Fri Nov 8 1:21pm ET
By MIKE BARNER
Brees is a top DFS target
We have a tricky slate of DFS ahead of us for Week 10 with six teams on a bye. With the Texans, Patriots and Eagles among the teams who won’t play, we will be missing several of the top options at various positions. With that being said, that doesn’t mean you can’t still come out of it a winner. Here are some players to consider at various price points, as well as some to avoid, while creating your entry.
Top-tier option: Drew Brees, NO vs. ATL ($6,500): Brees wasted no time making an impact in his return from a thumb injury, completing 34-of-43 passes for 373 yards and three touchdowns in Week 8 against the Cardinals. The only other full game that he played this season came against the Texans in Week 1 when he threw for 370 yards and two touchdowns. Those are two teams who have struggled to defend the pass, which has certainly helped Brees’ cause. He’ll get another great matchup out of the bye with the Falcons tied for the third-most touchdown passes allowed (19) in the league.
Cheap target: Daniel Jones, NYG at NYJ ($6,000): We saw the good side of Jones in Week 8 when he torched the Lions for 322 yards and four touchdowns. However, turnovers have mostly been a problem since he took over for Eli Manning. He again struggled in that department against the Cowboys last week, fumbling twice and throwing an interception to go along with only one touchdown. Rookie quarterbacks can be inconsistent like that, so Jones is no sure-fire option in DFS. However, facing a Jets team that just allowed three touchdown passes to Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Dolphins last week is awfully enticing.
Player to avoid: Baker Mayfield, CLE vs. BUF ($5,700): The Browns have lost four straight games and enter this contest as one of the more disappointing teams in the league at 2-6. Mayfield isn’t the only reason for their struggles, but it hasn’t helped that he hasn’t thrown for more than one touchdown in a game all season. Facing a Bills team that has allowed the third-fewest passing yards per game likely won’t help matters.
Top-tier option: Christian McCaffrey, CAR at GB ($8,600): At this point, the only reason not to deploy McCaffrey in your lineup is if you’re looking to be a contrarian in tournament play. He had another monster game last week against the Titans, rushing 24 times for 146 yards and two touchdowns. He already has 13 total touchdowns this season to go along with 881 rushing yards and 363 receiving yards. The Packers have allowed the ninth-most rushing yards per game and are tied for the third-most rushing touchdowns allowed. Buckle up and enjoy the ride.
Cheap target: David Montgomery, CHI vs. DET ($6,000): The Bears have finally unleashed their promising rookie, giving him 41 carries and nine targets over their last two games. He’s rewarded their faith in him with 223 total yards and three touchdowns. With Mitchell Trubisky struggling, the Bears would be wise to keep feeding Montgomery, especially considering the Lions have allowed the sixth-most rushing yards per game.
Player to avoid: Joe Mixon, CIN vs. BAL ($5,800): The Bengals are shaping up to be the worst team in the league with their offensive line being one of their many weaknesses. They haven’t opened many holes for Mixon, who has only 320 yards on 101 carries. While he does have three receiving touchdowns, he is still looking for his first rushing score of the season. The last time he faced the Ravens, they held him to 10 yards on eight carries. Considering they have allowed the second-fewest rushing yards per game, overall, things are once again looking bleak for Mixon.
Top-tier option: Michael Thomas, NO vs. ATL ($8,000): A Brees/Thomas stack will eat up a significant portion of your budget, but it will be difficult to resist in cash contests. Even with Brees sidelined for most of the season, Thomas has 73 receptions for 875 yards. His volume has been off the charts with at least 11 targets in six of his eight games. Don’t expect the Falcons to be the team that slows him down.
Cheap target: Christian Kirk, ARI at TB ($5,000): Kirk might be one of my favorite cheap targets at any position. Throw his two catch, eight-yard performance last week out the window. He was facing the 49ers, who have one of the best defenses in the league. Now he’ll take on the Bucs, a team that has allowed the second-most passing yards per game. The Cardinals have shown a propensity for wanting to get the ball in Kirk’s hands, giving him at least eight targets in four of the six games he has played.
Player to avoid: D.K. Metcalf, SEA at SF ($6,200): Metcalf is coming off the best performance of his young career after catching six passes for 123 yards and a touchdown versus the Bucs last week. While Kirk might benefit from that matchup in Week 10, Metcalf has to face the same 49ers team that shut down Kirk and the Cardinals’ offense. Add in Metcalf’s rising price tag and this might not be the week to add him to your entry.
Top-tier option: Austin Hooper, ATL at NO ($6,100): It looks like we are finally experiencing the Hooper breakout campaign that many of us have been yearning for. Last season was the most productive of his career, but he’s on pace to blow past those numbers with 52 catches and 591 yards through eight games. He’s already hauled in five touchdowns, which is one more than all of last season. In a position that has a lot of volatile options, Hooper’s consistency is extremely appealing.
