NBA 2K Series: Interview with Pistons’ NBA 2K League staff

This was the first time I was fortunate to speak with multiple members of a franchise’s esports program. Adam Rubin, manager of esports, and Mike Donnay, vice president of brand networks, are the backbone of the Detroit Pistons’ NBA 2K League program. It’s the perfect partnership. Rubin’s esports and content production expertise paired with Donnay’s background in digital marketing, will allow the Pistons to have one of the best esports programs in the league.

A Shared Love of Storytelling

Rubin’s love for telling stories was apparent in our conversation. He has spent his professional career excelling in the content creation space. He’s created Emmy award-winning content and served as creative director for an entire esports org. Rubin’s enthusiasm for esports combined with his expertise in production made him uniquely qualified for his current position. Thankfully, he’s had a partner in crime to help deliver his incredible ideas.

Enter Mike Donnay. Donnay has proven to be a digital marketing master in Detroit. After attending Michigan State University, Donnay climbed the marketing ranks in the Detroit area. In 2012, Donnay started with the Pistons. He created huge digital platforms in the form of social media accounts, mobile apps and the Pistons Program Network.

This dynamic duo has established themselves and their franchise as a leader in creating content. Rubin spoke specifically about how the Pistons made the best of a less than ideal situation.

“Our franchise made a decision to transition from perennial contender, to a young rebuilding team,” Rubin said. “We had to deliver more to our fans, and that came in the form of content.”

They were pleasantly surprised with how much the fans loved what they were producing. This not only demonstrates their talent and creativity, but also that they understood their fan base. Thus, Rubin and Donnay plan on taking a similar approach with their eventual 2K team.

Building from the Ground Up

It’s important to remember that with all this excitement and anticipation swirling around the NBA 2K League, there is no blueprint for what these franchises are trying to do. Rubin echoed this sentiment with a tweet Monday asking for patience and respect.

Donnay echoed Rubin about how new this concept is.

“We’re all in this together,” Donnay said. “We are essentially building the airplane in the air.”

I believe that there will be less frustration now that the NBA 2K League AMA with Brendan Donohue is complete. As a result, I see franchises getting the opportunity to focus on their individual programs and worry less about players inundating them with questions.

Preview as a Pistons’ Professional 2k player

I found this to be the most interesting and revealing portion of my conversation with Rubin and Donnay. Because the NBA 2K League had scheduled their AMA, I wanted to focus on the Pistons’ program specifically. Of course, like you, I wanted to ask about the tryout mode and draft process.

If you’re just an average sports fan, you’ve seen a piece about professional athletes getting involved in their community. Whether it’s hosting a charity event or remodeling a school library, it’s great to see professional athletes actively engage with their community. If you’re drafted to the Pistons’ team, it’s likely you’ll have a similar experience.

“We want to involve our professional 2K players in the community as much as possible…a professional video gamer will be more relatable to average child in the community.”

– Adam Rubin

Donnay added that access will be key and that the Pistons’ NBA 2K team will serve as an extension of the franchise. Both indicated that they would produce content about their 2K team in the same manner they have covered the Pistons. Rubin hinted at all the different content ideas he has for the team and allowing the community the access needed to connect with their newest professional athletes.

Silencing the Doubters

In every interview, I ask the same question for people who are skeptical about the NBA 2K League.

“If you enjoy watching basketball at all, you’re going to like the product we put on display…It’s just basketball”, Rubin said.

I love consistently getting that answer. It demonstrates that everyone involved understands their product and the distinct advantage they have over other popular esports.

Consistency and communication are critical to ensure the success of any venture, let alone the formation of a new league. It’s clear that the leadership of Adam Rubin and Mike Donnay exhibit these features in spades.

 

You can hear the full interview, including details about the national tryout and the qualification process to become a professional 2K player in the 2K Corner 3 Podcast by clicking here.

To stay updated be sure to follow Adam Rubin, Mike Donnay and the Detroit Pistons on Twitter!

You can “Like” The Game Haus on Facebook and “Follow” us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles written by other great TGH writers along with Braxton!

To continue enjoying great content from your favorite writers, please contribute to our Patreon account! Every little bit counts. We greatly appreciate all of your amazing support! #TGHPatreon

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NBA 2K community

2K Corner Series: Interview with Pacers’ Cody Parrent

A critical component to any athlete’s success is their love for competition. In 2017, that competition is no longer exclusive to the hardwood or grass fields. Instead, the virtual world is home to some of the fiercest competitors in the world.

This is the belief that fuels Cody Parrent, the director of esports for the Indiana Pacers. He now channels his passion to compete into being a leader in the NBA 2K League community.

Driven By Competition and Friendship

Don’t mistake Parrent for being just a gamer. At his core, he’s a competitor.

It started as a teenager. He loved that AAU basketball and club soccer provided him with a time and place to hang out with his friends. However, Parrent never wanted the fun to stop.

“I had to be home at a certain time, and I wanted to keep hanging out with my friends. So we started playing video games online together,” he said.

