Preseason Predictions Revisited

Updated: May 28th 2017

During training camp five of the RSO writers took on the challenge of looking ahead to the 2016 season and planted our flags on who we expected to take home end of season awards. We also made one BOLD prediction on something happening this season that others were skeptical about. With the fantasy season now behind us let’s revisit these predictions and see how we did.

Comeback Fantasy Player of the Year

Goodwin: Victor Cruz – Cruz was on a role the first month of the season scoring double-digit fantasy points in his first four games. Unfortunately, the fairy tale ends there as he only reached those numbers twice in the final eleven games. All the while rookie Sterling Shepard began to find traction and looks like him and Odell Beckham Jr. could be forming a nice 1-2 combination for Big Blue in 2017. We may have seen the last of the salsa dance.

Luke: Tony Romo – Poor Tony. The butt end of every football joke couldn’t even make it to regular season healthy. An injury to his back in the third preseason game led to a rookie QB from Mississippi State named Dak Prescott having to start the first half of the season. He, along with fellow rookie of the year candidate Ezekiel Elliot, revitalized the Cowboys and now is the new face of what Dallas fans hope will be a Super Bowl Champion. As for Romo barring an injury to Prescott in the playoffs, 2016 will be his final season in Big D.

Bernard: Eddie Lacy – The Packers took a little while to get the steam train rolling but after a guaranteed turnaround from front man Aaron Rodgers they are one win away from being the NFC North Champs. But while everyone else in green and gold is having a comeback season Lacy remains the same as 2015 Eddie Lacy. He started off the year slow, with only one double-digit performance before injuring his ankle in week 6. In his contract year and having two stinker years on his resume it’s likely a change would be good for both the Packers and Lacy.

Jordy NelsonDave: Jordy Nelson – People wondered if Nelson was the glue that held the Packers together and sure enough they were right. He had over 15 points in 12 of his 15 games and averaged 26 points in the playoffs. He is the PPR WR2 and looks to be back to full health. Anyone who was able to grab him or Rodgers for a discount was mighty pleased with Nelson’s return.

Nick: Dez Bryant – As expected there were a lot more “Xs” being thrown up in Dallas this season but it might not have as much as what Bryant owners were expecting. Bryant missed games due to injury from weeks 4 through 7 which might have put owners in a big hole going into the second half of the season. He was able to manage over 15 points/game in his 12 games played but anyone who made the playoffs with him was likely bounced early with a 2 point stinker against the Giants in week 14.

Overvalued Player of the Year

Goodwin: Thomas Rawls – Coming into the season everyone was giving their two cents on which 2015 breakout running backs were good and which were a mirage. Turns out that Goody got this one right as Rawls couldn’t shake the injury bug that ended his 2015 season and missed a significant amount of time in 2016 due to various other injuries. His lone 2 touchdown game against Carolina in week 13 was the only week he eclipsed more than 12 fantasy points but that was likely too little too late for owners. It will be interesting to see whether C.J. Prosise has passed Rawls on the depth chart when training camp opens in 2017 and what sort of role Rawls will have moving forward.

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Buffalo BillsLuke: Le’veon Bell – Those who stuck with Bell through both the suspension and the injury concerns were likely treated to a fantasy championship this season based on his performance and consistency. Once returning from his three-game ban Bell scored 18+ points in 12 of 13 games including a 50 burger in week 14. There is still concern over the long term contract situation in Pittsburgh but owning Bell in 2016 was like printing money.

Bernard: Donte Moncrief – Touchdowns are a hard thing to predict year over year but Moncrief was one of the most consistent players in 2016. He scoring one touchdown in 7 of his 8 games played and average 12.8 points/game played. The emphasis though is “games played” as he missed 7 games throughout the season. Meanwhile, T.Y. Hilton played in all 15 games for the Colts, averaged 17.2 points/game and had four games where he scored over 26 points. If he can stay healthy Moncrief could be a sneaky buy-low for 2017.

