Category Archives: Fantasy Football

Week 12 Picks for DFS and Against the Spread

Here are the Week 12 picks along with a few players whose prices and match-ups combine to make them enticing plays this weekend in DFS.

Note: all home teams are in caps, all lines are from ESPN and are accurate at the time of writing, and that all prices for DFS are from DraftKings.

WASHINGTON +2.5 over Giants

Kirk Cousins has been money at home. He threw for three touchdowns and 317 yards against Tampa Bay last month and a couple of weeks ago, he tore through the Saints with 324 yards and four touchdowns on only 25 attempts. Yeah, New Orleans is awful at defense, but then again, so is New York. Only the Saints allow more overall yards per game than the Giants and its hapless secondary allows 309.9 passing yards each game, the worst in the league by 16.8 yards.

New York is missing its two best offensive linemen, Justin Pugh and Weston Richburg, so the Washington defense shouldn’t have any trouble getting to Eli Manning and he can’t throw touchdowns to OBJ while on his back.

This confluence of factors seems to point towards a Washington blowout victory. Kirk Cousins will set you back only $5300, a great price which will allow you to spend on other positions. The Washington D/ST at only $2000 makes it a fine play if you plan on punting the position as there should be plenty of opportunities for sacks and Manning hasn’t had one of his classic four-pick games yet this season, and we all know it’s coming soon.

JETS -4 over Miami

This one’s a toughie. This is a matchup of a pair of teams that make you feel awful abut betting on them. The Dolphins haven’t put together a solid victory against a half-decent opponent since Week 7 against Houston. The Jets, on the other hand, haven’t had one since October 18th, against Washington. The deciding factor for me is that the Jets won earlier this season in Miami, 27-14, but I’m not sure how much that means because Darrelle Revis is out for this game with a concussion. This game is screaming “STAY AWAY,” so let’s heed its advice and move on.

Oakland -0 over TENNESSEE

These are two up-and-coming teams and it’s a tough game to choose. While the Raiders have the better offense, the Titans have a very strong pass defense. Although Oakland has a good young quarterback in Derek Carr, Tennessee has one too in Marcus Mariota. I’ve been betting on Oakland for the last few weeks, and there’s not enough of a reason for me to stop now.

Delanie Walker is a name you should watch out for. Oakland is awful at defending tight ends, and Walker gets plenty of targets as Mariota’s safety valve. He’s priced at $5400, third-highest among tight ends, but he’s safe with a high ceiling, making him worth it.

KANSAS CITY -5.5 over Buffalo

The Chiefs are getting hot at the right time. After a five-game losing streak dropped them to 1-5, the team has won four straight in dominating fashion, with an average point differential of 22.75. The Bills aren’t doing too shabby themselves, with a couple of wins over the Jets and Dolphins followed by a competitive loss against New England, but they’re a weaker team than the Chiefs.

One important note: Charcandrick West is out for this game with a hamstring injury, meaning that Spencer Ware will take over as the lead back for Kansas City. Ware scored a pair of touchdowns on 101 all-purpose yards and is in line for another massive workload. At his $3800 salary, he’s a bargain.

Tampa Bay +2.5 over INDIANAPOLIS

Like the Eagles on Thanksgiving, I’m not sure why Vegas continues to make the Colts the favorite. With Andrew Luck, Indy would be the choice, but without him, the team just isn’t very good. Even at home, the team will need a lot of luck (sorry, I couldn’t resist) to defeat a suddenly very dangerous Tampa Bay.

St. Louis +10 over CINCINNATI

After an embarrassing loss on Monday Night Football to the Texans, the Bengals bounced back with a somewhat less embarrassing loss to the Cardinals on Sunday Night Football. I fully expect the home team to win this game but St. Louis always seems to play close, competitive games, and Cincinnati doesn’t have the offensive firepower to score enough on the strong St. Louis defense to put the game out of reach early. Yeah, Case Keenum is awful, but Todd Gurley is a stud, and the Rams can just hand the ball off to him again and again to shorten the game, another way of preventing the Bengals from scoring a ton of points.

If Cincinnati is unable to take a big lead, any garbage time touchdown from St. Louis will pull the game within ten and give me the win.

JACKSONVILLE -5 over San Diego

The Chargers are down to Stevie Johnson, Dontrelle Inman, an oversized gravy boat, and an old boot as Philip Rivers’ wide receivers. That group doesn’t inspire much confidence, although I’ve heard that the gravy boat had a surprisingly good 40 time at the draft combine a couple of years ago. The Jaguars, on the other hand, have a pair of Allens at wide receiver, Robinson and Hurns. Robinson is a rising star, and Hurns has been very good too, so Blake Bortles should have no trouble ripping through San Diego’s awful secondary en route to a victory.

Johnson is $4500 and because he’s going to get a ton of targets, he’s a solid play at receiver, especially if you want to save money to allocate elsewhere.

