07 Sep Stromme’s Takes: Fantasy Football Gold, Silver, Bronze, Week 1
By: Mike Stromme
Okay, here’s how this works. I’ll take a top-tier player, a mid-level guy and a long-shot flier-type at each position each week. Use it for season-long, DFS, whatever it takes. I play it all. I’ll use favourable matchups and DraftKings dollar values to make my judgements.
Got it good, and since ya understood, here we go!
Gold: Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints ($8,100 DK)
The game total on this game (at time of publish) is 51. For those who aren’t familiar with the gaming realm, that’s a high total for NFL standards. Essentially, this means that Vegas thinks this game will be high-scoring, and I tend to agree.
While the Raiders spent a great deal of their time, money and effort on their secondary this offseason by bringing in Sean Smith, Reggie Nelson via free agency and drafting Karl Joesph in the first round. I don’t believe that this unit will be clicking on all cylinders come Week 1. Factor that into them coming into the Superdome against Drew Brees, it just doesn’t bode well for them. Brees has thrown for a career 302.9 yards/game under a dome, the vast majority of which obviously have come at the Superdome. Trust me, you want a piece of Drew Brees in Week 1.
Silver: Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions ($7,200 DK)
Outside of CB Vontae Davis and MAYBE LB D’Qwell Jackson, I am not a believer in this Colt defense at all. They lack a pass rush, and while one of Marvin Jones or Golden Tate will be locked-up by the aforementioned Davis, the non-Davis covered WR, Anquan Boldin, Eric Ebron and even Theo Riddick will be wide-open for Stafford to find, seek and destroy. The lack of a tangible run game will force Stafford and Jim Bob Cooter to throw the ball in the red zone as well. This game will be another high-scoring one.
Bronze: Robert Griffin III, Cleveland Browns ($5,600 DK)
Ahhh… been a while since anybody could mention his name with any sort of confidence. But, 2016 has been a hell of a year, why stop with RGIII?
Here’s what I’m thinking. While the Eagles did the smart thing in hiring Jim Schwartz, his defenses tend to be strong
up front, but susceptible to the big play. At the risk of channelling my inner-Crash Davis, I believe in Hue Jackson, I believe in Robert Griffin III, I believe in the blitz pick-up and I believe in the big play! RGIII is going to hook up with Corey Coleman a few times in this ball game, one of them will strike pay-dirt.
And, oh yeah, he can run a little bit too. Remember that?
RGIII is a nice and cheep option. While Dak Prescott might be tempting, his owner percentage will be off the charts. In a world full of Daks, be an RGIII.
Gold: Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers ($6,200 DK)
The Falcons were soft against the run last season (18th) and didn’t do much over the offseason to improve from that mark. While this team could be worse than 18th, it isn’t particularly great. I’m thinking more in terms of gameflow in this one, the way the Bucs beat their divisional rival is to pound the rock and keep the ball away from this offense. My gut tells me that Dirk Koetter will give the Dirty Birds a heavy does of the Dougernaught. Expect 15-20 carries from Martin and possibly a touchdown.
Silver: Latavius Murray, Oakland Raiders ($5,600)
Many of the same reasons why I’m taking Drew Brees apply to Latavius Murray (high-total, back-and-forth game). However, the Saints were 31st against the run a year ago. They drafted a DT in the first round, Sheldon Rankins out of Louisville, but he broke his leg in training camp and won’t be heard from until Halloween at the earliest. In a game
where the Raiders will look to put up points, expect Latavius to eat.
Bronze: Spencer Ware, Kansas City Chiefs ($4,400 DK)
I have a feeling that this play might be a little chalky, but “when in rome…” I guess. Like I mentioned in my Twitter rant that included my AFC West picks (@stromme_93), I mentioned that the Chargers are soft in the trenches. Specifically, they’re run defense. The Chargers allowed 2,005 rushing yards a year ago. There soloution, Joey Bosa, just SIGNED with the team a mere week ago. And guess what, he’s already “tight”. In other words, he’s not game-ready; both physically and mentally.
