TipAndPick's: Tips and Picks, DK Edition

Cash game and GPP selections for DraftKings

For the uninitiated, playing daily games on DraftKings can be an enjoyable experience, but equally sobering is the fact that season-long knowledge does not always translate to success in the daily space. Footballguys will bring you a series of value- and strategic-based selections from a number of seasoned daily veterans throughout the NFL season. Herein is another edition of “Tipandpick’s Tips and Picks,” where we will examine the salaries of players at each position on DraftKings and make value-based recommendations for both your cash games and tournaments.

Below you will find a list of recommended players for both formats. GPP players generally have high-upside, but are too risky for cash games; cash game players are consistent with high fantasy floors. In some instances, the value for a player is so strong, he may fall into both categories…let’s have a look.

TIPS...

In order to help you build winning rosters, let's walk through some of the observations that I have made while doing my research for DraftKings this week. As you build out your lineups on DraftKings, try to consider the following commentary, which revolves around game strategy and how we will want to take advantage of what the masses are doing when they construct their own lineups.

HOW I AM HANDLING MELVIN GORDON. I wrote up Melvin Gordon III earlier this week (see below), prior to learning that he was trending in the wrong direction during practice. As of Saturday, Gordon is a game-time decision in one of the later games of the afternoon, so it is extremely risky to spend $8,600 on him and hope that he not only is active, but gets the lion's share of carries out of the Chargers' backfield. My current opinion is that Gordon will either scratch entirely or yield significant action to Austin Ekeler, which makes Ekeler one of the better values on the Week 12 slate (if I am correct). I am moving forward with the assumption that Ekeler gets at least a 2:1 split of snaps out of the backfield with the distinct possibility that Gordon sits out entirely. Ekeler will be one of my higher-rostered players on the Week 12 slate unless we get information overnight that indicates that Gordon will be used in at least 50% of the Chargers' offensive snaps (which I doubt happens). If it turns out that I am wrong and Gordon is announced as active without limitations, I will be severely underweight on his ~ 30% crowd exposure because there are too many red flags to feel comfortable spending almost 20% of my salary cap on a player who could go wrong in so many ways (i.e., blowout game where he is not needed, misleading coach speak, aggravation of injury, etc.).

If you do decide to take the risk and roll with Gordon, just be sure that you have a contingency plan ready for late-swap if he is named inactive after the games start. My best advice there is to save at least $100 on your final roster and play Gordon from the flex spot. If he scratches, you can safely pivot to Antonio Brown, who carries similar upside, for the additional $100 that you stashed away in your original build.

The plan for how to late-swap away from Ekeler is not as clear because of his reduced salary and elevated upside. Similar to what I recommend for Gordon (above), I recommend rostering Ekeler in the flex spot (if possible) to afford maximal flexibility for the latter games. If Gordon is named active (and you believe it), you can pivot to Jeff Heuerman, Ryan Grant, or Mike Williams, all of whom would be similarly priced GPP flyers. If you roster Ekeler as a running back and need to pivot to another running back, Frank Gore or Royce Freeman are your only viable options.

Bottom line: This could be a differentiator in Week 12. Pick your strategy and have a contingency plan. As long as you are prepared with both, you can look back and know that you put yourself in a position to win, no matter the outcome.

...AND PICKS

Let's take a deeper look into some of the players who I will be targeting for my cash game and tournament rosters this weekend. A short summary follows each respective table to fill in the gaps that led to the respective recommendations; that text represents only an overview of the methodology and rationale that goes into each recommendation.

QUARTERBACKS

NAME OPPONENT SALARY CROWD EXPOSURE CASH RANK GPP RANK NOTES
Jameis Winston SF $6000 18% 1 4 It may not be pretty, but the production is generally there.
Lamar Jackson OAK $5700 11% 2 6 Does not need a repeat of last week to reach value.
Andrew Luck MIA $6400 14% - 1 Doing whatever he wants in '18 with great O-line play.
Eli Manning @PHL $5700 4% - 2 Eagles fielding a M.A.S.H. unit in their secondary.
Tom Brady @NYJ $6500 5% - 3 Gronk returns and Brady generally follows.
Ben Roethlisberger @DEN $6100 4% - 5 Contrarian option on hot team vs. overrated defense.
Carson Wentz NYG $5900 8% - 7 Bounce-back spot for Wentz vs. 32nd DVOA pass defense.
Cam Newton SEA $6200 9% - 8 Multiple TDs in every game since season-opener.
Baker Mayfield @CIN $5500 3% - 9 Leverage play away from Chubb's massive field exposure.
Philip Rivers ARZ $5800 4% - 10 If Gordon sits, Rivers should get more action.