Dave: Jordan Matthews – Depending on your expectations of Matthews he was either an incredible asset to have or the bane of your fantasy lineups. Those who saw Matthews as their high-upside WR2 with WR1 potential would have been disappointed with his inconsistent production. But using him as a Flex or WR3 was a nice safe blanket to have averaging 12.2 points/game. Where he likely hurt you though was the last two weeks where he only offered 11.9 points total for weeks 15 & 16. Still, in leagues with more than two starting wide receivers or large flex options Matthews was a low-cost option to fill out an open slot.

Nick: David Johnson – This is simply egg all over my face. Not only did David Johnson not bust the way I had predicted he became the most consistent player for 2016 while also becoming the first player since L.T. to go over 400 fantasy points in a season. Johnson never scored less than 16 PPR points in any game and had 10 games with over 25 points. Both he and Ezekiel Elliot will be considered 1 and 1A in terms of dynasty rankings heading into 2017.

2016 BOLD Predictions

Goodwin: Charles Sims will outscore Doug MartinDavid Johnson

Sadly, both Martin and Sims were a huge disappoint despite the Bucs taking steps forward this season to being playoff ready. Both had injuries reduce their playing time to the point that Jacquizz Rodgers was the Bucs leading rusher with only 485 yards. For this prediction though Sims (69.9) failed to outscore Martin (87.5).

Luke: David Johnson will be the RB1

Luke clearly saw something that I did not and accurately predicted Johnson to be the RB1 for 2016. Johnson did one better by being the highest scoring fantasy player with 406 points.

Bernard: Ryan Mathews will be a top 10 RB

Mathews was plagued with injuries and inconsistency throughout 2016. His first month offered a promising return for those who took a chance on him in free agency however Darren Sproles ended up being the highest scoring running back in Philly. Mathews failed to be even an RB2 for the season.

Dave: Adrian Peterson will NOT be a top 10 RB

Whether Dave was expecting Peterson to succumb to a season-long injury or not he nailed Peterson failing to make the top 10 running backs. It was another tough year for Peterson owners who were trying to milk one more good season before the end of a stellar career. While he is not going to be retiring this season his days in Minnesota are likely over due to salary and performance not lining up. This was also probably Peterson’s last chance to be an every-down back in the NFL.

Nick: Giovanni Bernard will have the most receptions and scrimmage yards for an RB

This was looking to be a good prediction before his injury midway through the season. No, he wasn’t going to be leapfrogging David Johnson in what is a stellar year for him but Gio was doing well catching almost 40 passes out of the backfield and adding another 330 yards in the air. He received a four-year contract extension before training camp which should prevent him from rushing his rehab and risking further injury. If he can return in a similar capacity to Jordy Nelson this year, Gio could be an excellent buy-low candidate during drafts.

2016 Stories and Lessons

Updated: May 28th 2017

Happy holidays everyone! I hope everyone is having a great end to the year.  The fantasy season concluded recently for most of the fantasy community with the week 16 championships (we do keep in mind our wild brethren who finish in week 17) and the NFL season finishes shortly in week 17.  While some of you out there may still be celebrating your successful season and others might be crying after disaster, it is a good time to look at stories that dominated the fantasy season and examine a few lessons learned from the year.

Return of the Running Back

What a difference a year makes. Running backs were the ugly step-child of the fantasy community coming into the season with seemingly every analyst avoiding them like the plague.  We heard everything from “Running Backs are always hurt” to “Every team is going to a committee” or “Nobody runs the ball in a passing league”.  The much-maligned position group came back with a vengeance in 2016 absolutely dominating in a way we have not seen for years.  Table 1 details the big increase in weekly scoring among running backs this season, particularly among the top scorers.  The top running backs have also been far more reliable losing fewer games to injury this season.  The top six scorers per game from 2015 lost 41 games to injury while this year’s group has lost only 6 games total (including 3 games from LeVeon Bell’s suspension).   While the injury rate for running backs returned closer to historical levels, the scoring was far higher than recent years.  I do not expect the increased scoring to continue and will likely be lower on running backs than the consensus next season.

