The Reid Option: Week 16

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!

Week 16

Lawr Michaels died on Wednesday.

If you’re in your 20s or you don’t play seasonal fantasy, you might not know Lawr. But trust me on this: Lawr was a legend. He was one of the OGs of fantasy baseball, someone who got into fantasy in the pre-internet days back when it was the sports version of Dungeons and Dragons. He’s also one of the guys who brought fantasy sports from mom’s basement into the modern era and allowed things like high stakes leagues, podcasts, XM fantasy sports radio, DFS, and all of the other things that we have today to happen.

The thing about Lawr isn’t that he was a GOAT of fantasy; he was a GOAT who happened to play fantasy. If you were on Twitter this week, chances are you saw some of the many tributes people wrote for him. And if you did, I’m sure you noticed that almost no one talked about the fantasy players that Lawr was; they talked about the man Lawr was.

Lawr had an ease about him that was unmistakable. He could talk to anyone about anything and made you immediately feel comfortable in his presence. He was one of those people who always wanted to know about you, and he had something about him that made you want to open up to him.

Unlike the majority of people we see in the fantasy industry, the man had no ego. He was always so quick to heap praise on someone else or talk about how smart they were, even though he was the one who had the longest-running fantasy baseball column in history. And to him, it didn’t matter if you were a lifelong member of LABR or you were just starting in the fantasy industry, he wanted to talk to you and get to know you as a person. I think he genuinely loved people; fantasy was just something he did because it made him happy.

I was lucky enough to spend a good amount of time with Lawr over the past couple years. I first met him at a live industry draft in San Francisco, where we puffed casual together on a street corner and bonded when we discovered we wore the same Eye of Ra necklace. Every time I saw him from then on, he’d chant “Ra Ra Ra!” as a greeting to me. I loved it. The next year I went and played a round of golf with him, and I swear you’ve never seen a 140-pound hippie hit a ball so true. Spending hours riding around in a golf cart with him was pure joy, it felt like he was just basking in every moment he got to spend out there. Later that year I got to hang out with him at First Pitch Arizona and flew back to the Bay with him. On the plane, he helped ladies put their bags in the overhead bins and by mid-flight, he’d made new friends all around us. He just had that gift.

So many people knew Lawr better than I did, and the stories I’ve read about him over the past few days have really touched my heart. It’s a small consolation to know that he lived an amazing life and that he had such an impact on the people he left behind. He was a guy who had gone through some tough sh*t in his days too – some genuinely horrible things that you wouldn’t wish upon your worst enemy – and yet he remained the most positive person in any room. Through everything, he somehow maintained the ease of Andy Dufresne walking around the prison yard of Shawshank, and I’m grateful to the universe that our paths crossed in this life, even for a short time. You’ll be missed, my friend.

QUARTERBACK

The big question in cash games this week is, should we use Googles his first name to be sure Taylor Heinicke in cash at the stone minimum? On DraftKings, I’m somewhat inclined to say yes; the Falcons are a Santa Claus defense – they hand out fantasy points like Xmas gifts and their existence is mostly imaginary. Carolina is at home and they have a passable 20-point implied team total, and with the room it allows us for strong skill position players, I think it’s an acceptable route to go.

If you’re a bit more risk-averse, the two main targets I’d be looking at are Dak Prescott and Andrew Luck. Dak gets to face a joke of a defense in the Bucs, who have recently switched from a zone-based system to man-to-man, which is right up Dak’s alley. Rostering him also gets you access to all of the Cowboys touchdowns if you also play Zeke, and in a home game and with a 27.3-point implied team total, that seems like a sharp thing to do. Luck is in an obvious smash spot against a Giants team that has lost stud safely Landon Collins to injury and traded CB Eli Apple to the Saints. They’re currently trotting out two undrafted veteran safeties and have zero way to rush the passer; their 4.6% adjusted sack rate is the NFL’s lowest mark outside of Oakland.

