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 8. Below is part 2.
The Colts are just a disaster on offense at the moment. The fact they still have Andrew Luck (23-47, 231 yards 2 TD 3 INTs) and TY Hilton (1 rec. 15 yards) means big plays happen sometimes and some late game heroics are always possible but as a unit they are just hopeless. They basically did nothing in this game for about 3 full quarters and then, just like last week versus the Saints, semi-lit it up late and actually had a chance to win the game but of course screwed that up too. Luck is just too inaccurate, too hurt or just playing too bad right now… take your pick but avoid him for the time being for DFS.
The Panthers defense was part of why the Colts had so much trouble in this game. I love the Carolina defense as a unit and there’s always going to be pick 6 potential with Josh Norman patrolling the secondary. This is a high end unit the rest of the way.
The Panthers offense looked almost as bad as the Colts for portions of this game but Cam Newton (16-38, 248 yards 2 TDs INT, 10 car. 41 yards) was able to make enough big throws to get the Panthers ahead by the end. Cam’s still not a polished pocket passer and still makes the odd really bad decision but you add in his athleticism and big arm and the fantasy potential is always there. He was pretty muted in this game outside of a couple big throws but the Panthers basically built a lead and then sat on it in the second half (which almost cost them the game). Cam’s still a weekly consideration and capable of exploding any week.
Jonathan Stewart (24 car. 82 yards TD) scored again in this game and looks good running the ball of late. He was muted early due to sloppy field conditions but his production was still decent and it picked up as the game went on. If his price stays cheap I’m at least to the point where I am considering him every week, big days against weaker teams are very possible.
Studs: Greg Olsen
Duds: the Colts
Well I called it. This game actually did get Colin Kaepernick (20-41, 162yards) benched as it was announced yesterday that Blaine Gabbert will start at QB week 9 for SF. Fire up whoever plays SF on defense and just look the other way when scrolling through the SF players on offense, this is about to get even uglier than it already was. The Niners are without Carlos Hyde, Reggie Bush and Anquan Boldin and just traded Vernon Davis.
As for the Rams they are finally looking like a team that has found some consistency. Defensively they are simply not allowing teams to break off big chunks of plays, stalling out a lot of drives early and getting sacks while offensively they have found a great balance mainly thanks to the selection of Todd Gurley (20 car. 133 yards TD, 3 rec. 13 yards) earlier this year. Gurley had another monster game mainly thanks to a massive 70 yard TD run. On the said run Gurley found a gap and then looked like he was shot out of a cannon as he just raced by the SF defenders. I love that the Rams have immediately stepped up and given Gurley the workhorse role… there’s nothing to fear here expect more big games from Gurley in the future, this is a play that might elevate the Rams into serious title contender.
Gurley’s presence has also possibly freed up the short passing game a bit and we saw this week how Tavon Austin (3 car. 21 yards TD, 4 rec. 98 yards TD) was able to get out in space very effectively. Austin scored late on a 60 yard TD off of a short screen pass which was somewhat setup by the Rams pounding the ball with Gurley all day. Tavon getting more room is great news for him and the Rams as moving the ball through the air is something the Rams will eventually have to do against the best teams. For fantasy purposes, Tavon’s a decent tournament play most weeks going forward now.
Studs: Tavon Austin, Todd Gurley
Duds: Colin Kaepernick
The Falcons have really been falling apart the past few weeks. Despite Julio Jones posting a massive line in this game and basically having his way with Tampa Bay all game the Falcons needed a TD late to just get the game to overtime. Once in OT the Falcons dropped two INTs and allowed the Bucs to kick a field goal to win. ATL is a team that’s really headed in the wrong direction.
For fantasy purposes the Falcons offense is pretty simple though. Julio Jones (12 rec. 162 yards TD) is just getting targeted over and over and over again as ATL has no choice but to over use its stars player to try and get wins at the moment. As long as Atlanta keeps putting themselves in holes or getting behind Julio is gonna keep getting a ton of work. He’s definitely back to number one status at WR for DFS purposes, keep paying up for him as the Falcons team woes might actually help his production. The other Falcons target who emerged this week was TE Jacob Tamme (10 rec. 102 yards TD) who I also wrote about earlier this week for the DFS Report. Tamme has been getting more and more snaps each week and ran a bunch of routes with Leonard Hankerson out in this game. Tamme is really more of a pass catcher than a blocker and actually had a decent fantasy year in Indy with Peyton Manning at one point. Given the Falcons lack of secondary receivers he’s going to keep being viable for DFS.
The Bucs Jameis Winston (16-29, 177 yards TD) tried to give this game away by throwing a late INT and also had a ridiculous failed fourth down run late in the game. In case you don’t know by now I’m not sold on Winston at all and I’ll still be avoiding him and his receivers most weeks in fantasy… although you’ll have to consider all of them in week 9 versus the Giants whose defense is absurdly awful right now. In general though be careful how much exposure you have to this passing game any given week, it’s low out-put and just doesn’t have a ton of upside.
