Bink Inc. Week 10
Cam Newton ($7,800)
Chiefs @ Panthers
Projected Team Total: 23.5 points
Footballguys IVC Projection: 19.5 points (2.86x salary multiple)
Cam Newton has been unable to replicate his dominant season of 2015, and in truth, he has never matched the individual statistics he put up in his rookie season. Even so, the reports of Cam’s demise have been largely exaggerated. He’s suffered a concussion that sidelined him for two weeks, and he’s had to deal with being defensive player’s Public Enemy No. 1. Not only are they designing defenses to slow him down, they are literally taking shots at him whenever they can get it, be it before or after the whistle. The Panthers were left for dead after starting the season 1-4, but they have bounced with two big wins over the Cardinals and the Rams, and although Newton threw only one combined touchdown in those games, there is reason for optimism from a fantasy perspective. This week the Panthers host a Kansas City defense that is much better in real life than they are at containing opposing fantasy players. Over the last five weeks, Kansas City has allowed 270.8 passing yards and 2.4 passing touchdowns to opposing quarterbacks. They play an aggressive brand of defense, and while that is great for causing sacks and turnovers, it leaves them vulnerable in areas that can be exploited by the Panthers skill position players. In their last two games, the Chiefs have allowed Andrew Luck and Blake Bortles to rush for 60 and 54 yards, respectively. Newton’s upside has always been somewhat dependent on his ability to accumulate rushing yards and touchdowns, and while he is currently on pace to have the lowest rushing attempts, yards, and yards per carry of his career, he may not have a choice but to tuck the ball and run this week. This is a make or break game for the Panthers this week—they all are from this point out—and I expect Newton to do everything in his power to make sure the Panthers come away with a victory at home. His price has come down to a very reasonable number ($6,800), making it possible to roster him and still spend up at several other positions. GPP’s are all about upside, and if we learned one thing last year, it is that Newton possesses the upside that few other quarterbacks can match. He won’t be highly owned, and while I don’t suggest a massive amount of exposure, he is worth somewhere in the neighborhood of 10-12%.
Matt Ryan ($7,300)
Falcons @ Eagles
Projected Team Total: 26 points
Footballguys IVC Projection: 20.4 points (2.79x salary multiple)
If the NFL MVP award voting was to happen right now, Matt Ryan would most likely win in a landslide. He has piloted the Falcons to a 6-3 record, with their three losses coming at a combined 12 points. Ryan has turned the Falcons into a juggernaut offense averaging a league best 33.9 points per game, 3.6 points better than the next best team (New Orleans 30.3 points per game). He is having the best statistical season of his career thus far, with 23 passing touchdowns to only four interceptions while averaging 331.1 passing yards per game. Ryan has had at least three passing touchdowns in five of his nine games, and has eclipsed 300 yards passing in five of nine games as well. From a fantasy perspective, he’s been arguably the best fantasy performer this side of Tom Brady, only he has done it in every one of his team’s games. This week the Falcons travel to Philadelphia to take on an Eagles team that is reeling after a 3-0 start. Philadelphia has lost four of its last five games and now finds themselves at 4-4, and more importantly in last place in the NFC East. The Eagles defense was able to contain opposing quarterbacks during their three game win streak to open the season, but over the last five games, it has been quite the opposite. They still have yet to let up a 300 yard passer, but during that five game stretch they are allowing 242.2 yards passing and 2.4 passing touchdowns per game. The two most polished pocket passers of that group, Eli Manning and Matthew Stafford, combined for seven touchdowns to two interceptions against the Eagles, strengthening the case for Ryan this week. The Eagles vs Falcons matchup is tied for the highest game total of the week at 50 points, and the Falcons have the second highest implied team total (26 points) of any road team this week, second only to Green Bay who is taking on Tennessee. Ryan’s salary has remained steady over the course of the year, and at $7,200 this week, he remains a value play given the upside he has shown (39.52 points against Carolina in week 4). He is a fantastic GPP play this week, and one that I recommend high exposure to.
