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 head to Atlanta. Things didn’t exactly start out well for Tom Brady but DFS matchups aren’t decided in the first half. Brady ultimately threw for 390 yards and two touchdowns as he showed why he is one of the more dependable options out there. From a receiving standpoint things were spread around but we should take note of the fact that Antonio Brown caught five passes for 93 yards and a touchdown as he forces himself onto our radar. His production came at the expense of Chris Godwin who caught just four passes for 36 yards but his day was saved by a touchdown as Mike Evans was the leading receiver with six receptions for 110 yards. Leonard Fournette was the clear leader in Tampa Bay’s backfield with 14 carries for 49 yards but it was the two touchdowns that mattered. For this week I was wrong about Matt Ryan as he had his best game of the season with 356 yards and three touchdowns. It was a good thing as we saw nothing from Atlanta’s running game and the usual suspects had strong games capitalizing on the absence of Julio Jones; Calvin Ridley with 10 receptions for 163 yards and a touchdown and Russell Gage with five catches for 68 yards and a touchdown.
We had a wild game in Dallas and those paying attention to the late breaking news were rewarded as Ezekiel Elliot was late scratch with a calf injury. The Cowboys didn’t do much offensively but Tony Pollard made good use of his 12 carries gaining 69 yards, but more importantly scoring two touchdowns. Perhaps the biggest disappointment was Amari Cooper who caught just two passes for 10 yards and with Andy Dalton passing for only 209 yards we have to exercise caution with all of the Cowboys’ receivers moving forward. On the San Francisco side we liked Brandon Aiyukentering the week and he delivered as the 49ers’ number one receiver catching nine passes for 73 yards and a touchdown proving he is up to the task. Their backfield was roughly a 50/50 split between Raheem Mostert (14 carries for 68 yards) and Jeff Wilson (16 carries for 60 yards and a touchdown) but it’s hard to rely on either from a DFS standpoint.
It’s getting boring at this point. You pay up for Derrick Henry and he produces. There is nothing wrong with that predictability though and this week Henry carried the ball 24 times for 147 yards and a touchdown in what has been a typical performance for him. The true standout was Ryan Tannehill who had his usual solid day through the air with 273 passing yards and three touchdowns spreading things out across his stable of weapons with Corey Davis having the big day (four receptions for 110 yards and a touchdown). What brought things to the next level for Tannehill was his two rushing touchdowns but we can’t look for that each week. Despite the blowout loss for Detroit we saw the continued success of rookie D’Andre Swift who picked up 67 yards and two touchdowns. From a football perspective Matthew Stafford deserves some credit for taking the field this week despite not being fully healthy and Marvin Jones was the only Lions’ receiver to do much of anything (10 catches for 112 yards and a touchdown) while TJ Hockenson was a disappointment at the tight end position with just two receptions for 18 yards.
It was a productive day for rookie running backs as Jonathan Taylor carried the ball 16 times for 83 yards and a touchdown as he continues to find his footing. The Indianapolis passing game continues to do enough to get by for the victory but with 228 passing yards there isn’t much to see from Philip Rivers. Zach Pascal caught both of Rivers’ touchdown passes as part of a 79-yard afternoon but I’m not looking to invest too heavily from a DFS perspective. In a losing effort, although if it wasn’t for a fumble at the end of the game we were headed to overtime, DeShaun Watson continued to be one of the better DFS options throwing for 373 yards and touchdowns. Despite picking up just 27 yards on the ground, it’s hard to complain about David Johnson’s performance as he was the leading receiver for Houston catching 11 passes for 106 yards. We did expect more out of Brandin Cooksbut he failed to stand out catching six passes for 59 yards.
After how things went this week, perhaps Miami has found a running back? In returning from injury Salvon Ahmed carried the ball 23 times for 122 yards and a touchdown in what was a quiet day for Miami’s offense despite their victory. The Dolphins were without DeVante Parker and Mike Gesecki and it showed as Tua Tagovailoa threw for just 145 yards while rushing for two touchdowns. It shouldn’t have come as a surprise that they Patriots didn’t offer much from a DFS perspective but Sony Michel did rush for 74 yards on 10 carries. Jakobi Meyers is showing us something though with seven receptions for 111 yards but it is hard to trust Cam Newton through the air (just 209 passing yards).
