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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.

Basketball is Back! Wizards Win, Wall’s Historical Night, and Butt Grabs

john wall

We’ll start with the easy stuff: it took every bit of regulation time to get it done, but with 12.7 seconds left, John Wall drove the paint and knocked down a floating jumper over Orlando center Nikola Vucevic to seal the Wizards’ win over the Magic, 88-87.

The Wizards looked alright, but the new offense should take a little longer before it really clicks. That said, this offense has lots of potential once the proverbial gelling takes place.

As for the random butt grabs, well, they just happen I guess. It’s what retirees do in central Florida. They purchase courtside seats to basketball games and wait for leaping ball players to fall into their laps and then they squeeze the player’s glutes a few times, then tap it a few times, then peel off a creepy grin. Take a look for yourself.

And while Ramon Sessions was getting lucky with Big Phil on the sidelines, John Wall was putting up historical numbers with a finishing stat line of 22 points, seven rebounds, six assists, five blocks, and three steals. You can read more about it over at numberFire, detailing the elite company he joined. But in short, he’s only the ninth player in NBA history, and the first guard EVER to record a 4-by-5 in a season opening game. Only one player has ever recorded a 5×5 in a season-opener (Hakeem Olajuwon in ’93) and Wall was just two steals shy of joining The Dream.

It was an awesome night all around. Not just for Ramon Sessions, but for the Wizards to dig deep and get a win on the road to start the season; for John Wall and his sweet statistical feat; for Otto Porter and his new-look no-goggles gritty on-court demeanor; for Brad Beal’s new headband and his hustle; for Randy Wittman to earn a win on his birthday; for Kris Humphries and his first made three-point attempt in over a decade; for Nene coming off the bench; for Wall’s new temp and part shape-up; for Gary Neal and the professional legitimacy he provides coming off the bench; it was all just really fun, guys.

Basketball is back!

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?

Postgame Notes and React: Redskins v. Buccaneers


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’ 31-30 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. 

* * *

— The Redskins trailed 24-7 going into halftime before coming out in the third quarter and posting 14 points, eventually outscoring the Buccaneers 24-6 in the second half. And that — in addition to Kirk Cousins’ performance — will (and I guess should be) the most talked about aspect(s) of this game.

— Leading up to this game, Cousins was well under the microscope, as was head coach Jay Gruden and his team’s flat-like effort in the third quarter. Cousins, Gruden, and the effort all rebounded well in this game.

— Gruden mentioned during his postgame presser last week that this game against Tampa Bay was “Code Red” and none of us really knew what that meant (except maybe some of us got the jest of it). Needless to say, the Redskins are 1-0 in #CodeRed games.

— It’s interesting how much this team’s mantra has flipped and flopped since the first couple weeks of the season. As of right now, Washington can’t run the ball (just 19 carries for 50 yards in this game) and can’t stop the run (Tampa Bay rushed the ball 30 times for 190 yards).

— The best part of Cousins’ day — aside from the four touchdowns, 300+ yards, and only seven incompletions — was his zero interceptions. His fumble as the result of being blasted from the blind side wasn’t pretty1, and even if you chalk it up to Cousins holding the ball to long/not stepping up/etc., it was still better than one of those terrible decisions or poor throws we’ve seen in recent weeks.

— Another nice offensive wrinkle was the read-option play that Cousins FINALLY sweeped from the belly of the running back and kept for himself, which baited the defensive end beautifully and gave Washington an easy eight-yard touchdown.

— The Redskins are on a nice streak of disciplined football (er, two consecutive games). On Sunday, just four penalties for 20 yards.

— Oh, by the way, Cousins also provided us with arguably the best Vine you’ll get all season out of Redskins Park.

— Lots of questions with that postgame comment from Kirk, but it’s nice to see the fire. That’s fire, right? Belly fire?

— Another guy benefiting from a rebound game — Ryan Grant. Three catches on three targets, 53 yards, and a score. Nice to see.

— Jordan frickin’ Reed. Yeesh. Dude’s a beast (when healthy). He finished Sunday with 11 catches, 72 yards, and two scores, including the game-tying touchdown in the final minute of the game in which he exploited a one-on-one mismatch on the outside and froze his defender with a brilliant slant pattern. He’s the Redskins best/biggest/most talented threat on offense.

