IT’S HERE FOLKS - CHAMPIONSHIP WEEK. This is for all the marbles so we are going to focus hard on who is actually viable in your most important matchup. But, for those of us eliminated and playing DFS, we’ll also try to mention any high risk, high reward options to win those big tournaments as well. So let’s dig in!
WR: Weird situation here - Marquise Brown didn’t start as a punishment for being late to a meeting. Yet he still played 58 snaps. DeAndre Hopkins and Marquise Brown are the two guys you can trust with Greg Dortch remaining more of a boom/bust DFS play.
RB: James Conner has been locked in but keep an eye on the updates for him. He’s been sick this week and did not participate in the last two practices. One full practice or news that he is fully healthy and you lock him in the lineup though.
TE: Trey McBride continues to play a snap share similar to what Zach Ertz would play and he once again lined up at WR for more than 50% of his snaps. He got 11 targets in the two games Colt McCoy started and McCoy is back so he’s a deep league option and a solid DFS play, as we wrote about in the Tight End DFS Coach article this week.
WR: They use so many tight ends that Drake London and Olamide Zaccheaus are the only two guys that play full snaps. London you can consider in real leagues, Zaccheaus is barely a DFS dart. He’s turned 15 targets over the last three weeks into only 31 yards.
TE: There is no viable pass-catching tight end here. If I were going to throw a DFS dart at someone, it would actually be Anthony Firkser since he actually has a pass-catching skill set (only 15 snaps but 11 were routes run). Parker Hesse and MyCole Pruitt are blocking tight ends.
WR: We very rarely see teams do what this team is doing. The top two WRs played 58% (Demarcus Robinson) and 33% (Sammy Watkins) of the snaps. Meanwhile, fullback Patrick Ricard played 85% of the snaps. It’s like Bill Belichick’s dream offense. You can’t trust any of these wide receivers.
RB: Yikes, not what we wanted to see. JK Dobbins and Gus Edwards essentially split the snaps and the carries right down the middle. Dobbins is still the better start than Edwards given his explosiveness and Edwards might be viable in some formats now but we obviously would prefer if they didn’t split at all. Dobbins at least ran 6 routes to 3 for Edwards so slightly not in that facet.
TE: We mentioned the fullback playing 85% of the snaps - TWO tight ends also played 81% of the snaps in Mark Andrews and Josh Oliver. Andrews ran all 18 routes and Oliver ran 10. Andrews is hard to trust these days.
WR: Gabriel Davis and Stefon Diggs are both full-time players on the outside which you like to see. But we have less confidence than ever in guys like Isaiah McKenzie (23 snaps of 64), Khalil Shakir (25), and Cole Beasley (6) after they all split snaps to a certain degree.
TE: Dawson Knox ran 24 of 36 routes - we’d like to see that number higher but he continues to offer an okay floor with touchdown upside so he’s a backend TE1.
WR: DJ Moore continues to have one of the highest snap shares of any wide receiver in the league. This week, he played 65 of 68 snaps. Terrace Marshall also plays a big snap share so he’s a DFS dart. No other WR played more than 24 snaps so can’t trust anyone else.
RB: They split the snaps down the middle with D’Onta Foreman playing 30 and Chuba Hubbard playing 31. But the workload isn’t split evenly as Foreman plays more run plays and Chuba plays more pass plays. The Buccaneers are favored by three points at home this week, so the game script direction isn’t super clear (compared to say, the Cowboys who were favored by 14 over the Titans).
WR: Tons of injuries here. Chase Claypool is once again questionable. If he’s out, it should be Byron Pringle and Dante Pettis on the outside with Velus Jones Jr. splitting with N’Keal Harry. I wouldn’t trust any of those guys in a real league, Pringle and Pettis are dart throws for DFS but one of them will likely get taken away by Jeff Okudah.
TE: Over the past four weeks, Cole Kmet has played every offensive snap but three. And he has a great matchup. Last time he faced the Lions, he had seven targets and caught two touchdowns.
WR: It used to be the same three guys every play but now Trenton Irwin mixes in with Tyler Boyd making Tyler Boyd less appealing. Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins are still guys you start everywhere though.
RB: The set up right now seems to be that Joe Mixon plays more run plays than Samaje Perine (20 vs. 7) while they split the pass work evenly (29 vs. 28 snaps). Mixon is still the guy in that format obviously.
WR: Amari Cooper (62 of 70 snaps) and Donovan Peoples-Jones (68) are locked in on the outside, David Bell (51) plays a pretty decent snap share from the slot at times but in other games he’s not heavily utilized so it’s hard to trust him.
RB: The split this week was more reminiscent of old times. Nick Chubb got more run work as always but Kareem Hunt played 25 pass plays to only 10 for Chubb. That’s likely due to a lingering foot issue for Chubb so Hunt isn’t very appealing.
TE: David Njoku once again played a huge snap share (68 of 70 snaps) and he ran 35 of 36 routes. That’s great usage but his matchup is less than ideal. He’s still in the TE1 range though given how tough the position is.
TE: Dalton Schultz continues to play a huge snap share and run a ton of routes. The production hasn’t been there as of late, but that kind of usage offers a decent enough floor and a lot of upside. He ran 39 of 45 routes.
