Posts by Rob Mason

To the House: Week 6 Edition

It's that time of the week again. The time where we focus on the most thrilling aspect of a football game: a touchdown. That minuscule gap between the 1-inch line and the goal line makes for a substantial six point difference on the scoreboard. It can also be the difference between winning and losing your fantasy

It’s that time of the week again. The time where we focus on the most thrilling aspect of a football game: a touchdown. That minuscule gap between the 1-inch line and the goal line makes for a substantial six point difference on the scoreboard. It can also be the difference between winning and losing your fantasy matchup for the week. So take a look at which players are most likely to score those six points in this week’s edition of “To the House.”

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Image Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

1. Matt Forte, Running Back, Chicago Bears vs. Detroit Lions
Forte’s ability to catch the ball out of the backfield has become a valuable commodity in the fantasy community. Last week he added another receiving touchdown to his resume on top of the 109 total yards he gained against Kansas City. With Cutler’s top receivers Alshon Jeffery, Eddie Royal, and Kevin White all still dealing with lingering injuries, Forte’s name will be called upon often against the division rival Lions.

The Detroit Lions have already given up seven rushing touchdowns to opposing backs through five games (2nd most in NFL). While they haven’t allowed a receiving touchdown to a RB this season, that could change Sunday when they face the biggest double-threat in the game: Forte.

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Image Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

2. Justin Forsett, Running Back, Baltimore Ravens vs. San Francisco 49ers

After Forsett exploded for 121 rushing yards to pair with his 49 receiving yards, Ravens fans and fantasy owners alike are high on Forsett’s prospects on Sunday when he faces the sluggish San Francisco run defense. The Browns were allowing the most fantasy points to opposing running backs prior to last week’s game, and only increased that deficit after Forsett’s big day.

The 49ers have allowed two more rushing touchdowns than the Browns, and Forsett is likely to increase that deficit. In the last two weeks, Forsett has received all four carries when the Ravens enter the red zone, and with backup RB Lorenzo Taliaferro placed on the IR, that trend is bound to continue. Head coach John Harbaugh knows the key to victory against this 49ers defense will be to run, run, and run some more, making Forsett a direct beneficiary.

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Image Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports


3. Demaryius Thomas, Wide Receiver, Denver Broncos vs. Cleveland Browns

Speaking of the bottom-feeding Browns defense, they have a tough matchup with the Denver Broncos this week. While Denver hasn’t lived up this season to the offensive powerhouse expectations of the Peyton Manning era, they’re still undefeated and Manning still has elite weapons at his disposal. 

Manning’s number one option, Thomas, has been the recipient of the third most targets in the 2015 season. Thomas has also been targeted twice in the red zone in each of the past two games. With Joe Haden slated to sit out of this game with a concussion, Thomas will be matched up against low-tier backup cornerbacks who will struggle to contain his 6’3″ frame and 4.38 40-yard speed. One touchdown might not be enough as Thomas could have a field day against such lousy competition.
 

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Image Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

4. Calvin Johnson, Wide Receiver, Detroit Lions vs. Chicago Bears
Megatron has been a red zone threat throughout the entirety of his NFL career. That’s typically what happens when you’re a 6’5″, 238 lb freak of nature. This season, however, he’s gotten off to a slow start. Maybe that’s because his quarterback, Matthew Stafford, is having his worst season ever. Or maybe it’s because plays like this have happened. Regardless, with a 0-5 start to the season, the Lions will do anything to steal a win from the lowly division-rival Bears. The Lions know they have their best chance to do that when they construct a gameplan with Johnson as their go-to target.

Calvin has been targeted six times in the red zone this season (good for 35.3 percent of Detroit’s red zone targets) which places him among the Top 10. Combine those multiple opportunities with the fact that the 6’0″ 2nd-year corner out of Virginia Tech, Kyle Fuller (-2.1 PFF coverage grade), will be trying to lock down Megatron for most of the night, and Stafford might just be slinging it all night long. 

