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Fantasy Football: 10 DraftKings plays for wild card weekend 01.07.17 at 12:23 pm ET
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rotobahn-logoIt’s wildcard weekend, and on DraftKings, you will have four tournament options. The big one is the full four-game slate, but they also offer a three game slate which, mercifully, excludes the Raiders at Texans game, and begins with tonight’s game in Seattle. There are also a pair of two game slates—one for Saturday’s games and another for Sunday. I have tried to give you some recommendations that can help regardless of which pool you opt to play in. I hope you find them useful.

One thing I want to say at the top is that this week’s pricing seems pretty tight when it comes to the key players and the chalkier options. You have to pay big for all of the obvious players and that means you’ll have some tough decisions as your salary cap dwindles. Vegas sees these games being close for the most part, with the exception of the game in Pittsburgh where the Steelers are a solid ten point favorite.

If you plan on playing the short Sunday slate, I will have a few more ideas for you when I sit in with Chris Price and Pete Sheppard on NFL Sunday. My spot should air at about 10:45 a.m., as usual.

I avoided writing up any of the quarterbacks because I am spreading my exposure out somewhat evenly this week. There is no obvious angle that I see at the position. My highest exposure will probably be with Ben Roethlisberger when all is said and done, but it won’t be a blowout by any means. In addition to Roethlisberger, I plan to have significant exposure to Russell Wilson, Aaaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford and Eli Manning—roughly in that order. There are also a few obvious plays that I didn’t write up. I will have plenty of Le’Veon Bell lineups this week. I doubt you need an explanation as to why. The same goes for Jordy Nelson and Jimmy Graham.

I will be back next week with a look at the Divisional round, and you can bet that the Patriots will be well represented.

RUNNING BACKS

Paul Perkins, Giants at Packers, $4,100

Perkins have been in a near even share with veteran Rashad Jennings over the last six games. It’s hard to tell exactly what the Giants thinking will be with their backs Sunday afternoon in Green Bay. My feeling is that they trust Jennings more due to his veteran status and time in the offense, but it’s also rather obvious that Perkins is a more dynamic runner at this stage of both players’ careers. Therefore, it should come down to what the Giants think they need. Do they prioritize stability or do they need a player to make some plays? It’s hard not to think that they need the latter—even if it means taking a risk here and there in pass protection. If you go by the recent numbers, Perkins is outperforming Jennings cleanly on a per attempt basis. When you add it all up, Perkins makes sense as a cost-saving option at running back who still gives you some upside. I think his floor for touches is about 15 but there’s a chance they will finally decide to lean on him and he could really pay off in that scenario.

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Fantasy Football: Postseason draft strategy 01.06.17 at 9:53 am ET
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rotobahn-logoThe fantasy football playoffs are over, but in many leagues Week 18 is when things start anew. Playoff leagues are a lot of fun and, in most cases, they run throughout the four weeks of the NFL playoffs. Winning strategy, in playoff leagues or pools, is very different from the approach that a winner would use in a typical seasonal league.

In postseason leagues, it’s all about weekly scoring potential and total games played. In most cases, the scoring potential is pretty easy to predict as we’ve been watching these players for months now. The crucial question is, which teams will play the most games? This creates an odd paradigm in that the teams that play in Round 1 have the highest potential value because they have four-game potential, while teams with a bye play a maximum of three times. On the other hand, the teams with byes earned them and are, at least in theory, superior and should have a better chance to play more than a single game.

The cool thing about all of this is that you add something to the fantasy mix — your ability to make calls on the outcomes of games. If you fancy yourself as a good prognosticator, you may have an edge.

STRATEGY

Draft a team with a theme

Your team needs to make sense. Playoff pools are not about depth and value. It’s about catching lightning in a bottle and harnessing talent from teams that will advance and play as many games as possible. If you take a quarterback in Round 1, try to get as many of his receivers as you can. And don’t stop with receivers, stack up as much of that team’s players as you reasonably can. I say reasonably, because there is a breaking point. You don’t take Matt Lengel over Jimmy Graham just because Lengel is a Patriot and you may have Tom Brady.