NBA 2K community

Image Courtesy of Cody Parrent’s LinkedIn

That soon developed into a passion for Parrent. He would go on to compete in national tournaments in Halo 2 through his high school career. Sadly, he had to temper his competitive spirit in college.

“I wanted to buckle down on my studies,” Parrent said. “I didn’t compete much, but I kept up with the scene.”

It’s a good thing he did. Parrent earned his undergrad and MBA from University of Southern Indiana. After graduation, he and his friends started NBA 2k Lab. With this kind of experience and business acumen, he was no doubt among a short list of candidates for the director of esports position with the Pacers.

Focusing On The Community

One thing that was apparent in our conversation was his genuine understanding and love of the NBA 2K community. This kind of knowledge is critical to the success of the NBA 2K League. Parrent talked about a community event the Pacers hosted at the Game On Esports Center in Westfield, Indiana. He was hoping for an audience of 15 to 20 people to attend so he could educate them about the NBA 2K League. He had no idea what was going to transpire.

“We had over 100 people…people from Colorado, New York City, Orlando…some drove 15 hours to attend our event.”

– Cody Parrent

This kind of attendance does not only foreshadow the league’s success, but it also indicates how great the NBA 2K community is.

What does Parrent attribute to the success of this event? He knows where the community lives.

“The NBA 2K community lives on Twitter,” he said. “People are always talking and messaging with open spots in upcoming games.”

If you’re looking to get involved, search #2kfreeagent and you’ll understand how open and understanding the players in the community are.

Message for Aspiring Pros

We were able to speak at length about the draft process on the 2K Corner 3 Podcast, which you can listen to here. Parrent explained what an aspiring player needs to be doing in order to qualify for the NBA 2K League draft pool in 2018.

“If you’re listening take notes, if you are aspiring to be an NBA 2K League player, the tryout mode in February is what will allow you to get into the draft pool,” Parrent said.

Parrent went on to mention specific items and skills they will be evaluating during that tryout mode. While this isn’t an official announcement by the league, the NBA 2K community should take notice of any advice Parrent has to offer.

Silencing The Doubters

For those who continue to doubt this league’s credibility and success, Parrent has a message for you.

“2K17 sold 9 million copies and has 1.6 million active daily users and a growing Pro Am Scene,” he said.

The numbers clearly illustrate a demand for the game and an engaged consumer. The key will be converting those who don’t qualify for the draft pool and the casual player to tune in once the games start up.

With people like Cody Parrent at the helm, I have no doubt the NBA 2K League will find a way attract and sustain viewers.

 

You can hear the full interview including details about the national tryout and the qualification process to become a professional 2K player in the 2K Corner 3 Podcast by clicking here.

To stay updated be sure to follow Cody Parrent on Twitter @codyparrent and Kelly Krauskopf, President of the Indiana Fever and Senior Vice President of Pacers Sports & Entertainment @FeverPrez.

You can “Like” The Game Haus on Facebook and “Follow” us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles written by other great TGH writers along with Braxton!

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NBA 2K League

2K Corner Series: An Interview with Wizards’ Grant Paranjape

Imagine you’re back in middle school during the mid 2000’s. All of your friends are out of town or busy with their families, so you resort to playing computer games. You stumble upon World of Warcraft (WOW), and after a few hours, you’re instantly hooked.

This is how it all began for Grant Paranjape, the Director of Esports for the Washington Wizards. Paranjape fell in love with WOW and played professionally. Fast forward to 2017, and Paranjape is using his gaming experience and MBA from Tulane University to take part in building the NBA 2K E League from the ground up.

Breaking into the industry

While it sounds like a great career trajectory, things weren’t always so clear for Paranjape. Like most college students, his entire life plan changed during his tenure at Tulane.

“I was on track to be pre-med, but I missed the deadline to apply because I finished undergrad early”, Paranjape said. As a result, Paranjape pursued the new MBA program at Tulane because it would allow him to finish in one year instead of two.

So with his MBA in hand and professional gaming experience, Paranjape was fielding offers from everyone you can imagine, right? Not exactly.

“There wasn’t a clear path to get in the Esports industry.” It wasn’t until Paranjape reached out to Splyce’s co-founder that he landed his first job as their social media manager.

Bridging the Gap Between Sports and Esports

Paranjape gained great experience during his time with Splyce. He spoke at length about how that experience was tremendous and critical to success at his current position. In August of 2017, Paranjape was hired by Monumental Sports Entertainment. He is now officially known as the Washington Wizards’ Director of Esports. Specifically, he would be working help ensure the success of the highly anticipated NBA 2K E League. Paranjape’s experience in the industry and business acumen made him the perfect candidate for this task.

“The first thing I had to do was explain esports…how the industry works and how to activate interest in our market.”

– Grant Paranjape

People like Paranjape are the key to bridging the gap between sports and esports. A former professional esport player who has experience working in an org, as well as an MBA is a great to unlock the barriers between the two industries. They are capable of explaining not only the consumer and what they are looking for, but also translate their wants and needs into effective business strategies.

