The Hail Mary (NFL HuLo GPP Plays): Week 1 WEEKEND EDITION
September 8, 2017 | Doug Shain
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The Huddle – Opening Statement (I will try to keep this relatively short most weeks, but this week we’ll go a little longer)
Welcome to the 2017 Hail Mary for Week 1. For those of you who read this article last year or any of my stuff on The Fake Hockey and The Fake Baseball you’re going to find this article very familiar. For those of you who are new please allow me to take a moment to explain where I’m coming from and what you’re going to see in this article.
First and foremost I’m mostly a GPP player and that’s who this article is mostly designed to help. I write for players like me – the guy or gal who enters a single bullet in a couple of low limit GPP’s each week; the casual DFS player. This group of players probably makes up a much larger percentage of the DFS community than you think. If you are a cash game player or a high buy-in/high volume/multi-entry GPP player you should still read this because it’ll give you an everyman perspective that you might not get in other articles (there are plenty of those on this site and I urge you to read them as well because they are fantastic).
Be advised that playing a single bullet in a large field GPP is a very volatile game and you’re going to lose more often than you win. That’s a fact and it’s something you have to know before you start playing. Due to the volatility of this game I’m going to try to give you plays that can help you zoom to the top of your GPP leaderboard. These plays are very boom or bust, so please know that going in.
One way that I like to separate from the field is by trying to anticipate ownership rates of certain players. Over the course of the year I’ll get into this more deeply, but just know for now that all things being equal (and even in some cases when it’s not), I’m going to recommend the player that’s going to have a lower ownership rate.
In my mind there are two groups of people who play in large field GPP’s that dictate ownership percentages. One group is the true amateurs who are just going to play for fun and not put too much time into making optimal lineups. We’re going to call them “MOST PEOPLE” – they’ll be referred to as Public Players (or Casual Players). Most people don’t do the DFS thing for a living or for higher stakes and they are going to play players they know and like. They’re not going to dig deep and look for Jacquizz Rodgers and Ted Ginn (yes, that’s digging deep for MOST PEOPLE). They are going to target very well-known players like Aaron Rodgers, Antonio Brown, and David Johnson. These well-known players aren’t going to change much and should have a fairly high ownership every single week regardless of matchup.
One thing to note, the general population is starting to get a lot smarter with DFS but that can lead to them outthinking themselves and leaving some obvious plays as potential value plays. One example of this was last year in Week 16 when, after being terrible all year, Todd Gurley was the chalk against a terrible 49ers defense. That left David Johnson, with a seemingly tough matchup against Seattle, as a guy who ended up with a severely low ownership. Gurley was ok against SF (87 total yards and a TD), while David Johnson was one of the three highest scoring RB that week (136 total yards and 3 TD) and won people GPP’s. I’ll try my best to identify these types of instances (which I did that week) so you can exploit them to your benefit.
The other group of players that play in large field GPP’s are people who follow every fantasy expert on Twitter, watch all the fantasy shows on TV, and are up to date on all the big “sleepers” (there is no such thing anymore as sleepers). We will refer to these players as DFS EXPERTS. They are hip to the ins and outs of DFS, they are well-informed, and they are going to win by playing their big sleepers like Zay Jones. What’s that you say? Everyone who’s ever read anything about fantasy knows that Jones is cheap, is in a great situation, and has a good matchup in Week 1? No kidding, and he’s going to be a really highly owned punt play at WR. Like I said, there are no sleepers.
My goal is to try to find players that don’t fit either of these two categories. I want to find guys that’ll be low owned and could have a good game (I call them HuLo players – High Upside, Low Ownership). These players tend to either be “boring” veterans, very risky plays, or players who are overshadowed by bigger names on their teams. For example, I don’t think there’s going to be a lot of people who are talking about Carson Palmer for Week 1. I think he could be a part of a GPP-winning team. Do I think he will be the highest scoring QB in Week 1? No, I think that’ll be Cam Newton, but I do think he can return significant value because he has a loaded WR corps and is priced in such a way that you can field a winning lineup with him as your QB. Fantasy is all about you finding the value that your opponents didn’t.