Cheap target: Mike Gesicki, MIA at IND ($3,300): If you want to spend elsewhere, taking a chance on Gesicki isn’t that crazy of an idea. He is coming off of his best performance of the season, catching all six of his targets for 95 yards against the Jets in Week 9. The Dolphins lost one of their top wide receivers in Preston Williams (knee) during that game, who has since been placed on IR. With the potential for an expanded role in the offense moving forward, Gesicki is at least an option in tournament play.
Player to avoid: Jimmy Graham, GB vs. CAR ($4,500): There’s not a lot to see here with Graham. While he’s had an impressive career, he’s a shell of the player that he once was. He’s posted 20 or fewer receiving yards in three of his last four games and has caught more than four passes in a game only one time all season. I’d argue that Gesicki has similar upside, so I can’t justify spending the extra $1,200 for Graham.
Mike Barner has been covering fantasy sports since 2007. His work has appeared in Sports Illustrated, Yahoo, SportsLine and RotoWire. Mike was also a finalist for the 2018 FSWA Basketball Writer of the Year award. Follow Mike on Twitter @rotomikebarner.
San Francisco 49ers running back Raheem Mostert erupted for 154 scrimmage yards and a touchdown in Week 12, rendering starter Tevin Coleman obsolete. The fifth-year back has been explosive in limited opportunities this season, averaging 5.9 yards per tote, but it may not translate into increased usage in Week 13 against the New Orleans Saints. With Matt Breida (ankle) returning and Coleman inevitably in the mix, Mostert will likely revert to his standard change-of-pace role. Against a tough Saints rush defense, the Niners may play the hot hand, giving Mostert an upside of double-digit touches. But due to the high backfield uncertainty, fantasy managers should prudently view him as a flex option.
New York Giants TE Evan Engram (foot) is expected to play in Week 14 after missing the previous three games with a foot injury. 'All indications are he'll be ready to go,' Giants head coach Pat Shurmur said before practice Friday, Dec. 6.
Fantasy Spin: A return for Engram, who ranks sixth among tight ends with an average of 13.7 PPR points per game, would be a welcome sight for his fantasy teams who have had to make do without him for the last month. We'll, of course, check the practice and injury reports leading up to Monday night's game in Philly, but the light appears green at the moment.
New York Giants WR Golden Tate (concussion) is expected to play in Week 14, head coach Pat Shurmur said prior to practice Friday, Dec. 6.
Fantasy Spin: Tate has been the Giants' most productive pass-catcher, averaging 15.2 PPR points per game since making his season debut in Week 5, and would be a high-end flex, low-end WR2 play in a great matchup Monday if he indeed returns after sitting out Week 12. Stay tuned ...
New York Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard will see a downtick in value with both Golden Tate (concussion) and Evan Engram (foot) returning on Monday night. Shepard will move to the boundary receiver role with Tate back, which is actually a boost to his value, but there just simply might not be enough targets to go around. Eli Manning is also not able to buy time in the pocket for deep passes like Daniel Jones was, so Shepard may be less likely to hit on the big play. He's still viable as a WR4 or WR3 in deeper leagues, but he's far less reliable than he had been.
New York Giants wide receiver Darius Slayton is off the fantasy radar with Eli Manning back under center and Evan Engram (foot) and Golden Tate (concussion) back on the field. Slayton will now be the 4th option in the passing game (perhaps 5th behind Saquon Barkley) with a quarterback who hasn't played many games with him and isn't as prone to taking deep shots down the field. It all makes Slayton way too risky for fantasy lineups.
Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill has quietly been producing consistent QB1 numbers since his insertion in the starting lineup six weeks ago. Tannehill has the Titans 5-1 since that time and firmly in the playoff picture, but Week 14 represents a crucial matchup. Tannehill and the Titans will face an exploitable Oakland Raiders Defense this week, where he can safely be counted on for the first round of the fantasy playoffs. Tannehill is the QB6 overall since becoming the starter, and it would not be surprising to see him flirt with that status this week as well.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB/KR T.J. Logan suffered a broken thumb in practice Friday, Dec. 6, and is expected to miss the rest of the season. Logan has been the Buccaneers' primary kickoff and punt returner, and RB Dare Ogunbowale (kickoffs) and WR Justin Watson (punts) are now expected to handle those duties.
Atlanta Falcons TE Austin Hooper (knee) is practicing Friday, Dec. 6.
Fantasy Spin: It's unknown if it was a full practice, but he's trending toward returning after a month-long absence against the Carolina Panthers. It's an uninspiring matchup, but he'll be a low-end TE1 option.
Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield (hand) threw without a wrap on his hand at Friday's practice and "looked good" according to beat reporters covering the session. It was also reported that there is no visible bruise on the back of the quarterback's hand after he dinged it on a defender's facemask during Week 13's loss. Mayfield has ramped up his activity as the week has gone on, a good sign for his availability for Sunday's matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals. If Mayfield does suit up, which looks likely, he can be treated as a high-upside QB2 for the first week of the fantasy playoffs.
Atlanta Falcons WR Julio Jones (shoulder) is practicing Friday, Dec. 6.
