Charch’s loss was our gain.
Brandin Cooks’ unfortunate concussion early in LA’s matchup with Seattle left Charch with a zero, which is a good way to get a good chunk of us into the Week 17 $5,000 top prize finale. In all, 290 added another entry to their total, while 250 of us finished in the money—including me in 222nd place despite a relatively disappointing showing.
First place this week went to @Mrblistr, who rode a cash-game type lineup to 205.5 points, squeaking past @Steffen by less than six points.
The chalk hits again! Well, for the most part, anyway. TJ Yeldon was a whopping 48% owned and got a boost from teammate Corey Grant going down early with a Lisfranc fracture that’s since landed him on IR. Blake Bortles had the most Blake Bortles game ever, playing mostly like trash and getting his team in a hole only to wind up with 430 passing yards and another 34 on the ground plus a rushing score to go with his passing touchdown to Yeldon. But you don’t have to watch the game to get the points, so hey, congrats to those who used him! Certainly beat my quarterback plays, which were a bit of a mixed bag in part thanks to this being a LeGarrette Blount week.
My running back calls were solid overall, with the exceptions being Zeke Elliot and Philip Lindsay who both busted relative to salary. Wide receiver didn’t work out quite as well, though Marques Valdes-Scantling was a must-play for me when both Randall Cobb and Geronimo Allison were ruled out and he easily paid off his $2,900 price tag.
The tight end position went mostly how I thought, though of course Jared Cook made me look stupid for highlighting him—which has happened a couple times per year for the last dozen or so years.
And, of course, I somehow wound up paying up for a defense that underwhelmed. Going with the Panthers defense would’ve been good, and as the week went on I liked the Bengals more and more, and that obviously would’ve paid off. Pretty much anything other than the high-priced defenses would have worked out better, because that’s how it usually goes. I just can’t help myself from being stupid sometimes.
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The aforementioned Yeldon ownership stuck out like a sore thumb, as folks were spending down in order to fit in an extra stud this week. It left ownership relatively flat across the high end running backs, and pretty much the same at quarterback. On the flip side, I was very surprised to see Odell Beckham at less than 1% owned.
Again, this isn’t the world’s biggest tournament so ownership isn’t as important, but anytime you can get a stud at a depressed salary AND low ownership like that, you do it. His big day was boosted by a passing touchdown to go with his receiving score, which obviously you can’t count on. But this is something to back pocket for later. If there’s a stud back or receiver that just isn’t being talked about that much due to underperformance and the salary keeps dropping, this is a great tournament to play said player in. I’ll be keeping an eye out for this in the coming weeks and note it in this column if/when I think we might be in one of those spots.
Spending down on quarterbacks is Charch’s thing, but it’s tough to argue when so many quarterbacks are putting up so many big numbers. I like Andy Dalton plenty this week against the sieve that is Pittsburgh’s defense. And though Tyler Boyd’s price is starting to get a bit more prohibitive, I’m a fan of the stack here as well after we saw Joe Haden shadow Julio Jones successfully last week—the first time Haden’s shadowed all season. If he does the same to AJ Green, Boyd could have a field day.
Perhaps feeling burned by Cooks last week, Charch is going back to the Rams well to take the non-concussed LA receiver Robert Woods. He’s in a solid spot matched up primarily with Bradley Roby, with the potential for a little more work if Cooper Kupp and Cooks both sit this week. That said, I don’t LOVE his price, so if the rest of the crew is cleared I’m probably not considering Woods for my Week 6 lineup.
Not sure how much analysis you need on Travis Kelce—he’s really good, but really spendy. If you’ve got the salary to burn, I’m all for it. In terms of raw points, he’s probably got the highest ceiling at the position on the slate.
As for my squad…
I’m going to be watching the practice reports on Deshaun Watson this week. He seemed pretty beat up by the end of Sunday night’s game (though not beat up enough to cost me $300 in the $30K Take Me to Charch tourney) thanks in part to that offensive line. Between that and a solid Buffalo defense, I think people might be off him. But paired with Keke Coutee I think it could be a sneaky little stack. If you’re spending up I don’t mind any of the top four—they’ve all got high ceilings—but I don’t think you need to spend up to get value. Jameis Winston is who really stands out, as he couldn’t have a better matchup unless he got traded and played against Tampa Bay instead of for them. The best part? He’s just $6,900, which is #nice. If you’re absolutely penny pinching, I think the Chargers/Browns game has sneaky shootout potential—with Baker Mayfield at $6,500 providing good value.
I think the top 7 guys are fairly priced at the position—with the exception of Elliot, who’s overpriced based on his matchup. The whole $7K to $7.7K range is devoid of value, too, even though from a raw points perspective I think Carlos Hyde could be an OK play. If I play anyone in that group it’ll be him. Yeldon at $6,900 should be popular again, for good reason, and James White is still just $6,500 despite being an every-week producer. He’ll crash and burn at some point, but there’s no reason to think it’ll be this week. In the bargain bin, sign me up for Nyheim Hines at $5,900 (assuming Marlon Mack is still sidelined) or Austin Ekeler a5 $5,800.
Another week, another Julio smash spot. It didn’t turn out great last week with the Haden shadow treatment, but he’s long overdue for a blow-up game and has another juicy matchup with no scary pieces in Tampa’s secondary. (If I just keep picking him, I’ll be right eventually, right?) The Julio/Mike Evans game-stack is most definitely in play for me this week, though the tight end I’ll note below will give me some flexibility on Evans if I need to save some $$. Keenan Allen is $700 cheaper, and as I noted above, I think there could be some points in Chargers/Browns. There’s some pretty good value in the mid-$5K range with DeSean Jackson and Chris Godwin—more stacking options to go with Winston. Courtland Sutton at $4,300 is a good cheap play, as he’s looking better than Demaryius Thomas and getting more end zone looks than Emmanuel Sanders (who’s getting the same amount I am). And with the Rams dealing with injuries, Josh Reynolds becomes this week’s Valdes-Scantling at $3,800 if Kupp and Cooks don’t go.
I can actually say that I don’t love Eric Ebron this week since he’s up at $6,200, but he’s still got solid potential with Jack Doyle’s hip being very un-hip. David Njoku at $5,600 is very appealing—especially stacked with Mayfield—but the guy I’ll have a hard time getting off of (that’s a weird way to say it) is Cameron Brate at $5,400. He and OJ Howard have mostly been in each other’s way for fantasy purposes, but with the Falcons susceptible in the middle of the field and Howard out injured, Brate/Winston is where I’m starting my team’s build and we’ll see what happens from there. If you’re really looking to save money there, Austin Hooper isn’t bad at $5,000, and CJ Uzomah at $4,500 is a decent dart throw.
The team that sticks out the most to me is Miami, who gets the Bears in South Beach. Mitch Trubisky is no stranger to turnovers, and the Dolphins’ special teams are no stranger to scoring points. At the low low price of $3,300, you’ve got money to spend elsewhere if you go this route. The Colts aren’t a bad play at the same price, but they’re on the road against a Jets offense that just went berserk last week against what had been a decent Broncos defense. Tennessee home against Baltimore for $100 more isn’t too shabby either. I’m not advocating spending up, but if you feel so compelled, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed with Chicago at Miami.
Here’s to making money and beating Charch in Week 6. If I don’t finish first this week, I hope you do!
Anthony Maggio (@MplsMaggio) once threw a chair at a bar and is co-host of The Fantasy Football Party at ZoneCoverage.com. Subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher or anywhere Android podcasts are given away for free. He is a freelance contributor for the SportsHub Games Network, Inc., Fanball’s parent company. Any advice or strategies provided by SportsHub contributors represent their personal opinions; they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of SportsHub Games Network and are not necessarily reflective of the strategies they may employ in their own lineups
Each week, as we prepare to make some difficult lineup decisions, our team, which includes Rob Willette, Ryan McDowell, and Sal Leto, will bring you a few sleepers and landmines for each position. Our sleeper picks could be on your waiver wire or a low-priced DFS target or could simply be going overlooked this week. On the other hand, our landmine players are getting attention, too much attention. These are players we feel are being overvalued and overpriced and would avoid for this week.
