We don't have a Thursday game on the schedule here this week or moving forward with the college football season done. We do have two Saturday games and a small-ish Mon-Sat slate to look at. I will break those games down here, but also want to mention there is a different element to playing Mon-Sat v. Mon-Thurs.
We don't have a Thursday game on the schedule here this week or moving forward with the college football season done. We do have two Saturday games and a small-ish Mon-Sat slate to look at. I will break those games down here, but also want to mention there is a different element to playing Mon-Sat v. Mon-Thurs. We have almost the entire week to get new information here about the weekend games, like we normally do every week. That means you are going to have to factor in at least some exposure here. I want to mention that one big advantage you can give yourself is in roster construction. PLEASE Make sure you have a guy in the flex not playing on Thursday if it’s possible. This way you open yourself up to so many more players when you eventually adjust this lineup Friday or Saturday before the games.
MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
NO -6 O/U 51.5
Team Totals: NO – 28.75, CAR – 22.75
Drew Brees is averaging 166 YPG in his last three due to a 50% RZ TD rate (over 70% for the season). Without volume, you need to score on almost all your RZ opportunities to hit a high $ multiple. Since Mark Ingram came back, he is averaging 28.6 attempts per game (38 in first four) which has him as QB14, averaging 23 FPPG on DK. He has also done better at home (in domes) for a decade, so at first glance, this doesn’t seem like a great setup for Brees. Looking a bit deeper, however, has changed my mind. CAR has played great against the run, holding opposing RBs to 3.49 YPC and only three receptions per game in their last five (8th rush DVOA). NO also is very tough against the run (3.2 YPC this season/1st); that has both of these teams in the top-10 in terms of passing % against, as teams choose the path of least resistance. We prefer to load up against this secondary when they are on the road, but I think we need to make an exception here and play Brees and Michael Thomas.
Thomas has at least 70 yards in three straight against James Bradberry and CAR (9 targets per game). In the only game he didn’t score, he posted 131 yards. With a 28.4% target share, he is the no-brainer WR to connect with Brees. Panthers give up massive production to both outside and slot WRs. MT has been traveling inside less with Keith Kirkwood and Austin Carr taking most of those snaps, but we can hope and pray they move him in there in this matchup against our guy, Captain Munnerlyn. Wasn’t really the Caps fault last week with Landry, but you know I had a ton of exposure, as I am obligated to play whoever he is facing at this point.
Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram continue to frustrate me and most fantasy players. I think the Saints will move Kamara around and use him more as a WR in this spot (at least I hope), which gives him GPP appeal, but I can’t use him in cash at his price when he is only playing 65% of snaps and yielding RZ work to Ingram.
Cam Newton and the OL will be under attack, as NO is getting to the QB at the highest rate over their last three (13.8%). Despite the losing streak, the Panthers are still ranked in the top 5-10 in a lot of offensive categories, but RZ struggles have kept them out of the EZ (46% RZ TD rate/last three, after being over 70% for the season). He is still running and could explode if they get better in the RZ. He has owned the Saints in his career, and with the higher expected pass volume on both sides, I really like him at VERY low ownership this week in GPPs.
My love for CMC is also a weekly tail, so I will save it this week. Just hope everyone has been on board, as it has been a profitable ride.
Even though the Saints have been great against RBs on the ground, they allow an 80% catch rate to RBs (30th DVOA vs. RBS in the pass). Christian McCaffrey has 30 targets and 20 RZ touches in his last four, moving him to third in RZ touches and second in opportunity share. He has 20 catches for 234 yards in three games against NO. That is about 14 FP just as a receiver. Add in even 40 rushing yards (6 straight w/ 50+) and a likely TD, and you are at the 25 FP mark again. If he pops for a couple TDs and goes over 100 total yards for his seventh straight, then it's another 30+ FP day (4 of his last 6).
D.J. Moore and Curtis Samuel have taken over as the starting WRs, putting Devin Funchess in a reserve role, playing less than 45% of snaps in consecutive (healthy) weeks. Samuel ran a career-high 44 routes on a 93% snap share, getting eight targets (19 last two). He put up 4/80, but that was more due to Cam’s poor play. With his insane speed and quickness, we want a TON of this guy again. Per PFF, only one of Chris Godwin's 10 targets were catchable last week from Winston, so don’t be worried about Eli Apple on the outside. Samuel also goes into the slot for about 25% of his snaps so he can take advantage of PJ Williams also.
Moore has become the clear-cut WR1 in CAR, with a minimum of eight targets in four straight, finishing as a WR3 or better in all four games. Marshon Lattimore and Apple have been staying home so I don’t expect a shadow, but either way, I would like him. NO has given up BIG WR production all season, so if Cam can get his shit together, both of these studs can go off on Monday night.
