FanDuel GPP Strategy Guide: Week 9 - Footballguys

Your weekly guide to profiting in guaranteed prize pools.

Greetings and welcome to Week 9! What follows is a weekly strategy guide covering the main slate of FanDuel guaranteed prize pools (GPPs). It will be available every Friday from now until the Super Bowl. Each section includes a short description, and to make things easier for those short on time, every player covered in this column will be listed directly below with full analysis found in their corresponding sections.

Quick Slants

For those that want nothing but the facts, here is every player covered in this column with a quick note on each. For those that want full analysis, keep reading.

  • Cam Newton – the top quarterback of the slate.
  • Jared Goff – chalky but should be encouraged to throw. Capable of producing big numbers
  • Ryan Fitzpatrick – worth risking at a cheap price and in a high-volume situation. Great offense.
  • Matt Ryan – has been one of the best fantasy quarterbacks this season. Washington’s secondary vulnerable.
  • Todd Gurley – play until he fails you.
  • Alvin Kamara – should have plenty of targets and carries in a high-volume game. Cheapest salary this season.
  • Christian McCaffrey – unstable floor but great matchup on deck.
  • Latavius Murray – Lions’ run defense improving but Vikings offense too good at home.
  • Jordan Howard – looks bad but will receive volume if the Bears build a lead, which is likely.
  • Kapri Bibbs – desperation only play with a great matchup as the receiving back against Atlanta.
  • Courtland Sutton – good situation, too chalky to play.
  • Adam Thielen, like Gurley, play until he fails you.
  • Julio Jones – love getting volume and talent when no one else is looking.
  • Mike Evans – should have no trouble posting big numbers, even in shadow coverage.
  • Cooper Kupp – one of the best plays on the slate.
  • D.J. Moore – athletic freak and the ultimate pivot from Sutton.
  • Keenan Allen – steady floor, just needs red zone targets for once. Sneaky shootout in Seattle possible.
  • Travis Kelce – tough to bet against.
  • David Njoku – should be highlighted in a plush matchup.
  • Jeff Heuerman – longshot punt play.
  • Jordan Thomas – another longshot punt play but in a good offense.

Thoughts on Chalk

Even though creating roster uniqueness has long been the default strategy for GPPs, there’s a reason why certain players hold the confidence of the public. Remember that fading a player simply because he’s popular checks in as one of the worst processes. You wouldn’t build a lineup full of chalk; nor should you ignore a great situation in the name of contrarianism. With that said, this section will be dedicated to finding reasons why you might consider fading the players listed below. Keep in mind that all of these players are expected to have big games, so outright fades are never recommended, and be sure to check out Steve Buzzard’s percent rostered projections.

QB: Cam Newton - $8,600

Newton has scored at least 18 FanDuel points in all seven of his games this year and at least 24 points in five of them. He’s been especially great in the fourth quarter or overtime, where his 739 passing yards rank fourth-most among quarterbacks and his 75 fantasy points rank second most. He comes into Week 9 ranked third in FanDuel points per game, and after dropping almost 28 points on one of the best defenses last week, he gets a cake matchup against one of the worst defenses this week.

No team has allowed more passing touchdowns than the Bucs and every team has earned more interceptions than the Bucs, who rank first in fantasy points, yards per attempt, completion percentage, and yards per game allowed to quarterbacks. Conversely, their offense ranks third in yards, fourth in points scored, and third in pace (neutral situations).

The Panthers rank 28th in pace in neutral situations, 18th in points scored, and 25th in yards, but that hasn’t prevented Newton from returning reliable, sometimes tournament-swinging numbers. Their offense has looked clunky at times, but they rarely turn the ball over and rank eighth in success rate. As such, Newton registers as one of the safest plays of the slate and his ceiling is always high. Beyond the Panthers’ offensive numbers, the only reasons to fade him are his price, his obviously high exposure, and the chance that Ryan Fitzpatrick dumps three interceptions into the Panthers’ defense and Newton’s overall numbers get held in check as a result. With that caveat aside, we’re best making Newton one of our top quarterbacks this week regardless of his popularity.

