We're down to the final week of the RotoWire FanDuel Fantasy Football Championship! One last chance to qualify for a shot at the big prize in next week's championship round.
Or, if you're into a different sort of fun, one more chance to play Nathan Peterman, who, at $5,500, comes in $500 cheaper than FanDuel's typical minimum price for a quarterback. That suggests that he's expected to score negative points, a feat he's managed to perform once already this season. It looks like Peterman is unlikely to start, so he should lock in a solid zero points. If you're the ultra-creative type who was already planning on taking a zero at quarterback in order to have more money to spend elsewhere, why not take Peterman for the extra $500 and to say you won a DFS contest with Peterman in your lineup? (Please don't do this.)
A last quick rules refresher for the final week: we're running a $10 contest in each of the first 10 weeks of the season, where the top 150 finishers double their money. Compete against fellow RotoWire readers as well as three experts: Kevin Payne, Jeff Erickson and Derek VanRiper. Beating all three experts in one week earns you a ticket to Week 11's championship round, where the top 120 scores earn a prize and the top score gets $1,000 and a two-year RotoWire subscription. Sign up for this week's contest here.
Meanwhile, the experts here at RotoWire are competing in a parallel contest. Tate McIntyre cleaned up last week, posting 182.84 points, with four players (Jared Goff, Alvin Kamara, Kareem Hunt and Michael Thomas) all scoring at least 30. The overall leaderboard through nine weeks can be found here. The current top 10 are as follows:
- Joshua Fathollahi (jashfath) 1249.22
- Joe Bartel (alphacool) 1129.54
- Darin Brown (dasabre) 1221.84
- Eric Caturia (etcat30) 1213.08
- Shawn Cwalinski (cwalisnki) 1208.26
- Joel Bartilotta (joelbartilotta) 1204.96
- Chris Smith (smithca28) 1203.50
- Benjamin Donabedian (jd0505) 1202.54
- Scott Jenstad (oaktownsj) 1186.52
- Tate McIntyre (tamc10) 1184.38
Before this week's recommendations, a quick reminder to check out RotoWire's lineup optimizer, the best place to go to begin to work out your lineup. The high scoring looks likely to continue this week, with five games having over/unders of at least 50 points. Note: the Panthers, Steelers, Cowboys, Eagles, Giants and 49ers all have played in or will play in primetime games this week, so their players are not included on the main slate. Meanwhile, the Ravens, Broncos, Texans and Vikings have bye weeks.
RB Kareem Hunt: Kansas City Chiefs vs. Arizona Cardinals
FanDuel Price: $9,000
Hunt shook off a somewhat slow start and has become the dominant fantasy performer he was expected to be, posting at least 30 points in two of the last three weeks and 25 or more points in four of the last six. All signs point to a similar level of dominance this week. The Chiefs are projected to have the most points on the slate and the largest margin of victory, so expect them to run the ball for most of the second half if the game follows the script. The Cardinals are unlikely to offer much resistance, as they've allowed the third-most points to opposing running backs so far this season.
RB Melvin Gordon: Los Angeles Chargers at Oakland Raiders
FanDuel Price: $8,900
Gordon appeared to be fully recovered from his hamstring injury last week, rushing 16 times for 113 yards and a touchdown against the Seahawks. He should be in line for another big game this week, with the Chargers expected to be up big against a Raiders' defense which has been the fifth-friendliest for opposing running backs. Gordon put up 20 points against Oakland the last time these teams squared off, a solid number but one which should be close to his floor this week. He's recorded over 15 points in every game so far this season.
QB Drew Brees: New Orleans Saints at Cincinnati Bengals
FanDuel Price: $8,400
It's true that Brees and the Saints are worse on the road. Brees' three worst fantasy games have all come on the road, against the Ravens, Vikings and Giants. All three of those defenses have been tough against fantasy quarterbacks this season, however, each allowing fewer than 18 points per game to opposing signal-callers. In his only road game against an easy opponent, he torched the Falcons for 40.54 points in Week 3. The Bengals' 24.5 fantasy points per game allowed to opposing quarterbacks ranks just behind the Falcons as the fourth-easiest matchup, so expect the weakness of the opponent to outweigh the difficulty of the location on Sunday.
