Joey Ricotta | October 25th, 2019
I’ll touch back before Sunday with a rundown of who I’ll be targeting in cash games. For now, we’ll take a look at the current Vegas odds (as of writing this) and touch on some potential spots we can exploit. This is all subject to change. The sole purpose is to help you gather ideas and get started on your research process. In future weeks, this article will mostly come out on Wednesday.
Many of you have already started or are well into your research. Good. Honestly, we have an entire week to research for NFL. If you have the time to do it, you should. Nonetheless, here’s what Vegas is telling us, as of now, and here are some areas we can attack. If you’ve already been researching, stick around. There might be some things you’ve missed or extra numbers to reassure your original thoughts.
SEA -3.5 @ ATL O/U 53
As it stands now, this is the highest over/under on the board. There should be a lot of fantasy relevance from this game and I’ll most likely be leaning on the Seattle Seahawks side of things with Matt Ryan dealing with an ankle injury. If Ryan sits, Matt Schaub could make for an interesting low-priced GPP option. For the Seahawks, every main offensive weapon looks to be in play. We’ll circle back around and pinpoint one or two options to use in cash games later in my next article.
PHI @ BUF – 1.5 O/U 43
Philadelphia is coming off a difficult loss to the Dallas Cowboys where they were stomped on Sunday night. Meanwhile, earlier in the day, the Bills took care of business against the Miami Dolphins. The Eagles have been getting torched all season through the air and I expect the Bills to try to attack the same way, putting Josh Allen and his receivers in play. Finding options on Philly’s side will be a little bit harder, although, at first glance, Carson Wentz, Zach Ertz, and Alshon Jeffery look to be underpriced.
LAC @ CHI – 3.5 O/U 41
Both of these teams are struggling at the moment. The Bears offense looks absolutely anemic and the defense wasn’t much better Sunday, allowing 424 total yards and four touchdowns to the New Orleans Saints. Matt Nagy’s unwillingness to run the ball has brought a lot of heat down on him this week. Something tells me he’ll be running often with rookie running back David Montgomery against the Chargers. The matchup calls for it as well, the Chargers have been better against the pass than the run this season.
However, we’ve thought Nagy would use more of Monty in the past, so this is strictly a GPP only target. Allen Robinson has been the only consistent Chicago offensive piece, but if the Bears choose the run the ball more, that will take a bite into his solid PPR numbers. Leaving A-Rob as a GPP only option as well this week.
For the Chargers, since Melvin Gordon has returned, the running game has stalled out significantly. The problem is, the Chargers continue to give him more work than Austin Ekeler, but it’s Ekeler that has continued to flourish in the receiving game. Although the Bears defense struggled last week and the week prior without Akiem Hicks, I don’t expect that to be the new norm. Even if it is, Ekeler is still getting enough work to make us feel uneasy using Gordon in cash games. Both running backs are GPP options for me.
Since the return of Hunter Henry, Keenan Allen has seen his numbers take a dip, although he was targeted 11 times this past week against the Tennessee Titans. As of now, I’ll have some GPP exposure. Reports are saying he will be limited if active. Henry at only $4,900 on DraftKings is a very fair price for someone who has received at least eight targets in each of the last two weeks, and he was only three yards shy of hitting 100 yards receiving for the second week in a row. Volume alone makes him a potential cash game play. The Chargers’ defense has to be considered as well. I think DraftKings made a mistake pricing them at only $2,300.
NYG @ DET – 6.5 O/U 49.5
The Lions have been playing much better than their record shows. They lost an “official” disaster last Monday night against the Green Bay Packers. Then Sunday, they fell to the Minnesota Vikings. The offense is playing well, and they might be able to put some points up against the Giants. The defense has been hit or miss. The Lions just traded safety Quandre Diggs to the Seattle Seahawks. That’s an obvious loss to a secondary that just allowed 338 passing yards and four touchdowns to Kirk Cousins.
Evan Engram might be a little expensive for cash games, but his price has dropped after his poor production against the Cardinals. Saquon Barkley is always an option when healthy. For the Lions, Ty Johnson looks like a solid cheap play and I expect him to garner some ownership. J.D. McKissic could be good in large field GPPs. He had more yards per carry than Johnson after Kerryon Johnson exited. Matthew Stafford and his receivers have to be in play as well. This game has sneaky shootout potential.
