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 2.
Todd Gurley (19 car. 128 yards 2 TDs) has arrived and is going to keep being a weekly fantasy force. I am probably jinxing all of us by saying this but this kind of game may be common place by the end of the year for him. Gurley’s not only fast but he’s smart… he uses his blockers to spring him to the outside when possible and then once he’s there he’s impossible to tackle as he looks like he has tree trunks for legs. What really makes Gurley special for fantasy though is that the Rams are simple all in on using Gurley on offense. Yes Benny Cunningham still comes in and gets a few passing down snaps but Jeff Fisher knows his only way to truly contend with powerhouse teams this year is to get the ball to Gurley as many times as possible. The Rams even started to get him the ball in space a few times in the pass game, which only means more big gains. Gurley’s arrival is huge for fantasy and might even make some of the other Rams players more viable plays.
The other Ram I am talking about of course is Tavon Austin (4 rec 43 yards, 1 car 21 yards). When the Rams weren’t feeding Gurley in this game they were trying to get Austin the ball in space, and most of the time it worked as Austin reeled off 65 or so yards on just 5 touches. As teams start leaning coverage towards Gurley, Austin is going to spring for a big play here and there. He’s a gpp target for me now every week.
There’s not much to say about the Browns from this game. The Rams defense put on a tackling clinic. Every time a Browns receiver got the ball there were at least two Rams defenders there to greet them. Numerous times Rams tacklers caused a turnover, made tackles for a loss or stopped a player from reaching a first down. This defense rivals Denver for athleticism and sheer ability right now and when they’re at home I’d consider avoiding any offensive player who is going against them.
With that being said don’t sleep on Josh McCown (26-32 270 yards) or the Browns passing game . Yes they had a slow week but McCown looks shockingly good to me and has performed admirably the past two weeks against possibly the two best D’s in the NFL. The Browns scheme is all about the QB getting the ball out quick and letting their playmakers do the rest and for that reason I’m all for targeting McCown as a cheap QB going forward and this passing game in better matchups.
Studs: Rams D, Todd Gurley
Duds: Travis Benjamin
This was a crazy game between two bad defensive teams. The Skins may have started the season well but their run defense has been completely gashed over the past three weeks. Doug Martin (19 car. 136 yards) ran all over this team and if not for Lovie Smith’s infatuation with using Charles Sims he might have had 200 yards and a TD. Martin is still under the radar for many people and his level of play right now is amazing. A power back who is consistently making huge cutbacks on teams and beating defenders to the outside he looked a little Todd Gurley-esque to me in this game. Martin’s a massive gpp play for me week 8 against ATL.
The other Tampa Bay news to report of course centres on Mike Evans (8 rec. 164 yards TD). Evans got going in this game and again I’ll attribute it in large part to the weak Redskins D. There was little to no pressure on Jameis Winston (21-29 297 2 TDs) in this game and low and behold he didn’t throw an INT either (although he had a terrible fumble). I buy Evans having more big games against soft competition but against solid secondaries or teams with decent pass rushes you can’t seriously chase the points here. I love the talent with Evans and he won a lot of people money this weekend, but against tougher teams his QB will struggle to get him the ball. ATL’s strong secondary awaits him week 8.
As for Washington those who chanced Jordan Reed (11 rec. 72 yards 2 TDs) this week were rewarded handsomely. Reed is playing the best football of his life this year and is basically just a beefed up, agile WR who is playing TE. The great thing about Reed is that he has clearly established himself as Kirk Cousins’ favorite target and most trusted red zone option. Seeing them clear him out in one on one coverage near the end of the game like the Saints used to do with Jimmy Graham should tell you how the Skins view him as a receiver. If Reed stays healthy keep playing him… he’ll be a beast versus weaker teams like the Bucs.
Studs: Jordan Reed, Doug Martin, Mike Evans, Kirk Cousins
Definitely the ugliest game of the week the Falcons as a team look anything but dominate right now and seem ready for a comeuppance/regression in coming weeks. That being said, for fantasy Atlanta is still a really easy team to cover because outside of two players there’s not much else on tap here. Devonta Freeman rushed for 116 yards and just missed a short yardage TD too in this game. His price finally caught up with him this week though and if he keeps getting priced as a top three back on most sites he’ll be hard to justify using some weeks, especially with all the weekly value plays appearing at RB. I love the fantasy run Freeman put together but he’ll be matchup dependant for me here on out, unless his price drops… The other reason why Freeman might not be a weekly play anymore is that ATL also has a target monster at WR in Julio Jones (9 rec. 92 yards TD) who is fully healthy again and just missed a multi-TD game versus the Titans. Julio had his way with the Titans corners all game and at full health I expect him to be the weapon the Falcons rely on most in close games. Julio’s back to being a WR you can count for big production every week.
The Falcons pass defense did pretty much what I expected them to do… they shut down backup Zach Mettenberger (22-35, 187 yards TD 2 INTs) and picked him off a couple times while doing so. They have a great young secondary and at home versus weaker teams they should always be on your radar for a defensive play… As for the Titans until Marcus Mariota returns the only player I’d be remotely interested in every week from this offense is TE Delanie Walker (7 rec. 55 yards). Walker took advantage of a great matchup and was seemingly the only Titan who could consistently get open versus the Falcons. If his price remains cheap I’m a future buyer although TENN’s offense is definitely one of the worst in the league at the moment, something to keep in mind.