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Image Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

5. Martellus Bennett, Tight End, Chicago Bears vs. Detroit Lions

It seems like every receiving option the Bears were counting on going into the season has missed time due to injury. The sole player that Jay Cutler has been able to build a rapport with in the preseason, and carry into the regular season, has been Bennett. As a result, Bennett has seen a meteoric rise in targets as he leads the league among TEs with 42. He’s also seen double-digit targets in each of the last two weeks.

When the Bears march down the field into the red zone, things don’t get much different as Bennett’s three red zone targets in the past two games put him one behind the leader. This week, Bennett is matched up against a Lions defense that has allowed the third most touchdowns to opposing tight ends this season. Facing a linebacker corps that has given up a touchdown to a tight end in every game this season except one, and it’s easy to see how Cutler and Bennett will go about dissecting this Lions defense come Sunday. 

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Image Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

6. Tyler Eifert, Tight End, Cincinatti Bengals vs. Buffalo Bills
After being placed on this exclusive list last week, Eifert decided to go above and beyond and not only score one touchdown, but two! That was against a Seattle defense that had only given up two touchdowns to tight ends entering that game. Eifert is now inserted into a similar situation this week as Buffalo hasn’t given up a third touchdown to TEs this season. That’s about to change come Sunday. 

We’ve witnessed “good” Andy Dalton so far this season, and having a monster 6’6″ target over the middle has been his biggest asset. Eifert leads all tight ends this season in TDs with five and is second among TEs in red zone targets. Gronkowski ate this Bills linebacker corps alive, posting a 7 Rec/113 Yds/1 TD stat line in their Week 2 matchup. With Eifert hovering around Gronk in almost every category this season, there’s no reason to think he can’t put up similar numbers against a LB corps that has produced an embarrassing -6.4 PFF coverage grade on the season. 

*All stats courtesy of NFL.com, rotowire, and Pro Football Focus

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To the House: Week 6 Edition

It's that time of the week again. The time where we focus on the most thrilling aspect of a football game: a touchdown. That minuscule gap between the 1-inch line and the goal line makes for a substantial six point difference on the scoreboard. It can also be the difference between winning and losing your fantasy

It’s that time of the week again. The time where we focus on the most thrilling aspect of a football game: a touchdown. That minuscule gap between the 1-inch line and the goal line makes for a substantial six point difference on the scoreboard. It can also be the difference between winning and losing your fantasy matchup for the week. So take a look at which players are most likely to score those six points in this week’s edition of “To the House.”

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Image Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

1. Matt Forte, Running Back, Chicago Bears vs. Detroit Lions
Forte’s ability to catch the ball out of the backfield has become a valuable commodity in the fantasy community. Last week he added another receiving touchdown to his resume on top of the 109 total yards he gained against Kansas City. With Cutler’s top receivers Alshon Jeffery, Eddie Royal, and Kevin White all still dealing with lingering injuries, Forte’s name will be called upon often against the division rival Lions.

The Detroit Lions have already given up seven rushing touchdowns to opposing backs through five games (2nd most in NFL). While they haven’t allowed a receiving touchdown to a RB this season, that could change Sunday when they face the biggest double-threat in the game: Forte.

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Image Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

2. Justin Forsett, Running Back, Baltimore Ravens vs. San Francisco 49ers

After Forsett exploded for 121 rushing yards to pair with his 49 receiving yards, Ravens fans and fantasy owners alike are high on Forsett’s prospects on Sunday when he faces the sluggish San Francisco run defense. The Browns were allowing the most fantasy points to opposing running backs prior to last week’s game, and only increased that deficit after Forsett’s big day.

The 49ers have allowed two more rushing touchdowns than the Browns, and Forsett is likely to increase that deficit. In the last two weeks, Forsett has received all four carries when the Ravens enter the red zone, and with backup RB Lorenzo Taliaferro placed on the IR, that trend is bound to continue. Head coach John Harbaugh knows the key to victory against this 49ers defense will be to run, run, and run some more, making Forsett a direct beneficiary.