Goals for Season Zero

NBA 2k E League

Photo courtesy of the YouTube account: titansfreak28

“It’s early, but we want to win,” Paranjape said of his expectations for this season. Given his background as a professional player, he wants to compete for the championship. However, he’s not alone in that goal.

Over the weekend all of the franchise esport directors gathered in New York to brainstorm and talk about season zero, but they also squared off against each other.

“I can’t include myself in the conversation of best NBA 2K player. Of the directors I’d say Anthony Muraco (Cavaliers), Cody Parent (Pacers) and Adam Rubin (Pistons). I think that fact is substantial. It inspires confidence that they will strive to create the best teams possible.”

One of Paranjape’s goals for the NBA 2K E League as a whole was to viewed as a standalone league.

“I think the phrase propped up is the crux of the issue”, Paranjape said.

While co-branding with the NBA would be beneficial, they have to communicate that this is a standalone league and not one that simply being funneled money and infrastructure by the NBA.

Silencing the doubters

He also spoke to those who may be doubting the league and whether or not people will watch it by saying NBA 2K itself has a distinct advantage. Essentially, you’re still just watching basketball. Unlike other popular esports, there is very little keeping the average fan from watching. If they understand basketball, they will understand the games and be interested in the NBA 2K E League.

 

You can hear the full interview including details about the national tryout and the qualification process to become a professional 2k player in the 2k Corner 3 Podcast by clicking here.

To stay updated be sure to follow Grant Paranjape on Twitter @Keiranthil.

You can “Like” The Game Haus on Facebook and “Follow” us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles written by other great TGH writers along with Braxton!

To continue enjoying great content from your favorite writers, please contribute to our Patreon account! Every little bit counts. We greatly appreciate all of your amazing support! #TGHPatreon

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Week 10 DFS don'ts

Week 10 DFS don’ts: Wide receiver

Earlier this week, I hinted at a philosophy change in how I’m approaching lineups this year. It started with the kicker and defense positions, and now it has shifted to the wide receiver position.

This week, my lineup construction is focusing on mid-priced wide receivers. Let’s dive into which players we need to fade in order to cash this week in the wide receiver edition of Week 10 DFS don’ts.

T.Y. Hilton: FanDuel Price $7,500

It pains me to do this because T.Y. won me a lot of money last weekend, but he’s almost unplayable in my eyes. That may be a strong assertion, but let’s really examine his performance last weekend. Hilton was targeted eight times. That’s good. He converted nine of those targets into five catches. That’s a 63 percent catch rate, which is not so good.

He started off hot with a 45 yard touchdown catch. Big plays are something he’s known for, so that’s not unusual. So on his other four catches, he averaged 32.5 yards per catch. This includes a play in which he was not touched down by a defender so he was able to recover and run into the end zone. 32.5 yards per catch is absolutely unsustainable, especially, when examining his matchup this week.

Hilton will face the Steelers at home this Sunday. This defensive unit is second only to Jacksonville in terms of pass defense. This is a combination of their pass rush and improved play in the secondary. There is no way the Colts will be able to fend off this Steelers pass rush long enough for Hilton to get open down the field.

He of course has the ability to make a big play, but it hasn’t come against a single top 15 pass defense. Hilton in my mind is the easiest fade of the week at the wide receiver position.

Stefon Diggs: FanDuel Price $7,000

Week 10 DFS don'ts

Can Stefon Diggs overcome a season of inconsistencies and injuries and produce on Sunday against Josh Norman and the Redskins? (Photo from ESPN.com)

This season has been a series of highs and lows for Stefon Diggs and this entire Vikings team. Diggs started off great in their win against the Saints and followed that up with a single-digit performance against Pittsburgh in Case Keenum’s first start.

Since Week 2, Diggs has one game above 30 points, one game above 10 points, and two games below five points. Sprinkle in a few missed games with an injury, and this paints a picture of an incredibly inconsistent season.

Diggs and the Vikings will travel to Washington to play a depleted Redskins team. He will likely see Josh Norman for the majority of the afternoon.

This season, Norman has not shadowed an opposing wide receiver. However, he will see a lot of Diggs at the left corner position. Norman is surrendering a catch on 47 percent of the times he is targeted. This should be a great matchup for the viewers, but one we should consider fading.

The last reason you should consider fading Diggs is the fact that Adam Thielen is being targeted more by Keenum. Given Digg’s health issues, the last two games the two receivers have played together were against Chicago in Week 5 and Cleveland in Week 8. In those two games, Thielen was targeted a total of eight more times than Diggs.

Since they are both the same price, the choice between them depends on your contests. If you’re playing a cash game, Thielen is your player. If you’re a tournament player, use Diggs for his upside.

DeSean Jackson: FanDuel Price $6,300

At this point, we know exactly who DeSean Jackson is. In seasonal fantasy, you play him every week as a fringe wide receiver or flex and deal with the down games, because when Jackson hits it’s great.

