Week 1 of the 2016 season proved two indisputable facts about the
NFL. First, with numerous exciting shootouts and more than a few
games going down to the final play, the NFL once again staked its
claim as the most exciting and compelling sport on television.
With more than a few upsets and surprises, like the injury depleted
and Tom Brady-less Patriots going into Glendale to defeat the
Cardinals, or the 49ers shutting out Todd Gurley and the visiting
L.A. Rams on Monday Night Football, we were all reminded that
predicting the outcome of games can be an arduous task.
Predicting the outcome of individual players for daily fantasy
can also be a challenge, as picks that seem to be strong plays
like Gurley against the 49ers, Dez Bryant at home vs. the Giants,
or Adrian Peterson against the Titans do not always pay off, while
players like Jack Doyle and Theo Riddick come through with two
touchdowns apiece with low ownership percentages.
That unpredictability is what makes the NFL and DFS fun, although
it can be infuriating at times. You can do hours of research,
watch every snap of the previous week’s games, and read
DFS articles like this one to get a leg up on the competition.
But despite all of your hard work, the significant unpredictable
variables involved in all NFL games will throw a wrench into even
the best looking lineups. Hang in there if you had a rough beginning.
One of the best things about DFS is the clean slate you are given
each week, allowing you to learn from your mistakes and move on
to an entirely new roster.
For this week’s lineup review, I will examine my winning ticket
from a DraftKings.com massive $5 double up contest. I found this
lineup to be particularly interesting due to the fact that I cashed
with three of my most confident or “safe” picks delivering poor
Russell Wilson was an unexpected dud finishing
in the bottom half among DFS quarterbacks.
Wilson vs. Miami ($7,900 DK Salary) Ownership Percentage: 5.2%
Fantasy Points: 13.92
In a week where seven quarterbacks had excellent games, including
Drew Brees and Andrew Luck each posting over 400 total yards and
four touchdowns, Wilson proved to be a disaster play against the
The irony is that I chose Wilson over some cheaper options like
Stafford or Winston because I perceived him to be the safer play,
as I assumed that the poor Miami secondary would be picked apart
by Wilson and the Seahawks.
Of course I could not have predicted Wilson would be the latest
of a long line of players to fall victim to Ndamukong Suh’s
vicious stomp, leaving Russ hobbled an ineffective.
The main error that I should have considered was the fact that
other games like Oakland vs. New Orleans and Detroit vs. Indy
had much higher projected points by the odds makers in Vegas,
and both games had cheaper quarterbacks in Stafford and Carr who
would have been better options. I recommend reviewing my
article from last season on Vegas spreads and how they can
help you identify solid plays in DFS for more insight on my gaffe.
Running Backs: Spencer
Ware vs. San Diego (55.7% ownership) $4,400 T.J.
Yeldon vs. Green Bay (25.6% ownership) $4,100 Combined Points 52.8 points
Everyone and their mother was buying shares of Ware against the
poor Chargers defense this weekend. And rightfully so, as his
$4,400 was almost as enticing as the number of touches he was
going to get at home against San Diego.
I assumed that a large portion of the owners in the contest would
have the same thought process as me, but because it was a multiplier
where the first overall winner receives the same $10 as I did
by placing 6025, I wasn’t concerned with having a contrarian
lineup of players with low ownership rates like in a GPP. I felt
like Ware had a shot of being the top RB and I needed him on my
lineup to ensure a solid base of points to keep me in the running
for the cash.
Chris Ivory’s bizarre medical issue that required a stay
in the hospital meant that Yeldon would be the main running back
for the Jags against the Packers. With a salary of only $4,100
and the projected workload as both the every-down and passing
down back, he seemed like a nice play. Although he did score a
TD, I thought his performance was underwhelming and I think he
should have produced more fantasy points based on the situation.
I may return to the Yeldon well again this week if Ivory is unable
to play, but I am certainly tempering my expectations.
Nearly 50 points from your receiving corps is not terrible, although
the benchmark that I look for in cash games is 60 from my three
The disappointing guy in this lineup was Marshall and his 32
yards on 3 receptions, as I was betting on at least one touchdown
from him. Remember, Marshall tied for the league lead in TD receptions
last year. In his defense he did get a few red zone targets and
did almost score a TD, but in hindsight I think I am going to
target receivers with more PPR value this week. Three catches
from a $7,800 wide out is unacceptable.
Cooper did exactly what I was hoping by catching six balls for
over 100 yards against a terrible Saints defense. It was a bummer
that he did not add a TD to his scoring line, but at least he
topped the 100-yard mark for the bonus points on DK. At just under
25 points, he was a solid pick over more expensive plays like
Odell Beckham Jr. and Allen Robinson.
At only $6,000 Moncrief seemed like a bargain considering the
fact that everyone, including Vegas, felt like this was going
to be a high scoring game between two above average offenses and
two poor defensive units. Moncrief paid off well with six catches
for 64 yards and a score, but he wasn’t exact the big play
guy I was anticipating.
Chris Harris of the Harris Football Podcast likes to use a term
“crutch argument” when we as fantasy analysts and
fans try to say why a player may or may not be good each week,
using a narrative that could either be true or false.
For example, a common theory on Bennett this week was he would
be good because Jimmy Garoppolo is a young QB and young QBs like
to rely on their safety net tight ends to complete short and intermediate
Another crutch argument is that the best way for a young QB to
get into a game flow is to run the ball, thus making Bennett less
valuable as he will not get targeted as much in a run-heavy scheme.
The third crutch argument that I failed to consider, and frankly,
so did millions of other people, is that with an injured offensive
line and a rookie QB, Belichick would run the ball a ton and keep
Bennett in as a blocker more than usual to protect Jimmy G. Of
course the third crutch argument was right and I paid the price
by the three-catch turd from big Martellus.
At least I wasn’t alone, and hundreds of my competition
also fell into this trap.
Snead vs. Oakland (6.9% ownership) - $4,900 Fantasy Points 35.2
I am still trying to figure out why so few people targeted Snead
this week based on the matchup, salary, and how well he looked
in the preseason.
To me he seemed like a no-brainer option in a PPR format like
Draftings considering I was pretty confident he would catch at
least 5 balls in a high-scoring matchup against the Raiders.
Instead of just five catches, Mr. Snead (read it in a Captain
Hook voice) gave me nine for a whopping 172 yards and a score.
Snead won the week for me, which is something you need when you
drop a terrible game from two of your more expensive plays like
Wilson and Marshall.
Seattle vs. Miami (13.9% ownership)
$3,900 Fantasy Points 11
In a cash game where I am trying to simply place in the money
and not necessarily go for the stars with a home run play, I like
to stick with a defense that will get me sacks and turnovers.
The idea here is that sack and turnover prone defenses will give
me something, even if they are not like Minnesota this week with
Had I chosen the Vikings I would have placed in the top 100 of
this contest, which would have netted me the same $10 as my 6025
spot. However, had I guessed for more of a homer play like Green
Bay or Cleveland against a rookie QB, I would have fallen out
of the money.