Table 1: PPR PPG for running backs

                RB1        RB2       RB6       RB12     RB18     RB24

2016       26.69     26.45     19.28     14.78     13.68     12.49

2015       21.09     20.22     16.95     14.52     12.80     12.24

 

Tight End is the new Running Back

Similarly to running backs in 2015, the top of the tight end position lost a lot of time to injuries in 2016. The top-6 per game scorers lost only 7 games in 2015.  That number ballooned to 19 so far this season primarily including top options Rob Gronkowski, Jordan Reed, and Tyler Eifert.  This number does not include a bunch of “decoy” games with minimum use due to injuries and reincorporation to the offense following an injury which lowered player scoring averages dramatically as seen in table 2.   Many in the fantasy community will use this data as evidence of how “injury-prone” tight ends are.  I will use it as a buying opportunity to obtain one of the few game changers at the position on the cheap.

Table 2: PPR PPG for tight ends

               TE1         TE6       TE12

2016       14.7        12.1        11.0

2015       18.1        14.7        10.8

Avoid Injured Players

Here is a small sample of stat lines for players returning from injury in 2016:

Julio Jones: 4 receptions, 60 yards; Stephon Diggs: 2 receptions, 18 yards;  Steve Smith: 4 receptions, 47 yards

Donte Moncrief: 4 receptions, 41 yards;  Julio Jones: 4 receptions, 60 yards;  Rob Gronkowski: 0 receptions, 0 yards

Tyler Eifert: 1 reception, 9 yards;  Jordan Reed: 1 reception, 10 yards

The conventional wisdom has been to insert your star players into fantasy lineups whenever they are available. The reality is that any player either returning from an injury or playing with an injury is a gargantuan-size risk usually not worth taking.  We will not know how effectively each individual will perform and, perhaps more importantly, how coaches will limit their snaps and thus the opportunity to put up fantasy points.  Coaches and front office personnel tend to the conservative side with players the organization invested heavily in.  It may not seem smart to bench your star players but, in many instances, it is exactly the correct move.

Avoid Skill Position Players with Bad Quarterbacks

There is a common belief among many that talent supersedes situation in dictating fantasy production. The reality is that situation plays a far larger part.  Perhaps no other situation highlights this dynamic more than the relationship between quarterbacks and skill players.  In particular, bad quarterback play negatively impacts fantasy production of attached players dramatically.

This negative impact manifests directly on wide-outs by receivers accumulating less yards for every target. Bad quarterback play also limits the opportunity for receivers to score touchdowns as drives tend to stall much earlier with fewer plays near the end zone.  Competitive teams shield bad quarterbacks in many cases by decreasing passing attempts which means fewer targets for wide receivers.  The bottom 9 NFL teams in passing rating so far in 2016 are:  New York Jets, Los Angeles Rams, Houston Texans, Cleveland Browns, Carolina Panthers, Philadelphia, Jacksonville Jaguars, San Francisco 49ers, and the Chicago Bear.  What does this “stellar” group have in common?  There is not a single wide receiver that managed even a WR2 season so far this season (based on PPG) in PPR leagues.  Terrelle Pryor is currently the highest ranked wide receiver out of these teams at WR25.  Those who invested in Allen Robinson, DeAndre Hopkins, or Brandon Marshall likely saw their fantasy seasons end early due to abysmal quarterbacks.

Bad quarterback play can also have a detrimental impact on running backs. Backs suffer from the same loss of touchdown opportunities as wide receivers but also see negative indirect consequences which limit effectiveness.  Defenses adjust to bad quarterbacks by placing more men closer to the line of scrimmage forcing teams to choose between passing with their awful quarterback and running against stacked boxes in low upside situations.  Los Angeles Rams’ Todd Gurley and Houston Texan Lamar Miller provide two examples (both currently top-6 in rushing attempts) which demonstrate the effect.  Both suffered from bottom of the league QBs and faced extensive loaded defensive fronts (along with marginal offensive line play and predictable offensive play calling) throughout the season.  The heavy volume should dictate RB1 numbers but QB play has heavily impacted each resulting in RB2 seasons.


