Daily Fantasy Mailbag  

 

Saints WRs and fading the Thursday night game

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Welcome to the Week 10 edition of the FanDuel DFS mailbag. 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.

I was completely out on Brandin Cooks at his wildly high WR13 overall price in redraft leagues this summer. Despite a rebound in recent weeks, he still sits at WR33 in points per game on the season. Cooks was a clear fade at that draft value. However, that is the beauty of daily fantasy, that doesn't matter.

Cooks is, and always was, a quality player capable of making splash plays, but was just overstretched in his role as the No. 1 wide receiver for the Saints this year. In the last three weeks, he's settled back into a comfortable spot as just another cog in the machine. It's no coincidence his production is on the uptick since. However, keep in mind that Cooks' 13 targets from Week 7 was his high watermark of the season, with something in the six to eight range being more of the norm. He still has trouble with contact, and needs Drew Brees to lead him on deep passes to unlock his ceiling. He won't return every week WR1 value, and his inconsistencies make him a risky play in DFS.

Willie Snead, on the other hand, has about the same target load as Cooks, but catches 65.1 percent of his targets. You can rely on safer, more bankable production from Snead, where Cooks has the higher ceiling. When choosing between the two Saints for DFS, bear in mind what your lineup needs and assess whether to compliment with ceiling or floor. Either way, neither of these players has the type of every week outlook where you can comfortably project 100-yards and a score on a consistent basis.

For this week, however, Cooks may have to be the guy. Snead hasn't practiced yet this week, and is in question for Sunday. We'll want to see at least a limited practice out of him Friday before even considering him for lineups. If he goes, the rules above apply as they do every week.

Ah, we're here; Welcome to Allen Robinson week. If you follow my work, especially with Reception Perception, you know the affinity I hold for Allen Robinson. He's exceeded even my wildest expectations, coming in as the WR6 overall in standard fantasy points per game.

This week, we go all in. Robinson faces off with a Ravens pass defense that ranks dead last in fantasy points per target to wide receivers. Baltimore allows opposing offenses to score 45 percent of the time, second-highest in the league, and Robinson is the red zone threat in this passing offense. Allen Hurns hasn't practiced this week yet, and if he is out, Robinson could push 15 targets in this game, which projects to be a mild shootout. He'll be all over my DFS lineups, and it will feel oh so right.

I just want to take this time from this question to give a strong piece of advice. If you're playing DFS on Thursday, do yourself a favor and completely fade the Thursday night game. Seriously, don't bother putting any of those players in your lineup, unless an elite player in a perfect matchup happens to be there. The ownership percentages for the Thursday players are always completely out of whack. It's just a cognitive thing, people want to see the players in their lineup performing on national TV. Do yourself a favor, check out some of the lineups that are some of the highest scoring after the Thursday night game. There are an alarming number of them that went heavy, some even 100 percent exposure, on the Thursday game just for the hell of it, it would seem.

I remember last year when the Rams and Cardinals faced off on Thursday night, and there were so many lineups with only players from that game. The final score was 12-6. I'm sure the jabroni with the Shaun Hill/Kenny Britt/Stedman Bailey triple stack, Kerwynn Williams at running back, and John Carlson at tight end felt real smart the next day. Even just last week, unless you played Tyler Eifert, you were grossly disappointed. Especially if you thought it was just all too obvious and you had to play Jeremy Hill. Seriously, give yourself a bigger edge and just play Sunday players when you enter Thursday contests.

Darren McFadden averaged 28.3 touches per game over the least three weeks as the Dallas starting running back. Jeremy Hill is lucky if he gets 15, and you're essentially throwing up your hands in hopes he scores a touchdown. The guy with the guaranteed volume, and facing a sneaky good matchup against the Buccaneers, is the far superior DFS play.

This is a really tough call for me as well. However, I think I'll side with Reed this week, as he's the better value and should carry a far smaller ownership percentage. Point chasers will be all over Eifert after a three touchdown bonanza, but the matchup with the Texans projects like an A.J. Green and Giovani Bernard game. Reed, on the other hand, draws a matchup with a Saints defense that can't stop anything through the air. New Orleans allows the most yards per game to tight ends, and Reed is far and away Washington's best red zone threat.

Alshon Jeffery did not practive Thursday, so make sure to monitor his status through this week. Cutler targeted Jeffery on 39 percent of his passes in the last three games, making him a near every week consideration. If he sits, Calvin Johnson becomes a fine pivot play. The Lions will be playing catch up to Green Bay, and Matthew Stafford passing volume is great news for Johnson. He'll be a more contrarian play to the sure to be popular Cobb.

Givens is a pure punt play, so limit your exposure to him, but I like where your head's at. Jacksonville's secondary consistently looks out of tune with the coverage they're assigned to play, and are just a middle of the pack pass defense, at best. However, Givens has the speed to make your week in one play at his low value, and you can surround him with safer plays given the flexibility he brings. Joe Flacco is certainly looking to get the ball to him deep, despite his new status with the team. He had four targets in their Week 8 game before the bye. It's far from anything safe, but I don't mind it as a deep punt play.

I'm all about Jarvis Landry this week. Dallas slot receiver Cole Beasley just went for 9-112 and two scores on the Eagles last week. The Eagles struggle to defend these sort of quick-twitch agile players on the interior. Landry is a far superior player, and a much more regular part of his offense's rotation than Beasley.

In the latest episode of the NFL Fantasy LIVE podcast we discuss Week 10 waiver targets, players to trade for, and bring back the "Flex, Marry or Cut?" game. Don't forget to subscribe and listen in HERE!


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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