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Image Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports


3. Demaryius Thomas, Wide Receiver, Denver Broncos vs. Cleveland Browns

Speaking of the bottom-feeding Browns defense, they have a tough matchup with the Denver Broncos this week. While Denver hasn’t lived up this season to the offensive powerhouse expectations of the Peyton Manning era, they’re still undefeated and Manning still has elite weapons at his disposal. 

Manning’s number one option, Thomas, has been the recipient of the third most targets in the 2015 season. Thomas has also been targeted twice in the red zone in each of the past two games. With Joe Haden slated to sit out of this game with a concussion, Thomas will be matched up against low-tier backup cornerbacks who will struggle to contain his 6’3″ frame and 4.38 40-yard speed. One touchdown might not be enough as Thomas could have a field day against such lousy competition.
 

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Image Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

4. Calvin Johnson, Wide Receiver, Detroit Lions vs. Chicago Bears
Megatron has been a red zone threat throughout the entirety of his NFL career. That’s typically what happens when you’re a 6’5″, 238 lb freak of nature. This season, however, he’s gotten off to a slow start. Maybe that’s because his quarterback, Matthew Stafford, is having his worst season ever. Or maybe it’s because plays like this have happened. Regardless, with a 0-5 start to the season, the Lions will do anything to steal a win from the lowly division-rival Bears. The Lions know they have their best chance to do that when they construct a gameplan with Johnson as their go-to target.

Calvin has been targeted six times in the red zone this season (good for 35.3 percent of Detroit’s red zone targets) which places him among the Top 10. Combine those multiple opportunities with the fact that the 6’0″ 2nd-year corner out of Virginia Tech, Kyle Fuller (-2.1 PFF coverage grade), will be trying to lock down Megatron for most of the night, and Stafford might just be slinging it all night long. 

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Image Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

5. Martellus Bennett, Tight End, Chicago Bears vs. Detroit Lions

It seems like every receiving option the Bears were counting on going into the season has missed time due to injury. The sole player that Jay Cutler has been able to build a rapport with in the preseason, and carry into the regular season, has been Bennett. As a result, Bennett has seen a meteoric rise in targets as he leads the league among TEs with 42. He’s also seen double-digit targets in each of the last two weeks.

When the Bears march down the field into the red zone, things don’t get much different as Bennett’s three red zone targets in the past two games put him one behind the leader. This week, Bennett is matched up against a Lions defense that has allowed the third most touchdowns to opposing tight ends this season. Facing a linebacker corps that has given up a touchdown to a tight end in every game this season except one, and it’s easy to see how Cutler and Bennett will go about dissecting this Lions defense come Sunday. 

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Image Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

6. Tyler Eifert, Tight End, Cincinatti Bengals vs. Buffalo Bills
After being placed on this exclusive list last week, Eifert decided to go above and beyond and not only score one touchdown, but two! That was against a Seattle defense that had only given up two touchdowns to tight ends entering that game. Eifert is now inserted into a similar situation this week as Buffalo hasn’t given up a third touchdown to TEs this season. That’s about to change come Sunday. 

We’ve witnessed “good” Andy Dalton so far this season, and having a monster 6’6″ target over the middle has been his biggest asset. Eifert leads all tight ends this season in TDs with five and is second among TEs in red zone targets. Gronkowski ate this Bills linebacker corps alive, posting a 7 Rec/113 Yds/1 TD stat line in their Week 2 matchup. With Eifert hovering around Gronk in almost every category this season, there’s no reason to think he can’t put up similar numbers against a LB corps that has produced an embarrassing -6.4 PFF coverage grade on the season. 

*All stats courtesy of NFL.com, rotowire, and Pro Football Focus

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To The House: Week 7 Edition

It’s time to focus on the most thrilling aspect of a football game: the touchdown. That minuscule gap between the 1-inch line and the goal line can make the difference between winning and losing your fantasy matchup for the week. So, let’s take a look at which players are most likely to score those six points

It’s time to focus on the most thrilling aspect of a football game: the touchdown. That minuscule gap between the 1-inch line and the goal line can make the difference between winning and losing your fantasy matchup for the week. So, let’s take a look at which players are most likely to score those six points in this week’s edition of “To the House.” 

