I want to begin this weekís DFS lineup review with an apology
to all the DeAndre Hopkins owners in season-long leagues and those
poor souls, who like myself, decided to pull the trigger on him
this week against the Saints.
As a ridiculous, if not borderline crazy person when it comes
to sports-related superstitions, I can find no other reasonable
explanation other than my ownership jinx as to why Hopkins would
manage only five catches for 36 yards and zero touchdowns.
It is my fault. I must have jinxed him. And for that, fellow
owners, I am sorry.
Hopkins had been nothing short of amazing this season, with five
finishes in the top five for wide receivers and double-digit performances
in every game prior to Sunday. He averaged 24 points over the
past three weeks, including five catches for 118 yards and two
scores against Darrelle Revis.
The Vegas odds makers had this game as a shootout with an over/under
of 49. Hopkins had scored at least 20 points in all of his home
games prior to Sunday. And the Saints defense allowed 133 combined
points in their three-previous games. All the stats and all the
metrics that I use to identify players in DFS had Hopkins as a
no-brainer play with a high ceiling and a high floor.
Of course I donít really believe I cursed Hopkins and his
owners. But I do think this is an interesting topic for DFS, because
in some cases, the no-brainer, canít-miss player we all
think will do well may not come through for a myriad of reasons.
Game flow, weather, injuries to opponents and subsequent changes
in scheme, and just bad luck can negate the performance of even
In the case of Hopkins, the Saints offense was putrid along with
their defense, allowing the Texans to score two early touchdowns
and limiting the need for Brian Hoyer to air it out for a good
portion of the second half. A broken play passing touchdown to
Ryan Griffin and rare rushing TD to a wide receiver was all the
Texans needed on offense.
I could spend the next few hours scouring stats and articles
trying to find out what I missed in my assessment of Hopkins,
but I think the best thing to do is chalk this up to one of those
weeks when despite all of the flags pointing in your favor, sometimes
guys just donít produce.
It happens in real life football and fantasy. Learn from it and
move on to the next week, but donít let it overly sway your
feelings against a player. Hopkins will be on a roster of mine
in the near future, perhaps even this week.
The following roster review is for a losing Arizona stack in
the DraftKings.com millionaire maker GPP. In addition to bombing
on Hopkins, I was burned by Carson Palmer and the Cardinals after
they barely beat the Niners.
After a few solid weeks of building my bankroll in cash games,
I decided to enter a mega GPP game in hopes of hitting a winning
lottery ticket. I try to limit my spending on these games to a
few each year, and a gut feeling of a contrarian Cardinals stack
against a 49ers team at home seemed like a fun gamble.
I felt like the Cardinals stack against the Niners on the road
was a contrarian play based on the fact that San Francisco allows
an average of 15.8 points at home compared to 35.2 on the road.
In addition, the Cardinals were winless against the Niners in
San Francisco (Santa Clara) since 2008.
With all of those negatives against them, I had a feeling that
Palmer was matchup proof on the road after his 26.2 points against
the Seahawks at the Link week 10. I also had a hunch Bruce Arians
and the Cardinals coaching staff would have a strong game plan
to limit Blaine Gabbert and the 49er offense, making this a one-sided
affair with Palmer posting at least three TDís, with a minimum
of one going to Fitzgerald.
Instead, Palmer posted his worst DFS game of the season, salvaging
17.4 points because of a late rushing TD. It was the first time
all season he failed to throw a touchdown pass. Not exactly what
you are looking for when building a stack.
I decided to go cheap and young with my running backs this week.
I liked Allen on Monday night against the Browns due to the fact
that he was inexpensive at $4,600, and the Browns are terrible
against the run.
The Rawls pick seemed like a solid move as I anticipated he would
score and get lots of action against the Steelers at home. Both
players scored and gave me and average of 16 points, but that
was clearly not enough in a home run or bust format like a Millionaire
Although Palmer failed to connect for a passing TD to Fitzgerald,
Fitz did post ten receptions for 66 yards. It was disappointing
to see him fail to reach the end zone or the century mark for
yards, as Fitz had 134 yards and two TDs against San Francisco
in Week 3.
The afore-mentioned Hopkins debacle turned out to be a moot point
due to the fact that my risky move of going with a Cardinals stack
was a complete fail. Even if Hopkins had delivered an average
Nuk-like game, I still would have been way out of contention for
cashing. But it doesnít make me feel much better about the erroneous
pick, as I could have used his salary elsewhere on a better third
receiver, instead of Vincent Jackson.
I chose Jackson against Indy because he was affordable at $4,700,
and he delivered a decent performance the week before against
the Eagles. Jackson did outperform Hopkins with 4 catches for
76 yards, but his lack of a touchdown was a disappointment.
I canít help but wonder if the weather in Nashville played
a part in limiting the passing game for the Titans 24-21 loss
to the Raiders. A better explanation for Walkerís average
performance against an Oakland team that has struggled against
tight ends is the fact that Mariota threw a TD to Craig Stevens,
his other tight end.
Walker did still deliver 91-yards on 6 catches for 15.1 points,
but production like that in a game in which you need to have the
best or second-best player at all positions will not cut it. Gates
against the Jags would have been the best play and would have
saved me $700 to use elsewhere.
This is where my stack love for the Cardinals simply got out
of hand. I didnít have much money left and I was looking
for a boom or bust guy who might get a chance for two touchdowns.
My guess was that based on the fact that I believed the Cardinals
would blowout the Niners, Johnson would get tons of second half
work and get a couple garbage TDís. At $3,900, he seemed
like a nice risk.
He did score and looks like a nice play this week due to injuries
to Chris Johnson and Andre Ellington, but that doesnít really
help me much on this roster.
Defense: Arizona DraftKings Points: 10
I chose Arizona based on the fact that I felt like the Cardinals
would blow out the Niners, forcing Gabbert to throw in the second
half with an increased chance of a turnover or pick six. With
ten points on two sacks and a fumble, they turned out to be a
nice cash game play, but they did not provide the top performance
of the week I was hoping for in my golden ticket lineup.
The roster construction for this lineup was clearly a boom or
bust play that is typical for GPP millionaire maker contests,
as I chose to forgo looking for consistent plays in favor of a
stack based on what appeared to be an advantageous and contrarian
Unfortunately, the foundation of my stack stunk and failed to
throw a touchdown for the first time this season, which killed
the production of the other players in the stack. In addition,
my expensive, no-brainer pick at wide receiver was anything but
worth the hefty price tag.
Back to the drawing board for Week 13, and back to my comfort
zone of cash games.