DFS START EM SIT EM WEEK 9: PROOF OF CONCEPT
We are at the half-way point of the season and certain trends have remained consistent: Tampa Bay Defense is bad and lineups should be built around them, the Atlanta Falcons are terrible against pass catching running backs, the Saints secondary is really bad to all receiving positions, the Ravens offense is airing it out a lot with little to no fantasy production from the WR position, and Adam Thielen is just fantastic. No matter how you spin it, these little tidbits of information are very helpful when setting your DFS lineup every week and should be in the back of your mind. It is important to identify value plays using these little nuggets, which should help you fit the more expensive players in to your lineup. Below is one of my most used lineups this week and one I feel very confident in. I am not an expert, just a guy who likes numbers, football and money. So set your lineups and let’s win some money together:
CAM NEWTON, QB CAROLINA PANTHERS vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
RULE OF THUMB: Start any and all QBs against the Tampa Bay DST. By now, it is no secret that the Bucs defense is very bad. They are currently allowing 26.2 Fantasy points per game to opposing QBs (1st in NFL), 2330 passing yards allowed (4th in NFL) and 20 passing TDs (1st in NFL). Here are some notable Fantasy Points allowed by week:
- Week 1: Drew Brees 30.0 Fantasy Points (QB2)
- Week 3: Ben Roethlisberger 25.0 Fantasy Points (QB9)
- Week 4: Mitchell Trubisky 43.0 Fantasy Points (QB1)
- Week 6: Matt Ryan 28.0 Fantasy Points (QB4)
- Week 7: Baker Mayfield 21.0 Fantasy Points (QB8)
- Week 8: Andy Dalton 20.0 Fantasy Points (QB11)
The Bucs DST also ranks 27th against #1 WRs (Devin Funchess), 31st against #2 WRs (DJ Moore), 26th against Tight Ends (Greg Olson) and 29th against pass catching running backs (Christian McCaffrey). Newton can also gain yards with his legs, so look for him to have his best week of the season.
CHRISTIAN MCCAFFREY, RB CAROLINA PANTHERS vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
We already know he’s good. CMC is playing 96% of his team offensive snaps (1st among RBs) and averaging 7.3 targets per game (4th among RBs). He is averaging 32.0 routes run per game (2nd) and is averaging 19.0 fantasy points per game (8th among RBs). He is also 8th in the league among RBs with 136 total touches and is a bellcow back by definition. So if you know he is good, why is he good this week? The Bucs defense is averaging
- 22.3 fantasy points per game to opposing RBs (11th in NFL)
- 8 rushing TDs (4th in NFL)
- 381 receiving yards (13th in NFL)
They are currently ranked 29th overall to pass catching running backs. This is a no brainer play and an ideal stack with Cam this week. Do it.
ADRIAN PETERSON, RB WASHINGTON REDSKINS vs. Atlanta Falcons
Adrian Peterson is not human and I’m pretty sure he never has been. He continues to play through injury and old age to defy the odds and churn out meaningful and useful fantasy production. Peterson is averaging 26.0 touches and 18.5 fantasy points per game in his last 2 games. He is also averaging 22.0 fantasy points per game when he gets at least 19 touches. The Atlanta Falcons DST is allowing 26.2 Fantasy points per game (2nd in NFL) and 7 rushing TDs (5th in NFL) to opposing RBs. Adrian Peterson has not and will not be much of a factor in the passing game (1.8 targets per game), but the Falcons defense has struggled badly against pass catching running backs:
- 87 Targets against (1st)
- 70 Receptions allowed (1st)
- 619 receiving yards (1st)
Chris Thompson is inactive for Week 9, which means Kapri Bibbs could be a super sleeper this week since he has shown he can handle pass catching duties (Week 7: 4-43-1). Week 9 should be a huge dose of AP.
COOPER KUPP, WR LOS ANGELES RAMS @ New Orleans Saints
A white hot Rams offense squaring off against a collectively bad Saints Pass defense is the stuff that dreams are made of. Since everyone will be starting the Rams receivers this weekend, Kupp should be the most productive. The New Orleans Saints DST is allowing:
- 33.1 Fantasy Points per Game to Opposing Wide Receivers (1st in NFL)
- 1,516 Yards Allowed (4th in NFL)
- 12 TD Allowed (2nd in NFL)
- Ranked 32nd against #1 WRs
- Ranked 32nd against #2 WRs
- Ranked 30th against Pass Catching RBs
While the Saints secondary is only ranked 7th against slot receivers, Cooper Kupp will line up across from PJ Williams who is allowing a 139.1 QB Rating this season, which is the 10th highest rating in the league. On top of that, Williams is allowing a 114.0 pass rating when lining up in the slot, which is the 11th worst mark. Kupp should have a big day in his first game back since leaving early Week 6.
