Week 14 Charch Chase DFS Primer
Everyone, a big round of applause for Paul Charchian as we thank him for helping us out more than he should have this week. His 124.86 points in Week 13 allowed 1,077 of us to earn entries into the finale with $5K on the line for first place, and it’s now just a month away!
Props this week to @fellboy, who got up long enough to set a lineup that best @mlrfo4 by the slimmest of margins (0.1 points) in what turned out to be a 2v2 because the rest of their lineups were identical: Phillip Lindsay and DeAndre Hopkins were just slightly better than Todd Gurley and Corey Davis. Good stuff, y’all! I managed to right the ship after last week’s dud and finish in the money with 171.56 points—good enough for 138th place.
A few of the quarterbacks I noted wound up with dud days—Jared Goff and Aaron Rodgers, most notably. Cam Newton’s final point total was OK, but he was pretty brutal. Jeff Driskel wound up being a decent punt play if you dared go that route, but you wanted to either spend up on Patrick Mahomes or down on Jameis Winston. Our aforementioned leaderboard leaders both had Winston, as did I. Winston was the lowest priced of the non-scary QBs (I define scary as Driskel and Cody Kessler) in consideration, and ultimately I felt he was the best choice to spend up elsewhere while still keeping a high-upside in play.
Gurley and Christian McCaffrey were easy choices if you could afford them, and Spencer Ware (49% owned) turned into chalk with the Kareem Hunt news late in the week. I noted Aaron Jones and Lindsay as solid mid-tier options, but the latter turned out to be better than solid. I actually had a Gurley-McCaffrey-Lindsay lineup locked in prior to the Hunt news, and wish I’d have stuck with it to get me off the high-priced underperforming receivers I wound up with. More on them in a minute. Austin Ekeler was OK at $6,700, though Justin Jackson took on more work than I initially anticipated and that muted Ekeler’s upside against a usually tough Steelers run defense. I wisely noted that Gus Edwards was a trap with Ty Montgomery’s emerging usage, and it turned out that Montgomery at $3,800 outscored Edwards at $6,600 10.5-8.2. So neither did great, but Montgomery didn’t hurt you if you played him. Edwards did. Lamar Miller turned in a better real-life game than fantasy game, but since he was $5,700 he probably didn’t hurt you—and if you landed on him, you may have gone with the correlation Houston defense play, which really helped you out.
Wide receivers tripped me up this week, as fading Antonio Brown in favor of Adam Thielen was a costly mistake. I went with Brown’s counterpart JuJu Smith-Schuster instead, which was also a spendy error. For every good recco I made—passing on Mike Evans and Tyreek Hill, touting Robert Woods—I balanced the ledger with a bad one, fading Odell Beckham and touting Brandin Cooks, Emmanuel Sanders and Kenny Golladay. DJ Moore didn’t kill you, but for his price tag I was certainly hoping for more from him. David Moore did kill you, as he didn’t even get a target on a day where Russell Wilson threw for four touchdowns (in fairness, Wilson only threw 17 passes). I nearly made myself look smart by touting Dante Pettis, but then said I preferred Robert Foster, so I get no points there. Same goes for Dontrelle Inman, who joined the rest of the Colts in having a terrible day.
Tight end is where I had my biggest issue of the day individually speaking, as Eric Ebron proved so hard to pass up that I had zero exposure to Travis Kelce on any site this weekend for the first time all season (I went back and checked). My first line last week about tight ends was “if you can’t afford Travis Kelce…” and I should have abided by that, because there was plenty of value at other positions this week. Instead of the bananas performance from Kelce, I got a solid day from Ebron. George Kittle was fine, too, but Matt LaCosse was most certainly not fine. I only wound up with one lineup anywhere this weekend with LaCosse and it was fortunately not this one.
All of the top six finishers this week had my highly touted Broncos play in at team defense, and they did just fine with 10 points. The Seahawks were good if you paid up (though points/dollar they didn’t match Denver) while the Bears were not. I also noted Miami as a decent option at $2,700 and they got 10 points as well, while the Packers at the same price managed just 2 sacks and zero interceptions—though did get their coach sacked.
Mike McCarthy, if you’re now with us playing DFS in Week 14, best of luck to you. Don’t start Jamaal Williams.
Want November Lamar Jackson points at September Lamar Jackson prices? Let me interest you in Josh Allen! Charch is taking the discount and I can’t blame him—Allen’s rushed for 234 yards in his two games back from injury, and set his season-high at 135 last week while also tying a season-high with 33 pass attempts. With a matchup with the hapless Jets on tap, Allen’s got 30-point upside.
There’s no shame in taking the freebie, and with Pittsburgh getting the NFL equivalent of a freebie at Oakland on Sunday, Jaylen Samuels playing the role of James Conner playing the role of Le’Veon Bell this week is an easy choice at just $4,600. If I woke up tomorrow with my head sewn to the carpet, I wouldn’t be more surprised than I would be by Samuels not being the highest owned running back this week.
