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FFL: Week 12 | NFL: Week 12

RealTime DFS Strategy: Week 7

Fri Oct 18 10:05am ET
By MIKE BARNER
Contributing Writer

Engram poised for big Week 7


With the Browns, Panthers, Steelers and Buccaneers all on a bye for Week 7, we are missing some of the most impactful players in the world of DFS. However, that doesn’t mean there still aren’t a lot of great options to consider. Let’s break down each position and discuss both some players to target and some to keep out of your lineup-making process.

QUARTERBACKS

Top-tier option: Jared Goff, LAR at ATL ($6,100): Goff might not be the most expensive quarterback on the slate, but he’s certainly one of the most appealing ones. Despite compiling just 78 passing yards last week against the 49ers, he can be productive in the right matchup. Case in point, he had 517 passing yards and two touchdowns in Week 4 against a bad Bucs’ secondary. The Falcons have been almost as dreadful, allowing the sixth-most passing yards per game in the league and 15 touchdown passes.

Cheap target: Gardner Minshew II, JAC at CIN ($5,800): I had Minshew here last week, as well, but he flopped with 163 yards and a pick against the Saints. Don’t let one bad performance get you down on Minshew Mania. This is a prime spot for him to bounce back with a great stat line considering the Bengals will likely be without two of their top cornerbacks in Dre Kirkpatrick (knee) and William Jackson (shoulder).

Player to avoid: Teddy Bridgewater, NO at CHI ($5,800): Minshew wasn’t the only quarterback to have a quiet performance in that Saints-Jaguars game. Bridgewater wasn’t as bad, but he finished with only 240 passing yards and one touchdown. He’s thrown for 240 yards or fewer in three of his four starts and has two games with one or no touchdown passes. Facing a Bears’ defense that is one of the stingiest in the league is not the time to deploy Bridgewater in DFS.

RUNNING BACKS

Top-tier option: Leonard Fournette, JAC at CIN ($7,200): The secondary won’t be the only area of concern for the Bengals. They have been chewed up by opposing running backs, allowing the most rushing yards per game and the most rushing touchdowns. Fournette has been a workhorse with 115 carries and 36 targets, leaving him with a tremendously high floor in this matchup.

Cheap target: Devin Singletary, BUF vs. MIA ($5,700): Singletary hasn’t been on the field since going down with a hamstring injury in Week 2. The good news is the bye week seems to have helped him since he’s been listed as a full participant in practice. While he’ll still have to share the workload with Frank Gore, being priced this low makes him a viable target against a Dolphins defense that has allowed the second-most rushing yards per game.

Player to avoid: Melvin Gordon, LAC at TEN ($6,700): It hasn’t been pretty in two games since Gordon returned from his contract holdout. The Chargers have given him 20 carries, but he’s only turned that into 49 yards while failing to find his way into the end zone. Austin Ekeler will continue to steal some snaps from him and the Titans have only allowed three rushing touchdowns this season, so I’m not taking a chance on Gordon at this price. Pay the extra $500 and roll with Fournette.

WIDE RECEIVERS

Top-tier option: Cooper Kupp, LAR at ATL ($7,100): With Goff tanking last week, Kupp had only four catches for 17 yards on six targets. Considering he had at least 101 receiving yards in each of his previous four contests, I’m largely ignoring last week’s dud. With the Falcons’ struggles to defend the pass already detailed, a Rams stack with Goff and Kupp has a great chance to be profitable.

Cheap target: John Brown, BUF vs. MIA ($5,600): The addition of Brown to the Bills’ offense has been seamless so far, catching 28 of 39 targets for 390 yards and a touchdown through five games. He hasn’t received fewer than five targets in any game, reaching at least 10 targets two times. The Dolphins have allowed 14 touchdown passes and the seventh-most passing yards per game, leaving Brown with plenty of upside at this reasonable price.

Player to avoid: Terry McLaurin, WAS vs. SF ($5,600): If there is someone to be excited about on the Redskins, it’s McLaurin. The rookie looks like one of the building blocks for the franchise, posting 23 catches, 408 yards and five touchdowns through five games. However, the 49ers defense has been excellent, resulting in them allowing the fewest passing yards per game. There will be plenty of weeks down the road in which you’ll want to target McLaurin, but this isn’t one of them.

