The Daily Spin – NFL Cash Game Edition – Week 17

Zachary Turcotte
By Zachary Turcotte January 2, 2021 04:29

The Daily Spin – NFL Cash Game Edition – Week 17

Week 17…I can hardly believe I am writing those words. How did this season go by so fast? It has been a wild and historic 4 months to say the least. There were so many things going on in the world this fall that were not so much fun to deal with and yet, from it all, we made it though a football season. Sundays with the NFL has been one of the only things about this entire year that has felt normal for me.

Sometimes I sit down and think about how sports fits into my life. My daughter asked me today how long I have been such a big fan of football. She watches the games with me for short stretches each Sunday. She likes to ask random football questions in a rapid fire manner while I am scrutinizing each and every play that is called which affects the players on my roster. ‘Why are the Jets so bad?’ ‘Why did the Vikings give up so many points this week?’ ‘Will Iowa ever get an NFL team?’ ‘When was the last time a new team was added to the league?’ ‘When will the NFL add more teams to the league?’ ‘What’s the name of the person who runs the NFL?’ ‘Why didn’t Jets try to win games at the start of the season’ ‘How much does it cost to build a stadium?’ ‘How much does the guy who runs the NFL get paid?’ ‘Is the commissioner a billionaire?’ It goes on and on like this until something causes me to erupt at the screen. Today it was the Bears running a jet sweep to their TE on 1st and goal at the one yard line and losing 3 yards. It’s an entertaining ritual, though I was told today that she would prefer to watch the games more if daddy would swear a little less during the games.

The truth is, the love of the game goes back to when I was 6 years-old and my dad took me to see a preseason game between the Vikings and Falcons. I watched every game I could years before 6th grade when Jeff first told me about this new game he had heard about called fantasy football. We each drafted a team and played one on one during that first season, with each of us winning eight times to split the season series. We expanded to four of us the following season and kept the league running through the 2018 season after which we took a break after a few members moved on and Jeff’s dad passed away. We’ve had family and friends shuffle through those leagues over the years and I am still in a DFS league to this day that I’ve been a part of going back to the early days of DraftKings.

I am intelligent enough to realize that being a rabid fan of the NFL is probably a little silly. As a grown man cheering on the same goofy team here in Minnesota year after year is likely not the greatest use of my time, though I feel extremely fortunate to have turned this hobby into a nice little business through our golf and now NFL site. It’s amusing to for others to see me watching the games so intently with my running commentary, clenched fists and more than a few occasional shouts, as if possessed by a demon. My wife came downstairs today late in the afternoon and asked if things were not going so well. I looked at her funny and told her, no, it was going to be another winning day with barely even a sweat during the late games. She laughed and said from the sounds booming up from the basement that she never would have been able to tell that thing were going so well.

What is funny is that some of these days are the most fun I have all year. I’ve spent time all over the world in my life and lived in a lot of different places. My friends from my military days live all over the world and many people that have passed through my world at different points live all over the country. When Sundays come during the fall, I am connected again to so many of those old friends.

I usually have about 6-7 text/DM exchanges running throughout the day. Jeff and I have a fairly witty and cynical back and forth going on at all times. It’s almost magical how one of us can say something negative about a player and within minutes, that player will have a huge play. I have an exchange going on with another close friend, Dain who is the biggest Minnesota homer imaginable. The only bad habit he has is leaving from watching games before they are 100% over. His now wife, then girlfriend still has not forgiven him for making the miss out on Stefon Diggs and the Minneapolis Miracle as he stormed out of a bar after the Saints hit the go ahead field goal. I have an exchange going with an old friend from high school named Paul who sat in front of me in Pre-Calculus in 11th grade and was my partner in 8th grade social studies as defense attorneys for a mock trial defending Harry Truman. We don’t connect much anymore outside of high school reunions when he comes back into town, but every Sunday during the season, we talk back and forth during the Vikings games.

