As I was organizing the “Must Plays” this week, sorting them into each category, I noticed that there’s plenty of repeat picks from last week.
This promptly raised the question, “was my subconscious bias taking over?”
After all, I had a lot of success by using these players last week, so perhaps my brain was “short-circuiting” back to the players that I had associated with positive emotions from the week before.
Whether we recognize it or not, we all do this to some degree. The best way to remain objective is to be cognizant of the situation, going back and asking ourselves why we actually like this particular player. Does he check all the boxes? Is the matchup appealing? Has the price risen too much considering the recent performance? Can you blend them well within a quality lineup, or are you reaching/sacrificing by selecting this player?
Don’t worry, I went through this line of questioning with each pick, clearing them for “must play status” this weekend.
By the way, if you are interested more in the psychology aspect of fantasy football, I highly recommend checking out the work of Rotoworld colleague Renee Miller. Her twitter handle is @reneemiller01, and she is a Neuroscientist who has written a book and several other publications regarding cognitive bias and fantasy sports. It’s interesting stuff to say the least.
Okay, now onto the Must Plays for FanDuel NFL Week 10:
Good luck, all!
PLATINUM: Build your lineup around these guys
Tom Brady – QB – NE (FanDuel Price: $9,100)
Oh hey there, Tom Brady…welcome back! There’s no disputing that Brady is one of the best fantasy QBs in the game right now, even after considering his heightened price point on DFS sites. This week, Brady has one of the better matchups for any QB, taking on a Giants team that ranks 29th in fantasy points allowed to opposing signal callers. Drew Brees torched the G-men for 7 TDs a few weeks ago, and Brady should work with similar precision to prompt a big fantasy day.
DeAngelo Williams – RB – PIT (FanDuel Price: $7,600)
Williams was actually the posterboy of this article last week, and he promptly responded with 27 carries, 170 yards, 2 TDs, 2 receptions, and 55 receiving yards vs the Raiders. His matchup this week against Cleveland is even better, as the Browns rank in the bottom five for fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs. With Ben Roethlisberger out, there’s a chance the Steelers will rely a little more on the run game.
GOLD: Next wave to consider, in terms of priority
Allen Robinson – WR – JAC (FanDuel Price: $7,500)
Mr. Robinson has been in this list several times before, this is his first time in about a month. A-Rob has been cruising along with 6+ catches, 70+ yards, and 15+ fantasy points in each of his last four games, and this draw against Baltimore sets up his best matchup to date. The Ravens rank second to last in fantasy points allowed to opposing wide receivers, which looks fantastic for Robinson to maintain his hotstreak. He’s a fairly easy pick considering the reliability, price, and matchup.
Julian Edelman – WR – NE (FanDuel Price: $8,000)
Pairing Tom Brady with one of his receivers is an excellent strategy in this matchup. You can’t go wrong with either Edelman or Gronkowski, but fitting both of them (along with Brady) into the same lineup causes problems. I’m leaning towards the target monster Edelman in this situation, as I have another plan for tight end (will discuss later). Edelman should see a healthy heaping of looks in this matchup, and I’m willing to bet that he finds the end-zone for the fourth time in three games.
SILVER: Good options that narrowly rank ahead of similar players
Michael Crabtree – WR – OAK (FanDuel Price: $6,400)
Crabtree is another one of those players giving me some self-doubts (as discussed in the introduction). However, looking at the steady stream of production pitted against the still reasonable price point eases some of the second-guessing. He has caught 6+ passes and a TD in each of the past three games, going over 100 yards in the past two as well. He is directly benefitting from the surging likes of Derek Carr, and that could continue in a home matchup against a mediocre Vikings secondary.
Doug Martin – RB – TB (FanDuel Price: $6,700)
Martin hasn’t done much over the past few weeks, but it’s nice to know that he has upside: hitting 20+ FP in three weeks before that. The matchups sets up great, as Dallas ranks dead last in fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs, and Martin has seen 19+ carries in four of the past five games. Granted, game flow will likely dictate how many carries he sees, but I’m expecting Tampa to aggressively attack Dallas’ susceptible run defense.
BRONZE: Not 100% necessities, but they mix well into a quality lineup
Jarvis Landry – WR – MIA (FanDuel Price: $7,000)
I understand that I have listed quite a few wide receivers this week, but there’s just so many to like in the mid-range level. If you’d rather pair Tom Brady with Gronkowski (fair strategy), then dropping Edelman to Landry for $1,000 is a nice way to make that happen. Landry is moderately priced, especially considering his large helping of targets over the past three weeks. He is clearly Miami’s best wide receiver, which sets up well against a Philadelphia team that stuffs the run but can’t slow down the passing game.
Gary Barnidge – TE – CLE (FanDuel Price: $6,100)
If you aren’t going with Rob Gronkowski at tight end, I believe Barnidge is the next best thing (per dollar-wise). He has struggled in two games with Johnny Manziel at QB, so it’s nice to have Josh McCown back under center, ready to target Barnidge heavily. The Steelers rank in the bottom ten in fantasy points allowed to opposing tight ends, which sets up a perfect bounce-back situation for Cleveland’s #1 target.
PARTICIPATION RIBBONS: Fell just short of a featured spot
Jordan Reed – TE – WAS
Cam Newton – QB – CAR
DeAndre Hopkins – WR – HOU
Rob Gronkowski - TE - NE
Todd Gurley - RB - STL