Thursday, October 8, 2015

Staff Thursday Cash Plays - Week 5

NFL Week 5 has arrived and we somehow all survived not having Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski in our lineups. I actually enjoy bye weeks in daily fantasy, as it forces you to get away from the obvious and start looking at some guys you normally don’t notice.

This week we had a few guys jump out at the staff, so we’ll definitely be spending some time looking at them in the ‘Diamonds in the Rough’ section.

To see all the staff picks you can head here.

Staff Trends
All aboard the Smith Train
Of 11 staff members taking part this week, 6 are starting Alex Smith at quarterback. It makes sense, as he has a nice floor, Chicago’s defense isn’t good and he’s coming off a great week (at least yardage-wise). We expect the yards to go down (386 is unlikely at least) but think he’ll score at least one touchdown.  A few people paired him with Jeremy Maclin, which is a good way to take advantage of any touchdowns he gets.

Freeman for Everyone!
When it came to running back, Devonta Freeman was the clear choice for 7 of the staffers (myself included). His price has risen, but is still manageable enough to produce value. Does anyone expect the three touchdowns from last week or the week before? No, and chasing production is a bad idea anyway.  But 90 or so total yards and a touchdown seems like a pretty good day and his floor isn’t much lower against a team like Washington.

Aaron Rodgers is the stud QB of the week
We’ve talked before about how the staff tends to eschew the top quarterbacks, especially as those guys tend to be the most expensive pieces. While we sometimes stack Rodgers/Cobb or Brady/Edelman, most of the time we seem to shy away from those stacks. Which makes sense—they hinder your ability to spend elsewhere. This week, just one person (Alex Miglio) used any of the big-price quarterbacks, in this case Aaron Rodgers.

Interestingly, Miglio didn’t pair Rodgers with any of his weapons, instead adding studs unrelated to Rodgers.

Glaring Omissions
Top Backs
This week LeVeon Bell is the only ‘top’ back seeing consistent use. No Adrian Peterson, no Eddie Lacy, and only one Jamaal Charles in the Thursday lineups. Bell still gets plenty of love but the staff is definitely looking for upside and value at running back, riding guys like Devonta Freeman (who isn’t really a ‘dark horse’ pick at this point), Dion Lewis, Justin Forsett and Anthony ‘Boobie’ Dixon. As long as those low-cost, high upside players hit, that seems to be where we go – then sinking money into wide receiving studs like Julio Jones, Larry Fitzgerald and Demaryius Thomas.

No Brown
Interestingly, while Le’Veon Bell is getting used, Antonio Brown was not. Nobody used him in a lineup (Thursday or Sunday) and it’s clear we all feel a bit shaky with Mike Vick throwing passes. In Brown’s defense, he should have had a touchdown last week—although he’s the reason he didn’t as he dropped the pass.

Diamonds in the Rough
Kamar Aiken - $5800
If Joe Haden’s broken finger keeps him out again this week, Aiken could really go off. With Steve Smith out, people are already taking a hard look at him and while his numbers have been inconsistent, this week he could really do well. The problems are 1) if Haden is there or 2) Joe Flacco struggles or spreads the ball out. Aiken should see his fair share of targets though, as he did after Smith left the game last week.

Jamison Crowder - $5200
Kirk Cousins seems to like him, given that he targeted Crowder a dozen times last week. Starting opposite Pierre Garcon seems to agree with Crowder as well. On the downside, Atlanta’s defense has played well, so even if Washington trails, Crowder could be limited no matter how much Cousins throws. Still, he looks like he’s just heating up and is a good value at his price.

John Brown - $5900

Brown’s price has dropped steadily over the last few weeks and while $5900 is on the high side of value, he has a great matchup this week. The Lions’ defense has been allowing yards and touchdowns, and while we worry about quarterback Carson Palmer and that offensive line, the secondary is going to shift over to a red-bot Larry Fitzgerald, making Brown a good alternative.

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