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NFL Slant And Go: Can Baker Mayfield Have His First Big Day Versus The Defensively Hideous Falcons?

Chris Spags



Week 17 Yahoo NFL DFS picks fantasy football Yahoo NFL, NFL DFS, Yahoo NFL DFS picks, Yahoo daily fantasy football, Yahoo NFL daily fantasy, Yahoo fantasy football picks, Yahoo fantasy football, Yahoo fantasy, Browns vs. Steelers Monday Night Football

After a barnburner of a week for NFL games culminating in that thrilling Rams-Saints clash, we’ve got an admittedly less exciting one in front of us this week. But there are a couple of games that leap off the page with shootout potential and I’ll do my best to walk you through each and every one with some fantasy football and sports betting analysis on how to approach things.

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Also if you’re playing the Showdown slate tonight, feel free to check out my video breakdown below as well as Emac’s preview:

But without further adieu, onto the main slate.

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Arizona Cardinals (16.8 implied points) at Kansas City Chiefs (32.8 implied points)

-I’ve been an on the record believer in new Cardinals O.C. Byron Leftwich and their first performance before the bye showed some signs of life that clearly Vegas is not on. The Chiefs D is in play based on that Vegas total and the home game (a place where the Chiefs D has been noticeably better)

-HOWEVER I am irrational about these Cards and their prospects and I do think they could have a decent offensive showing this week at very low ownership. Josh Rosen is going to have to throw either way so there’s going to be some value to extract from him either way

David Johnson saw some better usage and passing routes split out in Leftwich’s first game calling plays and they’re going to need to get him the ball in space to have a shot. KC allows a 19.9% boost to pass catching RBs according to Football Outsiders’ DVOA so this may be a place he goes vintage DJ

Larry Fitzgerald drew 12 targets in the first game for these new look Cards and he’s in play for me. Ditto Christian Kirk, who got seven targets versus the 49ers. It’s all sort of at the whims of Rosen being effective enough and keeping momentum from his first good game of the year

Kareem Hunt looks like an elite play once more versus a Cardinals team who’s been very weak versus the run, allowing TDs on 4.5% of opponent rushes

Patrick Mahomes remains in play every week and this gaudy team total means there will likely be passing scores to go around. Travis Kelce would be my preferred stack target here but Tyreek Hill’s price is way down and he’s due for a big one. Sammy Watkins seems fine enough too but I’d be willing to pay more for the other two


Washington Redskins (24.3 implied points) at Tampa Bay Bucs (27.3 implied points)

Alex Smith threw 46 times versus Atlanta last week as his Redskins fell behind, a situation that resulted in Smith’s best fantasy game of the year with a whopping 20.4 points. It could be another decent one for him versus a Tampa Bay defense who’s even worse than Atlanta’s

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-If Smith is competent, Josh Doctson or the surprisingly explosive Maurice Harris, who caught 10 balls on 12 targets for 124 yards, would be the stack to own. Harris looked legitimately good and Doctson looked legitimately good by Josh Doctson standards versus a comparably bad defense last week. Harris needs Jamison Crowder to stay sidelined like he has been thus far this week to have a shot at a followup game

-It’s also not crazy to go back to Adrian Peterson here after a disappointing chalk performance last week. The Bucs are bad versus the rush and through the air so if Tampa can’t jump on the Redskins offensively, Peterson could see a larger workload

Ryan Fitzpatrick is in play after we saw what the Redskins D looks like versus a team who isn’t complete crap. It seems like a Mike Evans stack would be the logical one here but this is DeSean Jackson’s first game ever versus his old team and that’s got to be worth something

Adam Humphries caught 8 balls for 82 yards and two TDs last week and he’s not a bad play here either even though playing him feels like a point chase. It’s probably the week to trust one of the other Bucs WRs but I wouldn’t fault you for playing Humphries

OJ Howard was great last week but heavily helped by two really easy red zone TDs. I’d be inclined to fade him this week with his price going up and I’d assume some ownership on him


