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Daily Fantasy Bargain Shopping: Value Plays for NFL Week 9

DFS Bargain Shopper Cover Photo

Some call me cheap. Others stingy. I prefer thrifty. And in the world of daily fantasy sports, finding the best bargains can lead you to the promise land of those jubilant $3.60 pots at the end of the pretend football rainbow.

These are my bargain bin dumpster dives for the upcoming NFL week. 

* * *
Although it’s not generally the strategy of yours truly, salaries this week allow for further dumpster diving amongst the running back position, in turn giving us the ammo to move up to land a decent quarterback, as well as into the area of this week’s top-priced receiver (Antonio Brown) and tight end (Rob Gronkowski).

 

Quarterback

Andy Dalton ($6,300) v. JAX

Despite not throwing a touchdown in two weeks, Andy Dalton’s future this Sunday seems to be looking up (as most things do when preparing to face the Jacksonville Jaguars). Not to mention, A.J. Green has been practicing and could return to action, which is kind of a big deal if he’s on your team and you happen to be a thrower of footballs.

Others receiving votes: Alex Smith ($5,700) v. NYJ

 

Running Back

Ben Tate ($4,300) v. TB

I too was a part of the Week 7 meltdown in which we banked on the Browns offense against Jacksonville, only to be squarely kicked in the groin by Ben Tate and every other member of the Cleveland offense.

However, Tampa Bay is bad a, and this is a very nice price for a lead back in a game that should feature lots of action on the ground.

And just as a fantasy note — you shouldn’t allow previous frustration move you off a player. This Ben Tate play is a perfect example. There’s undoubtedly some owners out there who wouldn’t touch Tate with a 10-foot pole this week, simply because he threw up four points two weeks ago and screwed their Week 7 lineup. But that’s no way to play. Just like in blackjack where staying on 19 doesn’t always win, you have to maintain discipline and play your best matchups.

LeSean McCoy ($5,200) @ HOU

There’s been a feedbag attached to LeSean McCoy the last three weeks, with carry totals of 24, 22, and 21 for nearly 45 fantasy points. The problem, however, stems from Shady only having reached paydirt ONCE all season (Week 2).

Houston has been just so-so against the run this season, so the matchup feels okay. Additionally, the $5,200 salary seems too good to pass up given the type of chances and opportunities McCoy sees both as a rusher and pass-catcher.

Ahmad Bradshaw ($5,800) @ NYG

This looked like a sweeter deal with news of Trent Richardson missing practice, but he now looks in line to play. Either way, Ahmad Bradshaw’s versatility and knack for finding the end zone make him a nice play for $5,800 against his former team. The Giants are allowing 122 rushing yards and more than 25 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs.

Alfred Morris ($3,900) @ MIN

I agree that Alfred Morris looked better last week against the Cowboys, but I’m not willing to say he looked good. He had a low floor to begin with, so it wasn’t going to take much for him to simply “look better”.

That said, $3,900 for a lead back in a game that should see plenty of rushing attempts thanks to wind and cold weather feels like a solid play.

Three reasons I like Morris this week: price, the quick pitch style we saw reincorporated last week b, and the fact that a healthy Robert Griffin III under center helps open up the ground game c.

Although Mike Zimmer is one helluva defensive football mind, the Vikings are giving up nearly 25 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs and Morris should see a hefty workload in this game.

Others receiving votes: Lamar Miller ($5,600) v. SD

 

Wide Receiver

Andrew Hawkins ($4,900) v. TB

After stringing together just three catches and 5.6 points against Tennessee and Pittsburgh over the course of two weeks, Andrew Hawkins quickly became yesterday’s forgotten. But since then, Hawk has pieced together 12 catches and 41.8 points over his past two games and he’s in line for another juicy matchup on Sunday against Tampa.

The Buccaneers give up tons of points to opposing wideouts, and are worst in the league when it comes to keeping receivers out of the end zone (allowing 1.7 touchdowns to wide receivers per game). Even if the Browns generate a successful ground attack, Hawkins is a natural benefactor and faced with a perfect matchup.

DeAndre Hopkins ($5,400) v. PHI

Only one game this season has DeAndre Hopkins posted a single-digit output, and this week he faces a Philadelphia defense giving up more than 35 fantasy points per game to opposing receivers.

There’s obvious concern surrounding Nuke because he hasn’t scored in his last four games, but he’s getting his targets (6.6 per game), he’s ripping off big gains (15.8 YPC), and he’s his team’s best option to score by way of a pass (leads all Houston pass-catchers with three touchdowns), all of which provides good value for just $5,400.

Others receiving votes: Andre Johnson ($5,500) v. PHI; Allen Robinson ($4,900) @ CIN

 

Tight End

Travis Kelce ($4,100) v. NYJ

Anyone find a reason why Travis Kelce isn’t seeing more snaps in Kansas City? Cool, me neither. Yet despite the coaching, Kelce is a decent play this week against a Jets defense allowing better than 13 points per game to opposing tight ends.

Sooner or later Andy Reid needs to warm to the idea of playing one of his top playmakers more often, right?

Others receiving votes: Jordan Reed ($4,400) @ MIN

 

  1. to the tune of 123 rushing yards allowed per game  (back)
  2. The quick pitch isn’t on every running play, but Morris seems to thrive with it as opposed to the traditional handoff method, as it provides him with a better and earlier look at the defense, as well as effective downhill momentum  (back)
  3. Dependent on gameplan, of course, but Jay Gruden isn’t stupid.  (back)

Cloudy with a Chance of Knee Jerk: Redskins v. Cowboys

Colt McCoy Celebrates

In the hours following a Redskins game, thoughts and ideas and assumptions run rampant through the mind of a Washington fan, forcing a scattered and cloudy backdrop between the ears. 

Here are my initial notes following the Redskins’ 20-17 overtime win against the Cowboys in Dallas on Monday night. 

* * *

Wow.

– Final stat line for Colt McCoy: 25-of-30 for 299 yards, one pick and a rushing score.

