by Byron Hamilton
There was one undeniable truth heading into last week. Drew Brees would have a field day against the Lions at home. Everyone you talked to said the same thing. Unfortunately, Brees had his worst game of the season and didn’t throw a touchdown pass at home for the first time in 61 games. It was unbelievable. Those that rolled the dice with Colin Kaepernick were equally if not more frustrated as they watched him complete just one pass and rush for 20 yards before being benched. Ladarius Green was perhaps the sneakiest pick as he put up 26 fantasy points and was in only 2.5% of lineups. It’s time to take a look around the league and pick out some players that can help you win some money 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.
Derek Carr – Oakland Raiders
Value – $6,400
Derek Carr has been one of the more consistent fantasy quarterbacks this season. He’s only had four games with less than 20 fantasy points and is on a three-game streak with at least 260 passing yards and two or more touchdowns. He’s got two dynamic playmakers at wide receiver in Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree along with a capable running back in Latavius Murray to help keep defenses honest. Carr will face a Kansas City defense this week that ranks 28th against the quarterback position, and he’s got a fairly stable floor of around 20 points.
Andy Dalton – Cincinnati Bengals
Value – $6,100
I’ve never been a huge fan of Andy Dalton, but I’m not going to let that stop me from sprinkling him into a few of my lineups this week. The Red Rifle is coming off of his best game of the season from a fantasy standpoint and faces off against the winless Cleveland Browns. Dalton threw for 332 yards and two touchdowns last week, and I like his odds of putting up similar numbers. Jeremy Hill has not been very effective over the last couple of weeks, so Cincinnati may have to move the ball through the air.
Carson Palmer – Arizona Cardinals
Value – $5,700
Carson Palmer finished last week with 300 passing yards and three touchdowns against the Redskins, which was his third best fantasy performance of the season. The veteran QB has also thrown for multiple touchdowns in each of the last three games, which is something he’s not been able to do all year. While Palmer’s season has been far from ideal, he looks to be playing much better over recent weeks. Arizona will travel to Miami to face off against the Dolphins this week, who have the 26th ranked defense against the quarterback position. At only $5,700 Palmer is a value play that could greatly outperform his price tag.
Drew Brees – New Orleans Saints
Value – $7,400
Ok, let’s try this again. Brees was a massive disappointment last week and had his worst game of the season. The good news is he can only go up from here. His yardage totals weren’t bad by any means, and his 326 passing yards were the most he’s had since week seven. It was the three interceptions and no touchdowns that killed him. I think he’ll get back on track this week against a Tampa Bay defense that’s been prone to giving up a lot of points at times this season. I’m chalking up last week as a fluke and assuming Brees will be back to his old ways.
Brock Osweiler – Houston Texans
Value – $5,300
I call this Hail Mary plays for a reason. They don’t pay off very often, but when they do it is usually a game changer. Brock Osweiler hasn’t had more than 20 fantasy points all season, however, he’s thrown for more than 200 yards in each of the last three weeks. That’s a feat he hasn’t accomplished all season. Osweiler will face the Colts this week, who have been notorious for giving up a lot of yards and points to quarterbacks. If Brock can pass the 20 point mark I think he can free up some cash at other positions.
David Johnson – Arizona Cardinals
Value – $9,800
I made a commitment last week to continue to play David Johnson until he scores less than 30 points or passes the $10,000 mark. Looks like I’m playing this kid again, and why not at this point? Sure, he’s going to cost you a fortune. With the kind of production, he’s been churning out it’s worth every penny. Johnson will face a Miami defense that’s been middle of the road in terms of slowing down running backs. Full speed ahead.
LeSean McCoy – Buffalo Bills
Value – $8,200
Shady McCoy is officially back boys and girls. After missing time and being eased back into action McCoy has back to back games with over 100 rushing yards. He’s also scored two touchdowns and added nine catches for 92 yards. Shady is by far the most talented player for the Bills, and Rex Ryan’s offense revolves around this guy. Buffalo will face a Pittsburgh defense that’s 29th in the league against running backs. This seems like a no-brainer to me.
Jordan Howard – Chicago Bears
Value – $6,400
If LeSean McCoy is the most talented offensive player the Bulls have, then that statement is incrementally more true for what Jordan Howard means to the Bears. He is quite literally the only reliable fantasy option on this team. Over the last five weeks, the rookie is averaging 106 yards per game on the ground, and he has four touchdowns to his credit (although three came against the 49ers last week). Howard will face the Lions this week, who have been surprisingly strong over the last several weeks. However, the former Indiana stud will see enough work to have a solid shot to put up some big numbers once again.