I have some “musts” when I set my GPP lineups. I’ll highlight those as I go through the explanation of how I built my teams.
– It is a must that I get a QB that is going to throw a lot when building my GPP teams.
– It is a must that I get RB that are guaranteed touches when building my GPP teams.
– It is a must that my WR have upside when building my GPP teams.
– When building my GPP teams it is a must that my TE is elite or is a punt. There is no in between for me with TE.
– When building my GPP teams it is a must that my defense gets to the quarterback.
– It is a must that I take a min-priced kicker when building my GPP teams.
– It is a must that I include at least some HuLo plays when building my GPP teams.
– It is a must that I remember that chalk is chalk for a reason, and that using chalk isn’t a bad thing.
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. 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 (I’m trying to keep this relatively short going forward).
***UPDATE as of 09/08/17***
All updated thoughts are in bolded italics (except “My Guys”, they are always in bolded italics).
|Public Plays||Expert Plays||HuLo Plays|
|Matt Ryan (ATL) @ CHI||Eli Manning (NYG) @ DAL||Carson Wentz (PHI) @ WSH|
|Ben Roethlisberger (PIT) @ CLE||Dak Prescott (DAL) vs NYG||Jay Cutler (MIA) vs TB|
|Cam Newton (CAR) @ SF||Russell Wilson (SEA) @ GB||Jared Goff (LAR) vs IND|
|Jameis Winston (TB) @ MIA||Kirk Cousins (WSH) vs PHI||Carson Palmer (ARI) @ DET|
|Aaron Rodgers (GB) vs SEA||Brian Hoyer (SF) vs CAR|
|Marcus Mariota (TEN) vs OAK|
|Derek Carr (OAK) @ TEN|
– Guys I Won’t Touch: Matt Ryan, Ben Roethlisberger, Dak Prescott
Big Ben and Ryan are going to be two of the most widely owned players this week, and if you know anything about me then you know I try to avoid that (especially at QB). It’s not that I don’t think that they are doing to do well, wait, yes, that’s exactly what the issue is. Roethlisberger is terrible on the road and I see no reason for that to change this week. LeVeon Bell is going to be the bell cow for the Steelers and that’s where I’m putting my Pittsburgh shares (more on that later). Even if Roethlisberger does have a good game, Pittsburgh should win this going away and that favors the running game as well. I don’t see an upside past 270 yards and 3 TD. Although that is a nice line, I think we can get that from a number of different QB’s this week, QB’s that are cheaper and that come with a lower ownership. As for Matt Ryan, I think the regression is coming in 2017. He’d never had a season like last year and it’s more likely to me that he goes back to being a 4000 yard, 25 TD guy than he continues putting up monster numbers like in 2016. This game is outdoors and on the road and I’m not investing heavily in Matt Ryan under those conditions. As for Jay Cutler, my faith in him is about zero. He’s going to go off a bunch of times this year but let’s not pretend he’s something he’s not. He was never that great of a fantasy asset to begin with and how he’s coming out of retirement to play on a run first offense. I don’t see it and I won’t own him. I’m totally off Dak right now with Elliott coming back into the fold. I know that may be counterintuitive because Zeke should open up some passing lanes but the Giants defense is legit and I think Dallas ends up being pretty conservative. There are a plethora of other players that I like and I just don’t see giving any of their roster spots to Prescott.
