Daily Fantasy Football: Sannes' Situations to Monitor in Week 8
Football weather is a delight for the real world. Its relationship with daily fantasy is a bit more complicated.
Once the leaves start to turn, it means the days of sticking to your chair and sweating through the night are dust. Instead, you get to toss on a hoodie and actually experience comfort for the first time in months. You can't top it.
The problem is that those cooler temperatures often bring wind along with them. And wind ain't fun if you're looking for a shootout.
It's just Friday when this is being written, so things could change by Sunday morning. But as of now, 5 of 11 games on the main slate have the potential to be impacted by wind, and some of them would otherwise be among our favorite game-stacking options. So before we delve into personnel and other things impacting the slate, we have to decide what to do with those windy affairs.
Because the forecasts could change by Sunday, we're going to go through this more broadly rather than looking at specifics. Chris Allen will have a post on numberFire later today detailing the impact of wind on each specific stadium based on its composition, and that's a better tool for individual games. But looking at the broad scope can at least give us a guide for how to handle things once we check the forecast on Sunday morning.
Blame It on the Wind
One way to check the impact of wind is by comparing a player's output to what they were projected to do. Most of us likely use projections in at least some way to make our decisions. Seeing how players have performed relative to projections in spots like this in the past can tell us how much adjusting we need to do.
As such, I looked at each player's numberFire projection from 2016 through 2019 and compared it with their actual FanDuel points scored in those games based on the wind speed. The goal was to see if there were spots where players consistently failed to meet expectation, forcing us to tinker for Week 8.
Let's start with quarterbacks. Narratively, you'd expect them to be the ones most impacted by wind, and the data backs that up.
Here's a look at how quarterbacks performed based on the wind in the game. This was just for Weeks 1 through 16 as Week 17 can get a bit funky, and it's just for quarterbacks who were projected for at least 20 pass attempts. The 3x value column shows how often those quarterbacks scored at least three FanDuel points for every $1,000 of salary. For example, it would be when a quarterback with a $7,000 salary scored at least 21 FanDuel points or when someone at $8,000 scored at least 24.
|Wind Speed||Percentage of Projection||3x Value|
|10 to 14 mph||94.9%||20.6%|
|5 to 9 mph||95.5%||18.8%|
|0 to 4 mph||98.6%||24.3%|
For clarity, this means that quarterbacks playing in low winds scored -- on average -- 98.6% of their pre-game projections. Players will naturally underperform projections due to unprojected things such as injuries, so 98.6% there isn't bad. But the 90.2% for the high-wind games is.
The bigger implication is that those quarterbacks lacked upside. Asking for 3x value out of a quarterback isn't setting the bar all that high, and yet they failed to get there more than 85% of the time. Not only do these quarterbacks take a hit to their average production, but their ceiling goes down, as well.
This is not to say that all quarterbacks in those games are complete cross-offs. Back in 2018, Blake Bortles -- Blake Bortles!! -- topped 30 FanDuel points in a game with 20-mile-per-hour winds. Guys can still come through in spots like this. It's just less likely to happen than in less-windy situations.
A potential way to interpret this data is that we should manually bump down players in games with heavy wind. If a quarterback winds up in a windy game, take their projection, and lower it between 7 and 10 percent. That's the performance gap between those in high winds and those in calm conditions, and it's important to account for that.
Once you make that reduction, it's possible the quarterback will still grade out well for daily fantasy. If that's the case, you can feel free to use them. You just need to make sure you're not ignoring what the data says.
At running back, the data is far less definitive. Here's the same chart from above, looking at running backs from 2016 through 2019 who were projected for at least 10 rush attempts in Weeks 1 through 16.
|Wind Speed||Percentage of Projection||3x Value|
|10 to 14 mph||95.5%||15.4%|
|5 to 9 mph||101.6%||19.7%|
|0 to 4 mph||95.1%||15.2%|
Across the board, things are pretty flat.
The one thing to note is that running backs did not get a ceiling boost from playing in heavy winds. Although they may have gotten some extra work, potentially boosting their floor, it didn't lead to an increase in the rate at which they hit 3x value. In fact, it was lower than for running backs in games with wind speeds in the single digits. As such, it's probably in our best interest not to tinker with running-back projections -- in either direction -- based on wind alone.