My dad sends me short messages. His texting style is what I would call minimalist. I know him well enough to be able to interpret exactly how he’s seeing the games through just reading a few words. He played in our fantasy league starting in 2002. He was the laughing stock of the league for the first couple of years. Then he went on a tear, especially after he retired from his business and won the league six times over the last decade. If you see the screen name, MacNCheeseSwag on DraftKings, then you’re facing strong competition, even if it is just a $3 contest!

Around the country, I am in a league with my old branch manager that hired me and trained me to be a financial advisor. He moved back to Seattle six years ago now, but our 20 person league still runs strong every year. It’s filled with some of top producers in our company that I’ve gotten to know through text messages over the years. These guys love to compete at everything they do, whether it’s for a trophy or to be the top producer in the company. Most of them are in the Seattle area so they are huge Seahawk fans which is extra painful as the Vikings have never beaten Russell Wilson and lost in just about the most excruciating of ways possible over the years. For most of the year, we don’t talk too much, but during the season, we reconnect every week.

When something especially crazy happens for the Vikings, like last season in the playoffs against the Saints or the Minneapolis Miracle two years prior to that, I get messages from friends in all corners of the globe. Friends I grew up with, friends from the military and friends that have known me from other points in my life know immediately that I am likely jumping around like a fool screaming and have a memory of seeing it firsthand over the years. Conversely, when the Vikes suffer a particularly egregious loss like the NFC Championship against the Eagles or the Blair Walsh missed 27 yard field goal in the playoffs against the Seahawks, I hear from friends as well, including Curtiss, a particularly trollish Packer fan.

Finally, I dive in and out of our slack chat room during the game to check to see how everyone else is getting through the week. If I stay all day, I get a little too sour some days so I usually just stop by for a little while at a time between and after the games as my mood bounces back pretty quickly whether or not I win or lose. It’s so much fun to see so many of our members having success in all of the different sports that we offer. We have a really positive vibe overall and the people that we have our fantastic. I hear that other group chats can get a little heavy with ego, but I really have not seen that too much with our slack chat. People take time to help each other out and everyone is genuinely happy for the success of folks that lock up big five figure wins. Over the last year, it’s been rare to see much more than some minor disagreements or trash talk, which is usually good natured.

That brings me back to my daughter’s question today about football. I’ve always loved the game since I was a small child. I love the strategy, the different types of athletes, the action and the violence and the speed of the game. But what keeps me tied to the game are the relationships. There is a story for every game I’ve ever attended, the people I’ve watched them with, all the different places I’ve been. Sports helped to form the partnership I have with my best friend when we started this endeavor six years ago. Our lives are busier than ever, but this business keeps us close, keeps us from drifting the way most friendships do over the years. It gives me an excuse to shoot off a message to an old or new friend to see how they are doing without having to come out and ask the question directly. It’s a distraction from life, but also a way of staying connected or reconnecting again, whether through a phone call, a text message, or traveling across the country to see friends for a game. As this strange, peculiar, complicated, but ever so necessary season comes to a close, I am reminded again of everything that makes this game so special for me. It’s more than just the game itself, it is the memories that tie me to the people in my life and the experiences that I’ve shared with friends which now includes those that are along for the journey with FGI and FIE. I want to thank each and every one of you for taking the time to read my ramblings each week and I hope that in some small way, we’ve been able to provide an escape during 2020 that has brought a little light and a little fun to your world. And yes, I will be writing my column for the playoffs for those of you who stick around for the short slates over the last month!


Week 16 Review

Once again, wild news on Saturday threw the entire slate on Sunday into a little bit of chaos as the Cleveland Browns lost their WR group in one fell swoop. What looked like an easy game to clinch a playoff birth after an 18 year absence turned into a nightmare as they became only the second team all season to lose to the hapless Jets. The loss of those receivers bumped up Austin Hooper considerably in my model and created a tough decision for me at the TE position. I was extremely close to stacking two TEs last week. In KC, reports came out that I noted in my update that indicated that Tyreek Hill was not going to be 100% for the game against the Falcons. Travis Kelce already had an incredible matchup against Atlanta who is terrible defending TEs this season and with the overall receiver group for the main slate being fairly uninspiring, I really wanted to find a way to get Kelce onto my team for the week. However, Hooper did provide tremendous value at just $3500 and would be acting essentially as a WR1 so for most of Sunday morning, I had planned to use Hooper.

