I will take a look at 3 AFC players this week. Two of them are favorable home division matchups and one is in the best spot imagineable for a pass catching running back. This is a week where I like these plays and the history and splits are in their favor. I may not always have a positive spin, but after last week's weirdness, we need some positivity!
Rob Gronkowski (Home vs Dolphins)
In a week that we may have extra money if not spening up for either Kamara or M. Thomas, we may want to spend up at tight end. Rob Gronkowski at 7,000 makes a lot of sense. He's the #1 TE and the Patriots are still without Edelman and possibly Gordon. They lack receiving threats and Gronkowski is the #1 option for the Patriots. I looked up his last three home games vs the Dolphins and here is what I found:
- 2017: 5 receptions on 8 targets, 82 yards, 2 TD
- 2015: 6 receptions on 9 targets, 113 yards, 1 TD
- 2014: 3 receptions on 8 targets, 96 yards, 1 TD
There is some injury concerns with Gronk's ankle, but as of Friday night, it looks like he should play on Sunday. Miami has had a history of struggling against the tight end, and while Gronk hasn't done much outside of Week One, if healthy, this looks like a great spot to succeed.
Antonio Brown (Home vs Ravens)
Yes, I know this is not part of the main slate, unless you are on FantasyDraft. But, with Showdown or Primetime slates in play, you will still be looking at Brown. He's at home, so there is always potential for the Steelers to score a ton of points at home, with Roethlisberger's huge splits. Though the Ravens have a pretty good defense, Brown has had a lot of success at home vs the Ravens in recent years.
- 2017: 11 receptions on 18 targets, 213 yards
- 2016: 10 receptions on 11 targets, 96 yards, 1 TD
- 2015: 5 receptions on 9 targets, 42 yards (Michael Vick was starting QB)
- 2014: 11 receptions on 16 targets, 144 yards, 1 TD
There has been some drama surrounding Brown and Roethlisberger but I think they put it aside and perform on Sunday night. People may go to Smith-Schuster to save money, but Brown's numbers are too good to pass up in this matchup.
Gio Bernard (Away vs Falcons)
One trend you may be hearing a lot this year is to take a running back that catches passes against the Falcons. I'm going to look at the Falcons numbers in 2017 and so far in 2018 in this regard:
- 2017: 139 Targets: 110 receptions, 814 Yards, 4 TD (Per Game:8.7 Targets, 6.9 Receptions, 50.9 Yards, .25 TD). PPR Points: 14.3 PPG
- 2018: 47 Targets: 36 receptions, 255 Yards, 1 TD (Per Game: 15.7 Targets, 12 Receptions, 85 Yards, .33 TD) PPR Points: 22.5 PPG
Yes, Alvin Kamara and Christian McCaffrey are two of the three running backs this season. But, if you look at the numbers, you see the weakness Atlanta has against pass-catching running backs. Gio Bernard has always been a pass catching running back (9 catches on 16 targets in past two weeks) and at 6300, he's already earning 2.25x if we simply take the 2017 numbers as his floor. That includes no rushing stats and the fact Atlanta has been worse this year. Add to this that Joe Mixon is out and Mark Walton had one carry last week, and you see a ton of volume coming for Gio at a price where he can end up getting 5x possibly. I think he easily hits value with great upside that I don't mind if he's highly owned: the matchup and volume is way too good to fade.