wilson being a smash play in all formats is weather. Past that, Russ has among the highest ceilings on the slate and certainly at the position.

RB – We’re trending to see DeeJay Dallas again this week and it might be a very similar spot as it was last week. Carlos Hyde is already out for the week and Chris Carson has still not practiced this week after missing last. The good news is this week we don’t have Dallas on a late kickoff and we’ll know before the slate starts what the situation is. If it’s Dallas in the scenario of last week, he’s still too cheap. It’s a better matchup than last week as Buffalo is 22nd in DVOA against the run and 26th in rush yards allowed per game. Dallas was not efficient at all last week with just a 2.3 yards per carry, but he got 23 touches including five receptions. He also had a whopping eight RZ attempts. Dallas would be a cash lock pending who’s active.

*Update* Carson and Hyde are out and Dallas is just too easy to play in cash.

WR – Is ti weird to say it’s hard to peg the Seattle receivers? D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett have traded monster games the past three weeks, with Metcalf holding a 2-1 advantage. So that makes it #LockettWeek, right? Well, maybe because it’s been a pain lately. What Metcalf has going for him is he’s just a freak physical specimen and I’m not sure there’s a corner that could actually stop him if he got 10 targets every single game. These two receivers are accounting for about 50% of the targets overall and Metcalf holds the air yards advantage at 41% to 30.6%. Lockett only has four more targets on the season and is two points ahead as the number one PPR receiver. Metcalf is third, so here hasn’t been a big separation overall.

Metcalf will have one of the tougher matchups he can and one I typically shy away from in Tre White. However, the Bills corner has seen his play slip a bit. He’s only been targeted 25 times but has allowed 18 receptions for a 141 passer rating and 2.40 pPT. Metcalf also has a massive height and weight advantage (shocking, I know) but White can run with him. Lockett is in the slot so he faces Taron Johnson, who has gotten smacked for a 1.80 pPT and a 107.3 passer rating. Lockett is the cash player for me this week but if folks just use White’s reputation, Metcalf can go nuclear under 10% again.

TE – No tight end has a target share over 10.6% in this offense and Greg Olsen only averages about 5.5 DK points per game. He’s coming off a goose egg performance but he is third in RZ targets and third in EZ targets. Olsen is a touchdown or bust player and you saw the floor last week, so he’s not someone I want to chase. Will Dissly played more snaps than Olsen last week, but only garnered one target.

D/ST – If the Seahawks were a little cheaper, I could maybe get on board. Jamal Adams is in line to return. Seattle also welcomes in Carlos Dunlap into the fold, but still. They do have 14 turnovers but only 12 sacks. Since they give up 27 points per game, you’re relying on some splash plays and I think we can find better options.

Cash – Russ, Lockett, potentially Dallas

GPP – Metcalf, D/ST

Bills – Pace is 23rd

QB – This has to be the bounce-back spot for Josh Allen. It’s been about a month since Allen has had a big game but the spot doesn’t get any better. Seattle ranks 30th in DVOA against the pass and dead last in pass yards allowed per game by almost 50 yards. No team allows more DK points per game to the position and even with some rough weeks lately, Allen is still ninth in fpDB. He’s also still sixth in points per game, fifth in passing yards and sixth in passing touchdowns. That says nothing of his four rushing scores and 227 rushing yards (sixth among quarterbacks). I’d play him in any format and he’s really a smash play.

RB – One of my regrets from last week was not playing more Zack Moss. Maybe he won’t take over the backfield in a huge way, but this past week represented the first week since returning from injury he played more snaps than Devin Singletary. Moss holds a 6-2 advantage on RZ carries the past three weeks while Singletary has a 8-4 advantage on targets. I’d rather play for the RZ chances, even though Allen has five himself in that same time frame. Seattle has been strong against the run at the sixth-best DVOA and ninth in yards allowed per game. If playing one, I’d side with Moss but generally the most profitable way to attack Seattle remains through the air.

WR – Hello Stefon Diggs. When we can play the WR6 in PPR formats against one of the worst pass defenses in football, you better believe I’m in. Diggs isn’t going to come cheap and he shouldn’t as he owns a 28.9% target share and a 36.9% share of the air yards so far for Buffalo. Quinton Dunbar shouldn’t pose much of an issue with a 1.90 pPT and a 106.5 passer rating.

*Update* Dunbar is out so Diggs might well be unstoppable.

Cole Beasley is the safe, cash style play although he does have some upside in certain spots. He has an 18.7% target share on the season and is tied for the most RZ targets on the team at seven. The GPP play outside of Diggs is John Brown. He was on the field for 81% of the snaps last week and should be fully healthy coming into this week. Despite only having 29 targets on the season, he still has over 24% of the air yards share in the Buffalo offense. A double stack with Diggs and Brown is well within play. We know the drill with the Seattle secondary.

TE – This position just hasn’t been utilized in the offense, with Dawson Knox having the highest target share at 7.6%. Considering he hasn’t played since Week 5 with Covid, that tells us what we need to know.

D/ST – There’s no factor to like since Buffalo is facing the highest-scoring offense in football. The 19 sacks and 10 turnovers are respectable, but they rank 23rd in overall DVOA and I don’t go against Russ.

Cash – Allen, Diggs, Beasley

GPP – Brown, Moss, Singletary

Broncos at Falcons, O/U of 50 (Falcons -4)

Broncos – Pace is 11th

QB – There’s a lot of players that are expensive that are going to catch our eye this week and one route to get to them – Drew Lock. Atlanta has shown some life since Dan Quinn has been fired but still rank 29th in DVOA against the pass this year. No team has allowed more touchdown passes so far and only Seattle allows more passing yards per game. Lock is still on the wrong end of a 4:5 TD:INT ratio on the season but he is coming off his best outing, 20.8 DK against the Chargers. Most of his stats aren’t going to look good because he hasn’t played well for basically the entire year when he’s been on the field. The fpDB ranks 32nd and the points per game is 34th. This is strictly a salary-saver in a glorious matchup that could match a game script like last week. I’d prefer not to go this low for cash as things stand although the pace of this game is enticing.

*Update* I’m coming around on Lock in cash. Atlanta will be without Takk McKinley and Dante Fowler, two of their most important pass rushers. That’s a big blow to the Falcons defense.

RB – Even if it wasn’t a near even split of the snaps for Melvin Gordon and Phillip Lindsay, this matchup is quietly poor on the ground. The Falcons are inside the top 10 in DVOA against the run and that tracks with them giving up the sixth-fewest rushing yards per game. They are a monster pass funnel defense, so neither back is going to be specifically appealing. Where Atlanta gets ripped up is by receiving backs, as they have allowed the sixth-most receiving yards and the second-most receptions. Gordon has seen 26 targets this season while Lindsay is just at four through four games (partial games as well) so I don’t think either is a must play. Just like the Seahawks, the way to attack Atlanta is the passing game.

WR – This is where I’m most interested. I’m hopeful that Tim Patrick can make it back and be healthy here, because he’s been the number one since Courtland Sutton has been injured. Patrick still has the air yards advantage over Jerry Jeudy at 31.7% with a 17.9% target share. Before the Kansas City game where he got hurt, Patrick had three straight games with a touchdown or 100 yards receiving. This would be a great time to start a new streak but we’ll see if he can play.

