This past week for me in daily fantasy sports was about as frustrating as it gets.
I had Calvin Johnson AND Matthew Stafford together in a few leagues, which obviously boosted my numbers. But in those same lineups, I also had some duds. Rob Gronkowski was the victim of Tom Brady’s awful day, and despite putting up 49 points, BenJarvus Green Ellis managed a measly 3.3 points. I was successful in winning most of my heads-up and double-up daily fantasy sports matches, but couldn’t quite break through in the GPP tourneys on FanDuel. I was only 5 points out of the money in the $10 Kickoff, and within 10-15 points of cashing in some others tournaments as well. I’ve tried to stick with the strategy of high upside players in large tournaments, and this was a tough week not to be one of the few who snagged Marvin Jones. It’s unlikely we will see anyone grab FOUR touchdown passes again anytime soon, but when it does happen, I fully intend to have that player on my roster.
Michael Vick has officially earned himself a spot on my “Do not roster” list after coming up limping as usual early in the game on Sunday (at least he made sure he threw a pick first, and for that, I thank him). It will be a cold day in hell the next time I start an Eagles player not named LeSean McCoy or DeSean Jackson, and it might be some time before I consider one of them either. That Chip Kelly offense is atrocious. Meanwhile, in the Pac-12, Oregon is literally unstoppable. Still. You think Kelly is wishing he could go back in time? He may not admit it, but there’s no way he doesn’t dream about Marcus Mariota every time his head hits the pillow.
It has taken me some time to determine which players I can rely on each week, and which ones I need to stay far, far away from. Finding a roster in which 75% of the players can be relied on to put up at least 12-15 points will likely win me most of my heads-up and double-up matches. The key is finding the high upside guys to plug in to the additional slots. Paying top dollar for elite daily fantasy sports wide receivers has been a crapshoot the past few weeks. Demariyus Thomas, DeSean Jackson, Calvin Johnson, and AJ Green have all put up at least one dud in that time span. I’m going to look deeper into the matchups this week and hopefully find some I can exploit. Obviously, the WR position is the most volatile, because if the QB is struggling, chances are your wide receivers aren’t going to produce anywhere near the numbers you would expect of them. With that being said, I have no faith in receivers from Philadelphia, New York Jets, St Louis, or Oakland until further notice. There are a few more teams that are borderline as well, and I’ll only be using their top daily fantasy sports guys at the right price.
Without any further reminiscing, here are the guys I’m looking for to carry me to the bank this week.
QB- Terrelle Pryor vs. PHI - The Eagles defense is second worst in the league against the pass, allowing over 300 yards per game, and 26 points to opposing offenses. I’m not saying Pryor will have a top-5 kind of day, but given that he is a dual threat against a terrible defense, I think that he can greatly exceed the value for his price tag. He should be a cheap play that easily put up 20 or more points.
QB- Tony Romo vs. MIN - Romo at home against a defense that Aaron Rodgers just shredded effortlessly? Yes please. We all know that Romo doesn’t want Dez Bryant yelling at him all game again this week. He shows up in a big way.
RB- Jamal Charles @ BUF - This guy is a PPR machine. Alex Smith’s tendency to check down constantly has really boosted Charles to the top of the charts. I know he will cost a pretty penny, but rushing yards aside, he has had at least 5 catches in 6 of 8 games this year. He is as safe of a play as there is on the board. Expensive, but worth the price. He is the leading rusher AND receiver on this 8-0 team. He IS this offense.
RB- Eddie Lacy vs. CHI - This kid has been incredible the past few weeks, as the Packers have finally established a run game. Last time these guys had a legitimate rushing attack, they won the Super Bowl. This is a dangerous offense, even without Randall Cobb, James Jones, AND Jermichael Finley. Lacy has become the centerpiece of this attack, and I love watching him play. He runs hard every time. You want some drama? Play Lacy, and watch your team skyrocket up the standings on Monday Night Football.
WR- Kenny Stills @ NYJ - The Jets were absolutely dominated last week by a receiver who was third on the depth chart, and only played 18 offensive snaps. Stills is a similar type of player, and Cromartie will likely be putting his focus on Colston, while helping on Graham. Stills has the ability to break out in a big way. Will the Jets let him score four times? No. But from what I saw last week, they aren’t stopping anyone anytime soon. They have a practically non-existent pass rush, and their coverage is suspect at best. I think the team we all saw last week was more of what we can expect from the Jets moving forward.
WR- Jordy Nelson vs. CHI - See Lacy, Eddie. Aaron Rodgers is about as unstoppable as they come, and this is a Chicago team that allowed the Redskins to score 45 points. This defense is in the bottom 10 in passing defense AND rushing defense. I don’t think any team has ever missed one player more than the Bears miss Brian Urlacher right now. They are just awful, and Jordy Nelson has been nothing short of spectacular the past few weeks. He always finds a way to get open, and he has terrific hands. He and Rodgers have an uncanny ability to make plays that don’t seem to be there.
TE- Kyle Rudolph @ DAL - The entire offense in Minnesota is a train-wreck. They are throwing too much with awful QB play, and the best running back in the league is suffering. With that being said, their defense is awful too, which is a main reason that they are airing it out constantly. Dallas will be up early, and I think Rudolph will be a beneficiary of a scared QB (whoever it is this week). I just don’t trust Jennings or Simpson to get it done. I’m ashamed of this endorsement, but I think he can be a cheap play with decent upside.
TE- Jordan Cameron vs. BAL - The Ravens are a mediocre team against Tight Ends, and Cameron is a monster. Jason Campbell was excellent last week, becoming the only QB in eight games this season to throw for multiple TDs against the Chiefs without an INT. He has always been the model of consistency. He may not win you a ton of games, but he certainly won’t be the reason you lose. Anticipating that Josh Gordon will be blanketed all afternoon, Cameron should be the most targeted player for the Browns. He is my favorite play of the day.
D/ST- Colts @ HOU - Case Keenum is an unproven gunslinger that is unlikely to control the tempo of a game. The Colts have bottled up Colin Kaepernick, Russell Wilson, and made life hell for Peyton Manning. This kid is in big trouble. I see the Colts dropping him at least 4-5 times and likely forcing some mistakes. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Keenum channel his inner Matt Schaub and donate six points to the defense.
D/ST- Raiders vs. PHI - This is more of a cheap play hoping to gain value, but they have actually played very well over the past few weeks. They have allowed less than 500 TOTAL yards in the past two weeks to Kansas City and Pittsburgh. Granted, those offenses are anything but elite, but the Eagles have scored 10 points in the past two weeks combined, and this coming against two of the worst defenses in the NFL. I think the Raiders are the type of GPP play that could put you over the top.
I’m excited about this week of daily fantasy sports, and have a lot of plays I’m looking forward to, not just ones I’m settling for. All I need is that small little boost that will push me into the GPP cash. Sunday will be a great day, and Monday will be icing on the cake. I’m pumped to see my name shooting up the leaderboard all weekend. See you at the top.