Week 13 Charch Chase DFS Primer
I wasn’t among the 564 who earned Week 17 finale entries in Week 12, as I finished about 8 points behind Charch’s 147.92—by no means a high bar. The top score of 225.48 belonged to brandon_pinney, who finished less than a point in front of @erickhoberg to take down the $50 top prize. We’ve got just four weeks left to earn entries into the $15K finale and no more teams on bye, so let’s get to it!
Things started off OK, as I cast off Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and Andy Dalton, while touting Andrew Luck and Cam Newton as reasonable options. Jameis Winston as my favorite QB also worked out well, and Lamar Jackson did more than enough to pay off his salary, too. Carson Wentz and Eli Manning were the only two guys I highlighted as usable that didn’t really get the job done. Kirk Cousins and Baker Mayfield were two guys I missed on. I liked Baker, just not as much as the other guys. I thought Cousins wasn’t worth the price—which was true compared to guys like Mayfield and Winston.
The wheels started falling off at running back, where I threw the most weight behind Marlon Mack (after sloughing off Leonard Fournette, among others). Mack struggled early and was concussed late, leading to a bummer of a day. And while I liked Saquon Barkley and Christian McCaffrey, I didn’t tout them as standing out among the high-end running backs. My low-end guys didn’t work out great, either, with only Gus Edwards proving worth even the modest costs associated with them.
I did pretty at wide receiver this week, pointing out Adam Thielen as a value while also touting Keenan Allen and Emmanuel Sanders among the higher end guys. Problem was, I also was on Odell Beckham, and he’s the one that found his way into my lineup. When Marquise Goodwin was ruled out I was actually on Dante Pettis, but that happened well after my Week 12 story was published. My mid-tier dart throws came up empty, but at the low end I rolled a Yahtzee with Adam Humphries, David Moore and DJ Moore all paying off big. Heck, even Dontrelle Inman wound up with 7 points, which isn’t terrible for a $3K receiver. I didn’t mention JuJu Smith-Schuster, and if I had I would’ve said I wasn’t that interested because I thought he’d see a lot of Chris Harris. So demerits for me on that one.
Staying with Zach Ertz definitely paid off, and fading Rob Gronkowski hurt but wasn’t a killer. I was happy that Jack Doyle managed to find the end zone before landing on IR, which means all the Eric Ebron going forward. I touted Cameron Brate as my favorite value play at the position and he paid off with a touchdown, though didn’t go gangbusters so wasn’t a guy you had to have by any means.
At defense it turns out that I should’ve hated the Jaguars though I said I didn’t, and the Chargers were hardly worth the price of admission. The Ravens turned out to be better than fine—which was a bummer for me across the Fanball slate because I hit on so many value receivers that my best tourney teams wound up with the Jags in my D/ST spot because I had the money to spend. By Sunday I liked the Ravens better, but felt like I was leaving too much money on the table. Lesson learned. The rest of my picks were pretty meh, with the Colts, Packers and 49ers all doing next to nothing.
I left Week 12 feeling pretty upset with myself for missed opportunities. Generally when you hit on value players you have conviction on (the Moores, in particular) you should have a big day. But I managed to screw up the easy part, which isn’t much fun. Good thing we’ve got Week 13 to hopefully help me mask the stench.
DeShaun Watson without his rushing ability is a good quarterback. Watson WITH his rushing ability is a great one. And we saw Watson willing to use his wheels again on Monday night, which makes him incredibly dangerous—and an incredible value at just $6,200 this week. There are a handful of strong value plays at the QB position this week, and Watson’s in the conversation for the best of them all.
Speaking of values, Leonard Fournette’s suspension opens up a couple of them in Jacksonville’s backfield. Carlos Hyde is the better one based on both his price and his higher touchdown upside compared to TJ Yeldon. The fact that they will both be involved takes a little bit of shine off both of them, but the $3,400 price tag alone merits strong consideration for Hyde.
There are some game-flow situations that could lead to a relatively down day for Emmanuel Sanders, but at his $6,900 price I think it’s worth the risk. Courtland Sutton has yet to prove he’s ready to be a consistent contributor, DeSean Hamilton and Tim Patrick are still plenty green, and Denver’s onto its third-string tight end (whom we’ll discuss shortly). That leaves Sanders as a near lock for double-digit targets against a defense able to stop precisely nobody.
I’ve got no problem going back to the Cameron Brate well this week, either. He’s got a role that reminds me a lot of 2018 fantasy football hero Eric Ebron: low target share, but high red zone usage rate. Brate showed some pre-2018 Ebron-like hands in dropping what should’ve been his second touchdown last week, but the fact he’s getting those opportunities means he’s got high upside to go with his low floor. There are safer plays, to be sure, but in tournaments where you’re willing to take on more risk, Brate’s squarely in the group of guys you should be considering.
