Welcome everyone to my fourth game-by-game breakdown of the 2018 NFL season! If you read this article last season, welcome back! And if you’re new here, grab a seat! My goal here is to give you my overall thoughts on each game and narrow down my overall player pool for you. I’m predominately a cash game player, but I do play in more tournaments for football than I do baseball and basketball. My cash game pool will be narrowed down even further in my Building Blocks article that will also be available here via DFS Karma on Friday’s. Let’s get it!
Indianapolis Colts @ New England Patriots
Vegas Insight: Patriots 30, Colts 20
Quarterbacks: We kick off Week 5 with what would have been a great game in 2014, yet here we are sending a not fully back Andrew Luck into Foxboro to take on the Patriots. Luck still has a ways to go before he is fully back, and while his arm is not fully back to strength either, Frank Reich’s offensive scheme is packed with short quick throws. They do play relatively fas though, so I think the Patriots implied total of 30 points is relatively accurate. As always, I don’t have a ton of interest in playing Thursday-Monday slates now that there is late-swap, and if you are playing the showdown slate then you already know that everyone for the most part is going to be playable. Brady would clearly be the QB I want if only playing one, and ultimately with how banged up the Colts are I just don’t see them being able to win this game. They might be able to keep pace for a while, but the Patriots *should* eventually pull away and not look back at home.
Running Backs: This is definitely a strong area to attack on the showdown slate, with Nyheim Hines, Sony Michel and James White all being playable in all formats. Hines is probably my favorite overall option when factoring in ownership, and with Marlon Mack set to miss this game. He saw 11 targets last week and turned that into a 9-63-2 line. He won’t (probably) score two touchdowns again tonight, but his game fits this offense perfectly and the Colts are going to need to throw in this game. Michel looked a lot better last week than the week prior, but they still had him run just three pass routes. White’s usage should decrease with Julian Edelman returning this week, but with Michel pretty much being a non-factor in that department he’s still going to provide value. I think I would lean Michel for showdown just given the expected game-script, but both are quality plays along with Hines.
Pass Catchers: The Colts are going to be without TY Hilton tonight, and let’s just take a moment to say that I’m sick of the Patriots getting free wins. Every year they play in a terrible division that guarantees 6+ wins, and every thing always breaks perfectly for them. Now, they get the Colts on a short week with no Hilton and a slew of defensive injuries…ahhhhhhh! Anyways, end rant. Eric Ebron is going to continue to post a big role in this passing game without Hilton and Doyle, and he would be my top overall Colts play aside from Hines/Luck. You can get weird with Chester Rodgers as well, but I prefer Hines there. As for the Patriots, it looks like as of now Gronk will be able to go and I already mentioned that they will finally be getting Edelman back as well. Edelman would be my preferred play when factoring in price, but after that I’m fine with Gronk, the backs, or Chris Hogan as partners with Brady. I wouldn’t play Josh Gordon because I don’t anticipate his snaps increasing much, but he is a big play GPP threat.
Overall Outlook- This is a pretty straightforward game and I think the Patriots should be able to win fairly easily. I really like someone like Nyheim Hines on the showdown slate, but I really don’t have a ton of interest in anyone here for Thursday-Monday outside of maybe Julian Edelman.
Miami Dolphins @ Cincinnati Bengals
Vegas Insight: Bengals 27.5, Dolphins 22
Quarterbacks: We kick off the main slate with the red hot Bengals offense at home against the Miami Dolphins. Ryan Tannehill came crashing back to earth with a dud last week against the Patriots, and while the Bengals defense has not been strong to start the season I will continue to see limited upside with Tannehill. The Dolphins don’t throw the ball much, with Tanny topping out at 28 passing attempts this season and sitting more in the 20 range most weeks.
Andy Dalton was my cash game staple last week, and he delivered with a smash game against a beat up Falcons defense. The Dolphins have actually been really good against the pass this season, but their lack of pass rush could prove costly this week if they allow Dalton time to make his reads. I don’t think he is a cash option for me with some of these monster totals on the board, but I love this Bill Lazor offense and you can fire up the Red Rifle in GPPs.
Running Backs: I really am only interested in the passing attacks, because I expect to have a pair of timeshares in the backfields this week. Kenyan Drake has all the ability in the world to be a fantasy stud, but they just refuse to give him work. The Dolphins were getting stomped from the get-go last week, and Drake STILL saw less work than Frank Gore. Could that change this week? Sure. But, I don’t know that and on a 12 game slate I don’t think we need to guess.
