The Hail Mary (NFL HuLo GPP Plays): Week 3 FIRST LOOK
September 19, 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 Hail Mary for Week 3. 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.
The Depth Chart – The Plays of the Week
|Public Plays||Expert Plays||HuLo Plays|
|Drew Brees (NO) @ CAR||Trevor Siemian (DEN) @ BUF||Matthew Stafford (DET) vs ATL|
|Cam Newton (CAR) vs NO||Jacoby Brissett (IND) vs CLE||Jameis Winston (TB) @ MIN|
|Ben Roethlisberger (PIT) @ CHI||Carson Wentz (PHI) @ NYG||Eli Manning (NYG) vs PHI|
|Matt Ryan (ATL) @ DET||Alex Smith (KC) vs LAC||Russell Wilson (SEA) @ TEN|
|DeShone Kizer (CLE) @ IND||Marcus Mariota (TEN) vs SEA|
|Tom Brady (NE) vs HOU||Philip Rivers (LAC) vs KC|
|Jay Cutler (MIA) @ NYJ||Kirk Cousins (WSH) vs OAK|
|Aaron Rodgers (GB) vs CIN||Andy Dalton (CIN) @ GB|
|Derek Carr (OAK) @ WSH|
– Count me out on Drew Brees, Big Ben, and Matt Ryan on the road. I much prefer when they play at home, especially Brees and Ben. I’m more anti-Matty Ice because of his matchup rather than the fact that the game is on the road. DET has been pretty solid defensively and I’m not going to spend up in the hope that this turns around. Quandre Diggs has somehow completely reinvented himself in the slot, and that has totally transformed this entire secondary…Tom Brady will be way too widely owned for my liking. Houston has a half decent secondary and their defensive front seven is outstanding. NE is going to win the game, and Brady may do well, but I can see this being a low scoring game. I won’t pay a premium price/ownership to get him…I really do like DeShone Kizer this week. He’s got the best matchup he can possibly have against the Colts and his legs give him some added value. At his low price across the industry, we don’t really need to much more than 200 yards passing, 40 yards rushing, and a TD to return a nice value. Using him opens a lot of doors with the rest of your team (maybe a premium TE or two stud RB)…Cam Newton looks like garbage and he just lost his best pass catcher. That said, the Saints D is really bad. I can make an argument that he’s worth using (although not as my most owned QB)…Rodgers and Carr should be fine and I don’t mind spending up for either of them.
– I have a big time man crush on Carson Wentz this year. He was my most drafted player in my MFL10 leagues (like 50% owned) and I couldn’t be happier. He’s looked great so far this year, and the Eagles passing game surely hasn’t suffered from their lack of a running game. The Giants look terrible and the always struggle against Philly. I expect Wentz to crush his price this week. He may end up being my top play at QB when all is said and done…I don’t fully trust Alex Smith and Trevor Siemian yet but they sure do look good and they have a ton of weapons. It’s not like they are going out there with the skill players of the Texans; these teams come at you with loads of talent. I have no problem using either QB this week.
– I may be off in putting Stafford on the HuLo list. When all is said and done he might be a very public play. He’s looked great in his first two games and ATL isn’t the best pass defense in the league. DET plays well at home and I actually think they win this game. What has impressed me most about Stafford this year is that he’s been so efficient (71% completion percentage). I’m not terribly concerned about his low yardage total in Week 2. That was a game flow thing as he only needed to throw 21 times. He’s going to need to throw against ATL, so a repeat of his Week 1 numbers seem reasonable (292 yards on 41 attempts)…I really don’t sweat the Seahawks defense too much when they are on the road in a game with an early start. Marcus Mariota always looks like he’s going to have a bad game but in the end usually comes through with competent numbers. He hasn’t really broken out much this year but he was kind of in the same boat last year before he went on a monster run. That run could start as early as this week and I’m definitely going to have some exposure at his low ownership…One of Kirk Cousins, Eli Manning, or Andy Dalton is going to break out this week; I just don’t know which one. None have great matchups but all have the talent surrounding them to make something happen. If I had to choose one it’d be Cousins but I’m not sure I want to take that chance. I’ll see where I’m at this weekend when I update the picks.