– In addition to Colt McCoy shaking some early game jitters and hitches and working to manage the game, the Redskins stole a victory in Dallas thanks to their defense.

– Despite his 73 yards and touchdown, Alfred Morris didn’t look great. The offensive line didn’t necessarily do him any favors, but Morris isn’t the Morris from last season. Take away his one 29-yard pop, and Morris’ 4.0 YPC drops to just 2.5.

– Oh, I know what could help the running game — read option.

– Another note in the running game: the Redskins incorporated a few of those running plays where McCoy would quick pitch the ball to the running back rather than work through the standard handoff. That’s a good style behind this offensive line.

– The Redskins received good field position a couple of times in this game and really couldn’t capitalize. A solid punt return from Andre Roberts in the first quarter started Washington’s first drive on the Dallas 48, but the Redskins could only come away with a field goal. Then the recovered fumble started the Redskins’ drive on the Dallas 25, but a bad throw into the end zone gave the ball right back.

– By the way, you can’t make that throw to the end zone with a safety over the top. Check down if it’s there or throw it out of bounds to live and fight another down.

– I don’t think there’s any question that DeSean Jackson is one of the most threatening deep-target receivers in the NFL. He finished the game with six catches for 136 yards and it could’ve/should’ve been more, including at least a score.

– How did Jackson leave some scoring and statistical fluff on the field? Because McCoy underthrew him at least twice in the first half, both of which could’ve led to something huge (ie Jackson was behind the defense and he has the burners to keep it that way after hauling in the football). There was also a play (although I don’t remember at what point in the game) where a decent pass from McCoy to Jackson in the short-medium area gives him a much greater chance to make a play after the catch. Said pass wasn’t quite decent enough.

– There was also a spot in the game where cameras panned to Jackson sitting on the bench following a failed deep ball in his direction (an underthrown ball). You see McCoy come up to Jackson and lean down into the receiver’s ear. Then Jackson’s mouth shows the phrase, “Throw. The. Ball”. He knew he had the defense, but he’s not big enough to come back, contend with corners, and win jump balls. He wanted McCoy to let it rip, and Jackson knew he could go and get it.

– Notably, McCoy adjusted and made better throws in the second half.

– Maybe it’s just me happy to see Tyler Polumbus out, but I thought Tom Compton had a decent game at right tackle. No major fuckeries that I can recall.

– Unfortunately I can’t say the same for right guard Chris Chester. We can only hope Spencer Long is coming along, because Chester would probably be the next guy voted off the island.

– The Redskins finished 6-of-14 on third down, which could certainly be better. Compared to this season so far though, I’ll take 6-of-14.

– And for what it’s worth, the Redskins were good on third down in the second half.

Jordan Reed is really, really talented. If he stays healthy, he’s one of the top receiving tight ends in the league.

– Cowboys owner Jerry Jones came down to the sidelines once Tony Romo left the game with a back injury. He even chattered in his head coach’s ear. That shit’s weird, man. But at the end of the day, just Jerrah being Jerrah.

– Which by the way: once Romo left the game with (really) a vicious back injury and Brandon Weeden came in and looked halfway alright, why in the hell do you trot Romo back out there? Just seems crazy to hinge a season (or better yet a career) on one game during the year when you’re 6-1.

– Getting back to the defense: hats off to defensive coordinator Jim Haslett for being aggressive and sticking with it. He got a lot of good individual play out of guys, but he did a good job of keeping Romo guessing.

– I know what you’re thinking and the answer is ‘no’. I’d much rather see a new defensive coordinator in Washington.

DeMarco Murray finished with 141 yards on the ground and 80 yards receiving. At one point I remember saying that any decent back could succeed in Dallas with the offensive line they have. But the more I watch Murray, the more I appreciate him as a unique combination of speed and power. He has the strength to lower his head and pick up extra yards at the end of runs, yet the speed to get past the second level and burn you for huge plays.

– The Redskins held Tony Romo to just 209 yards and one score on the night. Sure he left the game in the second half with a back injury, but Washington did a good job of containing Romo overall.

– There were a few plays where Romo was Romo (dinks and dumps for huge chunks, extending the play, etc.), but the Redskins deserve credit. Very much not an easy task.

– And while on the topic of limiting stars: Dez Bryant had just three catches for 30 yards on the night. He did finish with a touchdown thanks to a screen down around the goal line in which he made a finger tip grab, dodged a tackle, then powered his way and stretched into the end zone with the elderly Ryan Clark attached to his ankle. Really good job by the defense against Dez, and even more impressive considering they played without DeAngelo Hall.

– Rookie Bashuad Breeland had an incredible game. Some breakups on deep shots down field, a fumble recovery, a near-interception. Really good stuff out of the young guy. He seems to be getting better with each game.

– The defense finished with five sacks. That’s nice.

Keenan Robinson was fast around the field. I’d like to watch the tape to get more of an idea of how he played in coverage, but I thought he was quick around the LOS and he’s the guy credited with the sack that knocked Romo out of the game.

– Safety Brandon Meriweather had his best game of the season. He was all around the ball, he was playing with attitude, and he was effective as a blitzer. Again, tape will give us a better idea of his performance in coverage, but I don’t remember screaming obscenities at the television due to a blown assignment. He finished the game with two sacks, two forced fumbles, and a recovery.

– I wouldn’t say Ryan Kerrigan had a bad game, but I was expecting more out of him. He finished with a sack, which was nice, and he had a chance to seal the game by securing the fumble he fell on late in the game deep in Cowboys territory. Had he recovered that Romo fumble (thanks, Meriweather), the Redskins run down the clock and ask Kai Forbath for a chip shot to win the game in regular time. Somehow the ball squeaked out and the Cowboys recovered.

– Rookie Trent Murphy needs to get stronger among other things, but you have to like the instinctive play in which he jumped up to tip a Romo pass. The ball shot straight into the air, Murphy tracked it perfectly, but unfortunately wasn’t able to come down with the interception. The play was very Kerrigan-esque and much different than anything we’d see (or should I say, not see) from Brian Orakpo. You’d like him to be farther along of course, but Murphy comes with some potential. He’ll be forced to learn on the fly and grow quickly through the rest of the year.

