DFS Three And Out 2018 Week 15
Three DFS players I'm investing heavily in for tournament (GPP) play this week. ... And one I'm not.
Hey! I know! How about a tight end-only edition?
Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots ($5,800 on DraftKings; $6,900 on FanDuel)
Tom Brady said despite a crushing last-second loss to the Miami Dolphins last Sunday, there were several positives in the game. Perhaps none greater than Gronkowski. As ESPN.com's Mike Reiss reminded readers this week, Gronkowski had his most productive day of the season on the stat sheet, catching eight passes for 107 yards and one touchdown. He caught every pass thrown in his direction. Remarkably, Gronkowski's touchdown catch was his first scoring play in the red zone this season. Prior to that point, Brady had been 0-for-5 when targeting Gronkowski in the red zone. Gronkowski had 55 red-zone touchdowns from 2010 to 2017, tied with Jimmy Graham for most in the league over that span. Now we'll see if he can carry that over through the fantasy playoff stretch run. And the Steelers seem to offer a prime opportunity to build on the momentum. In six games against Pittsburgh, Gronkowski has averaged 110 yards. That's his best average against any AFC team. He has eight touchdowns. Only twice-a-year divisional foes Buffalo (12 in 14 games) and Miami (9 in 13 games) have allowed more Gronkowski scores. His 664 career yards against the Steelers are 219 more yards than any other team outside the AFC East has yielded to him. The Patriots hope that the Steelers cover Gronkowski with linebackers so they can hit Gronkowski for some big plays. I hope they do too (the only time the Steelers beat the Patriots since Gronkowski has been in the league was in 2011, when the Steelers used a corner to defend him).
Brandin Cooks, WR, Los Angeles Rams ($7,300 on DraftKings; $7,600 on FanDuel)Look, I could go multiple directions with the Rams wideouts in a matchup that just doesn't seem fair, given the fact that both Eagles starting cornerbacks - Ronald Darby and Jalen Mills - are out for the season. Even with Darby and Mills, this matchup would be a challenge. Robert Woods ($7,400 on DraftKings; $7,500 on FanDuel) has 71 catches for 1,032 yards and five touchdowns; Cooks has 68 receptions for 1,048 and three scores. But as ESPN's Mike Clay pointed out this week, the Eagles have been especially generous to perimeter receivers, allowing the most fantasy points to receivers lining up outside this season -- during the past eight weeks and during the past four weeks. Clay added they've been equally bad against the left and right sides. And that was with their starting corners -- Darby, Mills and Sidney Jones -- on the field for most of the season. Also per Clay, Cooks (72 percent) and Josh Reynolds (67 percent) align outside most of the time, so they'll see the largest share of heavily targeted and struggling Rasul Douglas and De'Vante Bausby (assuming Jones is out with his hamstring injury). They're tougher against the slot (allowing the third-fewest fantasy points to the slot overall and the fewest over the past month), but Woods remains viable enough. In fact, Reynolds ($4,700 on DraftKings; $5,300 on FanDuel) is viable as well due to the matchup -- and due to my desire to get a piece of Jared Goff's rebound. Because it's coming. After totaling just 387 yards passing with five interceptions, two fumbles and one touchdown, expect Goff ($6,400 on DraftKings; $7,900 on FanDuel) to come out on fire this weekend. Remember, he's played quite well on the whole this season, completing 64.4 percent of his passes for a career high 3,934 yards with 27 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. And as ESPN's Matthew Berry noted, when on the road this season, Philadelphia's defense is giving up the third-most quarterback points per game. Sorry Eagles. You're it. Cooks will be my share, but feel free to deviate in this one.
Doug Martin, RB, Oakland Raiders ($4,700 on DraftKings; $6,300 on FanDuel)
Don't look now, but Martin, who took over as the starter when Marshawn Lynch went out for the season because of a groin injury, scored a rushing touchdown for the third straight game against the Steelers, a one-yard run on the first possession of the game. Even though the Raiders have been behind in most of their games and been forced to mostly go to the air, Martin leads the Raiders with 477 yards on 121 carries (a 3.9-yard average) and those three touchdowns. The Bengals, meanwhile, are last in the NFL in total defense, allowing 421.9 yards per game and last in scoring defense at 30.5 points per game. Of particular interest, as Berry pointed out, the Bengals are allowing the third-most yards per carry before first contact. We fantasy experts call that "helpful. ..." By the way, the other side of this coin looks delightful as well, right? Joe Mixon must be looking forward to facing the Raiders, who are last in the NFL in rushing defense at 144.5 yards per game. Mixon finished with 111 yards on 26 carries (a 4.3-yard average) and a touchdown, and added 27 yards on five catches last week against the Los Angeles Chargers. It was his fifth game of the season with 115 or more yards from scrimmage. For the season, Mixon ($6,100 on DraftKings; $7,800 on FanDuel) has carried 180 cards for 866 yards and six touchdowns. So pick your poison. I like cheap (hello Mr. Martin), but I certainly wouldn't talk you out of Mixon (who seems like a better cash play to me).
Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons ($8,400 on DraftKings; $8,800 on FanDuel)
The Falcons' top receiver has had mixed success against the Cardinals. He has struggled in two games, catching three passes for 33 yards in the first meeting and four passes for 35 yards in the third. But sandwiched in between is a 10-catch game for 189 yards and one touchdown in 2014. More specifically Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson shut down Jones the last time they met in the regular season, holding Jones to just four receptions for 35 yards and no touchdowns in 2016. In the two previous games before that, however, Jones got the best of Peterson and the Cardinals with 10 catches for 189 yards and a touchdown in 2014 and nine receptions for 147 yards and a touchdown in 2012. ... Currently, Jones is having another monster year with 94 receptions for a league-leading 1,429 yards. The Cards rank fourth in the league in pass defense and Peterson is playing extremely well right now; he's shadowed five top receivers this season and according to ProFootballFocus, he didn't allow more than two receptions against any of them. Clay added some detail to that by noting that Peterson is rarely targeted (14 percent of coverage snaps) and allows little fantasy production (0.21 points per route). So while -- as Clay further noted -- Jones is arguably the best wide receiver in the entire NFL right now, he's heavily targeted, highly efficient and suddenly a force in the touchdown department (five in his past six games) -- the matchup and price have me looking at others when I'm paying up at wideout this week.