This is a weekly review of all the important DFS news and notes from all games played this past weekend. I give my thoughts on the relevant fantasy performances and future daily fantasy impact from each game for week 5. Below is part 1.
Colts @ Texans
My initial response after watching this game is, either Houston is really bad in defending pretty much every position for fantasy or Matt Hasselbeck (18-29 213 yards 2 TD) is still a really good quarterback. Neither one of these teams are good in the overall sense of things but the Texans are incredibly bad right now. Letting Matt Hasselbeck and Andre Johnson completely dominate them in the red zone is a sign that it might be time to start stacking teams against Houston’s defense. I wouldn’t get too excited about Johnson from this game. He was used almost more as a TE (with no Dwayne Allen) and even though he looked good in the red zone I’m not sure if this role or his usefulness will continue.
TY Hilton (5 ec. 88 yards) is still the final boss of this offense. When Andrew Luck gets back (and isn’t facing a top passing defense) there should be some big weeks with this duo ahead. The start of the season has been rough for them but TY looked completely back to his old self in this game and probably could have had a much bigger game had Luck been his QB. The fact he still nearly cracked 100 yards with Hasselbeck should tell you something.
As poor as Houston played in this game there’s going to be some big fantasy games ahead for some Houston players. Arian Foster (19 car. 41 yards, 9 rec. 77 yards) returned in this game and didn’t look great (especially running the ball) but played a lot and caught 9 passes as Houston was behind for the entirety of this contest. Foster is a great pass catcher and with the Texans now needing to go all out from here on in just to stay relevant expect him to see a ton of field in the next few weeks (or until he’s injured again). Even if Houston is bad Foster could still have some big multi-TD games ahead this year.
There’s not enough superlatives for me to describe DeAndre Hopkins (11 rec. 169 yards) at this point. I love watching him play and he’s such a natural pass catcher that he almost makes it look like he’s not trying at some points. Hopkins is being targeted at an insane rate and was everywhere in this game torching almost the entire Colts secondary with equal prejudice. He should continue to see big targets going forward as the Houston defense simply cannot stop the other team from moving the ball. More big receiving days are ahead for Hopkins who remains their best weapon on offense (even with Foster back) and best way to attack teams regardless of score.
Studs: DeAndre Hopkins, Frank Gore
Duds: Donte Moncrief, the Houston Texans Franchise
Seahawks @ Bengals
This was a great game between very good teams. The Seahawks should have won this game (were up 17 at one point) but could not move the ball in the fourth quarter on offense and allowed the Bengals enough opportunity to tie the game late. TE Tyler Eifert (8 rec. 90 yards 2 TDs) was the only real shot I gave the Bengals at putting up points against the Seahawks (who cover the WR so well) and sure enough he went banana’s in this game. The Bengals spread it around a bit so Eifert may not always be the go to target every week for Dalton but against teams who struggle vs the TE he will always have this kind of big game potential.
Bengals RB Jeremy Hill (8 car. 13 yards) got completely shut down in this game but Gio Bernard (15 car. 80 yards, 5 rec. 21 yards) actually thrived and averaged over 5 ypc against one of the best run D’s in the league. Gio showed his quickness on several nice runs to the outside, but also ran hard in this game and finished most of his runs with authority. It’s time to start taking Gio seriously for fantasy as the lead or 1A back in this offense who is also a huge part of the pass game. He’s playing at the highest level of his career right now and is part of one of the best offenses in the NFL. A massive day might be coming for Gio soon.
Thomas Rawls (23 car. 169 yards TD) looked good again as the backup to Marshawn Lynch. Rawls isn’t as big or powerful as Lynch but he’s a bit quicker and showed his speed and tenacity on a 70 yard TD run. Rawls is always going to be a decent play if Lynch is out but when he comes back he’ll be virtually unplayable as both he and Fred Jackson will be relegated to change of pace roles.
I’m still waiting for that Russell Wilson (15-23, 211 yards TD INT) breakout game to occur. Wilson started fast but was once again done in by his offensive line and couple bad decisions late in the game. I’m hoping that a healthy Lynch will help Wilson for fantasy and lead to more effective running totals, right now he’s just not able to get those big chunks we’re accustomed to seeing… Wilson did just miss a couple long passes to rookie Tyler Lockett (2 rec. 29 yards) in this game. Right now though you have to virtually fade all Seahawk receivers in DFS as no one is getting enough looks and the O-line is making it hard on Wilson to fire away from the pocket with any success.
Studs: Andy Dalton, Thomas Rawls, Tyler Eifert
Duds: Jeremy Hill
Patriots @ Cowboys
There wasn’t a game that went more to script for me than this one. The Cowboys are a virtual zero on offense right now and they were probably lucky to even put up 6 points vs the Pats. The pass rush of the Cowboys was improved with DE Greg Hardy in the lineup and they did keep the spread to ten points after the first half. The Dallas defense could be a sneaky pick once they find out how to actually move the ball again on offense but when that will occur is anyone’s guess.
Darren McFadden (9 rec. 62 yards) is officially the new Lance Dunbar (and new number 1 WR apparently). This is the only viable play on offense for the Cowboys right now as Brandon Weeden simply can’t or won’t throw downfield. McFadden played quite a bit in this game and with Dallas struggling will probably continue to play lots… garbage time catches count as much as any and he should see lots of those with no Dez or Romo.
I don’t know what you take from this game from the Pats perspective except that this offense is so freak ‘in good right now and they are actually not even 100% healthy (no Branden LaFell). Dion Lewis (6 car. 34 yards, 8 rec 59 yards TD) has added an explosive element this team has not had at RB the past few years and it only makes them better as a unit than they already were. Lewis scored the TD of the week for me when he made a one handed catch out of the backfield and then juked through two defenders to squirm into the end zone. He’s an unreal turnaround story and probably the best value option in this offense most weeks in DFS as the sites are not pricing him up where he should be yet. Keep taking advantage.
Studs: Julian Edelman, Dion Lewis
Duds: Cowboys offense
Broncos @ Raiders
Well this was a boring game unless you like turnovers and completely ineffective offenses. The Broncos are 100% living off of their league best defense and simply surviving on offense. The Bronco’s defense is so unbelievably good that at this point when they don’t score a defensive TD people will be disappointed. They should be rostered every week regardless of competition.
Given the state of the Broncos offense and the shocking drop in performance by Peyton Manning (22-35 266 yards 2 INTs) this year I think you almost have to stop paying up for Bronco WRs in DFS. There’s no breakout game or 3 TD game coming for any of these guys (I think). There’s just too many Peyton throws that are off the mark/coming out like ducks and its killing a lot of chances for this offense. It’s to the point where even a simple quick screen is an adventure now… Of course the only thing worse than the Bronco’s passing game is their running attack. Against a pretty exploitable Oakland front the Bronco’s gained 43 yards on 18 carries. The Bronco’s refuse to sit CJ Anderson (11 car. 22 yards) even though he’s been completely ineffective all year. I might revisit this run game if Ronnie Hillman (7 car. 21 yards) got named starter and saw the bulk of carries but until then just keep skipping over it every week. The Broncos are a defense only play for me in fantasy.
On the Raiders side of the ball Derek Carr (26-39, 249 yards TD INT) actually didn’t play too badly in this game. Putting up nearly 250 yards and a TD is actually a good day against the Broncos. With Latavius Murray possibly injured/ineffective/benched the Raiders passing game might see a lot more action in coming weeks. Don’t be shocked to see some big games from Carr/Cooper soon as the Raiders haven’t been able to establish a consistent running game at all.
Studs: Denver Defense
Duds: too many to mention
Saints @ Eagles
The Saints are a bad football team but there’s almost always going to be a good play or two for fantasy on their team depending on the matchup. In this game the Eagles corners played off the WRs for much of the second half once they got up big and both Brandin Cooks (5 rec. 107 yards TD) and Willie Snead (6 rec. 141 yards) accumulated garbage points. Snead might be OK to keep playing if his price stays cheap as Brees really is favouring him in the pass game. Shockingly he is probably the best WR to play off the Saints in fantasy right now. But there’s no way I’m paying up for Cooks. This was most likely a one game blip against a solid run but bad pass defense. Next week I expect Mark Ingram to get 8 receptions again and Cooks to be a disappointment. Brees (like Peyton Manning) just can’t throw downfield like he used to.
The Eagles passing game got going but where is Jordan Matthews (5 rec. 44 yards). He had another pretty ineffective game and looks to be losing the trust of his QB who is starting to spread the ball around more. I love the talent with Matthews but this is too long of a period without real production to keep chasing him. You almost need a prove-it game now from him to consider rostering him. I like the fact the Eagles are throwing lots but choosing a receiver form this offense for fantasy is pretty headache inducing right now… Sam Bradford (32-45 333 yards 2 TDs 2 INTs) looks more confident but is still making some bad throws. He threw a brutal pick in the red zone early and probably should have had an even bigger day vs this weak Saints D. Careful chasing him against better competition.