Weirdly, the opposite effect seemed to happen for wide receivers. They hit a larger percentage of their projection in lower winds but still at least had a path to a ceiling when things got blustery. This is for receivers projected to get at least five targets.
|Wind Speed||Percentage of Projection||3x Value|
|10 to 14 mph||91.8%||10.6%|
|5 to 9 mph||95.5%||9.9%|
|0 to 4 mph||99.2%||11.9%|
Sure. Why not.
This likely indicates that wide receivers deserve less of a bump down in high-wind games than quarterbacks. However, it does seem obvious that they're riskier in those situations than they are when the wind speeds are lower.
Based on the data, I'd be inclined to handle receiver similar to what was discussed for quarterback: don't cross them off but do adjust their projection to account for the uncertainty. You might be able to get away with adjusting down just 5 percent here rather than 7 to 10.
The games to monitor for wind are the Las Vegas Raiders at Cleveland Browns, Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers, New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills, Tennessee Titans at Cincinnati Bengals, and New Orleans Saints at Chicago Bears. As mentioned before, check out Chris' piece on numberFire later to see his thoughts on the specific situations. We're going to proceed the rest of the way under the assumption that those games don't involve wind just in case things break in our favor on Sunday. But you can use the guidelines above to adjust based on how things look once we're closer to kickoff.
Value at Running Back Again
As with last week, we've got a bunch of backs in question heading into Friday's round of injury reports. So let's run through each situation and how we'd rank the backups if those guys were to sit.
The players who have yet to practice for Week 8 are Joe Mixon, Aaron Jones, Mark Ingram, and any player who has ever even considered playing running back for the Seattle Seahawks. There's a decent chance all of these options wind up being out, and it would open up some value.
The most desirable back here would be Jamaal Williams. With Jones out last week, Williams played 88.7% of the snaps and handled 19 carries and 5 targets. Once we double Williams' target total to account for the value gap between a target and a carry on a half-PPR site like FanDuel, that's 29 adjusted opportunities. If that were Williams' full-season number, it'd rank third on the main slate behind Alvin Kamara and Derrick Henry. Williams would be a core play at $7,000.
The second best situation could be Seattle's if we get clarity before Sunday. Chris Carson seems on the wrong side of questionable while the backups have better odds of suiting up.
The ideal situation would be if Carlos Hyde were to log a full practice on Friday. With Carson out the second half and overtime in Week 7, Hyde had 10 carries and 3 targets, and he produced on that volume. Hyde at $5,000 would be the top value on the slate at running back in that situation.
However, because it's 2020, we're unlikely to get that much clarity. Instead, we're probably going to hit lock at 1 pm not knowing for sure who will play and who will sit. This is where late swap comes into play.
Hyde is $5,000, and DeeJay Dallas is $4,600. You can simply lock in Hyde initially, and if he winds up playing, you can ride with him. If he's inactive, you can swap to Dallas, who would be alongside Travis Homer as the lone ranger in the backfield. Homer is also banged up and has missed two practices to open the week, so that'd be a great situation for Dallas.
The nightmare scenario is if Hyde is questionable, we don't know his status ahead of time, and he winds up playing. That means his health is borderline and he might not get a full workload. In that scenario, it's probably best to either avoid the situation entirely or at least bump it down beneath the Cincinnati Bengals' backfield.
Mixon sitting would open up a bunch of volume for Giovani Bernard. Bernard played 76.0% of the snaps last week and got 13 carries and 5 targets. That's not bad for $5,900.
The problem with Bernard -- and the reason he's below Williams and the ideal outcomes for the Seahawks -- is his offensive line. The team is likely to be without left tackle Jonah Williams and center Trey Hopkins due to injury. It's already a bad offensive line, and it may be missing starters at the two most important positions. That's not enough to avoid Bernard outright, but it does allow us to push him down the list if we have viable alternatives elsewhere.
Given the offense, it'd be a delight to be able to target a Baltimore Ravens back if Ingram were to sit. It just doesn't seem like taking even one guy out of the equation will be enough to move the needle.
