NFL Reid Option: Week 5
Each week, Sammy Reid will break down each position in detail, pinpointing his favorite plays at various salary ranges. Who should we be focusing our core on this week? Read below to find out!
I was sickened by the shootings at Columbine, and I remember crying during Michael Moore’s documentary on it years later. I was horrified by the Virginia Tech shootings in 2007. I was dispirited by the Orlando massacre last year. But this Sunday’s shooting in Las Vegas hit way closer to home, because my fiancee Eden was there.
She’s from Wyoming, and she loves country music. Every year, her best friend flies out from Florida and they go to the Route 91 country music festival together. This works out great for me, because I’m a California guy and I couldn’t give two squirts about country music.
When the shooting started, the girls ran. They ran across a parking lot, across an outdoor bridge, and through a casino – terrified the whole time they would be shot dead. When they got inside, they ran up twenty flights of stairs to their hotel room rather than wait for the elevator. They deadbolted the door and ran to the window to watch the scene on the street below. They watched all night, unable to sleep.
They were lucky to get out. A lot of people weren’t.
I’ve been having some trouble reconciling my feelings about what happened. Maybe that’s why I’m writing about it now – it’s all I can think about. Obviously I’m angry. Very angry. Some mistake of a human being was so salty about something that he didn’t just kill himself, and he didn’t even kill someone that he hated or had done him wrong. No, this guy decided he was going to kill as many random innocent human beings as he could before he offed himself. I refuse to write his name because I want any memory that he ever lived to be forgotten.
I wish I had something profound to say. I wish I had an answer for gun control, but it’s a very complex issue. I believe in the right to bear arms, but I also recognize that the 2nd Amendment was written at a time when guns shot one bullet. I often wonder what the Founding Fathers would think of heavily militarized individuals who have the power to cause mass death. But the truth is that even if certain types of guns that are currently legal were banned from public use, there would still be a black market. There would almost certainly be some way, if someone really wanted to, a person could heavily arm themselves. I have way more questions than answers on this one.
Eden flew back home on Monday, the day after the shooting. She seems alright overall, although she’s had a lot of trouble sleeping. I guess you never really know how someone is going to be affected until some time passes, until things really sink in. I can’t imagine what this is like for those who were injured and for the families of those who were killed. It’s just impossibly awful. To know that the love of your life was a few dozen yards away from that fate is to know true fear.
I’m sorry to make this week’s intro a downer, and I wish I had some profound point to all of this, or some clever way to tie it into fantasy sports. I don’t. And while I truly appreciate the well wishes we’ve received on Twitter, I feel guilty about receiving sympathy; so many people had it so much worse. At the end of it all, we have a lot to be grateful for.
But hey, you know what makes me feel better when I’m feeling crappy? Mid-priced wide receivers with huge market shares of air yards. Scooping no-badge players at high-stakes heads-ups. Cashing trains in GPPs with low-owned studs and inflating my bankroll like an air matress. Binking King of the Beach qualifiers and traveling to Atlantis, where the sand turns to gold.
Alright, screw it, let’s play some freaking DFS. Onto this week’s picks:
On a typical NFL week I put together multiple cash game lineups across multiple slates and sites which will have significant player overlap. I diversify to hedge on the players I don’t feel as strongly about to reduce variance in a game where it’s inherent. The players I feel strongest about will be in the majority of my lineups – these are my “high exposure” picks. The “moderate exposure” players will be in roughly half of my lineups, and the “GPP” picks are higher-risk, high-reward plays that I believe will be under-owned by the masses. The GPP options listed aren’t the only guys I’ll be using in tournaments, but more so the gems I see as having the best ownership-to-upside ratio on the board.
(As always, all odds listed are accurate at time of writing, and may shift throughout the week. The Reid Option focuses exclusively on the main slate.)
QUARTERBACK – MODERATE EXPOSURE
Josh McCown @ CLE ($4500 DK, $6800 FD, $10,000 FDRAFT) – Rostering Josh McCown on the road in cash feels dirtier than bathing in pig vomit, but DFS is no place for the squeamish. The first weekend of byes has left the running back position as barren as a college kid’s refrigerator, so I’m looking to spend the majority of my salary on high-priced anchors there. An unfortunate side effect is having to write up Josh McCown, and even worse, actually playing Josh McCown with real American dollars riding on his performance. Giving me a sense of false hope is the fact that McCown ranks 2nd in the NFL in completion percentage (70.1%) and gets to face a Browns defense that has allowed multiple touchdowns to every quarterback they’ve played, a quartet of luminaries in Jacoby Brissett, Joe Flacco, Andy Dalton, and Road Roethlisberger.
Tyrod Taylor @ CIN ($5000 DK, $7200 FD, $10,000 FDRAFT) – In spots where I have a little more salary to work with, I’ll opt to use a far more trustworthy dude in Tyrod Taylor. Since the beginning of last season, TyGod’s 698 rushing yards (36.7 per game, the fantasy equivalent of 91.8 passing yards per game) have given him a consistently solid floor, a rare trait among the bargain-basement QBs. Helping matters is his matchup against an undisciplined Bengals team that has allowed the most rushing yards to opposing QBs this season after finishing bottom-10 in the category last season.