— Alfred Morris ran the ball six times for five yards…with a long of five yards. At this point, with how bad this team is at running the football, it doesn’t matter who lines up behind the quarterback. But watching Morris slip down the slope is hard to watch.

Ryan Kerrigan left the game with an injury, which was reported as a broken hand. Great.

— This is a direct quote from last week’s Postgame Notes and React, but it still applies: “More Ricky Jean-Francois, please.”

— In terms of the defense — and this had lots to do with their ineffectiveness at stopping the run — they had more than a frustrating handful of horrible angles and poor tackling form. That’s hopefully a point of emphasis over the next two weeks.

— Hats off to Gruden for his ballsy onside kick call in the third quarter, but perhaps even more credit goes to kicker Dustin Hopkins who laid down an incredible kick and executed the play to perfection. That was a massive play in the game and Hopkins was ice cold (in like a badass kind of ice cold). Hopkins has been awesome.

— It was a little surprising/disappointing the Redskins couldn’t keep their takeaway streak alive in this game against a rookie quarterback. The one turnover they did tally was the “fumble” by Charles Sims on the final play of the game (which was more so a botched lateral) and making Jameis Winston look like an MVP (21-of-29, 297 yards, two touchdowns) didn’t feel great.

— It wasn’t pretty, but the Redskins clawed it out. Not only did they enter this game in dire need of a win (the next game is an odds-stacked-against contest to say the least), but the team found themselves up shit’s creek at halftime and they remained resilient, they kept fighting, and they escaped. Heading into the bye week on this kind of performance beats the hell out of heading into the bye week following, say, the Jets game.

— With no Redskins game this coming Sunday, kick back and enjoy the day. You deserve it and your heart/brain/emotions could use the rest.

Daily Fantasy 2015 Bargain Shopping: Value Plays for NFL Week 7

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.

* * *


Ryan Tannehill ($5,700) v. HOU

Are the Dolphins back? Does having a head coach who can most likely squat as much as your offensive linemen do wonders for your offense, and more particularly your quarterback? Not sure, exactly. But Ryan Tannehill is coming of an 18-point outing last week and this Sunday’s opponent is giving up the seventh-most FPPG to opposing passers. The line isn’t huge in this game, but it could be a close one.

Blake Bortles ($5,400) v. BUF

We’ve been blessed with rather courteous Bortles service over the past couple weeks (61 FPs) and that trend should continue this week against a Buffalo defense allowing the eighth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. We’ll assume the Jaguars will need to either pass to stay in the game or pass to catch up, both of which bode well for Blake Bortles in your lineups.


Running Back

Todd Gurley ($5,000) v. CLE

We can expect regression at some point, but for now Todd Gurley is getting all the meat, all the potatoes, and all the vegetables. I’m not exactly sure what that reference implies, but 49 carries for over 300 yards in his last two games is enough opportunity to spend the $5,000 here. The Rams are coming off their bye (which we can safely assume Gurley used to rest up) and the Browns are giving up more than 28 FPPG to opposing running backs this season.

Chris Thompson ($3,300) v. TB

Monitor the status of Matt Jones (toe), but even if the rookie Jones does play, Chris Thompson has become a nice piece to the Redskins offensive puzzle1 this season. Thompson is dealing with a back injury of his own, but he did finish the game last week, so there doesn’t appear to be much cause for concern. The Bucs aren’t necessarily terrible in terms of fantasy points allowed to running backs, but Thompson is likely to make his money as a receiver out of the backfield — his 22 receptions over the last four games makes him one of the Redskins’ top targets.


Wide Receiver

John Brown ($5,500) v. BAL

The Ravens defense is the complete opposite of good right now, while the Cardinals seem to be a legit contender in the NFC. The line sits at 48 in this one with Arizona the touchdown favorite, meaning John Brown and his 21.5 FPPG average over his last three games makes him an extremely attractive play this week, especially at this price.

Jamison Crowder ($3,700) v. TB

The Redskins are working to get their rookie Jamison Crowder the ball, and that makes him a nice (and perhaps even reassuring) play in PPR formats. The Bucs are allowing more than 41 FPPG to opposing wideouts and Washington desperately needs this win in order to keep the monkey off their back as they head into their bye week.