NYJ @ JAC – 6.5 O/U 41
The New York Jets got blasted on Monday by the New England Patriots. Sam Darnold was seeing ghosts and threw for less than 100 yards with four interceptions. The Jacksonville Jaguars defeated the Cincinnati Bengals 27-17. As of now, I don’t know what to do with this game. Leonard Fournette‘s price has risen, maybe just out of the threshold where he was a must-play. But I’ll definitely still have some shares of him. A Gardner Minshew/DJ Chark stack could be the way I go in GPPs. Also, Chark’s price isn’t bad for cash games. I don’t want to say I’m full fading the Jets side because they could have a nice bounce-back game and utilize their home run hitter Robby Anderson. But as of now, I’ll have more exposure to Le’Veon Bell in tournaments.
CIN @ LAR – 13 O/U 48
The Cincinnati Bengals allowed a whopping 216 yards on the ground to the Jacksonville Jaguars last week, which is expected given all of their struggles so far this season. The Los Angeles Rams had a nice bounce-back game against the Falcons, dropping 37 points en route to a deciding 37-10 victory. They are in a good spot here to score some points and they are heavy favorites at home. Todd Gurley has to be considered to some degree, but he isn’t getting the workload we want out of a cash game running back. Darrell Henderson seems like a solid GPP play with Malcolm Brown out again.
Jared Goff and all of his receivers are playable. The fear here will be how early the Rams get out to a deciding lead. If they do, will they quit throwing altogether and lean heavily on Gurley and their rookie running back Henderson? I have a lot of questions and I’ll narrow down the options in the coming days. Tyler Boyd at $5,100 and Joe Mixon at $4,600 are too cheap. I don’t think Mixon can be trusted in cash, but Boyd looks nice if the Bengals are playing from behind.
ARI @ NO – 10.5 O/U 48
David Johnson was listed as active and the Cardinals trolled everyone. We were all over using Chase Edmonds had DJ been inactive. However, that wasn’t the case, nor did it matter. The Cardinals barely used Johnson (one carry for two yards). Instead, Edmonds had 27 carries for 126 yards and three touchdowns. A humongous day. Now, the Cardinals have signed Alfred Morris and Zach Zenner for running back depth. Johnson didn’t practice on Wednesday or Thursday, so his status for Sunday is in serious jeopardy again. However, the matchup for Edmonds or whoever else is worrisome against the Saints who are allowing only 90.6 rushing yards per game.
The Saints steamrolled the Bears at Soldier Field. I honestly thought the Bears defense was better than that, and still, do believe that, but the Saints made it look easy. Teddy Bridgewater protected the ball well and made all of the throws needed. Latavius Murray had 27 carries for 119 yards and two touchdowns, while also adding five catches for 31 yards. The Saints have a bye in week nine, which might allow them to be more cautious with Alvin Kamara and Drew Brees, even they get cleared to play.
Kamara didn’t practice Wednesday but returned to be a limited participant on Thursday. Brees has been a limited participant both days. Keep an eye on both of those situations. If Kamara sits, there’s a good chance Murray carries the load again in a good matchup. At $5,800 on DK, he’s in play for cash games. If Kamara plays, Murray can’t be considered in cash games, but both are tournament targets. If Brees gets the nod, he is tournament only for me. I don’t want to play a quarterback in his first game back from an extended absence due to injury. If it’s Bridgewater instead, he might be usable albeit with limited upside. Michael Thomas is always an option if you want to pay up for him at receiver.
TB @ TEN – 2.5 O/U 45.5
Tampa Bay is coming off their bye week, which came at the right time, following two straight losses. The Tennessee Titans have a 3-4 record following a victory at home against the Los Angeles Chargers. This game might be one of the trickier ones of the week.
I always have interest in Jameis Winston, Chris Godwin, and Mike Evans stacks. The only real cash game playable player on the Titans’ side is Derrick Henry. But with his lack of volume in the passing game, I think there are better options out there. Ryan Tannehill has somewhat sparked the offense and he draws a good matchup against a Buccaneers defense that has allowed the most passing yards per game (304.5) and the seventh-most DK fantasy points per game to quarterbacks. Corey Davis and A.J. Brown pique my interest in GPPs.
DEN @ IND – 5.5 O/U 42.5
Look at Jacoby Brissett quieting the Andrew Luck retirement noise. After winning two straight games, the Indianapolis Colts find themselves in first place in the AFC South. Things aren’t going as swimmingly for the Denver Broncos. After their 30-6 loss last Thursday night to the (basically) Patrick Mahomes-less Kansas City Chiefs, they have fallen to 2-5.
While Brissett has looked fine, I think playing him is strictly matchup based. Going against the Broncos doesn’t line up to be a good one. The Broncos are allowing the third-fewest passing yards and DK points per game to quarterbacks. Marlon Mack is seeing 62.8% of the offensive snaps, but I can’t trust him. If you want to use him in tournaments, fine. T.Y. Hilton provides a solid floor and has a degree of upside, but as I said earlier, throwing the ball against the Broncos isn’t normally a fantastic spot. Since the Colts have almost no one else to throw the ball to, Eric Ebron could be a tournament only option.
