2014 Fantasy Football: Week 9 Gold Mine

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Charles Sims
Source: Rob Foldy/Getty Images North America

We have finally reached the point in the season where half of the league is going to be heading into their off week. With the next three weeks of the season seeing 16 teams missing due to the bye week, I hope you have been stacking your rosters with players like Andrew Hawkins (CLE), Justin Forsett (BAL), Carson Palmer (ARI) and more to keep your team afloat as players begin to move to your bench.

With Week 9 approaching the Falcons, Bills, Bears, Lions, Packers and Titans are all taking a back seat, which will undoubtedly have a major impact on nearly every fantasy owner out there. Superstars like Matt Ryan (ATL), Julio Jones (ATL), Matt Forte (CHI), Aaron Rodgers (GB), Reggie Bush (DET) and many more all sitting on the side lines is going to make for a pretty exciting storyline as you peruse through the waiver wire to find replacements in a pinch.

Although Week 8 saw an outcry of fantasy points specifically from players who haven’t been known for doing so, the waiver wire is still pretty thin. Understanding trends and roster situations may be the only course you can take in order to solidify a decent week while your powerhouse players are all riding the pine.

Check out these guys owned in less than 25% of ESPN Leagues. Not a player on ESPN? That is okay! Check out these players percentage of ownership in both YAHOO and NFL as well.

Brandon LaFell (NE): It has been a bit hard for me to discuss LaFell at all this year specifically because of his up and down nature through the first half of the football season. However, despite his on again off again behavior, LaFell (29 | 66 | 47) has been a decent target for Brady over the last five  weeks. Although LaFell isn’t owned in less than 25% of leagues, his 29% in ESPN leagues is far too low for a player of his caliber who has put it on thick in the last few weeks. Nevertheless, LaFell’s 11 catches 124 yards and a score was good for 29 Fantasy points in PPR leagues, fifth best in the league in Week 8. LaFell has now had two 100-yard games in his last five while scoring four times in those respective games including at least six targets in all but two of the Patriots first eight contests. [Read more...]

2014 Fantasy Football: Week 8 AFC Target Report

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Source: Jim Rogash/Getty Images North America

If you happened to miss the NFC version, check it out right here. For those unfamiliar with the format, five players will be examined based on their usage in the passing game and an attempt to describe what it means from a fantasy standpoint is the goal in the end. The first number in parentheses is the number of targets followed by the percentage of targets caught. Additionally, the targets for said player will be listed to the right on a week-by-week basis. Time to get the Week 8 NFC Targets Report started.

Brandon LaFell – (50 targets/60 percent targets caught) 6-0-8-10-4-6-5-11

While I was extremely skeptical that LaFell’s early big outings in Week 4 and Week 6 were anything more than a fluke, I’ll be the first to admit that I was wrong. LaFell had a career game on Sunday as he toasted the Chicago Bears secondary to the tune of 11 receptions for 124 yards and a score. He led all Patriots wideouts in snaps while also seeing a season-high 11 targets. While Rob Gronkowski will dominate the targets on a weekly basis, it’s comforting to know this offense can support more than Gronk and Julian Edelman in the passing attack. The 27-year-old LSU product is likely to continue to have his pains with consistency, but he can certainly provide WR3/WR4 numbers from here on out. LaFell is on pace for a 60-922-8 line, all of which would be career-high totals. It will be tough to sit him against the Broncos this weekend but it’s a tough matchup so if you do make sure to temper expectations. [Read more...]

2014 Fantasy Football: Week 9 QB and D/ST Streaming Options

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Alex Smith
Source: Kyle Rivas/Getty Images North America

Defense/Special Teams streaming has been a popular option for a while now for fantasy owners. But quarterback streaming has begun being put into use just recently, it seems. As the demand grows we must meet it with a supply of fantasy articles. Each week I’ll highlight as many appealing quarterbacks and defenses fantasy owners can pick up for that week to stream in their starting lineups. As the season progresses, more options will appear as teams and players are dropped and we discover who’s real and who’s not. If you have any questions about these picks or fantasy football in general, hit me up on Twitter @44AMiller.

Quarterback (Notable QBs on bye: Matt Ryan, Kyle Orton, Jay Cutler, Matthew Stafford, Aaron Rodgers)

Carson Palmer (40 percent owned ESPN, 57 percent owned Yahoo!) – The Cowboys have only allowed three passing touchdowns in their last four games, but don’t let that scare you from using Palmer. He’s thrown for 284 yards and two scores per game this year. His schedule has been fairly easy, but he’s going to be the most talented quarterback available on most waiver wires. Add to that his large corps of capable receivers and you’ve got a great play.

