Play Kirk Cousins, Pause Devontae Booker
With the bye weeks finally behind us and the Fantasy playoffs staring us in the face, it is time for a new version of The Playlist. Instead of discussing eight players whose value has been fluctuating one way or another, we’ll look at several different players from a more weekly perspective. The idea is to give you more immediate help. Good luck in the Fantasy playoffs!
Playing To Win By Little River Band
[caption id="attachment_116325" align="alignright" width="357"] Kirk Cousins is a great play in Week 14, especially if Jordan Reed is back in action. Photo Credit: Daniel Kucin Jr./Icon Sportswire[/caption]
“When you make your move, I won't hesitate. If it takes you long, it could be too late. This time I'm playin' to win.”
Kirk Cousins (QB, Redskins) - Earlier this year, the Eagles looked like a daunting matchup for opposing offenses. They have given up multiple TDs in six of their last nine and back-to-back 300-yard games. Cousins has played like a Top 10 QB all season long and Sunday’s matchup will be no different. Cousins is one of the better starts for Week 14, especially if Jordan Reed is active.
Todd Gurley (RB, Rams) - Remember when you drafted Gurley in the first round? Things probably haven’t gone according to plan, but the matchup this weekend looks really good ... on paper. While you simply cannot trust Gurley as anything more than an RB2 right now, the Falcons are just handing out yardage to opposing backs. In addition to 15 TDs to running backs, they’ve also allowed a whopping 779 receiving yards out of the backfield. If the Falcons go up early, you have to hope that Gurley stays involved in the passing game. It’s a risk worth taking. After all, he owes you.
Malcolm Mitchell (WR, Patriots) - After Mitchell’s breakout game back in Week 11, I didn’t see too much room for him to be a consistent threat in the Patriots offense. Love the talent, but thought he was more of a 2017 asset. With Rob Gronkowski out for the year after back surgery, targets have opened up. Mitchell has a two-TD performance and an eight-catch game in the past two weeks. Plus, Tom Brady has been raving about him. Mitchell is a WR3 moving forward.
Cameron Brate (TE, Bucs) - Brate has been a revelation for the Bucs. No, he’s not a freak athletic former college basketball player or a glorified big wide receiver. He’s a sure-handed possession receiving option and key red zone target for Jameis Winston. As basically the Bucs second receiver, Brate is a rock solid TE1 against the Saints.
False Prophets by J. Cole
“Somebody shoulda told me it would be like this. Be like this, be like this. Somebody shoulda told me it would be like this. False prophets (La-la-la-la-la-la, la-la-la…).”
Ben Roethlisberger (QB, Steelers) - The home-road splits are very real and that is a concern for Roethlisberger owners. The Bills defense has allowed 11 passing TDs in their last five, but this is still a tough spot for Big Ben. He’s still in the backend QB1 conversation, but there are other options (Eli Manning, Russell Wilson, Kirk Cousins, even Colin Kaepernick if you are feeling bold) to consider starting over him. His entire playoff schedule is borderline tough. Not so much where you are actively seeking a second QB to start, but enough to question it.
Devontae Booker (RB, Broncos) - The workload has been there for Booker, but will that continue now that Justin Forsett is in the fold? I suspect Booker will still be the starting back, but Forsett’s familiarity with Gary Kubiak and the offensive scheme could lead to an instant impact. Booker has averaged 2.8 yards per carry over his last five games and the Titans represent a tough matchup against RBs. Try to find a better option this week.
Rishard Matthews (WR, Titans) - Matthews and Marcus Mariota have been on fire for the last two months, but the Broncos defense is like running into a brick wall. They have given up just six passing TDs on the year to wide outs and three of those came against Drew Brees and the Saints. Mariota is another play to avoid if you can this week. Matthews is best left reserved until Week 15.
Dennis Pitta (TE, Ravens) - Do not chase last week’s box scores. Pitta visited the end zone (twice) for the first time since 2014. After an early season “surge,” Pitta fell off as a TE1 option. Prior to last week, he hadn’t totaled more than 40 yards in a game since Week 5. There should be better options on your waiver wire than Pitta for this week.
