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 2.
49ers @ Giants
Eli Manning (41-54, 441 2 TDs INT) got revved up in this game. In the Giants new quick tempo offense he has been automatic for 30+ pass attempts every game and in situations like this one where the Giants were down late he’s had some fantasy football explosion games. I love targeting Eli against weaker defenses like San Fran’s because the Giants simply aren’t a great running team and basically use the pass to help run out the clock too. He’s becoming a pretty consistent fantasy option and should remain so most weeks.
Odell Beckham (7 rec. 121 yards TD) got wide open a couple times in this game but he’s still seeing a ton of double coverage and the Giants aren’t forcing it to him as much as they used to. That all being said Beckham a great game and showed off his stupid after the catch running ability several times, the only negative was that he left the game briefly with a hamstring injury. The Giants play the Eagles next week and quite frankly I don’t mind risking it with his hamstring because this might be the best matchup the Giants and Beckham have all year. Watch the news on him but in next week’s showdown versus a suspect secondary he’s looking like a must play.
Shane Vereen (8 rec. 86 yards TD, 4 car. 24 yards) showed up in this game, finally. I’ve been harping on Vereen being a supposed great fit for this offense but it hasn’t really transpired into good fantasy points till this week. With the Giants down late and Beckham missing time the Giants started to target him more and more. Don’t be shocked if he ends up being a good play next week too, the Eagles are great at stopping the run which might mean more pass routes for Vereen.
On San Fran I don’t want a whole lot to do with their offense (although feel free to target their defense with opposing players). I will say this though, Carlos Hyde (21 car. 93 yards TD) has looked great to start the season and is only suffering because he’s playing on a bad team (ie. getting killed by game flow). He ran hard inside and showed great quickness to the outside again, tearing off some big chunks against a pretty good run defense. Don’t be shocked if he has a big Doug Martin game soon, even bad teams will sometimes rise up and play well against equally bad opponents.
Studs: Carlos Hyde, Odell Beckham, Eli Manning, Shane Vereen
Duds: Giants D
Redskins @ Falcons
This was an ugly, let down game for fantasy purposes with a ton of turnovers and some injuries. The Falcons offense has really turned into a run-first, more balanced unit this season with the rise of Devonta Freeman (27 car. 153 yards TD, 7 rec. 44 yards). Freeman is no longer just a two week fad, he’s the undisputed main RB on a team that is really running the ball well. To boot he plays with a great WR who is clearing out running and passing lanes for him on every play and a QB who likes to target him. The matchup in this game said he should not have had a good game but did anyways… use Freeman until the wheels come off for fantasy this year.
Julio Jones (5 rec. 57 yards) did not look right in this game and that’s a problem going forward. While it might boost Devonta Freeman’s fantasy outlook it’s going to be hard to discern who to use in the receiving game. Leonard Hankerson (1 rec. 14 yards) is the most likely culprit to see more work but he got hurt and had an awful game vs the Skins. It might sound crazy but don’t be shocked if you see a Roddy White (2 rec. 23 yards) return to fantasy relevance in the next couple weeks. White honestly looks fine to me he’s just not getting targets, but that might change if Julio remains banged up.
The Redskins are simply not an efficient enough passing offense to target for fantasy. With this game sporting a high point total I thought a big receiving game might be in tow for someone on their team for fantasy. Jamison Crowder (8 rec, 87 yards) was actually a great value play but still didn’t have a a huge day and Pierre Garcon (3 rec. 51 yards) continues to disappoint. The real issue is at QB though, as Kirk Cousins (21-32, 219 yards TD 2 INTs) continues to throw balls behind receivers and turn it over. Washington is actually a team to avoid altogether for fantasy as their mantra is ball control and defense and their defense is actually pretty good and played well enough for them to win this game.
Studs: Devonta Freeman
Duds: Matt Ryan, Falcons WRs, Pierre Garcon
Browns @ Ravens
When two bad defenses clash sometimes it doesn’t matter who the QBs are for fantasy. Josh McCown (36-51 457 2 TDs INT) had a field day against a porous Ravens secondary who would probably have trouble stopping a pee wee team from throwing for 300 yards right now. I don’t hate how McCown has been playing but you can’t take this output too seriously. Be careful chasing points as solid teams will shut down McCown and the Browns passing game.
