***We all have our year-long fantasy football league teams. Maybe it’s an office league, or a group of old college buddies. They’re fun, sure. But they don’t require you to make a multitude of critical decisions from week-to-week . If you have Tom Brady or Brandin Cooks, you’re probably starting them regardless of the match up. For some of us, spending ten minutes per week setting a lineup, submitting a waiver claim here or there, and rejecting ludicrous trade offers from that one guy in your office who still thinks Steve Smith plays for Carolina just isn’t enough action. That’s where daily fantasy sports sites like DraftKings and FanDuel come in. In this weekly series, we’ll see where the Patriots’ match up fits into this lovely world of daily fantasy football degeneracy by identifying a player to roll with, a player to fade, and a sleeper to keep an eye on. Good luck.***
Week 5: Patriots at Buccaneers
There are varying attitudes and strategies towards utilizing Thursday night players in DFS cash games or tournaments. Personally, I tend to lean towards entering large Thursday-Sunday contests and fading most of the Thursday players, knowing that a portion of the contest’s entrants will be deploying them to enhance their viewing experience. It typically inflates the ownership percentage of these players, decreasing their overall value. Theoretically, when these players fail to meet projections, it provides a statistical advantage to the entrants with completely open lineups — a “thinning of the herd” of sorts.
That strategy has not worked thus far in 2017. With the exception of week-two’s snore-inducing Texans-Bengals tilt, Thursday Night games have been full of explosive DFS player performances that have held up throughout their respective weekends. From Kareem Hunt and Tyreek Hill in week one, to literally any player involved in week-three’s Rams-49ers shootout, to Aaron Rodgers and Jordy Nelson last week, Thursday players have dominated.
Tonight should be no different. With an over-under of 55 (as of this morning), Las Vegas is expecting tonight’s game to be an explosion of offense — and with good reason. It’s a match up of the league’s two worst pass defenses so far this season.
General Game Info:
Date and time: Thursday 10/5 @ 8:25pmET
Location: Raymond James Stadium - Tampa,FL
Expected weather forecast: 78 degrees, cloudy, 15% chance of rain, ENE winds at 9-11 mph
Spread: New England -5
Over/Under: 55 points
Patriots and Buccaneers injury report
Player to roll with:
DraftKings price: $5,300 — FanDuel price: $5,900
Given the state of our current fantasy environment, where public sentiment towards teams and players can seemingly shift from drive to drive, it’s easy to forget that Gillislee is just two games removed from an 18-68-1 performance in New Orleans that was preempted by a three-touchdown performance in New England’s home opener. After a considerable production dip against the two dynamic, run-defending front sevens the Patriots have faced in the past two weeks, DFS participants will find Gillislee at a terrific value on both major platforms tonight against Tampa Bay.
Yes, the Bucs rank third in defensive DVOA against the run this season. However, in their first game at home against Bears, Chicago dug itself into an early 0-26 hole before halftime and was forced to abandon the run game. The following week, Dalvin Cook racked up 97 yards and a score.
With the Buc’s depleted linebacker unit, the Patriots are sure to deploy a generous dose of power personnel packages. These packages, which include two or three tight ends, a full back, a sixth offensive lineman, or any combination of the three, have made up roughly 43% of the teams offensive snaps through four games. Gillislee has been the running back utilized on almost 56% of these snaps. Expect those numbers to rise as Tom Brady leads the offense into the “red” and “green” areas on numerous occasions.
Player to fade:
DraftKings price: $5,500 — FanDuel price: $6,600
This should be a common sense move as Martin makes his return following a four-game suspension. The “Muscle Hamster” should command a portion of Tampa’s running back snaps, but there’s no telling what kind of volume he’ll be looking at. General consensus seems be that he’ll be slowly eased back into action.
With the game script expected to to be in favor of the passing attack, Jacquizz Rodgers should be the play tonight. He’s coming off of his best performance so far in 2017, and should still earn more than a handful of carries. His pass-catching and blitz-pickup abilities make him well-equipped for handling passing downs along with Charles Sims.
DraftKings price: $2,500 — FanDuel price: $4,500
In the world of deep sleepers in fantasy football, Dwayne Allen could be classified as coma-status. Yes, he’s still looking for his first official catch as a Patriot, and I know he has only been targeted six times in the team’s first four games. But I’m telling you...I’ve got a good feeling about this one.
Does it help that Rob Gronkowski was a late add to the injury report and could reportedly be “limited”? Sure. But this feeling of mine started a day or two ago, and it hasn’t quit.
Allen has participated in roughly a third of the teams offensive snaps, and 71% of his personal snaps have come as a second tight end in a power personnel packages. The same rationale for starting Mike Gillislee — an uptick in power package usage, and an abundance of red zone trips — could make a Dwayne Allen gamble worth the risk. Not to mention, a with injuries limiting the depth of the tight end position, ownership percentage is becoming increasingly concentrated to a few high-priced names, so any production from a minimum-priced, barely-owned player gives your lineup a huge boost.
Think about it. What would be a more fitting way for Allen to notch his first reception from Tom Brady than a wide open play action pass in the corner of the end zone?
Sometimes you just have to go with your gut.
Subjective results record, year-to-date: 4-1-1
It was a welcomed 3-0 clean sweep last weekend, as the results of each selection went pretty much as planned.
My call to start Chris Hogan in lieu of Brandin Cooks was spot on as James Bradberry held the former Saints speedster to just 38 yards on three catches while Hogan corralled five balls for 60 yards and a score.
Jonathan Stewart, my “player to fade”, was held in check to the tune of 68 yards and a fumble.
Finally, last week’s “sleeper” was Danny Amendola, whose fourth-quarter touchdown rounded out his six-catch, 48-yard stat line nicely, and subsequently took me off the hook.
- Good luck this weekend -