QB OVERVIEW:

CASH

  • Due to fielding the league's 31st-ranked overall DVOA defense, the quarterback position for the Tampa Bay Bucs has been a fantasy gold-mine this season. Only Patrick Mahomes II has scored more fantasy points than what Ryan Fitzpatrick and Jameis Winston have combined for as the Buccaneers quarterback in 2018. This puts Jameis Winston, Dirk Koetter's flavor of the week, squarely in contention for cash games on DraftKings this Sunday. Winston relieved Ryan Fitzpatrick last week and posted nearly 200 passing yards and a pair of scores in the second half after the Giants. Some will worry that Winston could be pulled for poor performance, but the Bucs need to assess what they have in Winston for the remainder of 2018 to gauge their quarterback status in the off-season for 2019 (and beyond); thus, the concern that Winston will fall victim to another benching is minimal. The matchup against the 49ers' 21st-ranked DVOA pass defense is solid, as they have allowed multiple passing touchdowns to every quarterback not named Derek Carr or Josh Rosen that they have faced this season. Winston's stock gets a bump due to the Bucs' hefty implied team total (28.5-points, 2nd highest on the main slate) and because he has 23 rush attempts over his 4 most recent appearances (5.8 per game).
  • Bolstered by a running back-like 27/115/0 stat line in his first start as an NFL quarterback last week, Lamar Jackson is primed to deliver cash game value again this Sunday at home against the Raiders. You can bet that the Ravens are going to pull back the reins on Jackson's scrambles this week and beyond, but to expect 50+ rushing yards is not unreasonable with his unique skill set. The matchup against the Raiders' porous defense is sublime--Oakland's last-ranked DVOA pass defense has allowed multiple passing touchdowns to every quarterback they have faced this season outside of Case Keenum in Week 2. Jackson's salary jumped $1K over the course of 7 days, which might be enough to scare a few people away, but his floor sits somewhere around 15 DK points in this matchup with a ceiling nearly double that number due to his playmaking athleticism.

GPP

  • Averaging well over 4x his salary for the better part of two months, Andrew Luck is a pristine, high-upside tournament play on DraftKings this weekend. Early concerns about his arm strength now appear laughable, as Luck continues to dice through opposing defenses, having finished with three or more touchdowns in seven consecutive weeks. On Sunday, the Colts will host the Dolphins' 22nd-ranked DVOA pass defense that has allowed an average of 28.2 points per game over the previous 2 months (excluding one outlier performance against the Jets). No team in the NFL runs a faster offense than the Colts, which equates to a lot of plays to help build fantasy output.
  • Discussed in more detail below (see Odell Beckham Jr writeup), the Eagles secondary is a who's not of NFL cornerbacks this weekend due to a rash of injuries at the cornerback position. Despite his noticeable decline, this represents a prime opportunity for Eli Manning to post his 4th 300-yard game of the season, particularly in light of the fact that the Eagles are projected to be leading and therefore force the Giants to throw the ball throughout this game. To be fair, Manning has displayed signs of performance regression, but he has a number of playmakers who can pile on the yards after the catch (YAC) to generate fantasy numbers on his behalf. Both Saquon Barkley and Odell Beckham Jr have demonstrated an on-field ability to take 10-yard passes for 80-yard touchdowns, which adds allure to rostering Eli Manning at his projected 4% ownership. Over the past month in a healthier state, this Eagles defense has allowed opposing quarterbacks to average ~ 25 DK points per game, which is more than 4x Manning's Week 12 salary.
  • Akin to the discussion on Eli Manning (above), a similar argument could be made for Tom Brady this weekend. Brady has looked extraordinarily human this season, reaching GPP value on this week's salary only once thus far. Some will argue that the 41-year old is also on the decline, but others will refute that notion with the fact that Brady's numbers have dovetailed nicely with Rob Gronkowski's health over the past few years. Since the beginning of last season, when Gronkowski is active, Brady is averaging 24.4 fantasy points per game, but that number dips over 30% to 18.4 fantasy points per game without Gronk. Having a month off to nurse various injuries, Gronkowski is expected back on Sunday alongside Julian Edelman, Josh Gordon, and James White, a collection of pass-catchers that can present personnel mismatches for their opponents, the Jets. Add in a bonus for Bill Belichick having two weeks to prepare a gameplan and it would not be the least bit surprising to see Brady bounce back from his surprisingly dismal Week 10 performance against the Titans.

