week two DFS Dont's

Week two DFS don’ts: Tight ends

Week one reinforced our belief in the volatility at the tight end position. The top five scoring tight ends on FanDuel were all less than $5,500 and Jason Witten was the most expensive. The most notable players at this position disappointed in a big way. This means you need to pay attention to match up and opportunity, not the name on the jersey. With that being said, one of the highest scoring tight ends of week one has found himself on my list of week two DFS don’ts.

Austin Hooper: FanDuel Price $5,500

What? How is the highest scoring tight end in week one DFS don’ts? The opportunity is not and will not be there for Austin Hooper this week. When selecting a tight end, you normally want to follow this checklist. Is his team a heavy favorite? Is his team playing at home? Does he command between eight percent and 15 percent of his team’s targets?

First, the opening line on the Atlanta and Green Bay game started with Atlanta as a one point favorite. Currently on BOVADA, the line has moved to Atlanta -3. This is a good sign for Hooper. If the line becomes Atlanta -5, then you can start to consider Hooper as your DFS tight end. However, there is more to examine.

Second, the Falcons are playing at home, on Sunday night, in their new stadium. Even I can’t deny that narrative. I was at the NFC Championship last year and the atmosphere was incredible. Everyone is going to remember how the Packers got dismantled by this team, including Aaron Rodgers. This game will likely shoot out given these two offenses and the already high over/under of 54.

Finally, the most important part of the checklist is his target market share. For those who don’t know, target market share is the percentage of targets a player gets. Against the Bears, Hooper received a whopping six percent of Matt Ryan’s targets. The only reason he produced was because of a coverage lapse by the Bears. If you want to count on a guy who needs a complete coverage breakdown to produce, at an incredibly inflated price, be my guest.

Jack Doyle: FanDuel Price $5,200

week two DFS Dont's: tight ends

Jack Doyle (Photo: SI.com)

It’s obvious, I know. However, that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t talk about how awful this matchup is for Doyle. First, he might have the worst quarterback in the NFL. Scott Tolzien is unwatchable. Even with such a game flow that dictated the Colts to throw the ball, Doyle only saw three targets. Maybe the situation improves if Jacoby Brissett gets to start. But, that may not help given their lack of chemistry.

Not only does Doyle have an awful quarterback, he has potentially the worst matchup in the NFL. In my DFS don’ts tight end piece last week, I talked about how good the Cardinals defense is against tight ends. They only surrendered two touchdowns in 2016 to tight ends, and they never allowed more than 53 receiving yards in a single game to the opposition. Predictably, Eric Ebron was awful against the Cardinals.

If the Cardinals are going to be this good going forward, I may have to place any tight end playing against them in this series. Maybe I would consider Doyle as a “punt” play at the tight end position, but his price of $5,200 doesn’t even allow me to do that. There are plenty of other options with better matchups and prices in this week’s main slate.

 

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week two DFS Dont's

Week Two DFS Dont’s: Kicker and Defense

Week one was one of the most unorthodox opening weekends in recent memory. Now that the dust has settled, it’s time to turn our attention, and our bank roll, to week two. The opening weekend produced nine kickers who scored double digits and four defenses who scored at least 22 points. Let’s examine who will not be an optimal play in the first edition of week two DFS Dont’s.

Adam Vinatieri: FanDuel Price $4,700

For anyone who watched the Rams host the Colts on Sunday, this will not come as a shock. Vinatieri missed an extra point and chip-shot field goal in their blow-out loss to the Rams. To be honest, I don’t care about his two misses. He’ll be back at home this upcoming Sunday against the Cardinals, but, it’s the Colts offense that scares me off Vinatieri.

Scott Tolzien was unwatchable. No wonder the bumbling Chuck Pagano mistakenly thought they played the 49ers in the post game press conference, he simply could not watch past the second quarter. The Colts could barely move the ball across the midfield. Vinatieri is great, but he can’t kick 60 yard field goals at his advanced age. However, this situation could change moderately if Jacoby Brissett starts instead of Tolzien.

The fastest way a kicker can end up in my DFS Dont’s series is if they have a unjustifiable price. This week Vinatieri is $4,700, there are eight other kickers at this same price who aren’t attached to atrocious offenses. I would much rather play Will Lutz, Dustin Hopkins, or Chris Boswell given how bad this Colt’s offense is. Despite all of his previous success, Adam Vinatieri is a no-brainer for my week two DFS Dont’s list.

