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Tuesday 28th Mar 2017

Week 6 features only two teams on byes (Vikings and Bucs). The pricing on Steelers players is going through the roof, and rightly so. But I would be a little nervous overplaying them on the road, even against the lowly Dolphins. Tom Brady debuted and posted great stats, but spread the ball around (five players caught between four and six passes), making it difficult to single out anyone for DFS play. The high-end running backs continue to post very high floors and the cheaper backs are harder and harder to find.

Certainly Brees and Brady are attractive quarterback options, but there are several viable options in the mid-tier range that allow you to pay up in other areas.

QB Drew Brees NO 7900 Panthers defense not what is used to be
QB Tom Brady NE 7700 Worry about a second week letdown
QB Derek Carr Oak 6500 Playing at another level
QB Blake Bortles Jax 6300 Nice matchup after a week off
QB Marcus Mariota Ten 6100 Worry about running away with a lead
QB Brian Hoyer Chi 5800 Underpriced solid performer in good matchup

On the surface, the smart cash game play has to include one of the top four running backs. Unfortunately, it is near impossible to be happy with your lineup trying to squeeze two into your lineup. The other four appear to be solid options for either high volume or a good reception floor.

RB Le'Veon Bell Pit 7900 No timeshare in Pittsburgh
RB DeMarco Murray Ten 7700 High volume guarantee but the price is big
RB Ezekiel Elliott Dal 7000 Earning every bit of the first round money
RB LeSean McCoy Buf 6900 Another high volume guarantee
RB Mark Ingram NO 6000 Next level down - if Jacquizz Rodgers can run for 100…
RB Devonta Freeman Atl 5600 Timeshare is getting the job done
RB Theo Riddick Det 5300 Gets the receptions but not the guaranteed volume
RB Carlos Hyde SF 5100 Sneaky underpriced RB has been productive

While there are several high-end wide receivers that appear to be in great matchups, there is a ton of value in several of the lower-end players. Both Cole Beasley and Michael Thomas are solid plays to post 3-4x their price, right where I want to be in cash games.

WR Antonio Brown Pit 10000 First player to hit $10k this year. Tough to earn 3x
WR T.Y. Hilton Ind 7700 At least 10 targets in every game
WR Amari Cooper Oak 7500 Better than Crabtree everywhere but the end zone
WR DeAndre Hopkins Hou 7500 Gets back on track against bad Colts defense
WR Jarvis Landry Mia 6800 Too good to throw up two stinkers in a row
WR Chris Hogan NE 4600 Cheap option in play with Brady back
WR Cole Beasley Dal 4400 Must consider every week due to nice floor
WR Michael Thomas NO 4300 Might he be the best in New Orleans?
WR Cameron Meredith Chi 4100 Missed him last week - might be more than one hit wonder

Tight end looks like a land mine this week. Olsen posted a great number on Monday night and it could have been more. But it is hard to get him in with two upper end running backs. Gronk and Reed both have the potential for big numbers and come with high risk that make them more of a GPP play (Gronk’s targets and Reed’s concussion). I still like Ertz even after being burned last week.

TE Greg Olsen Car 7000 Worth the price especially if Anderson starts again
TE Rob Gronkowski NE 6700 Lost the TDs to Bennett last week
TE Jordan Reed Was 6100 Surging the past two weeks - watch the concussion
TE Zach Ertz Phi 4000 Disappointed in return, but ready to roll
TE Coby Fleener NO 3500 Inconsistent but very cheap on high-powered offense

A handful of defenses have attractive home games this week.

DST Bills Buf 3700 Bills defense playing great - 1st look at Kaepernick
DST Steelers Pit 3400 What kills Tannehill first - sacks or turnovers?
DST Titans Ten 3300 Must consider anyone against Cleveland
DST Lions Det 3000 Home favorite against a marginal offense
DST Texans Hou 2900 Bad since loss of J.J. - Colts allow sacks at rapid rate

Here is my DraftKings cash game lineup as of today:

QB Brian Hoyer Chi 5800
RB Mark Ingram NO 6000
RB DeMarco Murray Ten 7700
WR T.Y. Hilton Ind 7700
WR Jarvis Landry Mia 6800
WR Cole Beasley Dal 4400
TE Zach Ertz Phi 4000
DST Titans Ten 3300
WR Michael Thomas NO 4300
      50000

Week 5 features four teams on byes (Chiefs, Jaguars, Seahawks and Saints) and the return of Tom Brady. Sorry for being a little short on the commentary, but I've been busy getting ready for Hurricane Matthew (so don’t look for me to promote anyone named Matthew).