Speaking of guessing, Joe Mixon should return this week and that’s going to make the Cincy backfield rather murky. Gio Bernard has been a beast in Mixon’s absence, and I don’t anticipate them just giving Mixon a full workload after the time he missed. You could take a tourney shot here on either one, but I’ll be avoiding it personally.
Pass Catchers: As I just mentioned, this is really where I would want to attack this game for DFS. Kenny Stills will draw Dre Kirkpatrick coverage this week who has been overall disappointing this season and to top it off he’s banged up. The volume has decreased with the return of Parker, but Stills has big play ability and the best matchup on the Dolphins.
I fully expect rising star Xavien Howard to shadow AJ Green in this game, and that’s enough to push me off Green entirely. I want to attack this Dolphins team over the middle of the field, and without Tyler Eifert that means it’s Tyler Boyd time once again. Boyd has been a legitimate stud this season and he saw another 15 (!) targets last week. His price has increased again, but the workload is stable and the matchup is good, he’s playable everywhere again in Week 5. Without Eifert, I mentioned Tyler Kroft on my cash game podcast with Anthony Carson this week, but after furthering research it looks like Uzomah is the punt TE we want in Cincinnati. Uzomah ran 33 pass routes in Week 4, and anyone that reads me knows I love to attack Miami with tight ends.
Cash Game Outlook: Tyler Boyd, CJ Uzomah (punt?)
GPP Outlook: Andy Dalton, Joe Mixon/Gio Bernard, Kenny Stills
UPDATE: With Gio Bernard, John Ross and Tyler Eifert all out, I have changed my stance a bit here. I’m bumping up Joe Mixon to cash game playable and I’m also bumping down Andy Dalton a bit. I think this turns into more of a run-heavy game plan.
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Kansas City Chiefs
Vegas Insight: Chiefs 26, Jaguars 23
Quarterbacks: This is one of the main focuses of the slate, with the Jags traveling into Arrowhead to take on Patrick Mahomes. Side note, STOP CALLING HIM SHOWTIME MAHOMES, for god’s sake. Anyways, onto the analysis. This is one of the top overall offenses in the NFL against the top overall defense, that being said, the Jags have been worked a few times on the road. They were shredded on the road by Jimmy Garoppolo late last season, and again in the AFC Championship by Tom Brady. Yeah you can make the case that this is Mahomes “first test”, but I’m not scared whatsoever. He’s an elite fantasy player, and he’s matchup proof. At $6,200, that is too much of a price correction and he is playable in all formats.
On the other side of this game, I expect Blake Bortles to draw a ton of attention this week. We all know that the Jaguars offense opens up with Leonard Fournette, but I find it funny people are forgetting what happened two games ago against the Titans. I find it really hard to trust someone like him in cash games the more I research, especially if he will be popular. As the week goes on, it’s looking like GPPs only for me.
Running Backs: TJ Yeldon is my favorite overall play in this game, and I think he is useable in all formats. Yeldon is averaging 16 DraftKings points per game, and saw 21 touches in Week 4 once Fournette exited the game. I’m not sure if he will 100% end up in my cash game roster, but he is a strong consideration for me.
Kareem Hunt is the perfect tournament play again this week, his usage has started to pick up and with Jalen Ramsey and AJ Bouye shutting down the outside *presumably* that could open up some more passing game usage for Hunt.
Pass Catchers: All of the pass catchers in this game check in as GPP plays, with none sticking out for cash games. If I had to pick one Chief to pair with Mahomes, it would be Kelce but I’m completely fine rolling him naked and we know about Hill’s upside.
On the Jaguars side, I do anticipate some of them drawing some ownership with the expected popularity of Bortles, and it comes down to Westbrook or Cole. Westbrook will be pretty much exclusively in the slot, and I’m more neutral on the matchup with Kendall Fuller than I am positive. Cole has been mediocre this season, but I still think he’s useable if you’re banking on Bortles going off.