TE: Greg Dulcich is expected to miss this week. Both the Erics (Tomlinson and Saubert) are blocking tight ends and Andrew Beck is more of a fullback so there isn’t much there fantasy wise. No chance I’m rolling out Albert Okwuegbunam.
WR: Amon-Ra St. Brown and DJ Chark are both full time guys. We are waiting for Jameson Williams to play a bigger snap share but it might not happen this year. Josh Reynolds is a dart throw in DFS until that happens.
TE: “You can’t start Lions tight ends in any format. If you were FORCED to, it would oddly be Shane Zylstra who ran 16 routes to 8 for Brock Wright.” - This is what we said last week. Did not expect three touchdowns from Zylstra but that is what happened. He still only ran 24 routes out of 50 but clearly he’s the best pass-catching tight end they have.
Green Bay Packers
RB: Aaron Jones is back in action but it was AJ Dillon that got the bulk of the work. The split will probably be a bit more even rest of the way if we had to guess with Dillon getting more short yardage work, Jones skewing pass downs.
TE: Robert Tonyan only played 38 of 66 snaps - it’s been like that all year.
WR: We got our answer here - with Brandin Cooks back, it was Cooks and Chris Moore playing the snaps. Phillip Dorsett took a back seat. Cooks is startable in redraft leagues while Moore is more of a DFS play.
TE: Your best bet in any sort of fantasy is Jordan Akins. He runs the most routes.
TE: Whenever Kylen Granson is out, Jelani Woods goes from a guy who plays 25-35% of the snaps to ~65%. Granson has been ruled out already so Woods is an interesting DFS play and maybe a sneaky deep league play.
RB: Travis Etienne played 51 of 72 snaps so he’s the man and he has a juicy matchup with Houston.
TE: Evan Engram has been a revelation this year for fantasy gamers. He’s been the top scoring tight end in fantasy the last four weeks.
Kansas City Chiefs
WR: JuJu Smith-Schuster led in snaps again but he didn’t get the double digit targets he had the last two games. Justin Watson plays a lot but mostly for blocking and no one else played even 50% of the snaps. Can’t really trust anyone other than Juju and even he is dicey.
TE: Travis Kelce is the king.
Las Vegas Raiders
RB: Josh Jacobs is a beast. Just have to hope they can move the ball against the 49ers.
TE: Darren Waller played less than 50% of the snaps for the second week in a row. The Raiders are eliminated from contention with a backup QB so I would look elsewhere if possible.
Los Angeles Chargers
TE: We warned you about Gerald Everett with all the pass catchers healthy. He is not to be trusted.
Los Angeles Rams
RB: Cam Akers has run away with this backfield and he sure looked good this weekend. He’s a viable option.
TE: Tyler Higbee was blocking on wayyy too many pass plays in the games leading up to this week but, with Ben Skowronek out, he was involved more in the pass game. He still only ran 24 of 30 routes. I don’t trust him.
TE: TJ Hockenson played 65 of 72 snaps and looked amazing. This team is the easiest to write up for this article because the snaps are so highly consolidated. Only 14 guys played on offense. Outside of the starters, it was Johnny Mundt (22), Alexander Mattison (15), and CJ Ham (13). That’s it.
New England Patriots
TE: Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry are banged up so we’ll have to monitor them. Not like you were starting them anyway. If they are both out, Scotty Washington is the name you want to look for. He was the one that tipped a deep throw to Kendrick Bourne.
New Orleans Saints
New York Giants
WR: Darius Slayton, Isaiah Hodgins, and Richie James all play big snap shares though James is the odd man out if they do go with two WRs. All are dart throws in DFS but hard to trust in real leagues unless it’s deep.
RB: Saquon Barkley got back to a big share (63 of 69 snaps). He’s a stud.
TE: Daniel Bellinger played 68 of 69 snaps and ran 49 routes so he’s a threat at any time. Unfortunately, he fumbled in this game which hurt him.
New York Jets
TE: Good matchup for Conklin but he still splits with Uzomah to some degree. Conklin ran 30 of 41 routes, Uzomah ran 14 of 41.
RB: I thought we were safe from tight end vulturing QBs but Gardner Minshew stole one this week. Ouch. Sanders has been limited and, if he’s out, expect Boston Scott to work on run downs and Kenneth Gainwell on pass downs.
TE: Dallas Goedert is back - it’s the matchup that scares us. But he played 67 of 71 snaps.
TE: Pat Freiermuth had played ~55% of the snaps in three straight games but he bounced back in a big way with 81% this week. He’s back.
San Francisco 49ers
RB: Christian McCaffrey is set and forget.
TE: George Kittle played 47 of 52 snaps and scored twice in back to back games. Happy to have him.
RB: Kenneth Walker is back so forget everyone else in this backfield.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
RB: Both pass catching backs are out in Antonio Gibson and JD McKissic. Robinson is a smash play vs. the Browns. When coach Ron Rivera lost Christian McCaffrey in 2020, Curtis Samuel played 70 snaps in the backfield and got 40 carries. He could be in line for a very interesting workload.