Last week was a particularly good one for us out here on the fringe as James Conner absolutely smashed against the Ravens, Ryan Fitzpatrick had one of the best quarterback scores of the entire week, Tevin Coleman and Jordan Howard both scored two touchdowns, Julio Jones had his first touchdowns of the season and Ben Watson had over 15 DraftKings points! What a week indeed. Let’s keep that positive momentum going.
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QB Drew Brees, Saints
Drew Brees IS worse outdoors. There is no getting around that. His career adjusted yards per attempt outdoors is about 0.8 yards worse in outdoor games than in domed games. However, it isn’t as if he turns into Nathan Peterman outdoors. He is still decidedly above average in outdoors games. This is a good spot for Brees as the Bengals are the sixth-worst defense in yards per play and have several key defensive injuries this week. I like taking road favorite quarterbacks because they generally have good team totals but are less likely to get in a blowout and spend the second half handing the ball off. Brees has one of the highest ceilings of any quarterback on the slate, and Brees-Michael Thomas stacks should be very popular but they won’t be.
RB Sony Michel, Patriots
Generally, when looking at the Patriots on the road, you are not going to focus on their grinder running back who barely catches any passes. This play does not follow the general formula that we use when creating lineups on DraftKings, yet Michel fits the mold of a fringe play. He has the highest percentage of positive plays amongst all running backs this year (per Sports Info Solutions) and was clearly the Patriots’ lead rusher while healthy. I am expecting him back and healthy with little to no limitations this week and no threat for loss of touches in terms of rushes. This should be a ball-control, run-heavy game script for the Patriots, and as we saw with Sony while healthy, he is going to be the primary option near the goal line. In fact, even Sony’s replacement Cordarelle Patterson got four cracks at carries inside the 10-yard line while Michel was on the sideline. I feel very confident that Michel is the best GPP play of any back in this game.
RB Tevin Coleman, Falcons
Last week, we were on Tevin Coleman here on the fringe ,and we are back at this week but for different reasons. We reasoned in the past that Coleman was likely due for positive touch regression, as historically when Devonta Freeman has not been in the lineup, the Falcons have made it a point to use Coleman more frequently, particularly in the passing game. Coleman had an 18% market share of the Falcons passing game last week and has a much better projected game script for rushing attempts in this contest against Cleveland. To me, Coleman has shown that he is ready to be a lead running back.
WR T.Y Hilton, Colts
There is no play that I am more bullish on for tournaments this week than T.Y Hilton at home against Jalen Ramsey and the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jags defense is not even close to the unit it was last season, and Ramsey himself is Pro Football Focus’ No. 46 cornerback in coverage. Meanwhile, Hilton has multiple red-zone touchdowns since returning to the lineup from his lower body injury, and while he didn’t have to turn the jets on against the Raiders in what ended up being a blowout, I am quite certain he still has his speed. People tend to make fear-based decisions when they see someone is playing against Jacksonville, but those are neither necessary nor appropriate. The Jags are down to eighth in defensive DVOA and do not strike fear in my heart.
WR Kenny Golladay, Lions
Quarterback Matt Stafford put on one of the worst performances of his career last week against the Vikings, and the offensive line did him no favors. Golladay was his usual efficient self, but over the past three weeks, Golladay has only seven targets! That number is absurdly low, and while there are a few contextual factors as to why his target share has been small, it will certainly keep ownership off of him against the Bears. Chicago’s pass rush could hamper the Lions passing offense the same way that Minnesota’s pass rush did. If that happens, this play will look very stupid. However, in the long term, Golladay projects to be the best player on this team for the foreseeable future, and if the Lions compete, Golladay has one of the highest ceilings in the wide receiver pool, as the vacated Golden Tate’s volume should begin to drift toward Golladay.
TE Jack Doyle, Colts
Doyle returned from injury in Week 8 and immediately slotted in as the primary receiving tight end for the Colts. Eric Ebron is still getting high-value red-zone snaps and targets, so that zombie is not gone, but Doyle has the more valuable role on DraftKings, where we get a full point per reception. Much like Hilton, Doyle will not be rostered this week because people will see the red numbers next to his name and want to avoid someone playing against the fearsome Jaguars defense, which gave up 40 points to a Dallas offense that has about three total plays. If you think the Jags will suffocate the short passing game of the Colts, then Doyle is not for you, but I am projecting a high chance of more than 35 pass attempts for Indy, which should give Doyle about 7-9 targets at a barren position.
Pictured above: T.Y. Hilton and Jalen Ramsey
Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports