by Byron Hamilton
As always, value was the name of the game in many of the winning daily fantasy lineups last week. Taylor Gabriel of the Falcons was perhaps the most surprising. The pint-sized receiver scored two touchdowns on two catches and is becoming Matt Ryan’s favorite new toy. Tyreek Hill impressed as well with his three touchdown performance and is looking like the man to own in the Chiefs offense. We’ll take a look around the league to see if we can pick out some players that’ll help you build a winning lineup this week.
Drew Brees – New Orleans Saints
Value – $7,600
Brees comes in as the highest priced quarterback on the slate this week, and it’s not hard to see why. Brees shredded the Rams last week for 310 yards and was responsible for five total touchdowns. The veteran only has three games this season with less than 20 fantasy points and plays a bottom of the barrel defense in the Lions at home. Brees. At home. Bad defense. Don’t overthink it.
Phillip Rivers – San Diego Chargers
Value – $6,500
Rivers is averaging just a hair under 20 fantasy points per game this season, which is really impressive when you think about it. His star receiver was lost for the season in the first game, Danny Woodhead was done shortly after that, and Melvin Gordon has emerged has an every down back who is seeing 20 carries a game. When you take all that into perspective, 20 points a game isn’t too shabby. Rivers has thrown for three touchdowns in each of his last two games and plays a Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense that’s ranked 22nd in the league against opposing quarterbacks. He’s the 10th highest priced player at his position this week, so there’s some value to be had here as well.
Kirk Cousins – Washington Redskins
Value – $6,400
You like that?!? Sorry, had to do it. Cousins has been on fire this season and is currently second in the National Football League in passing yards. He threw for 449 yards and three touchdowns against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving and now has 824 passing yards and six touchdowns over the last six games. The Redskins have one of the most talented groups of receivers in the league, including Jordan Reed, so Cousins clearly has a solid supporting cast to toss the pigskin to. While on paper the matchup against the Cardinals defense is intimidating, Arizona has actually given up quite a few points over the last few weeks, most notably last week against Atlanta when the Falcons scored 38 points and Matt Ryan threw for two touchdowns and 269 yards. I don’t foresee Cousins throwing for over 400 yards again, but he’ll put up decent enough numbers to be worth a look. He likely won’t be highly owned due to the matchup either, which will give you a boost if he performs well.
Colin Kaepernick – San Francisco 49ers
Matchup – $6,100
If you listen to our podcast you know I’ve been telling you guys for a few weeks now this was going to happen. Kaepernick is legit and looks reminiscent of the player we saw a few years ago during the 49ers Super Bowl run. Kaep threw for 296 yards and three touchdowns in the loss against Miami last week and chipped in another 113 yards on the ground, which was good for a whopping 37 fantasy points. If you won money last week likely had Colin Kaepernick as your quarterback. San Francisco will face a Chicago defense this week that’s surprisingly ranked in top half of the league against the quarterback position. However, they’ve given up at least 22 points in each of the last three games, and Kaepernick is a bargain at $6,100. I’ll buy in.
Tyrod Taylor – Buffalo Bills
Value – $5,700
I feel like Tyrod Taylor is always overlooked in fantasy football. Granted, he’s not had the breakout sleeper season many thought he might, but most weeks he’s been a serviceable fantasy quarterback. His ability to gain yards and touchdowns on the ground offer up a second layer of value has well. Taylor has five rushing touchdowns on the season and hasn’t had less than 35 yards on the ground since week five. The mobile quarterback will surely benefit from having Sammy Watkins back at his disposal, which was evident in his star receiver’s limited action last week. The Raiders have been notorious for giving up lots of points to quarterbacks this season, which makes Taylor a solid option this week at a discount.
David Johnson – Arizona Cardinals
Value – $9,500
I’m going to keep playing David Johnson until he scores less than 27 fantasy points or passes the $10,000 mark, whichever happens first. The Falcons managed to hold Johnson to only 58 yards on 13 carries last week. Fortunately for owners, the league’s leading fantasy running back compensated by hauling in eight passes for 103 yards and a touchdown. Johnson faces a Washington defense at home this week that’s ranked 26th against running backs. Full speed ahead.
