Ryan Tannehill, TEN at HOU ($7.0K DK | $8.2K FD | O/U: 56.0 | ExpOwn%: 4-6%)
I’ve already covered the amazing matchup for Ryan Tannehill inAdvanced Matchups. You’ll notice that with a couple of these large field GPP recommendations. Why am I going over players I’ve already analyzed? The entire purpose of this series is to reflect on the ownership percentage predictions that I do not have access to on Wednesday’s when I write up Advanced Matchups. All of the matchup analytics in the world will not do your tournament lineup much good if the entire field ends up on the same players.
To bring you up to speed, here’s the why: Tannehill ranks third among QBs the last two seasons with 0.55 FPs/dropback (FPDb) when opposed by Cover 1. On 29 percent of dropbacks over that stretch, Tannehill has compiled 33 percent of yardage (fifth-best), and 41 percent of his TDs (also fifth). Against Cover 3 over the same timeframe, he ranks fifth with 0.53 FPDb, fourth with a 24 percent boost to his YPA, and fourth with a 110.6 passer rating. Houston features a Cover 1 at the NFLs 11th-highest rate, and a Cover 3 at the ninth-highest.
Are we concerned with the Titans resting players? Not a chance. With Deshaun Watson declaring himself ready to go, the Texans’ offense will do everything in their power to prevent Tennessee from defeating them toward claiming their most direct path to the playoffs.
The Bottom Line: As long as we can trust in the ownership projections I’ve compiled from various sources -- which I do within two percent either way, only four-to-six percent of the field will be on Tannehill. That’s egregiously low for the caliber of QB Tannehill has become, facing a defense that we can consider as the perfect complement to his skillset.
Tua Tagovailoa, MIA at BUF ($5.1K DK | $6.5K FD | O/U: 42.5 | ExpOwn%: >1-2%)
So many arguments could be made to why Ryan Fitzpatrick should’ve been starting over Tua Tagovailoa prior to Fitzmagic testing positive. After 16 seasons and passing for nearly 35,000 yards in the NFL, expecting a rookie with eight games of experience to outplay a seasoned vet with loads of recent seasons of success is rather unfair. However, unless we learn otherwise, it was HC Brian Flores himself that named Tagovailoa his this week starter prior to that positive test.
Flores has been a godsend for Miami. His roster maneuvering has resulted in taking a team with only a single example of a winning record over its last 11 seasons to a 10-5 record. In the 10 seasons prior to his arrival, the Phins had a winning percentage of 45 percent. I don’t think I’m being too forgiving by tossing Flores’ first seven games in charge to the side, all defeats. Since then, he’s led his team to a 63 percent winning percentage. The point I am attempting to make is, judging by those remarkable results, if Flores trusts in Tua, then it’s for extremely good reasons.
With 10 wins, the Dolphins have a great chance of making the playoffs. They can earn a playoff spot if either Pittsburgh, Jacksonville, or Cincinnati win. Do we expect any of those teams to win? Not if we judge that decision based on the Vegas lines. So, they simply must beat Buffalo to remove any doubt. Jumping to the DFS potential of Tagovailoa, at $5.1K/$6.5K, we want at least 15.3/17.0 FPs in return before we can consider anything provided toward an ROI. Should the Bills rest their starters, the path above that plateau could be swept clean:
It appears the Buffalo HC will play coy with his decision. Either way, Miami is likely to face a nearly identical defense. The Bills have allowed opposing QBs to average 18.5 FPG this season (15th-most). That includes the third-most on the ground (4.79). Nobody can question Flores’ decision to replace Tua last week. They won. They did not collect a win when he was benched in Week 11. But we will need to remove those incomplete results before we can put together a true upside evaluation. Over the previous five games that he’s started and finished, Tagovailoa has averaged 20.6 FPG, and 22.3 over the last three.
