An eleventh hour fantasy miracle fueled by a Kurt Cousins Monday
Night Football dud kept me alive in my season-long league of record.
My fantasy football euphoria lasted only for a few moments when
I realized that my opponent in the championship game is blessed
with more than a couple choice matchups in week 16, including
Latavius Murray at home against the Colts, and Tom Brady and the
New England D/ST home at Foxboro against the Jets.
Perhaps lightning can strike twice in consecutive weeks and I
can pull out a victory when all seems lost.
Who knows, maybe a megalomaniac like Bill Belichick will go against
conventional wisdom and focus on the run instead of the pass,
despite the fact that the Jets are much easier to beat in the
air than on the ground.
And it is certainly possible that Derek Carr and the Raiders
passing game will torch the Colts in the air, leaving Murray and
the ground game in the shadows on Saturday afternoon.
Regardless of the outcome, it has been a fun fantasy football
season filled with breakout performances, fantasy duds and studs,
and more than a couple nail biting finishes.
I hope you have fared well in both season long and DFS formats,
and I appreciate all of my readers who have followed this column
throughout the season.
Here are a few DFS plays that I am targeting this holiday week.
There are a few surprises to follow, including Todd Gurley and
Amari Cooper, two fantasy flops who may finally pay dividends
for DFS owners this week.
If there's ever a time to play Todd Gurley,
this is the moment. The 49ers give up the most FPts to RBs.
H2H/Cash - Tom Brady vs. NY Jets ($7,700 on
Despite my wishful thinking in my opening to this article, I
seriously doubt that Belichick will try to go with the contrarian
play and run against the Jets when it is so easy to pass. I am
not a fan of Bellicheat and the Pats, but there is no doubting
the manís skill as a coach and his ability to expose the
weakness of an opponent.
The Pats will pass early and often in this game, as Brady looks
to rebound from his tough matchup last week against the Broncos.
A 400-yard, three touchdown line similar to what he did two weeks
ago against Baltimore is not out of the question for Brady.
He is the most expensive quarterback on DraftKings this week,
but I think he is worth it for owners looking for a return on
their investment in cash games.
Another thing to consider here is the lack of worry with regards
to negative game script. Belichick has a history of running up
the score, especially against division foes, so the possibility
of Brady working well into the fourth in a blowout is probable.
GPP - Cam
Newton vs. Atlanta ($6,600 on DraftKings)
The Carolina Panthers looked like they took great pleasure in
ruining the playoff hopes of the Redskins on Monday Night, limiting
Kirk Cousins and the Redskins to one offensive score while stifling
the Washington passing game.
Cam Newton and the rest of the Panthers would get even more joy
playing playoff spoiler for the Falcons this week in Carolina.
Newton has been a fantasy disaster this year, with seven games
less than 20 fantasy points after an MVP season in 2015. The offense
looked to be back on track in Week 15 and should continue their
success against a Falcons team that has allowed the second most
fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season.
With an over/under of 52.5 points by the odds makers in Vegas,
this game has the makings of being one of the highest scoring
games of the week. I want to have a piece of action on this game,
and a few shares of Newton in GPPs might be a great option for
a high ceiling play.
Contrarian players might view Carson Palmer on the road against
the Seahawks as a sneaky play based on the fact that Palmer torched
Seattle for 363 yards and three scores last season, and the Seahawks
defense is not the same with safety Earl Thomas out for the year.
But I am not buying this narrative for the simple fact that Palmer
was playing arguably the best football of his career last year,
and is a shell of his former self in 2016.
Yes the Ďhawks are depleted in the secondary, but they have still
only allowed 14 passing touchdowns on the season, and only Tyrod
Taylor and Matt Ryan have had success at Century Link Field this
Donít buy into the contrarian play here and look to spend
your money on safer quarterback plays this week.
In DFS touches are king, especially when they come in the form
of quality carries by a talented running back in an advantageous
Stewart is not flashy and he is certainly long in the tooth,
yet there is no denying the fact that the Panthers have made it
a point to refocus on the run game in the last two games (49 carries
by Stewart in the last two weeks.)
20-plus carries against a Falcons defense that has allowed the
5th-most fantasy points to opposing running backs is a great value
for a player who will cost you only $5,200.
The Panthers will look to control the clock and keep Ryan and
the Falcons offense off the field. The 300 burger Julio Jones
dropped on the Panthers in Week 4 is going to be front and center
on the minds of the Carolina coaching staff.
