Week 10 Charch Chase DFS Primer
That’s what I get for making fun of Charch’s picks last week.
James White’s second touchdown on Sunday Night Football meant I wasn’t one of the 678 adding to my Week 17 finale entry totals, as I was edged by 0.36 points and left to hang my head in shame. The $50 top prize went to @treewarden, whose presumed arboriculturist skills are matched only his or her lineup setting skills—which led to a 0.62-point victory over second-place @phookster thanks to big days from Michael Thomas, Kareem Hunt, Christian McCaffrey and Jared Goff.
There were many paths to victory this week, with no one stud a staple of the top five lineups. Thomas’ 43.1 points were the high water mark, but you didn’t need him to put together a winner.
At quarterback there were plenty of decent options. I noted Matt Ryan and Baker Mayfield as strong values that paid off, but my top play of Cam Newton—who was in my lineup—was a relative bust given his cost and final output. Ryan Fitzpatrick wound up paying off despite the low-ish yardage total and two picks thanks to his four touchdown passes.
Todd Gurley was also a relative bust given his price tag and final stat line, but he was present in two of the top five lineups—so didn’t sink your battleship. The biggest problem with Gurley is that he took a slot away from one of my other four recommended backs—Hunt, Alvin Kamara, James Conner and McCaffrey. I wound up flexing a WR so only had one of those four, which made this one of those do-as-I-say-and-not-what-I-do days I managed to avoid for a few weeks. I also noted Duke Johnson, Davontae Booker and Trenton Cannon as dart throws—and I’ll take a 67% hit rate on dart throws. I actually didn’t expect Elijah McGuire to return until next week, so Cannon was off the board for me anyway by the time Sunday rolled around. I also said I liked Jordan Howard—unfortunately I also said I liked Aaron Jones more. And Adrian Peterson was a recco that busted big time thanks mostly to his offensive line’s injury woes.
Wide receiver is where my lineup had its biggest issues, which is too bad since I noted Thomas as my favorite WR play of the week—just ahead of DeAndre Hopkins and Julio Jones. None of the three made it into my lineup, however, because I tried to get cute with too many low-priced guys. Courtland Sutton, Tre’Quan Smith and DJ Moore were all disappointing, which left me no room for error with my high-priced guys (and of course, I errored). Kenny Golladay was also quiet, as was DeVante Parker. I get no kudos for properly ordering the high-end WR options when I whiff that bad on the value plays. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to me. I award myself no points, and may God have mercy on my soul.
I do, however, get points for my OJ Howard call, who I noted was my favorite non-Travis Kelce tight end. I also gave nods to Greg Olsen and Jimmy Graham as solid stacking options with their quarterbacks, but they outperformed that faint praise. Still, at such a crap position this year, I somewhat made up for my wide receiver calls with this tightrope act.
I arguably bested my tight end calls with my team defense ones, as Chicago and Miami were the two I touted the highest and they finished Nos. 1 and 2 on the week—though I didn’t play either of them because I paid way down at the position. Kansas City was OK, but Pittsburgh and Buffalo wound up not getting the job done from the bargain bin.
By and large ownership was pretty flat this week. What stuck out to me the most was the Bears defense at 30%. They had the highest price tag, but Nathan Peterman at starting quarterback for the Bills was too much to resist for a large chunk of you—and for good reason. I wish I wouldn’t have been fighting my Bears fan homerism and propensity to be tempted by top defenses so much this week.
David Njoku at 18% after his zero last week was interesting in that so many were willing to go back to him. That says more about the position than the player I think. Moore at 27% was point chasing that I took part in. I still don’t hate the play because of his low price, but the price also should have led me to think he’d be highly owned and probably a decent fade candidate.
I wish I’d have promoted Conner more than I did last week. I basically mentioned him in passing along with Kamara and Hunt as guys at the top end I liked, but should’ve noted this was going to be a low-owned spot because of his matchup at Baltimore. Conner was just 2% owned, which made him a great leverage play. Hunt was up at 35%, Gurley at 31% and McCaffrey at 25%. Kamara was only at 14% despite the high point total at home, which tells me folks are still worried about Mark Ingram’s presence.
And much like Conner, I should’ve also noted the matchup thing with Matt Ryan. I did say that his matchup on the road gave me pause, but should’ve instead phrased that “will give many people pause, which means you can get him at low ownership.” I’ll try to avoid speaking in code this week. Speaking of this week…
I can’t quibble much with Philip Rivers, both from a price and upside perspective. About the only pause I have here is Melvin Gordon’s ability to carve up this Oakland defensive front. But even if Gordon gets in the end zone a couple of times, Rivers probably tosses in a couple more.
Same goes for Kareem Hunt, as he falls in the “he plays for the Chiefs so he’s a good play” bucket. Hunt, Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce: Any week they are in play, they’re in play. I also don’t mind Aaron Jones at $5,900, but his costly fumble last week could mean more Jamaal Williams in Week 10. That’s enough to probably keep me away from Jones in my own lineup, but I won’t quibble if you want to go that route.
The Smith play is a bit of a head-scratcher in that there’s nothing particular about him that stands out in this specific game. He was in a game with a much higher game total last week and still didn’t see any more work than he had been. In fact, his snap percentage was the lowest it’s been in five weeks, while his three targets tied for his lowest looks in the last month. Now on the road against a Cincy team without AJ Green, I feel like there’s at least one better low-cost dart throws out there—including in the same game.
