Steve Renner’s weekly NFL write-up is a mix of Cash and GPP Plays. Because football is an event driven sport, we are simply looking for solid game scripts to produce good value with upside. Do not be afraid to identify the ‘chalk’ CORE players you cannot live without and then wrap them with your game theory plays each week in both cash and single-entry GPP’s. For MME contests I will get off the grain usually, but below is my core plays for Cash, Single-Entry GPP’s and core lineups.
Note, much like with baseball I don’t care much about what Vegas thinks or what the chalk is when considering matchups and what I think the game scripts will be.
Below are the games each week that I feel are going to be the ‘CORE’ games for most lineups. The actual chalk usage from individual players will vary across these games with a few one off’s (especially for DEF & KICKER) outside of the core, but mostly these are the games where there will be obvious ownership.
- Oakland @ Tennessee … Has a over/under of 50 and two trendy offenses that spread the ball around.
- Seattle @ Green Bay … Premier game of the week with big name Quarterbacks will draw plenty of ownership.
- Atlanta @ Chicago … Should be a high scoring game.
- Pittsburgh @ Cleveland … The top chalk game of the week.
- Carolina @ San Francisco … Both teams were really bad on defense last year… Both offenses come in with new toys…
I do not worry specifically about player pricing or ownership when I do the rankings, but rather how I feel their overall Production will do for both the cost and ownership combined. If LeVeon Bell for example is going to rush for 200+ yards and 4 touchdowns, does it really matter if he is 80% owned and 10k? No. It doesn’t. And if player x is going to rush for 30 yards and no touchdowns does it matter if he is min price? No, if he sucks and I hate the matchup, then I’ll ignore him. We have a cheat sheet that will be produced every week that shows players by their price tier to compare this with. Pricing is soft on the main sites, you can build lineups, don’t complain you cant.
- Cam Newton … Cam actually showed up on the injury report this week, but don’t worry — he is good to go. The upside with Cam has always been him running the ball close to the end zone with his huge frame being able to practically lean forward and get a 1 yard touchdown, which is a huge boost for a Quarterback to get a rushing touchdown. This year though some are expecting Cam to get less rushing points to avoid injury and also because of the addition of Christian McCaffery. All that said, Cam Newton for cash games is a great play this week against the 49ers who will be more explosive on offense (see below) and should make this game one of the sneaky higher scoring games this week. Cam is my top overall QB this week.
- Marcus Mariotta … Considering his price and the expected game flow here Mariotta should net you a good 3x return on both sites this week. He’ll be a popular play in cash and tournaments and is someone to consider fading.
- Russell Wilson … Wilson is more of a tournament play given his price and the fact that you’ll likely want to get 1 of if not both of the stud RB’s this week and there’s also so much value at QB on both sites this week. Doug Baldwin is one of my favorite WR plays this week and I really like Jimmy Graham too. I think the Seahawks are forced to throw the ball because of a crap offensive line and Wilson could have not only a huge game passing but a good game rushing as well.
- Matt Ryan … He is being overlooked this week because of the value plays this week but Julio is always healthy and dominant early in the season and the Bears defense should remain fairly atrocious against the pass this season.
- Brian Hoyer … I think this is a high scoring game and although I like the 49ers ground game, Hoyer should connect for a couple deep balls to Goodwin.
Jared Goff … The Rams are my NFC Cindarella team this year. I think they were severely hampered by coaching and made some great offseason hires with Sean McVay who is an up and coming offensive darling, Matt LaFluer (Matt Ryan’s QB coach and an offspring of Kyle Shannahan) and Wade Phillips on defense. Goff, Gurley and Watkins will be in my Billionaire perfect lineup this week.
DeShone Kizer … He did well against third string competition in the pre-season and by well I mean he threw a couple deep bombs and boosted his stats. He wasn’t dominant in college against mostly mediocre opponents and the Browns best chance in this game is to slow the game down and run it 50 times. He has a very low ceiling in my view.
Ben Roethlisberger … The narrative about Ben on the road is simple, he stinks there.
- Le’Veon Bell … He’ll be up here pretty much every week that I am playing him and I prefer him over David Johnson this week because the Lions slow the game down more than anyone else. Last year the Lions ranked 27th for offensive pace and in turn that led to lower scoring games and the other team having limited opportunities. For that reason and because I think some fools will fade LevBell because he sat out pre-season, I am not building any lineups without LeVeon this week.
- David Johnson … See above on why he is lower than Lev and I’m fine fading him (dont fade both) because of other options. You can definitely fit both LB and DJ into lineups, especially on FanDuel.
- DeMarco Murray … When push comes to shove, I love Running Backs who are A) at home and B) Favored and C) Get 15+ carries … Those three things together always lock in fantastic floors for me and Murray is a fantastic pivot off LeSean McCoy’s chalk this week.
- Todd Gurley … Gurley checks all the same boxes at Murray and has the added bonus of his team wanting to get him involved more. As I mentioned above, I love the Rams this week.
- Carlos Hyde … I really love Hyde this year and I like him this week because of a nugget that nobody has pointed out. Kyle Shannahan DOMINATED the Panthers last year as OC in Atlanta. He knows how to attack Luke Kuechly and that defense with his running backs and Hyde is going to be a huge part of that. Hyde will benefit the most in this offense and the only concern is will he get vultured at the goal line. He is extremely discounted on DraftKings and will be a popular play there but someone who I want to get plenty of this week.