I was floored and very happy when I saw Ian Thomas at 2-4% across the industry. Gonna have to pat myself on the back again, as I had him as a bold/cash-primary play. At $2.9k, he allowed me to have a combo of Saquon and/or Zeke on every team (9/77 on 11 targets). For a while, I thought I was in-line for a HUGE (six-figure) day, but the Amari teams, of course, ruined that. Was still a great day, the second straight week of rolling a 190+ in my single entries. Thomas has a much tougher matchup with the Saints shutting down TEs all season and got a modest price increase. That has me off of him in cash, but I will get him on a stack or two with Cam and as a run back to Brees.
Preferred Plays (All Formats): CMC, Samuel, M. Thomas, D.J. Moore
GPP Only: Cam, Brees, I. Thomas, Kamara
- Titans -10, 37
- Team Totals: Redskins 13.5, Titans 23.5
– Let’s start with this obnoxiously low 13.5 team total. They had 13 last week, but that was in Jacksonville. Now the Jags defense is ranked 5th overall for DVOA. The Titans are 17th, so it’s not an apples to apples comparison. I could see the Skins doing a bit better ehere, but i doubt they pop off for a 30+ point score either.
– Josh Jackson is now the starter over Mark Sanchez with all the drama the Skins have had lately at QB. Jackson did not throw it much with just 25 attempts, completing 16 for only 150. What this really says to me is that they don't want to pass. It hurts anyone who would rely on catching balls for their value. Jackson did add 45-50 yards rushing in both appearances, which is nice for his floor, but still not enough to get excited about him.
– Adrian Peterson is seeing volume, but that is about the nicest thing I can say for him. He had another 19 carries last games, and is still basically seeing double digits even with Thompson back. The problem is he is doing nothing with those carries, failing to even record 4 YRC since week 9. He did have one game over 4 YPC, but that like many of his big days, was on the back of one long run. That Philly game was a great microcosm of his season. He had one 90 yard TD run and 8 other carries for a total of 8 yards. Dude had a 90 yard run and failed to top 100 yards. Peterson will get the volume, but you are banking on a long run to get him the yardage and a TD or two in order to justify the upside on it. Chris Thompson has skills, but not opportunity, so he is not worth looking at. Peterson is the viable play, but he’s not one I want a lot of exposure to, especially as a road dog in what looks likely to be negative game script.
– The good news is the pass catchers are cheap, but I really don't want a lot of exposure here. Jamison Crowder is back and probably the best bet out of the slot. The big problem for all of them is volume. We may see 15-20 passes not throw to RBs in this game. Even if it all goes to 3 guys, you are only looking at 5-7 targets max. Crowder, Doctson, and even Michael Floyd are all capable of paying off the salary with one big play, but when you have a fifth string QB and a 13.5 team total it is tough to even go down that road.
– Jordan Reed was held out last week with an injury for the Redskins. It gave Vernon Davis a chance for an increased workload. He still only saw 3 targets and 3-4 is basically what he gets. Outside of maybe him catching a TD pass, I can't see how he gets upside.
– Marcus Mariota is coming off two straight horrendous fantasy performances. The Titans are leaning heavily on the run lately and it has led to two straight victories. In a game where the opponent is likely struggling to score, I can see another run heavy game plan in the near future. He was 18/24 for 162 against the Jags and followed that up going just 12 of 20 for a mere 88 yards last game. You can't get upside with those kind of numbers. The Redskins Dhas slipped in recent weeks and they do give up the 12th most fantasy points to the position, but I do not see Mariota taking advantage of it on that low volume.
– Derrick Henry is going to win people fantasy championships with this late season stretch. After a pretty much pedestrian season where he played second fiddle much of the year to Dion Lewis, Henry has exploded for stat lines of 17/234/4 followed by 33/170/2. He didn't even see a target in either game, so his production is solely on the ground. Still with the offense looking to go heavily with the run, this spot sets up well too with him being a 10-point favorite at home against a struggling offense limping home. Henry should be called on early and often again here and is the one Titan I am looking at in fantasy.
– Corey Davis is the clear cut #1 WR for this team. Over the last five games though, that has not meant much. His high for targets in this run is 7 and his best game for catches is 4. He does have game breaking ability, so he could catch a long one or get in the endzone, but it’s tough to trust any of them with a game plan that skews run heavy. Davis is going to see the most targets, but he’s more of a fringe GPP play than anything else. The other guys do not see consistent enough volume to even warrant using at cheap prices.
– With Jonnu Smith down, Anthony Firkser is the main TE now. That’s all good and well, but he didn't even see a target last week. Maybe he bounces back on the short slate, but I’m not looking to put hard earned money on that.