Darren Sproles – Philadelphia Eagles
Value – $4,400
Fair warning, it seems like every time I play Sproles he lays an egg. That being said the shifty veteran has ten or more fantasy points in five out of the last six games. His role as the team’s pass-catching back gives him a fairly decent floor, and he even saw some goal line work last week with Ryan Mathews sitting out due to injury. The rookie, Wendell Smallwood, continues to see carries in addition to Sproles but has been mostly ineffective with his touches. I foresee this week’s matchup against the Redskins being a high scoring affair with Kirk Cousins playing at such a high level. If that does indeed turn out to be the case, then I like Sproles’ chances to see more work in the passing game if the Eagles fall behind. He provides solid value at $4,400
Todd Gurley – Las Angeles Ram
Value – $5,000
Yup, this is where I’ve found myself with Todd Gurley. I’m tentatively rolling him out there in what should be an advantageous matchup for last season’s breakout rookie running back. Gurley logged his second worst fantasy performance of the season against the Patriots last week as he carried the ball 11 times for 38 yards. I keep thinking this kid has to have one more good game this season. If Gurley doesn’t do it this week against the Falcons I don’t think he will. Atlanta is second to last against running backs, so there should be plenty of opportunities for him to put up decent numbers.
Julian Edelman – New England Patriots
Value – $6,800
Julian Edelman has reasserted himself as Tom Brady’s go-to guy in the short passing game over the last few weeks and hasn’t scored less than 15 fantasy points since week eight as a result. The veteran receiver hauled in eight passes for a season-high 101 yards against the Rams and now has 24 receptions in the last three weeks. That’s eight fantasy points a game just in catches. The downside with Edelman has always been the lack of touchdowns, but he’s active enough in the short game to make up for it. The Ravens boast one of the best run defenses in the league. If LeGarrette Blount is shut down, then Brady will turn to the pass to move the ball. That’s where Julian Edelman comes in. Play him with confidence.
Tyrell Williams – San Diego Chargers
Value – $6,100
Williams had a down game against the Buccaneers in what has been a nice little streak over the last four games. It’s good to know that a down week for him includes a touchdown. Williams was targeted only four times and hauled in two catches for 42 yards and a score against Tampa Bay, which marks the fourth consecutive game where he has found the end zone. Both Phillip Rivers and his go-to receiver should find more room to operate this week against the Panthers. Carolina is not the defense they were last year, and they have given up 89 points over the last three games (nearly 30 points per game). Don’t be surprised if Williams finds the end zone again this week and has a nice day in the process.
Jamison Crowder – Washington Redskins
Value – $5,600
Jamison Crowder is one of the most overlooked wide receivers in fantasy football this season. Virtually nobody is talking about this kid, and yet he was ranked within the top 15 at his position last week. Since week four Crowder has either scored a touchdown or has had at least seven catches for 88 yards. By the way, he’s priced under $6,000 in Draft Kings. The second year player out of Duke has certainly staked his claim as the number one receiver within an offense that loves to throw the football. Crowder will have a chance to continue his streak against an Eagles defense that’s ranked 25th against opposing receivers.
Malcolm Mitchell – New England Patriots
Value – $4,200
I realize this is the second Patriots receiver on the list this week, but I couldn’t fit him in anywhere else. I’m not advocating playing both receivers, although looking back over the last three weeks you can make a case for it. Over the last three games, Mitchell and Edelman have combined for 42.7, 37.5, and 37.3 fantasy points. That’s an average of nearly 20 points a game from wide receivers on the same team, which is crazy to think about. If I have to choose one this week I’m leaning towards Edelman because I see him as a safer pick. If you’re needing a value play I think Mitchell is your guy.
Ted Ginn Jr – Carolina Panthers
Value – $4,000
Ginn has been sneaky good over the last few weeks. He hadn’t scored a touchdown all season until week 11 and now has a score in each of the last three games. Ginn is also averaging 80 yards per game over that same span, so it seems Cam Newton is starting to key on his speedy receiver more as the season winds down. It’s tough to trust this team considering how poor they’ve played at times, but I think Carolina’s matchup against the Chargers could result in a lot of points. Ginn is a cheap pick that has some upside this week.
Tyler Eifert – Cincinnati Bengals
Value – $6,000
This will be short and sweet. Tyler Eifert plays the Browns this week, who are last in the league against tight ends. Eifert has been consistently involved in the offense since his return from injury and has scored a touchdown in three of the last five games. Play the man.
Jimmy Graham – Seattle Seahawks
Value – $5,500
I feel like Graham is a little underpriced this week. He’s been one of the most consistent players for the Seahawks recently and has definitely built up a solid rapport with Russell Wilson. Graham has at least 60 receiving yards or a touchdown in four out of the last five games and has been seeing a lot of looks once the team gets into the red zone. Seattle will travel to Green Bay this week, and this game has points written all over it. I expect Graham to be heavily involved once again, and he should be a nice play against a soft Packers defense.
