NFL DFS Week 10: Hot Sizzle Taeks
Yes, please feed me more injuries! My voracious appetite for lineup-crushing injuries must be satiated! Or so I'd imagine what the NFL Gods would say every Sunday since it appears every week there's going to be some sort of irritating injury pre/post-games. Last week was the loss of Watson for the season and the surprising inactive tag for Ertz. Then that Dez Bryant guy got nicked up. But unfortunately for us, time is an arrow that marches forward. Onto to the next tilting week of NFL DFS! It is time to figure out the Dallas Cowboys' situation regarding Elliott and the WRs. Zeke seems poised to play with his new temporary stay that allows him to continue suiting up on Sundays until the court says otherwise. That could happen before the game, but that appears unlikely at the moment. Dez Bryant has been unable to practice, leaving the door wide open for another Terrance Williams smash game. It also leaves the door open for an even increased role for Zeke, putting an onus on checking NFL news before lock. There's a little bit of good news for the dilapidated players that's been getting crushed by the Variance Gods in NFL – TURKEY DAY IS IN A FEW WEEKS! GOBBLE GOBBLE YA JIVE TURKEY! That means a brand new edition of 2ToN's Turkey Day piece where I compare players to various Thanksgiving items such as stuffing, mashed potatoes, and fruitcake! Yum!
Anyways, onto the NFL DFS Week 10 picks!
Top Play – With TNF/MNF cutting down on elite QB plays for those who primarily play on DK, I'll go ahead and slot Matt Stafford here. He gets a home game against a Browns pass defense giving up the 8th most fantasy points to opposing QBs, rank 28th DVOA, and the 14th most plays given up. That last stat has now risen to 3rd most over the past month despite the Browns basically doing nothing on offense. The Lions have been much faster at home compared to on the road, running at nearly the league's highest no-huddle pace at home. Stafford has been on a little bit of a tear lately, surpassing 300+ passing yards for 3 straight games. One thing that makes Stafford such an elite play is the Browns' surprisingly adept run defense, ranking best in DVOA, giving up the least yards per carry, and the 8th fewest fantasy points given up. That means an already anemic Lions running attack will likely turn into mush as the game goes on, forcing Stafford to carry the team on his back. Ameer Abdullah potentially could be in the doghouse after fumbling twice last week, and we all know Theo Riddick isn't a real running back. More passing attempts baby! Stafford rates very highly on the DR projections, ranking in as the 2nd best QB play.
Value Play – Well, there goes Goff's price. Guess they finally learned their lesson at pricing Goff much too low in good match-ups. Let's look around the league for decent lower priced options. Hmm, Mariota looks good! So does Dalton! Wait a minute....they both rank near the bottom in plays ran? And play even slower? Ugh. Ok, how about whoever's playing the 49ers? Eli Manning? I'm gonna say no. Trubisky or Hundley? HEY! I said a good QB! Hmm...guess there's only one logical choice here. It's the Clown Show time! Josh McCown has been surpassing whatever little expectations anyone had for his Jets performance. He's now scored at least 2 TDs in 5 straight games, with his best performances against bottom-tier pass defenses like the Patriots and the Browns. Let's check out how the Bucs pass defense has fared thus far. 31st ranked DVOA? 7th most fantasy points AND plays given up? YAAAAAAS!! There's even a possibility that old man Lord Forte may miss the game (has not practiced at the time of the writing), increasing McCown's pass attempts against a very vulnerable Bucs pass defense. Not to mention it won't even be Famous Jameis suiting up for the Bucs offense, which could lead to multiple punts and more possessions for the Clown Show to show what a real Juggalo looks like. It's an infinitely better option than rostering the carcass of C.J. Beathard, the Browns QB position, Rivers against the best damn defense, and some guys that don't suck enough for the teams to sign Kaepernick. Lock and load!
HOT TAEK – Speaking of whoever is playing the 49ers, let's take a closer look at Eli Manning before completely passing him over. Ben McAdoo is rumored to be fired before the 49ers game, has continued to talk trash about how terrible his players are, and the Giants offense has turned into a snail over the past month. What's to like here? Easy! The 49ers are shockingly worse! The 49ers may as well be the I.R.ers, with an impressive 18 players on IR as of now. That includes players such as Pierre Garcon, Arik Armstead, Tank Carradine, Jimmie Ward, Jaquiski Tartt, and Gary Gilliam. That's the 49ers' top safety duo, one of their best DL, and an OT they signed to replace their already injured OL. Seems bad, doesn't it? The stats have reflected how badly the injury bug has stung the 49ers, ranking at a paltry 27th DVOA for their pass defense, giving up the 3rd most points to opposing QBs, and continued dead last place in snaps given up. All of the above are good things for Eli Manning and company, provided said company doesn't spontaneously combust after Eli throws a duck to Roger Lewis. I mean, this is a team that allowed Stanton to throw TWO passing touchdowns! TWO! And Stanton even forgot how to play QB on a TD play, running backward for 30 yards before realizing he's supposed to throw the ball. It is a Super Bowl winning QB after all, right? Right, guys? Guys?
