Welcome to the DFS NFL Cash Game Breakdown, where Jeff Mans breaks down everything you need to know (and plenty of things you probably don’t!) to build safe, high-floor lineups on DraftKings and FanDuel!
LATE SUNDAY MORNING UPDATE
My guest on the SiriusXM Pregame Show Alex Kozora said that Benny Snell will play ahead of Jaylen Samuels right out of the gate this week. That changes the game in my opinion and puts the minimally priced Snell in play for GPP AND cash games. Thus….EVERYTHING CHANGES!
FANDUEL CORE 4: Matt Ryan, Odell Beckham, Michael Thomas & Benny Snell Jr
DRAFTKINGS CORE 4: Ryan Fitzpatrick, Odell Beckham, Vance McDonald, Eagles DST (Same as before)
SUNDAY MORNING UPDATE
FANDUEL CORE 4: Matt Ryan, Odell Beckham, Vance McDonald, Eagles DST
DRAFTKINGS CORE 4: Ryan Fitzpatrick, Odell Beckham, Vance McDonald, Eagles DST
Added To Player Pool: Ryan Fitzpatrick (cash viable), Saquon Barkley (cash viable), Robby Anderson & Allen Hurns.
I am 100% done going into the chat room after kickoff on Sundays. My God, that place has become an absolute cesspool of anger and irrational thought. In DFS, we call that tilting, and on a personal level, I just can’t deal with that anymore. As paying customers, I suppose you guys are entitled to do what you want, to an extent, so I am just going to abstain for the greater good. Maybe we will use Sundays as the opportunity to find our “special chat” or “VIP chat” as it would be good to have real conversations with those of you who can handle your shit even when the world is crashing down on a dozen football fields all over North America.
Last week was brutal. I felt real good going into the week, didn’t have any wild changes on Sunday morning and felt as though we were well-positioned throughout the afternoon. I missed the payline by less than 5.4 points in every 50/50 cash game entry. Boy, that Brian Hill three-yard TD or that third Ross Dwelley score would have come in pretty handy. It was my fourth losing week of the season and second-worst week monetarily of the season.
The core-four on FanDuel was good even with the miss of Falcons RB Brian Hill. We used $25K in salary and racked up 55 points, which is above our 2x target. We had plenty of quality options to fill out the remainder of our lineups so congratulations to those that got it right. For the rest of us, it is on to Week 12.
So, what have we learned? If you don’t learn something from every loss, you’re making it real hard on yourself to ever get better. We’ve learned we cannot trust QBs who are prone to copious amounts of turnovers, no matter what their price tag is. We’ve learned that even down 26-points with less than three minutes remaining, the Panthers are going to feed Christian McCaffrey the ball. We’ve learned that since week three, I cannot figure out which Tampa Bay WR to use. We’ve learned that when 90% of the DFS world misses on a TE vs. Arizona play, they will claim it was because it was “too easy.”
It is all good though. I’ve been down this road before and have spent most of the week reevaluating what if anything we need to adjust. Paying down to the extremes seems to be the one thing that is making our lineups different, which is a great thing since we are seeing extreme cases of lineup pooling in cash games in recent weeks. But it is also causing lineups to fall just shy of the payline thanks to one real weak performance. Paying down for DST every week is also something I have worked on most of this week in order to make sure we’re still utilizing best practices. Indeed, that strategy of paying down for DST has been working out, as the ownership is just so spread out that it isn’t hurting our lineups much at all. But when you miss the cash line by just a handful of points, these seemingly tiny corrections could have been the difference.
This is the final week of byes across the NFL, and if you’ve been thinking that choosing QBs has been easy this season, welcome to Week 12. Not only are Patrick Mahomes, Kirk Cousins, Kyler Murray and Philip Rivers off this week, but Lamar Jackson, Jared Goff, Jacoby Brissett, Aaron Rodgers, Jimmy Garoppolo and Deshaun Watson are all off of the main slate. That leaves us very few secure QBs to choose from here this week, meaning we will likely have to pay up for one of the few studs on the board.
For the third consecutive week, Christian McCaffrey is $10,500 on both sites, and coming off of a 31-point non-TD performance, he will be popular. There is uncertainty, though, as we don’t have many value options at running back this week. So, we wait out the injury report in Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Denver and Philadelphia, hoping for something that can alleviate the budget.
