Falcons-Chargers is my favorite game to attack this week. Both teams rank top-6 in situation neutral pace and are pass-heavy offenses. That means we should get lots of plays and passes. The defenses rank 19th and 20th against the pass, according to Football Outsiders’ DVOA.
So I’ll be playing 1 of these 2 QBs in cash:
Justin Herbert, Chargers ($6,800)
I’m giving him a mulligan for last week’s dud against Bill Belichick and the Patriots. Herbert had topped 20 DK points in 8 straight games prior to last week, averaging 26.9 points over that span.
This is a prime bounce-back spot at home for a Falcons defense sitting dead last in adjusted fantasy points allowed to QBs.
Matt Ryan, Falcons ($5,700)
It’s been ugly lately for Ryan: 3 straight games of fewer than 14 DK points. But 2 of those came against a tough Saints defense, and Ryan played the other without Julio Jones
Now Ryan has Jones plus a good matchup. This Chargers defense has allowed 27+ points in 9 straight games. Only 5 teams are worse in adjusted fantasy points allowed to QBs.
Despite all that, Ryan is at his 2nd lowest price of the season.
UPDATE: Ryan is out of play for cash games -- and probably tournaments, too -- with Julio Jones ruled out.
Austin Ekeler, Chargers ($7,000)
It can’t get any worse for the Chargers than last week, when they got shellacked 45-0 by the Patriots. Ekeler still came away from that one with 10.8 DK points.
That’s the absolute floor when you’re getting this kind of passing-game usage. Ekeler saw another 9 targets last week, giving him 40 total in 4 full games with QB Justin Herbert.
He gets a great matchup this week vs. Atlanta. The Falcons have allowed the 12th most catches to RBs and rank 30th defending short passes, according to Football Outsiders. Look for a big outing from Ekeler in the passing game.
David Montgomery, Bears ($6,500)
He came through for us last week with his 2nd straight outing of 27+ DK points. We’re going right back to the well this week.
Montgomery is playing the best football of his career, is getting strong volume and draws another juicy matchup vs. Houston this weekend. The Texans rank 27th in Football Outsiders’ run defense DVOA and dead last in adjusted fantasy points allowed to RBs.
Myles Gaskin, Dolphins ($5,600)
It’s certainly possible to fit Aaron Jones ($7,600) or James Robinson ($7,500) into your flex spot. But I’ll highlight Gaskin here because his Week 13 return was much more encouraging than the box score suggests.
Gaskin handled 21 of 24 RB carries in the win over the Bengals. He toted it 6 times inside the Cincinnati 10-yard line but was unable to hit pay dirt.
He was a bit limited in the passing game, running a route on 48% of the passing plays and garnering 2 of 5 RB targets. But I’m expecting his role to expand there. Remember that Gaskin averaged 4.8 targets in his 5 games before that knee injury.
The passing-game usage will be key with Miami likely to be playing catch-up vs. Kansas City. But the rushing matchup is strong for Gaskin. The Chiefs rank 30th in Football Outsiders’ run defense DVOA. They sit 25th in adjusted fantasy points allowed to RBs.
We’re going studs and duds at WR this week with …
Davante Adams, Packers ($9,300)
He might just be the surest thing in fantasy football right now. Adams has seen 9+ targets in all 9 of his healthy games this season, averaging 12 per outing. He’s caught 6+ balls in all 9 of those games. And, most impressively, he’s scored in 7 straight and 8 of those 9 healthy games. Adams is basically Green Bay’s goal-line back, hogging 16 targets inside the 10-yard line.
He’s in another smash spot this weekend against a Lions secondary that’ll be missing CBs Desmond Trufant and Jeff Okudah. The Packers’ 31.5-point implied total is highest on the week.
Breshad Perriman, Jets ($3,900)
Prior to last week’s 1-catch dud — when the Jets threw a season-low 23 times — Perriman had hit double-digit DK points in 3 straight and 4 of his last 5. He averaged a decent 5.8 targets over that 5-game stretch. And, over the last 4 weeks, Perriman ranks 13th among WRs in air yards per game.
So he’s gotten decent usage. And he should get a bump on Sunday with WR Denzel Mims, who’s averaged 6 targets per game, sidelined. Perriman also gets a prime matchup vs. a Seahawks defense sitting dead last in adjusted fantasy points allowed to WRs.
Michael Gallup, Cowboys ($3,800)
QB Andy Dalton has resuscitated Gallup’s fantasy value. With Dalton back under center the past 3 games, Gallup is tied with Amari Cooper for the team lead with 24 targets. He also leads Dallas in red-zone targets during that stretch and ranks 9th among all WRs in air yards.
So Gallup is underpriced for this newfound usage — and gets a plus matchup vs. a Bengals defense ranked 28th in adjusted fantasy points allowed to WRs.
Hayden Hurst, Falcons ($3,700)
Good news: Hurst isn’t playing the Saints this week. He mustered just 1 catch for 9 yards in 2 games vs. New Orleans over the past 3 weeks. Otherwise, he’s caught 4+ balls in 5 straight games, averaging 12.2 DK points.
Not only is Hurst not playing the Saints this week — he actually gets a plus matchup vs. the Chargers, who sit 27th in Football Outsiders’ TE coverage rankings and 26th in adjusted fantasy points allowed to TEs.
There are plenty of attractive DST cash-game plays this week:
But, as always, I’ll at least be starting my build with the cheapest of the viable plays …
Dallas isn’t a good real-life or fantasy defense. In fact, their 2.4 DK points per game ranks dead last among the 26 DSTs on the main slate.
So this is a pure matchup and price play. The Cowboys get a Bengals offense that’s cooked without QB Joe Burrow. Over the past 2 weeks, Cincinnati has scored just 24 points while allowing 8 sacks and turning it over 5 times.