Greetings and welcome to Week 10! 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.
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.
- Jared Goff – easy to make a case for and against. Gurley always a threat to cap Goff’s ceiling.
- Matt Ryan – putting together a year that rivals his MVP season. Great matchup on deck.
- Russell Wilson – risky but deadly in the red zone. Check Baldwin’s injury status.
- Baker Mayfield – offense looked much better last week. Great matchup.
- Kareem Hunt – fade at your own peril.
- Melvin Gordon III – Multi-touchdown upside in a great matchup. Worth the price and chalk.
- Tevin Coleman – finally got involved in the passing attack, and even that doesn’t happen this week, gets a sweet matchup against the banged-up Browns.
- Mark Ingram II – cheap and the matchup favors him over Kamara.
- Duke Johnson Jr – Atlanta has allowed more receiving yards to backs than any other team. Again.
- Leonard Fournette – risky but always a threat for multiple touchdowns if he plays.
- Ito Smith – leads the team in red zone opportunities. Should get his share this week.
- Michael Thomas – fade candidate due to streaky games and what could be a low-volume situation.
- Julio Jones – back in the circle of trust.
- Mike Evans – production wasn’t there last week but volume was. Expect a big bounce-back against Washington.
- Julian Edelman – Titans defense struggles against wide receivers. Edelman a mainstay for Brady.
- Josh Gordon – see Edelman but add touchdowns.
- Maurice Harris or Jamison Crowder – Bucs can’t defend the slot.
- Doug Baldwin – good matchup if he’s healthy.
- Travis Kelce – hard to pay up $8,000 for a tight end especially considering the Chiefs ability to score in multiple ways.
- Jordan Reed – Bucs can’t defend the slot. Great matchup if he’s healthy.
- Nick Vannett – great punt option especially if Baldwin misses.
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: Jared Goff - $8,100
The case for Goff as a tournament play is easy to make. The Rams are big home favorites. They play a tough yet vulnerable secondary. The game has a high over/under (50 points). Goff has eight touchdown passes and an average of 296 yards per game over his last three and his price fits nicely in competitive builds.
The case against Goff is also easy to make. Todd Gurley, who figures to be one of the highest exposed players this week, could absorb all the of the touchdowns, just as he did when they played Seattle back in Week 5. The Seahawks bring a slow-paced, unreliable offense to town. Goff ranks 16th in FanDuel points per game since Week 5, 25th in pass attempts, and has four interceptions along with his nine passing touchdowns. He’ll be a crowd favorite, if not the most popular quarterback of the week.
As always, the Rams ability to lean on their star running back caps Goff’s ceiling each week. The good news is that Seattle offers a tough defense for running backs. They’ve allowed the 10th fewest points to the position despite facing Gurley, Melvin Gordon III, Kerryon Johnson (if you can count him), David Johnson (if you can count him), and Ezekiel Elliott. In theory, those numbers suggest the way to beat Seattle is through the air (and give us reasons to fade Gurley in favor of cheaper options), and Goff certainly has a bevy of weapons to do just that. If you roster him as your core tournament quarterback, you’re betting on these teams upping their offensive pace and keeping opposing defenses on their heels. That could be the case, and it’s worth sprinkling Goff across your lineups. But guard your exposure just in case this game goes Full-Gurley.
RB: Melvin Gordon III - $8,900
Showing no ill effects of a hamstring injury, Gordon picked up where he left off by parlaying 16 carries into 113 yards and a touchdown against a stingy Seattle defensive front. This week he gets to lock horns with a Raiders’ defense that has allowed the sixth most yards, the third highest yards per attempt, and the fifth-most FanDuel points per game to running backs. If you’re looking for a reason to fade him, good luck. You could point to his lack of red zone opportunities lately (only nine since Week 5), but the Chargers’ offense should have no problems taking care of things as 10-point road favorites, which means he will have plenty of chances to visit the end zone. With multi-touchdown, tournament-swinging upside, it’s best to match the crowd and make Gordon one the staples of your rosters.