A couple of weeks ago, we were looking at this Tampa Bay/Atlanta matchup as if there might be 70 points scored, but the recent resurgence of this Atlanta defense gives us some cause for concern. I’ve been brutal at choosing which Buccaneers receiver to use in recent weeks so fading them would be wonderful to me. Again though, we have a serious lack of quality value options at the WR position this week.
Remember, the Seattle/Philadelphia game that was originally scheduled for Sunday night is now being played at 1pm ET, while the Green Bay/San Francisco contest will be the Sunday Night Game. Let’s peel back the curtain and take a look at who is in and out for this week in DFS NFL.
Here is the DFS NFL Cash Game Breakdown for Week 12:
Oakland Raiders at New York Jets – Going to be overcast and rainy in Jersey this Sunday, though, the rain will be light. Temperatures will be in the low 40’s with a wind chill feel of mid-30’s. Field conditions could get slick, and the passing game might suffer as a result.
Seattle Seahawks at Philadelphia Eagles – Light rain early on with winds of 14-18 MPH. The rain is scheduled to let up just as the game gets going though, so it should be good.
Dallas Cowboys at New England Patriots – Over 50% chance of rain showers throughout the game Sunday. It will be windy with steady breezes of 16+ MPH and showers. Tom Brady is weather agnostic, but Dak Prescott and the rest of the Cowboys are going to have a bit of a tougher time to get going.
|NAME||TEAM||OPP||DVOA TOTAL||DVOA PASS||DEF VS QB||TOTAL OLINE||PASS OLINE||TIME TO THRW||PACE||ATTS PG||INT AIR YDS||CMP AIR YDS|
WEEK 12 DFS NFL QB BREAKDOWN
Russell Wilson, Seahawks ($8200/$6800) – Sunday Night Football’s loss is our gain in the main slate this week. The last time these two met was in Seattle, and it was the game that changed Carson Wentz’s career, as he tore his ACL on a fourth quarter would-be touchdown run. Of course, the Eagles went on to win the Super Bowl under Nick Foles, while the Seahawks lost three of their last four to miss the playoffs. In that game, however, Wilson did what he always does and produced 24.2 fantasy points against a Super Bowl-caliber defense. The Eagles defense has played better of late, surrendering an average of just 174 passing yards over their last four games. But it’s their ability to stop the run that will lead to more pass attempts, and Wilson will either find the open guy or run it himself to move the chains. With a very depleted QB arsenal this week, Russ is as secure as it gets, and you will have to pay for it.
Matt Ryan, Falcons ($7900/$6700) – The problem with QBs is their prices are all so very bunched up that there isn’t much savings even between tiers. Ryan has played quite well this season, though his injury against the Rams, missed game against the Seahawks and tough matchup versus the Saints has made people forget. Ryan is sixth in the NFL in pass attempts per game, fifth in passing yards per game and ninth in fantasy points per game. Tampa Bay is third-worst in the NFL in passing yards surrendered, sixth-worst in pass coverage according to PFF, fifth-worst in pass rush and have surrendered the second-most fantasy points to QBs this season. Ryan threw for 733 yards, five touchdowns and an average of 25 fantasy points against the Buccaneers last season.
Baker Mayfield, Browns ($7500/$5900) – It’s been a struggle for Baker and the Browns offense this season, but they are about to get right and really affect the fantasy landscape down the stretch. There are no excuses for how poorly Baker and this Browns offense has played this season, but they have faced a real difficult schedule. Over the last seven games, the Browns have faced Baltimore (9th overall DVOA), San Francisco (2nd), Seattle (18th), New England (1st), Denver (9th), Buffalo (12th) and Pittsburgh (3rd). Now he gets the Miami Dolphins, who are dead last (32nd) in overall DVOA this week. The Dolphins are also last in overall defense according to PFF, fourth-worst in total yards surrendered per game, last in pass rush according to PFF, have surrendered the most passing yards per game, the fourth-most passing yards per attempt and have given up the fifth-most fantasy points to QBs this year. An aid to Baker and company this week is the Dolphins will be able to move the ball and score enough against the Browns defense to keep the pressure on and drive that scoring floor up.
