Week 9 Charch Chase DFS Primer
Charch is just here to make us all feel better about ourselves.
If you weren’t able to top him this week, that’s on you. David Njoku and Raheem Mostert combined for 1.8 points, giving you all the head start you needed to qualify for the Week 17 final with a $5K top prize on the line. When the dust settled there were 1,254 of us adding to our entry total, with 250 finishing in the money—including yours truly. The $50 winner this week was @swimcrew6, who nipped @boardcrazy by 0.8 points for first place with big days from James Conner, Mike Evans, Marlon Mack and Larry Fitzgerald.
The Steelers were the low-hanging fruit at defense, which led directly to the James Conner correlation play. And if you didn’t have Conner, you struggled to reach the top of the standings.
Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs continued to be a fade-at-your-own-risk proposition, and this time it was Sammy Watkins shaking off touchdown variance to be the biggest value among the skill-position group. Overall my QB advice with guys like Andrew Luck and Andy Dalton turned out pretty good, though Aaron Rodgers disappointed. I noted the risk/reward profiles of both Jameis Winston and Mitch Trubisky. The former crashed and burned, and the latter was solid enough to be on @swimcrew6’s winning lineup.
My biggest dud at running back was recommending Chris Thompson, who took a backseat to old/old Adrian Peterson, and Saquon Barkley wound up not worth the price tag. But otherwise I’d say fading David Johnson and Nick Chubb worked out, as did playing Philip Lindsay, Marlon Mack, Tarik Cohen, Jalen Richard, Kareem Hunt and, of course, Todd Gurley. Not noting Conner was a miss. I was considering Chris Carson and the aforementioned Peterson, but the lack of pass-catching from both gave me pause—much to my detriment.
By and large the top-end wide receivers came through—even Stefon Diggs, who I noted was overpriced. I wound up playing a lot of Tyler Boyd this week on Fanball writ large, though had AJ Green in this particular lineup—who was fine, but not great. Most of my lower-end plays crapped out, with the exception of Anthony Miller—who I noted liking over Taylor Gabriel this week.
Tight end was a minefield. I didn’t mind David Njoku or CJ Uzomah. Heck, Ben Watson was at least defensible in my mind. Zero, nada, zilch. I’m not taking a victory lap for recommending Travis Kelce, but I nearly had a nice one lined up with Jimmy Graham until he landed on his ass a foot short of the end-zone early on and didn’t catch another pass. My dart-throw Chris Herndon worked out OK thanks to a late touchdown (his only catch), and OJ Howard was also solid. But man, Week 8 really makes you want to pay up for tight end moving forward.
My team defense calls, outside of the Baltimore Ravens, worked out nicely, with Washington, Pittsburgh and Carolina all having fine days. The Jets didn’t do much, but once again weren’t lineup killers because of their bargain-basement price.
So last week Todd Gurley was 60% owned, and this week at just $200 more he was only 34% owned. Not sure what that’s about other than there being some other really nice plays on the board that were attractive enough to move some folks off Gurley. Lindsay was one of those plays, as Royce Freeman’s ankle injury caused 38% of folks to roster his backfield mate. Cohen came in at 24% and Conner at 23%. I was surprised that Mack was just 8% after his huge game last week. That was double his Week 7 ownership, but again, a testament to the number of solid plays at the position this week (perhaps his questionable injury status throughout the week played a role, too).
Trubisky was all over the top of the leaderboard this week at 21% thanks to his low price. Meanwhile, Boyd’s high price wasn’t enough to keep the same percentage of folks from betting on a bounce-back after Week 7’s flop. Surprisingly, Joe Mixon wasn’t extended the same courtesy at just 9% owned. While we’re on Cincy, Uzomah came in at 17% while Njoku was at 21%. That’s a lot of zeros.
Adam Thielen’s ownership came down slightly (from 38% to 33%), and I expect that trend will continue after Diggs big game. The Steelers defense was way up at 28% owned as well, which wasn’t surprising given their price and matchup.
When you can’t play Blake Bortles, might as well play another low-priced, high-variance quarterback. This week the honor goes to Ryan Fitzpatrick, who basically is older and beardier Jameis Winston. Both guys can put up huge stats. Both guys can throw mind-numbing interceptions. The Panthers aren’t exactly a team to attack nor are they one to particularly avoid, but this one being in Charlotte makes this feel a little too risky for me. It can work out—Tampa quarterbacks have put up huge numbers basically all season—but I wouldn’t go out of my way here considering the Panthers haven’t allowed more than two touchdown passes in any game this season.
As long as we’re on the subject of questionable plays, let’s talk about Nick Chubb. At $6,800 he’s the 13th most expensive runner on the slate, and I’d only begrudgingly call him top 20 overall in terms of upside here. Granted, we don’t know how this offense is going to look now that Hue Jackson and Todd Haley have been fired, but Chubb’s never been a pass-catcher. If anything, I think he’ll be on the field less with Duke Johnson more involved in the passing game. That would be especially true against a Chiefs team that will have Cleveland chasing all day. Hard pass.
DeAndre Hopkins at $8,500 is expensive, but certainly worthwhile now that Will Fuller is out of commission. Keke Coutee is going to see a role change if/when healthy, and newest Texan Demaryius Thomas gets a revenge game right out of the chute, but neither player because of the aforementioned variables is a safe bet to see high targets. That leaves Hopkins as a usage monster who I will definitely be considering this week.