Eli Manning $5,900
I know Giants QB Eli Manning has become a punchline and a point of frustration for fantasy owners of Odell Beckham and the other offensive stars on the roster but hear me out. Manning has finished as the QB13 in two of his past three games and is averaging 289 passing yards and 1.5 touchdowns per game since his miserable opener. He also faces division foe Philadelphia, who allow 24 fantasy points to the quarterback position, eleventh worst in the league. Manning has thrown for over 350 yards in three straight games against the Eagles. – Ryan McDowell
Jameis Winston $6,900
Week in and week out it seems we see the Falcons in a shootout with some team. This week should be no different as both of these teams have been atrocious on defense in all aspects. Winston will start for the first time in 2018 after making a relief appearance in week 3 before heading into the bye. This gave him plenty of time to get reacquainted with his weapons. The offense the Bucs have played this year is actually more well-suited for Winston than Fitzpatrick. You may not remember that Jameis was on track to lead the league in passing and still was 13th overall playing just 13 games a year ago. The Falcons have been bludgeoned by QBs four weeks in a row giving up an average of 329.5 yards and three pass touchdowns in each game. – Sal Leto
Sam Darnold $5,400
Whenever I am gambling on a rookie quarterback who has been wholly ineffectual from a fantasy standpoint, I prefer it to be one facing a team who could travel to New York in a large SUV. The Colts dressed only 44 players last Thursday, and while they should be healthier and theoretically well-rested after ten days off, this is a team which does not have the talent to overcome significant personnel losses. Darnold has topped 200 yards only once and has thrown multiple touchdowns in just two games, so you’re acknowledging a bottomless floor. He is, however, coming off arguably his best game as a pro and the Jets figured out ways to utilize Robby Anderson in Week 5. Darnold is not the sexist streamer but he is a strong option if you’re investing heavily elsewhere. – Rob Willette
Philip Rivers $7,800
Surprisingly, the Browns have only allowed a single QB1 performance this season and they’ll host Philip Rivers and the Chargers traveling across the country for an early kickoff. That usually spells trouble for west coast teams. Rivers has been fantastic this season, finishing no lower than QB15 in any week. While I expect him still in that range against Denzel Ward and company, there are many other cheaper options I like better.. – Ryan McDowell
Deshaun Watson $7,400
After having a rough week one output Watson has rattled off some massive yardage totals all over 300 in each of the last four. Just six passing touchdowns in the five games is steady, not great. Buffalo has actually been tough on QBs the last three weeks holding Cousins, Rodgers and Mariota to two total passing touchdowns and an average of 241 yards. Keep in mind Watson was hit hard over and over on Sunday and is coming into this matchup with a chest injury. Definitely something to monitor leading up to game day. – Sal Leto
Ben Roethlisberger $7,700
The home/road splits for Big Ben are well-known at this point. Drill down a bit further, however, and the real issue lies when the Steelers are part of the early kickoff slate. Ben tends to shine when the lights are on and sleepwalk when not part of an island game. Sunday’s tilt kicks off at 1 PM EST. The Bengals are a middling 21st in pass defense through the first five weeks and it is tough to bench a quarterback in a game with an Over/Under of 54.5, but this is not a week to chase Roethlisberger’s ceiling. – Rob Willette
Sal Leto (@LetoSal), Ryan McDowell (@RyanMc23), and Rob Willette (@RobWillette24) are freelance contributors for the SportsHub Games Network, Inc., Fanball’s parent company. Any advice or strategies provided by SportsHub contributors represent their personal opinions; they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of SportsHub Games Network and are not necessarily reflective of the strategies they may employ in their own lineups.