|Public Plays||Expert Plays||HuLo Plays|
|CJ Anderson (DEN) @ BUF||Duke Johnson (CLE) @ IND||LeSean McCoy (BUF) vs DEN|
|Christian McCaffrey (CAR) vs NO||Dalvin Cook (MIN) vs TB||Alvin Kamara (NO) @ CAR|
|LeVeon Bell (PIT) @ CHI||Derrick Henry (TEN) vs SEA||Theo Riddick (DET) vs ATL|
|Tarik Cohen (CHI) vs PIT||Gio Bernard (CIN) @ GB||Isaiah Crowell (CLE) @ IND|
|Devonta Freeman (ATL) @ DET||Darren Sproles (PHI) @ NYG||Jacquizz Rodgers (TB) @ MIN|
|Jay Ajayi (MIA) @ NYJ||Chris Carson (SEA) @ TEN||Joe Mixon (CIN) @ GB|
|Kareem Hunt (KC) @ LAC||Semaje Perine (WSH) vs OAK|
|Marshawn Lynch (OAK) @ WSH|
|Chris Thompson (WSH) vs OAK|
|Ty Montgomery (GB) vs CIN|
– I’m somewhat infatuated with Jay Ajayi this weekend. He ran all over the Chargers in Week 2 and should be able to do even better against the Jets. Miami should be salting this game away for a long time, and look what the Raiders did at that point in Week 2. I have very little doubt that Ajayi will be among my two most widely owned RB this week (more on the other guy in a bit)…While many people think that Ed Dickson and Devin Funchess could benefit from Greg Olsen’s injury, I think this is the perfect time for Christian McCaffrey to break out. That seam is going to be wide open and to put a guy with CMC’s moves in the slot would be lethal. New Orleans is a terrible defense so there will be plenty of opportunities for McCaffrey to make an impact…Kareem Hunt is going to be owned by everyone after his first two games. I’m not saying that I don’t like him, I just won’t compete for that ownership…If I am going to spend up at RB it’s going to be for LeVeon Bell. He got his full workload in Week 2 and it’s only a matter of time before does what he does (tons of yards and plenty of receptions). Let’s not forget that he didn’t play at all in the preseason so these first two weeks really were just a warm up…I don’t fully believe in Tarik Cohen or Chris Thompson as viable GPP plays quite yet…Ty Montgomery looks amazing and I’m signing off on him being matchup-proof. He’s a guy I will most likely never have a problem firing away with in a GPP.
– Duke Johnson sure looks like the better back in CLE. I know that he doesn’t run the ball a lot but he’s got great hands, is elusive, and just looks more motivated when he’s got the ball. That’s not to say that I don’t like Isaiah Crowell, because I do, but Duke against the Colts could be a very interesting little play…I’m finally sold on Chris Carson. He’s clearly the best back on the Seahawks and I’m not paying the rhetoric that Thomas Rawls was merely being worked slowly into the offense. Hogwash! Pete Carroll has no issue using unproven talent if he thinks they are the best person for the job. Chris Carson is best person for the Seattle RB job…It’s come out that DeMarco Murray has a (phantom) injury. Shocking how we hear that right as Derrick Henry is establishing himself as the man in Tennessee. Yes, I’m very much recommending Henry as a viable DFS play as of right now.
