Nov 12, 2017
We’re through the big bye weeks and there are only 4 teams off this week. The main slate has a couple more games added on and hopefully we can get through this week without another rash of season ending injuries. Aside from the epidemic of injuries to some of the league’s most entertaining players, this year has also seen a lack of dominant teams. This is a good thing for fantasy players, as even teams with losing records are pushing forward with efforts to win games. It also helps that there are three clear front runners for the top pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, so tanking isn’t necessarily an option for the crowded middle class. I’ll be interested to see if this affects fantasy players this year, as even bad teams seem to have ample motivation to win. In fact, all the targets this week from teams with losing records. There is still plenty of value to be found in losing teams, and this week should be a great example of that. Here’s who the Mathletes are targeting this week.
Josh McCown, New York Jets
McCown’s continued usage by seemingly every team with an issue at QB has been covered extensively this year. Part of what makes that such a compelling story has been his current unexpected success. McCown has played some of the best football of his long and well traveled career, tying his career highs in passing and rushing touchdowns, and leading the Jets, who were expected to compete for the worst record in the league, to a 4-5 record. He looks to continue this success against a team that has flipped that positive narrative, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Tampa has looked nothing like the team many predicted to be in the playoff picture, and their defense has been a big part of the problem. The Bucs passing defense is ranked 31st in Football Outsiders’ Pass Defense DVOA and tied for 5th in allowing points to QBs in DraftKings. They have been bad this year, and coming into this week’s game against the Jets they are banged up with starting DE William Gholston already being ruled out, and four other players who start or are big contributors designated as doubtful or questionable including star DL Gerald McCoy and top CB Brent Grimes. Priced at $6100, McCown is the most expensive he’s been all year, but he would have hit value on that price in 3 of the last 4 games and is capable of exposing a hurt defense, especially one that’s been this bad.
Carlos Hyde, San Francisco 49ers
The worst game of the week going by records of the teams participating is actually pretty full of interesting plays. Hyde is in an interesting position as he offers the best skill set among the RBs expected to play in this game and has a lot going for him. He will be facing a defense ranked 28th in rushing yards allowed per game, allowing the 8th most fantasy points per game, and is coming off an embarrassing loss at home to the Los Angeles Rams. Now, the Giants have to travel across the country to play the 49ers after another week of intense scrutiny for a team that had playoff aspirations heading into the year. Hyde has been appeared in every game this year, and while he hasn’t been as productive on the ground, he has made tremendous strides as a receiver, already setting new career highs in receptions and receiving yards. Even more promising, is his usage the last few weeks with new QB C.J. Beathard, where he has seen 11, 9, and 8 targets to go with his usual rushing workload. Hyde will get the majority of snaps against a shaky rush defense, and should be a big part of the passing game as well with the Giants getting Janoris Jenkins back from his one game suspension and the losses of TE George Kittle and WR Pierre Garcon. Hyde has gone over 20 points in DraftKings 4 times already this year and twice in his last 4 games. Things are set up nicely for him to do so again this week.
Robby Anderson, New York Jets
I already covered the Jets matchup in the Josh McCown section above, but Anderson deserves a little more coverage here. Anderson has emerged as New York’s best overall receiving threat and has begun to form a nice bit a chemistry with McCown. He’s been able to score the last three weeks and has also had the three best weeks in terms of catch percentage of his season in the same timeframe. He isn’t a huge volume threat, but he has been open and McCown has been finding him. The absence of Matt Forte has caused everyone to rush to use Bilal Powell, but the pass game could also benefit if the run game of the Jets finds success, as it would open up play action opportunities downfield. Anderson might be the best bet to hurt the Bucs deep, as he has been 13% and 11% above average in the two deep outside halves (deep left and deep right) in terms of receiving success rate. Tampa has been very bad in those two areas, surrendering a 138 rating on the left side and a 129 rating on the right. Anderson is also pretty cheap in DraftKings, allowing for more flexibility elsewhere. He is ready to step up and is on the verge of a breakout game and that could come as soon as this week.
Sterling Shepard, New York Giants
Fantasy points aren’t always pretty and they don’t need to be to help rosters of opportunistic owners. Shepard has ascended to top receiver status on the Giants as a matter of survival as Odell Beckham Jr. and Brandon Marshall both are done for the year. San Francisco is giving up 34.7 points per game in DraftKings to WR, and Shepard should be the recipient of the majority of that production. After missing several games to injury, he returned for the first time since week 5 and had a 25% target share and accounted for 7 of the 20 completions and racking up 70 yards. The only competition Shepard should have in the pass game will probably be rookie TE Evan Engram, and the 49ers are actually rated as the best defense against TEs per Football Outsiders defensive DVOA and 24th against WR1 so Shepard looks good there. The 49ers are still banged up on defense and even when healthy didn’t really have the kind of pass rush to really push Eli Manning into Manning-face territory. This is the best matchup Shepard has seen this year and should have plenty of chances to rack up points. At only $5500, he is very under priced for this matchup and is a great target to play in any DFS format.
Hunter Henry, Los Angeles Chargers
After establishing himself as the best TE option on the Chargers the last few weeks, Henry was barely used in his last game against the New England Patriots before his teams’ Week 9 bye. Prior to that game, Henry had put up double digit point totals against the Denver Broncos, Oakland Raiders, and New York Giants; all games that the Chargers won. Now he gets the best passing defense by several metrics in the Jacksonville Jaguars. It might not seem to be a great idea to use Henry against the Jags, but his combination of talent and price, only $3900, make him worthy of inclusion in DFS lineups. Top CB Jalen Ramsey will be occupied with Keenan Allen or Tyrell Williams outside, and may also shadow Allen when he moves inside. The Chargers have the personnel to exploit the Jaguars weakness against the run, and Philip Rivers has had success against the Jags as recently as last year when he threw for 4 TDs, so he’s seen most of this personnel and the system they like to use. If Melvin Gordon and Keenan Allen can keep the Jags defense busy, it will open things up for Henry. With a whole week to prepare, the Chargers have to know that Henry has to be a bigger part of the offense if they want to have a chance of upsetting the Jags in Jacksonville.Back to DFS