Martavis Bryant ($4,700) @ KC

Beware of recency bias this week when it comes to Martavis Bryant and ownership shares, but the matchup certainly fits the bill. Landry Jones looks like the next man up in Pittsburgh, and he didn’t appear to have any shy feelings toward Bryant in last week’s game. The Chiefs give up the most fantasy points to opposing receivers (that’s right, even more than Baltimore) and Bryant would seem to be the monster with potential to rip ’em to shreds.

Allen Hurns ($5,300) v. BUF

Although the line on this game isn’t great (42), Allen Hurns still earns a shiny gold star this week as one of my favorite bargain targets. For starters, he’s coming off just a two-catch game last week, and even though a touchdown may have saved fantasy partners, his 11-point performance may help owners forget (even if just temporarily) how effective he can be2. Secondly, the Bills are 4.5-point favorites on the road, which means Vegas likes Buffalo by more than a touchdown, in turn leading us to believe that some slingin’ of the ol’ pigskin may play a part in the Jags’ game plan this week. And finally, the numbers are there — 41 targets, four touchdowns, gamebreak ability; Hurns can light it up and Buffalo is allowing the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing receivers.

Travis Benjamin ($5,400) @ STL

Like the Buffalo/Jacksonville game, the line in this one (42) doesn’t scream at you, but the fact that the Browns are dogs on the road could bode well for the Cleveland passing attack, which includes one Travis Benjamin. No one saw it coming, but Benjamin has been on fire to start the season, hauling in 31 catches, four touchdowns, and averaging just shy of 20 FPPG. The Rams aren’t exactly lay-downs against receivers (35 FPPG), but regardless of opponent, Benjamin seems to find a way (his 13.5 points in Week 3 against Oakland is his lowest output of the season).

Willie Snead ($4,300) @ IND

Speaking of early-season darlings, rookie Willie Snead is lighting it up in New Orleans, and his nearly 16 FPPG average over his last three outings is plenty to love at his low price point this week. This matchup marks the highest total (52.5) on the Vegas card and there should be plenty of passing among the dual between Andrew Luck and Drew Brees. Not only are Snead’s six targets per game attractive, but he also knows what to do after he catches it (his 2.55 yards per route run average is good for eighth in the NFL), and that’s a good thing against an Indy defense that allows more than 44 FPPG to opposing receivers.

Stefon Diggs ($4,200) @ DET


Sorry, that was lame as hell. But seriously, Stefon Diggs — dude’s good. 13 catches and 216 yards in his first two games in the NFL, averaging close to 19 FPPG, and quickly earning his role as Teddy Bridgewater’s most-trusted receiver. I know it’s a small sample size, but Diggs’ 3.32 yards per route run average is tops amongst all wideouts with at least 18 targets this season and the Lions defense — who allows more than 41 FPPG to opposing wideouts (eighth-worst in the NFL) — doesn’t threaten enough to move me off3.


Tight End

Antonio Gates ($5,000) v. OAK

He’s the third highest-priced tight end on the card this week, but he makes the bargain list for a few (simple) reasons. 1.) Antonio Gates is really, really good. 2.) 18 catches and just shy of 25 FPPG in his two games this season4. 3.) Oakland is bad against opposing tight ends; as in worst-in-the-league bad. 4.) Vegas has a line of 47 on this game, which makes it the third-highest line of the week. 5.) Ask yourself: can Gates score me 15 points this week? The answer is yes, in which case he’s a bargain at his position.

Jordan Cameron ($3,300) v. HOU

This may have just as much to do with interim head coach Dan Campbell’s lat muscles as it does with Jordan Cameron’s matchup against the Texans, but either way, Houston is allowing more than 15 FPPG to opposing tight ends and Cameron’s getting the targets. I don’t like the floor with him this week, but the ceiling is nice.

Ladarius Green ($2,900) v. OAK

Obviously his attention and ensuing production takes a hit with the return of Antonio Gates, but Ladarius Green didn’t lose his ability to be good at football. Despite Gates’ return, Green has posted double-digit outputs in each of the last two games and (as mentioned previously) Oakland is abysmal against tight ends this season.

