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DFS Three And Out 2018 Week 20
Three DFS players I'm investing heavily in for tournament (GPP) play this week. ... And one I'm not.
Before we jump right in, let me stipulate: It's a two-game slate; I'm going to have shares of a number of players in both games. That includes those listed here and others. Many of them will be touchdown dart tosses. But I do want some reliable high-end players in those lineups. Fortunately, there's ample flexibility in pricing that will let me get there. With that out of the way, let's jump in. ...
Damien Williams, RB, Kansas City Chiefs ($6,400 on DraftKings; $7,200 on FanDuel)
When the Patriots defeated the Chiefs 43-40 in Week 6, the teams combined for 946 yards of offense and Williams accounted for one yard, or one-tenth of 1 percent. Things have changed since then. Williams became the starter after the Chiefs released Kareem Hunt in late November when video surfaced of Hunt assaulting a woman. Hunt owned the Patriots in two previous career games, totaling 228 yards rushing and a touchdown and 203 yards receiving and three scores. Meanwhile, Williams’ production has gone up exponentially since assuming the starting role when Spencer Ware left the Week 14 game against the Ravens with a shoulder injury. Ware has been inactive since and isn't a lock to return this week. Williams, who finished the 2018 regular season with more than 400 total yards and six touchdowns, had the best game of his five-year NFL career last Saturday in the Chiefs’ 31-13 win over Indianapolis, rushing for 129 yards and a touchdown and catching five passes for 25 yards. Williams has scored in each of his past five games and gone over 100 total yards three times in that span (he also has at least 29 DraftKings points in three of his last four games). He received 30 touches last week, and as the Sporting New suggested, even if he gets fewer this week, Williams should still approach 20 against a Patriots defense that allowed 4.9 yards per carry and just under 49 receiving yards per game to RBs during the regular season. While I'm mostly interested in paying up at running back this weekend, Williams is an affordable option with high-end upside. Patriots running back James White ($5,400 on DraftKings; $7700 on FanDuel ), who has scored 1.53 fantasy points per touch this season (per Pro Football Focus, that's the most among all running backs who had at least 40 touches), falls into this category for me as well.
Sammy Watkins, WR, Kansas City Chiefs ($4,000 on DraftKings; $5,600 on FanDuel)
As the Kansas City Start noted this week, for his first appearance on the field in a game, Watkins didn’t seem to show any signs of being physically compromised by the foot injury that forced him to miss six regular-season games. Watkins played 93 percent of the offensive plays (81 of 87 snaps) against the Indianapolis Colts, his first game since the Chiefs played the L.A. Rams on Monday Night Football on Nov. 19. Watkins, who’d missed the Chiefs’ previous game leading into the Rams game, played just five snaps against L.A. In his return against the Colts, Watkins caught six passes for 62 yards including a 34-yard reception on the Chiefs’ opening drive. He finished the game having played 11 more plays than teammate and fellow wideout Tyreek Hill (70 snaps). As the Sporting News pointed out, Watkins only scored in two of his 10 full games this year (counting the playoffs), but he gets a fair amount of targets (seven or more in six games), so he has plenty of upside. And that makes him an affordable GPP chess piece who in addition to being a big-play threat, will afford you the opportunity to pay up elsewhere -- whether that's QB, RB and/or TE -- all positions I'll be paying up at this weekend. Beyond Watkins at the lower end of the scale, I'll likely have heavy investments in other wideouts just outside the top tier, like Julian Edelman ($6,600 on DraftKings; $7,900 on FanDuel), Robert Woods ($5,700 on DraftKings; $7100 on FanDuel), who should benefit from slot opportunities against Saints cornerback P.J. Williams (Pro Football Focus’ No. 109 cornerback out of 119 qualified players), and Brandin Cooks ($5,300 on DraftKings; $6,900 on FanDuel) this week as I find ways to get Patrick Mahomes ($6,600 on DraftKings; $9,000 on FanDuel), Alvin Kamara ($6500 on DraftKings; $8,100 on FanDuel), Todd Gurley ($7,500 on DraftKings; $8,500 on FanDuel), Tyreek Hill ($7,700 on DraftKings; $8,400 on FanDuel) and Travis Kelce ($7,100 on DraftKings; $7,400 on FanDuel) into my lineups.
Gerald Everett, TE, Los Angeles Rams ($2,700 on DraftKings; $4,400 on FanDuel)
After seeing at least six targets in three straight games from Weeks 14-16 (he caught 14 of 20 targets for 103 yards with at least four receptions in each game), Everett now has no catches in back-to-back games. So he's due. Or at least due enough to emerge as a DFS tournament dart toss this weekend. But this is as much about price -- which is delightfully low -- and ownership, which should match that price. It's true, as the Sports news noted, the Saints were tough against TEs all year, but if Everett can even pull off a 3-30-1 line, we would all be quite satisfied (in fact, I'd settle for a 1-1-1 line because a touchdown would float my boat given the price here). I wouldn't be averse to rolling out Rob Gronkowski ($4,100 on DraftKings; $5,600 on FanDuel) either. While the matchup is better, Gronk's price isn't. Nor is his line the past four games (5-70-0 on 11 targets).
Michael Thomas, WR, New Orleans Saints ($8,200 on DraftKings; on $8,800 FanDuel)
Look, I realize Thomas was a major factor in the first meeting between the Rams and Saints. As Los Angeles Daily News staffer Rich Hammond suggested this week, "Thomas was nearly unstoppable" in that game, with 12 receptions for 211 yards and one touchdown. So why shouldn't we expect -- and pay for -- Thomas coming up big again? Maybe we should? In fact, it's safe to say I'll have some lineups with Thomas in them. After all, the wideout's social media handle (@Cantguardmike) tells me that every day. That said, as Hammond pointed out, the Saints are great, but they've also been a bit puzzling over the past few weeks. They scored only 20 points in their divisional-round victory over the Eagles last Sunday, and they failed to score more than 14 points in three of their final five regular-season games. And while Thomas got the better of Rams cornerback Marcus Peters in the first meeting, but now veteran corner Aqib Talib is back from an ankle injury and figures to draw that assignment and the Rams' first objective this week is to get a handle on Thomas, whose game-clinching, fourth-quarter touchdown was obviously a huge difference maker. Again, I'm looking to pay up at running back and tight end this weekend. If that's the case, I'm going to have to go a bit cheaper elsewhere. So if you get the sense I'm struggling with this one a bit, I am. As the Sporting News put it, "The Rams secondary has been fairly up and down this year, and even with Talib back and doing a good job against No. 1 receivers, it's tough to completely shut down Thomas, especially at home." Indeed, aside from a 7-fantasy point outing against the Falcons in Week 12, Thomas hit double-digits in fantasy points in every other home game this season (and in all but three games all season). In fact, Pro Football Focus noted that Thomas scored 51 percent more DraftKings points per game at home (25.7) than on the road (17.0) and he’s averaging over 110 yards per game at home this season. Bottom line? This is all about the price, not the anticipated production.