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Postgame Notes and React: Redskins v. Panthers

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’ 44-16 loss to the Carolina Panthers 

* * *

We could talk about the horrible officiating, Washington’s pathetic pursuit of establishing a rushing attack, the lack of discipline as it pertains to probably a half dozen neutral zone infraction penalties, a miserable defense, and the list goes on.

But instead, to save time, the postgame notes and react are best summed up with this…


Better luck next week.

Daily Fantasy 2015 Bargain Shopping: Value Plays for NFL Week 11

DFS Bargain Shopper Cover Photo

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.

* * *


Tyrod Taylor ($5,200) @ NE

The matchup obviously isn’t ideal, but this is a fair number for a player of TyGOD’s skill and the Patriots are allowing better than 18 FPPG to opposing quarterbacks. If this game — for whatever reason — gets into any kind of shootout, we’ll take our chances there. Remember Taylor’s last game against New England in Week 2? Sure, they picked him off three times, but TyGOD also threw for three scores, ran in a touchdown, and finished with 29 fantasy points.

Derek Carr ($6,300) @ DET

Derek Carr has missed the 22-point mark just three times this season (including one against Cincy in Week 1 and another against Denver in Week 5) and he’s slingin’ the ball a ton. Detroit meanwhile is giving up the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks (20+) and the Raiders are a two-point favorite on the road in a high-lined (48.5) game.

Brock Osweiler ($5,000) @ CHI

No need to preach about this shot in the dark, but the Bears are allowing nearly 18 FPPG to opposing quarterbacks, Denver has some receiving weapons, and it’ll only set you back five grand. Chicago coaches are sure to have their own reads on Brock Osweiler, but hey — you get what you pay for, right?


Running Back

Charcandrick West ($4,500) @ SD

The price here is a bit surprising given Charcandrick hasn’t sunk below 22 points in his last three games. Not to mention, San Diego is allowing the most fantasy points per game to opposing running backs (26.4). The line in this one (KC giving three on the road) should cause some flirtation on the Chargers side, but a Chiefs blowout victory wouldn’t surprise anyone, right? Gimme all the Charcandrick.

Matt Jones ($4,000) @ CAR

We took a flier on Matt Jones last week against a porous New Orleans defense and wouldn’t ya know it — BAM — 31+ fantasy points. Things aren’t assumed the same this go’round, but Carolina (albeit a very good defense) are actually giving up more than 22 FPPG to opposing rushers, which isn’t great. As mentioned in weeks past, Jones is the most explosive (and fantasy friendly) back in Washington, and he’s the guy called on if/when the Redskins get things going on the ground. And as a bonus, he gives you something in the screen game too (see: last week).

LeGarrette Blount ($5,000) v. BUF

Although LeGarrette Blount plays a different position, the loss of Julian Edelman will force the Patriots to rely on other skill players and that’s where Big Body Blount could come into play. Buffalo is allowing just over 20 FPPG to opposing running backs, which puts them somewhere in the middle of the league, and seemingly something for Blount to work with. It may not be a play to fall in love with, but the price is right.


Wide Receiver

Rishard Matthews ($4,700) v. DAL

With all the love that’s sure to be poured over Dallas with the expected return of Tony Romo, feel free to play against the grain with this one. Rishard Matthews has created a pretty strong floor for himself and neither team can afford a loss here, so gunning for points we shall have. Matthews is averaging just over 15 FPPG this season, and that’s good enough at this price point.

Brandon LaFell ($4,300) v. BUF

He may have been a disappointment last week (just two catches), but Brandon LaFell receives an uptick at this point for obvious reasons (the loss of Julian Edelman). The Fighting Rex Ryans are allowing more than 32 FPPG to opposing wideouts, which is good for seventh-worse in the league. No one forgot about Rob Gronkowski, but Tom Brady will need his receivers too.

Jamison Crowder ($3,800) @ CAR

I promise it’s not homerism; I just can’t quit Jamison Crowder this season. His price point is entirely too low for how big of a part he plays in the Washington offense and he provides the potential big play YAC on nearly every short throw. With more attention focused on containing DeSean Jackson and keeping him from going over the top, it’s Crowder who’s there to gobble up the low-lying fruit. All day, ya’ll.