Last year, the Ravens had both Ingram and Gus Edwards in the mix. That'd be similar to this week except with J.K. Dobbins playing the role of Ingram. Even with that, Ingram topped 17 FanDuel points just five times. He didn't get a big concentration of the touches, and it made it tough for him to flash a ceiling.
We also don't know who would benefit most here. Edwards has out-snapped Dobbins in three straight games, including when Ingram left early in Week 6. Dobbins had 17 adjusted opportunities compared to Edwards' 14, so that's not terrible at salaries of $5,100 and $4,600, respectively. It's just hard to see them having a ceiling when they're splitting work against a defense as good as the Pittsburgh Steelers'.
The other backfield to monitor here is the San Francisco 49ers'. We know that Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson will be out. The two question marks are whether Tevin Coleman will be back and whether JaMycal Hasty will continue to run ahead of Jerick McKinnon.
Coleman is back at practice and eligible to return this week. If Coleman does play, that'll put three live backs in the backfield, and we can assume things will be spread out enough to avoid it.
If Coleman can't go, that whittles things down to just Hasty and McKinnon. The past two weeks, Hasty has 18 rushes and 2 targets compared to McKinnon's 9 carries and 3 targets. The team reportedly planned to rest McKinnon last week before Wilson got hurt, helping explain the lack of usage.
However, that also means McKinnon clearly isn't fresh, which doesn't exactly scream "bellcow usage" in this spot. As such, if Coleman can't go, Hasty should be our preferred back here, but the optimal move seems to be avoiding the backfield entirely.
The Browns Without Odell Beckham
Losing a playmaker is almost always going to be a negative for an offense. As a result, we probably need to adjust our expectations down for the Cleveland Browns going forward with Odell Beckham done for the season. It's still a situation we want to attack, though.
The main reason is that this game sets up to be highly entertaining. The Browns and Las Vegas Raiders are both 28th or lower in schedule-adjusted defense, according to numberFire's metrics, and both offenses are in the top 10. There should be points here, as long as the winds will allow it.
We also have a sample on this Browns offense without Beckham, and it was pretty impressive.
Beckham got hurt on the first pass attempt of the game for Baker Mayfield. Mayfield attempted 27 passes after that, and he averaged 0.97 Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per drop back on those throws. NEP is numberFire's expected-points model, and it accounts for expected points lost on negative plays such as sacks, interceptions, and incompletions. The league-average is 0.15, and Aaron Rodgers leads the league at 0.38. So, yeah, they were cookin'.
Obviously, we shouldn't expect that again this week. But it's at least encouraging to know they didn't completely tank.
They also didn't change their offensive philosophy too much. They threw 57% of the time, actually an increase from their mark of 52% in one-score games, according to Sharp Football Stats. Their one-score pass rate is 57% across three games without Nick Chubb, so in general, they haven't been quite as rush-heavy of late as perception.
Mayfield was still willing to go deep, too. Although his aDOT decreased to 7.9 from a full-season mark of 8.6, he threw downfield (at least 16 yards beyond the line of scrimmage) 22.2% of the time, up from 19.7% overall. It was basically a wash.
So, they still threw the ball at an even clip, and their downfield passing game was the same. This was all while jacking up their efficiency. Again, we shouldn't expect them to keep producing that way, but we can probably bump down projected efficiency just a bit while keeping the offensive philosophy status quo.
That's a good thing for Kareem Hunt. Hunt has 28 and 26 adjusted opportunities in the two non-blowout games they've played since Chubb's injury, and he now gets to face a Raiders defense that ranks 30th in success rate allowed to opposing backs. It's the best matchup he's had all year. With the offense still projecting to be competent, Hunt's a top-tier running back play at $8,200.
The target distribution after Beckham's injury was pretty spread out. That doesn't mean we can't find some value, though.
|After Beckham's Injury||Overall Targets||Deep Targets||RZ Targets|
The most encouraging thing on that chart is that we know where the downfield looks were going. That was to Rashard Higgins.
It shouldn't be a surprise that Higgins popped with Beckham off. He and Mayfield already have an established rapport that has clearly carried over into this season.
Dating back to Mayfield's rookie season, Mayfield has averaged 0.69 Passing NEP per attempt when targeting Higgins. It's 0.20 to all other pass-catchers. The sample is small there because of Higgins' up-and-down role, but when he has been on the field, he has been productive.