That’s not to say I don’t want to play Jeudy as well. He leads the team in raw targets since the Sutton injury. Even though we’re still waiting on a true breakout game, last week he did produce a career-high 73 receiving yards. It shapes up to be a rookie showdown as corner A.J. Terrell waits on the other side. Terrell has allowed a 2.4 pPT and a 128 passer rating. Jeudy is also second on the team in EZ targets and receiving yards over that time span despite some very iffy quarterback play. K.J. Hamler is a speed demon, but only has a 7.8% target share so far so tread carefully there.

TE – Noah Fant is in the early running as my cash game tight end since he’s under $5,000 and really shouldn’t be. He owns the target share lead since Sutton was lost and has played one fewer game than Jeudy, so that tells us how involved he’s been in the offense. Fant has been held scoreless and under 170 yards, but this past week we started to see him come around with a 7/47/0 line. That’s not spectacular but if he’s starting to get healthier it could be just the start. Fant runs a route over 71% of the time and the Falcons have allowed the most touchdowns to tight ends at eight, along with the most receptions and second-most yards.

D/ST – The Broncos do generate pressure over 25% of the time and have 20 sacks to go with eight turnovers. If this game were in Denver, I might be more interested. As it stands, I think they’re fine but not spectacular. Atlanta is only 14th in pressure rate allowed and have just seven giveaways.

Cash – Fant, Patrick (if active), Jeudy

GPP – Lock, D/ST, Lindsay, Gordon

Falcons – Pace is 6th

QB – Fantasy football can be quite tilting to analyze because on any given game, you can get weirdness that makes no sense. Case in point, Matt Ryan had a 13 yard rushing score last week. Matt. Ryan. He also did not throw a touchdown for the third time this year already. Ryan has been an absolute dart throw on production. In five of his eight games, he has zero or one touchdown pass. In the other three, he has scores of 27.9, 28.5 and 34.6 DK.

This would shape up to be a down game as the Broncos are 10th in DVOA against the pass and only allow 136 passing yards per game, 16th in the league. Ryan leads the league in passing yards but is only 23rd in fpDB at 0.43. He’s also just 17th in points per game and touchdowns, so it’s easy to pinpoint where the issues are. The Falcons are fifth in pass attempts per game so the volume is certainly there. It’s just a matter of finding the end zone and the Broncos have only allowed 11 passing scores so far.

RB – I’m not sure I’m exactly scared of Brian Hill taking a ton of work from Todd Gurley, but it was odd last game. Hill got 13 touches and closed in on 40% of the snaps. Gurley still had 18 attempts but was not targets in the passing game. The only facet that saved Gurley was the rushing touchdown. Denver is right abut average as far as rushing DVOA and allow under 100 rushing yards per game to the backs. I’d tend to believe Hill played so much because of the short week, but I’m not particularly happy to play either this week.

WR – Julio Jones has really been a monster since he’s come back from injury, with a 23/371/2 in those three games. His price has reflected that production but only slightly, as he’s only $500 more expensive than Week 6. He’s played two fewer games than Calvin Ridley but is only 73 behind the yardage lead on the team. He’s also only about 1.5% away from the target share lead. Ridley hasn’t practiced yet, but the team seems to believe that he will be ready for Sunday.

Not that it particularly matters for Julio but he’ll see a good chunk of Michael Ojemudia. He’s been targeted 46 times and has allowed 103.4 for a passer rating and a 1.70 pPT. That’s not really anything to be scared of, let alone with Julio. Let’s check back on Friday to see what Ridley’s situation is.

*Update* Ridley is still questionable so that will be monitored in Discord and on the live stream Sunday morning. The Broncos are definitely short corner A.J. Bouye, which helps whoever suits up for Atlanta.

TE – It’s been three straight weeks of double-digit DK points for Hayden Hurst but I don’t see that being the new normal exactly. The target rate is under 15% which isn’t terrible but he’s fourth in RZ share and EZ share. That hurts an awful lot when you’re on a team with two alpha receivers. Denver has only given up 11.5 DK points per game to the position and only two scores through seven games. This isn’t a priority play for me, unless maybe if Ridley were to be out.

D/ST – The Broncos are tied for the third-most turnovers on the season and Atlanta does have nine takeaways. This could be a reasonable buy-low chance if they really are playing a bit better without Quinn as coach. It’s certainly not a cash option.

Cash – Julio, possibly Ridley

GPP – Ryan, Hurst, D/ST, Gurley

Ravens at Colts, O/U of 48 (Ravens -1.5)

Ravens – Pace is 26th

QB – This could be a slow-paced slugfest, but if that happens we could see Lamar Jackson run a little more. It’s more than a little weird to see him over 400 rushing yards and second behind only Kyler Murray and yet he’s the QB14. The passing work has gone down by almost 20 yards per game from 2019 and the 14 total touchdowns through seven games is off his 2019 pace as well. He was close to three per game last year with 43 in 15 so it’s easy to see what some of the issues are.

Yet, with all of that said, Lamar is ninth in fpDB at 0.53 and 11th in points per game. Indy is fourth in DVOA against the pass but under $7,000 feels way too cheap for a player that has 100+ yard rushing upside at the position. He’s a spectacular GPP option this week but I would not likely spend on him in cash. The Colts have given up the second-fewest points to the position so far and still have more picks than touchdowns allowed.

RB – It does not appear that Mark Ingram is going to be active here so J.K. Dobbins is likely going to take center stage. When it comes down to Dobbins or Dallas, I would lean Dallas for cash for sure. However, Dobbins flashed in a big way last week in a tough matchup. This week is not different since the Colts are fourth in DVOA against the run. Baltimore’s run game is built differently and Dobbins has the ability to pay off for sure. He was over 60% of the snaps and had 16 touches last week. Racking up 16 DK with no touchdowns is impressive. You can play Gus Edwards for the same reasons here since he had 17 touches. Edwards had a 2-1 RZ attempt advantage but Jackson also had seven.

WR – Receiver Marquise Brown made his feelings known on Twitter about his role in the offense and he was not thrilled, to say the least. It’s hard to blame him that much considering he was targeted just twice this past week. For the season, he does have the team lead in target share at 23.8% and the air yards at 39.4%. However, he only has 379 receiving yards and two touchdowns. You could get the squeaky wheel game where he gets fed targets to keep him happy. He does shape up to see Rock Ya-Sin, the easier of the matchups against the Colts. Ya-Sin has allowed a 1.70 pPT and a 91.3 passer rating on 35 targets.

Willie Snead had a big game last week instead of Brown but I’d not treat that as a new normal. Snead’s target share is under 12% on the season and he’s barely averaging three targets per contest.

TE – It’s been a minute since Mark Andrews has had a big game but being under $5,000 is maybe a bit too cheap to not take a look at. On paper, the spot does not get worse. Indy has only allowed 6.7 DK points per game, 222 receiving yards on 25 receptions and zero touchdowns. Still, Andrews has double touchdown upside every single time he takes the field. He leads the team in RZ targets at seven and has six EZ targets to go with his 21.1% target rate. I don’t believe I’ll go here for cash with Fant sitting right there, but much like Jackson the GPP is immense, as is the double stack with Jackson.

D/ST – They’re in play every single game and this week is no different. They do have 24 sacks on the year and while the Colts only allow a 14.6% pressure rate, they don’t face a defense like this every week. Baltimore also has 12 turnovers and that’s always appealing.

Cash – Dobbins is the closes but no over Dallas, D/ST

GPP – Jackson, Brown, Andrews, Edwards

Colts – Pace is 27th

*Note* I’m writing this as if the Ravens will have full health on defense for this game. If they do not, it will be updated.

