The Fantasy Football Party will post a values story every week at ZoneCoverage.com to help you set winning DFS lineups for the show listener league and all the other great games at FantasyDraft.com — our exclusive DFS partner for 2018!
Whether you’re getting in our weekly listener league for just $5 or playing for big money in tournaments like the Wishbone, Flea Flicker or Pump And Go, you’ll want to take advantage of the value plays on the board at FantasyDraft.com this week. And that’s where we come in. Below are some of the players at each position who stand out one way or another on this week’s main slate (12 games) using the modeling tool at FantasyLabs.com.
All scoring projections/rankings are from their cash model for Week 10. If you’ve never played at FantasyDraft before, use the listener league link above and deposit at least $10 and you’ll automatically get a free $4 GPP ticket! And if you’re not a FantasyLabs subscriber, get half off a trial membership with the code 50OFF.
And now, on with the countdown…
Matt Ryan at Cleveland — $11,900
Despite putting up the second-most fantasy points among quarterbacks on a weekly basis, Ryan finds himself priced behind eight other signal-callers on the main slate. It’s the rare case of being able to have it all: a no-questions asked, no-strings attached sure thing Walter “Gib” Gibson would be proud of, and you’re saving valuable cap space in the process.
So… Hello, Cleveland! The Browns have given up at least 300 passing yards or multiple touchdowns — sometimes both — to seven of nine quarterbacks they’ve faced, including each of the last four. The QBs who haven’t hit those benchmarks are Sam Darnold and Joe Flacco — neither of whom is anywhere near Ryan’s class when it comes to fantasy production. FantasyLabs concurs, making Ryan their fifth-best cash model value at the quarterback position. Skill, matchup, price… I hope you appreciate the magnitude of your impending good fortune.
Alex Smith at Tampa Bay — $10,500
Here’s hoping last week you didn’t see Alex Smith mentioned as a quality value play and write me off as having lost my marbles. While there is plenty of evidence that is in fact true, backing Smith against the Falcons last week was not one of them. A $10K investment last week resulted in securing Smith’s biggest fantasy outing in two months, a 306-yard performance that has me coming back for seconds. FantasyDraft kicked up Smith’s price $500, but they also gave him an even cushier matchup. While the Falcons have been giving up the fourth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks, the Bucs have been surrendering the most. As in, every quarterback other than Nick Roles in Week 2 tossed multiple touchdowns against them. As in, five quarterbacks (including Foles) threw for at least 330 yards against them. As in, if you’re loading up your DFS roster elsewhere and need to save at quarterback, like maybe with FantasyLabs’ No. 4 quarterback value this week, you’ve come to the right place.
David Johnson at Kansas City — $12,700
I get it. You want Todd Gurley in your lineup. And Alvin Kamara. And Melvin Gordon. Heck, jam Kareem Hunt and James Conner in there too and call it a day, right? Unfortunately, at this point you’ve spent roughly two and a half lineups work of salary cap and still have five roster spots to fill. If you’re the government you can turn to deficit spending, but last I checked FantasyDraft doesn’t play that way. Johnson gives you a way to still employ a stud back in your lineup without breaking the bank. Arizona’s struggles have negatively impacted his production, but there’s no denying his talent.
Plus, the Cardinals have a new play-caller who quickly deduced the best way to keep his job is to do the opposite of what got the previous guy fired—namely, get the ball in Johnson’s hands. You may think a matchup with the Chiefs runs counter-intuitive to starting an opposing running back, but don’t forget—like Arizona’s ex-OC did—that DJ was a wide receiver in college and remains one of the best pass-catching backs in the league. Kansas City has surrendered the second-most catches to running backs along with the most receiving yardage and most receiving touchdowns to the position; witness Duke Johnson’s 9-78-2 receiving performance against the Chiefs last week. Different week, but same defense, same initials, and similar — maybe even better — fantasy production.
Nick Chubb vs. Atlanta — $10,900
The collective inner 13-year-old of the Fantasy Football Party podcast, which is never far from the surface, has reveled in Chubb’s rise (hee hee) to prominence. Since the Browns traded Carlos Hyde to Jacksonville Chubb has handled 18, 20 and 23 touches and produced 80, 75, and 90 yards from scrimmage. All Duke Johnson’s two touchdowns last week have done is kept a lid on Chubb’s cost; since Hyde left town Duke has four carries and is a passing-game factor only. The Falcons have given up running back touchdowns in six straight games, and the six backs who’ve handled double-digit carries against them have produced an average of 16-72-1. If that’s Chubb’s floor, his $10.9K price is a solid investment in what the ceiling might yield.
