Welcome to the Week 10 FanDuel Primer, brought to you by RotoGrinders. I’ll be breaking down a number of our stat pages/tools that we feel are solid predictors of success from a daily fantasy standpoint.
Before we get deep into the targets/percentage of workload analysis, let’s start things off with our Defense vs. Position page. This page gives you an idea of how each team defends a particular position. This is one of my favorite tools to use each week, and I rely on it more each week as the sample size continues to grow. All player salaries listed below are from FanDuel.
Quarterback – Blake Bortles ($7,800) vs. Baltimore (31st vs. QBs)
This game sets up really well for a high volume day from Bortles. While the Ravens are fairly stout against the run (12th-fewest FPs allowed to RBs), they have been beaten badly through the air so far this season, allowing the second-most FPs to opposing QBs. They are one of just two teams (the Saints being the other) to allow an average of at least 300 passing yards and two TDs per game. Bortles is still priced in the mid-to-low range of QBs across the industry, but he’s been performing at an elite level in fantasy terms. He’s averaging over 20 FD points per game and has scored at least 22.4 in three of his last four. I’d expect to see Bortles with at least 40 pass attempts, and he’s always a threat to add a few points with his legs. Bortles’ top target, Allen Robinson, is the obvious pairing with Bortles in GPPs. With Allen Hurns iffy for this week, Bryan Walters and Julius Thomas could also be interesting tournament targets.
Running Back – Doug Martin ($6,700) vs. Dallas (32nd vs. RBs)
Martin was a total disaster last week against the Giants, but he should fare quite a bit better this week against another NFC East opponent. Expect very low ownership levels on Martin after he carried the ball just 11 times and lost a fumble last week, which is something you can exploit in tournaments. Martin is seeing workhorse-type usage over the course of the season; starting with Week 2, here are his rush attempt totals excluding last week: 21, 14, 20, 24, 19, and 23. He’ll also give you a handful of receptions and receives the majority of his team’s red-zone carries, giving him a nice ceiling considering the $6,700 price tag. Charles Sims also lost a fumble last week, so there’s no reason to think Martin will remain in the doghouse following Week 9. Tampa plays at home this week and are two-point favorites as of this writing. After being bludgeoned by both DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews last week, the Cowboys now lead the league in fantasy points per game allowed to RBs. The loss of Sean Lee as the anchor of the defense certainly won’t help Dallas’ cause.
Wide Receiver – Jarvis Landry ($7,000) vs. Philadelphia (30th vs. WRs)
I’m back aboard the Landry train this week on the way to Philly. Landry posted a very Jarvis Landry-like game last week, finishing with 11-69-0 as well as 18 rushing yards on four carries. He’s going to continue to be the most heavily targeted member of the passing game this week, something I expect to continue on Sunday despite the Eagles faring well against slot receivers. Malcolm Jenkins (as well as E.J. Biggers) have graded out well in coverage (per Pro Football Focus), while the outside corners have had some trouble this season. Despite that, we saw Malcolm Jenkins beat repeatedly by Cole Beasley in the second half of SNF, and Landry is on another level talent wise. Philly owns an above-average run defense and the Eagles are touchdown favorites, something that does not set up well for Lamar Miller and the Dolphins running game. Only the Chiefs and Ravens have allowed more FPs per game to WRs this season. Rishard Matthews is also very much in play, but Landry is the preferred target amongst Miami receivers.
Tight End – Jordan Reed ($5,800) vs. New Orleans (31st vs. TEs)
Reed is my top option at TE this week for a few reasons. First, he possesses a similar ceiling to that of Rob Gronkowski, but he comes at a much larger discount, and Gronk’s salary is really tough to stomach in cash games. Reed is also playing in a game with a total of at least 50, and with the Redskins likely needing to be more pass-happy than New England, he should be in store for a heavy volume of targets. DeSean Jackson’s presence doesn’t help Reed’s outlook, but Washington has been relying more on short, quick routes with Kirk Cousins at the helm, which works in Reed’s favor. New Orleans’ pass defense is virtually non-existent, as they rank among the worst in the league at defending both QBs and TEs. This is a great spot for the Washington passing attack.