QB – Philip Rivers remains cheap and has been playing a little better the pas two games. He’s hit at least 22 DK in each game since he’s thrown three touchdowns in each but I’m cautious here. Baltimore ranks eighth in DVOA against the pass and has only given up 10 touchdown passes on the season. Rivers is only 23rd in fpDB but one facet he does have going for him – completion rate under pressure. He ranks sixth across the league at 50% and that’s a great tool to have against the Ravens defense.

The Colts are only 25th in pass attempts per game so if Rivers isn’t efficient it’s going to be tough for him. It’s also possible that Baltimore’s offense can score enough to get Indy out of their shell, but I’m not particularly going to bet on that. I’d rather play Lock at a cheaper price.

RB – Ugh, do I have to talk about this situation? I mean, only in Indy does Nyheim Hines see 16 snaps and turn that into eight touches for two touchdowns. Only in Indy does Jordan Wilkins go from not being in the game plan to playing over 50% of the snaps and 21 touches. My fears are Jonathan Taylor is still way too expensive to take a chance on and Indy doesn’t know who’s getting the work until they get into the game. On top of a highly volatile three man RBBC that we can’t predict, Baltimore is the number one unit in DVOA against the run. I’m not really getting involved in this mess and don’t see the same sort of upside. The Ravens are a polar opposite of the Lions run defense.

WR – This is not really a situation that I want to go after. T.Y Hilton is trending towards out and at least we would know he won’t put up points instead of waiting for them every Sunday and points not coming. Do we want any of Zach Pascal, Michael Pittman or Marcus Johnson against a Ravens team that allows the eighth-fewest DK points per game to receivers and the 10th fewest passing yards per game? Not particularly. No individual matchup stands out as is, though that could change and would be re-visited.

TE – Maybe Trey Burton reads the Game by Game, because I said he might never score a rushing TD again and sure enough that’s what he did this past week. That’s two straight games he’s found pay dirt, but take a step back. If not for that rushing score, Burton was under five DK points. So far, he’s been under the 3x mark for his current salary in every game but one. He is only three targets off the team lead in his active games, but there’s a lower floor than it may look right now.

D/ST – I can’t help but think Indy continues to play over their head. They have some good players but ranking third in overall DVOA, fifth in points allowed per game and racking up 12 turnovers already just seems weird when looking at that roster. They do have the eighth-highest pressure rate in football and that’s been a weak spot for Jackson, but I don’t love the price here.

Cash – None

GPP – Rivers, Burton, D/ST

Texans at Jaguars, O/U of 50.5 (Texans -6.5)

Texans – Pace is 9th

QB – If the three games before the bye week were any indication, Deshaun Watson has all the ceiling of the other quarterbacks priced around him. He hit at least 27 DK in all three games and seems to be pretty content with a new coaching staff. Now he gets to pick on the Jaguars again who he hung 29 DK on the last time he saw them. Jacksonville is dead last in DVOA against the pass and are 28th in passing yards allowed per game. Of the teams that have played only seven games, the Jags are tied for the third-most touchdown passes allowed.

Even through some issues this year, Watson is still seventh in fpDB, touchdown passes and points per game. He’s still inside the top 10 in passing yards and fourth in true passer rating. Don’t forget the stud Watson is because he was on a bye week.

RB – I swear every week, I almost kinda-sorta-maybe think abut playing David Johnson. Among backs that have played seven games, he ranks sixth in carries and has handled almost 67% of the team’s rushing attempts. He easily leads in RZ attempt at 13 and has three RZ targets as well. He’s not as big a part of the passing game as he used to be with just about three and a half targets per game, but this is a game the Texans should win handily. Getting nearly 20 touches at this price point is hard to find, especially against the 23rd ranked run DVOA. Jacksonville has coughed up seven scores total to the backs and Johnson fell just short of bonuses last game at 96 rushing yards.

WR – Will Fuller is staying in Houston but I wonder if he’s exactly thrilled at that. He does lead this team in air yards but an interesting shift has happened in the Texans passing game and it’s involved Brandon Cooks taking over the lead in targets. Since the coaching change, Cooks has 30 targets to 25 for Fuller and they are tied in RZ targets at four and EZ targets at two each. Cooks also has the yardage lead at 289 to 216 and that $1,300 is a big savings. Jacksonville had zero answers for Cooks the first time around as he posted an 8/161/1 line. When you have this bad of a pass defense, individual matchups are far less important.

TE – The Texans are under Covid rules but they estimated Jordan Akins was a full participant in practice. I want some exposure in GPP since he was out-snapping Darren Fells before the injury and Akins still has a 12.2% target share on the season. The Jags are the sixth-worst team against the position with over 16 DK points per game allowed. Akins had played at least 68% of the snaps when healthy and Fells put up a 13.7 DK game he first time around.

D/ST – The reason you play the Texans defense is really just because the Jaguars are starting a rookie quarterback this week. Nothing in their 16 sacks, four turnovers and allowing 30.1 points stands out on their own. In a normal circumstance, $3,100 would be egregious pricing.

Cash – Watson, Cooks, Fuller

GPP – Johnson, D/ST, Akins

Jaguars – Pace is 4th

QB – Welcome to the NFL, Jake Luton. He totaled 42 touchdown passes at Oregon State over the course of 23 games. Most scouts seemed to think that arm strength and lower-half mechanics would be his biggest issues in the NFL but Gardner Minshew was only 21st in intended air yards per attempts. Luton might be able to hide weaknesses for a game or two in Jay Gruden’s system. Houston is 23rd in DVOA against the pass but Luton is a sixth-round rookie. I’m not sure you need to even look here unless you play a ton of lineups with the range of outcomes so wide.

RB – This offense is really going to be GPP only for me because the quarterback play can tank everything around him. On paper, this is a dynamite spot for James Robinson. That was the case last time when Robinson disappointed with 11 DK points, his second-lowest score of the season. This is tough. Houston is ranked 27th in DVOA against the run and only the Cowboys have given up more rushing yards. Only the Packers and the Lions have given up more DK points per game to this juncture. There’s a lot of facets that say Robinson should smash. However, the price is quite high. There’s only two or three (pending CMC) backs more expensive than Robinson. He’s coming off 34 DK points before the bye and if Minshew was still there, maybe I’d be more interested. As it stands, I greatly prefer a back $100 cheaper and would try to find money for Dalvin Cook.

WR – I feel like DK is begging me to play D.J. Chark at just $5,200 but it could also blow up in my face spectacularly. Chark has fallen under 15 DK points in five of his six games so far and been in single digits in two of them. Only once did he go off, on the back of nine receptions and two touchdowns.Chark does get Bradley Roby who has been a bit up and down. The pPT is 2.00 but he’s allowed some massive games to good receivers. Chark isn’t quite at that level of those other receivers and has a rookie quarterback as well.

Part of the issue is Chark, Keelan Cole, Laviska Shenault and Robinson all sit between a 19.4% target share (Chark) and 12.7% (Robinson). This offense spreads the ball out and doesn’t exactly hone in on jus one player. Shenault gets Vernon Hargreaves and that has been a boon for receivers so far. He’s allowed a 1.90 pPT and a huge 114.4 passer rating. Without knowing Luton’s tendencies, it’s hard to speculate going into this game which receiver has the most value.

*Update* Texans corner Bradley Roby is out, which bumps up Chark pretty nicely. If you’re stacking Texans, Chark becomes my preferred run back option now.