– Shady McCoy isn’t going to look this bad all year. Many good RB have thrived on bad teams. It’s only two weeks, calm down. That said, I’m not moving pieces around to use him but if he fits on my team then I’m ok with using him…If Jay Ajayi isn’t my top RB play in Week 3 then Theo Riddick is. I know that sounds nuts given the workload distribution on Monday night but this week’s game is against the Falcons. The Falcons can’t stop pass catching RB. If I sound like a broken record it’s probably because I’ve made this recommendation for I don’t know how many weeks straight. If an RB catches passes, start him against ATL…I’m still not convinced that Alvin Kamara isn’t the best RB on the Saints. Neither Mark Ingram nor Adrian Peterson have pulled away from Kamara, and when it comes to catching passes Kamara is clearly the man. Ignore the number of receptions that Ingram has because four of them came on the last drive of the game in their Week 1 loss to the Vikings when the game was over. Kamara is the RB that will be on the field doing meaningful work in passing downs…Lost in everything that happened in Week 2 is the performance by Jacquizz Rodgers. He didn’t have a monster game but a line of 19-67-1 looks pretty darn good for his price. He didn’t see any targets this week but I expect that to change. He’s a very good pass catcher so if you add a few receptions to those numbers he’s looking at RB1 productivity.
|Public Plays||Expert Plays||HuLo Plays|
|Emmanuel Sanders (DEN) @ BUF||Demaryius Thomas (DEN) @BUF||Brandon Coleman (NO) @ CAR|
|Antonio Brown (PIT) @ CHI||Michael Thomas (NO) @ CAR||Mohamed Sanu (ATL) @ DET|
|Julio Jones (ATL) @ DET||Kelvin Benjamin (CAR) vs NO||Devin Funchess (CAR) vs NO|
|Mike Evans (TB) @ MIN||Golden Tate (DET) vs ATL||TY Hilton (IND) vs CLE|
|Brandin Cooks (NE) vs HOU||Rashard Higgins (CLE) vs IND||DeAndre Hopkins (HOU) @ NE|
|Jarvis Landry (MIA) @ NYJ||Chris Hogan (NE) vs HOU||Devante Parker (MIA) @ NYJ|
|Odell Beckham Jr (NYG) vs PHI||Davante Adams (GB) vs CIN||Doug Baldwin (SEA) @ TEN|
|Alshon Jeffery (PHI) @ NYG||Amari Cooper (OAK) @ WSH||AJ Green (CIN) @ GB|
|Tyreek Hill (KC) @ LAC||Keenan Allen (SD) vs KC||Tyrell Williams (SD) vs KC|
|Michael Crabtree (OAK) @ WSH||Terrelle Pryor (WSH) vs OAK|
– Well, that Antonio Brown thing didn’t work out so well last week but that’s not going to stop me from going back to the well once again. The Bears have nowhere near the secondary that the Vikings do and even if Ben struggles on the road (and he will), we’ve seen Brown thrive despite that. He’s not my top play but he’s Antonio Brown and I’ll never tell you to fade him…Similarly I’d never tell you to fade Julio Jones but I don’t love the matchup this week. We’ve already talked about how much I like the DET defense so that would definitely have me off Julio…The Giants have looked terrible all year and you already know how much I love Wentz this week. He and Alshon Jeffery seem to have found a solid connection and I think we are in for a season full of weeks like Week 2. I’ll be just fine with that on my team in Week 3. He’s definitely among my top handful of GPP plays…I’m not in love with any of the more public plays although I do like Emmanuel Sanders when I can get a full point per reception. He’s looking like the top option in Denver this year.
– Do we dare take another shot on Kelvin Benjamin in Week 3? He’s looked mediocre, at best, this year but a matchup against New Orleans can cure what ails any offensive player. I still prefer to use Christian McCaffrey but Benjamin isn’t a bad play by any means…I think I may have to move Rashard Higgins up to my public list this weekend but for now I’m going to keep him in the expert play list. He’s probably the top option in Cleveland and their matchup in Indianapolis is outstanding. I can definitely see him getting double digit targets this weekend, and to do so at such a low price is going to be awesome. I don’t see how he doesn’t return value on his price…Davante Adams is a near lock for me if Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb are out for Week 3. If one of them plays, probably Cobb, I’m still going to have a ton of Adams exposure. He’s ready to break out and Aaron Rodgers is going to look to open up this offense after a bad week 2…Keenan Allen is healthy (but for how long) and he’s been very good so far this year. He’s had ten targets in each of the Chargers first two games and some of moves he put on the Dolphins in Week 2 were mind blowing. I’m all about using him against KC, especially if people think that they should fade him because of the Chiefs defensive prowess (it’s not as good as advertised).
– At some point AJ Green is going to be AJ Green again. I’m good with taking that shot against a weak GB secondary with a low ownership…I kind of called my shot in this week’s Waiver Wire with Brandon Coleman so I’m going to go with him again right here. He looked good in Week 2 and I think the Saints are starting to figure out what we’ve all known for a long time, Ted Ginn sucks. Coleman is a great low-owned pivot off of Rashard Higgins…Some say that Devin Funchess will be the beneficiary of Greg Olson’s injury. I’m not one of those guys but if you believe, he’s got a good matchup…I really like Devante Parker. He’s cheap and he’s playing the Jets. What more do you need?…If you think that Kirk Cousins comes around this week, then Terrelle Pryor is a good stacking option. I’ll let you know how I feel about that in the weekend update once I’ve done a little more research.
|Public Plays||Expert Plays||HuLo Plays|
|Kyle Rudolph (MIN) vs TB||Eric Ebron (DET) vs ATL||Charles Clay (BUF) vs DEN|
|Rob Gronkowski (NE) vs HOU||Jack Doyle (IND) vs CLE||Austin Hooper (ATL) @ DET|
|Zach Ertz (PHI) @ NYG||Austin Sefarian Jenkins (NYJ) vs MIA||David Njoku (CLE) @ IND|
|Delanie Walker (TEN) vs SEA||Hunter Henry (LAC) vs KC||Julius Thomas (MIA) @ NYJ|
|Travis Kelce (KC) vs LAC|
– This entire list may change if Gronk is unable to play in Week 3. If he’s on the field he’s got a nice matchup against Houston, although I’d hardly call Gronk a matchup dependent play. Brady is going to look for his TE early and often because that’s just how the NE offense rolls. I probably won’t pay up for him because he’s one hit away from getting you a zero and I can’t afford that. His upside isn’t worth the risk at this point…The TE who is worth paying up for is Travis Kelce. I think he’s jumped into the #1 overall TE conversation with his play so far this year. The guy has been an absolute stud and nobody has been able to cover him. I know that his Week 1 stats weren’t great but that was seemingly by design as KC focused heavily on the run game…Someone tweeted out the other day how many TE we were confident would be better than Zach Ertz by season’s end. The only name I could come up with was Kelce. That says a lot about not only the TE position, but my opinion on Ertz. He’s in the discussion for Top 5 TE plays every week regardless of matchup. I will never have an issue with you using him; Carson Wentz loves him.
– I love any TE against the Browns. I especially love TE that are the top option on their respective team. Make no mistake about it, Jack Doyle is the top option for the Colts at the moment. He may not have the upside of TY Hilton but his floor is vastly higher. He’s my top TE play this weekend by a lot…Phillip Rivers finally started throwing to Hunter Henry this week. It’s amazing how that happened right after Antonio Gates got the TE touchdown record. Zach Ertz did really well against KC in Week 2 and think that Rivers is going to look Henry’s way a lot this week…Austin Sefarian Jenkins is coming off suspension for the Jets this week and I’m not sure a lot of people realize this. He was highly motivated in training camp and all by all accounts seems to have cleaned up his life. The Jets have very little else and ASJ is still young and very athletic. It won’t take long for him to become a favorite of Josh McCown’s. I will be using him a lot this week if I need to put TE.
