The Hail Mary (NFL DFS): Week 5 WEEKEND UPDATE October 10, 2015  |  Doug Shain

The Huddle – Opening Statement

Welcome to the WEEKEND UPDATE for Week 5. Anything new will be in bolded italics. Don’t forget to look at the end of each section to see which guys I’ll be playing this week.

We are a quarter of the way through the NFL season and that’s as good a time as any to take a moment to break out a tool I use in the classroom with my 4th graders, a KWL chart. For those of you who aren’t teachers like me (so, most of you) a KWL chart stands for What I KNOW, what I WANT TO KNOW, what I LEARNED. I’m going to fill in this chart as a Quarter Year NFL DFS review. I will keep this KWL limited to actual NFL DFS, not insider trading or how people don’t understand the concept of an advertisement. You can go check out my Twitter history (@bankster17) to get my thoughts on the hot DFS debates of the week.

Targets = $$ (I’m looking at you DeAndre, Maclin, and Julio…thanks). Are Keenan Allen and Donte Moncrief for real? Is Calvin Johnson done? Is Tavon Austin a real NFL WR now? Leonard Hankerson is clearly the #2 WR on ATL right now and is a great value play while you can get him.
You can’t really go wrong with a big name QB that still plays like a big name QB (Brady, Rodgers, Ryan, Cam). Will the Titans ever let Mariota run?   How bad is Matthew Stafford?   When will Cleveland wise up and let Johnny Football run the show? Tyrod Taylor isn’t going anywhere.   Top 12 QB play going forward.
Gronk is worth every fantasy dollar you spend on him. Can Antonio Gates, Delanie Walker, and Charles Clay ascend into the top tier of TE? Play your TE against the Raiders.
Kickers are stupid and if you try to figure out which one will have a good game you’ve wasted your time. Will the Texans and Bills defenses become what we hoped they would be before the season started? Denver is the best defense in the NFL for fantasy purposes.
Being part of the 2% ownership of a guy who blows up is a good thing. Is Arian Foster ready? How about Gurley? Will DEN/DAL/SD please pick a guy and give him some carries? You can win a GPP with a guy who is 50% owned (if you surround him with the right lineup).

To take a look at a list of “musts” when building my GPP lineup, click here. Best of luck this week!


The Depth Chart – The Plays of the Week

I’m going to list 3 groups of players for each position (except K). These groups are going to be PUBLIC plays, EXPERT plays, and HuLo plays. For an explanation of what those plays mean, click here. They are not ranked in any order. I’ll give a little analysis after each position section, but I won’t necessarily give a narrative about each player.


Public Plays Expert Plays HuLo Plays
Aaron Rodgers – GB Philip Rivers – SD Tyrod Taylor – BUF
Tom Brady – NE Michael Vick – PIT Marcus Mariota – TEN
Matt Ryan – ATL Jay Cutler – CHI Alex Smith – KC
Peyton Manning – DEN Sam Bradford – PHI Joe Flacco – BAL
Drew Brees – NO Russell Wilson – SEA


– I don’t really hate any of the Public QB plays this week, though I do think Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers are playing at a different level right now. If I’m paying up at QB those are the guys I want. There’s nothing wrong with Brees, Ryan, or Manning but if I’m going to pivot off the top two guys there are a few other plays that I think make some more sense.

– I will have other players listed in the “my guys” section, but I’m pretty much sticking to 3 QB’s this week: Rivers, Ryan, and Brady. I know they’ll be pretty widely owned but sometimes it’s best to just take the guys that will score the most points and worry about ownership at other positions.

– Those plays are Philip Rivers and Jay Cutler (if healthy). Both have amazing matchups and are underpriced (especially Rivers). As of right now Rivers is at worst my #2 QB (behind Brady) but could move up by the time I write my WEEKEND UPDATE. A lot of people are going to try out Vick against a weak SD defense that just gave up 350+ yards to Josh McCown but I think that’s a mistake. Vick just isn’t that good.

– If you only read Twitter and listen to SXM Fantasy you’d think Bradford would be 100% owned. I know the matchup is good, but what has Bradford done this year to earn our trust? I’m staying away.

– I think after his down performance against the Giants this past week we are going to see a slight ownership dip for Tyrod Taylor. If people watched the game they would have seen that he actually played pretty well but had some plays called back by penalty (including a 30 yard TD to Clay that really stung when it got reversed). If the Titans ever let Mariota run they’d actually get to see the player they drafted. He’ll be very good once that happens and it would help his fantasy value a lot. This first game after the bye could be the week the coaching staff unleashes him. Of the rest of the HuLo plays, I like Alex Smith the most in a good matchup against a weak Bears D.