However, DFS is a different story. I only consider Jackson when I know exactly which corner he will face, and if that corner has a tendency to give up big plays. That’s why he was a great option against the Cardinals in Week 6 because he was matching up with Justin Bethel.

Sadly, his matchup and quarterback make Jackson a shoe-in for the Week 10 DFS don’ts list. Jackson will likely be facing Morris Claiborne. Since leaving Dallas, Claiborne is playing incredibly well, and the Jets are deploying him in shadow coverage. Here is a record of Claiborne’s performance so far when shadowing a wide receiver according to Pro Football Focus.

week 10 DFS don'ts

There are some impressive names on this list that he’s covered. Claiborne is allowing a 56 percent catch rate. But, he’s only being targeted on 15 percent of routes ran against him. Jackson could overcome this tough matchup and score a long touchdown, but I like plenty of more reliable players in his price range.

 

Featured Image from Sports Bank

Like what you read? Tune into the Suck My DFS Podcast this Friday and find out who TGH fantasy experts will be playing in their DFS lineups this week. You can find the link to our podcast on the Podcast page.

You can “Like” The Game Haus on Facebook and “Follow” us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles written by other great TGH writers along with Braxton!

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week 10 DFS don'ts

Week 10 DFS don’ts: Tight end

Like the kicker and defense positions, I find myself in the middle of the tight end price range most weeks. However, this week presents a problem. The expensive tight ends are in good situations, but that middle price range that I love is filled with problematic players. Let’s find out which landmines to avoid at the tight end edition of Week 10 DFS don’ts.

Jack Doyle: FanDuel Price $6,100

I never thought I’d see the day that Jack Doyle is one of the most expensive tight ends on the FanDuel Sunday main slate. Sadly, he won’t be on any of my rosters this weekend.

Doyle’s workload and connection with Jacoby Brissett has improved dramatically over the past few weeks. He’s usually a player I’m targeting, but his matchup against the Steelers is absolutely brutal

This season, the Steelers pass defense has only allowed a single touchdown to a fantasy relevant tight end. Tyler Kroft scored against the Steelers in Week 7 and was the only tight end to score double-digit fantasy points against this unit all season. Top players at the position like Travis Kelce and Kyle Rudolph failed to score at least 10 points or find the end zone.

One reason for their success against this position is their pass rush. However, I believe the main reason for their success against tight ends comes down to one player, Ryan Shazier. He is currently ranked as the fifth best linebacker according to Pro Football Focus. The Steelers have been deploying him in underneath coverage against tight ends and allowing T.J. Watt to rush the passer.

That’s the reason why Shazier has zero sacks this year and why Watt is tied for second on the team with four. Shazier’s ability to cover tight ends underneath severely limits the amount of targets and catches the opposition can accumulate.

I don’t see the Colts being able to protect Brissett long enough to attack this defense down the field with Doyle. Therefore, I think Doyle’s run as one of the best daily fantasy tight ends comes to an end this week.

Eric Ebron: FanDuel Price $5,300

I thought I was done talking about Eric Ebron, but I was wrong. The Lions face the Cleveland Browns this weekend, one of the worst teams against the tight end in the NFL. Ebron is going to get hyped up all week as a great “under the radar” option at tight end, but don’t fall for it.

The Lions have been using their backup tight end Darren Fells more than Ebron. And, there is one problem for either of these tight ends this weekend in a great matchup.

The Lions have had an incredibly bad red zone offense this season, especially the last two weeks. This presents a great opportunity for the Lions to get right in the red zone against a team that is so bad against the tight end. However, Ebron has to be on the field in order to capitalize on this matchup. It’s too bad he’s been playing second fiddle to Fells in terms of snaps since Week 4.

week 10 DFS don'ts

Snap count information from Rotowire

Not only is Fells getting more playing time than Ebron, he’s seeing substantially more targets in the red zone. During that same stretch, Fells has 11 red zone targets and six catches. Ebron only has five red zone targets and a grand total of zero catches.

It’s evident that Matthew Stafford does not trust him near the goal line. If any tight end is scoring against the Browns in the red zone, I bet my money on Fells and not Ebron.

Vernon Davis: FanDuel Price $5,300

Vernon Davis came through for a lot of DFS owners in Week 9. On the road against a banged up Seattle defense, Davis had a productive day given his price. However, I don’t see it happening this weekend when the Minnesota Vikings come to town. I’m making this pick regardless of Jordan Reed’s status for Sunday’s game.

If Reed plays, Davis loses a lot of opportunities and is therefore a shoe-in for the Week 10 DFS don’t list. If Reed sits, Davis draws a tremendously tough individual matchup against Harrison Smith. Smith is grading out as the NFL’s best safety. He’s been incredible in coverage this year, and I don’t see Davis at his advanced age being able get open.

Davis joins Doyle and Ebron as tight ends to keep off your roster in this edition of Week 10 DFS don’ts.

 

Featured image from Indy Star

Like what you read? Tune into the Suck My DFS Podcast this Friday and find out who TGH fantasy experts will be playing in their DFS lineups this week. You can find the link to our podcast on the Podcast page.

