It’s Week 10 of the National Football League schedule, and we have four teams on bye with one game (Buffalo-N.Y. Jets) already in the books. There are still plenty of very good games to from which to choose DFS players, including four divisional battles.
If you follow the NFL lines from Vegas, you’ll see a total in the mid-50s for the New England-N.Y. Giants game, and a total of 50 for both the New Orleans-Washington and Miami-Philadelphia games. I am a little skeptical of Saints players in an outdoor game against a pretty decent Redskins defense, although I could certainly see those other two games being shootouts. You’ll also want to dig into the defensive stats and exploit certain matchups. At this point, teams are what we thought they are, to coin a Dennis Green phrase. Take advantage of the lesser defenses, and look for cheap injury replacements, too.
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Tom Brady, QB, New England ($7,700 at NYG): The Giants rank 31st in the NFL against the pass, allowing 307.8 yards per game with 17 touchdowns. The G-Men have also been exploited for 36 pass plays of 20 or more yards this season, and TB12 and the Pats pass attack would love to add to that total. Brady has at least 275 passing yards and two or more TD strikes in each of his eight games this season, and it would be an absolute stunner if he didn’t go for at least 300 yards and two scores in this one.
Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England ($5,800 at NYG): You’re likely getting the picture. The Patriots are the slam-dunk stack of the week, at least in terms of the passing game, as the Giants cannot stop anyone. If you can afford a few more dollars in salary, this is the week you’ll want to splurge on Gronk, and maybe go light at the running back spot with some injury replacements available.
Blake Bortles, QB, Jacksonville ($6,300 at BAL): Bortles is going to be a popular play against a Baltimore pass defense that allows 283.9 yards per game with 33 pass plays of 20 or more yards. The Jaguars have a pair of dynamic receivers in Allen Hurns and Allen Robinson, and they’ll likely be locked in a shootout with a Ravens offense that can also score plenty of points. This could be one of the better games in terms of Fantasy production.
Julian Edelman, WR, New England ($5,800 at NYG): Edelman is a dependable DFS option, as you know you’re going to get a least four or five receptions at a minimum with 50 or more yards. He also has seven touchdowns over his past seven games, so he generally meets or exceeds DFS expectations. He will be facing a terrible pass defense, so you likely can expect those totals to be quite a bit higher Sunday. It is expected you’ll see eight to 10 receptions with 85 or more yards and a score.
Allen Hurns, WR, Jacksonville ($4,900 at BAL): Hurns (foot) is questionable for this game due to a foot injury, but he took part in a walkthrough Friday and expressed confidence he would be able to play Sunday against Baltimore’s leaky pass D. For DFS players, let’s hope that is the case. He enters play with a touchdown in six consecutive games, and he has a more than good chance to extend that streak against the Ravens. Check back 90 minutes before kickoff to make sure he is active. If he sits, Allen Robinson ($5,000) could be in line for a giant stat line. However, if both are active, Hurns if the receiver of choice for DFS purposes.
DeAngelo Williams, RB, Pittsburgh ($5,300 vs. CLE): You’re going to enjoy D-Will’s production against the Browns and their 32nd-ranked rush defense. Cleveland allows 5.8 more yards per game than any other team in the league, and they have been gouged for a league-high 11 rush plays of 20 or more yards. Williams will certainly be a focal point of the offense, especially with QB Ben Roethlisberger (foot) on the sidelines with a mid-foot sprain. The Browns will likely try to stack the box and force Landry Jones to beat them, but Williams should still see plenty of room to shake free against their porous D.
BARGAIN BIN VALUES AND CONTRARIAN PLAYS
Antonio Andrews, RB, Tennessee ($4,300 vs. CAR): The Panthers’ defense has been pretty stout this season, but the run defense ranks middle of the pack with 108.4 yards per game and a total of six rush TDs. Andrews was leaned upon heavily last weekend by interim head coach Mike Mularkey, and it paid off with 88 rush yards and 111 total yards from scrimmage. Andrews appears to be the bell cow, and there is talk with David Cobb returning that former second-round pick Bishop Sankey could be a healthy inactive. Andrews has the top job right now, and he will see a lion’s share of the touches in the backfield.
Travis Benjamin, WR, Cleveland ($4,200 at PIT): Remember when Benjamin looked like the second-coming of Josh Gordon, sans all the off-field problems, and he was among the league leaders in receiving yardage and touchdowns? Well, he has cooled significantly, but could have a resurgence against a very giving Pittsburgh pass defense. Benjamin has 79 or more yards in five of his nine games this season, but a total of just 10 grabs for 95 yards over his past three. That makes him the ultimate contrarian play, as many are bearish on him following three egg layings in a row.
Jamison Crowder, WR, Washington ($4,300 vs. NO): Crowder, the former standout at Duke, is quickly making a name for himself as a short-to-intermediate route specialist. He has been targeted eight or more times in four of the past five games, and he has four or more grabs in six consecutive games. Crowder has yet to find the end zone in the regular season, but that could change in a matchup with a Saints pass defense that has given up an NFL-high 24 touchdowns.
Green Bay Packers Defense/Special Teams ($2,750 vs. DET): The hapless Lions roll into Lambeau Field, and it’s unlikely things are going to turn around in a place they never do well. The last time the Lions won in Green Bay was Dec. 15, 1991. To make matters worse for the Lions, they could be without WR Calvin Johnson (ankle), as the star receiver is questionable due to an ankle injury. The Lions are 31st in the NFL with just 18.6 points per game, and they have committed plenty of turnovers. Look for the Packers to add to their woes come Sunday.
Kyle Rudolph, TE, Minnesota ($4,000 at OAK): The Raiders have had a difficult time keeping opposing tight ends in check, as they have allowed an NFL-high nine touchdowns with 44 receptions allowed in eight games. Rudolph has two or more receptions in each of his games this season, and he has found the end zone twice in the past four games. If you cannot afford Gronk, or simply want to allocate your funds to other positions, Rudolph is a solid, yet unspectacular option with a favorable matchup.
James Starks, RB, Green Bay ($4,600 vs. DET): The Lions rush defense has been tagged for an NFL-high 14 touchdowns, and they rank 30th in the league by allowing 133.8 yards per game. Starks has been seeing plenty of touches with Eddie Lacy (ankle) not quite 100 percent this season, and he is the running back of choice if choosing between the two. They’re comparable in price, but Starks has been far more productive. Starks has three total touchdowns (two receiving, one rushing) over the past three games, while Lacy has just two scores all season.