First Cousins Once Removed (From Your Lineup)

Daily fantasy football isn’t all about who you are going to use. Sometimes it’s just as important to determine who you aren’t going to use. That way, if the salary happens to fit for your last spot, you’ll know which names to disregard in order to produce the greatest overall fantasy point output. Here are the guys to cross off your list heading into the 13th week of the NFL season.

Kirk Cousins, Redskins, $12,000 – Coming off back-to-back weeks of 30-plus fantasy points, Kirk Cousins does not feel like a player who must be faded…but he is. The Cardinals present a difficult matchup for the Redskins in so many ways. For one, Patrick Peterson is one of the game’s best corners and should be able to shut down whomever he is matched up against on the outside (presumably DeSean Jackson most of the time). Additionally, Tyronn Mathieu presents a difficult matchup for Jamison Crowder out of the slot so two of Cousins’ favorite targets should be smothered. As if that were not enough, Jordan Reed is iffy to play at best and the Cardinals rate as one of the best defenses at covering TEs according to Football Outsiders’ defense-adjusted value over average (DVOA) metric as well. As icing on the cake, the Cardinals only allow 3.7 yards per carry (YPC) so complementing the passing game with the rushing attack will be no easy task either. Despite the recent success, there are too simply too many negatives in this matchup to bother rostering Cousins in any format.

Jay Ajayi, Dolphins, $12,600 – After being drastically overpriced last week due to a date with the 49ers, Jay Ajayi’s price has dropped nearly $2,000 for a meeting against the exact opposite side of the spectrum. The 49ers rate as the worst rushing defense according to DVOA while the Ravens rate as the absolute best. With three offensive linemen out, Ajayi struggled to get in any sort of rhythm last week against a defense allowing 5.1 YPC so why would there be reason for optimism against a defense giving up 3.4 YPC? Ajayi’s back-to-back 200-plus yard rushing games feel like the distant past at this point as he has now failed to even reach 100 yards rushing in three straight games. Pass.

Demaryius Thomas, Broncos, $12,300 – With most focused rostering players from the games possessing the highest over/unders of the week, including Lions/Saints and Giants/Steelers, there is sure to be some overlooked value in some of the other contests. Unfortunately, Demaryius Thomas does not fit the bill as he faces a sneakily difficult matchup against the Jaguars’ corners. All of the Broncos’ receivers more around the formation so Thomas really will not be solely matched up against any one corner. However, the Jaguars corners are an underrated group as both Aaron Colvin and Prince Amukamara have graded inside the top 25 in terms of their coverage ability this season, per Pro Football Focus. Furthermore, Emmanuel Sanders has seen more targets (including in the red zone), averaged way more yards per target and produced more fantasy points than Thomas this year. Basically, Thomas has sunk to number two on the totem pole in this passing offense especially when considering Sanders’ 19 red zone targets rank second in the NFL behind only Jordy Nelson. With this game’s over/under projected as the lowest of the week, there is no reason to try and squeeze in Thomas in a subpar spot.

Allen Robinson, Jaguars, $11,000 – On the other side of the ball in the same game, Allen Robinson is an easy fade against the Broncos’ dominant duo of corners: Aqib Talib and Chris Harris Jr. Robinson is totally TD-reliant and the Broncos have allowed the second fewest passing TDs (behind only the Cardinals). Unsurprisingly, this has led to the Broncos allowing the fewest fantasy points to opposing WRs. At this price tag, Robinson would need to produce a healthy amount of yardage and cap it off with a TD to provide those who rostered him with any value in tournaments. That sort of upside just is not available against this secondary so there is no reason to get cute.

Jamison Crowder, Redskins, $10,900 – As mentioned in the Cousins tidbit, Jamison Crowder draws an incredibly difficult individual matchup this week against 2015 Pro Bowler Tyrann Mathieu. Typically, Crowder is one of the first players I plug into lineups on a weekly basis because he has quietly emerged as the top target in this passing game and has remained consistent. The Cardinals simply present one of the most difficult matchups in the game because they feature a dominant talent out of the nickel at cornerback. Most teams start an inferior talent in nickel (the guy who covers the slot receiver) so Crowder very often dominates them. Having only allowed 58.5 yards per game to “other” WRs, the Cardinals are just one of the few teams who should scare you out of rostering Crowder. At a similar price, Willie Snead is a vastly superior play amongst fellow slot receivers.

Martellus Bennett, Patriots, $9,000 – With Rob Gronkowski a virtual lock to miss this weekend’s tilt against the Rams, what possible reason would there be to not like Martellus Bennett? Well, he too did not practice on Wednesday as he is dealing with both an ankle and a shoulder injury. He was quoted as saying he will “be ready to go” in Week 13 so there really is not much concern on the injury front but it is at least worth noting. The real concerns here are the price tag and the volatility. At similar price tags, Jimmy Graham, Tyler Eifert, Greg Olsen and even Travis Kelce can be rostered in superior situations. Also, Bennett has failed to reach double-digit fantasy points in seven of his 11 games this year. Nevertheless, every time he has managed to eclipse double-digits, he has gone off for at least 18.90 fantasy points (and has topped 20 fantasy points thrice). He is basically an all-or-nothing investment and lately it has been a lot more nothing. Considering he is banged up, and nothing about his matchup stands out, there is very little motivation to try and squeeze him into a lineup.

Ricky Sanders

Ricky Sanders

Ricky Sanders is a fantasy sports expert with over 15 years of playing experience. After starting several freelance fantasy sports blogs, Ricky moved up in the fantasy industry when he joined Going9 Baseball. He wrote fantasy baseball content and had a weekly radio spot on the site’s SiriusXM Satellite Radio show. Shortly thereafter, in early 2013, Ricky joined RotoExperts as a three-sport fantasy contributor, eventually becoming one of the site’s lead basketball writers. While writing for RotoExperts, Ricky was introduced to daily fantasy sports and immediately fell in love. With help from some of his mentors, some of the best DFS players in the world, he honed his skills and became the daily fantasy expert he is today. When RotoExperts created a daily-focused website called DailyRoto.com, Ricky was brought on as one of the main contributors. He still makes frequent appearances on the RotoExperts SiriusXM Radio show and on the FNTSY Sports Television Network, talking daily fantasy sports. He also continues to write for a few DFS content sites: RotoCurve and The Fantasy Fix. Ricky is a proud and active member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. He has agreed to be a writer and representative for the FantasyDraft brand and serves as an ambassador to the site. He has no more access to the site than the typical user. Don’t hesitate to contact Ricky with questions on Twitter @RSandersDFS.

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