My fantasy football picks last week was my best week of the year, by far. I hit on a ton of plays in this article, so hopefully some of you followed your way into some big wins as well.
At the quarterback position, Brady didn’t do quite enough to reach value, but he didn’t kill your lineup early. He was just one yard away from the 300 yard bonus on DraftKings. Rivers also didn’t have one of his standout performances, but David Carr exploded for over 300 yards and four touchdowns.
Running back was a bit better. Freeman didn’t do much in the running game, but had a bunch of receptions and receiving touchdown. He didn’t have a great game, but didn’t kill us either. McFadden and Langford both had huge games in relation to their salaries.
At wide receiver, Stevie Johnson had a solid game on Monday Night and was an above average play based on his salary. Antonio Brown had 282 yards on 17 receptions and nearly broke the NFL receiving record for yards in a game. Alshon Jeffery nearly caught a touchdown, but ended with a strong day regardless, with 10 receptions for 151 yards.
Tight end wasn’t a great spot last week, with Heath Miller disappointing, despite him running a lot of passing routes. Gronkowski didn’t do much and Austin Seferian-Jenkins didn’t suit up last week, despite plenty of indications that he would be active.
On defense, we had a ho-hum performance from both plays. The Falcons were a disappointment against San Francisco, and the Broncos were lucky to salvage value with a kick return at the end of the first half.
Cash Games and Tournaments
In this article, we’ll go position by position regarding my favorite picks for the week. I also will be mentioning if I like a player more in cash games or tournaments. This is standard daily fantasy lingo and is simple to understand.
Cash games are contests where you have to beat a few other players, such as head-to-head or 50/50 contests. In these games, you only need to beat your opponent or place in the upper half of the field to cash. Cash games could also extend to 3-man contests or triple ups, or even slightly larger contests. In these types of games, we want players who have an excellent floor of points and aren’t necessarily looking for upside (though, it certainly helps).
Tournaments are large field prize pools that consist of hundreds of players to thousands of players. For example, the Week 1 Millionaire Maker has over 500,000 thousand available entries. In large fields, it pays to be more contrarian. For tournaments or GPPs (guaranteed prize pools), we’re looking for players who are lesser-owned and have high upside or ceilings.
In summation, in cash games, we’re looking for high floors and per point value and in tournaments, high ceilings, and low ownership percentages.
Now, onto the plays for Week 10.
Aaron Rodgers (FanDuel: $9,200 DraftKings: $7,500) vs. Detroit
Rodgers had a massive game last week and there is no reason why he can’t do it again this Sunday. He threw for 369 yards and four touchdowns at Carolina, so it’s tough to imagine what he might do against a much worse defense in Detroit at home.
The Packers are overwhelming favorites in this game, coming in with a -11.5 team total and an implied total of just over 30 points. I think Rodgers is easily the safest play in cash games, particularly at DraftKings, due to his high floor, but it’s fair to wonder about his upside if the Packers get out to a big lead.
It’s worth noting that the Lions are very poor against the pass, but they’re also 29th against the run. Rodgers and his receivers will do damage through the air early, but Green Bay won’t force pass attempts, so we could see a lot of Starks and Lacy in the second half.
The Packers’ defense is also extremely talented and is coming off an embarrassing loss to Carolina last week. Matthew Stafford is as turnover prone as ever, and his mistakes may lead to less throwing from Rodgers.
With all that said, he still has the upside for a 40 point fantasy performance without issue and is easily the safest option in your cash games. I don’t mind him for tournaments, but he might not have as much upside as my other quarterback selections.
Kirk Cousins (FD: $6,500 DK: $5,200) vs. Saints
Cousins isn’t someone that I would normally write up for tournaments, let alone cash games, but he definitely in play this week for both formats. New Orleans has the worst pass defense and the worst overall defense in the league according to Football Outsiders’ DVOA statistic.
Cousins was unlucky not to have a bigger game last week. His receivers continually dropped passes and his offense gave the ball away on two fumbles, which were no fault of his own. The matchup is especially fantastic because the Redskins also have a poor defense.
The game has one of the biggest totals of the week at 50 points and Washington is currently -1 favorites. Their implied team total is over 25 points in this contest and there is no better matchup for a quarterback right now than the Saints defense.
Blake Bortles (FD: $7,800 DK: $5,600) vs. Ravens
Bortles is my favorite play this week in both cash games and tournaments. While I think the Redskins offense gets the best matchup of the week against the Saints as a whole, Bortles gets to face off against the 28th ranked pass defense according to DVOA.