The Chiefs are a 7.5 point favourite. This tells us that the bookmakers expect the Chiefs to win handily. I tend to agree, the Chiefs should control the pace of this game for the most part (I expect a “backdoor cover” from the Chargers, but more on that later in the week). If everything goes according to plan, Spencer Ware will get the start for the Chiefs, grind-out some first downs, score a touchdown and maybe churn the clock late in the game. Either way, Ware should be a solid play this week.
Gold: Odell Beckham, New York Giants ($9,300 DK)
While my esteemed comrad Zak Sauer warns against starting OBJ in DFS, I’m gunna go the other way. I think Odell is worth the bling in Week 1 for a few reasons.
While history isn’t on Beckham’s side, I have a feeling that this game will be high-scoring and back and forth. Kind of a last-possession-wins type of game.
I don’t believe in this Dallas pass rush. I think Eli is going to have a ton of time in the pocket to find his boy Odell on multiple occasions.
And while the Dallas secondary has some talented pieces, they lack that shut-down corner that can handle a top wideout like Beckham.
More-or-less a gut feeling with this one, but I think OBJ has a big game this week.
Silver: Brandin Cooks, New Orleans Saints ($7,700)
A nice little handcuff to Drew Brees. Taking him for all the reasons why I’m taking Brees, he’s going to be the primary recipient of his success on Sunday.
Bronze: Corey Coleman ($5,100 DK), DeSean Jackson ($6,100 DK), Marvin Jones ($4,600) Willie Snead ($4,800) Michael Crabtree ($5,500)
Had a little trouble narrowing things down on this one…
Coleman is the top WR option for RGIII with Josh Gordon suspended. I see him getting the most targets amongst the Cleveland WRs and I feel as if Philadelphia might be susceptible to the big play, Coleman has the track speed to make those big plays. I’m a believer.
Another team that might be susceptible to the big play is the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday night. While Draftkings is a little more PPR-friendly, it might be worth while to have DeSean Jackson in a lineup or two. He’s a home run hitter, and he’s going up against a secondary that gave up more passing yards than 29 other teams a year ago. While taking throws from a QB that completed nearly 70 % of his passes last year, DeSean Jackson might be that home run hitter that you can ride to victory both in DFS and in season-long out of the flex. With Josh Doctson looking like he’s going to be limited early on, Cousins might look Jackson’s way a few times.
Like I said earlier, I believe that Vontae Davis will be on Golden Tate like stink on shit. This will probably make Marvin Jones more than available for Matthew Stafford. Needless to say, I think he gets a ton of targets in this high-scoring football game.
Willie Snead should get more than a few looks from Drew Brees, he targeted him over 100 times last season. The addition of Michael Thomas shouldn’t change that too much.
In that same high-scoring game, I like Michael Crabtree. While Amari Cooper might be the sexy pick, Crabtree was targeted in the end zone more times than any other Raider pass catcher last season. Odds are, he catches one in this one as well.
Gold: Coby Fleener, New Orleans Saints ($4,900 DK)
The best value of the top options at TE for both season-long fantasy and DFS in Week 1. He kind of fits a common theme in this article, get as many Raiders and Saints into your lineups as possible. This game’s going to be a high-scoring barn burner. Also, the Raiders were one of five teams to give up more than 10 touchdowns to TEs last season. Expect the Fleener-Brees connection to be in full-flight this Sunday.
Silver: Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles ($4,300 DK)/Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys ($4,100)
Both guys are top 10 tight ends, both are the proverbial safety blankets for rookie QBs and both are going up against defenses that gave up 1,000+ yards to opposing tight ends last season. Both guys have high floors this week, and
figure to be particularly effective in PPR formats.
