Of the many storylines from this
week’s slate of four divisional games, the rematch between
Ben Roethlisberger and the Jacksonville Jaguars secondary is the
one that has piqued my curiosity the most.
The Jags embarrassed Big Ben and the Steelers by forcing five
interceptions in a shocking 26-9 victory at Heinz Field in Week
5. It was one of the worst performances of Roethlisberger’s
career, especially at home in front of the Steeler faithful.
Roethlisberger responded with wins in nine of his team’s
final ten games, with the only loss coming against New England
in a questionable non-call on a would-be game-winning touchdown
reception by Jesse James. During that span, Roethlisberger was
a top-five fantasy quarterback, with three separate 30-plus point
performances against Tennessee, Green Bay, and Baltimore.
Big Ben and the Steelers claim to welcome a chance at a rematch
against the Jags, and many of the Jaguars have responded publicly
that Big Ben should be careful with what he wishes for on Sunday.
Regardless of the outcome, the game between Pittsburgh and Jacksonville
presents numerous DFS options for daily fantasy owners, including
a possible sneaky tight end play or two.
Below are a few players that I am targeting in what will be my
final preview piece of the 2017 fantasy season.
Cash players not comfortable paying a premium
for a QB should consider paying up for Tom Brady.
H2H/Cash - Tom Brady vs. Tennessee ($7,000 on
Cash players not comfortable paying a premium for the top quarterback
should consider paying up this week for Tom Brady against the
Titans. Of the eight quarterbacks starting this weekend, Brady
has the highest floor at home against a Titans team that allowed
21 first-half points to the Chiefs before the injury to Travis
Kelce. Pair Brady with Gronk in cash and reap the rewards of a
40-point foundation from your quarterback and tight end.
GPP - Nick
Foles vs. Atlanta ($5,200 on DraftKings)
Although the Falcons played well against the Rams and limited
second-year quarterback Jared Goff to 259 yards and a score in
the Wild Card round, they did finish the season allowing the 15th-most
points to opposing quarterbacks. Foles does not possess a high
floor that I typically target in cash games, but his upside and
inexpensive salary makes him attractive in GPPs.
Bortles appeared shaky against the Bills as if the playoff stage
were too big for the former first-round pick. I have a sense that
the Steelers will rattle Bortles and force him to make more poor
decisions and throws.
H2H/Cash - Le’Veon
Bell vs. Jacksonville ($9,600 on DraftKings)
Like Brady, I am paying the premium this week on Bell, the running
back that possesses the highest floor and the best chance for
a big game. Teams that have found success against Jacksonville
have found the path to victory on the ground. Look for Bell to
garner close to 30 total touches as the Steelers look to win the
game in the trenches.
No running back this week has a favorable matchup that stands
out as a must-start in any format, especially GPP. But betting
against Kamara, even with the Saints traveling north to take on
the No.1 ranked Vikings defense, is not something I would recommend.
If there is a way to beat the Vikings with running backs it is
in the passing game, and there Kamara is without a doubt the most
dynamic receiving running back this year.
Call it a hunch, but I anticipate that Belichick and the Patriots
will focus on shutting down the run and force Mariota to beat
them in the passing game. I also expect that game script will
limit Henry’s carries as the Titans chase points in the
H2H/Cash - Julio Jones @ Philadelphia ($7,900
Of the two top-tier wide receivers playing this week, I prefer
to go with Jones over Antonio Brown based on matchup and the fact
that Jones is not coming off a severe leg injury. My plan the
week is to spend a premium on cash game running backs instead
of wide receivers, but if forced to choose an expensive WR option,
I would go with Jones against the Eagles.
One of the strengths of the Vikings is the ability of their safeties
to help in run support. That aggressiveness can come at a cost
when playing against teams with excellent play action passers
and a wide receiver who can expose aggressive safeties over the
top. For this reason, I like Ginn and his ability to break a big
play against Harrison Smith and the Vikings.
Xavier Rhodes limited Thomas to 50 yards the first time they
played and will be tasked once again at shadowing Thomas on Sunday.
Thomas may break free for a touchdown reception, but I doubt he
will have a day worthy of his 7.2k price tag.
H2H/Cash - Zach Ertz vs. Atlanta ($5,800 on
Gronk is the obvious play here and makes sense pairing him with
Brady in a cash stack. Owners not able to spend 7.1K on a tight
end may want to consider Ertz in cash games against Atlanta. The
Falcons were strong against tight ends, as evident to the fact
that the allowed the 24th-fewest points in the regular season.
But Ertz’s volume in passes over the middle against an aggressive
Atlanta linebacking corps make him a solid play.
The Saints have not allowed a tight end touchdown since Week
11 to the Redskins and only one tight end managed double-digit
points vs. the Saints this season. As a contrarian play in GPP,
I like Rudolph against the Saints based on the narrative that
Marshon Lattimore will matchup in single converge outside on Stefon
Diggs and the Saints with focus their nickel and safety help on
Adam Thielen in the slot. With single coverage as the third option
for Keenum, look for Rudolph to be a big factor on Sunday.