2013 Fantasy Football Daily Fix, December 17th: Week 16 WR Daily Fantasy Strategy
Coming up in today’s daily fix I discuss Kirk Cousins, Jordan Todman and Andre Caldwell, and I have some week 16 wide receiver recommendations for DraftKings contests (#DFS).
News and Notes
I’m really not sure Cousins is all that good. About 70% of his career pass attempts have come in the two full games he has played, the game last week against Atlanta and week 14 last year against Cleveland. Atlanta has allowed the eighth most passing yards this year, which is exactly the position the Cleveland pass defense finished in last year. So the matchups certainly haven’t been tough. But this week the streak of weak opponents will continue for Cousins as he’ll face the Cowboys who have allowed the most yards and fantasy points to quarterbacks.
Cousins is owned in just 3% of ESPN.com leagues, and I would play him over guys like Tom Brady, Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson. And I’d even have to think a little bit about starting him over Drew Brees and Cam Newton.
Like Cousins, I’m not sure Jordan Todman is all that good. He has only carried the ball 68 times in his career (that’s including his 25 carries from last week), and he has averaged just 3.6 yards per carry. But he took care of business in a matchup with the Bills who have become a good matchup for running backs late in the season by allowing running backs to compile at least 100 yards and at least one score in each of the last four weeks.
Todman will get another good matchup this week against the Titans who have allowed the second most touchdowns and fourth most fantasy points to running backs. We probably won’t know MJD’s status before add/drops have to be made this week, so go ahead and pick up Todman if you have room (he’s available in 97.7% of ESPN.com leagues). If MJD is out, you’re probably considering Todman at the flex spot.
While we haven’t seen enough of Cousins or Todman to know if they’re good or not, we’ve seen plenty of Andre Caldwell. And he’s not good. But he does happen to be on what might be the GOAT offense (greatest of all time). And with Wes Welker out last week, he took on a prominent role by receiving 11 targets, more than double the five that Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker got.
He did it, like Cousins and Todman, in a great matchup. On the surface, it would appear that he does not have a good matchup with the Texans this week who allow the seventh fewest fantasy points to receivers. But if you look a little closer, you’ll see that Houston has almost entirely avoided teams with great receivers. The best receiver they have faced is Larry Fitzgerald who ranks 14th in standard fantasy points against receivers. So their pass defense might not be as tough as it looks.
If Welker sits out again, you have to assume Caldwell fills his shoes again, even though it was thought Jacob Tamme would be the biggest beneficiary of Welker’s absence. You’d have to be in a pretty deep league to use Caldwell or extremely desparate, but he’s available in almost every league if you find yourself in either of those situations.
DraftKings Wide Receiver Recommendations
The boss, Alan Harrison, and I have a ticket to this week’s Millionaire Grand Final, which has $3.1 million in prizes and a million dollar grand prize, thanks to winning a week 12 qualifier with the Gordon/Alshon explosion. Want to pony up $1,500 and play with us? There are only 1,256 entries so far and the top 300 win at least $3,000.
Below I discuss who I think the best QB/WR stacks are this week, and I mention a few WRs at varying price points that I would consider regardless of whether you also roster their quarterback.
DraftKings uses a PPR format.
Best QB/WR stacks
Cousins and Pierre Garcon were an excellent and cheap stack last week, but the performance vaulted Cousins up to the 9th most expensive quarterback this week. I’ll have him ranked at least that high at quarterback this week, but in a salary cap contest, a lot of the value is removed from him at that price.
But there was one quarterback who had a big week last week who remains very cheap this week. After throwing for 400 yards and four touchdowns, Ryan Fitzpatrick ($5,500) is still only the 29th most expensive quarterback this week. Admittedly, he’s probably not going to throw the ball 58 times again, but the decrease in volume could be mitigated somewhat by having a much better matchup.
Fitz put up his 30 fantasy points against a Cardinals team that had not allowed more than 20 fantasy points to any quarterbacks other than Brees and Foles. The loss of Tyrann Mathieu hurt them, but there’s no way they’re so bad without him that any QB can torch them. This week Fitz will face the Jaguars who allow the third most fantasy points to quarterbacks.
Another plus for Fitz is his favorite target, Kendall Wright ($6,000), remaining relatively cheap. Despite 12 catches and 150 yards on 20 targets last week, Wright is still only the 22nd most expensive receiver. Prior to week 14 I wrote about how much I loved Wright in PPR formats given his consistent target and catch totals. He then caught only two balls on three targets that week. But I have to think that was an aberration. As was his 20 target game last week. But it seems like a very safe bet to assume Wright will get his 6-8 touches at minimum in this matchup.
The pair would cost a mere $11,500 to stack, which is 23% of your budget. Assuming you can find a kicker and a defense for a maximum of $6,000, that would leave you $32,500 to spend on your six remaining skill position slots.
The other cheap QB stack I like is Jason Campbell ($5,600) and Josh Gordon ($8,400). Campbell has thrown the ball at least 35 times in five of his six starts this year, so you know volume is going to be there. And with Gordon’s 200+ yard upside, this pair has some serious potential value. It’s a great matchup for Gordon to go off against the Jets who allow the fifth most fantasy points to receivers. I’m more likely to roll with the Fitz/Wright stack and spend the money on Gordon to go with them, but I’m certainly tempted to pair Gordon with his QB for only 28% of my budget.
If you just can’t bring yourself to go super cheap at QB, Tony Romo ($7,600) and Dez Bryant ($7,600) are a decent stack because Tony is only the 13th most expensive quarterback. They’ll face Washington who, at times, has been a really good matchup for opposing pass offenses. They’ve been much better lately than they were early in the year, but the teams they have contained have largely been below average pass offenses. That’s with the exception of Dallas, who they held to 170 yards passing in week seven. But I expect Cousins and the Redskins to score points against this awful Dallas defense, so I think there will be plenty of volume for Tony this week.
Best Individual Plays
Aside from Gordon, I really like the matchup for the Chicago receivers this week as well as the matchup for Antonio Brown ($7,800). Of the Chicago guys, I think you have to prefer Brandon Marshall ($8,000) to Alshon Jeffery given that Marshall saw 13 targets to Jeffery’s five last week and because Marshall saw more targets from Cutler early in the year. And it’s hard not to like Brown, who is third among receivers in receptions, going against the Packers who have been lit up by receivers in every game not against the Vikings since week seven.
Down the line I like Keenan Allen ($6,500) against the Raiders and Jordy Nelson ($6,300) if Rodgers is back. If you’re looking for cheaper options, I also like James Jones ($4,400) if Rodgers is back. You could also talk me into Michael Crabtree ($4,300) because he has a good matchup with Atlanta and is almost two grand cheaper than Anquan Boldin despite the fact that their usage has been similar since Crab’s return. And if you’re looking for someone at minimum price, I’d go with the aforementioned Caldwell.