New Orleans Saints (29.5 implied points) at Cincinnati Bengals (24.5 implied points)

-Cincinnati has been porous on defense all year and that’s enough to keep me interested in the Saints despite a decent letdown spot for them after that big win versus the Rams at home

-The Bengals are equally bad versus the pass and the run so I’m comfortable with Drew Brees, a guy who can also pick up some easy scores given Alvin Kamara’s high usage pass catching role in the red zone. Brees/Kamara/Michael Thomas seems like an onslaught that could be big if the Saints don’t get trapped following their big win

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Dez Bryant’s addition to the team is something to note but he isn’t playable on the slate after just signing his deal. He could be viable in upcoming weeks but for this week if he sees the field, I would think it only helps Tre’Quan Smith, a guy who looks good if Dez is active or not

-One of these weeks Mark Ingram is going to reassert himself and with his price down and Kamara’s up, I would have some interest in him at what I’m sure will be very low ownership

AJ Green is expected to be out a few weeks and I’m all in on Tyler Boyd as the WR1. He’s been Andy Dalton’s preferred target under pressure all year and Boyd seems ready to handle a ton of volume versus a New Orleans secondary who isn’t good

John Ross will get another shot at viability at a very cheap $3,900 on DraftKings. Playing him comes with a lot more risk than Boyd but I get it. Ditto Alex Erickson who should pick up a few targets

Joe Mixon looks good again, though the Saints did just limit Todd Gurley and continue to hold opposing RBs to 3.4 yards per rush. I think Mixon can overcome the matchup and Giovani Bernard’s return shouldn’t cut into his role too much

CJ Uzomah has been awful since taking over the lead TE role and playing him would be a nice contrarian play but not much more. I don’t have a ton of faith in him at this point


Atlanta Falcons (27.3 implied points) at Cleveland Browns (23.3 implied points)

-There’s some shootout potential in this one after Matt Ryan just carved up another overrated defense on the road last week. Ryan looked the best he has in a while last week and I’ve got no issue banking on him and Julio Jones in a spot where a lot of people are likely to be afraid of rookie Denzel Ward’s defense

Tevin Coleman caught two touchdowns last week and also looked rejuvenated. I don’t mind him in this matchup but our ownership projections will likely decide how much I’d have of him

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Calvin Ridley scored again for the first time in weeks but more importantly picked up 9 targets. I’d play Julio over him this week but I don’t mind Ridley here, particularly with Mohamed Sanu hampered by a hip injury

Baker Mayfield looked more competent after the Browns’ house cleaning but didn’t have a big day per se versus the Chiefs at hone. Atlanta might be the time to bank on him more and a stack with him and Jarvis Landry looks like a good one with the Falcons giving up an 18.8% boost to WR1s. The Falcons got killed by Maurice Harris in the slot last week and Landry is a much better player

Duke Johnson had a role far better than former O.C. Todd Haley gave him and crushed with the opportunity. I like him to keep it rolling this week though my belief in Landry getting going this week does take some of Duke’s opportunity off the table

Nick Chubb is also in a nice spot versus a Falcons D allowing rushing TDs on 5.6% of opponent rushes. Chubb’s role is massive in this offense even if his passing game involvement is not

David Njoku hasn’t been there the last few weeks and TE is the one spot the Falcons have defended reasonably well. This offense needs Njoku to get going at some point so I will have some exposure to him after two weeks of disappointment


Detroit Lions (19.5 implied points) at Chicago Bears (25.5 implied points)

-A lot of folks expected the Lions offense to not miss a beat after trading Golden Tate and I was completely off of them because of that reason. I think this is another really brutal spot for the Lions, particularly if Khalil Mack returns, and I won’t have much Lions exposure as a result

-If you want to go contrarian and play a Matthew Stafford stack, Marvin Jones seems like the better play as Kenny Golladay looked completely incapable of getting off the blocks last week. Golladay will have better days but I don’t know this matchup for the Bears is where to hope he turns it around

