This week we discuss the following:
- Teams resting players?
- Cam Newton in cash games?
- Steelers super-stack
- Julio Jones versus Josh Norman
With the season winding down, teams are liable to start resting players or avoid risking further injury if they get dinged up. How do you approach DFS in the next couple of weeks knowing a key player could be lifted at any moment?
Alex Miglio: I don't get the sense that we'll need to worry about resting players in Week 16, but this is definitely an issue to hedge against over the next couple of weeks. I am more concerned about the possibility that a guy like, say, Alshon Jeffery gets pulled after the first quarter if his hamstring tightens up. Any teams that are out of contention or have clinched a bye could yank a guy as a precaution.
Since there is no way of knowing what will happen in those instances—save announced rest, at any rate—the best way around these is to diversify lineups a bit more. But it really depends on how much you really want to hedge—diversifying too much can lead to a diminished ROI to begin with.
Chad Parsons: Within tiers I will break ties in favor of teams playing for something. But the resting factor is overblown in general by my memory in past seasons. I do put less money into play in Week 17 than typical regular season NFL weeks.
Maurile Tremblay: It makes me hesitate to invest a lot of money in cash games this week. Between the uncertainty around some teams possibly resting their starters, other teams having nothing to play for, other teams trying to get younger guys some playing time, and also just the fact that so many players are banged up at this point ... it makes projections harder to do. I'll still throw some GPP lineups together, but I may wait until the playoffs start before I play a lot of cash games again.
Andrew Garda: I don't think this is nearly the issue it once was. There are a ton of divisional games over the next two weeks, some of which will be very important to how the playoffs lay out. Some teams will still be in it while others will be in a position to spoil (for example, Buffalo won't rest players if they can screw the Jets).
I treat this like I do injuries. Watch the news wire, keep an ear to the ground and watch Sunday inactive early. I don't think the majority of players will sit and the ones who might—Drew Brees for example—will already mostly be guys who are hurt and not always a safe start anyway.
Cam Newton somehow went down in price, but so did a lot of other quarterbacks. He is the only one above $9,000 this week. At $9,300, is he still worthwhile in cash lineups?
Alex Miglio: He will be my quarterback in one cash lineup this week, but there are so many other good options that he will not be a big part of my lineup portfolio this week. Newton is actually one of those guys who could get pulled to prevent injury since the Panthers have all but sewn up home field advantage.
Chad Parsons: Newton is certainly worth some exposure, but he is not above 15-20% of my portfolio for Week 16. There are plenty of mid-range values at quarterback this week.
Maurile Tremblay: I can't play Cam Newton in a cash game because I fear he could play only a half, maybe a little more. I don't like taking risks like that in cash games.
Andrew Garda: I'll roll with him in a few cash lineups but like everyone else this will probably be a week I fade him. I don't expect him to get pulled unless the game is really out of control though—Ron Rivera has seen his team collapse with leads before. At worst I think he gets yanked in the fourth quarter and if the Panthers are ahead enough to do that, he's scored you some good points.
Ultimately I just dislike the high price. I'm not worried about a benching.
The Pittsburgh offense is on fire, so fire up a super stack, right? Or does the matchup against the Ravens scare you at all after the Steelers laid an egg against them earlier this season?
Alex Miglio: That was a very different game. For starters, Michael Vick was Pittsburgh's quarterback. Heck, that's the only thing we really have to say here.
The Ravens are terrible and the Steelers are ascending. That offense is just too good to ignore, especially against that awful Baltimore defense.
Maurile Tremblay: Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, and Martavis Bryant are all attractive plays this week. I could definitely see stacking them in some GPP lineups. I'm not worried about the Ravens' defense. Their run defense is stronger than their pass defense.
Andrew Garda: I would think about it. As pointed out, the last game between these two was a whole different kettle of fish. Baltimore is far worse off and Pittsburgh is in a better spot. While it's been pointed out that the Raves are better against the run, I would still consider DeAngelo Williams as part of a stack. Ben Roethlisberger-Antonio Brown is your main stack and adding Williams, Martavis Bryant or even Heath Miller isn't an outlandish idea.
Check pricing though because I think there are some really good deals at RB and WR you might like more than the super stack.
Josh Norman and Odell Beckham Jr Jr made waves last week, and the former has become known for being a shutdown corner of sorts. Beckham exposed him as beatable last week, though. Do you trust Julio Jones, or is that offense too volatile?
Alex Miglio: I will probably have Jones in a GPP lineup or two, but I absolutely do not trust the Falcons offense. Josh Norman got beat several times last week, but I expect him to do a nice job buoyed by the rest of that Panthers defense.
Chad Parsons: Jones is lightly-owned, but with a decent value score by Footballguys' projections. The Falcons offense rarely spreads their production much beyond Julio Jones and Devonta Freeman, so volume alone has Jones as a decent or better play.
Maurile Tremblay: It's tough going up against Josh Norman, so I'd lower my expectations for any player facing him. But with a player as good as Julio Jones, you can lower your expectations but still find him to be a worthwhile play. I don't think he's a fantastic value, but of the players in his same general price range—DeAndre Hopkins, A.J. Green, and Allen Robinson—I feel safest with Julio Jones.
Andrew Garda: As Maurile said, Jones is probably the best value among the upper tier of wide receivers. I don't worry about Josh Norman—last week was a shocking outlier and Jones has a much better head on his shoulders and won't fall for the head games—but I do keep Jones' ceiling a little lower due to the matchup.
At the end of the day, I think there are some great value plays — Jeremy Maclin and Mike Evans come to mind — that will produce well and allow you to stack up some value elsewhere which should put you ahead of what Jones alone can give you.
I think there are very few top WRs this week that I want to pay up for and I'm not convinced I won't be better off in another direction for less money.
That will do it for this edition of the FanDuel Roundtable. Please join us again next week.
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