TE – It appears that Tyler Eifert should be back in the lineup this week, but that’s not overly important for DFS. His target share is barely over 10% and he’s yet to record a game over five DK points unless he scored a touchdown.

D/ST – There’s not particularly a redeeming factor for the Jaguars defense. Watson has been sacked the fourth-most times in the league but the Jaguars have only produced six sacks on the year and only have six interceptions.

Cash – None

GPP – Robinson, Shenault, Chark, Cole

Lions at Vikings, O/U is N/A yet

Lions – Pace is 10th

QB – I’ve not played Matthew Stafford much this year but he did back his way into a big day last week against a good defense. The Lions are up to 12th in pass attempts per game and Stafford has also crawled into the top 12 in yards and touchdowns. Additionally, he’s out of the 20’s in fpDB. Granted, he’s 19th but baby steps. The price isn’t unreasonable for Stafford bu he will be down his number one receiver in this game, which could be an issue.

Minnesota is 18th in DVOA against the pass which honestly could be a lot worse. The cornerbacks have been a disaster for them but they’re still relatively hanging strong. Now, they still have allowed the seventh-most passing yards and have only a 17:3 TD:INT ratio but I’d feel better about Stafford if Kenny Golladay was healthy.

*Update* Stafford is in the Covid protocol, but could still play if he continues to test negative. We’ll see what happens here.

RB – Since his breakout game, D’Andre Swift has seen his snaps go up all the way to 62%. That’s great until you look at the touches. Snaps are the first step but his touches have gone down in each game as well. He didn’t even hit double-digits last week with just nine total. At least Adrian Peterson only had six so it does seem like Swift is “taking over” this backfield. Now that doesn’t mean Swift is going to be a traditional workhorse but he’s not priced like one either. The Vikings are 19th in DVOA against the run and they allow over 100 yards on the ground to running backs. With Swift holding the edge in RZ attempts at 7-3 over the past three games, he’s still the back to play.

WR – If there was ever a time to play Marvin Jones, this pretty much has to be it. He was inefficient last week but still came down with two scores and has eight RZ targets to go with six EZ targets. Since the Minnesota defense just has been battered in their cornerback room, Jones has a great spot in the individual matchup. Kris Boyd doesn’t pose a threat by the numbers with a 2.5 pPT and a 71.4% completion rate allowed. If Stafford is in, Jones can be fired up with as much confidence as we’ve had this year.

Jones virtually never left the field last week while Marvin Hall and Danny Amendola played about 70% each. I wonder if folks chase Hall. He’s still super cheap but 73 of his 113 yards came on just one reception. It’s hard to really harp on him at that price, but I’d prefer to leave him in GPP. Amendola is at least on the board but the target share is under 14%. His matchup is spectacular against Jeff Gladney who has allowed over 480 yards and a 2.20 pPT. I tend to want shares of both in GPP because I could see either having a bigger game, but my focus would be on Jones.

TE – To go right along with Noah Fant, T.J. Hockenson is among my cash tight end pool as of now. He’s been fairly consistent this season with a least 9.2 DK in every single game and he leads in RZ targets. The Lions have Hockenson running a route nearly 80% of the time and he’s seventh among tight ends in receptions and yards. With Golladay out for a good part of last week, Hockenson saw 10 targets. That was a season high and it could very well come close to replicating this week. The Vikings has allowed just two touchdowns to the position but the fourth-most yards.

D/ST – The Lions can’t stop the run, give up nearly 28 points per contest and only have 10 sacks. You’re banking on a bad game from Minnesota if you’re playing them.

Cash – Jones, Hockenson

GPP – Swift, Stafford, Hall, Amendola

Vikings – Pace is 20th

QB – The reason why I’m always lukewarm on Kirk Cousins was on full display last week and it was because he threw the ball a whopping 14 times. He’s actually solid in fpDB at 14th in the league but yet he’s 25th in points per game and Minnesota is 32nd in passing attempts per game. That’s a huge issue that nobody can really overcome for fantasy and he remains one of the more dangerous options. If the game script goes the way of the Vikings, Cousins will throw the ball under 20 times. Detroit is right at the mid-point in DVOA against the pass at 16th so if you play him, you’re hoping for a shootout.

RB – I whiffed on Dalvin Cook in Week 8. Flat out whiffed badly. Credit to Ghost and others on the staff that didn’t flinch when he got listed as questionable late in the week. This week is a new week and I’m all in. He came out of that game with four touchdowns and a clean bill of health. He has one of the best matchups we can ask for with the Lions 21st in DVOA against the run and the eighth-most rushing yards to the backs. That’s not even talking about the 12 total touchdowns and 345 receiving yards. As we sit on Tuesday night, Cook is one of the best plays on the slate and likely a building block for cash.

WR – When the quarterback throws 14 times, the receivers are not likely to have a very good day. Both Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen felt the pain on Sunday as neither crossed six DK points. They were virtually identical yet again with three receptions, four targets and 27-26 yard advantage to Thielen. Jefferson will mostly square up with Amani Oruwariye and that should be advantage Jefferson. Oruwariye has allowed an 88.0 passer rating and a 1.60 pPT. Thielen should be able to pick on rookie Jeff Okudah. The rookie has had some solid games but is still at a 91.3 passer rating and a 68% catch rate. Provided Detroit has their starting quarterback to keep this game competitive, I favor Thielen against a rookie. If Detroit can’t start Stafford, I’ll likely pass on the air attack since Cousins could throw under 20 times again.

TE – I though Irv Smith was a solid punt last week since I figured the game script would favor him. That didn’t work out at all as he saw 79% of the snaps but only one target. I still prefer him to Kyle Rudolph but the floor is still low for both these players. The Vikings want to run firs, second and third. Then they have Jefferson and Thielen, so there’s not a lot of meat on this bone.

D/ST – Minnesota is cheap but there’s a reason for that. With only six turnovers forced and just 14 sacks, they haven’t done a whole lot this year to want to play them.

Cash – Cook

GPP – Thielen, Jefferson, Cousins

Giants at Washington, O/U of 42.5 (Washington -2.5)

Giants – Pace is 18th

QB – I said this in Discord, but in case you missed it here’s the best way I can sum up Daniel Jones – he’s just good enough to make a play or two and keep the Giants from taking a new (and potential franchise) quarterback in the draft. This was in full effect Monday night. He threw two picks to help get them behind the eight ball, made a gorgeous throw to get it within two points, and then ruined the two point conversion with a late read. Now he gets to face off against the Washington defense, who are actually quite good. They rank fourth in overall DVOA, third in DVOA against the pass and give up the lowest yardage per game through the air. I have no real interest in Jones on this slate.

RB – This backfield is a bit unsettled right now. Devonta Freeman practiced on Thursday in a limited fashion, which leaves the door open for Wayne Gallman to be the starter again. We were on Gallman on the showdown slate for Monday but this is quite a different slate. You don’t need his 13 touches with other options on the board and Washington is a stout run defense in some ways. They are 17th in rushing yards allowed per game but second in DVOA against the run. To the running backs, Washington is under 100 yards per game and have only allowed six scores. Be it Freeman or Gallman, I’m not terribly interested.

*Update* Gallman is going to be the lead back once again since Freeman has been ruled out. I do feel there are much better values on the board for the week, including Dallas and Jackson.

