EJ Manuel, $5,000: The Buffalo Bills were making some news on Tuesday when they relieved Rex Ryan of his duties and handed Tyrod Taylor a clipboard while showing him the bench. So for at least one week it will be EJ Manuel commanding the huddle for the Bills as they square off against the Jets. While the game itself won’t mean a ton from an NFL standpoint, it does present some intriguing fantasy options. In DraftKings scoring formats, the Jets are allowing the fifth most points to opposing quarterbacks this season. Those points allowed by the Jets averages out to 19.3 which is a healthy chunk of Manuel’s potential 3X mark. This is also the same Jets team that allowed Matt Moore of the Dolphins to skyrocket to almost 10 points above his week fifteen 3X mark. Now backup, Tyrod Taylor had led this same Bills team with an average of 18.8 points per game. This is a sneaky opportunity to cash in on a Gridiron 3X opportunity.
Aaron Rodgers, $7,700: Every NFL season, it seems that we are given a game that has a bit finality to it than any other game on the schedule. This year that game is the Packers heading into Detroit to take on the Lions. With so much on the line, the Packers and Lions will be playing with a all hands on deck sort of approach which would allow a player like Aaron Rodgers to fulfill his weekly projections. The Packers have been on a roll this week and with that so has Rodgers who has gone above the Gridiron 3X mark in eight out of the last ten weeks. During that same time span he has had five 300 yard passing performances and six games with 3 or more touchdowns. His last game against the Lions in week 3 saw Rodgers throw for his second lowest yardage total of the season but also his first game with 4 touchdowns. The Lions are allowing the sixth most points to quarterbacks in DraftKings scoring and Aaron Rodgers is an MVP candidate.
Matthew Stafford, $6,000: If we are speaking of the all hands on deck philosophy in regards to Aaron Rodgers, it would only make sense that Matthew Stafford is thought of in that same vein. The Packers, despite their late season push have still been a bit vulnerable on defense at times and are allowing the tenth most points to the quarterback position in DraftKings formats. I’ll grant you that Stafford’s numbers lately haven’t been exactly jaw dropping but it’s important to also take notice of the opponents in which he is playing. Six of the Lions last seven opponents are in the top 15 of fewest points allowed to the position. One of Stafford’s best statistical games this season came against this same Packer defense as he was able to deliver 3 touchdown passes and 385 passing yards, which was his highest yardage total since week six of last season. This game has the second highest over/under of the week and I think that will reflect on both quarterbacks deliver three times their week 17 values.
Jacquizz Rodgers, $4,900: Buffalo wasn’t the only hot spot for headline news this week as Tampa Bay was also making waves. On Wednesday it was announced that Doug Martin was suspended and stepping away from the team to deal with some personal issues. While Martin looks to get himself the right the show will still go on in Tampa. With Simms now on the injured reserve, it will be Jacquizz Rodgers leading the Buccaneer backfield into battle this weekend against the Carolina Panthers. Earlier this season, Rodgers was given an opportunity to have the majority of the backfield in Tampa and he certainly made the most of it. In weeks 7 and 8, Rodgers had 56 carries for 255 yards. That averages out to 4.5 yards per carry and put him well above his Gridiron 3X marks in both weeks. The Panthers are allowing the 16th most points to opposing running backs but between the expected opportunity and what he has done recently with opportunity, he shouldn’t be ignored.
Thomas Rawls, $5,800: The reign of terror from opposing running backs against the 49ers defense is coming to a merciful end after this Sunday. Thomas Rawls will be the last back to get a crack at them and he must be chomping at the bit. The 49ers, by far, have been allowing the most points to opposing running backs in DraftKings scoring formats. So much so that they are allowing 85.3 more points than the second worst team. It has been a rough season for Rawls to say the least with the latest being a shoulder injury that he suffered against the Cardinals. All systems appear to be a go this weekend though as Rawls was able to practice in full on Wednesday. His talent itself has never been in question and this matchup is a perfect opportunity for him to end this season on a high note. His target total of 17.4 points should be easily achievable against a defense like this.
