Fantasy Football is a love/hate relationship. As unlucky as I got in my playoff matchups in season long leagues (a 6-7 team put up 190 against me!) I was very fortunate with last week’s daily picks. The lineup recommended in last week’s volume finished in 11th place out of 200 with 145 points and that was with big money receiver Keenan Allen going down before recording a single catch. Thank you big Mike Williams! This week we have three sets of games to pick from between tonight and two Saturday tilts. New Orleans at Carolina looks like the appealing matchup to stack. Saturday with Baltimore visiting the Chargers and the tailspin Redskins at Tennessee have some names to watch but should be more defensive (or ugly if you’re a Skins fan) contests.
Last Week’s Performance: 144.62 FFP
QB: Drew Brees ($6500)
Maybe I’m a slow learner, but even with Brees and the Saints offense disappointing home-road splits I can’t go in another direction. The Carolina secondary has regularly allowed top 12 QBs and surrendered multiple TD passes in 10 of the last 12. This should be a get right/prove it spot for a team with Super Bowl aspirations, but who have not shown it in road affairs. The other QB options are Phillip Rivers, who is on the war path, but faces one of the best team defenses in the Ravens a team who is dedicated to controlling pace on the ground. Cam Newton is gutting out starts with serious throwing shoulder limitations, Lamar Jackson is not an NFL passer facing a strong Charger D, and Marcus Mariota might not throw the ball more than 20 times. Flacco? Josh Johnson? No.
RB: Alvin Kamara and Derrick Henry ($8000 and $5600)
Maybe it’s my gut, but Alvin Kamara has been due for weeks and has still put up a reasonable floor (which still probably cost people regular season playoffs *cough me*). The Panthers have surrendered rushing TDs in five straight games and Alvin is locked into volume on the ground, in the red zone, and through the air. On the flip side, Derrick Henry has feasted over the last two weeks and those that had the guts to start him were rewarded. In two games Henry has rolled up over 400 yards and 6 touchdowns! This week he gets a Redskins team starting Josh Johnson at QB, an erroding defense, and is in line for a ton of garbage time and clock killing. This is the Henry that the hype train was all aboard before the Titans signed Dion Lewis in the offense. Christian McCaffrey has been a beast and would be a strong option in DFS on volume alone; I opted out with his $9000 price tag and the emergence of the Saints defense.
WR: Michael Thomas, Curtis Samuel, Mike Williams ($8500, $4700, $4600)
Like I prefaced, I am stacking and trusting that the Saints of the first 10 weeks will reemerge. Michael Thomas is in a great spot after breaking back out with 11 grabs last week following a two week lull. He has regularly had Carolina’s number in past matchups and ideally will be moved all over the formation getting a chance to pick on much smaller Captain Munnerlyn. All in on the Saints this week! Samuel, and fellow YAC stud rookie DJ Moore, have turned previous team #1 Devin Funchess into an afterthought. Samuel and Moore are both interesting plays with the coin flip of whom will draw Eli Apple in coverage. Hoping that Samuel, the cheaper option, avoids Marshon Lattimore here. He has established an 80 yard and/or TD floor in 5 of his last 6 games. Mike Williams is admittedly a dart throw, but after his break out against the Chiefs he screams value here. With Keenan Allen going down Big Mike was the driving force for me last week grabbing 7 balls for 2 scores, rushing for another, and that game winning 2pt conversion.
TE: Ian Thomas ($3800)
Greg Olsen’s season ending foot injury was disheartening for fantasy and casual football fans alike, but it opened the door for Thomas to make his case as an everyday TE. This opportunity coupled with Newton’s downfield issues due to injury has made Thomas a TE1 option and he responded catching 9 of 11 targets for 77 yards last week. If you’ve followed the TE wasteland all season you would be thrilled to have that line! If Cam is forced to continue checking down Thomas should at least be a floor play in this full PPR format.
Flex Options: Gus Edwards/Kenneth Dixon, Mark Ingram, Justin Jackson, Willie Snead/John Brown ($5300 or less)
Depending on the previous picks there are a lot of options and flexing Ingram could pay off, but he has been more of a touchdown dependent mid-volume play with the slow down of the Saints. With the lineup above, I am narrowed down to the remaining options and will be rolling with the Gus Bus. With the Ravens emphasis on ball control and defense to win games Edwards has locked onto 16+ carries weekly. Even with the return of Kenneth Dixon I expect a steady diet of Gus in an attempt to keep the Chargers offense off the field. If you expect the Chargers to jump out early then Dixon is a solid play as a more versatile back with checkdown appeal due to Lamar Jackson’s downfield limitations. Snead and Brown are mostly afterthoughts at this point, but have both flashed at times this year. Justin Jackson would be a play if not for the expected return of Melvin Gordon – I expect a timeshare in a Charger’s win to protect Gordon with an eye on the playoffs.
Defense: Titans ($3200)
Don’t overthink this; spring for the more expensive defense. The Titans defense has been strong lately shutting out the Giants and limiting the Jags to 9 points. In a spot against Josh Johnson and a lack of Redskins playmakers this is as good a spot of any to trust a defense.