– Guys I Can See Using: Eli Manning, Carson Wentz, Kirk Cousins
There’s nothing at all wrong with any of these QB’s. All are priced well and have relatively good matchups. There’s nothing about any of these QB’s that make them stand out enough to put too much stock in them either. With Winston, the question is if he can control his accuracy in Hurricane-like conditions with a new-ish set of weapons. For Eli, the question is if his WR corps is going to be at full strength. He could put up monster numbers if everyone is healthy, but let’s not forget that his OL is poor and he has no running game to speak of. I think that Dak is going to be really productive if Elliott is not in the lineup but if he plays then that’s where the offense is going to run. I think I need to see Dak a few more times before I can trust him as a starter in DFS against a strong defense like NY. Carson Wentz reminds me of Aaron Rodgers so I’m more apt to use him than not if I have multiple lineups. Much like with Prescott, I want to see a few games before I make any commitment to Wentz in a big time tournament though. He will be the QB on at least one of my secondary teams. Carr has the biggest potential to burn me for not investing more heavily this week. The Raiders offense looks great and this game could be a shootout. It wouldn’t shock me if I flipped Carr and Cousins on these two lists by the end of the week. Aaaaaand, I did. Not only have I moved Kirk Cousins down here, I actually think he’s closer to a guy I won’t touch rather than a guy I can see using. Something tells me that Philly rolls in this game and I honestly am not sure how much I trust the Washington passing game if Jamison Crowder doesn’t play. Ryan Grant is a massive drop off. I’d definitely rather use Wentz than Cousins (especially paired with Ertz and/or Sproles for a very cheap stack).
– My guys:
Tier 1: Carson Palmer, Jared Goff, Aaron Rodgers
Tier 2: Derek Carr, Marcus Mariota
Tier 3: Cam Newton, Brian Hoyer
I don’t know how it happened, but somehow I’m all in on Carson Palmer this weekend. I thought I really liked the Lions defense but their secondary is pretty weak and Palmer is only one year removed from a top five fantasy season. With a strong running game, Larry Fitzgerald looking great, and John Brown seemingly at full strength I don’t see why he couldn’t jump back into top ten consideration. NOBODY is on the Cardinals this weekend and that makes Palmer more attractive to me as well. He’s a relatively inexpensive option with a real shot at 300 yards and 3+ TD in a game that could turn into a shootout. As of right now he is the QB I’m most exposed to. Just know that I read a stat this week about how poorly Palmer plays in the early slate, so there’s some reason to be a little worried. That said, the Lions are really poor in the secondary and I just can’t quit him this week. Right behind Palmer on my exposure list is Jared Goff. I know that Vegas has lowered the total of this game down to 42 points but that still projects to 23 or so points for the Rams offense against a terrible Colts defense. If we can catch a break, we may see Goff hit 250 yards and 3 TD. I know some of you are saying, “wait Doug, how can those numbers be ok for Goff but not ok for Big Ben?” Great question, and I’ll answer by saying to look at the price and ownership on both QB’s and then get back to me. This game is all about value and I’d rather have what Goff brings than what Roethlisberger brings in a GPP. He’s definitely going to be the QB on one of my Milly Maker teams. I still believe that people are going to sleep a bit on Aaron Rodgers this weekend because of the Seattle matchup. He played well against them in 2016 and that should continue this weekend. He’s still Aaron Rodgers and if I can get him at an ownership discount then I’m going to be all over that. He will be on one of my Million Dollar lineups as well. Newton, Mariota, and Cousins all have very good matchups in games with decently high totals. I see no reason to not use them, and they’ll helm many of my teams (especially on shorter slates). The newest addition to my list is Brian Hoyer. The line on this game is only 6 points and that seems very low compared to public perception of this game. We’ve seen that Hoyer can be a fantasy beast and now he’s being coached by an offensive guru in Kyle Shanahan. San Francisco could be one of the more surprising teams in Week 1 and I’m going to make sure I have a Hoyer/Goodwin (or Robinson) duo in a few lineups to try to take advantage of that. I’ve gone back and forth with Newton as a Tier 2 player for me but in the end I’ve moved him to Tier 3 because I think that the 49ers win this game and if they do, that means that Newton may not have as great of an outing as you’d think. Even with that I can’t move him off “my guys” because the matchup, on paper, is incredible and I’d never forgive myself if a hunch pulled me completely off Newton and he went off (as he should). I still haven’t made a Hoyer lineup yet but he’s the next guy that I want to build around. He’s shown us that he can be a 300 yard machine during his time in Chicago. Much like my feeling about SF winning, something tells me a Hoyer/Goodwin stack will win a GPP.