Avoid players who play each other in Round 1

I try to “adopt” a team in each conference to avoid situations where my players are playing each other. You won’t always be able to avoid it completely, but you definitely can control what happens in the wild card round. If your first- and second-round picks are playing against each other in Round 1, you have diminished your odds of victory right out of the gate because losing a high pick after one week is almost certain death. Make sure you know the matchups when you draft.

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Fantasy Football: Week 17 starts, sits 12.31.16 at 2:57 pm ET
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rotobahn-logoHappy New Year in advance, and welcome to the Week 17 starts and sits. There are no words to describe how much I despise playing meaningful seasonal fantasy games on Week 17. All good seasonal fantasy football leagues should hold their championship on Week 16. We’ve seen the reasons for this year after year, and the 2016 season is no different. Lobby your league’s commissioner and make the switch. You’ll be glad you did.

This year, Week 17 is frustrating as always, with many teams in murky situations and with some teams giving advance notice that their stars will be lightly used or not used at all. Thanks go out to Pittsburgh and Dallas in this regard.

For those of you struggling with tough lineup choices, hit me up on Twitter on Sunday and I will do my best to give you a solid second opinion. Tweet at @rotobahn and I will answer as many as I can between 9-10:45 a.m.

I will be back next week with rankings for playoff pools and some strategy for postseason DraftKings tournaments.

Good luck to all in Week 17!

QUARTERBACKS

Start

Aaron Rodgers, Packers at Lions, $7,700

Drew Brees, Saints at Falcons, $7,600

Matt Ryan, Falcons vs. Saints, $7,400

Depending on your roster construction, these are the three quarterbacks worth paying up for this week. They all will play full games, and I like the matchups plenty. You throw to win against all of these defenses. The over/under for Falcons-Saints is a whopping 56.5. I suggest you get involved in that game when setting your DraftKings lineups. As for Rodgers, he is locked into a high-volume pass structure with so many injuries at running back, and he is throwing the ball very well right now.

Russell Wilson, Seahawks at 49ers, $6,800

You save some money with Wilson when compared to the top salaries, and I’m not sure you lose much upside. This is going to be a fast-paced game with a high overall snap total, and more plays means more stats. Meanwhile, Seattle has a lot to play for as it still has a shot at a bye in the playoffs. Look for big days from Doug Baldwin and Jimmy Graham.

Kirk Cousins, Washington vs. Giants, $6,300

Even if the Giants were going to go all out in this game (I doubt they do), I would be fine with playing Cousins, who is playing good ball these days. You save some significant cap space with him this week and he has plenty of weaponry at his disposal in a game with significant playoff implications. If I start Cousins, I am stacking him with DeSean Jackson.

Matt Stafford, Lions vs. Packers, $6,000

The Packers are a funnel defense in that they play the run better than the pass. Meanwhile, Detroit is a team that wants pass more than run. There is definitely upside here, and you can roster it for 6,000 units. Definitely worth a look in tournaments and a very safe play in seasonal leagues. The Lions are playing for a playoff spot, so they will go down with guns-a-blazing.

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Fantasy Football: Week 17 waiver wire 12.27.16 at 2:14 pm ET
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rotobahn-logoWelcome to Week 17! It’s your championship week, and there are some solid options on the wire. This is important information whether you need to make some moves or just block your opponent from improving their squad. As I said to those playing their finals last week, this is now a zero sum game. What you add a player, your opponent cannot. This goes for defenses too — not just skill talent. If there’s a great matchup out there on the waiver wire, and your opponent has a bad matchup with their defense, consider making a preemptive move to block.

I will be active on Twitter this week — to account for any evolving value that may pop up over the next few days. It’s certainly possible that the midweek pickups will be as compelling as the ones listed below, as there are plenty of teams that will tip their hands as to whether they are sitting some of their established starters. Follow @rotobahn to keep track.