The only problem with stacking TEs was that I felt really very comfortable with my RB plays for the week and really did not want to sacrifice the flex position for a second TE, even if I did think he had high upside potential for the week. The only high dollar receiver that I truly considered before lineup lock on Sunday was Calvin Ridley. Though the Chiefs defend the pass well and it would not be easy, I knew Ridley would get enough looks with Julio out so that he would find a way to get his yards for the week and he did end up getting the 100 yard bonus, though he was held without a TD. I felt like Kelce was the better play with CEH out due to an injury and Hill at less than full speed. He’s been a target monster all year so I did not consider $8500 to be price prohibitive. The only sad part with Kelce was that he just missed out on the 100 yard bonus by 2 yards! He would have had it except for the fact that a teammate was called for a penalty in the middle of a long catch and run which cost him the bonus. All in all, I cannot complain with the result. I felt like 20 points was his absolute floor for the week.

A lot of people used Donald Parham last week and I listed him in my player pool, but he was a distant fourth (Kelce, Hooper, Thomas were my top three) by the time I was doing my final builds. He’s certainly a physical talent, but if he was that good, he would have found his way onto the field much sooner than last week where he still played second fiddle to Stephen Anderson, who had 6 targets. He would have offered substantial salary cap relief, but I hate chasing players like that where you are really unsure of how they will fit into the offense. He caught two balls for 47 yards so he wasn’t terrible for the price, but Hooper offered so much more upside and a much more predictable role in the offense for the Browns that I would say using it would be a clear mistake to have passed up Hooper for Parham.

Kelce was not the first big dollar player that I had locked in for the week. David Montgomery was the first player that I inserted into my lineup. I was playing him in every build I put together throughout the week. The Jaguars are awful on defense and the script set up perfectly for Montgomery. With Cordarell Patterson banged up, it looked like another 20+ touch game and I had him at 20 points for a floor for the week. We did get 25 touches from Montgomery, but sadly, he missed the bonus by a mere 5 yards and had multiple TDs vultured away near the goal line. He easily could have had 35 DK points for the week, but he was also very heavily owned so it was not going to make or break my week as far as giving me much separation from other competitors.

To start freeing up some salary cap space, I looked at the COVID situation for the Browns and loved using the Jets for $2000, which saved me as my next favorite option likely would have been the Texans who did not play so well against the Bengals. With Cleveland down their top four WRs and the Jets being very good at stopping the run, it lined up perfectly to punt to the Jets, take the savings and hope for the best. Once again, the Jets returned value and stuffed the Browns for most of the day.

At WR, Tee Higgins was a plug and play option once Tyler Boyd was ruled out. He’s had an amazing rookie campaign and the Texans are terrible on defense so with the extra targets coming his way and being priced under $5k, he was in every build I worked on during the week. Once again, I had a player that just missed the 100 yard bonus as Higgins got to 99 yards. I literally missed out on 9 DK points by a total of 8 yards. However, for $4700, I am never going to complain about 21.9 fantasy points.

When the news broke that Terry McLaurin would not play for Washington against Carolina, I knew that I would end up playing Cam Sims. That news boosted Logan Thomas, but Hooper was clearly the better value and $1400 less than Thomas if I had chosen to pay down. In any case, Cam Sims had been seeing an uptick in targets in recent weeks and was now the WR1 for Washington. At $3300, he did not need to do much to hit value, but did spend an annoying amount of the game at zero until a big play finally got him going in the second half. He caught three balls for 63 yards, but was targeted 9 times so it could have been a much bigger day! Unfortunately, he had some big drops and Haskins was also terrible delivering him a good ball. 9.3 points is pretty much the floor of what we were looking for in using Sims, but had you told me he’d see 9 targets, I would have taken that every single time.