[Read more...]

2014 Fantasy Football Podcast: Week 9 DraftKings Strategy

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LeSean McCoy
Source: Andy Lyons/Getty Images North America

Below is a podcast with me discussing daily fantasy strategy for DraftKings in Week 9. It’s about 20 minutes long. I discuss the best plays at each position as well as my general method for researching daily fantasy and making selections. My cheat sheet with projections and the cost per projected point for each played is embedded below. You can also find the podcast on iTunes by searching for ‘thefantasyfix’ in the search bar.

Sign up for DraftKings through us, and DraftKings will match your initial deposit up to $600. By using this link, you’ll also receive a free one-year subscription to our Front Office premium content package.

2014 Fantasy Football: Week 8 NFC Target Report

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Larry Fitzgerald
Source: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images North America

It’s that time of the week again folks. Waiver wire additions and lineup decisions become the main focus as we await the New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers to kick off the Week 8 games on Thursday Night Football. Looking at wide receivers usage through targets is a great way to help evaluate past results and future production and see whether performances are sustainable or not. If you happen to be unfamiliar with the formatting, I will examine the usage of five players by their targets and attempt to describe what it means in relation to said player’s fantasy value. Targets and the percentage of targets caught will be in parentheses to the right. Additionally, the targets will be displayed on a week-to-week basis to the right of the parentheses. Without further ado, the Week 8 NFC Target Report is now live.

Larry Fitzgerald – (49 targets/61.2 percent caught) 4-10-7-BYE-7-6-5-10

Fitzgerald turned back the clock on Sunday as he went off for a 7-160-1 line and all it took to cure his season-long woes was a date against his favorite opponent, the Philadelphia Eagles. In six career meetings against the Eagles, Fitz has recorded 11 touchdowns. It’s safe to say that Fitzgerald had been a major letdown for owners up until this game as he was averaging 3.8 catches for 47.1 yards and a score through the Cardinals first six games. With that being said, it was encouraging to see him match his season-high in targets (10), but it may not be an accurate reflection of his value going forward.

Fitz has only cleared five catches on three occasions while also failing to record more than 10 fantasy points in three of six games. At this juncture Fitzgerald is currently WR36 in PPR formats, barely returning WR3 value. Carson Palmer has a bevy of options in the passing game in Michael Floyd, John Brown, and Andre Ellington, and Fitzgerald will continue to struggle with consistency in the Cardinals spread the wealth approach. Treat him as a low-upside WR3 until he proves otherwise. He has another nice matchup against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 9, and I would be looking to sell-high on him if he has another good performance if you haven’t already. This isn’t the Fitzgerald of yesteryear. [Read more...]

2014 College Football: Week 10 DFS – Early Only

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Ameer Abdullah
Source: Eric Francis/Getty Images North America

Below are my favorite plays from various price ranges at each position for this week’s early college football contests on DraftKings. Within each price range, players are listed in the order in which I would prefer to roster them. If you’re looking for additional CFB DFS content, check out the work of Ben Pritchett of FantasyInsiders.com (@naturalslugger) and Chris Kay of LuDawgs.com (@realestchriskay).

Quarterbacks

High (Priced above $7,500)

When considering the most expensive players at each position, you have to consider whether the juice is worth the squeeze. In other words, is their price justified? To figure that out I look at how far above average a player’s price is and how far above average the player’s performance to date has been using standard deviations.

Let’s use Connor Halliday (Washington State, $9,300) as an example. Compared to the other 40 quarterbacks I considered for this slate of games, Halliday’s price is 1.84 standard deviations above the mean. But when you consider his fantasy production to this point, Halliday has been 2.42 standard deviations better than the average for this group of quarterbacks. That means Halliday has outperformed his price and looks like a value. Of course the quality of the opponent is a huge deal in college football, so I also make an adjustment for matchup (which I won’t waste time explaining). Halliday faces an above average pass defense in USC this week, so the gap between his performance and price narrows, but the matchup isn’t so bad that he isn’t still a value at this salary.

Among the seven quarterbacks priced above $7,500, Halliday is the only one whose production to date is further above average than his price once the adjustment is made for quality of opponent. That’s why Halliday is my favorite top tier quarterback play in early contests. Kenny Hill has actually been more productive than his price, but his starting job is very much up in the air. If you’re not a fan of Halliday, Shane Carden (East Carolina, $9,500) comes the closest of the other top tier QBs to justifying his price. But someone like Trevone Boykin doesn’t have production to date that justifies his $10,100 price. [Read more...]