1. Adrian Peterson, Running Back, Minnesota Vikings vs. Detroit Lions 

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Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

The “LeBron James of football” was held to just 60 yards on the ground last week. Of course that was against the Kansas City Chiefs’ run-defense that only forfeited 71 yards to Matt Forte the week prior. This week, Peterson will travel to Detroit to face a team that has already given up nine rushing touchdowns on the young season (2nd most in NFL). 
AP has been privileged with the most red zone carries on the season with 23. Coincidentally, the Lions have witnessed opposing running backs being fed the rock 44 times in 2015 after crossing the red zone (Most in NFL). Peterson will surely be given plenty of chances to take it to the house this week and, if his week 2 performance against this same Lions defense is any indication (192 yards from scrimmage), AP could be running on the Lions all-day.
2. Latavius Murray, Running Back, Oakland Raiders vs. San Diego Chargers

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Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

Murray has struggled in his last two appearances averaging 44.5 yds/game and zero touchdowns. That was most likely due to a shoulder injury which forced him to exit early in his week 5 matchup against the Denver Broncos. After a bye week, Murray has returned to full strength and was a full participant at practice this week. 
A fully healthy Murray averaged 105.3 all-purpose yards in the first three weeks of the season while adding a pair of touchdowns. Murray has also been given 82.4 percent of the Raiders’ red zone rushes (No. 2 among NFL RB’s) despite his injury. 
He’ll surely benefit from facing the rock-bottom Chargers run defense that has allowed the most fantasy points to opposing rushers this season. The Chargers have allowed 18 red zone rushes in just the past four weeks giving Murray plenty of opportunities to cross the goal line. 
3. Larry Fitzgerald, Wide Receiver, Arizona Cardinals vs. Baltimore Ravens

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Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Fitzgerald must have discovered the fountain of youth over the offseason because he is playing like his former all-pro self this year. The 32 year-old wideout is currently second among WR’s in fantasy production in 2015. His league-leading six touchdowns are definitely a big part of that. 
The Cardinals have been an offensive powerhouse this season with Palmer back in the pocket. Their top-5 ranking in total yards is evidence that they march into the red zone early and often. Even more importantly, when they get inside the 10-yard line, Fitz has been targeted an astounding six times already this season (2nd most among NFL WR’s). 
Fitzgerald has been shredding average competition all season, but in week 7 he gets to face a depleted Baltimore secondary that has already given up nine TD’s to opposing WR’s (3rd most in NFL). Don’t be surprised if Larry Fitzgerald celebrates another touchdown this Monday night. 
4. Odell Beckham Jr., Wide Receiver, New York Giants vs. Philadelphia Eagles

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Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Thankfully for Giants fans, the Madden curse hasn’t struck ODB yet, and he’s avoiding a sophomore slump. He’s still ranked in the top-10 among WR in fantasy points this season after cracking the list last year as a rookie. In the last two weeks, he’s especially stepped his game up as he’s found himself as the 4th most productive wideout.
Odell’s nine red zone targets on the season (No. 4 among WR’s) illustrate that he’s still Eli Manning‘s go-to target when invading enemy territory.  The 6’0″ superstar will be matched up against Dallas’ No. 1 CB, Brandon Carr, who allotted 164 yards and two TD’s to the only player he’s faced of ODB’s caliber (Julio Jones in week 3). Beckham might not finish with those spectacular numbers, but that could be a foreshadowing of Beckham’s week 7 performance. 
5. Travis Kelce, Tight End, Kansas City Chiefs vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

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Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The 3rd round Pick out of Cincinnati in 2013 has proven to be a steal for the Chiefs in his young, promising career. After missing his entire rookie season with a knee injury, Kelce has bounced back to assert himself as an elite TE in today’s NFL. He’s even received comparisons to Rob Gronkowski, most likely due to his similarly massive 6’5″, 260 lb frame.
We all know Quarterback Alex Smith never throws touchdowns to WR’s, and with Jamaal Charles on the IR, that makes Kelce Smith’s only reliable target in the red zone. Smith was already targeting Kelce 27.3 percent of the time when entering the red zone (No. 7 among NFL TE’s). That was also with Jamaal and Jeremy Maclin (Concussion) taking up a combined 50 percent of the red zone targets.
With the Chiefs facing a lackluster Steelers Defense that is surrendering 12.5 fantasy points to opposing TE’s (2nd most in NFL) and giving up a league-leading six touchdowns, Kelce is primed to punch it in for six. 
6. Antonio Gates, Tight End, San Diego Chargers vs. Oakland Raiders

