Let’s break down all of the games on the afternoon slate for DFS purposes. There is some fantasy goodness here. Where can you separate yourself on this small slate?
Detroit @ San Francisco
This could be the could be one of my favorite games on the slate. There’s a lot of great options at a fairly cheap price to be able to pay up for the studs RBs on the slate. Kittle and Golladay are my two favorite plays this game they are both way too cheap for their potential upside. Kittle was not eased back into the offense at all the way I would have thought. He caught 5 catches for 90 yards on 9 targets. Garoppolo over threw Kittle twice on deep touchdown opportunities; one could have gone for 80 yards the other for 40 yards. He also missed Kittle in the endzone for an easy score. This is the obvious lock of the game and even the main slate. The 49ers were able to manage Cook in the running game that shouldn’t change much. The Lions haven’t had a good running game in years and this won’t be the game they turn that around. If you want to play someone in that backfield it would be Riddick for me; the only think Cook could get going for him was in the passing game. Riddick will have his normal role of being involve on passing downs where he ran 32 routes with 7 targets and 5 catches for 15 yards. He managed to out snap the other back 41 to 15 snaps for Johnson and 13 snaps for Blount.
George Kittle: I didn’t include him in my top value play because I think he is the top play in this game. He could end up leading the team in targets. When he is able to draw a safety or LB and that matchup will be so one sided his Ceiling is crazy. The 49ers had no reservations playing him last week. He led the team in targets with 9 on 33 routes run. He was a couple over throws away from having a Gronk like game. His ceiling and floor is definitely there for a TE and gives you the pivot off Gronk.
Top value play
Alfred Morris: He should be the lead back in the offense going forward. Last week he claimed he didn’t fully know the offense and going up against a tough run defense in Minnesota he was a clear fade last week, but even with all that being said he managed to have a good game. He had 4 carries inside the 5 and 1 more inside the 10. He finished with 12 carries for 38 yards and if you take away those goal line carries he came away with a nice 4.75 yards per carry. I know people talk about Alfred Morris having no catch upside, but he actually had 19 routes run which was 2 more than Breida did. If he is able to catch a few passes he could be a great value play in a slate where you need it.
Don’t fall into the trap of playing Dante Pettis. Yes, he is getting the start in place of Goodwin but he draws tough matchups. Detroit’s secondary has some holes but is still top 10 in my opinion. You may look at last game’s score and think that the Lions D got torched; so, you think that the 49ers will light up the Lions but that’s further from the truth. Darius Slay was targeted 2 times for 1 catch for 7 yards and Quandre Diggs was targeted 3 times with 2 catches for 9 yards. The Rookie will have a tough time getting anything going on Sunday. He’s a fine cash play on the main slate, but on this small slate I’m looking for an edge and he will draw a ton of ownership so I’m looking to fade him here.
Stafford, Golladay, Riddick: Lions stack I’m looking to go a little sneaky on this slate. 49ers were able to keep Cook in check so I feel like this game will end up being all passing yards for the Lions. Riddick played more snaps than Johnson and Blount combined. If they get behind in this game they will be looking to pass the ball and Riddick who saw 7 targets last game could be in store for similar volume. One Off: Golden Tate 49ers got picked apart in the slot last game by Thielen. Tate is still the yards after catch king and has the ability to break any of his catches for a touchdown.
Kittle, Morris, Garcon: This is a cheap stack you to get exposure in this game. Kittle and Morris offer great value while Garcon offers what should be a nice floor as the WR1 on that team.
New England @ Jacksonville
Here we go the long-awaited rematch of the 2017 AFC championship game. It’s Bortles time to get is revenge on one of the best to ever play the game. What could have been a legendary Superbowl between Foles and Bortles; Brady had to spoil that for us. There’s a lot of injury concerns to look out for in this game and most come from the running back position on both sides. Fournette is dealing with a hamstring injury which may keep him sidelined in this game, leading to what could be great value in TJ Yeldon. Yeldon shined this preseason and as a fill in for Fournette late in the game when he came out. Yeldon finished with 14 carries for 51 yards while that doesn’t seem like the best stat line he managed to play a big role in the passing game leading his team in targets with 7 to finish with 3 catches for 18 yards and a touchdown. That volume makes him a great consideration at 5.6k.