Derek Carr, Raiders ($7400/$6100) – We’ve had to significantly lower our standards for cash game QBs here this week. The Raiders are fifth-lowest in the NFL in pass attempts this season, but Carr has been crazy efficient with those attempts. He leads the NFL with a 72.3% completion percentage, fourth in QB rating with a 105.23 rating and has a very impressive 15-5 TD-INT ratio. The Jets are quite difficult to run against, having surrendered the second-least yards per game and the least yards per carry this season. That will make it tough for Josh Jacobs to get going and will force more pass attempts from Carr. What really puts him over the edge for us is the expected game flow here. The Jets passing offense profiles quite well against the Raiders defense, making Sam Darnold a very sneaky play though just not trustworthy enough for cash. But Carr’s lower price and very limited downside makes him cash viable here this week.
Don’t Forget About…
Drew Brees, Saints ($8500/$6600) – Brees got back on track last week on the road in a place he historically struggles in, Tampa Bay, where he threw for 228 yards and three touchdowns. This week, he is back home against another familiar opponent in the Carolina Panthers. Carolina is real banged up defensively, as rookie edge rusher Brian Burns has a wrist injury (probable), CB James Bradberry is recovering from a groin injury (probable), CB Ross Cockrell a quad injury (doubtful), CB Donte Jackson a hip injury (doubtful) and DT Gerald McCoy a knee injury (questionable) for this week. With Michael Thomas gunning for the first 2,000 receiving yard season in history, Brees will continue throwing throughout the game until they get as much production there as possible.
Favorite GPP Play…
Ryan Fitzpatrick, Dolphins ($7100/$5000) – Yeah, you are reading this right. It is Week 12 of 2019, and I am somewhat interested in using Ryan Fitzpatrick in DFS. What a fucking world we live in! Here is the deal: the gameflow of the Dolphins/Browns contest has some serious shootout potential. We know the Dolphins defense sucks, and as I’ve illustrated above, Baker Mayfield and the Browns offense is going to get correct all over them this week. But it’s the flip side in which we need to pay attention. The Browns are terrible against the run, but the Dolphins simply cannot run the ball. Cleveland does grade out well against the pass, but most of this is because of their phenomenal pass rush this season. A lot of that has to do with Myles Garrett, who was second in the NFL in sacks and third in pressures going into last week’s game. We know Garrett will no longer be available this season after losing his mind in the final minute of last week’s game. What’s more, Cleveland’s other edge rusher Olivier Vernon has been out for the last two games and is in real danger of missing this week with a knee injury too. The Browns pass rush ranks fourth this season, according to PFF, while their pass coverage is just 21st. That variance is VERY rare and speaks to how poorly these corners are covering. Fitz is a veteran QB who, when given time, has been able to move the chains and get his team in the endzone. His DK price is so low that it allows you to pay up for two extra studs at other positions. A GPP lineup of Fitzpatrick with both CMC and Michael Thomas sounds pretty damn intriguing to me this week.
|NAME||TEAM||OPP||DVOA TOTAL||DVOA RUSH||DEF VS RB||TOTAL OLINE||RUSH OLINE||EVADED TKLS||BRKWYS||OPP SHARE||RZ TOUCH||GZ TOUCH|
WEEK 12 DFS NFL RB BREAKDOWN
Christian McCaffrey, Panthers ($10,500/$10,500) – Newsflash: Christian McCaffrey is good. The dude generated 33 fantasy points last week despite not getting in the endzone. Now, that wasn’t really a good performance, rather just a shitload of receptions that were meaningless to the team. But if the Carolina coaching staff is OK with this philosophy, who are we to stop them? This is about as bad of a matchup as there is for McCaffrey, as the Saints have allowed the ninth-fewest rushing yards, 13th best yards per attempt, fourth-fewest receiving yards to RBs and fourth-fewest fantasy points to RBs this season. In four career meetings against the Saints, CMC has rushed for 16, 16, 53 and 18 yards. He only has one TD (receiving) against them as well. But, the Panthers have no quarterback to move this offense and will lean solely on CMC regardless of whether it’s effective or not this week. I am not going to tell you whether to play him or not, as this is your choice. What I have done for you this week is to give you the proper options to either use or fade CMC in cash games.