Ben Watson ($3,300) @ IND

We know Ben Watson is capable of putting up big numbers (see: last week’s 31-point performance) and there should be plenty of passing in this game (52.5 marks the highest total in Vegas this week) to go around.

Travis Kelce ($4,900) v. PIT

You know who else, besides Oakland, is bad at limiting opposing tight ends to low fantasy totals? The Pittsburgh Steelers — like, fourth-worst in the league at just over 19 FPPG. And this week the Steelers will travel to Kansas City with hopes of stopping Travis Kelce, who’s averaging more than 14 points per contest. It’s frustrating not to see Kelce hit paydirt since Week 1, but that trend has a good chance of flipping this Sunday.



Redskins ($2,500) v. TB

This might look like a punt at the position, but the Redskins have actually been halfway decent their last three games, despite going just 1-2 and allowing Ryan Fitzpatrick to carve them up just a week ago. The key to Washington’s 33 fantasy points over the three-game span has stemmed from their takeaways (EIGHT!) and their streak5 is likely to extend as they go against rookie Jameis Winston in a desperate game before heading into their Week 8 bye.

Postgame Notes and React: Redskins v. Jets

kevin hart

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’ 34-20 loss to the New York Jets.  

* * *

— Ugh. Please note, I’m fragile.

— Thanks in large part to injuries, we knew the chips were stacked against the Redskins in this game. But almost as soon as the game started, it appeared as if maybe the task wasn’t as tall as we may have assumed it was in the first place. Unfortunately that didn’t stop the Redskins from doing their thing.

— Washington’s run game was stagnant. Ugly to the tune of 17 carries for 34 yards.

— Kirk Cousins wasn’t good either — his second poor performance in as many games. He finished with one touchdown and two interceptions on the day, both of which were extremely poor throws.

— The Redskins cut down on their penalties in this game — just three for 15 yards — but negatively countered by converting just five of 15 third downs.

— On a positive note, the defense forced three takeaways. One interception by Bashaud Breeland, a fumble forced by Breeland, and a fumble forced by rookie Kayshoen Jarrett.

— And not that it needs special note, but Bashaud Breeland is a baller. He has all the tools to become a special player in Washington.

— More Ricky Jean-Francois, please.

— Not a good day for the middle linebackers. Not sure if it was scheme or poor play, but the on-field performance was shite.

— The Jets ran for 221 yards and two scores on 41 carries. This comes after Devonta Freeman ripped the Redskins to shreds last week. Remember when this team was praised for their ability to stop the run? That lasted for about five quarters.

Dustin Hopkins has the looks of a stud. His 54-yarder in Sunday’s game would’ve been good from 60, and there’s no doubting this dude’s leg strength.

— Hey, special teams! A blocked punt for a touchdown was the coolest thing we’ve seen out of a Washington special teams unit in quite some time. Blocked by Jeron Johnson, recovered by Rashad Ross.

— The Redskins went into halftime leading the Jets 13-10. They proceeded to run two drives in the third quarter, both of which ended in an interception, and Washington trailed 27-13 by the end of the third. Is there an excuse for being outscored 24-7 in the second half? Of a game you’re very much a part of come halftime? On the road? And with your team needing every frickin’ win they can scratch and claw for? Nope, there sure isn’t. This team loves coming out of the locker room in the third quarter and doing their best impression of flat soda.

— With all the injuries heading into this game, a win didn’t feel likely. But what hurt the most on Sunday was that by the end of the first quarter, you could look to other Redskins fans in the room and say, “Oh shit, we have a shot to steal one here.” Then after teasing everyone in the first half, Washington comes out only to shit their pants in the remaining two quarters. That’s an emotional roller coaster that deals a blow below the belt.

— If the Redskins can head into their bye week with a 3-4 record, this ship can actually stay afloat with some love from the fans. But Tampa Bay is up next and nothing seems to come easy. If Washington can’t get it done against the Bucs, who knows how the snowball rolls after that. I’d suggest to keep your fingers crossed at this point, but I’d have no idea what we’re actually crossing them for.

Daily Fantasy 2015 Bargain Shopping: Value Plays for NFL Week 6

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.