LeSean McCoy – Buffalo Bills
Value – $7,800
It’s really unfortunate that Shady is so injury prone. If he could string together a full season he’d put up some pretty special numbers. After sitting out two of the last three games, McCoy finished with over 100 rushing yards for the first time since week six and added two touchdowns. This is the type of game we have grown accustomed to after Shady spoiled fantasy owners earlier in the season. He seems to have recovered from his injuries and is a solid play this week against the Raiders. Oakland ranks in the bottom third of the league against running backs.
Jordan Howard – Chicago Bears
Matchup – $6,900
The rookie out of Indiana has been solid for the most part since taking over the lead back duties in Chicago’s backfield. Howard is averaging 19 carries and almost 104 yards over the last four games for a healthy 5.5 yards per carry. The only knock on the kid you could point out is the lack of touchdowns he’s had, which is more a product of the Bears offense in general than anything Howard has down individually. The Bears host the 49ers this week who are last in the league at containing running backs. Howard very well could put up season high numbers across the board.
Theo Riddick – Detroit Lions
Value – $5,800
Riddick has been limited over the last few weeks with an ankle injury but has still been a decent fantasy option over the last two games due to his involvement in the passing game. The matchup against Minnesota was no easy task, but Riddick was very much the primary back in the Lions offense. I expect him to be much more involved this week when the Detroit travels to New Orleans for what could be a shootout. The Saints are 27th against running backs, and Riddick’s role in the passing attack should make him a solid option this week.
Rob Kelley – Washington Redskins
Value – $4,700
Fat Rob came crashing down to Earth last week against the Cowboys after enjoying three straight games of solid production. In the three games, prior Kelley rushed for 87, 97, and 137 yards while scoring four touchdowns. Against Dallas, he only mustered 34 yards on 14 carries. Part of the performance can be blamed on the game script, as Kirk Cousins threw the ball 53 times, and Chris Thompson is the guy the Redskins utilize when the team turns to the passing game. Washington faces off against a stout Arizona defense on the road this week, so Kelley is a big gamble. However, he’s priced low and still has had a great deal of success over recent weeks. He’s worth a gamble.
Mike Evans – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Value – $8,600
I’ll give you one guess as to who the leading fantasy wide receiver is coming into this week in standard scoring leagues. Yup, this guy. Draft Kings doesn’t use standard scoring so that stat is irrelevant but you get where I’m coming from. While I wouldn’t call Evans’ production this season a surprise, I certainly think he has outperformed most people’s expectations. Nobody in the league owns more target share than this guy, and it shows in the numbers. Evans is averaging 92 yards per game and has scored ten touchdowns in eleven outings. Fire him up against a vulnerable Chargers defense.
Michael Thomas – New Orleans Saints
Value – $6,900
The rookie out of Ohio State broke out of a two-game slump in a big way last week as he hooked up with Drew Brees for nine catches on ten targets for 108 yards and two touchdowns against the Rams. The Saints were unstoppable offensively, and it was nice to see Thomas so heavily targeted. His ten targets were the most he’s seen since week seven, and he was the recipient of half of Drew Brees touchdowns and a third of the yards. I think he’s got a shot to have another big game this week against the Lions in what could be a shootout. Neither Detroit or New Orleans are very good on defense and both teams have high powered offenses. You’re going to want in on some players from either side this week.
Julian Edelman – New England Patriots
Value – $6,800
Edelman has quietly started to turn things around over the last few weeks. He’s averaging over 12 targets per game since week ten and seems to have gotten back on the same page with Tom Brady. Edelman is not a guy that’s going to score a ton of touchdowns, but he’ll be peppered with targets which make him extremely valuable in PPR scoring formats. He hasn’t had less than 75 yards receiving in the last three games, so he’s got a pretty solid floor. The Patriots will host the Rams this week, who just allowed Drew Brees to throw for 310 yards and four touchdowns. I think Edelman is a lock to put up around 15-20 points this week and possibly more if he can sneak a touchdown.