It’s tough to argue with any of the upsides at the high end of the scale here. Patrick Mahomes, Newton and Jared Goff all have blow-up potential given their matchups. It’s just a matter of affordability at this point. That and savings with upside that comes from Aaron Rodgers at $7,100, Jackson at $6,500, Watson at $6,200, Mitch Trubisky at $5,900, or Winston at $5,600—depending on what your roster construction elsewhere leaves you. Chase Daniel at $5,200 is also in play if Trubisky needs another week to rest his shoulder—assuming you’re stacking him with someone. You just need to be able to pick the right Bears wide receiver to make it work. I don’t see the need to get cute with Cody Kessler down at $4,900, but Jeff Driskel at $3,900 is so absurdly cheap that I actually don’t hate it if you want to get a little nuts. I probably won’t do it, but I won’t call you a raving lunatic if you do and just fire off studs everywhere else.
Barkley’s got a tough enough matchup that I’m probably shying away this week at $8,600. Yes, he can still go berserk, but his floor’s going to be a little lower than usual, and Todd Gurley, Kareem Hunt and McCaffrey are all in such prime spots that it’s hard to consider Barkley over them. Aaron Jones ($7,400) and Phillip Lindsay ($7,100) are solid mid-tier options if you find yourself shopping in that price range, though Austin Ekeler at $6,700 is a better bet than both given Melvin Gordon’s injury. Gus Edwards is tempting at $6,600 given Atlanta’s penchant for giving up points to running backs, but it might be a trap. The Falcons are generally more beatable with dump-offs than handoffs, and Ty Montgomery ($3,800) is the guy with that role for the Ravens now. He had eight carries and three catches in Week 12—his most work since joining Baltimore a month ago. Lamar Miller will be popular at $5,700 coming off his big game and with a nice matchup against the Browns I can’t argue too much except to say he’s not really doing much in the passing game so his ceiling is a bit limited. If Mack’s concussion keeps him out you could roll the dice on Nyheim Hines ($3,900) or Jordan Wilkins ($3,000), but they’ll likely split touches and have limited upside as a result.
I’m certainly not a no on the top three guys here—Antonio Brown, DeAndre Hopkins and Tyreek Hill—but Thielen is once again a value play among the elite tier at $8,300, as is Julio Jones at $8,000 an Davante Adams for $7,900. I’ll pass on Mike Evans, Odell Beckham and the five non-Adams guys in the $7,600 – $7,900 range for various reasons, though mostly because I think both Brandin Cooks and Roberts Woods are values at $7,500 and $7,400, respectively. Sign me up once again for Sanders and Kenny Golladay ($6,600) if you’re shopping in the high-$6K aisle, and DJ Moore once again, too—though his price is up a touch at $5,100. David Moore’s price is still just $4K, so I’m more than happy to ride with him once again. Pettis at $4,100 is also interesting if Goodwin were to miss again, though I think I’d prefer Robert Foster at $3,500. He’s not getting a ton of targets, but he’s Buffalo’s big-play guy with catches of 47 and 75 yards, respectively, the last two weeks. Josh Allen’s certainly not afraid to heave it, and Foster’s shown recently he can go get it. Inman’s still $3,400 as well if you want a punt play with a more consistent quarterback and probably an uptick in targets with Doyle done for the year.
If you can’t afford Travis Kelce, Ebron at $5,600 is as high-ceiling as the position comes but with a discount price thanks to the just mentioned Doyle injury. I don’t mind going back to George Kittle this week after a disappointing Week 12, but only if Goodwin is back to command some attention further down the field. Otherwise Seattle can make Week 13 as miserable for Kittle as Week 12 was. You can also punt with Matt LaCosse for just $3,000. The Denver tight end takes over for Jeff Heuermann, who’s now on IR after taking over for Jake Butt (also on IR) earlier this season. LaCosse caught three of four targets last week, including a touchdown.
Much like last week (and we saw how that went) I don’t mind the top two defenses if you feel the urge to pay up for some reason. I won’t, because I’m a big fan of both Miami and Green Bay at $2,700 this week with matchups against Buffalo and Arizona, respectively. Though I’m not sure I’ll even pay that much, as Denver gets to face the Driskel-led Bengals this week and can be yours for the Black Friday price of just $2,100! If the Broncos aren’t the highest owned defense this week I’ll be quite flummoxed.
Just four weeks left now to earn entries into the Week 17 finale! Get in the game for Week 13 at fanball.com/charch. If I don’t take down the $50 this week, I hope that it’s you.
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.