The month of September in the NFL season is a four week period where
teams look to establish their identity on the field and figure out
which offensive and defensive schemes work best with their personnel.
For DFS owners, the first four weeks of the season can be a difficult
time because the feeling out period of NFL teams presents a quagmire
for owners looking to predict usage levels of offensive skill
It is also difficult to predict the strength of defensive units,
as we donít have a clear idea of which D/STís have
improved and which ones have declined from the previous season.
For example, the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles finished
second and third to last respectively in points allowed to opposing
quarterbacks in 2015. Only the historically terrible New Orleans
Saints gave up more points last season than the Giants and Eagles,
making them likely poor defenses to target in the early weeks
Of course new free agent acquisitions and coaching changes for
the two squads would likely improve them from last season, but
without the ability to see into the future, speculating on just
how much better the addition of Jim Schwartz at DC in Philly and
the high-priced free agent signings of the Giants was just that,
With four weeks in the books it is clear that these two dreadful
teams that were picked on by DFS owners are no longer DFS units
to attack. The Giants have allowed the fifth-fewest points to
opposing QBs, including holding Drew Brees to just one passing
TD Week 2.
And the once lowly Philly DFS unit that allowed just under 26
points per game to opposing quarterbacks has yet to allow a passing
TD this season.
Many DFS owners have lost money by playing players against these
defenses in September simply because we did not have enough information
on which DFS units were weak and which ones where strong.
Now that we have four weeks of data in the books, that problem
is no longer an issue and we as a fantasy industry have a much
better idea of who the contenders and pretenders are this season.
Sure, injuries and changes in schemes will make some DFS units
better down the stretch, but at least we are not flying blind
now as we embark to the second quarter of the season.
Here are some DFS plays that I am targeting in Week 5Ö
Tom Brady's first game back from suspension
and he's got a juicy matchup against the Browns.
H2H/Cash - Tom Brady @ Cleveland ($7,500 on
Tom Brady returns to action this week after a four-game suspension
from the ridiculous deflate-gate scandal. Regardless of your personal
views on Brady, Belichick, and the whole fiasco, there is no doubting
the fact that Brady has a choice matchup in his first week back
to action against the lowly Browns.
Cleveland has given up the third-most touchdowns to opposing
quarterbacks, with Carson Wentz, Joe Flacco, Ryan Tannehill, and
Kirk Cousins all managing at least two passing TDís this season.
There is the possibility that Brady might be rusty, and the game
script might be unfavorable with the New England defense scoring
and the Patriots ground game pilfering TDs. But my money is on
Brady and OC Josh McDaniel using this cake matchup to establish
the passing game and get Brady back into form.
The injury-riddled Lions defensive unit has struggled this season,
allowing the second-most points to opposing quarterbacks. Carson
Wentz and the Eagles come to town this week after a bye week to
get healthy and scheme against Jim Caldwellís defensive
Add in the fact that offensively the Lions have struggled as
of late and the aforementioned Eagles defense is one of the best
in the league, and you have a positive game script for Wentz to
have a nice game against Detroit.
It should also be noted that running back Ryan Mathews is not
listed on the injury report and tight end Zach Ertz is back from
his displaced rib injury: Two factors that make Wentz even more
attractive this week.
Fade - Matt Ryan vs. Carolina ($7,100 on DraftKings)
Last week I made the mistake of recommending Matt Ryan as a fade
against a Panthers team he had struggled with over the course
of this career. That pick burned me to the tune of 500 passing
yards and a few scores.
I am going back to the well this week on Ryan as the Falcons
head to the Mile High City to take on the Broncos. If Matty Ice
does well against the Broncos this week, he will be considered
a must start going forward regardless of the matchup.
After two solid weeks to start the year, including 29.9 fantasy
points Week 1 against Carolina, Anderson has tailed off with two
mediocre games against Tampa Bay and Cincinnati.
The Broncos host a Falcons defense that has allowed the 10th
most fantasy points this season, despite the fact that they have
played four teams with middle of the pack rushing attacks in Oakland,
Tampa Bay, New Orleans and Carolina.
Taking on the Broncos and Anderson will be the toughest task
to date for the Falcons, and I think Anderson and the revamped
Bronco offensive line will come through.
Anderson isnít a sexy boom or bust play this week, but
he is a solid high-floor guy that should be on cash game rosters.
A turf toe injury to Latavius Murray opens the door for rookie
DeAndre Washington to secure the starting tailback role this week
against San Diego.
At only $3,400, Washington is the perfect home run play for GPP
players this week as the Chargers have allowed the third-most
fantasy points to opposing RBís, including three TDs last
week to the Saints.
The concern for TD pilfering from Jalen Richard is real and Derek
Carr and the passing game could present a somewhat negative game
script for Washington. Despite these factors, Washingtonís upside
and low salary make him a must start in GPPís for owners allocating
their funds to other skill positions.
Millerís shocking inability to reach the end zone on 102
touches has burned more than a few season-long owners this year.
With the Texans traveling north to take on the mighty Vikings
defensive unit that has allowed only one rushing TD this season,
I canít imagine Miller getting over the hump this week.
A receiving TD is possible, but I am avoiding Miller in all of
my tickets this week.
This might be a bit of a stretch considering the fact that Hogan
posted a goose egg last week against Buffalo.
GPP owners look for home run plays, and Hogan with Brady back
and the poor Cleveland secondary is an equation that equals a
possible breakout game.
It should also be noted that Julian Edelman was a late add to
the injury report on Thursday with an apparent foot injury. Predicting
injuries on the Patriots is an exercise in futility, but if Edelman
is a late scratch, Hoganís value soars against the Browns.
Detroitís injuries to Levy and the linebacking corps has
created a sieve in the middle of the Lions defense. Opposing offenses
have exploited this void to the tune of 257 yards and six touchdowns,
and I anticipate the Eagles will continue the trend.
With an over-under of 51 by the odds makers in Vegas, fantasy
owners should be expecting a high scoring game this week in Oakland.
As a complete boom or bust play, Walford could find the end zone
for a second time this season against a San Diego defense that
ranks in the bottom third against tight ends. Walford has succeeded
this season against teams like Atlanta that struggle against opposing
TEís, leading me to believe he could do well at home against
the Chargers Week 5.
There is no doubt that Gronk has a great matchup this week against
the Browns, but I am still worried about his hamstring and I think
this game is going to be over by halftime. If that is the case,
I can see the big man getting limited action in the second half.