Onto the next battle. Since we're still early in the season, here's a bullet point list of what you'll find in 'Value Plays' article each Friday ...
- Each position features three players that I believe are strong value selections for the upcoming weekend, plus the reasoning behind the choice.
- The price tag indicated in parentheses is what you will find over at DraftKings.com.
- Following a quick write-up of why each particular player is a solid value, I'll offer a suggestion on where you should then take your money savings. This works to provide a run-down of the more highly-priced guys that I do like for the upcoming weekend.
- At each position I will also list the highest-priced player in that spot, alongside a 1-10 score which references how confident I would be in that player earning back their cost (10 being a guarantee).
Of course, when you're dealing with a salary cap structure, a good portion of the players I recommend do not correlate to top-notch starting options in season-long play. About half the time, a DFS recommendation is not a thumbs' up for that same player in your season-long set-up
Before I jump into the Week 10 DFS value plays, here's a look at the Week 9 Report Card ...
- Jameis Winston and Tyrod Taylor were serviceable, while Kirk Cousins was a relative disappointment in a game that shaped up perfectly for trash time numbers.
- Jeremy Langford was everyone's DFS hero, finishing 4th overall at RB. Antonio Andrews proved worthy of RB2, but C.J. Anderson was mysteriously ignored by Denver's play-calling.
- Neither Rishard Matthews nor Dontrelle Inman paid off, but Michael Crabtree was a grand-slam selection.
- The entire trio of Vernon Davis, Heath Miller, and Vance McDonald came up lousy. Although, it's worth noting that McDonald only got the nod in my column over Garrett Celek (2 TDs) because Celek was deemed 'doubtful' to play at the time of publication.
- Philadelphia was an absolute bulls' eye. San Francisco was so-so. New Orleans was dreadful.
Overall Week 9 Grade - B+
Blake Bortles ($5,600) @ BAL - Bortles ascension as a fantasy stud has outstripped his gains as an actual quarterback. In effect, he's prone to mistakes (10 picks and a completion percentage near 56%), but when you can turn to a slinger who's going to fire and fire and fire (39 passes per game, this year), you can handle the miscues. Remarkably, Bortles comes in near the likes of Sam Bradford and Joe Flacco this week. Look at the points per week for the 3 ... Bradford comes in at 15.1, Flacco at 18.8, and Bortles at 21.4. That's also a better average per week than the more celebrated likes of Derek Carr (21.1), Russell Wilson (16.7), and Peyton Manning (14.3). Oh, and all of those guys cost more this week, as well! This weekend's opponent, Baltimore, ranks 29th in pass defense, 29th in interceptions, and 25th in passing TDs allowed. A fairly easy pick for Week 10.
If you save here, spend here - Greg Olsen ($6,300) @ TEN
Kirk Cousins ($5,200) vs. NO - Cousins was a big disappointment last week. The entire argument for him in the road trip to New England was that the 'Skins would be trailing early and that Cousins would have to fire the football. Well, the Pats took care of their end of the bargain ... they jumped out to a 14-0 lead before Washington even enjoyed a second offensive snap. But, Cousins failed on his side of the ledger. Even with 40 passes to his stat line, he couldn't reach 220 yards and didn't manage a TD completion until the final minute of the game. So, now, we have his final shot in this column. The Saints come to town with a truly bad defense that has been taken advantage of at every turn. Cousins has another week of health for DeSean Jackson and I believe that could make a true difference here. Six of the 24 passing TDs (which is 5 more than the next-worst defense) allowed by New Orleans have covered 25 or more yards. Going in the direction of Cousins is nothing more than a match-up play. You must be wary, but if you constantly embrace risk while going for big winnings, this is the play for you.
If you save here, spend here - Adrian Peterson ($7,100) @ OAK
Matt Cassel ($5,000) @ TB - Obviously, we can't get carried away with the three scoring passes that Cassel pulled off against Philadelphia a week ago. Let's recall that this is a journeyman trigger guy who has just 2 games with that many touchdowns in his past 31 NFL starts. But, again, the price is so low for a guy facing a Buc defense that has given up the 2nd-most passing touchdowns in 2015. Heck, even Cousins and the mostly-struggling, Matt Ryan, have gone over 300 yards passing against Tampa. Your expectations for Cassel should be 250 yards with a pair of scoring passes. If you get that, at this cost, you've got a low-owned, difference-maker in your Week 10 lineup.
If you save here, spend here - Todd Gurley ($7,300) vs. CHI
Top of the Chart - Tom Brady ($8,600) @ NYG - 8.5
Antonio Andrews ($3,700) vs. CAR - The rushing attempts continue to pile up for Andrews. He's been in double-figures in each of the past three contests, earning 45 carries total in those games. Things culminated in Week 9 as he finished with 19 chances in a win at New Orleans. He didn't do anything particularly special with all those chances, but did total up 88 yards. He also has the ability to register another 20-30 yards in the receiving game. Carolina comes in with a deserved rep of being a force on the defensive side, but their run game marks are nothing incredible. In fact, the always-important 'yards allowed per rushing attempt'-number has Carolina sitting 19th in the league (4.2 per carry). With 15 carries very possible, Andrews is a solid grab at under 4K.