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Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Gates started his 12th NFL season with a 4-game suspension. In two games since returning, he’s showing the world why he is an 8-time pro bowler. In the last two weeks, Gates has been the second most productive Tight End in the league. He’s also received an overwhelming 7 targets in the red zone in the same time span (3 more than any other TE).
Gates has been a monster since being eligible to play and will now face the lifeless Raiders defense that opposing tight ends have feasted on all season. Tight Ends have averaged 14.96 fantasy points a game against this Raiders team and have scored six touchdowns as well (both lead in NFL). That’s mostly because the three LB’s the Raiders typically have drop back in coverage – Malcolm Smith, Curtis Lofton, and Ray-Ray Armstrong have combined for a -7.1 PFF coverage grade. 
Expect Gates to continue his rampage on opposing NFL defenses with an easy matchup against Oakland on the horizon.
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Bargain Shopping: DraftKings Week 1

Searching for some diamonds in the rough for your Daily Fantasy Football lineup? Search no longer, because you've come to the right place. Here are a few players that are likely to heavily outperform their respective DraftKings value for Week 1. 

Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

QB:

Searching for some diamonds in the rough for your Daily Fantasy Football lineup? Search no longer, because you’ve come to the right place. Here are a few players that are likely to heavily outperform their respective DraftKings value for Week 1. 

Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

QB: Sam Bradford, Philadelphia Eagles ($6,900; 14th) vs. Atlanta Falcons

Yes, this is the same guy who has totaled 7 games in the past 2 seasons because of not 1, but 2 ACL injuries. Good news: this is just one week and not a whole season. It might not be smart to bet on Bradford staying healthy for 16 games, but it seems likely he can make it through one. Bradford has shown this preseason that he can fire on all cylinders and is the perfect fit in Chip Kelly’s fast-paced offense. Playing against a week Falcons Defense (32nd in Yds/Allowed in 2014) and especially a lackluster secondary, Bradford could explode in this game. Chip Kelly’s Eagles have gotten off to blazing starts in week 1 the previous two years and this year should be no different. 

Honorable Mention: Tyrod Taylor, Buffalo Bills ($5,000; T-Last) vs. Indianapolis Colts

Taylor is still being valued as a backup despite being named the starter for week 1. Indianapolis might be intimidating on offense, but their defense still leaves much to be desired. Taylor could use his arm and especially his legs to record almost as many points as some of the top-tier names on the list, at a fraction of the cost. 

Jeff Griffith-USA TODAY Sports                                           

RB: Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers ($4,500; 31st) vs. Tennessee Titans

Martin’s 2015 preseason is drawing comparison him to his 2012 rookie campaign, when he burst onto the scene with 1,926 All-purpose yds and 12 Total TDs. Tampa’s Head Coach, Lovie Smith has dubbed Martin the “primary ball carrier” going into the season according to Tampa Bay Times‘ Greg Auman. This bodes well for fantasy owners and fans looking for a week 1 steal. Martin is barely being valued as a starter but will face a young Tennessee defense that allowed the 2nd-most rushing yards in the league in 2014. As Jameis Winston takes time to adjust to the NFL, Martin will most likely be given the rock early and often while eclipsing the 100yds/1TD plateau to become one of week 1’s top performers . 

Honorable Mention: Ryan Mathews, Philadelphia Eagles ($3,600; 45th) vs. Atlanta While

Matthews won’t get the majority of the carries in the Eagles offense, Chip Kelly has shown insistence on spreading his carries. Just like we saw last year with the McCoy/Sproles duo, Chip Kelly will give the 2nd back plenty of redzone touches. This Eagles-Falcons game has shootout written all over it and Mathews could easily come away with a TD and 50+ yards, far outperforming his uninspiring $3,600 price tag. 