|Public Plays||Expert Plays||HuLo Plays|
|LeVeon Bell (PIT) @ CLE||Isaiah Crowell (CLE) vs PIT||Todd Gurley (LAR) vs IND|
|David Johnson (ARI) @ DET||Ty Montgomery (GB) vs SEA||Bilal Powell (NYJ) @ BUF|
|Ezekiel Elliott (DAL) vs NYG||Jordan Howard (CHI) vs ATL||Darren Sproles (PHI) @ WSH|
|LeSean McCoy (BUF) vs NYJ||DeMarco Murray (TEN) vs OAK||Leonard Fournette (JAX) @ HOU|
|Jay Ajayi (MIA) @ TB||Carlos Hyde (SF) vs CAR||Jacquizz Rodgers (TB) @ MIA|
|Christian McCaffrery (CAR) @ SF||Lamar Miller (HOU) vs JAX||Ameer Abdullah (DET) vs ARI|
|Devonta Freeman (ATL) @ CHI|
|Marshawn Lynch (OAK) @ TEN|
– Guys I Won’t Touch: DeMarco Murray, Leonard Fournette, Lamar Miller, David Johnson
There are few RB that I hate this weekend, but these five stand out as guys I won’t have on my teams. I love Murray but this is going to be a passing game, and even if it’s not, I’m not sure that Derrick Henry isn’t going to start stealing carries sooner rather than later. I can’t trust Fournette yet because we don’t know how he’s going to be used. JAX could be down big fast in this one and that would eliminate the running game. I can’t invest in that right now. Lamar Miller does nothing for me. He may bet a bunch of carries but he’s not a high YPC guy and I’d rather use someone more adept at getting into the end zone. I’m not spending up on Elliott or Johnson this week. I’d rather spend my money on Bell and McCoy, and keep my Cardinals shares to the passing game. This could end up being very stupid.
– Guys I Can See Using: Ezekiel Elliott, Carlos Hyde, Christian McCaffrey, Marshawn Lynch, Bilal Powell
I wavered back and forth on whether or not Ajayi and McCaffrey should be on this list or the “my guys” list, but in the end I just keep clicking other names when given the option. At the upper mid-tier I’d rather use Howard and Freeman, or spend down on Gurley, rather than use Ajayi. I don’t know at all what this Dolphins offense is about, yet I know exactly how I expect Freeman and Howard to be used (more on that in a bit). That said, Ajayi should be ok so if you use him there’s really no major reason for me to be down on him. I’m buying into the narrative that CMC is going to go back to NoCal and light up the 49ers but we aren’t even sure how many touches he’s going to see. He’s an electric back and should do well but I’d rather save some money, use Sproles, and get a more expensive WR. I’ll have a little bit of McCaffrey but not as much as the guys in the next section. Powell is another player I’ve gone back and forth with, because who else do the Jets have, but it’s a Jet and I just can’t go there if I’m making a million dollar decision. I’m still going back and forth on Powell. The Jets have nobody else and he should get a ton of work. It wouldn’t shock me if I end up using him as much as I do Todd Gurley or Devonta Freeman because of the potential return on investment we can get on him. I’m not quite ready to anoint him one of “my guys” but I’m really not far off at all. By Sunday this move could definitely have happened (Tweet me @bankster17 to see what my final decision is on him). I’ve moved Elliott down here since I think he’s going to be motivated to have a big week after coming off suspension. Dallas is going to feed him and his price tag isn’t unreasonable at all. He’s not one of “my guys” because I’ve earmarked my high dollar RB lineup spots for Bell and Shady and that’s not going to change. I have an Elliott lineup here or there but my exposure to him is well under 10%, whereas I’m over 50% on LeVeon and McCoy.