On the other side of the ball there is a lot of questions at running back for the Patriots. Hill went down with a torn ACL after a Gronk fumble. Burkhead is currently in concussion protocol so he is questionable and Sony Michel is still getting over the knee problems that have plagued him for weeks now. If for some reason all can’t play lock James White into a huge role this Sunday. It’s not his running that makes him such a fantasy darling it’s his role in the passing game that gives his that break the slate upside at 4.5k. He only managed to haul in 4 of his team high 9 targets last game but he did manage to score. If all the other running back are out for New England White becomes a complete lock in my book. Blake Bortles no one ever likes to roster him but he has a chip on his shoulder from losing that AFC championship game and if Fournette is out he is left to carry the load for them. Bortles always has the rushing upside in his arsenal which adds to his floor. Bortles ran for 42 rushing yards on 4 carries last week, this may come as a surprise but he is actually 3rd all time in 6.4 yards per carry in his career putting him only behind Michael Vick and Randell Cunningham for all time. He has the possibility to have a huge game at a small price tag. Watch out for weather concerns going into the afternoon slate. Watch out for all the hurricanes that are coming in. There could be some winds from Gordon impacting the game.
Rob Gronkowski: He is still cheap enough to have a huge ceiling at his price. The beef between Ramsey and him are going to be fun to watch. With Gronk you are basically getting a high end WR1 talent at TE. 7k for a ceiling that high is worth it if you decide not to play both Gurley and David Johnson you will want to have Gronk in the lineup. With Gronk is in your lineup I would suggest playing Kittle in the flex. He has the highest ceiling and highest floor at the price range.
Yeldon: This is only if Fournette is out. He is involved enough in the passing game to increase his floor. He has to ability to get 100+ yards from scrimmage and 5+ catches if he’s able to score that’s a huge game.
Blake Bortles: If you want to go cheap at QB and save some salary Bortles is in the perfect spot. He’s got the upside with his legs that if he throws for over 200 yards and 2 touchdowns; he can have a great game.
James White: If White becomes the main RB in that backfield then he becomes an instant lock at that price. He’s has the perfect price tag where people will look to fade him but cheap enough to lock him in. I still like him if Burkhead pays. They’ll both be in play and have similar roles as last week.
Bortles, Yeldon: The QB + RB combo is always fun especially with a pass catching running back with a QB that can get done on the ground too. You are able to get all the touchdowns in the offense.
Gronk, White: I just want to do a 2 player stack of the Patriots in this game I’m not sure if Brady gets enough points to be worth it even with these two go off in your lineup. White can grab 6-8 catches but only get 50 yards; so that doesn’t have to correlate with Brady. Gronk can have a huge game as Brady’s main target with him not paying off value. I just think there is other QB options to go where you don’t need to play Brady against one of the best defenses in the league.
Tom Brady: He’s not really a trap play none of these guys in this game is a trap play, but he is my least favorite play on the slate. He is going up against one of the top defenses in the league. In the playoffs last year he managed to get 290 yards and 2 touchdowns, but QBs average 190 yards and 1.06 touchdowns all last season. I just don’t trust him in this matchup as the most expensive QB on the slate.
Arizona @ Los Angeles
After Bradford couldn’t get his offense going against the Redskins there’s no reason to believe they will have more success against a better defense. The Rams have a top D-Line and top Cornerbacks similar to what they faced against the Skins just better versions. The Cardinals will have to attack through DJ, Fitzgerald and Seals-Jones over the middle to have any success in the game. The Rams will look to get a quick lead in this game as the establish they are the top dogs in this division. If the cardinals aren’t able to get to Goff, they are in for a tough time as had the third highest passer rating in the league with a clean pocket and the addition of Andrew Whitworth to defend his blind side has been huge as he’s quickly progressed in his short career. When the Cardinals fall behind in this game they will look to get anything going in the passing game Stafford will lean on DJ and Fitzgerald to hep him out leading to high volume for these guys. Trying to figure out between these 3 WRs for the Rams is tough. They all played 97% of the snaps and saw 8-9 targets each. Woods was 2 overthrows away from having a huge game; if Goff connects on those people are talking about him way more. Game script might not favor these guys though if the Rams are able to get off to an early lead and just feed Gurley the rest of the game.