Bio: Bernard Faller has degrees in engineering and economics.  He currently lives in Las Vegas and enjoys athletics, poker, and fantasy football in his free time.  Send your questions and comments (both good and bad) on Twitter @BernardFaller1.

Week 17 FantasyDraft Advice

Updated: May 28th 2017

Week 17 of the NFL season is upon us and what better way to complement yearly leagues than by playing daily leagues as well? Assuming your opponent’s team is stacked and you’re fighting a losing battle, DFS is a way to still monetize your football knowledge on a lost week in yearly leagues. However, there is a bit of a strategy difference due to the weekly salary cap. In this article, fantasy expert Ricky Sanders will walk you through the thought process of putting together the best possible FantasyDraft DFS lineup for the upcoming weekend slate:

Matthew Stafford, Lions, $11,300 – The tilt between the Packers and Lions this week is one of the few games where both teams have something to play for. In this case, the two teams will be competing for the NFC North title. Luckily for both teams, this game will be played inside the dome of Ford Field so this also negates any threat of potential weather issues. Matthew Stafford’s previous meeting against the Packers (in Green Bay) proved to be his best fantasy outing of the entire season. In that game, Stafford threw for 385 yards and three passing TDs which makes sense from a game plan perspective. The Packers rank 11th in terms of rushing defense according to Football Outsiders’ defense-adjusted value over average (DVOA) metric compared to 20th in passing defense. Instead of running into a brick wall, most teams choose to throw more instead against this stout front seven and it worked for the Lions the last time. With Theo Riddick likely out once again, and the team having to rely on the Dwayne Washington/Zach Zenner duo again, it would not be shocking for Stafford to exceed 40 passing attempts once again (as he did in the previous meeting). As icing on the cake, Stafford has produced a superior QB rating at home in back-to-back seasons. With so many factors in his favor, it would be foolish to fade him at this price tag.

David Johnson, Cardinals, $18,600 – Coach Mike Tomlin hinted Le’Veon Bell will likely sit out this weekend which leaves David Johnson as the only elite back worthy of consideration. As per usual, Johnson is in an excellent spot to succeed against a Rams team that has allowed a whopping 25 receptions to backs over their last four games. No back has caught more passes (77) than Johnson this year neither have any racked up more receiving yards (841). Amazingly, Johnson’s floor this season has proven to be 15.40 fantasy points and that lowly output came in his last meeting versus the Rams. With Johnson looking for vengeance, I would not want to be one of the few caught without rostering him in cash games.

Bilal Powell, Jets, $12,300 – With Matt Forte continuing to sit out practice, the Jets have absolutely zero reason to rush him back considering they have been eliminated from the playoffs. Therefore, it will be the Bilal Powell show once again and he has been surprisingly effective this season. Amongst all backs who have carried the ball at least 100 times, Powell ranks second in yards per carry (YPC) behind only LeSean McCoy. Furthermore, only three backs have caught more passes this season: the aforementioned Johnson, Bell and James White. That is it. Now, he will square off against a Bills defense that has allowed the most fantasy points to opposing backs over the last month and the third most fantasy points overall. During the course of their last four games, the Bills have surrendered seven rushing TDs and 698 rushing yards to opposing backs to go along with 229 receiving yards. With Powell drawing a full workload once again, he is one of the best values on the entire slate at this mid-tier cost.

Michael Thomas, Saints, $12,600 – The 7-8 Saints have nothing to play for other than pride and the fact they will likely find themselves in a shootout against another high-powered offense. Vegas lists this game as above and beyond the highest over/under of the weekend (56) with the Packers/Lions game sitting in a distant second (48.5). After flopping at home last week, Drew Brees now finds himself in a dome (although it is not home) against a defense that has allowed the second most fantasy points to opposing QBs. In the first meeting, Brees threw for 376 yards and three TDs and Michael Thomas caught 7-11 targets for 71 yards and a TD. In fact, this performance proved to be his first big game as a professional and he took off from there, posting double-digit fantasy points in nine of his next 11 games. He has morphed into the number one WR in an offense where Brees mostly looks for the open man and this matchup was clearly conducive to him the first time. While the defense can certainly make adjustments, the Saints simply possess too many weapons for the defense to focus on any one receiver. At the cost of a low-end WR2, Thomas has the upside of a true WR1 in this perfect game atmosphere.

