The NFL has a three game slate this Saturday and we’re ready to rock with a complete game by game breakdown! This will be similar format as the game by game article that we do every week for the main slate and we’ll try to find the right plays to win all the #buckies!
Texans at Buccaneers, O/U of 50 (Texans -3)
QB – The pairing of Deshaun Watson and at least one (or more) of his receivers feels close to unavoidable on this slate. Jameis Winston on the other side of this game is an attractive option as well but Watson gets one of the best possible matchups on the board. Tampa is fifth-worst in the NFL to the position and has given up 29 passing touchdowns and two on the ground. Watson has among the highest ceilings on the slate, even at the second-highest price overall on the board. He also stands to be the most popular play at the position.
RB – I’ve been fine using Carlos Hyde basically all season and he’s been so much better than I thought he would be. The price tag makes him viable but the matchup is hard to get around in this one. Tampa has given up the fewest rushing yards in the league and it’s not even particularly close right now. They stand at 789 and the Saints are next at 916. With Hyde only having nine receptions on the season, he really has no other outlet if the rushing yards aren’t there so he isn’t a priority for me. Duke Johnson only has 115 touches on the season so the floor is very low for him. Tampa has also been stingy through the air with only the fourth-fewest yards allowed to backs, so this backfield will mostly be a fade for me.
WR – I’m not always one to play DeAndre Hopkins when Will Fuller is active, but this is the spot to play both in all formats. The Buccaneers are the stone worst to the receivers and much like running backs, it’s not close. They give up 47.6 DK a game and the Eagles are 31st at 41.9. That’s a sizable gap for this point in the season and Nuk is second to only Michael Thomas for targets on the season. Hopkins also checks in at the fifth-most air yards but Fuller has a higher aDOT by 3.6 yards. There’s plenty of room for both to go off and if you think Houston can’t run the ball, Kenny Stills is a great differentiating play. If he has a game like last week, it’ll be huge leverage over the ownership of the stud two receivers. Stills played 62% of the snaps last week as well so the opportunity should be there.
TE – Jordan Akins and Darren Fells are right next to each other in yards, targets and receptions on the year. The big difference is touchdowns as Fells has the lead at 7-2 over Akins. That makes a lot of sense considering Fells is tied for the team lead in red zone targets at 11 with Nuk. I don’t think three Texans is out of line here at all, as the Bucs are third worst team to tight ends with seven touchdowns allowed already.
D/ST – I don’t think many play them and with the losses suffered by the Tampa offense, maybe we should. Jameis Winston leads the NFL in turnovers by a ton and is down his top two receivers. He could easily have a meltdown game here.
Cash – Watson, Hopkins, Fuller
GPP – Fells, Akins, Hyde, D/ST
QB – The Jameis Coaster could be in full swing and it looked like he was going to have a miserable day last week with an interception right off the hop. He rebounded to throw for over 450 yards and three touchdowns, summing up who Jameis really is. I mean, the man has 29 turnovers and is averaging 24 DK points every game and his matchup is great as well. The Texans actually allow one more DK point per game than the Bucs, so I have no issues playing Jameis in a vacuum. The biggest problem is who he’s throwing the ball to and that’s the rub this week. I feel safer with Watson but it wouldn’t be a shock to see Winston put up a higher score either.
RB – I’ve been loathe to play a Bucs running back all season long because it’s really rolling the dice about who’s going to get the playing time. I will grudgingly side with Ronald Jones and it might not be for the reason you think. Yes, Houston is ninth-worst to the backs but it’s the receiving work that is killing them. They are giving up the most receptions, third-most yards and tied for the most receiving touchdowns at eight. Jones has 26 receptions to 14 for Peyton Barber so I’ll take Jones here. Dare Ogunbowale has the team lead in receptions at 32 but he cannot be trusted with any real playing time or touches. At the price, Jones is worth the play.
WR – We’re going to miss Mike Evans and Chris Godwin but perhaps Breshad Perriman and Justin Watson can step up. I’m not in love with the latter since he only saw two targets on over 50% of the snaps but Perriman is a great way to run back a Houston stack. Houston has always struggled with speed receivers and Perriman saw six targets with Godwin playing 61% last week. He’s not likely to have three touchdown receptions this week but is still well worth a play.
TE – Don’t forget about OJ Howard either. Over the past three weeks, he hasn’t dipped below 83% of the snaps and he’s put together 19 targets. Considering his season total is 47 that’s major and I’m not sure if people have caught up quite yet. If Fells picks up steam, Howard is an elite pivot.
D/ST – Even on a short slate, I can’t get behind a bad defense against the talent of the Texans.
Cash – Jones, Perriman
GPP – Winston, Howard, Barber, Watson
Bills at Patriots, O/U of 37.5 (Patriots -6.5)
This game is U-G-L-Y and it has the lowest total on the slate by a significant margin. It boasts arguably the two best defenses in the league (pipe down, Niners fans, it’s debatable) so finding offensive pieces we like is going to be tough. For the Bills, the first matchup with Patriots is the only game Josh Allen has been under 17 DK points so the floor is very real in this spot on the road.
I won’t have any John Brown since he’ll be blanketed by the best corner in football, Stephon Gilmore. Cole Beasley isn’t really cheap and there’s not big name running backs that I need to get to either. The only real pieces I’m interested in are the running back and D/ST correlation. The “weakest” point for the Patriots is against the backs, as they are only fifth-best. They’ve also gotten lucky with only letting up two touchdowns, which would bump the ranking up further. I walked away from last week impressed with Devin Singletary’s vision and toughness so he’s in play for me, even in a brutal matchup. Lastly, the Patriots are in the bottom half of the league in yards per game and haven’t been over 28 real points but once in the last eight games. That offense doesn’t scare me at all right now.
