by Byron Hamilton
If you play daily fantasy on a regular basis, then you already know how difficult it is to pick the players that are going to have those incredible performances. While we got some right last week, the main players we missed out on were Latavius Murray, Mark Ingram, Jason Witten, and Mike Wallace. Each of those players put up over 30 points with the exception of Wallace, and Jason Witten was the most surprising to me by far. Let’s take a look around the league and see if we can pick out some winners 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.
Carson Palmer – Arizona Cardinals
Value – $6,500
I was a little down on Palmer against the Panthers the week before the Cardinals bye. Even against a shaky Carolina secondary, I wasn’t confident based on the performances we’d seen from him essentially all season. So, it would make sense that he would go out and have his best game of the year and rack up 363 yards and throw three touchdowns. I like his chances to replicate those kinds of numbers this week against a porous San Francisco defense. The 49ers allowed Jameis Winston to throw for 269 yards and three touchdowns before their bye and then surrendered 323 yards and three more touchdowns to Drew Brees last week. At 6,500 I think Palmer is reasonably priced considering the upside.
Marcus Mariota – Tennessee Titans
Value – $5,700
Mariota put on a show last week against the Chargers as he completed 27 passes for 313 yards and three touchdowns in an effort to lead his team from behind basically the entire game. Last Sunday marked the 5th consecutive game Mariota has scored multiple touchdowns as well as the 7th time in nine games this season. DeMarco Murray certainly helps keep defenses in check and the pressure off Mariota’s shoulders, but the former Oregon standout has played pretty well to his credit. Mariota’s next task comes in the Green Bay Packers, who have improved in the passing game compared to earlier in the season. Still, the Packers gave up 247 yards and three touchdowns to Dak Prescott in week six and just allowed 288 yards and three touchdowns to the Falcons a couple games back. Green Bay boasts one of the best rushing defenses in the league, so Mariota may be forced to move the ball through the air if the running game stalls. At only $5,700 he’s a high upside pick this week.
Dak Prescott – Dallas Cowboys
Value – $6,100
This kid very well may become a staple in this column each week until he has a bad game or his price jumps up. Dak Prescott has three consecutive games with 20 or more fantasy points, and his price has only increased $300 since his season high 28 point performance against Philadelphia a couple weeks ago. There are two things I generally look at when it comes to quarterbacks in daily fantasy, consistency, and the matchup. Price is always secondary, but in this case, it just happens to be a bonus. Over the last few weeks, Prescott has been incredibly consistent against better defenses than what he’ll face in the Steelers this week. I believe Pittsburgh’s 13th rank against quarterbacks is largely due to the quality of player they’ve faced at that position. In four out of eight games this season the Steelers have played Joe Flacco, Ryan Tannehill, Ryan Fitzpatrick, and Alex Smith. These are not exactly Pro Bowl caliber players they’ve matched up against, and I’d wager Prescott should be able to move the ball against this defense. At $6,100 he’s a value play this week with a ton of upside.
Eli Manning – New York Giants
Value – $5,900
It goes against every fiber in my soul to include Eli Manning on this list. As a VIP member of the Ice portion of our Fire and Ice column, Eli Manning has been absolutely abysmal at times this season. I suppose I can take a minute to put my personal feelings aside and recognize Eli played a pretty solid game last week. The other Manning brother threw for only 257 yards against the Eagles but added 4 touchdowns in what proved to be a productive day. With the Giants struggling to produce yards through the running game, Eli Manning is having to move the ball through the air in an effort to give his team a chance to win. The matchup against Cincinnati this week should be one Manning can exploit as the Bengals rank 28th against opposing quarterbacks. Coming in just shy of the $6,000 mark, Manning has value and a pretty favorable matchup this week.
Carson Wentz – Philadelphia Eagles
Value – $5,400
This kid was all the rage over the first three weeks of the season when he led the Eagles to a 3-0 record and threw 5 touchdowns with no interceptions. Unfortunately, Wentz has come crashing back down to earth over the last five games as he has thrown four touchdowns to five interceptions and is averaging only 12.28 fantasy points per game. To be fair, the competition has been a good deal more challenging than what he faced early in the season. However, this week’s matchup could be just what the doctor ordered for the struggling rookie. Atlanta will travel to Philadelphia and bring with it the 32nd ranked defense against quarterbacks. In nine games this season the Falcons defense has allowed less than 26 points to opposing offenses just once. Wentz is a bottom of the barrel deal this week and has a chance to finish with his highest scoring total of the season. I don’t think a 25-30 point game would be outside the realm of possibility.