At the QB position, I really only considered two players for Sunday. I was either going to find a way to pay up for Patrick Mahomes or take the salary cap savings and go with Jalen Hurts. Both had great matchups on paper and though Mahomes is by far the superior player, given the running ability of Hurts, the way Doug Pederson has built the offense to accommodate his strengths and the fact that he can run for 100 yards and throw for 300 yards in the right spot makes for fantasy dynamite so I was fine taking the savings. Neither guy played great, but Hurts did go over 300 yards passing and rushed for over 60 so he eclipsed Mahomes by a couple of points.

For RB, when the Broncos announced that Lindsey was out for the week, I loved Melvin Gordon at $5700. I really thought he’d see more touches last week. He had 16 carries for 79 yards, but was never targeted the whole game as Drew Lock was happy to throw one wasted pass after another to Jerry Jeudy. He was efficient running the ball, but of course, did not get rewarded at the 1 yard line as Lock plowed in for a QB sneak TD in the 4th quarter in a spot where Gordon could have gotten close to hitting value. It was a weird game considering that he came out strong right away and then disappeared for much of the second half. He was also heavily owned so his whiff did not hurt me too badly, but it was still a head scratcher.

My other RB ended up being David Johnson. A lot of people talked up Austin Ekeler, but after the previous week where DJ sprung to life in the passing game and with Duke Johnson on the shelf again due to injury, I was happy to dial up DJ against the Bengals. In the first half, this looked like a massive error on my part and I said as much in a text to Stat Boy as he had only five carries through two quarters. Fortunately, he made the best of his touches in the second half and ended up with another monster day, finding the end zone twice and getting up over 30 DK points. This was huge as most people used Ekeler and DJ did not have a ton of ownership so if he had given us only a few points, it would have leveled me pretty hard. I ended up with DJ over Ekeler just due to him being the featured three down back as opposed to Ekeler who does split touches with Kalen Ballage and was $1500 more expensive than DJ.

The last spot at WR gave me some trouble. I had $5100 left so that squarely put me on Russell Gage, but I did dig around to see if there was any other name that jumped out at me. I pondered just going with Curtis Samuel again late, but had not really done a deep dive on him all week and did not want to just use him at the last minute after having included Gage in my column. I liked Gage and thought he would get some good one on one looks against the Chiefs who would be looking to stuff Ridley with an extra defender opening up things for other pass catchers to be productive. Sadly, Gage had little involvement in the offense after three straight productive weeks in a row. I did not feel too bad about it overall as there just were not a lot of WR names that I loved last week. News of Keenan Allen being inactive broke Sunday afternoon and I had mentioned that the Chargers WRs were in play, specifically Mike Williams, but I am always hesitant to go with Williams who is usually a total boom or bust type of play. He was the WR1 for the Chargers, but did not do all that much so I really did not miss out. I never had any thought of using Guyton or Johnson.

For the week, this roster cashed with ease. There was plenty of chalk that struggled and I managed to swerve around some of the worst of it overall. It continues to be a really tense year for DFS in the NFL as last minute curveballs really make for some interesting strategy considerations on Sunday morning, but it’s been a nice run here over the last month so hopefully we can close out the regular season strong and head into the playoffs with some momentum.