Danny Amendola ($4,000) v. BUF

The last time these two teams met, Julian Edelman went in on the Bills with 11 catches and two scores. Edelman is of course injured this time around, but Danny Amendola can step in as a poor man’s version. Awesome price, here.


Tight End

Jordan Reed ($4,900) @ CAR

Another young stud I can’t help but lush over. Until his price creeps above $5,000, Jordan Reed is an easy play each week regardless of opponent.

Crockett Gillmore ($3,300) v. STL

The receiver group in Baltimore is a mixed bag of day-old bagels, which bodes well for Crockett Gilllmore, and especially so in daily fantasy stuff and things. The price is right and this game could get weird (no surprise here if Baltimore blows the doors off St. Louis).



Eagles ($3,100) v. TB

They’re not necessarily sneaky, but the Eagles defense has been a solid producer this season despite not being talked about too much. They’re one of only a few units averaging double-digits this season and they’re at least $500 less than the others playing this week (Seahawks, Broncos, Rams).

Ravens ($2,700) v. STL

No one’s saying the Ravens are good, but they have the makings of a decent streaming option this week. The total is way low in this one, the Rams are shuffling quarterbacks, and Baltimore has to be beyond pissed off following last week’s game.


Brandon Browner Shows How Much of a Mess Saints Defense Is

How much of a mess?

Enough of a mess that reports surfaced Monday morning that defensive coordinator Rob Ryan was fired. And enough of a mess that head coach Sean Payton later dismissed those reports a few hours later.

Enough of a mess that the Redskins blew the doors off ’em 47-14 on Sunday. And enough of a mess that they’ve allowed 120 points and over 1,400 yards over their last three games.

Without pretending to know the in’s and out’s of the Saints defense, there appears to be some sort of leadership and/or discipline issue at the very least. Take this clip of Brandon Browner from Sunday’s game against the Redskins for example.

That’s a 31-year-old veteran, two-time Super Bowl winning cornerback making a selfish play and taking a blindside cheap shot on an offensive lineman. But even more than looking like a clown based on the fact that he blindsided a guy, Browner could have made a play on the ball carrier in this play and possibly (most likely) saved his team a touchdown in a tied ball game.

Solid stuff, bro. Don’t be surprised if those reports surrounding Rob Ryan come back around.

Answering Questions Regarding the Redskins and Kirk Cousins’ Looming Contract Extension

Sep 20, 2015; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) celebrates after a touchdown by Redskins running back Matt Jones (31) against the St. Louis Rams in the fourth quarter at FedEx Field. The Redskins won 24-10. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Following Kirk Cousins’ perfect performance against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday, the hot topic moving forward will be the quarterback’s future in Washington and the impending contract extension that comes with it. The 27-year-old Cousins is set to become an unrestricted free agent following this season and the Redskins will need to make a decision over the course of the next several weeks on which direction they’d like to go with the game’s most coveted position.

Does Captain Kirk deserve an extension? 

It’s hard to argue that he doesn’t. Surely the length and amount of money involved is the most important part of that question, but if we’re talking about extension for exactly what it is, yeah, the guy deserves a contract.

And that’s not to say you prefer Kirk Cousins as your team’s starting quarterback. Maybe you think a few good games so far this season are more indicative of fools gold than they are a promising future. You may be right, you may not. But the facts are 1.) Cousins can play the quarterback position in the NFL, and 2.) he’s shown progress this season.

Why should the Redskins make an offer to Cousins right away? 

The quarterback position is the game’s most important and there are only 32 starters in the league, not all of which are good. The market for quarterback is obvious, and therefore you don’t want to let something good get away. If you don’t begin talks with Cousins now, who’s to say he doesn’t begin to welcome the idea of testing the open market following the season? And who’s to say another team isn’t willing to make him a rich man; perhaps even more rich than if he were to stay in Washington?

Is there any reason why the Redskins should wait to extend Cousins? 

Absolutely. A couple reasons, actually. And that’s part of the game of contracts. It’s a matter of gamble and leverage and negotiation. It’s a matter of each party sitting down at the table, doing what’s best for themselves, maintaining a smile, and then walking away pleased with how it all went.