Cash Game Outlook: Patrick Mahomes, TJ Yeldon
GPP Outlook: Blake Bortles, Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill, Kareem Hunt, Dede Westrbook, Keelan Cole
Green Bay Packers @ Detroit Lions
Vegas Insight: Packers 26, Lions 25
Quarterbacks: This is one of the shootouts that I do expect to fly a bit under the radar given the Rams, Steelers, Falcons, Chiefs, Jaguars etc…all on the slate and all owning huge team totals. That being said, this game is on the fast track in Detroit and there should be points all around. Aaron Rodgers has struggled by his standards this season, mainly due to his knee injury, but you can certainly look at him in tournaments this week. I have a reason to believe that the Packers will lean on the run game a bit more in this spot, but this is Rodgers and his upside is always there especially at lower ownership.
If taking a QB in this game, however, I think the sharp play would be to go with Matt Stafford. I feel like he goes under-owned weekly given his poor performance in primetime Week 1, but he has topped 18 DraftKings points in each of the last three games and is priced at just $5,700.
Running Backs: As I noted above, I do expect the Packers to get their backs some more work this week, namely Aaron Jones. Rodgers told the media early last week that he wanted Jones to play more, and it resulted in Jones leading the Packers backfield in snaps last week and starting the second half. The Lions have been hammered on the ground each week this season, and Jones is mega-cheap this week relative to his matchup.
I was super excited about Kerryon Johnson last week, and while he had a solid game they still did not give him a commanding workload. I think we have to avoid him for right now until Blount is out of the picture, despite how good he is in real life.
Pass Catchers: This is one of the most interesting spots on this weekend’s slate. Davante Adams is going to be matched up with Darius Slay, and as of Thursday it’s looking like both Randall Cobb and Geronimo Allison won’t be available in this game. That gives a huge bump to Jimmy Graham, and even Marquez Valdes-Scantling. I will update this article with injury news as the week progresses, but both make for strong GPP plays should those two miss this game.
The Lions pass catching corps is going to be a mess to decipher moving forward with three quality options in Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones and Golden Tate. Based off price alone, Jones is a great play in all formats this week. He has wrecked havoc on the Packers in their last four meetings and he quietly leads the Lions in air yards this season and is seeing a lot of targets in the end zone. Tate has a fantastic matchup inside, and Golladay has been great all season. Realistically, all three are cash game playable, but if choosing one it would be Jones for me based solely on price. Don’t forget about this game in tournaments!
Cash Game Outlook: Aaron Jones, Marvin Jones
GPP Outlook: Aaron Rodgers, Matt Stafford, Jimmy Graham, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Kenny Golladay, Golden Tate
New York Giants @ Carolina Panthers
Vegas Insight: Panthers 25, Giants 18
Quarterbacks: This isn’t one of the premier games of the week, but there are some very interesting DFS options. Eli Manning, is not one of them. I was actually interested in Manning last week against the Saints, but if he couldn’t get it done against what has been the worst pass defense this season he isn’t going to do it on the road against the Panthers.
Cam Newton is always a DFS option for me, and that doesn’t change this week. I love the rushing floor he possesses, and while I generally am interested in him for cash games, that’s not the case this week given his pricing. I think he will go under-owned relative to the other options in his pricing tier and that makes him a top tournament play in Week 5.
Running Backs: I absolutely love both backfields in this game. Saquon Barkley has shown that he has a monster fantasy floor, going for over 100 all-purpose yards and 20+ DraftKings points in every game so far this season. If he has a good offensive line, he could be the number one overall player in fantasy football right now, but unfortunately his line is bottom-three in the NFL. The Panthers have not been as strong as we are accustomed to against the run this season, and I think that sets up Barkley as a fantastic tournament play on Sunday.
The reason I say Barkley is a tournament play despite his floor, is mainly due to Christian McCaffrey on the other side of this game. CMC has seen bellcow usage thus far with 22+ touches each of the last two weeks. He’s put up two monster games, and both have been without scoring a touchdown. Cam will continue to potentially vulture goal-line work, but when we finally get McCaffrey in the box he is going to smash and that could happen this week. McCaffrey is playable in all formats once again this week, and should be in line for another 20+ touches against a team that surrendered 180 all-purpose yards to Alvin Kamara last week.
Pass Catchers: Odell Beckham and Sterling Shepard both make for strong tournament plays this week, especially with the targets being so concentrated given the absence of Evan Engram. Beckham has been extremely consistent going over 100 receiving yards twice, but like McCaffrey he has yet to find the end zone. Shepard moved into a much bigger role last week without Engram hauling in all 10 of his targets for 77 yards and a score. I’m not expecting him to catch 100% of his targets again, but the usage should remain strong, though I would prefer Beckham for upside if taking a pass catcher here.