 

Week 16 Team
Jalen Hurts 7000 24.58
David Montgomery 7700 20.1
David Johnson 6100 31.9
Russell Gage 5100 6.3
Tee Higgins 4700 21.9
Cam Sims 3300 9.3
Travis Kelce 8500 22.8
Melvin Gordon 5600 7.9
Jets 2000 9
50000 153.78

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Week 17 Strategy & Player Pool

QB DK 50000 FD 60000
Lamar Jackson 8000 16.0% 9000 15.0%
Deshaun Watson 7700 15.4% 8700 14.5%
Aaron Rodgers 7400 14.8% 8500 14.2%
Ryan Tannehill 7000 14.0% 8200 13.7%
Kirk Cousins 6300 12.6% 7700 12.8%

 

Lamar Jackson – Jackson is a high floor play against Cincinnati as he’s able to run the ball so well that it makes up for the lack of pass yardage. The Ravens need to win to get to the playoffs this week and should be ready to go as the lost a game to the Bengals in a similar situation three years ago. He should have a 25 point floor this week, though if the Ravens give the ball to their RBs near the end zone and the Bengals do not fight to keep the game close, Jackson may not be pushing as much late in the game.

Deshaun Watson – Outside of a couple of tough weather games, Watson has been incredible for fantasy players this season. He’s throw for over 4400 yards with 30 TDs to 6 INTs and rushed for 432 yards and 3 TDs. Tennessee has the 29th ranked defense in the league and this game figures to be high scoring. Watson has the highest floor of the QBs I graded out this week, just edging out Aaron Rodgers, and is my preferred QB for cash games.

Aaron Rodgers – Rodgers solidified his chances to win the NFL MVP last week and has been sensational this season with 44 TDs to 5 INTs. The Packers need a win in Chicago this week to sew up the top seed in the NFC, but the Bears are ranked 7th on defense this season and the Packers suffered a major blow this week in losing All-Pro left tackle, David Bakhtiari to a knee injury for the rest of the season, which did cause me to slightly downgrade Rodgers below Watson. The Bears need a win this week to make the playoffs so the Packers will see a much more motivated team than the one they beat just a few weeks ago in Green Bay.

Ryan Tannehill – This is a must win game for the Titan this week against the Texans and it should be a high scoring game that goes back and forth until the end. The Texans rank 29th in the league against the pass this year and Tannehill passed for over 300 yards and four TDs against them the first time these two teams played earlier in the year. It would be unusual, but I could sign off on using both Henry and Tannehill this week and taking all the points that the Titans are going to put up this week.

Kirk Cousins – Dalvin Cook is not playing this week which should mean a little more balance for the Vikings in throwing the ball this week. The Lions have the worst defense in the league so the Vikes should have no issues moving the ball however they want to do it. Watch to see if Stafford will start for the Lions this week. If he is in, then the game should be competitive. If he’s out, I may be more hesitant to used Cousins as I think the Vikings will win without much of a problem without having to press the passing game.

 

RB DK 50000 FD 60000
Derrick Henry 9400 18.8% 10200 17.0%
Jonathan Taylor 7400 14.8% 8400 14.0%
D’Andre Swift 6300 12.6% 7500 12.5%
Alexander Mattison 6100 12.2% 5000 8.3%
Melvin Gordon 5700 11.4% 6800 11.3%
Latavius Murray 5600 11.2% 5500 9.2%
Malcolm Brown 4300 8.6% 5600 9.3%

UPDATE: ADD TY MONTGOMERY $4000/$4500

Derrick Henry – I always like to find meaningful matchups in Week 17 and the Titans/Texans is the perfect spot this week for Henry. He’s 223 yards short of 2000 yards and while most weeks that would not be something I would consider, Henry has rushed for over 200 yards the last two times he’s played against the Texans who rank 30th in the league against the run. With Tennessee needing a win to make the playoffs, Henry will be in a spot to smash this week and should be considered a priority for cash games this week.

Jonathan Taylor – Over the last five starts, Taylor has become the RB we expected to see at the start of the season and is averaging over 20 touches per game in that time. He’s got a dream matchup to close the season against the Jags who rank 31st in total defense and 22nd against the run this season. The Colts need to win this game to advance to the playoffs and are a heavy favorite which presents a very favorable script for Taylor this week in a game where he needs 84 yards to cross the 1000 yard mark.

