in the week it appeared weíd be struggling to find value at
the running back position but by the weekend Jay Ajayi, Dalvin Cook
and Leonard Fournette had been ruled out, opening up Corey Clement,
Latavius Murray and your favorite Jaguars running back (T.J. Yeldon
or Corey Grant) as value plays. Yeldon and Grant werenít really
options for cash games as Murray was in an ideal spot, projected
to be the lead back for a team at home favored by 16.5 points. What
could go wrong?
Knowing that I wanted to jam in two high-priced running backs,
roster construction was leading me away from Patrick Mahomes ($8900)
and towards Deshaun Watson ($7700) or Jimmy Garoppolo ($7400).
Early in the week I had the 49ers QB penciled in, but my desire
was to move up to Watson if I could find the cash as he was my
No.2 ranked quarterback on the week. Watsonís matchup against
a mediocre Giants defense missing CB Eli Apple and pass rusher
Olivier Vernon; plus his rushing ability gave him a higher floor
even though Garoppolo had a plus matchup on the road against a
weak Chiefs secondary.
Once Dalvin Cook was ruled out on Friday, Latavius Murray ($5200)
became a lock in cash lineups on Fanduel. His TD expectation was
high, his team was a massive double-digit favorite and while you
could question his usage in the pass game, he was cheaper than
T.J. Yeldon ($6100) and Corey Clement ($5800) with basically the
same touch projection. While the result was bad, Murray was a
good play in this format and given his popularity (80-90% owned)
he didnít hurt you cash games.
My continued desire to use three running backs on Fanduel is
driven largely by the usage and TD expectation of Alvin Kamara
($8700) and Todd Gurley ($9300). With Mark Ingram on the sidelines,
Kamara is such a usage beast in the Saints offense that even on
a half-PPR site like Fanduel, heís worthy of a $9K price
tag. Plus, his matchup against the depleted Falcons defense that
funnels targets to the running back was too good to pass up. The
$500 savings led Kamara (65%) to be owned twice as much as Gurley
(33%) in cash.
The running back position was an easy call this week, but I waffled
and debated on the wide receivers through Saturday night. At the
high end, Michael Thomas ($9000), Julio Jones ($8700) and Odell Beckham Jr. ($8300) were my main considerations. I had Julio ranked
the highest in this group and tried to fit him in, but since all
were in the same tier, I was able to pivot to the cheaper Beckham
without too much worry. This allowed me to get up to Watson over
Garoppolo at QB. This is a good reminder to trust your projections
and tiers and not try and force a player into your lineup. Had
I stuck with Julio, I wouldíve weakened my lineup at the
quarterback position and likely suffered in the results.
Boyd ($4700) was the key value play at the wide receiver position
this week. His 9 targets in Week 2 with A.J.
Green in the lineup was a good indication that his role was
growing. We got lucky with Green leaving in the 3rd quarter due
to injury, but Boyd had already been involved in the offense up
to Greenís departure and was on his way to reaching value.
My biggest debate was between Emmanuel Sanders ($6900) and Will Fuller ($7200). Both were in the same tier for me with Sanders
being ranked slightly higher at No.16 and Fuller at No.22. Fullerís
splits with Watson at quarterback are very consistent and while
we tend to think of him as a deep play threat on light volume,
itís becoming clear that Watson is narrowing his scope to
his threats on the outside and ignoring the slot position. Fuller
has 20 targets over the last two weeks and while I played around
with different lineups to fit him in, I ultimately stuck to my
process and rostered Sanders who I thought had the best matchup
of the Broncos receivers against a defense missing itís
top cornerback Jimmy Smith (suspension).
Roster construction led me away from the top tight ends, leaving
my two obvious choices for value. George Kittle ($5800) was in
a great spot with the 49ers in an expected shootout on a team
with a limited and banged up receiving corps and Eric Ebron ($5500)
was destined to see an increased snap rate after Jack Doyle (foot)
was ruled out on Friday. Ebron obliged with 11 targets but the
results were less than impressive.
Todd Gurley is the definition of a workhorse back. His snap percentage,
touch rate (25-22-28) and goaline usage through the first three
weeks are why you want to make room for him in your lineup. Gurley
will be off the main slate next week as the Rams host the angry
Vikings defense on Thursday night football.
I typically donít pay up for defense given the volatility at
the position but we had some high priced defenses that were definitely
worth considering this week. Minnesota ($4900) and Chicago ($4300)
were my favorites with the Vikings in a great spot to crush the
Bills who appeared to be more like a JV team through two weeks.
Mack has single-handedly made the Bears into a top tier option
and he put another display this week (5 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 FF).
However, needing a value option, the Cowboys ($3400) against
a Seattle offense that had been bleeding sacks and the Dolphins
($3700) with their underrated secondary at home facing the Raiders
were comfortable options. With same amount of boxes being checked
for each, I opted for the home team.
Combing through the results of 50/50s and double-ups on Fanduel,
Iím somewhat surprised how few of the sharps opted not to jam
in both Kamara and Gurley. Most opted to pay up at tight end for
Kelce / Zach
Ertz and Defense with Minnesota and use Giovani
Bernard as a third RB. Once Murray become an obvious value,
I felt more comfortable locking in the two RB studs and going
for value at the more volatile Tight End and Defense positions.
Both approaches worked with varying degree of success if you landed
on the right WR plays.