WATCH: KYLE RUDOLPH OVER ZACH ERTZ?
This is a weekly series where I break down my favorite tournament plays for the upcoming NFL week. I’m going to be focusing on high upside plays and pairings that could really pay off big in tournaments.
With everyone focused on the positive matchup for the Pittsburgh offense and the return of Tom Brady, this pair — who will be playing at home versus the lowly Bears, should be relatively ignored this week. T.Y. Hilton and Andrew Luck have produced eight or nine massive fantasy games together since the beginning of the 2014 season, and with the absence of Donte Moncrief, Hilton has already become one of the most targeted wideouts in the league this season with 34 targets over his last three games. On the surface, the Bears appear to have played wide receivers tough in 2016, but a look at their opposition shows that three of the four teams they’ve played simply beat them so badly on the ground that throwing became unnecessary. The Colts have no run game and are just as bad a team as Chicago (outside of their QB). I think that should mean a big day for this duo and makes them an excellent tournament target for Week 5.
Bonus: Paxton Lynch ($5,200) – Emmanuel Sanders ($6,800)
Eli Manning ($6,100): So far in 2016 QBs are averaging 330 yards and 2 TDs per game versus the Green Bay defense. Yes, the Packers are coming off a bye week, but they didn’t really get that much healthier, as their secondary is still likely going to be without their best corner, Sam Shields. Green Bay’s stout run defense is going to force the Giants to pass if they want to move the ball this week, and that’s something the Giants will have no trouble complying with as Manning has averaged 41.33 pass attempts over his last three games. At only $6,100, and coming off a bad primetime performance, I expect Manning’s ownership to be relatively low here, but his chances of landing you a final total of 4x or even 5x his value looks rather high.
Bonus: Paxton Lynch ($5,200)
Todd Gurley ($6,500): Gurley is finally in a spot where I think a breakout game is possible. The Rams star is not lacking for opportunities, having played on over 80% of the offensive snaps for the Rams the past two weeks. He gets a home date against a Bills squad that has allowed five TDs to the RB position over their last three games. The Bills won their Super Bowl last weekend against New England and are in a classic letdown spot against a Rams team who is playing with serious confidence at the moment. Gurley has also averaged over 4.8 ypc in home games over his career thus far, over half a yard more than his road splits. At $6,500 his price is no longer prohibitive, and he’s in a high upside spot for tournaments.
James White ($3,900): While most of the talk this week will be about the fantasy potential of the Patriot’s receivers, don’t forget about the impact Tom Brady may have on James White. Last year White averaged 4.71 receptions and 0.85 TDs per game with Brady at the helm, while the Patriots’ “power-back” over that same span only averaged 51 yards rushing and 0.28 TDs per game. It also doesn’t hurt that White’s opponent this week is Cleveland, a team that has allowed RBs to catch passing TDs against them in each of their last two games. I like White as a contrarian play against the likely popular LeGarrette Blount.
Bonus: Josh Ferguson ($3,000)
Terrelle Pryor Sr. ($5,800): This week, with a $1,500 rise in price and a tough matchup, I am expecting ownership of Terrelle Pryor to be way down. However, the price increase doesn’t take away from the fact that he still has a massive fantasy ceiling. Pyror is the Browns’ everything on offense and played 93% of the snaps last week. While he was kept somewhat in check by Josh Norman, the Pats have been rather giving thus far in 2016 to opposing teams’ top WRs, allowing big games to Jarvis Landry, Larry Fitzgerald and even Robert Woods. I think Pryor makes all kind of sense this week as a tournament play in a game where Cleveland should be throwing tons late, a scenario which will involve Pryor one way or another.
Cordarrelle Patterson ($3,000): Back in 2013, Patterson was considered a phenomenon, scoring nine TDs that season in limited playing time. Patterson actually scored an offensive TD every eight or so touches that year and averaged 13 yards per catch. The Vikings have buried Patterson the last two seasons and kept him limited to special teams, but they finally bumped him up the depth chart last Monday night after he worked his way back into the good graces of Mike Zimmer. Patterson didn’t score, but he did play well, receiving one carry and six targets, and even getting a couple looks in the red zone (one of which drew a defensive pass interference call). If the usage remains the same, history tells us that it won’t be long before Patterson finds the end zone again, because he is just that naturally skilled. He’s the ultimate boom or bust play, but at just $3k, he’s someone I’ll definitely consider for tournaments.
Bonus: Randall Cobb ($6,200)
Richard Rodgers ($2,900): This is my favorite play of the week for tournaments at TE, outside of possibly Rob Gronkowski (watch the injury news later in the week). Rodgers isn’t the stud athlete that Jared Cook is, but he is a much better receiver and more importantly has the trust of his great quarterback when the Packers are in the red zone. Rodgers actually led the Packers last year with 8 TDs (tied with James Jones) and was also second on the team with 18 red zone targets. We just watched the slower but sure handed Kyle Rudolph dominate the Giants’ linebackers last Monday night, and I think Rodgers can duplicate that performance with Jared Cook now confirmed out for the week. He’s a great way to get some cheap exposure to the Green Bay passing game.
Bonus: Rob Gronkowski ($6,500)
Carolina Panthers ($3,300): This pick is actually quite simple to explain. Opposing defenses are now averaging 12.75 DraftKings points when facing Jameis Winston this year and 16.66 over his last three starts. He’s now turned the ball over 10 times and is second in the league in interceptions with eight. The Panthers’ defense got embarrassed last week, and while they’re not the same group we saw last year, they’re not as bad as they were made to look last week either. I expect Carolina to give up some yards, but I also expect them to get turnovers against one of the most turnover prone QBs in the league. A pick six, or two, should be very possible for a defense who is at home and looking for redemption.
Bonus: Vikings ($3,400)
Geoff Ulrich and Pat Mayo are promoters at DraftKings and also avid fans and users (usernames: wavegoodbye and ThePME) and may sometimes play on their personal accounts in the games that they offer advice on. Although they have expressed their personal views on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and they may also deploy different players and strategies than what they recommend above.