You can “Like” The Game Haus on Facebook and “Follow” us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles written by other great TGH writers along with Braxton!

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Week 9 DFS don'ts

Week 9 DFS don’ts: Report card

Week 9 was the first time all season I cashed when the week number was a multiple of 3. I know, why would anyone keep track of that? Well, when you lose badly on Week 3 and 6, you are highly aware of Week 9, 12, 15 moving forward.

Anyways, it was my best week of the year in terms of profit and picks. We nailed almost everything on the Suck My DFS Podcast and our picks for the Week 9 DFS don’ts.

Quarterback: 4/6

On our podcast, my three quarterbacks to build around were Russell Wilson, Alex Smith and Jared Goff. Now, I ended up not playing Alex Smith on my cash games and taking my co-host’s advice on Jacoby Brissett in my tournaments. I missed out on a great game from Goff, but still managed to have a good day as all three of these quarterbacks made value in cash games and probably helped you win a tournament.

On the other hand, Matt Ryan and Marcus Mariota managed to have good games and prove me wrong. However, Brock Osweiler was not good. It might seem cheap, but I saw tournament lineups on FanDuel with Osweiler so I’m counting it as a win.

Running Back: 4/6

I was struggling to predict the running back position all season. But finally, in the running back edition of Week 9 DFS don’ts, I came through. Devonta Freeman, C.J. Anderson and Alex Collins all failed to make value in a cash game, and I couldn’t be happier.

Conversely, Todd Gurley and Christian McCaffrey were great. Gurley was a staple in my tournament lineups.

Sadly, I whiffed on Mark Ingram while my co-host nailed it with Alvin Kamara. Thankfully, Gurley carried my lineups to victory.

Wide Receiver: 4/6

Mike Evans, Michael Thomas and Larry Fitzgerald all failed to make value. I’m not counting Jamison Crowder. He ended up not being active, so I won’t count that as a win or a loss.

Thank goodness for that Tyreek Hill play at the end of the first half! I haven’t sweated a game harder all year. While that play was great, Hill came up just short of doubling his value for cash purposes, so that’s a loss.

I don’t know if you heard, but T.Y. Hilton had a decent game, right? His price was too attractive this week and forced me to play him on all my tournament lineups. Russell Shepard ended up being a dud, but not a bad week as a whole though.

Tight End: 3/5

For my Week 9 DFS don’ts at the tight end position, I named Travis Kelce, Jimmy Graham and Ryan Griffin. Kelce had a great game and finished as the second highest scoring tight end on Sunday. Graham and Griffin both came up short.

On the podcast, I liked Evan Engram and Vernon Davis. Like Tyreek Hill, Davis came up less than a point short of making value in a cash game. I sadly played Jack Doyle instead of Engram. I couldn’t find a way to fit him in at that price despite really liking him.

Kicker: 1/3

This was my worst call of the season at this position. I totally missed on Brandon McManus, but I wasn’t going anywhere near that Denver offense. Mike Nugent came up very small, but he wasn’t needed. Cody Parkey didn’t make value, so that’s my only win at this position.

Defense: 2/3

Jacksonville was the chalk this past weekend, and I was happy to swallow it on all my lineups. Cincinnati wasn’t able to get it done against a running game without Leonard Fournette. And, if not for a touchdown, Houston’s defense would have failed to make value as well.

Overall Score: 18/29

I don’t know if I’ll have a week this good again, but I’ll take 62 percent correct. Hopefully Week 10 will be as good. Check out our latest piece on which kicker(s) and defense(s) to keep off your DFS lineups.

 

Featured image from Grizzly Bear Blues

Like what you read? Tune into the Suck My DFS Podcast this Friday and find out who TGH fantasy experts will be playing in their DFS lineups this week. You can find the link to our podcast on the Podcast page.

You can “Like” The Game Haus on Facebook and “Follow” us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles written by other great TGH writers along with Braxton!

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week 10 DFS don'ts

Week 10 DFS don’ts: Kicker and defense

My philosophy on choosing kicker may be changing. I’m a big proponent of not paying up for kickers. I usually want to find a player between in the $4,600 to $4,800 range, who’s playing in a dome, and preferable at home. However, I’ve been questioning paying up for a kicker the last few weeks. Defense is still straightforward. I want, what I feel, is the best matchup available. Let’s find out who to keep off our rosters in the first installment of week 10 DFS don’ts.

Matt Bryant: FanDuel Price $5,000

I may be changing my tune when it comes to high-priced kickers, but I surely won’t be playing Matt Bryant this week. First of all, Bryant is dealing with a sneaky injury. Bryant managed to injure his leg in the pregame of Sunday’s contest against the Panthers. Fortunately, it did not lead to a missed field goal or extra point.

At Bryant’s advanced age, I’m not touching him with any chance that he’s not 100%. Atlanta’s offense has been improving, but it hasn’t translated into points for Bryant. For example, he’s only scored double-digit fantasy points once in his last five games. And,  he only had more than two field goal attempts in once in that same five game stretch. Yes, he has suffered from game flow issues that have forced the Falcons to attempt to convert more 4th downs than usual. But, I don’t see them improving so much that Bryant stock is boosted enough for me to consider him.

Let’s not forget, Matt Bryant is the same price at Patriots kicker, Stephen Gostkowski. The Patriots will be visiting the Broncos and that vaunted secondary. I could easily see Gostkowski attempting multiple 40 or 50 yard field goals. Due to his health, price, and the Falcons offense, Matt Bryant lands squarely on the week 10 DFS don’ts list.

Patrick Murray: FanDuel Price $4,600

Once again, this is my weekly PSA about what kicker to avoid if you’re dumpster diving at this position. I’m going to be honest…I didn’t know who Patrick Murray was before reviewing this week’s slate. Now that I know who he is, I can tell you not to waste $4,600 of your FanDuel salary on him.

He plays for a completely anemic offense, potentially the worst NFL offense. With the news that Jameis Winston will not play for a few weeks and the Mike Evans suspension, this offense is almost untouchable. They will face a resurgent New York Jets team. Specifically, a front seven that is playing inspired Football against a struggling offense. I don’t know how many times the Buccaneers will get into field goal range and I don’t know Murray’s leg strength. Just make it easy on yourself, and pay an extra $100 or $200 for a better play.

Green Bay Packers: FanDuel Price $4,500

week 10 DFS don'ts

It’s clear that Brett Hundley’s deficiencies are taking it’s toll on their defensive unit. (Courtesy of; Milwaukee Journal)

My initial thoughts on this slate from a team defense perspective are unclear. I legitimately think you can make a case that every defense $4,600 and above are in a good situation. The New York Jets at $4,600 are the most questionable. However, I think the Packers are an absolute must avoid.

I’m writing this article ahead of their game against the Lions, so we’ll have new information soon. But, they will be playing on the at Chicago on a short week with backup quarterback. Chicago’s offense is not scary but they have a clear identity. Jordan Howard is an absolute monster in terms of his workload. He was able to have success on the ground against the Saints on the road.

It’s also not out of the realm of possibility that Mitch Trubisky improves and is able to make a handful of down field throws. Conversely, I think the Bears defense will give this offense multiple short fields and apply pressure on Hundley. Even at a minimum price, I don’t think the Packers are worth a play this week.

Buffalo Bills: FanDuel Price $4,200

The Bills will host Drew Brees and the red-hot New Orleans Saints this Sunday. I’m totally out on the Bills this week. The last time an NFC South team came to town, the Buccaneers lit up this defense. Now that New Orleans is incredibly balanced, and Buffalo has to fill the void caused by the Marcell Dareus, I don’t think they have a prayer at stopping the Saints. Also, there’s another defense that I prefer this week for just $100 more. The Buffalo Bills join the Green Bay Packers, Matt Bryant and Patrick Murray on this edition of the week 10 DFS don’ts.

 

Featured Image Courtesy of The Falcoholic 

Like what you read? Tune into the Suck My DFS Podcast this Friday and find out who TGH fantasy experts will be playing in their DFS lineups this week. You can find the link to our podcast on the Podcast page.

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week 9 DFS don'ts

Week 9 DFS don’ts: Quarterback

If you are trying to cash in a large GPP or finish in the money in all of your cash games, you have to make value at the quarterback position. What do I mean? I mean your quarterback at an absolute minimum has to double his value. So, let’s examine which quarterbacks, beyond the obvious players like Carson Wentz and Andy Dalton, are not likely to double their value. Let’s find out which quarterbacks we need to keep off our lineups in the quarterback edition of Week 9 DFS don’ts.

Marcus Mariota: FanDuel Price $7,800

Despite Marcus Mariota being completely healthy, he’s not someone to consider this week. We traditionally love quarterbacks with rushing upside because they have a higher floor than most quarterbacks. Mariota absolutely fits that description, but it won’t be enough this week.

The Baltimore Ravens have been unbelievable against quarterbacks this season. They have only allowed one quarterback to throw for multiple touchdowns in a game. That quarterback was Blake Bortles, and that game took place in London. What I’m getting at is that performance was an outlier and not who the Ravens are. This defense has also held their past four opponents to under 200 net passing yards. This defense also has a top 10 corner, according to Pro Football Focus, with Jimmy Smith.

Matchup aside, Mariota will likely be without his tight end Delanie Walker, who is still dealing with a hamstring injury. The Ravens are also more susceptible on the ground than through the air. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if the Titans try to pound DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry 10 to 15 times a piece.

As always, there are far superior players in Mariota’s price range this week if you don’t want to pay up at quarterback.

Matt Ryan: FanDuel Price $7,600

Matt Ryan’s 2017 performance goes beyond a normal regression to the mean. Of course it wasn’t realistic to expect a similar season, but this drop-off is startling.

week 9 DFS don'ts

The look on Matt Ryan’s face says it all and doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in me as a DFS player. (Photo from Sporting News)

This year, Ryan has just as many multi-interception games as he does multi-touchdown games. This past Sunday was the first time all season where Ryan threw for more than one touchdown and did not throw an interception. To his credit, he performed in unconventional conditions on the road. However, he doesn’t get to play the Jets this weekend.

