DFS Football, Week 8: Dez Bryant and the Cowboys loom as top daily plays

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Yesterday, I explained the appeal of utilizing Vegas predictions in evaluating fantasy options.  And those Vegas signs point toward Dez Bryant piling big-time points on the hapless Washington secondary.

FanDuel Plays/Fades

by Justin Howe, DFS Editor/Content Manager

QUARTERBACK

High-Dollar Boys

It’s hard to expect anything less than a stellar output from Tony Romo (vWAS, $8,200).  He looks rejuvenated and near full health, averaging 279 yards over his last four games.  And he draws a Washington defense that hasn’t held a good passing game below 250 yards all year.  The Cowboys are projected to score very highly, and as I explained yesterday, that’s a factor you should be tracking.  I don’t love the value plays at QB this week, so Romo is in most of my entries.

The Falcons’ offensive line is in sorry, sorry shape; even ultra-polished rookie Jake Matthews looks like sheer garbage right now.  As a result, fade candidate Matt Ryan (vDET, $8,100) is struggling to move the football in any form or fashion – they’re cranking out just 13.3 points/game over their last three.  Even at home, a ferocious pass rush like Detroit’s spells doom for a semi-expensive option like Ryan.

From the Value Pool

Kyle Orton (@NYJ, $7,200) – Don’t look now, but Orton has thrown for 283 yards or more in all thee starts thus far.  He’s averaging 16.8 FanDuel points/start.  That’s bound to regress, of course, but it shouldn’t happen this week against a Jet defense that’s coughed up a pitiful 18:1 TD:INT ratio.  Granted, they’ve faced a murderer’s row of QBs thus far, but Orton looks like a solid top-tier QB2 bet despite FanDuel’s #21 salary ranking.

Cheaper than Dirt

Teddy Bridgewater (@TB, $5,400) – Don’t ask me why this guy costs less on FanDuel than Matt Schaub, but he does.  And this week he faces a historically bad Tampa secondary – over their last four matchups, they’ve let QBs throw for an average of 319.3 yards, with a 13:3 TD:INT ratio.  Yeesh.  Even the struggling Bridgewater looks likely to post solid QB2 (or better) numbers this week.  And he costs less than Derek Anderson.

RUNNING BACK

High-Dollar Boys

It’s not a cheap pick, nor a creative one, but DeMarco Murray (vWAS, $9,600) looks like the top scorer for the week.  Though Washington has corralled their last two opponents’ run game, neither fielded an impressive unit, and the league’s best offensive line shouldn’t have trouble blowing open holes.  The Cowboys will likely tee off on Colt McCoy, leading to short drives and turnovers – and plenty of scoring opportunities.  And garbage time looks likely Monday night.

Once again, I’m going to tell you to fade Giovani Bernard (vBAL, $8,600).  Not only is he not running the ball well or catching many passes, the matchup and timing just couldn’t be worse.  The Ravens are allowing just 3.7 YPC – seventh-best in the NFL – and have only allowed one team to run for 100+ yards all season.  And the Cincy passing game is scaring nobody right now.  The Ravens will load up against Bernard and Jeremy Hill; I don’t foresee Gio topping 60 yards.

From the Value Pool

Joique Bell (@ATL, $7,300) – He’s not running well – just 3.3 YPC on the year – but he’s the clear lead back over the hobbled Reggie Bush, and this is a juicy matchup.  The Falcons have allowed 103+ rushing yards in every game except their blowout of the Bucs.  And their downward trend as a team in general suggests plenty of long Lion drives.

Anthony Dixon (@NYJ, $5,900) – Dixon is no spectacular talent, but he looks likely to take the lion’s share of touches over Bryce Brown in the short term.  He’s the superior inside runner and will likely take most, if not all, reps near the goal line.  This is a volume- and TD-dependent play, but a cheap one that looks likely to take some cracks at the goal line.

 

(photo: Zimbio.com)

(photo: Zimbio.com)

Jerick McKinnon (@TB, $5,800) – I don’t generally like to promote so many road picks, but McKinnon’s situation week couldn’t have been better.  First, he again out-touched Matt Asiata by a healthy margin last Sunday.  Then he was singled out for praise by head coach Mike Zimmer, who noted his improvement in the pass game.  Finally, he draws the Bucs this week, and they’ve coughed up 140+ ground yards in three of their last four games.  There’s no telling why he’s so cheap, but he’s one hell of a value play.