J-Stew was inactive for that game, and the lack of a ground attack
was a devastating blow to the Panthers. Ron Rivera and the Panther
coaching staff will learn from their shellacking and come up with
a game plan to stop it from happening again.
GPP - Todd
Gurley vs. San Francisco ($6,500 on DraftKings)
What do Ryan Mathews, Spence Ware, and Jay Ajayi all have in
common? They all have scored more fantasy points that Todd Gurley,
despite being drafted significantly later in season long leagues
Heck, Dak Prescott has more rushing touchdowns on the season
that Gurley, and he is a quarterback.
There is no sugar-coating the fact that Gurely has been a dumpster
fire for fantasy owners, costing most of his owners a chance at
the playoffs and fantasy glory. But that doesnít mean he
canít have some value in DFS when given a choice matchup
at home against a historically bad defense.
That chance is this week against a San Francisco defense that
has allowed at least 100 yards or a score to every single team
this year except, well, the Rams in week one. Donít be fooled
by this fact, the 49ers always play well on the opening Monday
night game and then stink the rest of the year.
I hope I am wrong about this pick, as I am faced to start Rawls
this week in my championship game.
Rawls is a talented back that has shown great power and burst
since returning from a leg injury that limited him most of the
season. Unfortunately, the Seattle offensive line is one of the
worst in the league and has done a poor job of opening holes and
limiting tackles behind the line of scrimmage.
Although Arizona just allowed 130 yards on the ground at home
to the Saints and three rushing touchdowns to the Falcons in Week
12, they are still a formidable front at stopping the run and
will likely shut down Rawls this week.
I may be forced to play him in my season long league, but I canít
stomach another 21/34/0 line from Rawls if money is on the line.
Sandersí best game of the season was against Kansas City at home
in Week 12. The Broncos made a point to avoid the Demaryius Thomas
matchup against Marcus Peters, opting to attack the Phillip Gaines
on the right side.
Although the cold weather can be a limiting factor to the passing
game, look for Sanders to once again reach pay dirt with a score
A common worry that I have witnessed on twitter from Taylor Gabriel
fans is a shared concern that the return of Julio Jones will hurt
Gabrielís production against the Panthers.
I believe that this logic is flawed based on the fact that Gabrielís
three best games came when Julio was on the field, forcing defenses
to double team while allowing Gabriel to exploit single coverage
from nickel and linebackers.
With Julio torching the Panthers for 300 and a score earlier
this year, I would imagine that defensive coordinator Sean McDermott
will make it a point of emphasis to shut down Jones.
I mentioned that touches are king in fantasy sports, as they
directly correlate to fantasy points more than predicting touchdowns.
In the case of a dynamic player like Hill, one touch could be
a monster fantasy day based on the fact that he can score from
anywhere on the field.
Hill was a three-score monster against the Broncos in Week 12,
scoring a rushing, receiving and special teams touchdown.
Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips will be focused on not letting
Hill beat them again this week. There is a chance Hill scores
again, but I am not interesting in spending nearly $6,000 on a
player limited by touches against a defense like Denver.
Injuries and bad matchups cloud the top tier of tight ends this
week, leaving cash game players few options for high volume plays
in advantageous games.
Kyle Rudolph against a Packers unit that ranks 11th in points
allowed to tight ends this year. With Stefon Diggs possibly out
with a hip injury, Rudolph and Adam Theilen will be the top two
targets for quarterback Sam Bradford.
At $4,900, Rudolph is somewhat of an expensive option considering
the fact that he has one touchdown in his last five games. But
in cash games targets and volume is king, and Rudolph has been
the beneficiary of double digit targets in three of his last four
Some DFS playerís eyes will light up when they see a green
32nd moniker next to Gates as the Chargers head north to play
But I am avoiding Gates this weekend, as the future hall of farmerís
usage has been too sporadic over the course of the season, with
fellow tight end Hunter Henry eating into his touchdown totals.
Cleveland stinks against pretty much everything, especially tight
ends, but I canít trust Gates when he has four or less targets
in three of his last four games and hasnít scored since
Defensive Play of the Week
New England vs. New York Jets ($3,600 on DraftKings)
The Patriots are likely salivating at the prospect of playing
against Bryce Petty and the Jets this week. No team has allowed
more points to opposing DSTs than the Jets, a team that for all
intent and purposes has given up on the year.
Look for a similar stat line to last week’s game against
the Broncos when the Pats limited Trevor Siemian and the Denver
offense to one field goal, while forcing a few turnovers and a