With the departure of Emmanuel Sanders, the Broncos will need to throw the ball elsewhere. Courtland Sutton, already the team-leader in targets, could be in for a busy day. DaeSean Hamilton could also see an increased role. The Colts are allowing the ninth-most DK points per game to wide receivers. Since the trade came after salaries were set, both players are too cheap for their expected usage, and they aren’t in a bad spot to produce.
CAR @ SF – 5.5 O/U 42.5
The Carolina Panthers are fresh off the bye week following their victory in London against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Not being able to use Christian McCaffrey is a crime. We’ll be able to do that this week, although he faces an uphill battle going against the 49ers’ terrific defense. We’ll circle back around, but as of now, McCaffrey sounds like more of a GPP play. Although, I’d never fault anyone for using him in cash as well.
The 49ers are way too difficult to read. The game against the Washington Redskins wasn’t easy, as they were dealing with terribly miserable weather. The only problem is, I’m not sure who to roll with other than George Kittle. They have some receivers dealing with injuries and other issues, but who do you trust? The addition of Sanders helps tremendously. His salary is reasonable at only $4,600 on DK and Kyle Shanahan said he expects him to play. But can you trust him knowing that he’s had half a week to learn the playbook? A limited amount of plays learned means a limited amount of snaps and routes run.
OAK @ HOU – 6.5 O/U 51.5
The Houston Texans lost a tough divisional battle to the Indianapolis Colts last Sunday. The loss made them fall to 4-3 and second place behind the Colts in the AFC South. They’ll look to get back on track this week against a team they should be able to score on. The Oakland Raiders are traveling to Houston to take on the Texans after getting spanked by Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. We know how great Rodgers can be, but they allowed him to put up some career-best numbers. He threw for 429 yards and five touchdowns, and also a perfect passer rating (158.3) for the first time in his career.
Earlier this week, the Raiders traded cornerback Gareon Conley to the team they’ll face this Sunday, the Houston Texans. A weird move to say the least. Not only does Conley know the Raiders very well and can give the Texans insight, but an already struggling secondary might’ve gotten worse. Deshaun Watson should be able to carve them up with DeAndre Hopkins. Will Fuller won’t play after suffering a hamstring injury during last week’s game. With that said, Kenny Stills looks like a very solid option this week for cash games, and Keke Coutee could be a solid pivot for GPPs.
For the Silver and Black, the only guy that I want a ton of exposure to is Darren Waller. His price tag has gone up ($5,900), but it’s still too cheap. You can play him in cash and tournaments. Josh Jacobs is dealing with a shoulder injury but says that he’ll play. I’ll have him in some tournaments, but I don’t like him as much as I did last week. That’s about it. If you want a dart throw from this game, Foster Moreau has been getting red-zone targets (only one fewer than Waller) and has at least three targets in each of his last three games.
CLE @ NE – 12.5 O/U 45.5
The points spread has swung in the favor of the Browns from the last time I checked. Many Cleveland die-hards had high hopes coming into the season. The Browns have continuously underwhelmed this year and gotten off to a 2-4 start. Fresh off the bye week, we’ll see how prepared they are to take on the undefeated New England Patriots.
This might very well be the best Patriots defense we’ve ever seen. The Browns’ struggles run deeper than Baker Mayfield, although that’s what the headlines usually read when the team loses. Cleveland’s offensive line ranks 25th in adjusted sack rate (8.2%). That’s not going to help them, going up against the team with the third-best sack percentage in the NFL (9.70%).
I want nothing to do with the Browns for cash games. Odell Beckham Jr. and Nick Chubb for tournaments? Sure, but I won’t have a ton of them. The game is expected to play with some rain as well. When the Browns’ defense struggles through the air, a lot of times it’s against slot receivers or tight ends over the middle.
With the addition of Mohamed Sanu, that might open things up for Julian Edelman. James White has a consistent floor. Despite Bill Belichick and the Pats having a reputation for using everyone and anyone to run the ball into the endzone, Sony Michel has received (far and away) the most red-zone rushing attempts. According to NFLsavant.com, he’s received 25 red-zone attempts. The next closest players are Tom Brady and Rex Burkhead, each with five. Cleveland also gives up the third-most rushing yards per game (154 yards).
Make sure to check out all of our DFS content at TheScoreCrow throughout the week, along with my cash game article that will be out tomorrow.
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