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick: Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Washington Redskins
FanDuel Price: $7,600
As long as Fitzpatrick starts for the Buccaneers, he's a very tempting fantasy option. His 25.2 points per game rank second among all quarterbacks on the slate, yet he comes with the 12th-highest price tag. Fitzpatrick's downside is lower than the rest of the quarterbacks in his price range, as a bad first half could see Jameis Winston back in the game at halftime, but if your quarterback performs that poorly, you probably weren't winning any DFS competitions anyway. The Redskins shouldn't pose a particularly tough test, as they've given up 20.1 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks, so Fitzpatrick should have a high ceiling throwing to one of the best receiving corps in the league.
TE Eric Ebron: Indianapolis Colts vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
FanDuel Price: $5,400
Yes, the Jaguars have a good defense and fellow tight end Jack Doyle is back from his hip injury, but Ebron remains a viable option as is underpriced at $5,400, tied for the 11th-highest price among tight ends on the slate. He still managed a red zone target and a score in Doyle's first game back in Week 8, something he's been doing all season. His 15 red zone targets tie him for fourth in the league (among all players, not just tight ends), while his six red zone touchdowns tie him for second. His production will undoubtedly take a hit with Doyle back in action, but he can fall far from his 12.4 points per game and still be worth his price tag. If you aren't paying up for a top-tier tight end, you're pretty much hoping for a touchdown, and Ebron is the best bet to provide one.
QB Marcus Mariota: Tennessee Titans vs. New England Patriots
Mariota comes in as the fifth-cheapest starting quarterback on the slate, a ranking that seems fair considering that he's averaged just 13.6 points per game this season. There are reasons to believe this weekend will be better, however. His struggles have occurred in part because he's faced five of the 11 toughest defenses for opposing quarterbacks in terms of fantasy points allowed per game this season and is yet to face any of the 11 easiest. That will change this week when he meets the seventh-friendliest defense in the Patriots. He put up 31.36 points in his easiest assignment to date, Week 4 against the Eagles, and has a chance to go off again this week in a game in which the Titans may need to throw quite often to keep up with Tom Brady.
WR John Ross: Cincinnati Bengals vs. New Orleans Saints
FanDuel Price: $5,600
A.J. Green's toe injury means more opportunities for the rest of Cincinnati's receiving corps. Tyler Boyd should now be the team's clear top target, but as the receiver with the fifth-highest price on the slate, he's not necessarily a bargain even with increased opportunity. Ross should get a big jump in targets now that he's Andy Dalton's second option and has overcome a groin injury of his own. (He returned to full practice Wednesday.) The Saints have given up the most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers this season, and with the Bengals expected to trail, there should be plenty of targets to go around.
WR Chris Conley: Kansas City Chiefs vs. Arizona Cardinals
FanDuel Price: $4,500
This recommendation is entirely dependent on the Chiefs' injury report. Sammy Watkins is nursing a foot injury and did not practice Thursday. When he suffered a hamstring injury early in Week 4 against the Broncos, Conley wound up on the field for 73 snaps (well above his season average of 42.7) and season highs in both targets and receptions. Sure, his catch total was just four, and they went for a measly 13 yards, but if he's ever going to go off, it will be with Watkins out. At $4,500, Conley costs the minimum price for a receiver, so all he really costs is a roster spot. If you're scraping the bottom of the barrel for receivers to free up more money elsewhere, Conley is the one to target, provided Watkins remains out.
QB Tom Brady: New England Patriots at Tennessee Titans
FanDuel Price: $8,300
It's tough to recommend against Brady, but he's simply priced too high with the fifth-highest price tag among all quarterbacks on the slate. He's been comparatively mediocre this season, with his 19.1 points per game ranking 10th among quarterbacks in this week's contest, and he faces a Titans' defense which has been sixth-toughest for opposing quarterbacks. Even the great ones aren't immune from the effects of tough matchups, and that's been no different for Brady this season. In his three games against top 10 defenses in terms of fantasy points allowed to opposing QBs, he's been mediocre or worse, putting up 16.36 points against the Jaguars in Week 2, 8.52 against the Lions in Week 3 and 13.76 against the Bills in Week 8. A similar performance would be unsurprising this week.