HOUSTON -3 over New Orleans

The New Orleans defense can’t stop anyone. The lowest point total they’ve given up this season was twenty points to a Dallas squad missing Dez Bryant and Tony Romo. For the Texans, it doesn’t matter that their quarterback is a castoff from Cleveland, it doesn’t matter that their starting running back is averaging 3.3 yards per carry, and it doesn’t matter that they’ve only scored more than 26 points once this year. All that matters is that the Saints defense is coming to town. Even if Drew Brees throws five touchdown passes, his defense will allow six, so I’ll gladly lay the field goal and take the Texans

Accordingly, Brian Hoyer at a mere $5000 dollars is a bargain, and I would pay $12000 for DeAndre Hopkins, so at $9100, he’s a must-have. Having Hoyer on the cheap frees up money to get Hopkins, so that Hoyer/Hopkins stack is both enticing and easily attainable.

Minnesota -0 over ATLANTA

The Falcons have been awful lately. They lost to San Francisco. They haven’t had a good win since Week 4 against Houston. Nothing about this team makes me want to rely on them. On top of that, Devonta Freeman is out with a concussion. No thanks, Atlanta, I’ll pass.

Due to Freeman’s absence, Tevin Coleman will be Atlanta’s starting running back. He’s only $4300 so he’s a solid choice if you want to go cheap at running back. Plenty of touches will be freed up, so Julio Jones may get even more of a workload than usual. He’s the most expensive player in the league at $9400 so I’m generally not paying up for him, but if you can fit him under the salary cap, he’s a great player to have.

ARIZONA -11.5 over San Francisco

Last week I made the mistake of taking the points with San Francisco against Seattle. I’m not going to make that mistake again. The Cardinals should rip the Niners to shreds. Carson Palmer will score plenty through the air, and once Arizona is up big, they can simply hand the ball off to a resurgent Chris Johnson.

CJ2K is CJ4.6K in DFS, and due to the heavy workload he’s expected to have, $4600 isn’t much to spend on his guaranteed production.

Pittsburgh +3.5 over SEATTLE

Why is Seattle still considered to be among the best teams in the league? They’re still solid overall, but the trade for Jimmy Graham hasn’t worked out at all, Russell Wilson has been struggling, and the vaunted defense has become less of a strength as it’s turned into a stars-and-scrubs situation due to the huge new contracts handed out to Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman.

While Seattle’s offense has been poor, Pittsburgh, on the other hand, has one of the best offense in the NFL. The Seahawks won’t be able to pull away from the Steelers, so even if they win this game, I doubt it will be by much. Accordingly, I’m happy to take that extra half-point, so a Pittsburgh loss by a field goal still gives me the win.

New England -2.5 over DENVER

In Belichick we trust. The Patriots have lost Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola so their only proven pass-catchers are Brandon LaFell and Rob Gronkowski. The Broncos know this, and their elite defense can shut them down. Brock Osweiler was brock-solid last week against the Bears, but if he gets off to a brocky start, his team could be in for a rough night.

This is actually a matchup between the two top scoring defenses in the league so points will be put at a premium. In addition, snow is expected, making it even harder to score. This type of game is one that the Patriots often face at home in Foxborough, and it’s one that they often win.

CLEVELAND -3 over Baltimore

In an incredibly scintillating game, two teams with a combined five wins will square off. The Ravens don’t have their starting quarterback, their starting running back, or their best wide receiver. At this point, even Cleveland has better offensive weapons than Baltimore.

This game should be the antithesis of entertaining, unless you enjoy seeing ugly football games between subpar players on awful teams, in which case this is your game of the year.

The Cleveland D/ST is an intriguing play at a mere $2000 against a team led by the immortal Matt Schaub who, as we discussed last Thursday, was last seen throwing touchdowns to the other team in 2013. In addition, Josh McCown at $5000 and Gary Barnidge at $4800 are both decent options for those wishing to be contrarian.

We’re through the picks and it’s nearly time for football, so it’s time to finish off this article. If you enjoyed it, feel free to click the “Follow” button on the right side of your screen and to share this article. Check back in on Tuesday for another article, this time discussing the impending SuckBowl between the Lakers and Sixers taking place that night.

Fantasy Impact of Romo Injury

With the recent news that Tony Romo is out for the season after a re-fracture of his left clavicle today against the Panthers, it’s time to quickly examine the injury’s impact on our fantasy teams.

To be honest, there really isn’t that much of a fantasy impact. Romo was back for one full game, so all we have to do is go back to the seven previous Romo-less games to gain a reasonable idea of what we can expect from Cowboys players through the rest of the season.

Matt Cassel will take over at quarterback for Dallas for the remainder of the season. He should obviously be avoided all fantasy teams, but he’s still important due to his effect on his teammates. Put simply, his return as the starter lessens the fantasy value of every one of his receivers.