I’ll be keeping my QB pool fairly small this week, but I’m sure I’ll sprinkle in some QB-centric stacks from the Steelers/Saints game, since its 53-point over/under is 5.5 points higher than the slate’s next-closest game. I’d lean toward Drew Brees here, since his ownership shouldn’t be outlandish after a few sluggish games, and Home Brees > Road Ben every day of the week.

RUNNING BACK

Ezekiel Elliott is our top RB play of the week, and it’s not really that close. Since Amari Cooper came aboard, Zeke is averaging an obscene 28.7 touches and 7.6 targets per game. As a 7-point home favorite against the squalor Bucs defense, I’m more likely to beer bong liquified asbestos than I am to fade Zeke in pretty much any format.

I’m also going to have trouble getting away from Saquon Barkley on DraftKings after his price dropped from $9400 last week to $7900 this week. By far the most talented running back in football, I’m not really worried about any matchup for him and the reality is that his 106 targets trails only Christian McCaffrey (by 4) among backs who also have 100+ carries. Even last week when he sucked uncooked sausage he had 10 targets, and no back is more likely to rip off a 50+ yard TD than he is. With his usage at the price we’re getting, I think it’s just insane value.

Our cheap options on this slate should be plentiful. Elijah McGuire has stood out over the past couple weeks; since Isaiah Crowell snapped through, McGuire as a 17-carry/3-rec game and an 18-carry/3-rec game. In both contests he scored a touchdown and saw 4 targets. Green Bay is a great matchup for RBs these days as well; Muhammed Wilkerson, Mike Daniels, and Kenny Clark were all starting D-lineman who are now on IR, as are linebackers Jake Ryan and Nick Perry. Last week, Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen combined for 130 total yards and 2 TDs on 30 touches, and the week before the sketch duo of Tevin Coleman and Ito Smith combined for 105 total yards on 25 touches. Bottom line is that I think McGuire gets to 80 total yards with a couple of grabs here in his sleep (with upside for more), and has a solid shot at getting in the box as well.

Marlon Mack isn’t an amazing cash game play on DK since he gets very little work through the air, but his combination of price, touchdown equity, and matchup are very appealing on FanDuel. I’ll have a lot of him there as I will Nick Chubb, who matches up against a Bengals defense that has completely given up on life. At this point in the season, Cinci has allowed the most fantasy points to villain RBs (25.5 per game in PPR) and I expect Chubb to get ridden like camel in the Sahara this week.

If you’re taking advantage of Yahoo’s sick overlay again this week (and you should if you’re not a fish), Jaylen Samuels is still only $14 despite 39 touches over the past two weeks. You’d be an insane person not to play him, as he should get plenty of work though the air against the Saints’ substandard linebackers. He’s not nearly as appealing on FanDuel for $6700, and is relegated to GPP status on DK because of his same elevated price there. Finally, Kalen Ballage is acceptable as a salary saver, although I don’t love him in a vacuum. Clearly Kenyon Drake has leprosy or some other communicable disease, and the team wants nothing to do with him. His only purpose in life these days is to scavenge targets through the air and rip the hearts out of Patriots fans, which does carry some sick emotional equity for the rest of us. But all things considered I expect Ballage to get somewhere in the neighborhood of 13 carries and a target or two, which will play at his bottom-of-the-barrel price tag.

The risky, but very lit contrarian GPP here is Todd Gurley. He’s dealing with knee inflammation and hasn’t practiced yet this week, and obviously if he doesn’t play he’d be a little too contrarian. But my thinking is this: The Rams need to win this game. They’re just one game ahead of the Bears (and CHI owns the H2H tiebreaker) for the #2 seed, which means both a bye and at least one home playoff game after that. It’s a big deal, and the Rams really need to win this game. And if Gurley does play, he’s in a dream spot against the nut low rush D of the Cardinals: This season Gurley has 1,831 total yards and 21 touchdowns – the Cards have ALLOWED 2,379 yards and 19 touchdowns to opposing running backs. Of course the worry with Gurley is that his touches are limited, but the reality is that he has the highest TD equity of any single player in football. I don’t think he’s optimal, but it’s not often that you get the best player in fantasy at as low of ownership that you’ll get him at this weekend.