Then there’s Njoku, fresh off his goose-egg. The good news is that the two coaches most responsible for the egregious output were fired shortly thereafter, so hopefully we’ll see Njoku bounce back here. As I noted above, the Browns should be passing—and Njoku is arguably their second best weapon in the pass game (I think Duke is still in that conversation). I can’t in good faith refer to him as safe considering last week’s debacle, but the list of guys after Njoku feels extremely risky—and he’s value priced at $5K, $2,000 less than Travis Kelce.
My squad? Glad you asked.
The top seven guys I think are pretty fairly ordered, though Cam Newton stands out to me with that juicy matchup if I’m going to pay up and not go with Mahomes. Matt Ryan on the road against an underrated defense gives me some pause, but I like the $6,900 price tag if I can’t find the $600 I need to get up to Cam. Case Keenum would be interesting against an injury-riddled Houston secondary if it wasn’t just another $200 to get to Fitzpatrick—who has a similar risk profile to Keenum but much more upside. Baker Mayfield’s just $5,500 and will have to throw to keep up with the Chiefs. If you’re going to risk it on Njoku and want to spend up elsewhere, I could see rolling the dice on Baker here under the new regime.
Yep, keep playing Todd Gurley. His price is actually down $100 this week though he’s playing on the fast track in New Orleans. Melvin Gordon’s high price tag is an avoid for me in part because he’s coming off injury (even though he had a bye to heal up) and in part because he’s in Seattle. I think he can have a big game still, but I’d rather spend less and get Kareem Hunt, Alvin Kamara or James Conner (assuming no Le’Veon Bell). Christian McCaffrey at $8,100 makes an excellent stack with Cam, and Adrian Peterson at $7,400 facing Atlanta’s sieve defense is pretty tough to pass up. I think I’m sitting out on Tarik Cohen this week against a tough Buffalo defense on the road now that he’s way up at $6,900. He can break a big play at any time, but with Nathan Peterman likely getting the start for a concussed Derek Anderson, I don’t see Buffalo keeping this close enough to get Cohen the touches he needs for a safe floor at that price. Jordan Howard at $5,900, though, could be in play. For just $100 more I think I prefer Aaron Jones, though, now that Ty Montgomery is a Raven. And while we’re talking NFC North backs, keep an eye on the news this week. No Dalvin Cook again makes Latavius Murray a lock at $5,600, and if Dalvin practices in full all week, I’m happy to fire him up at $5,900. If you need a dart throw, Duke at $4,400, Devontae Booker (if Royce Freeman sits again) at $4,100, and Trenton Cannon $3,400 are all in play.
The biggest impediment to rostering Hopkins this week will be that I’m already likely paying up for Michael Thomas at $8,300. He’s my favorite WR play of the week and just the fifth highest price at the position. Julio Jones is only $7,900, which also stands out as high-end value despite the fact Julio is end-zone resistant. I’m going to keep beating the Kenny Golladay drum despite the matchup at Minnesota this week, especially now that Golden Tate was traded to the Eagles for a bonus bye week. Golladay’s only $5,700 and should see an increase in target share, while Marvin Jones Jr. is up at $6,500 off his big Week 8. As long as we’re talking Lions, consider T.J. Jones if you need a punt play—he’s only $2,900 in Week 9 and sees an immediate uptick in opportunity. The free square this week is Courtland Sutton, who’s usage increase should outweigh the extra defensive attention he’ll likely see—certainly enough to pay off his $4,900 price tag. DeVante Parker at $4,700 is intriguing, especially if Kenny Stills is out again. Same for DJ Moore at $4,300, who I like more than Parker and is close to locked in my lineup if Torrey Smith misses again.
No Zach Ertz this week and Rob Gronkowski’s simply not getting enough work to justify his price tag, so it’s Travis Kelce versus the field in Week 9. If you can afford Kelce, click it and forget it. He’s a relative value at just $7,000. Greg Olsen at $6,000 is solid if you’re going with a Cam stack, but probably too expensive otherwise considering his low floor. Same can be said of Jimmy Graham with Aaron Rodgers. OJ Howard is my favorite tight end play in the non-Kelce division because of consistent targets, a reasonable price, and a matchup with a Panthers squad allowing the most fantasy points to tight ends in the league through eight weeks.
Here comes another week where I won’t be able to help myself. The Bears get Nathan Peterman, but they’re premium priced at $4K. But if Khalil Mack plays in this one after sitting last week, I’m going to need to be restrained. I think Kansas City’s defense at Cleveland is in play at $3,400, but Miami hosting the Jets for $100 less is better. If you can’t find more than $3K you can go back to Pittsburgh this week, as Joe Flacco’s usually good for a turnover or two. Though, frankly, at that point I’d save the extra $300 and go down to Buffalo. Yes, the offense is atrocious, but the Bills defense is legit and they’re at home against Mitch Trubisky—who I still think has a Jameis-Winston-from-Week-8-type game in him coming sooner than later.
OK, let’s keep on keepin’ on. Just because Charch keeps taking it easy on us doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be fighting for first place while we collect our Week 17 entries. If I’m not the $50 winner this week, I hope 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.