Before we look forward, we must look back. The NFL season builds upon itself each week and offers up its share of highs and lows. This is on a cumulative basis but DFS gives us a fresh start each week. The key is to take everything as a learning experience while not overreacting in either direction.
Each week we will take a look at both positive and negative situations that transpired from the week prior and what it means going forward. Let’s keep in mind that this is just the tip of the iceberg and throughout the week we will go into further detail about other players that deserve our attention for the coming slate of games. That is why you need to stick with us throughout the week.
For those who have yet to subscribe, what are you waiting for? As a preview of what you can expect, let’s take a look at what was a very confusing Falcons game from a DFS standpoint. If you see a team score 40 points as Atlanta did on Sunday you would expect to see some standout production but that was far from the case. Matt Ryan recovered somewhat from a rough outing against a tough Saints defense last week but he ultimately threw for just 185 yards and two touchdowns. One of those touchdowns did go to Calvin Ridley but he failed to truly take advantage of Julio Jones’absence as he caught six passes for just 50 yards. We were without Todd Gurley who didn’t practice all week with a knee injury and his workload was spread out pretty evenly on the ground between Ito Smith (12 carries for 65 yards) and Brian Hill (13 carries for 55 yards) with the one difference being Smith’s touchdown. Things were even worse on the Raiders side although Derek Carr did throw for more yards (215) but he failed to pick up a touchdown and Josh Jacobs was a non-factor with just 27 rushing yards while Darren Waller failed to take advantage of a favorable match-up catching four passes for only 23 yards. Jacobs also lost a fumble and we now have an ankle injury to keep an eye on as well.
Josh Allen made it through the entire game but he left DFS players wanting more as there was also some injury concern. Stop me if you heard this before, his rushing touchdown helped save the day. Allen threw for just 157 yards and a touchdown which also led to non-existent performance from Stefon Diggs as he did catch seven passes but they were for just 39 yards. Both Buffalo running backs had success on the ground, but neither stood out or did enough to make me truly trust them moving forward as Devin Singletary (11 carries for 82 yards) and Zack Moss (9 carries for 59 yards) have yet to truly take control of the situation. Once again Justin Herbert threw for greater than 300 yards (316) but he needed 52 pass attempts to do it and he threw just one touchdown pass. That touchdown helped salvage Keenan Allen’s value as he caught just four passes for 40 yards. We can take a slight victory lap on Hunter Henry who caught seven passes for 67 yards but of greater importance was the return of Austin Ekeler. The running back stepped right back into a starring role as he carried the ball 14 times (although he gained just 44 yards) but more importantly he caught 11 passes for 85 yards on 16 targets.
Clearly I gave too much credit to the Indianapolis run defense. That or I didn’t give enough credit to Derrick Henry. Either way Henry dominated action against the Colts on Sunday as he rushed for 178 yards and three touchdowns while cementing himself as one of the top running back options in the league. The Titans didn’t need to do much else to win thanks to Henry but A.J. Brown did catch four passes for 98 yards and a touchdown. Tight end is forever a wasteland but Trey Burtoncontinues to carve out a role for the Colts as he turned six targets into three receptions for 42 yards and a touchdown. We did have a T.Y. Hilton sighting as he caught four passes for 81 yards and a touchdown while Michael Pittman was pretty inefficient with his nine targets as he only registered two receptions for 28 yards.
Up was down for the Vikings today. Even with Adam Thielen sidelined we saw Kirk Cousinsthrow for 307 yards and three touchdowns while Dalvin Cook rushed for just 61 yards while failing to find the end zone. It shouldn’t have been surprising to see rookie Justin Jefferson step up as with 13 targets he was the busiest Minnesota receiver. Jefferson caught seven passes for 70 yards and two touchdowns and we had a Kyle Rudolph sighting as he picked up seven receptions for 68 yards. We have to keep an eye on D.J. Moore after he exited with a non-contact injury towards the end of the game but with Robby Anderson (four receptions for 94 yards and a touchdown) and Curtis Samuel(five catches for 72 yards) I wouldn’t expect too much of a drop-off in Carolina’s passing game although each receiver should see a bump in their value if Moore is sidelined. Mike Davis continued to carry the load in Christian McCaffrey’s absence but with 55 rushing yards and 24 receiving yards, on 18 touches, he failed to truly standout.
There we go Kenyan Drake. The fact that Drake carried the ball 22 times for 78 yards shouldn’t be all that surprising but it ended up being a good DFS day for the Arizona running back as he scored two touchdowns. That was the extent of Arizona’s offense this week as Kyler Murray was hampered by a shoulder injury and threw for just 170 yards. That was still better than his counterpart though as Cam Newton followed up his best passing day with his worst as he threw for just 84 yards while being picked off twice. Perhaps even more surprising is the fact that James White picked up both of New England’s touchdowns on the ground while catching just one pass for negative one yards. Despite Sony Michel’s return (he didn’t register a touch), Damien Harris did continue to lead the team from a rushing perspective but he picked up just 47 yards on 14 carries.