RB: Todd Gurley - $11,200

There’s not much left to say here. We can play Gurley, regardless of price, until he fails us. His salary last week was the highest of any player all year and the highest of any running back since 2011. And it went up $200 this week. Had he not (wisely) kneeled last week to end the game instead of scoring an easy touchdown, he would have finished as RB1 for the third time this season.

His matchup helps those that want to fade him. The Saints staunch run defense has allowed the fifth-fewest points to running backs. They’ve also benefited from facing the likes of Tampa Bay, New York Giants, Cleveland, Atlanta, Washington, Baltimore, and Minnesota—teams that either struggle to run the ball or otherwise struggle to play football. Saquon Barkley is the only elite back they’ve faced this year, and he managed 19 FanDuel points on the back of 100 total yards and a touchdown. We can expect at least that many from Gurley. But should we expect him to hit his season average of 28.1 points per game (which incidentally leads all players)? The matchup says no. In theory, the Rams should be encouraged to throw the ball more than run it, since that’s where the Saints are most vulnerable. But Gurley is an extension of the passing attack, and it’s impossible to ignore his value in the red zone, where he leads all players with 60 opportunities (next closest is Alvin Kamara with 47).

The fact is, his salary makes it difficult to jam him into lineups. That should keep his exposure down somewhat (which is what happened last week). We’re more likely to see the crowd cluster around Jared Goff and hope that fading Gurley gives them an edge. But his involvement as a receiver in a game Vegas has pegged with a ridiculous over/under total of 59.5 points suggests we should do our best to once again get him in our lineups. Note, however, that the under has hit in 57.1% of Saints’ games and 62.5% of Rams’ games, and it’s possible both defenses show up in this one.

WR: Courtland Sutton - $5,500

The departure of Demaryius Thomas vacates seven targets per game that could easily filter towards Sutton. That expectation along with his salary and matchup combine to push his projected roster percentage to the top among wide receivers. The Texans overall stats versus wide receivers look difficult, but they haven’t faced much competition thanks to a schedule that includes the Titans, Giants, Jaguars (twice), Cowboys, Bills, and Dolphins. Both T.Y. Hilton and Odell Beckham Jr Jr. (the only two truly good wide receivers they’ve faced) managed over 100 receiving yards, and most recently, DeVante Parker logged six catches for 134 yards. So, there’s room here for talented wide receivers to return value.

But does that doesn’t make Sutton an auto-play. Maybe with Watson and Co. coming to town, we’ll be treated with a high-scoring, exciting game. But Case Keenum ranks 17th in attempts per game and 19th in passing yards while tossing 10 interceptions along with his 10 touchdowns. The Denver running attack has been rocking lately, although they could struggle to move the ball on the ground against the Texans tough run defense. Both teams also play at an above average pace, and rank top-10 in yards, suggesting that we can expect volume. All of this adds up to Sutton offering a great value option, but for GPPs, he’s probably best reserved for sites with full PPR scoring and bonuses for 100-yard performances.

TE: Travis Kelce - $7,500

A staple of the league’s best offense, Kelce turned in another solid stat line last week (six catches for 79 yards and one touchdown on 10 targets). He leads the team in targets and ranks 16th in target market share among all players. You can lock him in for another double-digit fantasy day against the Browns, who have been stingy against tight ends but mostly because teams find other ways to beat them with ease.

Maybe that happens in Week 9. Maybe Kareem Hunt shoulders the load. Maybe Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins go nuts against this secondary. But that’s happened in almost every Chiefs’ game this year, yet Kelce ranks 33rd in FanDuel points per game among all non-quarterbacks. It’s just a matter of deciding if you want to absorb his cap-hit and projected exposure percentage. From a sheer tournament strategy perspective, where he needs 22.5 points to hit value, we’re best searching for a cheaper option and hope that Patrick Mahomes II ends up spreading the ball around. This week provides two or three decent pivots that could return just as many points, even if Kelce is one of the safest plays on the board (he’s also one of the best plays on the board, so as always, a full fade makes zero sense).

Core Players

Core players need no explanation: they are the meat and potatoes of lineups. Developing a list and building around them is DFS Strategy 101.

