Thanksgiving fantasy football

Thanksgiving games week 12 fantasy turducken MVPs

Thanksgiving is now here. It’s time for turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, pie and most importantly, football.

That’s right, it’s time for the tradition of the Thanksgiving games.The first two are hosted by the Detroit Lions and the Dallas Cowboys. The Lions will host their NFC North rival Minnesota Vikings, and the Cowboys will play the Los Angeles Chargers. Then the late game is an NFC East battle where the New York Giants head to play the Washington Redskins.

One part about the Thanksgiving games that I miss is John Madden and the turducken award. So for this article, it’s time to bring the turducken award back and predict who will have big fantasy days in each game.

Vikings-Lions MVP: Adam Thielen

The Vikings have been red hot, winning their last six games. That is partially due to their players stepping up with injuries, like Case Keenum playing well and the run game executing without rookie Dalvin Cook. One guy that has been having a surprise season and dominating the last two weeks is receiver Adam Thielen, who is my pick to be the first fantasy turducken winner against the Lions.

Thanksgiving fantasy football

Adam Thielen (Photo from vikings.com)

Over the last two games, Thielen has caught 14 passes for 289 yards. He has caught a touchdown in the last three. The last time the Vikings played the Lions, they lost 14-7, and Stefon Diggs was the better receiver. This time it’s a different Vikings team, and I also expect Thielen to outperform Diggs with the possibility of having Darius Slay on him for the entire game.

Thielen is second in the NFL, only behind Antonio Brown, in receiving yards. He is also tied for fifth in receptions. Thielen is currently on a three-game streak of scoring over 20 points. He’s also only one of five wide receivers with at least four fantasy games in the 20s or higher.

The Lions have allowed the ninth most passing yards to the slot since Week 4. Expect the Vikings to throw some deep shots to Thielen as he’s tied with Brandin Cooks for the most deep (15-plus yards) receptions.

At this point, Thielen is a must-start receiver every week as he has become a favorable target for Keenum.

Chargers-Cowboys MVP: Alfred Morris

The Cowboys have struggled the past two games without Ezekiel Elliott and Tyron Smith. They played the desperate Atlanta Falcons and the Philadelphia Eagles, possibly the best team in the NFC. This week is the time for them to turn it around against an inconsistent Chargers team. For this game, this is when the run game will pay off, and Alfred Morris will have a monster game.

Thanksgiving fantasy football

Alfred Morris (Photo from cbssports.com)

Last week, Morris ran for 91 yards on 17 carries. In fact, Morris had more rushing yards than Dak Prescott had passing yards before the fourth quarter. His performance was especially impressive since the Eagles entered the game having allowed just 3.6 yards per attempt.

Morris has gotten better as he has seen more carries and is only getting better. He’s averaging 5.1 yards per carry in the two games since Elliott got suspended. With Darren McFadden a healthy scratch and Rod Smith not performing, Morris should only get more carries until Elliott comes back.

Dallas is at home against a Chargers team that is allowing a league-high 138.9 rushing yards per game and the second-most yards per carry (4.93). Playing against the 30th ranked team against running backs means Morris will be getting the ball a ton early in the game.

Giants-Redskins MVP: Vernon Davis

Even with injuries to Chris Thompson and Terrelle Pryor, the Redskins should still be efficient on offense. The turducken award in this game goes to tight end Vernon Davis.

Thanksgiving fantasy football

Vernon Davis (Photo from sports.yahoo.com)

When it comes to the tight end against the Giants defense, it’s the worst in fantasy. They have given up a touchdown every game but last week. However, they still gave up 120 yards to the position.

During Jordan Reed’s three-week absence, Davis has averaged 8.7 targets, 5.3 catches and 71.7 receiving yards. Last week he had six targets and 67 receiving yards. Dating back to Week 6, Davis leads the Redskins in receiving yards (367), is tied for second in receptions (25) and is second in targets (38). With Reed missing practice, it’s likely Davis will get the start again against the Giants.

The Giants have yielded a league-high 19.6 PPR points per game to this position. With this matchup, he has to be a must-start, even at the flex position.

 

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week 8 DFS don'ts

Week 8 DFS don’ts: Report Card

Week eight couldn’t have come fast enough. After two consecutive weeks of losing, my lineups bounced back in a big way. My cash lineups featured LeSean McCoy and Mark Ingram, while my tournament entries were carried by Russell Wilson and Paul Richardson. Thankfully, I’m able to get back to writing these report card pieces. So let’s review my picks on the Suck My DFS Podcast and my week 8 DFS don’ts.

Quarterback: 1/3

While Drew Brees was solid, he failed to double his production against a stingy Chicago defense. The Saints commitment to running the ball is severely cutting into Brees’ upside. Russell Wilson came up big as usual. We talked on the Suck My DFS Podcast  about Wilson’s perceived tough matchup against the Texans. Since losing JJ Watt and Whitney Mercilus, they played Cleveland and had their bye. We knew Wilson would play well. Phillip Rivers didn’t look right. Maybe he’s dealing with an injury or his unorthodox release is taking a toll on him at his age. Whatever it is, he’s off my radar moving forward.

Running Back: 4/6

I was bullish on Le’Veon Bell against the Lions. He was incredibly disappointing given his $9,400 price tag when you could have played Ezekiel Elliott and LeSean McCoy for a huge discount. Mark Ingram, despite his two fumbles, made value and counts as a win this week. Joe Mixon would also have counted as a win if he can freaking fall forward into the end zone on a 67 yard screen pass; however, he came up 1.4 points short of making value.