Studs: Julio Jones
Duds: Mike Evans
This was the back and forth messy game everyone expected between two underperforming teams. The Ravens came into this game without many options at WR and left with fewer as Steve Smith blew his Achilles in this game. Kamar Aiken is the last man standing for the Ravens and probably a weekly target in DFS going forward now. Aiken’s ok but don’t be shocked if someone like Chris Givens steps up too. I like Givens as a quick speedy WR the Ravens might try to use more in coming weeks. He’s had some near miss on log TDs with Flacco and showed up in this game with a couple long receptions as well. There’s some fantasy value in this passing game going forward and Givens might be a really good way to get exposure in coming weeks.
Predictably the Chargers had trouble running the ball again and ended up passing the ball a lot later in the game to almost pull out the win. The issue for the Chargers now going forward is injuries as they lost Keenan Allen and Ladarius Green in this game and already have Antonio Gates banged up. I expect a lot more work for Stevie Johnson and Malcom Floyd in the next week or two. Gates will be a massive target if he can get 100% healthy too and didn’t look too bad this week in his return. The Chargers can’t run the ball, can’t stop the run and now have injuries at almost every position. They’re a fantasy goldmine for the future as all but the worst offenses will be able to score and force the Chargers into more passing themselves. Expect more messy games like this in San Diego’s final 8 matchups.
Studs: Phillip Rivers, Malcom Floyd
Duds: Justin Forsett
The Vikings are an incredibly solid team top to bottom but are still lacking from a fantasy perspective. Instead of going out and attacking the Bears secondary the Vikings laid back and let the Bears keep it close. This worked because they have a great QB in Teddy Bridgewater who led them on a great late drive but this philosophy (on top of being stupid) also killed Teddy’s stat lines for fantasy. I love the way Bridgewater is playing but the Vikings still prefer to run Adrian Peterson and play conservative on offense until they absolutely have to open it up. Teddy’s big fantasy days are going to be few and far between.
The one Viking who seems to be able to overcome this conservative offense however is rookie WR Stefon Diggs. With Bridgewater being super accurate Diggs is converting a lot of his throws into passes and nice gains after the catch as well with his punt-returner skills. Diggs really took advantage of the weak Bears secondary and the fact he keeps piling up yards after the catch means he’s been producing closer to an elite rate despite the smaller than elite targeting. Diggs is legit and someone you can keep relying on going forward.
The Bears lost Matt Forte in this game but the main story for fantasy from the Bears was Alshon Jeffery. I love Jeffery because of the fact the Bears use him on deep and on quick outs which means he’s almost never going to give you a dud week for fantasy. This week he made an insane TD catch over two Vikings defenders in the end zone and was targeted into the mid-teens by Jay Cutler. Jeffery is always going to be steal if he’s priced below the elite WR’s (which he was this week). Keep making him a target as he’s really the Bears only option on offense with Forte out.
Studs: Stefon Diggs, Alshon Jeffery
Duds: Teddy Bridgewater
The Packers defense has looked good most of the year but got somewhat exposed in this game for being weak against the run. The Broncos ran the ball down the throats of the Packers all night and ended up scoring three rushing TDs. Ronnie Hillman took the most carries in this game and scored twice but actually got out-produced by CJ Anderson who easily had his best game of the year too. This is the problem with this backfield for fantasy going forward. Both men are going to get carries and we’re already seeing an almost even time split every week. My money in fantasy is still on Hillman who just looks like the better, more explosive back to me. He’s probably the one to target although make sure you watch the news as monitoring this backfield week to week will be key. An injury or change in philosophy could make one a must play.
As for the Bronco’s pass game, the Packers had trouble getting to Peyton Manning all game, partly because Clay Matthews was injured for a portion. Demaryius Thomas was allowed to roam as free as he has for a while and had some big after catch runs but still no TD. I’m not buying that this is suddenly a passing game to target, at least not against above average defenses. Thomas is only a play against weak secondaries for me as the Bronco’s are still have trouble getting the ball into the end zone any other way than on the ground.
As for the Packers, their offense is pretty abysmal right now. We know a lot of the reason for their bad performance in this game goes to the Broncos D but the Green Bay offense has been regressing since their blowout of the Chiefs. With their number 1 WR still playing semi-hurt (shoulder) and Davante Adams just getting back this week, this just isn’t an explosive or deep unit right now. Eddie Lacy finally got the bulk of the carries but was once again shut down. The Packers could really use a run game so don’t be shocked if they make a move for a RB at the deadline… for a 6-1 team the Packers have some issues on offense.
Studs: Denver D, Ronnie Hillman, CJ Anderson, Demaryius Thomas
Duds: Green Bay D, Aaron Rodgers, Eddie Lacy