QB: Jared Goff - $8,400

A good bet to challenge Newton as the most popular quarterback of the week, Goff offers a sort of “don’t get cute” option in tournaments. The Saints, as mentioned, have provided a difficult path for running backs while getting crushed by quarterbacks. Only two teams have allowed more points to the position, and only the Buccaneers have allowed more yards per attempt. Those numbers were made possible despite playing the likes of Tyrod Taylor, Eli Manning, Alex Smith, and Joe Flacco. Of those four, only Flacco scored more than 15.4 FanDuel points. Meanwhile, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Matt Ryan, and Kirk Cousins all scored at least 21 points with both Ryan and Fitzpatrick scoring over 40.

Goff, for obvious reasons, ranks 25th in passing attempts per game, yet ranks seventh in yards per game, is tied for third in passing touchdowns, and ranks 11th in FanDuel points per game. With Cooper Kupp likely making his return and with Gurley adding so much value to the Rams’ passing attack, Goff oozes all kinds of tournament upside at a fair price in the highest over/under of the week. If you can, stack him with Gurley (and Kupp) and buy up the entire Rams’ offense.

QB: Ryan Fitzpatrick - $7,100

It didn’t take long for Fitzpatrick to win his job back. He came into last week’s game late in the third quarter and immediately dragged his team out of an 18-point deficit. He dropped 194 yards and a pair of touchdowns on only 15 passing attempts and ended up finishing as QB14 in FanDuel scoring—in basically a quarter of play.

This week he gets a defense that rattled the Ravens last week and has pieced together a respectable season thus far, boasting the eighth fewest yards and seventh fewest points allowed to opponents. Those numbers show up on fantasy stat sheets as well. Only Matt Ryan has score more than 22 points against them and four of their seven opponents have been held under 300 yards. Those opponents, however, don’t benefit from an aggressive, talented offense full of deep threats. And if both Eli Manning and Andy Dalton can rack up 300+ yards and a pair of touchdowns each, it seems Fitzmagic could do the same.

The downside here comes in obvious form. He’s liable to turn the ball over multiple times. But we’ve seen enough of his upside to chase what is almost guaranteed to be a high-volume afternoon for the Bucs. They can’t run the ball. They can’t stop the run. They certainly can’t hold a quarterback like Newton in check. For $7,100, he’s worth the risk and he has no shortage of stacking-mates. O.J. Howard and Mike Evans jump to the top of that list. If you’re going there, it’s not a terrible play to roll up a Fitzpatrick/Evans/Howard stack with someone like D.J. Moore or Christian McCaffrey on the other side.

RB: Alvin Kamara - $8,000

The return of Mark Ingram II has been worse for Drew Brees than Kamara, who has 39 touches over their last two games and three touchdowns. He logged 72% of snaps compared to Ingram’s 43%, and if this game is going to approach its ridiculous over/under of 59.5 points, then Kamara should once again be heavily involved as both a runner and receiver. The timeshare obviously puts his ceiling at risk—a fact that should chase us away from him in tournaments—but that was true all of last season, and he still returned big numbers almost weekly.

The matchup could certainly be better. The Rams have held every back they’ve faced below 16 FanDuel points. But, as always, context matters. Melvin Gordon III and Austin Ekeler combined for 137 yards on 19 carries back in Week 3 (6.7 per attempt), Aaron Jones managed 86 yards and a score last week on 12 carries (7.2 per attempt), and overall they’ve allowed 4.75 yards per attempt—sixth highest rate in the league. Those numbers might favor the more traditional style of Ingram, who’s a decent play himself, but Kamara has shown the ability to excel at whatever the Saints ask him to do. At least one of these backs is going to have a big day. Outside of the Chargers, the Rams haven’t faced a solid rushing attack all season, and their biggest weakness on defense happens to be linebackers and safeties. Look for Kamara, whose salary is at the lowest point of the season, to take advantage of this matchup, even if his floor is lower than normal with Ingram back in the lineup (who is only $600 less).

RB: Christian McCaffrey - $7,900

The only thing holding McCaffrey out of out the top-10 in terms of FanDuel points per game is his lack of touchdowns. He has only three on the season, two of which came last week against a brutal Ravens’ defense. He also hasn’t logged much for rushing yards lately with only 152 total over his last four games (31st among running backs). A home matchup against the Buccaneers’ defense should bust him out of that slump. They got clocked by Joe Mixon last week and have allowed the third most points per touch, thanks in part to a generous red zone defense that has permitted the third most touchdowns to running backs.