Using Tom Brady seems too easy. There are a lot of quarterbacks in the mid-price range with good matchups.

QB Tom Brady NE 7500 Would anyone be surprised if Brady threw for 400 and 6 TDs?
QB Andrew Luck Ind 7300 Limited ground game and bad defense leads to the pass
QB Ben Roethlisberger Pit 7200 Thrived with Bell back as a weapon
QB Philip Rivers SD 6900 Another good matchup for Rivers
QB Derek Carr Oak 6800 Carr is moving up with the elite level quarterbacks
QB Carson Wentz Phi 6400 Continues to defy the odds as a rookie
QB Eli Manning NYG 6000 A much better scoring matchup than Monday
QB Brian Hoyer Chi 5500 Might he keep Cutler on the bench?

The cheap running back options are becoming hard to find. And some of the running backs that we have to pay up for don’t have a very long track record of success.

RB Le'Veon Bell Pit 7500 Made a triumphant return on Sunday night
RB DeMarco Murray Ten 7200 Been getting it done for Tenn.  The Dolphins defense has been bad
RB Melvin Gordon SD 7000 Fumbles are concern, making up for the lack of TDs from last season
RB C.J. Anderson Den 6900 Falcons defense has not been exactly stout
RB Ezekiel Elliott Dal 6800 Getting the job done.  Loses TD carries to Morris
RB LeSean McCoy Buf 6600 Bills best weapon plays almost every down
RB Jordan Howard Chi 5200 26 touches in first start
RB Darren Sproles Phi 4300 Getting more playing time than expected
RB Kenneth Dixon Bal 3600 Expected to make his pro debut

The high-end receivers have posted some contest winning scores, but their success is far from consistent. Odell could be next for a big number, but he can only be a GPP play given his poor performance so far.

 

WR Antonio Brown Pit 9800 Automatic, but how high is too expensive
WR A.J. Green Cin 8900 Could have beat Julio's numbers if game was close
WR Odell Beckham Jr. NYG 8500 The frustration is building - is a huge game coming?
WR Jordy Nelson GB 7900 Been surprisingly good and continues to get scoring targets
WR T.Y. Hilton Ind 7400 Taking advantage of Moncrief's injury
WR Brandon Marshall NYJ 7100 Top man with Decker expected to be out again
WR Jarvis Landry Mia 7000 Pretty darn automatic - scoring a TD is a bonus
WR Julian Edelman NE 6700 Will be interesting to see how the receivers do with Brady
WR Terrelle Pryor Sr. Cle 5800 Tough matchup and starting to get pricy
WR Sterling Shepard NYG 5500 Playing better than Beckham right now
WR Cole Beasley Dal 4300 Still cheap and still a top target
WR Brice Butler Dal 3500 Only a GPP consideration if Bryant is out again

Not very many reasonable tight end choices. Fortunately, several of the more interesting options are still very cheap.

 

TE Jordan Reed Was 6600 Finally proved his worth last weekend
TE Jason Witten Dal 4400 One of several Dak safety blankets
TE Zach Miller Chi 3600 Strong cheap option with Bears lacking other targets
TE Zach Ertz Phi 3500 Expected to return on Sunday
TE Hunter Henry SD 3300 Good choice if Gates misses more time

Only a few defenses hit the mark for Week 5. 

 

DST Patriots NE 3700 Not many great defensive choices on paper.  Patriots might be best
DST Steelers Pit 3500 Fitzpatrick has been an interception throwing machine
DST Bills Buf 3100 Firing the offense coordinator inspired the defense
DST Eagles Phi 2900 Takes advantage of Stafford mistakes

Here is my DraftKings cash game lineup as of today:

QB Philip Rivers SD 6900
RB Le'Veon Bell Pit 7500
RB Jordan Howard Chi 5200
WR Jarvis Landry Mia 7000
WR Sterling Shepard NYG 5500
WR Cole Beasley Dal 4300
DST Eagles Phi 2900
TE Zach Miller Chi 3600
WR Brandon Marshall NYJ 7100
      50000

Week 2 was a tough one for running backs. Many of us (me included) saw our cash game chances blow up with Danny Woodhead’s blown ACL. Many other running backs bit the dust last week, creating some intriguing low-priced RB options in Week 3.

So the Brees-Manning matchup turned into a bust. This week’s “no-brainer” goes to Luck vs. Rivers with the highest game total on the regular slate. The high priced quarterbacks are easy to fit into lineups with value all across the board.