Top Plays: Derrick Henry
Secondary Plays: Titans D, Adrian Peterson, Jamison Crowder, Corey Davis
- Chargers -4.5, 45.5
- Team Totals: Ravens 20.5, Chargers 25
– The Ravens seem to like the idea of riding Lamar Jackson as far as his legs will take them. In five starts, Jackson has carried it at least 11 times in each for a minimum of 67 yards. He hasn't thrown over 25 passes and has racked up between 131 and 178 yards in his five games as the main QB. Averaging 150 passing and 80 rushing has given him a nice 14 point floor. He has accounted for at least one TD rushing or throwing in all but one start, which means he has been giving us a high 17-20 point floor or above. The Chargers defense is ranked 9th DVOA and giving up a middle of the road production number to QBs against them. Jackson is far from typical though, so it’s tough to really nail down those numbers. It is going to be tough for him to have a better throwing game than we see him having recently. It really comes down to whether or not he can get you multiple touchdowns. He’s not a great play though, but he does have a safe floor due to the rushing.
– The Ravens did not dress Ty Montgomery last week and Javorius Allen is basically not playing either. That leaves the heavy run workload to keep falling on Gus Edwards with Kenneth Dixon playing a secondary rushing role and handling more of the passing down work. Edwards benefits from the running quarterback and the workload on this run first offense. He has averaged 19/97 over the last five games with Jackson under center. He does nothing in the pass game, but is cheap and has topped 100 yards in 3 of the last 5. Really it comes down to a TD with him. He’ll get a ton of carries and do something in the range of 70-120 yards with them. If he adds the TD, you get a 4X return on DK and over 3X on FanDuel. Dixon is also viable on a showdown slate or as a swerve in tournaments. Edwards will see more volume, but Dixon had 11 carries and a couple targets last game too. Edwards out touched him, but the numbers were 19 and 12 in terms of touches, so it wasn't a dominant backfield split. The fact Ty Mont was inactive and Allen is more a special teamer has contributed to Edwards and Dixon both being able to at least be viable.
– John Brown is my favorite of the pass catchers, but I’m not as high on him as I was with Flacco. We mentioned how Jackson has not slung it over 25 times in any game yet. 14 attempts and 178 yards has been his best game. Under those kind of circumstances, we can not expect much more from any of the pass catchers. Willie Snead has actually been the one guy doing anything for this passing game. He’s seen 6-7 targets each of the recent games and accounted for 5/60 in both. That’s a decent enough floor for cash game play, but again I don't want to have a lot of exposure here. If you take pass catchers, just realize your best scenario is the Chargers having a big lead and we have yet to see Lackson having to sling it 30-40 times. Given the accuracy issues we see already, even if he does I can't see how it works out. Crabtree is also cheap, but again here the lack of targets keeps me away.
– At TE the Ravens are filled on the depth chart. Marc Andrews is the best pass catching option, but Maxx Williams and rookie Hayden Hurst are seeing as many or more snaps. None are viable for me here today with them splitting time and the likely run heavy game plan.
– Philip Rivers needed to ramp up his production to cover for the losses at RB and he did. He threw more passes last week than we have seen him throw most of the season. He’s had one of the most productive running games, so he has not been needed to. We mentioned the pace and that he was needed last week to sling it more and he delivered with a 313/2 effort. It was solid for over 20 fantasy points, but lacked upside. That has been Rivers M.O. He draws a brutal match up here though. The Ravens are giving up the third fewest fantasy points to opposing QBs and the defense is world class, ranking 2nd overall in DVOA. Rivers has not given us upside all season long and has been best used as a solid cash game guy. In a good matchup, I would gladly sign off on that, but against the Ravens, I’m not looking to be heavy on him here.
– The running back situation has been interesting the last few weeks. Melvin Gordon was having an awesome season until an injury knocked him out. Austin Ekeler slid right in as he was producing well too, but now he is also hurt. That left the door open for Justin Jackson to be the lead back for this offense. He saw the volume jump last game to finish with 16 carries and 3 catches for 87 yards and a TD. Nothing spectacular, but viable at the price. The Ravens are just as tough against the run, giving up the second fewest points to opposing RBs. It does look like at least Gordon will be back this week, if not Ekeler too. That kills Jackson’s value and would have me looking mostly at Gordon, with maybe some Ekeler sprinkled in. These two have produced much of the year. The matchup is brutal, but on a short slate, we may have to go here.
– Mike Williams won me a lot of money last week. It was somewhat lucky for those of us that backed him as the game was close with the Chargers trailing, so they had to go to the air. The biggest piece of news though is that Keenan Allen went down with an injury before even catching a pass, leaving Mike Williams to have his monster day. Williams finished 7/76/2 with a 19 yard rushing TD and a 2-point conversion. He was under $4K and that was a massive game for him. The price has risen and if Allen plays he goes back to being a TD dependent WR3 option. If Allen sits, Mike Williams might end up being one of my favorite plays at a cheap ownership and price range. Tyrell Williams out snaps Travis Benjamin and out gains and out targets him, but they are both secondary pieces of the passing game.
– Antonio Gates is a good story, but his production has not been great. He did play well last week, but even that game lacked upside. Gates at this point is a TD dependent TE2. I have very little to no interest in using him.
Top Plays: Philip Rivers, Melvin Gordon, Lamar Jackson
Secondary Plays: Mike Williams, Gus Edwards, Kenneth Dixon