This week we’re looking at a bunch of games with low totals with a couple of decent games, and a possible Sunday night shootout between the Falcons and Patriots that only those playing on FanDuel will be able to get access to for the main slate. As such, I’m going to focus on the other games that will be on the main slates on both FanDuel and DraftKings. If you’re playing on FanDuel, or if you’re playing the small slates that include the Sunday night game, you’re going to want to have exposure to all kinds of pieces of this game. New England’s offense can’t be stopped and their defense can’t stop anyone. We should see a ton of points scored in this one.
That said, let’s take a deeper look at the other less exciting games as there are several matchups we can exploit when selecting our pass catchers.
Cash Game Targets
Michael Thomas at Packers
We typically prefer to target the Saints receivers at home because of quarterback Drew Brees’s elite numbers in New Orleans. However, against a Packers defense that ranks 19th in pass defense DVOA in one of the few games that isn’t nauseating in terms of fantasy production, Thomas has to be near the top of the list. Thomas is the only Saints receiver that sees consistent looks, and he’s the clear top option in the red zone (and one of the most heavily targeted receivers in the red zone in the NFL). Expect a bounce back performance from Thomas after he was non-existent in a very tough matchup against the Lions and Darius Slay last week.
Dez Bryant at 49ers
Here we have an example of a player who is likely to go overlooked because of recent performance. Bryant has had brutal matchups to start the season, but he should bounce back in a very favorable situation against a 49ers defense that ranks 26th in pass defense DVOA. Further, the Niners are pretty good against the run and play at one of the fastest paces in the league.
Dallas has also been a faster-paced team than the run-heavy, clock-killing offense we saw last season. Poor offensive line play has translated into running game struggles, which has forced a heavier dependence on the passing game. That’s good news for Bryant owners as he’s primed for one of those monster games he’s capable of posting. Also Facing a team that’s been shredded by opposing wide receivers, I love Bryant in all game formats.
Robert Woods vs Cardinals
Hoo boy. When Robert Woods makes into the article, you know it’s a rough week for receivers. This slate has given us a plethora of nauseating games for daily fantasy, and the best game on the slate is on Sunday night and only available on FanDuel’s main slate. DraftKings players won’t benefit from a write-up on a Patriot or Falcon, and FanDuel tournament players should be more interested in finding off-the-board plays that could pay off if the popular Sunday night players somehow flop.
So, let’s take a look at Woods in the London game. The typically run-heavy Rams will hopefully consider changing up their game plan given the Cardinals rank 4th in DVOA against the run and 24th against the pass. With Patrick Peterson almost certainly following Sammy Watkins around all game, and likely erasing him from existence, the opportunities should be there for Woods. Woods has seen no less than six targets in each of his past four games, and the potential is there for more if the Rams decide to focus on attacking Arizona’s weak spots.
Of course, we can’t use a guy like Woods in cash games, but I really like him as a GPP option that is almost certain to be low owned.
Pierre Garcon vs Cowboys
Yep, you get Robert Woods and Pierre Garcon from me in the tournament plays this week. San Francisco is starting CJ Beathard, and you can bet that Kyle Shanahan will be trying to do everything he can to make life as simple as possible for the rookie. What that should mean is a lot of high percentage passes to the middle of the field, which is exactly where Garcon excels. This game plan should work very well against a Cowboys defense that tends take away perimeter receivers and filter passes toward the middle and underneath. Look for Garcon to see around 10 targets in this one with upside for more in what could end up being one of the higher scoring games on the slate.
Cash Game Targets
Delanie Walker at Browns
The Cleveland Browns rank 31st in pass defense DVOA against the tight end position while allowing the most receptions in the league against the position. They’ve been shredded by opposing tight ends all season, and there’s no reason to think that will change with Cleveland facing the Titans and Delanie Walkers this weekend. Walker is one of the most talented tight ends in the league, and Tennessee has shown a willingness to lean on him time and again in strong matchups.
Further boosting Walker’s value is the fact that the Browns have been excellent against the run, ranking third in run defense DVOA. With the Titans likely to lean on the passing game and facing a defense that cannot cover tight ends, Walker is poised for a monster game. I think he’s the clear top cash game play, and I would look to have plenty of exposure to him in tournaments as well.
Hunter Henry vs Broncos
Like Walker, Henry stands to benefit from passes being funneled his way. The Broncos boast the number one run defense in terms of DVOA, and while their pass defense currently ranks 18th, they have the most talented secondary in the NFL, and have been shutting down opposing wide receivers for quite some time. However, they are ranked 30th in DVOA against the tight end position, and with Henry’s targets and snap counts on the rise, it makes a lot of sense to target him in both cash games and tournaments. Quarterback Philip Rivers will be looking his way all game as he presents the path of least resistance in terms of moving the football.
Jimmy Graham at Giants
The Giants rank 20th in DVOA against the tight end position while allowing the most yards and touchdowns to opposing tight ends this season. Only the Browns have allowed more receptions. It’s tough to roster any Seahawk receiver, especially on the road given Russell Wilson’s erratic play, but Graham remains tournament viable given the workload he’s seeing and the extremely attractive matchup. Graham still has the sort of upside we saw when he was with New Orleans, but his production, floor, and ceiling are much too inconsistent for me to consider him in cash games. He’s strictly a tournament option.
Jack Doyle vs Jaguars
Conventional wisdom might imply that we don’t want to be attacking an excellent Jaguars pass defense with anyone that will be receiving passes from Jacoby Brissett, but we have to remember that the Colts are going to complete some passes, and someone has to be catching them. Coming off of an 11 target game, Doyle is in position for another heavy workload facing a Jacksonville defense that has completely shut down opposing wide receivers. Ranking number one in pass defense DVOA, the Jags’ trio of extremely talented corners have limited opposing wide receiver production all season.
Jacksonville has been solid against opposing tight ends as well, but Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett has shown a tendency to lean on his tight end, and in this particular matchup, I think a lot of targets will filter their way to Doyle. I’m not comfortable rostering Colts in cash games, but there is certainly potential for upside in tournaments.