What makes this matchup better is that the Ravens are actually quite strong against the run, which means the Jaguars will likely have to throw the ball as their primary means of movement. I don’t love Bortles’ talent, but he has a strong supporting cast around him and a sluggish running game.
The Jaguars don’t have the largest team total this week at just 21 points, but I think we could easily see a few more points than the oddsmakers’ projection. 265 yards and two touchdowns from Bortles is a line that we would be fine with as it would easily play off his salary. He also has upside for a lot more.
Running back is a tough position this week. These are my current top guys, but things can change by Sunday. I am also giving strong consideration to DeAngelo Williams vs. Browns and DeMarco Murray vs. Dolphins.
Darren McFadden (FD: $7,000 DK: $4,900) vs. Buccaneers
McFadden has become a guy I’ve been rostering every week as of late because of his role in the offense and his price still failing to rise enough to make him unplayable. This is more of a DK play rather than FanDuel, because they have adjusted his price quite a bit over there.
Some might look at the Buccaneers run defense as an elite matchup, but let’s remember that Run DMC rolled through Philadelphia’s tough run defense for over 100 yards last week. His usage has also been ridiculous.
Since taking over the starting job from Joseph Randle, who has since been cut, he has had 31, 26, and 27 touches in the past three games. He plays in nearly every snap role for Dallas and also plays in the passing game, so he’s still going to be productive if they fall behind.
With Tampa Bay as just -2 favorites in this one, it’s unlikely one gets out of hand. Dallas’ offensive line is simply unstoppable and any running back that is getting this kind of workload behind them is worthy of consideration every week.
At his current price, McFadden is a steal. He should be a cash game staple and a player that is still going under owned in tournaments based on his upside.
Todd Gurley (FD: $9,200 DK: $7,300) vs. Bears
Gurley is the chalk play this week at running back, but there are few reasons to argue that he isn’t a fantastic play. He’s facing a Bears team that ranks 31st against the run in DVOA, and is coming off an emotional win on a short week. Chicago currently has the lowest team total for the week at just less than 18 points.
The Rams defense is a force to be reckoned with, and one that could force Cutler into several mistakes, which would mean more short fields for Gurley. It’s an elite matchup and though his price is catching up, he remains the safest bet for cash games at the position.
However, although his touches haven’t dropped off, head coach Jeff Fisher stated that he wanted to keep him under 22 touches a game – this hasn’t happened, yet. The one concern for me here is that the Rams get out to a big lead and other backs are used to kill off the game.
He’s clearly an excellent cash game option, and I won’t blame you if you fade him in tournaments, but his price has risen drastically which does reduce his upside. He will also be heavily owned this week.
Mark Ingram (FD: $7,500 DK: $6,400) vs. Redskins
Mark Ingram owners had a frustrating last week. Ingram was stopped inside the five yard-line a whopping five times last week, including getting stuffed at the goal line and being tackled on the one on a screen pass.
There may be many who will shy away from him this week because of last week’s game, but based on his usage and matchup, that would be a mistake. He saw nearly 90% of the snaps last week, ran the ball 22 times and had 4 receptions for 42 yards.
The Titans run defense was better than most thought, but the Redskins certainly isn’t. Ingram will receive a similar workload this week and should have no trouble powering through a Washington run defense that ranked 22nd in DVOA.
The Patriots went to their power run game early and often last week against the Redskins. They’re a team that will happily throw the ball if that’s the way to gain the most yards, but play after play, it was LeGarrette Blount gashing them for gain after gain.
Ingram is a power back similar to Blount and New Orleans boasts an elite offensive line. I love him as a bounce back candidate this week. He has a strong floor due to his role in the passing game, and has multiple touchdown upside for tournaments.
Stefon Diggs (FD: $6,100 DK: $5,100) vs. Raiders
Diggs had his first poor game in quite some time last week, grabbing just three receptions and 42 yards. I’m not a huge fan of taking Teddy Bridgewater receivers, but against a Raiders’ rush defense that has been strong most of the year – I don’t mind rostering their number one receiver in a game I think they may need to throw to keep pace.
The Vikings team total is low at just over 20 points, but there’s reason to think that Diggs gets it going in this one if the Raiders stack the box against Adrian Peterson. The Vikings don’t have a great defense of their own and the Raiders should have no issue putting up some points which will force Minnesota to throw the ball in the second half.
Diggs will face off against an atrocious secondary and should have no trouble getting open in this one. He should see upwards of 8 targets and is a threat to break a big play every time he touches the ball against this poor secondary. He’s in play in all formats.
