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 Two DFS don’ts: Quarterback

I was completely off in my estimation of this position last week. So, it’s time to dig a little deeper and identify who should not be your DFS quarterback this week. There are plenty of favorable matchups with high scoring potential. However, there are two players in particular that will not deliver and should be avoided. Let’s get right into the final position in my week two DFS don’ts: quarterback.

Kirk Cousins: FanDuel Price $7,700

On a personal note, I like Kirk Cousins, but I think he’ll be one of the worst performing quarterbacks of the week. On paper, the Redskins match up well player-for-player against the Rams. Their wide receivers are more than capable of creating separation and getting open. Trent Williams can match up with any of their edge rushers. Aaron Donald could present a problem inside, but there is one person who concerns me: Wade Phillips.

Wade Phillips has made a living on making opposing quarterbacks uncomfortable with pressure. During his tenure at Denver, his defense finished in the top five in points against, passing yards and passing touchdowns. Now, the Rams don’t have players like Aqib Talib and Chris Harris Jr., but one could argue they have better personnel in the front seven with Donald, Quinn, Brockers and Ogeltree.

Phillips is going to dial up the blitz consistently throughout the game. Why is this a problem? Because Kirk Cousins is notoriously bad against the blitz.

Football Outsiders does a great job generating unique, analytical stats; particularly, their DVOA statistics for quarterbacks. DOVA represents on a per play basis, how far above or below average a given quarterback performs.

After week one against the Eagles, Cousins’ DVOA is a -45. That ranks as the 25th worst quarterback of week one out of 31 qualified players. Cousins is going to be pressured constantly on Sunday.

I do think you can find production from Terelle Pryor this weekend. However, Cousins’ inability to produce against pressure places him squarely on my week two DFS don’ts.

Jay Cutler: FanDuel Price $6,900

This is not a good matchup for Jay Cutler. I just talked Thursday about why you should stay away from DeVante Parker. Casey Hayward and Jason Verrett are one of the best cornerback tandems in the NFL. Pair those players with Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram, and the fact that Jay Cutler has a documented history of being careless with the football, and it’s going to be a long day for the Dolphins.

The only hope Cutler has of producing is if they can establish Jay Ajayi. Even still, Cutler doesn’t throw the ball in the middle of the field at intermediate distances, where Jarvis Landry can dominate. Here’s the proof.

week two DFS Don'ts

Courtesy of the Chicago Tribune, this is every pass Cutler attempted as a Bear. The dark orange circles indicate completions, the light orange indicates attempts. Also, the larger the circles, the larger the volume of passes.

Jay Cutler proves that he does not target the middle of the field the same way he does from the hash marks out. This does not bode well for Jarvis Landry who can dominate the slot or Julius Thomas. If Cutler follows his regular throwing patterns, he’s going to be attacking Hayward and Verrett, which is a scary thought.

 

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week two DFS Don'ts

Week Two DFS Don’ts – Running Back

I’m just going to say it, David Johnson and Le’Veon Bell were the biggest disappointments of week one. No one predicted such a sharp decline in production from these players. Thankfully LeSean McCoy, Todd Gurley and Leonard Fournette picked up the slack. But, were they a product of a good match up, or, can we count on them as dependable DFS backs? Without further adieu, let’s get right into which running backs are on my week two DFS Don’ts list.

Todd Gurley: FanDuel Price $7,700

Todd Gurley and the Rams benefited from playing the worst team in the NFL at home week one. Yes, the Colts with Scott Tolzien are worse than the Jets. Gurley benefited from a big workload and an awful defense. However, let’s dig deeper into Gurley’s production and evaluate it’s sustainability moving forward.

Gurley’s final stat line was 19 carries for 40 yards on the ground, with 56 yards on five catches. So, against a talent-less defensive front, Gurley averaged a frightening 2.1 yards per carry. That’s atrocious for someone who is considered a top 12 running back. Of the 16 week one running backs who had at least 15 carries, 13 of them had a higher yards per carry than Todd Gurley. Running backs on that list in front of Gurley include: Terrence West, Javorious Allen, CJ Anderson and Ty Montgomery. It’s safe to say that Gurley is more talented then all of those players. So, with more talent and potentially the best week one match up, he was one of the least efficient backs.

This weekend, Gurley will face Washington’s 3-4 defense. In 2016 against a 3-4, Gurley averaged 2.74 yards per carry and .33 touch downs per game. I seriously doubt he’ll see enough carries to reach 100 yards rushing with his low yards per carry because the Rams won’t be running out the clock in this game. Shockingly, they are facing quality NFL quarterback in Kirk Cousins, so there will actually be pressure on the Rams’ offense to score points. I don’t trust Gurley at all. If he, with his talent, can’t average more than 2.1 yards per carry against the Colts, it’s likely he wont be DFS relevant for most of the season. Gurley was an easy pick for my week two DFS Don’ts.

C.J. Anderson: FanDuel Price $7,000

week two DFS Don'ts

C.J. Anderson is no doubt the feature back in Denver, but will his workload be enough to satisfy fantasy owners this Sunday? (Courtesy of; Dynasty Football Warehouse)

I’ve never been a fan of C.J. Anderson, but, I can’t argue with his workload. Any running back with 20 carries will always warrant consideration from me because he will at least have the opportunity to score points. However, I don’t like his match up for a unique reason, pace of play.

Pace of play is an interesting stat by Football Outsiders. It measures how much time, on average, it takes for a team to run a play. After week one, Dallas is 11th in pace with 27.39 seconds and Denver is is 22nd with 29.74 seconds. So, Denver has established themselves as one of the slower teams in the NFL. However, in the second half specifically, these teams take significantly longer to run plays. In the second half, Dallas falls from 11th to 25th in pace and Denver shifts from 22nd to 24th.

So what does this mean? It means that the number of snaps as a whole for the Denver offense will decrease. And, if they are trailing, they’ll pivot away from Anderson because of how slow both teams operate. This presents a problem. Anderson is not known as an explosive back, meaning, he needs volume to produce points. If you take away his volume, you severely limit his ability to produce. Given the pace and potential game flow of this match up, C.J. Anderson is firmly on my week two DFS Don’ts list.

Carlos Hyde: FanDuel Price $6,400

Carlos Hyde is a must avoid this week. Hyde had a rough outing in week one. He only say nine carries, but, he did draw six catches on six targets. I have so many problems with Hyde this Sunday I don’t know where to start. First, Hyde and the 49ers are a 14 point underdog at Seattle. Playing running backs on teams that are huge underdogs is a great way to not guarantee production.

Second, Seattle is angry. Seattle felt like they got robbed last weekend in Green Bay. This defense is more talented on the defensive line than Carolina, and they dominated the 49ers offensive line. Things will only get worse for this 49ers offensive unit this Sunday.

Third, their history in Seattle is not good. Seattle hasn’t lost to the 49ers in Seattle since 2011. In those games they lost, it’s been by an average of 17.6 points. I like Carlos Hyde. I think he’s a versatile, talented running back. But please, please don’t play him this week. I know there isn’t any analytical reasoning here, but it’s not necessary. Stay away from Hyde this week.

 

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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.

 

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 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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