Jordan Howard vs. Detroit— $9,200
On this week’s podcast, we discussed if this would be a Tarik Cohen week or a Jordan Howard week for the Bears backfield given the extremely fantasy-friendly matchup with the Lions. It’s not just the price—an $1,100 savings off of Cohen—that has me leaning Howard’s way. Detroit is serving up a robust 134 rushing yards per game but is in the bottom third of the league when it comes to giving up receiving production to backs. Plus, this game will be contested in Chicago; the last two times the Honolulu Blue have invaded the Windy City Howard has gashed them for 111 and 125 yards at a healthy 6.2 yards per carry. While both are favorable fantasy plays this week — FantasyLabs has them as the Nos. 3 (Cohen) and 7 (Howard) running back values this week — there’s more than enough compelling evidence to move the needle in Howard’s direction.
Keenan Allen at Oakland — $13,300
There’s a strong quartet of stud receivers atop the FantasyDraft price list this week, followed by Tyler Boyd — priced like A.J. Green, but without much in the way of wingmen to help him produce such numbers. And then there’s some value staring you right in the face in the form of Allen. The lack of a touchdown since Week 1 is keeping his price down, but he’s had five or more catches in four of five and six times overall this season so his floor is more than solid. He’s also coming off a 6-124 outing in Seattle, so it’s not as if Philip Rivers has forgotten where to find him.
Allen had eight catches for 90 yards in an earlier matchup with the Raiders, who are bound and determined to shed any and all talent from their roster before heading to Vegas. That gives Allen 17 catches, 123 yards and a touchdown in his last two matchups with the Silver and Black, who since returning (or did they?) from a Week 7 bye have given up 76 points in two games. Opportunity, history, and an opponent that’s mailing it in: not the usual DFS cocktail, but still tastes like victory.
DeSean Jackson vs. Washington — $9,700
If revenge is a dish best served cold, then DJax is ice, ice baby. Remember when he left Philly? He’s seen the Eagles six times since then and dropped three touchdowns and four 100-yard games on them. Jackson hasn’t faced the Redskins since before he played in DC, but the last six times he played them he topped 80 yards four times and reached the end zone thrice. Maybe you wouldn’t like Jackson when he’s angry, but you definitely want him in your lineup against a Washington defense that’s surrendered an average of 222 receiving yards to wideouts over the past three weeks. You do the math.
Ben Watson at Cincinnati — $6,000
With Greg Olsen and Vance McDonald playing Thursday, a couple of quality options are off the DFS board for the main slate. You can still pay up for Kelce, Ertz or Gronk, or you can throw a dart. Watson’s dart is a bit more directed, as he faces a Bengals defense that’s allowing more than six receptions per game to the tight end position. Watson has scored in two of the last three games, which is great; he was ignored in the third of those three, which is not so great.
There will be plenty of buzz about Dez Bryant joining the Saints, and the usual cast of characters will all be getting theirs for an offense that’s averaging a whisker under 35 points per game. By making him their No. 6 tight end value, FantasyLabs agrees that Watson is worth the risk against a Cincy defense that’s given up two TE TDs and an average of 107 yards to the position over their last three games.
New England at Tennessee — $5,300
Perhaps Tom Brady’s greatest trick is making us forget from time to time that Bill Belichick is a defensive genius. The Patriots are a little thinner and more devoid of talent on that side of the ball than usual, but nothing some Belichick scheming can’t cover — at least until the postseason. This week he’ll trot out his chess board against the checkers-playing Tennessee offense. The Titans have scored more than 20 points twice all season — every four games, like clockwork. Seeing as they dropped 28 on the Cowboys last week, check back in Week 12 for Marcus Mariota’s next big offensive game. Meanwhile, pay down at defense and enjoy a unit that’s top-eight in both interceptions and fumble recoveries taking on an offense that’s seventh in sacks allowed and 29th in points scored.
There is an endless trove of additional data plus incredible tools for modeling, lineup building and more at FantasyLabs.com. If you play DFS, FantasyLabs will make you a better player. Use the code 50OFF to get half off a trial membership. And be sure to get in on the DFS fun at FantasyDraft! Start by joining the listener league for just $5. Good luck this week!
The Fantasy Football Party is recorded each week by John Tuvey, Bo Mitchell and Anthony Maggio. You can also find a story from one of the three each week right here at ZoneCoverage.com. Subscribe to the podcast and never miss an episode by clicking here for iTunes or here for Android.
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