At this point, Cousins has lots of leverage. His team is in contention for the division, he hasn’t thrown a careless pick in the last three games, he made franchise history when he orchestraed that comeback against the Buccaneers in Week 7, and he’s coming off a Saints game in which he posted a perfect passer rating. Needless to say, Cousins looks sexier right now than he ever has before.

So what’s a hypothetical front office angle for waiting?

Obviously you’re not rooting against the guy, but one front office angle could be to hold off on contract stuff at the moment, let Cousins get through Carolina, Buffalo, and four division games, see if his stock settles at all, and then move forward with contact negotiations.

Worst case scenario (for the front office, that is, strictly in terms of dollars and cents), Cousins goes 6-0 to close the season, throws a dozen touchdowns to just two interceptions, and the Redskins make the playoffs. In that case, the front office waiting angle failed, Cousins is in fact sexier than he was in Week 10, and you’re probably looking at ponying up more cash.

On the flip side of that situation, however, your team is doing well and you have a real quarterback on your hands, neither of which is a bad case at all.

And of course, if Cousins falls flat on his face to close out the season, the asking price fluctuates accordingly and the Redskins have a decision to make, albeit (most likely) an easier one.

What kind of money are we talking for Cousins? 

With all the recent quarterback contracts we’ve seen lately including what’s best referred to as ‘funny money’, it’s tough to say.

Take Andy Dalton’s extension for example. He signed a six-year, $96 million contract with the Cincinnati Bengals, including a $12 million signing bonus, $17 million guaranteed, and an average annual salary of $16 million. Not bad for comparison purposes.

How about Ryan Tannehill? He signed a four-year, $77 million contract with the Miami Dolphins, including a $11.5 million signing bonus, $45 million guaranteed, and an average annual salary of $19.25 million. While that does seem a little rich, that could be the potential uptick in annual salary we’re talking about if the Redskins front office decides to hold off on negotiations now and Cousins proceeds to light it up to close the season.

And remember Colin Kaepernick’s deal? He signed a six-year, $114 million contract with the San Francisco 49ers and everyone screamed about how crazy and baffling $100 million plus was for a guy like him. But the deal included a $12.3 million signing bonus, $61 million guaranteed, and an average annual salary of $19 million. Again, probably a little too rich, but these are listed for comparison purposes only.

Point being, a contract’s total (and largest) number that finds its way into all the headlines only tells part of the story. The details give you the meat of it. It’s safe to assume we see something similar to that when the Redskins extend Cousins. The total number will likely force sticker shock to some, but the details will end up team friendly.

What’s the best case situation for Redskins fans?

Undoubtedly, the best case for Redskins fans is that Kirk Cousins finishes the season strong, the Redskins make the playoffs, and the quarterback is extended at the end of the season. Aside from the instant gratification of making the playoffs, that would mean fans could also rest easy knowing they have a solid quarterback on their roster and that he’s not going anywhere for a few years. Stability, structure, and potential moving forward is a huge step in the right direction, especially when you’re talking about the quarterback position.

Postgame Notes and React: Redskins v. Saints


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’ 47-14 win over the New Orleans Saints.  

* * *

— The Redskins did their best impression of a high-powered Patriots offense on Sunday. They were on fire. Couldn’t miss, wouldn’t stumble, didn’t sputter. It was awesome to watch.

— That said, the Saints defense is awful. Like, really awful. That’s not to take anything away from the Redskins offense, but with the parts they have on offense, they should be able to put up points against a defense that often appears like they’re playing with nine guys instead of 11. The Redskins handled business at home.

— But I’m not going to halt the excitement on behalf of a not-so-good opponent, because the Redskins were really good. Kirk Cousins had a perfect game, and I mean that literally. He finished 20-of-25 for 324 yards and four touchdowns, which is good for a passer rating of 158.3, which just so happens to be a perfect quarterback rating in the NFL. Watching the tape will tell more, but I remember just two bad passes from him all day.

— The ground game returned to the tune of 31 carries for 225 yards. Alfred Morris and Matt Jones were neck and neck in terms of snap counts and each of them averaged better than five yards per carry (with Morris sniffing the 7.0 YPC mark). It’s great to see the Redskins effectively running the ball again, but things weren’t fixed overnight. Let’s see how they perform on the ground next week against Carolina before we run and tell the town how great they are.