Darren McFadden should keep his fantasy value barring a seemingly inevitable injury. Feel free to ignore the stacked boxes he’ll undoubtedly face as he dealt with the same earlier this season and still was able to produce. Even if he’s unable to be efficient, it doesn’t matter for fantasy. Remember: tons of touches equals tons of points.

At wide receiver, Dez Bryant is the biggest loser. A WR1 with Romo, he’ll be at best a high-end WR2 with Cassel. There’s more uncertainty about Bryant’s outlook because he was injured earlier this season while Romo was out and thus has yet to play a full game with Cassel. Still, it’s Matt Cassel, so we can’t expect much from Bryant until we’re shown otherwise.

I’ve been down on Jason Witten since the beginning of the season, and I continue to expect him to perform as a low-ceiling borderline-TE1. Witten didn’t play well with Cassel, but it’s not like he played much better with Romo. Outside of scoring his only two touchdowns in the first game of the season, Witten has failed to put up many points. For owners who had been holding on to Witten in the hopes that Romo’s return would rejuvenate his season, it’s time to let go.

Terrance Williams and Cole Beasley, the only other players worth mentioning in this offense, shouldn’t have been owned in any leagues to begin with, and now that Romo is out for the season, they definitely shouldn’t be owned in any leagues.

Hope everyone had a spectacular Thanksgiving full of family, fun, and fantasy points.



Thanksgiving Picks for DFS and Against the Spread

Thanksgiving is a fine American tradition. The turkey, the family reunions, and the annual football game you play with your cousins that ends almost immediately when the rotund Cousin Dave claims he’s “cramping up”. Of course, the best tradition of them all is the ever-present football game on the TV that’s a perfect excuse to escape your Aunt Edna’s smothering hugs.

In the true spirit of Thanksgiving, let’s break down today’s games and in the true spirit of America, let’s do so from a gambler’s perspective.

(Home team in caps)

LIONS -2.5 over Eagles

Honestly, it’s amazing that it’s taken this long for Vegas to sour on the rapidly imploding Eagles. Last week they were somehow giving seven points against Tampa Bay. Yeah, the Bucs aren’t a spectacular team, but when was Philly even a solid team this season? Their best two games came against the Saints and the Giants, two teams that aren’t particularly good. Two weeks ago, they somehow needed overtime to beat a Cowboys team that was led by Matt Cassel. Need I say more?

Panthers +1 over DALLAS

Here’s a strange looking line: the undefeated Panthers getting a point against a 3-7 team. However, once you look at it a little more closely, the line starts to make a little more sense. For one, conventional wisdom states that home field advantage is worth three points, so this line shows that the oddsmakers think that Carolina is the better team by two points. Despite this, it still looks a little off. Again, once you break it down a little further, it makes plenty more sense. The Cowboys may be 3-7 this season, but they’re 3-0 in games started by Tony Romo and 0-7 in games started by the horrendous combination of Cassel and Brandon Weeden. So yeah, I still think the Panthers are the choice in this game, but at least there are clear reasons for Dallas being considered the favorite.

GREEN BAY -8.5 over Chicago

The Packers are looking to lay down the law. After a distressing three-game losing streak which included an embarrassing contest against the Lions, Green Bay demolished the Vikings last week to take back the lead in the NFC North. While the Bears are getting back Matt Forte, the linchpin of their offense, his return won’t help as much as you might think. The guy Forte will be replacing, Jeremy Langford, filled in spectacularly for him during his absence so the star’s return won’t be a massive upgrade. Additionally, Martellus Bennett, the tight end, has already been ruled out for the game, and Alshon Jeffery, the stud wide receiver, is questionable for tonight’s game and has been hobbled all year. The Bears have actually recovered somewhat from their 2-5 start to the season with two wins in their last three games, but on the road in Lambeau Field, the Pack Attack is the choice.

Now, since many state governments have decided that DFS is gambling, let’s proceed with that premise and talk about a few solid Thanksgiving DFS plays on DraftKings.

Jonathan Stewart, at a mere $5200, is one of the best plays of the slate. He’s getting a ton of carries, with a streak of six games and counting with at least twenty carries.

Devin Funchess is another worthy choice. He costs only $3900, and as we discussed in yesterday’s article, he’s becoming a much bigger part of the Carolina offense.

Calvin Johnson and Greg Olsen are the two studs I’d pay up for. Although expensive, both are the only reliable players at their positions.

None of the defensive matchups are appealing, so for your D/ST, why not choose Detroit? Priced at a reasonable $2200, the Lions face a Butt Fumble-led Eagles team which scored seventeen points last week. Sanchez threw in three interceptions for good measure.