WR: Michael Thomas - $8,600
Here’s a standard thought process that plagues the typical groupthink: the Saints may not need to throw the ball a ton to handily beat the Bengals, which caps Thomas’s upside. But the problem with that thought process is it ignores the part of the game where the Saints build their initial lead. Meaning, in order for them to get into a position where they can grind out the clock, they need to first put a bunch of points on the board. Those points could easily come via Thomas, who claims the fifth most receiving yards since Week 5 and the sixth most FanDuel points per game among wide receivers. Oddly enough, Thomas’s best games came in his first week and his last week. Those two monsters account for over 42% of his fantasy points. Since Week 5, he ranks 19th in targets among wide receivers, 23rd in targets among all players, and has just 15 red zone opportunities on the year. For comparison, Alvin Kamara has 52, Taysom Hill has nine, and Mark Ingram II has seven (despite missing four games).
None of that may matter against the Bengals’ secondary. They’ve allowed the second most receiving yards per game to wide receivers—particularly to good or elite wide receivers such as Mike Evans (179 yards, one touchdown), Tyreek Hill (68 yards, one touchdown), Antonio Brown (105 yards, one touchdown), JuJu Smith-Schuster (111 yards), and Julio Jones (173 yards). Nothing about this matchup should chase you away. His price and exposure, however, should give you pause. As should his streaky game logs thus far in 2018, especially if the concerns of the Saints gaining a lead and turning to Kamara or Ingram (or both) come to fruition.
TE: Travis Kelce - $8,000
Similar to Thomas, it’s possible the Chiefs need Kelce less this week than in other games. But like Thomas, if the Chiefs put a bunch of points on the board and go run-heavy as a result, it’s possible they did so via Kelce. Priced like an elite wide receiver, he enters win Week 10 ranked 12th in points per game among tight ends and wide receivers. Since Week 5 only 12 players have drawn more targets and only five have logged more receiving yards.
This week, the Chiefs boast a 16.5-point home spread against a bad Cardinals team that has managed only two wins on the season, has scored only 110 total points on offense and ranks dead last in success rate. Those numbers suggest that Patrick Mahomes II and Co. won’t be forced into a lot of volume. But as always, Kelce can swing tournaments even with limited chances. Note, however, that he was featured in just two of the top-20 lineups in FanDuel’s biggest tournament last week (the 15th and 17th place lineups), despite scoring 25.4 points. A small sample, to be sure, but it illustrates the importance of value in tournaments, especially at a position where one player is priced grossly above the field (the next closest tight end costs $1,100 less). Now his salary is $400 more in a matchup that won’t push the Chiefs and whose offense can blow up in multiple ways. Feel free to avoid his hefty price tag and look for other options, even if it means missing out on a 20-point tight end.
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: Matt Ryan - $8,500
Ryan was a solid contrarian play last week and comes into this week with yet another dream matchup. A 4.5-point favorite, the Falcons’ road trip heads north where they’ll meet a Browns’ defense that will be missing a gaggle of starters and was already bleeding yards to quarterbacks. On the season, they’ve allowed the sixth most passing yards per game and the third most FanDuel points since Week 7. They also boast the third-most interceptions with 13, but six of those interceptions were courtesy of Sam Darnold, Derek Carr, and Jameis Winston, and three of them were courtesy of Ben Roethlisberger and a nasty bout of weather in Week 1.
Ryan enters Week 10 averaging the third-most FanDuel points per game despite scoring barely nine points in Week 1 and has scored at least 27 points in five of eight. His 19 passing touchdowns tie Philip Rivers for the fourth most, and his three interceptions are the fourth fewest among passers with at least 90 attempts. He hasn’t provided a ton of red zone attempts, ranking 24th per game in that spot. But he’s been one of the most efficient passers inside the 20s with a 33.3% touchdown conversation rate—fourth highest among quarterbacks (minimum 10 RZ attempts). He’s the third-most expensive quarterback of the main slate, which should help keep the crowd off of him, and worth every penny in a week that offers few obvious options.
QB: Russell Wilson - $7,700
Drew Brees made the Rams’ secondary look like a college team last week by completing over 69% of his 36 passing attempts for 346 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions. He became the fourth quarterback to hang at least 300 yards on this defense in nine games. Wilson only managed 198 yards in their Week 5 tilt. But thanks to his deadly red zone efficiency –a 43.3% touchdown conversion rate, highest in the NFL (minimum 100 passing attempts)—he salvaged his fantasy afternoon with three passing touchdowns on only 13 completions.