— Speaking of Matt Jones — he added three catches for 131 yards and a score, including a 78-yard screen pass that he creatively turned into a score. The rookie has such a unique set of skills and he’s an exciting piece of the puzzle moving forward.

hotline bling

— How ’bout the defense! Fully expecting this game to be a back-and-forth affair, the Redskins held the Saints to just 14 points. Drew Brees threw two interceptions, he was sacked three times, and the Saints converted just four of their 11 third downs.

— The Saints finished with 158 yards on the ground, but 70 of those yards came from a Mark Ingram run that sprung thanks to poor Washington tackling. I hate doing this BUT, take that run away and the Redskins held their opponent to less than 100 yards on the day.

— Only five penalties for 26 yards for Washington, and we’ll gladly take that.

— And 6-for-11 on third down, which is a number that should keep you in most games so long as you don’t constantly shoot yourself in the foot.

— Tight end Jordan Reed is a stud. I thought he’d be targeted more, but we’ll take three catches for 29 yards and two scores. He’s the team’s best RZ option and this team is a different animal when Reed is healthy and on the field.

— I guess you could say DeSean Jackson was a bit more involved in his second game back since suffering that hamstring injury. His 44-yard catch down the left sideline was a thing of beauty (on 3rd-and-4!), but it was the only deep shot Jackson had all game. Just two catches for 44 yards against this defense was less than anticipated.

— Another good game for Dustin Hopkins, whose name should be receiving votes for most sought after replica jersey in 2015. He’s fantastic.

— Hat tip to the defense, and maybe a soft apology to Perry Riley Jr. We’ve been ripping him lately (which I will continue to support as well deserved) but he came out and played a decent game on Sunday, making a play to break up a pass early in the game, and even coming down with an interception of his own. Not a perfect game or a great game, but a good one given what we’ve seen out of the middle linebacker as of late.

fist pumping

— After missing a tackle on a huge play early in the game, safety Dashon Goldson redeemed himself in the second half with a 34-yard interception for a touchdown. Brees’ pass went through the hands of Marques Colston on the sidelines and Goldson had a nice break on the ball to be in the right place at the right time. He high-stepped nearly the entire way into the end zone. It was great. His inability to wrap-up, however, is the complete opposite of great.

— On one of the Saints’ long touchdowns to Brandin Cooks early in the game, Ryan Kerrigan had beat the right tackle and appeared to have his shot at Brees. An apparent stutter at the top of his move, however, left Kerrigan unable to bend and convert on the sack attempt. It was a frustrating play in the game, but one that was likely forgotten as time went on and the Redskins kept rolling. I will say this though regarding that play: Brees is one of the very best in the league. He feels that kind of pressure, he knows that kind of pressure, and his feet are trained to avoid that kind of pressure. I’m not sure how much we can beat up on Kerrigan for that one. It was a great play by the future Hall of Fame quarterback too.

—  Josh LeRibeus at center continues to be frightening. His snaps can be anywhere and everywhere and Cousins even made a couple nice, instinctive plays in order to haul in shotgun snaps on Sunday. Yeesh — white knuckling each snap is bad for the blood pressure.

— The monster stomp by the offense, the solid play by the defense, and the doable performance by the special teams unit made this an all-around good game for the Washington football team. But it’s very important we don’t get caught up in this win. They won’t all be like this moving forward. We need to remind ourselves of the opponent and prepare for the next game.

— The Redskins are in a unique situation in that they have four remaining division games, and that helps the cause of ‘control your own destiny’. Now on to next week against the Panthers. Upset alert?

Daily Fantasy 2015 Bargain Shopping: Value Plays for NFL Week 10

DFS Bargain Shopper Cover Photo

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.

* * *


Blake Bortles ($5,600) @ BAL

The Baltimore Ravens are allowing the second-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks and Blake Bortles has shown some impressive outputs this season, averaging better than 21 FPPG. This game could get scrappy and the Jags have a passing game that can threaten a bad Baltimore secondary.

Kirk Cousins ($5,200) v. NO

He’s one game removed from that 35-point outing against Tampa Bay, and who knows how last Sunday’s game could’ve gone for Kirk Cousins had his receivers decided to catch the ball rather than drop it. Vegas gives a slight edge to the Saints in this one, but the attractive number is the total (50) in a matchup that includes a nonthreatening Redskins defense, as well as a New Orleans side allowing the most FPPG to opposing passers.


