Sunday, Feb 2nd — Early
Bye Week:
49ers
Bears
Bengals
Bills
Broncos
Browns
Buccaneers
Cardinals
Chargers
Chiefs
Colts
Cowboys
Dolphins
Eagles
Falcons
Giants
Jaguars
Jets
Lions
Packers
Panthers
Patriots
Raiders
Rams
Ravens
Redskins
Saints
Seahawks
Steelers
Texans
Titans
Vikings

Week 6 Player Grid

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This Player Grid will hold little value for you without first reading this.

Note: Players in a given tier are not listed in any particular order.

FantasyDraft Players :: I’ve added a FantasyDraft Addendum to the bottom

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TIER 1

Quarterback

My quarterback list is slim this week, and I don’t plan to overthink the position. There are a number of quarterbacks you could make a case for, but there are only a few plays that really pop off the page for me. This is a good spot to drop a reminder that this Player Grid is NOT a list of “all the good players on the slate,” but is instead the narrowed-down, late-week list I am using for my own roster(s). There are good QB plays besides these; but these are the ones I am focused on.

  • Matt Ryan :: In their home games this year, the Falcons have scored 31, 37, and 36 points, while Ryan’s “worst game” through the air was 272 yards and a pair of touchdowns. (He added two additional touchdowns on the ground in that game.) It’s not an overstatement to say that this Bucs pass defense is awful. This is a great spot for Ryan.
  • Jameis Winston :: Over the last three weeks, the Falcons have allowed point totals of 43, 37, and 41 — and while those were games against New Orleans, Cincinnati, and Pittsburgh, this Bucs offense carries monster upside of its own, and Jameis can get the job done just as well as Fitzpatrick did earlier in the season. There is a little more risk here, simply in that this is Jameis’ first game back, but that risk is minimal, and he’s a great complement to Ryan in this game.
  • Jared Goff :: I don’t plan to move away from the Bucs/Falcons game at QB, but if I do, the spot that draws my eye the most is Jared Goff taking on the overrated Broncos pass defense. Denver ranks 18th in DVOA against the pass and 24th in yards allowed per pass attempt, and they don’t appear equipped to stop the Rams’ offensive machine. The one fear here is that the Rams could theoretically destroy Denver by just leaning on Gurley. As long as they throw the ball their normal amount, however, Goff should have his normal production.

Running Back

No real surprises on the running back list. As is typically the case: I am likelier to land on the same plays as the field at running back than at wide receiver, as volume is so important at the running back position.

  • Todd Gurley :: No surprises here. Gurley carries the highest raw projection on the slate, vs a Denver run defense that ranks 26th in DVOA and 30th in yards allowed per carry. Gurley can’t “fail,” and he has as good a shot as anyone else on the slate for the top score of the weekend. Especially on FanDuel, where Gurley is embarrassingly underpriced, he is a “play him if you can fit him” option.
  • James Conner :: I love the way this game sets up for Conner, as the Bengals’ defense is getting beat by long, sustained drives and bad red zone defense — a situation that should allow Conner to remain continually involved, while soaking up several looks in scoring position. If we want to go “narrative-driven,” this is also expected to be Conner’s last game before Le’Veon Bell returns. That’s not the reason to roster him — but you can guarantee he’ll be looking to make a statement.
  • Joe Mixon :: With no Giovani Bernard, Mixon also falls into the “difficult to fail” category. He’ll be on the field for over 80% of the snaps, and he is almost guaranteed 20+ touches — with work in the receiving game, work on the ground, and work near the end zone. Pittsburgh is a middling run defense, but they are quietly Mixon’s best matchup of the year.
  • T.J. Yeldon :: I’ll be surprised if Yeldon tops 65 rushing yards in a tough matchup on the ground…but I’ll also be surprised if he falls shy of six receptions. This makes him a more iffy play on FanDuel than on DraftKings and FantasyDraft, but he’s in play on all three sites. Much like the guys above: Yeldon will be at least an 80% player this week, which has massive value at running back, with guaranteed touches and locked-in opportunities in scoring position.
  • Christian McCaffrey :: The last time CMC had a game that set up this well against the run, he was given 28 carries. In his other games this year, he has target counts of nine, 15, and six. No matter what, he will remain involved across all areas of the field — making him a classic “high floor, high ceiling” play.

Wide Receiver

Very, very narrow list of true Tier 1 plays this week for me — and all of these guys have question marks of their own. I may go off the board a bit at wide receiver this week, but these are the guys I feel best about.