David Johnson – Arizona Cardinals
Value – $8,400
If you want the best fantasy running back in your lineups this week you’re going to have to pay for him. David Johnson jumped up $700 after the Cardinals bye and is $500 more expensive than the second most expensive running back, Ezekiel Elliott. What makes DJ so special is his versatility. Even in a game against the Panthers where he carried the ball 10 times for 24 yards he still managed to score almost 18 fantasy points due to his involvement in the passing game. Johnson is averaging over 25 fantasy points per game and faces a San Francisco defense this week that ranks last in the league against opposing running backs. There’s nothing about this matchup that scares me, and I think Johnson’s price tag will be well worth it once he’s done demolishing the 49ers.
Chris Ivory – Jacksonville Jaguars
Matchup – $3,400
Chris Ivory saw his highest carry total of the season against Chiefs last week, which he turned into 107 yards. This isn’t necessarily a knee-jerk reaction to Ivory’s performance as it is an observation that Ivory looks like he’s becoming the lead back in Jacksonville’s offense. TJ Yeldon only carried the ball seven times for 33 yards, although he did see more work in the passing game and scored a touchdown through the air. The Jaguars rushing attack has been awful this season. Ivory’s performance was the first time a Jacksonville running back broke the century mark, and his 107 yards more than doubled the rushing output by either himself or Yeldon in all but one game this season. While Yeldon is clearly the pass-catching back in this offense, I think the matchup against Houston this weekend favors Ivory a little more. This shouldn’t be a game where the Jaguars find themselves falling behind early, which should allow for Ivory to see the bulk of the carries once again. The fumbling issues he’s had are concerning, but at $3,400 Ivory is a value play with upside this week. He’s not quite a Hail Mary play, but it’s close.
Jay Ajayi – Miami Dolphins
Value – $7,000
Jay Ajayi is officially the man. Doubt him once, shame on you. Doubt him twice, shame on you again. Doubt him thrice, get this guy in your lineups already! Ajayi is this season’s Devonta Freeman and his DFS stock is skyrocketing. His price back in week six when he broke out for 205 yards was $3,500. Fast forward two games and that number has doubled. If he goes out again this week and rushes for another 100 yards or more this may be the last time we see him at the $7,000 mark for a while. Ajayi has 77 carries for 529 yards and four touchdowns over the last three games and is averaging an impressive 6.87 yards per carry. The good times should continue to roll this week against a San Diego defense that ranks 30th in the league against running backs.
Mark Ingram – New Orleans Saints
Value – $5,400
Apparently, all Mark Ingram needed was a good, old-fashioned benching to get a fire lit underneath him. Sure 75 of his 158 yards came on his big touchdown run, but if you watched any of that game you would’ve seen a different Mark Ingram. He was finally running angry and fighting for extra yards. Sean Payton was true to his word, and Tim Hightower received a team-high 23 carries and had a decent day himself. While I like both backs this week, I think Ingram still has a slight edge over his counterpart. Denver’s defense ranks 26th in the league against the run, and they were just torn apart by Latavius Murray. I expect Drew Brees to have some difficulty moving the ball through the air and turn to the run game, which makes both Saints running backs solid plays this week. At $5,400 Ingram is a steal considering his upside.
Kenneth Dixon – Baltimore Ravens
Value – $3,900
If Kenneth Dixon is, in fact, going to overtake Terrance West at any point this season this has to be the week he does it. If not, then I just don’t see it happening. Neither Ravens running back has performed well as of late. In fact, Baltimore’s run game has been absolutely atrocious. West has 23 carries over the last two games for only 31 yards. That’s an average of 1.3 yards per carry. Yikes. Unfortunately, the rookie Dixon didn’t fare much better last week in an expanded role as he rushed for only 13 yards on 9 carries against a Steelers defense that’s been weak against the run this season. The matchup against the Browns this week should give us a good idea of where Dixon stands, and he’s worth a flier at $3,900 if you’re feeling lucky. He should continue to expand his workload this week.
Mike Evans – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Value – $9,000
Mike Evans is on a tear this season and is coming off his best performance of the season despite getting knocked out of the game in the fourth quarter with a concussion. The sheer volume alone is enough to make Evans a DFS staple as he turned 17 targets into 11 catches for 150 yards and two touchdowns against Atlanta last week. He has seen 11 or more targets come his way over the last seven games, which makes him almost a lock to produce at a high level each week. Barring any setbacks in his concussion protocol, I think Evans has a good chance to have another huge game against a Chicago defense that’s dead last in the league against wide receivers. While his $9,000 price tag is on the high end, there is enough value this week at other position to justify getting him into your lineups.
Tyrell Williams – San Diego Chargers
Value – $5,700
Sorry, Travis Benjamin. Tyrell Williams is the go-to receiver in the Chargers offense. At first glance, the stat lines for Williams look pretty up and down over the las few weeks. However, if take out the two games he’s played against the Broncos in the last five weeks the numbers look tons better. In the three games he wasn’t facing one of the league’s best secondaries, Williams has 322 receiving yards and two touchdowns on 18 receptions. Not too shabby. With Travis Benjamin banged up, Tyrell Williams is the unquestioned number one target for Phillip Rivers. With a price tag of $5,700 he’s a great value play, and I like his chances of having a solid performance against a middle of the road Dolphins defense.
