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Daily Fantasy Bargain Shopping: Value Plays for NFL Week 10

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

Matt Ryan ($6,300) @ TB

He hasn’t had an “oh-wow” game since Week 1, but Matt Ryan comes with a really friendly price tag coming off he and the Falcons’ bye week.

The last time these two teams met in Week 3 on Thursday night, the Bucs didn’t look like a real team and lost 56-14 on national television while Ryan passed for 286 and three scores.

Things have changed since then I guess (Atlanta is 2-6), but Tampa Bay still isn’t a good team. They’re allowing close to 286 passing yards per game and their 18 passing touchdowns allowed are tied for second-worst in the NFL.

Mark Sanchez ($5,400) v. CAR

The Return of Sanchez. In theaters November 10.

I’m actually buying Chip Kelly’s offense more than Mark Sanchez the quarterback, but he’s the benefactor of the former and he’s one of the cheapest starting options you’ll find this week. Carolina’s pass defense (17 pass touchdowns allowed) isn’t threatening enough to move us off a low-lying QB like Sanchez, so saddle up and hold on. This one should pay off fine.

 

Running Back

LeSean McCoy ($5,600) v. CAR

The Panthers are giving up more than 130 rushing yards per game for an average of 4.8 yards per carry. Meanwhile, LeSean McCoy has received 20+ carries in his last four games with an average of 15.6 fantasy points over that span. This is a favorable matchup for less than you’d pay for guys like Jamaal Charles, Mark Ingram, and Lamar Miller, all of whom face much tougher defenses.

Justin Forsett ($5,000) v. TEN

There’s some sort of committee working in Baltimore, but Justin Forsett is the guy to have when the dust settles. Not only is he the most trusted member of the team’s backfield, but also the most versatile. He’s averaging 15 fPts per game thanks to his receiving contributions and Tennessee’s defense isn’t posing a threat on the road.

Bobby Rainey ($4,400) v. ATL

You’ll have to keep a close eye on Charles Sims’ status as we approach Sunday’s game, but it’s pretty clear the Bucs like Bobby Rainey. He’ll have a nice matchup against a bad Falcons defense this week and you’re hoping others have cooled on him given his three-game scoring drought.

 

Wide Receiver

Dez Bryant ($6,400) @ JAX (in London)

Tony Romo and his flailing spine are set to play, so Dez Bryant is very much a solid option this week. The Jaguars are arguably the worst team in the league, and Bryant shouldn’t have any trouble eating against this Jacksonville secondary. That sub-$6,500 salary is a steal.

But again — make sure Romo plays.

Percy Harvin ($5,300) v. PIT

Targets, targets, targets.

It doesn’t matter who starts at quarterback, it doesn’t matter how bad the Jets are, it doesn’t matter who has what kind of attitude. All that matters is that Percy Harvin is a weapon and the Jets need weapons.

I wouldn’t necessarily call this a sure-fire play, but the price is right for what could come of it. The Steelers offense should pick apart the Jets secondary, putting New York in position to throw, throw, throw in an effort to catch up.

Kelvin Benjamin ($4,200) @ PHI

This feels like easy money, which may be the very reason to run the other way.

At any rate, after putting up an atrocious offensive performance last week, Cam Newton and the Panthers are on the rebound and in desperate need of wins a. That’s not to say they’ll trot into Philly and steal one, but the Eagles defense isn’t anything special.

In a game that Vegas currently puts at 48, Kelvin Benjamin seems like the easy beneficiary against a Philly defense giving up the third-most passing touchdowns in the NFL, as well as playing for a Panthers team that’s sure to leave everything on the field.

Julio Jones ($6,600) @ TB

Nine catches, 161 yards, two touchdowns, 40+ fantasy points.

That was Julio Jones’ stat line the last time he played the Bucs. And perhaps he won’t hit quite the lottery this go’round, but I also wouldn’t rule it out.

Jones enters this game claiming that his ankle is now at 100 percent following the bye, and the Falcons are somehow still alive in the NFC South. This matchup is well worth the price tag.

Markus Wheaton ($4,100) @ NYJ

He may not be Antonio Brown or see a whole mess of targets, but Markus Wheaton is a sneaky wildcard this weekend against a pitiful Jets secondary. Yes, Martavis Bryant cuts into target share (especially in the redzone), but Wheaton has the speed to create for himself.

Tight End

Travis Kelce ($5,100) @ BUF

I promise you there’s no one who loves Travis Kelce more than I love Travis Kelce.

