Missing that College Football fix? No need to fear. Saturday NFL games are just getting going. We have a nice two game appetizer today before the Sunday main slate action tomorrow. Deshaun Watson and the Texans will go on the road to take on the Jets in the 4:30 PM game, and the Browns are heading west to Denver for the night game. Let’s get into the games!
4:30 PM GAME – TEXANS (-7) @ JETS
Before last week’s loss to the Colts, the Texans were riding a 9 game win streak. I don’t think anybody expected them to be able to pull off a string a wins like that before the season began. It looks like this team is better than we thought they were, and I think they have a chance to make a run in the playoffs with their defense. Today they will face a 4 win Jets team that is allowing just over 25 points per game. You would think the Jets would be willfully trying to lose to better their draft slot, but last week’s win might say otherwise.
Deshaun Watson ($6,800) is the most expensive quarterback option on this slate and for good reason. Watson has returned this season and been pretty close to the same fantasy player we saw last year. He should have no problem racking up stats against this weak Jets defense. It is also worth noting that on 50 carries allowed to quarterbacks this season, the Jets have surrendered a total of 298 yards. Watson always bring rushing upside to the table, but today’s matchup could boost that even more.
Lamar Miller ($6,100) has been putting up solid scores as of late. Some of his scores have been anchored by touchdowns, but he has still been heavily involved in the offense. Miller is coming off of a 6 target outing last week against Indianapolis. If he can give you 2-4 catches in addition to his ground work, he could be a solid pivot off of the more expensive guys like Nick Chubb ($7,600) and Phillip Lindsay ($7,200)
The Texans are banged up at receiver at this point in the season. Right now they are rolling out Deandre Hopkins ($8,700), Demaryius Thomas ($4,700) and DeAndre Carter ($3,100) in 3-receiver sets. Hopkins has been dealing with a foot issue for the majority of this season, but that will not keep me from pairing him with Watson on this slate. Hopkins can rack up catches as fast as anybody and is easily the top option at receiver on this slate. He is $1,300 more than the next receiver for good reason. I like Thomas as a low owned play simply because he will be seeing targets. The Texans are super thin at receiver and he will be forced into playing a lot.
On the Jets’ side of the ball, Sam Darnold ($4,600) will be under center. From a fantasy standpoint, he has actually not been too bad in the games he’s played for his price. The savings are nice if you are paying down for Darnold, but it doesn’t come without the risk. This Texans defense could do a number on the rookie QB.
The Jets are banged up at running back with no Isaiah Crowell and no Bilal Powell. This will equal more opportunity for second year back Elijah McGuire ($4,000) and rookie Trenton Cannon ($3,100) who is currently questionable. McGuire sets up as an awesome PPR option on Draftkings. The Texans will pressure Darnold and he will need to use McGuire as a safety blanket. If the Jets fall behind, McGuire could smash his salary.
With the question marks surrounding Darnold, it is hard to like any one of their receivers. With that said, Robby Anderson ($4,200) has the big play upside that can break open a slate. Not only is he “Temple Tough”, but he has seen 7+ targets in 4 of his last 5 games. All you need is for him and Darnold to connect on a long touchdown and Christmas will have come early for you.
8:20 PM GAME – BROWNS @ BRONCOS (-2.5)
Baker Mayfield ($6,400) and the Browns have looked like a different, rejuvenated team ever since Hugh Jackson was removed from the picture. Believe it or not, the Browns have an outside shot to still make the playoffs. To keep those hopes alive, they will need to battle a good not great Broncos team in a challenging Denver environment. This will be a true primetime test for Baker Mayfield and the Browns.
Mayfield is the slate’s second most expensive QB option at ($6,400). The Broncos secondary hasn’t been great which is good news for the passing game. They lost Chris Harris Jr. to a fibula injury which makes them susceptible in the slot now as well. Mayfield is a close second to me next to Deshaun Watson for this slate. Playing on the road in Denver is a tall task for anybody, especially a rookie quarterback. I think ownership will be close to evenly split between Mayfield and Watson with a small number of lineups rolling with Darnold or even Keenum.
Nick Chubb ($7,600) has been spectacular since the Browns dealt Carlos Hyde. Not only has he been a beast on the ground, but he has also been utilized as a receiver out of the backfield. According to Graham Barfield of NFL.com, the Denver Broncos have been employing 8 man boxes 33% of the time over the past 6 weeks. This would be good for the most in the NFL. He also mentioned that Chubb is 3rd among all running backs in yards per carry against 8 man boxes. Chubb has the ability to break through any tough matchup.
At receiver, Jarvis Landry ($7,400) has been having an ok season for the Browns. It is surprising that Mayfield has been able to do what he has done without a clear cut number one receiver. I think Landry is an alright option in this game especially since he won’t have to do battle with Chris Harris Jr. With that said, I think he is an interesting fade option since he will probably garner heavy ownership simply due to the lack of options on the slate. For me, I would rather take my chances with rookie deep threat Antonio Callaway ($3,900). He has been super inconsistent, but beggars can’t be choosers on a 2 game slate. Callaway brings nice upside to the table with a major ownership discount in comparison to Landry.
At tight end, David Njoku ($3,800) is the highest priced option and will almost assuredly be the most popular as well. The Broncos are allowing the 5th most Draftkings points to tight ends this season and hopefully Njoku can take advantage.
On the Broncos side of the ball, there aren’t too many exciting options. This offense was already weak before the Sanders injury. Now they are running an offensive operation full of rookies, outside of second year receiver Tim Patrick ($4,100). I have some respect for the Browns defense so I think I will be shying away from Case Keenum ($5,400). Instead, I will be using Broncos as the last pieces into lineups. My favorite option of the receivers is probably Courtland Sutton ($5,000). After failing as chalk in last week’s main slate, Sutton’s ownership will hopefully be lower than it should be. The other options in Denver’s receiving game were heavily involved last week to the surprise of some. DaeSean Hamilton ($4,600) was targeted 9 times hauling in 7 of them, and Tim Patrick ($4,100) caught 7 balls on 10 targets as well. As I said before, I don’t think I will go out of my way to get a ton of Broncos exposure, but I will be rotating these receivers throughout lineups.
The most popular option in the Broncos’ offense will be undrafted rookie running back Phillip Lindsay ($7,200). Lindsay has been nothing short of amazing this season, totally outplaying rookie counterpart Royce Freeman. The one hole you can poke in Lindsay’s recent performances is the rate at which he has been scoring touchdowns. Over his last 4 games, Lindsay has found paydirt 6 times. Sure, Lindsay legitimately has the ability to put the ball in the endzone from any distance, but if he fails to score in tonight’s game, his score will be greatly impacted.
Well that’s going to do it for this special edition of the Primetime Playsheet. Here’s to hoping you start of Sunday with a little more money in your pocket.