– Nice game for young cornerback David Amerson. Tape will show more, but you didn’t hear his name called much, and often times that’s good news for a corner.

– Seriously though, Tress Way is still the MVP of this team. That punt on fourth down with two minutes left in the game was a thing of beauty. He kicked from the Dallas 41 and pinned the Cowboys at their own three yard line. Awesome stuff.

– The Redskins special teams as a whole showed improvement in this game, which most of us considered a necessity if Washington wanted any chance at winning. Akeem Davis deserves credit for playing with incredible fire and attitude and really showing on coverages. Everette Brown deserves credit for that crunchy block he laid during Andre Roberts‘ 37-yard return. And Roberts too of course.

– The Redskins only had six penalties in this game, but they felt like a punch to the gut thanks to bad timing for most of ‘em. Additionally, there was some confusion on McCoy’s part — some mismanagement in the huddle, wrong play calls, delay of games, tripping over teammates’ feet, etc. — which should all be worked out by next Sunday in Minnesota.

Coming into this game, there were two things the Redskins needed to do if they wanted a shot in the last quarter: generate at least two turnovers and don’t be abysmal on special teams. They finished with two turnovers and didn’t embarrass themselves on special teams.

 

Daily Fantasy Bargain Shopping: Value Plays for NFL Week 8

DFS Bargain Shopper Cover Photo

Some call me cheap. Others stingy. I prefer thrifty. And in the world of daily fantasy sports, finding the best bargains can lead you to the promise land of those jubilant $3.60 pots at the end of the pretend football rainbow.

These are my bargain bin dumpster dives for the upcoming NFL week. 

* * *

Maintaining the position of that middle finger placed firmly in the face of Brian Hoyer and the Browns offense following last week’s performance, here’s a look to Week 8 where we hate on passers and crush on tight ends.


Quarterback

Teddy Bridgewater ($5,100) @ TB

Not the most exciting pick considering Teddy B’s less than 15 combined fantasy points and five interceptions over the past two games, but quarterbacks are completing close to 72 percent of their passes and posting more than 22 fantasy points against the Bucs this season, meaning Bridgewater is certainly in play and providing your roster lots of flexibility at other positions.

Oh, and the last time Teddy faced a bad defense (Atlanta, Week 4, second career start), he threw for 317 yards and posted 26.3 points. That’s a nice byline.

Others Receiving Votes: Tom Brady ($7,200) v. CHI; Kyle Orton ($6,300) @ NYJ

 

Running Back

Jerick McKinnon ($4,900) @ TB

Tampa Bay is allowing nearly 130 rushing yards per game and rookie Jerick McKinnon has quickly caught fire in Minnesota. Despite a couple of nice games from Matt Asiata, McKinnon is clearly the best back on the Vikings roster and he’s coming off a career-high 19 carries against a pretty tough Buffalo defense last week.

You get a primary dual-threat back in McKinnon who’s likely to net you somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 points, all for less than 10 percent of your salary cap.

Lamar Miller ($6,000) @ JAX

I don’t know if anyone understands what the hell happened to Ben Tate and the Browns offense last week against Jacksonville, but whatever it was isn’t enough to convince me Lamar Miller isn’t well worth his salary against this week.

In addition to giving up 110 rushing yards per game, this Jaguars offense could struggle against Miami’s defense. If the game goes as planned, Miller could see upwards of 17 carries and keep pace with his more than 16 fantasy points per game.

Justin Forsett ($5,100) @ CIN

It’s a bit surprising to see the Bengals giving up more than 146 rushing yards per contest this year, and Cincinnati is a team in a rut right now after two blowouts and a tie since their bye week.

In his first game against the Bengals this season, Justin Forsett ran for 70 yards and a touchdown, while chipping in with five receptions and posting 19.4 fantasy points.

The only thing that’s changed since that Week 1 mathchup and the game this Sunday is the fact that Forsett has solidified himself as the lead back in Baltimore.

It’s a little frustrating he doesn’t see more goal line stuff, but Forsett’s 12 carries and four targets per game average, along with the trust of his coaches makes his $5,100 a nice play this weekend.

Others Receiving Votes: Jamaal Charles ($6,700) v. STL

 

Wide Receiver

Dez Bryant ($6,900) v. WAS

This could be Dez Bryant’s first 30-point game of the season, and his cost this week is entirely too good to pass up.

On a scale from one to even, I can’t.

Michael Floyd ($4,900) v. PHI

It’s a whole new ball game for Michael Floyd now that Carson Palmer is under center, as he’s scored two touchdowns and combined for better than 27 fantasy points over the past two weeks.

This week the Cardinals host a Philadelphia team fresh off their bye, but with a defense giving up close to 260 passing yards per game and tied for third in the league with 13 touchdowns allowed through the air this season.

T.Y. Hilton ($6,800) @ PIT

It doesn’t matter what defense he faces, T.Y. Hilton’s average of nearly 10 targets per game warrants any salary under $7,000.

In addition to the targets, Hilton also has the ability to break plays/games wide open, providing your roster with some homerun potential.

Hilton’s salary doesn’t necessarily pass the smell test this week, but there’s lots of value here if even he turns out one of his typical (17-19 fPts) games to help keep the Colts rolling.

Others Receiving Votes: Andrew Hawkins ($4,700) v. OAK; Sammy Watkins ($5,700) @ NYJ; Greg Jennings ($4,000) @ TB

 

Tight End

Jordan Reed ($4,000) @ DAL

I gave the same spiel last week about Jordan Reed facing major durability concerns, but always remaining a cog in the Redskins’ game plan when healthy. That applies here as well. Dallas may be on a roll, but they’re susceptible to tight ends, and a guy like Reed can create threatening mismatches.

Travis Kelce ($3,800) v. STL

For whatever reason, Travis Kelce still doesn’t play a large enough role in the Chiefs offense (he never will play a large enough role, IMO TBPH), but on a Sunday that I’m banking against the Rams, I like the Chiefs’ chances to hang some points.