Running Back

Darren McFadden ($4,900) @ TB

Last week marked three straight games in which the Cowboys have forced the ball down Darren McFadden’s throat — he’s averaging more than 26 touches a game in those contests. While he’s healthy, why shy away? We’ll anticipate high ownership, but it’s hard to pass up all the opportunity and chances McFadden is sure to see moving forward.

T.J. Yeldon ($4,800) @ BAL

The Ravens are allowing less than 20 FPPG to opposing backs this season, but you have to like T.J. Yeldon’s floor with how much/often the Jags use him. And despite topping 70 yards rushing just twice this season, Yeldon is a nice piece in Jacksonville’s passing game and the Ravens are allowing close to six receptions per game to opposing running backs.

Matt Jones ($3,300) v. NO

Complete flyer, here, but the Redskins’ rushing game would seem to have to get back on track at some point, right? The Saints are giving up 21+ to opposing rushers and this game has the makings of a back-and-forth affair. Matt Jones is the best back on Washington’s roster, he’ll cost you next to nothing this week, and a one-touchdown game would provide you all the value you need.


Wide Receiver

Willie Snead ($4,900) @ WAS

Sticking with the assumed shootout style game script, Willie Snead should be an attractive option given his heavy involvement in New Orleans’ passing attack. The rookie has scored more than 40 FPs in his last two games and he’s giving us all what we thought we’d get out of Brandin Cooks this season instead.

Kamar Aiken ($4,500) v. JAX

Following the loss of Steve Smith for the rest of the season, the Ravens are operating with insurance salesmen and grocery baggers at the wide receiver position, which immediately makes a guy like Kamar Aiken a worthy bargain play in most weeks moving forward. He’s posted five double-digit outputs so far this season — so the ability is there — and the Jags aren’t aces against the pass, giving up over 30 FPPG to opposing wideouts.

Jamison Crowder ($3,500) v. NO

Jamison “Clam” Crowder makes the list again this week; and this time for $200 less than last Sunday. The rookie remains a staple in the Redskins offense, regardless of whether or not DeSean Jackson is on the field, and his price point is entirely too low even if only for the amount of targets and catches he snags (he’s yet to score this season).

Brandon LaFell ($4,100) @ NYG

After missing the early part of the season, Brandon LaFell has quickly reasserted himself in the Patriots offense, even going as far as posting an 18-point performance in just his third game back last week. As we’ve seen in recent weeks (see: New Orleans game), the Giants are more than capable of being gashed and ripped apart by a potent passing attack, and New England certainly has the fire power to do it.


Tight End

Jordan Reed ($4,600) v. NO

At this point, between the lack of playmakers in Washington and the relationship building between quarterback Kirk Cousins and his tight end, Jordan Reed is hard to pass on. So long as he’s healthy, he’s good for targets, he serves as arguably his team’s best RZ option, and he comes with a comfortable floor.

Richard Rodgers ($3,000) v. DET

He may be touchdown dependent, but Richard Rodgers is going against a Lions defense who allows the second-most touchdowns to opposing tight ends. The equation adds up for him this week.



Streaming will be a tough go this week. Go with the Panthers and call it a day?


Daily Fantasy 2015 Bargain Shopping: Value Plays for NFL Week 9

DFS Bargain Shopper Cover Photo

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.

* * *


Philip Rivers ($6,900) v. CHI

He’s up $300 from last week, but Philip Rivers stays on the list. He’s yet to let us down and he throws a billion times a game. Chicago’s defense isn’t nearly threatening enough (20+ FPPG to opposing quarterbacks) to scare you off and he’s in a good spot to earn his value again this week.

Jay Cutler ($5,200) @ SD

Look no further than the other side of the field to find your next bargain play at quarterback this week. Jay Cutler may be one of the more underrated guys in the league right now (omg?) and he enters this game with at least 18 fantasy points in his last four outings.

Jameis Winston ($5,200) v. NYG

Speaking of riding waves, rookie Jameis Winston has pinned together impressive back-to-back performances over the past couple weeks and this Sunday’s New York opponent doesn’t show any signs of rerouting that ship, as the Giants are allowing 21+ FPPG to opposing passers. Winston hasn’t thrown an interception in three games (jinx!), the Vegas line (48) on this one plays to our favor, and the rookie’s salary this week is entirely too low to pass on.