Alvin Kamara, Saints ($8300/$8200) – Kamara has logged 10 targets in back-to-back games now, hauling in 18 catches for 97 yards receiving in that span. He also rushed for 13-75-0 against a tough Bucs rush defense last week, as well. The Panthers have real trouble stopping running backs this season. Carolina has given up, by far, the most rushing and total TDs to RBs this season (15 rushing, 3 receiving). The Panthers have also given up the third-most fantasy points to RBs this season. They also are dead last in DVOA against the run and have given up the fourth-most rushing yards per attempt. This is an outstanding matchup for Kamara and the Saints running game, and at over a $2K discount from CMC, which makes it quite a hard decision between the two this week.
Miles Sanders, Eagles ($5600/$5000) – How about a little price relief at RB this week? There really isn’t much value at RB this week, but if Jordan Howard is indeed out (questionable but not yet cleared for contact), Sanders becomes a very solid cheap option for us. Sanders was in on 85.3% of snaps a week ago without Howard, which is the most any Eagles RB has ever had since Doug Pederson took over as head coach in 2016. Jay Ajayi will likely have a role that could even include short-yardage vulture carries, but that doesn’t diminish the impact Sanders would likely have on this game. The Seahawks have allowed the 16th most rushing yards per game and 11th most rushing yards per attempt this season. At this salary, all we are looking for out of Sanders is 10-11 fantasy points. I have his floor projected at 10-42-.2 rushing and 5-4-36-.3 receiving, which equates to 12.8 FD points – well above the 2x marker – and 14.8 DK points, which is just under 3x return. Given that using Sanders would also get you your top other RB of the week, he is certainly a fine cash game play for Week 12.
Derrick Henry, Titans ($8400/$6900) – I really hate this FD price to the point that I just don’t believe I will be able to use Henry in cash games this week. Most of you know, Henry is one of my favorite RBs this season. With the massive improvements along the Titans offensive line and now a capable starting QB, he has been the fourth-highest scoring fantasy RB over the past four weeks. The matchup is just about as good as it gets here, as well as he’s coming off of a bye week to face the team with the third-worst DVOA against the run, has surrendered the third-most rushing yards per game and the most rushing yards per attempt. Earlier this year, he had a modest game against the Jaguars, going 17-44-1; but last season in Week 14, he demolished them for 17-238-4. His Week 12 performance will be somewhere between those two (profound huh?), but the one downer is he just doesn’t have any pass-catching chops to fall back on. Granted, Henry has five catches and a receiving TD over his last two games, but at this high of a price tag, I wish the floor would be a little higher.
Phillip Lindsay, Broncos ($6300/$5200) – There was some early week concern over Lindsay’s foot and wrist injuries, but he isn’t on the final injury report for this week. The Broncos have decided to let Lindsay carry more of the load coming out of their Week 10 bye, and thus, we saw Lindsay’s snap share climb to 65% and his touches to 18. This increase comes at a perfect time, as the Bills have had real trouble stopping the run of late. The Bills have allowed the sixth-most rushing yards per game and sixth-worst DVOA against the run this season. Before shutting down Miami last week, the Bills had allowed 100+ rushers in each of the five previous games.
Don’t Forget About…
Nick Chubb, Browns ($8200/$8100) – I love Chubb this week. There is no doubt. But for me, there are other RBs who provide a similar type of floor to Chubb, given the matchup. When we think about upside, there is a ton to spare with Chubb, as the Dolphins are absolutely terrible against opposing RBs. Miami has surrendered the fourth-most rushing yards per game, seventh-most rushing yards per attempt and seventh-most fantasy points to running backs this season. They are fourth-worst DVOA against the run this season, as well. If you believe the proposed Vegas game script, the Browns should win this game going away (by 10+ points) and be in control of the game the entire way. That is a perfect scenario for Chubb, who is second in the NFL in rushing attempts, third in rushing yards, second in yards per rush attempt and sixth in fantasy points among RBs this season. He’s a home run hitter who also is a massive volume generator. If indeed the Browns run away with this game, Chubb will have so many opportunities to smash and it will certainly hit. If the game is closer, Kareem Hunt becomes more of a factor, especially in the passing game, which obviously comes at a direct hit to Chubb. He is plenty safe for cash this week but might be better suited at a lower ownership rate in tournaments.