Julian Edelman’s as trusty as a Red Rider BB gun for the ol’ musketman Tom Brady, but he feels a bit overpriced to me. He’s got enough floor to be safe considering the diminishing role of Rob Gronkowski, but you’re not paying $7,800 for floor. When you spend that much you want a 30-point game in the range of outcomes. Edelman’s high this season is just 22.7 points.
Speaking of 30-point ceilings, Keenan Allen is a relative bargain as the 7th most expensive wide receiver on the slate. Melvin Gordon could be back in this one, but it’s not like Allen would be replicating his ridiculous 19 targets from a week ago anyway. But he’ll still get plenty of looks against the injury-plagued Bengals—at least until Los Angeles is comfortably ahead. And if they do, you needn’t worry: Allen likely had plenty to do with it.
Who will I be rostering as I attempt to win a major award???
If you can afford Patrick Mahomes, go for it. Don’t worry at all about that Ravens matchup. I’ll pass on Drew Brees in favor of Philip Rivers or Ben Roethlisberger, with the latter I think presenting the better value. Cam Newton’s fairly priced at $7,100, but I’m probably fading that entire bunch (if I don’t get to Mahomes) and playing Winston again at just $6,700. Jackson for $100 less is fine, but as I noted above, you can get the same player for $1K less in Allen—and there’s a chance that Jackson sits in favor of a healthy Joe Flacco now. Mitch Trubisky is $6,300 and a reasonable play at home in a game where the Bears will have to light up the scoreboard to compete.
I don’t normally get too deep into game theory in this space, but this week’s running back landscape begs the discussion. With James Conner, Matt Breida and possibly Melvin Gordon all sitting, there’s a LOT of running back value. The aforementioned Samuels, Jeff Wilson at $4,400, and Justin Jackson at $5,400. So why wouldn’t you play all three? Because plenty of people will eat that chalk, and then be left with a ton of salary to spend at WR, TE and QB. That’s going to lead to a bunch of teams with very similar, or even the same, roster construction. And you can’t win a tournament with a lineup that everyone else has. In a multi-entry tournament, the smart play is the less lineups you have, the less you should play the chalk because the multi-entry folks will have several combinations including them. This isn’t a multi-entry tournament, but there’s still going to be a lot of ownership on Samuels and Wilson in particular. You can certainly play them both, but then I’d strongly consider a less popular stack to differentiate your lineup. If you play all three (again, assuming Gordon sits), you’re going to end up with a lineup you like—but that a lot of others might have, too. Instead, consider going with two, or even just your favorite of the two, and take advantage of lesser ownership on the guys like McCaffrey and Saquon Barkley, which will then naturally differentiate your wide receivers and give you a unique roster construction.
The first nine guys are mostly fairly priced, with Allen standing out as the value and Mike Evans standing out as overpriced—though he is in line for a potential bounceback here. I just can’t spend $8,200 on a guy with his downside. I like Amari Cooper this week but wish he were $500 or so cheaper—that $7,700 price tag is a bit prohibitive. I’m passing on TY Hilton and Josh Gordon due to price as well. I like the Rams receivers even though usually just one is going to have a blow-up game (it was Robert Woods last week) and they’ve got a tough matchup this week. I do think Allen Robinson on the other sideline has some value at $6,600 regardless of which quarterback plays, and Jarvis Landry at $6,200 piques my interest a bit—though his teammate, Antonio Callaway, is getting the higher value targets and at just $4,200 is quite tempting. The middle-tier guys like Adam Humphries and Dante Pettis have come up in price, and the latter loses some appeal if Marquise Goodwin returns, but Chris Godwin at $4,900 is still a must for me if DeSean Jackson sits again. And I know this blew up in my face last week, but Foster at $3,500 is again on my radar with Kelvin Benjamin and Andre Holmes released by Buffalo on Tuesday.
Kelce and Zach Ertz are certainly in play, and Ebron is fine though now he’s a touch overpriced for my liking. George Kittle and Gronkowski are relative values, and I don’t mind Austin Hooper at $5,300, either. Cameron Brate and Vance McDonald are both fairly priced at $5K and $4,700, respectively, and if you’re punting I’d do it with Ian Thomas ($3,500) or CJ Uzomah ($3,400).
There’s no need to pay for the top-priced Broncos this week, though I do think the Chargers at $3,400 can be used if you’re paying up to differentiate your lineup. The Bills at $3,200 are fine, and I don’t mind the Saints at $2,800 this week. But my favorite plays are Detroit at $2,700, Washington at $2,600, and Dallas at $2,500.
We’re now down to three weeks left to earn entries into the Week 17 finale! Get in the game for Week 14 at fanball.com/charch. I’m gunning for the $50 top prize this week, but if I don’t win it, 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.