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Week 9 was a rough week all around. I played the top four QBs with part of their WRs, but my teams won back minimal funds. The winning team in the DraftKings Million Dollar Maker didn’t take home the winning prize until Latavius Murray scored his third TD with 6:09 minutes left in the game. Here’s a look at the winning roster:
The key to this team winning came from Melvin Gordon (39.1), Latavius Murray (34.7), Jason Witten (30.4), and Marcus Mariota (31.92). His only weak link in his roster was T.Y. Hilton (14.2).
Over the last five weeks, 12 RBs have scored over 30 Fantasy points in PPR leagues compared to 10 WRs (only four in the last three weeks). Over the same period in 2015, eight RBs scored over 30 points and 10 WRs. By looking at this data, a Fantasy owner can take away from it that two WRs each week should score over 30 Fantasy points. Also, the RB position has a lot more strength in 2016. It’s almost a given that two RBs will deliver impactful scores each week as well. Does this mean we need to start focusing on a foundation of four core players with two coming from both the RB and WR position?
The demise of the 49ers’ run defense will lead to David Johnson ($8,400) being a highly owned asset in the daily games.
In a season where many Fantasy owners believe a winning required an elite WR, seven players average over 20 Fantasy points per game with four coming from the RB positions (Johnson, Gordon, Murray, and Elliott). David is the highest scoring skill player after nine weeks in PPR leagues (24.15 FPPG). After three plus games (33.50, 34.80, and 25.10), Johnson struggled to get rolling in the run game (10/24) against the Panthers on the road in Week 8. He did deliver seven catches for 84 yards. In Week 5, he had 185 combined yards with three catches and two TDs on the road against the 49ers. San Fran has been a disaster defending the RB position in (33.10 Fantasy points per game) with even more risk in their last four games (35.40, 47.00, 38.40, and 53.10). Seven RBs have over 100-yard rushing against the 49ers (Fozzy Whittaker, Christine Michael, Ezekiel Elliott, David Johnson, LeSean McCoy, Jacquizz Rodgers, and Mark Ingram). Sweet matchup with 30+ point upside. His only risk would be less playing time if this game ended up being a blowout. David will be a high percentage own in Week 10.
Over the last three games, San Fran allowed 809 yards on 127 carries to ball carries leading to seven rushing TDs. Also, RBs have 11 catches for 93 yards and a TD. This overall total minus any QB rushing yards works out to 47.5 Fantasy points per game. Even with a 50 percent drop in these stats, Johnson would still have an excellent shot at earning over 30 Fantasy points. The question a Fantasy owner must think about in this scenario is being with the masses or going against the grain. In the Perfect Lineup, I’ll take the so-called layup. In GGP events, I’ll use Johnson while also entering some roster without him to create edge if he comes up short.
To save some salary, I’m going to punt the RB position by rostering the player will a rising opportunity with a favorable matchup – Darren Sproles ($4,300).
Over the last two games with starting snaps for the Eagles, Darren has 36 touches for 174 combined yards with eight catches. His only TD in 2016 came in Week 3 vs. the Steelers. In his last two games, Sproles has been on the field for 80.4 percent of the offensive plays run by Philly. The Falcons have been crushed at the RB position in four games (37.90, 40.10, 31.40, and 37.40 Fantasy points) in PPR leagues. Backs have 71 catches for 547 yards and three TD on 85 targets vs. Atlanta. If he scores a TD, Darren should score over 20 Fantasy point. Great RB2 punt if the coaching staff doesn't beat you by rotating in other backs.
The key to the upside of Sproles will be the Falcons’ ability to force the issue on the scoreboard. This season Atlanta scored 35 TDs while allowing 32. Six teams scored four TDs or more against the Falcons in nine games. RBs have 10 TDs against Atlanta with three coming in the passing game. Darren has a solid chance at 20+ Fantasy points if he scores a TD.
I’d like to roster one of the big three WRs (Julio Jones, Mike Evans, and Antonio Brown) this week. Here are the player profiles from the WR report on Scout:
Jones has over 100 yards receiving in five of his nine games played with four TDs. His game has been elite in four of his last six contests (12/300/1, 7/139/1, 9/174, and 8/111/1) while averaging just over ten targets per game during this stretch. Last season in Week 1 at home vs. the Eagles, Julio had nine catches for 141 yards and two TDs on 11 targets. Philly fell to 9th in the league vs. the WR positions after struggling last week (9/172/4). On the year, WRs have 91 catches for 1372 yards and eight TDs on 174 targets. In Week 3 at home, the Eagles allowed 12 catches for 140 yards to Antonio Brown. Both of Philly's outside WRs have risk defending the pass. If the Falcons can handle the blitz, Jones will be in for a big day.
