By Byron Hamilton
This was the week of the top tier wide receivers. Julio Jones, AJ Green, Mike Evans, and TY Hilton all had big games, but the surprises were Davante Adams and Ty Montgomery. Aaron Rodgers finally looked like himself, and hopefully, this is when we see the Green Bay offense start clicking. The difference makers at the running back position were Jeremy Hill, Jay Ajayi, and Melvin Gordon. While you may have considered Ajayi or Gordon, Jeremy Hill was only 2.9% owned. Nobody really expected him to average over 18 yards a carry and finish with 168 yards, but that’s exactly what happened. Let’s take a look around the league to see if we can help you identify some players that’ll help lead you to a payday this week.
Side note: the values and scoring we use are from Draft Kings. I prefer them for two reasons. They utilize PPR scoring and have an additional flex spot on the roster with no kickers. Everyone hates kickers.
Aaron Rodgers – Green Bay Packers
Value – $7,500
Rodgers finally looked like himself last week against the Bears. He threw completed 39 of a whopping 56 passes for 326 yards and three touchdowns. Most quarterbacks don’t even attempt 39 passes a game, much less complete them. The uptick in passing is a direct correlation of the Packers having no reliable running back currently available. Knile Davis is there, but he is less than a week into the system. Ty Montgomery did well, but he’s technically a receiver. Until there is some sort of reliability at running back, the Packers will likely continue to throw the ball as much as needed to win the game. Rodgers will face an Atlanta defense this week that is notorious for being exploited through the air and is ranked 29th in the league against opposing quarterbacks. He’s a pricey option, but I think he has another big game this week.
Matt Ryan – Atlanta Falcons
Value – $7,000
If you’re looking for consistency at quarterback, Matty Ice is your guy. Ryan set a new record this past week with his 46th straight game of 200 yards passing or more. Unfortunately, he had a down game for fantasy purposes against a San Diego defense that he should have exploited. Ryan has arguably the league’s best receiver to throw the ball to in Julio Jones and a tandem of running backs that help keep the pressure off him. I think he has a bounce back game this week against the Packers at home. Green Bay is ranked 12th against opposing quarterbacks, but I feel that is more indicative of the quality of players they’ve faced at the position. In four out of six games they’ve faced Brian Hoyer/Matt Barkley, Eli Manning, Sam Bradford, and Blake Bortles. None of these guys are elite quarterbacks this year by any means. However, the Packers are ranked first against opposing running backs, so Ryan should have to move the ball through the air to score points. I think Matty Ice could bounce back big this week in a game that will likely turn into a shootout.
Kirk Cousins – Washington Redskins
Value – $6,300
You like that?!? This guy is never living that down. What I did like was Cousins’ performance last week. He finished with 301 yards and two total touchdowns against the Lions, which was enough to give him his highest fantasy total to date this season. Cousins has either passed for three touchdowns or threw for 260 yards or more in each game so far. While he’s not blown anyone away, he’s certainly been a consistent fantasy quarterback. With the rushing attack struggling at times, we’ve seen Jamison Crowder start to see WR2 like targets, Vernon Davis become relevant again, and DeSean Jackson appears to be a decent fantasy wide receiver rather than just a deep threat. My hope is that Cousins can carry the momentum into this week against a Bengals defense that ranks 26th against the quarterback position. Cousins is a serious value play this week against the Bengals, but should still put up a decent amount of fantasy points on Sunday morning.
Hail Mary Play:
Trevor Siemian – Denver Broncos
Value – $5,100
It seems like an eternity ago when we were discussing Siemian’s arrival as a possible fantasy starter at quarterback. We caught a glimpse of his potential in week three against the Bengals when he threw for 4 touchdowns and scored 32 points. Unfortunately, that’s definitely been the high point this season for Siemian as he has yet to score more than 14 fantasy points since then. To be fair he suffered a shoulder injury that kept him out for a week, and the Broncos are a team that is determined to run the football. I realize that Siemian was a popular pick just two short weeks ago against the same Chargers team that stunned the Broncos, and many people were burned. I don’t think there’s any way the Broncos let San Diego slip away with a win again at home. The first year starter is a complete value play this week, but I wouldn’t be shocked if he has his second big game against a depleted Chargers secondary.
