The Reid Option: Week 9
Alright, friends – we’re (sort of) at the midpoint of the daily fantasy football season, where most teams have played eight games. Time for a meaningless-but-fun midseason stats intro. Off we go!
- Leonard Fournette has 3 rushes of more than 60 yards, and none of them have gone for touchdowns. The rest of the NFL combined has 8 rushes longer than 60 yards, and all 8 have gone for touchdowns.
- Stefon Diggs has fumbled 4 times, twice as many as any other WR
- Only two teams have allowed their opponents to score on more than half of their drives, and they also happen to be the only two teams that have forced a turnover on less than 6% of their defensive drives: Miami and Atlanta
- The San Francisco 49ers have the highest pressure rate (33.1%) with the league’s second-lowest blitz rate (14.8%)
- Only two NFL players have multiple sacks, INTs, and forced fumbles: NE LB Jamie Collins (6, 3, 2) and TEN CB Logan Ryan (3.5, 3, 3)
- With 100 rush attempts, Joe Mixon is the only NFL player with more than even 50 rush attempts without a single rush over 20+ yards or a single rushing TD
- All 4 teams in the AFC South have a positive point differential
- Among all receivers with at least 30 catches, Jarvis Landry is 4th in yards per reception (16.8)
- Only one NFL kicker has been perfect on both FG attempts and XPT attempts: Baltimore’s Justin Tucker
- Le’Veon Bell has just 3 runs of 20+ yards over his last 460 rush attempts (0.7%)
- The only qualified quarterbacks with interception rates under 1% are: Patrick Mahomes, Russell Wilson, Aaron Rodgers, and … Gardner Minshew
- The Kansas City Chiefs are 1-3 in Arrowhead Stadium and 4-0 on the road
- Among RBs with at least 20 targets, Miles Sanders aDOT of 6.1 yards is nearly twice as deep as the next closest (Duke Johnson, 3.2)
- Green Bay’s running backs have more receiving touchdowns (7) than their entire WR corps (6)
- Aaron Jones has 0 rushes of 20+ yards (on 114 att) and 4 receptions of 20+ yards (on 42 rec)
- Only one team has converted more than 50% of their 3rd down attempts: The Dallas Cowboys (51.9%)
- Mike Evans leads the NFL in team Red Zone target share (37.5%) … Miami’s Preston Williams is 2nd at 35.0%
- Greg Zuerlein is 4-4 on FG attempts of 50+ yards but just 3-7 from 40-49 yards
- The two least penalized teams in the NFL (at 5.6 per game) are the San Francisco 49ers (7-0) and the Miami Dolphins (0-7)
- James White (5) has more receptions of 20+ yards than T.Y. Hilton (4)
- Jonnu Smith (6) has more receptions of 20+ yards than Michael Gallup (5)
- Irv Smith Jr (4) has more receptions of 20+ yards than Robby Anderson (3)
- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have allowed the fewest rushing yards per game (68.6, the next-lowest is 84.3) and the 2nd-most passing yards per game (285.9)
- The only quarterbacks with completions of 85+ yards this season are … Sam Darnold and Baker Mayfield
- Travis Kelce is tied for the NFL lead with 8 targets inside the 10-yard line, but he’s only caught one of them (12.5%). Last season, he caught 58.3% of his targets inside the 10.
- Only two teams have a team aDOT above 10 yards on their pass attempts: The Tampa Bay Bucs (10.6) and the Detroit Lions (10.5)
- San Francisco’s Mitch Wishnowsky is allowing opposing punt returners an average of 0.3 yards per punt return – less than 1/8th of the next-closest (2.3 yards, Detroit’s Sam Martin)
- Only two quarterbacks have thrown multiple pick-sixes, and they’re exactly who you would expect: Jameis Winston (3) and Ryan Fitzpatrick (2)
- Austin Hooper is the NFL’s highest-scoring fantasy TE, with a 52-591-5 line, good for 123.9 DK points; The Arizona Cardinals have allowed a 52-677-8 line to opposing TEs, good for 176.7 DK points.