QB Cam Newton Car 7800 Must always be considered - all offense runs thru him
QB Andrew Luck Ind 7600 Indy defense is proving to be as bad as advertised
QB Carson Palmer Ari 7200 Potent offense with many receiving options
QB Eli Manning NYG 7000 Had two TDs dropped by OBJ vs Saints
QB Matthew Stafford Det 6800 Not much of a running game
QB Philip Rivers SD 6700 Highest total on the board

Must find running backs that can make it through the game. That proved tough in Week 2. The last four on the list below all saw their values rise for Week 3 with injuries to the other back. Johnson and DeAngelo clearly lead the way. Murray has the added benefit of playing against a disappointing Raiders defense.

RB David Johnson Ari 7700 Guaranteed 20 touches
RB DeAngelo Williams Pit 7500 Panthers kept the wrong back
RB DeMarco Murray Ten 6300 Consistent receiving threat
RB Melvin Gordon SD 5800 Should see all the touches with Woodhead out
RB Theo Riddick Det 4900 Will be a fantasy star if he can handle the load
RB Charles Sims TB 4900 Tough matchup vs. Rams but is the main man
RB Fozzy Whittaker Car 3800 Top dog will finally have a real chance

Antonio Brown rarely disappoints as he did last week, so expect a big rebound against the Eagles. After a couple of weeks we start to get a good sense of which receivers are in good positions for big targets (and we know that higher targets usually translate to more receptions).

 

WR Antonio Brown Pit 9600 Quiet last week - that won't last
WR Kelvin Benjamin Car 7200 Still underpriced
WR Jarvis Landry Mia 6600 At least 10 targets with Foster out
WR Marvin Jones Jr. Det 6200 Has hit it off well with Stafford
WR Sterling Shepard NYG 5500 Norman expected to shadow OBJ
WR Travis Benjamin SD 5200 Heavily underpriced after recent volume
WR Stefon Diggs Min 5100 Prices did not have enough time to account for Sunday night
WR Quincy Enunwa NYJ 4800 Heavily involved in Jets offense - up if Marshall is out
WR Jamison Crowder Was 3800 Cheap source of targets - up more if Jackson is out
WR Cole Beasley Dal 3200 Continues to be Dak's security blanket

The pricing on the upper-tier of tight ends is still very reasonable. In a week where there is a ton of value at RB and WR, you can easily justify Jordan Reed or Greg Olsen. But it will be hard to pass up Dennis Pitta after the volume he saw in Week 2. One of my hidden gems, Trey Burton, made the big-time on Monday night filling in for Zach Ertz. Tough to believe how both Burton and Reed were misused together just a few years ago as Florida Gators.

 

TE Jordan Reed Was 6500 Top tight ends are underpriced
TE Greg Olsen Car 5800 Cam targets two people
TE Dennis Pitta Bal 3400 Cheap with great rapport with Flacco
TE Clive Walford Oak 2800 Near min price - involved in Raider offense
TE Trey Burton Phi 2500 Worthy of consideration if Ertz is out as min price


Defensive scoring was up in Week 2, with the pre-season projected top defenses rising to the occasion. There are some big home favorites to strongly consider this week.

 

DST Seahawks Sea 4100 At home vs. sub-par offense
DST Panthers Car 3800 Panthers should be able to pressure Bradford
DST Cardinals Ari 3600 Bills just fired their offensive coordinator
DST Dolphins Mia 3000 Browns on third QB already
DST Jets NYJ 2900 Jets control ball on ground and pressue Smith
DST Browns Cle 2300 Dolphins commit mistakes - even against Cleveland

My projected lineup (predominantly in DraftKings cash games) as of this writing:

DST Dolphins Mia 3000
QB Eli Manning NYG 7000
RB DeMarco Murray Ten 6300
RB David Johnson Ari 7700
TE Dennis Pitta Bal 3400
WR Kelvin Benjamin Car 7200
WR Sterling Shepard NYG 5500
WR Jarvis Landry Mia 6600
WR Cole Beasley Dal 3200
      49900

Week 4 features the first teams on byes (Eagles and Packers) and a London game (Colts-Jaguars) that is off the regular Sunday DraftKings slate.

The solid fantasy quarterbacks are starting to sort themselves out. Cam has to remain a consideration even after the dud against the Vikings. This might be the last week of 2016 to get Drew Brees for under $8,000. The Saints defense is just plain bad leading to Brees playing from behind all the time.

