As I fully expected, Week 8 wasn’t great for DFS, and I really don’t have much in terms of my lessons learned. If I did, the lesson would be “don’t play DFS,” but that’s not exactly encouraging or constructive.
At QB, I do have a lesson: I simply need to put Russell Wilson in this article every week. He’s usually a little volatile, but not this year. I’m already putting Kyler Murray in the article pretty much every week, and lately it's been Justin Herbert appearing weekly, so I might as well go with Wilson as well. Just about every other QB is subjected to some week-to-week variance, most of them a lot of it, so DFS players can probably save themselves a lot of QB headaches if they just use one of those guys. Also in the running for weekly inclusion is Deshaun Watson, and lately Joe Burrow.
So maybe we just roll with one of those guys every week. It makes sense to pay up for a QB, actually, since RBs have been very hit-or-miss and since there are fewer slam-dunk studs at WR worth paying for these days, and myriad values at those two positions with also great depth.
But, as usual, I try to find the guys who will pop for the week and come through above and beyond the obvious, and the results, while usually solid overall, are usually mixed.
I was underwhelmed with Aaron Rodgers, but 291/3 is obviously pretty good and he sits as the QB3 for the week pending MNF. Rodgers would have done more if they, you know, had some good receivers other than Davante Adams. I did like Jimmy Garappolo, who I thought was safe to start after two solid showings in his previous two games, but there’s been something up with Jimmy G, and it came to a head this week. He tweaked his ankle early in the game and was affected by it, and then Garappollo limped off the field early in the fourth quarter after going 11-for -16 for 84 yards and 1 INT. Of course, the 49ers threw for 322/2 in the game, so I can’t be too upset with myself for listing Jimmy G.
I listed Derek Carr with a special heading about the weather, which I shouldn’t have done because I was too busy and scattered Sunday to remove him, so hopefully no one used him and actually read the paragraph about how I don’t trust Carr in bad weather (and I still don’t).
I took a chance on Lamar Jackson, and it didn’t go well. He did have a 20-yard TD run taken off the board, but even with that he would have still finished as either QB12 or QB13 for the week, which is not great. The real crusher was his turnovers, since he actually did throw for more than 200 yards for the first time since Week 2 and he had his third-most rushing yards of the season and tied for his highest carry total of the season. So he was 208/2 passing with 16 rushing attempts and 65 yards, so I was at least on the right track. Justin Herbert was included again, as well, and despite 2 INTs, he came through again.
The buzz kill of the week was Carson Wentz, who continues to be all over the map. It’s nice that he’s doing whatever it takes to win, and he’s mostly been good for fantasy because he’s running a lot. But he’s been playing with fire, and this week he and I got burned. That said, he should still be good for 20+ points most weeks. The one small lesson learned with Wentz in Week 8 is that the Cowboys defense isn’t really as bad as people have portrayed them to be, at least in terms of their pass defense (they may still stink against the run).
At RB, it’s almost a weekly tradition for this column that I oversell Jonathan Taylor. The Colts indicated after the game that it was not their plan to feature Jordan Wilkins. Oh yeah? Then why the F did he get a touch on your second play of the game? I’m seeing people on the interwebs compare Taylor’s rookie season to the horrible late-career version of Trent Richardson, which is absolutely absurd. Taylor may be missing some holes that I’m not picking up on, but I didn’t notice him being slowed by this ankle injury last week, and I still think he’s run hard and has moved well. From what I’ve seen, the Colts simply don’t block it up well for Taylor, and they don’t commit to him, which is probably the bigger problem. Well, that’s it; I’m done hanging my hopes on Taylor because the Colts coaches are clearly clueless. It’s not like Frank Reich was this rising star guy like 10 years ago or even five years ago; he got lucky with the Eagles, and for that matter so did Doug Pederson. Neither are nearly as good as they were viewed after winning the Super Bowl. They did some good things, but Nick Foles and a veteran team with great leadership and a strong defense made that championship happen. By the way, Colts RBs not named Nyheim Hines ran for 111/1, and that should have been Taylor’s production, or at least 80-90 rushing and the TD.
The bad luck continued as Kareen Hunt in a bad weather game, owning the backfield with a good matchup, could muster only 16 touches and 9 FP because the Browns simply didn’t possess the ball (22 minutes vs. 38 for the Raiders). Nothing I can do about that. Jamaal Williams didn’t score, but listing him was not a mistake, since he got 24 opportunities and he is sitting as the RB8 for the week right now. Alvin Kamara didn’t score, either, but he got 23 opportunities and is the RB3 right now.
This week, I added a new section for bargain basement guys, and I went 2-for-3 with DeeJay Dallas, Zack Moss, and La’Mical Perine. I thought maybe Perine will continue to get opportunities with OC Dowell Loggains taking over the play-calling Week 7 and playing Perine 70% of the snaps. But that’s what I get for backing a coaching staff with Adam Gase running the show. Hey guys, you’re dead at 0-7, so you better feature a 37-year old man in your backfield! I should have also known about Loggains because he looks like a plumber (no offense to plumbers, who I count on when stuff needs to get plumbed).
But Dallas is the RB4 for the week so far, and Moss is the RB8, so I will continue to take some shots on some low-end guys.
At WR, I guessed wrong on Justin Jefferson, as the Packers opted to get top corner Jaire Alexander on the rookie a lot, which is saying something because the marked man here is usually Adam Thielen. Of course, it was a moot point, since they threw the ball 14 freaking times. Supposedly, Dalvin Cook was going to be at least a little limited snap-wise coming back from his injury, but that’s the danger with Vikings WRs when Cook is playing: Captain Caveman Mike Zimmer would love it if Kirk Cousins throws for 96 yards as long as they win.
Otherwise, WR wasn’t too bad, with Brandon Aiyuk (WR6 for the week right now) coming up big, and Cooper Kupp (WR8) having an active game, as I expected. I didn’t expect them to throw it 60 damn times, of course. I took a shot with Jarvis Landry, which was a decent call, since he dominated the targets with 11 (rest of the team had 14) and he had a TD called back. I also profiled Davante Adams (WR2 for the week).
In the new section for bargain basement guys, I went 3-for-3, so maybe this will be my new thing recommending dirt cheap options because I went 5-for-6 on my picks at RB/WR.
Kendrick Bourne delivered 16 points at 4k on DK, KJ Hamler wasn’t great, but he did score a TD and was over 10 points at $3600, and Hunter Renfrow also scored and delivered 12.6 points at $3600 on DK. These guys are low-priced for a reason, but they don’t have to do much to come through, so I’ll try to pick and choose more of them going forward.
At TE, I loved Jonnu Smith and it just didn’t work out. He wasn’t on the injury report and had a great matchup in what looked like a higher-scoring game (which it was). Ryan Tannehill targeted 10 different receivers, and it turned out to be a big Corey Davis game… and Tony Firkser needs to get his.
I picked the wrong stud TE to back, but I did get the TE2 for the week isolated in Jared Cook, so that’s nice. But I also tried out Jimmy Graham with poor results. He had a good matchup and 7 targets, but there was no revenge in the game for him.
I also did strike out with my bargain basement TE, Harrison Bryant; but in my defense, they didn’t possess the ball, and he was their second-leading receiver.
Which brings us to George Kittle. Kittle is ridiculous at this point, and not in a good way. George, we get it; you’re tough. How about a little self-preservation, though? You know, live to fight another day because, as you must realize, you can’t make the club in the tub. Kittle is a catastrophe, and he’s probably going to be a tragic fantasy story more often than not the rest of his career. Holding grudges is generally dumb, but when the source of your bone of contention with a player is real, it’s not a grudge. So I don’t plan on backing Kittle anymore. I’m out. I will miss out on 3-4 huge games these next couple of years, but I’ll also be avoiding pain, heartbreak, multiple in-game injuries, hours upon hours reading injury and practice updates, and games missed. For season-long leagues, I’m adopting “The Kittle Rule,” which states that George Kittle can only be drafted if he slips 25 picks or more past his ADP. Beyond that, I may still pass on him for spite.
In closing, screw you, Week 8.