– To save time, I’m just going to steal what I wrote in this week’s Waiver Wire about Julius Thomas:
“Julius Thomas faces the Jets this weekend. The Jets are terrible against the TE position. I know that it looks like Jared Cook didn’t do well in Week 2 but if you watched the game you would know that he had the Jets LB beat for a 50 yard TD that Derek Carr just slightly overthrew him on. If that pass was on target we’d have been looking at a 5-75-1 line instead of a 4-25-0 line. Game flow took Cook out of that game as well since the Jets could not stop the run at all (two 40+yd TD runs against them). I like Julius Thomas to come closer to the 5-75 line rather than the 4-25 line that we saw from Cook.” I’ll be shocked it Thomas isn’t one of “my guys” when I do the weekend update…David Njoku is slowly starting to find his way in the Browns offense. They play the Colts so everyone is fair game.
|Public Plays||Expert Plays||HuLo Plays|
|Denver Broncos @ BUF||Cleveland Browns @ IND||Carolina Panthers vs NO|
|Pittsburgh Steelers @ CHI||Green Bay Packers vs CIN||Indianapolis Colts vs CLE|
|New England Patriots vs HOU||Seattle Seahawks @ TEN||Minnesota Vikings vs TB|
|Miami Dolphins @ NYJ||Philadelphia Eagles @ NYG||Buffalo Bills vs DEN|
|Kansas City Chiefs @ LAC||Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ MIN||Tennessee Titans vs SEA|
– It’s really easy to pick on the Jets and Texans so I won’t be surprised at all when Miami and New England are the highest owned defenses on this slate. My main concern with using either of those teams is that neither defense is very good. Given the choice I probably trust the Pats at home more than the Dolphins on the road but as of now both of these teams are a fade for me…Of the more popular defenses I can see myself settling in on Denver and Kansas City. Denver is just that good and it’s not like the Bills can do much of anything on offense. I never love taking a Pacific Time Zone team playing on the East Coast in an early start but the talent difference between DEN and BUF is so large that I don’t think it makes a difference this week…As for the Chiefs, I love their special teams and Philip Rivers is usually good for one or two bonehead plays every week. SD should be throwing a lot in this one so KC has an increased chance for sacks and turnovers.
– My favorite two defenses this week are the Eagles and Packers. I have no faith that the Giants and Bengals are going to turn things around in time for Week 3. Eli Manning and the Giants offense looks terrible and if the Eagles do one thing well it’s pressure the QB. That’s bad news for a QB that plays poorly under pressure (I don’t want to hear about his play in the Super Bowl; this isn’t 2007 and these aren’t the Patriots). The Lions sacked Manning five times on Monday night and Philly is a better defense than Detroit. Until New York finds a running game I’m going to be picking on them a lot. The Bengals may be even worse offensively than the Giants. Andy Dalton has forgotten how to play QB and that’s bad news for Cincinnati. Green Bay isn’t quite the caliber of defense as the Eagles but this is a home game and GB always plays better at Lambeau. I have no problem using them in any type of lineup…Tampa Bay was great in Week 2 against the Bears and this week it’s very likely they’ll face a similar type of QB in Case Keenum. If that’s the case, I’ll be all over TB in Week 3. That defense is legit.
– Let’s keep things rolling with offenses that look like garbage. The Seahawks O-Line is bad and Russell Wilson is running for his life back there. He was able to pull off a Superman performance in Week 2 but the Titans in Tennessee are a lot more formidable than the 49ers on the road. Tennessee is a lot like Philly in that they can get to the QB and force him into making some bad decisions. Wilson isn’t as clueless as Eli Manning but that doesn’t mean that Seattle isn’t vulnerable to a clunker or two each year. As they continue to try to figure out how to block, I think the Titans front seven can make this a very long game for the West Coast team coming East (and kicking off in the early window of games)…Watch out for the Panthers at home against the Saints, too. Drew Brees is a totally different QB when he’s playing on grass in an open air stadium. That’s not to say that he can’t put up 300 yards and a couple of scores but he is prone to more interceptions against a stifling defense than he is at home (look at Week 1 when he played in Minnesota). The Saints WR corps aren’t nearly as good as we thought they’d be, and the RB have been hot garbage, so it’s not like they’re a big threat to bail Brees out as they have been in years past; Colston and Pierre Thomas aren’t walking out that tunnel in Week 3. I’m not totally sold on CAR yet but they will be very low owned and have the potential to put up a big number…I’m not opposed to using the Vikings or Bills in the hopes that Winston and Siemian aren’t quite what we’ve seen thus far in 2017.
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.