DFS Three And Out 2018 Week 19
Three DFS players I'm investing heavily in for tournament (GPP) play this week. ... And one I'm not.
Ezekiel Elliott ($8,200 on DraftKings; $8,700 on FanDuel)
Elliott, who did not play in the regular-season finale against the New York Giants to rest up for the playoffs, had 26 carries for 137 yards and a score in last week's win over Seattle. The Cowboys will need a similar effort if they're going to break their playoff win drought. So here's the good news: The Rams are dead last in the NFL in yards per carry allowed. They surrendered a league-worst 5.1 yards per rush this season, including 3.1 yards before contact, which ranks as second-worst in the league, according to ESPN Stats and Information. The Rams also gave up the second-highest total QBR (72) on passes to running backs during the season. That matters more considering the Cowboys finally woke up this year and started sending a lot more targets Elliott's way; he responded by hauling in 77 receptions this season. Still, Dallas' run-first approach obviously plays into Elliott's wheelhouse. The Cowboys own a record of 16-3 when the running back reaches 100 or more yards on the ground. As the focal point of Dallas’ offense, Elliott has tallied at least 20 touches in nine consecutive games, the longest streak of his career, and he’s averaged nearly 30 touches over his last eight games. The Cowboys handed off to Elliott 20 times in eight games this season, including the wild-card game, and racked up a record of 7-1 in those outings. Given the level of team success achieved with Elliott getting a heavy workload Saturday night seems like a very reasonable expectation. Add in a favorable matchup, and the price doesn't seem exorbitant to me.
Marlon Mack, RB, Indianapolis Colts ($5,800 on DraftKings; $7,300 on FanDuel)
Last Saturday, Mack carried 24 times for a career-high 148 yards and one touchdown in Houston. He basically gauged the league’s No. 3 run defense en route to breaking Zack Crockett’s single-game franchise playoff rushing record (147), set in 1995. Remember, the Texans had allowed a league-low 3.4 yards per carry, a league-low three runs of 20 yards or longer and a league-low 19.7 percent first down rate. But it's not just Mack. As Profootballtalk.com's Michael David Smith pointed out, the Colts ability to so thoroughly dominate a good Texans front is indicative of just how impressive the turnaround has been on their offensive line, led by stellar rookie guard Quenton Nelson. The unit opened gaping holes for Mack all afternoon. And this week? Mack could again become the feature attraction against a defense that finished No. 27 against the run this season. The Chiefs allowed 5.0 yards per carry and gave up a first down on a league-worst 30.4 percent of rushing attempts. Adding to the fun, there are four running backs that will cost you more on DraftKings and five more expensive backs on FanDuel. Give me some of that please.
Ted Ginn, WR, New Orleans Saints ($4,400 on DraftKings; $4,500 on FanDuel)
Yes, I realize it was who lit up the Eagles in Week 11 (10 catches on 13 targets for 157 yards and a score), but he has six catches for 56 yards and one TD in five games since and Ginn's return from injured reserve changes things up. As Yahoo Sports reminded readers, Ginn returned from a 12-week layoff (due to a knee injury) in Week 16 and immediately made an impact, catching five of eight targets for 74 yards. This week, as FantasyPros' Mike Tagliere noted, Ginn is going to see a mixture of cornerbacks Rasul Douglas and Avonte Maddox for most of the game (though it'll be Maddox more often than Douglas). It was Maddox who allowed 154 yards and a touchdown on 11 targets in coverage against the Bears last week, though Allen Robinson is a much more well-rounded receiver than Ginn. I should also stress the veteran speedster has historically been a boom-or-bust play. But as Yahoo's Matt Lutovsky reminded readers, Ginn came up big in the postseason last year, posting lines of 4-115-1 (on six targets) and 8-72 (on 11 targets) and generally speaking, Drew Brees seems to have more confidence in Ginn than he does in Smith. Whatever the case, going up against a Philadelphia defense that allowed the sixth-most fantasy points per game to WRs during the regular season, the potential for sufficient boom is appealing to me. I wouldn't talk you out of Smith, but it seems like Ginn has already moved back ahead of him in the pecking order.
Todd Gurley, RB, Los Angeles Rams ($8,000 on DraftKings; $9,000 on FanDuel)
Gurley, bothered by an inflamed knee, missed the final two regular-season games mostly for precautionary reasons. But he will be a full go for this one. Health isn't my worry here. Neither is the presence of C.J. Anderson -- although Ventura County Star beat writer Joe Curley, appearing with the FootballDiehards on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio Wednesday night, expressed some concern about head coach Sean McVay suggesting earlier this week that he expected “a good balance” of Gurley and Anderson, who filled in capably during the starter's absence. My concern more is a tough matchup against a very good Dallas run defense that allowed just 3.8 yards per carry, which was the fifth-lowest in the NFL, according to ESPN Stats and Information. Dallas allowed a league-low 2.02 yards per rush before contact. The Seahawks led the NFL in rushing, yet averaged just 3.0 yards per rush against Dallas in their wild-card loss. As NFL.com's Kevin Patra noted, Gurley is at his best on the ground when he can get to the edge and plow over defenders. Gurley has gained 803 of his 1,251 rush yards after contact this season (6th-most in NFL), per Pro Football Focus -- 31 missed tackles on rushes this season is tied for 12th most in NFL. How much the knee injury might affect his power and cutting ability won't be known until Saturday. How much the Cowboys’ linebackers will be focusing on him when he's on the field, however, can be safely assumed. Based on all that, Patra suggests it will be interesting to see McVay's plan early in the contest. Will he try to pound away with Gurley or eschew the run game for a play-action heavy passing assault? The fact that's even a question -- coupled with Gurley's price -- has me dialing back. As always, I'm not saying Gurley can't succeed against the Cowboys; I'm just saying I don't want to pay up to find out the answer.