Conversely, I nailed my week 8 DFS don’ts at this position. Devonta Freeman, Jordan Howard, and Chris Thompson all failed to make value. Howard and Thompson weren’t complete failures, but, they came up short as a cash game play.

Wide Receiver: 3/6

I was really nervous about my Antonio Brown call this week. The guy is almost matchup proof. Thankfully, the Lions secondary held him in check. Amari Cooper followed up his great performance with an absolute dud against the Bills. Will Fuller…I’ll take the huge “L” on that call. I still think his success is completely unsustainable, but he came through for a lot of DFS players this week.

The weather absolutely crushed my picks at wide receiver. Dez Bryant and Josh Doctson were in great positions to produce, but they had to play in a monsoon. Doctson failed to make value despite his late touchdown. On the other hand, Marvin Jones produced in a tough matchup and put me over the top in all of my cash contests with his 15.8 points.

Tight End: 2/4

I’ll never complain about splitting on tight ends. Unfortunately, I wish the split would have come in favor of my DFS do’s, not my DFS don’ts. I nailed both tight ends on my DFS don’ts list, Austin Seferian-Jenkins and O.J. Howard. Both players had an anemic fantasy game and weather had a larger impact on their production than I anticipated.

Even though Zach Ertz caught a touchdown, he failed to double his expensive $7,900 price tag. I also thought that Hunter Henry was in position to have a great game. If someone could explain to me why the Chargers continue to use Antonio Gates over Hunter Henry I would really appreciate it.

Kicker: 1/2

I should never doubt Matt Prater when he plays at home. He finished as the highest scoring kicker on the slate. Jake Elliott was a win though. Even in the rain, he came through with 10 points, which was enough for him to make value.

Defense: 1/2

I coincidentally had both the Saints and the Bears in my write ups this week. The Bears failed do produce, even though they were only $4,200 and were saved by two late fumbles by Mark Ingram. On the other side, the Saints also failed to produce given their value. I guess they were surprised that the Bears attempted to throw the ball more than

Overall Score: 12/23

I operated just over the 50% line with my podcast picks and week 8 DFS don’ts. My preliminary thoughts on week 9 aren’t great. The pricing will be tight as there are fewer and fewer value plays at the running back and wide receiver position.

 

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week 8 DFS don'ts

Week 8 DFS don’ts: Wide receiver

Just as we think we have clarity at the wide receiver position, quarterbacks get injured and offensive coordinators choose not to feature their best player. I’m specifically referring to Bill Lazor not finding a way to get AJ Green more than one catch in the second half, but I digress. There are plenty of good options this week. So, let’s see which players we can rule out early in the week in the wide receiver edition of week 8 DFS don’ts.

Antonio Brown: FanDuel Price $9,200

I always get nervous when putting one of the NFL’s best at any position on this list, especially Antonio Brown. So, how does the leagues best wide receiver wind up on the week 8 DFS don’ts list? His matchup. Brown and company will travel to Detroit this Sunday night. That means Brown will line up opposite of Darius Slay. Slay has been one of the leagues best corners in 2017 and is deployed in shadow coverage in certain situations.

Let’s say the Steelers move Brown around so he doesn’t see Slay. Well, he’ll then face Quandre Diggs. That may seem like a plus matchup, but it isn’t. According to Pro Football Focus, the Lions are the only team besides the Jaguars to have both of their starting corners ranked in the top 16.

Pair those two players with Glover Quinn and the Lions have one of the deepest secondaries in the league. With no Martavis Bryant, and possibly no Juju Smith-Schuster, the Steelers will likely feature Le’Veon bell even more in the pass game.

Amari Cooper: FanDuel Price $7,200

week 8 DFS don'ts

Can Amari Cooper prove that last week’s game against the Chiefs was more than just fluke performance? (Courtesy of; Athlon Sports)

The FanDuel engineers are begging you to play Amari Cooper. His price looks great. Derek Carr has appeared to regained his confidence in this offense. However, this is the classic example of chasing points and overvaluing an outlier performance.

Cooper was targeted 19 times. Of those 19 targets, he only had 11 catches. So, Cooper is still not operating as an efficient player. There were actually a of those balls that he realistically should have caught. In short I’m not convinced his drop issues are over. In addition to his unrealistic volume, his matchup against the Chiefs was much more favorable than his upcoming opponent.

The Chiefs have been awful in terms of surrendering points to wide receivers. Terrence Mitchell has been abused by opposing receivers all season. This Sunday, Cooper will see either Tradevious White or EJ Gaines. Both of those players are far superior to Mitchell.

Matchup aside, Cooper’s touchdowns came from at least 30 yards away from the end zone. While we love big play wide outs, their production is inconsistent. When the game was on the line against the Chiefs, the Raiders targeted Michael Crabtree with a jump ball fade and a speed out. In short, Cooper is not the red zone receiver. With Crabtree at the same price, I’d be incredibly tempted to fade Cooper and take advantage of the field, who will no doubt be all over Cooper. As soon as the Thursday game was over, I had Amari Cooper marked down for my week 8 DFS don’ts.

