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.
Atlanta Falcons running back Brian Hill had a solid game in Week 14, serving as the team's No. 2 back behind Devonta Freeman. Hill rushed the ball nine times for 62 yards and scored his third touchdown of the year. Freeman saw 17 carries in the game and also had four catches while Hill didn't earn a single target through the air. The game was a bit of an anomaly for Hill, who entered the game averaging 2.8 yards per carry on the year before averaging 6.9 yards per carry in the game. Hill can remain on waivers in just about all leagues as he's not a reliable fantasy option while Freeman is healthy.
Atlanta Falcons running back Qadree Ollison didn't receive a single carry in Week 13, despite scoring touchdowns in both Week 11 and Week 12 while Devonta Freeman was sidelined. Last week, Freeman and Brian Hill were the exclusive backs the team used, but this week, Ollison was able to get a little involved. Ollison had four carries in Week 14 against the Panthers, but he was only able to gain six total yards. Freeman saw 17 carries in the game while Hill had nine. Ollison should get more opportunities as the youngster in the backfield, but he can remain on waivers in just about all leagues until we see the Falcons actually start to commit to him more.
The Houston Texans were embarrassed on Sunday by the Denver Broncos, but quarterback Deshaun Watson somehow managed to salvage his fantasy day thanks to his legs. Watson finished the game 28-for-50 throwing the ball for 292 yards, a touchdown, and a pair of interceptions. He also added two rushing scores on six carries, finishing with 44 yards on the ground. This was a tough matchup for Watson, but he's still a fantasy QB1 moving forward because of his ability to do the things we saw him do in this one.
New York Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson made seven catches for 116 yards and a touchdown in a win over the Dolphins Sunday. Anderson was targeted a season-high 11 times making this back-to-back weeks Anderson has seen double-digit targets. It took Anderson a while to get going this season, but he's found his groove lately going for at least 100 yards or a touchdown in four consecutive games. Anderson has a tough matchup Thursday at Baltimore but will be a startable option in fantasy given his recent production.
Atlanta Falcons tight end Austin Hooper (knee) returned to the field in Week 14 after missing the team's past three games. While it was encouraging to see him get six targets in his first game back, he turned in his lowest-scoring fantasy output of the season, catching just two passes for 32 yards. The Falcons were able to run the ball better than usual in this game and they weren't chasing points on the scoreboard so quarterback Matt Ryan only had to throw 34 passes in the game, a low number for him. Hooper will look to bounce-back against the 49ers in Week 15 and he'll be a must-start tight end once again.
Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman carried the ball 17 times for 84 yards and a touchdown in Week 14 against the Panthers. He also added four catches on four targets for 10 yards. Freeman dominated the carries as usual for the Falcons, with Brian Hill earning nine carries and Qadree Ollison earning four. Freeman's heavy workload makes him a decent RB2 on a weekly basis at this point and he's especially valuable in PPR due to his heavy involvement in the Falcons pass game.
Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan had a solid outing in Week 14 against the Panthers. He completed 20-of-34 passes for 313 yards and two touchdowns in the game. He didn't give commit a turnover in the game and was only sacked once. Ryan had all of his primary pass-catchers active for the game as Julio Jones (shoulder) returned from a one-game absence and Austin Hooper (knee) suited up for the first time since Week 10. Ryan's next matchup is a tougher one against the 49ers in San Francisco.
Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield struggled in a 27-19 win over the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 14. Mayfield went 11-for-24 passing for 192 yards and two interceptions in the win, although he did add 13 yards and a touchdown rushing the ball. It goes down as yet another disappointing performance for Mayfield, who was going up against an extremely vulnerable Cincinnati pass defense. He will find himself in another plus matchup against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 15 but he will be tough to trust after disappointing against the Bengals on Sunday.
Denver Broncos tight end Noah Fant was carted off the field in Week 14's game against the Houston Texans. The rookie suffered a foot injury and was taken to the locker room on a cart but was later seen returning to the sideline, also on the cart. With the Broncos up 38-17 in the fourth quarter, there's no reason to rush Fant back into the game. Before leaving, he'd caught four passes for 113 yards and a touchdown.
Miami Dolphins wide receivers Devante Parker (concussion) and Albert Wilson (concussion) have both been ruled out for Sunday's game at the Jets. Parker had two catches for 28 yards before being evaluated for a concussion and Wilson had just one catch for five yards. The Dolphins will update the status of each after the game but both are question marks for next week. Allen Hurns and Isaiah Ford are the leading receivers for Miami with tight end Mike Gesicki also expected to see more usage if Parker were to miss time.
New England Patriots WR Mohamed Sanu (ankle) is officially active for the team's Week 14 game.
Fantasy Spin: Sanu has had one good game since joining the Patriots but has been dealing with the ankle injury. He should see a solid amount of targets and can be a No. 3 receiver or flex option in fantasy leagues.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Jameis Winston (hand) suffered a right hand injury during the Week 14 game and is considered questionable to return.
Fantasy Spin: Fantasy players should keep an eye on the situation to see if Winston will miss an extended period of time because of the injury. Ryan Griffin would take over the starting job if Winston is sidelined but should be avoided in fantasy leagues.
Atlanta Falcons CB Desmond Trufant (forearm) suffered a forearm injury during the Week 14 game and is considered questionable to return.
Detroit Lions DT A'Shawn Robinson (shoulder) suffered a shoulder injury during the Week 14 game and is considered questionable to return.
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Auden Tate was forced to leave Sunday's game against the Cleveland Browns with an apparent ankle injury. Tate went down awkwardly on his ankle in the third quarter after making a catch, and while he was able to walk off the field under his own power, he was soon after walking to the locker room with his gloves and helmet off. There has been no official announcement yet, but Tate looked doubtful to return at best. Before getting hurt, he made one catch for 16 yards on four targets.
New England Patriots WR Julian Edelman (shoulder) is officially active for the team's Week 14 game.
Fantasy Spin: Edelman continues to be the main option in the passing game for the Patriots and will see plenty of targets this week. He is a must-start option in all leagues.
New Orleans Saints tight end Jared Cook (concussion) has been ruled out for the remainder of Sunday's game with the 49ers. Cook took a hit to the head that was flagged for targeting a defenseless receiver while coming down with his second touchdown of the day. Cook was evaluated for a possible head injury and has been ruled out according to the team's Twitter account. Josh Hill is now listed as the team's starting tight end but he won't have any fantasy relevance. Expect Taysom Hill to play the role of tight end for New Orleans near the goal line.
Washington Redskins running back Derrius Guice has been ruled out for the remainder of Week 14's game against the Green Bay Packers. Guice exited due to a knee injury and was immediately labeled as questionable to return. Not much later, he was ruled out for the rest of the contest. Before being forced to leave, Guice ran the ball five times for an explosive 42 yards. With all of Guice's previous knee issues, this is of course something to keep an eye on heading into Week 15 as well. Adrian Peterson will carry the load for Washington on the ground for as long as Guice is out.
The Oakland Raiders have declared LB Kyle Wilber, WR Hunter Renfrow, CB Isaiah Johnson, DL Terrell McClain, QB Mike Glennon, OG Trent Brown and RB Josh Jacobs inactive for Week 14.