TE Gary Barnidge (8 rec. 139 yards TD) might not ever get shut down though. Not only is he now the Browns best red zone target (since they have no decent WRs) but he’s also probably going to have garbage time stats most weeks as the Browns will find themselves down late in the 4th Q more times than not. He had a miraculous (like from the heavens) type of TD catch in this game which bolstered his stats big time and turned his day from average to monster in a split-second. Be careful paying too much for Barnidge as some kind of regression from these massive numbers he’s been putting up is likely coming but also realize he’s going to be a decent play many weeks in ppr just because of the lack of real passing options in Cleveland.
The Browns rush defense might be the worst in the league and is a great target to play fantasy RBs against going forward. Justin Forsett (21 car. 121 yards TD, 4 rec. 49 yards) had his second big day in a row as he tore apart the Browns late, but did sprain his ankle a bit near the end. It’s not super serious by the reports but make sure you check his status before playing him next week. He’s playing almost all the snaps now as the Ravens are in desperate must win mode and will likely ride him till the wheels fall off.
The Ravens passing game also projects to be big many weeks as their defense isn’t able to stop even the worst offenses in the league from moving the ball. While there’s no real number one receiver in Baltimore right now using Joe Flacco (19-35, 210 yards TD, 2 car. 2 yards 2 TDs) alone as a cheap QB will likely pay dividends many weeks. Look to use garbage-time Joe as a gpp option in DFS going forward.
Studs: Justin Forsett, Gary Barnidge, Josh McCown
Duds: the defenses
Jaguars @ Buccaneers
Doug Martin (24 car. 123 yards 2 TDs) has looked great to me since the start of preseason but I’d been writing him off every week due to the complete disaster that Tampa Bay was as a team. Well they played a team as bad as they were this week and only needed Jameis Winston (13-19, 203 yards TD) to throw 19 times. Martin looked at his muscle hamster-ish best running through the tackles and powering his way to big gains vs a pretty hapless Jags D. It won’t be like this every week but when Tampa can get the ball rolling on the ground early Martin could start producing more and more fantasy relevant days. For now only target him against second tier teams like Jacksonville as good teams will still force Tampa to pass more and feed off of Winston’s turnovers.
As for Jacksonville, this passing output probably should not be counted on going forward either. The Bucs secondary is completely burnable and were playing softer coverage towards the end of this game when things got wild. Against good teams and even mediocre ones like the Colts, the Jags have struggled. I still like targeting Allen Robinson (7 rec. 72 yards 2 TDs) in the pass game against weaker secondary’s because he’s a big talented WR who can take advantage of weak coverage, like he did vs the Bucs, but don’t be shocked to see a flop every second or third week from him too. The Jags are a perfect example of a team you can consider in gpps when the matchup is right but not one you should likely ever be touching in cash games/head to head games.
Studs: Blake Bortles, Allen Robinson, Allen Hurns, Doug Martin
Duds: Jameis Winston, Mike Evans, Vincent Jackson
Bills @ Titans
Tyrod Taylor (10-17 109 yards TD, 8 car 76 yards TD) belongs right alongside Russell Wilson as the best running QB currently in the NFL. With basically zero healthy RBs Taylor took it upon himself to move the chains on many plays in this game and showed Michael Vick like speed and moves at times. This story is likely to keep going too as Shady McCoy isn’t returning anytime soon and Karlos Williams might not get cleared next week either. The more Buffalo needs to win the more you’ll see Tyrod run… some big fantasy games might be looming for him.
The Bills passing game is going to be a week to week headache and hard to decipher where the targets are going for fantasy. Charles Clay (1 rec. 7 yards) is probably the most consistent option but even he disappeared in this game which was pretty ugly from the get go. Most weeks I’d just avoid the Bills passing unit although if Clay’s price stays low he will always have upside in higher scoring games where Buffalo projects to throw more than 25 or so times.