Will Fuller: FanDuel Price $6,500

I love the emergence of Will Fuller in this offense. He presents a dangerous threat to a defense with his ability to connect on the deep pass, but it’s not happening for Fuller this week. The Texans travel to Seattle. That’s all that needs to be said. While this Seahawks team may not have the same defensive reputation in years past, they are still a tough out.

Football Outsiders has the Seahawks pass defense ranked 5th in terms of DVOA. The Texans have not seen a secondary this good yet. The profitable Watson-Hopkins stack will not deliver this weekend. Fuller will not deliver either. He is too dependent on the big play to create production. His target workload and matchup against Seattle do not justify his $6,500 price tag. Fuller, Brown and Cooper round out the wide receiver edition of week 8 DFS don’ts.

 

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Week five DFS don’ts: Report card

Well, as fun as week five was, it was not nearly as kind to me as week four. My DFS profitability reached a season high; however, my individual player picks were not as good. I’d like to move on to week six as soon as possible, so lets get into the report card edition of week five DFS don’ts.

Quarterback: 2/5

Thank goodness my top two quarterbacks came up big. Aaron Rodgers and Dak Prescott anchored my cash game lineups. With 24 and 30 points respectively, they made up for some of the stragglers in my lineups. Sadly, I was totally wrong about Cam Newton and Tyrod Taylor.

However, I’m the most upset about Carson Palmer. He somehow managed to double his $7,200 price tag and did it without Larry Fitzgerald or Jaron Brown scoring a touchdown. Carson Palmer might be my least favorite player in the NFL after this Sunday.

Runningback: 2/4

Since Ty Montgomery didn’t play, I will not be counting him as a win. I just thought it was worth noting in my DFS don’ts series because of the unclear picture provided by the Packers earlier this week. Le’Veon Bell, along with Marshawn Lynch came up small. On the bright side, Leonard Fournette came up huge for my tournament lineups, since he was owned in the single digits, and Bilal Powell busted.

Wide Receiver: 0/6

I’m so sorry if any of you chose to listen to me and fade any receiver on my week five DFS don’ts. While the Giants and Steelers lost in demoralizing fashion, Odell Beckham and Antonio Brown played incredibly well. Devin Funchess also managed to double his value with a score against Detroit.

At least everyone was wrong with me on Jordy Nelson and Dez Bryant. They had okay games, but neither produced to the level that their price tags dictated. And of course, my Jaron Brown call proved to be more embarrassing than Jay Cutler’s wildcat performance against the Saints.

Tight End: 3/4

This would have been a perfect four for four if Charles Clay didn’t get injured against the Bengals. It’s clear that offense will struggle if he cannot return quickly. I told you Tyler Kroft wouldn’t get it done in my tight end edition of week five DFS don’ts. And, I took pure joy in watching Darren Fells, not Eric Ebron, score two touchdowns against the Panthers. Austin-Seferian Jenkins also came through by doubling his value with a touchdown.

Defense: 2/2

If there’s one thing we nail on the Suck My DFS Podcast, it’s the special teams portions of the roster. We were all on the Dolphins defense as soon as the Titans signed Brandon Weeden. They were a huge reason why we were able to cash this weekend, despite injuries and poor performances. And, the Rams defense failed to double their value, so that’s a win.

Kicker: 2/2

We nailed the kicker position as well. I outlined exactly why you needed to fade Greg Zuerlein. I hope you listened. We also talked on the podcast value kickers that would produce. My choice was Harrison Butker, and he delivered.

Overall Score: 11/23

Like I said in the opening paragraph, I’m ready to move on to week six. My week five DFS don’ts predictions were some of the worst of the season. However, we will start over tomorrow with the defense and kicker edition of week six DFS don’ts.

 

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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 five DFS don'ts

Week five DFS don’ts: Wide receiver

Last week was the first time I hit on all three of my DFS don’ts at the wide receiver position. It’s nothing groundbreaking, it’s just proof that this position is all about the week-to-week matchup.

We know there are defenses that take away a team’s number one wide receiver. That would include teams like the Vikings, Lions and Cardinals. All of those teams have a great cover corner that shadows the opposition’s best receiver. So, let’s go beyond the obvious plays to avoid in the wide receiver edition of week five DFS don’ts.

Odell Beckham Jr: FanDuel Price $8,900

I’m sure you’ve heard the cliche “the best ability is availability”. I hate it too, but most cliches have elements of truth. Odell Beckham Jr. entered this season with an ankle injury. Now, he’s dealing with an injured finger on his right hand. Normally, this wouldn’t bother me. However, I saw that this injury caused him to miss multiple goal line snaps against Tampa Bay.

For any receiver, goal line targets are DFS gold. It’s the only reason I’m willing to pay up for Jordy Nelson each week. Since the Giants have one of the worst running games in the NFL, Odell is the primary target on every down, especially near the goal line. But, if he’s not healthy, I want very little exposure given his gaudy price tag.

Injury circumstances aside, the Chargers have Casey Hayward, who is an above average corner. The Chargers also have an elite pass rush with Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa. More importantly, Hayward played shadow coverage for the first time since week one last week. According to Pro Football Focus, on the 74 percent of routes that Hayward shadowed Alshon Jeffery, Jeffery had one catch on four targets for 13 yards. If you want to take the risk on Odell this weekend, be my guest. I’ll happily take your money.

