Top Tier :
Stefon Diggs @ Philadelphia Eagles ($7000)
There are more enticing plays at the WR position this week than we’ve seen in the previous four. Many of them have been priced up, correctly, making our choices tougher than they’ve been. Diggs is WR11 in terms of pricing for the main slate, but if you were to remove all the salaries and ask me to pick one guy, it would be him. Diggs will be matched up against Jalen Mills. If you’re reading this article, you likely know all about Mr. Mills.
Jalen Mills has allowed the most touchdowns of any cornerback in the league since the beginning of last season. Remember Week 2? The #Fitzmagic? The first play of the game for the Buccaneers went for a 75 yard touchdown to Desean Jackson. He beat Mills in coverage. Remember last week vs. the Titans? Corey Davis had 9 catches for 161 yards and a touchdown. Corey Davis.
Diggs plays 24% of his outside snaps on the right side – that’s second on the team to Laquan Treadwell – Mills lines up there over 70% of the time. When not facing Mills, Diggs will see Ronald Darby, who’s been very bad in his own right. Both he and Adam Thielen play the majority of their snaps from the slot, though Thielen plays 70% of his from there, to just over 50% for Diggs. They will see Sidney Jones on virtually all of those slot snaps. Jones is the 5th best cornerback in the league in terms of passer rating allowed, so I see no reason why Minnesota will force Diggs into the slot to face him when the matchups on the outside are so favorable. Diggs is a cash game and tournament play for me this week.
Sterling Shepard @ Carolina Panthers ($5600)
This is a tough choice. This pricing tier is smaller this week, and Calvin Ridley, playing in what is all but certain to be a total shootout, is at the top of it @ $5800. Joe mentioned Shepard in last week’s article, and rightfully so. He was a fantastic play, and I’m going right back there this week.
Shepard has one of the better matchups of the week vs. Captain Munnerlyn. Shepard runs over 75% of his routes from the slot, and Munnerlyn lines up there 97% of the time, and is in man coverage for more than one-third of those snaps. We’ve seen what happens when Evan Engram misses time: Shepard gets a ton of targets and has big games. Last week, he caught all 10 of his targets for 77 yards and a touchdown. This week with the Panthers being favored by a touchdown at home, I expect Shepard to see double-digit targets, again, against a very beatable cornerback. If you’re looking for a pivot to get away from Calvin Ridley, Shepard is your guy.
Lower Tier :
Donte Moncrief @ Kansas City Chiefs ($4100)
This pricing tier is filled with potential large tournamet winning plays this week. ‘Chalk’-full, you could say. That attempt to be humorous may not have landed, but certainly there are any number of players who could, and I have no doubt there will be a few that will in this price range. Donte Moncrief is one that I will betting on to hit this week.
I’ve already talked about Blake Bortles as a potential cash game play this week in the QB section of this week’s picks because of the great matchup. The Jaguars are in Kansas City against a Chiefs team that has allowed the 2nd most receiving yards in the league thus far, without the services of Leonard Fournette, in a game with an implied total of 49 points. The Chiefs will likely be able to put up points against the obviously great Jacksonville defense, and if that happens, Bortles and his receivers may ALL have big days.
The target share amongst the WR group has been fairly even – 28 for Dede Westbrook, 24 for Keelan Cole, and 22 for Moncrief – but Moncrief has been their most efficient receiver over the past two weeks catching 7 of 8 targets for 125 yards and a touchdown. He also leads the team in touchdowns, with 2; in yards per catch, at 14.4; and redzone targets with 2. There will be plenty of opportunity to increase those numbers this week.
Top Tier :
Zach Ertz vs. Minnesota Vikings ($6500)
The thought of paying up at the TE position can be… unpleasant. It usually is for me. I usually start looking at the bottom of the salary scale, and scroll up until I see a play that I can put in my lineup that makes me a slightly less nauseated than I would had I paid WR salary for a TE. However, this week I feel good about spending up.
Double-digit targets in every game this year (10, 13, 10, 14), a per game average of just under 8 receptions per game (7.8), and 82 yards per game for $6500? If Zach Ertz was a WR, he’d be chalk every week. This week he’s at home against the Vikings – a team that just got torched down the seam by Rams’ WRs in Week 4. This game has a 45.5 implied total, and I think it goes way over that. I lke Ertz for cash games, and definitely in game-stacks with the elite Vikings WRs.
Austin Hooper @ Pittsburgh Steelers ($3000)
This is the most interesting tier of the week, at any position. There are only four players in it, three of them are in the same game, and that game has a whopping 57.5 implied total. If you were to tell me that you thought Austin Hooper was the worst play of the three guys involved in the Falcons @ Steelers game, I wouldn’t take issue with it. At all. I chose Hooper for two reasons: One is price, the other, narrative.
The main reason I like Hooper is price. He’s the cheapest of the four guys in this tier. Vance McDonald is the guy on everyone’s radar right now, but he’s $3700 and I’d rather have the savings. The reason is that I think James Conner has a bounce back game here and sees a lot of carries and targets out of the backfield. By now, everybody knows about the Falcons vs. pass-catching RBs – they can’t defend them.
Hooper has 15 targets in 4 games; McDonald has 15 targets in 3 games. They both have a touchdown. They both have a great matchup this weekend, but so does every player in both offenses, and I’d rather have the $700 savings to help pay up for the players who will be doing the majority of the scoring in this game.
Lower Tier :
CJ Uzomah vs. Miami Dolphins ($2900)
No, I didn’t misspell ‘Tyler Kroft.’ I like the guy who plays more snaps, gets more targets, and has scored more touchdowns, and that’s Uzomah. They’re both $2900 this week, in a game that has sneaky shootout potential. The current Vegas total is 48.5 and I like this game to go over that total. There isn’t a whole lot of analysis to be done at the bottom of the TE salary scale, just a whole lot of hoping that if you choose to spend way down at this spot, that they find the endzone once..or twice…or three times. #MarcedesLewis.
Good luck this week!