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FanDuel: Get as much information as you can

You can't predict the future. But you can learn enough that you can get close.

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John Grieshop

I'm writing up this intro while watching the Browns-Bengals game Thursday night. The Browns' run defense this season has been fairly porous. Despite improving lately, Cleveland entered Week 10 ranked 11th-worst in fantasy points per game allowed to running backs. Jeremy Hill put up three points in standard scoring.

The Bengals, too, have been fairly generous to opposing running backs; they came into the game ranked seventh-worst. That said, the muddled nature of the Cleveland running game -- "Will it be Isaiah Crowell? Or Terrance West? What about Ben Tate?" -- meant that you couldn't be excited about any of that group. West had 15 fantasy points, Tate had 11, Crowell had 10.

If I had written this piece to include the Thursday game, I would have included Hill as a "good situation" and all three Cleveland running backs as a bad one. Maybe that makes me bad at this, but more likely the answer is, "dang, stuff happens."

On the flip side, the Browns have been fairly stingy against opposing quarterbacks. I would have listed Andy Dalton as a bad situation. Sure, I wouldn't have projected "10-for-33 for 86 yards and three interceptions" bad, but bad. Some things, we can project.

It's guesswork, sure, but it's educated guesswork -- in some cases, very educated. Those of us who do this watch and read anything we can get our hands on. My girlfriend would probably rather I get my hands on a little less of that material, in fact.

When setting your FanDuel lineups for this weekend, you'll be faced with some complex situations. For example, Odell Beckham Jr., Percy Harvin, Roddy White and Mike Evans are all going for $6,600 this weekend. Beckham and White are on the road; Harvin and Evans are at home. White is just off his bye; the other three are all off of relatively big games. Two are rookies, while two are seasoned veterans.

Ultimately, if I had exactly $6,600 left and one roster spot to fill, I'd probably take Evans or White from that group. But I would also do some more research, read some more material and (sorry Katherine) get my hands on some more information.

This is something else to get your hands on. Let's run through the matchups:


Good situations

  • I was all set to be the party-pooper on Ben Roethlisberger ($8,300) this week. Yeah, 12 touchdowns in two weeks, all that jazz, but this sort of thing simply can't continue. And no, it can't, but against the Jets' porous pass defense? He'll still be strong.
  • The Rams' defense has been stout against opposing quarterbacks the last couple weeks, but that's after a stretch of much kindness. I expect Carson Palmer ($7,900) to pick that unit apart.
  • And this will cap a week of me saying that I think Mark Sanchez ($6,600) will be, more or less, exactly what Nick Foles was for the Eagles, and for now, it's at a much lower FanDuel price.

Bad situations

  • Take out his 28-point performance in Week 6, and Colin Kaepernick ($7,500) is averaging less than 14.5 fantasy points a game. I love the talent, but dude just isn't making it work right now.
  • The only quarterback to really put up a huge game against the Titans this year is Andrew Luck, and I'm sorry, but Joe Flacco ($7,200) is not Andrew Luck.

Running backs

Good situations

  • On the whole, the Bears' offense has struggled this year. But Matt Forte ($9,600) definitely hasn't. You're forgiven if you shy away from Alshon Jeffery, or Brandon Marshall, or Jay Cutler, but you should be just as on board with Forte as you always have been.
  • The Raiders have actually done fairly well against wide receivers this year. They have, however, been awful against the run. Even if Montee Ball returns, I'm not scared of him or any of the Broncos' other running backs; Ronnie Hillman ($7,400) looks like a nice investment.
  • Doug Martin will likely be inactive again Sunday. Charles Sims should play, but in his NFL debut, he's not going to get a full workload, or even close to it. And the Falcons' run defense is abysmal. All that adds up to good things for Bobby Rainey ($6,700).

Bad situations

  • Even if he was fully healthy, Lamar Miller ($7,200) has to run at the stout Detroit run defense this week. Add in that injury he's dealing with and he's an awful FanDuel investment this week.
  • No team has been better against opposing fantasy running backs than the Ravens. I still think Bishop Sankey ($5,200) will eventually have a coming-out party this season, but I do not at all believe it will come in Week 10.

Wide receivers

Good situations

  • I feel like it's been a month since we really heard from Julio Jones ($8,000) in fantasy. (Goes, checks, sees he hasn't had a 10-point fantasy game since Oct. 5.) Yep, it's been a month since we really heard from Julio Jones in fantasy. But against a Tampa Bay defense that let him go wild last time, I think we'll hear from him again.
  • I'm sure plenty of people are down on Kelvin Benjamin ($6,700) after his miserable game in Week 9. But his targets stayed crazy high, and with a few extra days of rest, I expect him to be perfectly fine again.
  • I don't really care for Kenny Britt ($5,500) as a player. But Arizona stops running backs and doesn't stop receivers, and Britt is the only real receiver the Rams have. I wouldn't build a roster around him, but as a bargain play to spend elsewhere, you could do worse.

Bad situations

  • Look, I'm ecstatic that we have Calvin Johnson ($8,800) back at long last, and I'm using him anywhere I own him in full-season fantasy leagues. But I avoid using just-off-injury guys in weekly leagues if I can help it.
  • I really thought Doug Baldwin ($6,300) would be a big beneficiary of Harvin's departure from Seattle. But he was that for only one game, and he's been very quiet since. I no longer think that.

Tight ends

Good situations

  • Did you see this piece on Travis Kelce? As someone who has invested in him every-freaking-where, it was a fun read. The only flaw in Kelce's game so far has been a lack of looks, and that has to change. Against Buffalo, who could bottle up Jamaal Charles a bit, Kelce could be the team's best weapon Sunday.
  • Fred Jackson might not play. Sammy Watkins might not play. Anthony Dixon and Bryce Brown aren't very good. And Kyle Orton needs someone to throw to. I expect a good game out of Scott Chandler ($5,000).

Bad situation

  • After his big game last week, the Raiders said they consider Mychal Rivera ($5,700) a "key" piece. Which ... what the heck else were they going to say? If he were any kind of key, maybe we'd have seen him do anything before the last couple weeks. This won't continue.


Good situations

  • Weekly reminder that you want any defense, every defense playing against the Jaguars, as Dallas ($5,200) is this week.
  • If Tony Romo sits, Brandon Weeden is awful. If Romo plays, he won't be totally healthy. I would be fine playing Jacksonville ($4,500) this week.

Bad situation

  • There wasn't an obvious pick, so let's just say to avoid the Giants ($4,500) at the Seahawks. Even if the Seattle offense isn't clicking on all cylinders necessarily, that's not a matchup you want.

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