Antonio brown: FanDuel Price $8,800

week five DFS don'ts: wide receiver

Antonio Brown is one of the few players to appear twice on my DFS don’ts list (Courtesy of; The Source Magazine).

What? How is Antonio Brown on my DFS don’ts list for the second time this season? I’m glad you asked. It’s all about the matchup.

Last Sunday, the Jaguars deployed shadow coverage for the first time all season. According to Pro Football Focus, Ramsey shadowed Jermaine Kearse on 64 percent of the snaps. During that time, Ramsey allowed two catches on four targets for 14 yards.

Now, the Jets are by no means the Steelers. However, it’s important to take this trend into consideration. On the other 36 percent of the snaps, Brown will likely see A.J. Bouye, who has played very well since becoming a Jaguar. Overall, you need to consider fading Brown this week.

If you want to pay up, consider cheaper options like Jordy Nelson, Dez Bryant or DeAndre Hopkins. Those players are in great matchups and will allow you to fit in at least one of this week’s elite running backs.

Devin Funchess: FanDuel Price $6,300

Every week I have to include a player who had a breakout game on this list. Devin Funchess, like Bengals tight end Tyler Kroft, had a great situation on Sunday. Like Kroft, great opportunity and great matchup aligned.

Please don’t chase the points here. The Patriots have solidified themselves as the worst defense in the NFL. They are actually on pace to be worse than the 2012 Saints, who are statistically considered to be the worst defense in NFL history.

Let’s just use common sense. Funchess has never been a consistent fantasy producer. Yes, you may have watched every snap of that game. Yes, he was impressive. But guess what? The Detroit Lions are watching that same game film and see Funchess destroying the Patriots. They will no doubt have a strategy to contain the Panthers’ passing game.

Also, if you take Funchess, you’re betting on Cam Newton to come through again. Funchess is the classic example of point chasing, thus, he’s joins Beckham and Brown on my week five DFS don’ts list.

 

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week three DFS don'ts

Week three DFS don’ts: Wide Receivers

You’ll start to notice a trend with my opinion on wide receivers. It’s all about the matchup. Last week, all of the players on my DFS don’ts list had poor matchups against a good pass defense or defensive back. Some of them disappointed, and some rose to the occasion. I’ll be following the same formula in the wide receiver edition of week three DFS don’ts.

Mike Evans: FanDuel Price $8,600

Mike Evans had a great debut last Sunday vs. Chicago. He proved yet again to be the primary target of Jameis Winston and has great promise moving forward. Evans converted nine targets into seven catches for 93 yards and a touchdown. However, take a look at who Evans will play this week, then his placement on my week three DFS don’ts will make some sense.

I could easily copy and paste my paragraph from last week’s piece, which you can find here, about Xavier Rhodes. The Rhodes effect is real. While he didn’t line up on Antonio Brown every snap, he guarded Brown for the majority of the game. Brown only turned 11 targets into five catches for 62 yards and no touchdowns.

Now, Evans and Brown are by no means the same player. Evans is a monster compared to Brown, but is not as quick or precise with routes. Meaning, Evans doesn’t have to be “open” to receive targets and Winston has established he doesn’t mind targeting him in that situation.

The data from 2016 is intriguing. In Evans four toughest matchups (Seattle, Kansas City, Denver and Arizona), he averaged 13.25 targets. It’s almost counter-intuitive, the harder the matchup, the more Winston will target Evans.

The opportunity will certainly be there. I won’t fault you for playing Mike Evans this week. But as always, there are other players in that price range with more favorable matchups that I’d rather pay up for.

DeAndre Hopkins: FanDuel Price $7,500

week three DFS don'ts: wide receivers

DeAndre Hopkins’ talent is undeniable, but will it be enough to overcome Bill Belichik and the Patriots this weekend? (Photo Courtesy of; Chron.com)

It’s obvious, yes. But I had to include DeAndre Hopkins on my week three DFS don’ts. I love Hopkins as a prospect, but, the Patriots eat rookie quarterbacks alive. Bill Belichick is a perfect 8-0 versus rookie quarterbacks at home. After this Sunday, they will extend that streak to 9-0.

This is that unique situation where I trust the wide receiver, but have zero trust in the quarterback. Deshaun Watson managed to squeak out a win against the awful Bengals on Thursday Night Football. In that game, he absolutely fed Hopkins. Statistically, Hopkins had 13 of Watson’s 24 attempts. That equates to a ridiculous 54 percent target share. Sadly, it won’t be enough.

If you actually watched Watson against the Bengals, and that’s a huge if, he was not good. I remember actually counting out loud the number of seconds before Watson would lower his eyes and look to run.

Yes, it was his first start. Yes, he got better as the game went on. But come on, Belichick is looking at that tape and laughing hysterically. Not to mention the pick six the Bengals dropped. I simply cannot do it this week. I will absolutely keep my eye on Hopkins in later slates, but not now.

Martavis Bryant: FanDuel Price $6,500

If you listen to the Suck My DFS Podcast, you know I love Martavis Bryant. But, I’ve had to temper my love and expectations for Bryant. Since 2015, Bryant hasn’t produced on the road. It goes beyond Ben Roethlisberger being bad as well.

Since 2015, Bryant has played six regular season road games. In case you forgot, he was suspended for all of 2016. In those six games, he averaged seven targets. That’s not bad at all. But, that includes a game in which he saw 13 targets. He’s converted his 42 total road targets into 19 catches.