Fantasy Spin: It's unknown if it was a full practice, but Jones looks to be good to go this week against the Carolina Panthers. He caught six balls for 97 yards against them a few weeks ago. It's a midrange matchup, and he's a great WR2 this week.
New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley figures to see a boost playing alongside former, and new, starter Eli Manning. It's not because Manning will make the Giants offense more effective, but because he's essentially a statue in the pocket. The Eagles run defense is 9th in PPR-points allowed to running backs, so Barkley isn't likely to carve them up on the ground, but Manning's lack of mobility has historically lead to more dump-off passes to running backs. While Daniel Jones would use his legs to create yardage, Manning will likely use Saquon Barkley more. Barkley's lack of receiving game usage has lowered his fantasy ceiling, but its return may now bump up his fantasy floor. You're starting him in season-long leagues, and he might be a sneaky captain for DFS tournaments in a showdown slate with the Giants figuring to be trailing often in this game.
The Cleveland Browns Defense draws an excellent Week 14 matchup at home against the Cincinnati Bengals. Cleveland comes into the game installed as seven-point favorites in a game with a low 41.5-point over/under. The Bengals have not been very effective on offense, while their leaky offensive line has allowed 40 sacks this season, seventh-most in the league. Cleveland is without the suspended Myles Garrett but Olivier Vernon is plenty capable of taking advantage of Cincy's QB protection issues. Treat Cleveland as a top-five fantasy defense in Week 14.
New York Giants wide receiver Golden Tate (concussion) figures to be back in the lineup just in time for a juicy matchup against an Eagles secondary that has been susceptible to big plays to slot wide receivers. However, Tate has never played a game with Eli Manning under center since Manning was benched before Tate was activated from suspension. Eli likes to throw the ball underneath and over the middle, so Tate figures to be a good security blanket, but their lack of comfort with one another, and the return of Evan Engram (foot), may cap Tate's upside. He's more of a low-end WR3 in PPR and half-PPR leagues.
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. draws an excellent Week 14 matchup against a weak Cincinnati Bengals secondary. Cincinnati's pass defense ranks 31st in DVOA while allowing the 18th-most fantasy points per game to the wide receiver position. Beckham draws an excellent matchup as he will see primary coverage from Cincy cornerback B.W. Webb. Webb has struggled in coverage this season, giving Beckham a decided advantage on Sunday. Treat Beckham as a high-upside WR2 for Week 14.
New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones was seen at practice on Friday no longer wearing a boot on his injured ankle. However, he is still not participating but is on the bike and doing strength work. This provides even further confirmation that Eli Manning will likely be under center for the Giants this week. However, with the game on Monday night, Jones could still play if he is able to return to full practice tomorrow. It just seems unlikely.
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Jarvis Landry has been on quite the hot streak over his past six games, having hauled in 40 catches and five touchdowns over that span. Landry has overtaken Odell Beckham Jr. as the team's No. 1 wide receiver and should see a healthy target share against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 14. Cincinnati doesn't allow many points to opposing wideouts but their pass defense ranks just 31st in the league in DVOA. This is most likely a result of teams building big leads and running the ball heavily in the second half of games. Landry can be trusted as a rock-solid WR2 in all formats for the first week of the fantasy playoffs.
New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning will likely be under center when the Giants take on the Eagles on Monday night. Manning was not particularly good when he played early in the season and lacks Daniel Jones' mobility. He's also playing against an Eagles team looking to make up for an embarrassing loss to the Dolphins and still fighting for the playoffs after the Cowboys loss on Thursday. All logic suggests that Manning will not be fantasy relevant. However, a fading star given one last chance against a rival on primetime TV has all the makings of fantasy and Hollywood drama, so Eli could simply torch the Eagles' suspect secondary. He's not a recommended play in one QB leagues or DFS cash games, but if you wanted to throw him in a GPP lineup or slide him into the starting spot in a two-quarterback league, it might be a fun night.
Cleveland Browns running back Kareem Hunt draws a mouth-watering Week 14 matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals have struggled to stop the run this season, ranking 27th in run-defense DVOA while allowing the seventh-most fantasy points per game to the running back position. Hunt has basically established himself as the No. 3 wide receiver in Cleveland, in addition to the handful of carries he has been seeing on a weekly basis. Fantasy GMs can tab Hunt as a low-end RB2 for the first round of the fantasy playoffs this Sunday.
Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb draws a fantastic matchup against a struggling Cincinnati Bengals Defense in Week 14. Chubb should see at least 20 touches against a Cincy run defense that ranks 27th in DVOA and is allowing the seventh-most fantasy points per game to the running back position. The Browns are likely to jump out to a big lead in this one, which means there should be plenty of second-half, clock-killing carries on tap for Chubb. Fire him up as a locked-in RB1 for the first round of the fantasy playoffs.
Free-agent PK Nick Folk (appendix) is expected to re-sign with the New England Patriots Friday, Dec. 6. He is expected to be healthy.
Fantasy Spin: Folk has a tough matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs, and there isn't a lot of upside considering he just came back from an appendectomy.