Charch decided to make things easy on us again.
With Peyton Barber’s 3 points and Marquise Goodwin’s 4.4, Charch put himself squarely behind the eight-ball relative to the field. That led to his second straight week under 130 points, which led to 705 of us adding to our Week 17 entry totals as we chase that $5,000 top prize. I managed to finish in the money again with 166.5 points, but fell well short of @Vreath—who bested @Burger by 5.5 points to earn first place and the $50 that went with it thanks in part to Kareem Hunt’s 3-TD performance on Sunday night.
You fade the Chiefs, you pay the price. Yep, they cost a lot and you have to pick the right weapon du jour for Patrick Mahomes, but riding without exposure to Kansas City is perilous.
I noted Mahomes’ relative overall value last week, which kept me from the second tier of quarterbacks—thankfully, considering it was a minefield. Baker turned in a good not great day at a cheap price, but with Mitch Trubisky’s fantasy stats continuing to not match his on-field performance he was far and away the best value at the position.
For the second straight week the running back landscape changed a ton between Tuesday and Sunday, with Carlos Hyde getting traded, Chris Thompson regressing as the week went on, and Dalvin Cook once again riding pine. Hyde and Thompson were both in my write-up last week, so that wasn’t very helpful. And of course Kapri Bibbs actually scored this time with Thompson out after I rostered him a week ago. Todd Gurley was in a vast majority of lineups (more on that in a minute) and rightfully so with all the value that opened up at RB, and my Tarik Cohen call proved prescient after a slow start to the game. My bargain plays didn’t work out, but with Nick Chubb available following Hyde’s trade, those guys weren’t really needed.
I floated the idea of a Lions/Dolphins game stack considering the price of the receivers in this game, but Miami’s defense made a mockery of that call. Albert Wilson got hurt early, so who knows how that could’ve gone. Kenny Stills did get in the end zone but it was literally his only catch. Taylor Gabriel was another bust call, but John Brown, Tyreek Hill, DeSean Jackson and even DeAndre Hopkins worked out at least OK. I also steered you clear of Stefon Diggs and Keke Coutee, which proved to be good ideas.
At tight end it turned out that Zach Ertz was worth the extra $$ over Travis Kelce, though the latter still led KC in receiving yards with 95 on five catches. And Demetrius Harris scored for the Chiefs. Womp womp. The middle tier guys I called out were busts (Kyle Rudolph and Jordan Reed), but OJ Howard and CJ Uzomah came more highly recommended anyway, and both of those guys were at least somewhat useful while opening up salary to use elsewhere.
At defense I wound up with the Texans, who I noted last week were in a decent spot considering Blake Bortles’ strong relationship with turnovers. But had I just found $100 more I could’ve moved up to the Colts, who along with the Rams and Patriots were the big D/ST’s of the week. I noted Indy’s nice spot in last week’s write-up, but not the other two. The Jets were my bargain defense and they only scored 3 points, which is not a killer at that price tag but certainly didn’t help things. Same with the Bills at $2,900. Fortunately I didn’t pay up for the Jaguars defense despite my recent history, because as I noted last week, I would’ve regretted it.
Player pricing is an inexact science intended spread out ownership as equally as possible by pricing everyone as fairly as possible relative to their expected output. In hindsight, Fanball failed in Week 7.
In fairness, Gurley was highly owned on other sites as well—as was Adam Thielen. But in the Charch Chase Gurley clocked in at a whopping 60% ownership, which Thielen was an also sky-high 38%. Part of that is attributed to value opening up, particularly with Chubb (30% owned).
The really sharp play of the week was Marlon Mack at just 4% owned. He was cheap ($5,500) and the starting running back for a home favorite. I noted the Colts defense last week, and the starting running back correlates strongly with D/ST for home favorites. Total whiff on my part—I apologize. He wasn’t a MUST play with Nyheim Hines still part of that backfield rotation, but he certainly should’ve been in consideration.
Latavius Murray’s high-ish price tag ($6,100) kept his ownership to just 6% despite Cook’s absence. I’ve gotta think folks are still a bit hesitant there after his initial dud with Cook out. I liked Kerryon Johnson for tournaments with Theo Riddick’s injury keeping him sidelined, and at 11% there were obviously others who agreed. Tarik Cohen was 25% owned, which didn’t surprise me due to his cheap price but was still worth noting. And I think it’s worth bringing up the Chiefs again, as Kareem Hunt was just 12% owned to Joe Mixon’s 30%. I had Mixon in my lineup (couldn’t find $300 more to spend) so am just as guilty as anyone here. And I certainly understand the hesitancy with Hunt considering all the weapons at Mahomes’ disposal, but this was a really nice leverage spot with so many on Mixon this week. I wouldn’t have predicted 30%, though maybe I should have in hindsight. But that number combined with Hunt’s upside in the same game would’ve made a ton of sense to make room for Hunt from a game theory perspective.
With Matthew Stafford priced down at $6,600 this week, Charch is going with medium risk high reward. Yes, he’s at home, and yes, the Seahawks defense isn’t what it used to be. But Detroit’s defense can’t stop the run or rush the passer, and Seattle’s offense is fine running the ball 30+ times per game. Recently this has led to Seattle controlling the clock and keeping opposing offenses from taking advantage. In fact, no team is giving up fewer fantasy points to quarterbacks this season that the Seahawks, who have allowed one or fewer touchdown passes in each of their last four games. With so many quarterbacks putting up big points, this seems unnecessarily risky to me.
I do like the Raheem Mostert play at $4,600. Other value plays might open up later in the week, but right now this stands out as the best. Matt Breida can’t stay healthy—even if he somehow plays this week, I don’t trust him to be in the game long. And Alfred Morris is clearly behind Mostert at this point. With Arizona’s defense giving up the most fantasy points per game to running backs, I expect high ownership for Mostert this week.
Taylor Gabriel’s price actually ticked up $100 this week despite him being a bust in Week 7. The Jets simply cannot cover wide receivers, so I don’t mind going back to Gabriel in a spot where he’ll certainly be less popular based on last week’s performance. The only worrisome aspect is he’s coming off a season-low four targets in a game where Mitch Trubisky threw the ball a season-high 50 times. Anthony Miller’s much cheaper at $3,600 and is getting red zone looks—I’d prefer to take that shot if I’m going with a Bears receiver.
The Steelers haven’t allowed a tight end touchdown since Week 3, but are still giving up the third most fantasy points per game to the position. That makes David Njoku a decent bet to continue his recent production. His 3 catches for 13 yards in Week 1 against Pittsburgh came with Tyrod Taylor under center, so you can throw out that performance. Njoku’s had 6+ targets in four straight with at least 52 yards in all of them and a score in back-to-back games.
As for my squad…
Jared Goff, Kirk Cousins, Ben Roethisberger and Drew Brees are all out for me this week only because if I’m spending that much I’m finding a way to get to Aaron Rodgers—if not Patrick Mahomes. But at $7,200 I can’t ignore the red-hot Andrew Luck. I expected his low yardage total against the Bills last week, but he still passed the 3-touchdown mark for the third time in his last four games. This could be another lower yardage day just because Oakland’s offense isn’t likely to keep up, but I’ll take the touchdowns. Andy Dalton’s in a bounce-back spot at home with a good price, good matchup, and probably low ownership after last week’s dud. Jameis Winston for $300 less comes with a little more risk but a little more upside. Trubisky is definitely in play at $5,800—just know that a game like Dalton’s last week is looming for him.
Another week, another Gurley start. He’s still not priced up enough to make it worthwhile to get off of him. If he was 60% owned at $9,100, I can’t imagine him dropping below 50% at $9,300. And with a home date with the Packers I don’t want to miss out on him if I can avoid it. I also like Hunt and Saquon Barkley at their costs, so this is looking like a week I’ll be nickel-and-diming it at other positions most likely. I wish David Johnson was a little cheaper because I could see him blowing up in his first game with Byron Leftwich at offensive coordinator. But $7,700 is a bit much to pay for it considering what we’ve seen to this point. I’m likely passing on Nick Chubb now up at $6,500 because he’s not involved in the passing game, but for $200 less I’m interested in both Phillip Lindsay and Marlon Mack. Jalen Richard at $5,000 is a possibility with Marshawn Lynch now on IR. You can also fire up Chris Thompson at $5,300 if he plays, and Cohen’s still a bargain for just $200 more. If Peyton Barber’s Week 7 injury keeps him out in Week 8, Ronald Jones is interesting at $4k.
I knocked last week’s pricing above, but have to commend Fanball on the top end of the wide receivers this week. Outside of Diggs being overpriced again, I’ve got reason to like everyone priced $7,300 and up. (Yeah, I know, I’m a real big help. You’re welcome.) John Brown has creeped up in price to the point where I’m not as excited about him as usual, though he is still usable. Jordy Nelson at $5,000 is in play with Amari Cooper now traded to Dallas, and his former teammates—Randall Cobb and Geronimo Allison—are nice values at $4,600 and $4,500, respectively, if they return healthy this week. Tre-Quan Smith has moved up in the New Orleans pecking order thanks to Tedd Ginn Jr. landing on IR, and his $4,300 price tag is tempting. There’s risk, though, that he gets stuck with Xavier Rhodes on the outside with Michael Thomas in the slot. Martavis Bryant way down at $3,100 is a decent enough punt play since he should get more opportunities now, and he’s the type who just needs to hit on one to make his day.