My guys: Matt Ryan, Philip Rivers, Tom Brady, Alex Smith, joe Flacco, Jay Cutler, Drew Brees



Public Plays Expert Plays HuLo Plays
Jamaal Charles – KC Justin Forsett – BAL Matt Forte – CHI
Le’Veon Bell – PIT Arian Foster – HOU Mark Ingram – NO
Devonta Freeman – ATL Boobie Dixon – BUF Jeremy Hill – CIN
Todd Gurley – STL Danny Woodhead – SD Doug Martin – TB
CJ Spiller – NO Ronnie Hillman – DEN TJ Yeldon – JAX
Dion Lewis – NE
Chris Thompson – WSH
Carlos Hyde – SF

– After back to back 3 TD weeks, yet still being priced like a low end #2, Devonta Freeman is a very public play. I will continue to mostly fade him with an expected jump in his ownership levels. Charles and Bell continue to give you a solid base to your lineup even when they don’t get 120 yards rushing. Their ability to catch passes out of the backfield, and a nose for the end zone, give them a very high floor. Todd Gurley is the shiny new toy that’s ready to blow up (in a good way). I love his price and I love his sneaky good matchup. That ownership level could be outrageous this week, so much so that I’m backing off Gurley just a tad to differentiate little bit. I still love him, but if I can get Carlos Hyde into some of my lineups (it’s not like the Giants have a great D) I’m going to go ahead and do that.

– I am finding that in most of my lineups I am having to make a decision between Charles and Maclin. I don’t like playing a RB/WR from the same team so I can’t have both. I’ve gone about 50/50 depending on the rest of my lineup construction (if I already have a big back then I’ll go with Maclin, if I need an anchor at RB I’ll go with Charles). I think both have really big weeks.

– CJ Spiller is a complete fantasy fraud. If it wasn’t for that last play he wouldn’t even be worth talking about, yet here he is with a section all to himself. People so badly want for Spiller to be good that they are going to hang their hat on that one catch and run and put him in their lineups. Even if he’s 4% owned that’s 4% too much.

-.Forsett has a great matchup against an awful Browns defense. I wish he didn’t have such a good game last week because now I think his ownership is going to be pretty high. Speaking of high ownership, Boobie Dixon might be the most highly owned player this week if Karlos Williams doesn’t pass the concussion protocol. The Bills face a weak Titans D and Boobie is cheap. Just know that you’re getting a guy that started the year 3rd on the depth chart. With word now that Shady and Williams are out it’s time to officially jump on the Boobie train. I’m still not totally sold on him but you really only need about 30 yards and TD to make him worth your while. He gives you such roster flexibility and there are no other RB close to his price point with his upside. I’m buying in. I don’t normally play Thursday guys but Arian Foster is definitely in play. He’s up against a weak run D, he should be fresh after only getting a handful of snaps once last week’s game became a blowout, and this was the game the Texans were preparing him for all along. Danny Woodhead in a full PPR might really pay off against the Steelers.

– My favorite HuLo plays this week are Matt Forte (still think people are avoiding him) and Dion Lewis (really high floor relative to price). Forte is one of my anchor players this week and is in a ton of lineups (both cash and GPP). With all the WR injured the Bears are going to rely heavily on Forte in the passing again against one of the worst secondaries in the league. His price is a full step down from Charles and Bell and I’m not sure Forte won’t outscore both. Jeremy Hill is TD dependent and plays the Seahawks, but if he gets in the end zone you should be one of the only people to have him on your roster. Yeldon and Martin are facing each other’s weak defenses and both had great games last week. If momentum means anything then these are two sneaky plays that can give you some cap relief.

– I love the Atlanta D this week but the one area they struggle is against pass catching RB. Chris Thompson is exactly that and he’s starting to carve out a niche in the Redskins offense. I don’t foresee a huge game but at his price you don’t need one. If he gets 4 or 5 catches he could be a worthy FLEX play in a PPR league.

My guys: Justin Forsett, Todd Gurley, LeVeon Bell, Matt Forte, Jamaal Charles, Carlos Hyde, Boobie Dixon, Doug Martin



