The Hail Mary (NFL HuLo GPP Plays): Week 13 FIRST LOOK
November 27, 2017 | Doug Shain
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The Huddle – Opening Statement
Welcome to the Hail Mary for Week 13. 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.
I have some musts when building a GPP lineup. They include:
– 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.
– It is a must that I remember that bad players and bad players even in good matchups.
Unfortunately I am still sick this week AND I have the cheat sheets to write (you should check them out; really good stuff in there that has been hitting big for the last month) so I won’t be including the charts today. You will definitely get them for Saturday’s update.
Minnesota Vikings at Atlanta Falcons
MIN: The Vikings have looked great on offense with Case Keenum taking the snaps. I’m not totally in love with this road matchup but I don’t hate it either, and I think a lot of people are going to be in the same boat as me. That makes this a great spot for a few contrarian plays to find their way into your lineup. I don’t know if I’m ready to go all the way and use Keenum as my only QB but I have no issue paying up for Mr. Consistency himself, Adam Thielen. His lowest score over the last month in PPR has been 16.9 points, a very attractive floor. If Trufant plays this week then he’ll probably blanket Stefon Diggs, leaving another double digit target game in Thielen’s lap. I’d also not mind taking a look at Latavius Murray. He might not be the sexier of the two RB in the MIN backfield but he also gives you a nice floor to work with; 15+ attempts in each of his last six games.
ATL: After his monster Week 12, everyone is going to be all over Julio Jones this weekend. Against a relatively strong MIN defense I think that’s a bit of a reach for me. That’s not to say that I don’t think Julio can have a big game, it’s just that he’s been so inconsistent this year that I’m going to have a hard time using him in anything but the best of matchups. As a matter of fact I’m probably going to pass on the entire ATL offense against a Vikings team that gives up under 18 points per game. Even if Devonta Freeman is out once again, Tevin Coleman has gotten so expensive that he’s no longer a value.
Detroit Lions at Baltimore Ravens
DET: There is really no reason to use any Lions player this weekend on the road, outside, against a strong Ravens pass defense. I’d think about using a Lions RB if they had anyone trustworthy but they don’t (I’m not getting sucked into Ameer Abdullah even at $3.8k on Dk….although that number is MIGHTY tempting so maybe my tune will change by this weekend; stay tuned). Maybe I’d consider the Lions defensive unit, but the Ravens offense has come on a little bit recently and even that is probably a stretch.
BAL: Detroit has been gashed by opposing RB ever since Hiloti Ngata has been injured; giving up an average of 186.3 yards per game on the ground in their last three games. Alex Collins has been running through defenses all year with a 5.0 ypc. While Collins hasn’t scored many TD, he should be able to find running room and his volume should mean a few chances at a score. I’m highly encouraged by his TD on Monday Night Football. While I did just talk about the improved Ravens pass offense, I probably won’t be using any of their guys unless I need to punt the position (in which case I’d give Mike Wallace a look).
New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills
NE: Credit to Evan Silva who dropped a tweet on Monday showing Rob Gronkowski’s career stats when playing at Buffalo; an average of 6-97-1. That’s a WR1 stat line, not a TE stat line. While I do like Gronkowski, I probably won’t be stacking him with Tom Brady. I think that Gronk gets his but this game will mostly fall on the legs of Dion Lewis and Rex Burkhead. Buffalo still stinks against the run and New England’s M.O. is attacking an opponent’s weakness. If Brady doesn’t have to throw, he won’t. Brandin Cooks is always worth a look as well since he and Brady seem to hook up for a big play every week, although he’s not at the top of my WR target list at the moment
BUF: Despite New England’s improved defense since October, I still think there is some value to be found in the Buffalo offense. I don’t know if I have the guts to go back to Tyrod Taylor again this week but I sure do like LeSean McCoy. His usage is so high right now that you have to consider him just on volume alone. Zay Jones and Charles Clay are the two most reliable pass catchers at the moment for the Bills and neither will cost you much. I don’t love either guy but I do think that both have value as low cost plays. Zay Jones, in particular, has been a bigger part of this offense than you realize with 24 targets over the last three weeks; even converting many of them into actual catches (something he struggled with earlier in the year).
