I’ve wondered my way through nine weeks trying to find the Perfect Lineup. For the most part, I’m come up empty way too many times. It’s almost like I have a Mark Reynolds swing path (Major league leader in Ks for a single season – 223). In that same season, Reynold hit 44 HRs, so his empty swing paid off with big dividends when his bat was on the right swing path. This week many will look at my perfect lineup and shake their heads, which make sense based on my success in the recent weeks.
This week I’m going to take the layup at RB by rostering David Johnson (($9,400). He’s playing at a high level with a favorable matchup. Over the last three games, San Fran allowed RBs to gain 809 yards on 127 carries, which led 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 in PPR leagues. 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 GGP events, I’ll use Johnson while also entering some roster without him to create edge if he comes up short.
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 Elliot, 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.
Also, I’ll take the Cardinals’ defense. They’re playing at home with potentially the best matchup of the week. Arizona needs to find their rhythm on both sides of the ball while stringing together some wins. Based on my theory with the defense/kicker combo at FanDuel, I’ll also roster Chandler Catanzaro. I’m hoping for a blowout win with the Cardinals kicking some field goals late.
Le’Veon Bell ($8,100) just seems like a value. He’s due to score, and his salary requires a 25-point game.
Since his first game in 2016 (18/144), Bell has struggled to run the ball (20/66, 10/53, 21/81, and 14/32) while failing to score a TD this season. His best value comes in the passing game (36/283 on 46 targets). Le'Veon averages 23.8 touches per game (20.78 FPPG). The Cowboys rank second in the NFL defending RBs with no RB rushing for more than 90 yards. Overall, the RB position only has two TDs vs. Dallas. The Cowboys allows 4.2 yards per rush with some of their success vs. the run masked by the time of possession. Bell will get his yards with high value in the passing game. He just needs to add TDs to his stat line to match the top RBs in the game. Solid against the grain if you want to fade Johnson.
I do like Darren Sproles ($5,100) this week, but I’d rather play him in a PPR format across the street as his upside falls more in the 20 range where Le’Veon could post over 30 points if the game breaks right.
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 Eagles’ offensive players all seem to be undervalued based on their matchup. This season Atlanta scored 35 TDs while allowing 32. Six teams scored four TDs or more against the Falcons in nine games. They’re on pace to allow 41 passing TDs so I’m going to double stack Carson Wentz ($6,800) with Jordan Matthews ($5,900) and Zach Ertz ($4,600).
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.
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 a better QB. The Falcons should score so the Eagles will need to throw to be competitive in this game.
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.
My Week 10 plan leaves me with a nice $8,600 hole in my roster that is reserved for Antonio Brown. Bell and Brown will be a big part of the Steelers’ offense this week, and the combination of the two should set a high floor with an explosive ceiling.
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.
For my last WR slot, I want a piece of the Broncos’ passing offense. Emmanuel Sanders ($6,900) has the perfect price point for my plan.
Sanders extended his scoreless streak to five games. Over his last five games, Emmanuel has 24 catches for 323 yards with 44 targets. His best two games came on the road (@CIN - 9/117/2 and @TB - 8/88/1). Overall, he averages 9.6 targets per game. This week Sanders gets the 10 percent markup in salary due to facing the Saints. New Orleans is 17th in the league defending WRs (112/1498/4 on 177 targets) with no TDs allowed to the WR position in the last two games. Tempting based on name value in matchup, but New Orleans has the most risk vs. the run and RBs (15 TDs). Emmanuel can’t have a high level of success without better QB play.
Here's a look at the Perfect Lineup at FanDuel: