Week 9 was a smashing success: the Lions and Seahawks passing games got us everywhere we needed to be. We also got there with help from Zach Ertz, Damien Williams and Christian McCaffrey in tournaments. Cash is now eight for nine on the season and this week is set up to keep it rolling. We have another short slate here in week 10, just 10 games again and only two totals surpassing the 50-point mark. The trend is that there are many folks choosing to attack the TB vs Ari game over the NO vs ATL game, and well, I think this is a mistake. Let’s start with the top games.
Games to Attack
Falcons at Saints
Drew Brees ($6,700) returned last week and didn’t miss a beat. He’s thrown for at least 370 yards in both games he started and finished this season and if we are drawing up the perfect matchup scenario for him, we would opt for the Falcons at home. Low and behold the matchup this week is the Falcons at home. Brees has hit the 300-yard bonus or thrown three TDs in nine of his last ten home games against the Falcons and this season is the softest the matchup has ever been.
Check out the matchup courtesy of the RotoViz Stat Explorer
The Falcons even found a way to let Marcus Mariota get there! Moving along a little further, let’s bust the narrative that the Saints might come with a run-heavy game plan, capping Brees output. The Falcons have actually been fairly sound against running backs, and when running backs got there against them, it was from catching the ball as opposed to carrying it.
Wide receivers are the path against the Falcons, and Michael Thomas ($8,300) has the perfect market share, making him the perfect stack and play this week. Brees and Thomas are cash pays and the heaviest tournament stack of the week. In larger field tournaments, a secondary stack is fine, and the candidates are Alvin Kamara ($8,200), Ted Ginn ($3,700) and Jared Cook ($4,100).
On the Falcons side of the ball, there are multiple options in play for game stacking, and Matt Ryan ($6,100) is very much in play on the tournament side of things as well. Let’s cover the Falcons options.
The Saints have been a brick wall against running backs — that is an unattractive position to use against them.
The best avenue of attack against the Saints, as with years past, is the slot, and the Sanu trade has paved the way for Russell Gage ($3,400) to have a volume role. He saw nine targets in their lone game without Sanu, and this price is simply stealing. He is a cash play and a volume tournament use.
Julio Jones ($7,500) is still quite expensive but has had at least 93 yards in nine of his last 10 games against the Saints. Finding the end zone is a must for him to hit, so he is tournament only and is difficult to fit.
In seasons past, the Saints were strong against the tight end position, but there may quietly be a hole there this season as they’ve improved against outside wide receivers. They have faced a soft tight end schedule to this point, with Will Dissly being easily the most effective player they’ve faced. Dissly dropped a line of 7/6/62/1 in that game and now Austin Hooper ($5,500) is their most difficult matchup of the season. With tight end ownership being very spread this week, Hooper brings as good a ceiling as anyone.
Cardinals at Buccaneers
This is a perfectly sound DFS matchup, and there are some great plays from the game, but I believe the quarterbacks in this game are a step behind those in New Orleans. Yes, it is true the Buccaneers are the best quarterback matchup, but Kyler Murray ($6,500) has had volume issues for the majority of this season. He hasn’t cleared 37 passing attempts in any of the last six games after having at least 40 attempts in each of the first three games. His last three road games have resulted in zero touchdown passes despite favorable matchups. He has only ran the ball seven times total in the last two weeks. He can hit and there is a ceiling to be had, but there are too many warts to play him above Brees in cash or to have more tournament exposure. There are only two viable stacks with Murray. Christian Kirk ($5,200) is the only receiver with a bankable volume role and is the best play on the Cardinals side. David Johnson ($5,700) will likely have to get there catching the ball in this matchup, and he certainly can. He is behind Kirk as we don’t really know what the split between Johnson and Kenyan Drake ($5,500) will be.
On the Buccaneers side, Jameis Winston ($6,800) is probably a slightly better play than Murray, but I have worries about how this game will play out, the largest of which is Patrick Peterson shadowing Mike Evans ($7,600). No, Peterson has not been perfect this season, but I can say with 100% certainty Peterson owned Evans in their last matchup in 2017. I was highly invested in that game as I had a true Milly sweat with a five-player stack in that game. Pause for an anecdote that still brings tilt two years later:
My five-player stack in that game was John Brown and Larry Fitzgerald for the Cards with Ryan Fitzpatrick stacked with DeSean Jackson and Cameron Brate while Evans was in the Peterson shadow. Brate and Jackson got all the work throughout the game, both scoring with Brown and Fitzgerald having big games as well. The remainder of the lineup was Todd Gurley and Melvin Gordon, both smashing and Mark Ingram stacked with the fully unowned Saints DST, both smashed. I found myself in the top five in the Milly with my entire lineup minus Ingram and DST still going and having a massive PMR advantage over anyone else close late in the 4:00 games. This lineup was so perfect I could taste the life changing bink. Then it happened. The chalk Antonio Brown ridiculous and luck box tipped ball touchdown against the Chiefs, moved me all the way back to 20th, but I still had life. I was still the highest scoring non-AB lineup and just needed another score from one of my Buccaneers, or Gurley, or Gordon. Then it happened again — Peterson got hurt late in the game. Almost immediately, Evans caught a long touchdown with Peterson out — a touchdown I desperately needed to go to Jackson or Brate. Not great. Now I need Gurley and/or Melvin to score again. Gurley got three consecutive red-zone carries on their last possession before the field goal dagger hit. Down to Melvin now. The Chargers got the ball with four minutes left down 2 at their own 8-yard line. Melvin led a drive down the field that ultimately saw his last run reach the Oakland 10 before consecutive kneel-downs and an ensuing field goal. I stayed at 21st and cashed for $5k, but it felt like and still feels like the worst beat of a lifetime.
Moving on from tales of woe, the Peterson history truly brings pause on using Evans — he is just a tournament one-off for me. Chris Godwin ($7,400) is the better play in the slot and will bring one of his smash games that are common in 2019. He is the best play on the Bucs and should be the largest tournament exposure on the team. Both Cameron Brate ($3,700) and O.J. Howard ($3,300) are in play for very large-field tournaments with a perfect matchup, but the floors on both are literal zero. The best value play on the Bucs is certainly Ronald Jones ($4,300) who has claimed the lead spot and the running back matchup against the Cards is above average.
Patrick Mahomes ($7,000) returns this week and is not the highest-priced quarterback on the slate. Whenever this happens it is a mistake and he is a must for tournament exposure. The Titans have quietly allowed some big games to quarterbacks recently, notably since the quarterback change and their own offense has been more efficient. They have also been smashed by top wide receivers in consecutive weeks making Tyreek Hill ($7,700) the top stack with Mahomes this week.
Travis Kelce ($6,400) is a viable tournament stack weekly, particularly at this salary, but the matchup is not the greatest. Perhaps the better secondary stack this week is the reascended Damien Williams ($4,900). He remains the best back on the roster and has the most complete skill set, it appears the Chiefs are prepared to go back to the weapon that was instrumental in their 2018 playoff run. On the other side of the ball for game stacking, A.J. Brown ($4,300) is the best option with Corey Davis questionable at best.
Going back to the title of the piece, don’t overthink running back this week. I repeat, don’t overthink it. There are two matchups I target weekly on the RB side when possible, and those are against the Packers and Lions. The Packers only have the unenviable task of attempting to slow league MVP Christian McCaffrey ($10,500) this week. Spoiler: they won’t. With only a bit of sensationalism, Flipper Anderson’s record of 336 yards from scrimmage could be in danger this week. McCaffrey is a cash lock and heavy tourney play.
The only player with a better matchup than CMC this week is David Montgomery ($5,300).
Montgomery is truly the Bears only chance for offense given the state of the passing game, and Monty is set up for a smash. Cash lock and massive tourney exposure.
The next best running back play of the week is Devin Singletary ($5,000) who has a good but not great matchup, but that’s not where the true value in the play is. His salary has not caught up with his role’s ascension last week and there is simply too much value to pass on here. Also a cash and tourney play.
We covered the main receivers on the slate, most of which being pricey ones. Now to touch on the standalone plays in good spots.
For the Rams, Cooper Kupp ($7,300) brings a weekly overall WR1 ceiling and is always in play. Also for the Rams, Josh Reynolds ($3,800) is a value pricing that brings ceiling. His price will continue to rise as long as Brandin Cooks is out. In the same game, after his dud last week Diontae Johnson ($4,300) should avoid Jalen Ramsey and will crush his salary as he’s done in all but one game Mason Rudolph started and finished. Johnson and Reynolds can be considered for cash.
With Ryan Finley under center, we truly don’t know what we’re getting from the Bengals offense. However, assuming receiving roles haven’t changed, both Alex Erickson ($3,900) and Tyler Boyd ($4,700) are priced to smash their salaries if their volume remains unchanged.
Golden Tate ($5,900) is set up for big volume and his ceiling is mammoth with the injuries the Giants are dealing with. He should be a heavy tournament exposure. On the other side of the ball, Jamison Crowder ($5,000) will turn volume to success, as he does in games the volume comes.
DeVante Parker ($4,800) is favorably priced and now the clear top option in Miami. He’s brought some floor all season but brings ceiling now as well.
The squeaky wheel will get the grease this week as Eric Ebron ($3,900) is one of if not the best tight end play on the slate against the Dolphins. He had a meeting this week with coaching about his role and a team hurting for high-end pass catchers should feed him.
Gerald Everett ($4,500) continues to have a real role for the Rams and he will be in the optimal lineup at least once before the season ends.
Good luck this week!