Studs: Julio Jones
Duds: Matt Ryan, Zach Mettenberger
The Ravens put up a decent fight in this game but they’re still a team with some huge holes. For Joe Flacco (26-40, 252 yards, TD INT) and Steve Smith (5 rec. 78 yards) the fact that the Ravens pass defense is so porous is great as it’s going to mean more yards and extra targets every game. I was incredibly impressed with Smith (again) as he was able to find some space versus a very tough Cards pass defense. He might be having one of the best seasons of his career and he’s becoming a weekly must as a cash game target especially in weaker matchups. If he remains healthy, there will be few WRs as consistent as Smith for the rest of the season in fantasy.
As for the Cards while Larry Fitzgerald (3 rec. 39 yards) was the clear king of the WR core at the start of the season the targets have become more spread for the Cards over the past couple of weeks. Michael Floyd (3 rec. 59 yards) is back and playing well and made a couple nice plays in this game including a short slant in traffic for his second TD in as many weeks. But to me the WR in this offense who looks the best and has the most potential in Arizona is John Brown (4 rec. 65 yards TD). Brown came in questionable to this game but looked completely fine to me and was getting all kinds of separation from the Raven DBs who were clearly scared off of him because of his speed. Not only that but Brown is flashing great hands every week as well and making some really tough catches look incredibly easy. Brown is the WR I want to target in this offense in the next week or two… another big game is lurking.
I also have to mention that Chris Johnson (18 car. 121 yards TD) looked great in this game, again. I’ve been criticizing the Cards all year for signing Johnson and not just using the more talented rookie David Johnson as their primary back. CJ burned the Ravens for a couple big plays and even looks OK running inside the tackles this year. He’s a pretty big part of this offense going forward and a good cheap target for tournaments most weeks now, this Cardinal offense is going to be hard to slow down for most teams and red zone looks will be there for him every week.
Studs: Chris Johnson
Duds: Larry Fitzgerald
Wow, I’m not sure there’s too much to say about this game. The Dolphins are clearly rejuvenated under new coach Dan Campbell, but the real story for me is what a joke the Houston Texans are on defense. This team just laid down, rolled over etc right from the opening gun. This is a team to target weekly from here on out as it looks like many players may have just quit on head coach Bill O’Brien.
The Texans offense also took a huge blow in this game as Arian Foster was lost for the year. I want nothing to do with the Texans backfield now as none of the RBs they have left are true workhorses and you can bet on seeing some kind of RBBC or time share. What this does mean is it is full throttle petal to the metal for DeAndre Hopkins (6 rec. 50 yards) from here on out. Brian Hoyer will be the QB for the rest of the year thanks to Ryan Mallet’s sleeping patterns and you can bet on him leaning on DeAndre. Don’t be put off on playing him next week just because of one bad game which was over 10 mins after it started.
The biggest beneficiary from this turnaround for the Dolphins on offense is clearly Lamar Miller (14 rec. 175 yards TD, 3 rec. 61 yards TD). Miller’s always had the talent but never been put in a workhorse role. He ran all over a soft Texans D but in future weeks he’s going to be viable based off of workload and volume now too. This is a story you can keep riding and there’s no need to be bashful about him for DFS from here on out, he could be starting a Devonta Freeman-esque run… as far as the passing game goes Jarvis Landry (5 rec. 83 yards TD) keeps showing amazing after the catch ability and danced his way to two incredible TDs in this game. His athleticism keeps him in play for me most weeks and with Miami rolling right now I wouldn’t be concerned about using him, although he does have a tough matchup with the Pats next week… after that though I wouldn’t hesitate to target him.
Studs: everyone on Miami, Nate Washington, Arian Foster (RIP)
Duds: Texans defense
I tried to warn some people on Landry Jones (16-29, 209 yards TD 2 INT) this week. Jones played pretty awful for the most part in this game and was a bit of wet blanket for the fantasy value of the rest of the Steelers offensive players. Still, the fact that Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell were both able to go for over 100 yards and Martavis Bryant was able to find the end zone is a pretty big indication that when Ben Roethlisberger returns this offense is going to be in full swing very fast. That being said, if Ben is out next week I’m still not a buyer on most of these guys. The red zone looks haven’t been there without Ben and the big fantasy days won’t be there either until he gets back.
As for the Chiefs this was the best they’ve played since week 2 on D. The Chiefs defense is still pretty talented and might not be the pushover everyone assumes they are based on their play to this point. With Sean Smith and Rookie Marcus Peters playing well they now have two legit Corners and still have a very talented defensive line. Don’t be shocked to see some improvement from them in upcoming weeks and be careful targeting too many players against them.
Charcandrick West (22 car. 110 yards TD, 2 rec. 19 yards) and rookie Chris Conley (6 rec. 63 yards TD) both shined in this game with Jeremy Maclin out. Of the two West is probably the more viable play going forward as he seems likely to receive the bulk of the carries from now on which makes him a viable big play threat weekly on volume alone. I was impressed with West against a pretty stout Pitt defense and against weaker teams he could repeat this kind of day. Conley is super impressive from a metric standpoint (big vertical, lots of speed) and so don’t be shocked if he starts popping up with more big days too. I still expect Jeremy Maclin to dominate targets but he could be viable down the stretch as the Chiefs might start giving him more playing time just to see what they really have.
Studs: Charcandrick West
Duds: Landry Jones