- The Los Angeles Rams lead the NFL in bad throw percentage (22.5%). The Cowboys are the lowest (10.1%), but their receivers lead the league in drop rate (7.6%)
- Baker Mayfield has thrown 20% of all NFL interceptions inside the 10-yard line this season
- Leonard Fournette is averaging 1.1 YPC on his 34 Red Zone carries. He has 4 yards on 17 attempts inside the 10-yard line, and -6 yards on 4 carries inside the 5-yard line.
(As always, all odds are accurate at the time of writing and may shift throughout the week. The Reid Option focuses exclusively on the DFS main slate.)
Because they decided to pump everyone’s price up, building lineups on DraftKings this week is harder than winning a tug-of-war with an alligator. And unless some value opens up as the week progresses (I’m looking at you, Jaylen Samuels), it’s exceedingly likely we’re going to have to go digging around at the bottom of the trash can to find our cash game QB. The low-priced guy I currently have my sights set on is Derek Carr, which is certainly something I never thought I’d write. But the Raiders/Lions game is just one of two games on the main slate with an over/under above 50 points, and the Raiders have the slate’s 2nd-highest implied team total on the NFL odds board (also something I never thought I’d write) at 26.3 points. Carr has played reasonably well this season, leading the NFL in completion percentage and ranking 9th in adjusted yards per attempt. Carr’s aDOT is also the 4th-lowest in football at 6.8 yards, and I believe this high-percentage/short-completion attack will fare well against a defense that misses the most tackles per game (9.1).
I’d also be fine rostering Philip Rivers, who’s likely due for some positive touchdown regression – he’s at 3.9% this season, quite a bit lower than his career rate of 5.3%. He’s also averaging a solid 289.4 yards per game, the 8th-highest total in football. And frankly, the Packers defense doesn’t scare me; they’ve allowed the 11th-highest NY/A (6.8) and have a middle-of-the-road QB pressure rate (22.8%, 14th in the NFL).
So hey, have you ever had a buddy who was super cool, and then got into a relationship with a chick who put his balls into a jar and carried them around with her? Then he stopped hanging out as much, and when he did, he was always texting his girl and sneaking away to call her and then leaving early? And when he wasn’t around, all the other guys sat around and talked about him like, “man, he’s different. Homie’s whipped. He needs to take back his sack.” Well that was Matt Stafford with Jim Bob Cooter, who turned the cannon-armed gunslinger into a neutered check-down artist. Now that their relationship is mercifully over, Stafford is back to hanging out and making funny jokes and crushing beer cans on his forehead and throwing the ball deep; his 10.5-yard aDOT is the 2nd-highest in the NFL. That’s going to play very well against a Raiders defense that can’t get to the QB: Their 14.3% pressure rate is by far the lowest in the NFL, and they’ve allowed 206.5 air yards per game – by far and away the highest mark in the league. Stafford is back baby, and I wanna hang out with him again.
The great social experiment of this season will be how high DFS sites can price Christian McCaffrey before we stop playing him in cash games. This week, DraftKings priced him at an outlandish $10k and FanDuel jacked him up to $9700 … and you can butter my butt and call me a biscuit if I don’t play him again. What’s he’s doing this season is remarkable; he’s averaging more fantasy points per game on the ground than Dalvin Cook and on top of that has more receptions than Mike Evans, Amari Cooper, Odell Beckham, and Kenny Golladay do. I wouldn’t blame anybody for playing Dalvin (and surely I’ll have some GPP shares myself), but for me it’s CMC in cash.