 

  1. They’re somehow very much alive in their weak division despite a 3-6 record.  (back)

John Wall Looks Off Carmelo to Find Paul Pierce for 3-Pointer

There’s obviously lots to like about this pass from John Wall to Paul Pierce in last night’s 98-83 win over the Knicks at Madison Square Garden. But even more impressive than the look-off to freeze Carmelo Anthony, I think I’m in love with the cohesion of Wall and Pierce after just four games.

 

At the very beginning of the video clip, Pierce isn’t even in the shot. But that doesn’t mean Wall doesn’t see him. He attacks down toward the basket, gives the impression he’s dishing to a shooter in the corner (a play the Wiz like to run) and instead passes back to the arc where Pierce can walk into receiving a pass and blast a wide-open three.

This assist (one of Wall’s seven on the night) was quite delicious.

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

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’ 29-26 loss to the Minnesota Vikings in Robert Griffin III’s return to action. 

* * *

Robert Griffin III was not awful. Did he make bad throws at times? Yes. Did some of those bad throws occur just before halftime and at the end of the game? Yes. Did he hold on to the ball too long? Yes. Did he look a bit hesitant to take off and run? Yes. But think of the plays Griffin did make — most of which wouldn’t have been made by any other quarterback on this roster. He may not have been perfect, but Griffin played well enough for the Redskins to win the game.

– And even without the ball in his hands, Griffin left an imprint on the game by way of Alfred Morris and the Redskins’ ground attack. Griffin’s presence and the read-option threat help to open up things for Morris, who averaged nearly five yards per carry and finished with 92 yards and two scores.

– Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett went from all the praise following Monday night’s win over the Cowboys, to making his way back into the doghouse after this loss to the Vikings.

– In their four games prior to Sunday, the Vikings were averaging 12 points a game on offense. They scored 29 against the Redskins.

– Jason Hatcher didn’t play enough. After the game Jay Gruden confirmed Hatcher was not hurt and that they went with Stephen Bowen a lot to counter the Vikings’ inside run game.

– It’s obviously easier said than done (I guess), but the Redskins need to do a better job of getting the football in DeSean Jackson‘s hands. He finished the day with 120 yards and a touchdown on just four catches. And with that kind of speed and homerun ability, we should see a lot more screens, some quick slants, more shots down the field, etc.

– While on the topic of DeSean, let’s not forget this happened minutes after his touchdown catch.

– One way to help that, I suppose, would be to make a stop on defense. Make a stop, increase your opportunities on offense. Something of that nature.

– Oh, and another one of your playmakers that NEEDS to get the ball: Jordan Reed. One target isn’t getting it done.

– The Redskins finished 6-of-13 on third down. So there’s that.

– Not the best of games for Pierre Garcon. He had an opportunity to pull in a long pass (I believe it was on 3rd-and-9 with a little over three minutes to go in the first half) in which Griffin threw a perfect ball that went right through the curled arms of Garcon. Not cool.

Chris Chester not playing well — we should all be used to that.

– On that final drive for the Redskins, the offensive pass interference call on DeSean Jackson on 1st-and-10 from their own 29 was a killer. Suddenly the Redskins were looking at 1st-and-20 and then 3rd-and-20 after giving up a sack on second down.

– And while on the topic of harsh penalties, the holding call on Shawn Lauvao on 4th-and-6 from the Redskins 43 was awful. Not in terms of the call itself, because it was indeed a hold, but the timing was brutal. The defensive holding call on the same play would’ve given Washington the first down. Instead, offsetting penalties led to a replay of 4th-and-6 and we got that terrible throw from Griffin to end the Redskins’ day.

Bashuand Breeland turned out another good game. He’s been awesome over the past few weeks and I’m now throwing around the hashtag #BashaudTheGaud because I’m super lame.

Back end of the defense was ugly.

Perry Riley had a couple nice tackles, but it often seemed like he was flowing the wrong way and putting himself out of position. Meh.

– We could cut Jim Haslett some slack for the lack of talent he has to work with, but the miscommunication and overall sense of players being lost falls at the coach’s feet. That’s what he gets paid to do. Teach your players, prepare your players.

Pass rush was gnarly. As usual, not enough.

– I might be calling it a thing too soon, but rookie Trent Murphy showed signs of an under pass-rushing move, which is great to see after just nine games. Repertoires for pass rushers is a good thing.