After nine weeks, Mike Evans is the highest scoring WR in PPR leagues. His high level of success is due to eight TDs and elite targets (12.9 per game). He's on pace for 110 catches for 1490 yards and 16 TDs on 206 targets. His catch rate (53.4) remain an area that needs improvement. Mike top two games in 2016 both came at home (10/132/1 and 11/150/2) while also delivering an impact game in Week 7 in San Fran (8/96/2). The Bears allow the most Fantasy points to WRs (44.90 per game) in PPR leagues after the Packers drilled them for 37 catches for 311 yards and three TDs in Week 7. On the year, WRs have 134 catches for 1560 yards and nine TDs on 202 targets. His high volume of targets and scoring ability gives him a high floor in most weeks. This is a winnable matchup, and three WRs have over 100 yards receiving vs. Chicago (Will Fuller - 5/107/1, T.Y. Hilton - 10/171/1, and Davante Adams - 13/132/2).
Brown is on pace for 110 catches for 1354 yards and 12 TDs on 172 targets. This is a nice season for most WRs in the NFL, but it's a step back from his previous two years (129/1698/13 and 136/1834/10). In 2015, Antonio had eight catches for 40 yards or longer. This year he only has one. The Cowboys are 14th in the league vs. WRs (120/1275/9 on 191 targets). Only one team has had a high level of success throwing the ball to the WR position against the Cowboys (GB - 26/267/1). No WR has over 100 yards receiving against the Cowboys. The Steelers’' offense tends to be a lot better at home so Brown should be in position for another impactful game. He almost seems like a value at $8,900).
Antonio seems to be behind pace, and he hasn’t had a 30+ point game since week 1. His salary is a slight step back from Evans and Jones. The Steelers need a big win, and they will challenge the Cowboys in the deep passing game. I’ll ride Brown and hope that he regains his form from 2014 and 2015.
Based on my start, I feel I need to cheat the QB position to create some salary space to build strength at the WR position. I have $28,400 left to fill my other six roster position. The worst five defenses vs. QB playing on Sunday are Atlanta, Tampa Bay, Carolina, New Orleans, and San Francisco. I can throw out the Chiefs’ starting QB due to his top WR (Jeremy Maclin) being out this week. I’ve rostered a piece of the Eagles and the Cardinals. I don’t think Palmer makes sense with David Johnson, but Johnson does offer value in the passing games and he could hit a TD via the pass. The Carson Wentz/Darren Sproles combo does have a Danny Woodhead/Philip Rivers feel to it.
Another interesting part of this week’s thought process with the top WRs is that the opposing QB has a favorable matchup. Therefore, a Fantasy owner could play Julio Jones on the opposite side of a Wentz/Sproles team while possibly adding Jordan Matthews or Zach Ertz as well. A Mike Evans team could use Jay Cutler with Alshon Jeffery or Cameron Meredith.
The other option is Trevor Siemian. He has two upside WRs while facing a poor defense.
Based on the success of Kaepernick last week, Siemian will draw some attention from Fantasy owners in the daily games. Over the last two games, Trevor has 559 yards passing with two TDs and nine completions over 20 yards. Siemian only has one game with over two passing TDs. His completion rate has been on a negative decline over the last four games (60.0, 56.0, 52.6, and 48.6). New Orleans sits 24th in the NFL in QB Fantasy defense with five teams passing for 300 or more yards. Five teams have two passing TDs against the Saints. I'm still waiting for the Broncos WRs to come in, but I do feel that Trevor could get hooked if he struggles early. Favorable matchup and he's making bigger plays in the passing. New Orleans only has nine sacks with high risk defending the run.