My Nick, got the ITT
Your pick, got the DNP
My Nick, plays on the double-touchdown scene
Your pick, went straight to DVD
My Nick, rockin’ like a crib
Your pick, fumbles like a little bitch
My Nick, stomps on the Broncos – the whole team
Your pick won’t get you 14
My Nick, locked in on all sites
Your pick, is a sucker play aight
My Nick, so hot he’s molten
Your pick, ain’t no Tevin Coleman
My Nick, sharp like blades
Your pick, square like Nate
My Nick, is a featured dude
Your pick, gets that meager use
My Nick, is like super wise
Your pick, look like Davis-sized
My Nick, like gas to the nerves
Your pick, won’t smash – diseased curse
My Nick, don’t dare fade that
You pick, too square won’t cash
My Nick, MVP
Your pick, ja-bron-i
It’s time that I let the readers know
Dude, you gotta jam in Chubb tho
Broncos are so weak at run defense
P.S. we gon’ bink them millions
It’s time that I let the readers know
Dude, you gotta jam in Chubb tho
Broncos are so weak at run defense
P.S. we gon’ bink them millions
True fear is thinking that you might have to play a Dolphins running back in cash, and even worse if you’d never even heard of the guy until three weeks ago. Alright fine, you caught me – two weeks ago. Sure, Mark Walton operated as the lead back in Week 7, and last week handled with Kenyon Drake shipped out of town he handled an NFL-high 87% of the team’s snaps and 80% of the team’s backfield work – including 6 targets. And sure, he’s an inexpensive option on a slate where we’re likely going to need punts. Still, it feels grosser than eating a vomit soufflé and I’m hoping we get Jaylen Samuels as an option to avoid gulping it down the hatch.
You can make a case for Le’Veon Bell this week, and in fact I will attempt to do just that: He’s the only RB this side of CMC who’s played over 90% of his team’s snaps, and he’s taken 84.7% of the team’s backfield work. Sure, that team is the New York Jets, the toilet scum of the NFL. But this week they play the Miami Dolphins, who are allowing an NFL-high 34.0 points per game and 6.5 yards per play, the 2nd-highest mark of any defense. We chase volume in this silly little game of ours, and Bell gives it to us with the best chance to hit paydirt multiple times he’ll have all season. I have similar feelings about Josh Jacobs, who isn’t quite the usage monster that Bell is, but should have big touchdown equity in a strong matchup this week. The Raiders have the league’s second-highest implied team total (26.3 points) and Jacobs has handled 7 of Oakland’s 8 running back carries inside the 5-yard line. He doesn’t offer the high receiving floor I generally look for in cash games, but he’s got a gaggle of upside in GPPs.
As sloppy as the RB position is this week, we won’t need any beer goggles when picking our receiving options. Stefon Diggs has been crushing like teenage girl at a Jonas Brothers concert, ranking 2nd among main slate WRs in WOPR over the past four weeks, and while the MIN/KC game is still offline, I expect many points to be scored.
Same goes for the SEA/TB tilt, which currently boasts the highest over/under (51.5 points) of the week, and all the relevant WRs are in play. Both defenses here are jalopies – Tampa is allowing the second-most passing yards per game while Seattle’s QB pressure rate is the second-lowest in the league. It’s tough to pick between Mike Evans and Chris Godwin on a weekly basis, but in general I prefer Godwin’s lower-aDOT slot profile in cash games and Evans’ big-play downfield profile in tournaments. Tyler Lockett tends to be hyper-efficient but without elite volume, but this game sets up for him to let it eat. TB has been a true pass-funnel defense and there’s no doubt in my mind that he’ll not only get quick passes over the middle against the blitz-happy Bucs (their 47.9% blitz rate is 2nd in the NFL) but also have singled-up opportunities downfield when Russ Wilson breaks contain and lets it rip deep. DK Metcalf should also get multiple deep-shot opportunities, and while his profile screams GPP, his price tag across the industry lends itself to cash games as well and I can see myself using him in a pinch.
In addition to Metcalf, the middle tier has plenty of delicious fruit just hanging around for us to pick. Keenan Allen has 21 targets and an NFL-leading 297 air yards over the past two weeks despite being hampered by a hammy, and I expect the Chargers are going to have to throw the ball plenty to keep up with Green Bay. Allen doesn’t stand out on FanDuel but his $6400 tag on DK makes him plenty appealing with the full-PPR setup. D.J. Moore ranks 10th among NFL WRs over the past four weeks in weighted opportunity rating, and somehow he’s just $5400 on FanDuel and $4800 on DK. There aren’t many under-priced dudes out there this week, but he is a huge standout from a value perspective and thus fully cash game viable.