Christine Michael – Seattle Seahawks
Value – $7,300
You have to give the daily fantasy sites credit. They certainly do their homework. After finishing with only 8.5 points against the Cardinals in what possibly could be the worst football game I’ve ever willingly watched, Michael’s price has jumped up $600. I can’t blame them. Michael put up his worst statistical fantasy day last week but faces a Saints defense that ranks dead last in the league against opposing running backs. With Thomas Rawls still out and only a couple of rookies to back him up, Michael has a shot to redeem himself this week. You have to believe the Seahawks will want to run the football to help keep Drew Brees off the field, so the journeyman running back should see plenty of carries. With Thomas Rawls nearing a comeback I think Michael will want to take every opportunity to show his head coach that he should be the starting running for his team. I wouldn’t be shocked if he has his biggest game of the season this week.
Spencer Ware – Kansas City Chiefs
Value – $6,800
Ware has certainly been doing an excellent job of staking his claim as the number one running back in Kansas City. With Jamaal Charles being limited from soreness in his knees, Ware took full advantage of the workload he was given as he racked up 131 total yards and a touchdown for 21 fantasy points. Sunday against the Saints marked his second consecutive game with over 130 total yards and a touchdown, so the Chiefs have the luxury of biding their time with Charles until he’s fully healthy. I’m happy to ride Ware for as long as it takes for him to slow down, especially if Charles continues to see limited action. His matchup this week against the Colts should allow him the opportunity to perform at a high level once again. Indianapolis is 27th in the league against opposing running backs, and the Chiefs are a running team. Should be a no brainier.
Jacquizz Rodgers – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Value – $5,800
Rodgers has been a stud while filling in for Doug Martin and has rumbled his way to over 100 yards and 26 carries in each of the last two weeks. This one is obviously totally dependent on whether Martin is healthy enough to be full strength this week, so make sure to keep a close eye on the practice reports throughout the week. The Buccaneers have been clicking over the last couple of games, and I think they’ll continue that trend this week against the Raiders. All Bucs players are high ceiling plays this week, so sprinkle them in as you see fit. At only $5,800 Rodgers is a steal considering he’s scored over 20 fantasy points in back to back weeks and has a shot to do it against an Oakland defense that ranks 24th in the league against opposing running backs.
LeGarrette Blount – New England Patriots
Value – $5,300
Tom Brady’s nationwide revenge tour is still going strong, and he has the look of a man on a mission. While Blount isn’t getting the guaranteed 20 plus touches a game he saw in the first few weeks of Brady’s suspension, he’s still going to be a viable fantasy option when the game script plays out in the Patriots favor. We saw the perfect scenario for Blount last week against the Steelers. New England came out swinging, took a decent lead, and let the bruising running back put the game away. I think we’ll see a similar situation unfold this weekend. The Patriots are going to want revenge against a Bills team that totally shut them out a few weeks ago. Buffalo also allowed Jay Ajayi to run wild last week as well. Blount is still a relatively cheap running back option, and I think he has another big game this week.
Hail Mary Play:
Chris Thompson – Washington Redskins
Value – $3,700
Matt Jones is in the doghouse in Washington, folks. Just one week after rushing for 135 carries, Jones was benched for basically two-thirds of the game against the Lions after his fumbling issue once again reared its ugly head. Chris Thompson went on to rack up 73 yards at a 6 yard per carry clip on the ground and added another 7 catches for 40 yards receiving. While Jay Gruden came out and stated that Jones is still their guy, you have to think that Thompson would be the better fit for the Redskins heavy passing offense. Either way, Washington has a tough matchup this week against Cincinnati on the road. The Bengals have an explosive offense and can score points in a hurry. If the Redskins fall behind early I think we see a heavy dose of Chris Thompson.
Mike Evans – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Value – $8,100
Jameis Winston has thrown 275 passes this season. 75 of those passes have been thrown to Mike Evans. Mike Evans is playing very well this season. See where I’m going with here? Evans has a whopping 31% target share in the Bucs offense, which is a huge number in the NFL. As a result, the star receiver has only scored less than 19 fantasy points one time in six games. He also hasn’t seen less than 11 targets since the first game of the season. Evans boasts the second highest fantasy average at wide receiver on the slate this week and has a very favorable matchup against a Raiders defense that is ranked 30th against wide receivers. He’s a pricey option at $8,100, but he has the potential for a huge game this week.
