STLCards' NFL Field Stretcher: Week 10

Justin Van Zuiden, also known as STLCardinals84, has proven time and time again that he’s one of the best tournament players in the DFS industry. Join him each week as he gives you a glimpse into the mind of a GPP maestro.

Week 10

SUNDAY AM UPDATE – I really am intrigued by Leonard Fournette now with the news that he will likely see a full workload. Same goes for Mike Davis.

Welcome back to the NFL Field Stretcher for Week #10! We have a main slate that features 11 games this week for the first time in quite a while, so we have a few more options to target than we have seen in recent weeks. This profiles as an intriguing slate, and it’s kind of a difficult one when you look at it with a bird’s eye view. Let’s try to break it down and see if we can uncover some gems as we dissect the Week 10 offerings.

The Week 10 Slate – An Overview

Largest Favorites

KC -16 1/2 vs. ARI
LAC -10 at OAK
GB -10 vs. MIA
LAR -10 vs. SEA
NYJ -7 vs. BUF
CHI -7 vs. DET
DAL -7 at PHI (Sunday Night)
NE -6 1/2 at TEN
ATL -6 at CLE

Highest Game Totals

NO/CIN – 53
SEA/LAR – 51
ATL/CLE – 51
WAS/TB – 51
LAC/OAK – 50

Highest Implied Team Totals

KC – 33
LAC – 30
LAR – 30
NO – 29 1/2
GB – 28 1/2
ATL – 28 1/2
TB – 27
NE – 26 1/2

Lowest Implied Team Totals

BUF – 15
ARI – 16 1/2
DET – 18 1/2
TEN – 20

A few notes on the above:

1) The first thing you should notice is the big spreads this week. Eight of the eleven games on the main slate have Vegas spreads of six points or more. That’s significant. Blowouts might hurt production for some players this week.

2) Speaking of blowouts, how about that Cardinals/Chiefs spread? I’m somewhat nervous about going heavy on the KC offense this week, as we might not see four quarters of action from their offensive starters if the game gets out of hand.

3) Despite their recent struggles, Vegas still likes the Packers a good bit against an over-achieving Dolphins squad. I’ll talk about Aaron Rodgers and company in detail a little later.

4) We have a modest five games with totals of 50+, but no game has a total over 53. That’s part of what makes this a challenging slate to attack.

Let’s Talk Titans

The Titans are included in the list of the lowest team totals of the week, as they own a mediocre 20 point implied team total. However, there’s a bit of a disconnect here, as we also have the Titans pegged as GPP chalk this week.

We have Marcus Mariota at 8% owned on both FD and DK, and that’s a solid chunk for a spread out quarterback position.

We have Dion Lewis at 8% owned on FD and 15% owned on DK, and it makes sense that he would be higher owned on DK with their full PPR scoring base.

We have Corey Davis at 10% owned on FD and 25% (!) owned on FD, and he’s tagged as a play in LineupHQ on four different levels (Core, Cash, GPP, and Salary Saver).

The logical answer to this is that you can obviously just fade the Titans if you want. They’re going to be somewhat popular, and there’s always a chance that they get held to 10 points in this game. However, the reason they are going to be somewhat popular (especially on DK) is because their price tags are very cheap, and most people expect them to be playing from behind. That will lead to a lot more attempts at production for the passing game, meaning guys like Mariota, Lewis, and Davis will have a better shot at hitting value.

I will fade this offense completely on some lineups, but I will stack up Mariota/Lewis, Mariota/Davis, and perhaps even all three on some lineups. This New England defense isn’t infallible, and I actually think that Tennessee’s team total is a bit too low. The only thing that gives me pause is that this is a short week for the Titans after a big Monday night win over Dallas. This is a tough spot to peg, and there’s plenty of GPP strategy that can be emphasized with just this one team in Week 10.

Leveraging Projected Ownership – Chalk to Fade?

Titans, If You Wish – I’ve already discussed the Titans at length in the section above, but I will reiterate that there is potential leverage with regard to fading them if you think the Titans will flop in this spot.