And Kelce just so happens to be one of the best playmakers in Kansas City.

Jordan Cameron ($3,700) v. OAK

Anyone up for a little rebound with Jordan Cameron?

Anyone?

If you can muster the smell, Cameron comes at a fair price this week against the Raiders, who allow opposing quarterbacks to complete better than 70 percent of their passes and post 106.9 ratings (third-highest in the NFL).

Those are some numbers even Brian Hoyer can get behind.

Zach Ertz ($3,200) @ ARI

There’s a lot of passes to go around in the Eagles offense, so you go into this play knowing that you could be duped. The good news, however, is that Arizona is allowing an average of 5.5 catches, 64.5 yards, and 0.5 touchdowns per game to opposing tight ends.

Ertz is definitely a wildcard, but the Philly offense does give you some creative routes and plays, which then gives Ertz a shot at large chunks of yards at a time. He’s averaging a little over five targets a game and 16.1 yards per reception, which trails only Jeremy Maclin for highest on the team.

We’ve seen Ertz turn out three games so far this season with a double-digit output, and that’s clearly the chase here as well. His two touchdowns on the season don’t provide too much feel-good, but his salary is just so damn pretty in a week where lots of other players may totally forget about him.

 

Cloudy with a Chance of Knee Jerk: Redskins v. Titans

Colt McCoy

In the hours following a Redskins game, thoughts and ideas and assumptions run rampant through the mind of a Washington fan, forcing a scattered and cloudy backdrop between the ears. 

Here are my initial notes following the Redskins’ ugly 19-17 win over the Tennessee Titans. 

* * *

Despite the victory, the Redskins earned a ‘W’ in depressing fashion. For this week’s edition of Cloudy with a Chance of Knee Jerk, we’ll make a list of reasons why.

 

– Because Kirk Cousins was bad. There was a point early in the game where he threw a pass off his back foot while fleeing an oncoming pass rusher and hit Niles Paul in stride down the right sideline on a wheel route — I thought, “Oh wow, nice pass.”

That acclaim didn’t last long. Cousins was benched at halftime.

– Because Colt McCoy stepped in and played decent, despite his limitations in the game plan. And yes that’s depressing, because the Redskins had to call on McCoy to win them a game.

– Because the Redskins only managed 16 first downs.

– Because the Redskins were 3-for-11 on third down.

– Because the Redskins were 0-for-4 in red zone efficiency.

– Because Alfred Morris ran for just 54 yards.

– Because the offensive line is bad, hence part of the reason why Morris ran for crap.

– Because it took until now for coaches to pull right tackle Tyler Polumbus. a

– Because Brian Orakpo reportedly hurt his pectoral muscle (again) and it’s always depressing when you remind yourself the Redskins are paying him $11 million.

– Because Kirk Cousins was so bad before being benched that Jay Gruden altered how he called plays, including a spot in the red zone where the head coach called a simple shovel pass in order to guarantee his team three points rather than taking a shot at the end zone.b

– Because that Kendall Wright touchdown made the Redskins defense look like they were playing a game of two-hand touch.

– Because that same Redskins defense only managed one sack.

– Because the Redskins STRUGGLED to beat the Titans.

– Because it took the Redskins a last-second field goal to win the game.

– Because the Redskins didn’t run any read-option offense. And I feel they should, regardless of which three quarterbacks are playing.

– Because field position sucked again. The Redskins’ best starting position was their own 42 yard line following Bashaund Breeland’s interception. Other than that, their best starting field position was never better than their own 29 yard line.

– Because DeMarcus Ware at 32 years old is way better than Orakpo ever was. Check out this move from Sunday night…

– Because Colt McCoy finished the game 11-of-12 for 128 yards and a touchdown, which is likely enough to turn some fans into bandwagon riders with firm belief that McCoy is “the guy”.

– Because special teams is moldy leftovers. Just so, so bad in that facet of the game.

– Because the Redskins have to travel to Dallas for a game on Monday night and the Cowboys are ROLLING. That game could get ugly.

– Because I’m probably not the only one wondering whether or not Robert Griffin III will be ready to play by Monday.

– Because what a difference seven games makes. Remember just two months ago when the preseason discussion was about a healthy RG3, an improved and UNSHACKLED defense, the effect of DeSean Jackson, etc.?

Dallas, San Francisco, and Indianapolis are still left on the schedule, and the Redskins have each division opponent one more time in succession to end the year.

  1. Although I get it, I guess, if they didn’t believe Tom Compton and/or Morgan Moses was any better. And that, in itself, is depressing.  (back)
  2. Not blaming Gruden here either, by the way.  (back)

Daily Fantasy Bargain Shopping: Value Plays for NFL Week 7

DFS Bargain Shopper Cover Photo

Some call me cheap. Others stingy. I prefer thrifty. And in the world of daily fantasy sports, finding the best bargains can lead you to the promise land of those jubilant $3.60 pots at the end of the pretend football rainbow.

These are my bargain bin dumpster dives for the upcoming NFL week. 

* * *

Last week’s bin treated us rather fairly, but I owe you an apology if you followed those tight end picks. Larry Donnell and Owen Daniels combined for less than seven points and completely ripped apart what could’ve been an overall decent weekend.

On the brighter side, Tom Brady moved in as our most valuable quarterback pick of the year so far, throwing up better than 33 points for just a $6,000 salary. Thanks to Tommy boy, I stayed alive in the million dollar tournament over at DraftKings and finished somewhere in the 10,000-ish range. Mom would be so proud.

 

Quarterback

Colin Kaepernick ($6,500) @ DEN

Road game, in Denver, primetime, keeping up with Peyton — no, Colin Kaepernick won’t have an easy game on Sunday night. But he does enter this game with some confidence after throwing for nearly 350 yards and three scores last Monday (albeit against the Rams).