TY Hilton – Indianapolis Colts
Value – $7,900
Hilton is on the same level as Mike Evans when we’re looking at opportunities. He’s only seen under 10 targets one time this season and has posted double digit fantasy points just all but twice. Hilton roasted the Titans secondary last week for 133 yards and a touchdown on 7 receptions. With Donte Moncrief still injured and Phillip Dorset not quite living up to the hype, Jack Doyle is currently the only other reliable receiving option on the Colts offense from a fantasy standpoint. Indianapolis has a tough matchup on paper against Kansas City this week, but they were just picked apart by Drew Brees as he threw for 367 yards and three touchdowns. I think Luck and Hilton can create similar production at home.
Terrelle Pryor – Cleveland Browns
Value – $6,100
I’m giving Pryor another shot this week after a down game against the Bengals as long as someone other than Hogan starts at quarterback. Both Josh McCown and Cody Kessler have a shot to play this week, and each is capable enough to get the ball to their best available receiver. Pryor was banged up last week and posted his first single-digit fantasy performance since his breakout game in week three. I think he has a bounce back game this week against a Jets defense that has allowed less than 23 points only twice this season. Make sure to pay close attention to the quarterback situation in Cleveland this week. If Hogan is the only guy available, then I think Pryor takes a hit.
Hail Mary Play:
Ty Montgomery – Green Bay Packers
Value – $5,300
This would be such an easier call to make if Montgomery had the dual position designation ESPN assigned to him. I like a lot of receivers this week, but none of them are going to be lining up out of the backfield very much. If Montgomery continues to see carries out of the backfield, then I don’t think there’s any way you don’t plug him into a few lineups this weekend. Defenses aren’t going to respect Knile Davis out of the backfield until he proves himself. If Green Bay can’t run the ball, then Rodgers will have to resort to airing the ball out against a talented Falcons offense. Montgomery is actually more expensive than I anticipated, but he’s still a borderline value play in a game that should put up some points.
Rob Gronkowski – New England Patriots
Value – $7,000
Gronk is worth his price tag because he’s the best player at his position. He’s always worth a start if you can fit him in because he’s Gronk. This will be the last time I include him in this article unless something changes. Moving on….
Jack Doyle – Indianapolis Colts
Value – $3,500
Jack Doyle rules! This guy is hands down the biggest fantasy surprise at the tight end position this season. He has pushed teammate Dwayne Allen for looks all season and shined when he got the chance to be the go-to guy at his position in the offense. Doyle hauled in 9 receptions for 78 yards and a touchdown against the Titans last week, and Andrew Luck targeted him a season-high 10 times. Doyle appears to have emerged as Luck’s favorite target outside of TY Hilton and should see more action this week against the Chiefs. With Dwayne Allen still listed as week to week, Doyle is a solid option at only $3,500. This obviously hangs on the assumption that Allen will be out once again.
Jimmy Graham – Seattle Seahawks
Value – $6,100
You have to admire Russell Wilson’s resolve and toughness this season. This guy is playing with MCL, ankle, and pectoral injuries, and it’s obvious he’s limited on the field. All that aside, I’m rolling with Jimmy Graham this week in what should be a revenge game for him. This will be the first time he’s played against the Saints since they let him go, so you have to think he’s going to want to make a statement against his former team. New Orleans defense should be a cake walk compared to the Arizona Cardinals, so both Wilson and Graham should fare better this week. He’s a little pricey at $6,100, but there’s a pretty decent chance he goes off against the team that shunned him.
