Anthony Maggio, John Tuvey and Bo Mitchell will be here all season delivering the edge you need to dominate your fantasy football league. Visit 1500espn.com each Wednesday for a new column and each Thursday for a new episode of the Fantasy Football Party podcast.
Start your Vikings!
Nobody secretly replaced my regular coffee with Purple Kool-Aid. I’m being perfectly objective here.
The second-worst bye week of the entire fantasy football season (Week 9 is even harsher) is upon us and happens to coincide with the Vikings’ easiest matchup of the season — against the Browns in foggy London town. Subtract all your Packers, Titans, Rams, Giants, Cardinals and Jaguars due to byes, mix in an aggressive blend of devastating injuries across the league and you will find lineup space for Vikings you typically don’t consider.
Cleveland is solid against the run – allowing a league-best 3.0 yards per carry – but with this many teams off and so many backs out, you can find room for Latavius Murray and Jerick McKinnon at flex, if not your RB2. Moreover, game flow could dictate a lot of second-half running by the Vikes.
As for their pass defense, only two teams have permitted more touchdown passes (14) than have the Browns and only one team has allowed a higher quarterback rating (105.9). You know to start Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs (assuming he’s back from his groin injury), but even (gulp!) Case Keenum is usable under these circumstances as a second quarterback in superflex or two-QB starter leagues. Kyle Rudolph is a top-tier tight end start against a Browns defense that has given up the third-most fantasy points to the position.
However, the Vikings’ best play of the week is their stifling defense against the NFL’s worst scoring offense: 14.7 points per game. Cleveland is playing quarterback roulette and enter this game without Joe Thomas at left tackle for the first time in 10-thousand or so snaps. Cue the Everson Griffen sack show and a handful of takeaways.
For good measure, feel free to use Kai Forbath. Following last week’s six-field-goal outburst, he ranks fourth in the NFL in scoring with 62 points and two of the three kickers ahead of him (Zuerlein and Succop) have the week off.
As we always do, let’s now pivot our attention to daily fantasy bargains.
For DFS players, we provide the best values at QB/RB/WR/TE on a weekly basis, including pricing from Fanball, DraftKings and FanDuel. Good luck!
QB: Andy Dalton vs. Indianapolis
I’m not a big Dalton guy but this is undeniable value. He is one of the lowest-priced starting quarterbacks in DFS yet he has one of the best matchups of the week. That’s the exact intersection we’re looking for! The Colts’ secondary has been outrageously generous to quarterbacks, allowing the second-most yards per game (301) in the league. The only quarterback Indy has faced that has not passed for at least 295 yards against them was rookie DeShone Kizer; he “only” had 242 yards, two touchdown passes and one rushing touchdown.
QB: Tyrod Taylor vs. Oakland
Taylor is in the quarterback clearance bin for the second week in a row and this time his matchup is even better than last week’s. You know he’ll always net you points with his legs as a solid floor but the Raiders team that’s making the flight from the left coast includes a defense that has yet to intercept a pass and allows the worst quarterback rating in the NFL (109.0). That Fanball price should be particularly appealing.
RB: LeGarrette Blount vs. San Francisco
The winless 49ers travel all the way east to face arguably the best team in football as of Week 8. The Niners allow 26.6 points per game (30th in the league) and the Eagles score 28.4 points per game (fifth). How do you think this one might end? With Philly running out the clock for a big chunk of the second half with their clock-draining hammer, Blount, that’s how. By the way, no team has permitted more fantasy points to running backs this season than have the 49ers, and that includes nine total touchdowns allowed to the position. Blount also plays the role of designated red-zone running back for Philly. Cheap price for considerable upside.
RB: Joe Mixon vs. Indianapolis
As mentioned above in the section on Blount, the Niners have allowed the most fantasy points per game to running backs this season. Next are the Colts, and Mixon is even cheaper – not to mention a more versatile overall threat. Indianapolis has allowed 10 total running back touchdowns, worst in the league. Mixon is at peak DFS value right now on DraftKings and FanDuel. Note: teammate Giovani Bernard can be utilized for those who are really digging for low prices.
RB: Mark Ingram vs. Chicago
This play is specifically aimed at FanDuel players. The other two values aren’t bad but since when is the price lower on FanDuel? This is rare and possibly even an oversight on their part. Ingram is just begging to be played on FD. The Bears have been a slightly above neutral opponent against the run this season, but Ingram has been on fire in the two games since Adrian Peterson was dealt, totaling 47 carries for 219 yards and three touchdowns.
WR: Josh Doctson vs. Dallas
Monday night’s game against the Eagles included a turning of the page at wide receiver for the Redskins. Doctson didn’t do a lot, but he was their No. 1 wideout in terms of snaps while Terrelle Pryor Sr. spent the first half and part of the second half on the bench. Doctson’s breakout might be coming soon, possibly against a pedestrian Dallas pass defense that ranks among the bottom 10 against wide receivers in terms of fantasy points allowed. Josh remains practically free in DFS for now, making him a perfect play alongside your high-priced studs.
WR: Robby Anderson vs. Falcons
Josh McCown has thrown 74 passes the past two weeks, with 17 of them to Anderson, who leads the Jets in targets and yards. Anderson also scored his second touchdown of the season last week. The upside is not huge with Robby, but he is getting volume. With his 38-year-old quarterback slinging it like he’s 10 years younger and an “everything must go” price point, Anderson will be a good fit in most any DFS lineup this week.
WR: Doug Baldwin vs. Houston
Last week’s Seahawks game plan included a heavy dose of Baldwin for just the second time this season. His 12 targets and nine receptions were his second-best marks of the year and he also found the end zone for just the second time. Game flow likely makes this a second substantial game in a row for Baldwin, as the Seahawks will be taking to the air to keep up with the third-highest scoring offense in the NFL. Houston has exploded for 157 points in their past four games (39.25 ppg.) thanks to rookie quarterback wonder Deshaun Watson. Seattle’s offense isn’t going to score 30-40 points on the “strength” of its running game.
TE: Jason Witten at Washington
After being something of an afterthought in fantasy the past two seasons, Witten has re-emerged as a relevant fantasy play in 2017. He ranks second on the Cowboys in targets, receptions and receiving touchdowns (3) yet remains reasonably priced in DFS. The Cowboys will be on the road facing the rival Redskins in what should be a high-scoring game, as Vegas has this as the biggest O/U of the week. Even better, Washington’s defense has been brutal against tight ends, having allowed four of them to total at least 89 receiving yards in its seven games.
Anthony Maggio, John Tuvey and Bo Mitchell co-host the 1500ESPN Fantasy Football Party podcast. Bookmark the podcast page for upcoming episodes and subscribe to the podcast now! Don’t act like you’re not impressed.
Maggio hosted Fantasy Football Sunday on 1500ESPN from 2012-2013 and is the Fantasy Football Editor at Zoneblitz.com. Mitchell is Vice President of Content for Sportradar. And Tuvey is Senior NFL Analyst and Director of Content for Fanball, a SportsHub Technologies company. All three men are kind of big deals, enjoy leather-bound books and have homes that smell of rich mahogany.
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