San Francisco 49ers at Chicago Bears
SF: I so badly want to tell you to play Jimmy Garoppolo this weekend but this matchup is very rough for him. The Bears are a tough team to throw against at home and with Kyle Shanahan’s offense being so complex I just don’t think this is the spot to plant your flag with Jimmy G. As a matter of fact, I don’t really want any part of the 49ers team.
CHI: The 49ers defense is pretty bad and I think this is the week to take your shot with some pieces on the Bears offense. The two guys I’m most keyed in on are Mitchell Trubisky as a cheap QB option and Jordan Howard at RB. Trubisky hasn’t put up big numbers yet but each week he’s been looking more and more like a real NFL QB. I think we have finally found a defense that John Fox will feel comfortable enough facing to let his rookie wing it a little bit. He won’t be the QB on my main team, but I’ll probably find a way to work Trubisky into a secondary lineup. As for Jordan Howard, he is probably itching to get back on the field after a terrible Week 12 performance (7 rushes for 6 yards). The 49ers give up nearly 130 yards per game on the ground, and Howard has rushed for 100+ yards in three of his last six games. Let everyone else run away scared after his poor week last week; you should run to the light and get Howard into your lineup. He will definitely be a Tier 1 or 2 play for me this weekend.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Green Bay Packers
TB: This could be one of the better shootouts of the weekend with neither defense being any good at all. I’m going to probably avoid the running game for TB but Ryan Fitzpatrick, Mike Evans, and Desean Jackson should all get right in this matchup. Green Bay has gotten ripped by opposing QB/WR combos for four of the last five weeks. We always see a few Fitzmagic games throughout the years and this game, with TB’s poor defense and an improved Brett Hundley, could be one of those games where He goes a little wild. I would love to recommend OJ Howard as he’s been a much bigger part of this offense over the last two weeks (3-52 each of those games) but GB has only given up one score to the TE position all year so I think it’s best to look elsewhere.
GB: I see you, Brett Hundley. After a rough couple of games to start his career, Hundley has really picked it up recently with relatively strong performances in three of his last four games. He looks really comfortable in this offense and he’s shown an ability to pick apart a bad secondary. No secondary is worse than the Buccaneers on the road; 315 yards and 31 points per game allowed when away from Raymond James Stadium. My favorite player in this game, maybe in any game, is Davante Adams. He’s seen an average of over 9 targets per game over the last month and is clearly the WR1 now in Green Bay. He’s the one player who hasn’t seen his production drop at all since Hundley took the starting job. He should see double digit targets again this weekend. I also wouldn’t hesitate to get a piece of Jamaal Williams at RB. As bad as the Bucs are against the pass, they may be worse against the run (giving up 140 yards per game on the road). Williams has seen just a shade under 20 carries per game since he became the primary ball carrier three games ago. What’s most intriguing about Williams is that he’s seen 11 total targets in the passing game over the last two weeks. That is a ton of volume for a guy that’s priced like a low end flex play. I may very likely stack Adams and Williams and just run with that this week, that’s how much I like both plays.
Indianapolis Colts at Jacksonville Jaguars
IND: Nope, not against the Jaguars in Jacksonville.
JAX: There are few matchups that are better for Leonard Fournette but, good grief, Doug Marrone is such a bad head coach that I don’t know if I can trust paying up for him. I want to pay up for him but we’ve been burned in two of the last three games by Marrone brain farting and thinking that Blake Bortles is a world class QB that can lead this team to victory. I think I’m going to take the plunge because unlike the last time Marrone went away from Fournette (against LAC in Week 10), this time the Jags lost because of his poor coaching. Someone has to have told him that this is a bad way to coach, right? The Jaguars are a good organization and I think they are going to correct this issue. I’m going to roll out Fournette, cross my fingers, and be prepared to curse at my TV is need be once again. I don’t really want to do much with this passing offense, although Marqise Lee should get his usual 5+ catches. If he gets into the end zone he will have some value. The best play in this game is going to be the Jaguars defense. They are incredible and won’t let Indy do much of anything; well worth the price of admission.