TIGHT ENDS

Top-tier option: Evan Engram, NYG vs. ARI ($5,900): The Giants sorely missed Engram last week against the Patriots. He’s been one of the staples of their offense, posting 33 receptions, 373 receiving yards and two touchdowns across five games. He hasn’t received fewer than seven targets in any contest and should be back this week for a prime matchup against a Cardinals’ defense that has been destroyed by opposing tight ends. No need to overthink this one.

Cheap target: Hunter Henry, LAC at TEN ($5,000): In need of some help in the passing game, the Chargers finally got some relief last week with the return of Henry. He immediately made his presence felt, catching eight of nine targets for 100 yards and two touchdowns. While the two touchdowns will likely be hard to replicate this week, the target share shouldn’t. With that kind of volume, he can provide value at this price.

Player to avoid: Eric Ebron, IND vs. HOU ($4,400): Since we’re talking about volume, now’s a good time to bring up Ebron. He hasn’t been overly involved in the Colts’ offense with only 20 targets through five games. That has resulted in three games in which he caught only one pass. While he’s always a threat in the red zone, having a healthy Jack Doyle will continue to limit his opportunities. Henry has significantly more upside, and while the $600 price difference is nothing to sneeze at, it isn’t large enough to warrant rolling with Ebron.

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.

Player Notes
Darren Fells Nov 21 12:00pm ET

Houston Texans tight end Darren Fells had caught just one pass per game over Houston's last two games. He's got seven games this year with two or fewer receptions. And he's caught six touchdowns, including a pair of multi-touchdown games. What do you do with that? Well, the same thing you do every week: play him in deeper leagues if you don't have other options. Fells could catch two passes for two touchdowns. He could also one catch for seven yards. If you have a reliable option, play that guy instead.

From RotoBaller

Devonta Freeman Nov 21 12:00pm ET

Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman (foot) hasn't practiced yet this week and head coach Dan Quinn said that if he can't practice before the team's Week 12 game against the Buccaneers, he won't be suiting up. Freeman is currently listed as questionable for Week 12, but one would imagine he's more on the doubtful side of questionable. He could, however, have a good chance to make his return in Week 13 if he doesn't suffer any setbacks in his recovery. Brian Hill and Qadree Ollison will most likely shoulder the running back workload for as long as Freeman is out.

From RotoBaller

Calvin Ridley Nov 21 11:50am ET

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley is in a great spot heading into Week 12. He's coming off of his best game of the year where he caught all eight of his targets for 143 yards and a touchdown against the Panthers. This week, Ridley and the Falcons face a Buccaneers Defense that has allowed the second-most passing yards per game in the league this year. The team's star wide receiver Julio Jones (foot) is currently questionable for the game. If Jones sits or plays at less than 100%, that gives Ridley even more of a boost. Regardless, Ridley should see around eight targets in the game, giving him a good chance to post between 80 and 100 receiving yards with touchdown potential.

From RotoBaller

Matt Ryan Nov 21 11:40am ET

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (ankle) sat out Wednesday's practice and is currently questionable for Week 12 against the Buccaneers. However, there doesn't seem to be an indication that he's at risk for missing the game. Sitting out Wednesday's practice appears to have been mostly precautionary. If he is indeed good to go for Week 12, he'll be in good position to have a solid week. The Falcons are a pass-heavy offense facing a very pass-friendly Buccaneers Defense yielding 290 passing yards per game, second most in the league. Expect Ryan to throw for over 300 yards with two or three touchdowns on the day.

From RotoBaller

Julio Jones Nov 21 11:40am ET

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones (foot) sat out Wednesday's practice and is currently questionable for Week 12 against the Buccaneers. There haven't been many details released in terms of the severity of Jones's foot injury so make sure to monitor his status in the coming days. If he's good to go, he needs to be started in all leagues as the Falcons face a very pass-friendly Buccaneers Defense. Jones has had at least eight targets in five straight games with over 90 receiving yards in four of those five games. He could easily top 100 yards and find the end zone against the Buccaneers in Week 12.