Tier 1: LeVeon Bell, LeSean McCoy
Tier 2: Jordan Howard, Darren Sproles
Tier 3: Devonta Freeman, Todd Gurley, Adrian Peterson (on full week or Primetime slates)
My top two players in Week 1, regardless of price/ownership/position, are LeVeon Bell and LeSean McCoy. Both of these guys are going to roll over their opponents this week. Bell has the added bonus of being a pass-catching back, so even if Roethlisberger does figure out his road woes he won’t get shut out of this game. The more likely scenario is that Bell gets 25+ touches and dominates, taking away the need for Ben to do much of anything. As for McCoy, who else to the Bills have? Buffalo isn’t going to resign McCoy after this season so they have no issue running him into the ground. The Jets just traded the only NFL-worthy run stopper they have. I can’t see McCoy not getting 100 yards and a score, as a minimum, this weekend. If I want to pivot off my top two guys, or if I have a FLEX spot I can pay up for, then I’m looking mostly at Jordan Howard and Devonta Freeman. ATL can’t stop pass catching RB and Howard can do that. I think that the Bears actually play the Falcons close this weekend and Howard is going to be the guy keeping that game close. He’s not a huge TD guy but he should be heavily involved otherwise and those yards matter. Freeman is the ATL version of Howard and ATL didn’t make him the highest paid RB in NFL history to not use him. He’s going to get a ton of touches and unlike Howard, he’s a TD machine. If the LA/IND game goes as I expect, we should get a lot of 2nd half Todd Gurley action. He’s a lot better than he showed in 2016 and his new coach will feature him. I’m using him in a lot of my non-Goff lineups. Darren Sproles is the best RB on the Eagles and he should be very involved in the passing game. He will be the natural check down for Wentz, and once the ball is in his hand he’s a threat to score from anywhere on the field. If I need to punt an RB or FLEX spot, it’s going to be with Sproles. I have a LOT of Sproles this week. He’s not quite at the exposure of Bell and McCoy but I wouldn’t be shocked if he ends up on at least 30% of my teams. He’s the best RB on the Eagles and this will most definitely be a game where they pass a ton. I almost never write about Primetime games since they aren’t on the main slate but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Adrian Peterson going up against the Vikings. If you don’t think he’s going to be motivated for this matchup, then I don’t know when he’s going to get up for a game. There’s no way that the Saints don’t get him into the end zone for this one.
|Public Plays||Expert Plays||HuLo Plays|
|Antonio Brown (PIT) @ CLE||Davante Adams (GB) vs SEA||John Brown (ARI) @ DET|
|Julio Jones (ATL) @ CHI||Michael Crabtree (OAK) @ TEN||Doug Baldwin (SEA) @ GB|
|Odell Beckham (NYJ) @ DAL||Terrelle Pryor (WSH) vs PHI||Sammy Watkins (LAR) vs IND|
|AJ Green (CIN) vs BAL||Kendall Wright (CHI) vs ATL||Alshon Jeffery (PHI) @ WSH|
|Mike Evans (TB) @ MIA||Pierre Garcon (SF) vs CAR||DeAndre Hopkins (HOU) vs JAX|
|Dez Bryant (DAL) vs NYG||Cooper Kupp (LAR) vs IND||Brandon Marshall (NYG) @ DAL|
|Jordy Nelson (GB) vs SEA||Rishard Matthews (TEN) vs OAK||Marquise Goodwin (SF) vs CAR|
|Larry Fitzgerald (ARI) @ DET||Zay Jones (BUF) vs NYJ||Mike Wallace (BAL) @ CIN|
|DeSean Jackson (TB) @ MIA||Martavis Bryant (PIT) @ CLE||Eric Decker (TEN) vs OAK|
|Amari Cooper (OAK) @ TEN||Golden Tate (DET) vs ARI||Aldrick Robinson (SF) vs CAR|
|Kelvin Benjamin (CAR) @ SF|
|DeVante Parker (MIA) vs TB|
– Guys I Won’t Touch: Antonio Brown, Julio Jones, Dez Bryant
Much like with RB, there aren’t a ton of WR that I will actively avoid. Also like with the RB, it’ll be a lot of the high priced players that I’ll be fading. It’s not that I don’t like these guys, it’s just that I need to spend down at WR if I want to get my two high end RB. We’ve spoken at length about my disdain for Roethlisberger on the road, so I’m surely not using his top WR if I don’t believe in the QB. The same is true of Julio and the TB duo. Julio could really burn me but I hate using him in DFS with that foot of his. He’s always in and out of games. I’d rather spend my high end money on LeVeon Bell. Since my last update I’ve been inundated with data that shows how poorly Dez Bryant plays against Janoris Jenkins. I’m going to trust the data on this one and yank him from my lineup.