That's enough to make Higgins the top option on this team outside of Hunt. He's $5,500 and has a path to a ceiling. That'll work in a game this appealing.
That doesn't mean that Jarvis Landry is out of play. Landry has lacked upside, but he does still have a somewhat-respectable 9.2-yard aDOT, and he should get a healthy target share with Beckham out. It's just the yardage concern that pushes us to rank Higgins higher.
As for Harrison Bryant, any tight end with a role who is $5,000 is in play. He works for cash games if you want to minimize salary exposure to the position.
However, last week's showing will also certainly make Bryant popular, and there are multiple paths to failure in a low-volume passing offense. As such, the wisest move seems to be going underweight on Bryant relative to the field in tournaments.
The Raiders With Henry Ruggs
We might have to burn our "one time!" on getting the wind to leave this game alone. The Cleveland side is fun, but the Vegas side is sneakily enticing, too, now that Henry Ruggs is back in the fold.
Ruggs originally got hurt in Week 1, played partial snaps in Week 2, and then sat the next three games. This gives us three contests where Derek Carr has had a healthy Ruggs on the field, and he has looked like a different quarterback in those games.
|Carr in 2020||Passing NEP/P||aDOT||Deep Rate|
|With Ruggs Healthy||0.29||7.9||20.6%|
|With Ruggs Limited or Out||0.22||6.8||12.3%|
We want efficient passing and deep balls. Carr hasn't exactly been Jameis Winston in the DGAF department, but he has at least been less boring.
It hasn't necessarily been Ruggs benefiting from this. He has maxed out at five targets, and it's tough to feast on that in DFS. Instead, the increased efficiency and lighter coverage could put us on Darren Waller and Nelson Agholor.
|Past 2 Games||Overall Targets||Deep Targets||RZ Targets|
The red-zone sample is small (five targets), but Waller has been a fixture there all year. He has 41.7% of the team's overall targets inside the 20 for the season, a major deviation from last year. This combined with the overall target load makes Waller worth prioritizing at $6,800, and he's the preferred tournament option over Bryant.
Agholor should be safe to continue logging snaps with Bryan Edwards being labeled as doubtful despite a return to practice. Agholor has been hyper-productive this year, so we shouldn't dismiss him due to his past failures.
The issue with Agholor is that he has more than five targets in just one game this year despite logging heavy snaps when Ruggs was out. He's $5,000, so you can consider Agholor, but his safety isn't any higher than Ruggs'. The only true option here with both a floor and a ceiling is Waller.
The passing efficiency is a boon for Josh Jacobs because more touchdown drives means more cracks at easy points. That's enough to put Jacobs on the map for game stacks. However, his appeal beyond that is limited due to his knee and hip injuries, which seem to have put a dent in his yardage upside. Be sure to filter in Jacobs when stacking this one as he's likely to perform well if the over hits, but he's not a priority outside of those lineups.
A Competitive Game for the Ravens
I've mentioned this before this year, but the Ravens just haven't been in many close games. That's big for DFS because it has allowed them to coast in the second half and put the passing-game on ice.
That's likely to change this week against the Steelers.
The spread in that game opened at 5.5 points but has since tightened to 3.5 thanks to some money on the Steelers. That indicates we should expect a tight contest. They're unlikely to put this one away early, if at all.
It'll be a change of pace for Baltimore. They've run only 88 offensive plays in the second half this year with the game within 14 points in either direction. The New York Jets are the only other team to run fewer than 110 such plays. When that happens, you're not going to get the ceiling games you need to take down tournaments.
Jackson didn't perform well against top-10 defenses last year, averaging 21.3 FanDuel points per game. However, the Steelers are just 12th against the pass thus far, and they've played just one game without Devin Bush. It's possible we've seen some regression out of them, making it a less daunting task.
As for Brown, his market shares this year have been top-notch. He's at 27.5 of the overall targets and 48.4 of the deep targets, amounting to 2.5 deep targets per game. If they're throwing more here, those target shares become even more valuable.
