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NFL Slant And Go: David Johnson Is In Prime Position To Crush In His Comeback Campaign Vs The Raiders

Chris Spags

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We dive into the fantasy football sleepers and break down Awesemo's Top 3 RBs for 2020. David Johnson, Tarik Cohen, Raheem Mostert.

The finish line is almost in sight for the NFL regular season but we’ve still got a good few weeks of fantasy football left to through some picks out there and hope for the best. This week is full of matchups that could end up producing a ton of points, some players who have not gotten their just dues in recent weeks, and some games still awaiting key news like the status of Joe Flacco and whether we might see the first game of Lamar Jackson (who also missed practice today due to illness). This seems like it’s shaping up to be a wild week of football so I’ll do my best to give you some angles to help you perform better amidst the potential insanity.

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Dallas Cowboys (22.8 implied points) at Atlanta Falcons (25.8 implied points)

-The Cowboys mauled the Eagles on both sides of the ball in their last game and this is a nice spot to keep it rolling versus the porous Falcons D. This is not a feeling I’ve had often, even as a Cowboys fan, but this might be a nice Dak Prescott game. The Falcons allow opposing QBs a 70.4% completion rate and the addition of Amari Cooper has reinvigorated the passing attack. I’d imagine this will be a super low owned stack but one with some nice potential

Ezekiel Elliott should also dominate these Falcons and I have no issue with his price. I’m a little confused by the low total honestly because the Cowboys should be able to score in a variety of ways

-One of Allen Hurns, Cole Beasley, or Michael Gallup may have a nice day because of how bad the Falcons are but parsing out which of them would be the one to go with seems impossible. I’d favor Beasley but that’s not a conviction play

-The Cowboys D has been mostly decent but not generating turnovers at all, a decent recipe for the Falcons being able to put up points but have to really earn them in chunks. Matt Ryan to Julio Jones run back with Elliott or Cooper makes a lot of sense to me

-The Cowboys are only giving up 3.6 yards per rush to opponents so I’m not dying to go back to Tevin Coleman this week, though he is interesting after a disappointing chalk week

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Austin Hooper gets a 15.4% boost according to Football Outsiders’ DVOA, the weakest spot of the Cowboys passing defense. He’s an okay TE play though his price is kind of high by Austin Hooper standards. Mohamed Sanu and Calvin Ridley are also viable pivots to Julio; Sanu’s hip is acting up again so Ridley may be the better play

 

Houston Texans (22.8 implied points) at Washington Redskins (19.8 implied points)

-Washington’s defense has been really up and down so there may be some contrarian value in a DeShaun Watson/DeAndre Hopkins stack. The total isn’t terribly inspiring but Watson and co can put together a big day out of nowhere

-I don’t hate Lamar Miller with his touches per game also sky high despite his price. Washington’s run defense is solid but the opportunity is there

-This is not a spot where I want Alex Smith after that hideous showing vs the porous Bucs D. In fact, I really don’t want much from this Washington side at all given how bad they look, their O line in particular. The Texans D is in play

Adrian Peterson still got 21 touches last week and though Houston’s rush defense is pretty strong with allowing just 3.6 yards per rush, you can play that low probability outcome of him having a monster game out of nowhere without many people on him

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (25.5 implied points) at NY Giants (26.5 implied points)

-The Bucs played an incredibly low scoring game vs Washington but I sincerely doubt that was any reflection on them figuring out their defensive issues. There’s some real shootout potential for this game and a Ryan Fitzpatrick stack with Mike Evans looks like a solid matchup vs a Giants team allowing a 10.5% boost to WR1s

Chris Godwin may be ruled out with ankle issues and that would open some opportunity for Adam Humphries and DeSean Jackson. If Godwin were to play, he’s in a great spot but I would definitely want exposure to the other guys if he sits

-The touches are still there for the banged up Peyton Barber but he’s not doing enough with them. Jacquizz Rodgers was highly involved in the pass game with 8 catches for 102 yards vs Washington but I wouldn’t want to bank on that again even if it is an intriguing at his price

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-How will Eli Manning disappoint after he was a pretty solid play on Monday night vs San Francisco? We’ll find out! But he looks great vs this Bucs defense and a stack with Odell Beckham looks strong. Given how bad the Bucs have been, it looks like a spot where you could load up with Beckham and Sterling Shepard or Evan Engram with Eli and be very happy with the outcome

Saquon Barkley may also just run all over a Bucs team ill equipped to handle him that’s also allowing a TD on 5.5% of opponent rushing attempts. Saquon seems very worth his price this week coming off of a down game on a slate without Todd Gurley

 

Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens

-There’s no spread on this game due to the uncertainty of Joe Flacco’s status but after how the Bengals looked last week, this seems like a spot where the Ravens defense is more appealing than Cincinnati’s offense

