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 12.
This was easily the most boring game of the week for me. The Vikings pass game continues to be non-existent. The Vikings to me are like the St. Louis Rams only they somehow keep pulling out these close games (maybe just an easier schedule). Either way they are completely useless for fantasy purposes most weeks outside of Adrian Peterson (29 car. 158 yards 2 TDs) of course. Peterson had a great game running the ball and the Vikings O-line might be the difference between them being a playoff team (which is what they are) and them being STL.
I want to love Stefon Diggs (4 rec. 31 yards) and he again almost broke a long TD pass with some great after the catch moves. The problem is that teams have started to move coverage over towards him and the Vikings don’t really throw enough to begin with. You just don’t know when the big game is coming with Diggs or any MINN passing option. Kyle Rudolph (7 rec. 53 yards) has actually been their best receiver lately and again got open for some decent plays in this game (and just missed another TD). I still think the best idea is to avoid this pass game altogether every week, even if some of the players in it are good talents.
The Falcons offense has really been faltering lately and it’s starting to effect the totals of their RBs. Tevin Coleman (18 car. 110 yards) had a nice game and just about sprung a long TD (he fumbled) but the Falcons had so much trouble moving the ball in general that he didn’t really have any red zone opportunities. Matt Ryan (22-31, 230 yards TD 2 INTs) has been bad most of the year and I think it’s personally time to start worrying if all this over usage and poor play will start to effect Julio Jones final few weeks in fantasy. He and Ryan got shut down by MINN’s secondary which says a lot about MINN’s D but also shows you just how bad ATL is playing right now.
Studs: Adrian Peterson
Duds: Matt Ryan, Julio Jones
I noted in my gpp write up for the DFS report this week that Sammy Watkins (6 rec. 158 yards 2 TDs) and Tyrod Taylor have been shut down the past few weeks but that the connection between the two was there. In this game the Bills came out and immediately started throwing to Watkins deep. The Chiefs corners are improved but not good enough to shut down Watkins (like Revis and Malcom Butler did the past couple weeks). I think this game proves that even in this low volume passing offense Watkins is viable for fantasy (at least in softer matchups). The Bills know he is their only weapon in the pass game and will legitimately force the ball to him.
AT RB I think you also have to love Lesean McCoy (19 car. 70 yards, 3 rec. 31 yards TD) going forward. McCoy took almost all the snaps in this game and with the Bills basically in win or die mode now they will have to ride their best back hard the rest of the season. McCoy ran well again against a very tough KC run D (although he did lose a fumble) and caught a pass TD too… he could end up being one of the top backs in the final few weeks.
The KC offense mysteriously came alive in this game. Spencer Ware (19 car. 114 yards TD) is better than people think and ran well again for the second straight game. The problem is that when Charcandrick West comes back you can pretty much guarantee that these two will now split work. That’s going to be maddening for fantasy. Make sure you watch the news as to how this battle works out before rostering either in the next couple games… Don’t forget about Jeremy Maclin (9 rec. 160 yards TD) either. He’s a lot like Stefon Diggs in that he’s a special, big play type of player, but playing in a conservative pass offense. He’ll pop up some weeks like he did here but relying on him all the time will be maddening. If the price stays low than as a gpp play you could do worse, KC is just playing great in all phases.
Studs: Sammy Watkins, Jeremy Maclin, Spencer Ware
Duds: both D’s
The Redskins have been a lot better at home all season and jumped out early the Giants. Eli Manning (26-51, 321 yards 2 TDs, 3 INTs) actually ended up having an OK fantasy day but was brutal early. The Giants have no run game so they’re literally at the will of Eli every week. As a gpp play you could do worse for a QB since you know you’re getting a ton of passes from Eli but he’s still volatile even in good matchups. As for Odell Beckham (9 rec. 142 yards TD) he simply shredded what is definitely one of the top 5 softest secondaries in the league. The Skins have given up a ton of passing TDs to the WR position the past 5-6 games and they are a target for your WR plays every week. Make a note and exploit this secondary for fantasy.
Backup TE Will Tye (6 rec. 74 yards) showed up in this game with some decent numbers too. Tye is an OK pass catcher, although short for a TE. My advice though is just ignore this performance as the Giants secondary receivers seem to rotate with each other in terms of having decent games for fantasy purposes. Trying to guess who will have a big day and when is going to be maddening.