Although the Steelers' defense is fearsome overall, they have let up some big games to pass-catchers. They've let up 95 or more yards to four receivers, and both A.J. Brown and Travis Fulgham hit them for more than 150. We shouldn't be surprised if Marquise Brown adds his name to that list this week. Both he and Jackson are high-quality tournament plays despite the tough matchup.
Ryan Fitzpatrick was fun for DFS because of his hair-on-fire ways and blatant disregard for safety. But it's Tua time, baby.
Tua Tagovailoa will make his debut against the Los Angeles Rams Sunday, and it's going to change things pretty drastically for this team. Fitzpatrick's a unique cookie, so expecting this to be a parallel move for everybody involved would likely be foolish.
Whenever a team changes quarterbacks, there are three things we need to monitor that could change: efficiency, aggression, and play-calling. They all require some guesswork, but it's necessary in a prediction market like DFS.
Fitzpatrick was playing solid football before his benching, ranking 18th in Passing NEP per drop back among 38 quarterbacks with at least 75 drop backs. He was slightly above average, and it's hard to expect that out of a rookie in his first start in almost a year. The efficiency here will likely take a slight step back.
The aggression might not, though. Despite his reputation, Fitzpatrick wasn't exactly slinging it this year with his 7.8-yard aDOT and 16.2% deep rate both hovering at or below the league-wide averages (7.8 and 17.2%, respectively). Tagovailoa may play things a bit closer to the vest as he did in Alabama, but it wouldn't be a major deviation from what the Miami Dolphins have been doing.
The play-calling is the one area where things could change quite a bit. The Dolphins enter Week 8 ranked fourth in early-down, first-half pass rate, according to Sharp Football Stats. When the situation isn't dictated by score or downs, offensive coordinator Chan Gailey is letting it fly.
That's one thing with Fitzpatrick. It's another with Tagovailoa, who is coming off major surgery and may need time to get acclimated to the NFL. It doesn't help that Aaron Donald is lurking on the other side, waiting to give him his first lick in a while.
So, with all things considered, it's likely fair to expect slightly lower efficiency and a lower pass-to-run ratio. Add in the matchup with a tough Rams defense, that's likely enough to lower expectations on DeVante Parker and Mike Gesicki. Gesicki is at least in play at $5,500, though, due to his $5,500 salary and high-leverage target volume.
The one guy who could stand to benefit is Myles Gaskin. Gaskin also needs efficiency and pass attempts to thrive as targets and tuddies are crucial for running backs. However, Gaskin's $5,700 salary on FanDuel is still underselling his role, and a couple of extra rush attempts wouldn't hurt things. Gaskin's most viable if we get confirmation before lock that Jordan Howard will be inactive again, but he's cheap access to solid volume, and he could be featured even more this week.
The 49ers Without Deebo
One of the few games without wind concerns this week -- thus making it one of the more fun games to stack -- is between the 49ers and Seahawks. As mentioned earlier, the running back situations there could be a mess. So you might as well avoid the headache and just get some exposure to the passing games.
For the Seahawks, we know what that means. It's either Tyler Lockett or DK Metcalf yet again. Both are top-tier tournament plays. Lockett's the better cash-game option due to the nature of his targets, but Metcalf's likely the better tourney play due to his elevated salary and dud last week.
As for Russell Wilson, he's one of the top quarterbacks -- if not the top quarterback -- on the board. It shouldn't be too tough to get to him thanks to the value at running back and wide receiver, so Wilson's in consideration for single-entry tournaments.
This will be the first time all season that both Aiyuk and Kittle have been healthy while Samuel has been fully sidelined. In four games with those three all active, Kittle is at a whopping 9.75 targets per game, and he has gone over 100 yards twice. Similar to Wilson, he's a good way to spend any salary flexibility you may get via the value elsewhere.
Aiyuk has just 16.2% of the targets in this four-game stretch, and because Jimmy Garoppolo refuses to throw downfield, only four of his targets in that span have been deep. However, he should get a couple extra looks with Samuel out, and the Seahawks' defense is especially beatable out wide.
The added benefit of Aiyuk is that he should get rushing volume. He had three rush attempts with Samuel out in Week 3. Not only can he score points on those rushes, but it's another outlet through which to score points. As such, Aiyuk is a quality bring-back option at $5,900, and he works outside of game stacks due to the projected volume, as well.