Donte Moncrief – Indianapolis Colts
Value – $6,600
All this guy does is catch touchdowns. Moncrief has a touchdown reception in each of his last four games since returning from injury and is the clear go-to guy when the Colts are in the red zone. The Colts struggled to score last week with Andrew Luck sitting out due to a concussion, but Scott Tolzien was competent enough to know who is playmakers were as Moncrief saw a season-high 11 targets in the loss to the Steelers. TY Hilton was knocked out of the game early with an injury, so that had a lot to do with the increased attention. With Hilton’s status up in the air for this week’s matchup against the Jets, Moncrief should be considered a top tier receiver if his teammate is limited.
Quincy Enunwa – New York Jets
Value – $4,500
Enunwa has been totally hit or miss all season. He either has 70 yards and a touchdown or two catches for 20 yards. He went off last week as he had five catches for 109 yards and a touchdown against the Patriots in what was Ryan Fitzpatrick’s best game since week two of the season. I’m willing to roll the dice this week with Enunwa because the Jets host the Colts. Indianapolis’ defense is the second to last team in the league against wide receivers, and most of the attention in the secondary should be focused on Brandon Marshall. At $4,500 he’s worth the risk.
Sammy Watkins – Buffalo Bills
Value – $5,500
Watkins was limited last week and was on the field for only 25 out of the team’s 55 snaps. He still caught three passes on three targets for 80 yards. His workload should increase this week, and the Bills may need him against an explosive Raiders team. If Buffalo falls behind I look for Tyrod Taylor to look for his star receiver often against a vulnerable Oakland secondary.
Jimmy Graham – Seattle Seahawks
Value – $5,500
The Seahawks fell flat on their face last week against the Buccaneers. They only scored five points, and Russell Wilson threw for a meager 151 yards and two interceptions. Jimmy Graham was really the only bright spot in an otherwise forgettable offensive performance. He was targeted seven times and had six catches for 67 yards. I had a ton of stock invested in Wilson last week, so I’m a little skittish this week. However, Seattle plays a Carolina defense that has a secondary that’s proven to be a liability all season. They’re 28th against the tight end position, and I think Graham is a solid start this week.
Tyler Eifert – Cincinnati Bengals
Value – $5,300
Eifert has been solid since returning from an injury that kept him sidelined for the first six games of the season. He has either 95 yards or a touchdown in three out of the last four games and is without a doubt the main receiving option for Andy Dalton while AJ Green is sidelined. He led all Bengals’ pass catchers in targets and yards last week against the Ravens. He’ll have a tougher opponent this week against the Eagles and shouldn’t be highly owned. Despite the matchup, I like Eifert’s chances at putting up strong numbers again this week. The Eagles have given up 26 or more points in four out of the last five games, and he will see a lot of attention from his quarterback.
Travis Kelce – Kansas City Chiefs
Value – $4,700
I’m a little surprised Kelce is priced as low as he is. Over the last two games, he’s been targeted 24 times and has 15 catches for 209 yards. Jeremy Maclin has been sidelined, which has opened the door for Kelce to absorb more targets within the offense. With Maclin’s status still in doubt, look for Kelce to continue to see additional attention from Alex Smith. The Chiefs will face a high-powered Falcons team on the road this week, and I can only assume Smith will need to throw the ball a lot to keep pace with Matt Ryan. Kelce will likely be in the majority of my lineups this week.
Kyle Rudolph – Minnesota Vikings
Value – $4,100
This is an incredibly obvious statement, but Kyle Rudolph’s production is entirely dependent on competent Sam Bradford showing up and not the guy we’ve seen over the last two weeks. Rudolph has been one of the more consistent tight ends in the league this season and is coming off a nine-catch 64-yard performance against the Lions. The only other reliable receiver the Vikings have is Stefon Diggs, but he’s been banged up and opposing defenses make it a point to limit him as much as possible. Rudolph will face the Cowboys this week who rank second to last in the league against the tight end position. If Sam Bradford doesn’t lay an egg Rudolph should put up decent numbers.
