Over the course of the season I have referenced fantasy points allowed
as a way to identify advantageous matchups for players based on
the historical data of how certain defensive units fare against
individual skill positions.
I have repeatedly mentioned that playing running backs against
San Francisco is a smart move, as the 49ers have allowed the most
points to opposing tailbacks on the season.
While starting tight ends and wide receivers against the Lions
has proven to be a lucrative strategy, with an injury-depleted
Detroit secondary giving up the second-most points to opposing
tight ends and quarterbacks.
But one thing I failed to mention, is that as the season progresses
and defensive units change due to scheme, injuries, and strength
of schedule, it is important to filter points against based on
the most recent set of data and not the entire season.
For example, the Lions have given up the second-most fantasy
points on the season to opposing quarterbacks with 17.9 points
per game, with only the Atlanta Falcons allowing more points per
If you narrow your search to the last five weeks your outlook
on the Lions may not be as bullish, as Detroit has improved their
points allowed to only 12.7 points per game, placing them as the
22nd rated pass defense for QB points allowed.
There are a number of factors that go into the improved play
of the Lions defense, including a lighter schedule, the return
of injured players in the secondary like Darius Slay, and an overall
improvement in pressuring the quarterback.
The Lions defense is not the same unit that got torched in September
and October, and DFS owners need to make sure the data they are
using is pertinent to how teams are currently playing.
The Colts pass defense is another example of why you need to
take a closer look of points allowed. On the season, the Colts
rank 16th on points allowed to opposing wide receivers, making
them a middle of the road defense to target with WRs.
Yet a closer look at just the last five weeks reveals a pass
defense that has struggled to stop even mediocre passing games
like the Chiefs and Titans, making the Colts a very attractive
defense to target over the next few weeks.
To summarize, I highly recommend using stats like fantasy points
allowed as one of many tools to discern between possible DFS plays
this week. But make sure the data that you are pulling is not
deceptive, as you may reach incorrect conclusions based on trends
that are no longer applicable.
Here are a few players I am targeting on my DFS lineups this
Russell Wilson is showing flashes of his
late-season run in 2015. He has 8 TDs in the last three weeks.
Wilson is clearly making his way back from early season knee
and ankle injuries that limited his mobility and the ability to
extend plays with his legs.
Three-straight 25 point games against tough opponents like New
England and Philadelphia make me confident in the fact that Wilson
will once again deliver a 20-point game this week against a Tampa
Bay unit that has allowed the fifth-most points to quarterbacks
over the past five weeks.
The emergence of Thomas Rawls in the run game could eat into
Wilsonís value should Rawls post a multi-touchdown game. However,
the threat of Rawls in the play action game should open up deep
passes to speedsters like Tyler Lockett and Jermaine Kearse.
A candidate for breakout fantasy player of the year, Mariota
has been excellent as of late with three straight weeks with at
least 21 fantasy points.
A negative game script based on the assumption that Matt Barkley
and the Bears offense will struggle to move the ball and create
an early Titans blowout makes me a bit nervous to spend $7,200
on young Mariota this week.
He will no doubt have a nice floor, but owners looking for a
huge game like we have been accustomed to recently may be disappointed.
H2H/Cash - Jay Ajayi vs San Francisco ($7,600
After an impressive string of back-to-back 200-yard games, Ayaji
came back to earth with two fairly disappointing road performances
against San Diego and Los Angeles.
The primary reason why Ajayi has once again struggled is a string
of injuries to his offensive line, that when healthy, is arguably
the second best unit behind the Dallas front.
Although the line is still not 100%, and the loss of Pouncey
and Albert will continue to limit the Miami offense, the poor
49er run defense should afford Ajayi the ability to reach the
century mark and a score on Sunday.
Fade - Todd
Gurley vs. New Orleans ($5,700 on DraftKings)
My first inclination was to recommend using Gurley as a GPP play
due to the fact that he scored his first touchdown in five games
last week against Miami, and New Orleans is fifth overall on the
season in points allowed to running backs.