Mitchell Trubisky could feast on these Lions with how awful they are defending the pass, allowing DVOA boosts to all pass catchers and TDs on 7.2% of opponent pass attempts. Allen Robinson being back could mean a big game for him and Tarik Cohen and Taylor Gabriel are both capable of gashing the Lions with yards after the catch (though Gabriel is suffering from a knee injury) so pick your low-owned stack poison. Trey Burton may be the best play given his red zone involvement. There are arguments for each of these guys

-It could be another Jordan Howard day for the offense if the Lions allow the pass rush to kill them as they did last week resulting in the Bears needing to just kill clock to escape with a win. Howard had a nice game last week and the Lions are allowing 5.1 yards per rush


Jacksonville Jaguars (22 implied points) at Indianapolis Colts (25 implied points)

-It’s a key AFC South battle with Leonard Fournette expected to return to the lineup after practicing in full this week. I’ve got no issue running him out there and would think the Jags are dying to rely on him after a hideously bad few weeks offensively

-Contrarian Blake Bortles here strikes me as a bit interesting given Andrew Luck’s ability to put up points versus any defense and the attention Fournette will require. It’s a dart toss but I don’t hate it as a stack with Dede Westbrook (who was somehow able to salvage okay games with Bortles at his worst) or Donte Moncrief in a revenge game

Andrew Luck is not in a great spot but with his price down, there’s some contrarian value in playing him. The Jags D has mostly been okay, just not as good as last year because they’re not generating as much pressure and turnovers. Jack Doyle would be the stack candidate here because I really don’t see TY Hilton carving up this pass D with how he’s been used in the offense

Marlon Mack has been a beast his last few outings and I would be okay rostering him despite the ugly matchup. The Jags are beatable on the ground and the total here does indicate some scoring is expected from the Colts side


Buffalo Bills (14.8 implied points) at NY Jets (21.8 implied points)

Derek Anderson will reclaim the starting role if Josh Allen can’t get cleared, a disappointment for the Jets D to not get Nathan Peterman. I would consider playing Allen if he’s active but it’s a pass on everyone else here (get it?)

-It’s made sense to play LeSean McCoy a bunch of times in the past but he’s failed at every turn so, yeah, same thing here

Kelvin Benjamin got nine targets last week versus the Bears and that’d be more valuable here. You’ve got a potential Terrelle Pryor revenge game and Zay Jones here too…none are worth playing really

Josh McCown is going to start with Sam Darnold’s foot hurt and he had some decent games last year as the Jets starter so I don’t hate him at a $4,300 DraftKings price. His wide receiving corps is closer to full health and Robby Anderson would be my preferred play here with Quincy Enunwa still suffering from ankle issues

Chris Herndon has done a nice job the last few weeks and he’s now got a clear runway with the TE role. He’s going against a Bills team limiting TE production by 33% according to DVOA though so I would be okay jumping off the Herndon train for this week

-It might be another Isaiah Crowell week in a matchup like this and although Elijah McGuire cut into his role a bit, Crowell is still getting the 13-15 touches and 2 targets that have resulted in big games this year. McGuire might be the more compelling play but both should be in consideration


LA Chargers (30 implied points) at Oakland Raiders (20 implied points)

-The Chargers should roll on these Raiders and Philip Rivers looks like one of the better QB plays on the slate. Keenan Allen is coming off his biggest game of the year and I don’t mind going back to him as the best stack candidate with both Mike Williams and Tyrell Williams a bit too unpredictable in their roles. The Raiders allow opposing QBs to throw TDs on 8.1% of their attempts, highest on the slate and in the league

Melvin Gordon also should feast in this matchup and could pick up yards in a variety of ways given how bad the Raiders D is. His price isn’t my favorite thing in the world but a low-owned Melvin Gordon is a good one

-The Chargers D is in play versus Oakland but it’s not crazy to see them get back on track offensively after a massive disappointment versus the Niners. I really can’t talk myself into anyone here, particularly with the Chargers limiting TE production by a slate-high 56.4% according to DVOA. If you want to bank on Jalen Richard or Martavis Bryant or Brandon LaFell, there’s some value there from a price perspective. But not for this guy