RUNNING BACKS

NAME OPPONENT SALARY CROWD EXPOSURE CASH RANK GPP RANK NOTES
Josh Adams NYG $3800 10% 1 10 Should get more action as solid home fave.
LeSean McCoy JAX $4200 8% 2 3 Focal point of BUF offense deserves more attention.
Austin Ekeler ARZ $3700 6% 3 1 Expect MG3 to be limited (or out). Plush spot.
Marlon Mack MIA $5500 20% 4 2 Biggest home fave on board with highest team total.
Matt Breida @TB $5700 13% 5 5 See notes on LeSean McCoy (above).
Saquon Barkley @PHL $9100 20% - 4 Obliterated a healthier PHL defense in last meeting.
James Conner @DEN $7800 24% - 6 Quiet in last two. DEN is bleeding rush yards on D.
Sony Michel @NYJ $5800 4% - 7 Rebound spot in plus gamescript. Discounted.
Nick Chubb @CIN $6300 26% - 8 All positive things vs. 30th DVOA rush defense.
Gus Edwards OAK $4400 14% - 9 Week 11 surprise gets excellent home fave spot.
Joe Mixon CLE $6800 15% - 11 Overlooked off back-to-back tough matchups.
Leonard Fournette @BUF $6700 14% - 12 30 touches/game since return. Rough spot.

RB OVERVIEW:

CASH

  • As 12-point home favorites against the Cardinals, the Chargers are likely to feature a run-heavy approach to lock down an easy victory as they chase down the Chiefs for dibs on the AFC West Division title. Melvin Gordon III is trending towards not playing in this game, as he is dealing with a nagging hamstring that he tweaked on Wednesday and caused him to be limited on Thursday and Friday. Our Dr. Jene Bramel has gone on record stating that he thinks Gordon is on the doubtful side of questionable and would be limited if he somehow manages to play. In the only other game that Gordon was inactive this season, Ekeler finished the game with 17 touches for an unspectacular 68 all-purpose yards. At first glance, those numbers might be enough to make one second-guess Ekeler in cash games, but the Chargers ran only 44 plays that day in an outlier performance against the Titans' imposing 9th-ranked DVOA rush defense. Ekeler's 17-touch game represented nearly 40% of the offense's marketshare, a number that excites when one considers that Arizona allows 22% more fantasy production to running backs than league-adjusted defenses and are coming off a game where they allowed the Raiders' triumvirate of underperforming running backs to amass 180+ all-purpose yards. There is, however, a limited amount of risk to rostering Ekeler in cash games in that Gordon may be a late active on Sunday afternoon; be sure to read the "Tips" section above to see how I recommend handling the entire Gordon-Ekeler scenario.
  • It might feel risky, but one of the better cash (and GPP) values at the position this week is LeSean McCoy on the road against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The crowds will be scared away because the Jags defend the rush well (8th DVOA rush defense), but McCoy is the focal point of the Bills defense and should see a minimum of 15 touches at his $4.2K price point, which makes him one of the best dollar-for-dollar running backs on this slate. Playing as a short home underdog, the Bills field a strong underrated defense that, combined with sound running from McCoy, should keep them in contention for four full quarters. With 40 yards running and receiving plus a few receptions, Shady reaches cash game value; if he manages to find the endzone, he will reach 4x territory for GPP value and will do so at ownership rates far too low for the inherent upside.
  • Rounding out the cash game options, feel free to roll with two of the larger home favorites on Sunday: Marlon Mack and/or Josh Adams. Mack is absorbing the vast majority of work out of the Colts backfield as of late and has five touchdowns across the past four games. Nyheim Hines and Jordan Wilkins are getting limited action in the passing game, but is locked in for 16+ touches and goalline looks against Miami's poor tackling linebacking corps that has allowed 24% more fantasy production to opposing running backs after defensive normalization. In Philadelphia, Josh Adams will get a chance to shine as the lead back for the Eagles in a game they are projected to win by five points. Doug Pederson went on record after the Eagles' game against Dallas that Adams merited more looks moving forward; unfortunately, his next game was an absolute blowout loss against the Saints where the Eagles got nothing rolling on offense (outside of a solitary Josh Adams rushing touchdown). As sizeable home favorites against the Giants' 20th-ranked DVOA rush defense, look for the Eagles to involved Adams more this Sunday, which makes him cash game-viable at only $3.8K.