Not to mention, while the Denver defense is undoubtedly improved from last season, they’re allowing better than 17 fPts per game to opposing quarterbacks — and that’s including Drew Stanton’s sub-five point outing in Week 4. Take away Stanton’s stink and quarterbacks are averaging better than 21 fPts against the Broncos through five games.

Kaepernick presents a decent ceiling given his price point. The last dual-threat quarterback the Broncos faced was in Week 3 when Russell Wilson rushed for 40 yards and posted 24 points. There’s no reason Kaep can’t put up similar numbers.

Russell Wilson ($6,800) @ STL

St. Louis gives up lots on defense (see: Kaep last Monday night) and the Seahawks enter this game after dropping a tough one at home to Dallas last week. This one could get out of hand if Seattle comes into St. Louis with as much tenacity as we think they will.

Ben Roethlisberger ($5,700) v. HOU

Unless your name is Robert Griffin III, you’ve posted pretty good totals as a quarterback against the Texans this season. Houston is allowing almost 19 fPts to opposing quarterbacks through six games, including RG3’s 9.8 in Week 1.

Big Ben only has two multi-touchdown games so far this season, so his week-to-week outputs aren’t all that impressive. A modest stat line however, which should give you something like 17-19 points, is a decent return at his salary.

 

Running Back

Eddy Lacy ($4,700) v. CAR

102, 70, 264, 127, 85, 193.

Those are team rushing totals against the Carolina Panthers this season through six weeks. Needless to say, they’re susceptible to being gashed wide open.

Eddy Lacy has been beyond frustrating this season, so any concern or caution moving forward with this pick is understandable. But in addition to Carolina and their suspect run defense, Lacy is averaging close to six yards per carry and close to 80 yards per game when playing at Lambeau this season (opp: NYJ, MIN).

Meanwhile, the Panthers are giving up more than 140 rushing yards per game on the road.

If you’re in the belief that Carolina focuses on containing Jordy Nelson in this game, then things should open for Lacy both on the ground and in the passing game.

Justin Forsett ($5,600) v. ATL

Ya’know who’s worse at stopping the run than Carolina? The Falcons.

Through six weeks, Atlanta is giving up more than 141 rushing yards per game, and their very worst games have all come away from the Dirty Bird Dome this season, allowing more than 372 total yards and 31.6 points per game on the road.

One way or another, the Ravens are going to get their yards, and Justin Forsett is the best back in Baltimore. This is a good price for a dual-threat running back against a very weak opponent.

Ben Tate ($5,300) @ JAX

Averaging 18 fantasy points per game the past two weeks, Ben Tate has been on quite the run now that he appears healthy (which is always wishy washy and none of us ever really know).

The Browns travel to Jacksonville this week to take on a run defense who’s more than accustomed to being exposed. The Jaguars are allowing 117 rushing yards per game through six this season, and things won’t get any easier against this Cleveland ground attack.

 

Wide Receiver

Golden Tate ($5,900) v. NO

This might be the seventh week in a row that Golden Tate has made the bin, as his price tag always seems to be one of the friendliest on the market.

We can bitch all we want about just one lonely touchdown this season, but a better counter would be Tate and his six consecutive games with double-digit totals. And now with Calvin Johnson out with an injury, Tate is becoming an even more important part of the Lions offense.

Those low five grand salaries were a whole lot better than these flirting-with-sixes tags, but Tate is still great value this week against a New Orleans defense giving up close to 270 passing yards per game.

Jarvis Landry ($4,100) @ CHI

By far the riskiest play in the bin this week, Jarvis Landry is available for predictably cheap. His touchdown last week is all the reason for his $1,000 salary increase from Week 6, but his talent and linkup with Ryan Tannehill appears to be a real thing.

Anyone who knows me or reads my stuff knows I’m head over heels in love with Jarvis (check out my scouting report here), so this pick may be a tad bias. However, the Bears are giving up nearly 250 passing yards per game and have allowed 10 touchdowns through the air — all of which somewhat bodes well (fantasy wise, anyway) for a Dolphins team that will need to throw to stay in the game.

Landry’s performance last week would seem to be enough to keep him in the starting lineup, and if he plays the 78 percent of offensive snaps like he did in his new role, the $4,100 salary is a steal.

DeSean Jackson ($6,300) v. TEN

The story on DeSean Jackson will likely remain the same throughout the rest of the season: high ceiling, low floor.

While it’s hard to trust this Redskins offense, Jackson is not only the team’s BEST playmaker, but also (arguably) their ONLY playmaker right now. If the Redskins want to do things on offense, they’ll need Jackson.

After $4,600 and $4,900 salaries the past two weeks — and the nearly 54 combined fantasy points in those two games — Jackson’s price tag skyrockets enough this week to at least pause when assembling your roster.

Tennessee has allowed at least one 100+ yard receiver in four of their six games this season, so the Titans appear to be a favorable matchup. The concern, however, stems from the unpredictable game plan for Washington heading into this must-win. Do they pound the ball with Alfred Morris a? Or do they go for the jugular and air it out?

We’ve seen Jackson lay some eggs already this season in Week 2 and Week 4, but his floor this week feels more like a low-end double-digit total without a score. The $6,300 may be worth the upside.

 

Tight End

Jordan Cameron ($4,600) @ JAX

Jordan Cameron rose from the dead last week, posting 102 yards and better than 22 fantasy points, and he has a great opportunity to continue the resurrection (?) this week against a Jaguars team allowing an average of close to 300 passing yards and two touchdowns per game.

Jordan Reed ($5,000) v. TEN

He may be made of glass, but Jordan Reed is really, really good. Set durability aside for a second and Reed is arguably a top-five tight end in the NFL.

Having allowed more than 300 yards and four touchdowns through six games, opposing tight ends are averaging 12.7 fantasy points per game against this Tennessee defense. And while we must remind ourselves of the Redskins’ unpredictable nature, Reed seems to always be a critical piece of the game plan when healthy.

He’s constantly moved about the offense, he sees plenty of targets, and his hands are sure. Reed carries nice value this week against the Titans.