Star Receivers in Flux in Chicago
It's just hard to tell if that'll happen.
Allen Robinson has missed the first two practices of the week due to a concussion and appears doubtful. On the other side, Michael Thomas was able to return to a limited session Thursday, meaning he might be able to play for the first time since Week 1.
If Robinson sits, there are two effects. The first is that it'll downgrade the entire Bears offense. He's the one source of explosion they've got, and taking him out of the equation makes it less likely they turn this into a shootout. That downgrades their upside and hurts the ceilings on the Saints.
The second is that it at least makes us consider Darnell Mooney. Mooney has been the team's clear-cut second option at receiver with 13.7% of the targets overall and 16.5% since Nick Foles took over as the starter.
The problem is that Foles and Mooney have had issues connecting on said targets. Foles has averaged -0.28 Passing NEP per attempt when targeting Mooney. It's also -0.06 when targeting Anthony Miller, so everything here has been pretty gross. Mooney is on the table as a value option, but we'll likely have better luck finding the salary to get up to guys like Rashard Higgins. Robinson sitting would make the Saints' defense a no-brainer for cash games at $3,600.
As for Thomas, if he were to return, it would decrease some of the appeal in Tre'Quan Smith and Jared Cook. Ancillary pieces are good for shootouts, but in a game like this, it's tough for them to blow up.
Thomas playing would also likely take some targets off Alvin Kamara's plate. However, Thomas' presence would help the Saints be more efficient, and that helps boost Kamara, largely nullifying the slight dip in floor. The game environment is the bigger concern for Kamara, and it's a big enough concern where we should prioritize other stud backs over him. More on that in a second.
As for Thomas himself, he hasn't played since Week 1, and the Bears' defense is stout. With Davante Adams fully healthy and just $500 higher in salary, it makes Thomas a player to avoid. Kamara's the one borderline priority here, Mooney, Smith, and Cook are in consideration, and everything else just seems too muddy for enthusiasm.
A Trio of Stud Running Backs
If we're going to poo-poo Kamara, it had better mean we're going to get some juicy stud back elsewhere. Thankfully, we've got those options this week.
All three are great options. So, how should we rank them?
We can decipher this by looking at a combination of game environment and workload. The table below shows that with each player's adjusted opportunities per game in their most relevant sample. For Cook, that's the three games in which he has played at least 60% of the snaps. For Henry and Kamara, it's across the full season.
|Most Relevant Samples||Carries||Targets||Adj. Opp.||Imp. Total||Spread|
Based on this, it does seem like Henry should sit atop our lists despite his issues.
The workloads between Henry and Kamara are relatively even. However, Henry's team's implied total is 5.5 points higher, and the spread is basically even. Henry simply has the better game environment, and that matters a lot.
Henry's floor for DFS is disappointing because he's almost entirely dependent on rushing yards and touchdowns. He had just 8.4 FanDuel points in a similarly juicy spot back in Week 2 as a result. However, his ceiling here is what draws us in, and it makes him worthy of his $9,500 salary.
One interesting route for using Henry is to pair him with Ryan Tannehill. Tannehill is just $7,500, so his salary would help offset some of Henry's. Additionally, using the two together likely gives you access to every point and every yard the Titans accumulate. The two were in a similar spot last year against the Jacksonville Jaguars, and both made the perfect FanDuel lineup alongside AJ Brown there.
How you view Kamara relative to Cook depends on how much you weigh matchups.
The Bears have yet to allow a skill-position player to score at least 15 FanDuel points for the full season. Kamara might be the top fantasy option in the entire league, so this is an apples-to-oranges comparison, and the odds he changes that this weekend are high. But it's far from a cushy spot.
The Green Bay Packers, meanwhile, have allowed six such outings, including one to Cook himself in Week 1. Kamara blasted them for 38.2 points in Week 3, and the team ranks 28th in Rushing NEP per carry allowed to backs.
There's a big gap in the matchups here, and the workloads aren't all that different. As such, I'd probably give Cook the slight edge over Kamara for this specific week. If your process is to de-emphasize matchup, though, then Kamara should grade out better.
I'm the Bleeping Lizard King
If you do decide to use Cook, the obvious run-back options for mini stacks are Adams and Williams (assuming Jones sits). They're among the top plays on the slate at their respective positions.
