Originally posted: October 11, 2017
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Last week’s Thursday Night Football game projected to be a shootout, but the Patriots and Buccaneers had other plans, bringing popguns to their duel. Those who invested heavily in the contest were burned, and the trio of players I suggested from the contest failed to live up to expectations. This week, the Thursday-Monday slate adds players from the Eagles, Panthers, Giants, and Broncos to the mix. The Thursday Night Football game has a decent over/under total of 45.5 points, per Pinnacle, and the game’s spread of just three points is one of just four with a spread of a field goal or less this week. The Monday Night Football game, on the other hand, is tied for the biggest spread of the week at 11.5 points favoring the host Broncos. Three “players” from the two additional games compared to the main slate are included on this week’s Thursday/Sunday/Monday FanDuel roster, and the roster I’ve assembled is built with GPPs in mind.
Drew Brees (NO): $8,600 vs. Lions
Deshaun Watson ($7,900) might as well come pre-loaded into cash games rosters on the heels of back-to-back five-touchdown efforts, and he’s a fine play in GPPs, too. However, he’s going to have an exceptionally high ownership rate, and I believe this is a prime spot to spin up to Brees as a pivot. Brees is coming off of a bye, and the Saints are 5.5-point favorites at home in the game with the week’s biggest over/under total (50 points). Brees’ best fantasy game of the year was his only home start in which he torched the Patriots for 356 yards and a pair of touchdown passes, but that comes with the caveat that everyone is torching New England’s defense this year. Brees’ home/road splits are no secret, though, and he’s been much better at home with the Saints throughout his career. Last year, he averaged 345.9 yards passing per game with a 70.59% completion percentage, 20 touchdown passes, and seven interceptions in eight home games, per Pro-Football Reference. Detroit’s full-season rank defending the pass and opposing quarterbacks might further deter gamers from using Brees, but they were just stomped by Cam Newton (26-33, 355 yards, three touchdowns, and zero interceptions). The upside for Brees this week is tantalizing.
C.J. Anderson (DEN): $7,000 vs. Giants
Anderson is the pricier of the two backs on this roster, and he’s a worthy swerve from the studs at the position. I do harbor some concerns that the game gets out of hand enough that the Broncos rest some of their regulars to close out the Monday Night Football game. Although, if it does get out of hand, I like Anderson’s odds of helping get the game to that point. He’ll be fresh coming off of a bye, and he’s been a true workhorse with three games of 20 carries or more while adding 10 receptions for 67 yards and a touchdown. He’s averaging a pinch below 100 yards from scrimmage per game (99.3 yards from scrimmage per game, to be exact). The Broncos are 11.5-point favorites, setting up a favorable game script for Anderson. The Giants also stand out as a favorable matchup ranking 28th defending the run, according to Football Outsiders (FO). They’ve also yielded the 12th most FanDuel points per game to running backs this year, per Pro-Football Reference.
Jerick McKinnon (MIN): $5,600 vs. Packers
McKinnon is likely to be one of the chalkier plays this week since his salary inexplicably remains below $6,000 — and more inexplicably, behind teammate Latavius Murray ($6,100). McKinnon was a bell-cow in the wake of Dalvin Cook’s season-ending torn ACL. McKinnon led the Vikings on the ground and through the air pacing the team in rushes (16), rushing yards (95), receiving yards (51), and tying for the team lead in receptions (six). He also reached paydirt on a 58-yard run. As Minnesota’s receiving back and most talented runner, he’s game-script proof. Furthermore, with Green Bay struggling defensively and the game’s over/under sitting at 46.5 points with the Packers favored by three points, there’s some shootout potential that enhances the value of all offensive parties involved in the contest. FO ranks Green Bay 20th defending the run and 25th defending running backs in the passing game.
Michael Thomas (NO): $8,500 vs. Lions
Thomas is Brees’ stack partner as the apple of the quarterback’s eye. The second-year receiver leads the Saints in targets (37), receptions (25), and receiving yards (310), and he’s tied for the team lead in touchdown receptions (two). No one else is halfway to Thomas’ receiving yardage output.
Antonio Brown (PIT): $9,200 @ Chiefs
Ben Roethlisberger has struggled mightily this year, and not even a home game remedied that last week. Big Ben’s struggles haven’t slowed Brown, though. The 29-year-old wideout leads the NFL in targets (64), receptions (40), receiving yards (545), and receiving yards per game (109.0), making the fact he has only one touchdown reception this year plenty palatable. The Chiefs rank just 22nd defending No. 1 receivers, and they’ve allowed the third most FanDuel points per game to wideouts.
Larry Fitzgerald (ARI): $6,600 vs. Buccaneers
There are only two defenses more giving to wideouts than the aforementioned Chiefs, and the Buccaneers are one of them. Tampa Bay has allowed the most FanDuel points per game to receivers. They’ve struggled with slot wide receivers this year, and that’s where Fitz gets the bulk of his work. The 34-year-old future Hall of Famer needed a game-winning, overtime touchdown reception in Week 4 to save his day that week, and he parlayed 10 targets into a ho-hum 6-51-0 line against an Eagles defense that’s allowed the second most FanDuel points per game to receivers this year. In other words, he’s not safe even in a dreamy matchup, but his heavy workload and said dreamy matchup make him an appealing tourney target. Fitz is tied for the fourth most targets (51) this season.
Ryan Griffin (HOU): $4,500 vs. Browns
I’m not enamored with the options at tight end this week, so it’s quite convenient Griffin carries the minimum salary in the most fantasy-friendly matchup for a tight end. The Browns are coughing up the most FanDuel points per game to tight ends this year, and they’ve allowed the most targets (46), receptions (37), and are tied for the most touchdowns allowed (five) to the position this season. Griffin’s best game of the year came in Week 3 when he hauled in five of six targets for 61 yards and a touchdown against the Patriots, and a similar output isn’t out of the question this week after he’s been held to just 35 yards receiving on four receptions the last two weeks.
Jake Elliott (PHI): $4,600 @ Panthers
Elliott’s having a good start to the year converting 10 of 12 field-goal attempts and knocking through all 11 of his point-after attempts. He’s also shown off his leg strength banging through two of three field-goal attempts in excess of 50 yards including a 61-yard game-winning field goal in Week 3.
Broncos (DEN): $5,400 vs. Giants
The Giants pets heads are falling off. More accurately, their wide receivers are dropping like flies with Odell Beckham Jr., Brandon Marshall, and Dwayne Harris all suffering season-ending injuries in Week 5. The running game found footing last week against the Chargers, but FO ranks the Broncos first defending the run, and now they have almost nothing to concern them in Big Blues’ passing attack. As I noted in Anderson’s write-up above, the Broncos are coming off of a bye. They’ll be fresh, and they’ve had an extra week of preparation for the Giants. Denver has huge scoring upside and is worth ponying up for.
Source: Fantasy Pros
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