Likely to be overlooked in what many believe sets up as a high-scoring game, Wilson checks in with the third most passing touchdowns since Week 5 and the 12th most FanDuel points per game. Of course, the stark difference between him and Brees shows its face on the depth chart. Brees shares the field with an elite wide receiver and an elite pass-catching back. Wilson isn’t afforded such privilege, but that’s not a new scenario for him, and it hasn’t prevented him from scoring touchdowns and securing his floor. What’s missing this year is the lack of rushing yards. He ranks 14th among quarterbacks in that category and has zero rushing scores on the season. Perhaps his 41 rushing yards from last week—a season high—indicate Rushing Russell is back. If that’s the case, then we should chase his ceiling and take advantage of his affordable salary and likely low crowd exposure in a potential shootout this week. (Note: if Doug Baldwin misses the game, it makes Wilson a lot less attractive. Consider pivoting to Rivers in that situation.)
RB: Kareem Hunt - $9,000
Thanks to a dynamic offense that can beat their opposition a million different ways, Hunt ranks only 20th among all players in red zone opportunities since Week 5. But thanks to a dynamic offense that can beat their opposition a million different ways and features Hunt as a part of it, his nine total touchdowns since Week 5 rank second, his 647 yards rank third, and his FanDuel points per game rank fourth (third among all non-quarterbacks). He also has 97 touches since Week 5—the third most among all players—and a healthy 40.8% share of team touches—the seventh most among all players.
Up next is a home game against the Cardinals, who have catered fantasy production to running backs all season. They’ve yielded the third-most yards and FanDuel points per game, and rank No. 1 per Austin Lee’s normalized strength of schedule. Hunt will be uber popular and he’s expensive, but rostering him means rostering at least a third of the best offense in the league, who happen to be favored by 16.5 points and boast a 33-point implied team total at home. Fade at your own peril.
RB: Tevin Coleman - $7,300
The narrative that the Falcons can’t run the ball and that Washington stuffs the run blew up in everyone’s faces last week. Coleman flipped 13 carries into 88 yards (6.7 yards per) and drew a career-high seven targets, which he parlayed into five catches for 68 yards and two touchdowns—a performance that came just 2.6 points shy of ranking as RB1 for the week.
This week, he lines up in a smash-spot against the Browns, who we’ve already pegged as a broken defense missing several starters. No team has allowed more rushing touchdowns, only four have allowed more yards per game, and only three have allowed more FanDuel points per game. This week they could potentially be without their best linebackers, best corners, and their best safety. That’s obviously great news for Coleman, whose only downside comes in the form of Ito Smith. Smith soaked up 11 touches last week and 41% of backfield snaps. If this game gets out of hand, he could end up playing the hammer role late. If he were slightly cheaper, it would make sense to stack him with Coleman and buy up the entire backfield. That’s still a decent tournament strategy, but in order for it to work out, you need nearly 40 points between the two of them. Instead, we’re better off chasing the obvious option in an obvious situation. For $7,300, Coleman deserves a regular spot in your rosters, and can even be stacked with his quarterback.
RB: Mark Ingram II - $6,800
What once was a guaranteed split backfield now feels more like all Kamara with Ingram serving the change-of-pace role. He touched the ball only 10 times against the Rams and managed only 36 yards. But as noted in this column last week, that matchup screamed for Kamara. He’ll get plenty of his usual work, but the matchup against the Bengals favors Ingram. The Bengals somewhat quietly have one of the worst run defenses in the league. To the game logs!
|Ronald Jones II II||8||2||-3||0||1||4||0||0.6||5200|
Even Barber got in on the fun by managing nearly 4.5 yards per carry and finding the end zone. The Bengals have allowed running backs to score in every game since Week 2 and now rank fourth in FanDuel points per touch to the position. They’ve allowed a healthy 4.92 yards per carry and even though Kamara’s skill set works beautifully in this matchup (per usual), the Bengals’ defense is fruitful enough to support both of them. It helps that their offense will be missing its best player and likely to fall behind early. That, in theory, tilts the game script to the more traditional style of Ingram instead of Kamara, who clocks in at a full $2,000 more.
The question, of course, is do we trust the Saints to trust Ingram after his fumble last week. He also took a tough shot to the arm and seemed questionable to return. He recovered from both setbacks, which actually work in our favor for tournaments because the crowd won’t touch him despite his mouth-watering salary. For $6,800, you can invest in half of the league’s best backfield in a game that figures to lend plenty of volume to running backs one way or the other. Check his injury status before committing, but assuming he gets in a full practice before Sunday, lock in Ingram and swallow the risk.
