Thursday Night Observations

It was tough leaving our place in Berlin, but once we had packed up all our stuff I was able to wrap my mind around it. The oddest feeling was 36 hours before when more or less everything was still exactly as it was for the last three months and knowing in a short blip of time, it would never again be that way. What a great city – I hope Sasha (who’s four and a half) remembers it. We landed in Lisbon a little after 5 pm, and the temperature was 20 degrees – Celsius. Basically we’re back in Los Angeles, weather-wise, though that’s where the similarities end. I caught up on the game Friday morning, my time, though once again the condensed version of the contest was not yet available, so I watched some and caught the rest via highlights.

Monday Night Observations

Full disclosure: I have two more days in Berlin of which I’d like to make the most, and given I couldn’t get the 40-minute condensed version of this game to load (and the score was 28-3), I picked the five-minute edited highlights over the three-hour game. One of the perils of watching the next morning is you know the likely quality of the game in advance. Let’s just say it would be a very bad thing for the NFL’s business model if everyone knew the quality in advance.

Week 6 Observations

As I mentioned in my Thursday Night blog, this was my last weekend in Berlin. We’ve gotten pretty comfortable in this apartment, which I’ve described as a place where someone much cooler than me ought to be living, and in a neighborhood where every conceivable kind of food and service is within a few blocks, as well as two large parks, a dozen playgrounds and one of the main canals running through the city. We’ve heard good things about our next destination, Lisbon, Portugal, but it’s been tough wrapping our minds around our impending departure. In that context, it was nice I had (pending some Monday night action) one of my better NFL weeks in recent memory. 

RotoWire & FanDuel Fantasy Football Championship – Week 6

It has been an exciting first half of the RotoWire & FanDuel Fantasy Football Championship. Many contestants have earned entries into the Week 11 Championship round, and even more have doubled up their cash through the first five weeks of the competition. Unlike my 49ers, you still have a chance to earn a spot in the postseason, and your first opportunity begins this Sunday with Week 6 of the NFL season.

If this is your first time hearing about FanDuel’s RWFC, here are the details and instructions on how to get in on the action:

  • 10-week competition hosted on FanDuel
  • $10 entry (max five entries each week)
  • Compete against other users and three FanDuel experts (Jeff Erickson, Derek VanRiper, Kevin Payne)
  • Finish above the experts, win an entry in the Week 11 Freeroll with over $5,000 in prizes and RotoWire subscriptions up for grabs
  • Each qualifying week acts as a double-up with the top 250 doubling up their cash
  • This is not a continuous competition, so you can enter every week, and you don’t have to have participated in last week’s contest to enter this week’s competition
  • There is no limit on the amount of entries you can win for the championship round, so start racking them up this week if you haven’t already
  • You can sign up for this week’s competition here
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Thursday Night Observations

This is the last weekend of games for which I’ll be in Berlin – we’re moving to Lisbon, Portugal next Thursday. Lisbon’s on Western European time, so we’ll be an hour closer to the US, and there’s even a chance I’ll stay up to watch the first half live next week. A very small chance.

Run-N-Shoot: DraftKings Pricing, Week 6

Last week was one of the most fun Sundays I’ve ever had in fantasy sports.  I won again in cash, bringing me to 4-1 on the year.  But the true exhilaration was a third-place finish in a big GPP and having 9 lineups exceed 200 points in the Milly Maker on DraftKings.   (The million dollar lineup usually has about 245 points, so if you exceed 200, you’re in contention).

So, this week, I decided to mix in some GPP thoughts with my usual thoughts on cash games.  Without further ado:

Week 6 Suggestions on DraftKings (in rough order of how much I like them):

LeVeon Bell, $7,900:   LeVeon has hit value in cash games (3x salary) both games he’s played since returning from suspension despite failing to spike.  Given Ben Roethlisberger’s pronounced home/road splits in recent years and this week’s matchup in Miami, this looks like a prime spot for Bell’s touchdown variance to normalize.  I’m expecting a breakout week for Bell – think 30(+) DK points – and that we never see Bell’s salary below $8,000 again this year.

Tavon Austin, $3,900:  I rarely roster Austin in DFS, and I’ve never done so in cash.  But that’s going to change this week.  Austin has 45 targets in 5 games – that’s 9 per game for you non-math gurus – plus 9 more touches out of the backfield.  As much as I dislike Austin’s game, that’s incredible usage for a player who costs just $3,900 (compared to his Week 1 salary, $5,000).  If that doesn’t convince you, the Lions only good corner, Darius Slay, is likely to shadow Kenny Britt, and Detroit’s pass defense is 32nd in DVOA per FO even with Slay.

John Brown, $4,500:  The Jets have been crushed on the deep ball all year, which is precisely Brown’s specialty.  It’s a shame Brown isn’t on the Sunday slate, as he’s one of my favorite plays of the we – so much so that I’ll play some Monday games just to roster him.

Rob Gronkowski, $6,700:  Here’s the beauty of Gronk this week:  (1) his price hasn’t adjusted to him being healthy (long-time players know that his price in years past was typically around $8,000); and (2) for GPPs, many owners will chase Martellus Bennett’s points from last week, leaving Gronk’s ownership low.  I’m not certain I’ll play Gronk in cash, as Jimmy Graham, Gary Barnidge and others have solid arguments, but I’ll definitely have Yo Soy Fiesta in some GPP lineups.