Favorite GPP Play…
Saquon Barkley, Giants ($7900/$7900) – Go back in time and tell your Week 1 self that you would get the consensus #1 overall pick in fantasy football for under $8K on both sites against the team that has allowed the third-most rushing TDs, second-most receptions to RBs and 9th most fantasy points to RBs this season? Then, after your Week 1 self gets off the floor, tell them that you will also get him at under 10% ownership. There are a lot of great RB plays this week, but to win a GPP, you need to have the absolute best of the best plays and do so without the vast majority of people using them. That is Saquon Barkley this week.
|NAME||TEAM||OPP||DVOA TOTAL||DVOA PASS||DEF VS WR||PASS CVG||TGT SHARE||AIR YD SHARE||ADOT||CATCH%||SEPERATION||FPTS PER TGT|
|Laviska Shenault Jr.||JAX||MIN||0.0||0.0||47.1||27.0||0.00||0.11||0.00||0.74||4.00||0.00|
|Odell Beckham Jr.||CLE||TEN||0.0||0.0||45.1||23.0||0.00||0.38||0.00||0.55||2.70||0.00|
WR/CB MATCHUPS (BASED ON PFF RATINGS – % Rating Difference 2019)
- Allen Robinson, Bears → DeAndre Baker, Giants – 43%
- Anthony Miller, Bears → Corey Ballentine, Giants – 37%
- Taylor Gabriel, Bears → Janoris Jenkins, Giants – 30%
- Jarvis Landry, Browns → Jomal Wiltz, Dolphins – 25%
- Mike Evans, Buccaneers → Isaiah Oliver, Falcons – 22%
- D.J. Moore, Panthers → P.J. Williams, Saints – 22%
- Marquise Brown, Ravens → Jalen Ramsey, Rams – 22%
- Tyler Lockett, Seahawks → Avonte Maddox, Eagles – 20%
- Chris Godwin, Buccaneers → Kendall Sheffield, Falcons – 19%
- Nelson Agholor, Eagles → Jamar Taylor, Seahawks – 16%
WORST COVERAGE CORNERBACKS – WR MATCHUP (Mans Model)
- DeAndre Baker, Giants → Allen Robinson, Bears
- Isaiah Oliver, Falcons → Mike Evans, Buccaneers
- Daryl Roberts, Jets → Tyrell Williams, Raiders
- P.J. Williams, Saints → Jarius Wright, Panthers (unless Marshon Lattimore is out, then its D.J. Moore)
- Nik Needham, Dolphins → Odell Beckham Jr., Browns
- Josh Norman, Redskins → Marvin Jones, Lions
- Ronald Darby, Eagles → DK Metcalf, Seahawks
- Carlton Davis, Buccaneers → Calvin Ridley, Falcons
- T.J. Carrie, Browns → Albert Wilson, Dolphins
- Justin Coleman, Lions → Trey Quinn, Redskins
- Mike Hilton, Steelers → Tyler Boyd, Bengals
- Janoris Jenkins, Giants → Taylor Gabriel, Bears
- Jomal Wiltz, Dolphins → Jarvis Landry, Browns
- Mike Edwards, Buccaneers → Russell Gage, Falcons
- Lamarcus Joyner, Raiders → Jamison Crowder, Jets
WEEK 12 DFS NFL WR BREAKDOWN
Michael Thomas, Saints ($9200/$9300) – It’s definitely a lot of salary to spend on a WR, but Thomas is 100% worth it. Engineer it from the back to the front. Thomas is just 859 yards away from the first 2,000-yard season in history for a wide receiver. He has six games to get there, meaning he has to average 143 yards per game over the rest of the season. He also needs 50 receptions to break Marvin Harrison’s single-season record of 143. Yeah, that seems like a lot, but the Saints deeply care about these kinds of individual (and team) records and have outwardly said they will attempt to get him these records. He’s going to need a massive game in one of these in order to make the load more manageable. A home game against a team that has allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to WRs in which the Saints are 10-point favorites seems like as good a place as any to make up ground. Do you want to be fading a 13-11-166-1 game from Thomas at 30%+ ownership?