The Titans Marcus Mariota (21-32, 187 yards INT, 5 car. 47 yards) didn’t do much throwing-wise in this game but finally opened up a bit with his legs. While he’s looked OK as a pocket passer the real fantasy boost for Mariota will be when he starts running more as the massive fantasy games will likely follow. For now he’s probably only a target against weaker defenses but if he keeps running 5 or 6 times a game he’ll be in play every week… Even though Kendall Wright (3 rec. 29 yards) didn’t do much in this game he did just miss a long TD pass and also was pretty vocal after the game about wanting more targets going forward. The squeaky wheel often gets greased in the NFL and don’t be shocked if Wright gets a few more looks and involvement next week. He and Mariota have looked good to start the year.
Studs: Tyrod Taylor
Duds: Charles Clay
Cardinals @ Lions
This was simply one really good team beating up on a really bad one. The Cardinals are absolutely stacked on offense right now and the only thing holding them back from bigger passing games are the fact they are blowing teams out and don’t need to throw 40 times. Carson Palmer (11-14 161 yards 3 TDs) looked great in this game hitting John Brown (4 rec. 73 yards TD) in the end zone near the start and on a deep throw towards the end. Palmer might be one of the most consistent options at QB for cash game purposes for the rest of the season, as he’s rarely getting pressured and is in an offense that likes to air it out in almost any situation.
At RB for the Cards the story is a little different. I’ll admit Chris Johnson (11 car. 103 yards) looks much better this year and he again tore off some big chunks of yards and looked like an extremely nimble runner too in open space. Remember though the Lions essentially gave up before half time so it’s still not that impressive a performance (at least in my mind). There’s also still two talented backs running behind him in David Johnson and Andre Ellington and all three were involved in this game. I love the way Ellington and David Johnson fit in this offense but with all three involved and no one getting a ton of volume I don’t know if it’s worth rostering any them if they’re all active. Tougher defenses will shut down the CJ2K run game and force more Ellington/David Johnson in the pass game. I’d just stay away for now unless there’s another injury.
What to say about the Lions offense. The Cards are a good secondary so maybe it’s too harsh to say never roster anyone from Detroit ever, but it’s still going to be dicey using anyone from this team going forward as the season is basically over for the Lions already at 0-5. Against weaker teams don’t be shocked to see Calvin Johnson with a couple stat padding games… but against good teams don’t even look the way of the Lions, they’re back to being… the Lions.
Studs: Cardinals D, John Brown
Duds: Detroit Lions
Steelers @ Chargers
The Steelers are lost on offense without Ben Roethlisberger. It’s to the point where you simply can’t roster any passing options on their team for DFS purposes until he’s back. Outside of one big broken play to Markus Wheaton (1 rec. 72 yards TD) in this game there was literally no passing for the Steelers. Just pretend like Antonio Brown (3 rec. 45 yards) isn’t even in the league until he gets back… At RB though there’s no safer play in DFS than Le’Veon Bell (21 car. 111 yards TD, 4 rec. 16 yards) right now. The Steelers rightfully don’t trust Mike Vick to do much and therefore are simply trying to hammer down their opponents with a steady diet of Bell. It worked in this game although they still had trouble putting points on the board until the end of the game. Still, it will be all Bell all the time, he’s the one player I won’t have any hesitation paying up for in coming weeks.
The Chargers are still throwing the ball a ton, and it’s mainly due to their pretty terrible O-line. Phillip Rivers (35-48, 365 yards TD INT) is going to keep being a good play every week because they simply can’t consistently churn out 5+ yards and are also falling behind a lot as their own run defense has been porous. This also means that a lot of the Chargers receivers will end up being big plays most weeks too. Antonio Gates (9 rec. 92 yards 2 TDs) returned in this game and looked great but was often left wide open over the middle by the sometimes sketchy Pitt secondary. Against teams that cover the TE a little better I think Keenan Allen (6 rec. 57 yards) will end being a bigger play. Allen looked fantastic running after the catch when he did get the ball in this game and considering how much Rivers is throwing those two could be a huge source of points from here on out.
AT RB the Chargers made an effort to get Melvin Gordon (15 car. 42 yards, 7 rec. 52 yards) the ball in the pass game finally and as they are getting more desperate for wins you might see Gordon on the field more and more. I have to admit Gordon looked better in this game than he did at the start of the season as he looked elusive most of the night and ran through tackles on many of his runs. We’ll find out next week if the shift to use Gordon more is real or not.
Studs: Phillip Rivers, Lev Bell, Antonio Gates
Duds: Antonio Brown