Cash – D/ST
GPP – Singletary, Brown if you MME
Much like the Bills side, I’m not going too have much from the Patriots. It’s a crazy fantasy world that Tom Brady is $5,200 on a three game slate and I’m not going near him. He’s been over 15 DK points once since Week 6. One. Time. Now he has one of the best passing defenses in the league so I’ll pass. Buffalo has shown some weakness against the run but good luck predicting who’s getting those carries. Nobody but James White have been over 51% of the snaps in the past month.
The only two players I want in my lineups is Julian Edelman and White. They have combined for a whopping 49.9% of the targets this season and both should see double digit targets in a game where the Buffalo defense brings the blitz (not that the Steelers knew that, apparently). Brady needs to get the ball out quick and has zero trust in any other passing option, leaving them off for me. You can certainly play the Patriots defense if you like but the Bills are $1,100 cheaper.
Cash – D/ST, White, Edelman
GPP – Sanu, Harry
Rams at 49ers, O/U of 44.5 (49ers -6.5)
QB – The first time these two met, Jared Goff had among the worst games of his career. He only threw for 78 yards and was harassed relentlessly by the 49ers defense. They rank third in sacks on the season and when Goff has been under pressure this year, he’s been flat terrible. The completion rate is 42.4%, the YPA is 5.7 and the TD:INT ratio is 6:6. Knowing this factor and the Rams being on the road lead me away from Goff in this one.
RB – Everyone tried to tell me that Todd Gurley was cash viable last week and I resisted due to the inconsistency of the Rams overall and the work Gurley has seen all year. Yes, he found the end zone twice but that absolutely saved the day since he only managed 38 yards total. With San Francisco being the best team to running backs on the season, you wouldn’t think this is the spot for him to breakout and I will not be using him that much, if at all. You simply can’t afford for him to have under 40 yards and no touchdowns on this slate.
WR – It’s kind of hard to get behind receivers when we don’t love the quarterback, which is the case on this side. I’m still going to lean with Cooper Kupp over anyone as he went back to playing over 85% of the snaps one week after being under 30%. He hasn’t had an upside game for a bit and this one likely isn’t it but he’s been over 14 DK points in each of the last three games with at least 4/40. Lately, Kupp and Brandin Cooks have taken a backset to Robert Woods who has 45 targets over the past four games. I just don’t love the price of either with Perriman being cheaper. Cooks finally saw some targets last week with eight, but that matched his total from the previous three games. I’m not trusting him at all yet.
TE – Gerald Everett should be back for this one, which takes both he and Tyler Higbee out of play for me with their prices and the fact the offense has all of the weapons on the field for once. There’s only so many targets to go around, especially if Goff gets pressured consistently.
D/ST – I can see the defense being a little popular as a pivot off the Bills. San Francisco has a very good offense but with Aaron Donald leading the charge, the Rams defense can put up points with the best of them. They are in the top five in sacks and have 17 takeaways.
Cash – Woods, Kupp
GPP – Gurley, Cooks, D/ST
QB – The Rams are the 11th best defense to the QB so this isn’t exactly a matchup that stands out for Jimmy Garoppolo. I haven’t used him a ton this year as the 49ers are bottom five in passing attempts per game so the volume just isn’t what we typically look for. One the last month, only one game has been above 18.2 DK point and that was the shootout in New Orleans. We certainly don’t have a leg to stand on when predicting that outcome in this game, so Jimmy G is kind of an easy pass for me.
RB – If you’re playing a back, it’s Raheem Mostert. The final line wasn’t anything special but he did seize the lead in snaps and neither Tevin Coleman or Matt Breida saw anything over 39%. He also soaked up 15 touches, which is usually going to end better for him. He’s been averaging 5.7 yards a carry and has a track record of being explosive with the ball in his hand, it just didn’t work out last week. The Rams are just average to the running back so there is a crack that Mostert can take advantage of for sure. He’s among the players that if I don’t use for the late hammer that I will worry cost me money.
WR – Both Emmanuel Sanders and Deebo Samuel are nothing more than GPP because there’s just not a ton of passing work to go around. If you get a game like last week where George Kittle gets double digit targets, you get seven combined targets for these two receivers. That’s far from ideal but the 49ers do have one good thing going for them – the Rams lost corner Troy Hill for this game, he who has allowed just a 54.7 passer rating on the season and only 23 receptions in 310 coverage snaps. If Jalen Ramsey takes on Sanders in shadow coverage like he’s done a lot in LA, Samuel could be freed up and I prefer him of the two.
TE – Kittle is the most talented tight end on the slate, no questions about it. He has the highest yards per route among regular tight ends but the bad news is he’s 22nd in routes overall. Part of that was due to injury but he’s also an elite blocker and the 49ers run the ball. He’s been on fire lately with at least 18.7 DK in three of the last four but it’s easy to see the difference. In the good games, he’s had at least six targets and in the poor one, he only had four. During the year, six targets has been the magic number. Anytime he’s over that, he’s great. I prefer to spend down to roster construction, but maybe in a two tight end build I would include him.
D/ST – The Rams offense has wilted in big games and under pressure, so if I have the salary you can make the argument that they are the best defensive play on the board.
Cash – Mostert, Kittle, D/ST
GPP – Jimmy G, Deebo, Sanders
QB – Deshaun Watson
RB – James White
WR – DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller
Flex – Breshad Perriman