WR – In the two games since Sterling Shepard has gotten back, there’s really only been two receivers to play on this team. Golden Tate has totally disappeared with just five targets and even with two touchdowns, it’s very thin to play him. It’s been the Shepard and Darius Slayton show, as they have combined for 30 targets (18 for Shepard) and about 63% of the air yards. Shepard should pull Ronald Darby, who’s numbers would suggest that he’s played passable this year. He’s boom or bust with just a 54.3% catch rate but with a 19.4 yards per reception. I prefer playing Shepard because Slayton should see mostly Kendall Fuller who has only allowed 1.00 pPT and 129 yards allowed on 25 targets.

TE – Another player that has done well with Shepard back? Evan Engram. He’s accounted for 19 targets and while he hasn’t had a blowup game, back-to-back games of double-digit DK points is a pretty solid step. There’s definitely a chance that if Washington is shutting down the receivers that Engram could have another solid game and he is still quite cheap. Engram isn’t my favorite play on the board but he could be pretty sneaky. It’s been a slight issue for this defense with five scores given up and over 400 yards receiving so far.

D/ST – For all their issues, the Giants defense hasn’t been all that bad. They’re under 25 points given up per game and have 20 sacks, tied for sixth-most. Additionally, the 10 turnovers forced is a solid number. They’re cheap enough to be in consideration with Washington giving up pressure over 22% of the time.

Cash – None

GPP – Engram, D/ST, Shepard, Slayton

Washington – Pace is 13th

QB – The main question with Kyle Allen is if there’s a reason to play him over Drew Lock for $100 more. My answer is I simply don’t think so in GPP. Allen has had a better floor than Lock this year, scoring at least 16 DK points in both games he finished. Even the one he was knocked out of with injury, he put up almost 10 DK. Washington does sit 10th in pass attempts per game so the volume really isn’t that bad for Allen. There just hasn’t been much of a ceiling so far and the pass catching corps is not exactly the greatest. If we’re in this range, I prefer Lock and may even take a shot at Luton (doubtful though).

RB – Can we please let Antonio Gibson off the leash? He logged a career-high 20 carries against the Cowboys and gouged them for 128 yards on the ground and a touchdown. He still split snaps with J.D. McKissic almost equally, but this was the breakout game we had been waiting for. The matchup isn’t quite as good as the Cowboys game since the Giants are ninth in DVOA against the run. That lines up with only 680 yards on the ground given up to running backs through eight games. They have been extremely vulnerable through the air with the third-most yards given up and the seventh-most receptions. That not only leaves an avenue for Gibson, but McKissic is a punt option. He has a 14.2% target share and is third on the team in targets.

*Update* Tackle Geron Christian is out and anytime an offense loses a starting lineman, it hurts. Gibson is still on the board but I’m not totally enamored with him.

WR – We’ve talked about it before, but since Kyle Allen has taken over Terry McLaurin has seen just a monster share of the passing game. He’s still over 33.7% of the target share and 58.6% of the air yard share in this offense. The first game against the Giants, McLaurin saw 12 targets and had a 14.4 DK point day. We’ve talked all season about James Bradberry having a really great season so far and usually mostly avoid him. This is generally how I feel this week. It’s not because McLaurin isn’t talented and can’t get it done. This is mostly about the salary involved. There’s a plethora of options within $800 that I prefer simply due to the matchup. I’m not really interested in other Washington receivers with how this offense is running right now.

TE – If we look at the same time frame of Allen starting, Logan Thomas has been better off as well. The volume isn’t near what McLaurin has experienced as Thomas is tied for third in targets (McKissisc is second). However, Thomas has found the end zone twice and is over 100 yards receiving. He’s still under $4,000 and that doesn’t make a ton of sense to me. Thomas isn’t a volume machine and likely will need a score to hit 3x but he’s too cheap for how he’s been playing with Allen. New York has been solid against the position with just 10.9 DK points per game given up. Still, Thomas is in play for me as he’s running the third-most routes among tight ends.

D/ST – Washington is one of my primary defensive targets this week. Daniel Jones has 13 turnovers on his own and Washington has nine. They only allow 22.7 points per game, have 22 sacks, a top 10 pressure rate and a top five ranking overall in DVOA. They are significantly cheaper than another defense that has the best matchup on the board.

Cash – D/ST, Thomas, Allen

GPP – McLaurin, Gibson

Bears at Titans, O/U of 46.5 (Titans -6.5)

Bears – Pace is 16th

QB – I suppose that Nick Foles is on the board as a cheap QB option. I can’t say I would be super happy about playing him with just an 8:7 TD:INT ratio. Three of those touchdowns came in relief against Atlanta, so he only has one game with more than one or zero touchdown passes thus far. Tennessee is 24th in passing DVOA and have given up the fourth-most passing yards among teams that have played just seven games. Likewise, they are tied for second in touchdown passes allowed among seven game teams so the matchup is actually quite good. Still, Foles is 30th in fpDB and 27th in points per game. He’s not my favorite and I would still likely go Lock over Foles in GPP.

RB – It really seems David Montgomery is doing just about everything but finding the end zone. Since the start of Week 4, he has 95 total touches but he has just a single touchdown, which has kept his DK scores down low. He’s still a question mark as far as talent on the NFL level but the Titans are 17th against the run in DVOA. They’ve also given up 10 total touchdowns and have allowed 940 scrimmage yards through seven games. Monty is an uninspiring choice if you just look at box scores but he remains cheap and a little touchdown luck would put him in line for a massive game.

WR – We can discuss how good Foles is versus Mitchell Trubisky but one person who benefits has been Allen Robinson. He has 46 targets in five games since the switch, not counting what he did in the Atlanta game. Robinson does have two games of just 10 and 11 DK, but the other three have all been at least 19 DK points. With a 23% target share and a 29.1% air yards share, A-Rob seems cheap. Malcolm Butler waits on the other side but that shouldn’t worry us. He’s been targeted 53 times already and has allowed a 1.50 pPT.

What I’m not sure what to do with is Anthony Miller. He’s been an afterthought in the offense lately until his past week. He saw more snaps, perhaps because Javon Wims got himself kicked out of the game. Miller also saw 11 targets despite totaling 14 the previous four weeks. Darnell Mooney is still the air yards king at 32.9% with Foles and he finally had a big game last week with a touchdown and five receptions. I still feel like Mooney is the play because if you play a cheap Bears receiver, you want the ceiling outcome. Miller would likely square off with Desmond King, newly of the Titans and there could be some miscommunications with a new corner.

TE – Jimmy Graham falls sort of into the same tier that Logan Thomas does for me. He’s getting targets, but likely needs to find the paint to pay off completely. He has seen at least five targets in every game with Foles under center but has yet to exceed 12.3 DK points. Graham sits 12th in routes run for tight ends and does play about a third of his snaps in the slot, seventh among his position. The Titans are a middle of the road matchup as far as production given up with 13.4 DK points per game. He’s a fine play but I might actually prefer Thomas since the Bears have a better receiving corps overall.

D/ST – Chicago is a good defense, ranked sixth in overall DVOA and they have generated 17 sacks and nine turnovers. However, Tennessee has only allowed eight sacks on the year and only has four turnovers, second-fewest in the league. The Bears defense just doesn’t seem like a good upside spend on the road.