The Bottom Line: Unless Flores plans on benching Tua in favor of Jake Rudock -- I shutter at the thought, an investment will net us a full game of reps. Taking a few shots on Tagovailoa under these circumstances priced as the QB31/QB26 with a solid sample size of success makes a lot of sense with his anticipated ownership at under two percent.
Tom Brady, TB vs. ATL ($7.2K DK | $8.4K FD | O/U: 50.0 | ExpOwn%: 3-5%)
Drew Brees, NO at CAR ($5.9K DK | $7.4K FD | O/U: 47.5 | ExpOwn%: >1%)
C.J. Beathard, SF vs. SEA ($5.2K DK | $6.6K FD | O/U: 46.0 | ExpOwn%: >1%)
Mason Rudolph, PIT at CLE ($4.3K DK | $6.5K FD | O/U: 42.5 | ExpOwn%: >1%)
David Johnson, HOU vs. TEN ($6.8K DK | $7.3K FD | O/U: 56.0 | ExpOwn%: 4-6%)
If you were like me for much of the season, the very idea of exposure to David Johnson after the way he played in Arizona last season was not even considered. Even now, he will come nowhere close to my Cash/SE lineups. Be that as it may, GPPs are an entirely different animal. Thinking outside of the box is a must. Risk is welcomed. By averaging 29.6 FPs over his last two games, Johnson’s salaries are on the rise. I can somewhat understand the hesitation in exposure priced around a few others with better track records. But I must give serious consideration to Johnson with only four-to-six percent of the field doing the same.
First of all, Johnson didn’t put those numbers up facing the Jaguars’ and Lions’ defenses. He did it facing the run defense of the Bengals -- which has greatly improved in the second half of the season -- and a Colts unit that has been excellent in that regard all year. Johnson will face the Titans in Week 17, a defense that has surrendered the seventh-most FPG to opposing backfields overall (26.0), dropping to sixth-most over the last four (28.1), and the last two (31.6). During those last four games, they’re sanctioning the seventh-most red zone touches to RBs at 6.25/game, and fourth-most goal-to-go attempts at 3.25/game. Yummy.
The Bottom Line: Feel free to fade, but my convictions will not allow me to overlook this opportunity.
Zack Moss, BUF vs. MIA ($4.6K DK | $5.4K FD | O/U: 42.5 | ExpOwn%: >1%)
While I cannot provide the type of compelling evidence that I would normally require in advance, I have allowed myself to select one tout each week in this series based on intuition. With that knowledge, you have been cautioned. It’s very possible that HC Sean McDermott will not pass along word regarding his plans on resting starters. One of the reasons might be this:
If he is, in fact, planning on allowing Josh Allen to collect that 40 yards for the record before resting his starters … we could have ourselves an opportunity. If the Bills are going to make a serious run at the Super Bowl, they’ll need their ground game -- not just what Allen is able to procure -- firing on all cylinders. Miami’s run defense is far from weak, but it will present McDermott with a perfect opportunity to test his rookie RB against a playoff-level defense.
The Bottom Line: Should his HC allot him additional volume, Zack Moss could give us something of substance. Over his last three games, Moss is averaging 12.7 attempts for 47.3 YPG. When Moss played at the University of Utah, he had a tendency of getting better and better with each carry. An additional eight carries or so could aid him in replicating that propensity. The Dolphins are empowering the 16th-most rushing YPG (118.9), 11th-highest YPC (4.6), and offering the perfect pre-playoff test for their top-10 run-blocking O-line.