Rishard Matthews – Tennessee Titans
Value – $4,200
First, we had Tajae Sharpe, and then we had Kendall Wright. Now Rishard Matthews has emerged as the number one receiver in the Titans offense. Over the last four weeks, the former Dolphins wide receiver has caught 17 passes for 208 yards and four touchdowns, and he is now the Titans leading scoring receiver despite not topping double-digit fantasy points in the first three games. The only downfall of any Titans receiver this year is the dominating run game featuring DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry, which limits Mariota’s potential when it comes to throwing the ball. Then again we have games like we saw last week where Tennessee fell behind to the Chargers early and was forced to score points in a hurry through the air. The result was Mariota’s highest passing attempt total of the season along with Rishard Matthews’ best game of the year. I think we could see a similar situation this week as Tennessee faces a Green Bay team that has slowed opposing running backs all year. If the Packers can limit DeMarco Murray and gain an early lead, then I think that opens the door for Mariota and Matthews to both have big games again this week.
Mike Wallace – Baltimore Ravens
Value – $6,200
With Steve Smith returning I was a little down on Mike Wallace last week. While Smith did see more targets, it was Mike Wallace that burned his former team with a 4 catch 124-yard performance. Although most of his production came on an impressive 95-yard catch and run, he’s just two weeks removed from a game against the Jets where he hauled in 10 catches for 120 yards. Steve Smith should continue to get more attention from Flacco, but I think Wallace is the Baltimore receiver to own against a shaky Browns defense that was picked apart by Dak Prescott last week. My bet is we’ll see Joe Haden shadow Steve Smith, which should open up the field for Mike Wallace once again. Wallace is priced right about where he should be, and I like the chemistry he has developed with Joe Flacco.
Eli Rogers – Pittsburgh Steelers
Value – $3,500
Rogers was a popular sleeper pick to start the season with Martavis Bryant suspended, but injuries have kept him off the field for much of the year. He came back in a big way last week as he led the team with 103 receiving yards in Roethlisberger’s first game back. While Antonio Brown is and will continue to be the go-to receiver in this offense, Big Ben still needs a reliable second option. The Cowboys defense is better than many people gave them credit for at the beginning of the season, and you can expect them to make slowing down Brown a priority. If that’s the case, then Eli Rogers could continue to see some attention from his quarterback. He’s extremely affordable at $3,500 and is a flier pick based on what we saw last week.
Travis Kelce – Kansas City Chiefs
Value – $5,600
We all saw Travis Kelce’s ejection highlight. If you didn’t then stop what you’re doing and go find it immediately, because it is classic. While amusing, Kelce getting thrown out of the game against Jacksonville had to have been frustrating if you played him due to him being on his way to a pretty solid day. He finished with five catches and 58 yards on seven targets before the ejection occurred. The good news is, barring any theatrics, Kelce should be a solid play this week against the infamous Panthers pass defense. The Chiefs “number one receiver” Jeremy Maclin has been hobbled by a groin injury and clearly isn’t himself. If Maclin isn’t able to play, then Kelce immediately becomes a top three tight end for me this week. With Tyreek Hill being the only real threat to see a bump in touches, one would think Alex Smith will target his tight end early and often in his return to the starting lineup. Kelce is a little pricey as far as tight ends go, but he could very well be worth the investment this week.
Tyler Eifert – Cincinnati Bengals
Value – $5,200
Eifert had a monster game in what I consider his true season debut against the Redskins in London before Cincinnati’s bye last week. After finally making his way back into the lineup for a full workload, Eifert reeled in 9 catches for 102 yards and a touchdown. That’s what I’d call a welcome back party. Last year this guy was a stud at the wide receiver position despite being somewhat reliant on touchdowns to have big games. My feeling is the Giants defense will want to focus all of their efforts into slowing down AJ Green this week and Eifert will find room to work in the middle of the field. While Andy Dalton may not be the league’s best quarterback, he’s certainly intelligent enough to know that if your main target is covered up you look for your second best option. Which happens to be Tyler Eifert in my opinion. He’s priced between Jimmy Graham and Delanie Walker this week, which I feel is about right considering he’s only played one full game. With the other top tier tight ends having tough matchups I think Eifert could finish in the top three this week at his position.