Top Play – Le'Veon Bell has now broken the DR projections yet once again. Let's keep this simple. Bell is good. The Steelers like Bell. Indianapolis is not good. Bell gets almost 40 touches a game. The Colts are not good. Bell is good. The Steelers spam Bell. Ben likes Bell. The Colts give up the 6th most fantasy points to opposing RBs. Bell is a bell-cow. More cow-bell is always good. Bell is good. Ohm. Breathe deep. Hold it. A little more now....and release! Repeat after me. Bell is good. The Colts are not good. Bell will get a double bonus. Bell is life. Life is Bell. Breathe.
Value Play – Powell would have to be heavily considered here if Forte is unable to suit up, but that's a Sunday news pre-lock to keep an eye on. I cannot wait until then! Let's take a gander! Oh, oh. This looks frightening. It appears to be a week to pay up at RB or suffer the consequences. I'll say the Miami RB duo of Drake/Williams should be serviceable options on PPR sites, as they seem convinced that the only way to move the ball is to pepper the defense with a billion flat passes. It's not a great match-up versus the Panthers, but still better than the likes of Duke Johnson, Orleans Darkwa, Joe Mixon, and even DeMarco Murray. Yes, even better than Murray, who's been unable to muster a decent offensive day since Week 3! So...who do we even consider as a value play outside of the aforementioned names? How about a name many may have forgotten as his team's been falling off the map? Devonta Freeman is now priced below his talent level, though it is an appropriate price drop considering his performance plus the team's inability to call good plays. Still, that's a Freeman who can drop 100+ rushing yards in an instant against anyone provided he actually gets the opportunities. Maybe this is the week he does against a 30th ranked DVOA Cowboys run defense. The Falcons HAVE to prove to everyone that they're still an elite team, and the only logical way to do that is to run the ball against the Cowboys' biggest weakness. If Freeman ever goes back to his elite 20+ touches per game production, then he should easily blow past his price as a value play. It's a risky dice roll but if you had to take a chance, choosing an elite RB is a much better option than whatever garbage sits in the bottom tiers.
HOT TAEK – I'm gonna go with Melvin Gordon here, even if it is a name that should never really be considered a “HOT TAEK”. He's facing possibly one of the best defenses the NFL has seen in the past decade, rivaling the Mile High No Fly Broncos SB team. The Jaguars defense rank highly in almost every statistical category expect one – their run defense. They did trade for Marcell Dareus and throttled the Bengals offense to their lowest offensive plays ran all season. Still, that's the Bengals. They stink. The Chargers are a little bit better with a QB who doesn't look like he belongs in a Children of the Corn sequel. The Jags still rank 31st in run defense DVOA, with the same ranking in yards per carry given up. The Chargers have the 10th fastest pace in the NFL, yet rank at a 4th lowest plays ran. That's mainly due to depending on Gordon to carry the team across the field, giving him 94 total touches over the past month. That's a huge workload for Gordon no matter the match-up. Gordon's also been a big part of the passing attack, gobbling up 26 targets over the same span. It's an elite RB play that many may overlook due to the pure dominance of the Jags defense and their recent trade for Dareus. Trust the numbers!
Top Play – I'm sure many will flock to either Julio Jones or Antonio Brown as their top WR play, but I'm gonna pivot off them and die on the A.J. Green hill. It's going to be the ANGRY GREEN NARRATIVE!!!! Yes, that Titans/Bengals game looks like an awful low-output game, but Green is still a top 5 WR with a QB that's willing to spam him. The Titans are 22nd DVOA against the pass, currently, start a guy named LeShaun Sims at RCB, and give up the 13th most fantasy points to receivers. ANGRY GREEN could be looking to make a big splash against a Titans defense that's largely been reliant on the stellar play of their star safety in Kevin Byard to cover up their pass defense holes. There's only so much Byard can do, and the up-and-down play of rookie CB Adoree Jackson could be a major part of Green's success. Green has historically eaten up young inexperienced corners regardless of their talent level. Both Titans boundary CBs are near the top in fantasy points given up per route, so it shouldn't matter which side Green lines up on. It's all going to come down to how Dalton bounces back from a dreadful game, something Dalton usually does well at. He's basically a guy you only take every other week. Will it be a pivot that wins you all the monies? I don't know. I'm just a guy. A really cool guy.
