This week we discuss the following:
Greg Olsen is inching up in price, up to $6,800 this week. Is he approaching fade status, or do you continue to trust him in cash games?
Chad Parsons: More than Olsen's price in a vacuum, it is about other options of preference this week—namely Jordan Reed at $6,300 and I really like Ben Watson at $5,600.Outside of going cheap at quarterback—which is fine with the options this week—my typical lineups will not afford the extra capital for Olsen.
Mark Wimer: I am avoiding him (and other Carolina starters save Ted Ginn Jr, because there are so few options at wide receiver) like the plague this week as Carolina showed themselves willing to start resting their starters in-game last weekend and Carolina is in a commanding playoff position in the NFC. If Olsen's knee gets tweaked again in practice this week or if it feels stiff in warmups on Sunday at New York he may well be on the sidelines again. Why get your key guys hurt when no-one is likely to catch you for #1 seed? Arizona could conceivably sneak up and snag home field throughout, but it's a long-shot and Derek Anderson is a quality quarterback to put in during the second half or perhaps even sooner... I think head coach Ron Rivera wants a Super Bowl championship ring more than a perfect season, though he'll take the perfect season if it falls in his lap, of course.
Andrew Garda: Normally in cash games I roll deep with Olsen, but not this week. As Chad says, there are other options. And they're for sure going to play, whereas we're not 100 percent on Olsen and may not be until just before game time. I'd rather go another route this week.
Alex Miglio: I'm most of the way there, but it's not as if the other good options are that much cheaper. You save $500 if you go with Jordan Reed or Delanie Walker, but how much safer are they? Outside of injury of course. If it was a bad matchup I would probably fade Olsen, but I will likely have him in at least one cash lineup this week unless we get bad news about his injury.
Maurile Tremblay: There are a lot of tight ends I like this week, so I will probably diversify at that position quite a bit. I think Jordan Reed and Delanie Walker are the best values, but Zach Miller and Antonio Gates are also priced very attractively, and of course Rob Gronkowski is a stud at pretty much any price. While I think Olsen is still a decent value at $6,800, that is pretty expensive for a tight end not named Gronkowski. I'm not purposely fading Olsen, but I may not end up with him in many rosters just because there are so many other attractive options he has to compete with.
Kirk Cousins continues to outperform expectations, yet his salary remains low. At $7,100, do you go heavy on him against Buffalo, or is his output a mirage purported by unreliable rushing touchdowns? Are there any quarterbacks in his price range you like in cash games?
Chad Parsons: Cousins is affordable and at home, but I would start Alex Smith ($100 less) every time against Baltimore over Cousins. Also, T.J. Yates offers an interesting punt play at $1,100 less, allowing for an additional stud receiver in lineups.
Andrew Garda: I agree, I like Smith more than Cousins. We never know what the Buffalo defense will give us which adds a layer of "meh" to Cousins' value. This will be the best defense he sees since Carolina and while it isn't as good, it's better than what the Giants, Dallas and Chicago bring.
I'd actually be tempted to pay up a few hundred for Tyrod Taylor as the Washington defense isn't very good.
Alex Miglio: I'm with Andrew, here. When Cousins doesn't run one in, he has really mediocre fantasy output. And he's no Cam Newton. Plus, with so many opportunities to save elsewhere, I'm not sure I skimp out at quarterback this week.
Maurile Tremblay: Cousins and Smith are the two obvious plays at that $7,000-$7,100 price point, but I agree with the others that Smith is preferable. And really, if I am looking for a cheap quarterback this week, I will go all the way down to T.J. Yates at $6,000. Otherwise, I will pay up into the $7,800-$8,000 range for someone with a higher floor (Bortles, Brees), so I'm not all that likely even to roster Alex Smith. That means I'm even less likely to roster Cousins.
Is Lamar Miller is a chalk play against the Chargers at $6,700?
Andrew Garda: I'd say chalk save for the fact that Miami doesn't seem to know what the heck to do with him. Still, I'd roll the dice on him and I think Miller gets a lot of run this weekend against the Chargers.
Alex Miglio: We have to watch his injury, but how can anyone resist putting Miller into a bunch of lineups? The Chargers have a terrible run defense, and Miller has looked like one of the best backs in the league when he actually gets the ball. There is definitely a danger that Miami will abandon the run regardless of success, but Miller would be a chalk play regardless if we expect his ownership percentage to be high.
Maurile Tremblay: Miller has as high an upside as anyone this week—but because of his inconsistent usage, I wouldn't want to rely too heavily on him in cash games. I like David Johnson better for a slightly lower price, but I'll definitely have some Miller in my GPP lineups.
The guys ending up in most of my FanDuel lineups, as of now, are: David Johnson, Jeremy Maclin, DeAngelo Williams, and Jordan Reed. Any cause for concern that would make you shy away from any of them?
Chad Parsons: I am in lock-step with those options as chalk plays. At least three will be in a majority of my cash lineups and all will be strong market shares of my tournament lineups. I am most confident in Johnson and Maclin with their respective prices and matchups.
Andrew Garda: While I am not as confident in Maclin—you never know what Smith and Maclin will do—all the other three will be in my lineups this weekend and I will still have a lot of exposure to Maclin anyway. Baltimore isn't great so we think he'll bounce back from a mediocre Week 14 performance and look more like what he was against Buffalo and Oakland.
Alex Miglio: David Johnson is also a chalk play this week. How is he only $6,500? We've had some spirited debate about DeAngelo Williams at FBG this week, and I fall on the "fade him" side. Yes, the Broncos have given up their fair share of rushing touchdowns this week, but I'm just not buying that the Steelers are going to score that many points against the Denver defense. Jordan Reed seems like a red flag to me—the Bills haven't given up a ton of fantasy points to tight ends on the year, though the position has had more success in recent weeks.
Maurile Tremblay: DeAngelo Williams has a tough matchup against the Broncos, just as he did last week against the Bengals, but I still like him for a number of reasons.
1. The Steelers are expected to score a bunch of points (25.25 implied by -6 & 44.5).
2. Williams gets the huge majority of the RB work in Pittsburgh.
3. He is pretty much game-script-proof because he's involved in the rushing and passing games.
4. He gets the goal-line work.
As a general rule, I like RBs who get a ton of touches. If they're in a high-scoring offense, so much the better.
That will do it for this edition of the FanDuel Roundtable. Please join us again next week.
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