NFL Sunday is almost here and here are some players I’ve identified at the Wide Receiver and Tight End position I hold in high regard this weekend. There are elite players in here and also value plays to make them fit. Now let’s dig in and find some players that can win us some money Sunday on FanDuel and DraftKings.
Antonio Brown (vs. Baltimore Ravens)
This isn’t the typical Pittsburgh/Baltimore defensive battles we’ve seen in years past. Both of these teams rank in the top seven in the NFL in plays per game. The last two seasons in this series between these two teams have seen the first game of the year be an average-to-below-average offensive game followed by the second game in that season lighting up the scoreboard. In 2017, it was Baltimore winning 39-38 in Week 14. In 2016, it was Baltimore winning 31-27 in Week 16. They’ve already played once this year and will meet for the second time this weekend. In those two shootouts, Antonio Brown totaled 21 receptions for 309 yards and a touchdown. He has touchdowns in three of the last five games against Baltimore. While most people will gravitate to the other big names in this price range, I think Antonio Brown has a chance to put up just as big of a game as anyone on the slate.
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Julio Jones (vs. Washington Redskins)
Julio Jones catches a lot of flak about his lack of touchdowns. He still produces elite fantasy numbers and I’m willing to take a chance that eventually the touchdowns start coming in bunches. Regardless, he’s paying off his salary based on receptions and yards. He has four games this year where he received the 100+ yard bonus on DraftKings and in four of the seven games he’s totaled nine-plus receptions. Atlanta takes on Washington this week and the Redskins have put together one of the finest run defenses in the NFL. Atlanta’s going to have to air it out more this week and Julio gets a matchup with 5’11” CB Greg Stroman. Stroman grades out poorly on PlayerProfiler.com and this could be the breakthrough Julio game.
Courtland Sutton (vs. Houston Texans)
Coming off of his best game as a pro in which he caught four targets for 78 yards, Courtland Sutton is going to be a popular play at this price tag around the industry. It’s not due to that previous game though, it’s because the Broncos traded away Demaryius Thomas this past week. Word has it they did with the sole intention of featuring Sutton even more. He’s a big target who was already getting substantial work in the red zone and now should be featured in all aspects of this offense. The matchup with Houston defensive back Jonathan Joseph is not an easy task for a rookie, but I’m betting on this cheap salary and the talent of this wide receiver to pay off this week.
Jordan Reed (vs. Atlanta Falcons)
With the shorter slate in the middle of the season due to bye weeks and multiple island games, the tight end pool is dwindled down once again. There isn’t a ton of places to spend up that make you feel comfortable, so I’m leaning towards Jordan Reed as my stud this weekend. He received 12 targets last week against the Giants and turned it into seven receptions. The Redskins are facing an Atlanta team that has a defensive philosophy of not allowing the deep play, but rather get picked apart underneath and eventually hold the opposing offense out of the end zone. If Alex Smith gets the ball to Jordan Reed, we could see another seven-plus reception performance this week chewing up the underneath middle of the field against Atlanta. With only Travis Kelce standing out as the definitive top option at this position, I don’t mind saving a few dollars and playing Jordan Reed.
Value Tight End
Chris Herndon (vs. Miami Dolphins)
I’ve already mentioned a lack of options on the slate so digging around for value has been very difficult. One guy that catches my eye has been New York Jets tight end Chris Herndon. After his touchdown in Week 8 against Chicago, that gives him three consecutive games with touchdown receptions for this team. The Jets travel to Miami this weekend to take on the Dolphins. One thing you can do to this Miami defense is score touchdowns with tight ends. In Week 8 they gave up two touchdowns to Jordan Thomas (I don’t know who that is either). In week seven it was Michael Roberts of the Detroit Lions that scored two touchdowns against them. It appears we have a defense that doesn’t defend the TE well near the goal line and a QB that loves to find his big target when they get inside the ten. For this bargain basement price tag on both sites, I think this makes for a very fine punt option at this thin position in Week 9.