Kelce had a season-high 12 targets when KC faced Denver in Week 4, so I’ve got no problem going back to that well despite the price. George Kittle’s looked really good, but there’s enough risk of a dud just based on his quarterback that I’m not thrilled at spending $6,700 to get him. It’s not out of the question, but probably would only happen in a lineup that included other pieces of that game. I’m mostly “meh” from there until I get to Jimmy Graham at $5,600. The Rams are no stranger to giving up tight end points, and Graham has 20 targets his last two games for 180 yards. If Cobb and Allison return it does make rostering him a little riskier, but it sets up as a nice game stack for sure. Otherwise OJ Howard and Njoku remain in play as you drop down the price ladder $100 per player. CJ Uzomah at $4,800 is still viable despite just one catch last week, and Vance McDonald is cheap enough at $4,600 and plays a friendly enough defense that he’s probably worth the low-floor risk. If you’re going really cheap, Chris Herndon at $3,600 is definitely in play. He’s scored in back-to-back games and coming off a season-high seven targets. Plus, he gets a Bears defense that had allowed tight end touchdowns in four straight before Gronk bowed out and left New England virtually without a tight end in Week 7.
This is the first week that I’m really not all that tempted to spend up at defense. The top end plays are fine, but not total slam dunks. I like the Ravens at $3,400 as my high-water mark for price point this week, with Washington at $3,200, the Steelers and Panthers at $3K, and even the Jets again way down at $2,500 all in play for me based on my lineup construction.
Let’s keep this train chugging along in Week 8. Hopefully Charch will keep setting crap lineups to help us all out. And even if he doesn’t, let’s all be smarter anyway, shall we? Good luck this week—if I don’t take the tourney down, here’s hoping that 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.
Mitchell Trubisky $5,800
At this price, there’s no reason not to keep going back to the Mitchell Trubisky well. The Bears QB has finished as a top-five fantasy quarterback in each of his past three games, throwing for at least 316 yards in each. He’s also been running the ball, averaging over 60 yards per game over the past three contests. The Bears face the Jets this week. Over the past three weeks, the Jets have allowed the seventh-most fantasy points to opposing signal callers at over 26 fantasy points a pop. – Ryan McDowell
Sam Darnold $5,200
You wanna get nuts? Let’s get nuts!” We’re looking for sleepers here, this isn’t for the faint of heart. Over Darnold last three games he has three TD passes, two TD passes and one each rushing and passing. It’s not always pretty but he’s been getting the job done. The Bears come in having allowed back to back three touchdown games. Yes one was to Tom Brady but the other? Brock Osweiler, who added 380 yards passing. The Bears have not looked like the same defense they were before the week five bye. – Sal Leto
Derek Carr $5,400
Everyone has given up on Oakland. Most have given up on Derek Carr. I am included, but a Sunday dalliance with Carr is not as painful as it may appear. The Colts season-long totals against the pass look fairly respectable, though when you get to face an off-the-street Derek Anderson and the Buffalo Bills, your numbers are bound to be inflated. It is no stretch to say the Indianapolis pass defense was handed gifts all afternoon, elevating their season-long totals. Before the Buffalo game, the Colts gave up a season-best game to Sam Darnold and were picked apart by both Deshaun Watson and Tom Brady. At home, off a bye, there may be hope for Derek Carr. At this point, there is really nothing left to lose, which may lead to a productive fantasy day for Carr. – Rob Willette
Deshaun Watson $6,400
While his price has dropped, the name value of Texans second-year QB Deshaun Watson is still appealing to fantasy players. As he battles his much-publicized lung injury, Watson simply hasn’t been a strong fantasy option in recent weeks. Over the past two weeks, Watson has been the QB29 and QB22 and will also be without WR Keke Coutee as he faces the Dolphins on short rest. With one of the lowest over/unders of the week, this is expected to be a slow-paced, low-scoring game favoring RB Lamar Miller. I’m staying away from the allure of Watson this week. – Ryan McDowell
Matt Stafford $6,200
While this incarnation of the Seahawks pass defense doesn’t evoke comparisons to the “Legion of Boom” it has been good and comes in as a top three defense facing quarterbacks. Having allowed only eight passing touchdowns to nine interceptions. A look through Stafford’s career will shock no one that he commonly passes for 40 plus attempts per game. Over the last four weeks, 36, 30, 26 and 22 as the run game has started to take shape and create a more balanced offense. As the passes have come down the wins have gone up. The Lions were 0-2 to start the season with 46 and 53 attempts and 3-1 the last four. I expect the balance to continue. – Sal Leto
Carson Wentz $6,900
Jacksonville’s season has quickly become a tire fire, but it is no fault of their pass defense. The Jaguars allow the fourth fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks, including a league low 6 touchdown passes. Carson Wentz has shown little rust coming off his ACL injury, but this is a brutal matchup against a desperate team. Wentz has done a remarkable job of avoiding duds over the past two seasons – elevating his floor – but it is hard to see fireworks against a Jacksonville team allowing just over 15 points per game at home in 2018. – 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.