Running Back

DeAngelo Williams ($5,500) v. OAK

Prepare to get in line — every fake footballer and their mother will be rostering DeAngelo Williams this weekend. With Le’Veon Bell done for the year (so long, year-long teams), Williams is the next man up and the Raiders setup nicely as an opponent allowing better than 25 FPPG to running backs this season. You can expect high ownership, but the running back market seems a bit flaky this week, so it might be a move you just have to roll with.

Shane Vereen ($4,400) @ TB

He’s much more receiver than running back and his weekly outputs are all over the place, but Shane Vereen at this number is attractive…assuming we get one of those eight reception games. Thing is, Vereen has four games this season in which he’s posted double-digits, and the other four in which he’s combined for just 14 total fantasy points. You won’t rest easy with him in your lineups, but there is payoff potential.


Wide Receiver

Stefon Diggs ($5,300) v. STL

The matchup doesn’t appear rich on paper (STL is pretty good against opposing wideouts) and the total (39.5) certainly does us no favors, but it’s hard to ignore Stefon Diggs and his 21.5-point average in just four games this season. Maybe he doesn’t score (hell, maybe no one does), but Diggs is Teddy Bridgewater’s right-hand man and he’ll at least get his catches.

Pierre Garcon ($5,000) @ NE

I’m stacking every Redskins pass catcher there is this week. How’s that for strategy? The line is high (51.5), the Pats are favored by two touchdowns, and the Redskins have no choice but to pass the ball (whether that’s due to an inept rushing attack as of late, or the likely chance they’ll be playing catchup for most of the game). That said, Pierre Garcon has been a decent play lately anyway, averaging nearly 13 FPPG this season while hauling in an average of five catches per game.

Jamison Crowder ($3,700) @ NE

For the same reasons as listed above regarding Garcon, but also because Jamison Crowder is a really good football player. The Redskins work to get him involved in the offense and they rely on him for the spark, as his quickness and speed allows him to be really effective as an in-space guy. He hasn’t posted double-digits the last couple games, but the targets and opportunity are sure to be there.


Tight End

Jordan Reed ($4,500) @ NE

Tired of this all-Redskins strategy yet? Despite the Pats effectiveness against opposing tight ends, Jordan Reed remains the best offensive playmaker in Washington (assuming DeSean Jackson still doesn’t make it out onto the field) and the Redskins rely on him every game. He’s missed a double-digit total only once this season and Washington will need a big showing out of him if they have any chance of keeping this game competitive.



Vikings ($3,100) v. STL 

I know St. Louis has been the hot defense of late, but the total on his game is brutal (39.5) and the Vikings defense comes into it with 24 points over their last three games. Roll with the cheaper of the two in this one.

Eagles ($2,700) @ DAL

We’ve seen Philly put up big numbers as a defense (16, 14, 19) and that kind of thing is doable against Dallas. Really nice price for that high of a ceiling.

Daily Fantasy 2015 Bargain Shopping: Value Plays for NFL Week 8

DFS Bargain Shopper Cover Photo

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.

* * *


Philip Rivers ($6,600) @ BAL

Get on Philip Rivers now before his arm literally falls off the hinge thanks to all the throwing they do in San Diego. This is an awesome value for a guy averaging better than 24 FPPG going up against a Baltimore defense that’s been pretty terrible against opposing quarterbacks this season.


Running Back

Todd Gurley ($6,300) v. SF

As mentioned last week, we can expect regression at some point, but it’s so hard to pass over Todd Gurley in cash games when he’s listed for less than $7,000. The Rams are favored by nine points in this game and Vegas has a low total posted for it, meaning talent + anticipated game script makes for a nice buy.

Chris Johnson ($4,600) @ CLE

Lines are beginning to build for CJ2K The Revival, which sounds more like the title of the final installment in a terrible sci-fi trilogy. Truth is, Chris Johnson is back from the dead and averaging more than 13 FPPG and going against a Browns defense allowing nearly 30 FPPG to opposing rushers. His diminishing role in the passing game over the last few weeks is a little discouraging, but this matchup presents plenty of opportunity at the price.

