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Andrew Swanson | Archive | Email |

Daily: Week 9 Walkthrough

Around the midway point of the year in season-long fantasy football leagues I like to take a break and look back at the draft and early season free agent picks to see where I missed and where I hit on certain players. Without fail, there are numerous mistakes and misses in which I either under or overvalued a player, and I try to use this intelligence when assessing value to players for future drafts.

My assumption that C.J. Anderson would not pan out as a clear starter in Denver helped me avoid a first round bust on a running back, while my gut feeling that Peyton Manning had one more year of top-5 production proved to be wrong. Perhaps the notion of aging quarterbacks showing clear signs of breaking down physically toward the end of the season is something I should pay attention to in the future.

Although Gronk was clearly the top tight end and well worthy of a first round pick, my decision to use a few late-round fliers on Tyler Eifert and Zach Ertz proved to be the better move, as Eifert delivered near-gronkonian value from the ninth round.

While the week to week nature of daily fantasy gives owners the chance to build a new roster from scratch and past moves won’t affect future drafts, I do think it is a smart move to look back on your previous games to see where you made wise picks and were you came up short.

Did a play based on an injury to an opponent work out? Maybe you tried to ride the tail of a hot player one week too long. Learning from past failures and successes will make you a better DFS player and will hopefully lead to a big payday.

The following is a review of a $50 winning roster I submitted in Sunday’s $5 NFL Big 10x booster on Draftkings.

Quarterback: Jay Cutler
22.6 points on DraftKings
Grade C+

I opted to spend a large chunk of my budget this week on Antonio Brown at home against the Raiders and Devonta Freeman on the road against the hapless 49ers. Using 32% of my salary cap on two players forced me to look for an inexpensive quarterback playing in an attractive matchup.

Although the Chargers pass defense ranked in the middle of the pack in points allowed to opposing QBs, the eye test of that defense made me think that Cutler and the Bears could move the ball against San Diego, and Cutler and Alshon Jeffery looked to be gelling after Jeffery’s early season injuries.

With 22.6 fantasy points on a 345/2/1 line, Cutler was serviceable but not near a top play for the week. He gave me enough points from the position to compete in the 500 player tournament, but I would need my other skill position players to deliver if I had any hope to cash with a top 50 finish.

Luckily, Antonio Brown went off and my stacking play of Jeffery and Cutler would prove to be a solid move as well. If Cutler continues to hover close to his $5,200 salary, I think he can be a decent option going forward in tournament and head-to-head games.

Running Backs: Devonta Freeman & LeGarrette Blount
43.8 combined points on Draftkings
Grade: B

Both players gave me a respectable 21.9 points, but the fact that I spent $8000 on Freeman only to receive the same amount of production from Blount at $4,800 left me a frustrated owner. My assumption that the NFL’s top running back would have a great game playing on the road against Blaine Gabbert and the 49ers proved to be incorrect.

Although Freeman managed to score a receiving touchdown to salvage his day, his 12 yards on 12 carries were shocking. It was the third game in a row in which he delivered less than 30 points after four games near or at the top scoring spot for running backs.

It appears as though I made the mistake of paying for past performance instead of looking at recent trends. The Falcons as a team have been struggling on offense and Matt Ryan has not been playing efficient football. Freeman’s yard per carry average is down nearly three yards from his crazy start to the season.

In hindsight, I should have faded Freeman and used his salary on Jeremy Langford and a better tight end.

Wide Receivers: Antonio Brown, Michael Crabtree & Alshon Jeffery
110.5 combined points on DraftKings
Grade: A

As I have mentioned in previous articles, I try to find a few consistent players in small tourneys and head-to-head games to build the foundation of my team. With Big Ben back after shaking off the rust in his first game last week, Brown seemed to be the most consistent and safe pick for points. In my mind I was paying a premium for a high floor of 100 yards and a touchdown. Brown exceeded my expectations with a ridiculous 284 yards on 17 catches, leading me to a $50 payday.

With my foundation player in place, Crabtree was my upside pick in what I projected to be a high scoring game between the Steelers and Raiders. The former 49er first round pick’s salary of $4,900 seemed like a value based on the number of targets and catches he has posted in his last two games. Crabtree proved to be the right pick with seven catches for 108 yards and two touchdowns.

I am a firm believer in stacking, especially with wide receiving target monsters in PPR formats. After settling on Cutler as my starting quarterback, I was pleased to see that Jeffery’s salary is a bit depressed on DraftKings off of his $8300 to start the year. Jeffery did not reach the endzone, but his 10 catches for 151 yards were more than enough to round out my wide receiver corps.

Tight End: Ben Watson
11 points on DraftKings

Watson appeared to be a smart play based on the fact that he has emerged as Drew Brees’ favorite target in the middle of the field and he delivered monster games in his last two home games. With 11 points on five catches for 60 yards, Watson wasn’t great, but he didn’t hurt me either.

This was an excellent example of how in smaller formats you don’t always need to get top tier production from all of your players like in huge GPP. You won’t hit a home run on all of your picks, but you want to make sure you do not drop a big goose egg.

Flex: Danny Woodhead
23.1 points on DraftKings

In PPR formats Woodhead is a great option due to his dual-threat capabilities and the fact that Rivers loves him in the red zone. Even if he doesn’t score a touchdown, Woodhead provides a high floor compared to other $4800 running backs and flex options.

The Monday Night Game between the Bears and the Chargers was a game I targeted because of the 50 point over/under betting line and the assumption that it would be a high scoring game. While it wasn’t a shootout like I expected, Woodhead did deliver with six catches for 78 yards and a score, making him a solid play.