* * *


Colin Kaepernick ($5,000) v. BAL

Whew. This doesn’t feel right. But Baltimore has struggled against quarterbacks through five games — allowing close to 24 FPPG — and Colin Kaepernick showed us last week against the Giants that 20+ outputs are at least possible.

Joe Flacco ($5,900) @ SF

That’s right — this game makes for a decent quarterback matchup (fake football wise only, of course). The Ravens and 49ers both find themselves among the bottom-five teams in the NFL when it comes to FPPG allowed to opposing quarterbacks, and that’ll make Joe Flacco a decent play at this number.

Jay Cutler ($5,300) @ DET

He probably still gives zero fucks about football, but Smokin’ Jay Cutler has been quite fine over the past two weeks, averaging just above 18 FPPG. The Lions, meanwhile, are in a free fall worthy of Orlovsky and they’re allowing more than 20 FPPG to opposing quarterbacks. This is the second consecutive week Mr. Cavallari has made the bargain bin and this will arguably be his easiest opponent so far this season.


Running Back

DeMarco Murray ($6,000) v. NYG

This is a leap toward the bandwagon following his 25-point outing last week, but if you have any hint of the Eagles getting back on track and the importance of said rebound going through the talent of DeMarco Murray, then this play makes a lot of sense. He’s fired up, Philly seems to have avoided the Chip Kelly coup (at least for now), and New York is allowing more than 28 FPPG to opposing running backs this season.

Duke Johnson ($4,500) v. DEN

As good as Wade Phillips and the Broncos have been on defense this year, they’re giving up nearly 30 FPPG to opposing running backs, including an average of 8.6 receptions per game to those running backs (placing them behind only the Falcons as worst in the league). Meanwhile, Duke Johnson is averaging seven catches and 57 yards per game over his last three and that’s why you’re liking him in this spot for under five grand.

Dion Lewis ($5,800) @ IND

He’s a little pricier this week than last, but Dion Lewis makes the bargain bin for a second-consecutive week, this time against Indianapolis on Sunday night in Vegas’ highest line (55) of the week. Bill Belichick never makes it easy on fantasy owners, but 20.5 FPPG without a single-game total less than 16 provides us enough consistency to maybe even gain that lick of reassurance.


Wide Receiver

Jamison Crowder ($3,600) @ NYJ

It’s not a great matchup on paper, but Jamison Crowder is very much a part of the Redskins offense moving forward. So much so that coaches are even relying on the rookie to provide the unit with some spark throughout the game thanks to Crowder’s reliable hands, gamebreaking speed, and YACability. He has 24 targets and 21 receptions for 197 yards over his last three games, and that probably won’t change much even when DeSean Jackson returns. This guy is legit, and legitimacy is worthy of seven percent of your cap.

Stefon Diggs ($3,500) v. KC

This is probably entirely too early, but what if the connection (albeit just four quarters old) between Teddy Bridgewater and rookie Stefon Diggs is for real? Coming off a 15-point performance last week, Diggs enters this one set to go against a Chiefs defense allowing a league-worst 54.6 points and more than two receiving touchdowns per game to opposing receivers. It’s a bit of a flier, but that’s okay at this price.


Tight End

Richard Rodgers ($3,100) v. SD

Unless you’re going Gronkish, the slate doesn’t look all that enticing when it comes to tight end. Either that, or perhaps Charles Clay and his 1.4 points last week shattered some of us for weeks to come…? Richard Rodgers has seen his targets increase over the last two weeks (14), hauling in 11 catches for 90 yards and a score. The offense is right, the line is right, and Rodgers presents some of the best value on the board.



Bears ($2,400) @ DET

It’s not so much that Chicago’s 6.5-point average over their last three games is wow-worthy, but more so that Detroit is such a mess right now. And hey, the Bears are getting better, right?

Postgame Notes and React: Redskins v. Falcons

kanye shrug

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’ 25-19 overtime loss to the Atlanta Falcons.  

* * *

— Lots of things played in the Redskins’ favor in this game, including a banged up Julio Jones, uncharacteristic doinks off the post by Falcons kicker Matt Bryant, an early injury to Leonard Hankerson (which is probably, maybe a thing), and an off-target Matt Ryan for most of the game.