QUARTERBACK – GPP PLAYS
Ben Roethlisberger vs JAX ($6400 DK, $7900 FD, $12,000 FDRAFT) – A ton of GPP action at QB will revolve around the Packers/Cowboys game, so I’ll likely be underweight there while piling action behind my favorite quarterback, Home Roethlisberger. If you read The Reid Option in Week 2, you probably remember that Home Ben has actually been a slightly better fantasy player than the legendary Home Brees over the past 3+ seasons. Thus far, Jacksonville has been the funnel-iest defense imaginable, ranking 1st in DVOA against the pass while ranking dead last against the rush. This is going to push a ton of ownership onto Le’Veon Bell (and rightfully so), which makes Ben the top GPP leverage play of the entire slate. Besides, it could be premature to crown the Jags pass D as elite; their first four games have been against noted junior varsity passers Tom Savage and Deshaun Watson, Marcus Mariota, Joe Flacco, and Josh McCown.
RUNNING BACK – HIGH EXPOSURE
Le’Veon Bell vs JAX ($9500 DK, $9500 FD, $18,000 FDRAFT) –
When I wake up Sunday morning
And the alarm gives me a warning
I don’t think I’ll make my lineups on time
By the time I take a look
And see that Lev is gonna cook
I sub him in just in time to make at least five dimes
It’s alright ‘cause I’m saved by Lev Bell
It’s alright ‘cause I’m saved by Lev Bell
Le’Veon’s up to the test
Cuz the Jags rush D is a mess
And they got no one who could tackle a sloth
I’m taking out a loan
To bet Lev gets into the zone
And eats like a hungry pig stepping up to a trough
It’s alright ‘cause I’m saved by Lev Bell
It’s alright ‘cause I’m saved by Lev Bell
Ezekiel Elliott – Considering the dearth of strong RB plays this week, I believe it’s well worth jamming in both Bell and Zeke as home favorites against below-average rush defenses. Even if the Cowboys find themselves stuck in a negative gamescript, Zeke should eat; he’s added a ton of pass-catching value to his fantasy palette, averaging 4.8 targets per game in 2017 after averaging just 2.7 per game in 2016.
RUNNING BACK – MODERATE EXPOSURE
Carlos Hyde @ IND ($6900 DK, $7200 DK, $12,900 FDRAFT) – Kyle Shanahan has sprinkled his magic RB dust all over Hyde, who is averaging 20.5 touches per game through the season’s first quarter with a 15% team target share, just 1% lower than Le’Veon Bell. I expect him to eat again against a Colts defense that is mediocre over both land and air, and if they tried to defend the sea they’d suck at that too.
Andre Ellington @ PHI ($4600 DK, $5400 FD, $9100 FDRAFT) – Quick, what player leads all NFL running backs in targets? Well, since this is an Andre Ellington write-up, you’re galactically dense if you didn’t guess “Andre Ellington”. And for those who didn’t, no offense meant. But really, be smarter. Anyhow, the Cards are 7-point underdogs to the Eagles, meaning that the gamescript is likely to work in Ellington’s favor. There’s also a huge mismatch in the Cards o-line vs Philly’s d-line, which may force Palmer to get the ball out quicker and shorter than he’d like, which benefits who? Yes, Andre Ellington! Good job.
RUNNING BACK – GPP PLAYS
Todd Gurley vs SEA ($8000 DK, $7800 FD, $15,000 FDRAFT) – He’s fantasy’s top RB through four games, and the Seahawks have been uncharacteristically soft against the run thus far, ranking 30th in rush DVOA and ranking bottom-5 in yards per rush allowed. However, I do expect the ‘Hawks to sort themselves out and the Rams to slow down at some point, so I do feel more confident in the aforementioned Lev and Zeke in cash. However, considering the price difference, I would not blame anyone for playing Gurley in cash games, and his upside is far too great to ignore in GPPs.
Jay Ajayi vs TEN ($6600 DK, $7300 FD, $12,300 FDRAFT) – If you look at John Travolta’s IMDB page, you’ll notice that he started off hot, becoming an 80’s American icon while starring in movies like Grease and Saturday Night Fever. But as the 80’s turned to the 90’s, Travolta’s career fell off a cliff so quickly that you’d swear Jay Cutler was his agent. The trifecta of “Look Who’s Talking”, “Look Who’s Talking Too”, and “Look Who’s Talking Now” are the acting equivalent of scoring six points combined against the Saints and Jets.
But then, just when he’d been left for dead, Travolta shocked the world with his sublime performance in 1994’s Pulp Fiction. Well, my friends, with Marcus Mariota’s presence appearing dubious and the Titans defense appearing porous, this game could be the Dolphins’ Pulp Fiction. Yes, I know I’m stretching it. But when you realize that Ajayi is from England and Vincent Vega had just returned from Amsterdam (which is on the same continent as England) it makes perfect sense.