WILLIE SNEAD, WR BALTIMORE RAVENS vs. Pittburgh Steelers
Willie Snead is being targeted on 21.6% of snaps from the slot this season (7th in NFL). In his last 4 games, he has been targeted on 25.6% of his snaps from the slot (1st in NFL). In this span, he was also targeted on 24.6% of his overall snaps (3rd in NFL among Slot WRs) and is seeing a 17% team target share, which is the same as John Brown.
- 82.5% snaps from slot (5th) SEASON
- 87.7% snaps from slot (3rd) LAST 4 WEEKS
- 90.5% snap from slot (3rd) LAST 2 WEEKS
- 7.1 Targets per Game (19th) SEASON
- 8.5 Targets per Game (7th) LAST 4 WEEKS
- 8.5 Targets per Game (9th) LAST 2 WEEKS
While Snead is not racking up fantasy points and hasn’t scored a TD since Week 1, but there is opportunity here that could turn into consistent and solid fantasy production. Pittsburgh is currently ranked 18th against slot receivers. Snead will line up across from Mike Hilton, who is very good covering the slot, allowing a 67.1 QB Rating when covering the slot. But with Snead’s recent volume and workload, I think this could be a breakout week for him with the perimeter corners busy with John Brown and Michael Crabtree. This is a long shot play, but can help get a big value WR in your lineup and could pay off big if it hits.
ADAM THIELEN, WR MINNESOTA VIKINGS vs. Detroit Lions
This is another no brainer, but it’s nice to be able to get the best receiver in football in your DFS lineup sometimes by saving at other positions. He is currently averaging:
- 11.9 targets per game (1st in NFL)
- 9.3 receptions per game (1st in NFL)
- 115.6 yards per game (1st in NFL)
- 25.4 Fantasy points per Game (1st in NFL)
The Detroit Lions defense is averaging a respectable 22.8 fantasy points per game, which is the 11th best mark in the league. However, they are currently ranked 30th against #1 WRs. They are also ranked 32nd against slot receivers, where Thielen lines up on 62% of his snaps and has been targeted on 26% of his snaps when lining up in the slot (5th in the NFL). He is running 45.9 routes per game, which is the most in the NFL. Thielen is a beast and a no brainer every week, if you can squeeze him in your lineup.
OJ HOWARD, TE TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS @ Carolina Panthers
OJ Howard has been targeted 5.6 times per game in his last 3 games. In that span, he has also ran 29.6 receiving routes per game, which is 8th in the NFL among Tight Ends. He is also averaging 15.0 fantasy points per game in these 3 weeks.
He is becoming the go to Tight End option in Tampa and should be in line for a big day against a Panthers defense, who is allowing:
- 10.8 fantasy points per game to opposing Tight Ends (4th)
- 45 receptions to TEs (4th)
With Ryan Fit-Magic under center, look for Howard to eclipse the 100 yard mark for the first time this season. He should get some run on Sunday.
ISAIAH CROWELL, RB NEW YORK JETS @ Miami Dolphins
Isaiah Crowell is hard to start and hard to stomach. Then, literally out of no where he goes off on 15 carries for 219 yards and 1 TD in Week 5 against the Broncos. A glimmer of hope, only dies out after not exceeding 40 yards from scrimmage or 8 fantasy points in any of his last 3 games. The Miami Dolphins DST is allowing:
- 24.8 fantasy points per game to opposing RBs (4th in NFL)
- 1001 rushing yards (3rd In NFL)
- 7 rush TDs (5th In NFL)
The Miami Dolphins are allowing 4.6 yards per carry on the ground (8th in NFL) and Crowell may get a full workload this weekend. He is very hard to trust, but could pay dividends if you have to throw him in your flex spot this week.
DEFENSE / DST
CLEVELAND BROWNS, DST vs. Kansas City Chiefs
This was more about having to go with the bottom defense to squeeze some other value players into my lineup. I know what the Chiefs offense is capable of, but the Browns defense was good once. They are averaging 2.5 sacks per game and 1.5 interceptions per game, which can be helpful. They are also allowing 32.3 points per game in their last 3, which is pretty terrible, but Defense in DFS is a crapshoot and you shouldn’t expect much. Hopefully they can salvage the week with a Special Teams TD or a pick 6.