RB: Duke Johnson Jr - $5,600
One of the main themes over the last few years has been “start pass-catching running backs against Atlanta.” Many analysts figured the Falcons’ coaches would recognize and fix this problem before the 2018 season kicked off. But here we are, nine games into it, and the Falcons have allowed more receiving yards to running backs than any other team.
Enter Johnson, who finally, after the Browns fired both the head coach and offensive coordinator, got involved in the passing attack. He serves as the perfect check-down option for Baker Mayfield, who has struggled with turnovers in his young career. He logged his second-best completion percentage last week, partially thanks to Johnson’s effectiveness. Only seven running backs ran more receiving routes than Johnson, who caught all nine of his targets for 78 yards and two touchdowns. With any luck, rational coaching will make a second appearance this week against the visiting Falcons and Johnson will once again be heavily involved in the passing attack (he led the team in targets last week). There’s no guarantee of this, of course, but for $5,600, it’s worth chasing.
WR: Julio Jones - $8,700
Welcome back to the circle of trust! Jones logged a third-straight 100-yard game and finally found the end zone for the first time since Week 12 of 2017. He had to fight for that touchdown and for a second, it looked like he’d fall a few yards short, which would have sent Julio-backers into a state of permanent tilt. But he displayed incredible balance and speed as shook off a tackle and fell into the end zone. If you didn’t see it…
Next up is the aforementioned Browns’ secondary that has ceded over 180 yards per game to wide receivers and will have no answers for this dynamic Falcons’ offense. Jones, who leads the league in air yards, market share of air yards, ranks third market share of targets, ranks second in receiving yards, and ranks seventh among wide receivers in FanDuel points per game (again, with only one touchdown on the season), should especially benefit. With so many other tempting options on the slate (Thomas, Davante Adams, Cooper Kupp, Tyler Boyd), Jones and his WR1 salary will likely end up under exposed. Feel free to lock him in and hope that last week was the beginning of a long touchdown streak, even though he could end up spending a good chunk of his afternoon Denzel Ward’s coverage. If that worries you, consider pivoting to Calvin Ridley and paying up for running backs instead.
WR: Mike Evans - $7,500
Evans managed only one catch on 10 targets and his salary was slashed accordingly. Now priced as a high-end WR2, we can lock him in for a rebound game against a Washington secondary that was labeled an easy target in this space last week. It paid off. Evans also made an appearance in this space last week as a core-play… it didn’t pay off. But the volume was there and the matchup will be there this week (Washington has allowed the fourth most FanDuel points per game to wide receivers since Week 5).
The only real concern isn’t with his talent or his quarterback, it’s whether or not his opponent will do enough to keep the Bucs’ offense aggressive. Washington’s 5-3 record presents an enigma. But with injuries ripping their offense apart, you have to wonder if this game comes close to its 51-point over/under. Regardless, Evans ranks fifth in receiving yards and 10th in targets, and if the Bucs’ defense forces the Bucs’ offense into yet another high-volume situation, he stands to benefit as much as anyone. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a receiver with similar upside in his price range, making him an obvious GPP candidate.
Always a better bet in full-PPR scoring, Edelman quickly climbed the ranks and is now 15th in FanDuel points per game and eighth in targets since Week 5. On deck is a matchup that looks difficult on paper. The Titans have allowed the fourth-fewest yards to the slot—where Edelman spends 70% of his time—thanks to Logan Ryan, who has logged more good games than bad games. But this unit has permitted plenty of big performances to lesser offenses. Games against Dak Prescott, Josh Allen, Blake Bortles, and Ryan Tannehill (not to mention, Joe Flacco) tend to inflate overall defensive stats. Austin Lee’s normalized strength of schedule, which accounts for previous opponents, pegs Tennessee as the fifth-friendliest defense for wide receivers.
With Rob Gronkowski questionable and the Patriots’ rushing attack facing a difficult matchup, Edelman, along with Josh Gordon, look like good bets to post solid numbers. Of the two, Gordon clocks in with the highest upside and obviously the best value, but also the most exposure. Edelman offers the safest floor and has been a mainstay in Tom Brady’s offense. You could play all three of them together and hope the Titans force a high-scoring game. Otherwise, keep an eye on Edelman’s injury status. If he’s out or looks doubtful, lock in Gordon and swallow the chalk.