Todd Gurley: Game Script should favor him in this game. The cardinals we just ran all over by the Redskins and that should continue to be the case especially if the Rams get off to an early lead and just Gurley run for the rest of the game. He is instore for high volume and will be involved in the passing game too adding to his ceiling.
Gurley, DJ, Fitz, Rams D: RB +Defense has a sneaky correlation. Running it back with a pass catching back on the other side of the ball when you know he will have high usage when down. This is the most expensive stack on the slate but has the highest upside. You just need to find the right value plays to fit into it. Fitzgerald will be heavily involved with short passes up the middle to try to expose the hole in that defense the same way the Raiders were able to do in the first half.
Ricky Seals-Jones: The Raiders were able to find a mismatch with the TE on Monday night. The Cardinals will look to do the same thing. You don’t want to challenge their great Cornerbacks, so play to the defenses weakness and try to get your TE going.
There’s no real trap play in this game, but people might see that Chase Edmonds got some run and are scared of DJ’s volume being taken away. Don’t read into this at all. Edmonds only got run because the game got out of hand and they didn’t want to risk injury to their star player. Once they scored and started to get back into the game they put DJ right back into his workhorse role.
Oakland @ Denver
The Keenum Sanders connection was everything I could have imagined and more. Keenum loved the slot last year seen by is connection with Thielen. Once I heard Sanders was running over 50% of his snaps in the slot during the preseason. I quickly loaded up on him in all my best balls. The stack last week was an instant lock for me with sanders at 5k in a cake walk of a matchup against the Seahawks. The Denver backfield is starting to look like a RBBC. Both had similar stats and snap counts. It’s hard to decide between the 2. I’m staying away from them; I’ve seen a lot of hype around Lindsey, recency bias will play a big role in his ownership. I’ll try to avoid that whole situation with other great options on the board. The Raiders looked good in the first half but their offense completed staled in the second half. Game script favored Richard in the second half and Carr just kept throwing short passes to him, great for me who rostered him in the showdown but awful for the Raiders who recorded just 3 first downs in the second half not counting the last drive which the Rams just sat back and let them throw underneath.
Sanders: He still cheap enough where I don’t have to think much about the play. His connection with Keenum will continue to progress through out the season. After a huge start to the season catching 11 out his 12 targets for 135 yards he will continue to produce in another smash spot against a poor Raiders Defense.
Jalen Ricard: He will be used in a similar way as he was las week. You won’t see much of him in the 1st half but he should see usage nice they are down in this game they’ll look to Richard to for easy offense to get some confidence in their passing game.
Courtland Sutton: I’m still waiting for his break out game. He is one of my top rookies Wide Receivers for this class. He was involved enough in the offense last week to believe he still has the upside. At 3.5k if he gets 5 targets again I’ll be happy.
Keenum, Sanders, Richard, Denver D: I love this stack. It is one of my favorite correlation plays of the slate. Keenum and Sanders have found a great connection, which was expected after we saw how much Sanders was playing out of the slot and last Sunday was no different he saw over 50% of his snaps in the slot. I don’t have faith in the Raiders offense at all this season; making Denver D one of my top defenses on the slate. Running that stack back with Richard correlates well with his touch count last game. He saw 50% of the running back snaps but saw 90% of those during the second half when they were trailing and during the 2 minute warning of the first half. These were obvious passing situations.
Jared Cook: People are going to see what Cook did last week and assume he will reproduce those stats. The matchup last week for cook was great, but once Phillips put Talib on him he was shut down. He could still have a good week going up against one of the worst defenses against TEs in the league but he not an option I’m looking for I would rather just play Kittle at the same price.
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