Fantasy 5: Russell Wilson dominating in recent weeks
(The Fantasy 5 is a quick-hit wrap-up of some of the biggest news topics of the day for fantasy football players, giving you advice you need to set your lineup or pick your DFS roster.)
We’re back at it again for this week’s Fantasy 5, focusing on the key things you need to know entering Week 9. Whether you’re researching information for your season-long leagues or trying to narrow down your DFS player pool, there’s generally something for everyone featured here. Here’s a look at the some of the more interesting pieces of fantasy news to know heading into the weekend games.
1. Russell Wilson playing on rookie mode
In case you’ve been living under a rock, Russell Wilson has been on a tear lately. Over his last two games, Wilson has completed over 66 percent of his passes, throwing for 786 yards and seven passing touchdowns. He’s also tacked on an additional 40 rushing yards. He is playing lights-out football, and yet is somehow going under the radar this week. Deshaun Watson’s injury makes Wilson the highest-priced usable quarterback this week on DraftKings. We’ve heard a ton of talk regarding Drew Brees, Dak Prescott, and Alex Smith, but it could be a sneaky way to be contrarian just by paying a few extra hundred dollars to get up to Wilson. The Redskins defense has allowed three top-six QB finishes this season. Only the Browns have allowed more. Their perimeter corners are doing a great job keeping outside wide receivers in check, but the defense is giving up a ton over the middle. That’s where Wilson’s best weapons can prevail in Doug Baldwin and Jimmy Graham. The team adding LT Duane Brown should only enhance Wilson’s floor. Gamescript shouldn’t be a concern with how poor this Seattle team runs the ball. Seattle’s running backs combined for five yards on 16 carries last week. There’s a reason this team is top-12 in pass play percentage.
2. Miami running back shakeup
The Jay Ajayi trade to Philadelphia has opened up an opportunity in Miami. It’s difficult at this time to determine who will emerge as the lead back. Damien Williams has out-snapped Kenyan Drake 82-45 so far this year, but early coachspeak has made it seem like it’ll be a timeshare to start. Head coach Adam Gase stated as such, saying “We’re going to be able to maximize what they do well.” The Dolphins face the Raiders Sunday night. Oakland has allowed three different running backs to hit the 30-point mark this season, so a big outing from one of these backs isn’t out of the question. Drake, a receiving specialist, is expected to see the majority of touches to start. Williams could come in on short-distance plays and for red-zone work. It’s difficult to recommend either player outside of a few dart throws given their minimum salary on FanDuel.
3. Ezekiel Elliott update
It feels like this is an every-other-week topic in this series, but once again there’s news surrounding Ezekiel Elliott’s suspension. After Elliott’s suspension was reinstated Monday, the court granted him a temporary reprieve from his suspension Friday. I don’t speak legalese, but it essentially sounds like we will go through this entire process again next week with him granted a temporary lift to let him play Sunday against Kansas City. This is huge news for this week’s slate of games. We no longer have the value plays in Alfred Morris and Darren McFadden, and we now get a stud running back in a potential blow-up spot. The Chiefs have allowed the fifth-most rushing yards and third-most touchdowns to opposing running backs this season. While we won’t get a discount on Elliott (RB1 on DK, RB3 on FD), he’s playing in the highest-scoring game of the week (54-point total) and will be an integral part of the Cowboy’s offense. Time to adjust those daily fantasy lineups accordingly.
4. Week 9 projected shootouts
The Dallas Cowboys host the Kansas City Chiefs in what Vegas projects as the highest-scoring game of the week. Since its opening, the game total has climbed from 51 to 54 points with Elliott now eligible to play. Initially a pick ‘em, this game has shifted to Dallas being favored by 2.5 points. These teams will play a big role in DFS tournaments this weekend, with it drawing a ton of ownership on both sides. The only other game to exceed the 50-point mark is a matchup between the Saints and the Buccaneers in New Orleans. The last time these two teams faced each other the final score combined for 55 points. This game opened at 50 and has since climbed to 52, with the Saints currently 6.5-point home favorites. This game will draw quite a few one-on-one battles to watch and should be a highly entertaining NFC South duel.
5. PFF Grade of the Week: Demar Dotson
This week’s feature spotlight is on a player that’s likely flying under the radar of the national spotlight, but has been doing a tremendous job in pass protection: Demar Dotson. Dotson is currently our top-graded offensive tackle and ranks first in pass protection. The Buccaneers’ burgeoning star has held down the right side of the offensive line in tremendous fashion midway through the 2017 season. No offensive tackle has played more snaps and allowed fewer pressures. On 299 passing-play snaps, Dotson has yielded zero sacks, two QB hits, and just five hurries allowed. Tampa Bay’s right tackle will be put to the test this week in a terrific matchup in the trenches against Cameron Jordan, our No. 7-graded edge rusher.
As referenced earlier, this game should feature a ton of scoring and likely a ton of passing. The play of both of these stalwarts will certainly have an impact on the outcome of the game.