Coby Fleener – New Orleans Saints
Value – $3,500
I feel like Fleener is due for a big game that will make everyone start discussing his fantasy relevance again. He’s not had more than four receptions in a game since week six and has only one touchdown to his credit over that span. He’s continuing to lose playing time to Josh Hill as the running game has become a stronger source of production lately, but I could see this week’s matchup with the Lions turning into a shootout. While Stafford hasn’t been the gunslinger we saw early in the season as of late, both he and Drew Brees have the ability to rack up a lot of yards through the air. If this game does indeed turn out to be a high scoring affair, then Fleener is worth a flier if you’re feeling lucky.
Who I’m Stacking:
Matt Stafford/Golden Tate – Detroit Lions
Value – $13,200
I feel like this may be one of the most underutilized combos this week as both Stafford and Tate haven’t been all that spectacular as of late. Stafford hasn’t had a game where has scored over 20 fantasy points since week six against the Rams. However, I think this could be the week both of these guys get it together. Detroit faces off against Drew Brees and the Saints on the road this week, which means two things. Brees will likely have a big game and Stafford will have to throw the ball to keep up. The obvious benefactor if that plays out is Golden Tate, who has come alive after a disappointing start to the season. This game also boasts the highest projected scoring total in the league. I like all Saints playmakers this week as well.
Matt Ryan/Julio Jones/Taylor Gabriel – Atlanta Falcons
Total Value – $15,500/$10,800
I think Julio Jones bounces back this week after a lackluster performance against the Cardinals last week. There hasn’t been one time this season where he has had less than 100 receiving yards in consecutive games. Matt Ryan didn’t play poorly last week, but he has a shot to put up the type of numbers we saw at of him at the beginning of the season against a Chiefs defense that’s ranked 27th against running backs. If you don’t want to put up the cash for Julio, then Taylor Gabriel is an option as well. He’s not exactly flying under the radar anymore, but the kid has scored 5 touchdowns in the last four games. He’s a more risky play than Jones but should be fairly productive.
Ryan Fitzpatrick/Brandon Marshall – New York Jets
Total Value – $12,100
The Jets are a dumpster fire this season, which is a little surprising considering this was an aspiring playoff team at the beginning of the year. However, Fitzpatrick is coming off his second-best game of the season in which he threw for 269 yards and two touchdowns against the Patriots. Brandon Marshall also had one of his best performances of the season last week with six catches for 67 yards and a touchdown. The duo will have a chance to put up solid numbers again this week as the Jets host the Colts, who rank in the bottom third in the league against quarterbacks and receivers.
Steals of the Week:
Doug Martin – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Value – $5,700
Martin has slowly ramped up his production over the last three weeks since returning from injury and seems primed to be a solid option over the last stretch of the season. He’s had over 20 carries over the last two weeks and will likely be leaned on heavily against the Chargers. San Diego is 28th against running backs, which makes Martin a strong option this week at only $5,700. I could see him finishing in the top five at his position this week.
Tyreek Hill – Kansas City Chiefs
Value – $4,600
It’s not often we see a player’s price drop after posting season-high numbers, but that’s the case with Hill. He’s $2,000 less than he was last week and scored three touchdowns against the Broncos. He’s got a much more advantageous matchup this week against the Falcons, and I think the Chiefs will have to throw the ball a lot to keep up with Matt Ryan. Hill is a particularly strong play if Jeremy Maclin is limited or sits out again this week altogether. He’s seeing over 9 targets per game over the last three weeks and is an electric kick returner. He’s just $200 more expensive than Chris Hogan this week, which seems crazy to me. I’m all in this week on Tyreek.
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!!!