– Guys I Can See Using: Odell Beckham, AJ Green, Kelvin Benjamin, Golden Tate, Zay Jones, Michael Crabtree, Sammy Watkins, Rishard Matthews, Davante Adams, Martavis Bryant
I’ll surely have some exposure here and there with these WR but none stand out as plays that have to make it into my lineup. Whether it’s QB uncertainty (Parker, Jones, Tate), injury concerns (Beckham, Brown), or price (Nelson, Cooper, Pryor) I just can’t fully commit to any of these players. With Nelson, Brown, and Cooper there’s the added issue that I like other WR on their teams better (Adams, Fitzgerald, and Crabtree) and I don’t see the need to stack multiple WR from the same team. I’m not going to rewrite this whole section but I’ve definitely flip-flopped on some of the WR duos this week. As you can see from the lists I now favor Jordy over Adams, Amari over Crabtree, Decker over Matthews, and Kupp over Watkins. I don’t hate any of the guys I moved up here, I just prefer their counterparts a little bit more.
Tier 1: Doug Baldwin, Larry Fitzgerald, Amari Cooper, Kendall Wright
Tier 2: Jordy Nelson, Eric Decker, Cooper Kupp
Tier 3: Marquise Goodwin
I love this crew of WR in Week 1. I’m fully confident that Doug Baldwin and Larry Fitzgerald are going to put up numbers comparable to some of the higher priced WR this week. Green Bay isn’t that good in the secondary and the tundra at Lambeau Field isn’t quite frozen yet. That’s a huge advantage for Baldwin, a WR who is so much better than he’s given credit for. Fitzgerald is an ageless wonder who shows no signs of slowing down. You’ve already read how I think that the Cardinals passing game is going to return to its 2015 glory and that resurgence is going to happen on the back of Fitz. He has a great matchup from the slot against a weak DET secondary and should catch a lot of balls. He’s priced very well across the board. A Baldwin/Fitz combo gives you plenty of money to pair up Bell and McCoy at RB (have a plan, stick to it). If Ezekiel Elliott is out in Week 1, then I think that Dez and Dak immediately become a stack that I want to consider. If Zeke plays, we will take Dez off this list. Most of the rest of my WR options are value plays that will let me follow through on my big RB combination strategy. Kendall Wright should be the guy to take over for Cam Meredith. He was productive a few years ago in Tennessee and it wouldn’t shock me to see him get double digit targets. He’s priced so low that it won’t take much for him to return a nice value. One of Marquise Goodwin or Aldrick Robinson is going to get behind the Panthers D for a big score, I just don’t know which one yet. Robinson played for Shanahan before but Goodwin is the #2 and was brought in to do exactly what I think he will. I probably wouldn’t use either as a one off play; only as part of a 49ers stack with Hoyer. TEN/OAK is going to be a shootout and the two WR I prefer in that game are Michael Crabtree and Rishard Matthews. Crabtree is a red zone machine and Matthew is a cheaper and has more upside than Eric Decker. For the Rams, I did like Cooper Kupp but he’s a little injured so I think this is the game where Sammy Watkins goes out and shuts all the haters up. Again, not going to erase and rewrite everything down here so I’ll just go into a narrative as if I hadn’t already written things four times this month. I’ve been pretty steadfast with my belief that a Doug Baldwin/Larry Fitzgerald pairing is a winning combination this week. Baldwin hit the Packers hard last year. His routes are so crisp and he doesn’t drop much. He’s got a chance to be a huge value at his mid-tier