Of course, concerns of Newton benefiting the most in this matchup and absorbing all of the Panthers touchdowns are justified. There’s a reason why he projects to be one of the most popular quarterbacks on the slate. Greg Olsen’s return could also stunt McCaffrey’s touchdown growth. But that’s just enough noise to keep his exposure in check. He has a clear path to a big afternoon regardless of whether the Bucs’ offense turns this into a shootout or not thanks to his involvement in the passing attack. The Panthers are the biggest home favorite of the week—a spot where we always want to target running backs, especially those who boast a ceiling like McCaffrey’s, even if he doesn’t offer a stable floor.

RB: Latavius Murray - $6,700

If you buy into the Vikings’ recent success on the ground and don’t mind that the Lions’ running defense is about to get a lot better with space-eater Harrison getting more familiar with their playbook, then you should roster Murray just about everywhere. Over the last three games, he has as many rushing touchdowns as Gurley and James Conner (four), only three running backs have more yards, only four have more carries, and only five have scored more FanDuel points. If you need a reminder for how bad the Lions’ defense has been against running backs, they’ve allowed 136 rushing yards per game—the most in the league—and have allowed the sixth most points per game despite being stingy in the red zone (only seven total touchdowns allowed to the position, which puts them in the middle of the pack).

Note, that Dalvin Cook has returned to practice. But the Vikings would be wise to rest him one more game and fire him up after next week’s bye. If Cook does play, Murray still registers as a solid contrarian option since it would most definitely suppress his roster percentage. If you move away from the Vikings’ passing offense, Murray’s price and situation makes sense in most formats.

WR: Adam Thielen - $8,900

The wide receiver version to Gurley, Thielen comes into Week 9 with impossible-to-fade numbers. He again gets a cake matchup. The Lions have allowed the seventh most PPR points to the slot and the eighth most yards. Not that it even matters who he matches up against. His volume and quality of play provide one of the highest floors and highest ceilings of all players. He converted all seven of his targets last week into 103 yards and a touchdown to bring his catch rate up to over 75% despite a league-high 98 targets. Book him for a ninth-straight 100-yard game and ignore his projected roster percentage.

WR: Julio Jones - $8,500

The rumors are true: Jones just doesn’t score touchdowns. In fact, he has only four red-zone looks all season, and all four came back in Week 1. But he does rank second in receiving yards, fifth in targets, and eighth in receptions. No player has a higher market share of targets, a higher team share of air yards, and among players with at least 30 targets, Jones ranks ninth in average depth of target. Those volume stats have pushed his wide receiver rank in FanDuel points per game up to 11th, despite zero touchdowns on the season.

This week, the Falcons passing offense gets to rumble with Washington’s vulnerable passing defense. Their season-long stats against wide receivers are misleading. They rank 19th in yards allowed, 17th in FanDuel points per game, and have permitted only eight touchdowns to the position. But check out these game logs:

PlayerWeekRecRecYdRecTDFantPtSalary
Odell Beckham Jr Jr 8 8 136 0 17.6 8500
Bennie Fowler 8 4 48 0 6.8 0
Sterling Shepard 8 4 34 0 5.4 6500
Michael Gallup 7 3 81 1 15.6 4800
Allen Hurns 7 5 74 0 9.9 4900
Cole Beasley 7 7 56 0 9.1 6200
Devin Funchess 6 5 74 1 15.9 6300
Torrey Smith 6 5 43 1 14.8 4600
D.J. Moore 6 4 59 0 5.7 4900
Tre'Quan Smith 5 3 111 2 24.6 4500
Michael Thomas 5 4 74 0 9.4 8900
Cameron Meredith 5 5 71 0 7.6 4900
Davante Adams 3 7 52 1 14.7 8100
Geronimo Allison 3 2 76 1 14.6 5000
Randall Cobb 3 4 23 0 2.3 6100
T.Y. Hilton 2 7 83 1 17.8 7200
Ryan Grant 2 2 30 0 4 4900
Larry Fitzgerald 1 7 76 0 11.1 7300