You have to love the big play ability of Desean Jackson (2 rec. 66 yards TD) but for fantasy targets are what really matter and right now he’s not getting enough targets to really matter. Jackson broke his second big play since coming back from injury in this game but only ended up with two catches on the day. Kirk Cousins doesn’t mind taking shots to Desean Jackson but the man he really trusts in this offense, and numero uno on his speed dial, is Jordan Reed (8 rec. 98 yards). Reed again led the Skins in receiving and again looked great doing it. The Giants aren’t exactly good in coverage themselves (especially against the TE) and allowed Reed to beat them all day. He has been and will continue to be the main target for me from this offense in DFS every week.
Studs: Jordan Reed, Odell Beckham
Duds: Giants RBs
This game was over in the first quarter basically. The Texans defense has really risen up since getting pounded by the Dolphins 4 weeks ago. Not only is their D-line and pass rush running hot again but their secondary is playing great. The Texans have three great corners who are all now playing well and completely shut down the Saints WRs in this game. Brandin Cooks (5 rec. 35 yards) had his worst game in a month but it’s not something I’d be overly concerned about. There was a lot of fantasy hype that this game would be “crazy” as the Saints offense has been hot recently and their defense terrible. Cooks however should be the focal point of the Saints offense from here on out and fine to play against softer D’s.
Mark Ingram (9 car. 52 yards, 6 rec. 45 yards) ran hard in this game for New Orleans but again got hurt by game flow. You have to love the fact that Ingram is again getting used a ton in the pass game but also hate the fact he’s not getting a ton of carries or opportunities to score. Whenever the Saints are near the goal line they are behind or it’s late in the game and throwing. Ingram’s a decent gpp play every week because of his usage (and he’s playing well) but he’s definitely boom or bust. I would target him more at home where the Saints may put up more of a fight than they did here.
The Texans ran Alfred Blue (16 car. 77 yards TD) a lot and have been since Arian Foster went down. Blue didn’t have much trouble with the terrible Saints front and against softer defenses I think you can actually trust him now for fantasy as the Texans defense is going to keep games close for them… The other player to note for Houston is Cecil Shorts (3 rec. 18 yards TD, 3 car. 20 yards). Shorts is a great athlete and they are starting to work him in on the run game now much like the Rams do with Tavon Austin. Considering he’s also the most targeted WR behind DeAndre Hopkins on the Texans there’s fantasy value here if his price stays low. He’s someone to watch and consider in future weeks.
Studs: Texans D
Duds: Saints O
The two biggest takeaways for me in this game from the Jets point of view: their secondary is awful without Darrelle Revis, and even with him can be targeted as long as you know who he is shadowing. Two, Brandon Marshall (9 rec. 131 yards 2 TDs) looks healthy again and looks ready to dominate. The Dolphins really had no answer for Marshall throughout this game. I was hesitant to recommend Marshall coming off some slow games where he looked a little off. The extra few days of rest though obviously did him well and he pretty much just toyed with Brent Grimes or whoever was covering him in this game. Marshall’s back to being an every week play at WR and if he’s priced under the big three or four is probably one of the better values on the board.
As for the Fins they lost Rishard Matthews early in this game and that really opened things up for Jarvis Landry (13 rec. 165 yards TD) who just flat out dominated the Jets secondary in this game. The Jets passing D has been progressively getting worse all season and without Revis in this game they were completely lost. Even if Revis is back next week I’d look at secondary receivers from the Giants who might benefit. This defense isn’t the dominate group that started the season.
Chris Ivory (21 car. 87 yards TD) looked OK running the ball but you have to hate that Bilal Powell is back in the mix. Powell didn’t play a ton but got work in the pass game and when the Jets get down he will play more in future games. Ivory’s great when the Jets are up and dominating like they were for the most part in this game, but otherwise he can be a liability. Watch out to see if Powell starts getting more touches down the stretch and keep Ivory to good matchups only.
Studs: Brandon Marshall, Jarvis Landry
Duds: Lamar Miller
The Browns defense really is bad. I know everyone was on the Matt Schaub pick 6 train this week (congrats most obvious play ever) but the truth is he pretty much shredded this defense outside of one play. The Browns are a perfect target for offensive players in the run, pass or wherever… this team doesn’t have the personnel to stop anyone.
The Ravens Buck Allen ran hard in this game but I was more impressed with him as a receiver than anything. Allen took most of the snaps and produced well against a weak defense but Terrence West did get pretty involved later in the game, so while I expect Allen to see most of the work from here on out don’t be shocked if West starts to bite into his time a bit. As long as his price remains cheap I’m still on Allen especially since he can pay off with the ppr points but just watch to see if this becomes a RBBC at some point.
