As a die-hard San Francisco Giants fan who is still a bit frustrated
that the even-year magic came to an end at the hands of Joe Maddon
and the Cubs, I found myself torn last night as the Cubs and Indians
battled for the World Series title in what might be the best playoff
baseball game in history.
I was conflicted because part of me wanted to see the Cubs finally
break their 108-year curse, but it pained me to cheer for the
team that eliminated my beloved Giants. In the end, it turned
out to be an exciting series and I was able to take solace in
the fact that at least the vile Dodgers did not win it all.
Now you might be asking yourself why would I start my weekly
fantasy football DFS article talking about baseball instead of
something that pertains to DFS strategy?
The answer is simple: Reinaldo Albert Almora Jr.
Game 7 was filled with stellar pitching performances, critical
defensive plays and blunders, and clutch hitting by both teams,
including the game-tying two-run home run by Rajai Davis off of
Aroldis Chapman in the eighth inning.
But one of the most important plays, and one that will not stand
out in the box score, was a simple tag up base running move by
Albert Almora Jr. in the 10th inning that led to the eventual
game winning run for the Cubs.
Almora’s heady play to take second base on a deep fly out
by Kris Bryant was a subtle move that proved to be huge in the
grand scheme of the game.
While watching the play, I started thinking about how in games
like this unknown players come out of nowhere to do impressive
things for their team. When predicting the outcome of the game,
most people would have predicted a marquee name like Anthony Rizzo,
Jason Kipnis, or one of the other big name players to deliver
the decisive play, not someone like Davis or Almora Jr.
The same can be said when it comes to building our DFS lineups
each week. We as fantasy owners spend so much time on the big
name players when building out rosters that we often fail to realize
the final players added to our tickets, the afterthoughts in which
we spend our remaining budget on, can often times be the ones
who are difference makers on our teams.
Keep that thought in mind this week and in future weeks when
you put together your DFS rosters.
Here are a few players that I am targeting in Week 9 of the NFL
season. Some of them are blue chip players like Ezekiel Elliott,
while others are afterthoughts that might just be the players
that put me over the top.
Don't forget about the little guy. Lesser-known
players like Tyreek Hill can put you in the money.
H2H/Cash - Drew Brees @ San Francisco ($7,200
Drew Brees’ two worst games of the season came on the road
in matchups against the Raiders and Giants, while the future Hall
of Famer has averaged an amazing 30.66 points in four home games
Although Brees is playing on the road, his matchup against a
49ers defensive unit that has allowed the 10th most points to
opposing quarterbacks is too hard to pass up. If this game was
played in the Super Dome, Brees would be the unquestioned number
one play of the week regardless of format.
In addition, Brees’ impressive 367/3 game against the Chiefs
at Arrowhead makes me even more comfortable to play him in head-to-head
games. Brees is a lock for two touchdowns and could break out
with one of his best games of the year.
My belief in Brees and the Saints offense against the 49ers is
a reason why I am open to the idea of playing Kaepernick in GPP
games, as the 49ers will likely be behind and will need Kap to
pass often to play catch up.
In addition, Kaps 84 and 66 yards rushing in his two starts of
the season make him an attractive option in GPP formats. I don’t
have the guts to play him as a bye week replacement in my season-long
leagues, but his upside in DFS is hard to pass up for owners looking
The Saints passing defense has been middle of the pack in points
allowed to opposing quarterbacks in the air this season, but they
rank dead last in rushing defense against opposing RBs. Look for
Kap to reach his season average of rushing yards on the ground,
with a possible rushing TD added as an extra bonus.
Fade - Derek
Carr vs. Denver ($6,300 on DraftKings)
Derek Carr was the top fantasy quarterback in Week 8 after dropping
513 yards and four touchdowns in a shootout against the Tampa
Bay Bucs. He will no doubt find in more difficult to deliver numbers
even close to what he did last week with the Denver Broncos and
the league’s best pass defense coming to town.
Always play Carr in good matchups and fade him in bad ones. It
doesn’t get any worse for Carr than facing the Broncos.
When allocating $7,900 on a running back in a cash game you are
counting on a near-sure bet of production that will provide a
high floor of points with the possibility of top-tier ceiling
Elliott against the Browns is as close to a sure thing as one
can get, assuming the rookie from Ohio State does not get hurt
or fumble. My apologies to Cowboy fans if my previous statement
proves to be a jinx and Elliott does in fact get hurt this week.
With an average of 25 points per game in his last four contests,
including 35 points Week 5 against the Bengals, Elliott has been
money in the bank for owners willing to pay his high price tag.
Only the Saints have given up more rushing touchdowns this season
than the Browns, so I feel comfortable paying that high price
tag this week.
Opportunity often trumps talent when it comes to fantasy football
production. I personally have never been blown away by West’s
talent, but you cannot question the opportunity he may have this
week with Jamaal Charles placed on IR and Spencer Ware possibly
out with a concussion.
Fade - Jay
Ajayi vs. New York Jets ($6,000 on DraftKings)
It may sound silly to fade a running back coming off of two back-to-back
200-yard games, but I think Ajayi is going to struggle this week
against a Jets defense that has not allowed a rushing touchdown
since Week 4.
With as good as the Jets have been defending the run, they have
been equally as bad at stopping the pass, as teams have exploited
and injured and over the hill secondary. Look for Miami continuing
this trend, with Ajayi and the ground game taking a back seat
to Tannehill and the passing attack.
His price tag is a little bit high in my opinion, considering
the fact that Landry has only one receiving touchdown on the year.
But on PPR sites like DraftKings, players like Landry are cash
game gold due to the fact that he will be peppered with targets
and catches. The Jets do not have a cornerback that can handle
the quick, underneath passing game of Landry’s leading me
to believe he will deliver a double-digit catch game with the
upside of a TD.
One of the biggest busts of the 2016 season, Robinson has scored
single-digits in three of his eight games this season, while Blake
Bortles has continued to struggle at quarterback for the Jags.
Playing at Arrowhead is a tough environment and I anticipate
that Robinson and the passing game will struggle. Garbage time
points are always a consideration for Robinson and Bortles, but
I’d rather spend my money on a player that will receive
Kendricks has been the recipient of 7,8, and 9 targets in three
of his last four games, including a seven-catch, 55-yard game
against the Giants Week 7.
For owners looking for an inexpensive high-volume tight end with
a nice matchup, you will be hard pressed to find a better option
than Kendricks this week against Carolina. Only the Lions have
given up more touchdowns to tight ends this season, and Lance
is trending upward as a trusted option for Case Keenum.
Other options to consider - Virgil
Green @ Oakland & Eric Ebron @ Minnesota