As always, if you enjoyed this article, sharing it on social media would be much appreciated, but even if you don’t, good luck in all your gambling endeavors today, enjoy the turkey, and (ready for an awful pun?) thanks(giving) for reading.

Who is This Year’s CJ Anderson?

Last year hundreds of thousands of fantasy leagues were decided by one player: CJ Anderson. Anderson came out of nowhere in Week 9 against the Raiders, racking up 163 all-purpose yards along with a touchdown, for 23.3 points in standard leagues. The next week he salvaged a poor rushing day with eight receptions for 88 yards. From then on, Anderson was a high-end RB1, with only one game below 18.5 points (standard scoring) the rest of the way.

There were other guys who broke out in the latter half of the 2014 season to carry teams to championships. Jeremy Hill was very good, but not nearly as good as Anderson. Odell Beckham Jr. was spectacular, but he was good before the stretch run for the average fantasy league.

Even though Anderson wasn’t owned before the stretch run and Hill and Beckham Jr. both were, there are two important similarities between these three players. Each took advantage of a struggling incumbent starter. Giovani Bernard ceded his job to Hill, Victor Cruz’s injury freed up a ton of targets for Beckham Jr., and Montee Ball was ineffective, which allowed Anderson to fill up that gap in production. Each player was new to the league. Hill and Beckham Jr. were rookies and Anderson was a second-year player who had seven touches across two games in his rookie season.

Let’s use these two criteria to find a few likely breakout candidates. This player needs to have been in the league for less than two seasons and have a starting job ready to be seized after an injured or ineffective starter vacated it.

First and foremost on this list is Thomas Rawls. With the recent news that Marshawn Lynch will be out for at least four weeks after a sports hernia surgery, the running back has a clear path to the starting job in Seattle. Rawls is a rookie, who went undrafted but was then signed by the Seahawks. Adding to Rawls’ appeal, in the four games Lynch has been out so far this season, Rawls has averaged 132.5 rushing yards on 21.5 carries, with three touchdowns. Those are RB1 numbers and with the shaky RB situation this season, Rawls could easily be a top-5 RB the rest of the way.

Javorius Allen is another easy choice. Like Rawls, he’s a rookie and the incumbent starter, Justin Forsett, broke his arm and is out for the season. Not only is the starting running back job his for the taking, the QB, Joe Flacco, is also out for the season after tearing both his ACL and MCL, with Matt Schaub set to take over. Schaub was last seen in 2013, setting a record by throwing a pick-6 in four straight games for the 2-14 Texans. I have a feeling the Ravens won’t give Schaub much responsibility, especially because their wide receiver corps doesn’t inspire any confidence. That’ll lead to a ton of touches for Allen, and in fantasy football, tons of touches equals tons of points.

In Kansas City, the Chiefs haven’t missed a beat after Jamaal Charles went down for the season with a torn ACL. Charcandrick West,  took over the starting job and has produced RB1 numbers with a massive workload. Now, West, should be owned in any competitive league, but he went down with a hamstring injury this past week, opening the door for Spencer Ware to fill in. Ware’s in his third season, but until last week he had a total nine touches in his career. He doubled that on Sunday, totaling eleven carries for 96 yards and two touchdowns along with a five yard reception. Should West miss this week, Ware will have a chance to prove his viability as a feature back, a role which could provide him with the rich usage needed to be a bona fide fantasy stud.

Devin Funchess was a breakout pick at the start of the year. He’s a rookie, drafted in the second round out of Michigan. After Kelvin Benjamin tore his ACL before the season began, Funchess’ ADP began to rise. However, he did almost nothing for the first half of the season, and guys like Ted Ginn Jr. and Jerricho Cotchery soaked up the newly available targets. Over the last three weeks, Funchess has turned his season around, averaging three receptions for 59 yards and catching a pair of touchdowns. With his relative youth and the wealth of targets available to him, Funchess has a good shot at a solid finish to the season.

It’s tricky to predict how long players will be out from concussions, and although Devonta Freeman isn’t expected to miss more than a game from the one he suffered last week, should his ailment keep him out for longer, the Falcons will need to find someone to soak up the a ton of touches. Enter Tevin Coleman, yet another rookie, a third round pick out of Indiana University. He was actually expected to be the starter entering the season, but after an injury sidelined him for a couple of weeks, Freeman took hold of the job and never let it go. Now that Coleman has little competition for running back touches in the Atlanta offense for at least a week, could he perform well enough to steal back the job from Freeman? Admittedly, it’s unlikely, but stranger things have happened.

Last of all, one player with a shot to become this year’s CJ Anderson is…CJ Anderson. This is still only his third year in the league so youth is on his side. Denver’s QB combo of Peyton Manning and Brock Osweiler doesn’t inspire much confidence, so if Anderson can wrest the starting job back from Ronnie Hillman, he could have a spectacular stretch run, leading teams to victory for the second straight year.