If the likes of Michael Gallup, Devin Funchess, Torrey Smith, Tre’Quan Smith, Geronimo Allison, and T.Y. Hilton can find the end zone against this secondary, surely Jones will finally cash in. One way or the other, he’s in line for another massive share of targets, and if he does happen to find the end zone for the first time this year (which is possible given the Falcons’ lack of a rushing attack), he’ll wreck the slate. Note, that cornerback Quinton Dunbar sounds likely to play. That at least bolsters Washington’s secondary to some degree and likely means that Jones will see more of Josh Norman. But this changes nothing about his outlook for Sunday except that he might end up on fewer rosters (please and thank you).

WR: Mike Evans - $7,900

Evans stat line immediately blew up after Ryan Fitzpatrick entered the game last week late in the third quarter. The two connected on passes of 12, 72, and 27 yards. That might seem fluky considering the game situation and the fact that Evans was wide open on the 72-yarder. But he was off to one of the best starts of his career through the first three weeks of the season—during which he was the second highest scoring wide receiver. Fitzpatrick is back as the starter and should be back to his aggressive tendencies.

The matchup on deck looks a lot worse than in reality. Evans figures to draw shadow coverage from James Bradberry who, according to Pro Football Focus, has allowed the 10th most yards on the season. He’s been inconsistent throughout his career and not someone we should shy away from, especially considering the skill set of Evans. Take advantage of his sub-$8k salary if he gets in a full practice before Sunday.

WR: Cooper Kupp - $6,800

If you’re looking for a way to buy into this premium matchup for cheap, Kupp is your man. He’s effectively the fourth option on this offense but has been utilized as a red zone weapon when healthy. Despite missing 2.5 games, his 13 red zone looks leads all Rams’ receivers. For comparison, Robert Woods and Brandin Cooks have combined for 16.

The Saints are known for giving up big plays to perimeter receivers, but they’ve also allowed an 85.1% completion percentage to the slot. That’s excellent news for Kupp, who has lined up in the slot on 73% of his snaps. Over the first five games of the season, he was the second highest scoring wide receiver and served as Goff’s top option (tied with Woods for the lead in team targets). Assuming he gets in a full practice this week, Kupp looks like a great bet to return tournament value.

WR: D.J. Moore - $5,300

With Torrey Smith out, Moore logged the highest snap count of his career (71%, second among Panthers’ receivers) and drew his highest target total (six, first among Panthers’ receivers). He parlayed those six targets into five catches for 90 yards. He should get another big opportunity on Sunday if Smith misses another game (and maybe even if he doesn’t). The Buccaneers have been smoked by wide receivers of all shapes and sizes, and will struggle to cover a metric-freak like Moore (courtesy of our friends at playerprofiler.com):

Given his athleticism, his price, his potential in this offense against the Bucs’ defense, Moore makes for an outstanding pivot from Sutton, a player the crowd will likely be all over.

TE: David Njoku - $5,200

Njoku ended up on nearly 15% of rosters last week and turned in a goose egg. It’ll be interesting to see how much of the crowd goes back to the well. Regardless, he gets another prime matchup this Sunday. The Chiefs have struggled to cover tight ends all season long (and pretty much every player that enters the slot). They haven’t permitted many touchdowns to the position (only three), but they’ve allowed the third most yards and the fifth most FanDuel points per game. After seeing a mind-boggling number of targets last week (zero) Njoku still ranks fifth among all tight ends with 52, and with the Browns’ head coach and offensive coordinator now unemployed, Njoku should return to Week 9 as a highlight of the passing attack.

TE: Jeff Heuerman - $4,600

Thomas’s departure does more than vacate the second most team targets; it also opens up additional red zone opportunities. Heuerman saw four such opportunities last week to bring his season total to 12—the second most on the team. He cashed in one of them to score his first touchdown on the season. A potentially high-scoring game could pave the way to more as the Broncos host a hot Texans’ offense, whose defense offers an exploitable secondary. If you’ve hung around this column long enough, you know it favors punting tight ends and taking advantage of site-minimum players. Heuerman provides that punt this week, and even though his floor barely exists, and his ceiling isn’t exciting, he’s worth chasing with Thomas out of the picture.