Alexander Mattison – With Dalvin Cook out, Mattison steps into the starting role for Minnesota. Though he burned us against Atlanta earlier in the year, the Lions are considerably worse on defense, ranking 26th against the run and last overall. Dalvin Cook destroyed the Lions the last time these two teams played so I expect a heavy dose of the run game again this week for Minnesota. The only issue here is that the Vikes could mix in Mike Boone and Amir Abdullah for carries in a meaningless game without playoff implications.

Melvin Gordon – This did not work out well for us last week, but Gordon is in an even better spot this week against the Raiders who rank 31st against the run and got beat up by the Dolphins and Myles Gaskin last week. Gordon ran fine against the Chargers going for 79 yards on 16 carries so if the Broncos could just mix him into the passing game at all, he could have a huge day against the Raiders.

Latavius Murray – Alvin Kamara was ruled out today as he went onto the COVID list which upgrades Latavius Murray into the starting role. The Saints need to win, the Packers to lose and Seattle to win to get the top seed. That makes it a little tricky to see how the Saints will play it. With Kamara testing positive late in the week, he’s not likely to be cleared to play next week which would make the top seed that much more important for the Saints, though the odds of them getting it are slim. They also need to consider that if Kamara is out next week, then they may need to be careful with Latavius Murray as the drop off from him to the other RBs is significant. Murray feels like a must play, but let’s be sure to get additional info for sure going into Sunday to see if he will be limited in any way.

(UPDATE) Ty Montgomery – Another rough blow to the Saints as the entire RB room was ruled out for Sunday’s game leaving them with utility player specialist, Ty Montgomery and a couple of practice squad guys as the only true RB options this week. I can see Taysom Hill getting in on the action more often than normal, but I am not sure how effective he would be lined up as a traditional back.

Malcolm Brown – This one feels like a dud with Jared Goff out, but with Cam Akers listed as a game time decision and Henderson out for the week, Brown is likely the only back getting significant touches this week. Arizona is middle of the pack against the run, but have been getting slammed on the ground in recent weeks. If Brown is going to get 20 touches, at $4300, he’s a reasonable value play, even if his skillset is limited. UPDATE: It looks like Cam Akers is going to try to give it a go tomorrow for the Rams. This is terrible news for Brown owners. Brown’s value is him getting 20 touches. If that drops to 13-15, then he becomes considerably less appealing. Watch for news in the early afternoon for more news on the status of Akers.

 

WR DK 50000 FD 60000
Davante Adams 9200 18.4% 9300 15.5%
Justin Jefferson/Thielen 7600 15.2% 8000 13.3%
AJ Brown 7200 14.4% 8400 14.0%
Brandin Cooks 6900 13.8% 7300 12.2%
Curtis Samuel 5300 10.6% 6100 10.2%
Laviska Shenault 4200 8.4% 5500 9.2%
Gabriel Davis 3600 7.2% 5200 8.7%
Josh Reynolds 3200 6.4% 4900 8.2%

UPDATE: It appears that Matthew Stafford is going to play tomorrow. This makes no sense at all given how a win can only hurt the draft status for the Lions, but whatever the crackerjack logic in play here, it does put Marvin Jones out there as an option with the Vikings secondary reeling going into the offseason. Jones is far from a sure thing in cash games, but does have massive upside the handful of times each year that he gets into a zone as he has done twice in his career against Minnesota.

ADD MARVIN JONES $5100/$6100

UPDATE: I am adding Ceedee Lamb to my player pool this week against the Giants. In analyzing the CB/WR matchups closely, the Giants are going to again have James Bradberry shadowing Amari Cooper. During the first meeting between these two teams, Cooper was targeted four times and caught two passes for 23 yards. Bradberry had that type of success all season against WR1s around the league which means that the Cowboys will have to look elsewhere to get the passing game going. So who did they look at to step up in October? Lamb was targeted 11 times and caught eight passes for 124 yards. He needs 108 yards to break 1000 and the Cowboys need this win to keep their playoff hope alive. 