  • Julio Jones :: It simply does not make sense for the Falcons to not feature him this week — and if they feature him, he’ll dominate. Naturally, just because it “simply does not make sense for the Falcons to not feature him” does not guarantee they will feature him (#Sarkisian). But I’m comfortable banking on him getting the work this week. If he gets the work, he can put up a score that no other player on the slate can come close to.
  • Robert Woods // Brandin Cooks :: With Chris Harris on Cooper Kupp, Woods and Cooks should both be in line for a small bump in targets — and even if that bump doesn’t come, these two guys have been unstoppable early in the year. “Duds” are not in the range of featured players in this offense, making each guy a safe bet; and these guys both have the upside to match higher-priced wide receivers. Cooks sets up best in this matchup, but touchdown upside is higher on Woods. Each guy is fairly neck-and-neck for me.
  • Tyler Boyd :: The best place to attack Pittsburgh is over the middle of the field, where Boyd sees most of his action — and with Tyler Eifert out and A.J. Green in a tough matchup, the volume should be locked in here. Expect seven to nine targets for Boyd, with upside for more — making him a safe, high-upside play, at a price tag that is still too low for his role in this offense.
  • Chester Rogers :: Rogers is a better play on DraftKings and FantasyDraft than on FanDuel, where his PPR skill set and role play better; but he’s in play on all sites as the only featured receiver available on a team that loves to throw the ball. Expect him to get seven to nine targets in this game, with upside for more. The short crossing routes he runs in this offense can turn into big gains against the Jets.

TIER 2

Running Back

  • Chris Carson :: The Seahawks’ Vegas-implied total has quietly crept up this week, and there are currently only five teams projected higher than them. For some reason, no one wants to recommend Chris Carson — and yet, he’s a guy who will end up at around 10% or 15% ownership in higher-dollar tourneys, as he is just such a solid play. He doesn’t catch many passes, but he’ll get 15 to 25 touches against one of the worst run defenses in the NFL, with goal line work mixed in. While we typically target “non-pass-catching backs” on FanDuel, his price is more appealing on DraftKings, where he is a solid “floor” piece for his price, with definite upside.
  • Marshawn Lynch :: Lynch is in the same group as Carson, with a locked-in role for the Raiders as long as they do not fall behind. If this game stays close, Lynch will get 16 to 20 touches, with a couple receptions, and with goal line work. Because I expect this game to stay close, I feel safe with Lynch this week.
  • Tevin Coleman :: By the numbers, Coleman is a better play than the other two on FanDuel, where they are all priced together, though I like Carson more on DraftKings by the numbers (and I lean Lynch on DraftKings as well, simply because I like him more as a player). Coleman will play around 65% of the Falcons’ snaps, in what will be a high-scoring game, giving him plenty of opportunity to trip into some upside. His typical role has him in line for around three catches and 15 to 16 carries, giving him plenty of opportunity to hit.

Wide Receiver

  • Dede Westbrook :: I don’t know if I can pull the trigger on Dede this week, as there is so much guesswork involved here — but given the way offenses are attacking the Cowboys, and the way the Jaguars use their wide receivers, this sets up as a spiked-target game for the Jaguars’ best receiver. WR usage on the Jags has been unpredictable, but things line up nicely in this spot.

TIER 3

Quarterback

  • Cam Newton :: Cam is always in consideration in tourneys.
  • Deshaun Watson :: Watson is always in consideration in tourneys.

Running Back

  • Tarik Cohen :: Cohen is a mega mismatch for the Dolphins’ linebackers. There is no guarantee he sees the work he saw a couple weeks ago, but he gets enough work to carry solid floor regardless, and he has monster upside if he is featured again.
  • Melvin Gordon :: Gordon doesn’t set up quite as well as the Tier 1 guys from a “floor” perspective, but his ceiling remains just as high. I could comfortably bump him up to Tier 1, and I won’t be surprised to find him on one of my three teams this week. He has been making monster games look routine.
  • Austin Ekeler :: Ekeler’s usage last week was a bit concerning (almost all of his touches came at the end of the game), but he is one play away from a touchdown every time he touches the ball. In a fast-paced environment in Cleveland, he’ll have some chances to hit.
  • Ezekiel Elliott :: Zeke enters a poor matchup vs the Jaguars, but he carries monster talent-driven upside. I won’t be going here myself, but he warrants placement on this list for what he can do when things go his way.

Wide Receiver

  • Falcons WRs :: If Julio does not pop off this week, Ridley or Sanu almost certainly will. You can play one of these guys with Julio — or, if you fade Julio, you can bet on one of these two having a big game in his place.
  • Bucs WRs :: Because the Bucs have so many weapons, it won’t be surprising if Jameis posts a top score without any of his pass catchers topping 100 yards. But Mike Evans should be in the 70 to 110 yard range, with guaranteed targets, and he has a shot at a monster day if he pours in a touchdown or two; DeSean Jackson only needs one or two plays to turn his low floor into a big ceiling; and Chris Godwin’s route tree and responsibilities match up best against this defense, creating a potential opportunity for him to see a spike in work. All three are in play.
  • Seahawks WRs :: I don’t expect the Seahawks to throw the ball more than 26 to 30 times, but it seems likely that they try to get Doug Baldwin involved after his one-catch game last week (and after he expressed disappointment afterward), and the speed of Tyler Lockett is no match for the slow Raiders defense. I think one of these guys will have a big game.
  • Courtland Sutton :: Who knows if he will finally connect with Keenum — but the work has been there, and the upside is monstrous. Fingers crossed for “Courtland Sutton Week.”
  • Keke Coutee :: Coutee is locked into targets in this offense, and he has big upside with the ball in his hands. Because he runs most of his routes underneath — and because it’s so difficult to throw downfield on the Bills — he has a shot at posting big numbers on this slate.