Bryant has turned those 19 catches into 183 yards receiving, averaging only 30.5 yards per game. To top it all off, he’s only scored one touchdown in those games. If that doesn’t do it, I don’t know what will. To this point, Bryant is incredibly talented, but lacks efficiency. a catch rate under 50 percent on that Steelers offense is not good. Take the wait and see approach with Bryant, as his home/road splits have him on my week three DFS don’ts list.

 

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week three DFS Dont's

NFL Week two DFS don’ts: Report card

Week two turned out to be more predictable than week one. But that doesn’t mean that no one disappointed their seasonal or DFS owners. While my winning percentage wasn’t as good as week one, my volume of winnings was much better. So, let’s close up week two DFS don’ts with my report card.

Quarterback: 5/5

On the Suck My DFS Podcast, the three quarterbacks I liked were Drew Brees, Carson Palmer and Phillip Rivers. I’m counting all three of these guys as wins since they produced just more than double their value. Palmer was the lowest with 16.88 points, then Rivers with 17.24 and then Brees with 22.24 points.

On the other hand, I nailed my quarterbacks on the week two DFS don’ts list. Kirk Cousins and Jay Cutler failed to produce given their value. Washington established the run which negated the Rams’ consistent pass rush and also limited his ability to throw the ball. Cutler looked good in his debut, and I’ll definitely consider him moving forward. But, I’m thankful I left him off my lineup this week.

Running Back: 2/6

I should do myself a favor and never talk about running backs who I think won’t succeed because inevitably they will. Todd Gurley, C.J. Andersen and Carlos freaking Hyde all had productive showings. I’ll leave it at that.

I also sadly loved Ezekiel Elliott against Denver. That was awful. Thankfully, my picks of Melvin Gordon and Ty Montgomery paid off as they scored 17.3 and 26 points respectively. So, if you’re following my articles and the podcast, just ignore who I pick at running back for the most part.

Wide Receiver: 2/6

It was rough predicting this position. I was right on with Antonio Brown, but was so wrong about Brandin Cooks. Similarly, I was right about DeVante Parker, but wrong about Adam Thielen.

The late Sam Bradford just crushed Thielen and Diggs’ values. I was totally wrong about Alshon Jefferey, and sadly, Kelvin Benjamin couldn’t find a way to get into the end zone.

Tight End: 2/4

I’m actually happy I was wrong about Jack Doyle this week. I drafted him everywhere in my seasonal fantasy leagues, so I don’t mind taking the loss this week. I’m also very happy to have picked Austin Hooper to bust completely, and he did.

Zach Ertz produced as usual. No real surprise there. Unfortunately, Jared Cook didn’t find a way to get into the end zone. Cook met everything we want from a tight end in a matchup. His team was a large home favorite, with a big implied team total, and he saw between 8-15 percent target market share in week one.

Kicker: 1/2

Pretty straight forward here. Adam Vinaetieri put up a whopping four points. And please, don’t tell me I shouldn’t have bothered to write about him this week because it was so obvious. Well, I saw him 9 percent ownership in one of my 50/50 leagues this weekend so clearly it wasn’t as obvious as you think. Blair Walsh, and Seattle in general, were bad, as Walsh only scored six points.

Defense: 2/3

The Rams were an easy pick to regress back towards the mean this week. I guess that’s what happens when you play a legitimate NFL quarterback as opposed to Scott Tolzien. Hopefully you listened and didn’t get stuck with a putrid two points.

I’m torn about Arizona. They only scored 10 points against the Colts. However, they were the one of eight defenses to score in double digits. So, I’m counting that as a win. Denver tied for the third highest scoring defense on Sunday, so that’s a loss for me.

Overall Score: 14/26

I’m not happy with 54 percent, but it’s much better than my week one score. Like most things, you get better the more you do it.

You can check out all of my week two DFS dont’s articles here. We’ll start with week three tomorrow as we break down what kicker and defenses you should avoid.

 

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week 2 DFS don'ts

Week 2 DFS don’ts: wide receiver

Week 1 was tough for everyone, but it was especially tough for wide receivers. Players like Julio Jones, A.J. Green and Doug Baldwin no doubt disappointed their DFS owners.

How can we avoid busts at this position in week 2? For one, we’ll have more teams on the Sunday main slate, and more teams means more options. Let’s examine which options we should stay away from in the wide receiver edition of week 2 DFS don’ts.

Antonio Brown: FanDuel Price $9,400

Antonio Brown might be the only wide receiver in the NFL that is matchup proof. Brown is so talented and skilled that no scheme or player can fully contain him.

However, the same sentiment was being echoed for players like David Johnson and Le’Veon Bell, and they went bust in week 1. There are two things that scare me away from Brown: Xavier Rhodes and his staggering price tag.

If you don’t follow the NFL closely, you may not know how good Xavier Rhodes is. His 2016 season has catapulted him into the elite group of cornerbacks. Rhodes saw 79 targets last year. Of those 79 targets, he allowed a catch on 41.8 percent of those targets, which was the best. Rhodes’ impact even extends to the opposing team’s quarterback, as they averaged a 39.2 passer rating when targeting him. You can find the full report here, but this raises some serious concerns for Brown.

I’d say Brown is usually worth every penny of his DFS salary, but Brown is too expensive. His status of the most expensive receiver by $600 is absurd. Brown will not catch 100 percent of his targets like he did last week.