Odell Beckham, Browns ($7000/$7000) – It’s been a disappointing season for Beckham, for sure. But OBJ is 10th in the NFL in targets, 20th in receptions and 18th in receiving yards. He’s also faced the most difficult schedule for fantasy WRs this season (see my Baker Mayfield writeup above). This week, however, he gets the Dolphins, who are dead last in DVOA against the pass, last in passing yards surrendered, given up the second-most receiving TDs to WRs and fourth-highest yards per completion to WRs this season. This is what we call a “get right” matchup for the entire Browns offense, and Beckham is the poster child for this disappointing season. A big game at home this week would go a long way to heal some of those wounds.
DeVante Parker, Dolphins ($6000/$5200) – I’ve spent all week proclaiming my love for this Miami/Cleveland game and how I think the game will go over the expected total. Parker has been incredibly consistent this season and especially so since Ryan Fitzpatrick reassumed the starting QB job. Over the last five weeks, Parker has the 14th most targets, 15th in receptions, 15th in receiving yards and 15th in fantasy points. Miami has had success moving Parker around in the formation, and thus, he will square off against all of Denzel Ward, Greedy Williams and my #9 worst CB T.J. Carrie. We need value players who can provide us a quality return this week and offset the cost of the studs like CMC and Michael Thomas.
Jamison Crowder, Jets ($6500/$6200) – My #15 worst CB is Lamarcus Joyner, who is very questionable to play this week for the Raiders. If he doesn’t, it will be a former whipping boy of mine and former Lions CB Nevin Lawson on Crowder. Crowder has been on a major heater since Sam Darnold returned from Mono. Over the last three weeks, Crowder has the 13th most receptions, 19th most receiving yards, second-most TDs and fourth-most fantasy points among WRs in the NFL. His price is climbing but still low enough that my floor projection of 8-6-63-.3 or 11.3 FD points (14.3 DK) is enough to punch our cash game ticket this week.
James Washington, Steelers ($6100/$5000) – JuJu Smith-Schuster is out for this week, and Diontae Johnson is questionable but expected to play. Washington has finally found his groove with QB Mason Rudolph and has gone 12-9-139-1 over the past two games. He played 85.9% of snaps last week against the Browns and will slide into that WR1 role here this week, whether Johnson plays or not. The Bengals are second-worst DVOA against the pass, have allowed the second-most passing yards and most passing yards per attempt this season.
Don’t Forget About…
Mike Evans, Buccaneers ($8000/$7300) – Please note, I have been awful at picking Evans or Chris Godwin ever since week three so take this for what it’s worth. But Evans grades out ahead this week, as he draws the coverage of my #2 worst CB in the NFL in Falcons CB Isaiah Oliver. Evans has eight career TDs in 10 games against the Falcons and rang up a 13-10-164-2 line against them last season. The Falcons defense has played a lot better of late, but with two games of tape on them now, I am sure Bruce Arians will have a gameplan ready.
Favorite GPP Play…
Julio Jones, Falcons ($8400/$8000) – We could legitimately have Julio, Calvin Ridley and Russell Gage in this spot here this week, as all three are in great spots against a terrible Tampa Bay secondary. All week, I have thought Julio would be very low owned but have been starting to hear a lot of whispers about him from people talking about cash games, which does worry me he’ll be closer to 20-30% owned. The Buccaneers have surrendered the fourth-most receptions, the most receiving yards, the most touchdowns and the most fantasy points to WRs this season. They also have the third-worst DVOA against the pass and given up the eighth-most passing yards per attempt. There truly isn’t a bad WR matchup for any of the Falcons receivers this week, so if you are in a spot where you have the room for a high priced stud like Julio, need a mid-tier upside option like Calvin Ridley or just need a get-me-over WR like Russell Gage, head to Atlanta this week.