— Actually, both quarterbacks were off in this game. Whether it was Matt Ryan or Kirk Cousins throwing ’em, passes seemed to fly by their intended receivers just out of reach, and mediocre quarterback play helped give us the snoozer of a scoreboard that we had for a vast majority of the game.

— Not a great day for Washington when it came to stopping the run. Devonta Freeman was an animal throughout the affair and he became the first rusher to go over 100 yards on the Redskins this season.

— While on the topic of defense, Washington played a pretty awesome game considering the injuries they’ve been forced to sustain. The zones in pass coverage seemed a little too soft at times, but Joe Barry came in with a plan and the Redskins executed it well enough to win the game.

Bashaud Breeland played very well, hauling in an interception and coming through with a really nice pass breakup in the end zone. It still feels like sky is the limit for that guy.

— The Redskins defense finished with three takeaways in the game too, which is really nice to see considering we’ve been waiting for interceptions for five weeks now. Trenton Robinson was the other interception (the first in the game), where a ball sailed over Julio Jones’ (who also appeared to clam up as a result of hearing footsteps) and into the hands of Robinson.

— The other takeaway was a fumble forced by Chris Baker, who’s off to a really good start to the season. It was a play in which Preston Smith and Jason Hatcher worked well to force Matt Ryan out of the pocket and Baker creamed him from his right, forcing the fumble. Will Compton was the guy there to dive on the loose ball. Keenan Robinson even joked after the play was over, smack talking with Compton saying he needed to get up and run with that thing.

— And that play reminds me of how much fun Jason Hatcher is to watch when he’s turned on. I know it’s not always consistent, but when that guy’s working, watch out.

— Following Matt Jones’ touchdown run late in the fourth quarter, the Redskins defense allowed the Falcons to march down the field to eventually nab the score. I hate to come after the defense in this game at all — and they certainly weren’t responsible for the loss — but playing that soft at that point in the game causes a ton of frustration. I understand sticking to a plan, but adjustments are things and they’re there to be made.

— Hat tip to Dan Quinn and the Falcons for coming in and stopping the run. They knew it was a strong suit for the Redskins and they weren’t about to allow Washington the luxury of a balanced offensive attack. The Redskins finished with just 50 yards on 23 carries (between Jones [11], Alfred Morris [8], and Chris Thompson [3]). That’s, uh, not good.1

— Kirk Cousins’ inaccuracy for a good portion of the game obviously didn’t help the situation either. He was going the right way with the ball, but he struggled to put the ball directly on a receiver — too high, too wide, sailed, behind, etc. Everything just seemed off. He needed to calm down earlier than he eventually did.

— That said, when it mattered most and the Redskins were trailing with under a minute to go in the game, Cousins was precise, accurate, and commanding, which eventually led to the field goal that tied the game and sent it into overtime.

— You will undoubtedly hear a ton of talk this week about the final play of the game. Was Cousins’ throw perfect? Maybe. Maybe not. But whether that ball was thrown too wide or not, if you’re receiver falls down on that route, the defensive back will get hands on the football. It was a timing route, Cousins fired, Grant fell, maybe there was a protection adjustment to be made, and the Falcons took it to the house. Lots of people will put that throw/turnover/loss solely on Cousins.

— And while on the topic of Ryan Grant, this game was the second in a row in which he struggled. He had a case of the drops last week against Philly, and he looked out of sync with his quarterback in this one.

— Jamison Crowder, on the other hand, has all the looks of a stud. Great hands, awesome quickness, YACability, game breaking potential. He led the team with eight catches for 87 yards and the coaches called on the rookie to spark this offensive unit. More Crowdah’ on the way, I’d presume.

— Just 4-for-12 on third down isn’t generally enough to get it done. The Redskins have been solid in this department in games leading up to this one, but it just wasn’t there today.

— The Redskins were, however, a little more disciplined in terms of penalties, logging just five for 51 yards. Progress, I suppose.

— The punt coverage team had a bonehead penalty on one play, but the Washington special teams wasn’t awful today. They didn’t shoot themselves in the foot or give up any insane returns. That’s a step in the right direction.

