Week 7 Charch Chase DFS Primer
Well done, folks!
While Charch didn’t have any real duds outside the Steelers defense, he didn’t have any of the top plays of the week, either. That led to just 123.36 points, which means that 716 of us added another entry into the Week 17 $5,000 top prize finale. 250 of us finished in the money, with @EvilCarlos showing all of us what’s what (including, presumably, good Carlos)—riding the Sunday night hammer Tyreek Hill past @Shawnanderson75 (and, presumably, 74 other Shawn Andersons) to the top of the leaderboard for first place.
This is why we listen to Vegas. The two highest point total games of the day lived up to their billing, with Tampa Bay/Atlanta and Kansas City/New England producing all kinds of fantasy goodness. I was able to hit on some (Jameis Winston, Julio Jones and Austin Hooper) while whiffing on others (Tevin Coleman and Mike Evans) to have a good-not-great day and win one whole dollar.
Winston seemed like a layup to me. I never really considered coming off him despite other good plays out there. I mentioned Deshaun Watson in my writeup, which turned out to be a mistake. Hopefully not too many of you were swayed in that direction.
The running back landscape changed quite a bit from Tuesday night to Sunday, so I didn’t wind up with any of the guys I mentioned. I took Coleman despite my better judgement, and should’ve instead gone with Ito Smith due to his price tag. Price is how I wound up on Kapri Bibbs as well once Chris Thompson was ruled out, but Panthers turnovers and early points for Washington ruined any upside he had. Todd Gurley somehow wasn’t the most expensive player on the slate, so I wanted to force him in if I could. Once that Bibbs/Smith value opened up, it wasn’t difficult.
When OJ Howard was deemed healthy enough to play I got off Cameron Brate, but still wanted Bucs exposure with Winston as my QB. That’s how I wound up with Evans, whom I paired with Jones (as promised) and Hooper, who I noted was at a nice price in last week’s column. That gave me a very large game stack—one that couldn’t be afforded had I tried it with the Pats/Chiefs game. Keke Coutee didn’t work out at my other receiver position, but based on price and usage coming into the game he was pretty much a must play for me. Coutee still had five targets on Sunday, he just didn’t do anything with them.
And, of course, my weekly don’t-pay-up-for-defense mea culpa. To be fair, every defense I noted last week was garbage. But I paid a high price for my Bears defense garbage after learning Brock Osweiler would start behind an injury-ravaged offensive line, thinking there was no way Chicago could screw that up. Alas, screw that up they did. Six points isn’t nothing, but it might as well have been considering what I anticipated Sunday.
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I wound up with a chalk-filled lineup, as all but three of my positions had ownership of 24% or higher. The Bears D suckered 36% of us (yet another reason not to pay up at defense) while Gurley was a surprisingly low 30%.
Hill at just 7% had me kicking myself, as I was on him more and more as Sunday approached but I held firm on my Evans play (who was at 11%). Also at 7% was Melvin Gordon, who nearly matched Gurley’s output. He was a nice leverage play if you were thinking Gurley’s ownership was going to be way too high—but at only $100 cheaper I didn’t think it was the right move. Had it been in the $500 neighborhood, then we’d have had a nice pivot play there to differentiate lineups. Gordon was in a great spot, but there was no reason not to spend the extra $100.
One other ownership number that stuck out to me was Chester Rogers at 22%. I actually wound up with Rogers in my main cash game lineup as I spent up elsewhere—and midway through the third quarter was very unhappy about it—but was surprised to see him this popular in tournaments. He was cheap, at $4,100, but still—in a game that wasn’t necessarily supposed to be a shootout, that was a big ownership number for an under-the-radar guy. Folks are doing their target share homework. Well done, 22% of you.
I zeroed in on the same cheap QB for Week 7 that Charch did upon first glance at pricing this week, with Baker Mayfield checking in at $5,900. Mayfield didn’t play great in Week 6, but overall has looked solid while being hurt by his teammates’ hands—or lack thereof. They should be plenty open this week, so as long as they can put the dropsies behind them, Cleveland’s pass-catchers should lead to a fine day from Baker.
Joe Mixon at running back has a good matchup at one of Charch’s running back spots, but there are a few red flags for me here. First, we don’t know Giovani Bernard’s status. Reports late last week had Bernard working out on side fields, so he’s inching his way back. Second, he’s expensive. Zeke Elliott, for example, is only $500 more. Third, Mark Walton started seeing a bit more work last week, leading to Mixon’s lowest touches of the season in Cincy’s loss to Pittsburgh. I like Mixon a lot, and am not calling him a bad play here, but he’s certainly not someone I’ll be going out of my way to roster.