On the Panthers side, Devin Funchess makes for a volume play, though he will be shadowed by Janoris Jenkins. I’m more likely to play Cam naked, or stack him with CMC than use Funchess here.
Cash Game Outlook: Christian McCaffrey
GPP Outlook: Saquon Barkley, Odell Beckham, Sterling Shepard, Cam Newton
Denver Broncos @ New York Jets
Vegas Insight: Jets 21, Broncos 20
Quarterbacks: There’s 5-6 games that are very DFS-friendly this weekend, unfortunately this is not one of them. I’m going to group Sam Darnold and Case Keenum together because I really have no interest in either for daily fantasy this weekend. When there are five or more games with 49+ O/U’s, it’s hard to get excited about a game like especially when we have the youngest quarterback in the league up against a vicious Broncos pass rush and Keenum who looked #bad on Monday night football. There are some really quality QB options this weekend, you don’t have to get thin here.
Running Backs: This is another relatively boring situation to attack. Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman remain in somewhat of a RBBC, but it is worth noting Lindsay has out-touched him each week. If I were playing one, it would be him because I feel like he will be lower-owned than Freeman despite having the advantage in touches. Isaiah Crowell has been a disaster this season, and I anticipate Powell continuing to get more and more work as the season progresses.
Pass Catchers: This is the one area I think you can attack in this game, and it’s with Emmanuel Sanders in GPPs. Sanders has cooled from his hot start to 2018, but he has still seen 7 and 8 targets each of the last two weeks. He has a great matchup inside with Buster Skrine, and you just have to hope that Keenum can connect with him for the big play. Quincy Enunwa is the one Jets player I think you can consider weekly, given his volume, but the upside is limited and there are a lot of attractive cheap plays this week.
Cash Game Outlook: None
GPP Outlook: Emmanuel Sanders, Phillip Lindsay, Quincy Enunwa
Atlanta Falcons @ Pittsburgh Steelers
Vegas Insight: Steelers 30, Falcons 27
Quarterbacks: This is pretty much the game of the week with a MONSTER 58 O/U in Vegas. This Falcons defense has been shredded due to the amount of injuries they have endured, and the Steelers defense is severely missing Ryan Shazier. I fully expect this game to shoot out, and with Ben being comfortable at home it easily could surpass this huge O/U and I won’t be shocked if it does. All-in-all, a lot of these guys are going to be in play. I hate paying up for QB in cash games, but I’ve already done it a few times this season given pricing and both Ben and Ryan make for fantastic plays this weekend.
Running Backs: Devonta Freeman was confirmed playing today by Head Coach Dan Quinn, and all that does is muddy the situation up. I don’t think I want to use him in his first game back, and it hurts Coleman enough for me to eliminate him from my pool as well. I want to attack Pittsburgh through the air, especially with how Ryan is playing.
James Conner is going to be a hot topic this week, especially in this matchup with Atlanta. Yes, he hasn’t been good since the opening game with Browns, but he still saw 7 targets last week and we want backs with the ability to catch passes against this Falcons defense. At first glance, I thought he was cash game playable, but as the week has wore on he’s looking more tournament-y to me.
Pass Catchers: This is the sweet spot, with a good five or six strong options in all formats. Starting with the Falcons, this really feels like the Julio Jones game that we have all been waiting for. Yes, I feel like people say that every week, but this Steelers defense has legitimately no answer for him and it’s not like the last two weeks where the defenses were better on the outside. Mohamed Sanu is my preferred cheap Falcons play, over Calvin Ridley. He has out-snapped Ridley each game this season and I just don’t believe Ridley can keep scoring like this, even though it won’t shock me if he finds the box in a game environment like this.
On the Steelers side, we want ALL the exposure we can get. The Falcons have been ripped up inside each week this season, and they even but Desmond Trufant on Tyler Boyd inside last week and it did nothing. JuJu Smith-Schuster might be my favorite overall play on the entire slate, and everyone knows you can play AB any week. Vance McDonald will be the popular cash option this week at his price, and I like getting cheap exposure to this game as always.
