This week we discuss the following:
We saw some really disappointing output from big-name receivers last week. What do you make of Dez Bryant, Randall Cobb and T.Y. Hilton heading into Week 9? Are they going to be undervalued due to recency bias, or are they too unreliable to count on at this point given their salaries?
Chad Parsons: I think the Packers offense in general is a good bet to rebound. Cobb has gone 16 receptions without a score but unfortunately the schedule lightens up in Week 10-11 for the Packers receivers, not Week 9. Dez Bryant looked to have some rust and lack of explosion giving me pause to bet strongly for another week or two. None of the three are on my Week 9 receiver rotation at their salaries, instead I side with Demaryius Thomas, Mike Evans, Alshon Jeffery, and others.
Danny Tuccitto: All three had among the toughest individual matchups in the league last week, with Bryant shadowed by Richard Sherman, Cobb shadowed by Chris Harris Jr, and Hilton shadowed by Josh Norman (per Pro Football Focus). So yes, they're going to be undervalued by people who fail to put their poor performances in context. That said, health and quarterback quality are also important, and so Cobb is in the best position of the three to see his DFS value rebound.
Andrew Garda: I echo what Chad and Danny said and add that Bryant was coming off an injury as well, so he wasn't going to instantly be 100%.
Green Bay is the best bet to bounce back, though let's not underestimate how well Josh Norman is playing and how hard the front seven rushes. Still, we won't see 77 yards from the passing offense again any time soon and I expect the Packers to get back to the short slants and intermediate routes that serve Cobb.
Hilton may not even play at this point, and when he does he gets the Chris Harris Jr-Aqib Talib treatment, so I would avoid him if he suits up. On top of that, his quarterback is a disaster right now.
So go with Cobb (or a nice Rodgers-Cobb stack). I think Dez has potential but he may still be a game away from being really good—and there is always the Matt Cassel factor which isn't great.
Maurile Tremblay: I'm staying away from Dez Bryant and T.Y. Hilton this week. The Cowboys don't have much of a downfield passing offense right now, and probably won't until Tony Romo returns. Bryant has decent upside because he can create plays on his own, but for $7,900, there are a lot of receivers I like better. T.Y. Hilton hasn't practiced this week—he's been in a walking boot. He may not play, and if he does, he'll be limited. Couple that with the Colts' general offensive struggles and the tough matchup against the Broncos, and it's not an attractive situation.
Chad Parsons: I like Delanie Walker and Martellus Bennett. Both are medium-priced with above-average matchups and big-time touchdown regression candidates. Between them the last 64 receptions have netted a single touchdown (Bennett), a woeful cold streak for regular tight end starters.
Andrew Garda: I'm with the Gates-Bennett combo. If Austin Seferian-Jenkins plays, I like him as well but the injury is lingering so we may not see him this weekend. I also like Heath Miller at $5,800 and think he will be lightly owned and very relevant now that Roethlisberger is back.
Maurile Tremblay: Antonio Gates is my favorite option this week. In his two healthy games, he got 11 and 16 targets, and last week as a game-time decision he got five targets. Now with Keenan Allen out and with a full week of practice, I'd set Gates' realistic minimum at eight targets, and he's likely to get double-digits.
Greg Olsen is my second-favorite option. Like Gates, he's the top option in his team's passing game.
Even at $8,500, Gronkowski is my next favorite. He has such a high floor and high ceiling, he's worth paying up for.
There are a number of running backs at $6,500 or less this week that seem to have substantial upside potential. (DeAngelo Williams, Jeremy Langford, Darren McFadden, T.J. Yeldon, Danny Woodhead or Melvin Gordon III...) Does that make this a good week to fade some of the more expensive options like Devonta Freeman and Todd Gurley? Either way, which of the cheap RBs do you like best this week?
Chad Parsons: I like DeAngelo Williams and Darren McFadden of the bunch. Both are reasonably priced, clear starters with three-down acumen, and McFadden—while having a tougher matchup—has 5+ reception upside. The Steelers offense as a whole is an uptick play at home with Ben Roethlisberger back; and without Tony Romo, the Cowboys lone chance to win center around feeding the running backs.