Who will I play instead? Glad you asked!
It’s been a few weeks since there were top-end guys I dismissed out of hand, but there are a couple this week. I think Drew Brees and Tom Brady are both in positions where there’s a reasonable chance they won’t have to pass much—both because of the current effectiveness of their run games and the likelihood their opponents won’t score much. We’re talking two HOFers here so obviously they can have big games, but they just aren’t worth the expense. Jared Goff is a reasonable option, but I’m probably looking at Rivers at $6,800 or Matt Ryan at $6,700. I prefer the latter if only because of Gordon’s aforementioned upside against that Oakland front. Ryan Fitzpatrick is once again in play down at $6,300 against a Washington team that Matt Ryan just finished carving up. SO MANY RYANS. Mitch Trubisky at $5,900 is OK—more due to his price than the matchup. He might be a bit forgotten after disappearing in Buffalo last week.
I’m really curious to see Todd Gurley’s ownership this week. Week 9 was the first time he’s really disappointed (relatively speaking) so there’s no longer an obligation to play him. He’s still plenty valuable, and since his price is still just $9,200 you might get him at lower ownership. I’d prioritize Gordon, though, and also probably Kamara at $8,500. Both could render their quarterbacks moot in their matchups, and I love their upsides just as much as those of Gurley and Hunt. Joe Mixon at $7,700 is in consideration because his workload should increase some with Green out. Tevin Coleman at $6,700 is tempting but inconsistent enough that I’m probably passing here. I’d rather go to Duke Johnson on the other sideline at just $5,900. Atlanta’s defense doesn’t hide its willingness to let running backs catch passes underneath versus getting beat deep, and Johnson got 9 targets in his first game with Hue Jackson and Todd Haley out of work. I’ll be keeping an eye on practice reports for Leonard Fournette this week, but at $6,300 he’s an excellent value with a full workload. Keep an eye on Chris Carson’s thigh injury, too, because Mike Davis at $5,200 could be in play. Austin Ekeler might pop back up this week at just $5,100, and I’m also interested in Chris Thompson ($5,000) or Kapri Bibbs ($3,700) against Tampa Bay with Washington’s offensive line decimated and needing to thus dump the ball off more. Final dart throw: Elijah McGuire for $4,400. He saw 36 snaps in his first game back from IR and was targeted five times to go with seven carries. That’s enough work already to pay off that salary, and more work means more ceiling.
I don’t feel like there are any MUST plays at high-end salaries this week, though I’m certainly interested in Julio Jones and Davante Adams. Thomas feels point-chasey given what I’ve already noted about New Orleans for this week. Hill’s fine, I think Keenan Allen’s reasonable, and Mike Evans should be low owned after his dud last week. I’m probably avoiding Eagles receivers just so I can see how things shake out with Golden Tate now in the mix. Tyler Boyd isn’t cheap at $7,600, but per Graham Barfield at NFL.com, Green’s absence clears out 26% of overall targets, 35% of inside-the-10 targets, 40% of air yards, and half of the Bengals’ end-zone targets. Boyd is the de facto #1, so I expect he’ll get a good chunk of these leftovers. Golladay is still at $5,700, and after last week’s debacle in Minnesota I’d expect he’ll be an afterthought. Lots of upside with low ownership there. I like Taylor Gabriel down at $5K with the Bears back at home, though Anthony Miller for $4,700 is arguably just as good. With Geronimo Allison out several weeks you can keep playing Marquez Valdes-Scantling ($4,900) until his price comes up. As for the low-end guy I like more than Smith? That’s John Ross way down at $3,200. I noted all the work left in the Bengals passing game, and Ross returns from a groin injury this week.
I’d play Kelce over Zach Ertz this week due to the aforementioned Tate arrival, but so would most—so he’s a leverage play for sure. If not one of those two, I’m back to David Njoku again way down at $5,300. I’d much rather go that direction and save the $400-$1,000 more it’d cost to play Howard, Jared Cook, Graham or Trey Burton. I’m passing on Jack Doyle this week due to the matchup, but I don’t hate him this week. I secretly hope he underwhelms so I can recommend him next week against the Titans. I don’t hate Austin Hooper at $5K, and CJ Uzomah at $4,500 is at least in consideration like the other Bengals pass-catchers. And don’t look now, but Chris Herndon at $4,400 has 42+ yards in three of his last four and a TD in three of his last four. Not huge upside, but won’t kill you if you’re spending up elsewhere.
There’s not a lot to like at the low end of defenses this week. Starting from the bottom, the first group I’m willing to play is the Rams at $2,800 at home against Seattle. Problem is, I’m also willing to play most of the defenses above them as well. I will prioritize the Bears if Khalil Mack plays based on how bad Detroit’s offense played last week, but I imagine the Lions will plug some holes in their game-plan this week. I won’t argue with anyone who wants to play the Chargers, especially as a correlation play with Gordon. But again, paying up for defense rarely pays off. The Jets at $3,200 hosting the Bills are another priority play if Josh Allen remains out.
OK, I need to right the ship this week. Hopefully I didn’t sink too many of you last week since I actually gave decent advice and just didn’t follow it myself. Here’s hoping if I don’t take down the $50 this week, 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.