Seattle Seahawks (20.5 implied points) at LA Rams (30.5 implied points)

-The Seahawks fought pretty hard versus the Rams at home in their matchup earlier this season but I don’t have much love for these guys here. Doug Baldwin is hurt and he would be the one I want the most given how we’ve seen the Rams struggle versus WR1s

David Moore continues to see a lot of targets, seven compared to four for Baldwin and Tyler Lockett last week, so he may be interesting with his price still down and the Seahawks likely to be desperate to score some points

Nick Vannett had his biggest game of the year with Ed Dickson breathing down his neck but the Rams have done a good job defending TEs this year, far better than wide receivers. I don’t need the point chase there

-This screams a Todd Gurley game to me and I love the idea of playing him after he didn’t get close to value in a high scoring spot

-As is often the case, ownership would dictate where I want to go at WR for the Rams with it always a decent probability play that the lowest owned of the three has the biggest game. Last week that was the case for Brandin Cooks, this week I’d think it could be the case for Robert Woods. But exposure to Cooks, Woods, and Cooper Kupp definitely makes sense here


Miami Dolphins (18.8 implied points) at Green Bay Packers (28.8 implied points)

-It’s the Joe Philbin Bowl as the former Dolphins coach comes back with his former-turned-current team where he serves as O.C. Does this fact matter at all? Probably not! But guess who’s killing the SEO for Joe Philbin Bowl now???

Brock Osweiler has been the best Brock Osweiler that he can be and that is not saying very much. I do think he can generate enough offense for his receivers at times. For that reason, I don’t mind Danny Amendola here and I could even see some world where Kenny Stills or Devante Parker has a decent day. Amendola would be the lone one I would “trust” though, relative to Brock Osweiler terms

-The Kenyan Drake/Frank Gore situation remains baffling with Gore picking up 20 carries last week while Drake got just 3 carries and 6 targets. Knowing how Adam Gase does things, it could be a very good low owned Kenyan Drake week but you could also just play roulette if you want the thrill of getting inside the brain of Coach Gase

Aaron Rodgers may go underowned on the slate but this team total is hard to avoid. People will be concerned about Xavien Howard defense for Davante Adams but I’m not so much concerned there. I’ll have some Adams exposure at his price and love the idea of people continuing to fear the Howard shadow coverage

Marquez Valdes-Scantling also seems like a nice matchup for these Dolphins, particularly if Adams falters at all with the decent coverage on him. Geronimo Allison’s injury opens another shot for him and with him looking far more explosive than Randall Cobb, MVS might have another big day if Philbin dials him up

-There is some value in going back to Randall Cobb at a time where everyone thinks he’s washed up, though; I’m curious to see how ownership shakes out for the passing game

Aaron Jones seems to have FINALLY claimed a bigger share of the backfield with the trade of Ty Montgomery and he could be an interesting play here with his price up a little without a big game to show for it. I’d favor the passing game but some Jones exposure makes sense with him getting 15+ touches


I’ll be back on Saturday with another On The Contrary with Awesemo and Evan Silva and Sunday for the Live Before Lock show with Josh Engleman so get to our YT channel now and subscribe for all that quality free content. Otherwise I’ll see you guys again soon for more difficult to decipher NFL action.

Chris Spags is the senior director of editorial strategy at and contributes to the site's NBA, NFL, and MLB coverage as a writer and host of video content. Chris's content background from sites like Guyism, Uproxx, and Barstool Sports allows him to bring a unique spin to the world of daily fantasy sports analysis. Chris writes regular columns with NBA and NFL analysis as well as his inimitable style and his 'Four Corners' videos for basketball, baseball, and football DFS are the primary short form content offering on Awesemo's YouTube channel. You can find him on almost any given night providing analysis right up to slate lock on Awesemo's flagship Live Before Lock livestreams or on Twitter @ChrisSpags. You can contact Chris by emailing [email protected].

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