Cheaper than Dirt

Brandon Bolden (vCHI, $4,500) – Let’s try this again.  Obviously a boom-or-bust guy who busted HARD last week, Bolden has another shot to establish himself as the ball-control guy in New England.  He’s not a recommended play until he proves he’s part of the running game, but if you’re packing your lineup with ultra-studs, Bolden makes for a sexy dice roll at the minimum salary.

WIDE RECEIVER

High-Dollar Boys

In a matchup that looks criminally slanted, Dez Bryant (vWAS, $8,800) looks like a studly play.  Washington CBs have been abused all year, so whomever works in front of Bryant is likely in for a rough night.  Tony Romo is getting healthy and hitting his stride, and it’s showing in Bryant’s performance – he’s averaging a 7-100 line over his last three games, and the Cowboys look forward to gobs of scoring chances against a pathetic Washington defense.

I’m shying a bit from Antonio Brown (vIND, $8,700) this week.  His 5-50 streak is nothing to turn up your nose at; he’s got as high a fantasy floor as any WR in football.  But the Colts have been shockingly stingy against the pass, allowing just 214 yards/game and only eight TDs through seven games.  I’m not going to tell you to avoid Brown, but this game looks likely to serve as one of his season lows.

From the Value Pool

Golden Tate (@ATL, $7,500) – Tate looks like a no-brainer play with Megatron likely out against an atrocious Atlanta secondary.  He’s proving himself tremendously as a fantastic free agent pickup, and while he was a solid WR3 with Calvin in the lineup, he’s simply exploded as Matthew Stafford’s top target.  Since Johnson’s injury, he’s averaging an 8-112-0.5 line.  He shouldn’t be this affordable, but he is, so take the plunge.

Doug Baldwin (@CAR, $6,800) – Last week’s explosion (7-123-1 on 11 targets) won’t happen every week.  But the Panthers’ secondary is an overwhelming weakness, as WRs have taken turns manhandling their corners all year.  With Percy Harvin gone, Seattle’s passing game should be more streamlined, and Baldwin is by far their most-utilized WR.  He could very well approach last week’s totals.

Andrew Hawkins (vOAK, $6,000) – Hawkins had slumped for two weeks after a solid PPR start; he got back on track against Jacksonville and looks poised to take advantage of another juicy matchup.  The Raiders’ Carlos Rogers has been abused in the slot, allowing an 82.1 reception percentage and 6.7 YAC/reception.  Hawkins looks likely to put together another 7-90 type of game – not bad production from a guy costing less than Dwayne Bowe and Robert Woods.

Cheaper than Dirt

Donte Moncrief (@PIT, $5,100) – Oh, the talent.  Oh, the potential.  Moncrief tested at this year’s combine as one of the most explosive college wideouts of the past decade – and he’s flashed that ability already, most notably with a 4-55 line in Jacksonville last month.  With Reggie Wayne likely to miss this week’s game, Moncrief is likely to steal plenty of looks from washed-out next-man-up Hakeem Nicks.  I could see a big play or two justifying this dirt-cheap gamble.  Oh, the upside.

TIGHT END

High-Dollar Boys

The Bears aren’t defending any pass catchers very well, and TEs are averaging 63 yards and half a TD against them.  Those numbers represent the floor for top buy Rob Gronkowski (vCHI, $7,200) this week.  He’s fully healthy and the centerpoint of the Pats’ passing game, so spend away.

The savvy DFS player will be offended by FanDuel’s outrageous pricing of Gavin Escobar (vWAS, $5,900) and fade him accordingly.  This is a guy with just nine targets all year; do his three TDs truly stoke your curiosity enough to pay more for him than for Travis Kelce or Delanie Walker?  Touchdown-chasing is a perfectly acceptable strategy at TE, but without the floor of a Kelce or Antonio Gates, you’re just asking for disappointment.  Escobar’s (very realistic) floor is a 0-0 line.

From the Value Pool

Jimmy Graham (vGB, $7,000) – Yes, he’s playing limited snaps, and yes, this is a lot of coin to gamble on a guy expected play south of 45 snaps.  But it’s a solid price tag for such upside.  Graham will likely play on most, if not all, passing downs, and please recall that last season he caught two scores in Week Eight in a similarly limited role.  Amazingly, the Packers have yet to allow a TD to TE thus far, but this game looks like an absolute shootout with countless scoring opportunities for Graham.  A 4-50-1 line would justify this investment, and that’s well within reach.

