WEDNESDAY’S DFS NEWS NUGGETS
1. Keenan Allen done for season
This one is tough to swallow for the Chargers. Allen was a massive focal point of a voluminous passing attack, seeing 11.1 targets per game and catching 77.9 percent of the passes that came his way. Among qualified WRs, only Larry Fitzgerald had a better catch rate. The loss of Allen is significant enough that we have to knock Philip Rivers’ projection a bit going forward. That’ll be especially true if Antonio Gates (knee) and/or Ladarius Green (ankle) sit out.
Allen’s main replacement will be Stevie Johnson, who was already playing on 80.9 percent of the snaps. Expect that to rise closer to 100 percent, as he’ll now be outside for two-wide sets opposite Malcom Floyd and in his customary slot spot in three-wide formations (Dontrelle Inman will be outside in 3-wide). This change in Johnson’s role will lead to significantly more targets than the 6.1 he’s currently getting. At $3200 against a very weak Bears secondary in Week 9, Johnson is a lock.
2. Colts fire Pep Hamilton, replace with TE whisperer
I’ve wanted Rob Chudzinski to run the Colts’ offense ever since he was brought in as a “consultant” just after the 2013 season. Chud has had a fine history of maximizing offensive talent, especially at the tight end position. Chud played the position and has coached the position for much of his career. Both Kellen Winslow and Jordan Cameron produced massive career outlier years under Chud, and he also did his thing with Antonio Gates and Greg Olsen. I’m not going to be on any Colts against the Broncos’ all-world defense in Week 9, but the change to Chud is promising. I’ll be watching closely how Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen are used.
3. Johnny Manziel to start Thursday night
Yikes. Josh McCown, quietly in the midst of a reasonably decent season, is doubtful due to a rib injury. It means Manziel will return to the scene of the crime, where he buried me and a lot of DFS owners in Week 15 last year. That was when he was home against the Bengals for his first NFL start and was humiliated, throwing for 80 yards with zero touchdowns and two interceptions in a 30-0 loss.
Manziel admitted to barely even knowing the plays in that game, so I’m sure he’ll be far more prepared this time. But I’m not optimistic he can have any success in this spot: On the road, short week, against a 7-0 Bengals team that is 10th-best in the league against fantasy quarterbacks. If I’m playing the Thursday slate, I’m strongly considering Bengals D/ST.
4. DeSean Jackson ready to return for Redskins
Jackson is finally over the nasty hamstring pull he sustained way back in Week 1. He steps into a difficult spot as the Redskins are on the road at a New England team coming off 10 days of rest. The good news is he’ll see volume once the Skins get behind (they’re 14-point dogs) and his price has gone down to $5700 (he opened the year at $6800). I don’t think 7-10 targets is an unreasonable projection for Jackson in this spot, putting him on the GPP radar and dinging Jordan Reed’s projection slightly.