Let’s transition to the Targets page, where you’ll find a breakdown of touches, targets, red-zone targets and percentage of workload, among other stats. It’s an invaluable tool that can help you find players who are in the best positions to succeed; it’s no secret that you want players on your fantasy team who are heavily involved in the offense, especially those that are also key cogs in the red-zone. Instead of hand-picking a few players to touch on, I’m going to give a general overview of what’s happened through nine weeks. I will not be including any players on bye weeks in the breakdown below, since they aren’t DFS relevant this week.
Wide Receivers that have averaged at least 10 targets per game:
DeAndre Hopkins – 14.00
Alshon Jeffery – 13.25
Demaryius Thomas – 11.63
Antonio Brown – 11.11
Brandon Marshall – 10.75
Mike Evans – 10.43
Julian Edelman – 10.38
Odell Beckham – 10.22
Emmanuel Sanders – 10.13
Hopkins is an elite target on Monday night given the absurd usage he’s likely to receive with Arian Foster out of action. The Texans running game takes a huge step backwards without Foster, and the nature of Monday’s matchup should lead to a huge number of passing attempts from Brian Hoyer. Hopkins is the safest bet this week for 12+ targets. Alshon Jeffery’s matchup is far from ideal, but this is a situation where talent trumps matchup. None of the St. Louis corners will singlehandedly be able to slow him down and he’s destined for another week with double-digit targets. Demaryius Thomas is in another nice spot this week against the Chiefs, but he just can’t seem to find the end zone. Despite his high usage in the offense, he’s inexplicably seen just seven red-zone targets on the year. That needs to change. Thomas is exactly the type of WR you want inside the 20s and he was a big factor in close last year, so it’s likely just a matter of time before the touchdowns start coming.
Antonio Brown is someone I’m looking to fade this week with Landry Jones at the helm. While Brown did have a 6-124-0 game in Jones’ lone start, I can’t justify paying top dollar for Brown unless he has Big Ben throwing him the ball. It’s still unclear whether Vincent Jackson and Austin Seferian-Jenkins will return, so it’s looking like another week of heavy usage for Mike Evans. Let’s hope he can hang onto a few more passes against Dallas’ beatable secondary. As far as cash games go, Julian Edelman continues to be a solid target as the leading man in the league’s best passing attack. He can be used confidently this weekend against a Giants secondary that has been roasted lately. Odell Beckham is in a tough spot this week as the Patriots will very likely focus their attention on slowing him down, but he’s still a very useful tournament target in a game where the Giants should be throwing often. Allen Robinson and Michael Crabtree are both still far too cheap given what they’ve shown this year. I’ll be targeting them both heavily in all formats.
Top Five WRs in terms of Percentage of Workload (POW):
Jarvis Landry – 17.96% (17.91% RZ POW)
Antonio Brown – 17.14% (13.16% RZ POW)
DeAndre Hopkins – 15.83% (17.65% RZ POW)
Demaryius Thomas – 15.44% (12.07% RZ POW)
Tavon Austin – 15.23% (21.62% RZ POW)
The big surprise on this list is clearly Tavon Austin. While his percentage of workload (and red-zone usage) are high, he’s held back severely by the lack of talent at QB in St. Louis. Nick Foles possesses very little upside and has trouble getting the ball to any of his receivers with consistency. Austin is a weekly big play threat and he’s the Rams best bet for red-zone looks behind Todd Gurley. He’s a solid GPP target against a leaky Bears secondary.
Tight Ends that have averaged at least 7 targets per game:
Jordan Reed – 9.00
Greg Olsen – 8.63
Rob Gronkowski – 8.50
Martellus Bennett – 8.38
Delanie Walker – 7.43
Gary Barnidge – 7.33
Jason Witten – 7.13
Julius Thomas – 7.00
I’ve already noted why I’m high on Reed this week, and his presence at the top of this list only further justifies his usability in Week 10. Greg Olsen has a matchup with a Titans Defense that has surrendered the 11th-most FPs to TEs and he’s clearly the top option in the Carolina passing game, making him a viable target in any format. Gronk is coming off of a very slow Week 9 where he finished with single-digit fantasy points. That’s not a trend that’s likely to continue, and Gronk will probably be underowned in tournaments despite a plus matchup. He’s the top overall option at the TE spot every week, but he’s priced too far above the other elite options to justify paying the price in cash games. Bennett is off limits for me this week outside of tournaments due to the better options in his price range and a poor matchup with a very impressive Rams Defense. St. Louis has allowed the eighth-fewest FPs to TEs. Delanie Walker has a middling matchup with a Carolina defense, although he’ll continue to be the most heavily targeted pass catcher for Tennessee. Josh Norman will take away whatever receiver he lines up against, and the Titans possess very little talent at the position as it is. Look for 8-10+ targets for Walker on Sunday. I’m not sure when Gary Barnidge’s improbable run will come to an end, but he’s in a pretty good spot this week against a Pittsburgh team that is much tougher to run against. He’d be in much better shape if Josh McCown is healthy enough to start.