LeGarrette Blount, $5,700: The Patriots back has had quite the season in 2016. He is currently in line to lead the league throughout the 2016 season ins rushing touchdowns. He also is eighth in the league in rushing yards. Despite this productive season, Blount has had an average DraftKings cost of $5,100. He has managed to hit that Gridiron X3 mark in seven of the Patriots fifteen games this season. The season will conclude with the Patriots heading out to Miami to take on the Dolphins. In DraftKings formats, the Dolphins are allowing the 16th most points to opposing running backs but one would have the imagine that they’ll be looking to lean on Blount a bit more this game and let Brady heal up before another playoff run.
Steve Smith, $4,900: Many football fan will watch the Ravens game this week with heavy hearts as it will be the last time we watch Steve Smith play professional football. It’s that same sort of reason that I love Steve Smith to surpass the Gridiron X3 mark in his last game. The critics will be hesitant as the Ravens will go up against a Bengal defense who has allowed the second fewest points in DraftKings formats to the position. You could debunk those concerns with Smith’s game last week against a Steelers team that has the allowed the fourth fewest points to the position. That game saw him haul in all 7 of his targets for 79 yards and a touchdown. This is a play from the heart but I’m not blind, Steve Smith is the best receiver that team has to offer and Flacco will be targeting him heavily.
J.J. Nelson, $4,600: This week, the pleasant surprise to the Cardinals offense will go up against the L.A Rams who have allowed the fourth most points to opposing wide receivers. Nelson has had a touchdown in each of his last four games, including a 132 yard performance last week against the Seahawks. He has also seen 18 targets over the last two games which is 5 more than the future hall of famer, Larry Fitzgerald. He needs 13.8 points to hit the Gridiron X3 mark and has surpassed that number over the last three weeks. Michael Floyd’s exit has left a void in the offense that Nelson is evidently filling. He is becoming a late season bargain much like Tyreek Hill was earlier on this season.
Golden Tate, $6,600: As mentioned previously, the Lions have a lot on the line this weekend when they go up against the Packers. If Matt Stafford is going to have himself a big night, he is going to need a wide receiver to catch his passes. That is where Golden Tate comes in who has had 6 or more receptions in eight of his last ten games. Tate, the leading Lions pass catcher, has always hit his mark as far as this column is concerned. Missing the mark would be due in large part to his lack of touchdowns but if he stays on his current course and reaches the end zone, he will return on your investment. That return is feasible considering that the Packers have allowed the most touchdowns to wide receivers this season and are one of just three teams to allow twenty or more.
Jesse James, $3,000: Steelers tight end Ladarius Green is doubtful as he is still stuck dealing with concussion issues. That means that the floor belongs to James once again who had four receptions for 49 yards last week in a tough matchup against the Baltimore Ravens. This week things will get a little bit easier for James when he goes up against the Browns. Despite being the laughing stock of the NFL, the Browns have been a tight ends best friend as they have allowed the most points to the position. Just last week, James was able to hit his Gridiron X3 mark as he put up 8.9 points on a $2,500 salary. I think surpassing his 3,000 mark should be achievable considering the Browns being gouged for 95 receptions for 1005 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Zach Ertz, $4,800: The Eagles tight end has had 10 or more targets in three of his last six games. In his last three games he has averaged 75 yards receiving. Adding some receptions and a touchdown in with that average and cashing in on his $4,800 salary seems achievable for sure. His last game of the season will come against the Dallas Cowboys who have allowed the seventh most points to the position.
This is the same Cowboys team that has allowed 166 yards to starting tight ends over the last two weeks. 14.4 points seems achievable for the Philadelphia tight end in his 2016 season swan song.
Mike is a hardcore fantasy football fan. He has been doing serious writing for a couple of years now and loves finding the next big sleeper that no one is talking about. He also isn't afraid to go against the grain and predict the next big bust. The fantasy community is as strong as ever and Mike is ready to help you win a title!