Jared Goff (15% pOWN FD / 13% pOWN FD) – Goff was great last week, and that’s going to have the masses on him this week. A 13-15% ownership projection is very high for a quarterback, and I don’t think we’ll see that kind of upside out of Goff again in Week 10. The Seahawks may not be the same imposing unit that they have been in past seasons, but they still have a competent enough defense, and they rank 5th in the NFL in pass defense DVOA. I’ll take the under on 300 yards for Goff this week, and this profiles as a game where we might see Gurley snag the touchdowns back into his court. I’ll pivot off the chalk at QB here.

Kareem Hunt (18% pOWN FD / 15% pOWN DK) – This may seem a bit counter-intuitive with the Chiefs sitting as large favorites in their Week 10 game, but I think this might be a spot where Andy Reid looks to “preserve” Kareem Hunt a little bit. That could mean they try to limit his touches, especially if the game starts to get out of hand. Admittedly, this is a bit of a hunch and is anecdotal, but I think Hunt is a reasonable fade at high GPP ownership. After all, Mahomes is just as likely to hog the touchdowns… and he’s only going to be about 5% owned this week. This is a classic case of a bit of recency bias, especially since Hunt is now chalkier and more expensive than he has been for much of the season. Tread carefully.

Joe Mixon (15% pOWN FD / 15% pOWN DK) – I don’t necessarily hate Mixon this week, but there are warning signs. The Saints are a pass funnel defense that ranks 3rd in the league in DVOA against the run. They are allowing the fewest rushing yards in the league at just 76 per game. They did a reasonable job bottling up the mighty Todd Gurley last week. I also expect the Bengals to fall behind in this game, which means we could see Giovani Bernard steal a few extra snaps (assuming he is active after practicing all week). I know that Mixon has done everything he can to earn this job, but Marvin Lewis has a strange fascination with Bernard. When you combine the possibility of fewer touches with a bad matchup, I’m just not getting excited here.

Sammy Watkins (13% pOWN FD / 13% pOWN DK) – Watkins has put up better numbers over the last few weeks, but he has hauled in 13 of 14 targets in those contests. I don’t seek to be the bearer of bad news, but I am pretty comfortable betting on the fact that he is not going to maintain a 93% catch rate moving forward. He doesn’t have double digit targets in a single game this year and seems to be a clear third in the pecking order after Hill and Kelce. In a game where the passing volume from Kansas City might be hit or miss depending on game flow, I’m not interested at all in a chalky Sammy Watkins. Pass.

UPDATE – Watkins is not playing this week, so this is now irrelevant

Leveraging Projected Ownership – Low-Owned Gems

Patrick Mahomes (5% pOWN FD / 8% pOWN DK) – This is going to seem contradictory. After all, I’ve already talked about the blowout risk in this game. I’ve given the poo-poo-pass to Sammy Watkins. I’m not high on Kareem Hunt. However, if this game stays competitive, there is definitely leverage in getting a 5-8% owned Patrick Mahomes. However, instead of pairing him with Hunt or Watkins, I would be looking to the higher-end pass catchers like Tyreek Hill or Travis Kelce this week. We haven’t seen Hill go off for a few weeks now, and he seems primed for a big performance at some points. The key is that we need the game to stay competitive, which is seemingly the biggest risk with Arizona being so poor.

Nick Chubb (10% pOWN FD / 10% pOWN DK) – The pundits out there have highlighted the fact that Duke Johnson was heavily involved last week, but there is a missing piece to that analysis. Duke’s line during that game: 9/78/2 in the passing game; 1 carry, 8 yards. They are not using him as a running back. In contrast, Nick Chubb logged 22 carries for 85 yards and a touchdown against the Chiefs, and Chubb is clearly the #1 running back for this team. This is a fine matchup against an Atlanta team with woeful defensive metrics all around, and while I think Johnson is certainly viable in full PPR formats, Chubb is the contrarian play that it seems like most people are sleeping on.

David Johnson (10% pOWN FD / 10% pOWN DK) – The Cardinals are a woeful football team, but if they want any chance of hanging with the Chiefs, they need to relentlessly feed David Johnson. The Chiefs rank last in the league in DVOA against the run, and they are allowing 125 rushing yards per game, which is one of the worst marks in the league. That’s relatively surprising, especially since the Chiefs seem to get out to big leads each and every week. There’s big upside for David Johnson if this game stays competitive, and the poor nature of the Arizona team is pretty much baked into Johnson’s price tag at this point. The Arizona back is definitely worth a look in tournaments.

