Welcome to Wild Card Weekend! It’s time to try to figure out which players aren’t worth your budget in a small slate. As always, I will try to be bold and predict bigger stars, and also debunk players that are seen as “bargains.”
I use the DraftKings salary cap as my basis for picks, which operates on a 50k salary but I know we have many FanDuel players as well. For reference, Fanduel operates on a 60k salary, so prices will appear higher on that platform.
QB- Philip Rivers vs. BAL @ $5,900
Philip Rivers has been a steady fantasy performer this year, but the last time he played the Ravens he looked like this.
It was a frustrating game as Rivers compiled only 181 yards passing on the day, to go along with two interceptions. Add all of that up and you get 5.3 fantasy points. That’s how many points you get from a backup running back, not from a starting QB. Rivers has thrown two picks in each of his last three games, and another showdown with the Ravens is not a matchup he will thrive in. Steer clear of Rivers and either pay up for Luck or roll the dice on a less expensive option. As the internet is fond of saying lately, “This ain’t it, Chief.”
RB- Gus Edwards vs. LAC @ $4,200
Gus Edwards is a starting running back on a Ravens team that runs the ball. At $4,200 he may seem like a steal, but let’s look a bit closer. Since Edwards began getting a crack at the starting job in week 6, only once has he eclipsed 20 fantasy points. Seven times since week 6 he has scored single-digit fantasy points. He is the ultimate safety valve in that his volume is somewhat steady — he has logged over 11 carries in every game since week 11. Five of those games he has seen over 15 carries.
So if you like the price tag and want to roll the dice, I get it. I always preach volume as a big variable when selecting your lineup. When he played the Chargers a few weeks ago his line was very good from a yards-per-rush standpoint, carrying 14 times for 92 yards. However, since he didn’t punch in a touchdown, his score topped out at 11.5 fantasy points. Therein lies the problem with Edwards– his team has a running QB, he lacks the ability to majorly boom week to week, and the Ravens play a good Chargers defense. I don’t think he is a bargain at all, I think his price reflects his production.
WR- Amari Cooper vs. SEA @ $7,500
Amari Cooper looked like a different person upon his arrival in Dallas. As a new Cowboy, he tormented his rival NFC East teams, scorching Washington to the tune of 180 yards receiving and at home against Philadelphia going bananas for 217 yards. He also scored five touchdowns between those two games. For those keeping score at home, that’s a combined 93.7 fantasy points.
On the flip side, the past three weeks he scored single-digit fantasy points. Even against the non-existent Bucs defense.
Cooper has immense talent, but inconsistency has been his Achilles heel throughout his young NFL career. This week he gets the Seahawks,
who may not be the Legion of Boom anymore, but still know how to shut people down. Cooper’s talent always puts him in a spot to be productive, but I don’t think he will have an explosive game. The Seahawks don’t allow receivers to do that against them. They just don’t. So if I’m spending my salary cap on risky plays I think will explode, Cooper isn’t a great candidate this week. Find value elsewhere.
TE- Zach Ertz vs. CHI @ $6,400
Zach Ertz has been nothing short of spectacular this season. He has been the security blanket for whoever is at QB for the Eagles. This week is the time to fade him, though. The Bears vaunted defense plays at home in “Bear Weather” with the Soldier Field crowd behind them. I just don’t see the Eagles offense being successful in any aspect of the game.
Ertz’s last four games have been mostly underwhelming, in contrast to his stellar season. In three of those games, he had 5 or fewer catches, equating to single-digit fantasy points in each contest. There was the week 16 game against the Texans, where he caught 12 passes for 110 yards. Ertz CAN go bonkers and is one of the elite tight ends in the game. But ask yourself, WILL he show out this weekend against a stingy Bears defense with Nick Foles at less than 100%? I say no.
Flex- Allen Robinson vs. PHI @ $5,600
Allen Robinson is the Bears No.1 receiver but look closer at the numbers. Save for a week 10 explosion against the lowly Lions, Robinson has been solid, but not a top receiver. Only twice since that Lions game has he scored over 10 fantasy points, and the Bears seem content to run the ball and play defense.
Philly is among the worst in the league in passing defense, so if you are stuck and need to throw a dart at someone who is a safe play, Robinson is fine. But if you are shooting for major upside, you may be better suited to use your capital elsewhere.
DST- Texans vs. IND @ $2,700
The Texans defense has a fierce pass rush in J.J. Watt and JaDaveon Clowney. But if neither of them get home to the QB and force a hurried pass or sack, the secondary is very vulnerable. I think this Texans-Colts game is a shootout, and I don’t want to be left holding the bag on the Texans D. Last time they played Andrew Luck he worked them over for almost 400 yards passing.
I expect Luck to shine again and the defense to give up plenty of points. It’s a tough week for DFS defenses. If there is any week where it is acceptable to pay up for a defense, this is the week to do it.
Best of luck to everyone and here’s to hoping your squad shows out — and you cash out.