Defenses

Chicago Bears - $5,400

Only the Ravens have allowed a lower success rate and only the Browns have generated more turnovers on defense than the Bears. They now get to sink their road-teeth into an awful Bills’ offense that looks like it might somehow be worse this Sunday with Nathan Peterman under center. To steal a quote for our passing matchups:

“It’s distinctly possible we’ve never seen quarterbacking as inept as this. Down both Josh Allen and journeyman fill-in Derek Anderson, the Bills have no choice but to turn the offense over to Nathan Peterman. And over his 8 NFL appearances, Peterman has literally posted a net negative (-0.02) in adjusted yards per attempt. For every pass he throws, he literally costs the Bills yardage, something that sounds so ridiculous it must be unprecedented.”

Lock in the Bears if you can make room.

Buffalo Bills - $3,000

On the other side of this matchup, the Bills are fresh off of frustrating the Patriots for three quarters before finally cracking in the fourth quarter. The Bears’ offense won’t be challenged to score points in this one, and the game should remain low-scoring. The Bears do a solid job of protecting both the ball and the passer, but the Bills field the kind of defense that forces young passers into mistakes. For site-minimum, they give you a solid squad that allows for premium builds.

Contrarian Candidates

Similar to sleepers, contrarian players are those the crowd has completely mispriced and undervalued. In some cases, it’s a player coming off an injury or facing a difficult matchup but still carries a heavy price tag. In other cases, it could be a player that has struggled recently and therefore deemed untrustworthy. In all cases, guard your exposure to players listed in this section but get them in at least a few lineups.

QB: Matt Ryan - $8,200

Anytime you can roster the league-leader in passing yards per game and the fourth-ranked quarterback in FanDuel points per game while the crowd ignores him, you set yourself up for a profitable day. Ryan hits the road where an overrated passing defense awaits. Washington has allowed only 18.8 FanDuel points per game to quarterbacks, which ranks 15th, and they’ve earned six interceptions vs. allowing only 11 passing touchdowns. But their game logs tell the real story:

PlayerWeekCompAttPassYdPassTDIntRshRshYDRshTDFantPtSalary
Eli Manning 8 30 47 316 1 2 0 0 0 14.64 6700
Dak Prescott 7 22 35 273 1 0 6 33 1 20.22 6900
Cam Newton 6 27 40 275 2 1 9 43 0 24.3 8400
Drew Brees 5 26 29 363 3 0 2 1 0 27.22 8600
Taysom Hill 5 0 0 0 0 0 5 23 1 8.3 6100
Teddy Bridgewater 5 0 0 0 0 0 3 -3 0 -0.3 6000
Aaron Rodgers 3 27 44 265 2 0 2 13 0 19.9 8800
Andrew Luck 2 21 31 179 2 2 4 2 0 13.36 7500
Sam Bradford 1 20 34 153 0 1 2 7 0 3.82 6400

Even Manning dumped over 300 yards on this defense. Dak Prescott managed 20 FanDuel points. And both Newton and Brees turned in more-than usable stat lines. Ryan and Co. will likely struggle to run the ball, and their defense—despite playing a clumsy offense—should keep this game close enough to force the Falcons to stay aggressive. It is worth noting that cornerback Quinton Dunbar looks like he’ll make a return to Washington’s secondary. His presence helps their overall prospects of slowing down the Falcons’ effective passing attack. But in five games this year, he’s allowed a 73% completion rate, 242 yards, four touchdowns, and a passer rating of 122.5 to quarterbacks. Don’t fear this secondary. Fire up Ryan and take advantage of his services while the crowd chases other options.

RB: Jordan Howard - $6,200

Even though it’s a 50/50 timeshare, Howard logged 22 touches last week and now has at least 17 touches in four of his eight games. Entering the second half with a narrow four-point lead, the Bears fed him 16 carries and entrusted him as the game-closing hammer. That situation could present itself again this week against the Bills, who have Nathan Peterman under center. This quote from our passing matchups says it all (in case you missed it under the Bears’ defense plug):

“It’s distinctly possible we’ve never seen quarterbacking as inept as this. Down both Josh Allen and journeyman fill-in Derek Anderson, the Bills have no choice but to turn the offense over to Nathan Peterman. And over his 8 NFL appearances, Peterman has literally posted a net negative (-0.02) in adjusted yards per attempt. For every pass he throws, he literally costs the Bills yardage, something that sounds so ridiculous it must be unprecedented.”

