This is a weekly series where I break down the best contrarian plays for the upcoming NFL week. I’m going to be focusing on high upside, low owned plays and pairings that could really pay off big for you in a large tournament. Major outside the box thinking, cheap pricing and upside is the goal…
Last Week: we had some hits and some misses. Rodgers/Cobb worked very nicely, as did LeGarrette Blount and the Philly D. I regret suggesting Antonio Andrews but we all make mistakes, let’s rectify that one here in week 10.
One of the burning questions for me going into this week is, who is Joey Flacks going to throw the ball to in week 10? (OK it wasn’t burning, but it’s a legit question). The Ravens picked up Chris Givens off waivers earlier in the year for some depth and he’s gradually been seeing more and more playing time, to the point last week where he played on over 60% of the snaps and has now been given starter status for week 10. Givens has legit 4.4 speed and had a decent little fantasy stretch way back in 2012 for the Rams but has been somewhat forgotten about ever since then. Against this bad Jacksonville secondary I think Givens and Mr. Elite himself Joe Flacco can have a big day together. With everyone talking about Jacksonville’s offense and no one even thinking about using the Ravens this stack will be extremely low owned in gpps and cost you nothing. It’s one of my favorites to target week 10.
This is either the second or third time Teddy Bridgewater has graced this column and quite frankly if he doesn’t produce this week you won’t see him here again. Bridgewater/Diggs are in a dream spot this week for fantasy purposes versus Oakland who have an incredibly week secondary and just got burned for nearly 300 yards by Antonio Brown last week. While you’re first reaction might be to say that the Vikings don’t pass enough for Bridgewater to be viable I think this game will force them into pass heavy mode. Oakland are favorites at home, are playing well and have a pretty underrated run D. If Oakland jumps on Minnesota (and I think they will) the Vikings only chance will be to air things out with Teddy/Diggs versus this weak Oakland pass D. This is the make or break spot for Teddy but I think he comes through for a big week here.
Gio Bernard has easily been the Bengals best running back in 2015 and even though he’s been mostly splitting carries with the inconsistent Jeremy Hill this looks like it could be the spot for a breakout game for young Gio. The Houston defense is pretty atrocious and just got buried by Lamar Miller a few weeks, another solid pass catching back who runs pretty well between the tackles for his size. With the Bengals offense being so good and the Houston D being so bad, expect Cincy to get up early in this game and ride their two RBs all game. I think a couple big plays here for Gio is quite possible and also love this spot for the Bengals D who is near the league lead in sacks so far in 2015. This could be the sneaky way to attack the MNF game this week.
In 2014 Golden Tate posted the following lines when Calvin Johnson was out or limited: 8-116-0, 7-134-1, 7-44-0, 10-154-1, 7-151-1. I get that this isn’t last year’s Lions we’re talking about, but also get that without Megatron on the field Matthew Stafford’s only hope in this game to move the ball will be to endlessly target Tate and hope he can produce something after the catch. The Lions might be down by 21 after the first quarter in this game and I’m fully expecting Matthew Stafford to have to throw 50 times. With Calvin banged up I might consider Tate even if he’s active. The potential for a big garbage time day is definitely there.
Jones is the other Bengals target I’m interested in this week. The Texans have given up massive games to a lot of teams secondary WRs and Jones has looked great to me all season. Andy Dalton has done well this year to really exploit the weaknesses of his opposition and with Jones getting such a great matchup this week I’ll expect him to be a big part of this game. At such a cheap price on most sites I think Jones has some real upside here and won’t be shocked if he leads the way for Cincy’s receivers this week.
The Giants and Patriots game has a 54.5 point total at the moment so both teams are projected to score quite a bit in this game. The Giants will not be able to run the ball versus the Patriots but we’re not targeting Vereen for rushing purposes are we? Vereen’s caught 8 passes in a game on three different occasions this year and I think he might hit or exceed that number this week too. The Patriots secondary will obviously do everything they can to limit Odell Beckham and Eli Manning has been good at spreading the ball this year when needed. I think Vereen is a logical target for Eli to use this week as the NE pass rush will force lots of quick throws. He’s a great target for fantasy on full point ppr sites.
Over his last three games Ryan Mathews is averaging just under 10 yards per carry and now has 3 TDs in his last 4 games. Mathews has simply looked outstanding to me every time he’s touched the ball and is running with better burst and power than Demarco Murray. The issue for Mathews obviously is the fact he’s only playing on 30% of the snaps every game but with Philly being a huge favorite this week it’s possible that changes a bit in week 10. Mathews is a great gpp target for me as I expect Philly to run all Miami and Mathews to be a big part of that.
Many people are in the process of writing off the Cowboys right now, but the truth is they haven’t really played that poorly this year and would probably have a winning record if their QB and best WR by a mile hadn’t been hurt the first two weeks. Jameis Winston has looked better of late but I think what you’ve seen has really been a mirage, as his last three games were against the teams with the three collective worst pass rushes in the NFL (and he still only threw for 3 TDs in that span). Dallas signing Greg Hardy may be controversial but it has helped their pass rush and their secondary has been out-performing expectations all year. I see the Cowboys getting to Winston in this game and possibly even making some noise with turnovers too. This could be the gpp play of the week on D.