Three DFS players I'm investing heavily in for tournament (GPP) play this week. ... And one I'm not.
T.Y. Hilton, WR, Indianapolis Colts
A few things we have to look for this week, in addition to price and matchup, is whether a player is likely to get in a full game. While the Colts don't have anything on the line but pride, they also don't have an incentive to rest their front-line players. So Hilton checks that box. He also checks the other two. Matchup? Hilton's history against the Texans is strong. In 11 career games against Houston, Hilton has caught 60 passes for 1,117 yards and nine touchdowns. He has recorded five 100-yard receiving games against the Texans, including his last two meetings (9-115, 5-175). Hilton has caught three TDs in his last two games in the series, including a 175-yard, two-touchdown effort earlier this season. And while he's been among the biggest boom-bust players of 2017 (for multiple reasons, not the least of which is the absence of Andrew Luck all year), his tendency to go boom against the Texans will certainly be aided in this go-round by Houston's injury-riddled defense, a unit that doesn't have much of a pass rush outside of linebacker Jadeveon Clowney. Adding to my intrigue, Hilton was targeted 12 times against Baltimore last Saturday. As for the final box, Hilton's price ($5900 on DraftKings; $6700 on FanDuel) is appealing enough given the history and matchup. On FanDuel, you could argue he's a bargain.
Antonio Gates, TE, Los Angeles Chargers
Head coach Anthony Lynn said that the team isn’t going to be putting updated scores from the Bills, Titans or Ravens on the scoreboard during their game against the Raiders Sunday. Thanks to their 0-4 start, the Chargers need a win, a Titans loss and either a Ravens win or a Bills loss if they’re going to advance to the postseason. But we know what's the most important. “We need to go out here and get a win,” Lynn said. “All of the playoff scenarios really don’t matter if we don’t take care of our business.” So Gates checks that first box I mentioned above. That said, the price ($4200 on DraftKings; $6700 on FanDuel) might be a little higher than I'd like, but there are 11 more expensive players at his position on both sites, some of whom don't check that first box while others are dealing with injuries. So the money works. As for the matchup? As NFL.com's Matt Franciscovich pointed out, the Raider have allowed more receiving yards, 992, to tight ends than any other team this year and is tied for the most receptions allowed, 86, to the position. They're also tied for fourth-most fantasy points allowed per game to tight ends (14), although they've been a little better at limiting touchdowns (allowing just five all year). But Oakland has allowed a league-high 18.6 fantasy points to opposing tight ends over the past four weeks, so I'll take my chances with a veteran who has scored touchdowns in two straight games. With Hunter Henry placed on IR last week, Gates led the Chargers in receptions and receiving yards against the Jets, hauling in six passes for 81 yards. Oh, by the way, Gates has a solid history against Oakland. And extensive. In 28 career games vs. the Raiders, Gates has 104 catches for 1,341 yards and 13 touchdowns. It’s the second-most receptions, yards and touchdown catches against any single opponent (behind the Chiefs) in his career.
Kenyan Drake, RB, Miami Dolphins
The Dolphins were eliminated from the playoff race last week and will play for pride Sunday in the season finale against Buffalo. Which means, like the Colts, there's no need to preserve their starters for a post-season run. Coming off a lackluster effort in Kansas City, I'm hoping some players are put off by Drake's price ($7200 on DraftKings; $7000 on FanDuel). Looking past his final totals, ESPN's Matthew Berry noted Miami trailed for 82 percent of the time and had to drop back to pass on an NFL-high 71.7 percent of plays against the Chiefs, explaining his 13 touches. Berry added, however, even including his slow day in Kansas City, there is still only one running back with more rushing yards that is averaging more yards per carry than Drake over the past four weeks, and that's Todd Gurley. Two weeks ago, Drake racked up 113 yards from scrimmage against Buffalo, which allowed Drake runs of 31 and 19 yards in the first quarter but nothing much afterward. Still, the Bills rank 30th against the run and I'm expecting a more favorable game script in this one than we saw last week.
Mike Evans, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Evans has 66 receptions for 946 yards this season and he needs 54 yards to join A.J. Green and Randy Moss as the only NFL receivers to begin their pro career with 1,000-plus yards receiving in four consecutive seasons. His quarterback, Jameis Winston, who may be as healthy as he’s been all season, is coming off two of the most-accurate passing games of career. He completed 77.8 percent of throws for 367 yards, a TD and no interceptions last week, although he did lose three fumbles. With Winston playing well, Evans finally had his first 100-yard receiving game of 2017 last week, but as ESPN.com's Scott Kacsmar pointed out, the Saints have had some great success at slowing Evans down in his career. Evans had a season low in catches (one) and yards (13) in the last meeting against the Saints thanks to rookie cornerback Marshon Lattimore, who has five interceptions and has been frequently matched against opponents' top receivers. Lattimore was blind-sided by Evans in the first meeting this season and the Bucs receiver was suspended one game for it. Overall, Evans has averaged only 40.8 yards per game against the Saints in six career matchups. This is the best New Orleans defense he has faced in that time, too, and the Saints are playing to clinch the NFC South. I'll admit, the price isn't onerous ($7200 on DraftKings; $6700 on FanDuel), but there are players at other price ranges I like better (with Keenan Allen above him and Hilton and Jamison Crowder below him just a few I'd prefer this week).