I don’t care that all of the Public plays bombed last week, almost all of them are on my radar again this week. The only one I’m actively avoiding is Calving Johnson. I think he might be toast.– I’m all in on a Matt Ryan/Julio Jones stack this week. It’ll cost you, but if you throw in some Boobie and a value WR or TE you’ll be able to make it work.– I’ll be all over the Expert plays this week. I’ve been writing and Tweeting about it a lot lately but targets = dollars and these guys get a ton of them. Hopkins should be a machine on Thursday with almost all of the Texans WR injured; the same thing for Allen in SD. If Garcon plays this week (he’s Q right now) he’s a good guy to get since he’s cheap and Cousins has finally figured out how to use him correctly. It would appear that it’s Allen Hurns, not Allen Robinson, who is the favorite target of Blake Bortles. Of course with Hurns hurt it could be ARob who has the big week. It would also appear I was wrong last week on Hankerson and that he is a viable fantasy play. He’ll be in a LOT of my lineups this week with his price still down in WR4 territory.– Pierre Garcon appears to be good to go this week (still keep an eye out to be sure) and he could get double digit receptions as Washington plays catch up. Look at what DeAndre Hopkins did against ATL, subtract something because Garcon isn’t as good as Nuk, and that’s about what you’ll get from him this week (think 7-90). If Garcon can’t go then Jamison Crowder becomes a very interesting play.– While I don’t love Bradford this week it can’t be denied that the Eagles have a great matchup. Even if Slinging Sam doesn’t have a great game he can still get the ball into Matthews hands a half dozen times. – I can see Sanders stealing some targets away from Daniels as Manning will move him around the formation to get a competitive advantage against Oakland’s LB corps. Sneak good play here.– If you want to go super HuLo this week then fade Keenan Allen and pair Rivers with Dontrelle Inman. I know Gates is coming back but Rivers needs a deep threat with Malcolm Floyd injured. If Inman starts opposite Allen this week I can see him getting long for a few shots. He won’t go 8-120 or anything but if he goes 3-70-1 you’re going to be really happy. Another long shot I like is Willie Snead. The Saints seem to like the kid and he’s been what we hoped Brandon Coleman would be. WRONG! Apparently Snead was compared to Lance Moore this week. I stand corrected. Still a good play.– Nobody is talking about Mike Evans. This feels like one of those 4-120-2 type of weeks for him. No guarantees, but I’d get him in at least 1 secondary lineup just in case.– Two of my favorite plays this week are Maclin and Edelman. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this or not but targets = $$$. Both should see 10+ targets. If they get into the end zone they go from good play to GPP winning play.My guys: Julio Jones, Jeremy Maclin, Julian Edelman, Emmanuel Sanders, Mike Evans, Keenan Allen, Leonard Hankerson (in non-Julio lineups)TE


– Gronk gonna Gronk.- Charles Clay is quickly becoming one of the more reliable fantasy TE. Tyrod loves him and Clay is a lot more dynamic than I thought. I knew he was a good red zone target but he has some speed and can get open down the seam and make big plays. He’s still priced a few steps below the Graham/Kelce duo which means he’s a good value for you.– Bennett could be in line for a big game with Royal/Jeffery both out and facing a poor KC passing D.– Owen Daniels faces the Raiders. Always start your TE against the Raiders (though there is a little fear that Manning will move Sanders around the formation so he’s the one that gets the mismatch). Peyton Manning is keenly aware of this plus matchup for his TE. Look for him to take a few shots down the seam in this game.– I’m not sure people are aware that Antonio Gates is coming back this week. Ladarius Green has played really well but I just know that Rivers is going to want to get his security blanket back into the flow of things right away. 5-60-1 sound good to you? I’m playing him everywhere. Love a Rivers-Gates stack.My guys: Rob Gronkowski, Martellus Bennett, Owen Daniels, Antonio Gates


– Denver is the best defense in football and are about as safe as it gets. They’re still not priced too badly so you can roll them out with little worry.- Atlanta has played awesome at home this year and they get a mistake-prone Redskins this week. They are among my top plays for the week.- A real sneaky defense this week could be the Jags (better on D than you realize) against Jameis Winston. Winston could have a big game but still throw 3 INT. The Jags should be able to get to him in the pocket as well. As one of the cheapest defenses on the board they are the ultimate HuLo play for this position.– The Giants D isn’t good. The SF offense is worse. A cheap HuLo play that’ll keep you invested in the Sunday night game.My guys: Atlanta Falcons, Denver Broncos, Jacksonville JaguarsCheck out the Fake Football Cheat Sheets for my sample lineups. I do the Fantasy Aces section but the process of selecting the lineups is the same on all the sites. Follow me on Twitter @bankster17 and good luck with your Hail Mary!

Public Plays Expert Plays HuLo Plays
Julio Jones – ATL DeAndre Hopkins – HOU Jeremy Maclin – KC
Odell Beckham – NYG Keenan Allen – SD Julian Edelman – NE
Antonio Brown – PIT Pierre Garcon – WSH/Jamison Crowder – WSH Mike Evans – TB
Demaryius Thomas – DEN Allen Hurns – JAX Amari Cooper – OAK
AJ Green – CIN Leonard Hankerson – ATL Donte Moncrief – IND
Calvin Johnson – DET Tavon Austin – STL Willie Sneed – NO
Jordan Matthews – PHI Dontrelle Inman – SD
Emmanuel Sanders – DEN Allen Robinson – JAX
Public Plays Expert Plays HuLo Plays
Rob Gronkowski – NE Charles Clay – BUF Antonio Gates – SD
Jimmy Graham – SEA Gary Barnidge – CLE Delanie Walker – TEN
Martellus Bennett – CHI Owen Daniels – DEN Richard Rodgers – GB
Seattle Seahawks Houston Texans Kansas City Chiefs
Arizona Cardinals Buffalo Bills Green Bay Packers
New England Patriots Atlanta Falcons Jacksonville Jaguars
Denver Broncos New York Giants

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