Quarterback is extremely straightforward to me this weekend with Lamar Jackson, Andrew Luck and Jameis Winston taking up my cash game pool. To me, Jackson is the stone cold lock, but both of Winston and Luck will have ownership and rightfully so. Luck has been extremely consistent throwing for three or more touchdowns in seven straight games. This Dolphins defense has been crumbling, and while I have Luck pegged as my top tournament quarterback this week I want to take the savings with Jackson. Winston is the odd man out for me, but I can totally see the argument for wanting to play him. If you take name out of the mix, and simply put Winston/Fitzpatrick’s numbers together for the entire season they would pretty much be the best overall fantasy quarterback not named Patrick Mahomes. Their game with the 49ers has some of the highest shootout potential on the slate, but if I’m going to spend $6,000+ (DraftKings) I’m going to go with Luck, and if not I want Jackson at $5,700. The reason I’m so bullish on Jackson this week is it feels like a perfect storm scenario coming for him. This Raiders team is tanking, he’s at home, he ran the ball 27 times (!!!) last week, and his passing numbers were very strong from a clean pocket in his first start. This Raiders team is bottom-three in the NFL in pressures on opposing quarterbacks this season, so if he has time to throw he should be able to smash both on the ground and through the air, and if he can find the end zone on the ground the potential for a 25+ point fantasy game is easily in the range of outcomes.
1. Melvin Gordon- Well, well, well. This week took quite the turn on Friday when news broke that Melvin Gordon has a legitimate shot to not play on Sunday afternoon. Prior to this news, Gordon was the number one running back in cash games for me this weekend in a matchup with the Cardinals. Hopefully we get news early Sunday, but if we don’t, I most likely will end up not using Gordon. I think you still can use him even if we don’t know his status before one o clock, just make sure that he is in your FLEX spot so you have all available options to swap to should you need to do so.
2. Christian McCaffrey/James Conner- So, assuming that I don’t play Gordon, this is the tier that I will be going with as the staples of my cash game team. I think by going with Jackson you can easily fit in both of these guys, but if we end up getting no Gordon thus putting Austin Ekeler into near must play territory, I will probably choose one. If that is the case, I will be siding with Christian McCaffrey, but I think both have pretty equal projections and I am messing with builds with both of them and then a single as well.
3. Marlon Mack- Mr. Mack is a LOCK in cash for me and it has become more and more clear as the week has wore on. Mack has absolutely SMASHED in good matchups this season, and that is exactly what this week is against the Miami Dolphins, at home, as a monster favorite. He has faced tough defenses the last two weeks and still averaged 16 touches per game, and I’m expecting the Colts to put on a huge performance at home in Week 12.
4. Austin Ekeler- As noted above, IF we get news that Gordon will be inactive that will bump Ekeler up to almost a lock play at under $4,000 on DraftKings.
Top Tier: Odell Beckham/Antonio Brown- This sis the exact situation I’ve been going back and forth on all week. If we end up getting Ekeler in play, it will be easy to get one of these two in your cash game lineup and then you just have to decide which one you want. The obvious choice is Odell Beckham, who matches up with the extremely beat up Eagles secondary and has scored four times in the last four games. He will be much higher-owned than Brown, but I actually think AB is just as viable. Brown has scored in EIGHT straight weeks, and the Broncos have been much better against the run over the last three games. The Steelers could look to exploit this, and Brown will get the best matchup as he won’t be playing in the slot.
Mid Tier: Keenan Allen- Since Keenan Allen complained about his usage when the Chargers were in London, he has seen over 30% of the team’s targets and remains priced in the $7,000 tier on DraftKings. If Gordon is out, the Chargers could shift to a more pass-heavy game plan and I think that Allen is playable regardless. If you need some cheaper options in the mid tier, TY Hilton and Emmanuel Sanders are names I’ve highlighted.
Low Tier: DJ Moore- I already though that DJ Moore was going to be a lock this week if Torrey Smith didn’t play, but now it looks like the Panthers will be without Devin Funchess as well. Moore is too dynamic of a player to be kept off the field, and he has a big-time ceiling at his price.
1. Jack Doyle- As I noted with Mack, I anticipate the Colts to put on a huge offensive show on Sunday at home against Miami. Doyle has dominated work over Eric Ebron since returning from injury, though I am concerned that Ebron will be on the field more with their other tight end Mo Alie-Cox looking unlikely to play. Ultimately I’m going to side with Brate, but if someone played Doyle I don’t think it would be a dumb decision.
2. Cam Brate- With OJ Howard on IR, the path is clear for Brate to breakout fantasy-wise and he is way too cheap on all sites. His numbers without Howard are actually not as good as you would think, but Winston loves to throw to his tight ends and it will be tough for him to hurt you at $3,600.
D/ST Options: Ravens, Bills, Eagles, 49ers
Written by Ben Hossler (Follow @BenHossler on Twitter)