But the Saints have been better against the run as of late, allowing
only two rushing touchdowns and no 100-yard rushers since Week
A negative game script will likely be in play here as well, with
the Saints going up early with their passing attack and the Rams
likely forced to abandon the run early than they would like.
With 28 targets over the last three games, including 13 targets
last week against the Colts, Rishard Matthews has clearly developed
into the top wide receiver threat for Marcus Mariota and the Titans
Look for Matthews to continue to receive a high volume of work
against the 32nd ranked Bears pass defense, as the Titans roll
to an easy victory against Chicago.
Jay Cutler will miss this game, forcing the Bears to turn to
hapless Matt Barkley at quarterback. Barkley is a dumpster fire
waiting to happen and could present a negative game script for
the Titans passing game should Tennessee go up to an early lead.
Regardless, Matthews will get enough action to make him a solid
cash game play, especially at his discounted price of $5,800.
GPP - Tyler
Boyd vs. Baltimore ($4,000 on DraftKings)
A hamstring injury to A.J. Green opened the door for Boyd to
emerge as a starting wide receiver for the Bengals this week against
division foe Baltimore.
With Green out early Week 11 against Buffalo, Boyd responded
with six catches for 54 yards and a score. It wasnít great,
but a nice performance for the first year player from the University
Baltimore has been gashed by opponent passing attacks as of late,
as the Giants, Cowboys, and Steelers all managed to post large
receiving stats against the Ravens defense in the last four weeks.
The Ravens defense has not been as generous to opposing running
backs during that period, leading me to believe that Jeremy Hill
will struggle to move the ball on the ground and the Bengals will
need to pass to win this game.
It was fun while it lasted. The 13 targets that Hill received
against the Panthers appears to be more of a one-game boost in
volume due to strategy and not a trend that will continue in the
last quarter of the season.
The Broncos are fresh off the bye week and have allowed five
receiving touchdowns on the season. Avoid all Chiefs receivers
this game, but running backs and tight ends might have some value
in cash games.
H2H/Cash - Greg Olsen @ Oakland ($5,800 on DraftKings)
Olsen has been the forgotten man in the Panthers passing game
over the past three games, with single-digit fantasy performances
against the Saints and Chiefs.
Both the Chiefs and Saints are surprisingly good at limiting
opposing tight ends to touchdowns and catches, with the former
giving up a mere two touchdown passes to tight ends on the season.
The Raiders are nowhere near as solid against the tight end,
leading me to believe that this will be a rebound game for Olsen,
one of the most consistent fantasy performers over the past three
This one is the definition of a home run play, as Pitta has not
topped double digits since Week 5 against Washington and he has
yet to score a touchdown this season.
The Bengals have given up the second-most points to opposing
tight ends over the last five weeks, including nearly 200 yards
and a score to Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis Week 8.
If there was ever a week to start Pitta, it would be this week
at home against a reeling Bengals team. This is the definition
of a GPP play, as Pitta may crash and burn. But as a calculated
risk that could come up big, Pitta is a nice option for a tight
end with a high ceiling.
Fantasy owners who go along with the narrative that Eifert will
be the main passing threat for the Bengals now that A.J. Green
is out may be disappointed, as Baltimore has been one of the best
teams at limiting opposing tight ends.
Only one tight end has caught a touchdown against the Ravens
this season, with only one tight end topping the 50-yard plateau.
Defensive Play of the Week
Bills vs. Jags ($3,800 on DraftKings)
Although the Bills rank in the middle of the pack in terms of
total defense, they are tied with the Seahawks for the most sacks
this season at 31, and they get to play the turnover machine in
Blake Bortles this week at home.
The Jags are second in interceptions allowed and third in fumbles
lost, giving me hope that the Bills for force numerous turnovers
this week against the lowly Jags.