Denver Broncos at Miami Dolphins
DEN: The best thing to happen to this offense was Trevor Siemian reassuming his role as the starting QB. He may not be a real life NFL winner but he’s the best QB on this team for fantasy. This rejuvenates the fantasy relevancy of both Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas, and not a moment too soon given the magical matchup they have this weekend. I’m going to have to dig a little bit deeper to see which of the two I prefer but both are on my radar for sure. Devontae Booker is also a guy I’ll give a look to if I can feel good about him getting more than 6 carries. Miami can’t stop anyone and I want to take full advantage of that if I can.
MIA: The Denver defense isn’t what it was last year but they’re still good enough to make this a tough matchup for Miami. I may have a little interest in Julius Thomas, since DEN does so poorly against TE, but I don’t know if I trust either Matt Moore or Jay Cutler to get him the ball. Kenyan Drake is interesting now that he will be getting all the work with Damien Williams injured. I could make a case for him as a flex type play or a punt at RB if you wanted to go big elsewhere.
Kansas City Chiefs at New York Jets
KC: This offense, man, I don’t know what to make of it. KC should go into NY and whup the Jets but I think we all know that won’t happen. The Chiefs are a mess and with all the talk about Patrick Mahomes coming in to replace Alex Smith (a stupid move, if you ask me) I don’t really want to touch many pieces here. I loved Kareem Hunt earlier in the year but it’s clear to me that Andy Reid has no idea how to use him, so I can’t invest too heavily there. Tyreek Hill is a gimmicky fluke player and if you use him you get what you deserve when he goes for 4-38-0. I love shooting for a home run but this kid isn’t worth it to me at all. The only player I’ll consider is Travis Kelce. It’s no coincidence that the Chiefs started moving the ball in Week 12 once they got Kelce involved more in the passing game. He’ll chirp a little this week behind closed doors and will probably see an increased work load. I don’t mind paying up for him if you wanted to fade Gronk.
NYJ: At his point it’s insane to fade Josh McCown and Robby Anderson without giving it a lot of serious thought. The duo are playing like a top 10 pairing and I see no reason why they can’t continue against a highly overrated Chiefs pass defense. Let’s not forget that KC is giving up 265 passing yards and 24 points per game on the road this year. As is usual, Robby Anderson is going to streak down the right sideline and get in the end zone from about 35 yards as he does every week. I think there are still people out there who don’t believe. Take advantage of that for as long as you can and get Anderson (and possibly McCown) into your lineups.
Houston Texans at Tennessee Titans
HOU: A couple of weeks ago my brother was getting on my case about how I don’t give any love to DeAndre Hopkins. My only response (repeatedly) was, “Tom Savage.” My brother came back with all these stats and arguments and all I kept saying was, “Tom Savage.” You know what? My brother was right (which pains me to say). Nothing can stop DeAndre Hopkins, not even Tom Savage. Since the injury to DeShaun Watson, Hopkins has averaged 6-100 with 2 TD in four games. He’s seen about 50 targets over that span as well. So, yeah, Hopkins is going to be just fine with or without Watson at QB. The Titans are one of the worst pass defenses in the league so I see no reason why we don’t all take the price discount we are currently seeing with Hopkins and listen to my brother and roster Hopkins this week. At the very worst, Hopkins busts and we can all laugh at my brother (@clbreaks). With Tennessee being so bad defensively I think we can look at Bruce Ellington, CJ Fiedorowicz, and Lamar Miller as viable plays.
