The Rams are making football fun in LA again. Unless you live in LA. Then you don’t care.
Jared Goff, Todd Gurley, Greg Zuerlein and the Rams defense headlined the Week 9 FanDuel Sunday Million lineup. Gurley was the only highly owned player in the lineup too, as most other guys were rostered at around 10%. A good lesson to take away. That’s why we look for differentiation. And that’s also why we usually fail.
Except I doubled my entry in this tournament last week, so I don’t always fail. Just usually.
A recap of last week’s lineups, then onto my top pivot picks for Week 10 in the NFL FanDuel Sunday million.
Week 9 FanDuel Sunday Million Winning Lineup
Total Points: 189.24
Jared Goff: $7,600 salary; 28.44 points; 4% owned
Todd Gurley: $9,100 salary; 23.4 points; 27.9% owned
Alvin Kamara: $6,600 salary; 28.2 points; 10.3% owned
Doug Baldwin: $7,900 salary; 32.4 points; 9.9% owned
T.Y. Hilton: $4,700 salary; 25.5 points; 9.9% owned
Ted Ginn Jr.: $5,700 salary; 13.9 points; 12.5% owned
Evan Engram: $6,300 salary; 15 points; 9.1% owned
Greg Zuerlein: $5,300 salary; 17 points; 7.2% owned
Los Angeles Rams: $4,800 salary; 11 points; 14.1% owned
Week 9 Picks
Carson Wentz: 4.2 points; 4.2% owned
Chris Thompson: 5.1 points; 4.8% owned
Dez Bryant : 10.3 points; 20% owned
Jack Doyle: 10.3 points; 15.5% owned
Chalk: Dak Prescott ($8,800), Tyrod Taylor ($7,900)
Why: Dak enters the week’s highest scoring projected game as one of the hottest quarterbacks in the league. Taylor has been quietly consistent this year, particularly at home, and is also in one of the week’s highest scoring games.
Cousins is coming off his two worst games of the season heading into a matchup with one of the league’s stingiest defenses. Minnesota is allowing the eighth fewest FanDuel points to opposing quarterbacks, and also the eighth worst opponent QBR. In fact, by most any passing metric, the Vikings are one of the NFL’s worst matchups for a quarterback.
But Minnesota’s personnel isn’t as talented as those numbers would indicate. And a look at its last four opposing quarterback (DeShone Kizer, Joe Flacco, Brett Hundley & Mitchell Trubisky), tell the bigger picture. In fact, Kizer, Hundley and Trubisky had COMBINED FOR SEVEN NFL STARTS entering their respective games against the Vikings.
Despite clunkers in Seattle and while hosting the Cowboys in the rain, Cousins is still having an excellent season statistically. In four weeks prior to Washington’s loss to Dallas, Cousins had a 10-2 touchdown to interception ratio while averaging over 300 yards per game. Against Minnesota, he won’t be more than 8% owned, but he should be.
Second week in a row picking on the Broncos’ opponent, and it worked out pretty well last Sunday. But even with Carson Wentz throwing for 4 touchdowns on just 199 yards, Denver is still the third overall defense according to FanDuel’s metrics, allowing the fourth fewest points to opposing quarterbacks.
The Broncos have not forced an interception since Week 4, though, and Brady has thrown just two picks all year. Coming off a bye, I expect Brady and the Patriots offense to have enough to pick apart Denver’s steadily declining defense. Best of all, he should remain under 10% owned in a matchup that’s not as tough as perceived.
CHALK: Todd Gurley ($9,600); Le’Veon Bell ($9,400)
Why: No surprises here, as Gurley seems like he’s been on the FanDuel Sunday Million winning lineup more often than not this year. The Rams are favored by 11 and this game still has an o/u set at 47.. The Colts’ run defense is better, but still not actually good, and the Steelers should ride Bell to an easy victory in Indianapolis.
Howard has been a disappointment based on where he was drafted in most leagues this summer, but the second year back is quietly having a respectable season in Chicago. Even in one of the league’s worst offenses.