Cash Game Outlook: Ben Roethlisberger, Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, Antonio Brown, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Mohamed Sanu, Vance McDonald, James Conner
GPP Outlook: Calvin Ridley
Tennessee Titans @ Buffalo Bills
Vegas Insight: Titans 21, Bills 17
Quarterbacks: As I noted above, there’s five or six highly interesting DFS games this weekend and this doesn’t happen to be one of them. Marcus Mariota brought the Titans back in OT to beat the reigning Super Bowl champions and he looked better than he has at any point in this young season. He threw for 344 yards on 43 attempts, but the most promising aspect of his performance was his 10 rushing attempts for 46 yards. I don’t think I’m going to use him in DFS given all of the options we have at QB on the main slate, but I think he should be able to have another nice game against this Bills defense.
On the Bills side, Josh Allen is what he is. He can be the 25+ fantasy point player he was two weeks ago against Minnesota, or he can be the 3-6 fantasy point player he was last week against the Packers. He always has upside, but that’s not someone I want to risk my bankroll on.
Running Backs: The backfield situation for the Titans is very interesting this week given the expected game script. Derrick Henry has been dreadful this season, but there are two games in which he has 18 rushing attempts and with the Titans expected to be in control of this contest, he could be in line for 18+ carries this weekend. The Bills run-defense has been horrid this season, allowing seven touchdowns on the ground already and it does make this spot semi-interesting. During those games that Henry saw 18 rushing attempts, Lewis’ usage declined and that is the risk this week if they are winning easily.
LeSean McCoy has been worse than Henry this season, and now he is playing hurt. I will be passing on him pretty much moving forward.
Pass Catchers: This is clearly my favorite spot to attack in this game, and it’s because the Titans passing game is extremely concentrated right now without Delanie Walker and with Rishard Matthews out of the fold. Corey Davis should see “the bulk” of Tre’Davious White’s coverage on Sunday, and that’s enough to push me off of him on DraftKings and FantasyDraft. On FanDuel, however, I still think he is playable based off his price, and because he has just dominated targets from Mariota. As for Taywan Taylor, he might be my favorite overall value play on this slate. I will dive more into him in my Building Blocks article, but at just $4,000 on DraftKings it’s hard not to love him. He saw nine targets last week, and if he can avoid White for the most part he is in a fantastic spot for cheap. He has a legit ceiling at this price, and he has the big play ability to make him playable in all formats.
I’m following my Allen/McCoy analysis with a hard pass here.
Cash Game Outlook: Taywan Taylor
GPP Outlook: Marcus Mariota, Derrick Henry, Dion Lewis, Corey Davis (FanDuel)
Baltimore Ravens @ Cleveland Browns
Vegas Insight: Ravens 25, Browns 22
Quarterbacks: As a Browns fan, this is a huge game for me with Baker Mayfield making his first ever home start, but from a fantasy perspective, it leaves a lot to be desired. Yes, the Browns put up 42 points last week in an absolute shootout, but this Ravens defense is elite and they get stud CB Jimmy Smith back this week. The Browns defense is really good as well, as long as they are healthy, and this does have the makes of a lower scoring divisional game to me. I don’t think I want either of the QB’s in DFS this week, but they will both be low-owned and can be played in GPPs.
Running Backs: This is a really weird backfield situation on both sides. For the Ravens, I fully expect the timeshare between Alex Collins and Buck Allen to continue and that makes them a tough stomach in daily fantasy.
As for the Browns, Carlos Hyde has been really good for them this season but Nick Chubb flashed what he can do last week when he carried the ball just three times for 105 yards and two scores. I do expect them to try and get Chubb more involved moving forward, and that’s going to hurt Hyde’s value enough for me to not consider him a strong play, especially in this matchup.
Pass Catchers: If I had to pick, my favorite overall play in this game is John Brown and it’s not close. Brown has been fantastic for the Ravens this season and he sits at third-overall in the NFL in air yards — per airyards.com. They move him all over the field, and he has flashed his upside a few times this season already.
Mayfield was victimized by over eight drops last week, and his receivers are going to have to pick it up this weekend if they want to have a chance in this game. There has been some talk about limiting Antonio Callaway a bit after he has played a ton the last two weeks, and if I’m using a Cleveland pass catcher it’s going to be Jarvis Landry. He has the volume-driven role we like and he connected with Mayfield on a red zone target last week in Oakland.
Cash Game Outlook: None, defenses maybe.