 

  1. Not a terrible option, by the way. And available for just $4,600.  (back)

Cloudy with a Chance of Knee Jerk: Redskins v. Cardinals

Kirk Cousins Sad

In the hours following a Redskins game, thoughts and ideas and assumptions run rampant through the mind of a Washington fan, forcing a scattered and cloudy backdrop between the ears. 

Here are my initial notes following the Redskins’ 30-20 loss to the Arizona Cardinals.

* * *

- Brandon Meriweather, David Amerson, and Ryan Kerrigan were all taken to the locker room at different stages throughout the game for concussion testing. While Meriweather and Kerrigan were able to return to action, Amerson did not. Injuries are never good.

- This is starting to be a repetitive thing, but the frustration with Brian Orakpo and his play continues to build. Not only is he mostly ineffective as a pass rusher and very much not a playmaker, but his play against the run, which was at one time applauded, has also diminished. That dropped interception would have taken points off the board for Arizona, and could have possibly turned the game. A guy like Kerrigan doesn’t drop that opportunity.

- Four turnovers won’t win a game. Four turnovers in the final 15 minutes of a game will most certainly lose it.

- The Redskins running game was ineffective. Alfred Morris finished with 13 carries for just 41 yards and I’m sure we’ll hear plenty of “they didn’t run the ball enough!!!”

That’s probably a viable statement. But at what point is your run game so blah! that you move away from it and look to get the ball into the hands of your playmakers (ie DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon, Jordan Reed)?

While I love Morris and appreciate Roy Helu, I think we might need to see Silas Redd get some run moving forward. Not saying he should be the starter or that Morris isn’t good; just that Redd offers a different pace/style that wouldn’t hurt this 1-5 team.

- And speaking of the running game, you know what can help it and the rest of the offense? The 50 series offense. The read-frickin-option. Passing lanes open up, running lanes get a little wider, and defenses are kept guessing.

- When healthy, tight end Jordan Reed can really be a factor. Although I white-knuckled it the whole way praying to the football gods he didn’t go down with another injury, it was great to see Reed return to action with 92 yards on eight catches. He has sure hands, he’s a mismatch for defenses, and he can make plays after the catch.

- The best starting position for any of the Redskins’ 14 drives yesterday: their own 36 yard line.

Notice the trend, week in and week out, regarding the Redskins’ terrible field position. Whether it be turnovers or poor special teams play, Washington puts themselves into holes and they’re terrible at playing their way out of them.

- The Redskins were 2-for-10 on third down. Hahahahahahahaha.

- Remember when people thought Kirk Cousins was the savior for like, I dunno, 48 hours? That was fun. The narrative has to have changed by now. I’m sure those very same Captain Kirksters are dying to have Robert Griffin III back.

And that’s not a bad thing, by the way. You’re supposed to want your starting quarterback starting games. The flipping and flopping just happens to be amusing.

- Patrick Peterson is one of the top cornerbacks in the game today and DeSean Jackson the Playmaker was able to slice the Cardinals defense with three catches for 115 yards and a touchdown. That’s awesome. Unfortunately, outside the world of fantasy sports, Jackson’s contributions need the help of a defense, of special teams, and of consistent quarterback play.

- The Cardinals tried to kill themselves with 14 penalties for 108 yards. The Redskins were bad enough to still lose.

- The Redskins finished the game with one sack.

- Carson Palmer was in Denver “waking up the muscles around his throwing shoulder” just days before the game. He probably felt something around 80 percent, figured going against this Washington defense actually put him around 90 percent, came back to Arizona and threw for 250 yards and two touchdowns.

Understand how sad that sounds. Then remember it’s all true.

- Alabama safety Landon Collins. Redskins fans should familiarize themselves with the name.

- I hate us right now.

Daily Fantasy Bargain Shopping: Value Plays for Week 6

DFS Bargain Shopper Cover Photo

Some call me cheap. Others stingy. I prefer thrifty. And in the world of daily fantasy sports, finding the best bargains can lead you to the promise land of those jubilant $3.60 pots at the end of the pretend football rainbow.

These are my bargain bin dumpster dives for the upcoming NFL week. 

* * *

 

Quarterback

Tom Brady ($6,000) @ BUF

Do we dare?

I dare we.

Tom Brady was chopped anchovies to start the season, but after he and the Patriots were blasted by the media following a blowout loss in Kansas City, Brady and Co. rebounded quite nicely to the tune of 43-17 against a pretty good Bengals squad last week.

Is Brady back? Meh, maybe. Maybe not. But as the schedule would have it, with regained swagger comes the Buffalo Bills — a team Brady is more than used to beating up on (22-2 lifetime against Buffalo, 54 touchdowns, and a quarterback rating better than 100).

 

Running Back

Lamar Miller ($5,800) v. GB

It feels like just yesterday I would take to Twitter with not-so-clever hashtags like #FreeLamar, mainly stemming from the crush I developed on the Dolphins running back Lamar Miller during his college days in Coral Gables. A couple years later and here we are — Miller is the leading man (kinda) in Miami and averaging 16 fPts per game through four weeks.

We expected better out of Matt Asiata last week, but don’t let his play serve as a barometer of Green Bay’s run defense. The Packers have allowed more rushing yards this year than any other team in the league, giving up 4.6 yards per carry and having allowed the second-most rushing touchdowns through five weeks.

There is some talk of Knowshon Moreno returning to action as early as this week, so be on the lookout for that. But even so, Moreno should be eased back in, as it’d be hard for coaches to ignore the fact that Miller is averaging 5.7 yards per carry.

Branden Oliver ($5,500) @ OAK

Don’t worry, there’s plenty of others who have no idea who Branden Oliver is.

But we’re not here for back stories. We’ve come to Oliver because he ripped a pretty good Jets front-seven last week for more than 180 total yards and 37 fantasy points. And because despite Donald Brown’s recovery from last week’s concussion, the Chargers have to like what they’ve seen from B.O. so far.

Although he’s far from a household name, there could be plenty of folk rostering Oliver this week after his explosion against the Jets, combined with his upcoming opponent. But that’s okay — that stuff happens. For the amount of opportunity he should receive against Oakland, $5,500 is too good to pass up.