– As for the pregame Sunday morning noise that seems to find its way to national media outlets every effin’ week — it’s embarrassing. While I don’t believe Robert Griffin III has alienated himself from the rest of the team, I do think there are guys in the locker room and on the team that don’t like him. And I also think that kind of thing occurs in every locker room. The foundation of all of this, however, is the fact that the Redskins suck, they’re not winning, and the organization is plagued at the top. Even if this kind of shit is going on within the organization, be professional and keep it in house.

– Being a Redskins fan is a job. It’s an extremely frustrating task.

 

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)

Assembling the House of Guards: An NBA Fantasy Draft Fable

House of Guards is my team name, but sadly I ended up zero Wiz bros on the squad.

House of Guards is my team name, but sadly I ended up with zero Wiz bros on the squad.

 

For the first time in a long time, I participated in an NBA fantasy league draft with other members of the hoops crew at numberFire.

I’m not entirely sure how these draft fables go over with readers — whether or not they’re entertaining or completely useless — but here’s a trip through the snake drafting process of a novice with the second-overall pick in a 12-team head-to-head format.

And to better set the scene for strategy, the scoring format consists of nine categories: field goal percentage (FG%), free throw percentage (FT%), three-point shots made (3PTM), points scored (PTS), total rebounds (REB), assists (AST), steals (ST), blocked shots (BLK), and turnovers (TO).

Additionally, each roster consists of 13 guys: 10 starters and three bench spots.

Here’t goes.

 

Round 1 (Pick 2) – LeBron James

Not a whole lot of shock and awe going on here. I did contemplate taking longtime man crush Kevin Durant and fighting through the first 12-20 games of the season without him, but that was a tough maneuver given my experience.

It’s LeBron. He’ll get me some of everything. He’s durable. I’m pleased.

 

Round 2 (11) – Nicolas Batum

While Bron Bron was great in the first, I felt the wrath of the snake quite early, as I had to wait another 20 picks before turning in the card on my main man’s wingman.

Heading into the second round, my goal was LaMarcus Aldridge, Kawhi Leonard, and John Wall — probably in that order. Unsurprisingly, Aldridge was gone at 2.4 and Wall was gone at 2.6. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t getting excited about the chance of Leonard falling to me.

Leonard goes at 2.9, then Horford, then I rebound with Nicolas Batum — a versatile running mate alongside James who gives me good minutes, points, rebounds, and decent assist numbers. Another pleasing pick here.

 

Round 3 (2) – Joakim Noah

Immediately after taking Batum, I felt a sense of urgency to go big in the next couple rounds. a

Marc Gasol was available here, and I also really, really thought about Brook Lopez. I ultimately sided with Noah for his rebounds and hustle on defense.

 

Round 4 (11) – Kemba Walker

There was no chance DeAndre Jordan would fall to me this late in the round, but I at least wished for it. In terms of what I thought even slightly possible, I targeted Chandler Parsons, Nikola Vucevic, Mike Conley if he happened to be there, and Tim Duncan.

Parsons, gone; Vucevic, gone; Conley, gone; and Timmy sniped a pick before me.

Pretty harsh feeling at that point — the timer ticking down and literally your entire target list long gone. The only silver lining I had in this situation is that I’d be picking again two spots later.

I landed Kemba Walker for his points and assists, also recognizing the loss in field goal percentage. And while he may not hit them at a great clip right now, I do like that Walker isn’t shy about chucking from beyond the arc (216 made threes over the past two seasons).

 

Round 5 (2) – Kenneth Faried

Derrick Favors was one of my pre-draft targets — a guy I felt good about and told myself I wouldn’t pass on if given the chance to take him.

In retrospect, I should’ve taken Kenneth Faried — another guy I really, really wanted — at the end of Round 4, then turned right around and drafted Favors to solidify a strong, youthful front court.

Nonetheless, I’m happy to have Faried on the House of Guards squad.

 

Round 6 (11) – Jamal Crawford

Round 6. The Round of the Sniper.

With Marcin Gortat taken at 6.5, I shifted focus to Greg Monroe, Jimmy Butler, and David Lee. Then Lee went at 6.7, Monroe at 6.9, and Butler, ever so fittingly, selected a pick before me at 6.10.

doknojvopckzdkjqwokm?!?!?!?!?

I’m not mad about landing Jamal Crawford. First guy off the bench or starter, the dude puts up points and buries three-pointers. I wanted (and also felt I needed) both.

