Welcome, everybody! Today will begin the journey of letting the public know how much money I am losing on fantasy sports. My goal here is to provide everyone with my top fantasy picks of the day, and provide the optimal line from my daily projections, to hopefully help you guys in your fantasy life (not that fantasy life).
We begin today with a great NFL slate and a terrible NBA slate. Since it’s Sunday, we are all probably a little more focused on football, so I’m going to focus a little more on football as well.
For daily fantasy, I like to play half of my money in the 1:00 PM only slate, and the other half in 4:05 PM only slate. So far this year I am 6-3 on 1:00 PM and a perfect 7-0 on 4:05 PM, so lets hope we can keep the ball rolling.
Below is going to be my 1:00 PM only line-up, my 4:05 PM only line-up, and lastly, my 1:05 PM main line-up, which covers all the games through Sunday night.
QB – Jacoby Brissett – Brissett is going up against the second best passing defense in football today against the Pittsburgh Steelers, so it’s not the most favorable matchup. However Brissett just played the seventh ranked Bengals and was still able to put up just under 17 fantasy points against them. With the Steelers expected to go up big in this game, it is very likely that Brissett will be throwing the ball early and often trying to catch up. At just $6,600, Brissett just needs to get to 13 fantasy points to be worth the money.
RB – Le’Veon Bell – Bell is a great play today, in my opinion. Even at $9,400, the chance to play Bell against the Indianapolis Colts defense is a must. Bell has rushed 92 times in just the last three weeks, accumulating 389 yards over those carries, while scoring twice. If the Steelers can get on top early, you can expect them to pound the ball on the ground with Bell all day to keep the clock moving, which will mean a lot of yardage for Le’Veon. 150 yards and a touchdown or two is not out of the question for Bell today. Let’s just hope he doesn’t decide to retire and play lacrosse at half time like he discussed on Snapchat the other day.
RB – Jerick McKinnon – Since rookie running back Dalvin Cook went down earlier this year, McKinnon has stepped up in a big way. McKinnon has scored at least 22 fantasy points in three of his last four games. Since taking over as the Vikings’ primary back, McKinnon is averaging 15 rushing attempts and six targets per game. McKinnon’s touches and yardage will be there today against a middle of the pack Washington Redskins defense, it’s all just going to be a matter of whether or not he finds the end zone, which he has done four times in the last four games. It is also important to note that McKinnon has been splitting carries with Latavius Murray, who is averaging 16 carries per game the last four games. Even so, McKinnon seems to be the one finding pay dirt, and collecting the fantasy points.
WR – Adam Thielen – Opposite of Stefon Diggs, Thielen is a target machine. Thielen has seen double digit targets four times this year, including his last three games, where he has seen 35. The catches and yardage will be there for Thielen today, especially with Diggs going up against Josh Norman, one of the NFL’s best cornerbacks. Like McKinnon above, the only question for Thielen is whether or not he gets in the end zone, something he did for the first time all year against the Browns two weeks ago.
WR – Antonio Brown – I generally don’t like to play a WR and a RB from the same team in a slate this big (even though I am doing it twice on this slate), but the Colts defense allows me to do that. Brown has seen double digit targets in all but one game this year, when he only received nine against Baltimore. Going up against a really banged up Colts defense, which ranks 31st against the pass, 10+ targets should lead to a huge day for Brown. If Big Ben can hook up with Brown early to take an early lead, which would allow Bell to get a huge workload the second half, the Brown/Bell combo could go for 40-50 points.
WR – Davante Adams – Even with Aaron Rodgers out, Adams is still a pretty solid play today. QB Brett Hundley seems comfortable with Adams, targeting him 25 times in the three games they have played together. While Adams tends to be a very hit or miss type guy, his double digit targets at $6,000 make him worth it if it helps make room for Antonio Brown.
TE – Eric Ebron – Outside of the New York Giants, the Browns give up more fantasy points to tight ends than any other team in football, at 18.6 per game. Tight ends have caught 60 passes against the Browns this year which is more than any other team in football. Those 60 receptions have gone for 542 yards and six touchdowns. While Ebron may not be having his best year as a pro, his match up today is very favorable. I expect Ebron to have at least five catches for over 50 yards, and probably find the end zone too.
K – Randy Bullock – Bullock heads into this game with a questionable designation, but he is the only kicker on the Bengals roster, so unless OchoCinco comes out of retirement, Bullock should be kicking against a Titans team that gives up the most fantasy points to kickers in all of the NFL.
DEF – Detroit Lions – Of course I am taking the Detroit Lions here. Disregarding their match-up, the Lions have been a great fantasy defense this year, finding ways to score fantasy points, even when their opponent scores big on them. The Lions have scored 12 or more fantasy points five times this year. Playing against a Browns team that takes a lot of sacks, turns the ball over a lot, and doesn’t score a lot of points, it is absolutely worth it to spend up on the Lions’ defense today. The Browns, on average, yield 12.5 fantasy points to opposing defenses, a number that I think will be even higher today.
On to the 4:05 PM only slate. I don’t know how I have been so lucky, but my record for this slate is unblemished. It is usually as easy as picking Dak Prescott and Ezekial Elliot, but with Elliot’s suspension, and Prescott’s jacked up price, today should be a little more challenging.
QB – Eli Manning – Yes, I am actually picking Eli Manning to play for my fantasy team. I don’t necessarily see Manning having a huge day, but at $6,600, he only needs about 13 fantasy points to make value, and going against the 28th ranked San Francisco 49ers, I like Manning’s chances. Manning has thrown at least 32 passes in all but the Denver game this year, where he only threw 19. The last two weeks against the Seattle Seahawks and Los Angeles Rams, both defenses that are better than San Francisco, Manning has thrown 75 times. From his high volume alone today I think Manning is the best option at QB on this slate. If Manning throws for 200 yards and two touchdowns, that will be an incredible day at his price.
RB – Todd Gurley – You have to play Todd Gurley in cash games today, no questions asked. With Elliot out, the running back position is very weak, and Gurley averages over 21 fantasy points per game. So even at his $9,600 price tag, you cannot afford to not play him, cause those points won’t be coming from any other back on the slate. I would suspect that Gurley is over 80% owned, if not 90%, on this slate, so if you fade him and he plays an average Gurley game of 21 fantasy points, you can kiss your money goodbye.
RB – Orleans Darkwa – I’m playing Darkwa here because there’s really no one else to play. For me, it came down to Darkwa, or one of the three running backs that are supposed to get carries for Dallas today, and Darkwa is the safest play. Darkwa has rushed 54 times the last four games for 292 yards. While Darkwa doesn’t have a very high ceiling, he has a pretty safe floor at his price range. If Darkwa can find the end zone and rush for 50 yards, that will be just fine at $5,300.
WR – DeAndre Hopkins – I, like most, thought that when Houston QB DeShaun Watson went down, that would be the end of Hopkins’ fantasy value. However, Tom Savage targeted Hopkins 16 times last week. Hopkins and Savage only connected on six of those targets, but Hopkins managed to turn them into 86 yards and a touchdown. With another full week of practice under their belt, you hope that the two have a little bit of chemistry, and can turn some of those targets into more catches. Hopkins saw his price tag drop $2,000 this week, so at $7,600, he isn’t a bad play if Savage locks in on him like last week. Houston is also playing a very good Rams team. If the Rams can get out in front early (hopefully through Gurley), it could cause the Texans to be in catch-up mode, which would mean a lot of throwing towards Hopkins.
WR – Mohamed Sanu – I really like Sanu today. The Cowboys give up the sixth most fantasy points to wide receivers. With Julio Jones being opposite of Sanu, Jones should be receiving a lot of attention, which could lead to more balls for Sanu. Sanu has seen six or more targets five out of seven games this year, and has scored a touchdown in three of them. While he heads into the game with no injury designation, Julio Jones did not practice this week. So if Jones is a little banged up, Matt Ryan could be forced to throw the ball to Sanu’s side of the field.
