1:00 PM Texans @ Buccaneers — 50 O/U (HOU by 3)
This Houston and Tampa Bay game will easily be the chalkiest of this short slate, and for good reason. It boasts the highest total, closest spread, best weather conditions, and arguably best plays. So, let’s break down the relevant plays in this game and how we can attack it.
Deshaun Watson at $7,000 tops the slate as the most expensive quarterback on the board and should carry the highest ownership. The Bucs are 7th in Points Allowed to opposing Quarterbacks, averaging 21.1 fantasy points per game. I don’t see any real incentive to take Jameis Winston, who only saves you $100, other than ownership. His top passing game targets are Breshad Perriman and Justin Watson and he’s playing with a busted hand. Alas, the Texans are 3rd in PA to QBs, giving up 21.8 FPPG.
We absolutely have to pair Watson with DeAndre Hopkins at $8,500, who is the single most expensive player on the slate, but worth every penny. Tampa Bay leads the league in PA to opposing WRs, averaging over 30 FPPG. If active, Will Fuller is only $5,900 and has shown his ability to go absolutely nuclear and bury you if you fade him. However, should Fuller be sidelined, Kenny Stills is a great value play at only $4,400. Breshad Perriman will be operating as the #1 WR for TB at $6,000 and is almost certainly a fade for me given his projected ownership. Too many fish will flock to this play given the recency bias and chase the points, but I still believe Justin Watson is the guy we want and I’m going right back to him this week at only $4,600. The Texans are giving up over 23 FPPG to WRs, and have been ravaged recently by AJ Brown, Noah Fant, and Julian Edelman. The Bucs recently promoted a dude named Ishmael Hyman from the practice squad, who will see WR3 duties and is min. priced at $3k. He’s worth a flier if you’re playing multiple lineups in large field tournaments to help fit in the studs.
I’m personally off of *Carlos Hyde (Q, ankle), because the Bucs are stout up front, ranking dead last in PA to RBs, averaging a meager 11.6 FPPG. Given the game environment, Duke Johnson could see some work and offers decent upside at his price of only $4,100 and could be your contrarian play for exposure to this game. Even if he’s been in a timeshare, I don’t hate playing Ronald Jones this week for only $4,400. Bruce said he needs to get the backs more involved in the passing game and has previously stayed true to his word. Given the injuries to the WR corps, RoJo could be in for 4-6 targets and that’s enough for me to bite.
I’m insta-locking OJ Howard at $4,000 with Mike Evans and Chris Godwin done for the year with hamstring injuries, but I don’t hate taking a flyer on Darren Fells ($3,000) or Cameron Brate ($3,500) if you’re building multiple lineups. Howard has seen 8 > 5 > 6 targets over his past 3 games, and could possibly see even more this week with Godwin out now too. Houston and Tampa Bay are both top 6 in terms of points allowed to Tight Ends, averaging ~9 FPPG.
It’s always a viable strategy to take the defense facing Jameis Winston, but the Texans ($3,200) defense is baaad. Just take the Bills for $300 less against Brady’s noodle armed 7.6 aDOT.
4:30 PM Bills @ Patriots — 37 O/U (NE by 6.5)
You could obviously make a case for any of these QBs in tournaments on a short slate, but if you’re playing cash/single entry or small fields, avoid this game. The only Patriots skill players I would consider are Julian Edelman at $6,400 or James White at $5,800.
On the other side of the ball, Devin Singletary at $5,500 offers you a touchdown discount, only finding the end zone once over his last 6 games; however, he’s overtaken the eternal Frank Gore and is averaging well over 20 total opportunities during this span. We know this Patriots pass defense is elite, ranking dead last in points allowed to the WR position, but we’ve recently seen them show vulnerability to the running back position. John Brown at $5,700 isn’t in play for me, lining up against Pro Bowl CB Stephon Gilmore; but, I do have a mild interest in a $4,800 Cole Beasley, who caught 7 of 13 targets for 75 yards when these two teams first met back in Week 4.
If you’re punting Tight End, then Dawson Knox for $2,700 won’t wow you, but you can project 4-5 targets and pray he hits pay dirt. You can pay up for Patriots D/ST at $4,000, but I’ll take savings with the Bills for only $2,900 personally against an anemic Patriots offense.
8:15 PM Rams @ 49ers — 44 O/U (SF by 6.5)
Recently, we’ve seen the 49ers get lit up by the Saints and Falcons, but they were missing nearly half of their defensive starters. This week, it appears Cornerbacks Richard Sherman and K’Waun Williams are healthy and off the injury report, which doesn’t bode well for the Rams passing game. Although Robert Woods has been en fuego over his last few games, I’m not excited to fire him up this week at $6,200 or really any Rams pass catcher for that matter. Tyler Higbee has been incredible and should be treated as a top 5 TE, but with Gerald Everett set to return, I don’t know if we can bank on the same volume we’ve grown accustomed to. I could also see Higbee needing to block more in this game to try to keep Goff from crumbling under pressure and open some lanes up for Gurley. If you want to pay up at TE, George Kittle at $6,500 is your man. This is probably more of a tournament play because I don’t think you can fit him in with Deshaun and the RBs we’re going to want to play in smaller fields and cash games. There’s no denying Kittle though, he’s seen 25 targets in his last two games for 201 yards and a score, so, there’s no faulting you for paying up for Jimmy GQ’s first option. The only other pass catcher from the 49ers I’m willing to gamble on is rookie star Deebo Samuel for $5,100. Jalen Ramsey is a bad man, but Deebo has the versatility and the skill-set to line up all over the field and avoid Ramsey and do some damage in this game.
Personally, I’m attacking this game at the RB position, playing both Todd Gurley $6,500 and Raheem the Dream Mostert for $6,100. Los Angeles was just eviscerated on the ground, giving up 248 yards and 3 touchdowns to Zeke and Tony Pollard. It’s become clear that Raheem the Dream is currently the best RB for the 49ers, leaving Shanahan no choice but to feed him touches. The two backs in this game just present the most stable touch floor on such a short slate, with Devin Singletary as a nice 3rd option to build your floor, albeit in a tough spot.