There is nothing like getting a career best performance from your running back as the Bears truly leaned on David Montgomery giving him 32 carries which he turned into 146 yards and two touchdowns. It was a good thing because the Chicago passing game only generated 202 yards through the air but Darnell Mooney is becoming a viable receiving threat with four receptions for 49 yards and a touchdown this week. In the boring department, Dalvin Cook rushed for 132 yards and a touchdown with Justin Jefferson as the main receiving option with eight receptions for 104 yards while Adam Thielen was a non-factor (two catches for 11 yards) aside from his touchdown reception.
Dwayne Haskins gave it an admirable effort completing 38 of 55 pass attempts for 295 yards and a touchdown but he is not a DFS worthy option. Terry McLaurin had a solid game with seven catches for 77 yards but it was Logan Thomas who really was busy catching 13 passes for 101 yards. The bigger takeaway from this game for me though was how good of a job Washington’s defense did containing Russell Wilson. I was fading him but throwing for just 121 yards and a touchdown was even more of a struggle than I expected. With 15 carries for 63 yards we can trust Chris Carson as Seattle’s main ball carrier but this wasn’t an ideal week for the Seahawks’ offense.
Let’s just get this out of the way quickly; there was and is nothing to see from a DFS perspective on Jacksonville’s offense. Depending on the match-up James Robinson is often worthy of our attention but this week was not it as he managed just 35 yards on the ground against Baltimore. This week was one of the better passing weeks for Lamar Jackson as he completed 17 passes for 222 yards and three touchdowns along with 35 rushing yards and a fourth touchdown but I’m still not buying. Once again we do have a Marquise Brown sighting as he caught six passes for 98 yards and it was a good sign to see Mark Andrews have another solid week at the tight end position with five receptions for 66 yards and a touchdown. In the backfield, it’s all about J.K. Dobbins who carried the ball 14 times for 64 yards and a touchdown.
Talk about an unexpectedly explosive quarterback dual in Arizona. Starting with the victors Kyler Murray threw for 406 yards and three touchdowns while also rushing for a fourth. The Cardinals offense did their work through the air as Murray spread around the targets. That is with one exception though as DeAndre Hopkins caught nine passes for 169 yards and a touchdown while reminding us what he is capable of. Things were also spread out around on the Philadelphia side with rookie Jalen Hurts showing no signs of giving up the quarterback job. Hurts threw for three touchdowns and 338 passing yards while adding 63 yards on the ground and a fourth touchdown. Even with Hurts’ success though I’m still not finding any receivers that pique my interest.
Drew Brees returned from his 11 broken ribs but things got off to a slow start for him. While he completed just 15 passes for 234 yards, three of those were for touchdowns so things could have been worse from a DFS perspective. It showed that Brees was without Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara continued not to be a strong weapon in the passing game catching just three passes for 46 yards although one was for a touchdown. It seems odd to say, but there isn’t much to see when setting DFS lineups. Facing a tough New Orleans defense things were difficult for Patrick Mahomes, well at least compared to his usual production as he “only” threw for 254 yards and three touchdowns. Before exiting with a leg injury Clyde Edwards-Helaire actually was having a strong game rushing for 79 yards on 14 carries so it is worth noting that Le’Veon Bell carried the ball 15 times for 62 yards and a touchdown. With eight catches for 68 yards and a touchdown Travis Kelcehad a solid game but he did leave DFS owners who paid up for him lacking while Tyreek Hillcontinued his solid season with six catches for 53 yards and a touchdown.
Just because the Jets somehow won a game it doesn’t mean we need to care from a DFS angle. The real problem here is the fact that Rams failed to take advantage of facing New York. Cam Akers is the main focus of the Rams’ backfield and that was evident with his 15 carries this week, compared to two for the competition, but it resulted in just 62 yards. I’m not sure I would read much into it but Tyler Higbee did have one of his better games of the season with four receptions for 67 yards and a touchdown.
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