pricing. The same can be said about Fitz. He’ll be covered in the slot by Quandre Diggs. Diggs can’t cover the slot. This is mismatch heaven. I Tweeeted this the other day and I’ll gladly put it in writing again: Larry Fitzgerald is a real threat for a 10-140-2 type of game. That would demolish his price tag; a GPP winning type of player. Amari Cooper has a similar type of mismatch this week and I’ve totally come around on him. This is going to be one of the highest scoring games on the slate and I want a lot of exposure. Kendall Wright may end up being my highest owned WR if I decide to mix and match with my high priced buys because he’s about the cheapest WR you can find that has legit 10 target upside. He’s not a big play threat but at his price a line of 6-70-1 would be gold. To get a WR that’s a mortal lock for a big target share at his price is outstanding. Eric Decker was off my radar for a bit but I’ve since come to my senses. He’s a red zone threat with one of the best red zone QB’s of our generation. The Raiders are not going to match up well with him. He’s not a lock for a TD but he’s darn sure close. With Kupp having a clean bill of health I’d rather use him over Watkins in my Jared Goff lineups. Sammy may have the upside but Kupp has the floor I’m looking for. If I stack Goff and Kupp, I should be able to lock in Bell/McCoy/Baldwin/Fitzgerald. The last thing I want to do is get a boom or bust player to mess that up. Give me the floor Kupp provides and I’m a happy camper.
|Public Plays||Expert Plays||HuLo Plays|
|Greg Olsen (CAR) @ SF||Zach Ertz (PHI) @ WSH||Charles Clay (BUF) vs NYJ|
|Jordan Reed (WSH) vs PHI||Jack Doyle (IND) @ LAR||Evan Engram (NYG) @ DAL|
|Tyler Eifert (CIN) vs BAL||Eric Ebron (DET) vs ARI||Jason Witten (DAL) vs NYG|
|Delanie Walker (TEN) vs OAK||Cameron Brate (TB) @ MIA||Vance McDonald (PIT) @ CLE|
|Jimmy Graham (SEA) @ GB||Austin Hooper (ATL) @ CHI|
|Marcellus Bennett (GB) vs SEA|
– Guys I Won’t Touch: Greg Olsen, Tyler Eifert, Delanie Walker, Jimmy Graham, Martellus Bennett
As I said in my “musts”, I will either pay a premium for a TE or I’m going cheap. This is not the week to pay a premium for a TE (except Jordan Reed, who has a great machup). I actually do think that Olsen will have a good game, and I’d use him in a cash game, but I’m not willing to pay that price for a TE when I want to get two stud RB in my lineup. With Eifert, Walker, and Graham I just think I can get similar production from cheaper players (more on them below). I won’t use Martellus Bennett out of principle after he tweeted out this week how little he cares for fantasy and fantasy players. Also, GB doesn’t use their TE at all so he’s pretty much an overrated blowhard. There’s no place in my lineup for a guy that will post a 2-23-0 line. We don’t care about you either, Martellus.
– Guys I Can See Using: Austin Hooper, Cameron Brate, Jack Doyle, Eric Ebron, Jason Witten
I love the price on Austin Hooper but I’m concerned that he’s not really the main TE in Atlanta. In the third preseason game he was only on the field for about half the snaps with Matt Ryan. At his low price that might be all we need, but ATL doesn’t run their offense through the TE. He’s not high on my list, although I’d use him if I needed a punt. I love how Indy uses their TE but I don’t trust Scott Tolzein to get the ball to anyone with any sort of confidence. Let him be someone else’s problem. Eric Ebron has all the talent in the world but DET still hasn’t figured out how to use him properly. I’m also worried that Kenny Golloday and/or Theo Riddick are going to steal his red zone targets.