If you save here, spend here - Marshawn Lynch ($6,700) vs. ARZ
Charles Sims ($3,500) vs. DAL - Sims hasn't been in the end zone since Week 4 and he still doesn't have a rushing score this season. Yet, he continues to earn some shots in the Bucs' offense. In just eight carries a week ago, he skimmed just under 80 yards. Meanwhile, the man ahead of him, Doug Martin, is mostly running in place with barely 100 rushing yards in his last 34 carries. If you go the Sims' route, you're banking on a TD and everything else is gravy. Opposing Dallas, he's up against a squad that gives up more than a rushing touchdown per game. No one plays this guy in DFS, so if you get a hit this week, it's a big score. Plus, he gives you so much wiggle room in building the rest of your team.
If you save here, spend here - DeAngelo Williams ($6,500) vs. CLE
Isaiah Crowell ($3,400) @ PIT - Over the previous four weeks or so, Cleveland has flirted with the enduring presence of Robert Turbin. Despite much talk and little overall production, the Browns added Turbin to their unclear tailback committee and hoped for the best. The 'hope' hit the skids this week when the Browns decided that they were better off with Turbin and, thus, released him. That should give Crowell more of an opportunity moving into the second half of the NFL season. Consider it a last shot for the hard-to-figure-out 2nd-year runner. He's failed to materialize into anything more than 'just a guy,' averaging a dastardly 3.3 yards per carry this season. Duke Johnson is still hanging around, of course, but, thus far, Cleveland has used him as a 3rd-down, pass-catching, specialist. At the very least, Crowell should see double-digit carries this week and could pick up a cheap goal-line TD versus the rival Steelers. This is a dangerous push as a value play, but the cost is tempting. Much like Sims above, if you go this route, you should be able to tack on a top 3 RB, top 3 WR, and top-end QB, elsewhere on your roster. Work load, a decent match-up, and the fact that he gives you maneuverability with the rest of your DFS selections is a big reason to go with Crowell this week.
If you save here, spend here - Odell Beckham ($8,000) vs. NE
Top of the Chart - Todd Gurley ($7,300) vs. CHI - 8.1
Brandon LaFell ($4,100) @ NYG - LaFell's return to action was a rough one as he dropped nearly a half-dozen passes from Tom Brady in Week 7. But, the Patriots still kept him in the game plan for Week 8 (7 targets) and then kept prodding him along in Week 9 (9 targets). LaFell should be in line for 6-9 targets per week, moving forward, and did I mention that he's playing with Tom Brady?! For now, his DraftKings price tag has not caught up to these two facts. The cost has also been slow to realize that LaFell and the Pats are squaring off with a Giants' secondary that has spent a good portion of this year chasing down open pass catchers. This is probably the final week that LaFell comes in at this level.
If you save here, spend here - Denver defense ($3,000) vs. KC
Mike Wallace ($3,700) @ OAK - Wallace has - EASILY - been one of the biggest let-downs of the entire NFL campaign. After posting double-digit TDs last season, the vet has just ONE score on a measly 27 catches in his first season working with the Vikings. What's remarkable is that he's actually getting looks, but a good deal of the targets have not been, well, on target. Wallace has hauled in just 7-of-24 targets in the last four games. I feel that Teddy Bridgewater is more to blame than anyone. So, what's different this weekend? Mostly, I just feel that Wallace has an above-average chance of getting behind the Oakland defense. The Raiders were strangled by Pittsburgh's passing attack last week and that continued a hideous trend ... they've allowed over 1,000 yards passing in the past three games! Essentially, they are just a bad defense that can be beaten over the top. That's the job of Wallace in the Vikes' attack. Let's see if they can actually make use of him in a contest that sets up so well.
If you save here, spend here - DeMarco Murray ($6,200) vs. MIA
Cecil Shorts ($3,000) @ CIN - Ah, look who decided to come back and play a little football?! Mr. Shorts has a monopoly on the tag of 'Very good when he plays, but good luck getting him to play.' Currently (and, yes, that is a critical word here!), Shorts is in-line to be on the field when Houston battles Cincinnati in Monday Night Football. He's been sidelined since the middle of October with a hamstring issue. He returns to a Houston offense that loves to throw the football. In fact, believe it or not, but the Texans lead the entire league in pass attempts with 362 throws. The hope is that Shorts returns and picks up exactly where he left off before his hammy tightened up. His 26 catches and 300 yards in five games is enough to make him a wild card (times 2) for the tilt with Cincy.
If you save here, spend here - Aaron Rodgers ($7,500) vs. DET
Top of the Chart - Antonio Brown ($8,800) vs. CLE - 7.6
Eric Ebron ($3,300) @ GB - Honestly, the tight end position is becoming more and more unappealing when it comes to finding values each week. Consistency just doesn't exist at this position, outside of the top two or three guys. And, when it comes to DFS play, everyone who is serious about this stuff is all in on the same guys, making the hunt for a true gain tough. I'd rather hunt for my big bargains at QB, DEF, or WR, than go trolling through this spot. What does all this have to do with Ebron, you ask? Well, I wanted to lay the ground work first ... I'm not overly excited about the promo here! Detroit keeps their tight end involved for a good five targets per week and he usually turns that into a handful of catches and 40 yards. But, his TD:catch ratio is good enough (3:23 in just six games of action) to take a stab at this price against an average Packer defense vs TEs (8th-most points allowed to the position).
If you save here, spend here - Demaryius Thomas ($7,400) vs. KC
Zach Ertz ($3,000) vs. MIA - Ertz is also starting to get a little more love in the Eagle offense. Even more so than Ebron. There just aren't many tight ends who have 28 targets in their previous four games. And, if they are sitting at that level, they don't come with this miniscule price tag. Sam Bradford made the claim earlier in the week that everyone in Philly offense is finally focused, tight, and in-tune, with what the Chip Kelly wants to do. That's still up for debate, but if Bradford is correct, then Ertz and his recent involvement should continue into this weekend against the Dolphins.
If you save here, spend here - Rob Gronkowski ($8,000) @ NYG
Richard Rodgers ($3,000) vs. DET - The Packers are having some relative issues with their offense. How do I know? Well, let's just say that Aaron Rodgers totally flubbed a key red zone pass, late in the 4th quarter against Carolina last week. He never, NEVER does that! Beyond that one moment, the running game has been a mess, the receiving game has run very hot-and-cold, and, hey, Richard Rodgers, is getting some love in our column. The tight end is rarely one that I would use. His involvement is much too uneven, but we do know that his QB likes to look his way inside the red zone (4 TDs on just 28 total catches this year). The Packers should be inside the 20 plenty of times for the home game at Lambeau. Don't look for catches or yardage. Pray for just a TD.
If you save here, spend here - Tom Brady ($8,600) @ NYG
Top of the Chart - Rob Gronkowski ($8,000) @ NYG - 8.9
Chicago ($2,200) @ STL - I do not expect the Bears to slow down Todd Gurley much, if any. But, although they may allow chunks of real estate in the running game, they should have their way if they can force the Rams to throw the football more than 30 times on Sunday. That's because Nick Foles is at the helm. He hasn't even hit 200 yards passing since Week 1! In a word ... terrible. At the same time, the Bears have a decent shot at keeping the 'horns' under 20 points. Throw in a few sacks, a pair of forced turnovers and ... voila! ... you've got a value winning defense.
If you save here, spend here - Justin Forsett ($6,000) vs. JAC
Oakland ($2,100) vs. MIN - Sure, it would have been nice to go after Shaun Hill in Week 10, but even with Teddy Bridgewater under center, the home-standing Raiders don't have a load to fear. For the most part, Bridgewater has been stuck in neutral all season when it comes to moving the football. If not for Adrian Peterson, you're likely looking at a 3-5 team, not the 6-2 squad that comes to the East Bay. Even with the impressive record, the Vikes stand as the 3rd-worst overall offense in terms of total yardage. As for the Silver-and-Black, before last week's implosion at Pittsburgh, they were showing a few signs of growth. As with so many other teams, they've performed much more capably at home (their last two visitors, Denver and the Jets, combined for 36 points) and they should have a shot versus Peterson as they currently stand 7th in the NFL against the run. You'll have to invest a minimal amount to get a home-standing defense against a very underwhelming offense ... that's where you always find value.
If you save here, spend here - Emmanuel Sanders ($7,300) vs. KC
Cleveland ($2,000) @ PIT - Ben Roethlisberger is indeed making rumblings about trying to play on Sunday, but that is still highly unlikely. Which leaves the Steelers with Landry Jones taking snaps. When Jones got the start versus Kansas City about a month ago, I was all over It and got the expected the hit. The situation is different now in two ways ... Cleveland is the road defense, not the home defense; and, Jones will be leading an offense that does not have Le'Veon Bell in tow. Of course, his back-up, DeAngelo Williams, has shown no gap in production and that should cause hesitation with the Browns. They are after all, the lowest-priced group of 11 you'll find at DraftKings this weekend. Honestly, I can't give my whole-hearted support here, but the Browns have managed three games this season where they have forced three or more turnovers. They also know all the tricks that Pittsburgh likes to employ, familiar with them since they play twice a year. You don't have to worry about anyone else going this route, so if the money saved, leads to a powerhouse overall team this week, it's worth considering.
If you save here, spend here - DeAndre Hopkins ($8,700) @ CIN
Top of the Chart - Arizona ($3,900) @ SEA - 6.0
You can hear Kyle, Monday-Thursday from 8-10 ET and Friday's from 10-midnight ET, on 'The SiriusXM Fantasy Drive', on Sirius 210, XM 87.