Every week, we as DFS participants, have choices to make. Do we want to go contrarian? What high-level player are we paying for? Who is someone we are staying away from? What’s the best value this week? Lastly, what stack is the one to consider this week? What I’ve done is answered all those questions in one article. Below you’ll find the top player for each of the questions above.
High-Level Must Start: Jeremy Hill $6200
Now that Le’Veon Bell is officially out, Hill becomes the second most expensive back this week. He has played really well in recent weeks, and will be the running back I own in just about all of my lineups. He has rushed for 100 or more yards in each of the last three games, and has scored three touchdowns in that time span. The Colts were able to contain the Bengals running backs earlier this year, but I think the Bengals have finally figured out how to use both Giovanni Bernard and Hill effectively. Not to mention, the Colts have struggled against the run all season. They have allowed 14 rushing touchdowns, and surrender 113.4 rushing yards per game. He may not be at a high-level price, but he should be considered a high-level player this week.
Great Value: Jonathan Stewart $5300
When you look at the backs for this week’s games, there’s only a few that stand out. Stewart is one of those that stand out to me. The Cardinals played pretty solid against the run earlier this year, but to close out the season, they weren’t as efficient in stopping the run. They allowed four 100+ rushing yard games in their last five games, and three rushing touchdowns in the time span. This is clearly not the same run defense it was earlier in the season. The Panthers have fed Stewart the ball plenty in recent weeks, and should continue to do so in this game. He has 20 or more carries in three of his last four games, and has scored 20+ fantasy points twice in that timeframe. At this price it shouldn’t be difficult for Stewart to hit value, and possibly exceed it.
Contrarian Play: Markus Wheaton $3100
I was considering Martavis Bryant as my contrarian play this week, but I was unsure exactly how much of a contrarian play he’d really be. Therefore, I decided to go with the third receiver on this offense. Wheaton has seven catches for 100 yards and a touchdown against the Ravens this season. The Ravens are allowing 23.8 fantasy points per game to opposing receivers. They’ve surrendered 15 touchdowns, and give up 271.3 receiving yards per game. Now that Bell is officially out for the Steelers, the team will turn to Big Ben’s arm. This should benefit all of his receivers, including Wheaton.
Player to fade: Andy Dalton $6100
This low price may be intriguing to some, but I wouldn’t risk it on Dalton. Two of his best targets are battling injuries and there’s a chance that they could miss this matchup. A.J. Green is doubtful and Jermaine Gresham is questionable. Dalton is also known for having terrible games. He has scored fewer than six fantasy points three times this year. The last time he faced the Colts; he threw for 126 yards and no touchdowns, and scored just five fantasy points in that game. The Colts allowed 27 passing touchdowns this season, but only seven of those were in home games. Needless to say, they play much better defense at home. Dalton averages 14 fantasy points per game on the road. The run game has been effective for the Bengals in recent weeks, and the Colts struggle to stop the run. They will likely take advantage of that weakness, and rely more on the run and less on the pass.
Stack Play: Ben Roethlisberger $7300 to Antonio Brown $8900
Before submitting your lineups, keep an eye on the forecast for this game. If the weather is awful, then it might be a good idea to avoid this stack. However, besides the weather, there’s not much to dislike about this combo. The last time that Big Ben played against the Ravens he threw for 340 yards and six touchdowns. The Ravens have been generous to quarterbacks and receivers this season. They have surrendered 21 passing touchdowns and give up 249 passing yards per game. Of the 21 touchdowns, 14 of them were in road games. Antonio Brown had a career year this season. He caught 129 passes for 1,698 yards and 14 touchdowns. He dominated the Ravens in the two games he played against them. In those games, he caught 18 passes for 234 yards and one touchdown. He is the most consistent receiver of this weekend’s games, and his price is a reflection of that. Brown has scored 10 of his 14 touchdowns in homes games. He’s averaging 30.4 fantasy points at home. The Ravens are giving up 271.3 receiving yards per game, and allow 23.8 fantasy points per game to opposing receivers. Look for Big Ben and Brown to connect often in the first round of the playoffs.
Defense: Bengals $1900
I personally don’t like to pay up for a defense, so when I see a respectable Bengals defense at this low price, I’m ok with starting them. Yes I know they play Andrew Luck and the Colts. However, in recent weeks the Colts offense has struggled. No to mention, many of their players are dealing with injuries, so there’s good chance some of them will be playing at less than 100 percent. I’m expecting the Bengals to run the ball a lot and manage the clock. If you’re looking to pay up, the Panthers are a great option this week, but you save $1600 by plugging in the Bengals which could come a long way for the rest of your lineup. I’m also a sucker for bargains!