GPP Outlook: John Brown, Joe Flacco, Baker Mayfield, Jarvis Landry
Arizona Cardinals @ San Francisco 49ers
Vegas Insight: 49ers 22, Cardinals 18
Quarterbacks: We have three very attractive DFS games in the 4 PM EST hour, sadly this is not one of them. We have a rookie Quarterback in Josh Rosen making his second career start, and a relatively low ceiling option in CJ Beathard, despite what he did last week. I just don’t see any reason to consider these guys when there’s Matthew Stafford and Derek Carr under $6,000 on DraftKings this week.
Running Backs: David Johnson finally saw 25 touches in a game last week, and while he has yet to find the box in this young NFL season he has a great matchup with the 49ers who rank bottom-three in the NFL against pass-catching running backs. This offense is going to open up with Rosen at the helm, and he is going to be one of the most popular plays of the week on DraftKings at his low price.
I’m not in love with the 49ers backfield, but the Cardinals have been egregious in terms of run-defense and if I had to pick one it would be Matt Breida. Breida out-worked Alf Morris again last week, and his passing game value will continue to rise with check down CJ now manning the offense.
Pass Catchers: I think Larry Fitzgerald’s value will return a bit more towards the norm now that he has a competent Quarterback, but with him still being banged up I’m going to pass on him here. The one guy I am looking at is rookie Christian Kirk. Kirk has an extremely low average depth of target, but he showed a connection with Rosen in the preseason and has hauled in 11 of 13 targets over the last two games. He’s priced under $4,000 on DraftKings and is useable as a punt if you need the savings.
The only pass catcher I’m interested in on the 49ers is George Kittle. He is priced up now, taking him out of the cash game range but he has the good ole college connection with Beathard and remains one of the top tight ends in the league since he is healthy and 70% of the good ones are currently injured.
Cash Game Outlook: Davis Johnson, Christian Kirk (DraftKings punt)
GPP Outlook: George Kittle
Minnesota Vikings @ Philadelphia Eagles
Vegas Insight: Eagles 24, Vikings 21.75
Quarterbacks: This total seems way too low to me. Anyone that has ready my content so far this season knows that I have been picking on the Eagles secondary, and that’s definitely not going to change with Kirk Cousins, Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen. I don’t expect Cousins to be high-owned, and I love him in tournaments. I think this game easily can go over the total and with all of the chaos the Vikings have endured at running back Cousins sits first overall in the NFL in passing attempts through the first month of the season.
I’m not as interested in Carson Wentz as I am in Cousins, but he did look better to me last week. It’s going to be a while before he is fully himself again, but this Vikings defense has not been the same without Everyone Griffen and you can definitely consider Wentz as a sub-5% owned GPP QB, just run it back with Diggs and Thielen.
Running Backs: Yeah, so remember how I mentioned that the Vikings lead the NFL in pass attempts this season? It’s because Dalvin Cook has been hurt and their offensive line is not good. Cook will probably be limited again this week, and either way I don’t want to mess with this Eagles run-defense. They are a clear pass-funnel and I’m going to take advantage of that.
On the Eagles side, we also have a banged up backfield with Jay Ajayi playing injured and Corey Clement/Darren Sproles questionable. Let’s focus on the passing games in this contest.
Pass Catchers: Somehow, some way, Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs are going to go overlooked on this slate. There’s a few monster totals, and it’s the vaunted Eagles Super Bowl defense…pffffft. Adam Thielen has seen at least 12 targets in EVERY game this season. That is insane usage and Stefon Diggs has a fantastic matchup against Jalen Mills who he should absolutely dog walk. I think that both Thielen and Diggs are cash game playable, and one of my main tournament teams is going to be a Cousins-Thielen-Diggs stack.
If you are looking to bring your Vikings stack back with someone from the Eagles, I think it has to be Zach Ertz or Nelson Agholor. I love Agholor remaining in the slot even after resigning Jordan Matthews, and Ertz is under-owned every week at tight end because nobody wants to spend up for him…despite the fact that he has seen 10+ targets in every game this season.