2014 Fantasy Football: Week 9 Thursday Night Football Preview

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Cam Newton
Source: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images North America

Thursday October 30, 2014
New Orleans Saints @ Carolina Panthers

The NFC South has been pretty miserable this season. The lackluster Saints will battle the struggling Panthers for the division lead tonight. Both teams have been mediocre, however, they both have major upside as well. There are a lot of major fantasy players in this game. Major players at every position as a matter of fact. This is a must win for the Panthers if they want to contend for the playoffs. It will be fun to see if Cam Newton can take down Drew Brees and the Saints. The showdown of first round receivers Brandin Cooks and Kelvin Benjamin is also an interesting storyline.

New Orleans Saints: Key Players

QB Drew Brees

Brees has been an elite fantasy and reality QB for years. He has also been struggling on the road for years. His struggles have been noticeably worse this season. Fortunately for him so has the Panthers’ defense. His struggles are still better than most QBs averages. If you have Brees you’re still very happy with his production.

Verdict: Start Brees. If you have him, you’re starting him. Just temper expectations a bit when he is playing outside of his home dome. [Read more...]

2014 Fantasy Football Podcast: Week 9 Preview

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Host Ryan Noonan (@RyNoonan) is joined by Bob Harris (@footballdiehard) to preview Week 9 of the NFL season.

2014 Fantasy Football Daily Fix: Week 9 Tight Ends

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It is on to week 9 of Daily Fantasy Football at DraftKings. I’m back again this week to offer my picks for the Tight End position at DraftKings. We have a bunch of teams on bye this week, so our slate is a bit smaller from which to choose. Should you pay or go dumpster diving this week for your DFS TE? Let’s see if we can find one of those diamonds in the rough for Week 9 DFS slate.

This is a great week to check out DraftKings and pick up a new way to play fantasy football.

DraftKings Tight End Recommendations

If you’ve never played on DraftKings before, you can get a deposit bonus by signing up. And there are different options to pick from at DraftKings for any skill level.

Also, a gentle reminder on the scoring for Tight Ends – this is a PPR site so remember that when selecting players. The full for scoring for Tight Ends is at the end of this column.

Tight Ends can also be used in the flex position at DraftKings. However, with the entire world of RBs and WRs at your disposal, it would be unlikely you’d have to head to the TEs to pick up a flex play. Jimmy Graham is always in play as a flex option.

Let’s take a look at a couple of options at each price point. For those who are new to the column, I’ll generally look at a couple of options in each pricing tier broken out based on the socioeconomic status of 1970s sitcom families. And I’ll always cover Jimmy Graham.

I’ll mention Football Outsiders a lot over the season – the passes per game and yards per game stats I use are from Football Outsiders. Here is the link to Football Outsiders’ 2013 stats. FO stats for 2014 are here and I like to use the defense versus types of receivers to fill out my rosters.

Teams on bye: Atlanta Falcons, Buffalo Bills, Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Tennessee Titans. We don’t actually lose a ton with just Martellus Bennett and Delanie Walker being the only real options not there for this week.

The Graham Tier

Jimmy Graham | Saints | $6,700 – The Saints are in the Thursday night game so be aware when making a lineup. His matchup isn’t great and Drew Brees is not a good QB on the road so I wouldn’t go with Graham this week. It looks like he’s back close to full health so we should be able to count on him over the rest of the season.

The Jeffersons

Rob Gronkowski | Patriots | $7,600 – Coming off a monster performance last week, Gronk is the most expensive TE on the board. His matchup is solid against the Broncos who are in the bottom quarter of defenses versus TE. However, his price makes him tough to roster and should likely be ignored this week unless you can find bargains elsewhere.

Julius Thomas| Broncos | $5,600 – Thomas’ matchup looks similar to Gronk’s however the Patriots have struggled recently against TEs. Over the last three weeks, they have given up a 100 yard game and TDs in the other two games. And those three TEs aren’t exactly juggernauts – Scott Chandler, Jeff Cumberland and Martellus Bennett. So, Thomas is a great option for $2k less than Gronk. He’s going to be in most of my cash lineups.

All in the Family

Larry Donnell | Giants | $4,600 – Boy the Colts’ defense looked horrific last week and they gave up a 100 yard game to Heath Miller. Donnell’s price is a bit higher than I’d like, but his matchup is too good to pass up.