GPP

  • About six weeks ago, Saquon Barkley put on a show on Monday Night Football against the Eagles when he was one receiving yard shy of obtaining the venerable double bonus (100 yards receiving and rushing) on DraftKings. Barkley was the question to which the Eagles had no answer and you can bet that both sides are well-aware of that fact heading into their rematch on Sunday in Philadelphia. The Birds are an absolute wasteland in their secondary, which is going to place a lot of stress on their linebackers to pick up the slack in coverage. By virtue of those linebackers giving additional help to an under-talented and unexperienced coverage unit, Saquon Barkley would stand to benefit underneath. In other words, the Eagles will have to pick their poison: Get beaten by Saquon or get dusted by Odell Beckham Jr and company. And the answer may not be binary because both could compile big numbers in this matchup. Roster accordingly.
  • Elsewhere, Matt Breida is a compelling GPP option with cash game eligibility against the Tampa Bay Bucs' disaster of a defense. If Kyle Shanahan has his way, Breida will lead this offense on Sunday for as far as he can take them. And that could be quite far against the league's 27th-ranked DVOA rush unit that allowed three different running backs (Saquon Barkley, Christian McCaffrey, Joe Mixon) to score two touchdowns over the past month. Look for Breida to finish with 16-20 touches and all of the passing down work out of the backfield, which makes him an attractive option in all game formats given the considerable 25.8-implied team total and likely fast-paced nature of this game.

WIDE RECEIVERS

NAME OPPONENT SALARY CROWD EXPOSURE CASH RANK GPP RANK NOTES
T.Y. Hilton MIA $6500 25% 1 5 WR1 at WR2 price on potential 30-point team.
Danny Amendola @IND $4600 7% 2 10 Gamescript and matchup argue for PPR goodness.
Keenan Allen ARZ $7100 20% 3 4 Could benefit from limited MG3 action.
Emmanuel Sanders PIT $5500 15% 4 14 Keenum's fave receiver still priced too low.
Seth Roberts @BAL $3200 2% 5 15 Punt cash game option. Limited upside here.
Odell Beckham Jr @PHL $8800 24% - 1 Only limited by how much Eli will target him.
Antonio Brown @DEN $8800 12% - 2 TDs in every game since Week 1. Matchup-proof.
Julian Edelman @NYJ $7000 8% - 3 NYJ has been torched by slot receivers all season.
Sterling Shepard @PHL $5300 5% - 6 Cheaper pivot from OBJ. Plus matchup.
David Moore @CAR $3700 2% - 7 If Baldwin sits, prefer him over Lockett.
Mike Evans SF $7700 17% - 8 Delivered in last. Another good spot vs. SF.
Josh Gordon @NYJ $6400 9% - 9 ~ 10 targets/game over last month. Overlooked.
Golden Tate NYG $4800 7% - 11 Led Eagles in targets in last. More coming.
Larry Fitzgerald @LAC $5000 4% - 12 Leftwich getting the future HOF'er involved.
Willie Snead IV OAK $4400 2% - 13 Jackson's fave WR in last. TD regression candidate.