 

Round 7 (2) – Nikola Pekovic

As much as I enjoy the Pekovic stat line, there was some concern surrounding this pick given the stuff I’ve read regarding the Timberwolves limiting Pek’s minutes due to some knee-itis type malarkey.

I took him anyway, expecting something like 16 points and 8 rebounds a night, as well as effective shooting from the field.

 

Round 8 (11) – Eric Gordon

This is where I felt things began to unravel for me.  At the top of the eighth round, I planned on taking Tyson Chandler and felt good about his availability.

Targeting Chandler (and ONLY Chandler), however, ended up being my biggest downfall. Totally my fault.

Chandler was selected at 8.5 and I suddenly had no idea what I wanted to do. I liked the idea of another scoring type and thought long and hard about The Truth in Washington. Then I backed off and thought about going for another big.

Lost in space, I ended up with Eric Gordon.

I’ve crossed my fingers for Gordon to stay healthy since I made that pick more than eight hours ago.

 

Round 9 (2) – Enes Kanter

Paul Pierce was still an option here (he’d later go at 9.6), but I felt a strong need to address my front court after taking Gordon in the last round.

I’m not sure the rest of the crew agreed with Enes Kanter this high, but I viewed it as a pick with upside. He’s a full-time starter in Utah this season, and if rumors are true that he’s going to get some long-range looks, then bring ‘em on.

I like what Kanter can give me in the points department, as well as field goal percentage, and I think his rebounding numbers can/will improve to make him a steady double-double guy.

 

Round 10 (11) – Tristan Thompson

Entering the back end of the draft, I was looking for a guy with some double-double potential who could serve as a decent utility guy. I was really after Jeff Green, but he ended up going 11.11.

There’s probably not enough balls to go around in Cleveland, but I like the idea of Thompson’s athleticism paired with LeBron.

 

Round 11 (2) – J.J. Redick

I thought about Ersan Ilyasova here, but then remembered my pre-hypertension and figured his play throughout the season is a roller coaster best not experienced.

Then, as embarrassing as it may sound, I thought about Carlos Boozer here too.

Ultimately I ended up with the man/kid/dude I grew up loathing. And I mean that literally. I spent nearly my entire adolescence (and beyond) defiling J.J. Redick and anything having to do with his existence.

Setting emotions aside for a second though, I ended up with a pretty decent basketball guy if/when he can stay healthy. Going after a three-point shooter made sense at this stage in my draft too, so Redick it is.

 

Round 12 (11) – Terrence Ross

I had Marcus Smart sitting in my queue for quite some time, and I was confident in landing him at the end of the round. Instead, discussion heated up on the Google Hangout we had going on, this guy said “Smart”, that guy said “Smart”, and before I knew it, Smart was out of my queue and gone at 12.4.

That’s not bitterness of course. I’m not talking as if I’m some NBA draft pro that just lost the season because us guys decided to talk about a certain someone in the second to last round. I’m just saying, Marcus Smart would’ve been cool.

Good news for me: Terrence Ross is also cool. He finished last season averaging 11 points per game with 161 made three-pointers. He also added better than three rebounds and an assist every night in under 27 minutes.

Also noted: Once Smart was off the board, I was comfortable going with Alec Burks. He was taken two picks before me.

 

Round 13 (2) – Kevin Garnett 

Matt Barnes was the smart pick here, but I favored a big man who could play the five.

And respect, of course. Respect for the Big Ticket and my duty as a basketball fan to never allow him to go undrafted in fantasy formats. Ever.

Speaking of which, what ever happened to the “Big Ticket” moniker? Was that considered an immature nickname?

Anyway, there was also the possibility of taking Dion Waiters to close out my draft, but with his recent slew of shit talking, I couldn’t stomach the move. Not to mention, the crew and I were giggling so much about Waiters through the previous 12 rounds that I didn’t want to be the guy that actually landed him. #BealOrDie

 

Not a terrible fiddle, I suppose. I was definitely outmatched by the other guys, who are extremely wise and savvy and absolutely worth your follow on Twitter (@weisband, @rustypedalbike, @gdula13, @bryan_mears, @HurmNF, @Real_Hauss, @BitterPackerFan, @GalinDragiev, @bRo14thekid, @Style_N_Out).

Again, things really seemed to go awry for me after the seventh round. The sniping rate was picking up, I wasn’t nearly as sharp as I should’ve been regarding intriguing late-round fliers, and I reached on a fair share I’m guessing.

Now onto the games!

 

  1. Klay Thompson went 3.1, otherwise that would’ve been hard to resist.  (back)
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