— Following Breeland’s interception with 5:30 left in the game, the Redskins needed to ground and pound, protect the football, and come away with points (seven points being the obvious goal). There will be lots of talk about how conservative Jay Gruden was on that drive, but I don’t particularly hate the Jamison Crowder screen on third down. I understand the argument of running a route to the end zone and tossing it out of the back if it isn’t there, but Crowder is the type of guy who can make a play in that spot. The problem was, in order for a screen to work, you need good blocking and Derek Carrier didn’t present anything of the sort on that play. Chris Thompson split wide in single coverage was a nice touch too given the Redskins’ tendencies, and this play really could’ve worked with better blocking. Instead, the Redskins settle for three points and take a four-point lead.

— One call I didn’t like by Gruden was after the Falcons marched all the way down the field. They’re threatening the entire time, they’re just outside of the end zone, Devonta Freeman is in man-to-man coverage on the outside against Will Compton. It was easy and plain to see. Gruden needs to call a timeout there. He MUST call a timeout there. That’s an utter mismatch that needs to be corrected.

— Freeman would score on that play (easily), but the NFL is weird and confusing and the zebras overturned the touchdown reception. A couple plays later — and with 27 seconds taken off the clock — the Falcons score anyway.

— That’s when Cousins leads his team down the field and into game-tying field goal territory. Great poise and accurate passing provided some reassurance that Cousins wasn’t rattled in the moment. He knew what he needed to do and did it.

— The Redskins had some things working in their favor in this one, whether it was a matter of luck or not, but the offense wasn’t good enough to back up a really nice effort from the defense. They let Atlanta hang around and never pulled away, and eventually the Falcons prevailed. Disappointing indeed, but far from the worst thing ever. Great effort by these guys against an undefeated team on the road.

Daily Fantasy 2015 Bargain Shopping: Value Plays for NFL Week 5

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.

* * *


Jay Cutler ($5,300) v. KC

Wait, wait, wait, wait…don’t leave yet. Hear me out. I know Jay Cutler is Jay Cutler and none of us like Jay Cutler, but $5,300 this week isn’t bad for a schmo who’s averaging about 15 FPPG and taking on a Chiefs defense allowing a league-worst 24.9 FPPG. You don’t have to love it, but there’s some value there.

Kirk Cousins ($5,300) @ ATL

Alright, stick with us past this and we’ll owe you one — promise. But try to maintain focus through your uncontrollable laughter, because Kirk Cousins is averaging better than 20 FPPG over his last two and is set to take on a Falcons defense giving up more than 17 FPPG in a matchup that Vegas has set at 48 with Atlanta as a 7-point favorite. Put that all on a pottery wheel and you kind of see a shootout starting to take shape.

Tyrod Taylor ($5,800) @ TEN

Refusing to cool on Tygod Taylor, here he is again, this week going against a Titans squad coming off their bye week. This game has a low total on it (42), so hesitancy is understandable, but the Bills are limited at running back1 and the game plan should include lots and lots of Tygod. Not to mention, even if it’s not always done in beautiful ways, Taylor is staying consistent so far, keeping himself above 15.5 points through four games.

Carson Palmer ($6,600) @ DET

He may look a little rich for this specific list, but higher salary doesn’t imply less value. The Lions are giving up nearly 21 FPPG to opposing quarterbacks and Carson Palmer is on fire (23.4 FPPG) to start the season. This matchup is a solid one in Arizona’s favor and Palmer should be good for 20.


Running Back

T.J. Yeldon ($4,400) @ TB

The rookie has yet to reach the end zone this season, but T.J. Yeldon is getting there. He logged his first 100-yard outing against the Colts last week and he’s the clear favorite for volume in Jacksonville’s backfield. The Bucs are giving up about 25 FPPG to opposing rushers and this week has Yeldon’s first career touchdown written all over it.

Ronnie Hillman ($4,900) @ OAK

Given recent comments from coaches that Ronnie Hillman has earned the right to receive more carries, this play is assuming the guy takes advantage of an opportunity and puts forth his best effort against a Raiders unit giving up more than 26 FPPG to opposing running backs. Hillman has some confidence following his 20-point game last Sunday and the price tag is obviously friendly.

