This is a weekly review of all the important DFS news and notes from all games played this past weekend. I give my thoughts on the relevant fantasy performances and future daily fantasy impact from each game for week 7. Below is part 1.
Games in the NFL rarely go as planned but this one truly did. Colin Kaepernick (13-24, 124 yards) is simply not up to the task against more complex, elite level NFL defenses and has been completely decimated this year by inner-division rivals. The Seahawks just toyed with Kaepernick in this game, in the same way the Arizona defense did… daring him to throw deep and then just allowing him to kill himself and the Niner’s with poor accuracy on his short/medium throws. The real thing that irks me about Kaepernick for fantasy football is that the idea of him as a “duel threat” is really just a figment of people’s imagination. Kaepernick can still run but over his last 22 games he’s only had two days of passing for more than 300 yards and only one game with 3 or more TDs. The big-multi-stat game is not there for Kaepernick and you need to stop chasing it for fantasy purposes.
The RB situation on San Fran could be something to watch this week. Carlos Hyde (11 car. 40 yards) is dealing with a serious foot injury and that could mean more work for Reggie Bush (4 car. 21 yards, 3 rec. 13 yards) eventually. I’m not sure if I’d even want to entertain using an RB from this team in the future to be honest as I think the 49ers aren’t going to be ahead much in any games the rest of the season. Bush did almost nothing in this game but got his biggest workload of the year.
Russell Wilson (18-24, 235 yards TD 2 INTs) and the passing game looks like it’s starting to come together. Wilson had some nice plays to rookie Tyler Lockett (5 rec. 79 yards TD) in this game and the connection might finally be viable enough to start thinking about the duo for fantasy football. Wilson could be a late season factor in DFS games… Jimmy Graham (2 rec. 31 yards) didn’t see much work in this game and this is pretty much what you can expect from him the rest of the way. He’ll show up with a decent game like he did the week before, but against weaker teams where the Hawks are dominating with Lynch and their defense you won’t see much from him. You’re going to really have to play the matchups with Graham, against better teams who can push the Hawks he’ll be a bigger part of the game
Studs: Seattle D, Marshawn Lynch, Tyler Lockett
Duds: Colin Kaepernick
The Bills revealed themselves as one of the biggest frauds in the NFL in this game. I thought they would be a power running team and rack up huge rushing numbers all year but Lesean McCoy (18 car. 68 yards) has been injured all season and the usage from the early portion of his career might have wrecked him a viable workhorse RB. If Shady can’t get a big game going against the Jags then I don’t trust him to do it against anyone, he left the game briefly with an injury but returned. He’s a risky play going forward, even if he’s dominating the touches for the Bills.
I figured Charles Clay (3 rec. 26 yards) would be a big play in this game but it was Robert Woods (9 rec. 84 yards TD) who flashed some potential against the weak JAX secondary, perhaps in part to his familiarity playing with EJ Manuel. Woods has produced before when given a shot at a more full time role and if Sammy Watkins and Percy Harvin never come back he will be a nice cheap play many weeks. … Even though the aforementioned Clay had a bad game don’t sleep on him either. He should pick up when Tyrod Taylor returns. The Bills might be headed towards more of these messy type shootout games so targeting both of these receivers is a viable option going forward.
Allen Robinson (6 rec. 98 yards TD) is making a push to be one of the elite WRs in the game right now. Even against a great CB in Stephon Gilmore Robinson’s size and athleticism were just no match. The fact he has a QB whose best bet at getting a completion on many plays will be to simply throw up an air ball for Robinson, or some kind of back shoulder toss, means many more TDs and many more big games for Robinson in his future… I was pretty shocked to see the Jags and TY Yeldon (20 car. 115 yards TD) be able to run against the Bills but for fantasy purposes. Yeldon is getting more snaps per game than almost any back in the league right now, and even though I wouldn’t ever target this run game against elite teams, in middling matchups or against weaker teams Yeldon has to be considered… the volume is there every week and he’s starting to produce a bit.