Cash Game Outlook: Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen
GPP Outlook: Kirk Cousins, Zach Ertz, Nelson Agholor, Carson Wentz
Oakland Raiders @ Los Angeles Chargers
Vegas Insight: Chargers 29, Raiders 24
Quarterbacks: This is quickly becoming one of my favorite games of the week, and it still will fall behind ATL/PIT in terms of ownership. Derek Carr has put up over 280 yards in each game so far this season, and this Chargers defense has been shredded each week given their lack of pass rush without Joey Bosa. At under $5,500 on DraftKings, Carr becomes a core play for me and is playable in all formats.
Rivers is going to fall more into the tournament range for me, but I do think the upside is there given the shootout nature of this game. The Raiders have actually limited massive games to opposing QB’s this season, but they’ve given up 2+ touchdowns through the air in each game and Rivers will be able to put points on the board.
Running Backs: Marshawn Lynch is looking questionable to play as of right now, so we are going to have to wait and see. If he plays, I have interest in tournaments, and he if he is out we are going to be forced to look at Doug Martin, but that would also just bump up Carr even further for me.
On the other side, Melvin Gordon is right next to Todd Gurley as top overall play on this slate for me. The Raiders gave up over 100 yards on the ground to Nick Chubb last week…ON THREE CARRIES! Gordon hasn’t even had a huge volume game yet either. This is the perfect matchup, and his floor has increased a ton this season with his passing game usage. Austin Ekeler is still present as well, and he makes for a GPP flier especially if game-stacking this contest.
Pass Catchers: The pass catchers stick out as tournament only plays for me in this game, weirdly enough. If I end up playing Carr in cash games, it most likely will be naked and as a correlation play with Melvin Gordon. You can look at Amari Cooper or Jared Cook in tournaments, but there’s going to be so much focus on the ATL/PIT passing games and MIN, it might be hard to squeeze one of them in.
Keenan Allen remains a strong GPP play for me week in week out, his aDOT is extremely low, but he provides volume and you can definitely attack Oakland over the middle of the field like we saw last week with the Cleveland Browns.
Cash Game Outlook: Derek Carr, Melvin Gordon
GPP Outlook: Philip Rivers, Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, Amari Cooper, Jared Cook, Marshawn Lynch (if active)
Los Angeles Rams @ Seattle Seahawks
Vegas Insight: Rams 29, Seahawks 21.5
Quarterbacks: For as much as I love that OAK/LAC game, I love the Rams just as much. This Seahawks defense is going to be in for a long day against this buzzsaw offense without their best defensive player Earl Thomas. Over the last two seasons, when Thomas has been out the Seahawks defensive numbers have plummeted in seemingly every category against the pass. Goff is right in the thick of the MVP race (early, I know), and the best thing about Sean McVay’s offense is they refuse to stop throwing. They will throw leading by 20 or not, and I absolutely think you need a Rams onslaught in tournaments this week.
Russ Wilson hasn’t been his typical playmaking self this season, mainly because his offensive line is as bad as ever and he’s had seemingly no weapons without Doug Baldwin. I don’t have a ton of interest in him, but he’s always a GPP play especially if this game turns into a shootout against a banged up Rams defense.
Running Backs: As I mentioned with Melvin Gordon, I think it’s between him and Gurley for the top overall play on the slate. It’s hard to argue his floor, and I think overall it’s a pretty obvious that you’re going to want some Gurley exposure. If you don’t have him in cash games make sure you hedge in tournaments, he ripped this Seahawks defense apart late last season at relatively low-ownership.
I don’t really have any interest in the Seahawks running backs, even if Chris Carson missed again. It’s not a good matchup and running behind that offensive line is rarely something I can stomach.
Pass Catchers: So, if I love Goff then I obviously am going to love him pass catchers. Brandin Cooks, Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp are ALL in play this week and I have no conviction on any of them. If I was picking, I would rank them Woods, Cooks, Kupp, but they are all equally good plays. The Rams pass so much, and their play calling is so advanced that all of these guys can excel without seeing the bulk of the targets. Just get some Rams exposure and wait until 4 o clock!
On the Seahawks side, we are going to have to consider Doug Baldwin at $5,000 on DraftKings. I hate taking guys that I know are injured, but he led Seattle in targets last week and was not limited in terms of usage in his return. The matchup on the inside is concerning, but he’s going to be the go-to guy for Wilson and we are getting a large discount on him.
Cash Game Outlook: Todd Gurley, Jared Goff, Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp, Brandin Cooks, Doug Baldwin
GPP Outlook: Russ Wilson
Written by Ben Hossler (Follow @BenHossler on Twitter)