Cash – Monty, Robinson

GPP – Foles, Mooney, Miller, Graham

Titans – Pace is 2nd

QB – It’s really not a strong matchup for Ryan Tannehill and I don’t feel like he needs to be played. He is fifth in fpDB and 10th in fantasy points per game, which are both very solid marks for his salary involved. He is sort of living on the touchdowns, as he’s fifth with 17. That doesn’t exactly jive with sitting at 19th in passing yards but that’s sort of been the Tannehill experience. When he’s kept clean, he’s completing over 79% of his attempts and normally is a fine option. I’m not a huge fan this week but the path is the Bears stuffing the run game and making Tannehill throw. I just don’t expect that path against the fifth best DVOA against the pass.

RB – The Bears are a little bit of an odd bird as far as rushing defense goes. They are 16th in rushing yards given up per game at 120 yards but sixth in DVOA against the run. That means Derrick Henry could be in what is quietly a really good spot. He’s not a cash priority for me this week but the RB4 on the season is under $8,000. That’s not going to happen very often. He leads the league in rushing yards by over 100 although Dalvin Cook would be right there if they had the same amount of games. Henry is also tied for the second-most touchdowns and leads in carries, so there’s nothing wrong with playing Henry. I just wouldn’t do it in cash.

WR – A.J. Brown has played five game so far and in four of them, he’s recorded 100 yards or at least one touchdown. Only in the opening game of the year did he not hit one of these benchmarks, so he’s been fairly consistent. The price is fair since he has a 23.2% target share and a 28.6% air yards share in the offense. Brown should be looking at Jaylon Johnson who has been good so far. He’s only allowed a 49.2% catch rate and a 77.5 passer rating, so I’m not going to be heavy on Brown.

It seems weird but Corey Davis actually has a slight lead in target share over Brown by about 2%. He’s getting up there in price but he does deserve to be there. The air yards share is in the favor of Davis by about of 1% and they are tied with four EZ targets (Brown has a 7-3 lead in RZ targets). It doesn’t get easier for Davis as he faces Kyle Fuller. He’s only allowing a 1.40 pPT and a catch rate under 57%. If paying for one, I’d go with Brown.

TE – Jonnu Smith has been invisible through the last three weeks but perhaps we could have seen this coming. He’s only running a route 55.6% of the time, which is 26th in the NFL. The 15.4% target share isn’t bad at all, nor is the seven RZ targets and a team-leading five EZ targets. The flip side is that he will live on touchdowns and they haven’t been coming lately. The Bears have given up five touchdowns to the position and could be a bit more vulnerable to Smith scoring.

*Update* With Adam Humphries out, Smith might have a little bit better floor than we’ve seen lately.

D/ST – The Titans are really quite expensive for just totaling seven sacks so far this year. I’ll give them credit for the 12 turnovers but with a bottom 10 pressure rate, I can’t justify the spend here.

Cash – Brown is the closest

GPP – Henry, Davis, Smith, Tannehill

Raiders at Chargers, O/U 51.5 (Chargers -1)

Raiders – Pace is 25th

QB – Weather kept me away from Derek Carr last week but that’s not happening this week. Yes, the Chargers are 12th in DVOA against the pass but they are 21st in passing yards allowed per game. They also give up an average of two touchdowns per game with just four interceptions so far. Carr’s stats took a hit last week overall but that’s simply not fair to put weight into it with the weather. He’s 17th in fpDB and 20th in points per game, but four of his seven starts have exceeded 20 DK points. This spot should shootout, has a high total and I’m pretty sure Carr will be my cash option and part of stacks of this game.

RB – I doubt Josh Jacobs will touch the ball 31 times like he did last week but maybe he doesn’t need to in order to have a good game. His price is still very affordable for a player that sits second in carries and tied for 22nd in receptions (12th among backs with seven games played). The Chargers fall to 18th in DVOA against the run and 12th in rushing yards allowed per game. LA has been lucky so far to only give up five total scores to the position and if everyone focuses on the passing games, Jacobs is an excellent GPP target to leverage off that facet of the game.

*Update* Jacobs is questionable with an illness but does not seem in danger of missing the game as of now.

WR – All the Raiders wideouts are still under $5,000 since they were the victims of poor weather as well last week. Henry Ruggs remains my favorite for GPP. He’s played two fewer full games than anyone else but still has the most air yards on the team and the highest share. The target share is a bit discouraging overall at under 12% and he’s only seen one RZ and EZ target all year. So far, you know what he is. He’s a boom or bust player that likely makes or breaks the lineup. Ruggs has to deal with Michael Davis who has only allowed a 10.8 yards per reception and 1.40 pPT.

Deciding whether Nelson Agholor is a secondary receiver or a big part of the offense is important as well. He had a three week stretch where he scored at least 14 DK but two of those games he saw a combined six targets. I believe him to be more dangerous than he may look with a low floor. Also, he has Casey Hayward and that’s not something that I love. He’s allowing under a 47% completion rate and only a 1.50 pPT. Hunter Renfrow is in the running but has exactly one game over 12 DK so far. The ceiling is hard to find.

TE – I’ll be honest, I don’t love that Darren Waller saw his price rise after a 7.8 DK point game last week. I suppose I can’t argue too much because Waller still leads in target share at 27% and RZ target share at 31%. He’s the TE2 in PPR formats and that’s always been his best format. He runs the fifth most routes of any tight end and is on the field the third most at 92.4%. Waller owns the highest target share at his position and has the second-most receptions and third-most yards. The Chargers are bottom 10 against tight ends with 14.8 DK allowed and five touchdowns.

D/ST – The Raiders average one sack per game and have just four turnovers forced, tied for the least in the league. That doesn’t seem like a defense we should be too interested in.

Cash – Carr, Jacobs, Waller

GPP – Ruggs, Agholor

Chargers – Pace is 8th

QB – Justin Herbert continues to be an absolute fantasy stud in his young career and there’s very little reason to think that stops this week. Vegas is 27th in DVOA against the pass and 25th in passing yards per game. The Raiders have only given up 11 touchdown passes so far but that’s not a factor that worries me even a bit here. Herbert remains sixth in fpDB and fifth in points per game. Despite playing in just six games, he’s thrown 15 touchdowns already and is sixth in deep ball attempts. The 42.4% completion rate on those passes is just average but average is fine with the volume he’s throwing them at. The rookie is only four yards behind Matt Ryan per game for the league lead and he likely shouldn’t be under $7,000. If you spend up at QB in any format, Herbert is a very strong option and might well be my spend up choice in cash.

RB – I’m not here to tell you that the Chargers backfield is a barrel of fun, but I am here to tell you Justin Jackson looks like a strong play. He was off the injury report this past week and that seemed to make a big difference. He went from 10 touches and 38% of the snaps in Week 7 to 20 touches and 49% this past week. Anytime you can get a back with potential for 20 touches under $5,000, you had better pay attention. It’s a dynamite matchup on top of everything else. The Raiders are 31st in DVOA against the run and have given up over 1,000 scrimmage yards and nine touchdowns. Given he has an 11.2% target share, he’s actually a stackable option with the passing game.

Joshua Kelley surprisingly fell to third in snaps behind Troymaine Pope, who is at least on the board in GPP. He’s RB-minimum and produced 14 DK points last week without a score. He had seven targets as well, and Herbert typically is throwing to the backs, Hunter Henry or Keenan Allen.

*Update* Pope is out, which should help the floor of both Kelley and especially Jackson.