QB Cam Newton Car 7800 Rebounds nicely in potential shootout
QB Drew Brees NO 7600 Bad Saints defense leads to big days from Brees
QB Matthew Stafford Det 7300 No running game means big passing attempts
QB Philip Rivers SD 6900 Anyone against the Saints
QB Kirk Cousins Was 6500 Starting to heat up - blowout probable
QB Trevor Siemian Den 5400 Still very cheap

There is an extended list of running back options in Week 4. The main objective with running backs is to try and pick two that will not get injured. There are some solid matchups for the high-priced guys and interesting opportunities for a couple of low-priced players.

RB David Johnson Ari 7800 Plays just about every down
RB Le'Veon Bell Pit 7500 Have to expect high usage in return
RB Ezekiel Elliott Dal 6900 Cowboys may force the run against weak SF
RB DeMarco Murray Ten 6800 Has been solid in passing game
RB LeSean McCoy Buf 6700 Excellent all around so far - continues bump without Watkins
RB Melvin Gordon SD 6300 Tough to trust, but is the main option and is still priced fair
RB Christine Michael Sea 6000 Finally got all the carries (before the rout)
RB Charles Sims TB 5600 Main man still priced down
RB Jordan Howard Chi 3700 Gains starting job with Langford injury

Every so often we get a dud from a solid receiver as we did last week from Kelvin Benjamin. Expect a big rebound in Week 4 (and expect low ownership with people falsely scared away). Players like Crowder and Beasley are proving to be consistent cheap options.

WR Antonio Brown Pit 9700 Expensive but very high floor
WR DeAndre Hopkins Hou 8400 Due for big return after being shut down by NE
WR Marvin Jones Jr. Det 7300 Highest scoring receiver stays on list until he is priced right
WR Kelvin Benjamin Car 7100 Rebounds off zero - should be very low ownership
WR Mike Evans TB 6500 Every bit the beast that many expected so far
WR Jeremy Maclin KC 6000 A risk because KC is run-first, but expected high-scoring Sunday night
WR Quincy Enunwa NYJ 4400 Low price consideration if Decker is out
WR Terrelle Pryor Sr. Cle 4300 Might have the highest ownership percentage in Week 4
WR Jamison Crowder Was 4200 Has been solid contributor in 2016
WR Cole Beasley Dal 3900 Dak's security blanket - pencil in 6 for 60
WR Michael Thomas NO 3800 Low price consideration if Snead is still out

Tight End has proven to be a mine field early in the season, so they all remain very fairly priced. Jordan Reed has been an early-season disappointment but appears to be in a great spot to explode in Week 4.

TE Jordan Reed Was 6300 Top option, even after disappointing Week 3
TE Greg Olsen Car 6000 Continues to see consistent targets
TE Travis Kelce KC 4800 Should be up and down the field
TE Dennis Pitta Bal 3900 Flacco's favorite target still cheap
TE Hunter Henry SD 2700 Great cheap spot if Gates is out again
TE Zach Miller Chi 2700 Best receiving option on the Bears

A couple of big home favorites pop up on the list this week in the Cardinals and Redskins. While I usually pay down for defense, I may have to move to Arizona just based on the matchup.

DST Cardinals Ari 3900 Rams one-dimensional offense is easy to contain
DST Seahawks Sea 3800 Against a QB that just threw six picks
DST Redskins Was 3500 Browns offense does not intimidate
DST Texans Hou 3200 Even without JJ, Tenn has been an offensive mess
DST Lions Det 3100 Not much of a defense, but great matchup

Last week, I made no changes to my posted lineup and cashed 100% of my double-ups and most of my triple-ups. This was in spite of taking zero from Kelvin Benjamin. That just re-emphasized the cash game strategy of loading up on players that should see high target numbers across the board. Even if one turns into a bum for a week, you can still post a solid score.

I am weighing two potential lineups (predominantly in DraftKings cash games) as of this writing:

QB Kirk Cousins Was 6500
RB Jordan Howard Chi 3700
RB David Johnson Ari 7800
WR Cole Beasley Dal 3900
WR Kelvin Benjamin Car 7100
WR Mike Evans TB 6500
TE Jordan Reed Was 6300
DST Cardinals Ari 3900
WR Jamison Crowder Was 4200
      49900
       
QB Drew Brees NO 7600
RB Jordan Howard Chi 3700
RB David Johnson Ari 7800
WR Antonio Brown Pit 9700
WR Jeremy Maclin KC 6000
WR Terrelle Pryor Sr. Cle 4300
TE Hunter Henry SD 2700
DST Texans Hou 3200
WR Jamison Crowder Was 4200
      49200

Week 1 was not a bad time to be on the sidelines to take in all the action. Now, with at least a little clarity, let’s jump right in.