Adam Thielen’s never a bad play, and his price actually came down from last week for some reason. He’s the most expensive receiver on the slate, but if I can fit him in I’m all for rostering Thielen against a banged up Jets secondary.
Charch’s final revealed player is David Njoku, who is one of the better overall plays at tight end this week and a solid stack with Mayfield. Njoku’s 12 targets last week were a season high—a week after setting his previous season high with 11. He’s also got arguably the best matchup at the position squaring off against Tampa’s secondary. I actually built a first-blush lineup prior to seeing Charch’s revealed players this week and had the Mayfield/Njoku stack myself. I think it’s going to be a popular combo.
Though Mayfield is my favorite target among the cheap quarterbacks, he’s hardly the only playable one in that price range. In fact, the next six starters (regardless of which Dolphins QB is the one to play) are in play if you’re spending down. I do worry about upside a bit with guys like Dak Prescott and Sam Darnold, though. The others have high ceilings, but low floors. Andy Dalton at $6,700 is in play, and Winston is intriguing at $6,900. But it’s only $700 to get up to Patrick Mahomes from there. That relatively small pricing gap is going to make it tough for me to land in that second tier of quarterbacks.
Gurley is finally priced right—$800 more than the next highest running back. And you know what? He’s still a fine value. I like Zeke a lot, too. He’s that aforementioned second highest running back. I could actually see a Dak/Zeke stack happening despite my concern about Dak’s upside. I’m not in panic mode about Alvin Kamara by any means, but I do want to wait for his price to drop a bit more—and his matchup to get better—before reinvesting. I’ve got to go down the list a ways to find the next guy I like, who goes by the name of Mr. Hyde. He went Jekyll on my DFS lineups last week, but I’m doubling down here based on workload and opponent. And at $6,300, he’s plenty affordable. Chris Thompson’s also in play at $5,900 if he’s healthy, and Tarik Cohen’s $5,600 tag is worth the workload risk considering that Chicago offense has looked a billion-ish times better with him in rather than Jordan Howard. If you need to go really cheap, Buck Allen at $4,300 and Kyle Juszczyk at $3,900 are both in bounce-back spots.
The top of the heap is about as expected, with the notable exception of the surprisingly spendy Stefon Diggs. I like him this week, but don’t see myself spending on him when I can take Hill for $100 less—or the generally matchup-proof DeAndre Hopkins for $300 less against a suddenly leaky Jaguars defense. John Brown ($6,200) and Kenny Golladay ($5,800) continue to be underpriced, as does Chester Rogers ($4,800) if TY Hilton remains out. Keke Coutee’s prices ($5,100) is starting to catch up to his usage, but Taylor Gabriel’s usage continues to make that same $5,100 price tag worthwhile. DeSean Jackson at $4,300 is a decent boom/bust dart in a nice matchup, and the clock is ticking on a Kenny Stills blow-up game at that same $4,300 price. In fact, with Albert Wilson at just $4,400, I could see rolling with the Dolphins duo plus Golladay and Stafford for a low-owned, cheap game stack to fit in a couple of studs elsewhere.
Of the top-end guys I definitely prefer Travis Kelce this week, which is nice since he’s cheaper than Zach Ertz and just $100 more than Rob Gronkowski. Jordan Reed didn’t do much last week while Vernon Davis got in the end zone, but Reed did get a season high 9 targets and is just $5,800. He shouldn’t have high ownership in this one, and has a ceiling that’s as good as any guy out of the Kelce/Ertz tier. Kyle Rudolph is interesting at $5,600, but I’d rather play OJ Howard at $5,400 with higher yardage upside and probably just as good of a chance for a score. My favorite tight end in the bargain bin is CJ Uzomah at just $4,400. He had seven targets last week and a season-high 54 yards, and is in another prime spot with a high game total.
Should I just punt on defenses entirely this week? I guess I can’t do worse than Week 6. I’m bummed that the Colts defense is the fourth highest price on the slate against Derek Anderson’s Bills, but at $3,400 they actually aren’t terribly expensive. Houston at $3,330 is in a decent spot against Jacksonville, and Buffalo’s defense has been good enough that I’m fine with them at $2,900 despite being on the road against Indy. Way down at $2,700 are the Jets, who will probably give up plenty of points—but could also spend enough time in Kirk Cousins’ face to rack up some sacks and turnovers. I’ll probably start there and inevitably wind up paying $3,800 for Jacksonville against Houston’s terrible offensive line and then write next week about how much I regret it.
I’ll stop the self-loathing for long enough to wish you luck in Week 7, though. Let’s all beat Charch and win some cash! If I don’t wind up in first, 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.