However, we may also get a lower-salaried route in Allen Lazard.
Lazard has been back at practice this week and potentially could be activated from injured reserve for this week. He's just $5,000, and matchups don't get much sweeter than a receiver against the Vikings' youthful secondary.
When both Lazard and Adams were healthy earlier in the year, Lazard didn't get much work. However, he was productive on the targets he did get, and that can often lead to future increases in volume. That's especially true with the struggles Marquez Valdes-Scantling has had.
Lazard certainly wouldn't be a cash-game option, and there are very obvious paths to failure. But if he gets the green light to lace 'em up, he's a way to make the salary on Cook easier to afford.
Relying on the Jets' Offense Again
Every week, we have to ask ourselves whether the New York Jets' offense will do enough to keep the opposing team pushing. It's a relevant question to ask again this week as they face the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Jets' defense sucks, so we know the volume players do get against them is going to be efficient. That's why we've seen a bunch of players post solid games against them. That's big because we want our players to have floors, and the Chiefs have that this week.
The bigger question is about ceilings. No skill-position player has topped 25 FanDuel points against them yet this year. When you're blowing a team out, you can take your foot off the gas in the fourth quarter. That leads to decreased volume and, thus, a lowered ceiling.
Unfortunately for the Chiefs, it's hard to see the Jets pumping out a good effort here. Although Jamison Crowder returned to a limited practice on Thursday, Breshad Perriman seems likely to sit due to a concussion. They're not going to be at full health against a Chiefs defense that ranks second against the pass. Their 14.75-point implied total seems just about right.
This isn't to say you should avoid all Chiefs. As mentioned, they've still got good floors, and that's valuable. But if you're looking for Tyreek Hill or Travis Kelce to post a slate-busting score, you are likely to be disappointed.
The Jets' ineptitude is also impactful for Denzel Mims. Mims got seven targets last week despite seeing a lot of Tre'Davious White, which is super impressive for a guy making his debut. The odds he hits 2x value $4,900 are pretty high. However, it's so hard for a player to generate a ceiling in this offense that we should favor guys like Lazard and Agholor over Mims despite the projected volume.
Keeping Tabs on Jonathan Taylor
The one game indoors this week is between the Indianapolis Colts and Detroit Lions. That should push us there with all the wind elsewhere. It's just hard to get jazzed with how much both teams spread out their volume.
The exception could be if we get a role change for Jonathan Taylor.
Taylor started to show signs of progress before the team's bye. His snap rates in Weeks 5 and 6 were his third- and second-highest marks of the season, and he got at least three targets in each. Against the Lions' defense, that can work.
There's also at least a chance Taylor's role expands coming out of the bye. We saw at least a slight shift in usage for D'Andre Swift following the Lions' bye. Taylor's a rookie who didn't have the benefit of preseason, so additional time to learn the offense can't be a bad thing.
If Taylor were to get a bump in volume, he'd have good upside. He's a talented player who gets work both as a rusher and a receiver, and the Lions rank 27th in success rate allowed to opposing backs. Taylor's not a core play at $7,400, but we should be turning toward him more than the field in tournaments to get ahead of things if his role does shift at all.
Keenan Allen's Advantageous Salary
Overall, the game between the Los Angeles Chargers and Denver Broncos isn't all that appealing with a total of just 44.5 points. The big exception is Keenan Allen, who seems about $1,000 under-salaried.
Allen has gotten monster usage with Justin Herbert at starter this year. In their four full games together, Allen has a melt-yo-face-off 37.2% target share. If we narrow that to the two games he has played with both Herbert and Mike Williams, Allen's target share does come back to earth; it's a modest 31.5% in that split.
In both of those games with Williams, Allen got at least 96 receiving yards. He just didn't hit the end zone in either. Those touchdowns are going to come eventually, and when they do, Allen is going to blow up. He should be a focal point this week in both cash games and tournaments.
If you think the Broncos will show a pulse on offense, then you can go at Herbert, as well. The Broncos' defense has been good this year, but Herbert has consistently produced against tougher foes. Allen is definitely the focal point, but Herbert's efficiency puts him on the map if you believe in the Broncos.