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Fantasy Football: Which Patriots should you start/sit vs. Texans?

WEEI
September 22, 2017 - 12:55 pm

By Pete Davidson

In Week 2, I asked for a shot at redemption. This week, I’ll be looking to keep my newfound momentum going.  Once again, I’ll be talking about your Patriots and where you might want to roster them for DFS purposes. I hope most of you played Tom Brady last week. I did, and it was glorious.

If you are looking for my takes on players not listed in this space, head over to rotobahn.com and peruse my free lineup rankings. They will be updated on Saturday.

Don’t forget to tune into the Fantasy Football Hour this Sunday at 8 am. Jim Hackett and I will be handling some of your questions and giving you our takes on the week 3 slate. If you are not an early riser, the show will posted right here on WEEI.com—usually by about 11 am.

To keep pace with all of our fantasy football content, follow me on Twitter @Rotobahn.

All player pricing was sourced from DraftKings.

QUARTRBACKS

Tom Brady, Patriots vs. Texans, $7,700

“You can count on lots of offense when the Saints play at home. The pace and the quality of these offenses all but ensures a lot of offensive production.”

Yes, you most certainly can. And Brady is a solid play this week as well, but massive exposure in DFS is a risky move relative to last week’s game in Big Easy. The Texans will struggle to keep pace with the Patriots offense and Brady may not achieve typical passing volume over four quarters. If you are Bill Belichick, how much are you willing to expose your Hall of Fame quarterback to rushers like JJ Watt and Jadeveon Clowney if the result is no longer in question? To me, they are likely to fire up Mike Gillislee in the fourth quarter or maybe even sooner. Brady is a solid play in DFS and a lock starter in seasonal leagues, but be careful going all-in this week.

Derek Carr, Raiders at Washington, $6,800

Starting Carr over Brady saves you 900 units. Now consider that the Raiders defense should yield significant points to Washington’s powerful albeit struggling offense. I see Oakland winning here, but in a high scoring game. Something like 40-27. The Raiders have a lot of big play weapons. Carr has a great chance at multiple touchdown throws.

Russell Wilson, Seahawks at Titans, $6,300

I’m a believer when it comes to playing Russell Wilson on the road, especially against teams that can score points, like Tennessee. Wilson is a smart quarterback who will pick his spots as far as using his legs to win games. This is a situation where his team is facing 1-2 with a loss, and I think he will sell out to win. That means chunk plays with his feet and it means less sliding than normal. A rushing touchdown with 50 plus yards rushing is a possibility and that raises his scoring floor substantially. So what does this mean? It means I am going to have some Wilson exposure in GPPs (DFS tournaments) because winning a GPP is all about having a big ceiling. Yes, there is plenty of risk, but I want Wilson as part of my Week 3 portfolio. In seasonal leagues, he’s a solid play and is ranked 8th in my Week 3 lineup rankings.

RUNNING BACKS

Mike Gillislee, Patriots vs. Texans, $5,700

He’s screaming “value” in DFS tournaments this week. It’s a perfect spot to use him in my estimation. The price is nice and the expected game flow really works for his role in this offense to date. Rex Burkhead being banged up (ribs) could also lead to a few extra touches. The Patriots could easily have some advantageous field position and that often leads to extra goal line opportunities. There are no guarantees, obviously, but the deck is stacked in Gillislee’s favor this week. He’s a good play in any seasonal format and a nice option on DraftKings.

Christian McCaffrey, Panthers vs. Saints, $6,100

I’m on McCaffrey this week. Big time. Have I lost money on him for the last two weeks? Maybe a little, but we are talking about the Saints here. This is a game where there will be offensive volume. Volume follows the Saints around the way the media follows a Kardashian on a beach vacation. You can count on it. McCaffrey will be heavily involved as he has been, but I expect even more targets to find him without Greg Olsen working the middle of the field. Look for more slot alignments and more deep routes, plus the usual stuff. In GPPs, the sheep will be running away from him, but to me, this is a week to run towards the rookie. He could catch 8 plus passes and score multiple times in this game. He is now the most trustworthy aspect on the Panthers’ passing attack. No really. He is.

Joe Mixon, Bengals at Packers, $4,500

Typing Mixon’s name hurts my fingertips. I just can’t unsee that video of him punching that woman. Still, I’m not here to moralize, I’m here to point out value, and Mixon’s a potential tournament winner this week. His price tag allows you to build up other positions while maintaining some real upside at running back. There are clear risks. Just look at the playing time breakdown in Cincinnati and you’ll understand. The rookie has only played 38 total snaps through two games. Worse yet, he played a paltry 16 snaps in Week 2—down from 22 in the season opener. Fantasy players love trends, and this should scare plenty of them away. So consider this. The Bengals are going to lose this game—badly. The second half has the smell of a dumpster fire behind a fishery. It’s going to be garbage time. This is when you get your rookies snaps. My guess is that Mixon plays 40 plus snaps this week. I’m not saying that you should bet the ranch here, but I will have enough exposure to Mixon where I can share in profits if there are any, but not so much where I’m toast if my garbage time projection is, well, garbage.