As always, I will be adding some talent Tuesday afternoon when I post the expanded wire over at Rotobahn. If you play in a deep league, head on over. It’s still completely free. I will be back here at WEEI this Friday with the Week 17 starts and sits.

The ownership rates listed for each player were obtained at Yahoo!

QUARTERBACKS

Blake Bortles, Jaguars, 57 percent

He’s traveling to Indianapolis, and the Colts are a get-well matchup. Of course, Bortles is already feeling pretty good after last week’s successful outing against the Titans. Look for his second consecutive 300-yard game this week when he faces the Colts’ leaky secondary.

Sam Bradford, Vikings, 12 percent

He played very well against the Packers in Week 16. Granted, it was a nice matchup, but so is this week’s home tilt against the Bears. If you are streaming, Bradford is a solid option.

Tom Savage, Texans, 1 percent

Do I want you playing Tom Savage this week? No, I do not. Still, it’s worth knowing that he is actually a viable option if you are in need or play in a 2QB format. He visits the Titans this week, and they are an easy mark for passing stats.

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Fantasy Football: Week 16 starts, sits 12.23.16 at 12:30 pm ET
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rotobahn-logoWelcome to the Week 16 starts and sits. It’s championship week for most of us, and the stakes are obviously high. As per usual, I have some recommendations for both seasonal leagues and for DraftKings contests. If you are looking for recommendations on players not listed in this space, consult my free lineup rankings over at Rotobahn. They will be fully updated by Saturday morning, and they are comprehensive.

Follow @rotobahn on Twitter if you want to keep up with all of our fantasy stuff. For those of you who listen to my weekly spot at 10:45 a.m., I will be on Saturday this week, since that’s when the games are. I’ll have a few good starts, stacks and value options for you, so tune in. And, obviously, you should be tuning in for Chris Price and Pete Sheppard anyway.

QUARTERBACKS

Start

Philip Rivers, Chargers at Browns, $6,900

He’s a near lock to perform well as his receivers are collectively healthy and the matchup is as good as it gets for a road game. He’s worth a look in DraftKings tournaments, and he’s a strong play in seasonal leagues.

Jameis Winston, Buccaneers at Saints, $6,500

I see the Saints scoring a lot of points this week. Vegas agrees. The Saints are projected to score 27.8 points by the Vegas bean counters and the game carries an over/under of 52.5, so both teams are expected to be active on offense. It’s a good spot for Winston, and if you are feeling saucy, I like stacking him with Mike Evans and Cameron Brate in DraftKings GPPs. He’s also a solid QB1 option for seasonal leagues.

Dak Prescott, Cowboys vs. Lions, $5,900

He’s a fringe QB1 this week, so play him with confidence if he’s your guy. Yes, he did struggle a bit in some tougher matchups — particularly against the Giants, but this matchup is a home game against a very beatable pass defense. Prescott has a strong floor. I would have no issues trusting him as my Week 16 starter.

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Fantasy Football: Week 16 waiver wire 12.20.16 at 11:46 am ET
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rotobahn-logoWelcome to the Week 16 waiver wire! Good times are afoot for those of us still reading waiver wires. It means we’re still alive, and it most likely means that this week is for all the marbles. The only exception would be if you play in a league that still uses Week 17 for its big game, which, at this point, is the equivalent of using a flip phone to take your family photos on Christmas morning. If your league is still living in the year 2001, I suggest you have a talk with your commissioner.

As I said last in last week’s wire, you might have all the players you need for this week, but your opponent might not. Be sure to go though the roster of the team you play. Adding a player who would have helped your opponent will ultimately help you. It’s a zero sum game now, and you need to approach it that way.

As always, I will post an modestly expanded waiver wire over at Rotobahn. That should go up Tuesday afternoon along with a fresh waiver wire podcast. I will link to both on Twitter as soon as they are available. Follow @Rotobahn for all articles tidbits and updates.