WIDE RECEIVER

Let’s start this position with the highest floor receiver in football, and the man I feel the best about in cash games. For me, going Davante is The Right Way

Adams 12 TDs and one more seems like his floor
Nobody ever lost playin’ Davante
Don’t be afraid of the pricetag that you paid
Cuz the fish are gonna fade
It’s Davante

I jammed him in cuz that’s how I live
Davante in your lineup is transformative
16 points scored in every game
And the floor that he offers, I never wanna fade

The Packers D provides good game scripts
20 points he will eclipse
It’s Davante
Jam if I can cuz I am an Adams fan
Sweeping cash games is the plan
It’s Davante

The only family that Rodgers ever had
Is Davante cuz he disowned his mom and dad
He’ll make me money when he scores I’m gonna tweet
Everything will be just fine unless he blows out his knee

Rodgers always mad, Davante makes him glad
He’ll throw everything he can to Davante
He’ll score all night, make my lineups tight
The Jets defense is shite
It’s Davante

Don’t run away from the nut cash play
Cuz I ain’t gonna fade him, oh no
It’s up to you but Davante’s hands are glue
Spend some time in with matchup nuts
Jets style!

I jammed him in cuz that’s how I live
Davante in your lineup is transformative
16 points scored in every game
And the floor that he offers, I never wanna fade

So I’ll win Sunday
I ain’t sorry when I say that straight to this very day it was Davante
He’s gonna spike, don’t matter if I like it or not
Because I’ll only play Davante

I jammed him in cuz that’s how I live
I still wouldn’t fade him, hell no
The weak Jets D is leaky like a sieve
It’ll ruin your cash games if you don’t play him

Even though I love Davante Adams, there are no bad plays in the top tier. Michael Thomas and DeAndre Hopkins in particular are of key interest; Thomas has played a lot in the slot this season and we all know the Steelers are weaker than single ply toilet paper against interior receivers. If you buy that this game will need to be won through the air since both teams are stout against the run, Thomas should have a sick game and plenty of exposure is warranted. Nuk is just a GOAT who has the 2nd-highest weighted opportunity rating in the NFL over the past four weeks, and the Eagles have allowed the most yardage to enemy WRs.

In the middle tier, I’m all over Robert Woods this week. With Todd Gurley likely limited the Rams may take to the air more than usual, and Patrick Peterson will be all over Brandin Cooks while Woods operates in the slot. Since Cooper Kupp dusted out, Woods leads the Rams with a 23% target share and 28% of the team’s air yards, and he’s just $6600 on DraftKings where I think he’s close to a cash game lock. While we’re on the Rams, I love Josh Reynolds as a tournament play this week – he’s basically seeing the same usage as Brandin Cooks (18% target share, 25% air yards share) and has 12 red zone targets among his 44 looks.

The cheap chalk that I (and everyone else, probably) will be jumping on is Robby Anderson against the Pack. Over the past four weeks, Robby A has a 42% air yards share and a .62 weighted opportunity rating, which is crazy good usage for a guy who’s just $4500 on DK, $5900 on FanDuel, and a clean $15 on Yahoo. Not only is his usage great, but so his his matchup: The Packers are more generous than Scott Fish when it comes to opposing wide receivers, allowing a league-high 20 touchdowns while ranking in the bottom five in basically every efficiency metric out there.