Christian McCaffery … My favorite rookie RB this year (even though I hate the team he is on and his QB) starting his career near where he went to college? Oh, and Navarro Bowman might still not be 100%? All the McCaffery this week who will make Kareem Hunt look like garbage this year.
LeSean McCoy … I think the Jets win. Yep. This is their win. Goodbye to all those Buffalo Bills survivor picks.
Zeke … I hate the matchup, not to mention all the other noise.
- Larry Fitzgerald … He is everyone’s darling this week and for a few really good reasons. First off, we don’t have to worry about him being worn down with the start of the season, both he and Palmer should come into this game fresh and ready to go. My only caution is that I’m not high on Palmer that much and with football players age instantly and it’s unexpected. So while I think Palmer is going to have a terrible season, we can’t ignore that Fitz should get 8+ catches and is a near must play on DK this week. Second, the Lions will likely have Quandre Diggs on him and Fitz dominates smaller DB’s thorughout his career due to his huge frame. Fitz is a future hall of famer who should produce well this week.
- Doug Baldwin … Baldwin has done well versus the Packers and lets not forget how much everyone stacked against Green Bay last year with WR’s. I think the Seahawks will have to throw and Baldwin is my combo pairing with RW this week.. He scores.
- Antonio Brown … PPR machine.
- Julio Jones … Same line as Matt Ryan above, I think he’s going under the radar this week.
- AJ Green … AJ Green narrative is that he is better on the road than at home. However, the Ravens pass D is expected to be below average and Green has torched them for 90+ yards a game and 6 TD in 8 career meetings. He did not face them last year.
- Golden Tate … If the Lions to play up in pace then Tate is the guy I would want to get.
Marquise Goodwin … Kid is lightning fast and the Panthers defense has long been torched with zone running games (ahem, Hyde) and guys who can beat you with speed over the top (see Brandin Cooks w/ Saints). Goodwin is faster than Taylor Gabriel and Brandin Cooks and Hoyer has been touted for his deep throws on PA plays in camp.
Torrey Smith … Everyone is jocking Tyrell Pryor, Smith will outscore him.
Terrelle Pryor … The Redskins offense was really bad in the pre-season and the Eagles have tried to revamp their secondary. I’d prefer to have little Pryor this week
Kendall Wright … This guy again? No thanks. Falcons CB’s are good.
- Zach Ertz … When all else failed last year it seemed that Wentz would find his man Ertz. He had four games last year with double digit targets and two games with double digit receptions. One of which game against the REdskins who he torched for 10-112-0. He doesn’t score the TD’s for the Eagles but a Tight End who should get 7 catches and 80 yards in his sleep is a lock on DK. Expect him to be 50% chalk.
- Charles Clay … There’s little value in paying up for TE this week, so Clay is another cheaper option on both sites to consider. Since I am fading McCoy, Clay is my pivot off him as Buffalo will score through the air on the Jets.
- Evan Engram … Was a stud in College DFS and now he should be a big part of the Giants offense this year. Nice late night hammer who I think scores a touchdown but is far riskier play than Ertz.
- Delanie Walker … Mariotta loved throwing to him last year, but I expect we see a downgrade this year. Rookie QB’s usually rely on TE early and then less in year two.
Yeah, I write up kickers, and I have decent success with it. The scoring is stupid, but kickers matter on FanDuel big time… I am in the minority in that I do not mind spending up for kickers because I look at them the same as catchers in baseball. If there’s a guy in a good spot who has a solid skill set then I’ll pay for their production. I also lock in Kicker and Defense first based on what I feel to be the best options to give me a solid floor knowing I have more choices at the skill positions….
- Caleb Sturgis – This aligns with my game flow theory for this game this week and Sturgis was pretty consistent all last year.
- Matt Bryant – Second best DFS kicker in the game (behind Tucker)
- Graham Gano – I project a sneaky high scoring game here.
There are basically three defenses this week to consider and the first two are light years ahead of the others.
- Houston – They’re at home playing with a little narrative after Hurricane Harvey and this being the first football game at home since then. The region is still recovering and it’s not like they were displaced for a year, but there’s little reason to dislike a dominant Houston Texans defense at home against the Jacksonville offense being led by Captain Pick Six Blake Bortles and then we throw a region emotion narrative on top of it? How many sack/fumbles will JJ Watt have? Five?
- Buffalo – Commence streaming defenses against the NY Jets. I think the Bills are going to get you a good return this week but nothing special. Jets should play it very safe knowing they can’t air it out and we see a low scoring game but the Bills fail to generate alot of the defensive bonus points (INT, Sack, TD). They, and everyone who plays the Jets, will be chalk.
- LA Rams – No Luck for the Colts and quite frankly, no real offensive threats either. The Rams are my sleeper team in the NFC out of the gate and I think they’re going to streamroll the Colts and score a defensive TD. This is a much higher risk GPP play because of how solid options 1 and 2 are….
- Atlanta – I can definitely see Atlanta being the other defense to score a TD this week but I suspect they’re going to give up too many points to be trusted. Suggested MME ownership would be < 5-10%
FIVE BOLD PREDICTIONS
- The perfect lineup this week doesn’t feature LeVeon Bell or David Johnson
- The Jets Win 20-17
- Houston defense scores twice
- Carolina/San Fran is the highest scoring game of the day
- McCaffery has two 50+ yard touchdowns.