-If you want to go contrarian, I would think Joe Mixon is more appealing than hoping Andy Dalton looks better than he did last week. Mixon or a Dalton/Tyler Boyd stack would be highly contrarian after that dud vs New Orleans so I’ll probably roll a few out and pray but it really was not looking good last week and shockingly I don’t think Hue Jackson solves it

-If Flacco plays, he looks like a decent play but I’d assume they’d rely more on Alex Collins in a game where it shouldn’t take much

-If Flacco sits, Lamar Jackson is a hugely exciting play that will likely pick up a ton of ownership. He may not be ready for the bright lights but this Bengals D giving up 455 yards a game is the best possible spot for him. Jackson to John Brown for all the money would be where I’d want to go but a stack with Michael Crabtree looks fine to me

 

Pittsburgh Steelers (26 implied points) at Jacksonville Jaguars (21 implied points)

-The Jags found themselves in a surprise shootout last week and the Vegas totals indicate we might be in a similar spot. The Jags D still allows just 319 yards per game but with how the Steelers have been rolling I don’t see a problem with wanting to get parts of the Pittsburgh offense

-I think people may chase Ben Roethlisberger’s big day but I’d be more inclined to avoid stacks and stick to the skill positions here. Roethlisberger is cheap though so I could see wanting to go with Ben and the equally discounted Antonio Brown, who also has the best WR matchup according to DVOA

James Conner would be the guy I want here despite the Jags D being relatively competent vs the run. Conner’s discount is nice and coming off of a down game with a guy who’s proven to be able to beat tough opposing defenses (in a week with a ton of LeVeon Bell hubbub) seems like a lower owned time to get him

-The tight ends could also see a boost here and a random big Vance McDonald game seems not impossible with the Jags allowing an 11.9% boost via DVOA. Jesse James at $2700 is cheaper but McDonald has more targets and slightly better run after catch ability

Leonard Fournette returned to a whopping 29 touches (five of which were catches!) and I don’t mind going back there again. You simply don’t see that many touches for anyone and his hamstring looked as good as can get. He’ll be an $8,000 back sooner than later so the discount is real

Blake Bortles was helped out a lot by Fournette demanding attention last week and I don’t mind him as a pivot to Fournette. Dede Westbrook picked up 10 targets while Donte Moncrief continued to be more of a downfield target. I’d prefer Westbrook this week in a tighter matchup, though the Steelers are capable of getting beat deep (particularly with attention being dedicated to limit Fournette)

James O’Shaughnessy seems worth mentioning given his near minimum price, 4-6 targets in his last three games, and the Steelers weakest vs TE offering a 26.1% boost via DVOA. He’s not a huge volume guy but one TD and five catches could be a nice value day for the presumable Irishman

 

Tennessee Titans (23.5 implied points) at Indianapolis Colts (25.5 implied points)

Marcus Mariota has looked better the last two weeks and vs a Colts team giving up a 72% completion rate to opposing QBs, I am into him and that stack with Corey Davis again this week. Davis remains too cheap for a guy seeing the preponderance of targets he does (and Taywan Taylor is still banged up)

Dion Lewis didn’t punch it in or have a big game vs his former team in the Patriots but that doesn’t preclude him from success here vs a Colts team allowing a 13.3% boost to pass catching RBs. The touchdown variance broke Derrick Henry’s way last week but a less chalky Lewis this week would be super exciting

Jonnu Smith has had two decent games in a row, bolstered by touchdowns. He’s nice and cheap but if he becomes anywhere close to chalky, that’d be a “No thank you” for me

-Tennesee’s defense has been stout and took it to the Patriots last week. This could be a comedown spot here but I think it’s going to be tough sledding for Andrew Luck and co vs a Titans team giving up just 328 yards per game

Marlon Mack might be a contrarian play this week and given his insane upside but reasonable price, I don’t hate the play even though it’s not my favorite

-I like TY Hilton the most on this side with his new shorter yardage role seeming like a nice counterpunch to this Titans D. Hilton or Jack Doyle seem like logical plays after Eric Ebron stole the headlines with his outlier game last week

 

Carolina Panthers (27.5 implied points) at Detroit Lions (23.5 implied points)

-The Panthers are coming off an embarrassment vs Pittsburgh and now they face the ultimate get well spot vs a weak across the board Lions D. Bring your Cam Newtons, your Christian McCaffreys and even your Devin Funchesses and Greg Olsens, maybe even a DJ Moore or Curtis Samuel. Anyone can score on the Lions at any time as we just saw with Mitch Trubisky last week

-I’d prefer the volume for McCaffrey the most but I’d love to see a big Funchess game here with a 30.9% boost provided by the Lions to WR1s that Allen Robinson just seized fully. I would stack them up a variety of ways but those two guys are my favorites with Greg Olsen slightly behind with his price on the rise

-Detroit put up mostly garbage time scores vs the Bears and I think there’s a decent chance the Panthers run away with this one vs a porous Lions o-line after that Pittsburgh debacle but Matt Stafford will keep fighting until this team’s last breath so he’s not a bad play here vs a Carolina team allowing passing TDs on 6.8% of opponent attempts