From RotoBaller

Mohamed Sanu Nov 21 11:30am ET

New England Patriots wide receiver Mohamed Sanu (ankle) is reportedly dealing with a high ankle sprain that could sideline him for two, maybe three weeks. Though he's currently listed as questionable for Week 12, fantasy owners should expect him to be out for Week 12 and likely Week 13 as well. While Sanu is gone, Julian Edelman should see a minor boost in targets. Phillip Dorsett (concussion) could benefit from Sanu's absence, though he is currently questionable for Week 12 while going through concussion protocol. N'Keal Harry also stands to benefit and is worth a speculative add if you have an open roster spot in leagues of 12 teams or deeper.

From RotoBaller

Kenny Stills Nov 21 11:00am ET

Houston Texans wide receiver Kenny Stills had a good game when the Texans and Colts met earlier this year, catching four passes for 105 yards, but that only happened because a Will Fuller hamstring injury thrust Stills into a larger role. This week, Fuller is a game-time decision with that hamstring injury, which means playing Stills in fantasy should also be a game-time decision: if Fuller's out, Stills has value as an upside WR4 option, but if Fuller plays, Stills' role will be reduced too much to play him.

From RotoBaller

Dawson Knox Nov 21 10:50am ET

Buffalo Bills tight end Dawson Knox found the end zone in Week 11 for the first time since Week 3. Knox has shown some promise this year, but he still has a lot of work to do in order to become a borderline reliable tight end fantasy option. The Bills face a tough Broncos pass defense this week and Knox will likely be touchdown-or-bust. Considering he's scored just twice this year, the odds are greatly slanted towards bust.

From RotoBaller

Buffalo Bills Nov 21 10:50am ET

The Bills Defense is in a great spot heading into a home matchup against the Broncos in Week 12. The Broncos rank amongst the bottom third of the league in both points per game and yards per game. The Bills should be able to hold the Broncos under 20 points in the game, potentially well under 20 points, and they should be able to record several sacks on quarterback Brandon Allen and maybe a few turnovers as well. They are a fantastic starting option this week.

From RotoBaller

Will Fuller Nov 21 10:50am ET

Houston Texans wide receiver Will Fuller (hamstring) is reportedly a game-time decision for Thursday's game against the Indianapolis Colts. We last saw Fuller against the Colts in Week 7, when he caught one pass for six yards before exiting. Fuller's best game of the year was in Week 5, when he caught 14 passes for 217 yards and three touchdowns, but other than that game, he hasn't found the end zone this season. Boom-or-bust is the best way to describe Fuller at this point, and he's going to be tough to trust in fantasy lineups if he does play Thursday.

From RotoBaller

Duke Johnson Nov 21 10:40am ET

Houston Texans running back Duke Johnson has seen some increased involvement in Houston's offense lately, including a five-catch game in Week 9, but that involvement isn't really translating into fantasy success. He continues to trail Carlos Hyde in rushing attempts and his impact in the pass game has been inconsistent all year. The last time Johnson faced the Colts, he had nine touches, producing 56 yards. Something around 50 total yards seems like a good bet based on Johnson's recent production, which means you're not getting much out of him for fantasy purposes unless he finds the end zone. He has done that in three of Houston's last five games, but somehow those touchdowns still feel like anomalies based on how the Texans are using him.

From RotoBaller

Cole Beasley Nov 21 10:40am ET

Buffalo Bills wide receiver Cole Beasley had a disappointing showing in a very favorable Week 11 matchup against the Dolphins, catching just four passes for 38 yards. It was a game where the Bills scored 37 points and quarterback Josh Allen had a career day, but John Brown was the primary producer amongst the team's receivers. This week, Beasley and the Bills face a tough Broncos pass defense that allows just 210 passing yards per game, fifth fewest in the league. Beasley has been averaging about five targets per game in the past few months and with his 10.4 yards per reception average and lack of touchdown production, he's tough to trust for a big fantasy day. He's a viable WR3 or flex in deep PPR leagues, but if you have another option with more upside, you might want to get away from Beasley this week. In non-PPR he shouldn't be started.

From RotoBaller

DeAndre Hopkins Nov 21 10:40am ET

Houston Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins got off to a slow start to the year, but has four straight games with either 80 receiving yards or a touchdown. It's a good time for the star receiver to get back on the right track, and he'll look to continue that on Thursday against the Colts. In Week 7, Hopkins caught nine passes for 106 yards and a touchdown against Indianapolis, and while this isn't a great matchup for the Texans, Hopkins has been targeted at least 11 times in five straight games and should be able to turn that usage into a strong fantasy outing. Consider him a mid-tier WR1 this week.

