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Is it time to fade Devonta Freeman in daily fantasy?

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Welcome to the Week 5 edition of the FanDuel DFS mail bag. Every week I'll take questions on Twitter pertaining to daily fantasy strategy and particular players on FanDuel. If you'd like to have your question featured, just shoot it to me on twitter (@MattHarmon_BYB), and it may just find its way into the mailbag.

Let's get the hot topic out of the way right now. You can't completely fade Devonta Freeman as long as Tevin Coleman doesn't play. Volume holds the best positive correlation to fantasy scoring for the running back position, and Freeman is locked into a heavy workload. No running back handled more touches over the last two weeks than the Falcons new starter. His value also isn't indicative of a three-down foundation running back on a good offense, which he is right now.

No, the matchup against Washington (ranked 4th in fantasy points allowed to running backs per rush attempt) isn't great. So you might not want to go crazy with your exposure. But completely passing up that kind of volume at the running back position is dangerous.

We just covered the latter question, but the former is a tricky one for me. We don't have complete clarity on the Packers run defense just yet. After getting torn apart by Matt Forte, they've really stiffened up, and have not allowed 100 rushing yards total since the Bears got them in Week 1. They ranked 24th in fantasy points allowed to running backs after that Week 1 game, but rank 8th in Weeks 2 through 4. For this reason, I'm hesitant to get on board completely with Gurley.

However, I find him hard to fade at his current value. We can all universally agree that Gurley is on the rise, and a special talent. He's not going to stay in the bargain range for much longer. It might be beneficial to get in on the action at the low-bar setting he finds himself at. Just remember, he's not a safe play due to this matchup, and he'll be in trouble if the Rams offense goes in the tank. We know that can happen at any moment, especially against the high-octane Packers.

I like Thompson this week, as I detailed in my Week 5 Sleepers column. Since Week 1, Atlanta has ceded 31 catches for 300 yards to Darren Sproles, Shane Vereen, Lance Dunbar and the Chris Polk/rusty Arian Foster combination. FanDuel is only .5 PPR, so that takes a little bit of the shine off. Yet, this should be a back and forth game with plenty of scoring. Thompson could have a line close to Dunbar's 100 receiving yards output, making him a fine play in FanDuel's scoring system. Thompson is more involved as a runner than most of the pure pass catchers that worked over Atlanta in the early part of the season.

I'll be on Keenan Allen heavy this week. The Steelers rose out of the basement over the past two weeks to rank 18th in terms of wide receiver points allowed per target. However, that figure is skewed positively by a matchup where Nick Foles fell flat, and Joe Flacco playing on the road on a Thursday night. The Chargers passing game is still ripe for a massive outing against this substandard secondary.

I think both are in play this week. We already mentioned the Chargers attractive home matchup with the Steelers. The Eagles host New Orleans this week, by far the most generous pass defense in the NFL. They rank 32nd in allowing fantasy points to quarterbacks per pass attempt. They can't rush the passer, or cover effectively. I'll be chasing both this week. Rivers for safety, and Bradford for upside and more lineup flexibility.

Jamaal Charles gets the Bears in Arrowhead Stadium. The Bears running back fantasy points against figure looks decent, but it's skewed by a lack of touchdowns (only two allowed). They allow the sixth highest yards per carry and eighth most rushing yards in the league. This sets up nicely for one of those annual "Jamaal goes nuclear" games.

Justin Forsett draws the Cleveland Browns defense at home. The Browns rank 21st in fantasy points allowed to running backs per rush attempt, and give up a ghastly 5.1 yards per carry. We like deploying favorites at home, and the Ravens fit that category, making Forsett a natural choice at a better value than Freeman.

Duke Johnson is quite the bargain going against the Ravens. Balitmore should be able to score on this defense, leaving Cleveland in a pass-heavy game script. That means plenty of work for Johnson, who was targeted 17 times over the least two games.

Jeremy Maclin gets a great matchup with the Bears in Week 5. They rank 32nd in wide receiver points allowed per target. Kyle Fuller has been a big disappointment, but isn't getting help from his fellow starting cornerbacks. Maclin has over 280 yards the last two games, and should have another big game in store.

Jordan Matthews is losing the trust of many fantasy owners, but is in a great spot to bounce back in Week 5. For the same reasons I like Bradford against the Saints, Matthews has appeal. Bradford went deep more often last game, and while that's not Matthews' game in this offense, he's still the primary underneath weapon. He's back to a tremendous value after some down weeks, and averages at least eight targets per game.

Travis Benjamin, it's time to believe. It was easy to wave off Benjamin when he was just being used as a flash deep threat. Now that the Browns have realized he carries a big advantage for their offense, they're working him in underneath as their primary threat. The Ravens defense looked great in Week 1 against the Broncos, but has been shredded by the Raiders, Bengals and Mike Vick-led Steelers since then. Benjamin should get one over on them.

Kamar Aiken is one of my favorites in that range. When he's been targeted this season, Aiken has produced for Baltimore. Joe Flacco has sent the ball Aiken's way seven times in both Weeks 2 and 4, and the wideout responded with 10 catches 166 yards and a touchdown. He'll be counted on to tote that sort of volume on Sunday, as Steve Smith is dealing with a back injury. The Browns are a bottom-half NFL pass defense, giving up 1.22 fantasy points per target to wide receivers (ranked 19th), and .58 fantasy points per pass attempt to quarterbacks (ranked 26th). Their top cornerback Joe Haden, who wasn't playing well anyway, missed last week, and could miss another contest.

Kendall Wright is appealing against a team that doesn't have a great slot corner. The Bills should gain a lead on the Titans, forcing them to the air.

I don't hate chasing Tavon Austin in a contest where passing volume should be boisterous for St. Louis. The Packers will go up on the Rams, and Austin was actually running routes against solid cover corners last week.

Eddie Royal gets a prime matchup against the Chiefs, who allow the most points to wide receivers through three weeks. He nearly had two touchdowns last week, and should see a ton of targets if Alshon Jeffery misses another game.

Willie Snead is quite the value, and has been the best wide receiver on the Saints through the first four weeks. Despite ranking third on the team in targets, Snead leads the Saints in receiving yards and is the only wide receiver to catch a touchdown pass so far. He's been efficient with his chances, catching 72.7 percent of his targets, where his teammates have not. The second-year undrafted free agent is their new version of Lance Moore, with a tad more explosive ability. The Eagles secondary can be had, and Brees looked to Snead in big moments last week. He's a deep flier, but one that you can tell a logical story in how he hits big.


Matt Harmon is an associate fantasy writer/editor for NFL.com, and the creator of #ReceptionPerception, who you can follow on Twitter @MattHarmon_BYB.

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