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DFS Three And Out 2021 week 18
With playing time issues across the board, Week 18 is officially "Dart Toss" week. I'm looking at four players this week are -- or at least have a great chance to be -- in position to produce beyond expectations at very reasonable prices. Are they risky? Mostly. But that's the idea with a dart toss, right? Well, at least when the dart is in my hand. You never know what that thing will hit.
Cyril Grayson, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers ($4,400 on DraftKings; $5,600 on FanDuel)
Grayson, a former LSU track star, has been making the most of his recent opportunities to contribute to Tampa Bay's bid to repeat as Super Bowl champions. He had a 50-yard TD on his only catch in a loss at New Orleans on Oct. 31 and totaled nine receptions for 162 yards and one TD in wins over the Panthers and Jets the past two weeks. This week, even more than past weeks, it's "next man up" time in the Buccaneers receiving corps as the injury-riddled unit now must contend with the departure of Antonio Brown. Given the circumstances, Grayson is in the right spot to scoop up additional receptions, especially after garnering six receptions for 81 yards and a touchdown last Sunday with the game on the line. Much of Grayson's work (five of his eight targets and the touchdown) came on the final drive of the game as Tom Brady worked to complete another come-from-behind win. Trust matters. Grayson clearly has Brady's trust.
Patrick Taylor Jr., RB, Green Bay Packers ($4,000 on DraftKings; $5,600 on FanDuel)
There seems to be a pretty good chance that even if they roll their starters out to open Sunday's game, the Packers won't keep them on the field long with the NFC's No. 1 seed locked up. In addition the Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams, the list of players that seem likely to sit out most of -- if not all -- the game includes Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon. As Jacob Camenker of The Sporting News noted this week, Detroit has vastly outperformed expectations in the latter third of the season, but it still has some significant weaknesses. They continue to struggle against running backs and have allowed 25 total touchdowns to the position this year. That's the second most in the NFL behind only the Jets. Camenker went on to remind his readers that Jordan Love didn't look sharp in his first start with the Packers, so Green Bay seems likely to run a lot to take pressure off the young quarterback. Taylor seems likely to get the biggest workload of the bunch. He has 36 yards on 12 carries this year, but if he gets a big workload against a bad run defense, he could pay off easily as a bottom-dollar player.
Ray-Ray McCloud, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers ($3,800 on DraftKings; $4,900 on FanDuel)
Diontae Johnson was placed on reserve/COVID on Thursday, making unlikely he's on the field for the final game of Ben Roethlisberger's Steelers career. Johnson leads the Steelers with 100 receptions for 1,110 yards and eight touchdowns. Without him, the Steelers will have Chase Claypool, James Washington and Ray-Ray McCloud as the starters. McCloud has my attention here. As the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review pointed out, McCloud has kept his role as the Steelers' primary punt and kick returner while also ascending the depth chart on offense. In the five games since he missed a loss at Cincinnati because of COVID-19, McCloud ranked second among Steelers' wide receivers in snaps played, receiving routes run (per Pro Football Focus) and times thrown to. He was also third in catches in that time. McCloud raced past Washington and he' been looked to more often by Roethlisberger than Claypool, too. That continued against the Browns this past Monday night. McCloud's 35 yards led the team on a night Roethlisberger threw for just 123 yards on 46 attempts and his 10 targets were second on the team behind Johnson's 15. Also, it's the Ravens, a long-time rival, in Roethlisberger's last NFL game. Adding to the fun, the Ravens have the league's worst pass defense, allowing an average of 8.2 yards per attempt and 30 passing touchdowns. As a result, Baltimore's secondary has given up the second-most fantasy points to wide receivers this year.
Samaje Perine, RB, Cincinnati Bengals ($5,300 on DraftKings; $6,500 on FanDuel)
Okay. ... To be clear: I'm not against playing any running back in line for a full workload at this price. And with Joe Mixon ruled out due to COVID protocols, Perine is next in line to take the offensive snaps in the Bengals backfield. But the Bengals have the division locked up, with no chance at getting the bye, so they may not field the top lineup. We already know Joe Burrow will be taking the day off and when asked if rookie wideout Ja'Marr Chase would play this week, head coach Zac Taylor would only say, "Potentially." So bear with me here. If the Bengals are truly playing it safe, knowing they face a first-round playoff game without knowing for sure what Mixon's health might be going forward, could they dial back on Perine's workload and take longer looks at rookie Chris Evans or Trayveon Williams? Yes, I'm reaching here. And again, I'm not really against any dart toss play. But if I'm playing my hunches, I might look elsewhere (also, if your hunch is to play Perine, I'll remind you to play your hunches over mine).