From RotoBaller

Isaiah McKenzie Nov 21 10:40am ET

Buffalo Bills wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie saw a season-high 56 offensive snaps in Week 11 against the Dolphins. No other Bills receiver other than John Brown or Cole Beasley played double-digit snaps in the game. Unfortunately, there wasn't much production that came with the increased playing time. McKenzie saw a solid amount of targets (6), but only caught 3 passes for 21 yards while adding a 10-yard rush. This week, the Bills face a tough Broncos pass defense that should make things difficult on all the Bills' receivers. McKenzie might be worth keeping an eye on in deep leagues down the stretch but he has no value as a starting option this week.

From RotoBaller

Josh Allen Nov 21 10:30am ET

Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen is coming off a career day in Week 11, where he torched the Dolphins for four touchdowns and over 300 combined passing and rushing yards. This week, he faces a tougher task against the Broncos. The Broncos have allowed the fifth-fewest passing yards per game this year, right around 210 yards per game. The Bills Defense should shut down the Broncos offense for the most part, which should leave Allen and company with plenty of opportunities. It's just a question of whether or not Allen will be able to take full advantage of the opportunities. Expect a relatively low-scoring game where Allen throws for around 200 yards and adds around 50 rushing yards with one or two total touchdowns. That makes him more of a QB2 than a low-end QB1 this week.

From RotoBaller

Carlos Hyde Nov 21 10:30am ET

Houston Texans running back Carlos Hyde found the end zone in Week 11, but it came after a lot of short runs that hadn't gone his way. It's fair to expect more of the same out of Hyde on Thursday against the Colts: three yard gains and a fantasy value that's entirely dependent on him managing to break off one big play. He didn't do that the last time these teams faced, carrying the ball 12 times for 35 yards in the loss. It's hard to see Hyde as more than a low-end RB3 in this matchup.

From RotoBaller

John Brown Nov 21 10:30am ET

Buffalo Bills wide receiver John Brown had his biggest game of the year in Week 11, catching nine passes for 137 yards and two touchdowns. This week, he is going to have his work cut out for him, facing a tough Broncos pass defense that should include a lot of coverage from star cornerback Chris Harris Jr. The game figures to be relatively low-scoring, but Brown has an extremely reliable target share in the offense, with 25 targets over the past two weeks. He should be able to overcome the tough matchup and come down with at least five catches for somewhere around 70 yards. Don't expect another monster game, but he should still be a decent WR2 play.

From RotoBaller

Deshaun Watson Nov 21 10:20am ET

Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson is coming off one of his worst games of the season, a 169-yard performance in Week 11 against the Ravens in which the third-year passer threw for a pick and no touchdowns. He looks to get back on track on Thursday against the Colts in what could be another tough one for Watson. Last time these teams played, Watson threw for 308 yards and a touchdown, but he also tossed a pair of interceptions and had just 32 rushing yards. Fantasy owners probably can't justify sitting a quarterback with Watson's upside, but don't be surprised if he doesn't finish as a fantasy QB1 this week.

From RotoBaller

Frank Gore Nov 21 10:20am ET

Buffalo Bills running back Frank Gore has been relegated to No. 2 back status in Buffalo following the emergence of rookie running back Devin Singletary this past month. Gore has 21 fewer touches than Singletary the past three games. Over that span, Gore has struggled mightily, averaging about two yards per carry while failing to top 27 rushing yards in a game - despite having two game with double-digit carries. Gore could end up seeing around ten total touches this week against the Broncos, but it's hard to trust that he'll do much of anything with them. He can be dropped in all leagues of 12 teams or less and isn't worth starting in deeper leagues.

From RotoBaller

T.J. Yeldon Nov 21 10:20am ET

Buffalo Bills running back T.J. Yeldon was inactive for the fifth straight game in Week 11 and it's hard to imagine anything different for Week 12. Unless there's an injury or a depth chart shift in Buffalo in the coming weeks, Yeldon figures to remain inactive for games and has no business being on fantasy rosters.

From RotoBaller