To parlay that into what it means for Howard, the Bears’ defense should absolutely clock this team and set him up with a positive game script from Quarter 1 on. He hasn’t been an effective runner this season, managing only 3.5 yards per attempt, and Tarik Cohen is clearly the better option in most situations, but the volume should be there for Howard again this week.

RB: Kapri Bibbs - $4,600

An obvious longshot and desperation “I need salary relief” play only, Bibbs last filled in for Chris Thompson back in Week 7 and ran 18 receiving routes, drew five targets, logged four receptions for 43 yards and Washington’s only touchdown of the game. He also filled in for Thompson in Week 6 and did nothing. So, to reiterate, this is a low-stakes, desperation play only.

What he offers is a chance to blow up in a great matchup as the spell back for Adrian Peterson, who logged 27 touches last week. The last time he logged over 25 touches (Week 1), he followed it up by managing only 50 yards and on 14 touches the following week. Needless to say, a running back of his age, though he’s looked great this year, probably shouldn’t be handed 25+ touches two games in a row. Rostering Bibbs effectively rosters the passing-down, change-of-pace back against a Falcons’ defense that has been destroyed by pass-catchers out of the backfield. They’ve allowed the most receiving yards and the second highest completion rate to running backs, and over 170 total yards per game. Washington will likely fire up their slow-paced offense by running the ball as much as they can keep in the air out of the Falcons’ excellent passing offense, which would streamline rushing work towards the backfield. And if they fall behind, Bibbs could see even more action. He’s an interesting punt option if you need one but check final injury reports to ensure he’s healthy and that Thompson isn’t.

WR: Keenan Allen - $7,400

A steady floor yet limited ceiling has buried Allen in fantasy football rankings of all formats. He enters the week ranked only 22nd in receiving yards and 24th in targets. Worse, he has only five red zone looks on the season and none since Week 4. And it’s not like he’s faced a bevy of tough secondaries. Most wide receivers have produced against the Rams, 49ers, Raiders, Browns, and Titans—Allen’s last five opponents. The good news is that he’s logged over 60 yards in every game this season except one, and his quarterback has the offense rocking and is always a threat to throw for multiple scores. Only Mahomes and Andrew Luck have thrown for more touchdowns than Philip Rivers, and only Fitzpatrick has managed a more adjusted net yards per pass attempt. Perhaps to Allen’s detriment, Rivers is logging a hyper-efficient season.

We’ll see if that trend continues when they travel to face the Seahawks this week. Seattle’s numbers against wide receivers look solid thanks to games against Chicago, Dallas, Arizona, and Oakland. Outside of the Rams and, to a lesser extent, the Lions, this defense hasn’t been truly tested. Marvin Jones Jr burned them for 117 yards and a pair of scores last week, and both Kupp and Woods managed at least 90 yards each with the former finding the end zone. We also saw Emmanuel Sanders blast them for 135 yards on 10 catches and a touchdown in Week 1. A good spot for Allen to post solid numbers, this game offers solid shootout appeal and a great pivot away from the chalky options like Panthers vs. Bucs and Saints vs. Rams.

TE: Jordan Thomas - $4,800

Thomas has played 86% and 89% of snaps with Ryan Griffin sidelined. He made use of those snaps last week by converting two of his four targets into a pair of touchdowns. You never want to chase random touchdown numbers in fantasy and with Griffin set to return, there’s a chance that Thomas’s workload throttles back to where it was initially. But with Will Fuller V done for the season and Demaryius Thomas likely needing a few games to get comfortable with the offense, the other Thomas might maintain his presence on the field. Helping his case is a Broncos’ defense that has allowed the sixth most yards to tight ends and a quarterback that will be forced into quick reads against a solid Broncos’ pass-rush. If Griffin ends up missing this game, then upgrade Thomas to a core play, and either way, consider him a dangerous contrarian option with decent upside.


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