Bishop Sankey ($3,500) v. JAX

There aren’t many things more unpredictably frustrating than Bishop Sankey’s workload, so starting the rookie this week will require some finger crossing and a few horseshoes.

If Sankey does get a fair share of the carries this week, however, he’s in a great matchup against a terrible Jacksonville defense, and his 4.7 yards per carry is well worth the lowly $3,500 price tag.

While it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know running backs do pretty well against the Jaguars defense, it’ll take some cojones to actually start someone as shaky (in terms of workload) as Sankey. If you roster this guy and he gets some run, you could see your team quickly creep the standings, while most of the opposition went with what they believed to be a safer option.

 

Wide Receiver

Golden Tate ($6,300) @ MIN

Now that Golden Tate’s salary has increased past $5,200 for the first time this season, there’s some concern for what could be buyer’s remorse if the Lions receiver turns in just a so-so game.

And when you weigh the massive $1,400 increase in salary from last week after scoring his first touchdown of the season, that concern ramps up even more.

You could also look at it another way. You could look at from the standpoint of maybe a higher salary moves owners away from Tate, making him more of a rarity on rosters than in weeks past. Perhaps people aren’t really in the know of the kind of work Tate is putting together this year (I’m head over heels in love), and instead were rostering Tate simply because he was a No. 2 receiver in a high-powered offense and available for cheap.

Either way, a higher salary isn’t turning me off. Tate is having an incredible season, the shadow of the no-touchdown cloud has since been removed, and his workload could actually increase with the injury to Calvin Johnson.

DeSean Jackson ($4,900) @ ARI

So the shoulder appears fine. After hauling in five catches for 157 yards and a score last Monday night, it’s safe to say DeSean Jackson can play (and be effective) despite a sprained AC joint.

The Redskins have to view this game as a must-win before slipping to 1-5 and watching from afar as their season unravels to shit. And in order to win, Jackson will need to play a big part.

On the bright side — for DeSean owners anyway — the Arizona defense is battling some injuries of their own, which plays well into the theory of rostering Jackson.

 

Tight End

Owen Daniels ($4,300) @ TB

I don’t particularly love Owen Daniels this week, but $4,300 seems decent for a guy who should receive something in the neighborhood of 7-10 targets, including redzone looks, against a pretty bad Tampa Bay defense.

Larry Donnell ($3,500) @ PHI

After posting a goose egg last week, it’s no wonder why Larry Donnell is at the bottom of the barrel this week. While some owners may back away from Donnell now that Odell Beckham Jr. is in the fold, others will see him as a unique add in a rebounding spot against a Eagles defense susceptible to the pass (*points to self*).

 

Cloudy with a Chance of Knee Jerk: Redskins v. Seahawks

Russell Wilson

In the hours following a Redskins game, thoughts and ideas and assumptions run rampant through the mind of a Washington fan, forcing a scattered and cloudy backdrop between the ears. 

Here are my initial notes following the Redskins’ 27-17 loss to the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks on Monday night. 

* * *

– Hooray penalties! Or lack thereof for the Redskins. Only three penalties for 30 yards is doable, and much better than the standard double-digit totals we’re used to . No bullets in feet helps make for a better situation throughout the game.

– It’s hard to be too upset considering no one runs on Seattle, but the Redskins rush attack was a non-factor in this game. Finishing the game with just 17 carries for 32 yards, it was easy to see early on that the Seahawks weren’t budging in that department.

– The Redskins didn’t turn the ball over.

– The onside kick attempt in the third quarter was an awesomely aggressive idea, and one I’d support for this team moving forward. But the execution of said onside kick was brutal. This special teams unit can’t do much. (Note: the Seahawks didn’t score on the ensuing drive.)

– And by can’t do much, we should probably include coverage at this point too. Although it feels better than last year’s coverage unit, the Redskins aren’t good in that department. They allowed punt returns of 20 and 21 yards to some guy named Bryan Walters.

– 18 of 24 for 201 yards and two touchdowns, accompanied by 122 yards on the ground (the most ever by a quarterback on MNF) and a rushing score. How good is Russell Wilson right now?

– And that goes beyond statistics by the way. Russell is playing out of his mind, doing all the little things that should put him in the category of elite quarterback right now.

– Holy field position. Once again, the Redskins’ field position to start drives was absolutely horrendous. Not one drive through 58 minutes of the game did the Redskins start better than their own 20 yard line. In fact, 50 percent of their drives started inside the 20 yard line, including three of their four drives in the third quarter that started at their own 1, 8, and 9 yard line. Very tough to win games like that.

As a comparison, only 25 percent of the Seahawks’ drives began at or inside their own 20.

– I understand I can’t do this every week given my high blood pressure, but Perry Riley Jr. doing any sort of anything in pass coverage MUST BE ABOLISHED in the defensive game plan. It simply can’t happen because the player simply can’t do it.

– There were a few good plays out of Brian Orakpo last night (a decent shutter move against the left tackle, a drawn penalty, a time or two in which he showed decent speed), but his performance (yet again) wasn’t anything special. Such a frustrating situation week in and week out.

Tress Way had eight punts for 399 yards. EIGHT PUNTS. Terrible, yes. But Tress Way is the Redskins’ MVP right now.

– It’s not just Tyler Polumbus anymore. It’s the Redskins’ entire situation at right tackle. What a steaming pile of old bologna that is. Polumbus is terrible and goes down with an injury. Coaches decide to give rookie Morgan Moses some run, only to pull him two plays later because he’s so bad. Tom Compton eventually filled in until Polumbus returned. Dumpster fire indeed.

– Jim Haslett in the first half was gross. Jim Haslett in the second half was slightly less gross.

– That said, there was a lot of stress on the Redskins defense. Not only are the Seahawks the Seahawks, but Washington didn’t have a drive lasting more than four and a half minutes. For the game, seven of the Redskins’ 12 drives lasted less than two minutes.

