On Friday's episode of The Daily Fantasy podcast, the Helpers go over this week's injury report and how to best use it to your advantage in daily fantasy football. They also talk about good matchups plus clue you in to optimal lineups. All that, plus weird fantasy football advice.
Key defensive injuries
LB Kiko Alonso, Philadelphia Eagles linebacker (out with partially torn ACL), LB Mychal Kendricks is questionable with a hamstring injury
What it means: The Jets are playing at home, though they're not favored by Vegas. Christopher Ivory ($5,000) and Bilal Powell ($3,000 cost) are very good value picks for a flex spot with the Eagles top run stoppers possibly off the field. We know Alonso won't be on there, and if Kendricks is out too, then you should try and get Ivory or Powell into your lineup in the flex spot. I actually like Powell more because he's $3,000 cheaper yet he's played more snaps than Ivory and is $2,000 cheaper. Kendricks leads the Eagles in tackles with 17 total. Ivory is also nursing a quad injury and didn't practice on Thursday and is listed as questionable. Even if Ivory goes, Powell is still a decent option. Both running backs are averaging over 4.0 yards per carry and Powell has a slightly better receiving upside.
Optimal lineup (cash games are listed first, then tournament)
In a cash game, your goal should be simple. You're not trying to beat 100,000 people. Chances are, you're in a 50/50 or a head-to-head, so you're only trying to beat half of the field. In that case, you want to find consistent players. You don't want to embrace high variance options, rather you want to go with players in matchups where they're very likely to succeed.
Quarterback — Russell Wilson vs. Chicago
Current value: $7,000
Why we think he's a good cash game option: There's a lot riding on this game for Seattle emotionally. They're 0-2 and playing in front of their home crowd for the first time this season and going 0-3 to a team with Jimmy Clausen as quarterback would not only be a disaster but could instill a state of depression throughout the entire city of Seattle. The Seahawks are 14-2 at home over the last two seasons. They're favored by more than 10 points. Go with Wilson and don't look back.
Running back — Le'Veon Bell @ St. Louis
Current value: $7,500
Why we think he's a good cash game option: Every cash lineup needs a stud running back and Bell has returned from a two-game suspension on what is arguably the best offense in the league right now.
Running back — Dion Lewis vs. Jacksonville
Current value: $4,200
Why we think he's a good cash option: Lewis fumbled the ball last week against Buffalo — and didn't get benched. Patriots coach Bill Belichick has a long history of sending players to the sideline after they cough up the rock. We'll never know for sure what goes on in Belichick's noggin, but we have no choice but to see it as a sign that he trusts Lewis and he's not going to see a reduced snap count because of it. Lewis absolutely dominated the snap count last week at a 73:7 ratio compared to fellow back LaGarrette Blount. The Patriots are favored by over 14 points and while we think this is the perfect game for Tom Brady to come out flat — we still love the value here at just $4,000. Easily have upside of an RB1 for half the price.
Running back — Darren Sproles at New York Jets
Current value: $3,800
Why we think he's a good tournament option: DeMarco Murray left the Eagles practice yesterday with a hamstring injury and he's listed as questionable for this week against the New York Jets. If Murray can't go, expect Sproles to take his place. Now some people might wonder about going with Ryan Mathews instead, well, Sproles saw 16 snaps to Mathews' 8 last Sunday against Dallas. Sproles also has the receiving upside and his versatility helps against a tough Jets defensive front.
Wide receiver — Randall Cobb vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Current value: $7,300
Why we think he's a good cash option: This game is one of the highest over/unders of the week.
Defense — Houston vs. Tampa Bay
Why we think it's a good option: The Buccaneers have a rookie quarterback going against a premier pass rush. This game also has a low O/U at just 40 points and Houston is favored by nearly four points.
Defense — Seattle vs. Chicago
Why we think it's a good option: If Jimmy Clausen ends up being the quarterback, the Seahawks have a chance to do some real damage here. The Seahawks are favored by a whopping 14 points and while there's shootout potential here if the Bears get down early, expect Seattle to pick Clausen off at least once and have a chance at a defensive touchdown. They have Kam Chancellor the touchdown canceller back. This is like the perfect storm of domination for a defense.