WR OVERVIEW:

CASH

  • Slated to score 29.5-points on the Vegas boards, the Colts should have plenty of fantasy output to spread amongst their skill players. Marlon Mack will be a crowd favorite due to the one-sided point spread, but that does not mean that we should ignore T.Y. Hilton against the Miami Dolphins. At $6.5K, he feels somewhat underpriced given his marketshare and WR1 role on this Colts team that has averaged 34 points per game over the previous 7 weeks. Hilton is coming off his best game of the season against the Titans, who he juiced for a 9/155/2 stat line en route to the Colts 4th straight victory. Beyond an outlier stinker against the Raiders in Week 8, Hilton has been fairly consistent despite dealing with hamstring issues for most of September; he has double-digit fantasy points in every other game and is averaging 17.3 DraftKings points per game, almost 3x this week's salary.
  • In what might be an unpopular take, Danny Amendola is worthy of cash game consideration opposite the Colts on Sunday. The gamescript sets up perfectly for excessive passing by Ryan Tannehill, whose team is projected to lose by nearly 10 points to the Colts. Of the Dolphins receivers, Amendola benefits most by lining up out of the slot against Kenny Moore II, who has allowed multiple big games to other slot receivers this season. In Tannehill's five starts at the season onset, Amendola trailed only Albert Wilson and Kenyan Drake for targets; Wilson is now on injured reserved and Drake has lost substantial ground to Frank Gore since that time, which elevates Amendola to the top of the receiving charts. With Devante Parker in a no-contact jersey on Friday and Kenny Stills running wind sprints on the perimeter, it would seem that Amendola could see 8-10 targets to provide a decent fantasy scoring floor on Sunday.
  • Two of the more popular cash game receivers this weekend will be Emmanuel Sanders and Keenan Allen. Manny Sanders is priced too low given his role in this offense, which is the culprit for his popularity in cash and GPP formats. That said, Sanders will line up across from Mike Hilton on at least 50% of his snaps and Hilton has been the Steelers' best defensive back in 2018 (ranked 13th out of 117 qualifiers on ProFootballFocus). Sanders will still get plenty of looks from Keenum in this contest, but his upside could be capped and one should consider going underweight on him in tournament formats. In Los Angeles, Keenan Allen's floor and upside are both augmented by Melvin Gordon III being named inactive. As discussed above, we cannot know for sure what will happen (yet) in Los Angeles, but Allen has the ability to add a ball-control element to the offense through short passes to move the sticks; if Gordon is otherwise limited, Allen is a solid play in all formats.

GPP

  • On a normal week, Odell Beckham Jr possesses athleticism that makes him one of the more difficult wide receivers to cover in the entire league. The best of the best have fits trying to contain OBJ and some have gone on record confirming that notion. So, what can we possibly think will happen when Beckham lines up across from a secondary that will be without six of its starting cornerbacks? That's right, the Eagles will be without Rodney McCloud, Ronald Darby, Sidney Jones, Jalen Mills, Avonte Maddox, and possibly Rasul Douglas. That leaves names like Cre'Von LeBlanc and Chandon Sullivan, a pair of undrafted free agent rookies, to take on one of the most talented receivers in the league. This is an absolute blowup spot for Beckham and it would not surprise if he finished with 200 receiving yards if Eli Manning chooses to feed him. The drawback is that OBJ is projected to be on a quarter of GPP lineups, which gives pause for game strategy reasons; if you are hesitant to play him on your single entry GPP roster for that reason, do not be afraid to pivot towards Sterling Shepard, who will be rostered only 5% of lineups at a sizeable discount to Beckham.
  • Gone are the days where Denver rostered a stable of shutdown cornerbacks capable of destroying the fantasy hopes of the best receivers in the league. With the departure of Aqib Talib to Los Angeles and the rapid decline of Bradley Roby, only Chris Harris Jr remains and he has not been enough to render the Broncos a tough matchup in 2018. Enter Antonio Brown, scorer of touchdowns in eight consecutive weeks. Brown continues to dominate his competition despite not stringing together a handful of 100+ yard games as he has done in years leading up to this one. Brown should have no trouble besting the Broncos' 17th-ranked DVOA pass defense and the combination of Bradley Roby and Tramaine Brock, neither of whom can slow him down. Our Steve Buzzard projects him to be on only 12% of rosters, which is crazy considering his upside and the fact that no receiver on the slate has more upside than Brown; be sure to get closer to double that amount of exposure across your GPP portfolio this Sunday.
  • Coming off a 31-point shellacking to the Titans before last week's bye, it seems that the DFS world has concluded that the New England Patriots are a thing of the past. They very well might be on the decline, but there is still gas in the tank and Vegas' 28.3-point implied team total agrees with that sentiment. Our latest 'Percent Rostered' projections have Julian Edelman coming in on only 8% of tournament rosters on DraftKings, a number that is too low for his likelihood of 4x salary against the Jets' burnable slot corners. To date, the Jets have allowed multiple slot receivers including Adam Thielen, Emmanuel Sanders, Dede Westbrook, Jarvis Landry, Golden Tate, and even Zay Jones to put up GPP-winning stat lines. This is an indemnification on the Jets' Buster Skrine, who continues to be one of the worst slot cornerbacks in the league for several years straight. With two weeks to prepare for this matchup, expect Bill Belichick to know where he can attack the Jets and this would appear to be the point of least resistance--to get the Patriots' WR1 at less than 10% ownership when their team total is amongst the highest on the slate feels like an ideal situation to get a leg up on the masses.