Dion Lewis ($4,800) @ DAL

Love Dion Lewis (19.5 FPPG). Love the matchup (Dallas allowing 35 FPPG to RBs). Love the spread (50/NE(-8)). But hard to trust the Belichick. You’d be rolling the dice a bit here, but Lewis’ involvement in the passing game (averaging five catches per game) definitely raises an argument for his consistency.


Wide Receiver

Pierre Garcon ($5,300) @ ATL

This is the second consecutive week Pierre Garcon makes the list (18.5 points last week) and he’s starting to lend his hand as a reliable flex option in PPR formats. Averaging 14.5 FPPG and set to take part in a potential shootout in Atlanta, Garcon packs the value yet again as one of Kirk Cousins’ go-to targets. Also, tight end Jordan Reed is likely to miss time with a concussion, a sprained MCL, a sprained ankle, a lost puppy, and whatever else you can think of, so that’s more targets for the other guys.

James Jones ($5,700) v. STL 

Another guy who finds himself on this list for the second week in a row, James Jones is coming off a 15-point performance last week and the momentum doesn’t stop against the Rams this Sunday. With 12 catches and 45 fantasy points over his last two games, it’s hard not to like Jones at under $6,000.

Jamison Crowder ($3,500) @ ATL 

I changed my fantasy team name to ‘Jamison Clam Crowder’ after suffering my fourth loss of the season this past weekend and I’m only marginally embarrassed about it. That, however, has nothing to do with the fact that injuries and performance are trending the Redskins rookie in the right direction as he prepares for a nice matchup against Atlanta and looking to build on his 13 catches and 26 fantasy points over the last two weeks.

Travis Benjamin ($4,500) @ BAL

If you’re like me and have trouble trusting Travis Benjamin in cash games, perhaps this is where you join me in shutting up. He’s averaging better than 20 FPPG, he has the ability to get behind defenses, and the Ravens are second-worst in the league against fantasy receivers, allowing 50 points per game. It’s hard, I know. But we just have to shut up and play him.

Brandin Cooks ($5,900) @ PHI

He’s teetering on the line of pure flop after just four weeks of action this season, but this matchup against Philly has all the signs of a Brandin Cooks breakout. So far he’s been M.I.A.2 when it comes to making those big plays we grew accustomed to last season, but the Eagles can’t hang their hat on limiting opposing receivers and the Saints are running on good momentum following their overtime win over the Cowboys last week. It’s ballsy — and honestly a little pricey too — but the play makes a lot of sense given matchup and expected low ownership.


Tight End

Charles Clay ($4,100) @ TEN

The Titans are giving up more than 16 FPPG to opposing tight ends and Charles Clay is a popular target in Buffalo. Things are a little shaken up this week as it pertains to the Bills backfield and we could see even more Clay action as a result.

Crockett Gillmore ($3,100) / Maxx Williams ($3,300) v. CLE

The play here is clear — taking the tight end against Cleveland. The Browns are giving up the fifth-most points to opposing tight ends this year, and with the Ravens so depleted at receiver, the team’s tight ends may just present the most upside of any pass-catching-non-running-back on Baltimore’s roster. Crockett Gillmore missed last week (on short rest) due to a calf strain, but he’s a favorite of Joe Flacco, so he’s the guy so long as he plays this Sunday. If he can’t go, the rookie Maxx Williams would be next man up and he’s bound to see targets given the combination of injuries and matchup. Either way, there’s value here with either Ravens tight end.

Delanie Walker ($3,800) v. BUF

The Bills haven’t been stout against tight ends this season and Delanie Walker feels like a safe option with Marcus Mariota under center. Walker’s last performance in Week 3 against the Colts netted him 10 targets, seven of which he caught for 68 yards.



Jaguars ($2,700) @ TB

Don’t expect a huge return here, but more of a get-what-you-pay-for situation. Jameis Winston has thrown seven picks in four games to start the season and the Jags should be able to find themselves in the way of a couple of his passes this week. There’s a shot at double-digits for the Jags this week, but something around 7/8 is more likely. Vegas also has this game as one of the lowest totals (42) of the week.

Giants ($2,900) v. SF

Because trending against Colin Kaepernick just feels right. Not to mention, the Giants defense has been kind of sneaky so far this season, averaging nearly nine FPPG and posting double-digit totals in three of their four games (their two points against the Falcons in Week 2 worked to lower their average).

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