Trevor is the 29th ranked QB after nine weeks with his only game of value (32.10) coming in Week 2 on the road. His low resume and bump in his WRs salary this week would make him the toughest QB to roster. Here’s a look at Carson Wentz and Jay Cutler:
Wentz threw for a career-high 364 yards last week vs. the Giants, but he failed to throw a TD. Over his last four games, Carson only has two TDs. The Eagles have been forced to pass in the last two games (90 attempts). The Falcons rank last in the NFL in QB defense with six teams passing for three TDs or more. Atlanta allows 304 passing yards per game. On the year, opponents have 32 TDs vs. the Falcons on 97 possessions. Atlanta's top CB Desmond Trufant suffered a shoulder injury last week, and he may not play on Sunday, which is a win for Wentz. Some part of the Eagles' offense will come in this week so let’s call him a deep sleeper.
In his first game back in the starting lineup, Cutler threw for 252 yards and a TD. Over his over 2+ games, Jay only has two passing TDs. On the year, the Bears' QBs average 269 passing yards per game with eight combined passing TDs. Tampa has been killed by the QB position in the last two games (OAK - 513/4 and ATL - 344/4). Overall, QBs gain 294 yards per game vs. the Bucs with 18 passing TDs. Solid ranking this week with 300+ yards and a pair of TDs within reach.
Of the three choices I’ve listed, I’m going to take a shot with Carson Wentz ($5,400). The Falcons can move the ball well with either the run or pass, so the Eagles will need to play well in the passing game.
With the structure of my team, I know I’ll be looking for a WR with a salary in the $6,000 range. I’m going to add Jordan Matthews ($5,900).
Jordan has been more active in the last two games (11/65/1 and 6/88) on 25 targets. His success has been helped the Eagles trailing, which required more passes (91). Wentz only has nine passing TDs over nine games with six going to the WR position. In 2015, Jordan had ten catches for 102 yards on 13 targets against the Falcons. Atlanta has been crushed by WRs in their last three games (15/264, 25/243/4, and 18/225/3). Mathews will have a size advantage over slot CB Brian Poole. Priced in a favorable area with multi-TD upside with better QB. The Falcons should score so the Eagles will need to throw to be competitive in this game.
The Falcons already rules out top CB Desmond Trufant, which will be a win for the Eagles’ passing game.
I’m tempted by Rob Gronkowski ($6,900) this week, but I don’t think I can get him in my starting lineup based on this structure. If I dropped to Le’Veon Bell ($7,700) as my lead back, I would have the room needed to execute my thought process with Gronk in the starting lineup.
Despite missing three games plus a short game in a fourth, Gronk move to 9th in TE scoring in PPR leagues. Over his last four games, Rob has 473 yards with 21 catches and three TDs on 27 targets. His catch rate (73.3) is back in an elite area while gaining an amazing 22.0 yards per catch. His success over the last four games projects to 88 catches for 1936 yards and 12 TDs over a full 16 game schedule. When you consider Gronkowski is averaging 6.8 targets per game over his last four starts, a Fantasy owner can see much more explosiveness in his game when he gets a bump in chances. Seattle has done a nice job defending TEs in 2016 (28/294/1), but they've played eight games against teams with what I would consider subpar talent at TE. The Falcons had the most success (5/85/1). Impact player with big play and scoring ability. Most will shy away as they will fear Seattle' defense, but Gronk will be a big part of the Patriots' game plan this week. Possible shove all-in candidate.
Based on my path, I’m going to roster Jordan Reed ($6,200) at TE.
Reed has 26 catches for 225 yards and three TDs on 34 targets in his last three games to put him back on the upward path. His success over six-game is on pace for 112 catches for 1107 yards and eight TDs in 157 targets. The Vikings sit 13th in the NFL in TE Fantasy defense with no team scoring over 20 Fantasy points from the TE position. TEs have 44 catches for 511 yards on 71 targets while failing to score a TD in eight games. Three teams have produced solid catches and yards vs. Minnesota from the TE position this year (CAR - 7/87, CHI - 9/101, and DET - 7/92). Jordan is the Redskins' top scoring threat in the passing game at the goal line. Minnesota plays well vs. the run, so Reed has a very good chance of landing a TD with solid catches and yards.
I could make a case for Jimmy Graham ($5,300), Travis Kelce ($5,600), and Zach Ertz ($3,700). By rostering Matthews and Sproles, I can’t add Ertz as the Eagles’ offense probably doesn’t offer enough explosiveness to support three players.