Studs: Robert Woods, TJ Yeldon, Allen Robinson
Duds: Rex Ryan, Lesean McCoy, Charles Clay
With about two minutes left in the 3Q of this game Andrew Luck (23-44 33 yards 3 TDs) had about 2 fantasy points. Cue a couple long broken plays to TY Hilton (4 rec. 150 yards 2 TDs) and by the end of the game he had almost 30 depending on what site you were playing on. The Saints actually played great defense in this game and shut down TY Hilton for the most part, but a couple broken plays and a nice deep move by Hilton and it was instant fantasy magic for the duo. The Colts are simply not playing great right now but the talent and explosiveness of their offense means that broken plays and some garbage time (plus the sheer will of Luck) is going to net you a decent game more weeks than not. They’re a consideration every week going forward but definitely a tournament only play for me I think, the team is still very dysfunctional.
The Saints WR core is a complete no go for me. I know lots of people were on Willie Snead (3 rec. 25 yards) as he was getting a slight uptick in targets recently but the Saints spread it so much game to game you never truly know where the targets are going. Snead had a great matchup versus the Colts but just didn’t get very much love as Bree’s targeted Brandin Cooks more on down field throws. For me trying to guess which Saints WR “might” have a big game just makes the whole scene a no fly zone for fantasy… The Saints running game on the other hand has really picked up steam of late. Mark Ingram (14 car. 143 yards TD, 2 rec, 5 yards) looked great running the ball in this game and just missed another TD on a massive 44 yards run. The unfortunate thing is that he’s losing time and passing targets to the other Saints RBs. At this point any of the three could off in a given week, but Ingram is still the most likely bet for a big game.
Studs: Andrew Luck, TY Hilton, Mark Ingram
Duds: Willie Snead
The Panthers defense is playing at the highest level I have seen it in the past couple years. This is a team that you need to start consider avoiding for the offensive players facing them in a given week. Outside of one broken play the Eagles run game was non-existent in this matchup and the Carolina LB core is simply great at stopping the run and short pass game. With shutdown corner Josh Norman also playing the best of anyone at his position the Panthers are a great target on defense every week.
The Eagles defense is also pretty solid but the Panthers offense is simply just a little bit better than Philly’s. Jonathan Stewart (24 car. 125 yards) finally looks good running the ball and really beat up a very solid run Philly run defense in this game with a ton of gruelling 5-8 yard runs. Stewart looked lethargic to start the year but his last two games he’s had much better push and been turning more 3 yard gains into 5+ ones. I’m back on at least considering Stewart every week although I still hate the fact he doesn’t catch a ton of passes and gets pipped at the goal line by his QB Cam Newton (14-24 197 yards TD 3 INTs, 4 car. 20 yards TD), who again scored a short yardage TD over Stewart in this game… Speaking of Newton he didn’t play great in this game (threw 3 picks to just one TD) but his running was again a factor though. If Carolina ever gets in a shootout and needs points late don’t be shocked if he pulls off a 40+ point game where he runs for over 100 yards on the ground. Cam’s healthy and outside of this week playing great.
The Panther’s best WR all year has been Ted Ginn (5 rec. 59 yards, 1 car. 43 yards). Ginn still has great speed and again produced a couple big plays on offense for the Panthers including a 40+ yard run on a nice end around play. His volume isn’t huge but the production for a min price WR (his price almost never gets raised) has been off the charts… he’s a value play who almost feels like stealing when you use him at this point.
Studs: Ted Ginn
Duds: Eagles offense
The Lions remind me a lot of the Chargers… both teams defenses aren’t great and have a ton of holes, and neither team has a run game. Matthew Stafford (18-26 256 yards 2 TDs) has been throwing a lot every game but the Vikings really shut down the Lions offense after getting down early. The Vikings D is definitely a lot better than people realize and they’re a solid play against weaker opponents.
The Lions offense is simply just atrocious for the most part. They have almost no run game and they can’t protect their QB against good pass rushes. Targeting Stafford and Calvin Johnson (5 rec. 86 yards TD) against weaker teams like the Bears who might allow the Lions to drag them into a shootout is fine but against everyone else I want nothing to do with this offense.
The Vikings are incredibly solid everywhere. They got behind in this game but were able to claw back for the win on the work of Teddy Bridgewater (25-35, 316 yards 2 TDs) and their new #1 WR Stefon Diggs (6 rec. 108 yards TD) . Diggs is built in the same mold as Antonio Brown (shifty, punt returner skills but great hands) and is simply clicking with Bridgwater who maybe had the best game of his young career this week. Diggs made an incredible 36 yard TD grab on a play were he essentially faked out two DBs, got five yards of separation and then laid out to catch a slightly overthrown ball. He has a ton of potential and even though the Vikings are a run first team if his price stays low he’ll be a weekly consideration for me going forward.