WR – We’ve talked about every week but man, Allen has been a terror with Herbert. He’s rocking a 30.3% target share and a 31.0% share of the air yards since Week 2 and he barely played in one of those games. Allen leads in RZ and EZ targets in that time frame and he’s finally priced appropriately at $7,000. Allen is in the slot 43.7% of the time and that leaves him on LaMarcus Joyner. Advantage Allen, as Joyner has allowed an 80.9 passer rating and two touchdowns. While Joyner hasn’t played terribly by the stats, he’s not as good as Allen.

Mike Williams finally had a good game with Allen, the first time with Herbert as a starter. Williams is up to a 12.4% target share since Week two but that is getting better as of late. Nevin Lawson has allowed a 1.90 pPT so far but Williams remains a very boom or bust option. I likely would only use him in Herbert stacks with Allen.

TE – Williams having a good game did have a bit of a negative effect on Henry. He only saw four targets, tied for the lowest with Herbet. He caught all four and remains in the top eight in routes run for a tight end. One nitpick for Henry is the RZ and EZ targets. He only has two of each and the EZ targets are fourth among Chargers. We typically would like a bit of higher touchdown equity, but Henry is due a blowup game. He’s easily had the second-most targets with Herbert and he can’t keep having poor production. If you use Herbert and Allen, the second pick is likely Henry or Williams. Jackson would be a unique addition to a three man stack, but everyone is in play.

D/ST – With Carr not turning over the football and the Raiders only giving up 13 sacks, I can’t see a reason to play the Chargers here. That’s especially true with Joey Bosa out.

Cash – Herbert, Jackson, Allen

GPP – Williams, Henry

Dolphins at Cardinals, O/U of 49.5 (Cardinals -4)

Dolphins – Pace is 30th

QB – It was a bit of a tough game to get a read on Tua Tagovailoa. The Dolphins scored multiple defensive and special teams touchdowns so Tua only threw the ball 22 times. He…didn’t look spectacular, completing just 12 attempts for 93 yards. Arizona is 11h in DVOA against the pass so the matchup isn’t exactly great. Also, we have exactly 24 throws from Tua to go on here. It’s not to shortchange a play, but I’m not really on Tua this week. You can go down to Lock or up to Carr and you would feel much more comfortable. The only way you play Tua is if you’re playing a bunch of lineups and banking on a shootout.

RB – This situation turned into a nightmare pretty quickly. We know that Myles Gaskin is out with a knee injury. The preferred play looked like it was likely Matt Breida but he missed practice on Wednesday with a hammy injury. Assuming they are both out, Miami could be down to Jordan Howard. He was inactive last week, but he would have to hold some appeal if he’s one of the only backs that could go, similar to DeeJay Dallas last week. Let’s revisit this when we have some more clarity.

*Update* Breida is out and I like all the other value backs far better than messing with Howard or even Patrick Laird.

WR – Trading Isaiah Ford to New England might seem like a nothing-burger but he did have a role in this offense. His target share of 13.3% and the air yards of 14% isn’t that small. In the small sample with Tua, Preston Williams held an advantage over DeVante Parker of 5-2 in targets. Parker looks to draw Dre Kirkpatrick, who is a corner to pick on in this defense. He’s allowed a 71.1% completion rate and a 92.5 passer rating. By the numbers, Patrick Peterson has seen his best days. He’s giving up a 2.10 pPT and a whopping 118.5 passer rating. Much like Tua, you’re playing these players if you suspect this game is a shoot-out. That’s not the worst path to take, since the Cardinals are ninth in points scored per game. They are cheap run back options at worst if you stack Cardinals.

*Update* Kirkpatrick is out for the Cards.

TE – I hate to say it, but I’m about to give up on Mike Gesicki this season. I don’t particularly get it. His target share is under 15% and what’s really hurting him is he’s not even on the field 60% of the time right now. His route rate is strong at 86%, seventh among the position. However, the total routes is 190 which is just 14th. Gesicki has eight RZ targets, inside the top 10 but he’s only scored twice. Arizona has only allowed two scores and 329 yards to the position, so Gesicki is not a priority for me.

D/ST – Miami has a pretty strong defense, overall. They only allow 18.6 points per game, they have 19 sacks to go with their 21.4% pressure rate and they have 12 turnovers. Even the total DVOA is inside the top 12, but I have no real interest playing them against the Cardinals.

Cash – None if Breida is out

GPP – Parker, Williams, Tua, Gesicki

Cardinals – Pace is 3rd

QB – I’m sort of out of adjectives to describe Kyler Murray. He has among the safest (if not the safest) floors in fantasy with the rushing yards. Murray has also accounted for 20 total touchdowns already, almost three per game. When I say he’s resembling 2019 Lamar Jackson, that’s not an exaggeration. Murray actually has even more passing yards than Jackson did, so the rushing yards don’t need to be quite as high. Miami is a strong passing defense with ranking third in DVOA against the pass but they are also 20th in passing yards allowed. The big facet that the Dolphins have going for them is an 8:7 TD:INT ratio allowed. Murray is a perfectly fine target, but I do prefer both Josh Allen and Russell Wilson just a bit.

RB – The top six running backs in salary is quite crowded this week. Chase Edmonds is among those players since Kenyan Drake is likely out. The Dolphins are dead last in DVOA against the run and has given up over 1,000 scrimmage yards with seven scores total. The bonus with Edmonds is we already know that he’s the passing back, so his path to paying off his (admittedly) steep price is there. When a back can put up 21.5 DK without a score like Edmonds did last game, you know the talent level is there and the offense really helps him as well. Also, this is quite the surprise – Edmonds leads the team in RZ targets (and is tied for third in targets overall). I believe that if a certain running back in the next game is chalk, Edmonds is a fantastic pivot off of him.

WR – I’m not sure there’s a matchup that scares me off DeAndre Hopkins in total, but we can’t pretend he doesn’t have his hands full this week. Byron Jones is the number one corner in pPT at 0.90 and that’s through 36 times he’s been thrown at. He’s yet to allow a touchdown, the completion rate is under 42% and the passer rating is 55.4. Among players that have seven games, only Keenan Allen has more targets than Nuk and that’s just by two. Hopkins is over 30% in target and air yards share, and leads the league in receiving yards. If he’s not popular, he’s a great GPP option.

Christian Kirk doesn’t have a much easier spot. Xavien Howard has only allowed a 54.0 passer rating and a 51% catch rate so the price might be a little too high for my taste. The place to attack the Dolphins is in the slot but Larry Fitzgerald is not a good fantasy option anymore. He’s 34th in receptions and 85th in points per game, so I’m not exactly going after that either. I think the options are play Murray alone or stack with Nuk and hope that combo is low on the pecking order for everyone else.

TE – No tight end for the Cards has a target share above the 6.4% for Dan Arnold, so we can skip this spot.

D/ST – If you don’t care for the Washington defense or simply can’t afford them, Arizona is not the worst fall-back option. We’re looking at an offense that is starting a rookie QB in his second start and is missing their staring running back. The Cards are 10th in overall DVOA, have 10 turnovers and 19 sacks even with the loss of Chandler Jones.

Cash – Murray, Edmonds

GPP – Hopkins, D/ST

Steelers at Cowboys, O/U 41.5 (Steelers -14)

Steelers – Pace is 31st

QB – Here’s the deal with this game – it’s not likely to be competitive. Dallas is on their fourth quarterback of the season already. It’s a mismatch almost all the way across the board. Ben Roethlisberger is a great GPP option, but I won’t be playing him in cash. Why? Well, there’s a solid chance he doesn’t throw the ball that much in this game. Look at the game they blew the doors off Cleveland. Big Ben only threw it 22 times and the Steelers just ran it and got out with a win. That’s entirely within the realm of possibility here.