Over his last six games, Jimmy has over 100 yards receiving in three games with three TDs. During this stretch, he averages 8.2 targets per game. His success over the last six games projects to 91 catches for 1312 yards and eight TDs on 131 targets, which falls in line with his top two seasons with the Saints. The Patriots are league average vs. the TE position with one team scoring over 20.0 Fantasy points (CLE - 6/93/1). TEs have 41 catches for 396 yards and two TDs on 58 targets vs. New England. In 2013 in his game in New England, Jimmy was shut out on six targets. Price in a favorable area while offering winning upside. The Patriots will try to limit his upside, but game score could always work back in his favor.
After his big game (7/101/1), Kelce reverted to his early season form in Week 9 (5/58 on seven targets). Travis has two games of value in PPR leagues in 2016 (20.90 and 24.90). The Panthers allow the 3rd most Fantasy points to TEs with three teams scoring over 20.0 Fantasy points, which includes one disaster game (8/97/2). Overall, TEs have 40 catches for 559 yards and six TDs on 68 targets vs. Carolina. With Jeremy Maclin expected to miss this week's game, Kelce should be the number one option in the passing game for Kansas City. Favorable matchup with game score being the key to his chances.
The Eagles finally decided to get Ertz involved in the offense in Week 9. He caught all eight of his targets for 97 yards to post his best game in 2016. In his previous four games, Zach only had nine catches for 92 yards on 13 targets. It's almost like Carson Wentz discovered a new toy in the passing game. In 2015, Ertz strung together four strong games to end the year (5/89, 8/78/1, 13/122, and 9/152) so he may be ready to deliver winning value over the next couple of weeks at the TE position. The Falcons have shown risk vs. the TE in three games (10/74/1, 7/109/1, and 8/93/1). They allowed a fourth TD to the TE position in Week 9 (5/43/1). Talent player who played himself into a low salary. Mid-teen points are well within reach with even higher upside if he scores or hits on a long play.
I have $10,900 in salary left to fill my last WR slot plus the Flex and Def positions.
The Cardinals confirmed J.J. Nelson ($4,200) would be the WR2 this week after posting an elite game in Week 8.
Nelson played like Fantasy owners expected Michael Floyd would in multiple games in 2016 in Week 8 against the Panthers. J.J. caught eight of his 12 targets for 79 yards and two TDs. He's had starting snaps (80 and 65) in the last two games. His success should lead to another starting opportunity plus John Brown is banged up, and the jury is still out on the value of Floyd. His price point, matchup, and opportunity point to a value play. The key to his playability will be the injury report on the Cardinals on Sunday. Viable double down while being paired with Carson Palmer.
By playing Nelson, I’m adding a value WR who is expected to have a starting opportunity plus he will give me some insurance if the Cardinals’ passing game goes off leading to Johnson being more steady than explosive.
My last skill player is going to be Cameron Meredith ($4,400). He played great for two games, and it’s almost like Fantasy owners think of him as a fluke as he was back on the waiver wire in the season long games this week.
After two impact games (9/130/1 and 11/113) on 27 targets, Meredith paid back Fantasy owner with two straight bust games (1/12 and 1/24) on four combined targets. He's had WR2 snaps in four straight games even with Eddie Royal healthy. His resume with Jay Cutler is minimal, but Cameron will see favorable coverage on most plays with defenses focusing on Alshon Jeffery. The Bucs have a risk at CB in two positions so Meredith may reemerge in Week 10.
Tampa is 30th in the NFL vs. WRs (107/1463/12 on 175 targets). One of the Bears’ WRs should post a solid score. Meredith has at least been to the penthouse in 2016.
My other low-value WR that I was considering was Marqise Lee ($3,900). He should get a bump in opportunity if Allen Hurns doesn’t play this week.
Lee has a chance to be the WR2 for the Jaguars in Week 10 if Allen Hurns isn't cleared from his concussion. Marqise doesn't have a TD in 2016. In two of his last three games, Lee has shown upside (7/107 and 4/84). Interesting options as his game has a high ceiling with more development, but that means you're playing the part of Bortles.
I’ve painted myself into a corner for my defense, but I knew where I was going. This week the Cardinals’ defense stands out, but it will cost me a drop down at some position. I choose to roster a higher price TE while take a weaker option on defense. I’m going to take a chance on the Jaguars’ defense ($2,300). They don’t create a ton of turnovers (5) or produce many sacks (12). My bet is based more on the failure of Brock Osweiler (nine Ints and 16 sacks).
Here’s a look at my Week 10 Perfect Lineup for DraftKings: