DFS Three And Out 2019 week 18
Three DFS players I'm investing heavily in for tournament (GPP) play this week. ... And one I'm not.
John Brown, WR, Buffalo Bills
The Texans defense is a break for the Buffalo offense which has been up against the NFL's top defenses the last five weeks. Each of the Bills last five opponents put a top-10 NFL defense on the field (Jets 7th, Patriots 1st, Steelers 5th, Ravens 4th, Cowboys 5th) and it showed. The Bills went 2-3 down the stretch and averaged only 16 points per game. Now, the Bills go up against Houston's defense, ranked 28th in the league and giving up 24 points per game. Houston's pass defense, in particular, has been one of the worst in the league, giving up the fourth-most passing yards per game while allowing multiple passing touchdowns in all but five games. As USA Today's Doug Farrar notes, they've also allowed the most touchdown passes of any playoff team with 33 (the Saints are next with 27). So Saturday is a chance for the Buffalo offense to regain its footing after a tough stretch. In order to score points, even against the Texans' mediocre defense, Houston Press staffer Sean Pendergast believes the Bills will need a few big plays. Enter Brown, who is the team's most dangerous deep threat. Brown has 72 catches for 1,060 yards and six touchdowns. According to FantasyPros' Mike Tagliere, Brown has scored four of his six touchdowns on go-routes this year, while Houston CB Gareon Conley has allowed two of his six touchdowns on them. Tagliere added that Conley isn't slow, but he's clearly had an issue while Jonathan Joseph may be playing at less-than-100-percent and 35 years old. That should lead to play of favorable matchups and the Bills will draw up shot plays for Josh Allen -- like they did on a 53-yard touchdown to Brown ($6,500 on FanDuel; $6,000 on DraftKings) versus the Patriots in Week 16.
Adam Thielen, WR, Minnesota Vikings
Assuming running backs Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison can return to their mid or early-season selves (and both are working fully in practice this week), it should allow the Vikings to be balanced and create plays in the passing attack against the Saints. That could mean a big day for Thielen, who has endured a frustrating 2019 campaign while dealing with a lingering hamstring injury. Thielen ($6,200 on FanDuel; $6,200 on DraftKings) has proven himself to be a Pro Bowl player when healthy, but he was limited to just 10 games in 2019. As the team's official website suggests, perhaps that number should be eight, as Thielen was injured midway through the first quarter in Week 7 against the Lions and missed the majority of the game. He then tried to return in Week 9 against Kansas City but played just seven snaps. Even with half a season gone, Thielen still tied for the team lead with six touchdown catches. Thielen, who had 30 receptions for 418 yards, returned in Week 15 against the Chargers and also played in Week 16 against the Packers before joining the almost all the team's starters in sitting out the regular-season finale against the Bears. Meanwhile, the Saints passing defense struggled down the stretch, allowing 281 yards passing per game (the sixth-most in the NFL) since Week 11. While the addition of Janoris Jenkins gives the team a solid role player to work alongside Marshon Lattimore and Eli Apple, Tagliere notes that Thielen has dominated this defense in the past, and he reminded readers not to forget the Saints allowed three different 49ers wide receivers finish as top-24 options just three weeks ago (and, as noted above, they've given up the second-most TD passes of all this week's playoff contenders).
Jacob Hollister, TE, Seattle Seahawks
As Tagliere pointed out, after bursting onto the fantasy scene with 99 yards and three touchdowns in Weeks 9 and 10, Hollister has failed to find the end zone in each of the last six games. So he's probably slipped off the radar for most players. If that's the case, they probably aren't aware he has 31 targets over his last five games -- a stretch that includes at least six targets in four of the last five games. That's pretty good volume. Meanwhile, as ESPN's Al Zeidenfeld pointed out, Hollister still has Russell Wilson's trust in the red zone, as evidenced by his season-high three such targets last week against the 49ers. Given all that, Zeidenfeld believes Hollister ($5,700 on FanDuel; $4,300 on DraftKings) presents a solid pivot off DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett and running backs Marshawn Lynch and Travis Homer if you're looking to fade those options and hope the touchdowns fall to the cheapest option in a contest with the second-highest total of the four on the slate. Seems like a good approach to me.
DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston Texans
Buffalo allows an average of just 16.2 points (second in the NFL) and 298.2 yards (third), and the Bills are 5-0-2 in their last seven as a road underdog. Cornerback Tre'Davious White is an impact player, forcing two fumbles and grabbing six of the team's 14 interceptions. His matchup with Hopkins ($8,300 on FanDuel; $7,700 on DraftKings), who scored the Texans' lone offensive touchdown in last year's meeting between these two teams, will be a showdown to monitor. "White is one of the best corners we'll play against," Texans coach Bill O'Brien said. "He can press, he can play off, very physical, very smart. Great player for them." O'Brien ain't lying. According to Pro Football Focus, White didn't allow a touchdown pass in coverage during the 2019 season. While I'm not going to contend Hopkins isn't capable of beating anybody on any given play, I am willing to contend if you're paying up at the position in tournament lineups, Michael Thomas ($8,900 on FanDuel; $9,300 on DraftKings) might be the guy to spend on -- especially with Tennessee's A.J. Brown ($7,700 on FanDuel; $7,400 on DraftKings) going up against Patriots' shutdown corner Stephon Gilmore, who has something to prove after Dolphins WR DeVante Parker at him alive last week.