ADD CEEDEE LAMB $5200/$6100

UPDATE: The domino effect is in full force down in New Orleans and that is going to force us to think on the fly for how the Saints choose to move the ball on Sunday. There just are not many players left in the offense that have played a lot of snaps this season. At the RB spot, it is up in the air. Taysom Hill and Ty Montgomery will get work with Montgomery likely to be the lead. Given the circumstances, the Saints are not likely to be pounding the ball up the middle all day and will likely look at the passing game where at least Jared Cook, Emmanuel Sanders and Marquez Callaway have plenty of experience and are taking on the 23rd ranked pass defense in the league. Callaway is especially cheap this week at $3200 and played well the first time these teams played when Sanders and Thomas were both out. He was targeted 10 times and caught 8 passes for 75 yards. This is like our Cam Sims play last week. He’s super cheap and I am expecting 6-7 targets.

ADD EMMANUEL SANDERS $5500/$6200

ADD MARQUEZ CALLAWAY $3200/$5000

UPDATE: The Chiefs are going to sit Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins this week which opens the door for Mecole Hardman to be a playmaker this week against the Chargers. Even as the WR3, Hardman saw 15 targets over the last two weeks and has legitimate deep threat speed. It will not help that he has Chad Henne throwing him the ball, but I think he could see 8-9 targets in the absence of the other big names this week.

ADD MECOLE HARDMAN $4200/$5300

Davante Adams – Adams is having another fantastic season and the only real question here is whether or not we can afford to pay up for both Henry and Adams this week. Plenty of big name DFS owners will make room for both names so there is some risk in fading him, but the Bears do rank 9th against the pass this year and will likely double up on Adams since the Packers lack a true second threat at WR. I am leaning towards a fade in my initial builds, but there is still a lot that could change before lock on Sunday.

AJ Brown – If you do not play Henry, then Brown is definitely a player to consider. I really think that the Titans/Texans game is one to focus on this week and Houston ranks 29th against the pass this season. The first time these two teams met, Brown caught two TD passes and has 10 in 13 starts this season. This should be another high scoring affair and Brown has been a playmaker all year. I prefer to use Henry this week, but would not rule out Brown or even some crazy stacks, which I usually do not use in a normal week.

Justin Jefferson/Adam Thielen – Dalvin Cook is out which means that the Vikes will likely have to throw a little more than normal this week. Justin Jefferson is 47 yards away from breaking the Vikings rookie record for receiving yards. Outside of the Tampa game, he’s been rolling down the stretch averaging 10 targets per week over his last seven games. Thielen has been as good as it gets catching TDs this year. In 14 games, he has 14 TDs. With Dalvin Cook sidelined, his red zone usage will be even greater this week. He’s 132 yards short off 1000 this season so I’ll be interested to see if he starts strong if the Vikings make a push to put him over that milestone this week. The Lions rank last in the league against the pass this season.

Brandin Cooks – Cooks shined against the Bengals last week and is finishing up another great season, needing just 16 yards to go over 1000 yards for the season. He’s been targeted 25 times in three starts since Will Fuller was suspended and had 9 catches for 68 yards and a TD when these two teams met the first time around this year. The Titans are going to put up plenty of points so Deshaun Watson will keep his receivers busy this week.

Curtis Samuel – Samuel has done a little of everything for the Panthers this season. He’s efficient catching passes, but with CMC missing most of the season, he’s also rushed for nearly 200 yards and 2 TDs. With Mike Davis out this week as well, Rodney Smith will start against the Saints and Samuel could see 5+ carries like last week. He’s got a nice matchup against the Saints as slot CB Chauncy Gardner-Johnson is out this week.

Laviska Shenult – DJ Chark and Collin Johnson are out this week which puts Shenault in position to finish his rookie season strong. He’s had 24 targets over the last three weeks and with James Robinson on IR, the Jags could look to mix him into the run game more often as he does have 17 carries for 93 yards on the season. The Colts are likely to get ahead this week by a big margin which will keep the Jags throwing often to try to stay in the game.