Denver Broncos: FanDuel Price $4,900

I want to preface this with a disclaimer, if Ezekiel Elliott is not allowed to play in this game given the NFL’s appeal, you should consider Denver. Until that news breaks, I would stay away. Their placement on the week two DFS Dont’s list is more about their opponent, the Dallas Cowboys.

Sunday night we saw the Cowboys absolutely dominate the New York Giants up front. Apart from their defensive scheme, like Denver, the Giants have great players in the secondary and the defensive line. However, they could not manage to stop Elliott and the Dallas offensive line.

Conversely, Denver is an average unit against the run. Their pass defense is so good that teams default to running the football more than usual. Players like Chris Harris Jr. and Aqib Talib are nightmare match ups for almost every team in the NFL.

Last night was a good start for the Broncos, as they limited Melvin Gordon to just three yards per carry on 18 carries. However, Gordon was also involved in the passing game with six targets. Elliott displayed a similar workload in the passing game and was a much more efficient runner. I like Dallas’ chances to overpower this Broncos defense on the ground, as well as utilize Elliott and Jason Witten in the short passing game.

Los Angeles Rams: FanDuel Price $4,400

Don’t. Chase. Points. It’s a statement to live by in daily and seasonal fantasy sports. Everyone who didn’t play the Rams in week one is likely to consider the for their week two rosters. Please don’t fall for the trap. The Rams were gifted two touchdowns by Scott Tolzien.

The Colts also have an absolutely putrid offensive line, especially since their starting center, Ryan Kelly, did not play. The Rams will not get the same kind of pressure on Kirk Cousins. And if they do, Cousins will inevitably make them pay by attacking down the field. There were multiple times that the Colts had open receivers when the Rams brought pressure, Tolzien was just unable to connect.

The Rams also benefited from some incredibly predictable offense given the game flow. The Colts had to resort to throwing the ball midway through the second quarter. Meaning, the Rams defensive line did not have to consider playing the run, and focused on rushing the passer. If you think the Rams will jump out to another 27-3 lead against Kirk Cousins, you’re delusional. Be smart and don’t chase the Rams defense in week two.

 

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 Twelve NFL Picks Against the Spread

It was another middle-of-the-road effort by me last week. I went just 6-8 against the spread. I am now 77-85-6 on the year. A hot stretch is absolutely necessary for me to finish the year in the black. Hopefully, this weekend is the start of that. My picks are bolded. Outright upsets have an asterisk. All spreads are from rtsports.com at the time of my writing. With not one, but three games on Thursday for Thanksgiving, I am at it early. Here we go.

Vikings at Lions (-2.5) – First place in the NFC North is at stake here. Both teams have taken strange paths to their 6-4 records. The Lions have trailed in the fourth quarter of every game this season. Minnesota is relying almost exclusively on their defense and special teams to win games. It is hard to sustain the kind of winning both these teams are doing. Detroit’s Matthew Stafford continues his rise to becoming an elite quarterback every week. The gap between the two offenses is just too great to not swallow the points. Det 31 Min 20

Redskins at Cowboys (-7) – This game sells itself. Two of the hottest teams in football facing off in a holiday rivalry game. I have been wrong on Dallas all year. Amazingly, so has Vegas. Dallas is 9-0-1 against the spread this year. However, I am foolishly going to take the Redskins here. Rivalry games are always closer than they should be anyway. Washington’s offense is a problem for any opponent, especially if undrafted rookie Robert Kelley continues to spark the run game. Dallas and their freakishly talented rookies will get the job done, but will be made to work. Dal 28 Was 24.

photo from nfl.com

photo from nfl.com

Colts at Steelers (-7.5) – With Andrew Luck likely out due to a concussion, this number will probably continue to grow until game time, and rightfully so. Pittsburgh can score on anybody, and while their defense is still bad, Colts backup quarterback Scott Tolzien is the backup for a reason. He will not be able to exploit their defensive deficiencies. Pit 38 Ind 17

Sunday:

Cardinals at Falcons (-4) – This could go either way. Atlanta got off to a white-hot start, particularly on offense, but has struggled since. Arizona has struggled from the start, but we have seen flashes of why they reached the NFC championship game last year. Due to their division, Atlanta is in much stronger playoff position and they are at home. That is good enough for me. Atl 31 Ari 24