Besides Reynolds, there are a couple low-priced GPP fliers I’m into this week. First is my boy Michael Gallup, coming off a super sweet 0 target game which cost me untold fortunes in Week 15. However, if you watch the All-22 film, you’ll see that Gallup was wide open all game, and Dak Prescott just boned it. Alright, so that actually isn’t true, I did not watch the film (I have a life). But what is true is that despite his magical vanishing act last week, Gallup owns a team-leading 40% of Dallas’s air yards over the past four weeks, and we know the Bucs couldn’t cover a Koala Bear. I love him in a rebound spot for mega cheap and at approximately 0% ownership. Similarly, I’m into Tre’Quan Smith as a flier. Quan is an easy 2nd among Saints receivers in snap rate (73%) over the past four, and both of his monster games this season came at home. If Sean Peyton is able to draw up some deep schemes that break down the Steelers’ junior varsity zone concepts, Quan could be the recipient of some deep love.

TIGHT END

You know who the high-end guys are, and they’re all good. (Except for Gronk of course, that dude plays like he spent the offseason drinking from the wrong holy grail). Of the high-end options, George Kittle is the safest; he’s lapping the field in weighted opportunity over the past four weeks (.67) and I care less about matchups when it comes to tight ends than any other position. Eric Ebron is also a great play coming off a crap game and he’ll be my primary stacking partner in my Andrew Luck lineups.

Evan Engram stands out in the middle tier since it looks like Odell Beckham is going to be M.I.A. yet again. In the two games that OBJ has missed it’s been Engram that’s picked up the slack, garnering 17 targets – 2nd among all TEs over that timespan. His low 4.6 yard aDOT over that time is a positive; it means his reception floor should be less variant than the more downfield options at the position.

If I’m going cheap in cash, I’m going to try to play a guy who actually gets a target this week (thanks a bunch Firkser, you firkface). Blake Jarwin has 7 targets in back-to-back games, and we want our cheap TEs to be on home teams with big team totals, because that will provide the best opportunity for a TD. That’s exactly the spot that Dallas is in, and if I play both Zeke and Jarwin in cash, that’ll provide a prime opportunity for me to tilt my face off when Cole Beasley gets in the zone.

DEFENSE/SPECIAL TEAMS

The Patriots are almost certain to be my cash game D on DraftKings; they’re just $2500, they’re a 12.5-point home favorite, and as exciting as Josh Allen is, he’s got 8 fumbles and 9 picks in 10 starts. And, the Bills as a team have served up an 8.4% adjusted sack rate, the 9th-highest mark in the league.

In GPPs, I’m going to have a lot of Rams. They’re expensive, but the Cardinals are complete zoo and the interior of their offensive line – where Aaron Donald and Ndamukong Suh roam – is a mess. Currently the Cards have six (6!!!) offensive lineman on IR, including Justin Pugh, Mike Lupati, and DJ Humphries. The Rams need a win and I think they pimp-slap Arizona all over the field on Sunday.

Thanks for reading, everyone! Let’s go make some money in Week 16.

About the Author

  • Sammy Reid (SammyReid)

  • Sammy is a former online poker professional and Hearts champion who has been playing competitive fantasy sports for more than 15 years. A student of both sports and game theory, Sammy has been grinding DFS cash games since 2013. You can find more of his work in the 2017 edition of Joe Pisapia’s Fantasy Black Book, at FantasyInsiders.com, RosterCoach.com, and the Baseballholics Anonymous podcast.

Comments

  • freshgrind

    Sammy , You crack me up. Always a good read. I’ve used some of your sayings on my boys over the course of the season. They say “ Dad where the hell did you get that descriptive off the wall saying from “. I tell them there is an elf named Sammy that Rotogrinders keeps locked in a closet at there spacious corporate headquarters in downtown Tulsa Oklahoma churning the verbiage out. It’s Heinicke , C Mac and Julio for me this week. No Milly pain no Milly gain. May you eat to much, Drink to much and your stocking be stuffed with DFS Cash !! Thanks Joe L.

  • Buffaloo

    Lol’d so hard at this one.
    One of my favorite reads every week, keep crushin’ it Sammy!

  • boomanfoo

    No doubt the funniest and most creative article on RG the Sublime parody was awesome.

  • laser1000000

    Does Ginn’s expected presence impact Tre’Quan?

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