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This week the Ghost is a bit under the weather so George Kritikos is going to go it on his own this week. George had some great picks last week with selections of Kenny Stills and Tre Mason, both who absolutely smashed their values. If you listened to George last week you likely are sitting with some extra money this week. The Ghost also had Stills as a choice so that should have been an immediate clue that there was something to that pick if both of our experts keyed in on him. Let’s take a look at what gems George has in store for us this week:
Quarterback – Russell Wilson – $8,500
With Wilson, you are paying for a nice floor (he has scored a touchdown in every game but one this season) and can supplement an average passing day with great running numbers. At the price of the seventh quarterback in a generous matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles (fourth worst in passing yardage allowed, fifth in passing touchdowns allowed), this should be a nice safe alternative for some of the higher priced quarterbacks. Add in an opposing offense actually capable of turning this into a shootout and Wilson becomes more of a focal point in this week’s game. I expect him to utilize him arm and his legs to lead them past the surging Eagles.
Projected Stat Line – 23 completions, 225 yards, 75 rushing yards, three total touchdowns
Follow-Up – Philip Rivers ($7,900) – Rivers could not have worked out much better than he did. He had his season in passing yardage (383), rushing yardage (19), and tied his season high in passing touchdowns (three). For this price, Rivers was a great investment against a porous defense that helped turn this game into an aerial show.
Running Back – Chris Ivory – $5,300
Call it a hunch, but I like Ivory in this matchup against the Vikings. When you get a player who is fourth in the NFL in forced missed tackles while running the ball (43 missed tackles in 146 carries) going against a defense seventh worst in rushing yards allowed, something good should happen. Given last week’s 49 carries for the Jets, they may have finally realized the type of offense they need to play in order to keep games close. I expect a lot of Ivory here with a good chance to score.
Projected Stat Line – 18 rushes, 85 yards, one touchdown
Follow-Up – Tre Mason ($6,000) – Mason was absolutely dominant last week and far surpassed anyone’s expectations. With three total touchdowns and 117 rushing yards (and another 47 yards in the passing game), he was by far the best value last week. I hope everyone slotted him in their lineups last week because the price has jumped ($7,200 this week) against one of the best run defenses. Party’s over folks.
Running Back – Eddie Lacy – $8,500
Lacy is looking great with nine touchdowns in his last nine weeks including six weeks with over 100 total yards. The rough start seems like it was more a result of a tough schedule and the Packers being hesitant to give him a full workload. Both those issues are over and in a matchup against an Atlanta defense that has allowed the most touchdowns to running backs (16) and is among the worst in total yards allowed to running backs (152 per game), so this is a dream scenario. Lacy should run all over this team and catch a few passes for poops and laughs.
Projected Stat Line – 22 rushes, 110 yards, three catches, 30 yards, two touchdowns
Follow-Up – Rashad Jennings ($7,100) – More running back success last week as Jennings was able to find pay dirt twice against the pathetic Jaguars. While I did expect more success in the passing game (three catches, three yards), I am hardly going to fault this effort from Jennings. This was his second best scoring effort of the season. He may miss this week due to injury in what would have been another great matchup play.
Wide Receiver – DeAndre Hopkins – $7,500
While I don’t love the price, I do love the consistency. Hopkins has only failed to catch four passes or more once in the last ten games. He has also surpassed 60 yards eight times with four of those being 100 yard efforts. Going against Jacksonville, who gives up the fourth most receiving yardage to wideouts, we have a great matchup to exploit even at this price. Hopkins will have a field day here catching the ball with ample opportunity to get a touchdown and follow up on his career best performance a week ago.
Projected Stat Line – seven catches, 115 yards, one touchdown
Follow-Up – Odell Beckham Jr. ($8,500) – Beckham had the catches (seven) and the yards (90), but failed to put it into the end zone in an effort that would have made the effort worth the cost. This is not the type of investment to sink your team but it definitely does not help it climb the rankings and win money. Beckham likely hurt a lot of teams with this performance as many banked on another strong performance against a weak opponent.