WIDE RECEIVER – MODERATE EXPOSURE
Dez Bryant vs GB ($6500 DK, $7800 FD, $12,300 FDRAFT) – Why is a guy who ranks 5th in the NFL in targets, 5th in air yard market share, and 6th in team target share priced at just $6500 on Draftkings? It could be because of his so-so fantasy performance to date, but certainly a good deal of his inefficiency can be attributed to matching up against Janoris Jenkins, Trumaine Johnson, Patrick Peterson, and Denver’s No Fly Zone in his first four games. He should have no such issues this week as he draws the flammable duo of Kevin King and Demarious Randall, who are allowing .36 and .47 fantasy points per route run, respectively.
Jaron Brown @ PHI ($4500 DK, $4500 FD, $8800 FDRAFT) – Even with John Brown returning last week, Jaron played 95% of Arizona’s offensive snaps and received 12 targets, the second time in three games he’s seen double digits. Both of Philly’s outside corners have been taken advantage of like new prison inmates, allowing .52 and .53 fantasy points per route run, respectively. Jaron remains a sick value on all sites (especially FanDuel), and jumps out as a salary saver that can give you room to spend up at RB.
Aldrick Robinson @ IND ($3100 DK, $4600 FD, $6000 FDRAFT) – If Marquise Goodwin can’t go on Sunday, Aldrick will step in as San Francisco’s #2 WR and become the cheapest playable WR on Draftkings. Robinson played 87% of the snaps last week when Goodwin departed early and received 12 targets, although he did the bare minimum with them. Yeah, it’s got an odious whiff of Rashard Higgins circa Week 3 to it, but with the tight pricing on DK, we have to take risks somewhere.
WIDE RECEIVER – GPP PLAYS
Antonio Brown ($8400 DK, $8800 FD, $16,000 FDRAFT) – Imagine rostering the best receiver in the league, at home, at his lowest salary of the year, at a fraction of his usual ownership percentage. It’s quite true Jalen Ramsey is a stellar cornerback, but it’s also true that he’s never faced a wide receiver as ill as Antonio Brown. The odds that Brown takes him to school are far greater than Brown’s ownership rate will suggest, and I’ll be overweight on AB to take advantage of this dynamic. There’s also a case to be made for both Martavis Bryant and JuJu Smith-Schuster; The Steelers have narrowly missed two open deep bombs to Martavis in their first four games, and he’s also at his lowest price point of the season despite averaging nearly six targets per game at a league-leading average depth of target (aDOT). JJSS has taken over as Pittsburgh’s slot receiver and is tied for the team lead in red zone targets (4) despite limited playing time.
DeVante Parker vs TEN ($6600 DK, $6100 FD, $12,300 FDRAFT) – Much like a young Scarlett Johansson in Lost in Translation, Parker is a breakout candidate that everyone can see coming a mile away. He’s second among NFL wide receivers in air yards market share, has received an average of 9.0 targets per game, and has pulled down a 20+ yard reception in each of his first three games. Oh yeah, he just happens to be facing the Tennessee Titans, the team that has allowed the most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers.
TIGHT END – MODERATE EXPOSURE
Evan Engram vs LAC ($4000 DK, $5400 FD, $7800 FDRAFT) – “He’s big … He’s fast … He’s third among all TEs in targets … He’s fourth among all TEs in air yards … He’s facing a Chargers team that has a fierce pass rush and strong boundary defenders, but is weak up the middle … He’s facing a Chargers team that constantly does incredibly stupid things … He’s facing a Chargers team that … ”
“That is correct!”
TIGHT END – GPP PLAYS
Jason Witten vs GB ($4200 DK, $5400 FD, $8000 FDRAFT) – All the ownership is going to be on Dak, Dez, and Zeke, so getting exposure to Witten in GPPs creates an obscene amount of leverage while playing him in an objectively strong spot – the Cowboys have the highest implied team total on the main slate (27.3 points) and Witten received 17 targets in his two games (including the postseason) against a very similar Packers defense in 2016.
DEFENSE/SPECIAL TEAMS – MODERATE EXPOSURE
STEELERS vs JAX ($3900 DK, $4800 FD, $7700 FDRAFT) – The Steelers rank 3rd in defensive DVOA, are 2nd in adjusted sack rate (10.3%), and are 10-point home favorites against Blake Bortles. PIT is priced up on pretty much every site, but will likely be worth every penny.
EAGLES vs ARI ($3100 DK, $4600 FD, $6000 FDRAFT) – The Eagles’ beastly d-line is going to straight rip apart a Cards’ makeshift offensive line that has already allowed Carson Palmer to be hit 43 times in four games, an NFL worst. The Cardinals are also the pass-heaviest team in football, which gives the opposing defense a ton more opportunities for sacks, picks, sack-fumbles, and touchdowns. Gonna go out on a limb and say that these are things that we want. The Eagles are my go-to cash DST on pretty much every site.
Thanks for reading, everyone! Let’s go make some money in Week 5.
Thanks for reading, everyone! Let’s go make some money in Week 7.
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