Dec 17, 2017
If you only played a Sunday slate, it’ll seem like the bye weeks have returned, as there are only 12 games on the schedule. Despite the loss of a couple of extra games’ worth of players, there is still a lot of value to be found. There are plenty of very worthwhile high priced options, but it’s easy to forget that isn’t always where the best values are found. Just as important, your roster construction to get those players will need to mine some of the lower level guys to accommodate those hefty salaries. Here, now, are some guys I expect to return significant value while offering a good bit of roster flexibility.
Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens
I know, not a great name to start off with. Yes, Flacco has looked awful most of the year, and no he still has not lived up to his massive contract extension. But, DFS players don’t need to make a long term commitment to their players, and this week Flacco makes a lot of sense. The last two weeks, Flacco has looked more like his past self and put up his two highest scoring weeks. In his games in Week 13 and 14, Flacco has put up a yards per attempt number of 7.6 on 71 total attempts, up from the 5.5 number he’d averaged through the first 12 weeks of the season. That 7.6 number would be good for 10th in the league for the year, and represents the improvement Flacco has made since complaining about the play calling after a week 12 defeat of the Houston Texans. It’s fortuitous timing for Flacco to be hitting his offensive peak, right as he goes into Cleveland to play the Browns. Cleveland represents a dream defensive matchup for most teams and especially opposing QBs. The Browns are giving up the 8th most points per game in DraftKings to opposing QBs, the 10th highest opponent yards per attempt, the 2nd highest QB rating, the 4th lowest INT%, and the 7th worst Sack%. So they don’t pressure well, which leads to a lack of turnovers and gives opposing QBs plenty of time to find an open man. For only $5100, Flacco is a bargain for a QB playing one of the worst defenses in the league that still might be reeling from a humiliating defeat at the hands of the Green Bay Packers. Plug him in and don’t look at his name, just keep an eye on his numbers on Sunday.
Latavius Murray, Minnesota Vikings
Murray’s inclusion here is all down to his match up. Last week, Murray had a very down week against a very good rush defense in Carolina. He should have a much easier time this week against a very depleted Cincinnati Bengals defense. The Bengals defense has been a turnstile for opposing RBs, as they surrender the most yards per game to RBs and the 5th most points per game to RBs in DraftKings. On top of that, they have been giving up the highest fantasy points above an opponent’s average score to RBs the last five weeks (+9.5) per Mike Beers (@beerswater). Those numbers alone would make Murray a strong play on Sunday, especially given his sub-$5K price ($4900), but Sunday the Bengals will be down their three starting LBs due to injury. As tough as the Bengals are by reputation, their results just haven’t matched that narrative, and now they have to travel to Minnesota to play a team looking to bounce back from a loss to the Panthers. Minnesota will be looking to improve their playoff positioning and take advantage of the Bengals’ misfortune. Start Murray with confidence and hope for a blowout and lots of running with a lead late in the game.
Mike Davis, Seattle Seahawks
Davis has turned a two week run as the top back in Seattle into a significant amount of fantasy buzz. Both DFS and season long players are very excited to see what Davis is capable of in his new role, and this is a great week to hop on the bandwagon. The last two weeks Davis has managed to make the Seattle offensive line look compentent, as he’s gone over 4.0 yards per carry and 64 yards in both games. Both of those games were against very good defensive units (the Philadelphia Eagles and Jacksonville Jaguars) and now Davis and Seattle will face an easier test. Part of what makes the Rams so much fun to watch has been the shootout nature of a several of their games. Good offenses have been able to move the ball and put up points on the Rams. They have followed a solid funnel defense pattern too, allowing the 3rd most points per game in DraftKings to RBs, while holding QBs to the 8th fewest points per game. This bodes well for Davis to return excellent value on his bargain bin price of $4000. With the injuries to Seattle’s defense, it would be best for them to keep the offense on the field as long as they can, and that means running the ball. Finally, if you were worried about Davis’ rib injury, he should be good to go as a full practice participant both Thursday and Friday. And while discussing the injury report, things look positive for OL Duane Brown, Luke Joeckel, and Ethan Pocic who were all full participants on Friday.
Dede Westbrook, Jacksonville Jaguars
Another name that has been burning up waiver wires and elicited mentions from football twitter, Dede has gone about living up to his considerable hype. After looking explosive in the preseason his season was delayed due to injuries, but he seems determined to make up for lost time. He’s seen a roughly 27% target share overall, 47% of the deep targets and 29% in the red zone. Those are elite WR numbers being put up by the exciting rookie, and he’s done it with veteran Marqise Lee and fellow rookie WR Keelan Cole being active parts of the passing game too. Priced as a low level WR2 at just $5100 in DraftKings, Westbrook has the potential to burn the Houston Texans for a huge day. Houston has given up the 8th most points per game to WR in DraftKings this year, and they’ve been especially vulnerable to deep threats with lots of speed. Already this year they’ve given up 100+ yards to Marqise Goodwin, Paul Richardson, Tyler Lockett, Brandin Cooks, and T.Y. Hilton (per Scott Fish, @ScottFish24). Those guys all run 4.4 40s or better, just like Dede, and the last four all scored at least one TD too. Even if you are concerned with game script, Dede’s target share gives him the best shot of the Jags’ WR to make an impact given his deep threat ability. For his price, he’s in a great position to have a huge day and return elite level value.Back to DFS