TIGHT ENDS

NAME OPPONENT SALARY CROWD EXPOSURE CASH RANK GPP RANK NOTES
George Kittle @TB $6200 17% 1 2 ~ 100 yards/game with Mullens at QB.
Chris Herndon NE $2900 2% 2 10 Punt option in pass-heavy gamescript.
Rob Gronkowski @NYJ $5100 7% - 1 Price and ownership are too attractive.
Jack Doyle MIA $4100 9% - 3 In the mix every week. High team total.
Jeff Heuerman PIT $3400 3% - 4 7 targets/game over last 3. Plus matchup.
Greg Olsen SEA $4400 6% - 5 Loss of Funchess means additional action.
Zach Ertz NYG $6400 18% - 6 Crowd fave will cost you off poor game in last.
David Njoku @CIN $3800 5% - 7 Quiet lately. Should rebound soon.
Cameron Brate SF $3600 18% - 8 With O.J. Howard sidelined, absorbs TE1 role.
Vance McDonald @DEN $4300 3% - 9 Scored in last two efforts. Sleeper.

TE OVERVIEW:

CASH

  • There is a fantastic matchup to exploit against the Tampa Bay Bucs' horrid secondary on Sunday, but the question is which 49er receiver do you trust? With a pair of starts under his belt, Nick Mullens has established himself as a short-yardage passer (7.9 ADoT) and has meshed well with both Pierre Garcon and George Kittle. Garcon (knee) will miss this contest, which means that Kittle could see even more action against the league's second-friendliest defense to the tight end position. In Mullens' first two games, he has targeted Kittle with 24.1% of the Niners' pass attempts, a trend that should continue given that Marquise Goodwin's ADoT (15.4 yards) is almost double Mullens' average pass attempt (EDIT: Marquise Goodwin's status was changed to 'doubtful' on Saturday evening. This only enhances the case for Kittle). This is probably a run-first matchup for Matt Breida, but in passing situations, George Kittle looks to be the biggest beneficiary of the matchup and his quarterback's tendencies. On a week where the majority of tight end options bring uncertainty to a DFS lineup, George Kittle is relatively safe and brings along some upside to boot.
  • If you need to save salary and want to punt the position altogether, Chris Herndon is your huckleberry. Herndon is not going to win you a tournament, but his $2.9K salary allows some flexibility elsewhere on your cash game lineups. Since returning from an injury in Week 7, Herndon has been the Jets' most consistent receiver, averaging over 10 DK points per game over that span. The matchup against New England is better than advertised, as the Patriots have allowed 7 touchdowns and a pair of 100-yard games to the position this season. The result has been that they allow 34% more fantasy production than league-adjusted defenses (2nd worst on main slate) to opposing tight ends. Given the generosity of this defense to the position, Herndon could quite easily hit 3x value on his nominal salary.