For the same reasons Devonta Freeman is on the Week 9 DFS don’ts list, Ryan has a tough road matchup. Granted, Ryan has inexplicably been better on the road in terms of fantasy production, but it doesn’t happen for him this weekend. Yes, Julio Jones has performed well in this matchup, but those performances have come at home against the Panthers. Even if Jones has a monster game, it’s still possible that Matt Ryan doesn’t make value.

I can’t believe I’ve gone three paragraphs into Matt Ryan and haven’t complained about Steve Sarkisian yet. It’s actually because I don’t blame him for Ryan’s regression as much as I blame him for Freeman’s. It isn’t Sarkisian’s fault Matt Ryan is missing open receivers. However, it is his fault for not recognizing Ryan’s struggles and adjusting accordingly.

Until I see the Falcons establish a clear identity, I’m off them moving forward.

Brock Osweiler: FanDuel Price $6,000

Don’t get cute. I only have him listed because I have been talking to players who are seriously giving this some thought, as he would only need 12 points to make value in a cash game lineup.

Have we already forgotten how bad he was last year with the Texans? He’ll be making his first start, on the road, against a great front seven. Not to mention, the Eagles’ secondary is no longer the pushover that they were at the beginning of the season.

This is an absolute trap for DFS players. Do not fall for it. Osweiler joins Mariota and Ryan on the Week 9 DFS don’ts list.

 

Featured Image from Tennessee Titans

Like what you read? Tune into the Suck My DFS Podcast this Friday and find out who TGH fantasy experts will be playing in their DFS lineups this week. You can find the link to our podcast on the Podcast page.

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week 9 DFS don'ts

Week 9 DFS don’ts: Wide receiver

Last Sunday was a rough day for wide receivers, unless your entire lineup featured the Seahawks and Texans. Top tier players like Antonio Brown and Julio Jones disappointed. DeAndre Hopkins was the only name brand receiver to finish among the top ten in scoring.

Instead, the top ten featured under the radar players like Paul Richardson, Robby Anderson and Marvin Jones Jr. Let’s dive into which players we need to avoid this Sunday in the wide receiver edition of Week 9 DFS don’ts.

Mike Evans: FanDuel Price $8,500

Despite the struggles of the Buccaneers, Mike Evans has still garnered a lot of targets. He should have been a top producer, as he had a long touchdown revoked due to an offsides penalty, which stopped play.

Evans faces the Saints this weekend. Historically, we look at this matchup and automatically insert Evans into our lineups. However, that is not the case anymore.

Wide receiver success, more than any other position, comes down to their individual matchup. This Sunday, Evans will face Saints rookie Marshon Lattimore. Through the first eight weeks, Lattimore is ranked as the best corner in the NFL according to Pro Football Focus. Here’s a look at what Lattimore has done this season when he shadows the oppositions best receiver.

week 9 DFS don'ts

Stats on shadow coverage are provided by Pro Football Focus.

While the Saints have only deployed Lattimore in shadow coverage twice, the results are staggering. Evans’ size and catch radius does allow him to overcome tough matchups. That could very well happen, but I’m not willing to pay the $8,500 price given his incredibly challenging matchup.

Michael Thomas: FanDuel Price $7,600

week 9 DFS don'ts

Can Michael Thomas overcome his recent red zone woes and produce against the Buccaneers? (Photo from UPI.com)

Yes, I believe the two best receivers in this game will disappoint this week. Unlike Evans, Michael Thomas does not have a bad, or even unfavorable matchup. Sadly, Thomas’ placement on my Week 9 DFS don’ts is the result of this New Orleans Saints offense, which is primarily rushing focused.

Thomas is incredibly talented and is playing with a Hall of Fame quarterback in Drew Brees. Traditionally, this is a plug and play, no questions asked.

However, the Saints offense has morphed into a rush-first offense, specifically in the red zone. Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara have taken over the red zone workload, via the run or the pass. In the past two games, Thomas has had a total of two red zone targets, including one target inside the 10-yard line.

That is simply not enough opportunity to score points. The Saints have clearly shifted to being a more balanced offense with their two backs. There is no longer enough volume for Thomas to produce without getting in the end zone. Maybe that changes this weekend, as the Buccaneers can score points. However, I’ll take the wait and see approach when it comes to Thomas and his red zone role moving forward.

Larry Fitzgerald: FanDuel Price $7,000

It’s safe to say that this is the end for Larry Fitzgerald and his DFS production. If Carson Palmer couldn’t target Fitz on a consistent basis, what makes us think that Drew Stanton can fair any better?

Stanton has played 22 games since he started with the Cardinals in 2014. Since then, he’s thrown nine touchdowns and 11 interceptions, with a 6.3 average yards per attempt.

