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There are weeks in the season when no matter how much research you do, a lineup never comes together easily and you just don’t get a great feel of a core group of players. I had that feeling this past week and the results reflected that.
Prior to breaking down the Thursday night game from a daily fantasy perspective, I will recap how I did in the Fantasy Draft $100,000 Run and Gun (Sun Only) tournament from the week before. You can compete against me weekly throughout the season.
Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton has been playing consistent football for most of the season and had a match-up against a bad Chiefs defense. However, “Prime Time” Andy showed up as he was only able to throw for 148 yards with one touchdown. In a tournament this large, missing this badly at the quarterback position, especially at that high of price is too much of a mountain to climb. Dalton had been finding wide receiver Tyler Boyd on a consistent basis so I felt like that was the combination I wanted, but that failed miserably.
To complete the full Bengals stack, I used running back Joe Mixon, but he was unable to make an impact either. I knew I wanted to target that Bengals-Chiefs game, but I should have just found the extra money and paid up for Patrick Mahomes and dropped from Mixon to Kareem Hunt at running back. Instead of paying up for Travis Kelce, I should have used Cleveland Browns tight end David Njoku in the tight end spot instead of the flex position. Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley is difficult to fade and he came through again even with the high ownership. After the Browns traded Carlos Hyde to the Jacksonville Jaguars, Nick Chubb became a must play at his price. Chubb was high owned, but I thought for sure he would be over 50 percent and he wasn’t. I should have taken more advantage of that cheap price by using more high-priced studs that I knew would come through like the aforementioned Mahomes.
The search to find the high upside with low ownership players continue as we head into Week 8.
Moving on to the Thursday night contest, we have a battle of two 4-3 teams as the Miami Dolphins head to Houston to face the Texans. Houston is currently on a four-game winning steak while the Dolphins have lost three of their last four games. Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson has thrown for under 200 yards in back-t0-back contests after throwing for over 300 in each of the previous four games. However, even more concerning is the lack of rushing by Watson the last two weeks. In the first five games, the Texans signal caller rushed for at least 36 yards, but has failed to reach 15 in the last two. This is a direct result of Watson’s health as he has been dealing with lung and ribs injuries and the Texans are making sure their franchise quarterback avoids significant injury.
The Dolphins defense ranks in the middle of the pack in total defense and against the pass, but Watson checks in as the fifth highest priced quarterback this week on FantasyDraft. It’s hard for me to recommend Watson in cash games as his floor has taken a major hit due to his lack of rushing in recent weeks.
As for the Dolphins, “Brocktober” is alive and well as Brock Osweiler has thrown five touchdown passes in the last two games. Osweiler diced up the Bears defense two weeks ago and gets another match-up as the Texans rank third in defensive DVOA according to Football Outsiders. The Texans are starting to apply pressure to quarterbacks as well as they have 12 sacks in the last four games. Osweiler is more expensive than Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and Rams quarterback Jared Goff. There’s no way I’m using Osweiler when those options are better and cheaper.
The running game has been inconsistent for both teams which is why Texans running back Lamar Miller along with Dolphins Frank Gore and Kenyan Drake rank 15th and lower in rushing yards. Miller is fresh off his first 100-yard rushing performance and now takes on a Dolphins defense who just allowed the Detroit Lions to rush for 248 yards. The Dolphins have also allowed the sixth most receptions to running backs this season and Miller has hauled in 11 catches. Miller is $10,800 which is right around the same price as Broncos running back Phillip Lindsay and Colts running back Marlon Mack. I lean slightly to those two backs over Miller, but Miller is in a nice spot to have another solid performance.
Despite Frank Gore consistently getting more carries than Kenyan Drake, it has been Drake that has been on the field more than Gore. Drake has out snapped Gore by at least 11 snaps in each of the last three games, but Gore continues to dominate the carries. Drake has been involved in the passing game which has kept him fantasy relevant, but it will be difficult for him to reach his true ceiling while Gore handles the majority of the carries. Both Gore and Drake are only tournament options at this point.
The Dolphins wide receivers are a mess right now as Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson have been ruled out with DeVante Parker finally returning. The Dolphins will have Parker, Jakeem Grant and Danny Amendola as the top three wide outs as they take on a Texans defense ranked 14th against the pass. Amendola could benefit the most as he received seven targets in Week 7 and converted that into six catches for 84 yards and a touchdown. He’s priced at $10,300 which isn’t awful as he has the potential of racking up the catches even if the yard total won’t be high. Grant has big play ability which makes him a prime tournament option as a boom or bust play. Parker can safely be avoided in all formats.
DeAndre Hopkins continues to be perform at a high level and he is priced that way at $15,800. Hopkins has been targeted 71 times this season and has hauled in 47 passes for 707 yards and four touchdowns. If you can make the salary work, Hopkins is always an elite option in all formats.
Keke Coutee is expected to miss this contest with a hamstring injury which means Will Fuller could be in store for a big game. Fuller has dealt with his own hamstring problems this season and after back-to-back dud performances, the wide out finally saw some life in Week 7 as he caught six passes for 68 yards. Fuller also performs better when Coutee is out which is the expectation this week. Fuller could see similar results from earlier this season and he is viable in all formats.
Texans tight end Ryan Griffin missed Week 7 with an illness and it’s still unknown if he returns against the Dolphins. When Griffin was out, the backup tight ends were only targeted once. Even if Griffin returns, any of the options for the Texans can be faded.
As mentioned previous, the Dolphins will miss two of their starting wide receivers which gives every other receiver on the roster a boost. How much is what we have to figure out, but the Dolphins take on a Texans defense that ranks 31st in defensive DVOA against the tight end position. Rookie Mike Gesicki finished with a career high 44 receiving yards in Week 7 while Nick O’Leary continues to run more routes. The unknown of which tight end will receive the majority of the looks makes this situation a fade despite the prime matchup.
The Texans are nicely priced at only $5,400 which is actually cheaper than the Dolphins. Houston is ranked third in defensive DVOA and I’m not buying a resurgence from Osweiler. As mentioned previous, the Texans are starting to rack up the sacks. The Dolphins don’t know who to rely on in the backfield and are missing key injuries at wide receiver. The Texans can be used this week, but the Dolphins defense can safely be avoided.