Tight End

  • Eric Ebron :: Tight end is ugly, ugly this week. Ebron is the only safe play — and with all of his injuries, even he can’t be considered too safe. I’d like to lobby for an extra wide receiver spot, please.
  • Vance McDonald :: If upside-hunting, Vance is one of the only guys on the slate who could turn five catches into 100 yards. His target load is far from guaranteed, making him a risky bet — but the upside is big.
  • David Njoku :: Njoku has a tough matchup vs the Chargers, but he has been seeing around seven targets per game — and with how banged-up the Browns are at wide receiver, that should continue here. You can lock him in for targets…and you can hope the points follow.
  • Jordan Reed :: Reed may go a bit overlooked this week, but he is a six to seven target guy with plenty of talent. There is nothing I “want to play” at tight end; but if we take price out of the equation, I like Reed a lot more than some of these other options.
  • C.J. Uzomah :: The Steelers have been hammered by tight ends lately — and while I was originally concerned about the lack of schemed targets to Uzomah, that could change this week after they watch film on the way other teams have successfully attacked the Steelers. It won’t be surprising if Uzomah duds…but it also won’t be surprising if he sees six or seven targets.
  • Cameron Brate :: If O.J. Howard plays (which he seems on track to do), no one will play Brate — but he’ll still see the field, especially in scoring position; and he and Jameis Winston have a good connection, after regularly taking extra reps together after practice. As with everyone else on this list, Brate has floor concerns. But he also carries ceiling.

DST

  • Jaguars :: Defense also lacks any truly “safe, guaranteed-points” spots, but the Jags are always in play as one of the best defenses in the league. They are taking on a broken Dallas offense.
  • Colts :: Even after landing zero sacks against New England, the Colts rank third in the NFL in total sacks this year, and they are taking on a mistake-prone rookie in Sam Darnold. You could do worse while saving salary.
  • Bears :: The only concerns for the Bears are low play volume (i.e., fewer opportunities to generate opponent mistakes) and the heat in Miami. Obviously, we prefer home defenses; but based purely on matchup, the Bears are the best option on the slate.
  • Texans :: The Texans pick up sacks, but don’t typically force many opponent mistakes — making them an iffy bet from week to week. With that said, they are taking on Josh Allen this week. That keeps any defense in play — especially one with the up-front talent of Houston.
  • Dolphins :: Cameron Wake appears on track to miss this week for Miami, which hurts their chances of generating pressure; but they are a home defense against a young, mistake-prone quarterback in Mitchell Trubisky, which is enough to put them firmly in play this week.
  • Steelers :: The Steelers will be on the road against a good offense — but they are aggressive, and Dalton can be had for picks, which will give Pittsburgh an opportunity to pile up points. It won’t feel good to lock them in, but they’ll have a shot at getting the job done this week.

 

Hopefully this gives you a great opportunity to compare your thoughts against my own.

I’ll see you at the top of the leaderboards this weekend; and I’ll see you on the site next Thursday morning for the Week 7 edition of the NFL Edge!

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FantasyDraft Players:

If playing the Full-Sunday slate on FantasyDraft:

Rob Gronkowski, Sony Michel, and James White would all become Tier 1 plays — and you could comfortably throw Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes in there as well.

I’m hesitant to hammer Travis Kelce as a true Tier 1 play (Tier 1 = high price-considered floor, high price-considered ceiling), as there is a chance he is the weapon the Patriots go out of their way to limit. As noted in the NFL Edge this week: they successfully erased Kelce last year, but they did so at the cost of getting burned by Tyreek Hill. Lots of guesswork here — with Kelce’s week-winning ceiling remaining intact, but with his floor lower than normal. Same goes for Tyreek Hill, while Sammy Watkins is not seeing enough locked-in volume to be a true Tier 1 play. Basically, every player in this game can be considered in tourneys for big ceiling, but from a Floor/Ceiling perspective, the only guys I would be moving things around to account for are White, Michel, Gronk, Brady, and Mahomes. After that, it’s upside-hunting with less-certain floor. (Obviously: the ceiling on Kelce and Hill still keeps them very much in the tourney conversation for the week-winning upside they provide.)