Giovani Bernard ($4,800) @ PIT

We’ll call this the ‘Gut Instinct Play of the Week’, which is roughly defined as a low-salary player who doesn’t garner a great matchup on paper, but one you feel could surprise and turn out some decent value anyway. The Steelers are allowing a measly 20 FPPG to opposing running backs, but look for Hue Jackson to get creative with Gio Bernard and get the ball into the hands of one of his playmakers in a game that’s listed as the second-highest total (48.5) on the card this week and one that may mark the return of Ben Roethlisberger.

Jonathan Stewart ($4,100) v. IND

Are the Colts experiencing some sort of free fall? Owners fighting with GMs, head coaches rumored not to make it through the season, a young quarterback taking a beating behind a terrible offensive line — yuck. But all that takes a back seat for the moment, as Indy looks to rebound in Carolina this week. The Colts are allowing nearly 30 FPPG to opposing rushers and the Panthers are favored by seven on Monday night, making the matchup an attractive one for Jonathan Stewart. His totals this season have been more so downers than uppers, but Stewart is looking to build on a two-game stretch that’s netted him 44 carries for 203 yards and two touchdowns. I’ll take it for $4,100.


Wide Receiver

Donte Moncrief ($5,500) @ CAR 

The Panthers have been stingy against opposing receivers this season, thanks in large part to the rising star in Josh Norman. But the Colts will have to pass in this one (they’re seven-point road dogs) and even if T.Y. Hilton is contained, I like Donte Moncrief’s talent, size, and chances of finding room against the Carolina secondary.

Stefon Diggs ($4,800) @ CHI

There’s plenty of fake football players who are hesitant to warm up to rookie Stefon Diggs, but count me as one on the polar opposite of that position1. Diggs has quickly become a primary target in Minnesota and he’s a playmaker with the ball in his hands (at least one catch of 25 yards or more in each of his last three games). The total in this game (42) won’t excite anyone, but couldn’t you see Smokin’ Jay Cutler slingin’ it all over the field and turning this thing into a shootout between division rivals? Not to mention, the Bears’ 1.83 receiving touchdowns2 allowed per game ranks dead last in the league, and I like Diggs’ chances of finding paydirt in this one.

John Brown ($5,800) @ CLE

There seemed to be some cooling on John Brown following his 18 combined points during Weeks 2 and 3, but he’s averaged 20 FPPG since then (including a 31-point performance in Week 6) and most are willing to hop back on (if they in fact ever jumped off). Brown is always a threat in Arizona’s offense and the Browns are allowing close to 36 FPPG to opposing wideouts.


Tight End

Benjamin Watson ($3,500) v. NYG

The Giants allow the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends and Benjamin Watson ranks second on the team with 29 receptions this season. He’s not Jimmy Graham in this offense, but Watson provides some upside at this number. The line on this one is also posted at 49, which bodes well for the amount of passing we should see.

Martellus Bennett ($4,900) v. MIN

The Vikings are allowing just over 15 FPPG to opposing tight ends and Martellus joins Alshon as one of Jay Cutler’s go-to guys in this Bears offense. I’m personally not a huge fan of rooting for Bennett, but there’s value to be had this week.



Rams ($3,200) v. SF

Their 25 points last Sunday should make the Rams a popular play this week, but they have a shot at having the same sort of field day against Colin Kaepernick and that somewhat of a football thing they have running under TOMSULA. Worth the price here, if ya ask me.

Redskins Rookie Dinner Gets a Little Pricey

pot roast

It looks like the Redskins ventured to Mastro’s Steakhouse for a delectable dinner and then gave the rookies the privilege of picking up the tab, which was, um, a little pricey.

pot roast tweet

For the record, the $2,935.76 was the 17 percent gratuity added — presumably not a bad night for the wait staff.

In another tweet (which provided the lede photo), Terrance “Pot Roast” Knighton gave thanks to rookie linebacker Preston Smith and included a photo of he and fellow defensive lineman Chris Baker — arguably the last two guys on Earth you’d like to take to an expensive steakhouse on your own dime, but such is the game with rookies in the NFL.

So now, after seeing a night out for dinner and drinks that totaled more than some people’s annual salary, let us all get back to our day jobs, shall we?

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