Zach Ertz (@ARI, $5,400) – Here’s a Gronkian stud with gobs of TD upside on any given week, though his low target numbers – just 5.2/game – make him a weekly dice roll.  But a matchup with the Cardinals makes for a great gamble – they allow an average of 69 yards and half a TD to opposing TEs.

Cheaper than Dirt

Jordan Reed (@DAL, $5,200) – The Cowboys’ Cinderella start hasn’t extended to defending the TE – they allow 77 yards and a TD/game to the position.  Reed is healthy (for the

(photo: Bleacher Report)

(photo: Bleacher Report)

moment) and has been on a bit of a tear in his return from injury, with a 13-146 line over the past two games.  It’s also encouraging to note that he’s seen a red zone target in each game.

KICKER

Shaun Suisham (vIND, $4,700) – As always, I’m going to steer you to the cheap end of the spectrum.  Only three kickers cost less than Suisham, who frequently has to bail out the Steelers’ shaky red zone offense.

Matt Prater (@ATL, $4,500) – Hard to beat a strong-legged kicker in a dome shootout.  Prater should have his sea legs by now, and this matchup is far too tasty for FanDuel’s cheapest kicker.  Take the plunge.

DEFENSE

Buffalo (@NYJ, $5,300) – They’ll cost you this week, but the matchup is remarkable.  The Jets will have to throw against the stingy Buffalo defense, and Geno Smith’s turnover tendencies should be on full display.  I foresee some scoring in this game, but enough sacks and turnover opportunities to make the Bills a top-tier play.

Dallas (vWAS, $4,700) – The Cowboy defense is shaky, but is likely to face Colt McCoy at home this Monday.  Enough said.  Even if sacks are hard to come by, this is one of the rare times I’m going to tell you to chase turnovers and a low scoring allowance.

EXPERT ROSTERS

dfs8

dfs8-2

DraftKings Plays/Fades

by Mitch Jahnke, DFS Staff Writer

QUARTERBACK

High-Dollar Boys

I don’t think it matters whom Aaron Rodgers (@NO, $9,000) plays at this point in time.  The guy is just lighting up fantasy scoreboards and you have to put him in your lineups.  The Packers barely have a run game at the moment; Eddie Lacy is doing fine, but this is Rodgers’ team.  Expect very big numbers this week for Mr. Rodgers against the Saints, who are giving up massive numbers to opposing quarterbacks.

One quarterback I am not playing this week is Jay Cutler (@NE, $7,000).  Something just isn’t clicking right now with the Bear passing game, and that scares me away from anyone involved except for Matt Forte.  Also, the Patriot pass defense isn’t a joke.  I expect the offensive troubles to continue for the Bears, and they will lean on the run game this week.

From the Value Pool

Ryan Tannehill (@JAX, $6,700) – Something has finally clicked for Tannehill, and his connections with Jarvis Landry and Mike Wallace is quite the unique one.  This week, he gets to face one of the worst pass defenses in the league and should put up big numbers for the price you are paying.

Carson Palmer (vPHI, $6,500) – Every week, Palmer puts up great numbers and continues to get healthier.  This game should be very high-scoring and I expect the Cardinal passing game to fly high this week.  I don’t expect there to be many punts, if any, during this game.  Enjoy watching the scoreboard light up.

Cheaper than Dirt

Teddy Bridgewater (@TB, $5,100) – This might be the rookie’s coming out party, and the price for this guy is too hard to pass up.  The Buccaneers’ team is in shambles and I can see Bridgewater putting up really big numbers for his price.  If you are willing to take the risk on the cheap cost, then take your chance with the Viking QB.

RUNNING BACK

High-Dollar Boys

The Seattle Seahawks are reeling right now and I think they get back to what they do best, and that’s running the ball with Marshawn Lynch (@CAR, $7,100).  Carolina is the second-worst defense against the run and Seattle should take advantage of that.  The Seahawks need to get back to smashmouth football, and I think that starts this weekend.  Lynch should see a high number of carries and your lineup will reap the benefits.

I’m fading on LeSean McCoy (@ARI $5,800).  People keep expecting him to have a bounce-back game, but I just don’t see it happening this year, and definitely not against the league’s best run defense.  Stay far away from McCoy this week; I know I am.

From the Value Pool

Le’Veon Bell (v IND, $6,300) – Somehow, this guy is still relatively cheap, and he has been putting up top-five numbers all year long.

Lamar Miller (@JAX, $6,000) – The lucky running back that gets to face one of the league’s worst defenses against the run is Miller.  He has been so solid this year that he is averaging 16 fantasy points per game.  I think he easily puts up 20 this week, maybe more depending on how the game flow goes.