WR: Cooper Kupp - $6,500
The dynamics of the Rams’ offense apparently has the salary-makers at FanDuel a bit bearish. Kupp is the 10th highest scoring wide receiver of the year yet continues to get priced like an RB2 (priced as WR16 this week). He made his return from a multi-game injury last week and immediately soaked up six targets, converting five of them into 89 yards and a score. When the Rams traveled to Seattle in Week 5, Kupp destroyed the Seahawks’ defense on the back of nine targets, which he parlayed into six catches, 90 yards, and a touchdown… all in the first half. He didn’t play the second half due to a concussion. Since that game, the Seahawks have shut down the Raiders (like most teams) before allowing Marvin Jones Jr to blow up for 117 yards and two touchdowns, Keenan Allen to log 124 yards on six catches, and both Williams of the Chargers to find the endzone.
GPP game theory, however, suggests we should fade Kupp and roster Brandin Cooks instead. The Rams could easily spread the ball around and Gurley could, once again, claim all the touchdowns, and Cooks serves as the primary deep threat (like Jones for Detroit), which is something we always want in our lineups. Add Kupp’s likely high exposure to the equation and you have every case you need to fade him. But sometimes, it’s best to side with the cheap chalk and attempt to differentiate elsewhere.
Harris finally logged the game many DFS touts expected weeks ago. His 12 targets trailed only Michael Thomas for the most of Week 9, and he cashed in 10 of them for 124 yards. He gets a great matchup against the Bucs, who have allowed the second most yards and the most touchdowns to slot receivers. With Washington’s offense in shambles, from offensive linemen to wide receivers, it’s reasonable to expect Harris to draw more attention this week as Alex Smith forces his typical low average depth-of-targets to the middle of the field.
If Crowder ends up returning to the lineup, things get a bit murkier. Harris, in that case, will likely end up playing more snaps outside while Crowder regains his usual role as the primary slot receiver. Factor his practice status into your decisions this week. If Crowder plays, sprinkle him into a few lineups and avoid Harris completely. If Crowder doesn’t look likely, lock in Harris as a solid volume option in a game that could offers shootout potential.
TE: Jordan Reed - $5,200
If you don’t feel comfortable with Harris or Crowder, consider turning to Reed, despite his current status among tight ends (21st in FanDuel points per game). You could also consider Vernon Davis in this spot, who drew seven targets last week and returned a decent stat line of five catches for 62 yards. But he’s only in play if Reed misses.
As always, we love the Bucs’ soft defense because it escorts tight ends to their ceilings week in and week out. On the year, they’ve allowed the most yards and second most points per game to the position. Reed, assuming he’s healthy, should shine in this spot, especially with Washington short on options and likely forced into throwing to the middle of the field more often than usual. And with the tight end position an overpriced mess this week, he sticks out as a value play in a dreamy matchup. Go to the well one last time and lock him in as high-ceiling, low-floor tournament play.
New England Patriots - $4,200
If you happened to listen to Nashville sports-talk radio on Tuesday, you’d think the Titans just rattled off their third win in a row and were well positioned for a deep playoff run after upsetting a bad Cowboys’ team in Dallas. Indeed, they could somehow bink the Patriots as well because, hey, the Jaguars beat them. Why not the Titans?
Back to reality, the Titans lost to the likes of the Dolphins and Bills, while the Patriots have defeated every team they’ve faced since Week 4, including the Colts, Chiefs, Bears, and Packers. They’ve allowed a ton of yards—the fifth most—but they’re 15th in success rate and fourth in turnovers. The Titans protect the ball well, but have allowed the second highest sack percentage in the league while scoring the fourth fewest points. You should have no qualms about paying up for the Patriots’ defense in this one as Bill Belichick will take great pleasure in embarrassing one of his former players.
Green Bay Packers - $3.900
Eventually, the Packers third-ranked defense in terms of sack percentage will create turnovers, and a home-date against a Dolphins’ offense that owns the fifth-lowest success rate and features Brock Osweiler at quarterback almost guarantees those turnovers make a presence in Week 10. They could challenge the Jets as the most popular defensive play on the slate. But don’t worry about exposure percentages in this matchup. The Packers’ salary and matchup are both too good to ignore.