The Browns pass game can be targeted in fantasy since they really can’t run the ball but with how poorly they are protecting the QB it’s not a sure thing they’ll be putting up big numbers every week. Gary Barnidge has really turned into the most sure thing on the Browns fantasy wise and was targeted a lot by McCown in this game. He’s more athletic than I’ve been giving him credit for and really just has great hands and a knack for finding the open spaces over the middle. He’s the Browns most consistent weapon which might not be saying much but has value for fantasy purposes.
Studs: Kamar Aiken, Travis Benjamin
Duds: Johnny Manziel
Derek Carr (24-37, 33 yards 3 TDs) rebounded nicely in this game. The Oakland defense isn’t very good and at the rate their secondary allows TDs I think expecting the Raiders to have to pass a lot from here on out is probably a decent bet. Carr has played extremely well most of the year, and almost seems like he’s been better against tougher competition. Carr again had numerous deep passing plays in this game and you to love the transformation from last season where he rarely threw beyond the sticks, him and his receivers are a group to keep an eye on going forward.
I honestly don’t know much about Seth Roberts (6 rec 113 yards 2 TDs). Roberts got left alone on a couple plays in this game and honestly got kind of lucky around the end zone but he has been playing in a lot of red zone packages for the Raiders all season. That being said, don’t expect a repeat of this performance. Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper are still the starters and main targets. Roberts certainly could steal some red zone targets going forward but as a fantasy play himself would need to injury to be relevant.
I don’t know what to say about the Titans. Marcus Mariota didn’t follow up his nice run game with more running and outside of Delanie Walker no one else is getting enough volume to be a consistent or useful fantasy play. Consider Walker every week until his salary gets too big but other than that don’t expect much, this offense is going nowhere fast most weeks.
Studs: Derek Carr, Seth Roberts
Duds: Latavius Murray, Titans WRs
I’m definitely a believer in the Panthers after this game. I keep waiting for a slip up but it’s not coming. This team is built for the playoffs and is going to be a really tough out for any team. The Panthers defense is basically the Seahawks circa 2013. Luke Kuechly and Josh Norman are two of the best at their positions and have been great at creating turnovers all season. Kuechly had a massive play/pick 6 in this game where he just out maneuvered Jason Witten and then bolted his way 32 yards the other way. This D is close to a no-fly zone for fantasy and at the very least can be considered every week as a fantasy play.
The fact the Panthers D is so good that it means RB Jonathan Stewart (21 car. 68 yards, 3 rec. 9 yards) can be considered as a value play almost every week from here on in too. Stewart isn’t getting a ton of passing targets or PPR points but he is getting a big workload and again got over 20 carries in this game. Stewart’s looked good to me running the ball most weeks and quite frankly I’m surprised he hasn’t posted a couple big games yet. With the Panthers close to locking up the division title it’s possible Stewart only has a couple more games left in the season where he gets a big workload. Still target him in the next couple weeks, he’s getting the workload and is usually underpriced, most weeks he’s one big run away from a monster game.
The Cowboys season is effectively over with the injury to Tony Romo. The Cowboys passing game is obviously a no-go (and has been almost all year) but I’d also probably just avoid Darren McFadden (10 car. 11 yards, 4 rec. 45 yards) from here on out too. McFadden is going to get less red zone touches with Cassel in at QB and also looks like he might be wearing down under the big workloads he’s been getting. Carolina had zero trouble shutting him down and his only fantasy hope for production from here on out might be as a receiver. I’m off Dallas altogether in fantasy unless more injuries occur and some min priced plays become viable.
Studs: Panthers Defense
Duds: Dallas Offense
The Eagles marched down the field on the second drive of this game and it looked like they might make this matchup an actual game for a bit but then Detroit just started picking apart the Eagles secondary and before you knew it, it was 24-7 Lions. The last two weeks the Eagles defense has allowed 10 passing TDs and also lost their best cornerback Nolan Carroll in this game. This is a team to target every week from here on out with offensive players in fantasy. The secondary is an embarrassment right now.