Jay Cutler ($5,300)
Bears @ Bucs
Projected Team Total: 23.25 points
Footballguys IVC Projection: 18.2 points (3.4x salary multiple)
I have waited all year for the stars to align for Jay Cutler, as I wanted to honestly assess whether I thought he could have a fantasy worthy impact against one of the league’s worst passing defenses. It’s not that Cutler is a bad quarterback, and stop me if you have heard this, it is just that he looks like he doesn’t care. For fantasy purposes you are always trying to maximize your upside. For instance, in a one score game late in the fourth quarter, you want your quarterback going for the jugular with a touchdown pass to make it a two score game. So what’s changed? Well, for all intents and purposes I get the feeling that Cutler is fighting for his life as an NFL quarterback. Last week’s win against Minnesota was a big one, with Cutler playing some of the best football he has in a long time. He threw for 251 yards and one touchdown, nothing outrageous, but if he could put up those type of numbers against the Vikings vaunted defense, imagine what he is capable of against an inept defense like the Tampa Bay Bucs? Tampa Bay ranks 27th in the league in passing defense, allowing 281 yards per game, to go along with 18 passing touchdowns to only four interceptions. They have given up 300 yard passing games in four of their eight games, with two of them coming against Matt Ryan (513 and 334 yards). The other two came against Carson Palmer and Derek Carr. In their other four games, Tampa Bay held Case Keenum, Paxton Lynch/Trevor Siemian, Derek Anderson and Colin Kaepernick to an average of 212 passing yards per game. Quite a difference depending on the skill level of the quarterback. So where does Cutler lie? Most likely somewhere in between, but the important part to consider is very soft salary of $5,300. At that price, Cutler only has to produce 15.9 points to hit baseline value, and 20.1 points to hit GPP value. With Ashlon Jeffery at full strength, and Jordan Howard providing a nice compliment in the running game, Cutler has a very good chance of hitting the value you need to justify playing him. Spending such a low amount on your quarterback allows you to play a stud running back like David Johnson without upsetting the balance of your roster, which makes a lot of sense considering Johnson’s upside far exceeds the top tier of quarterbacks.
David Johnson ($8,400)
49ers @ Cardinals
Projected Team Total: 30.5 points
Footballguys IVC Projection: 27.6 points (3.28 salary multiple)
Johnson has been everything that we expected him to be in his first full year as the Cardinals bell-cow running back. He has posted 120+ total yards or seven receptions in every game he has played this year, while flashing the upside needed to justify being in the top tier of running backs (36.5 points and 37.8 points in week’s five and six, respectively). Unlike Leveon Bell, Johnson has produced in both the run and the passing game, recording three consecutive 100 games in week’s five through seven. He is averaging 139 total yards, 4.3 receptions and one touchdown per game on the year. His eight rushing touchdowns have come in four games, but that is not an indictment on his consistency as much as it is an endorsement on his upside, as he’s yet to have a game with less than 15.4 points this season. This week the Cardinals host the 49ers in what is shaping up to be a dream matchup for Johnson. The 49ers are not just a bad rushing defense, they are a historically bad rushing defense. After Mark Ingram II rushed for 148 yards last week (139 before contact), the 49ers became the first team in the history of the NFL to allow a 100 yard rusher in seven consecutive games. They’ve given up 810 rushing yards in their last three games, which is the most by any team in the Super Bowl Era. San Francisco is on pace to allow over 3,000 yards rushing yards on the season, and they are currently letting opposing running backs average 5.25 yards per carry, good for a top 15 worst mark in NFL history. In their first matchup, Johnson rushed for 157 yards and two touchdowns, while also adding three receptions for 28 yards. In this matchup, Johnson is the sledgehammer and the 49ers defense is the grape. Johnson’s price tag is a hefty sum at $8,400, but our projections still have generating a 3x+ multiple on his salary, giving you an idea of the upside he is capable of this week. He is a no-brainer against the 49ers, and although he will undoubtedly be highly owned, he is absolutely worth every penny. Get him in your GPP lineups and diversify elsewhere.