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: Baker Mayfield - $7,400
Maybe it was the change in coaching or maybe it was a matchup against the Chiefs’ defense that paved the way for Mayfield to post a decent box score in Week 9. Whatever it was, both of those promising scenarios ring true for Week 10 as well. The Browns designed a game plan that made him comfortable by reining in the deep pass and shifting their focus to shorter throws. Mayfield responded by completing 69% of his passes and logging the second-highest passing yards of his career. With any luck, his coaches will follow suit this week but also build in more throws down the field aimed at taking advantage of the Falcons’ shaky defense.
Said defense has been an easy target for our starting quarterbacks and most recently handed Alex Smith his highest passing total of the season. They’ve allowed the third most FanDuel points per game, the fourth highest completion rate, the sixth most passing yards, and 20 total touchdowns to quarterbacks. With Johnson finally involved in the passing attack—who happens to match up perfectly against the visiting Falcons—Mayfield should have plenty of chances to pad his stats even in a loss. Two major factors improving those chances: 1) facing one of the best offenses in the league, and 2) fielding a banged-up defense that wasn’t playing well even when healthy. Lock in Mayfield for a high-volume afternoon and hope he can limit turnovers in this plus matchup. And consider stacking him with Johnson while you’re at it.
RB: Leonard Fournette - $7,000
Early practice reports tease Fournette’s status as if he’s likely to make a return against the Colts. If he does, he’s no guarantee to immediately push Carlos Hyde to the bench and regain bell-cow production. But he could get at least 50% of carries and likely every carry that ends up around the goal line. The Colts have been solid against running backs this season. They’ve allowed only 21.7 points per game to the position, mostly because they don’t allow rushing touchdowns (only three on the year). But they’ve also had a friendly schedule that includes the Raiders, Jets, Bills, and Eagles—four offenses that either struggle to run the ball, struggle to score points, or both. The Jags fit that description as well. But with Fournette back and Blake Bortles out to prove he deserves his title as the starter, don’t be surprised to see the Jaguars challenge the Colts’ vulnerable defense and set Fournette up with multiple scoring opportunities.
RB: Ito Smith - $5,900
Smith was mentioned under Coleman’s write-up but it’s worth rebooting here. He soaked up 11 touches last week and 41% of backfield snaps. If this game gets out of hand, he could end up playing the hammer role late. Since Freeman’s injury, Smith has touches of 13, nine, and 11. He hasn’t been great with those touches until last week when he managed 60 rushing yards and a score on 10 carries. Even before Freeman’s injury Smith logged the most team red zone opportunities and still holds that lead even after Coleman saw four last week. If you need the cap space and want multi-touchdown upside, Smith makes a ton of sense.
WR: Doug Baldwin - $6,300
Baldwin popped up on the injury report this week with a groin injury, which presents additional concerns to his already worrisome fantasy output. But if he gets in a full practice Friday, we should move forward with his services on the cheap. The Rams have allowed the seventh most yards to the slot thanks to monster games from both Adam Thielen (135 yards, one touchdown) and Emmanuel Sanders (115 yards, one touchdown). Assuming he’s healthy, Baldwin looks like a fine stacking partner with his hyper-efficient quarterback in a game most expect to produce lots of scoring. Despite dealing with injuries and despite missing two games, he still ranks third in team targets. You won’t find many other stats to justify rostering him in tournaments. But banking on points in this matchup is wise, and Baldwin registers as a solid contrarian option, especially with the Seahawks running game likely to be stuck in neutral against the Rams’ defensive line.
TE: Nick Vannett - $5,200
If not Baldwin, then Vannett should take advantage of the Rams’ soft secondary that includes under-performing linebackers and beatable safeties. Finally healthy, he came to life last week, converting eight targets into six catches for 52 yards and a touchdown. He offers the big-body end zone target the Seahawks need and blends perfectly with a quarterback that claims the top spot in red zone efficiency. If old man Ben Watson can log 62 yards and score on three catches against this defense last week, surely Vannett can follow suit in what shakes out as a high-scoring matchup. It might not be a bad idea to plug in a few Wilson/Baldwin/Vannett stacks at a discount in both salary and exposure (assuming Baldwin’s health).
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