I wouldn’t get too high on the Lions offense off of this game but I would take notice of the fact that the Lions have played a lot better a home on offense than the road. The Lions have now put up over 30 points twice at home this year and overall Matthew Stafford (27-38, 337 yards 5 TDs) and Calvin Johnson (8 rec. 93 yards 3 TDs) have had a lot of their biggest days together at home. In this game Megatron was basically unstoppable in the red zone as the Eagles didn’t really have anyone who came remotely close to stopping him. It was great to see Calvin healthy again and I’d definitely feel OK about targeting him the rest of the year. The Lions should be throwing caution to the wind from here on out so more big weeks could be ahead.
The other reason why I like the Lions passing game is that even when they’re winning a blowout their run game is basically useless. I do like Theo Riddick (5 rec. 62 yards TD) as a fantasy play though as he’s basically just a WR who gets listed as a RB. He’s a great cheap target on PPR sites for me as I don’t see anything changing with his usage. He was great in this game against a Philly team who basically gave up on tackling after the first Q.
Studs: Theo Riddick, Matthew Stafford, Megatron
Duds: Eagles D
This game actually went according to plan for me. The Seahawks secondary outside of maybe a decent game or two by Richard Sherman, hasn’t been great at all this year and the PITT passing game is one of the best in the league. Ben Roethlisberger only threw one TD in this game but he threw for 456 yards and quite frankly just missed a monster game. I love the Steelers offense from here on out and won’t be shocked if they go on a huge fantasy run in the final few weeks. They need wins and their offense is the way those will happen.
Marcus Wheaton (9 rec. 201 yards TD) had a monster game here virtually out of nowhere. Wheaton obviously benefitted from the extra attention given to Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant in this game and even though he did play great, I would definitely not expect this to continue for fantasy. It will be frustrating some weeks to know which secondary receiver on PITT has the big game but I would use this week to get back on Martavis Bryant (5 rec. 69 yards) in gpp’s at low ownership. Bryant just missed a couple big plays of his own and most weeks is going to be the deep/big play man on PITT. Both Wheaton and Bryant are mostly gpp plays anyways but don’t get too high on Wheaton or low on Bryant off this game.
Russell Wilson (21-30, 345 yards 5 TDs) has now had two great passing games in a row. The 49er and PITT secondary’s aren’t great but Wilson has just been throwing it a lot better of late too. Ever since Marshawn Lynch went out the Hawks are definitely looking a little more pass happy and I think that with the way the Hawks secondary is playing right now you will see more shootout games like this with Seattle. Obviously some of Wilson’s big game was due to a broken 80 yard TD near the end of the game but when you factor in that Wilson had a slow day running for him it’s not hard to imagine a couple more 30+ fantasy days before the season ends. I’m a buyer on the Seattle pass game going forward.
Studs: Russell Wilson, Marcus Wheaton
Duds: Seahawks D, Antonio Brown
There’s a lot to take in from this game. The first thing to note for me is that the Bears have been playing solid football for most of the year and are way more effective on offense than most people realize. Alshon Jeffery (7 rec. 90 yards) may not have had a huge game but when healthy he’s clearly been the most targeted Bear in every game and almost an automatic source of fantasy points. In a bad weather game Alshon again played great and his usage all over the field by the Bears is just great for fantasy. If he stays healthy he might be the most consistent and reliable WR in fantasy for the rest of the year.
AT RB Matt Forte (15 car. 44 yards, 1 rec. 9 yards) returned in this game but you can see that he might actually be in a RBBC for the rest of the season. Jeremy Langford (12 car. 48 yards TD) played well in Forte’s absence and got the goal line carry and TD in a critical moment in this game. I expect Forte to still see the majority of the touches for this offense the rest of the year but he will no longer be an 80-85% workload guy. This definitely brings his fantasy value down a bit and is something to consider going forward as he’s often priced pretty high around the industry for DFS.
The Packers have been maddening for fantasy all year. Davante Adams and Randall Cobb were both equally bad in this game converting catches on well under 50% of their targets. The Packers really did themselves in with mistakes in this game but the one positive was that Eddie Lacy (17 car. 105 yards, 4 rec. 34 yards TD) had his second big game in a row. Lacy lost a fumble in this game for which he lost some carries too, but going forward I can’t see him not getting more work. The Packers need a run game to take some pressure off their WRs and Lacy is easily their best option. He looked great at times versus the Bears and busted a couple runs for the first time in forever. I’ll be staying on Eddie as a fantasy play but it will be a week to week thing, one more fumble or bad game could send him back to the bench.