The ownership rates listed below were sourced from Yahoo!

QUARTERBACKS

Joe Flacco, Ravens, 29 percent

He’s throwing more with Marty Mornhinweg calling the plays, but he has a medium road matchup this week with the Steelers, so it’s not like he’s a great option. That said, his weapons are healthy and so is he. You could do worse, but most likely, being that you are a bowl team, you have better options on hand.

Colin Kaepernick, 49ers, 33 percent

He plays at the Rams this week, and he is a viable option if you need one. Kaepernick’s been running less the last few weeks, but I think that changes against the Rams, who get upfield quickly, and that tends to open running lanes for quarterbacks like Kaepernick. He is a risky play, but he has a high ceiling when he gets it going. If you are a decided underdog with a weak Week 16 quarterback situation, he could be a way to give your team more scoring reach. Horses for courses.

Matt Moore, Dolphins, 1 percent

He’s at Buffalo this week, and who knows if the Bills will show up ready to play with their coach’s situation hanging over their heads. If you are in a jam or play in a 2QB format, Moore has some appeal. He’s a better option than Ryan Tannehill because he sees the field better and is more accurate.

Tom Savage, Texans, 0 percent

He has been named the starter over Brock Osweiler, mercifully, and the Texans are hosting the Bengals this week. This is good info if you play in a 2QB league, but the better storyline is what this can do for DeAndre Hopkins owners. Hopkins came back to life once Savage was under center, and I have hope for him this week as a WR3 with upside.

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Fantasy Football: Week 15 starts, sits 12.16.16 at 10:38 am ET
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rotobahn-logoWelcome to the Week 15 starts and sits. I have some recommendations for both seasonal leagues and for DraftKings. As always, if you are looking for recommendations on players not listed in this space, consult my free lineup rankings over at Rotobahn. They will be fully updated by Saturday afternoon, and they are comprehensive.

I hope you all join Jim Hackett and me for this week’s edition of the Fantasy Football Hour. We’ll be live at 8 a.m. on Sunday morning, and you can listen on WEEI.com if you are a late riser. It’s usually posted on the home page by mid-morning. I’ll also tweet a link to the show once it is up.

Follow @rotobahn on Twitter if you want to keep up with all of our fantasy stuff. For those of you who listen to my weekly spot at 10:45 a.m., I will be sitting in at about 12:40 this week — about 20 minutes before lineup lock. I’ll have a few good starts and value options for you, so tune in. And, obviously, you should be tuning in for Chris Price and Pete Sheppard anyway.

QUARTERBACKS

Start

Kirk Cousins, Washington vs. Panthers, $6,800

Cousins is a no-brainer right now in seasonal leagues, but I like him on DraftKings at this price as well. You get a strong floor because the Panthers have been giving up yards through the air all year. While the quarterbacks, as a group, are cheap this week, Cousins is 500 units less than top dog Matt Ryan. He is the best combination of value and ceiling that I see on the board this week.

Philip Rivers, Chargers vs. Raiders, $6,200

Rivers has not had two consecutive poor outings this season, so I am not too concerned that he came up light in Week 14. This week shapes up as a high-volume pass week due to Melvin Gordon’s knee injury. I expect Rivers to put the ball in the air early and often against the Raiders and their suspect defensive backfield. Rivers is a reasonable QB1 in seasonal leagues for semifinal week and he’s a strong play in DraftKings tournaments.

Carson Palmer, Cardinals vs. Saints, $6,000

The matchup doesn’t get much better, and the cost on DraftKings is reasonable. Granted, Palmer has played very mediocre football this year and he’s down a few skill players due to injury and the release of the Patriots’ newest weapon, Michael Floyd. Still, on balance he should find success by using Larry Fitzgerald and David Johnson. He also has a good deep threat with J.J. Nelson. I think he’ll be in the top half of Week 15 performers. That makes him startable.

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