Image title Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

WR: Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers ($4,400; T-50) vs. Chicago Bears

Adams is something of a question mark after a mediocre rookie season, which explains his low-end cost. Building off of a stellar performance in the divisional round (117yds, 1 TD) against the Cowboys, Adams looks to take advantage of being called upon as the number two target in Green Bay’s offense after Jordy Nelson was placed on IR. With the Bears coming in ranked 30th in pass defense in 2014 and having since lost long-tenured CBs Charles Tillman and Tim Jennings, Aaron Rodgers looks to have a field day in week 1. Adams could be on the other end of that, and more than outperform his lowly price tag. 

Honorable Mention: Jeremy Maclin, Kansas City Chiefs ($6,900; 19th) vs. KC Chiefs

Chiefs receivers scored zero touchdowns last year. We all know this by now. However, this is 2015 and if the preseason is anything to judge by, that streak will end, and it will end soon. Alex Smith threw a deep ball to Maclin on the Chiefs’ first play in uniform together, and a week later Smith hit Maclin for a three-yard score. Expect Andy Reid to make a statement in week 1 and make sure Maclin catches a TD pass in this game while possibly going for 75+ yards as well against a mediocre Texans pass defense (21st in 2014). 

Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

TE: Richard Rodgers, Green Bay Packers ($2,500; T-33) vs. Chicago

Another A-Rod target is being undervalued in these week 1 rankings. This Rodgers has been tearing it up in the preseason and looks to solidify himself as a redzone target in Green Bay’s offense this season. It all starts with week 1 against the Bears who gave up the most fantasy points to Tight Ends last season. Look for Rodgers to capitalize and easily outperform his $2,500 price tag. 

Honorable Mention: Jordan Reed, Washington Redskins ($3,300; 20th) vs. Miami Dolphins

With Kirk Cousins being named the starter for week 1, the Dolphins will likely send a bunch of blitz packages his way, stuff eight or nine guys in the box to try to contain Alfred Morris, and dare Cousins to beat them through the air. All those extra men near the line of scrimmage could leave Reed open further down the field. Cousins will look to get the ball out quick to his tight ends, but with Niles Paul and Logan Paulsen both on the IR, Reed will be the primary beneficiary of that. While Miami did a good job at stopping tight ends in 2014, a revamped defense geared towards stopping the run could render that irrelevant. Reed has showed flashes of brilliance the past 2 seasons, and this week gives him a great opportunity to display those abilities again. 

Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

DEF: New York Jets D/ST ($2,900; T-9) vs. Cleveland Browns 

There’s really no sleeper Defense considering they are all priced within $1,000 of each other. However, if the goal is to save a couple hundred while still gaining elite production, New York is the ideal selection here. They face a weak Cleveland Browns offense that features Josh McCown, Isaiah Crowell, and Dwayne Bowe as its “star” skill players. After the Jets brought back Darelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie to lock down opposing receivers, this front seven should really be able to get after the quarterback and force some turnovers while limiting Cleveland on points. 

Honorable Mention: Kansas City Chiefs ($3,000; T-5) vs. Houston Texans

Not much of a sleeper pick, but spending an extra $100 or $200 to guarantee possession of an elite defense will be worth it. Kansas City gave up the 2nd-fewest points last season and looks to continue that into 2015 with the returns of Derrick Johnson, Mike DeVito, and of course Eric Berry. The Texans will be without Arian Foster, meaning Brian Hoyer‘s available weapons will be Jaelen Strong, Cecil Shorts, Garrett Graham, and Alfred Blue. I did not mention DeAndre Hopkins because he is the only threat Kansas City has to worry about, will likely be facing double coverage all game. Houston’s offense could get ugly, and ugly quick with Justin Houston and Tamba Hali getting right in Hoyer’s face the majority of the time. 

*All statistics courtesy of ESPN and DraftKings

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