On the Quarterback side, we have to constantly wrestle with paying up for the near sure-thing versus taking a risk and going cheap with a quarterback in a good matchup. I normally try to play the middle-range quarterbacks, but this week I can’t see passing on Drew Brees or Eli Manning.

Drew Brees 8200 NO Brees vs. Eli was epic last year for fantasy players
Eli Manning 7600 NYG Can get Eli for $600 less than Brees
Derek Carr 7200 Oak Falcons could not stop Winston last week
Kirk Cousins 7000 Was Cousins was sub-par on Monday.  Dallas could not stop Eli
Blake Bortles 6700 Jax Looks like an offensive shoot-out against the Chargers
Philip Rivers 6400 SD Jax defense was better, but far from great
Jimmy Garoppolo 5900 NE Cheap option.  Looked capable against good Cards defense
Trevor Siemian 5200 Den Showed well with the whole world watching last Thursday

The multi-year running back trend held in Week 1 as we had only two 100-yard running backs. Not all was lost as 11 backs caught at least five passes. For those looking to spend up on running backs, please remember that in Week 1, Todd Gurley and Adrian Peterson combined to score the same number of points as Charcandrick West.

David Johnson 7600 Ari 20 touches should be the norm
Lamar Miller 7200 Hou Blew away previous season's touches (32)
Spencer Ware 6100 KC Uber-ly productive with Charles out
DeMarco Murray 5700 Ten Saw the bulk of the work with Henry clearly a backup for now
Danny Woodhead 5200 SD 16 rushing attempts was a surprise.  Still very cheap
Theo Riddick 4300 Det Seems to be a lock for catches.  Lack of rushes need to be considered

The wide receiver group is crowded with an abundance of choices. While you do not need to have the top of the heap to win cash games, you have to avoid the total duds. Players like Dez Bryant and John Brown (each with 1 catch for 8 yards) wiped people out.

 

Odell Beckham Jr. 9500 NYG Saints could not stop Raiders receivers
Brandin Cooks 8000 NO Best of three-headed group.  Could be short targets at times - not this week
Kelvin Benjamin 6500 Car Came back as the clear number one target for Cam
Julian Edelman 6200 NE As close to a guarantee as possible when healthy
Willie Snead 5800 NO A nice pairing with Cooks
Mohamed Sanu 5500 Atl Proved to be a solid compliment to Julio
Stefon Diggs 5100 Min Top target on a low volume team
Travis Benjamin 4400 SD Someone has to take "charge" for the Chargers
Will Fuller 4200 Hou Looked the part of a first round draft choice
Eli Rogers 4100 Pit Very capable complement to A. Brown
Tajae Sharpe 4100 Ten Was clearly the best receiver on the field for Tenn
Jamison Crowder 3600 Was Cheap option.  Had the targets on Monday

TE was a wasteland last week, with only nine tight ends catching at least five passes. Also note that of the eight tight ends that scored, three of those players had only one reception.

 

Greg Olsen 5600 Car Looks like he will maintain his targets with Benjamin back
Travis Kelce 5000 KC Has been good in the past, can he be consistent in 2016?
Jason Witten 4300 Dal Clearly Dak's security blanket
Jesse James 3400 Pit Yes, he can catch
Vance McDonald 3000 SF Only two catches, but had a TD.  Risk on low volume SF offense
Virgil Green 2800 Den Was clearly part of the Broncos game plan

There were only two defensive/special teams touchdowns in Week 1, both coming from the Vikings. While it is almost certain that will change in Week 2, trying to predict defensive scores is a waste of time. Instead, we should focus on the best chance to put pressure on the quarterback.

Panthers 3900 Biggest favorite on the board against below-average offense
Seahawks 3800 The Rams are among the three worst offenses in the NFL
Packers 3200 The Vikings showed nothing on offense last week
Ravens 3000 Any team playing the Browns has to be on this list
Browns 2500 On the flip side, Baltimore did not show much last week either

My projected lineup (predominantly in DraftKings cash games) as of this writing:

Eli Manning QB 7600
Lamar Miller RB 7200
Danny Woodhead RB 5200
Odell Beckham Jr. WR 9500
Kelvin Benjamin WR 6500
Tajae Sharpe WR 4100
Virgil Green TE 2800
Ravens DEF 3000
Eli Rogers FLX 4100
    50000

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