Antonio Gates, Chargers, $7,400 – Narratives typically are not worth overanalyzing because most of them are made up by the media. However, like Kobe Bryant’s 60 points in his final game, getting Antonio Brown to the all-time TE TD record is a narrative worth recognizing and factoring in. With the team eliminated from the playoffs, the TD record is literally the only thing they have to play for and this could be Gates’ final game as a professional. For that reason, the team should target him heavily once they get into the red zone. Hell, he ranks second in red zone targets (17) amongst TEs anyways so it is not like he does not get the looks on an average week anyways. After catching 8-13 targets for 94 yards and a TD last week, his price actually decreased nearly $1,000. Although the reasoning for using him does not fly in most scenarios, there is little doubt it will contribute to the Chargers game plan this week.


Ricky Sanders is a fantasy sports expert with over 15 years of playing experience. After starting several freelance fantasy sports blogs, Ricky moved up in the fantasy industry when he joined Going9 Baseball. He wrote fantasy baseball content and had a weekly radio spot on the site’s SiriusXM Satellite Radio show. Shortly thereafter, in early 2013, Ricky joined RotoExperts as a three-sport fantasy contributor, eventually becoming one of the site’s lead basketball writers. While writing for RotoExperts, Ricky was introduced to daily fantasy sports and immediately fell in love. With help from some of his mentors, some of the best DFS players in the world, he honed his skills and became the daily fantasy expert he is today. When RotoExperts created a daily-focused website called DailyRoto.com, Ricky was brought on to FantasyDraft as one of the main contributors. He still makes frequent appearances on the RotoExperts SiriusXM Radio show and on the FNTSY Sports Television Network, talking daily fantasy sports. He also continues to write for a few DFS content sites: FanVice, RotoCurve and Daily Fantasy Cafe. Ricky is a proud and active member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. Don’t hesitate to contact Ricky with questions on Twitter @RSandersDFS.

RSO Staff Picks: Week 17

Updated: May 28th 2017

Week 16 Results

1. English – 11-5

2. Wendell – 10-6

1T. Papson – 8-8

Overall Standings

1. Papson – 154-84-2

2. Wendell – 153-85-2

3. English – 150-88-2

A huge week in the yearly RSO Staff Pick’Em! Kyle and I had a bunch of different picks than Matt, and it finally paid off this week. Ironically, Kyle picked the Birds upset while the Philly faithful Papson and Wendell picked the Giants on Thursday night, and English followed that up with correctly picking Miami to go on the road and end the Ryan era in Buffalo. He used those two wins to propel him to a 11-5 week against my 10-6 and Papson’s 8-8 week, leaving English four games back and Wendell only one game back of Papson heading into the final week. It could have been tied if Houston had not survived against Cincy on somewhat of a Christmas miracle! Still, Papson controls his own destiny and can complete the wire to wire victory by winning this week. With very few games that mean anything this week, it is sure to be unpredictable, but here are our picks for the week:

NFL Game Picks

Game Wendell Papson English

DAL @ PHI

BAL @ CIN

HOU @ TEN

CAR @ TB

JAX @ IND

NE @ MIA

patriots patriots patriots

CHI @ MIN

BUF @ NYJ

CLV @ PIT

NO @ ATL

NYG @ WAS

ARI @ LA

OAK @ DEN

KC @ SD

SEA @ SF

GB @ DET

RSO Staff Picks: Week 16

Updated: May 28th 2017

Week 15 Results

1T. Wendell – 13-3

1T. English – 13-3

1T. Papson – 13-3

Overall Standings

1. Papson – 146-76-2

2. Wendell – 143-79-2

3. English – 139-83-2

Wendell and English were so close to closing the gap by two games each but the Panthers came through big for Papson on MNF, and the result was a three-way tie for the second straight week, this time at an impressive 13-3. Wendell remains three games back with two weeks to go and English sits seven back still. It should be noted though that Papson’s 146-76-2 record would have him in 1st place by three games against the ESPN Expert Pickers. There are some more great games this week, starting with the Eagles/Giants tonight where the Birds will have a chance to play spoiler and deliver the GMen a loss in Philly as they look to clinch a playoff spot. Most of the games are being played on Saturday this week with Christmas on Sunday, highlighted probably by the Raiders visiting Indy in hopes of clinching the division and a bye in the playoffs. Both games on Christmas and the game on Monday prove to be exciting and have huge playoff implications with Baltimore traveling to Pittsburgh for the early game on Sunday (a Pittsburgh win clinches the AFC North but a loss could mean no playoffs for the Steelers) and Denver traveling to Kansas City in what is a must win for Denver to keep their playoff hopes and championship defense alive. On Monday night, Detroit visits Dallas in a must win to avoid having to beat Green Bay in Week 17 to make the playoffs, while Dallas can clinch the #1 seed with a win at home in Jerry World. Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays to all of you! Here are our picks for the week (7 games different than Papson so there is a chance!!):

NFL Game Picks

Game Wendell Papson English

NY @ PHI

MIA @ BUF

WAS @ CHI

redskins

SD @ CLV

MIN @ GB

NYJ @ NE

patriots patriots patriots

ATL @ CAR

TEN @ JAX

IND @ OAK

SF @ LA

TB @ NO

ARI @ SEA

CIN @ HOU

BAL @ PIT

DEN @ KC

DET @ DAL

Week 16 FantasyDraft Advice

Updated: May 28th 2017

Week 16 of the NFL season is upon us and what better way to complement yearly leagues than by playing daily leagues as well? Assuming your opponent’s team is stacked and you’re fighting a losing battle, DFS is a way to still monetize your football knowledge on a lost week in yearly leagues. However, there is a bit of a strategy difference due to the weekly salary cap. In this article, fantasy expert Ricky Sanders will walk you through the thought process of putting together the best possible FantasyDraft DFS lineup for the upcoming weekend slate:

Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers, $12,600 – The recent struggles of Ben Roethlisberger should only play to the advantage of those interested in rostering him this week…and why would one not be interested? Four of Roethlisberger’s last five games have come on the road where he continuously struggles. After producing an 86.0 QB rating on the road last year and 102.4 rating at home, he has produced similar results this year: 78.4 rating on the road versus 119.0 at home. All three of Roethlisberger’s 30-plus fantasy point outbursts have come at Heinz Field this year so there is definitely some weight to this narrative. Even beyond the narrative, the Ravens present a solid matchup for him especially because Le’Veon Bell should have a much more difficult time than usual leading the ground game. Not only do the Ravens rank first in rushing defense according to Football Outsiders’ defense-adjusted value over average (DVOA) metric but they held Bell to just 13.00 fantasy points (his worst outing of their year) in the previous meeting on Nov. 6. With Bell potentially being held in check and Roethlisberger excelling at home, the passing offense will be relied upon to lead the Steelers to victory. This means a whole lot of Roethlisberger early and often much to the delight of those who decide to use him.

Todd Gurley, Rams, $12,300 – Here should be a checklist for rostering a RB in cash games. Question number one: “is he facing the 49ers?” If so, he belongs in your lineup…period, end of story. Over the course of the last two weeks alone, Bilal Powell torched this defense for 145 yards and two TDs and last week Devonta Freeman ran wild for 139 yards and three TDs. As a whole, the 49ers have allowed exactly 293 yards rushing more than the next worst defense (Browns) and six more total TDs to the RB position (25) than any other defense (also the Browns who rank second worst). The entire Rams offense is amidst a disappointing season but Todd Gurley has been especially discouraging. In 14 games, Gurley has only managed to top 20 fantasy points once after setting the fantasy landscape on fire in his rookie season. If there ever were a game for him to bounceback to his true RB1 form, this would be the one.