GPP

  • In the midst of the worst season in his career, we are at a crossroads with Rob Gronkowski. The future Hall-of-Famer has but one touchdown this season and is currently the 14th-ranked player at his position (DK points per game). It is obvious that his nagging injuries have slowed him while he's on the field and recency bias is in full-effect this week after missing three of the Patriots' last four contests. In short, Gronk has stunk it up and, as a result, his salary is the cheapest we have seen it in years and his ownership will be a fraction of guys like George Kittle and Cameron Brate. The analysis here is short: Rob Gronkowski is returning this week and by his words, he is "Good to go." With an extra week to prepare, I fully expect Bill Belichick to work his best player into the gameplan to extract his offense's complete potential. If Gronkowski scores a pair of touchdowns, will you: a) be surprised, and b) be disappointed? Do not let the answer be 'yes' to both of those questions.
  • A Saturday update indicated that Mo Alie-Cox has been downgraded to 'out' on Sunday, which leaves the Colts with only two tight ends from which to choose. It is an important decision because the Dolphins have done a poor job slowing down opposing tight ends in 2018; to this point in the season, Miami is yielding 24% more fantasy production to the position than league-adjusted defenses (3rd-worst on the slate). So a decision must be made between Eric Ebron, who has scored seven times in his previous seven games, or Jack Doyle, who missed most of that time with a hip injury. A quick glance at the box score makes Ebron the obvious choice, but a deeper dive shows that Doyle is playing over double the snaps as Ebron and running far more routes to boot. In fact, since Jack Doyle returned in Week 8, Ebron has run only 38 routes total, but has caught a ridiculous 4 touchdown passes, which is simply unsustainable. Regression is incoming on this tight end corps and Jack Doyle should be on the plus side of it sooner than later.

TEAM DEFENSES

NAME OPPONENT SALARY CROWD EXPOSURE CASH RANK GPP RANK NOTES
Ravens OAK $3300 16% 1 1 7th DVOA defense gets OAK traveling 3000 miles.
Bills JAX $2700 9% 2 2 Jags are giving up. Bortles pick-six, anyone?
Chargers ARZ $3400 11% 3 4 ARZ: Allowing 2nd most FP/game to defenses.
Jaguars @BUF $4000 7% - 3 Allen's reckless ways could lead to turnovers.
Eagles NYG $2400 10% - 5 GPP-only. Do-or-die spot for Eagles at home.
Patriots @NYJ $3100 9% - 6 Trust Belichick off bye week in AFC North matchup.
Colts MIA $2900 5% - 7 Tannehill could have rust after 6-week hiatus.
Steelers @DEN $3000 4% - 8 Steelers have played solid defense of late.

TEAM DEF OVERVIEW:

  • After falling into a win, their first in six games, the Oakland Raiders are headed east for a 1 PM (EST) start against the Ravens in Baltimore. At home, the Ravens have played several solid offenses, including New Orleans and Pittsburgh, but have not yielded more than 24 points to any of them. This week looks like a prime spot for Baltimore to feast on the Raiders, who have allowed Derek Carr to be sacked at least three times in seven of their last eight games. Without Marshawn Lynch to take pressure off Derek Carr, the Raiders have faltered, scoring less than 10 points in half of their games within him. Meanwhile, the Ravens boast the league's 7th overall DVOA defense and should have no troubles adding to Derek Carr's misery on Sunday. One last thing: If Baltimore is rostered at 20+% of lineups in tournaments, you should come in well under that number despite their ranking here--my ranking is a qualitative number relative to other teams, but should not be interpreted as being as high as 30%.
  • Outside of the aforementioned Raiders, the only team in the NFL who appears to have completely packed it in is the Jacksonville Jaguars. Losers of six straight, the warm weather Jags will fly to 40-degree Buffalo to take on one of the league's more underrated defenses. The Bills have scored double-digit fantasy points on four different occasions, including last week when they destroyed the Jets at the Meadowlands, 41-10. This game reeks of one where one team has given up and the other takes advantage. Look for the Bills to take advantage of multiple injuries to the Jags' offensive line and put pressure on Blake Bortles, a tactic that has resulted in 13 pick-sixes across his 5-year career. The Bills are viable cash game options with GPP upside at a discount from both the Ravens and Chargers, where salary savings are needed.
  • Elsewhere, the Chargers are chasing the Chiefs in the AFC West and should be fired up in front of their home crowd against a rookie quarterback (Josh Rosen) that has thrown nine interceptions across his previous five games. Another rookie quarterback worth picking on is Josh Allen, who had tossed five interceptions against only two touchdowns before missing a month with an injury. In his first game back, the Jaguars have the talent to make his return unpleasant and by paying up for their elevated salary, you also buy a bit of roster uniqueness because of the public's disdain for paying a premium for a team defense. Lastly, you could do worse than rolling with the Steelers at sub-5% ownership against the Case Keenum-led Broncos. Pittsburgh's defense has collected 11 sacks over the past 2 weeks and have 4 games with 5 sacks or greater. They will take on a Broncos team that had lost six of the previous seven games before falling into a surprise win against the Chargers last weekend.


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