Studs: Teddy Bridgewater, Stefon Diggs
Duds: Lions RBs
This was an insanely close game that could have easily gone the Jets way. Brandon Marshall (4 rec. 67 yards) dropped an easy TD late in the game which might have changed everything and also might have saved his fantasy teams from disaster. Marshall was bottled up for most of this game but I wouldn’t worry too much about it. The Pats are a strong defensive unit and this was Marshall’s worst output of the season for fantasy. Better days will be ahead and I’d expect a rebound next week, Marshall’s playing at a high level right now... The same thing could be said about Chris Ivory (17 car 41 yards, 2 rec. 12 yards TD). Ivory was bottled up for most of this game but caught a TD on a swing pass near the goal line to salvage some production from his day. The Pats played him tough also but Ivory really is playing great and involved in all phases of the Jets offense right now. He’s going to be a great target going forward and a must play against weaker defenses. The Jets offense is a legit weekly target in fantasy, words I never thought I’d be saying…
The Pats were without Dion Lewis in this game and basically abandoned the run altogether from the start, a smart game plan as the Jets run D is perhaps the best in the league. With Julian Edelman (5 rec. 54 yards) having Revis cover him for the most part and also still struggling with a broken finger Rob Gronkowski (11 rec. 108 yards TD) and Tom Brady (34-54 355 yards 2 TDs) had a monster game. With Gronk being so expensive this week on many sites and having a bad matchup on paper at least, this was the week to use him in tournaments as most people choose to avoid him. I almost think it’s better to target Gronk in these tougher matchups as he’s not someone any defense can truly guard against or shutdown and in closer games will be the Pats best weapon to attack with. True to form, the Jets really had no answer for Gronk when Brady looked his way this week and he was again getting a ton of targets from his QB. Never completely cross him off your list in DFS, Gronk is essentially un-coverable and the Patriots weekly game plan will always vary depending on opponent.
Studs: Gronk, Brady
Duds: Brandon Marshall
The Raiders are a solid up and coming team. They’re still a liability in some places on defense (like defending TEs) but in general they’re playing really good football every week. On offense Derek Carr (24-31 289 yards 3 TDs) can be considered as a cheap QB play almost every week now. Carr came out and just calmly dissected the Chargers strong pass defense and has weapons on the outside who can help boost his totals every week. Amari Cooper (5 rec. 133 yards TD) is, from a talent perspective, on the same level as Antonio Brown. Not only does he have great after the catch skills but his route running is on par with the best in the league already. He burned the Raiders on a great leaping deep ball in this game and again on a quick catch and run for a 60 yard TD. Cooper is still getting better so his fantasy stock might not have reached its height yet… a must target in coming weeks.
On the other side of the ball the idea of the Chargers as a “solid” team needs to be kicked to the curb. This team is falling apart in several areas. Their O-line keeps taking hit and they simply cannot establish the run on offense. To make matters worse their once vaunted secondary is now injured and susceptible to being beat too. This is horrible for them as a team but great for fantasy as Phillip Rivers (38-58 336 yards 3 TDs 2 INTs) and the offense is going to keep throwing the ball 45+ times per game. Rivers had next to no points going into the fourth Q but as the Raiders started to play prevent defense late Rivers started completing passes and threw three late TDs. The San Diego passing game is not going to stop producing, except against real lock down teams.
Danny Woodhead (5 car. 26 yards, 11 rec. 75 yards 2 TDs) had a massive game but it almost all came on the final drive of the game (seriously he caught 6-7 passes and scored on the final drive). Woodhead’s the primary red zone and 2 min drill back so with the Chargers circling the drain and projected to be behind a lot there’s more days like this ahead for him… Keenan Allen (9 rec. 89 yards) might also be a must play in coming weeks. With Gates banged up he’s going to get more targets (not that he needs them). He had a TD called back in this game on a phantom offensive PI call. Allen looks great to me this year and is another weekly target at WR you have to consider every week right now in DFS… the Chargers attract fantasy goodness wherever they go.
Studs: Phillip Rivers, Danny Woodhead, Ladarius Green, Amari Cooper
Duds: Chargers D