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This week has turned into madness, so this article might be obsolete by Sunday. This week more than any other you have to keep up with all news Sunday morning.
Let’s dive into Week 9…
I am going to make this easy: 100% Todd Gurley. Yes, I can make decent arguments for playing Leonard Fournette (home favorite with big workload) and Julio Jones (300 yards against the Panthers last year), but Gurley is the play for me. The Rams are traveling across the country where they are 3.5-point road favorites against a Giants team that has collapsed from last season’s #2 overall defense by Football Outsider’s DVOA to 24th this season. The best player on their defense, Janoris Jenkins, is being suspended by the team just like Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was a few weeks ago. The coaching staff has clearly lost the locker room, and there’s no fight left in this Giants team. Outside of my subjective feelings about the Giants’ turmoil, they’re also just a bad football team playing a good football team. The Giants are 24th in rush defense DVOA and 22nd in covering the pass to running backs out of the back field. Play the Toddfather.
I was actually excited to play Will Fuller at low ownership this week, but not with Tom Savage. Mike Evans will still get his usual 8+ targets, but I can’t play him going up against Pro Football Focus’ #1 corner this season Marshon Lattimore and having a banged up Jameis Winston throwing him the ball; I would not be surprised to see Ryan Fitzpatrick in the game at some point. (See my reasoning for A.J. Green, and know it applies to Evans too). By default, this just leaves Mark Ingram. If you’ve read my articles weekly, you know I’ve been locking him into every single lineup since the Adrian Peterson trade. He’s in another great spot as 6.5-point home favorites against the 30th ranked defense by DVOA in the Buccaneers. Since the trade, Ingram has 18+ carries and 5+ targets in each game. Lock and load Ingram once again.
Zach Ertz has been one of the most consistent fantasy players this season, scoring between 13.1 and 19.9 in every game this season. Denver’s pass defense is vulnerable to the tight end, ranking 27th in DVOA against the position. Kelce went off for 7-133-1 against the Broncos last week, so expect a ceiling game from Ertz if he’s truly healthy. The Saints are my favorite team to target on this slate (I’m sure that’s a popular opinion), so I’ll have Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara on some lineups as well. The Buccaneers pass defense ranks 27th in DVOA against opposing #1 receivers and 25th against running backs. This is a get right spot for the entire Saints passing game, and it might be sneaky to play Kamara and Ingram together; they can both go for 20+ DK points.
Here’s a list of which QBs I like in this tier and who I’ll be stacking them with:
Carson Wentz: Zach Ertz
Cam Newton: Devin Funchess, Christian McCaffrey
Jared Goff: Todd Gurley
Jacoby Brissett: T.Y. Hilton, Jack Doyle
I understand he’s playing against the best defense in football, but A.J. Green has easily the highest ceiling in this tier. If Green sees 8-10 targets and somehow comes down with a touchdown, he can do enough. Antonio Brown went from 10-157 against this Jaguars defense, so it’s possible. Christian McCaffrey is going up against a Falcons team that 6th most fantasy points to running backs this season. It’s possible McCaffrey sees some extra reps at wide receiver without Kelvin Benjamin in town now, so he’s worth some exposure. I am also interested in Demaryius Thomas with his old friend Brock Osweiler at the helm. In the 8 games Osweiler started in 2015, Thomas had 10+ targets in 6 of those games. Emmanuel Sanders is coming into the game banged up, so that could funnel even more targets to Thomas. As 7.5-point road underdogs, the Broncos will be throwing early and often.
I am all in on T.Y. Hilton this week…that includes Pickem. No one else really stands out to me in this tier, and T.Y. Hilton is too talented to be here. With Deshaun Watson out, the Colts team total has risen from 17.5 to 19.5 and they’re currently 7-point road underdogs. I like the Colts against a depleted Texans defense that still gets too much love from the public. The Texans gave up 70.1 fantasy points to Seattle receivers last week….give me Eugene Marquis Hilton (I don’t get the T.Y. nickname either).
Going off my Hilton play, Jack Doyle is also firmly in play. Coming off a career game with 14 targets for a stat line of 12-121-1, Doyle is clearly one of Brissett’s go to targets along with Hilton. Doyle has targets of 14, 7, 11, and 11 the past 4 weeks with 3 touchdowns. Over that stretch, Doyle leads all tight ends in percentage of team target by far with 28% (per AirYards.com). I’m also back on the Devin Funchess bandwagon after he cost me a lot of money last week. Kelvin Benjamin is gone, so Funchess could see a bit more work (as I said this with McCaffrey too, I have no strong take on who will benefit from no Benjamin so play them all). Even putting up a dud last week, Funchess was 2nd in highest aDOT (averaged depth of target) behind Will Fuller for players with at least 3 targets. The opportunities were still there, so I’m back on the hype train.
Good luck this week, and feel free to reach out with questions/feedback on twitter @EvanRosenberg0. I would love to hear your thoughts and discuss further.