Jordan Howard, Bears, $12,000 – Alshon Jeffery returned to action last week and sparked the passing game in a big way. Although Matt Barkley had failed to top 215 yards in each of his past two games, the Jeffery-led receiving core prompted a 362 yard, two TD outburst. In fact, three receivers finished in the top seven at the position in terms of fantasy points on the Sunday slate (Jeffery, Cameron Meredith and Deonte Thompson). All of this is a long-winded way of saying the Bears now have a respectable passing game to complement the run and Jordan Howard continues to flirt with RB1 status. Since Oct. 20, Howard has touched the ball at least 15 times in seven consecutive games and has not sunk below double-digit fantasy points even once. During that span, only three backs (min. 100 attempts) have averaged a superior yard per carry (YPC) average than Howard: LeSean McCoy, Mark Ingram and Ezekiel Elliott (in that order). In Week 16, the Bears will face a Redskins rushing defense that ranks 27th in DVOA and has surrendered 15 rushing TDs to opposing RBs. After only paying for two mid-tier backs, there is plenty left over to spend up at receiver…

Antonio Brown, Steelers, $15,600 – To coincide with the Roethlisberger play, you may as well double down on Antonio Brown who is my favorite play of the week at any position. Had he not been so quiet lately, calling him the “top play of the week” would not exactly be considered bold but here we are. Brown has been very un-Brownlike recently as he has failed to top 20 fantasy points in back-to-back-to-back contests. His struggles correlate to Roethlisberger’s struggles and two of those three games have come on the road. At home, the Steelers offense is completely different and Roethlisberger needs to rely on Brown to produce a monster performance. In six home games this season, Brown has only failed to reach 17 fantasy points once and failed to top 20 fantasy points just twice. Clearly, he is more comfortable when Roethlisberger is more comfortable so the two of them should help each other out this week. As icing on the cake, Brown roasted the Ravens for 7-85-1 on the road earlier this year. A performance like that could prove to be his floor this week. Do not be the one caught without him in your lineup.

Antonio Gates, Chargers, $8,300 – The TE position is an absolute wasteland this week with both expensive and value options alike in unfavorable/risky spots. Furthermore, both Jordan Reed and Greg Olsen are currently dealing with injuries which makes them unsettling to roster despite their fantastic matchups. If fishing for someone to start, why not use a player who leads the NFL in red zone targets (17) at the position and yet is priced about $2,000 below the elites? Yes, veteran Antonio Gates is still worthy of consideration despite his frustrating platoon with Hunter Henry. In Week 15, Gates played 35 offensive snaps to Henry’s 29 and yet Henry caught a TD for the fourth time in five games. Call it a hunch but it feels like Gates’ week as he has been targeted 15 times in the last three games and yet has not found the end zone. Now, the team will play an awful Browns defense that ranks dead last in TE DVOA and has allowed the most fantasy points to opposing TEs. Both of the Chargers options are worthy of consideration but my pick is the guy playing a majority of the snaps: Gates.


Ricky Sanders is a fantasy sports expert with over 15 years of playing experience. After starting several freelance fantasy sports blogs, Ricky moved up in the fantasy industry when he joined Going9 Baseball. He wrote fantasy baseball content and had a weekly radio spot on the site’s SiriusXM Satellite Radio show. Shortly thereafter, in early 2013, Ricky joined RotoExperts as a three-sport fantasy contributor, eventually becoming one of the site’s lead basketball writers. While writing for RotoExperts, Ricky was introduced to daily fantasy sports and immediately fell in love. With help from some of his mentors, some of the best DFS players in the world, he honed his skills and became the daily fantasy expert he is today. When RotoExperts created a daily-focused website called DailyRoto.com, Ricky was brought on to FantasyDraft as one of the main contributors. He still makes frequent appearances on the RotoExperts SiriusXM Radio show and on the FNTSY Sports Television Network, talking daily fantasy sports. He also continues to write for a few DFS content sites: FanVice, RotoCurve and Daily Fantasy Cafe. Ricky is a proud and active member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. Don’t hesitate to contact Ricky with questions on Twitter @RSandersDFS.