 

(photo: Bleacher Report)

(photo: Bleacher Report)

Ahmad Bradshaw (@PIT, $5,900) – With no Trent Richardson around,this will be Bradshaw’s coming-out party.  He will get his normal touches, along with the passes out of the backfield that he normally sees.  He will also get all of the goal line carries as a feature back this week.  Take the good price and play Bradshaw.

Cheaper than Dirt

Jerick McKinnon (@TB, $4,900) – The Vikings have finally given the reins to their rookie running back, and he should show off his talents against the Buccaneers.  If you feel like spending cheaply on a running back this week, McKinnon is your guy.

WIDE RECEIVER

High-Dollar Boys

I think Dez Bryant (v WAS, $6,900) has a big game on Monday night. Coming off his huge second half versus the Giants last week, he will continue to be the dominant force that he is against his division rival.  The Redskins have a pretty good run defense and a really bad pass defense, so I think the Cowboys will take advantage of that and utilize Bryant all night long.  You will see Dez throwing up the “X” plenty.

As I said before, I am staying far, far away from the Bear passing game this week. Brandon Marshall (@NE, $6,100) and Alshon Jeffrey (@NE, $6,000) are too rich for my blood when there are many more better plays this week.  If had to play one of these two, I think I would lean Jeffrey.

From the Value Pool

Sammy Watkins (@NYJ, $5,700) – Can you say rookie sensation?  I sure can and will be playing the rookie this week as he gets to go against the Jets.  Kyle Orton has been

(photo: RotoProfessor.com)

(photo: RotoProfessor.com)

looking for Watkins since he took over the starting job, and really, Watkins is the only threat the Bills have in the offense – especially with C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson on the shelf.

Michael Floyd (vPHI, $4,900) – He’s finally got his quarterback, and Floyd is clearly the number one in a pass-happy offense.  The Cardinals face the Eagles this week, and as I said before, this game should be high-scoring from the get-go.  Pay the ridiculously cheap price and get Floyd into your lineups.

Terrance Williams (v WAS, $4,700) – The guy just finds a way into the end zone just about every week.  So if you don’t want to pay the high bucks for Bryant, then feel good in paying a great price and getting Williams.

Cheaper than Dirt

Jordan Matthews (@ARI, $3,800) – This game should be a shootout, but you just don’t know which Eagle wide receiver will garner the glory.  If I taking an Eagle wideout, I’m going with the cheap option in Matthews.

Davante Adams (@NO, $3,500) – He finally got into the end zone last week and I think that trend continues upwards.  The Packer offense has been known to be able to handle three relevant fantasy wide receivers.  I am playing Adams in multiple lineups this week as I expect Aaron Rodgersto use his rookie toy a lot.

TIGHT END

High-Dollar Boys

I don’t normally spend big bucks on tight ends, but if I had to play one of the high-dollar guys this week, it would have to be Greg Olsen (v SEA, $5,500).  He is still Cam Newton’sfavorite target and gets catches every game – and usually gets into the end zone.

I’m staying away from Martellus Bennett (@NE, $5,200) this week.  The Bear passing game is in shambles and I want nothing to do with Bennett.

From the Value Pool

Jordan Reed (@DAL, $4,000) – He is finally fully healthy and is coming into form. Also, whoever is playing QB for the Redskins will be looking for their security blanket in Reed.  He also gets to face a Cowboy defense that has given up a ton of points to opposing tight ends.

Dwayne Allen (@PIT, $3,900) – He and Andrew Luckare starting to develop a very good connection and the Colts are a very pass-happy team this year.  He has a great matchup and his price is quite favorable.

Cheaper than Dirt

Jace Amaro (v BUF, $3,400) – I think that, with the addition of Percy Harvin,the middle of the field should open up for Amaro to run free and gather multiple catches – maybe even a touchdown.  If you need a cheap tight end, your best bet is Amaro.

DEFENSE

Miami (@JAX, $3,300) – The Dolphins get to face the Jaguars this week, and their defense is one of the best at causing turnovers and getting to the QB for sacks.  Expect double-digit points this week.

Minnesota (@TB, $2,600) – I love going cheap on defenses, and the Vikings should get after Mike Glennon early and often.  This defense won’t blow up the scoreboard, but they will still put up decent numbers this week.

 

Lead photo: “Dez Bryant” by AJ Guel is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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