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 14th week of the NFL season.
Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers, $13,300 – According to the weather report, it is looking more and more likely the Steelers/Bills game in Buffalo is going to be dealing with a hefty amount of snow. With an 80-percent chance of precipitation starting early in the morning, it seems inevitable snow will be coming down throughout the course of the game. For Tyrod Taylor’s sake, his game can still be salvaged if the conditions are terrible because he could easily just use his legs as a weapon. If the conditions get bad enough with the ball is slipping out of the QB’s and/or WR’s hands, then there is no out for Ben Roethlisberger. Like the 49ers/Bears last week, it is possible there could be little-to-no passing if the conditions are bad enough. As if that were not enough, Roethlisberger has also struggled mightily on the road this year, having produced an 81.9 QB rating on the road compared to 119.0 in Heinz Field. At this steep price, there is absolutely no reason to spend up for him this week.
Thomas Rawls, Seahawks, $10,600 –Only seven teams have allowed fewer yards per carry (YPC) than the Packers and they rank seventh in terms of Football Outsiders’ defense-adjusted value over average (DVOA) metric against the run. Really the only backs to have enjoyed success against the Packers this season have been some of the elites: Ezekiel Elliott, Devonta Freeman and DeMarco Murray. Virtually all other backs to have faced them have been held to quiet games and the Seahawks offensive line is one of the worst in the game right now. Three of the five starters have graded outside the top 70 at their position and neither starting tackle has graded as a top 70 overall run blocker either. This limits Rawls’ upside against a tough Packers front seven that has dominated every poor offensive line they have faced. Considering Rawls is rarely targeted in the passing game, he looks like he is in trouble this week. Unless he scores multiple TDs, it is hard to imagine him providing his fantasy owners with meaningful value.
LeGarrette Blount, Patriots, $10,000 – Coach Bill Belichick is anything but stupid and he always prepares a specific game plan for each new opponent every week. When looking at the Ravens, they rank both first in rushing DVOA and first in DVOA against opposing TEs. Therefore, scheming LeGarrette Blount and Martellus Bennett heavily into the game plan is a little like banging your head into a wall because the defense defends both incredibly well. Instead of running right into a brick wall, Coach Belichick is probably going to rely on his receiving backs instead to exploit a defense that ranks 22nd in DVOA against RBs in the passing game. Not only do the Patriots possess one capable receiving back but they actually possess two: Dion Lewis and James White. With both capable of taking advantage of the defense’s weakness, Blount should only be used when necessary. Even when the team gets to the goal line, it would not be surprising for the Patriots to resort to the passing game because of the weak secondary. The team rarely puts together a losing strategy and running against the Ravens constitutes just that so expect Coach Belichick to find other ways to win.
Donte Moncrief, Colts, $12,000 – Donte Moncrief is deemed with the unfortunate task of attempting to beat the third highest graded cornerback in football this week (both overall and in terms of coverage only). Yes, A.J. Bouye has quietly shut down just about every WR he has matched up against and unfortunately Moncrief will line up against him quite often. Since Moncrief did not play in the team’s first meeting against the Texans, there is no prior sample size. Since his return from a shoulder injury, Moncrief has scored in five straight games and has been targeted at least six times in each game. If there ever were a perfect time to bail on him, it would be against a dominant cornerback. The good news is Moncrief moves around the formation and the Texans’ other starting cornerback, Jonathan Joseph, will likely miss this weekend’s tilt with two cracked ribs and a bruised lung. Still, with T.Y. Hilton manning the slot, Bouye is more likely to just hang with Moncrief as he has lined up on the outside (aka not in the slot) 89-percent of the time. With players such as Demaryius Thomas, Jordy Nelson and Julian Edelman
Jordan Reed/Vernon Davis, Redskins – If Jordan Reed is deemed active, he is clearly the play amongst the Redskins TEs and Vernon Davis will step into the starting role if he is deemed inactive. Regardless of which player actually ends up starting and playing a majority of the snaps, they will be tasked with facing one of the stoutest defenses in football against the position. Not only have they allowed the fewest total yards to opposing TEs (327) but they rank fourth in DVOA against the position and even held Tyler Eifert, the team’s top target currently, to two RECs on two targets last week. Sure he found the end zone but 10.50 fantasy points was not even enough to justify his price tag in cash games…let alone tournaments. When Davis started against the Eagles earlier this year, he produced arguably the most productive performance a TE has had against them all season and he caught just 2-4 targets for 50 yards and a TD. This defense is just not allowing the position to rack up the RECs which limits both the floor and the ceiling. With so many other viable TE options on the slate, this situation simply warrants avoiding.