WIDE RECEIVERS

Chris Hogan, Patriots vs. Texans, $6,100

There’s certainly a temptation to pay 1200 units more for Brandin Cooks’ upside, but to me, this is going to come down to how the Texans matchup. They have only one starting cornerback left in the wake of CB Kevin Johnson’s knee sprain. Johnson is out for a few weeks. The Texans other starter, Johnathan Joseph is also banged up with a shoulder, but is expected to give it a go. There’s opportunity here for both Hogan and Cooks, but my guess is that the Texans try to keep Joseph on Cooks—often with help up top. That should swing some targets to Hogan, who I think gets matched up with Kareem Jackson much of the day. Jackson is physical, but also very beatable. I think Brady and company can set him up for a few big plays.

AJ Green, Bengals at Packers, 8,100

He’s a player worth rostering this week on DraftKings despite the hefty price tag. The Bengals should have to throw most of the way through this game. The Green Bay offense is going to force their hand. That makes this a plus matchup and potential launching spot for a talent like Green. It’s not much more complicated than that. One thing worth noting is that Green is a bigger value on FanDuel this week, with a price tag of $7,500.

Alshon Jeffery, Eagles vs. Giants, $5,900

This is a heavily qualified recommendation. If Giants CB Janoris Jenkins is playing, I am not going in heavy on Jeffery. The thing is, Jenkins may have to sit, and if he does, I am liking this play a lot. The Eagles are looking very aggressive so far—going downfield often. That’s Jeffery’s bread and butter. No way I am passing up a price this low if the matchup is solid, and with no Jenkins, it will be. So keep your head on a swivel here.

DeSean Jackson, Bucs at Vikings, $4,600

Jackson was open deep several times last week and Jameis Winston missed him. The hookups should start happening eventually and the stage is pretty well set for this week. The Vikings stud corner, Xavier Rhodes, should spend most of his time covering Mike Evans. That means Jackson should spend most of his day matched up against Trae Waynes or maybe veteran Terence Newman. I like his chances in both of those matchups. And, we know that Winston loves getting the ball downfield. This one really adds up to me and the price is nice. Jackson makes a strong GPP play, but be smart and spread your risk around. I plan on having about 30 percent exposure to Jackson in my tournaments this week.

TIGHT ENDS

Rob Gronkowski, Patriots vs. Texans, $6,800

There’s more risk with Gronk this week because the game is not in New Orleans and because the Texans have a more dangerous defense, even though they are a bit banged up. Speaking of banged up, there is some concern for Gronk’s groin which he tweaked against the Saints. He’s been getting limited practices in, so things are looking good. Still, it’s always best to check his status as we get close to kickoff. If he plays, he’s a very worthy start in any fantasy endeavor.  His Week 3 pricing on DraftKings seems to have the groin injury baked-in. For this reason, I am inclined to have some exposure to the future Hall of Famer this week in DraftKings GPPs.

Zach Ertz, Eagles vs. Giants, $5,000

Ertz has had some big games against the Giants in the past and he looks like a good bet to drop another one on them this week. First there’s Ertz, who is on a bit of a tear right now. So we have the hot player. It’s also important to understand that his new rise in targets is related to a real thing—the departure of Jordan Matthews. Interior targets are much easier to come by with Matthews playing his snaps in Buffalo. Ertz’s nine targets per game is the new normal rather than a fluke. And, let’s not forget to include the Giants, who have made Jason Wiiten look young in Week 1 and followed that up by making Eric Ebron look like an all pro in Week 2. It makes sense to have some Ertz exposure this week. My current way of looking at this situation is to play Ertz and Jeffery off of one another. I’ll have one or the other in a lot of lineups. If Janoris Jenkin plays, I will have more Ertz, and if he sits, I will have more balance between Ertz and Alshon.

Jared Cook, Raiders at Washington, $3,100

I’m always hesitant to use this guy. It’s probably more about me than anything else. I’ve just had bad outcomes whenever I decide to play him. Having said that, there’s no reason to let my checkered past color your Week 3 lineup choices. The reality is that Washington is being torched by tight ends. In Week 1, it was Ertz doing the damage. Last week, they managed to give up 95 yards to rookie tight end Gerald Everett, and the guy only played 16 snaps. There appears to be a weakness here, and with Josh Norman taking out one of their big two receivers, there is a very good chance that Derek Carr will be looking Cook’s way more than normal. And, it’s not like he’s being ignored out there so far. Cook has been targeted 11 times in the first two games. He’s a very smart way to use $3,100 this week while opening up room for more expensive stud players at other positions.

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