There are few truly consistent running back options this season and two of them shared the field this week in Nick Chubb (19 carries for 144 yards and a touchdown along with three receptions for 32 yards) and James Robinson (22 carries for 128 yards and a touchdown and five receptions for 31 yards). Each continued to live up to expectations as more than dependable DFS options. Jacksonville’s offense was serviceable under Mike Glennon who threw for 235 yards and two touchdowns in a losing effort, but I would avoid anyone other than Robinson. Don’t be fooled by Tyler Eifert’s touchdown reception as he caught just three passes for 16 yards with the other touchdown going to Collin Johnson who was on no one’s radar entering the week. We do have to give the rookie credit for taking advantage of his opportunity but his value is dependent upon injuries to those ahead of him on the depth chart. Baker Mayfield continued to be better for the Browns than DFS players although he did throw for 258 yards and two touchdowns with the majority of the production coming from Jarvis Landry who caught eight passes for 143 yards and a touchdown.
From a DFS perspective it doesn’t really matter but the now tied for first place New York Giants have to monitor Daniel Jones’ hamstring injury. He did throw for 213 yards before exiting but more importantly he didn’t commit a turnover. Suddenly there is some DFS value in New York’s offense as Wayne Gallman continued his success with 24 carries for 94 yards and a touchdown while Evan Engram caught six passes for 129 yards. On the Cincinnati side there really was nothing to see with Brandon Allen now under center although rookie Tee Higgins did catch five passes for 44 yards and a touchdown.
In case anyone forgot, Sam Darnold is not very good. In his return Darnold threw for just 197 yards while being picked off twice. For old times sake Frank Gore rushed for 74 yards as he is the only real option in New York’s backfield but I’m not buying. With three receptions for 31 yards Jamison Crowder was a non-factor while Denzel Mims continued to show potential gaining 67 yards on four receptions. With Ryan Fitzpatrick back under center, at least for this week as an injury replacement, DeVante Parker had himself a strong game as he was targeted 14 times and caught eight passes for 119 yards while Mike Gesicki caught a touchdown.
To call it ugly would be an understatement. What did you really expect though considering Denver didn’t have a quarterback and New Orleans doesn’t have a traditional signal caller? Initially the thought was that you could get cute with eligibility and/or salary as we had a practice squad wide receiver lining up under center for Denver in Kendall Hinton but it couldn’t have been any worse of an idea. Hinton completed just one pass for 13 yards while throwing two interceptions as the Broncos combined for 100 rushing yards on 33 yards. Taysom Hill wasn’t much better from a passing perspective with 78 yards (50 of which went to Michael Thomas) but he did he rush for 44 yards and two touchdowns. Alvin Kamara was once again a non-factor catching just one pass while only rushing for 54 yards and I am keeping my distance. Instead the workload and production went to Latavius Murray as he showed he can’t be ignored rushing for 124 yards and two touchdowns for an average of 6.5 yards per carry.
San Francisco got Deebo Samuel and Raheem Mostert back this week and the results were mixed. Samuel didn’t appear to miss a beat as he caught 11 passes for 133 yards while Mostert struggled against a tough Rams run defense gaining just 43 yards on 16 carries while he did pick up a touchdown. From the Rams’ perspective it was a good sign to see Cam Akers with a 61-yard run as he gained 84 yards on nine carries with a touchdown. Robert Woods did catch seven passes for 80 yards but that was the extent of the Rams’ DFS value.
Patrick Mahomes certainly lived up to his end of the bargain against Tampa Bay as he threw for 462 yards and three touchdowns as there is no doubt of his value and what he is capable of. A large portion of that production went to Tyreek Hill as he caught 13 passes for 269 yards and three touchdowns. That is a GPP winning performance right there. It does pale in comparison but Travis Kelce wasn’t too shabby either with eight receptions for 82 yards but how do you compete with Hill? The Kansas City running game was a non-factor but do they even need it? Tom Brady had a rough start to the game but he did recover to throw for 345 yards and three touchdowns while also getting picked off twice. Brady looked to a familiar target as Rob Gronkowski caught six passes for 106 yards while Mike Evans was efficient with his three receptions as two of them went for touchdowns. Tampa Bay fell behind early so that took the running game out of the equation, but Ronald Jones did carry the ball nine times for 66 yards while adding in a 37-yard touchdown reception.
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