Josh Gordon (10% pOWN FD / 13% pOWN DK) – I am surprised that Gordon isn’t getting more attention this week, as he appears 100% healthy and has shown off his athletic ability over the last few weeks with the Patriots. He has played on at least 80% of the offensive snaps in four straight games, and he is an athletic mismatch for all of Tennessee’s defensive backs. While the Tennessee defense has reasonable pass defense stats, a lot of that is attributable to them playing in the woeful AFC South. Their DVOA metric is much worse, and I don’t envision them slowing down Tom Brady and company this week. Fire up Gordon as an elite GPP option in all contest types.

Davante Adams (8% pOWN FD / 10% pOWN DK) – This is a potential “get right” spot for the Packers after two tough losses to the Rams and Patriots, and they are one of the largest favorites on the board. The running game has been very inconsistent for this team, though. Ty Montgomery has been shipped to Baltimore. Aaron Jones had a costly lost fumble last week. Jamaal Williams isn’t exciting. That leaves the burden on the shoulders of the passing game, and the receiving options are thin given the injury to Geronimo Allison and the uncertain status of Randall Cobb. Davante Adams should soak up a ton of targets, and he’s going to be lower owned than value option Marquez Valdes-Scantling. Adams has big play upside and the potential for a receiving line along the lines of 9/100/2. The clear-cut #1 WR for the Packers is an elite tournament option in Week 10.

Jordan Reed (8% pOWN FD / 8% pOWN DK) – It’s been a rough year for Jordan Reed, but surprisingly it hasn’t been because of his health. He has largely stayed healthy all year. The opportunity will be there – we just need to see it translate into numbers on the field. If he can’t do it this week, then all hope might be lost. The Redskins draw a mouth-watering matchup against a Tampa Bay team that is absolutely woeful against the pass, and tight ends have put up several big games against them this year. Our RG experts all like Reed this week, and I am no exception. I love the potential that he gives us at 8% projected ownership.

Jaguars Defense (8% pOWN FD / 8% pOWN DK) – Teams like the Jets and Chargers are going to get tons of attention in terms of defensive choices this week, since they are playing the likes of the abysmal Bills and Raiders. However, I like the Jaguars as a low-owned GPP pivot. The Jags are coming off a much needed bye week, and perhaps this is the week where their defensive unit gets back on track. They draw an intriguing matchup against a Colts team that plays at a fast pace, which increases the likelihood for defensive play-making. Defensive performances contain quite a bit of variance, so we can get some leverage with a few lower-owned defenses in Week 10. The Jags are my favorite of the bunch; they are far more talented than they have shown over the past five weeks.

Top Spots to Gain Positive Correlation/Stacks

Patrick Mahomes + Tyreek Hill OR Travis Kelce + David Johnson – I talked about all three of these players in the low-owned gems section, so one way to take advantage of the leverage provided by them is to play them all together. After all, if this ARI/KC game stays remotely competitive, we have to presume that Mahomes, Hill, Kelce, and Johnson are doing some damage. You can certainly fade these skill players entirely in the hopes that this game blows out, and I will do that on some lineups when I am mass multi-entering GPPs. However, if the game is close, I like getting a piece of both sides. Fire up these mini stacks as a risk/reward GPP play.

Aaron Rodgers + Davante Adams AND/OR Marquez Valdes-Scantling – Angry Aaron Rodgers is not a guy you want to cross. The Dolphins have to deal with Angry Aaron Rodgers. It’s a shame, too, because Dolphins are such cute little creatures. Aaron Rodgers will enjoy stomping on them. He’s just cruel like that, apparently. The Packers 100% need a win here to keep their season alive, and Vegas is giving us every indication that they expect a bounce-back performance from the Packers in this one. This Miami team has largely over-performed throughout the season, with several ugly wins along the way. Give me all the Aaron Rodgers stacks this week, especially with the uncertain nature of this running game. The Rodgers/Adams stack is my favorite. You can pair Rodgers with Valdes-Scantling if you want a cheaper option though Valdes-Scantling is trending toward being chalky this week. Jimmy Graham is also an option, and you could potentially pair Rodgers up with two pass catchers. If this game stays close, we could see a 350 yard, four touchdown day from the Green Bay quarterback here.