Melvin Gordon III ($7,100)
Dolphins @ Chargers
Projected Team Total: 26.25 points
Footballguys IVC Projection: 22.4 points (3.15x salary multiple)
Often times when we use the word “value”, our mind is automatically drawn to low priced players who have the opportunity to significantly exceed their salary value. While that is true, some of the best advice I ever received was to look at top tier players as a form of value as well. Specifically, their upside is a form of value that can help separate you from the rest of the field in large GPP’s, and that is never more true than it is this year at the running back position. In year’s past, the winning formula for me on DraftKings usually consisted of finding scat-backs who accumulated points through the passing game, and allowed me to spend up on wide receivers like Antonio Brown, Odell Beckham Jr Jr. and Julio Jones. The landscape has dramatically changed this year though, with the top tier of running backs outperforming their wide receiver counterparts on average, and significantly in PP$ scoring. That brings me to Melvin Gordon III. With Danny Woodhead and Keenan Allen out for the year with injuries, Gordon has stepped up his game and put the Chargers offense on his back. He is averaging 22.1 points per game with 11 total touchdowns, not to mention he put up the highest scoring game of a running back this year with 39.1 points this past week. The most impressive thing for me has been the work he’s putting up in the passing game. He’s caught 28 passes for 284 yards and two touchdowns, which has been the difference between him being a second tier running back, and right up there amongst the elite running backs like David Johnson, Leveon Bell, DeMarco Murray and Ezekiel Elliot. This week Gordon gets a Miami run defense that has been generous to opposing running backs. Miami ranks 30th in the league in run defense, allowing 136.1 yards per game, although they have been stingy in the red zone giving up only three rushing touchdowns on the year. The Chargers have the third highest implied team total at 26.25 points, which bodes well for Gordon’s opportunities to find the end zone. It will cost you roughly 31% of your salary to roster both Gordon and David Johnson this week, but considering both their upside and consistency, this is definitely the week to give it a try in several of your GPP lineups.
Darren Sproles ($4,300)
Falcons @ Eagles
Projected Team Total: 24 points
Footballguys IVC Projection: 14.9 points (3.5x salary multiple)
Melvin Gordon III and David Johnson represent value in the top tier, so now we move onto Darren Sproles, who represents tremendous value in the bottom tier of running backs. Doug Pederson came out this past week and anointed Sproles as the “lead back” despite issuing the same assurances about Ryan Mathews several weeks earlier. The numbers support Sproles, who has been given 28 carries over the in his last two games, compared to just nine for Mathews. It is worth noting that Mathews is being used more in the red zone, as he has scored a touchdown in each of the past two weeks. Regardless, Sproles is capable of doing damage between the 20 yard lines, averaging 5.0 yards per carry with 173 total yards and eight catches over the last two weeks. This week the Eagles host a red hot Falcons team that has not had any problem moving the ball. This bodes well for Sproles’ value, as the more the Falcons score, the most involved he will be in the passing game. On the season, Atlanta ranks 7th in rush defense, surrendering only 91.2 rushing yards per game to go along with seven rushing touchdowns allowed. They have been generous with respect to running backs in the passing game though, giving up four receptions for 31 yards and a touchdown to Mark Ingram II, nine catches for 86 yards to Fozzy Whittaker, six receptions for 58 yards and a touchdown to Melvin Gordon III, and three catches for 32 yards and a touchdown to Charles Sims. 14 different running backs have caught at least three passes against Atlanta this year, which speaks to their pace of play, but also their inability to contain pass catching running backs. The Eagles vs Falcons matchup is tied for the highest game total of the week (50 points), and the Eagles have an implied team total of 24 points. With David Johnson being as close to a must play as you will see all year, Sproles is a great option to balance out Johnson’s salary, and also offers the upside (27.7 points against the Steelers) to return to a large multiple on his soft salary. He makes for a great GPP play this week, and considering the fact that he is seeing 10+ carries per game, his floor is stable enough to feel confident having heavy exposure to him.