WR – Dez Bryant – I am dying for Dez Bryant to have his breakout game, and I really think today may be the day. With Elliot finally out after being suspended for the one millionth time, Dez Bryant becomes the go-to guy on the Cowboys offense. While Bryant has not had any monster games this year, he has been very consistent, averaging double digit fantasy points. While 10 points at a $7,500 price tag isn’t ideal, I don’t think there are many WR’s on this slate that are guaranteed double digits like Bryant is. I would expect Bryant to get double digit targets, and hopefully find the end zone for the first time since October 22nd.
TE – Evan Engram – Engram is going to be incredibly high owned today. Along with Sterling Shepard, Engram is one of only two viable options for Manning to throw to. Engram has seen 29 targets his last three games, including double digits his last two. Engram has also found the end zone in three straight games, while scoring at least 15 fantasy points in each of them. Being Manning’s number one option against the 49ers defense, I think he is the best pass catcher to pair up with Manning.
K – Greg Zuerlein – Greg The Leg! (I just made that nickname up. You have definitely never heard that incredibly creative name that I just now came up with) I stated above that I usually just try to fill in the kicker last. But with Zuerlein, I am actually willing to spend up on him since this slate offers such weak positional value. Zuerlein is a $5,400 kicker, but averaging 14.25 fantasy points per game, that is actually a steal. Zuerlein has put up back-to-back games of 17 fantasy points, and today he goes up against a Texans team that allows the eighth most points to kickers. With just over three field goal attempts per game, and over four extra point tries per game, Zuerlein is looking at a very good possibility of scoring at least 13 points today.
DEF – New York Giants – The Giants’ defense is not good, but it’s also not as bad as the 49ers offense. With CJ Beathard starting for San Francisco, I like the Giants’ chances of forcing some turnovers today. I’m not looking for or expecting a big day out of the Giants’ defense, but as long as they don’t allow the 49ers to score all over them, they should be a fine option at $4,400.
Last, but not least, I move on to the main slate of the day, and my $1.5 million contest entry that I will most definitely win and then retire forever.
I have a few similar plays from the slates above, as you could expect, so I will refrain from discussing them again.
QB – Eli Manning
RB – Jerick McKinnon
RB – Le’Veon Bell
WR – DeAndre Hopkins
WR – Sterling Shepard – Like I said above, Shepard and Engram are Manning’s only viable targets. Since I am more comfortable fitting in Eric Ebron on this slate, I want Shepard here to have that QB to WR combination value. Shepard is a hit or miss play here. He has a very low floor, but if he can sneak into the end zone, he will more likely than not exceed his value.
WR – Antonio Brown
TE – Eric Ebron
K – Brandon McManus – McManus is a really safe play here. The Denver offense is absolutely terrible, scoring only five touchdowns their last six games. Their inability to find the end zone has led to 15 field goal attempts for McManus the last five games. If McManus can get three field goal attempts tonight, hopefully some from the 40 yard – 50 yard range, he could be in for a 10-15 point night.
DEF – New England Patriots – I am absolutely picking the last ranked defense in the NFL as my fantasy defense tonight, because that’s how bad the Broncos offense is. Since week four of the season, New England has really cleaned up their act, allowing no more than 17 points since October 1st. I don’t see Denver scoring much tonight (other than hopefully some field goals), so the Patriots should keep the majority of the 10 points that all defenses start with. With Brock Osweiler starting in Denver, I think it’s a very safe to guess that New England ends up forcing a few turnovers. If the Patriots can manage to house one of those turnovers, they could win me $300,000 tonight.
That is it for my NFL fantasy today! Since the main slate for NBA is only a two game slate, I will not be participating. If you play my line-ups and don’t lose all of your money, please continue to follow me for weekly NFL lines and daily NBA lines. I will have NBA projections for all slates that are three games or more, and if I am not able to get a blog out for it, you can message me on twitter @__hoss (double underscore) for my line.
It is also worth mentioning that the line-ups I create are generally for cash games, which means contests such as 50/50’s or double-up’s, so I usually worry about having a high floor, rather than a high ceiling. If you prefer to play the GPP contests, such as the $1.5M one above, I can give you some good pivot plays off the cash line that will have lower ownership and higher upside.