Short drives and/or time of possession isn’t always a bad thing if you’re scoring. But the Redskins weren’t doing that. All three of their scores came on drives lasting longer than two minutes.

– Russell Wilson ate up this Redskins defense by way of the read-option, which Washington seemed to bite on every friggin’ time. They were also caught out of position on multiple plays where the outside pass rush would get too far upfield and leave the outside edges wide open.

Jon Gruden actually referred to this before the game, noting the San Diego defense and their effort to fill scrambling lanes and contain Russell Wilson en route to a Week 2 Chargers victory over the Seahawks.

– It doesn’t matter what your secondary consists of, DeSean Jackson can be a problem. Not breaking news, I know, but just saying. Even against Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor, Jackson was able to pull off double moves, huge chunks of yards at a time, and a touchdown.

– Tight end Niles Paul didn’t have his best game blocking. At all.

– Defensive lineman and relative unknown Frank Kearse had a good game. He’s a fighter and a hustler and the Redskins defensive line needs that in the rotation.

Chris Chester. My word. He’s fading fast — but has been for the past couple years.

– I didn’t keep tally, but the Redskins defense made out fat in a few situations in which the Seattle receivers simply dropped the ball. And I’d say at least two of those drops were for would-be conversions.

– Special request: instruct/allow David Amerson and Bashuad Breeland (both physical, young corners) to press off the line. Tell ‘em to use their hands, use their muscle, push a guy around for those first five yards, and try and make a play. Death to that lackadaisical cushion coverage bullshit.

– Despite the rebuilding efforts in Washington, this quote from ESPN’s John Keim describing the post-game locker room atmosphere is concerning…

“…It was tough to tell, if you closed your eyes, whether they had won or lost.”

 

Daily Fantasy Bargain Shopping: Value Plays for NFL Week 5

DFS Bargain Shopper Cover Photo

Some call me cheap. Others stingy. I prefer thrifty. And in the world of daily fantasy sports, finding the best bargains can lead you to the promise land of those jubilant $3.60 pots at the end of the pretend football rainbow.

These are my bargain bin dumpster dives for the upcoming NFL week. 

* * *

In terms of bargain bin metrics, we divide the player’s salary by the amount of fantasy points he scored (DraftKings format) and consider anything less than $400.00 a winning value play.

Certainly there are others who are stamped “valuable” despite weaker dollar per point numbers, but the guys rostered for less than $400 per point feels like we’re sticking it to the man (whoever He may be in the bullying world of daily fantasy).

Last week’s bargain bin was our most successful yet this season, as 53.8 percent of players came in under the $400 mark. Vincent Jackson ($418.03) was close, as was Ahmad Bradshaw ($439.39) and Markus Wheaton ($466.66). The better news, however, is that each week is yielding a higher percentage of value plays than the week before.

Here’s to holding that trend in Week 5.

 

Quarterback

Russell Wilson ($7,600) @ WAS

Russell Wilson is playing the quarterback position arguably better than anyone else in the league right now, and the Redskins defense proved itself susceptible to Eli Manning.

Ben Roethlisberger ($7,400) @ JAX

Don’t mind those fedoras Big Ben chooses to wear in postgame pressers — he’s still a respectable streaming option. And against a Jacksonville defense that helps define the word “struggle”, that $7,400 price tag is suitable.


Running Back

Matt Asiata ($4,700) @ GB

Green Bay has yet to hold any opponent to less than 115 rushing yards this season and the Vikings rely on their ground attack. With rookie Jerick McKinnon (who’s in fact the better back) nursing an ankle injury, we can expect Matt Asiata to get some run.

Giovani Bernard ($6,700) @ NE

The New England Patriots have been able to contain Matt Asiata and Darren McFadden. They’ve failed to stop Knowshon Moreno or Jamaal Charles. I like Giovani Bernard’s chances coming off a bye week against a reeling Patriots team.


Wide Receiver

Golden Tate ($4,900) v. BUF

Still no respect for Golden Tate as he’s once again priced under $5,000 despite posting double-digit scores in his first four games of the season and toting some of the best hands (statistically) in the NFL. Everyone from Ryan Tannehill to Ryan Fitzpatrick has passed on the Bills, so Matt Stafford and the Lions shouldn’t have any trouble.

DeAndre Hopkins ($4,800) @ DAL

Nuke Hopkins has been on an absolute tear to start the season, pulling in 18 catches for nearly 300 yards, three touchdowns, and more than 68 fantasy points.

Even with Ryan Fitzpatrick slinging the football, the Cowboys defense is a risk in this game, and recent history proves Hopkins as the beneficiary.

Andrew Hawkins ($3,500) @ TEN

The Titans haven’t held a receiver under 100 yards since Week 1 (although Donnie Avery was close) and Andrew Hawkins is a PPR stud muffin. He should have no problem eating in Tennessee this weekend.

Markus Wheaton ($3,300) @ JAX

Antonio Brown is a great play for the weekend for obvious reasons, but he’s the second-highest priced receiver ($8,100) and you’d have to think plenty of other owners will build their lineups around him.

And that’s why we look to No. 2 — Markus Wheaton.

Wheaton doesn’t have a touchdown this season, but you’re sure to get at least a handful of catches, and he has the speed to rip a defense (especially that of Jacksonville’s caliber).

Percy Harvin ($6,100) @ WAS

For many reasons. He’s a PPR monster, he’s going against a Washington defense capable of looking like melted butter, he’s fresh off his bye week, and his salary is more than fair considering his 13 fPPG average.


Tight End

Heath Miller ($4,000) @ JAX

After breaking out last week against Tampa Bay to the tune of 24.5 fPts, Heath Miller is officially on the daily radar and priced quite beautifully this week going against a Jaguars defense that has struggled to cover every tight end they’ve faced this season.

Travis Kelce ($3,000) @ SF

The Niners aren’t really budging on tight ends this season, but $3,000 is simply too low a price for a guy like Travis Kelce who is arguably the best playmaking talent in the Chiefs’ passing game. Opportunity is there because it has to be.

 

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