Bronze: Clive Walford, Oakland Raiders ($3,000 DK)/Dwayne Allen, Indianapolis Colts ($3,200 DK)/Cameron Brate, Tampa Bay Buccaneers ($2,900 DK)
Walford is a big, strong red zone threat going up against a defense that gave up 1,000+ yards and double-digit TDs to tight ends last season. A bargain at a mere $3,000 on the ‘Kings… The Lions are another team that gave up their fair share of scores to TEs. With Andrew Luck hucking the ball against them in what appears to be a bit of a barn burner, there’s a good chance that Dwayne Allen scores this week… This last one isn’t for the faint of heart. Cameron Brate has usurped Austin Sefarian-Jenkins as the Bucs’ starting TE. Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times has reported that ASJ has slipped so far back into Koetter’s dog house that he has been practising with the team’s second unit all week. Winston’s new favourite target is reportedly Brate. The Falcons are lacking in the linebacker dept., and struggled against TEs last season. He’s worth a dart throw in tournament plays, or if you planned on punting/streaming tight ends this season.
Gold: Seattle Seahawks ($3,900 DK)/Los Angeles Rams ($3,800 DK)
I don’t know about you, but I just don’t see Ryan Tannehill’s first career trip into the 12’s Nest going well at all… I’m pegging the L.O.B to pick him off AT LEAST twice and that defensive front will sack him a minimum of three times. Dolphins’ centre Mike Pouncey is “week-to-week”, won’t play in Week 1, controversial rookie Tackle Laramy Tunsil faces a tough task in his debut (reports out of camp were initially underwhelming), and Ja’Wuan James isn’t all that great. It’s going to be a long day for Tannehill and the Dolphins… The #MobSquad gets trigger-happy Blaine “happy feet” Gabbert and the San Francisco 49ers on Monday Night football to round out Week 1. Not only has Gabbert been sacked on 8.5% of his career dropbacks, he has a mediocre 33-31 TD-INT ratio AND now plays under a Chip Kelly go-go-go offense. The great thing about a fantasy defense going up against a Kelly offense is, the sheer volume of plays. The more plays a defense sees per series, the more opportunities they get to make a big play; it’s basic mathematics. The chance of Tavon Austin returning punt for this team is just another added little bonus. The Rams are in a prime position to make some noise this week.
Silver: No Play
Not seeing a middle-ranked defense that really grabs my eye. Besides, it’s better to either have a top defense, or
swing for the fences with a bottom defense in a good matchup anyways.
Bronze: Tennessee Titans ($2,600 DK)/Chicago Bears ($2,500 DK)
The Titans/Vikings are poised to play a low-scoring game. It looks like both teams are going to pound the rock, play things close to the vest and win the game on a late kick. The Vikings, however will be either starting newly-acquired Sam Bradford, who just picked up a Norv Turner playbook last week, or Shaun Hill. Hill doesn’t inspire much confidence in me, does he for you? Odds are, that answer is no. The Titans are a high-floor, low-cost option this week… Much like the Rams, the Bears play a high-tempo offense in Houston. Now, this one is a little more risky for the Texans could put up a bunch of points. However, a high volume of plays also means a high-volume of chances to make plays. And let’s face facts, Osweiler isn’t exactly Peyton in his prime when it comes to accuracy. High-risk, high-reward play the Bears are.
Saints: Brees, Snead, Cooks, Fleener
Raiders: Carr, Murray, Crabtree, Walford
Lions: Stafford, Riddick, Jones, Ebron
Colts: Luck, Moncrief, Allen
Browns: Griffin III, Coleman, Barnidge
Giants: Manning, Beckham, Tye
Redskins (Prime Time Special): Cousins, Jones, Jackson, Reed (gut feeling: the Steelers will be a popular stack in the prime time/late slate. Go contrarian, especially in tournaments).
For more football talk, start ’em/sit ’em questions and last minute picks, follow me at @stromme_93 on Twitter!