Let’s say he gets the same number of targets and Rhodes has a down game and allows a 65 percent catch rate. That means Brown only gets seven catches on 11 targets. He would have to average 26 yards per catch to equal last week’s production without getting in the end zone.

As great as Antonio Brown is, he’s not worth the price. If he was $9,000 or $8,900, I would have no problem keeping him off my week 2 DFS don’ts list.

Alshon Jeffery: Fanduel price $6,900

You’ll start to notice a theme this week. Everyone on this list has a challenging matchup. Alshon Jeffery is no different, as he’ll likely see a heavy dose of Marcus Peters.

Since Peters entered the NFL, no player has more interceptions. In 2016, he was able to limit the number of big plays he gave up, while still being one of the best ball hawks in the NFL.

However, Peters ins’t a typical “shutdown” corner. He does not travel with a player across the field. He plays the left corner position. Jeffery spends almost all of his time on the outside and can bounce between the left and right side of the field. We saw Nelson Agholor as the primary slot receiver for the Eagles, so Jeffery won’t avoid Peters completely.

I don’t believe in Jeffery’s volume yet. Drawing Josh Norman in week 1 was tough. Jeffery did catch a two-point conversion, so maybe he will get an increase in red zone targets if the situation presents itself this Sunday.

Overall, I have faith that Jeffery will emerge and start producing as a WR1, just not this week. Jeffery is firmly on my week 2 DFS don’ts.

DeVante Parker: FanDuel Price $6,400

week 2 DFS don'ts

The arrival of Jay Cutler has placed some lofty expectations on the talented DeVante Parker (Photo Courtesy of; Fantasy Alarm).

I was incredibly excited about DeVante Parker’s prospects in week 1 vs. Tampa Bay. I’m not so excited about him this week, as he’ll face one of the best cornerback tandems in the NFL in Jason Verrett and Casey Hayward.

On Monday night, the Chargers’ secondary held Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders to eight catches on 14 targets for a total of 93 yards. Also, neither player saw a target inside the red zone.

In the aforementioned report about the best cornerbacks of 2016, Hayward was third. Like Rhodes, he only allowed a 51 percent catch rate out of the 100 times he as targeted.

Hayward was the highest targeted corner on that list, which may have been why he lead the NFL with seven interceptions. He has a track record of succeeding against great players like Mike Evans and Amari Cooper.

From a physical standpoint, Parker is more like Thomas than Sanders. Both players have unique speed and athleticism for their size. Thomas is superior in terms of run-after-the-catch ability. This is mostly because we haven’t seen that much of Parker thus far. Jay Cutler has openly said he likes targeting him, and Parker only needs one play to pay off his $6,400 price tag.

Sadly, I don’t see it happening this week. Thus, he’s on my week 2 DFS don’ts list.

 

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Five Fantasy Quarterbacks love Week 1

Five quarterbacks I love for fantasy week 1

Week 1 is here and everyone is excited for the NFL season and fantasy football. Now it’s time to figure out who to start and who to sit.

Looking at all the matchups and analysis from fantasy football experts, I’ve decided to give the five quarterbacks I love for week 1.

Marcus Mariota (TEN) vs Oakland Raiders

Five Fantasy Quarterbacks love Week 1

Marcus Mariota (Photo by:dailymail.co.uk)

The Titans and Raiders might be the highest scoring game in week 1. Tennessee’s defense ranked 30th in passing defense and Oakland finished 24th. Marcus Mariota struggled last year against Oakland, throwing for 214 yards with 2 interceptions and a fumble along with 22 rushing yards.

However, this Titans team is different than last year. They have new additions at receiver with Eric Decker and fifth-overall pick Corey Davis, along with Rishard Matthews and tight end Delanie Walker to compliment their run game.

Mariota can thrive in this matchup as a runner. The Raiders’ defense tied for most rushing touchdowns allowed to quarterbacks last season.

Derek Carr (OAK) vs Tennessee Titans

Five Quarterbacks love Fantasy Week 1

Derek Carr (Photo by: bleacherreport.com)

As I mentioned with Mariota, you have to like Derek Carr as well in this matchup. Carr also struggled fantasy wise in this matchup last year, throwing for 249 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

Both teams have questionable secondaries and both teams have solid offenses. The Titans were awful against the pass, allowing 269 yards per game last year

Carr has weapons and is coming off a good 2016 campaign and back from injury. He should thrive in this week 1 matchup.

Ben Roethlisberger (PIT) vs Cleveland Browns

Five Fantasy Quarterbacks love Week 1

Ben Roethlisberger (Photo by:deadspin.com)

Some people say this is obvious. In all seriousness, The Browns’ defense allowed the most fantasy points per game to quarterbacks last year (19.4 points per game in standard scoring). They also ranked 21st in pass defense.

Roethlisberger had a decent game in his only start against Cleveland with 167 passing yards. That game was dominated by Le’Veon Bell on the ground. To top that, Roethlisberger has Antonio Brown and Bell back after his holdout with contract issues. Martavis Bryant also returns after his year-long suspension.

Roethlisberger and the Steelers offense should start out hot against the Browns.

Sam Bradford (MIN) vs New Orleans Saints

Five Fantasy Quarterbacks love Week 1

Sam Bradford (Photo by:billypenn.com)

When we look at 2016 for Sam Bradford, his season was up and down. However, he finished with the highest completion percentage (71.6 percent) and 15th highest in passing yards per game (258 yards). That’s remarkable, especially being traded days before the opening week last year with little preparation.