Wide Receiver – Randall Cobb – $8,400
Time and again I have gone to Cobb and he hasn’t disappointed me yet. Best case scenario, Desmond Trufant is healthy and shadows Jordy Nelson while Cobb is matched up with any of the other corners (all of whom allow a 60% or greater catch rate with seven touchdowns against). These are the types of matchups Aaron Rodgers is known to exploit. Cobb should be able to add to his ten touchdowns this season while surpassing 1,000 receiving yards (he is at 922 so far).
Projected Stat Line – eight catches, 105 yards, one touchdown
Follow-up – Josh Gordon ($8,100) – Much like Beckham, Gordon failed to reach the end zone despite a number of catches (seven) and decent yardage (75). A lot of the blame can be placed on an ineffective Brian Hoyer and an inept Browns offense. Gordon is always capable of a monster game but the supporting cast will hold him back for the remainder of the season. This week’s price tag ($8,000) makes him harder to gamble on.
Wide Receiver – Kelvin Benjamin – $7,500
I have not been the Benjamin flag bearer in dynasty leagues, but I can get behind a player in daily leagues who is force-fed the ball. He had a rough time against New Orleans earlier in the season (just two catches for 18 yards) but I expect this game to be different. For one, they will be in New Orleans where the Saints have scored 20+ points in all games except one – that points to a likely shootout needed against a Saints secondary who are third worst in yards and seventh in touchdowns allowed to wide receivers. Benjamin will have better success here as the Panthers will need him early and often.
Projected Stat Line – six catches, 90 yards, one touchdown
Follow-Up – Kenny Stills ($5,100) – It was likely that a lot of savvy owners went after Stills, but his value was through the roof. On just five catches, he had 162 yards including a touchdown – that is the type of production you want from your elite players, much less a player who was at a bargain basement price to afford other options in your lineup. His priced has jumped ($6,400) but his matchup against Carolina could be fruitful, even with this cost.
Tight End – Tim Wright – $5,100
I wanted Kyle Rudolph, but I could not make the math work for me here. Instead, I went with a high upside gamble in an intriguing matchup with Wright. He had six touchdowns in five games before he put up a dud (one catch, 12 yards) against the Green Bay Packers last week. While his upside his largely hinged on finding the end zone, he does have three games with five or more catches. Against the Chargers, he faces the team that has been the stingiest to the tight end position – that will likely hurt Rob Gronkowski more than Wright as he lines up in the slot on over 80% of his pass routes. I am betting on Tom Brady finding the mismatch here and Wright getting some extended time and looks.
Projected Stat Line – four catches, 55 yards, one touchdown
Follow-Up – Rob Gronkowski ($7,700) – For the third time last week, I had a player who managed the catches (seven) and yards (98), but failed to find the end zone to put his performance over the top. This is the high floor you pay for when putting Gronk in the lineup so I am not too disappointed. As mentioned above, I am avoiding him this week given the brutal matchup but if anyone is matchup proof, it may just be Gronk.
Kicker – Shayne Graham – $4,500
I expect a shootout here, but I needed a low price kicker with a decent floor – that is what Graham provides and he will be in the dome where any field goal attempts should be made. Low cost, low upside and low expectations here.
Projected Stat Line – one field goal, four extra points
Follow-Up – Shayne Graham ($4,700) – A nice run of kicker performance ended here as Graham had five extra points and nothing else. It could have been worse given the price but you hope for at least a field goal or two.
Defense – Denver – $4,700
Another week where the low priced options are to be avoided. Denver was the best option at a reasonable price. They know how to get after the quarterback (fifth in the NFL with 34 sacks) and are average at takeaways and points allowed. Buffalo represents a neutral opponent as they give up league levels in sacks, giveaways and are an average scoring team. This should hopefully be a safe play that gives a few points while not hurting the team.
Projected Stat Line – 20 points allowed, four sacks, one interception
Follow-Up – Miami ($4,900) – Miami did not have the type of day I was expecting. They did limit the scoring (13 points allowed), but failed to get to the quarterback much (two sacks) and turnovers were limited to just one interception. A slight overpay, but they did nothing to hurt the team.