Deeper, Cheaper and More Contrarian: Divisional Week
Divisional Week is a sight to behold for those who really enjoy great football match-ups. Well, at least that holds true for three of the four games. It’s rare when the New England game appears to leave something desired from a DFS perspective but the match-up is simply too lopsided to attack with a high degree of confidence. That’s where we’ll start my Week 19 Fantasy Aces GPP picks, if only to get it out of the way.
HOU @ NE
I’m going to start with the Houston side because it’s very very simple. They will be losing, and they will be losing bigly (that’s a word now). Brock Osweiler ($5300) could actually become useful in 2.5 quarters of garbage time, but he’s not worth staking your week on.
DeAndre Hopkins should see his usual sky-high allotment of targets and is the only strong play from Houston at just $4800. The tight end targets have been too sporadic to use either C.J. Fiedorowicz or Ryan Griffin, but Jonathan Grimes ($3000) could be a punt RB to look at for his pass-catching ability once Houston completely abandons the run.
For New England, it’s hard to recommend a single member of the passing game. They likely have a whole second half of limited passing volume and a heavy dose of the ground game. Tom Brady’s $7400 salary is too much to play when compared to the other four quarterbacks in his pricing neighborhood. It’s tough to read how the wide receiver snaps and targets play out, but the one guy I’m least hesitant to throw a dart with is Michael Floyd ($4100). Martellus Bennett is okay, but not great at $4850. He’s scored in three of his last four, but you have to go back to mid-November to find his last game with more than five targets.
On the ground, LeGarrette Blount ($5350) is the surest thing you can find for at least one touchdown, but that’s assuming he’s in uniform. Blount has been out of practice with an illness this week. The three-headed monster the Patriots deploy is hell for DFS and makes Blount an okay tournament play, but everything is dicey here.
SEA @ ATL
We’ll start this segment with a supremely hot take: Atlanta is the worst team to get a playoff bye in recent memory. They have an awful defense that can’t stop effective passing nor running. They have an average quarterback who always has and always will be just as good as the system he’s running plus the help he’s getting. That’s why Kyle Shanahan will be a head coach elsewhere next year and Matt Ryan will be egregiously overdrafted. That said, Shanny is still present for the time being, and we should have a fun shootout on our hands in this game.
On the Atlanta side, both running backs are very much in play, but their price points are sharp with Devonta Freeman at $5450 and Tevin Coleman at $4650. I recommend mixing both in to your usage, but don’t go overweight on either. Matt Ryan at $7200 doesn’t offer real value at his price, as I expect him to be good, not great. A yardage total in the 270s and two touchdowns is what I’m thinking, and that’s simply not proper return when anteing up his price. Julio Jones will see shadow coverage from Richard Sherman, so I’m passing on him. I also project moderate target loads, with the ball spread around, to Taylor Gabriel, Mohammed Sanu, and the Falcons’ tight ends. There’s just not a ton to love about the Atlanta side outside of the running backs.
On the Seattle side, the faster paced game than last week will be a boon for (you guessed it), the Russell Wilson ($6900) and Doug Baldwin ($5600) show. While the Lions couldn’t create the least bit of scoring pace last week with a huge lack of ability at running back, Atlanta offers a different challenge. The Falcons will make it exponentially more difficult for the Seahawks to dial up the run anywhere near the 54% of snaps they did against Detroit (not counting kneel downs, of course). So yes, I believe you should have moderate to high exposure of the Russ and Doug stack with the Paul Richardson value at just $3600 mixed in. I’m steering clear of Jimmy Graham, as $5100 is grossly overpriced. Luke Willson at only $3300 is in play as a punt tight end.
On the ground, I already mentioned I think Thomas Rawls’ volume decreases this week, but his effectiveness may not. While I strongly believe his $5500 price tag is way too high, I couldn’t fault anyone using him in a handful of lineups, particularly if this becomes a Seahawks blowout. Yes, I know they’re the underdog. No, they shouldn’t be.
PIT @ KC
Keep it simple with this game. Start your studs. On the Kansas City side, only Travis Kelce ($5300) is worth anteing up for in the passing game. Everyone else has been volatile with absolutely no significant target share to speak of. On the ground, Spencer Ware appears back to full health, but his $5200 salary is prohibitive so just a handful of lineups for him.
On the Pittsburgh side, this has the makings of a game where Le’Veon Bell ($6850) and Antonio Brown ($6700) touch the ball on 90% of their plays and see >75% of the target share. Ladarius Green is almost certainly out again, which hurts Ben Roethlisberger more than it helps anyone else. Stick to the two studs with a lean towards Bell in as many lineups as you can fit him in and Brown as the secondary use. No this isn’t contrarian or cheap, but I do see it as necessary.
GB @ DAL
Imagine a scenario where Aaron Rodgers ($7850) is starting a playoff game against a team with a rookie quarterback. Now imagine Green Bay is a five point underdog in that game (albeit sans Jordy Nelson). While I believe the betting lines have the wrong team favored in every game except the NE-HOU, this one seems most egregious, likely because it’s a five-point line instead of one- or two-.
Dallas has shown they’re susceptible to the pass far more than the run and will be picked apart by Rodgers. Geronimo Allison at just $3500 is a monstrous value stack with Jordy being ruled out. Randall Cobb at $5100 and Davante Adams at $5750 are fine plays as well, but they don’t present the same value. Jared Cook at $4250 could inherit some of the inside targets Jordy left behind. He could be the GPP winner at tight end, albeit without the safety Travis Kelce brings at a higher price. On the ground, Ty Montgomery ($4700) is a bit pricy for his workload and is okay in a handful of lineups, but will need an outlier target load to be a difference maker.
On the Dallas side, it’s an understatement to say the chance of the stage being too big for their rookies is non-zero. Ezekiel Elliot ($6550) is certainly safer, bet but I see him offering significantly less safety than Le’Veon Bell while additionally lacking the ceiling. I’m using Bell over Zeke this week without hesitation.
In the Cowboys’ passing game, Dak Prescott has as wide a range of possible outcomes as any player, and that includes being a turnover machine on a stage he’s not ready for, to walk down narrative street for a moment. Dak’s $6600 price tag is high enough that you can make Russell Wilson fit instead, and it must be noted that Tony Romo ($5500) costs more than Brock Osweiler ($5300). As for Dallas pass-catchers, Dez Bryant ($5350) seems to be a value and could be used in a handful of lineups. Terrance Williams at just $3500 could return a nice value running the majority of his routes against the left side of Green Bay’s defensive secondary. Jason Witten and Cole Beasley are not in play for me.
Enjoy what should be some fantastic real life football and as always, good luck!
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