Clay Harbor | Jaguars | $4,200 – Harbor faces the Bengals who did not give up a TD to a TE last week for the first time since Week 3.  That said, Harbor hasn’t been a consistent scorer mostly due to the Jags ineffective offense. He’s a higher risk play in the mid-tier and is a GPP-only play.

Travis Kelce | Chiefs | $4,100 – Kelce’s been off the radar the last three weeks as he’s failed to break the 10 point ceiling over those three weeks.  However, he gets the Jets and their awful TE defense this week. However, that Jets’ defensive ranking is predicated on giving up TDs as they’ve given up multiple TDs to TEs in four of the last six weeks. Kelce is the most targeted Chiefs’ receiver in the red zone so he has a chance to put up big numbers for a middling price.

Good Times

Many of the value plays have evaporated over time. There are a couple of guys to look at for Week 9, but purely as GPP plays.

Austin Seferian-Jenkins | Bucs |$3,400 – Seferian-Jenkins coughed up a fumble last week that led to a Vikings win. ASJ’s matchup doesn’t look great this week, however the Browns are coming off back to back weeks where they gave up a total of 13 catches to the TEs on 15 targets. ASJ could be a sneaky play.

Mychal Rivera | Raiders | $3,200 – Rivera showed up last week with seven catches on nine targets (most targets of the season and more targets than he had the last four weeks combined) and picked up his first double digit point total last week.

Jason Witten | Cowboys | $3,200 – Witten tied his season-high with five catches last week and he also picked up a TD. As a result, he had his highest scoring week of 2014. Witten’s season has been a disappointment as he’s been called on to block more and also looks to be slowing overall.

Jim Dray ($3,000) for the Browns has a sweet matchup, but doesn’t have the athleticism and upside of Jordan Cameron who will likely miss the game. John Carlson ($3,000) is in the same boat as Dray, but has shown in the past he can put up some numbers. He’s getting a fair number of targets, but just isn’t a big part of the Cardinals offense as he’s got just one red zone target all year long.

Good luck in Week 9!

10 Receiving Yards = +1PT (+0.1PT per yard is awarded)
Reception = +1PT
Receiving TD = +6PTs
100+ Yard Receiving Game = +3PTs
Fumble Lost = -1PT
2 Point Conversion (Pass, Run, or Catch) = +2PTs
Offensive Fumble Recovery TD = +6PTs

The full DraftKings scoring system is here.

2014 Fantasy Football Daily Fix: Week 9 Wide Receivers

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Welcome to Wide Receiver Wednesday at the Daily Fix! Each Wednesday of the NFL regular season @RyNoonan will provide you with several receiving options that are strong plays that week at DraftKings. Monday through Friday the Fix writers will provide you with a Daily Fix that covers each position, with a weekly roundup on Friday.

Not into the ‘Daily‘ thing yet? Let’s talk. It’s a ton of fun, you get to start new each week and pick your squad, and DraftKings has a great promo going right now where they’ll match your initial deposit up to $600. Do it. Oh, and you get a free year’s subscription to our premium content as well in the #FrontOffice.

The Wide Receiver position is loaded with options in this new, ever-prolific passing era of the NFL, so options abound. I’ll break it up into tiers, essentially, WR1’s, 2’s, 3’s and FLEX/deep options.

Your WR1 and WR2’s are no-brainer starts in your normal fantasy leagues. I’ll highlight them if they have an exceptional matchup or price. We’re likely going to find some inexpensive plays here week in a week out as well, due to the depth at the position. We’ll need to dig a little deeper as we’re entering bye weeks, but I hope to continue picking winners for you.

Scoring and other settings can be found here.

For reference, you’ll continue to see me use both aFPA (Schedule-Adjusted Fantasy Points Allowed) from 4for4.com and DVOA (Defensive-Adjusted Value Over Average) from FootballOutsiders.com. These stats become more reliable each week as have real data points to reference instead of only a hybrid of data mixed with pre-season expectations.

WR1

Antonio Brown – BAL @ PIT ($9,100)

There are so few upper-echelon receiver values this week, and by few I mean none.  I like to target players that have a high ceiling but also offer a cost per point savings relative to their peers. Using the projected point totals from FantasyPros (+/-3); I look for players that’ll come in under $400 per point. Based on Brown’s projections for the week, he’ll barely come in under the $400 mark, but if I’m spending big on a wide receiver it’s hard to find a higher floor than Brown. With Jimmy Smith set to miss a few weeks, we have to look at this Baltimore secondary a bit differently moving forward. [Read more...]