This will also be the third straight week that I’m heavily invested in Allen Robinson – he’s 8th in weighted opportunity over the past four weeks, and this week he’s facing an Eagles defense that couldn’t cover molasses in winter time. They’ve allowed the 4th-most yards and the 2nd-most touchdowns to villain wideouts, good for the most generous mark in the NFL on a fantasy point basis. A-Rob isn’t cheap and yet I expect he’ll be worth every penny you pay.
God help my soul if I play one Dolphin this week, but if I play two just delete my account and sent me straight to Hades to burn for eternity. Buuuuuuuut …. Preston Williams is officially on the radar. The last time he had fewer than 6 targets was Week 1, and Ryan Fitzpatrick isn’t afraid to chuck it deep; Preston’s 208 air yards since Fitzpatrick took over is 10th in the league. What can I say, man? Desperate times call for desperate measures.
And look, I know I roasted Nate on the Gillcast last week for playing Mike Williams in cash. And sure, it was a little thin but after careful consideration, I’ve decided it wasn’t fully egregious. However, Williams is the kind of guy you want to play in GPPs – his production hasn’t been great, his price is low, and his big-play opportunities have been there. In fact, over the past four weeks Williams leads the entire league in air yards with 507. There will come a point when those imaginary yards turn real, and I’ll be investing hoping that this is the week.
Based on early lineup construction, I’m less likely to pay up for tight end in cash games than I am to stay sober at my wife’s company Christmas party. Sure, I’d love to play Kelce or Waller, but I don’t see it happening outside of contrarian GPP builds.
So we’re gonna go cheap, and we’re gonna go ugly, and we’re gonna hope and pray that it turns out half as lit as last week’s Jonnu Smith smash. The early leader in the clubhouse is Noah Fant, whose usage took an adrenaline shot to the caboose last week with Emmanuel Sanders gone. Fant’s 82% snap rate in Week 8 ranked 11th among all tight ends and his 8 targets were easily a season-high. I know it’s a small sample and we’re flying a bit in the dark with Brandon Allen stepping in at QB, but all we have in this game are small samples and I feel confident that Fant will at least see the field plenty.
I’d also like to point out that while he’s been disappointing from a fantasy perspective of late, the reports of Zach Ertz’s demise are exaggerated. Over the past four weeks, Ertz still ranks 5th among all tight ends in targets (26) and 3rd in weighted opportunity (.53 – equal to Darren Waller). But because it’s been Dallas Goedert catching the zone jobs, it’s just widely assumed that Ertz is dust. And sure, he’s no longer an elite TE option, but the truth is that his price has fallen to a point where he’s a value, and I will absolutely have shares this week to try to take advantage of the public perception.
I couldn’t tell you why the Pittsburgh Steelers are just $2400 on DraftKings, but I can tell you that they’re almost a lock to be my cash game DST. They’re 2nd in the NFL in QB pressure rate (29.4%), 3rd in adjusted sack rate (9.3%), and they’re at home as a slight favorite (-1.5) while the Colts have a slim ITT of 20.8 points.
I’m also going to roll out a bunch of Carolina this week against Tennessee, since the Panthers D has the 2nd-highest adjusted sack rate in football (9.9%) and the Titans have allowed the highest adjusted sack rate in football (12.6%). The Panthers are 4-point home favorites this week, and if they get up early in the game, it could be a sack-a-palooza festival for them.
In tournaments, I’ll also be chasing the big-play potential of both Philly and Cleveland. The Eagles D-line vs the Bears O-line is one of the biggest line mismatches of the week, and playing a defense against Mitch Trubisky is getting a Christmas present in November. Starting CBs Denzel Ward and Greedy Williams are both back in action for the Browns, and the Broncos were bad even before they threw out some dude making his first NFL start. I have the feeling that this might be Cleveland’s breakout game, and I want all the exposure to them I can get.
Thanks for reading, everyone! Let’s go make some money in Week 9.