Studs: Eddie Lacy, Alshon Jeffery
Duds: Davante Adams, Randall Cobb, Matt Forte
From a fantasy perspective I’d argue that the best play on the Pats for the rest of the season might be their defense. The Pats have been getting better on D all year. Even though they allowed a few big runs by CJ Anderson they still shutdown Demaryius Thomas (1 rec. 36 yards 13 targets) and have a great pass rush. It’s safe to say the Pats will have to rely on their D even more from here on out with Edelman out and Gronk also now potentially done.
This game in a nutshell was really a case of two good D’s cancelling out each other for fantasy. Brandon LaFell (4 rec. 36 yards) has yet to have a breakout game since Julian Edelman went down, but he’s also had a couple tough matchups. Use this slow week as an opportunity to use LaFell in future weeks at lower ownership, in softer matchups he could still be a big play. As for Denver, I still think Brock Osweiler (23-42, 270 yards TD INT) is an improvement for Demaryius Thomas in the long run but he’s not someone I’d trust against above average D’s. Denver’s offense is a near weekly fade for me for the simple fact the RB’s split time and the passing targets are low. I like the way CJ Anderson (15 car. 113 yards 2 TDs, 4 rec. 40 yards) ran in this game and to be honest this is the first time he’s looked healthy to me all year. The problem is Ronnie Hillman is still going to take 40% of the snaps every week. Look to see if CJ gets a bump next week but don’t go crazy unless an injury occurs to Hillman.
Studs: CJ Anderson
Duds: Injury Gods
People like to say the Jags have “made a step forward” this year but the honest truth is this team’s secondary is awful and they’ve really benefitted from being in the weakest division in football. The Chargers Philip Rivers (29-43, 300 yards 4 TDs) picked apart the Jags secondary as I predicted he would earlier in the week on the DFS Report. Rivers used all his targets (which is semi-maddening for fantasy) and it was pretty funny watching the hobbled Antonio Gates (4 rec. 52 yards 2 TDs) get wide open multiple times in the end zone on the Jags secondary. In soft matchups I love using the Chargers passing options as cheap value plays and the Jags are definitely a weekly target for passing offenses. This is simply one of the worst pass defenses in the league.
The Jags are still viable for use in fantasy though although with their defense such a liability I’d be scared of using TJ Yeldon (9 car. 36 yards). The snaps are there for Yeldon but he’s not an explosive back and needs huge volume/carries to put up a big fantasy game. The Chargers simply didn’t let him get going by getting out to a big lead… This was the second week in a row Blake Bortles (30-49, 329 yards 2 TDs INT) has really looked for Julius Thomas (9 rec. 116 yards TD) almost exclusively in the red zone. Thomas had a massive week obviously and benefitted from some late garbage time action. Still, it’s interesting to note this sudden trend and change in targeting as Thomas could be the big non-Gronk option at TE for the rest of the season in fantasy. I still like Allen Robinson as the main cog in this passing game but Thomas against weaker pass D’s is definitely a consideration every week now. The Jags will continue to have to throw lots as their defense can’t stop anyone.
Studs: Philip Rivers, Antonio Gates, Julius Thomas
Duds: TJ Yeldon
The Rams have basically fallen apart. This is a team that started the season with a ton of promise and a great defense but has basically been killed by offensive line issues and a lack of weapons in the pass game. The Bengals D line just destroyed the Rams in this game and basically stopped Todd Gurley (9 car. 19 yards, 1 rec. 11 yards) from ever getting out of the backfield. Gurley has gone from sure big play option in fantasy to risky gpp play in the span of three weeks. The Rams lack of weapons and a coherent passing game just makes this team almost a complete write off every week, they look ready to throw in the towel/quit until they are relocated next season. I won’t be afraid of targeting offensive players against their D like I have been in past weeks. I think this team is going to have an awful final few games.
The Bengals finally got AJ Green (6 rec. 61 yards 2 TDs) on track in this game as he’d been held to three slow games in a row before this week. The Bengals continue to spread the ball around a ton on offense which makes massive games hard to predict at times, but Green is still the big play man in this offense and the really gpp pick most weeks. Tyler Eifert (3 rec. 40 yards TD) scored again but his targeting has truly been limited most of the year. As a red zone option he’s great but if he doesn’t score you’re in for a slow fantasy day. I’d look for the Bengals to get Green a little more involved down the stretch and into the playoffs but the truth is this team can win in so many different ways it’s hard to tell what they’ll do week to week. Everyone except maybe the QB is a gpp option in this offense for me most weeks.
Studs: AJ Green, Bengals D
Duds: Rams franchise