Gabriel Davis – With Cole Beasley ruled out this week, Davis gets a bump this week at just $3600 for the Bills. The only bad news is that I did see that John Brown was activated this week so it will interesting to see Davis’s role this week. The Bills can only clinch the #2 seed with a win this week over Miami so I am not sure how aggressively they will be pushing this week or if Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs will get a rest for some or all of the game. Watch closely for details over the next 30 hours. Davis has had 26 targets over the last five games so even with Beasley healthy, he had been seeing solid usage.

Josh Reynolds – Reynolds had a five game stretch here he had 39 targets, but then had three games with five total targets before bouncing back last week with 10 targets, 6 catches and 65 yards. The good news this week for Reynolds is the Cooper Kupp is out, but so is starting QB Jared Goff. However, at just $3200 and with two of their regular RBs also out, the Rams do not have a lot of pass catching options, which puts Reynolds in a nice spot as a punt play to save salary cap space.

 

TE DK 50000 FD 60000
George Kittle 6000 12.0% 6800 11.3%
Mark Andrews 5800 11.6% 7200 12.0%
Noah Fant 4400 8.8% 5700 9.5%
Irv Smith 3900 7.8% 5600 9.3%
Evan Engram 3700 7.4% 5400 9.0%

 

George Kittle – Kittle was somewhat snap limited last week against the Cardinals, but still caught four passes for 92 yards. He seems motivated to end the season on a positive note and will be ready to roll against division rival Seattle. He’s played with CJ Beathard for many years in college and the NFL so there is a great bond between the two though it does not feel like we have to pay up at TE this week.

Mark Andrews – In three meetings with the Bengals with Lamar Jackson as his QB, Andrews has been targeted 25 times, caught 18 passes for 208 yards and 3 TDs. The Ravens are in a must win situation and Andrews is the top pass catcher for them to rely on week in and out.

Irv Smith – In his last five starts, Smith has 5 TDs. The Vikings are down Dalvin Cook this week and Smith has been a red zone target favorite for Kirk Cousins with Kyle Rudolph out. Detroit ranks 22nd against the TE and allowed Smith to catch two short TDs the last time these two teams met.

Evan Engram – In five games against the Cowboys in his career, Engram has an amazing line of 39/30/328/3. Though he only caught one pass against Dallas the first time around, he had a rushing TD and had a long TD catch called back on a fake FG. He’s been targeted 17 times in the last two weeks and the Cowboys rank 29th in the league defending the TE. Engram is my preferred play at TE this week as the floor is high, but he has a 20+ point ceiling in a game where the winning team could still make the playoffs.

 

DEF DK 50000 FD 60000
Ravens 4200 8.4% 4900 8.2%
Colts 3900 7.8% 5000 8.3%
Browns 2500 5.0% 4100 6.8%
Jets 2300 4.6% 3500 5.8%

 

Ravens – The Ravens need a win to get into the playoffs and should be able to get it done against the Bengals this week though it was only three years ago when a late Andy Dalton TD sent Baltimore home. Although Brendan Allen played well against the Texans last week, the Ravens are an entirely different challenge on defense and rank 9th in the league.

Colts – The Colts need a win to get into the playoffs and are fortunate to be taking on the Jags this week. Mike Glennon is a statue in the pocket and the Colts will swarm him on defense to create plenty of sacks and turnovers. I hate paying up for defense in cash so this is likely more of a tournament play.

Browns – The Steelers look to be resting most of their starters this week which means that getting the Browns for 2500 is likely the chalk play of the week. They need to win to get into the playoffs and Myles Garrett has a score to settle with Mason Rudolph.

Jets – The Jets have been a great punt over the last six weeks and they get the Pats who look all sorts of lost coming down the stretch. They are banged up and Cam can no longer throw the ball effectively.

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Zachary Turcotte
By Zachary Turcotte January 2, 2021 04:29

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