Tier 1: Charles Clay, Evan Engram, Zach Ertz
Tier 2: Jordan Reed
Tier 3: Vance McDonald
The Jets were the most generous defense against the TE last year. They got worse defensively this year. The Bills are going to run it down the Jets throats but when they do throw there really aren’t too many options outside of Clay. If Nate Peterman is the starter in Week 1, then Clay is going to be his safety valve. This is exactly the type of spot where spending down on a TE makes a ton of sense. Normally I don’t care for rookie TE but Evan Engram is no TE, he’s a WR that happens to line up inside of the other WR. Dallas can’t double everyone on the Giants and I think they’re going to take their chances and leave the rookie in one on one coverage. He’s too fast to be covered by a LB and he’s too big to be covered by a DB. I think he puts up a great game, and he’s slowly moving up my TE ranks this weekend. I actually can see myself splitting top shares at the position between him and Clay. The other TE I find myself gravitating to is Zach Ertz. He’s underpriced on DK and might actually make for a decent FLEX option if you wanted to spend down at that spot. He was among the NFL leaders in catches the last few weeks of the season last year and Carson Wentz loves him. His last game against WSH saw him go for 10-112, so we know he can attack that defense. Not too much to say other than the fact that I’ve pulled off Clay a bit since I’m so big on McCoy. This offense really can’t support two guys going off and I’m definitely putting my eggs in the Shady basket. This has led me to a significantly higher number of shares of Engram and Ertz (more Engram on FD and Ertz on DK). Ertz is a ceiling and floor guy while Engram is more of a ceiling only play. I’d only use him if I needed a home run at TE. If you want to lock in 4-55 then Ertz is the play to make…and he’s soooooo cheap on DK; just a total pricing error in my mind.
|Public Plays||Expert Plays||HuLo Plays|
|Pittsburgh Steelers @ CLE||Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ MIA||Detroit Lions vs ARI|
|Buffalo Bills vs NYJ||Cincinnati Bengals vs BAL||Jacksonville Jaguars @ HOU|
|Houston Texans vs JAX||Atlanta Falcons vs CHI||New York Jets @ BUF|
|Los Angeles Rams vs IND|
|Carolina Panthers @ SF|
– Guys I Won’t Touch: Buffalo Bills, Carolina Panthers, Atlanta Falcons, Detroit Lions
Buffalo is going to be the most widely owned defense for Week 1 and it shouldn’t be close. It’s not that I think the Jets are all that good offensively, it’s more that I don’t want to pay up in both price and ownership for a mid-level defense when there are equally good options on the board. I’m not using CAR and DET because I think they give up more points than people think. ATL on the road scares me; I think they could actually lose this game.
– Guys I Can See Using: Pittsburgh Steelers, Cincinnati Bengals, New York Jets, Jacksonville Jaguars
Do you think Joe Haden might be a little motivated this week? That’s reason enough to use PIT. DeShone Kizer starting for the Browns is another reason. The kid looked good in the preseason but this is the regular season; a whole different ballgame. My biggest concern with PIT is that they are going to be widely owned and I don’t need to lose the ownership game with the other options on the board. As for the Bengals, I’m on them because we don’t know what BAL it right now. They have limited offensive weapons and Joe Flacco is only now just practicing. That’s an ugly situation. With all the talk about the Buffalo D against the Jets, we seem to forget that the Bills offense is garbage, too. Yes, I know that Shady is going to run all over them but outside of that there really isn’t a threat on this offense against the Jets. It’d take some stones but in a GPP, why not? The exact same philosophy that I have for using the Jets is why I’d consider the Jags. Tom Savage isn’t Aaron Rodgers. Let’s not forget that. I’m not ready to move them into “my guys” territory yet but the Jags at $4.2k on FD are rather enticing and they are quickly eating up market share on my teams. Let’s not forget that Tom Savage is not a great QB and the Jags have made a point to draft heavily on the defensive side of the ball the last few years. This could be a very ugly game. In that same vein, I’m using the Jets more and more on DK at $2.4k if I want to spend big elsewhere. Even with my love for Shady and Clay, the Jets could still rack up the points with poor QB play for the Bills. They don’t need to do much of anything to return value.
My guys: Rams, Texans
Scott Tolzein and Blake Bortles. You really don’t need another reason to use these defenses. Seriously, no further analysis.
Your feedback is always welcome. You can find me on Twitter @bankster17. I’m around all the time for questions, advice, and comments. I answer every single person that sends me a Tweet.