Top Five TEs in terms of Percentage of Workload:
Delanie Walker – 11.26% (13.11% RZ POW)
Martellus Bennett – 11.08% (11.59% RZ POW)
Jason Witten – 10.73% (11.86% RZ POW)
Rob Gronkowski – 10.58% (15.00% RZ POW)
Travis Kelce – 10.58% (10.14% RZ POW)
Walker being at the top of this list illustrates just how little talent Marcus Mariota has at WR. It’s a nice plus to see that Walker is even more heavily utilized in the red zone. Travis Kelce is a nice high-ceiling tournament target this week with Kansas City expected to be playing from behind most of the afternoon. Denver has been stingy against TEs so far this year, but their defense is elite in every aspect and Alex Smith has to throw it somewhere. Kelce isn’t an option outside of GPPs.
Welcome to Value town, parts unknown. I won’t be recommending the Aaron Rodgers’ of the world here, but instead will highlight a few players with price tags that don’t add up to their level of talent, opportunity and/or matchup. The ultimate goal is to find players at the bottom of the salary chart who have the upside to produce at an elite level.
Quarterback – Kirk Cousins ($6,500)
Is the Saints secondary bad enough to give up a big fantasy performance to Kirk Cousins? Only time will tell, but based on what we’ve seen from them the past few weeks, it’s obvious this defense can be beaten by average talent. The Washington/New Orleans game has a total of 50 points with a one-point spread as of this writing, which gives the Redskins an implied team total of 24.5. You won’t see the Washington team total that high very often, so pounce while the iron is hot. Cousins is not a recommended cash game play, but he’s more than viable in tournaments. New Orleans has allowed the most FPs to the QB position this season.
Running Back – Darren McFadden ($7,000)
I wrote McFadden up in this spot last week and I don’t see a reason not to continue to trot him out at a depressed price tag. He’s seeing massive usage in the Cowboys’ offense sans Joseph Randle, and with only Christine Michael behind him, expect McFadden to continue to see 20+ touches as long as he’s healthy. Tampa’s run defense isn’t a sieve, but they aren’t as tough of a matchup as the Eagles (or the Seahawks before them) were last week. McFadden is playable in any format at his current price.
Crabtree’s price continues to be far too low on FanDuel despite a consistent stretch of plus fantasy performances. You are basically getting a #1 WR (in terms of targets) in what has turned out to be a very strong passing offense at $6,400, something you don’t see too often. Crabtree lines up all over the field so it’s tough to peg his CB matchup, but he’s likely to see plenty of Terence Newman and Xavier Rhodes, both of whom have graded out poorly in coverage. Stefon Diggs had a down week against St. Louis, but that was to be expected in a really rough spot. Oakland’s secondary isn’t anywhere as close to as tough as the Rams’, which we saw last week when Antonio Brown finished with over 300 total yards against them. Diggs is an excellent bounce-back candidate and can be targeted in cash games confidently.
Tight End – Eric Ebron ($5,300)
Since I’m tired of waiting for Austin Seferian-Jenkins (who is a solid play if healthy) to return, I’m going to turn my attention elsewhere. If you’re playing in a tournament like the Sunday Million where you need to hit on an off-the-board pick or two, Ebron is worth considering. While Calvin Johnson is more or less matchup proof, the entire Packers CB corps has performed well this year, and he might have a little more trouble than he’s used to this week. Ebron’s matchup is much better and we know the Lions (who are the biggest underdogs on the board this week) will be throwing the ball plenty.