Danny Tuccitto: Freeman's going to have an astronomical ownership rate, so I'm likely to fade him in tournaments. Given his Charmin-soft matchup, though, I'm not fading him in cash games. As for Gurley, I'm fading him precisely because of the running back value mentioned in this question. Of the six backs listed, I'm partial towards McFadden and Woodhead because they're two of the Top five values of the week. Williams is also among the Top five, but his ownership rate is going to be Freeman-esque, and so I'll be fading him in tournaments. As for the other three, Langford is too much of an unknown to rely on, Yeldon has the downside of an unfavorable game script, and Gordon hasn't shown anything to instill confidence.
Andrew Garda: I've begun to constantly look for 'contrarian' plays and value at running back in tourneys. There's nothing like a Devonta Freeman or Todd Gurley in cash but everyone has them and running backs are good ways to set yourself apart but still have production in tournaments.
Along with McFadden, Woodhead and Williams, keep Washington's Chris Thompson in mind. Yes, the backfield is a murky swamp of uncertainty, but Thompson has been targeted 17 times in the last two games he's played and caught six passes each time. Those half points per reception add up and he should gain some yards as Kirk Cousins checks down again and again in the vain hope that the team can catch up to Tom Brady and friends.
Maurile Tremblay: I'm not fading Devonta Freeman. He's the Rob Gronkowski of running backs this season—both his floor and ceiling are so high that he's worth what he costs. I also won't completely fade Gurley, but I will work in a lot of cheaper options more often than I play Gurley.
I like Darren McFadden a lot at just $6,500. There's always a danger that he'll be injured or ineffective, but the Cowboys seem determined to give him a huge workload in both the running game and in the passing game. You don't see featured backs priced at $6,500 right now, but that's what McFadden is.
And I'll say the exact same thing about DeAngelo Williams. He's also just $6,500, and he will be the Steeler's featured back now that Le'Veon Bell is out. A backfield of McFadden and Williams allows you to pay up at other positions for the likes of Rob Gronkowski and Julio Jones, giving you a pretty strong lineup.
I also like at least one of the Chargers running backs to have a big game against the Bears defense. Melvin Gordon III is $6,100 and Danny Woodhead is just $6,000. Most games involving the Chargers have been pretty high-scoring lately as the offense struggles to overcome the weak defense. I'll have some lineups with each of their running backs in them.
What's the game script in the Steelers-Raiders game going to look like? Is Ben Roethlisberger overpriced at $8,300 coming off a bad game, or will he bounce back and present good value?
Chad Parsons: I think Roethlisberger is a value more than overpriced. This has shootout potential with the Steelers secondary surprisingly holding Andy Dalton in check last week, previously being generous to Colin Kaepernick (335-2-0), Tom Brady (4 touchdowns), Carson Palmer (421 yards), and Philip Rivers (365-2-1). On the flip side, the Raiders have allowed multiple touchdowns to every opposing quarterback (excluding early-injury Ryan Fitzpatrick last week) except Peyton Manning in Week 5.
Danny Tuccitto: Will he bounce back from last week? Yes. Is he overpriced? Yes. At $8,300, Roethlisberger can indeed bounce back, scoring something like 23 points, and still fall short of 3x value. Put differently, my numbers suggest he only has a 13.4% of hitting the magic number of 24.9 points.
As for the game script, I don't think it matters much in this particular matchup. Unless the score becomes completely lopsided one way or the other, both of these offenses are pass-happy enough to keep throwing the ball throughout. One need look no further than last week, when the Steelers passed 71.6% of the time in a close game, and the Raiders passed 59.0% of the time despite being ahead by two or more scores for the final 50 minutes of game time.
Andrew Garda: Like everyone else, I think he bounces back this week but am not sure I spend the money on him. The Raiders are not the pushover they once were so this is no cakewalk. I do think he's a decent play but I feel better about Matt Ryan against San Francisco, Drew Brees against Tennessee, and Eli Manning against Tampa Bay for around the same price.
Maurile Tremblay: I know a lot of smart people who are high on Roethlisberger this week, but I'm not one of them. I faded him last week, and I'll fade him again this week. Vegas has this as something like a 26-22 game in favor of the Steelers, and I think Roethlisberger is a QB1 in season-long leagues based on his expected production, but when you have to take his $8,300 salary into account, there are a lot of quarterbacks I like better. My projections for Derek Carr are in the same range as for Roethlisberger, but Carr is $1,300 cheaper. Jay Cutler against the Chargers is $1,200 cheaper.
That will do it for this edition of the FanDuel Roundtable. Please join us again next week.
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