|NAME||TEAM||OPP||DVOA TOTAL||DEF VS TE||SLOT%||TGT SHARE||AIR YD SHARE||ADOT||CATCH%||SEPERATION||FPTS PER TGT|
WEEK 12 DFS NFL TE BREAKDOWN
Zach Ertz, Eagles ($6100/$6000) – This is a price we can handle. Contrary to popular belief, Ertz is still an elite level tight end, yet we don’t have to pay the elite level price for him anymore. Ertz is on pace for 138 targets, 88 receptions, 994 yards and 4 TDs this season. Sure, that wouldn’t match his incredible 156-116-1163-8 season from 2018, but this would still represent his second-best season ever. Ertz leads all TEs in targets per game, is third in receptions, third in receiving yards among TEs and fifth in fantasy points. Dallas Goedert gobbling up four touchdowns certainly has hurt Ertz’s overall numbers, which means he is a poster child for positive TD regression here soon. The Seahawks have surrendered the 10th most TDs to TEs and ninth-most fantasy points to them this season. The Eagles are banged up at WR with Alshon Jeffery questionable from an ankle injury after missing last week and Nelson Agholor is a longshot to play with a knee injury. Ertz’s back-to-back 11 target and nine reception performances have him trending up going into this week’s matchup.
Ryan Griffin, Jets ($5600/$4200) – I missed on Griffin last week, and that really pisses me off. That is why we have our individual positional coaches here at Elite Fantasy, and I really should have consulted with Benny Ricciardi about Griffin before finalizing my projections last week. With the Chris Herndon situation safely in the rearview mirror, Griffin has been stringing together quality games one after the other. Over the last four weeks, Ryan Griffin has the fourth-most fantasy points among TEs. That includes one stinker in there against the Giants as well in which he only caught one ball in Week 10. The Raiders have surrendered the second-most TDs and third-most fantasy points to TEs so far this season.
Greg Olsen, Panthers ($5100/$4100) – I don’t have a lot of faith in Carolina QB Kyle Allen, but I do trust him enough to feed his TE Greg Olsen the football. Olsen is fifth in the NFL among TEs in targets, fourth in receptions and fifth in receiving yards over the last three games. He doesn’t have a TD since his two TD performance in week three against the Arizona Cardinals, but it’s just a matter of time before those red zone targets (18.6 red zone target share) turn into touchdowns. Using Olsen isn’t likely to result in a big output of fantasy points, but he does stabilize the position in a week where there are many, many potholes.
Vance McDonald, Steelers ($5300/$3500) – Here is a bit of a surprise. McDonald has been quietly steady when healthy this season and has developed quite a chemistry with QB Mason Rudolph. Let’s start with the basics. Which TE had the highest snap % last week with 95.9%? Vance McDonald. Which TE has the highest snap % over the last four weeks at 88.3%? Vance McDonald. McDonald also has the fifth-most targets (21) among TEs over the last three weeks. McDonald is also second among all TEs in the NFL in red zone target share this season at 26.5%, trailing only Travis Kelce. This immense amount of snaps, targets and red zone targets are the holy trinity when you are looking for a sleeper or breakout fantasy TE. When you also factor the Steelers could be without RB James Conner, WR JuJu Smith-Schuster and WR Diontae Johnson for this week, that puts even more volume in McDonald’s corner. The Bengals are second-worst DVOA against the TE and have surrendered the seventh-most yards to TEs this season. McDonald against Cincinnati safety Jessie Bates is also the third-best TE matchup of the week, according to PFF.
Don’t Forget About…
Delanie Walker, Titans ($5400/$3800) – Walker last played in week six against the Broncos; the game in which Ryan Tannehill came in relief of Marcus Mariota and took the QB1 job from him. Walker hurt his ankle in that game and thus hasn’t played a full game with Tannehill yet this season. Over the first five games of the season, the Titans under Marcus Mariota had a 17.7% target share to the TE position. Over the last four games with Ryan Tannehill, the Titans are throwing to the TE 25.8% of the time. Walker has had two full days of practice and is probable to return this week against the Jaguars. Earlier this season against the Jaguars, Delanie put up nine targets, seven receptions and 64 yards. That is a 13.4 fantasy point effort, well above our 2x target in cash games.
**UPDATE** – Walker somehow is listed as DOUBTFUL for Sunday’s game against the Jaguars. But there are conflicting reports so I am leaving Walker in here for the time being.
Jacob Hollister, Seahawks ($5800/$4300) – Hollister is next man up if Walker can’t go.