Zach Miller – Chicago Bears
Value – $3,600
Jay Cutler’s return gave Zach Miller a boost in the Bears victory over the Vikings a couple of weeks ago, and the tight end now leads the team in receptions. Miller posted a season high in receiving yards with 88 and finished the day with his second-best fantasy performance of the season. With opposing secondaries focusing on Alshon Jeffrey, Miller has been able to find success in the middle of the field, and I think he should have another serviceable game against the Buccaneers this week. Tampa Bay has been terrible on defense at times this season and has given up 73 points the last two weeks to the Falcons and Saints. Jay Cutler is nowhere near the caliber player Matt Ryan or Drew Brees are, but he should be able to move the ball against one of the worst teams in the league against opposing quarterbacks. In addition to Miller, I also like Cutler as a sneaky DFS play if you’re feeling lucky.
CJ Fiedorowicz – Houston Texans
Value – $3,500
From a consistency standpoint, I really like Fiedorowicz for fantasy purposes. His rapport with Brock Osweiler has grown over the last several weeks, and the tight end has become a reliable target for the former Broncos quarterback. With DeAndre Hopkins failing to get on the same page with Osweiler and Will Fuller having difficulty hanging onto passes thrown to him, this offense desperately needs some sort of consistency. I think Fiedorowicz could be that guy. Outside of the Texans game against Denver, he has either scored a touchdown or racked up at least 60 yards in the last five games. Although Jacksonville ranks in the top ten against the tight end position, I think Fiedorowicz is a solid option this week at only $3,500.
Dennis Pitta – Baltimore Ravens
Value – $4,000
Pitta has been essentially irrelevant since his big 9 catch 102-yard performance back in week 2. He’s averaging less than ten fantasy points per game, and yet his price has stayed fairly consistent. With Steve Smith returning and Mike Wallace playing his best football in a while, Pitta very well could start to see his targets diminish a bit. However, this week the Ravens will face the abysmal Browns. Cleveland ranks dead last in the league against tight ends, and that big game I mentioned earlier from Pitta came against the Browns back in week two. His consistency is concerning, but he’s worth a flier based on the matchup.
Who I’m Stacking:
Carson Palmer/David Johnson – Arizona Cardinals
Total Value – $14,900
There are a few universal truths in daily fantasy football this season. Start quarterbacks against Tampa Bay, target teams playing Cleveland, and roll out playmakers against San Francisco. Carson Palmer finally got things back on track against Carolina before the bye week, and he gets another cupcake matchup at home after having a week to rest up. It may seem odd to pair up a quarterback and running back, but in this situation it makes sense. David Johnson is second on the team in receiving yards and targets behind Larry Fitzgerald, and he should see plenty of success again this week against the defense that’s dead last in the league when it comes to containing running backs.
Eli Manning/Odell Beckham Jr – New York Giants
Total Value – $14,700
Eli Manning had his second best game of the season last week against the Eagles as he threw for 257 yards and four touchdowns. Outside of a handful of games, the other Manning has ranged from incredibly mediocre to downright bad this season. The hope is he can stay on track and string two decent games together against a Bengals defense that has been very generous to quarterbacks this season. If you’re stacking someone with Eli there’s really no other choice than OBJ. He only pulled in four of his ten targets, but two of those catches were touchdowns. The Bengals are ranked surprisingly high against receivers, but I like Beckham’s chances to have a big day.
Joe Flacco/Mike Wallace – Baltimore Ravens
Total Value – $12,400
This one is fairly straight forward. The Ravens are playing the Browns this week and are ranked second to last against the quarterback position. Flacco hasn’t been very consistent this season, but if he can’t pick apart this Cleveland defense he doesn’t deserve to be an NFL quarterback. I think we should see Joe Hayden matchup with Steve Smith, so I’m favoring Wallace coming off back to back 25 point performance if you’re stacking a receiver here.
Steal of the Week:
Jordan Howard – Chicago Bears
Value – $6,000
Talk about a bounce back game. Just one week after a terrible performance against the Packers Howard punished the Vikings defense as he racked up 153 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries. He was also involved in the passing game and added another 49 yards on four receptions. After a bye week, you have to like his odds of putting together another solid performance against a Tampa Bay defense that has allowed eight rushing touchdowns this season and is ranked 22nd against opposing running backs. At $6,000 he’s a steal, and I can see him finishing as a top five running back this week.
Last Week’s Results:
Name- Cost- Point Total:
Matt Ryan – $7,100 – 31.8
Melvin Gordon – $6,300 – 39.1
Ezekiel Elliot – $7,900 – 22.7
Mike Evans – $8,500 – 41
Devante Adams – $5,900 – 14.1
Kenny Britt – $4,400 – 14.9
Cameron Brate – $3,300 – 15.3
Tim Hightower – $4,000 – 17.2
Titans D – $2,600 – 0
Total Points – 196.1 points – $300
If you took our advice and played some of the players we recommended, then you would have had a pretty solid payday. While the Titans D was a $2,600 filler, this lineup still scored 196.1 points, which would have won you $300 in the Draft Kings $20 millionaire maker contest.
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!!!