Mike Evans ($9,000)
Bears @ Bucs: 22.25 points
Footballguys IVC Projection: 23.3 points (2.6 x salary multiple)
Mike Evans has had the type of breakout season that many expected him to have, myself being at the top of the list. His skillset is very rare, and the one player I think he most resembles is Randy Moss. He doesn’t have the speed that Moss did, but his ball skills down the field are definitely up there with Moss. Evans is 6’5, 230lbs with a 37 inch vertical leap and has a basketball background, which helps him box out defenders at the point of attack. In a NFC South showdown against the Falcons last week, Evans outplayed Julio Jones (who had a big game in his own right) to the tune of 11 receptions for 150 yards and two touchdowns. The touchdowns marked the sixth time in eight games that Evans has scored a touchdown, and he is on pace for 110 receptions, 1500 yards and 16 touchdowns. This week the Bucs host a Bears defense that has had trouble stopping opposing receivers. Stefon Diggs (8-76-1), Davante Adams (13-132-2), Ty Hilton (10-171-1) and Will Fuller V (5-107-1) have all had big games against the Bears, and Evans projects similarly. Chicago ranks 12th in the NFL in passing yards allowed at 238.1, but they have been on a downward slide in that department over their last three games, allowing 255.7 passing yards over that span. It gets even worse on the road, as Chicago is allowing 266 passing yards when they are the away team. The Chicago vs Tampa Bay matchup has a game total of 45.5 points, and the Bears have an implied team total of 22.25 points. Evans price has risen dramatically since week 1 ($7,400), but he remains one of the safest plays in the top tier at wide receiver. He is averaging 12.8 targets per game, 6.8 catches and most importantly, 23.2 fantasy points per game, which leads all receivers by nearly two full points. This is not the year to spend up at wide receiver, but Evans has the upside (41 points against Atlanta, 32.2 points against the Rams) to justify rostering him in GPP’s. Chicago has been very susceptible to allowing big games from receivers, and Evans has as good a chance as anyone to add his name to that list. His target share and touchdown consistency makes him a solid GPP play.
Kelvin Benjamin ($6,800)
Chiefs @ Panthers
Projected Team Total: 23.5 points
Footballguys IVC Projection: 14.9 points (2.1x salary multiple)
Benjamin burst on the scene this year, combining for 13 catches, 199 yards and three touchdowns in weeks one and two. Since week two though, he has only scored one touchdown, and has not crossed the 100 yard receiving barrier in any game. Part of that can be attributed to his inconsistent target share. Benjamin saw 14 targets in a week six loss to New Orleans, but only saw one target in a week three loss to Minnesota. Benjamin has been consistent with respect to receiving yards though, averaging 76 yards over his last four games, and he has at least 70 yards receiving in six of his eight games this year. This week he has a great matchup in the red zone, and could get the big game he needs to get back on track. The Panthers host a Kansas City defense that has had trouble stopping big bodied receivers in the red zone. The Chiefs are ranked 14th in the league in pass defense, allowing 244.8 yards per game. Over their last three games that number rises to 258.3 yards per game. The Chiefs have allowed big games to DeAndre Hopkins (7-113-1), Will Fuller V (4-104), Antonio Brown (4-64-2), Amari Cooper (10-129), Brandin Cooks (7-58-1) and Allen Robinson (7-76-1). The Kansas City vs Carolina matchup has a game total of 44 points, and the Panthers have an implied team total of 23.5 points. Kansas City tends to play at a slower pace, which could limit the amount of Carolina possessions. On the flipside, the Chiefs defense has been prone to the big play, and are giving up the 8th most passing attempts to opposing quarterbacks. Kansas City has been one of the best at defending against opposing tight ends, allowing only one touchdown reception and Antonio Gates was the only player at his position to have more than two receptions against the Chiefs. If Kansas City can shut down Greg Olsen, that leaves Benjamin as the primary target, and given his ability to make plays down the field and in the red zone, he has a great shot at putting up a big game this week. He will most likely be very low owned in GPP’s, but he has the upside to more than justify his salary.