Kenny Golladay got 13 targets this week and though the Panthers defend WR1s, it’s hard to argue that volume. I might be more inclined to play Marvin Jones if he plays but with him missing practice, Golladay may be all they have

Kerryon Johnson might be the play to trust here the most as he and Theo Riddick both saw six targets last week. Johnson’s been straight up good this year and with the Vegas total indicating some scoring, I’d say there’s a decent chance one of them comes via his hands

 

Denver Broncos (19.8 implied points) at LA Chargers (26.8 implied points)

-Not a great total for the Broncos here so the Chargers D should be in play. The Broncos have looked ugly in recent weeks and if the bye didn’t fix things, it could be bad again with the Chargers mostly hitting their stride in recent weeks

Emmanuel Sanders has the best shot to get going in the matchup though Case Keenum should be under duress all game. Still, that may help Sanders with more shot catches designed to keep them at bay

-I probably wouldn’t buy into the Jeff Heuerman big game, particularly vs a Chargers D decreasing TE production by 53.8%

Courtland Sutton after his big chalk week failure might be an interesting play this week; I still buy into the Chargers D more but it’s not it’s a matchup that can’t be overcome

-I like going back to Philip Rivers and Keenan Allen this week after they were a somewhat disappointing chalk stack last week. Allen in particular has a stellar price and this seems like a matchup that should be tight enough that he can rack up a ton of targets

Melvin Gordon is never a player to avoid and it’s a tough choice between him and some of the other guys in his price range. Gordon may end up slightly lower priority for me depending upon how my lineup constructions turn out but the Broncos are giving up a noteworthy 4.8 yards per rush

 

 

Oakland Raiders (17.8 implied points) at Arizona Cardinals (22.8 implied points)

-The Raiders are so bad that I don’t want a piece of them even in a matchup vs a beatable Cardinals D. Jordy Nelson potentially being out alongside Martavis Bryant may open up more catches for Brandon LaFell but it’s not super exciting. The value there is real though for a guy who’ll almost definitely get 6 targets+

Jared Cook also saw nine targets last week and he seems a decent bet to do better vs far easier matchup in the Cardinals

-I am super interested in the Cardinals side as I have been since my boy Byron Leftwich took over. The Raiders are giving up 399 yards per game and 8.9 yards per pass so this may ACTUALLY be the week to play Josh Rosen! I feel like the boy who cried wolf saying that but at his price vs a brutal team that can give up scores a bunch of ways, I will be going ot the well again

David Johnson is the better play though. The Raiders give a 20.5% boost to pass catching RBs and Johnson is coming off his most productive receiving game with 9 targets and 7 catches for 85 yards and a score. Johnson is a really nice play in every sense

Larry Fitzgerald and Christian Kirk seem like fine plays but I also love Ricky Seals-Jones coming off a nine-target game vs an Oakland team giving up a nice 69% boost to the TE position

-The Cardinals D would be a consideration for me given how they generate sacks at a 9.1% rate while Derek Carr takes them at a high 8% rate. But I think Cook or Doug Martin could put up enough scores to make them less interesting, particularly if they’re a popular play

 

Philadelphia Eagles (24 implied points) at New Orleans Saints (32 implied points)

-The Eagles have not looked as dynamic as they did last season with Carson Wentz at the helm but I have no issue buying in on him here. People will point chase Zach Ertz and he’s a solid play as usual but I like where Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor’s prices are vs a Saints team giving up a 24% performance boost to WR1s and 55.3% to WR2s

-I’m not as interested in Golden Tate since he’s clearly not gotten a shot to establish rapport with Wentz like the other targets have. With scoring likely to be all over though, I get wanting some exposure to him

-Neither Wendell Smallwood nor Corey Clement saw many touches in the Eagles’ loss to the Cowboys but this is a decent spot to get them going. I prefer Clement in general but either guy could get it going if they see volume and the Eagles would likely ride the hot hand

-The Eagles defense has been far more beatable this year across the board, though they’ve done a good job limiting passing TDs all year, allowing them on a slate low 3.4% of opponent passing attempts. Drew Brees can excel in any matchup, particularly at home, but I think there are cheaper guys in better spots

-That wouldn’t preclude me from Michael Thomas though with him on an unbelievable tear the last few weeks. He’s the only one seeing targets for New Orleans and the only reason to look elsewhere would be his rising price, I think

-The run game is really what I want here though after we saw both Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram get going there last week. This Eagles team gives up 4.7 yards per rush and with an even 16 touches for both guys, you could get value from them in concert yet again

 

Follow me on Twitter @ChrisSpags and make sure to subscribe to the Awesemo YouTube and turn on notifications so you can see me go live with On The Contrary alongside Awesemo and Evan Silva on Saturday as well as Live Before Lock with Josh on Sunday. Lots of great football content to come so join me for it and good luck this weekend!

Chris Spags is the senior director of editorial strategy at Awesemo.com 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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