DFS Top 5 Countdown
Money, Power and Respect by The Lox featuring Lil’ Kim and DMX
“It's the key to life. Money, power, and respect. Whatchu' need in life. Money, power, and respect. When you eatin' right. Money, power, and respect. Help you sleep at night. You'll see the light.”
- Robby Anderson (WR, Jets) - Once Bryce Petty entered the game last Sunday, Anderson saw a massive target share. He’s more of a dynasty prospect than a late-season redraft savior, but his DraftKings salary of $3,000 makes him an intriguing tournament play this week.
- Vikings (DST) - When the highest scoring Fantasy defense meets Blake Bortles and the Jaguars, you pay top dollar. That is exactly what you’ll have to do on DraftKings this week ($3,900), but it’s worth it. The Vikings have forced 22 turnovers, registered 31 sacks and scored 6 TDs.
- Ladarius Green (TE, Steelers) - It is not that you are chasing last week’s points with Green by putting him in your lineup this week. His involvement has risen in the past three weeks and despite playing less than half of the snaps against the Giants, he received nine targets. Continue to play him on DraftKings until his price catches up with his upside ($3,900).
- Colin Kaepernick (WR, 49ers) - Given the performance last week, it is safe to say that Kaepernick will be lower owned this weekend against the Jets. Before last week’s abysmal performance, Kaep was playing at a QB1 level. A lot of factors were against him last week versus the Bears, including the inclement weather. He’s $5,800 on DraftKings and at that price, he’s worth the risk.
- Lamar Miller (RB, Texans) - The Colts have ceded over 1,600 total yards and 12 TDs to opposing backs this season. Miller has not been as dynamic as we’ve seen in the past, but when healthy he’s going to receive a huge workload. He was dealing with a rib injury last week, but appears to be fine. At $5,100 on DraftKings, Miller is a strong value play in a bounce back spot.
Next Up and New Releases
Coming Of Age by Jay-Z featuring Memphis Bleek
“It's time to come up (and hold my own weight, defend my crown). Gots to lock it down and when they rush (stand my ground). It's time to come up (stick up my chest, and make some loot). Gots to lock it down and when they rush (stand on my own two).”
In this section, we will discuss dynasty values for the last few weeks of the season. It could be emerging prospects or established players whose values are shifting.
Tyreek Hill (WR, Chiefs) - The speedy Hill is exploding onto the scene as a rookie, making at least a few big plays in every game it seems. He just roasted the Raiders for two more scores on Thursday night and remains a boom or bust WR3 option for the Fantasy playoffs. For dynasty owners, he is an exciting talent, but it may not be the worst idea to sell high in the offseason.
Wendell Smallwood (RB, Eagles) - While Smallwood was not able to make his mark with Ryan Mathews out of the lineup for two weeks, he is still an offseason trade target in dynasty formats. It does not appear that Mathews is a long-term piece for the Eagles and Smallwood could have even more of a workload depending on what happens to Sproles. Both Mathews and Sproles are free agents at the end of 2017.
Paxton Lynch (QB, Broncos) - Despite a ready-made situation, Lynch has been stuck behind Trevor Siemian for most of the season. It makes sense from a development standpoint, as Lynch was a raw tools prospect out of Memphis. In a couple spot starts already, Lynch has been as advertised, raw and inconsistent. Plus, what if the Broncos go aggressively after a QB in free agency or on the trade market (Tony Romo?) this offseason. Because of that, Lynch’s dynasty value is questionable now. Still he’s worth an investment in 2-QB leagues because of upside.
Tyler Higbee (TE, Rams) - Higbee is playing behind Lance Kendricks right now, but expect that to change in the very near (2017) future. No disrespect to Kendricks, who is a solid player, but Higbee’s pass-catching upside dwarfs him. There are obvious character issues here, but if Higbee can stay out of trouble, he could be a monster.
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