IF he does throw a bunch, he’s likely to have his first explosion game of the season. Dallas has climbed to 15th in DVOA against the pass but they have still allowed 17 touchdown passes, tied for third-most in football. They only rank the eighth-fewest yards per game but they’ve also only faced the 11th fewest pass attempts. It makes sense since the winning team typically runs late, and that’s the only snag when talking about Big Ben here.

RB – If (and it’s a large if right now) I can fit everyone, my plan for cash is to play CMC, Cook and James Conner. After Week 1, Conner has not dipped below 18 touches in any game. His low-water mark is 14 DK points, he’s the RB12 in PPR settings and the matchup simply does not get much better. Dallas is 29th in DVOA against the run, allow the most rushing yards per game and they are the only team that has allowed over 1,100 rushing yards to running backs. This is beyond a smash spot for Conner and if he gets 18 touches here, I will be shocked if he’s not around 20 DK points. I tend to still prefer him over Edmonds in any format, but let’s check ownership closer to kickoff.

WR – The Steelers receivers should have a field day in this one if they are allowed. Maybe I’m a sucker, but I can’t stop going back to Diontae Johnson. Yes, he’s been a wild ride so far but other than injuries, he’s had one bad game and that came against the Ravens. Despite missing what amounts to three games, Johnson is only six targets off the team lead and is tied for the air yards share. Don’t get things twisted – if Johnson is healthy, he is the one in this offense. Cowboys corner Trevon Diggs has allowed five touchdowns and 15.2 yards per reception.

I’m not 100% sure what to do after that. JuJu Smith-Schuster has come on a bit the past two games with 22 total targets and at least 13.7 DK points. He does have the target lead and runs in the slot about 80% of the time. Chase Claypool has the higher ceiling and big play ability that JuJu hasn’t had a lot of this season. Mapletron hasn’t been under 65% of the snaps since Week 1 and gets a mouth-watering matchup with Anthony Brown. Claypool has about five inches and 40 pounds on Brown and the highest aDOT on the team at 12.3. I rank these options in the reverse of their salary – Johnson, Claypool and then JuJu.

TE – Any offensive player is on the board against the Cowboys and Eric Ebron is no exception. Since Week 2, he’s been more involved in the offense with no fewer than four targets in every game. He’s not running a ton of routes at just 77.3% and is not exactly dominating with his targets. Dallas has allowed four touchdowns and 362 yards to the position, but I prefer to go with the receivers in this spot.

D/ST – There is no question in my mind that the Steelers defense is going to dominate this game. They are an elite unit in real life and fantasy, and they are not pleased about how they played last week. They’re angry and facing a fourth-stringer at quarterback. However, they are also the most expensive defense in DK history. I just can’t get on board with that very much. Johnson has 20 point upside much more in his range of outcomes for $100 more. If I build a lineup that I love and have $4,900 left, great. Past that, I’m not jamming Pittsburgh in.

Cash – Conner, Johnson

GPP – Claypool, Big Ben, JuJu, D/ST

Cowboys – Pace is 1st

QB – We pride ourselves on going over every play, but there is a 0% chance I’m even looking twice at Garrett Gilbert or Cooper Rush. Lock is $400 more and Luton is $100 more. There’s no point to getting cute with Dallas quarterbacks when we have viable options in better spots. Pittsburgh ranks second in DVOA overall and sixth in DVOA against the pass.

RB – I never thought I’d see the day that Ezekiel Elliot was $6,600 on DK and I had virtually no interest. Regardless of it’s offensive line, lack of QB play, getting paid and maybe not caring as much anymore in a lots season…Zeke just doesn’t look up to snuff. He’s averaging 65 yards on the ground and the Steelers are angry how they played the run last week. It’s been a point of emphasis all week. Zeke will get his touches as he did last week, when he had 20. The quarterback play doomed him as he only totaled 73 yards with no scores. I feel like the same style of game is on tap and can’t see much of a reason other than “it’s the NFL” to play Zeke ahead of Edmonds.

*Update* Zeke is fighting a hamstring injury, so now I’m really off of him.

WR – This receiving corps went from “I want to play all of them” to “I don’t care about any of them” with frightening speed. With a new quarterback again, it’s hard to know who he focuses on. Michael Gallup was the man last week with 12 targets, though he only turned those into 13.1 DK points. Amari Cooper had all of one catch and CeeDee Lamb went four for 27. I mean, this is uninspiring to say the least. Cooper likely sees Joe Haden who has had some bad moments but is still at just a 1.30 pPT and a 50% catch rate allowed. As it stands, Lamb would face Cameron Sutton and in limited snaps, he’s allowing a 1.70 pPT and over a 63% catch rate. Lamb is my favorite here but that’s faint praise.

TE – Dalton Schultz could wind up being a type of security blanket and he does have 12 total targets the past two weeks. He’s been able to maintain a 14.1% target share and five RZ targets, even though that might not matter in this game. I don’t mind him per se, but he’s not going to be a target. This Dallas offense certainly won’t attract a lot of attention, but they really shouldn’t with a fourth or fifth string QB.

D/ST – Nope.

Cash – None

GPP – Lamb, Zeke, Schultz, Cooper

Core Four

Dalvin Cook, Chase Edmonds, Marvin Jones, Justin Jackson


We’ve had plenty of news break the past 36 hours. Firstly, Seattle looks like they’re going to use RB Alex Collins today and with three backs active, that’s enough to get me off DeeJay Dallas. Replacing him is Jackson, who was basically the first man out of the core as it was.

Secondly, we could have other big news for the Chargers. Keenan Allen has to clear Covid protocol today at minimum to play. If we get news that he is out before 1 PM kickoff, Mike Williams replaces Marvin Jones as a Core Play. Williams has shown his upside without Allen once already and is one of the best values of the entire slate if Allen is out. I have no problems at all playing Jackson and Williams together in cash even without Herbert.

Lastly, we’re trending towards Ezekiel Elliott being out today. That has some folks looking towards Tony Pollard at running back minimum price. I would be fine taking a shot or two in GPP, but Pollard is not a cash play for me. The offensive line is battered, Dallas is on they’re fifth-string QB…it’s ugly. Also, I can’t stress enough how much the Steelers have talked this week about stopping the run. They are furious after they got rocked last week on the ground. I will not have Pollard in any of my cash games.

Game Stacks

SEA/BUF – Russ, Lockett, Diggs, Metcalf, Brown, Dallas, Allen, Beasley

LV/LAC – Herbert, Allen, Jackson, Waller, Ruggs, Jacobs, Henry, Agholor, Carr

DEN/ATL – Lock, Fant, Jeudy, Julio, Ridley (if active), Patrick, Hurst, Ryan

Team Stacks

Chiefs – Mahomes, Kelce, Hill, CEH – Run back with CMC, Anderson or Moore

Texans – Watson, Cooks, Fuller, Akins, DJ – Run back with Jacksonville receiver of choice

Vikings – Cook and Marvin Jones mini stack

Steelers – Roethlisberger, Johnson, Conner, Claypool, JuJu – Run back with Lamb or Schultz

Cardinals – Kyler, Edmonds, Nuk – Run back with Parker or Williams

Ravens – Jackson, Brown, Andrews – Run back with Burton or Pascal (gross)

Let’s get after it this week my friends! 

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