TEN: I’m a little torn with the Titans offense this week. Over the last couple of months the Texans defense has been a sieve, allowing passing yards left and right. Then they go out on Monday night and hold Joe Flacco to under 150 passing yards with 0 TD. I don’t know if Houston got a lot better (Clowney looked incredible) or if Flacco is that bad (#elite). I’m inclined to say it’s that Flacco is that bad but how much better has Marcus Mariota been? He’s been one of the biggest busts of the 2017 fantasy football season. I think I like the idea of using Delanie Walker, and maybe a flier on Corey Davis, but I don’t think I’m prepared to let a chalky Mariota sink me this weekend. I won’t touch either RB as they are the anti-New Orleans RB (two great guys that the coach has NO IDEA how to use probably, unlike Sean Payton).
Cleveland Browns at Los Angeles Chargers
CLE: Happy Josh Gordon Day!!!! I love Josh Gordon. I’m so happy that he’s trying to turn his life around. I want him in season long and I think he’s going to be great to finish the year. I won’t touch him this week though. The Chargers are one of my favorite fantasy defenses and every week they come out and prove why. They rush the passer well and they force turnovers on the back end. LAC is a team that’s on the rise at the moment and I want no piece of the Cleveland offense.
LAC: Did you read what I just said about the Chargers defense? You did? Good, use them. They are most likely my top defense of the week (maybe second behind JAX) and I think they get in the end zone and record double digit turnovers. They are just so good right now and I still don’t think people realize it yet. I’m no touching the running game because Anthony Lynn is the west coast Doug Marrone; he has no idea what to do with his RB. I’d much rather just go back to Philip Rivers and Keenan Allen (thanks for all the money the last two weeks, fellas) and call it a day. Both guys will be at or near my Tier 1 plays this weekend, chalky as they may be.
Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints
CAR: New Orleans gets ripped by slot WR. The Panthers don’t really have a slot WR. I think they line Christian McCaffrey up there a lot this weekend he busts out for a big game (see: Cooper Kupp in Week 12 for his upside). The bonus you get with McCaffrey is that he gets a lot of red zone runs as well, so his touchdown upside is great than that of a normal slot WR. He’s kind of a sneaky play that I think will go overlooked by a lot of the fantasy playing public. Outside of CMC, I don’t really care for much of this Panthers offense. I don’t trust Cam Newton at the moment and Devin Funchess will probably be shadowed by Marshon Lattimore. If Lattimore is out again this week then I do like the idea of a Cam, CMC, and Funchess stack. Yes, one defensive player can make that much of a difference (it moved Jared Goff from a play to avoid to a guy I actively tried to get into my lineups in Week 12, and it paid off).
NO: Every week I have to sit in my car and listen to Ray Flowers talk about how great Michael Thomas is. Dude doesn’t score, therefore he isn’t a great fantasy play. I know that this could be the week he goes all Julio and hits pay dirt twice, but it’s more likely that the Saints are going to stack to what has gotten them to an 8-3 record. For those that are uninitiated, that would be a heavy dose of Mark Ingram (the one week I play him over Kamara he busts in Week 12, thanks buddy) and Alvin Kamara with the occasional shot downfield to Ted Ginn Jr. Guess what? Those are the three plays I like: Kamara, Ginn, and Ingram (in that order). Kamara isn’t going to pop a long TD every week but his open field moves are outstanding and Sean Payton is committed to getting him the ball a ton in a variety of ways. He’s got a very high floor because of this, and a high ceiling due to his game breaking ability. The Ted Ginn Revenge Game narrative is strong here, and the play is even stronger after what I saw Robby Anderson do against this Panthers secondary in Week 12. I love me a little bit of Ginn this weekend. Ingram is Ingram; he’ll get you 100 yards and a score often enough that he’s a plug and play guy. I’m fading Drew Brees because Drew Brees is no longer Drew Brees, he’s Brad Johnson and nobody is running out to play Brad Johnson.