Wayne Gallman Jr., NYG vs. JAX ($5.3K DK | $5.7K FD | O/U: 44.5 | ExpOwn%: >1%)
Darrell Williams, KC vs. LAC ($4.8K DK | $5.8K FD | O/U: 43.5 | ExpOwn%: >1%)
Kareem Hunt, CLE vs. PIT ($5.9K DK | $6.4K FD | O/U: 42.5 | ExpOwn%: 2-4%)
D’Andre Swift, DET vs. MIN ($6.3K DK | $7.5K FD | O/U: 53.5 | ExpOwn%: 3-5%)
Darwin Thompson, KC vs. LAC ($4.4K DK | $4.5K FD | O/U: 43.5 | ExpOwn%: >1%)
Mike Boone, MIN at DET ($4.0K DK | $4.6K FD | O/U: 53.5 | ExpOwn%: >1%)
Adam Thielen, MIN at DET ($7.4K DK | $7.9K FD | O/U: 53.5 | ExpOwn%: 6-8%)
While I haven’t discussed Adam Thielen’s matchup, Ihave for Kirk Cousins, and Justin Jefferson. If you aren’t interested in following that link, just trust me when I say that a date with the Lions could provide us with significant exposure dividends. Until I hear something from the Minnesota side suggesting they’ll rest their playmakers in what amounts to a meaningless game, I’m moving forward as though everyone active on Sunday will be playing a full game. Detroit didn’t exactly state that Matthew Stafford will definitely play, he has been practicing on a limited basis, but we should all know by now that he’ll play if he is able.
Over the last two seasons, Thielen ranks third with 0.84 FPs/route when facing Cover 1 schemes. Against that scheme over that time, he’s collected 31 percent of receptions, 37 percent of yardage, and 53 percent of all TDs. Did I forget to mention that was all collected on only 23 percent of his routes? The Lions have played Cover 1 at the second-highest rate this season (42 percent). They are also obliging the third-most passing YPG (278.3), the highest YPA (8.1), and second-highest rate of 20-plus completions (17 percent).
The Bottom Line: This is a cut-and-dry decision. If the Vikings intend to play the game with Cousins, Jefferson, and Thielen, we must have exposure. Since the field is likely to be on both Cousins (top-five QB ownership) and Jefferson (top-three), we can add Thielen knowing he’s only expected to be rostered in less than half as many lineups as his running mate.
Robert Woods, LAR vs. ARI ($6.3K DK | $6.8K FD | O/U: 38.5 | ExpOwn%: 8-10%)
Each of Jared Goff, Cooper Kupp, and Darell Henderson Jr. have been ruled out. The Rams will be led by former XFL QB John Wolford. Should he struggle, the reins could be passed to Blake Bortles. This is a must-win game for Los Angeles. The scenarios can become complicated but, essentially, if they win, they’re in. They can still lose, but would need the Bears to lose to still get in. With what I believe is the top overall defense, this team will be a serious contender if they can get past this game to allow for Goff, Kupp, and, if he misses this game, Cam Akers returning for the playoffs.
Do I trust Wolford or Bortles? Hell no! Do I trust HC Sean McVay and OC Kevin O'Connell enough to design plays to put the ball into the hands of Robert Woods? Absolutely, yes. As you can read in the graphic above, we don’t need either QB to target Woods downfield. We just need them to dump it off.
The Bottom Line: Look, Kupp has averaged 8.3 targets this season. That’s a lot of volume for the taking. A total of 18 WRs are averaging 100-or-more air yards/game this season. Woods and Kupp have averaged a combined 107 air yards/game. That number would tie them for ninth-most with Chase Claypool. What is that telling us? It means the difficulty curve toward feeding Woods with a big game is very low. That’s precisely why I am perplexed by Woods’ expected ownership to only be 10 percent-or-less when he should be at the top.
D.J. Moore, CAR vs. NO ($5.7K DK | $6.9K FD | O/U: 47.5 | ExpOwn%: 2-5%)
Earlier in the week, I was on the fence about targeting any of Carolina’s WRs. None of that hesitation surrounded their abilities. What had me concerned was the Saints’ utilization of defensive pass interference, holds, and illegal contacts to prevent deep receptions at more than double the league average. That all changed when I happened to check D.J. Moore’s history when facing New Orleans. In four career games against N’Orleans, Moore is averaging a receiving line of 4/78/1, and 18.3 FPG.
That average includes Week 7 when Moore took the Saints for his season-high of 25.3 FPs. Four receiving TDs may not seem like much but, when it happens to be 40 percent of your career total, that perspective must be altered. Moore simply owns his interdivisional rival. We will not need the Panthers to defeat the Saints for Moore to produce. In actuality, I am expecting that New Orleans will cover the six-point spread, in excess.
The Bottom Line: Without either Christian McCaffrey or Mike Davis, the Panthers will count on former practice squad RBs opposed by the top run defense in the NFL this Sunday. Unfortunately for Carolina, it will allow New Orleans the luxury of dropping into their Cover 4 zone at an increased rate. That’ll be terrible for Teddy Bridgewater’s numbers. But we also don’t need Bridgewater to have a big game for Moore to produce. If Moore can get that one TD he’s averaged, his 2.05 yards/route (YPRR) against Cover 4 that ranks 11th-best the last two seasons will do the rest of the work for us.
Mike Evans, TB vs. ATL ($7.5K DK | $8.1K FD | O/U: 50.0 | ExpOwn%: 4-6%)
Mecole Hardman, KC vs. LAC ($4.2K DK | $5.3K FD | O/U: 43.5 | ExpOwn%: >1-2%)
Zach Pascal, IND vs. JAX ($4.2K DK | $5.4K FD | O/U: 49.5 | ExpOwn%: 2-4%)
Breshad Perriman, NYJ at NE ($3.2K DK | $5.2K FD | O/U: 40.0 | ExpOwn%: 1-3%)
CeeDee Lamb, DAL at NYG ($5.2K DK | $6.1K FD | O/U: 44.5 | ExpOwn%: >1%)
Tyron Johnson, LAC at KC ($4.0K DK | $5.4K FD | O/U: 43.5 | ExpOwn%: >1%)
Marquez Callaway, NO at CAR ($3.2K DK | $5.0K FD | O/U: 47.5 | ExpOwn%: >1%)
Jalen Guyon, LAC at KC ($3.4K DK | $5.3K FD | O/U: 43.5 | ExpOwn%: 1-3%)
Mike Gesicki, MIA at BUF ($4.2K DK | $5.9K FD | O/U: 42.5 | ExpOwn%: 1-3%)
Whether you plan to have Tua Tagovailoa exposure or not, Mike Gesicki has established himself as the go-to receiving option for the rookie QB. Whether the Bills rest their starters -- which would be awesome for Gesicki’s upside if it extends to the defensive side -- or not, Buffalo is licensing the seventh-most FPG to opposing TEs (14.6) when at full strength.
The Bottom Line: Over his last three games played, Gesicki is averaging 18.9 FPG. Don’t forget that Gesicki’s best game this season came in Week 2 facing … oh yeah! … Buffalo when he threw down 8/130/1 for 30 FPs. The price is also just right, my friends. With an expected ownership of under three percent, the timing and opportunity couldn’t be better.
Robert Tonyan, GB at CHI ($5.0K DK | $6.3K FD | O/U: 50.5 | ExpOwn%: >1%)
After averaging 4.5 targets over his previous six games, Robert Tonyan took a distant backseat to Davante Adams -- color me shocked, and an efficient ground game under the falling snow last week. That down game actually presents us with the perfect opportunity for Tonyan exposure. His salary still went up a few hundred, but his ownership numbers are expected to fall to under one percent. With LT David Bakhtiari placed on IR with a torn ACL, the Packers have lost one of the top-three run-blocking tackles in the game.
The Bottom Line: The loss of Bakhtiari should not be understated. His pass protection was also elite, but Aaron Rodgers is one of the most difficult QBs to sack thanks to his ability to read the blitz. Anything that will force the Pack to pass more is great for Tonyan’s receiving upside. Oh yeah, should probably mention that the Bears are graciously favoring the fourth-most FPG to opposing TEs this season (15.4).
Rob Gronkowski, TB vs. ATL ($4.5K DK | $6.1K FD | O/U: 50.0 | ExpOwn%: >1%)
Adam Trautman, NO at CAR ($2.5K DK | $4.2K FD | O/U: 47.5 | ExpOwn%: >1%)
Vance McDonald, PIT at CLE ($2.5K DK | $4.2K FD | O/U: 42.5 | ExpOwn%: >1%)
Nick Keizer, KC vs. LAC ($3.2K DK | $4.5K FD | O/U: 43.5 | ExpOwn%: >1%)
Devin Asiasi, NE vs. NYJ ($2.5K DK | $4.0K FD | O/U: 40.0 | ExpOwn%: >1%)
Minnesota Vikings, MIN at DET ($2.6K DK | $3.7K FD | O/U: 53.5 | ExpOwn%: 1-3%)
Los Angeles Rams, LAR vs. ARI ($3.3K DK | $4.7K FD | O/U: 38.5 | ExpOwn%: 2-4%)
Denver Broncos, DEN vs. LV ($2.4K DK | $3.6K FD | O/U: 51.0 | ExpOwn%: >1%)
GPP Passing Game Stacks
Pay particular attention to the labels between each receiving option. Here are the guidelines:
Plus (+) = Optimal receiving stack
Plus/Minus (+/-) = Triple stack option
Plus/or (+/or) = More than one optimal receiving stack and worthy triple stack option
Or = More than one worthy secondary option in a triple stack
The combined salary listings are calculated triple stacks consisting of the QB plus the first two receiving options.
Kirk Cousins + Justin Jefferson +/or Adam Thielen
Minnesota Vikings 11 | 12 Personnel at Detroit Lions’ Cover 1 | 2
Run-Back Option/s: Marvin Jones Jr., D’Andre Swift
Line: -6.5 | O/U: 53.5 | Implied: 30.0 | Combined Salary: $21.3K DK | $23.6K FD
Tom Brady + Mike Evans +/- Chris Godwin or Antonio Brown or Rob Gronkowski
Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ 11 | 12 Personnel vs. Atlanta Falcons’ Cover 1 | 2 | 3
Run-Back Option/s: Calvin Ridley, Russell Gage
Line: -7.0 | O/U: 50.0 | Implied: 28.5 | Combined Salary: $21.3K DK | $23.9K FD
Drew Brees + Alvin Kamara +/- Emmanuel Sanders or Marquez Callaway or Adam Trautman
New Orleans Saints’ 11 | 12 | 21 Personnel at Carolina Panthers' Cover 3
Run-Back Option/s: D.J. Moore, Curtis Samuel
Line: -6.5 | O/U: 47.5 | Implied: 27.0 | Combined Salary: $20.9K DK | $23.0K FD
Ryan Tannehill + A.J. Brown +/- Corey Davis
Tennessee Titans’ 11 | 12 Personnel at Houston Texans’ Cover 1 | 3
Run-Back Option/s: Brandin Cooks, David Johnson
Line: -7.5 | O/U: 56.0 | Implied: 31.75 | Combined Salary: $20.4K DK | $23.8K FD
Optimal RB + DST Stacks (All Contest Types)
Alexander Mattison + Minnesota Vikings DST at Detroit Lions
Line: -6.5 | O/U: 53.5 | Implied for Opponent: 23.5 | Combined Salary: $8.7K DK | $8.7K FD
Derrick Henry + Tennessee Titans DST at Houston Texans
Line: -7.5 | O/U: 56.0 | Implied for Opponent: 24.25 | Combined Salary: $11.6K DK | $14.0K FD
Alvin Kamara + New Orleans Saints DST at Carolina Panthers
Line: -6.5 | O/U: 47.5 | Implied for Opponent: 20.5 | Combined Salary: $12.9K DK | $14.0K FD
Myles Gaskins + Miami Dolphins DST at Buffalo Bills
Line: +3.5 | O/U: 42.5 | Implied for Opponent: 23.0 | Combined Salary: $9.4K DK | $11.0K FD