On top of poor quarterback play, Fitz has struggled tremendously on the road. He’s averaged nine catches for 106 yards and one touchdown at home, compared to 4.5 catches for 43 yards and zero touchdowns on the road.

This week he plays on the road against San Francisco. Why on earth would I play Fitz for $7,000 when I could get Jarvis Landry at the same price, or Michael Crabtree for $100 more? A multitude of factors have Larry Fitzgerald on the Week 9 DFS don’ts list.

Jamison Crowder: FanDuel Price $5,600

Here’s a landmine you’ll want to avoid if you’re paying down for a wide receiver this weekend. Before last week’s game, Jamison Crowder went the entire season without scoring more than 6.7 points or having more than six catches. Production aside, he is going to get tossed around like a rag doll against this physical Seattle secondary.

Crowder also did not practice on Wednesday due to a hamstring injury, so his health is in question as well. Save your money and pivot to a player like Ted Ginn Jr. or Robert Woods for $100 more. Crowder joins Mike Evans, Michael Thomas and Larry Fitzgerald on the Week 9 DFS don’ts list.

 

Featured image from Sports Illustrated

Like what you read? Tune into the Suck My DFS Podcast this Friday and find out who TGH fantasy experts will be playing in their DFS lineups this week. You can find the link to our podcast on the Podcast page.

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Week 9 DFS don’ts: Running back

This is my favorite position when creating my DFS lineups. Once I’ve established my tight end, kicker and defense, I go straight to the running back position. There are some great plays at the position this weekend, but there are plenty of players we should avoid at each price tier. Let’s examine who should be left off our lineups in the running back edition of week 9 DFS don’ts.

Devonta Freeman: Fanduel Price $7,100

It pains me to do this, but Devonta Freeman is at the top of this list for the second week in a row. Steve Sarkisian proved to us that we cannot play Freeman until further notice. In an absolute monsoon against the Jets, he only had 12 carries for 41 yards and one catch for 20 yards. Conversely, Tevin Coleman was given 14 carries and turned those opportunities into 82 yards. Yes, the bulk of his production came on one play, but the startling fact is that he carried the ball two more times than Freeman. In DFS we want to target players who will great a large amount of opportunities, or players with an unusually favorable matchup. Now, we can no longer say Freeman will have a workload worthy of his price tag.

On top of his decreasing workload, Freeman has a brutal matchup against the Carolina Panthers this weekend. They have consistently graded out as one of the toughest defenses in the NFL. According to Football Outsiders, the Panthers are ranked as the 7th best defense against the run. The only running back to have success against this defense was Jordan Howard, who has one of the heaviest workloads in terms of carries in the NFL. Until Freeman can reestablish himself as a 20 carry per game player, he’s untouchable at his current price.

C.J. Anderson: FanDuel Price $6,500

week 9 DFS don'ts

What started off as a promising season for C.J. Anderson has quickly turned south with the emergence of Charles and Booker. (Courtesy of; Unsportsmanlike Conduct)

Things have spiraled out of control in Denver. Trevor Siemian has proved he isn’t the long-term answer at quarterback. He’s been so bad that Vance Joseph is turning to freaking Brock Osweiler to help remedy their offensive woes. To top it all off, they have reduced C.J. Anderson to just another running back in a committee.

I talked about this stat earlier in the week. The Broncos have not lost a football game in 2017 when Anderson carries the ball 20 or more times. Conversely, they have lost every single game in which Anderson fails to hit that 20 carry mark. Now that Devontae Booker has carved out a role alongside Jamaal Charles, Anderson is absolutely unplayable even at his reduced price.

There is no consistency or predictability in this backfield, so there’s no guarantee he gets goal line carries. Also, this backfield will face on of the best front sevens in the NFL. The Eagles are one of the stingiest defenses against the run and I don’t see that changing this weekend. There are plenty of better options above and below Anderson’s price tag like Alvin Kamara or Christian McCaffrey. After Monday night, Anderson was a shoe-in for the week 9 DFS don’ts list.

Alex Collins: FanDuel Price $5,900

First off, I’d like to say that Alex Collins is incredibly fun to watch. His running style is so physical and violent that I don’t think he can sustain this kind of workload. The only player who has been able to do that is Marshawn Lynch. So, unless you think Collins is the next Marshawn Lynch, I’d fade him. Also, he only received one more carry than Javorious “Buck” Allen last Thursday against the Dolphins.

I don’t see the Ravens leading by multiple scores in the second half this weekend, so Collins will not see anywhere near the same kind of workload against the Titans. Collins joins Anderson and Freeman on my week 9 DFS don’ts at the running back position.

 

Featured Image Courtesy of CBS Sports

Like what you read? Tune into the Suck My DFS Podcast this Friday and find out who TGH fantasy experts will be playing in their DFS lineups this week. You can find the link to our podcast on the Podcast page.

You can “Like” The Game Haus on Facebook and “Follow” us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles written by other great TGH writers along with Braxton!

To continue enjoying great content from your favorite writers, please contribute to our Patreon account! Every little bit counts. We greatly appreciate all of your amazing support! #TGHPatreon

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