Kenny Britt ($4,900)
Rams @ Jets
Projected Team Total: 19 points
Footballguys IVC Projection: 13.2 points (2.8x salary multiple)
Kenny Britt has resuscitated his career with the Rams, after falling out of favor in Tennessee. Britt has always had the natural skills of an NFL starter, but he struggled with the nuances of the game, as well as staying out of trouble off the field. That no longer seems to be a problem, as he has by all accounts been a good influence in the Rams locker room. He also provides the Rams with the talent to be a #1 receiver, as they are seriously lacking for skill at their skill positions. Britt has caught at least four passes in seven of his eight games, and flashed his big play upside in a week six game against the Lions, where he caught seven passes for 136 yards and two touchdowns. What has impressed me most about Britt is his catch percentage. He is catching 68% of his passes while averaging 15.8 yards per reception, which is one of the best catch percentage to yards per reception ratios in the NFL this year. Britt is on pace to catch 74 passes, 1,168 yards and six touchdowns, which would shatter his previous career highs (48 receptions, 775 yards). This week Britt gets a Jets secondary that has been getting burned by speedy receivers who can make plays down the field. AJ Green (12-180-1), Greg Salas (4-89-1), Marquise Goodwin (2-112-1), Sammie Coates Jr (6-139-2), Andrew Hawkins (5-31-2) and Terrelle Pryor (6-101) were all successful at getting behind the Jets defense. Britt has had at least one 25 yard reception in six of his eight games and profiles as the type of receiver that the Jets have had difficulty defending. The Rams vs Jets matchup has a game total of 40 points (lowest of all games this week), and the Rams have a team total of 19 points (third lowest of all teams). Although it is projected as a low scoring game, there is enough talent on offense on both sides for this game to reach the 50 point mark. Britt’s salary is quite soft considering both his floor (14.4 points per game) and his upside (35.6 points against Detroit). This is a week where you will need to find value in the lower tiers to balance out players like David Johnson, Mike Evans, Julio Jones, Melvin Gordon III etc. Britt makes for a rather safe play, but keeping with our GPP strategy, he also has the appropriate ceiling to make the risk worth the reward.
Travis Kelce ($5,600)
Chiefs @ Panthers
Projected Team Total: 20.5 points
Footballguys IVC Projection: 13.5 points (2.4x salary multiple)
Travis Kelce has had a consistent season, which has inflated his value somewhat, due to a large percentage of tight ends having inconsistent seasons. He’s seen at least seven targets in six of his eight games, and recorded at least five catches in six of his eight games. Kelce has played an important role in the Kansas City passing game due to Jeremy Maclin having the worst statistical season of his career. While Maclin is catching just over 50% of the passes that come his way, Kelce is converting 75% of his targets (39 catches on 52 targets). Unfortunately, that is not necessarily translating to fantasy success, as Kelce has scored less than 11 points in half the game he’s played. Things could change drastically for Kelce this week though, as he faces off against a Carolina defense that has been getting killed by tight ends all year. The Panthers have allowed touchdowns to tight ends in five of their eight games. Kyle Rudolph (7-70-1), Vance McDonald (1-75-1), Coby Fleener (6-74-1), Josh Hill (2-23-1) and Lance Kendricks (7-90) have all exceeded their salary value by a large multiple in games against Carolina. Kelce has the most talent of any player in that group, and the Chiefs have made him a big part of their offense. He should see soft coverage and has a great chance at duplicating his previous high mark (7-101-1) for this season. His price is about right considering the matchup and where he stands relative to other tight ends this season, but he makes for a nice GPP play because he has the upside to exceed a 4x multiple on his salary (22.4 points). His target share makes his floor relatively stable, so I would not hesitate in putting him in your GPP lineups, perhaps even as a flex option if you need help balancing out your roster.
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