But back to his matchup the New Orleans Saints. He faces the worst passing defense a year ago, which allowed 274 passing yards per game. It’s a no brainer to look at him if you have quarterback issues.

Now that Bradford won’t have distractions with being traded and is now used to the playbook, expect Bradford to have top-10 potential in week 1.

Carson Palmer (ARI) vs Detroit Lions

Five Fantasy Quarterbacks love Week 1

Carson Palmer (Photo by: azcardinals.com)

After a dominating 2015 campaign, Carson Palmer struggled in 2016. Once viewed as a QB1, he’s now regarded as a QB2. But for week 1 Palmer is a good QB1.

Detroit’s pass rush is a big question mark with Ziggy Ansah just now beginning to practice and have no one truly dangerous playing alongside him.

This helps Palmer. Last year’s touchdown-per-attempt rate when pressured last season was just 2.7 percent, yet that leapt to 4.7 percent in a clean pocket. That is a rate well ahead of the league average (4.2).

The Lions also really only have one good cornerback with Darius Slay, which opens the deep ball on favorable matchups. Palmer was third in air yards per attempt last season, a stat that supports big-play upside. The Cardinals offense is poised for a strong showing this week.

 

Featured image from fantasypros.com

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2017 AFC North division preview

2017 AFC North division preview

The NFL regular season is fast approaching. In the blink of an eye, Sep. 7 will arrive and the Chiefs and Patriots will be kicking off the 2017-2018 NFL season. In the meantime, Hagan’s Haus will be bringing you the divisional previews and predictions of how teams will finish in their respective divisions. Without further ado, here is the 2017 AFC North division preview.

4: Cleveland Browns

2017 AFC North division preview

(Photo Credit: http://www.clevelandbrowns.com)

Last season: 1-15

Strength of schedule: 21

The Cleveland Browns had an atrocious 2016 NFL season but that has become the norm in Cleveland. In the last 10 seasons, the Browns have had more the seven wins only twice. It has been even longer since the Browns have made the playoffs which last occurred in 2002. The struggle has been real but the Browns seem to be moving in the right direction finally.

It isn’t hard to improve on a 1-15 season and the truth is the Browns have nowhere to go but up. Improvement started with the draft and Cleveland did a tremendous job in the draft this year. The selections of Myles Garrett, David Njoku, Jabrill Peppers, DeShone Kizer, Caleb Brantley and Larry Ogunjobi show just how much the Browns are moving in the right direction. All these players will be key pieces for the Browns moving forward.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Browns will be much better than last years 31st ranking. Danny Shelton and Desmond Bryant will do a solid job plugging the middle allowing Jamie Collins and Christian Kirksey to make a lot of tackles. In the secondary, Joe Haden is the veteran star who will attempt to lead this secondary’s improvement in defending the pass which gave up 249.8 passing yards per game.

Offensively, the Browns will need to be committed to running the football. Their upgrades along the offensive line will create a solid foundation for improving an offense that only managed to score 16.5 points per game. The quarterback situation is still unfolding but having a solid offensive line will allow them to run the ball well with Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson Jr. This will make life easier for whoever ends up under center over the course of the season.

No matter who starts, or eventually plays, at quarterback they will have really good receivers to connect with. Corey Coleman and Kenny Britt are capable of having big years and both could find their way to 1,000 yards. Duke Johnson Jr. will also see some time at wideout and with his speed could turn any touch into a house call.

Although the Browns seem to be heading in the right direction, they won’t see a ton of wins this season. Cleveland plays in a tough division and just doesn’t have enough talent to win it. The Browns will be more competitive but are a year or two away from really competing for the division crown.

Prediction: 4-12 (2-4), miss the playoffs

losses: Pit, @Bal, @Ind, @Hou, Ten, Min, @Det, @Cin, @LAC, GB, @Pit, @Chi

3: Baltimore Ravens

2017 AFC North division preview

(Photo Credit: https://www.si.com)

Last season: 8-8

Strength of schedule: 24

Baltimore has struggled since winning Super Bowl XLVII, missing the playoffs three of the last four seasons. The defense hasn’t been as elite and the offense doesn’t seem to have a true identity. The Ravens are in for another tough season and John Harbaugh may be on the hot seat by the end of this season.

As previously mentioned, the Ravens do not have a true identity. Despite having Marshal Yanda on the offensive line, the unit as a whole is a weak spot and Pro Football Focus ranks the unit 23rd out of 32 teams. The offensive line is going to face some tough defenses, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh twice, Jacksonville, Minnesota, and Tennessee are teams capable of dominating the Ravens front.

With a below average offensive line, the running game is going to struggle as it did last season averaging just 91.4 yards per game. There is also a three man committee at running back between Lorenzo Taliaferro, Terrance West and Danny Woodhead. Each has their own specialty, but with three running backs splitting time, none will be able to get into a good enough rhythm to lead the running game to succeed.

Because of this, the running game will not open up the passing game which is a must for Joe Flacco to have success. Aside from an amazing playoff run in 2013, Flacco is rather average. His QBR shows just how average he is at 58.4 last season. In Flacco’s nine year career he has averaged 3,626 yards, 20 touchdowns and 13 interceptions per season. These numbers scream average. Flacco is also 11-19 in his last 30 starts. His career seems to be trending down and the Ravens are going to hurt this season because of it.