Favorite GPP Play…
Noah Fant, Broncos ($5100/$3900) – Have you been watching the Broncos lately? I can appreciate you saying “no,” but they are a real tough out lately, giving teams like the Colts, Browns and Vikings all they can handle. The other thing that stands out over the last two games is the impressive play of QB Brandon Allen, who had previously never taken an NFL snap before. What’s more, if you had watched these games, you’d surely know Allen fricking loves throwing to TE Noah Fant. Over the last two weeks, Fant is fifth among NFL TEs in targets, 11th in receptions and eighth in fantasy points scored. All of that while he has four drops; two of which were in the endzone (not red zone!) and would have been sure TDs. All Fant needs to do is hang onto the football, and if he does, the fantasy production will be there. The Bills are a tough matchup, but they haven’t faced any true move TEs like Fant, other than Zach Ertz in week eight.
Chicago Bears ($5000/$3700) – The Bears offense is ass, but this defense is still among the NFL leaders in most defensive categories this season. The Bears are third in overall DVOA, third DVOA against the pass, seventh in overall defense according to PFF, sixth against the run according to PFF, fifth-best pass rush according to PFF, third-best points against, sixth-least total yards surrendered, fifth-least rushing yards against, third-best yards per carry against and 13th best in takeaways. The Giants have allowed the fourth-most pressures, the sixth-most sacks and the second-most giveaways this season.
Pittsburgh Steelers ($5000/$4000) – I liked it better when the Steelers were one of the cheapest DSTs every week. But now, everybody knows just how good they are and all the stats back this up, as well. Pittsburgh is second in overall DVOA, second DVOA against the pass, sixth DVOA against the run, the best overall defense according to PFF, best pass rush according to PFF, third-most sacks, fourth-highest sack percentage and second in the NFL in takeaways. The Bengals are awful, as we know, and are starting a rookie QB behind a banged-up offensive line.
New Orleans Saints ($4900/$3300) – The first of the cheaper DK DSTs here, though, the Saints are still quite expensive on FD this week. Kyle Allen has hit the wall and has become one of the most turnover-prone QBs in the NFL right now, having turned it over 11 times over his last four games. Going on the road to the Superdome isn’t going to help that whatsoever. Carolina has also allowed the sixth-most sacks and has the sixth-highest sack percentage in the NFL this season.
Philadelphia Eagles ($3200/$2500) – Alright, let’s get to the cheap DST and see who is worthy and who should be faded. The Eagles are ridiculously cheap this week, and unfairly so, according to my model here. Philly has allowed 17, 14 & 13 points in each of their last three games. They have also generated the fifth-most pressures (30), seventh-most QB hits (23) and 12th most sacks (9) over that span. We know the Eagles will stop the run, as evidenced by their fifth-best DVOA against the run, fourth-least rushing yards against and fifth-best yards per carry against this season. The Seahawks are indeed fifth in rush attempts this season so that will help neutralize them there. But what’s most impressive is how the Eagles have seemingly cured their secondary issues thanks to the return of CBs Ronald Darby & Avonte Maddox. The Eagles are allowing an average of just 180 passing yards per game over their last six, which is second-best in the NFL. Let’s not expect them to shut down Russell Wilson, of course, but for the third-lowest price of any DST this week, the Eagles are definitely worth the risk.
Here is the weekly DFS NFL content schedule for those who need a refresher:
Monday – Lineup Review w/ Taylor Canevari*
Tuesday – QB Coach w/ Vlad Sedler*
Wednesday – RB Coach w/ Ted Schuster*
Thursday – WR Coach w/ Tyler Buecher*
Thursday Night – Primetime Livestream w/ Benny Ricciardi & Russell Clay
Friday – TE Coach w/ Benny Ricciardi*
Friday Night – NFL NOW Livestream w/ Tommy G & Jeff Mans (Hey, that’s ME!)
Saturday – DST Coach w/ Thad Houston
Saturday Night – Lineup Coaching w/ Jeff Mans (Hey, that’s me AGAIN!)*
Sunday – NFL NOW Livestream w/ Draftcheat & Brian Healy (10am ET)
Sunday – Lineup Lock Chat w/ Ted Schuster (11:30am ET)*
*All the action goes down in the DFS NFL CHAT