Value Play – So many options. JuJu Smith-Schuster? Robby Anderson? DeSean Jackson? Robert Woods? Even Chris Godwin? Decisions, decisions. Smith-Schuster's price seems juuuuust a little too high for my taste, especially in a game that could be a full-on Bell spam game-script. Jackson is one of the better plays on the slate if Morris Claiborne can't suit up for the Jets, as he's been the Jets' best corner and usually shadows #1 WRs. Then there's that whole Dez thing. There's also a possibility that Jason McCourty can go for the Browns and ends up shadowing Marvin Jones, killing his fantasy ceiling. Still, the Browns pass defense has been so bad that it may not even matter. Screw it, might as well pivot off EVERYTHING! I'm going with Sterling Shepard! YES! A GIANTS STACK BABY! The 49ers have been one of the worst at defending slot receivers, something Shepard excels at (85% of routes ran). The 49ers also have no idea who will even be their starting nickel with their plethora of injuries and utter lack of competent safeties. As mentioned in the Eli Manning blurb, the 49ers can't stop anything. Not even Drew Stanton. Shepard had a solid game last week, hauling in 5 of his 9 targets for 70 yards, showing no issues with his previous ankle injury. He's also at a nice tidy price where even if Manning flops, he only really needs a 5/50 day to salvage. Someone's going to feast on the 49ers, and it just might be Shepard instead of Evan Engram.
HOT TAEK – I'm sure most of you may have noticed the absurdly high team total for the Rams and jammed in Watkins/Woods. Well, here I am to tell you that you're wrong. WRONG! It's Kupp week, not those two other hacks. Kupp has the best match-up out of the 3, facing Kareem Jackson on 63% of his routes. Why is that a big deal? Well, Jackson now grades as one of the NFL's worst corners with one of the highest fantasy points given up per route. Some may point out that Kevin Johnson has worse grades, and to those silly billies I say this – HE WAS HURT! He had a sprained MCL a month ago! He only played on 65% of the snaps in that crazy SEA/HOU game in his 1st game back, so it's a little difficult to gauge his talent level. He had a better time against the Colts with 80% of the snaps played, while Hilton tore Kareem Jackson apart at every single opportunity he got on his way to a massive 175-yard day. That includes his strange 80 yard TD that a fellow Texan had missed contacting Hilton. Guess who it was? Yep, Kareem Jackson. Not only does Kupp get a bum CB, he's also been the leading red zone WR for the Rams with 15 targets. That's a massive 38% market share of the RZ target for such a little guy. When the Rams are in scoring position, it's either Gurley or Kupp. Simple. Pick the slot WR against the Texans every single week until Jackson is benched! They're 29th DVOA against the slot for a reason!
Top Play – Pick Gronk if you play on a slate that includes SNF. Don't even think about it. If you don't play those kinds of slates, then it's time to ponder. Outside of Engram, there are no real obvious options to choose from. Reed may end up playing which would hurt Vernon Davis and make paying his price out of the question. The Bucs pass defense may be bad, but they're at least strong against TEs, giving up the 5th fewest fantasy points. There goes ASJ. The only realistic choice for a smashfest is Kyle Rudolph against one of the worst TE coverage units. The Redskins have continued to hemorrhage fantasy points to opposing tight ends, ranking 4th in that category with a dismal 29th DVOA. Rudolph continued to be a target hog for the Vikings despite Diggs returning to the lineup, amassing 7 targets against the Browns with a TD score. That brings his total to 47 targets on the season, good for 17% MS of the team's targets. What we're mostly looking for with Rudolph is his red zone usage, as he's now up to 30% MS of the red zone targets. That makes Rudolph an every week TE play based on potential TD production alone. Against a porous Redskins TE coverage, this pick seems like a no brainer if you don't play Gronk/Engram.
Value Play – Just punt it. PUNT IT ALL! There is no real value here. You're just praying and hoping for a couple catches and maybe a red zone look or two. Austin Hooper and Tyler Kroft pops as the most viable punt plays on the DR projections. Kroft's always been a reliable punt option with his consistent target workload (24 targets over the last 5 games), and Hooper is in a favorable match-up with a potential shoot-out with an increased role over the past month. You could even go with Dion Sims on the Bears if you felt like completely punting the position. I mean, he did get 5 targets last game! There is one more value play that would be posted here, but I needed someone to insult for my HOT TAEK. Sorry. Don't Charlie Brown the TE position!
HOT TAEK – Quick, name one of the biggest TE draft busts in the past decade. If you answered anyone other than Eric Ebron, YOU'RE WRONG! Ebron has not lived up to his lofty 1st round tag for the Lions, consistently playing below his talent level and dropping half of his targets. Yet, as is the nature of the NFL, Ebron will still get a chance to put up a monster game in one of best match-ups Ebron could hope for. He gets one of the worst TE coverage units in the NFL, a 30th DVOA ranked Browns defense giving up the 2nd most fantasy points to the position. Ebron may be one of the worst at turning his target volume into actual yards (3 games in the last 6 with single digit receiving yards), but the main point here is TARGETS. Ebron now has collected 28 targets in his last 6 games despite being completely useless in half of those said games. Ebron even has the 2nd most red zone targets! If there ever was a time to roster Ebron and have him actually pay dividends, it would be this week against the Browns. You could say it's Ebron's last chance to get off your Do Not Roster list.
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