The touchdowns haven’t really been there for Howard, a victim Trubisky’s rookie struggles and Tarik Cohen vulturing away some red zone looks. But he’s rushed for over 100 yards in three games this season and is still averaging 82.8 yards per game on over four yards per carry. Nothing groundbreaking, but appealing enough in this matchup on Sunday.
Green Bay will make the short trip to Chicago, but the Packers are on an abbreviated week and coming off their third straight loss. Howard’s last rushing touchdown came against the Packers in Week 4, but he still retains a relatively high ceiling from week to week. His ownership won’t exceed 9%, and Howard makes a great pivot option on Sunday.
Coleman has arguably been Atlanta’s best – and most consistent – running back this season. If nothing else, he’s been more efficient than Devonta Freeman, averaging 5.0 yards per carry to Freeman’s 4.2
On Sunday, though, I like Coleman to outperform his $5,800 salary and remain right around 11% owned. Now fully healed from last month’s minor knee injury, Coleman could see comparable work to Freeman against a Dallas team that is much tougher defending between the tackles than in space.
The Cowboys’ overall numbers are good enough to send most owners looking in another direction, but Coleman can pay dividends this weekend on FanDuel.
CHALK: Antonio Brown ($9,300), A.J. Green ($7,900)
Why: Brown will be the highest owned player at any position this week against the Colts. I think a lot of people will look for Green to bounce back from his early departure against Jacksonville on Sunday, and at $7,900 he’s a relative bargain on FanDuel.
The Giants make the long trip to San Francisco in a terribly unexciting matchup of two of the league’s worst teams. But the game is expected to be close, if low scoring, and that should keep Shepard appealing at around 8-9% owned this week.
Shepard drew nine targets last Sunday in what amounted to his first game as New York’s de facto No. 1 receiver. He has just one touchdown and one game over 100 yards receiving this year (in the same game), but over the next six games Shepard will look to establish himself as the franchise receiver the Giants thought he was when they drafted him 40th overall in 2016.
The matchup is the most exciting draw, and will keep Shepard’s ownership from being in the low single digits. San Francisco has allowed the third most receiving TDs and 5th mot receiving yards. In total, the 49ers are one of the best matchups on FanDuel for every position. Shepard should be the main beneficiary for New York on Sunday.
This depends on Julio remaining questionable through the weekend – and playing – but if Jones is declared active sometime late Sunday morning his ownership is going to be lower than it’s been all year in Week 10.
Injury or not, Julio has had an overwhelmingly disappointing 2017 season. He’s on track for his worst overall statistical season since his 2013 campaign was cut short by a fractured foot, and his ugly drop on a would-be touchdown in Week 9 was the embodiment of that disappointment.
Still, averaging 15.3 yards per catch on 43 receptions, Julio remains one the league’s best. And if you can get him for a discount, you should.
CHALK: Rob Gronkowski ($8,100), Evan Engram ($7,400)
Why: Matchup against the Broncos or not, Gronk is the only high-end TE option with Kelce and Ertz on bye this weekend. Engram is having one the best seasons for a rookie tight end ever, and he’s clearly the second best option at the position on Sunday.
This pick is more about ownership and the lack of other options than Henry’s prospects for a standout performance, but hear me out.
Against a Jaguars defense that has been perceivably unforgiving to tight ends this year (and is the No. 1 passing defense by FanDuel metrics), Henry simply won’t be higher than 7-8% owned on Sunday. However, although Jacksonville has only given up three tight end touchdowns in 2017, Henry will arguably be the most physically imposing opposing guy the Jags have seen at the position all year.
Henry had exceed 8 FanDuel points in five straight games before his dud against the Patriots. But that had nothing to do with a matchup. I look for Henry to get back on track in Week 10 – against Jacksonville or not – and those who roll the dice on him in FanDuel will be rewarded.
Like Julio, this pick is all about ownership. But once Clay is back, Buffalo’s offense looks like one of the most exciting in the AFC from a fantasy perspective. No one would have predicted that coming into the season.
Like the Colts, New Orleans has improved defensively, but also like the Colts, the verdict is still out. The Saints are more likely good than great, ultimately. Look for Clay to work his way onto the field for red zone and critical passing down opportunities. That’s enough to be valuable on Sunday at that price point and with his ownership expected to remain depressed coming off injury.