Nov 17, 2017
Slowly but surely, the better teams in the league are asserting themselves. The crazy parity that repeatedly showed itself in the early part of the season has begun the inevitable march back to the norm. This past week there were really only two surprising outcomes; the games between the Dallas Cowboys and Atlanta Falcons and the New York Giants and San Francisco 49ers had both home teams taking care of business in front of their local fans. I won’t recap the whole slate of games from Sunday, but I do want to single out the New York Giants and San Francisco 49ers game. Historically bad before a single snap happened, no other teams had combined for one win in a Week 10 matchup since Ronald Reagan was in office, this game was exactly as ugly as expected. But, even in the muck of this mess, there were performances that stood out. Even better than good performances are good performances that can be predicted based on data heading into the games. Eli Manning, Evan Engram, Garrett Celek, and Marquise Goodwin all had valuable days for DFS players and all of them had great matchups. This is all to say, no game can be completely ignored for fantasy players. This shouldn’t be news to most people reading this, but, it’s always worth remembering. Checking player prices, injury updates, and trends of the offense and defense will give ou a better chance than picking guys you like in games you want to watch. That’s why the targets from this past week were all taken from teams with losing records. Good values are everywhere, you just have to find it. Let’s take a look at how the targets did last week.
Josh McCown, New York Jets
There was a lot of fantasy appeal to the game between the Jets and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Both teams had struggled at times on offense, but defensively they were both bad enough to overcome the other teams’ shortcomings. Jets and Bucs players were looking like great values all week, and both QBs were being tabbed by lots of sites as good plays. As is typical of the Jets and Bucs this year, both teams let their fans down a bit. McCown was facing a bad defense that had been surrendering points to anyone and everyone, and still he didn’t hit value on his $6100 price. McCown looked shaky despite throwing for the second highest yardage total of his season with 262 yards coming on 39 attempts. He also mixed in one TD to Robby Anderson to balance out his interception and remind everyone that, yes, he is still Josh McCown. All that came out to roughly 13.5 points on the week, which isn’t quite where many were hoping he would be. Still, for a mid priced QB play, it wasn’t a disaster, and he was able to outperform Ryan Fitzpatrick, who had also built up some hype as a decent QB play for DFS. In the end this game didn’t live up to the “revenge game” status for either QB.
Carlos Hyde, San Francisco 49ers
The difference between fantasy sports and the actual game showed up nicely in Carlos Hyde’s week 10 numbers. He finished with a very nice line of 17 carries for 98 yards and 2 catches on 3 targets for another 6 yards in the 49ers first win of the 2017 season. By any traditional measure that is a great day, but in fantasy, he under performed. Scoring only 12.4 points on the day, he didn’t quite fulfill the promise of being the main back going against the New York Giants’ porous rush defense. The 49ers did continue to add to NY’s rush defense misery, allowing a total of 186 yards and 2 TDs on the ground, but Hyde didn’t score either of the two rushing scores. In what is a telling statistic for the Giants’ D, every TD was scored from 11 yards out or more, and outside of the one 11 yard rush by QB C.J. Beathard, there were scores of 83, 47, and 33 yards. I guess they do get some credit for that progression. Hyde now finds himself in the position of losing some work to backup Matt Breida, who was the one who put in the 33 yard score. There was a lot of talk early on in the season that Hyde would be splitting carries with Breida, as the Niners evaluated Hyde’s fit with the team’s future plans. He had been able to work out of that situation, but now we could see a return to that philosophy and that bears watching moving forward. Any reduction in volume would really hurt Hyde’s scoring prospects, and it will probably take a week or two for DraftKings to adjust his price accordingly.
Sterling Shepard, New York Giants
Sticking out West in the 49ers/Giants game, Shepard was able to turn his new role as the #1 WR into a career day. He was able to turn his 13 targets into 11 catches and 142 yards, with all of those numbers representing new career highs. His final score of 28.2 points was a huge return on his $5500 price, and does not reflect his status as the #1 WR on a team whose defense constantly puts them behind. This was the kind of production many were hoping to see with Shepard now being the most talented receiver the Giants have active. Now that he seems to back from the injury issues that cost him 2 games earlier this year, Shepard looks ready to grab hold of all the targets left open when Odell Beckham Jr. and Brandon Marshall went down with season ending injuries. If Shepard continues to receive 35% of the targets from QB Eli Manning moving forward, he will be extremely valuable, especially in matchups against defenses as shaky as the 49ers. Keep and eye on his pricing and matchups and be ready to plug him in again.
Robby Anderson, New York Jets
Anderson has quietly put up great numbers as the Jets defacto #1 WR. Despite the built in handicap of having a McCown being his primary QB, Anderson has been a top 20 WR in terms of yardage and with a big back half of his season could finish with his first 1,000 yard season. His week 10 performance was a great microcosm of his season up until now; he turns middling usage into big gains, and amongst the top 20 WRs he has the third highest yard per catch. Against the Buccaneers he had 4 catches on 7 targets for 85 yards and a TD to finish with 18.5 points. It was his fourth game in a row with a TD, and he’s scored at least 12.5 points in DraftKings each week during that streak. He’s another player whose role and scoring potential have outpaced his pricing, and just like fellow Week 10 target Sterling Shepard, he will remain a good value play until his price catches up.
Hunter Henry, Los Angeles Chargers
The roller coaster year of tight end streamers continues. Anyone not willing to pay up for the premium options at the position (Gronk, Ertz, or Kelce) have been at the mercy of injuries and matchups Week to Week. Henry was a big miss his past week, which was his second stinker in a row. He was bad against the New England Patriots in Week 8, scoring only 3.1 points, and somehow was even worse this past week against the Jacksonville Jaguars. As good as the Jags have been against the pass, tight end is an area where they have been relatively open to attack. With the Chargers coming off a bye week, it seemed like they would have enough time to figure out how to utilize Henry. Given his skill and low price, only $3900, he seemed like a decent bet to return value. It didn’t happen. He caught one pass for 7 yards on 2 targets. He’s now gone for 3 points or less in four out of nine games this year, and now the Chargers have gotten first round pick Mike Williams back he last few games. Avoid Hunter Henry from now until he gets hot again. There is just too much variance in his outcomes to rely on him to give any kind of usable point total.Back to DFS