Zach Ertz – Philadelphia Eagles
Value – $4,900
Ertz has come on strong in recent weeks and has become a valuable target for his rookie quarterback. Prior to week nine he hadn’t seen more than six targets since the first game of the season but has had at least six passes come his way over the last five games. Against the Bengals last week he was targeted a whopping 15 times as the Eagles fell behind early, and Ertz finished with his best game of the season as he caught nine passes for 79 yards and a touchdown. I think the game script against the Redskins this week will have a similar feel. Washington has a high-powered offense that can score points in a hurry, and Carson Wentz may be forced to air the ball out often with the ground game struggling. Ertz is under the $5,000 mark, but I think he has a shot to finish within the top 5 at his position.
CJ Fiedorowicz – Houston Texans
Value – $3,900
I love this guy for daily fantasy purposes. He’s a consistently cheap option that’s exponentially grown his role within the Texans offense. While it was Ryan Griffin that got the touchdown last week, Fiedorowicz had more yards and saw more targets come his way. Despite Osweiler’s every effort to get the ball to DeAndre Hopkins, the first year starter has simply struggled to connect with his number one receiver with any sort of consistency. Fiedorowicz has a strong matchup this week against Indianapolis. Andrew Luck looked great last week, and I think we see the Colts come out firing on Sunday. Houston is going to have to throw the ball, and Fiedorowicz will likely see a good amount of targets come his way again.
Ladarius Green – Pittsburgh Steelers
Value – $3,900
Mike Tomlin said in a press conference last week that Ladarius Green would be more involved in the offense, and he wasn’t kidding. Green exploded last week for six catches on 11 targets for 110 yards and a touchdown after catching five passes on a combined nine targets for 97 yards over his first three weeks on the field. Many expected Ladarius Green to play a pivotal role in the Steelers offense when they brought him over from the Chargers, but he’s been held out all season due to injury. If he even comes close to matching his production from last week against the Bills he’s a nice pick at his asking price.
Who I’m Stacking:
Russell Wilson/Doug Baldwin – Seattle Seahawks
Total Value – $13,400
Both Wilson and Baldwin have been underwhelming this season, but Wilson finally looks to be healthy. He’s escaping pressure and making plays with his legs. Baldwin is still the number one receiver on this team, and I think the duo can put up some big numbers this week against Green Bay. Both the Packers and Seahawks have stout run defenses, so expect to see a lot of plays made through the air. Seattle hung 40 points on the Panthers last week, and the offense appears to be clicking at the right time.
Jameis Winston/Mike Evans – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Value – $15,600
Winston’s numbers haven’t been great over the last few weeks due to facing some tough competition and injuries at the wide receiver position. This week’s matchup against the Saints should allow him to get back on track. If you’re pairing anyone with him it has to be Mike Evans. The star receiver had a down game against the Chargers last week but should bounce back against a New Orleans defense that’s giving up a ton of points to wide receivers. It’ll cost you some money to get both of these guys in your lineup, but it could pay off if this game turns into a shootout.
Marcus Mariota/Delanie Walker – Tennessee Titans
Total Value – $10,600
Marcus Mariota has been extremely impressive at times this season. He’s taken a step forward from his rookie campaign and is certainly the looking like the quarterback of the future for the Titans. Mariota has at least two touchdowns in every game since week five. Unfortunately, he faces the top-ranked defense against quarterbacks in the Denver Broncos this week. I was considering including Rishard Matthews if you choose to stack someone with Mariota but thought better of it. Denver has been much friendlier to tight ends than receivers this season, which makes Delanie Walker a sneaky play as he shouldn’t be highly owned due to the matchup.
Steals of the Week:
Michael Crabtree – Oakland Raiders
Value – $6,200
Crabtree has been the receiver to own in Oakland over the last two weeks and faces a Chiefs defense that’s dead last in the league against receivers. There is some concern here that Amari Cooper may have a bounce back game, but I think he’ll see a lot of Marcus Peters. Crabtree is averaging 7.5 catches for 92 yards and has scored a touchdown over the last two games. I like his chances of going off again compared to Cooper, and he comes at a $1,300 discount.
Jonathan Stewart – Carolina Panthers
Value – $5,400
The Panthers were terrible in every facet of the game last week against the Seahawks, so it’s natural to be a little down on them heading into Sunday. Stewart managed to gain 50 yards on 11 carries against one of the better run defenses in the league and should find more running room this week against the Chargers. San Diego is 27th in the league against running backs, and the Panthers as a whole should perform at a much higher level. Stewart is just one week removed from a 21 point fantasy day against the Raiders, and I believe he’ll perform at a high level this week.
Jacquizz Rodgers – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Value – $5,600
I’m adding in Rodgers just in case Doug Martin isn’t able to play this week. Obviously, he has no value if Martin is active, so keep an eye on the situation. If Rodgers does get the starting nod he’s an excellent play against the Saints.
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!!!