Deeper, Cheaper, and More Contrarian: Week 10
With Week 10 upon us, byes are winding down, and we’ve seen a return to normalcy over the past couple weeks, as GPPs haven’t been won on paper with chalk values. As I dove into this week’s slate, there was an exciting and terrifying revelation: it’s incredibly easy to be contrarian this week. There are elite players at each position at the relative floor of what their pricing will generally be, with many in non-prohibitive match-ups. You’ll see what I mean as I get into the specific players, so let’s dive into the Week 10 Fantasy Aces GPP picks.
This is an interesting week as it shows the consensus taking the more affordable players at quarterback and wide receiver to fit a certain Cardinal running back into lineups. While the football analyst in me approves of this strategy, the game theorist in me is working overtime to find ways to go the other way and exploit the chalk.
The bargains targeted by the masses at quarterback this week are Marcus Mariota ($6150, 31%), Dak Prescott ($6200, 22%), and Jay Cutler ($6200, 17%). None are priced over $6200, and all seem to have a favorable match-up. I’d argue Cutler is in the best spot among this group, and he’s my preference at a much lower ownership than the other two.
In the Dallas-Pittsburgh game, Ben Roethlisberger ($6900, 14%) is also moderately owned. This makes 38% of the week’s quarterback usage come from this single game, and it simply does not project favorably for Dak Prescott. Many believe Dallas will be competitive in this road game. If they are, it will be from a steady dose of Zeke, and the defense slowing Roethlisberger. There couldn’t be a more unfavorable script for Prescott than this, and in turn, for Ben.
The flip side of that coin is if Pittsburgh takes a commanding lead early on Ben’s arm and Dallas is forced to make the rookie throw more than they’re comfortable with. That could lead to either a very high scoring shootout, or (more likely) a Pittsburgh blow out. The only conceivable way I can recommend throwing Dak in any lineups this week is in a game stack with Roethlisberger and pass catchers from both sides. If we’re being most prudent, we’re throwing Ben stacks in a handful of lineups, Zeke in a handful of separate lineups, and moving on.
So if not them, who?
Russell Wilson – $6500, 3%
Wilson finally looked something resembling healthy last week, and more importantly, it looked like Seattle finally realized (again, after half the season, like in 2015) that their offense is simply sub-par as a running team. The latter point will be moot this week as they travel to Foxborough, where they’ll be unable to run the ball whether they want to or not. They’ll need plenty of points to keep pace with Tom Brady and company. There’s kind of a myth out there that the Patriots are strong against opposing passing games, but they are in the bottom half of the league in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks, despite playing against only one passer in the top-10 of overall QB scoring (Tyrod Taylor). This is as cheaply as you’ll be able to use Russ the rest of the way. Take advantage.
Stack Doug Baldwin. Jimmy Graham and C.J. Prosise are in play for double stacks as well. Tyler Lockett and Jermaine Kearse are in play for big games buoyed by big plays, but both are very hard to trust.
Game stacking with Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, and Julian Edelman could be useful as well.
I’m going to fire away at Russ, taking advantage of the discount, but will also mix in the aforementioned Roethlisberger and Cutler, in addition to Drew Brees ($7600, 2%). You need some level of exposure to both Brees and Roethlisberger when they’re in home games, especially when they’re underowned, regardless of match-up.
I mentioned David Johnson earlier, and he is the swinging gate of Week 10. He’s the most owned player at 64%, despite being the second-priciest skill position player at $6400. Cue the broken record segment of this series. At that ownership and that price, anything short of an RB1 finish will put you at a distinct disadvantage when trying to bust into the top 1000th of GPP scores. With that said, this is the optimal situation a running back. I can’t recommend a full fade, but we’d hinder ourselves with as much or more exposure than the field.
To balance the scales, there’s one particular contrarian rusher that I’m in lust with this week. Despite the weekly insistence to fire up running backs against Denver (like Latavius Murray last week and Melvin Gordon the week before), this happened:
Mark Ingram – $4950, 2%
Wait, when a good player has a good game, shouldn’t everyone want to use him next week?
Wait, when a certain position gashes a defense, shouldn’t everyone want to exploit that same hole next week?
WHAT IS EVEN HAPPENING HERE????
I’ve never felt a greater probability of being the star of The Truman Show than trying to figure this one out. By the end of last week’s game, it was apparent Ingram had reclaimed his role (and why it was his to begin with). While Tim Hightower is a capable backup, Ingram is still a higher-end running back thanks to his three-down skill set. I’m going to force myself to not own him 100%, as script could go negatively, but this checks every box for a strong contrarian play in value, opportunity, match-up, and ownership.
If you’re looking for an arbitrage David Johnson, all the other pricey options at the position are generally faded, save for Melvin Gordon ($5900, 33%).
These two guys get the workloads we covet, but were fully passed over for DJ this week:
DeMarco Murray – $5950, 1%
His match-up is bad, but Murray very involved in the passing game. Green Bay has a good, but not invincible front.
Spencer Ware – $5400, 2%
Copy and paste from Murray, replace “Green Bay” with “Carolina.”
John Brown – $4150, 2%
We’ve already discussed David Johnson, but what happens if it’s the passing game that obliterates San Francisco’s putrid defense this week? Well, 35% of lineups have JJ Nelson at $3750, but apparently it’s a stretch to use John Brown for just $400 more? What? I feel like I’m either far more or far less burnt out than everyone else this week looking at this ridiculous inequity. Carson Palmer is also only 9% owned and could work well in a big-hit or big-miss spot with Brown and both of the other Arizona wide receivers.
Doug Baldwin – $4750, 3%
Have I ever mentioned I like Doug Baldwin? Yes? I need a new topic you say? Okay, maybe next week. This week he and Russell Wilson get to exploit Logan Ryan or, as he’ll be known on Sunday, Logan Cryin’ (Jordan). This is the week Baldwin makes the end zone great again, and it’s likely the cheapest he’ll be for the rest of the year. Fire away.
Michael Thomas – $4900, 5%
It’s perhaps early to say Brees has a new favorite target (or is it?), but Thomas has been the preference under pressure this year, and the rookie has really rewarded the early confidence. It seems unlikely Chris Harris will take on Thomas, given their size differential and Harris’ natural fit on Cooks, so I think Thomas will make good use of his large number of targets.
As has become the norm, there is no real chalk at the position. No player is more than 20% owned, so you’re firing up the players you like.
Jordan Reed – $5000, 2%
My contrarian recommendation is each week’s best bet to be the TE1, Jordan Reed. His cost is unfavorable, but his ownership is ridiculously low, as if Minnesota isn’t middle-of-the-pack or worse in allowing tight end scoring.
I’ll have a somewhat even split between these four, with perhaps more weight on the latter two:
Philadelphia Eagles – $2750, 1%
Houston Texans – $3000, 2%
Los Angeles Rams – $3000, 7%
Arizona Cardinals – $3400, 11%
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