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OFFSIDES: You Can Do Better

by JM Tohline
Updated On: December 3, 2018, 6:02 pm ET

Here's the thing: You can do better.


Hold on, now - don't close out of this article just yet; I'm not singling you out. I can do better, too. We all can do better.


I couldn't sleep much last night; that's why this article is being posted a bit later in the day than normal. I'm usually pretty even-keeled when it comes to sweats and DFS - not getting too upset when things go poorly, and not getting too excited when things go well. Throughout the day yesterday, I maintained this approach, but by the time I cleared my head and closed my eyes and tried to fall asleep, my "Monday Excitement" crashed into me all at once and prevented me from shutting down.


You see, I have a few big sweats going tonight. It's going to be a good weekend regardless of how things turn out on Monday Night Football, but if things go just right, it could be a spectacular DFS weekend for me. Logically, there is nothing I can do to make Monday night get here faster, but I couldn't sleep anyway. I guess things like that aren't very "logical" at all.


As solid as this last weekend has been for me, however, the main thought I have worked to bury deep into my subconscious - so that this thought resonates through everything else I do and everything else I think - is, "I can do better."


Even while this sweat is going on, I am not thinking about the things I did well this last weekend on my teams; instead, I am singling out and focusing on the mistakes I feel I made. There are a few places where I could have done things that would have made my weekend even better. There are places where I could have made changes that would have made today "no sweat," instead of a "sweat" - things that could have had me so far ahead of the field already, there would have been no chance for anyone to catch me. There were places where I was a bit too lazy in my team-building, and places where I didn't reassess, and second-guess, and reassess, and second-guess enough.


I could have done better this last weekend. I should have done better.


I will do better.


This is the mindset I try to have - always pushing myself to find the places where I can improve, rather than sitting back and appreciating the areas where I did well. And this is the mindset I want to encourage you to have as well.


No matter how well or poorly you did this last weekend, search for the places where you can do better. Commit to reinforcing the things you did well, and commit to improving on the things you did poorly. And most of all: I encourage you to commit to spending more time this week than you spent last week getting ready for the weekend. If you usually put in four or five hours of preparation and study, put in six or seven. If you usually put in ten hours of preparation and study, see if you can bump it up to 12 or 15. Focus more than you focused last week; work harder than you worked last week; do better than you did last week.


I'll do the same.


After all, we can all do better.


Speaking of "doing better": this week - in order to help you get an early jump on your Week 7 preparation - we are going to take a look at a few guys who may be overlooked or undervalued on FanDuel this next week because of poor or inconsistent performance. These are guys I think can "do better" this week than they have been doing lately, or than people will expect them to do.




Andrew Luck v Saints: I know, Luck finally had a good game on Sunday Night Football, but let's not pretend everyone will suddenly be jumping aboard the Andrew Luck train. With Aaron Rodgers on a bye, however, and with Tom Brady facing the Jets, I genuinely think Luck should be ranked as the top quarterback on the weekend - and I do not believe he will be trusted or rostered to that level. Against a beat-up Saints secondary (that wasn't any good even before they were beat up), in what should be a high-scoring game (the total on the NFL odds board is at 52 points), Luck is someone you can comfortably rely on in Week 7.


Marcus Mariota v Falcons: The beauty of playing the Falcons is that they are going to put up points, and are going to force the opponent to open up as well. While Mariota has a few issues (a potential Week 6 injury hampering his running, no support from his run game, and questionable weapons at receiver), this is still a guy with a ton of talent who will be playing from behind against a mostly-weak secondary (just don't throw toward Desmond Trufant!). Mariota is sure to fly under the radar this week, and I will not at all be surprised if he puts up his best game of the season.





Latavius Murray at Chargers: In back-to-back games, Murray has been "benched" during the second half ("benched" in quotes because Jack Del Rio says Murray was not benched; okay, then…). Murray is still the guy the Raiders want to use on the ground, though, and he is facing a Chargers' defense that ranks in the bottom three in the NFL against the run (Football Outsiders' DVOA). What are the Raiders going to do, huh? - ride Roy Helu? The Chargers have a decent pass D, and the Raiders will try to attack on the ground as much as they can. This sets up for a big week from Murray.


Adrian Peterson at Lions: How's this for an obvious name? In all honesty, though, people are so heavily influenced by "what happened recently," a lot of people will overlook Peterson this week, as he is coming off a dud against a tough Chiefs run D. The Lions, on the other hand, have been slipping more and more lately against the run (losing DeAndre Levy sure hasn't helped), and we saw what Peterson did in Week 2 after a disappointing Week 1. This is a great place to go for lower-than-it-should-be ownership on an elite player.





Terrance Williams at Giants: Is Matt Cassel good? I'll answer that question with another question: Is this 2008, and is Cassel playing in Josh McDaniels' system with weapons named Randy Moss and Wes Welker? No. But he is better than Brandon Weeden, and - most importantly - he is more willing than Weeden to push the ball down the field and take shots against a very banged-up Giants secondary. Williams is going to be a forgotten man around these parts, but this sets up nicely as a game in which he will A) be heavily used in the offense, and B) have no problem seeing success.


Larry Fitzgerald v Ravens: Fitz has continued to post solid numbers, but his "huge games" are becoming small specks in the rearview mirror as we speed through the season. Here's the thing, though: His ownership is going to start steadily declining as fewer and fewer people want to wait around for his next big game (and as more and more people move to John Brown). His usage is the same as it was early in the year when he was posting huge fantasy numbers, and it won't be long before he has another one of those massive games again.





Travis Kelce v Steelers: Let's be honest, Andy Reid hates Kelce. We don't know why, but he does - consistently burying Kelce down the targets ladder and leaving him to post huge "points-per-opportunity" numbers, but disappointing "points per game." With Jamaal Charles out and Jeremy Maclin unlikely to get cleared from his concussion in time for this week's tilt against the Steelers, however, there is every reason in the world to believe that Kelce will be heavily involved in Week 7. A lot of people may be afraid to roster him, and this gives you a great opportunity to zig while others zag.


Antonio Gates v Raiders: Yes, I know - Gates has been playing very well. I expect him to play even better this week than he has over the last couple weeks, against a Raiders Defense that was getting absolutely demolished by tight ends before they ran into Old Man Owen Daniels. Don't be scared off of Gates by the high projected ownership; don't be scared away with questions of whether or not he can post back-to-back-to-back big games. Give him a long, hard look this week as a guy who can outperform even his solid performances of the last couple weeks!


This week, keep an eye out for players who can be expected to perform better than they have been performing lately - and in the meantime, put yourself in position to be a DFS player who can be expected to perform better than you have been performing lately. After all, you are certainly capable of doing better. We all are. So let's go out and do it.

JM Tohline
JM “JMToWin” Tohline is a novelist in his spare time (no, really). The rest of the time, he studies and plays DFS. He began playing DFS at the beginning of the 2014 MLB season; by the end of that year, he had won three qualifiers into million-dollar tourneys and had won two separate trips to the Bahamas. His tendency to type a lot of words leads to a corresponding tendency to divulge all his DFS thoughts, strategies, and secrets…which is exactly what he does in his RotoGrinders and Rotoworld articles. You can find JM on Twitter @JMToWin.