Allen Robinson (FD: $7,500 DK: $6,700) vs. Ravens
With all my love for Bortles above, it shouldn’t be a shock that I am a fan of Allen Robinson this week. His counterpart, wide receiver Allen Hurns is questionable this week, but seems to be on track to play. If he were to be ruled out, Robinson would be a must-play across the industry.
The Ravens defense is the weakest outside, where Robinson is going to be operating mostly against Baltimore cornerback, Jimmy Smith. Smith has been terrible this season and is one of the worst graded cornerbacks at Pro Football Focus.
Robinson’s price isn’t close to where it should be based on his production. He’s basically matchup proof. Even in a bad matchup with Darrelle Revis last week, Robinson managed to catch 6 balls for 121 yards. Few wide receivers are in a better spot that A Rob this week, and he’s in play in both cash games and tournaments.
Randall Cobb (FD: $7,700 DK: $6,700) vs. Lions
Speaking of underpriced receivers, Cobb is right in the same price range as Robinson at both sites and has an excellent matchup against the Lions this week. Cobb did come up with a decent game last week, but a string of tough matchups has brought his price down.
Detroit’s cornerbacks as a whole aren’t the weakest part of their secondary. Rashean Mathis has been serviceable and Darius Slay on the outside has been fantastic. That leaves Cobb up against slot Quandre Diggs, or Josh Wilson if he suits up this week. Both have been downright horrible.
I mentioned how Rodgers upside may be limited if they end up blowing out the Lions, but Cobb’s price tag is so low I’m not sure I share the same concern. He could easily do his damage his just two drives and is one of my favorite plays of the week at wide receiver.
Gary Barnidge (FD: $6,100 DK: $4,800) vs. Steelers
Barnidge is one of the biggest surprises of the 2015 season. The 30 year old has come out of nowhere and is having a breakout season in Cleveland. The Browns have one of the lowest team totals of the week, but Barnidge still has an awesome matchup against Pittsburgh.
Like I mentioned with Bortles and the Ravens, Pittsburgh does an excellent job against the run but is considerably worse against the pass. They also don’t defend the tight ends well and Barnidge is far and away the best red zone target in Cleveland’s offense.
His price is still quite cheap considering his upside in this matchup. I like him in tournaments, especially as a differentiation play from Jordan Reed who I will get to next.
Jordan Reed (FD: $5,800 DK: $4,600) vs. Saints
Reed is easily my favorite tight end play of the week in both cash games and tournaments. He’s Washington’s number one target in the passing game against a Saints’ defense that is playing some terrible football.
He’s a borderline must-play in cash games this week and I’m not sure his ownership percentage will be quite as high as some of the other chalk plays, so I like him there as well. Get him in your cash games and move on to the other positions on your roster.
Rob Gronkowski (FD: $8,000 DK: $8,000) vs. Giants
Gronkowski is overpriced due to his target numbers and recent production, but there is no reason why that can’t turn around in a hurry. The matchup against the Giants is a tasty one for Gronk, and he always has three touchdowns upside. I don’t like him in cash games because he is clearly overpriced, but he’s a great tournament option. I wouldn’t be opposed to playing two tight ends, and using Reed or Barnidge, along with Gronkowski.
Eagles (FD: $4,700 DK: $2,700) vs. Dolphins
The Eagles defense quietly has one of the best defenses in the league. Perhaps overshadowed by their offense’s struggles, it seems few realize how solid this unit has been. They are currently 6th in DVOA rankings.
Most importantly, they have a solid pass rush and run defense. Tannehill is not great under pressure and I don’t think the Eagles will have any issue churning clock with their running game in this one. I love their price at both sites and the matchup. They’re in play for cash games and tournaments alike.
Broncos (FD: $5,200 DK: $3,400) vs. Chiefs
Although Denver will be without Talib this week in the secondary, this matchup at home is not imposing against Alex Smith and the Chiefs anemic offense. They’re not large favorites in this game, but Kansas City has the second lowest team total at 18 points. The Broncos should have a few sacks and could turn defense into offense in a game that should be low scoring.
Rams (FD: $5,400 DK: $3,600) vs. Bears
This is a great spot for the Rams who are not afraid to tee off on quarterbacks once they have a lead. Cutler does not to do well under pressure and will be facing the toughest pass rush he has seen all year. The Bears have a team total of 17.5 points, the lowest of Week 10, and they are coming off a short week and an emotional Monday Night Football victory. I think this is a huge letdown spot for Chicago.
Author: Joseph Falchetti (twitter)
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