Gio Bernard, $4,600:  The Bengals are the epitome of the running back timeshare in today’s NFL:  they have one guy, Jeremy Hill, who dominates touches if they’re winning, but a different guy, Gio, if they’re losing.  Many weeks, this is frustrating because it forces fantasy owners to predict game flow.  This week, though, Cincy is a TD-plus underdog in New England, so the game flow sets up perfectly for Gio.  Plus, Hill is nicked up, so Bernard may have seen more usage than normal anyway.  In a similar set-up in Week 2, Bernard went 9-100-1 through the air, with much of that damage coming in the fourth quarter of the Bengals loss.

James White, $4,100:  Predicting where the touchdowns will go in New England is going to be a weekly headache.  But at this price, White can give you the 12 DK points you need in cash simply by showing up:  4-5 catches, 50 yards, with a few rushes mixed in.  And if White happens to hit paydirt, at this price, he’ll be part of the formula for a winning GPP.

Cam Meredith, $4,100:  I generally don’t like rostering players whose salaries increased significantly after a huge game the previous week (what many in the industry call “chasing points”), and Meredith’s $1,100 increase after 9-130-1 on 12 targets certainly qualifies.  But Meredith is still just $4,100 and faces an unimposing Jaguars defense whose stud rookie corner is likely to spend most of his time covering Alshon Jeffery.  I’m fine with Cam in both cash and GPPs this week.

Cam Newton, $8,100:  Is it blasphemy to refer to anyone as “Cam” besides Newton?  On a week where Newton is headed into the Superdome, probably.  Barring a setback with his concussion, it’s hard to imagine a scenario where Newton doesn’t post 25(+) DK points against the Saints.  GPP players might even benefit from others shying away given the injury concerns.

Jarvis Landry, $6,800:  Like Tavon Austin, Landry is a guy whose skill set I can’t stand; I drafted 91 MFLs and didn’t choose Landry once.  But the setup this week is juicy:  at home, as a TD-plus underdog, in what should, in theory, be a bounce-back spot for the whole Miami offense after a dreadful Week 5.  Landry had 10(+) targets each game entering Week 5, and it’s not hard to envision him starting another such streak as Ryan Tannehill checks it down the whole second half while playing from behind.

LeSean McCoy, $6,900:  McCoy is the centerpiece of the Watkins-less offense in Buffalo, and that bodes well in a game the Bills are a TD-plus favorite against a West Coast team.  McCoy often gets replaced at the goal line, but his three-down usage makes him a solid bet for the 20(+) points we need in cash games.

Jeremy Maclin, $6,300:  The Raiders are at or near the bottom of the NFL in most defensive categories, especially against the pass.  Maclin has yet to have a breakout game in 2016, but I like his chances this week.  Jeremy is probably too expensive for cash (his Week 1 salary was $6,500, and I’d have preferred his price come down more given the modest production so far), but I’ll definitely have him mixed into some GPPs.  If I can hold my nose long enough, I may even pair him with Alex Smith.

Dak Prescott, $5,900:  The Packers defense is fantastic against the run but subpar against the pass.  If you’re not paying up for Cam at QB, then Dak at just $5,900 in a spot where he might have to throw more than normal looks appealing.

Tyler Lockett, $3,600:  Lockett is not someone I’ll play in cash, as he’s coming off an injury and hasn’t been producing.  But Lockett’s boom-or-bust skill set bodes well for GPPs, especially with the Falcons leaky salary on tap and Lockett’s salary all the way down to $3,600.  (He was $5,000 in Week 1.)

Lamar Miller, $6,600:  Miller has zero touchdowns through five games and McCoy has a great matchup for just $300 more.  But the Colts defense is dreadful, and after Miller got just 8 carries last week in a bad loss, I can see Houston doing what they did in Week 1, giving Miller 28 carries and taking pressure off the struggling Brock Osweiler.    If that’s how Week 6 unfolds, it’s not hard to see Miller going 28-125-2, making him a viable GPP play.

Gregg Olsen, $7,000:  It feels weird to have Olsen cost more than a healthy Rob Gronkowski, so much so that it probably pushes me off of Olsen in cash.  But a GPP stack with Cam, Olsen, and some combination of the Saints pass-catchers is certainly a viable play.


Todd Gurley, $6,700:  Gurley has managed to average 16 DK points the last two weeks despite an atrocious Rams offensive line on the strength of 8 receptions.  But that was with third down back Benny Cunningham inactive.  With Cunningham expected to play in Week 6, Gurley is likely to revert to his form from Weeks 1-3, when he totaled just 3 catches.  I’m off Gurley this week in all formats.

Ben Roethlisberger, $7,500 and Antonio Brown, $10,000:  In seasonal leagues, you have to play these guys.  In DFS, though, the very reasons I like LeVeon are why I don’t like Ben and Brown this week.

Martellus Bennett, $4,500:  I own Bennett in a ton of seasonal leagues and dozens of MFLs.  But with the public chasing points after his 3-TD explosion, Bennett’s ownership will be higher than I’d like in GPPs, and there are safer options in cash.  I could eat these words, but I see this as a Gronk week.

As always, I’ll share more thoughts on Twitter as Sunday gets closer.  @MarkStopa