Kyle Rudolph – Minnesota Vikings
Value – $3,500
Rudolph has been one of the more consistent tight ends in the league this season. While last week’s performance wasn’t bad, he’s not scored a touchdown since he snapped his three-game streak back in week 4. He’s only failed to put up double-digit fantasy points once this year, and he’s emerged as one of Sam Bradford’s favorite targets especially in the red zone. I think Rudolph gets back into the end zone this week. The Bears are surprisingly ranked 9th against opposing the position, but I feel that’s more of a product of the quality of the tight ends they’ve faced. We’re talking about guys like Julius Thomas, Richard Rodgers, and CJ Fiedorowicz. I’m taking Rudolph over all of them this season. At $3,500, he’s a value play as well. He’s almost a lock for double-digit points this week.
Hail Mary Play:
CJ Fiedorowicz – Houston Texans
Value – $2,800
Fiedorowicz has quietly become one of the most targeted options for Brock Osweiler over the last several weeks. I know that’s not saying a lot after the performance we saw from the Texans quarterback last week, but it was against the Denver Broncos. Outside of DeAndre Hopkins (who’s been targeted a whopping 27 times in two weeks), Fiedorowicz is the most targeted player in the Texans offense over the last couple of games. He put up 85 yards and a touchdown for 20 points the week before last, and I think he finds success again this week against a Lions defense that ranks 29th in the league against tight ends. Huge value play here this week at only $2,800.
Who I’m Stacking:
Jameis Winston/Mike Evans – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Total Value – $13,800
Both of these guys are coming off pretty big games against the 49ers last week and have the opportunity to do it again against the Raiders in their matchup on Sunday. Evans owns a ridiculous 31% of the targets in this offense, so he’s about as safe of a play in terms of opportunities that you’ll find. This game could develop into a shootout, so try to squeeze in players from both teams if you can. I’m leaning towards Winston and Evans for the simple fact that the Raiders have been burned by the passing game this season and rank 27th against quarterbacks and 30th against receivers.
Trevor Siemian/Demaryius Thomas – Denver Broncos
Total Value – $11,300
I’m a little surprised that Siemian is priced so low. I realize he’s not played very well over the last couple of weeks, but this kid is listed behind quarterbacks like Tony Romo, Geno Smith, and Josh McCown. The Broncos are dedicated to the run game this season but just lost CJ Anderson for a few weeks. While rookie Devontae Booker will be a suitable fill in, I don’t see him getting 30 carries. For that reason, I think Siemian will be leaned on a little more this week. Denver was surprised by San Diego just a couple weeks ago, so you have to think they’ll want to take it to them at home this time around. Sanders and Thomas have been basically interchangeable this season, but I’m rolling with Demaryius this week simply because he’s scored four touchdowns in the last five games while Sanders hasn’t found the end zone since week four. This stack provides enough value, so you can spend up at other positions. Siemian will be the key here.
Hail Mary Play:
Ryan Fitzpatrick/Quincy Enunwa – New York Jets
Total Value – $11,000
Fair warning, I have very little faith in this one. However, Fitzpatrick seems have had a fire lit under him at the right time as the Jets will face off against the hapless Browns this week. If there’s going to be a time where Fitzpatrick has a fantasy relevant game it has to be this week. I’m also leaning towards Enunwa this week over Brandon Marshall for two reasons: price and Joe Haden. Haden is expected to make his comeback this week and will likely shadow the best receiver on the field in Marshall. If you’re looking for a sneaky combo that has some potential this week this might be it.
Steal of the Week:
Devontae Booker – Denver Broncos
Value – $3,700
The hype surrounding Booker this season has been palpable and many believed the rookie would overtake CJ Anderson on the depth chart at some point this season. Well, an opportunity has knocked this week. Anderson will miss a few weeks due to a knee injury, which leaves Booker as the unquestioned workhorse in the Broncos run first scheme. Due to Anderson’s injury status occurring during the week, the rookie running back is priced at just $3,700. He’s likely going to be in just about every lineup I put together this week. Unfortunately, just about every daily fantasy player is thinking the same thing. He’s essentially guaranteed to be one of the most highly owned players this week, so you’ll need to find more obscure options elsewhere. Combine Booker with someone like Chris Thompson and you’ve got yourself two high upside running backs for one hell of a steal.
I hope you all enjoy reading this as much as I enjoy writing it each week. I’m truly passionate about fantasy football and love any opportunity to share my opinions with you. As always, hit us up @No_HuddleFFB on Twitter for any questions you might have. Get rich this week!!!