The Eagles run game looks like it got going against New Orleans but remember the Eagles were ahead big at the end and playing against a D who had essentially given up. The best RB for the Eagles in this game was by far Ryan Mathews (8 car. 71 yards TD, 3 rec. 23 yards) and so I’m still not trusting Demarco Murray (20 car. 83 yards TD, 7 rec. 37 yards) who accumulated a lot of his yardage late in junk time. If all three Eagles RBs are active they are almost all complete fades for me going forward… I just don’t see consistent upside ever with such a huge timeshare.
Studs: Demarco Murray, Willie Snead
Duds: Jordan Matthews
Rams @ Packers
I’m pretty sure that the Rams offense going forward is essentially going to be run Todd Gurley (30 car. 159 yards), run Todd Gurley, neat end-around, jet-sweep to Tavon Austin (3 car. 22 yards, 2 rec. 6 yards TD)… run Todd Gurley. The Rams lost this game but were incredibly effective running the ball. Gurley broke off huge chunk after huge chunk in this game and just missed scoring and breaking a few mammoth runs on several occasions. Credit the solid run defense of the Packers as Gurley could have had a real monster game. Gurley might be the favorite to lead the league in rushing right now as the Rams passing attack is pretty much dead and Jeff Fisher seems committed to giving Gurley 25+ carries every week, he’s an every week must play going forward… Tavon Austin is still a decent gpp play many weeks as he is being used a lot in a variety of situations. 2-5 passes and 4-5 rushes per game with the possibility of a big play keeps him on the radar. Outside of these two though don’t bother with anyone else on the Rams.
The Packers offense has been disappointing two games in a row for fantasy but the reason isn’t that they are playing bad, it’s simply a case of they don’t need to blow teams out anymore to win. Like the Bronco’s the Packers are riding a very good defense to victory and that means more time spent running the clock than running a hurry up offense… Eddie Lacy (13 car. 27 yards) should be benefitting from this but he isn’t. He’s been one of the biggest disappointments for me personally as a spike in carries and usage seemed likely when Nelson went down. You can’t keep paying up for him, there’s simply too many good value plays at RB elsewhere every week.
At WR James Jones (2 rec. 77 yards TD) keeps getting looks on the outside and keeps producing. He’s week to week the best value play in this offense and had another mammoth TD reception in this game… Rookie Ty Montgomery’s usage has also gone up and I love what I see from him as he reminds me a bigger version of Randall Cobb (who is struggling a bit with his shoulder). Montgomery got wide open over the middle at the start of this game and took a pass 30 yards for a TD basically untouched. The concern for Montgomery will be when Davante Adams returns as it likely means he’ll probably lose a lot of snaps and targets. Consider him as a min priced play against weaker teams until Davante returns.
Studs: Todd Gurley, James Jones, Packers D
Duds: Nick Foles, Randall Cobb
Bears @ Chiefs
Jamaal Charles went down with a likely torn ACL in this game and the Chiefs season probably went down too. Going forward the Chiefs running back situation could be an interesting target but watch who gets named starter. Charcandrick West and Knile Davis have both seen work behind Charles this season and it’s likely that both will work in a time share at least at the start. Davis has shown glimpses of brilliance in his short career but also been awfully ineffective at times. Right now I’d probably avoid both as the Chiefs have been brutal on defense and will be throwing more and more.
With the Chiefs season circling the drain that might mean more passing and more high-scoring shoot-out affairs which could be good for the prospects of Jeremy Maclin (8 rec. 85 yards). After a slow start Maclin has torn it up the past few weeks recording at least 8 catches in his last three games. The fact Charles is out means more targets and more reliance on him as the main cog in this offense. I love rostering Maclin going forward in DFS as he should see a ton of field as the Chiefs are likely to be involved in several garbage time situations near the end of many games too.
The Bears have been a pretty scrappy team this year. With all their injuries at WR considering Marquess Wilson (6 rec. 85 yards) as a min priced play isn’t a horrible idea going forward as long as Alshon Jeffery is out. Wilson caught a TD in this game and has the size to be an effective red zone target with Cutler at the helm. If he keeps getting playing time keep considering him as a weekly play… The main cog in this offense though will continue to be Matt Forte (18 car. 71 yards, 5 rec. 38 yards TD). Forte saved his fantasy day with a late TD but is going to keep seeing volume as John Fox will look to keep things conservative on offense. Against a weaker run defense Forte could have an explosion game or two going forward.
Studs: Matt Forte, Marquess Wilson
Duds: Travis Kelce