Andy Dalton + Tyler BoydA.J. Green is likely not going to play this week, so that leaves Tyler Boyd to soak up a ton of targets in Cincinnati. Who else is going to catch passes? Boyd has 49 catches on 66 targets for the year, while no other active player has more than 20 catches or 30 targets. Boyd has literally more than doubled every other active pass catcher on the team in catches and targets. Boyd has a nice combination of floor and ceiling, and I’ll gladly play him in tournaments in what should be a shootout against the Saints. Dalton is a logical pairing if you are looking for correlation, though I don’t think you absolutely NEED to play him this week. The good news is that the price tag is fair, and the Saints rank just 29th in the league in DVOA against the pass.

NO Team + Cin Passing Game Stacks – I like this game from a DFS perspective. As I have already mentioned, the Dalton to Boyd combination makes a ton of sense, and you can also play Boyd without pairing him with Dalton. Perhaps you could use Boyd from the Bengals and some combination of Brees/Thomas/Kamara on the New Orleans side. This game has the highest Vegas total of the week at 53 points, and we know both offenses can score. The only player that I am a little nervous about is Mixon, especially if the Bengals fall behind (refer to the “chalk to fade” section for that dsicussion). In any case, this Saints offense is humming right now, and we know that Brees, Thomas, and Kamara will account for a large chunk of production. You could also look at Tre’Quan Smith or Mark Ingram as contrarian options, too. Smith continues to play on 65-75% of the offensive snaps, and Ingram is always a reasonable GPP option as a pivot off Kamara.

Todd Gurley + Rams Defense – This is a logical pairing given the fact that I am underweight on Jared Goff this week. The Rams are obviously going to score SOME points, and I’m banking on Gurley getting back to form in this one. He scored three touchdowns in the first meeting against the Seahawks, and Seattle’s defense profiles worse against the run than the pass. Assuming the Rams can get out to a lead in the game, I think you can also consider their defense as a risk/reward pairing with Gurley. The Rams have definitely disappointed defensively this year, but it’s not like they lack talent, and the opportunity increases if Seattle is forced to pass. Gurley is an obvious play on his own, but I like the pairing with the defense in GPPs. A defensive touchdown would also help to eliminate the need for Jared Goff to throw in the game.

Additional Injuries, News, Notes, and Late Week Updates

1) Le’Veon Bell will report in Week X! No, Le’Veon Bell won’t report in Week X! Now, Le’Veon Bell might not report at all! Thank goodness for DFS, where we only have to worry about one week at a time. I’d go crazy if I had him in any season-long formats this year. Condolences to those of you who might be in that position. I can safely say that, from our perspective, we don’t have to stress it.

2) The Dez Bryant era in New Orleans has ended before it even got started. That’s a tough break for him, especially since it happened (supposedly) on the last play of practice.

3) Rob Gronkowski is out for New England. This is a bit of a surprise. Upgrade Josh Gordon and Julian Edelman here.

4) Jamison Crowder is out for Washington. Maurice Harris firmly enters “punt” territory against an abysmal Tampa defense.

5) We still have to monitor the status of Chris Carson. He is questionable. If he is out, I don’t mind using Mike Davis in GPPs, as Davis was heavily involved in the running and passing game in Week 9.

Curating a Weekly Player Pool

As I did last week, I will list what could be used as a general GPP player pool in this section. Do not think of this as a “be all, end all” list, and I encourage you to read the rest of the article as opposed to just skipping down to this section.

Note that the “tiers” are loosely used here and are based on DK pricing. If you are playing on FD, a “high end” guy might be more “mid range” over there, or vise versa.

Quarterbacks

High EndPatrick Mahomes

Mid RangeAaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Andy Dalton

ValueRyan Fitzpatrick, Marcus Mariota

Running Backs

High EndTodd Gurley, Melvin Gordon, Alvin Kamara

Mid RangeJames White, Tevin Coleman, David Johnson, Adrian Peterson

ValueNick Chubb, Dion Lewis

Wide Receivers

High EndMichael Thomas, Davante Adams

Mid RangeKeenan Allen, Tyler Boyd, Josh Gordon, Cooper Kupp

ValueDeSean Jackson, Doug Baldwin (monitor health), Kenny Golladay, Corey Davis

Tight Ends

High EndTravis Kelce

Mid RangeO.J. Howard

ValueTrey Burton

Defenses

High EndNYJ, LAC

Mid Range and ValueJAX, GB

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