Los Angeles Rams at Arizona Cardinals
LAR: Remember when the Rams went to Minnesota and I said that was the type of defense that could give a second year QB some problems? And then they went to MIN and they only scored 7 points? I’m getting that same achy breaky feeling here. Arizona isn’t a great defense but they do a good job of pressuring the QB and stuffing the run. I definitely don’t like Todd Gurley this week and I won’t play Jared Goff either. Sammy Watkins is going to have to deal with Patrick Peterson so he’s out as well. That leaves Cooper Kupp and Josh Reynolds as guys to consider as they go up against “not Patrick Peterson.” I think Kupp gets the volume but something stands out with Reynolds. He’s got a nose for the end zone and it’s tough to find a guy at his price point that will get you 5+ targets. I think we may see Reynolds end up as a Tier 3 play by the time the weekend update rolls around. The Rams defense is particularly appealing to me. I know that Blaine Gabbert has looked “not awful” so far as the starter but the Rams defense is pretty good and if Aaron Donald and friends gets into that backfield it could be a long day for Yo Gabba Gabbert.
ARI: How do you beat the Rams? You run against them. This could be big week #3 for Adrian Peterson in a Cardinals uniform. I love that Bruce Arians hasn’t stopped giving AP carries despite the poor yards per carry average. That means we don’t have to worry about watching him on the sidelines sulking like we did when he was in MIN. Peterson’s price has fallen into value range and I’m going to have a lot of him on my team. I’ll probably fade most of the Cards passing attack (sorry, Larry Fitz) outside of Ricky Seals-Jones. Last week I said he wasn’t a thing. Last week I was wrong. The kid looks good in the open field and once he gets the ball in his hands he just sniffs out the end zone. I don’t expect a ton of volume but even with 4-5 targets he should be a useful asset as his price (as he’s averaged 18.5 PPR points over the last two weeks despite only 11 total targets).
New York Giants at Oakland Raiders
NYG: I know that the Raiders defense is bad but I just don’t think I can invest too heavily in the Giants offense. If Sterling Shepard is back then I kind of have to like him on volume alone, and Evan Engram will continue to see a ton of targets as well (although I question if he’s worth his high price tag with only 27 total yards over his last two games as the primary pass catcher). I don’t want Orleans Darkwa or Eli Manning. Neither moves the needle for me.
OAK: This feels like a week for the Raiders to get really healthy on offense. Jared Cook should come back from the dead against a defense that’s given up a TD to the TE position in nine of eleven games this year. Michael Crabtree should get all the targets he can handle with Amari Cooper probably not playing due to injury (assuming Crabtree isn’t suspended for this game). If Cooper is out then I like Cordarelle Patterson as a cheap flier against a defense that gives up a ton of deep passing plays. Marshawn Lynch is catching pass now. Who knew? He’s a top RB play this weekend for me. Derek Carr should get back to his 300 yard ways. So, yeah, I like all the Raiders this weekend. Oh, if Crabtree is suspended then I expect Johnny Holton to be a chalky play; I’d stick with Patterson.
Philadelphia Eagles at Seattle Seahawks
PHI: Carson Wentz against the 12th man, what a matchup for the MVP front runner. I don’t think any defense, especially one with a secondary ravaged by injury, is going to stop Wentz and this Eagles offense. I might not expect a monster game but something similar to what he did against the Bears (240 yards and 3 TD) is well within reason. He’s not a guy I’ll run to for a GPP but I also won’t avoid him if he’s the best QB I can fit in with the rest of my team. Alshon Jeffery is the WR I want to use with Wentz but the guy I’ll focus even more on is Zach Ertz. The guy just keeping putting up borderline WR1 numbers at the TE position. He’s more consistent than either Gronk or Kelce and his upside isn’t too far off from either of them. His high price may keep people off of him, but not me, I’ll just enjoy the lower ownership. The Philly defense is intriguing because the Seattle O-line can’t block anyone. This might be one defense that’s athletic enough to contain Russell Wilson. They are on my short list of HuLo defenses to consider.
SEA: Even at home, even with Russell Wilson doing magical things at the QB position, I don’t think I want to touch anyone on this Seahawks offense. Their line is just too bad and the Eagles are just too athletic to trust ay Seahawks player.
Your feedback is always welcome. If there’s a player you don’t see or would like to talk more about, 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.