Bengals at Ravens (-4) – I have been high on the Ravens all year with mixed results. This week, they are catching the Bengals at a perfect time. Cincinnati’s relevant season may have ended with last week’s loss to Buffalo. Additionally, they will be without two of their main offensive weapons, wide receiver A.J. Green and running back Giovanni Bernard. The Ravens appear to be one of the strongest bets of the week. Bal 31 Cin 17

Jaguars at Bills (-7.5) – A streaky team like Buffalo as this big of a favorite makes me nervous, but the Jags played the Lions to the wire last week and still could not manage to cover. So… Buf 28 Jac 17

Rams at Saints (-7.5) – The Rams offense was cute last week in Jared Goff’s debut. He made no mistakes, but was not asked to do much. You can count on one hand the number of times he threw the ball more than 10 yards downfield. The “training wheels” approach won’t lead to enough points to keep up with Drew Brees and the Saints. NO 34 LA 17

Giants (-7) at Browns – As I noted last week, the Giants always keep it close. Despite rarely looking impressive, a 7-3 record is a 7-3 record. Also, this is the Browns we are talking about here. Between the injuries and general lack of talent on the roster, they may be unable to keep it close with anyone right now. NYG 30 Cle 17

Chargers (-1.5) at Texans – Here you have a last-place team favored over first place team. You just do not see that very often. The fact is San Diego is better by just about every statistical measure, except the important one. The Texans do have a slight edge on defense, but the difference between quarterbacks is too vast for me to pass up. SD 30 Hou 23

49ers at Dolphins (-7.5) – Miami keeps winning. Last week was closer than it should have been, but this isn’t college football. Style points are irrelevant. When everything around him is functioning well, Ryan Tannehill is just fine as an NFL quarterback. That is the case right now and San Francisco is not good enough on defense to expose his limitations. Mia 23 SF 13

photo from dolphinswire.usatoday.com

photo from dolphinswire.usatoday.com

Titans (-5.5) at Bears – It has probably been a few years since the Titans have been this significant of a road favorite. They showed their immaturity last week against the Colts after roughing up Green Bay. If the Titans stay the course, they will be really good in about two years. However, this is another spot where their youth and inexperience could hurt them. Also, the Bears have played people tough all year. It is hard for me to imagine them winning this game with third stringer Matt Barkley at quarterback, but I will take the points. Ten 24 Chi 21

Seahawks (-5.5) at Bucs – Seattle continued their recent great form by pushing around the Eagles last week. I would take them to cover against anyone right now. Even though I am impressed with the way Jameis Winston and the young Bucs have put themselves right in the middle of the playoff race, they are no exception. Sea 27 TB 17

*Panthers at Raiders (-3) – I am still not a believer in the Raiders. Yes, the defense has gotten better lately. However, the inevitable will happen at some point. Derek Carr will struggle and the hole the offense finds itself in will be too deep. As for Carolina, they are still very dangerous. The struggles of their division rivals leaves them with plenty to still play for. The Panthers are due to catch a break, and all the mistakes and penalties are due to catch up to Oakland. Car 27 Oak 20

Patriots (-7.5) at Jets – Again, rivalry games are always close. The Patriots will likely be without Rob Gronkowski for another week. They struggled for three quarters with the 49ers last week. The Jets beat the Patriots last year. The main parts of each roster are basically the same. Lastly, the Jets pass rush is a problem for any opponent, even if they are quarterbacked by Tom Brady. An outright upset with shock everyone but me here. NE 24 NYJ 20

 

 

Chiefs at Broncos (-3.5) – This is a huge game for both teams. It becomes even bigger if Carolina does indeed knock off Oakland. Despite current records, I would still argue that these two teams will eventually finish ahead of the error prone and one-dimensional Raiders. Given, that Denver is finally healthy off a bye week, I would have thought they would be a bigger favorite here. Kansas City found a very creative way to lose to Tampa Bay at home last week. I have too much respect for Kansas City to call for a blowout, but with Denver rested, healthy and at home 3.5 points feels like a steal. Den 24 KC 17

NNF: Packers at Eagles (-4) – I am officially out on the Packers, but I will tell you one thing. The problem is not Aaron Rodgers. Anyone who tosses 25 touchdowns and seven interceptions through 10 games is not the problem. The problem is that it looks like the defense is playing with about six guys on the field, the last two weeks have been particularly brutal. Any team with the kind of quarterback play the Packers are getting can turn around at any moment, but you will not see me predicting it. The Eagles are really solid along the offensive and defensive lines and should be able to manhandle the lifeless Packers here. Phi 34 GB 23. Have a fantastic Thanksgiving everyone!

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