The receiving group has a lot of experience and speed. Jeremy Maclin and Mike Wallace will cause nightmares for defensive backs but can the offensive line hold up enough for Flacco to get them the ball, that is the question. Breshad Perriman is another speedster that can become a dangerous deep threat.

Defensive has been the strength of this franchise for a long time. Last season was no different as the Ravens ranked ninth in points allowed. Baltimore gave up the seventh fewest yards during the season which was due to their outstanding rush defense. Teams only ran for 89.4 yards per game against the Ravens. The defense will remain good but not good enough to carry a team with a bad offense to the playoffs.

The Ravens really struggled on the road last season going 2-6 and it is likely that the road woes continue. Pair this with an offense that will struggle to score and you get a team that ends up with only a handful of wins.

Prediction: 6-10 (3-3), miss the playoffs

losses: @Cin, @Jax, @Oak, @Min, Mia, @Ten, @GB, Det, @Pit, @Cle

2: Cincinnati Bengals

2017 AFC North division preview

(Photo Credit: George Gojkovich/Getty Images)

Last season: 6-9-1

Strength of schedule: 29

After making the playoffs for five straight seasons the Bengals took a step back and only won six games last year. Marvin Lewis is entering his 15th season as the head coach and has gone 0-7 in the playoffs. If he does not win a playoff game this season he will be fired. 15 years is plenty of time to prove you can win a playoff game and if the Bengals don’t do so there needs to be a new voice in the locker room.

The Bengals offense was nothing spectacular last season. Cincinnati ranked 24th in scoring at just 20.3 points per game. The Bengals offense will need to score more points this season. Rushing the ball seems to be easy for the Bengals as they averaged 110.6 rushing yards per game. Joe Mixon will improve the running game even more as long as the replacements along the offensive line create running lanes.

The passing attack will also be better this season. A.J. Green will still be a beast on the outside but a healthy Tyler Eifert will open up the middle of the field. Speedy receiver John Ross will complement these two players and create mismatches for opposing defenses. Andy Dalton just needs to get the ball out of his hands and into these playmakers hands as quickly as possible to make up for the below average offensive line.

Losing offensive linemen Andrew Whitworth and Kevin Zeitler is going to be huge blows to this offense. Cincinnati is hoping they can soften this blow by reacquiring Andre Smith. If the offensive line can replace these losses and hold up, then the Bengals will easily have a top 15 offense in the NFL.

Similar to the Ravens, the strength of the Bengals is on the defensive side of the ball. Cincinnati gave up the seventh fewest points last season at just 19.7 per game. The front four is led by studs Geno Atkins, Carlos Dunlap and Michael Johnson. Vontaze Burfict returns at linebacker and the Bengals upgraded their middle linebacker from Rey Maualuga to Kevin Minter. The secondary is also not to be messed with as the Bengals return Adam “Pacman” Jones, Dre Kirkpatrick and George Iloka.

The success of this season depends on the offense. Defensively, there is little to no concern. If the offensive line can create success then the Bengals will be in the hunt for the playoffs.

Prediction: 8-8 (3-3), wildcard candidate

losses: Hou, @GB, @Cle, @Pit, @Ten, @Den, @Min, @Bal

1: Pittsburgh Steelers

2017 AFC North division preview

(Photo Credit: https://www.pinterest.com)

Last season: 11-5

Strength of schedule: 27

How did a team that finished 11-5 and made it to the AFC Championship, get such an easy schedule? Pittsburgh has the fifth easiest schedule in the NFL and returns a plethora of talent. The Steelers have plenty of experience on their side and should be one of the best teams in the NFL and a Super Bowl contender.

The Steelers quietly had a very good defense but the offense gets all the recognition. Pittsburgh did rank 10th in points allowed and total yards. The high total yards ranking was because of their rush defense which only gave up 93.2 rush yards per game, ranking eighth.

The biggest area the Steelers need to show improvement in is in third down defense. Pittsburgh could not get off the field and spent an average of 62 plays per game on the field. Opposing offenses converted 41.1 percent of their third downs. The Steelers added rookie T.J. Watt in the draft to get some more pressure thus helping them get off the field more on.

Supringingly Pittsburgh is all about the offense though. The Steelers have a three headed monster on offense that led them to having one of the leagues best offenses. The oldest of the three, Ben Roethlisberger, had another great year. Big Ben threw for 3,819 yards, 29 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. Even at his age, he will still throw for close to 4,000 yards and 30 touchdowns as long as he remains healthy.

Le’Veon Bell is who this offense is built around so this hold out is alarming. As long as Bell can play the entire season, the Steelers will have an unstoppable offense. Bell is the first player to ever average 100 yards rushing and 50 yards receiving for a season. He is a key piece to the Steelers success.

The remaining star, Antonio Brown,  contributed 106 receptions, 1,284 yards and 12 touchdowns to the high powered offense. Brown consistently dominates the league and with him passing success is easy to come by. These three superstars are the reason the Steelers are going to have another year in which they score a ton of points.

The Steelers have an easy schedule, tough defense and explosive offense. Pittsburgh will win the division and contend for the Super Bowl

Prediction: 12-4 (4-2), division champion

losses: @Bal, @KC, NE, @Hou

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