Cincinnati Bengals vs New York Giants

Trying to keep pace with the surprising Dallas Cowboys in the NFC East, the New York Giants go for their fourth consecutive victory when they host the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday night (Enter Contest). The Giants have rebounded from a three-game skid by sandwiching a pair of home wins around a “road” victory at London to remain two games off the division lead. New York is coming off a 28-23 victory over Philadelphia, continuing a trend of being able to win the close games. All five victories have come by a margin of 20 points.

Prior to last week’s bye, Cincinnati played in London and came away with a 27-27 tie with Washington. They are looking to close the gap with the first-placed Baltimore Ravens (5-4) in the AFC North. Coach Marvin Lewis’ team have been held to 17 points or fewer in each of its losses.

ABOUT THE BENGALS (3-4-1)

Quarterback Andy Dalton has a streak of four straight games with a 100-plus passer rating snapped in London, but he has thrown for 2,349 yards with 10 touchdowns and three interceptions. Running backs Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard have both rushed for a TD in each of the last two games. Star wide receiver A.J. Green is second in the NFL with 896 yards, including three games with at least 169 yards, and the offense received an added boost with the return of tight end Tyler Eifert against the Redskins. Eifert had 13 touchdowns last season and showed what a difference-maker he can be in his first start with nine catches for 102 yards and a score. Cincinnati’s defense has been vulnerable through the air, allowing an average of 262.4 yards. Cincinnati has lost three in a row at the Giants, but beat the Jets 23-22 at MetLife Stadium in the season opener.

ABOUT THE GIANTS (5-3)

Quarterback Eli Manning is coming off a four-touchdown performance against Philadelphia, the third time he has tossed at least three scoring passes in a game this season, but he also was picked off twice for the third time. Like Cincinnati, the Giants have a stud wideout in Odell Beckham, who caught a pair of scoring passes against the Eagles to give him five in the past four games. The biggest problem for the Giants has been a stagnant running game led by Rashad Jennings that ranks last in the league with a meager average of 68.3 yards per game. Rookie Paul Perkins could see more time this week to help work the clock and protect a defense that yields 277.4 yards passing. New York last won four straight games during the 2013 season.

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While my colleague Tyler wrote that he would go with Eli Manning on Team Rice, I think the star will be Derek Carr. This event is made for guys like him. A young fresh face from a team like Oakland. A real gunslinger. Carr will toss it up to his boy Amari Cooper often enough, but Odell Beckham is the one everyone wants to see ball out. He obviously has a flair for the dramatic, and made a bunch of sweet grabs at last year’s contest. Play him with confidence if you’re willing to take on his salary.

Tyrod Taylor is extremely effecient and I don’t think enough people really appreciated how well he played this year. Better yet, the is the unquestioned leader in Buffalo. He provides very good value at a lower salary.

Adrian Peterson is getting long in the tooth, so I wouldn’t be surprised if the coaches give him a little more timeon the field than you’d expect, but Doug Martin will likely play the most snaps.  FB John Kuhn should get some good opportunities as well, everybody loves the guy.

Jarvis Landry is someone you want to look for in the end-zone with his strong hands, and Gary Barnidge made a ton of highlight-reel catches around the goal line this season.

Team Irvin’s wide receiver core is just outstanding. Julio Jones, DeAndre Hopkins, AJ Green and Allen Robinson are all big, fast, spectacular playmakers. Once again, while my colleague went with Russel Wilson as his stud QB, I’m going with Jamies Winston. I think this game leans toward the younger players, and the league wants to showcase the great young talent it has. Like Carr, Winston is an aggressive downfield thrower who will thrive with this set of tall WR’s. Wilson may be more effecient in his time, but I think Winston will have the most attempts.

Jones is my man here as I think he is the most explosive receiver in the league. With an All-Star cast around him, a few touchdowns may not be crazy. Hopkins is worth his price tag as well.

The talent at RB is stacked too. Captain Devonta Freeman got there by catching 73 passes (578 yards, 3 TDs) this year to go with his 1000 yards and 11 TDs on the ground.  His versatility could go a long way in the Pro-Bowl. Expect him to fill the scoresheet across all categories.

Todd Gurley is an animal. His running style leads to long runs if he has a slight crease, as his power lets him slip through the hands of would-be tacklers. I always feel confident playing Gurley because of his desire, no matter the importance.

Latavius Murray had his share of ups-and-downs in Oakland in 2015, but similar to Gurley can break long runs due to his powerful stride.

RB conclusion – I predict similar production from the trio, so choose one depending on salary needs to fit your team.

TEs Tyler Eifert and Delanie Walker are downfield threats who may be forgotten with such dangerous flankers accompanying them. Eifert could have mutiple TDs.

 

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NFL Pro Bowl Preview

The Pro Bowl is a hard event to predict. Just because a player does well in a certain type of offense in the regular season does not guarantee they will be effective in the Pro Bowl. The opposite is true as well when a player is used to being the target of a subpar quarterback for example. Lets look at the lineups and determine where value may be attained in order to maximize your chances in Fanpicks Pro Bowl Daily Fantasy Tournaments this weekend.

 

Team Rice

 

PlayerName Position
Derek Carr QB
Eli Manning QB
Tyrod Taylor QB
Chris Ivory RB
John Kuhn RB
Doug Martin RB
Adrian Peterson RB
Odell Beckham WR
Amari Cooper WR
T.Y. Hilton WR
Jarvis Landry WR
Gary Barnidge TE
Travis Kelce TE

 

As the Pro Bowl goes, each of the quarterbacks on each time will likely see some play time, with the more effective ones seeing more minutes. Eli Manning is the clear leader here in terms of passing but if the pass game is ineffective, it is very likely Tyrod could take over duties given his mobility and speed.

 

As far as receivers go, both Carr and Manning have their primary targets during the regular season, Cooper and Beckham respectively, so you can expect some good synergy between them. I think Hilton however, is the receiver to look out for on Team Rice. He may get less attention from the coverage and although he put up lackluster numbers during the season, with Manning or Carr throwing to him, he may be able to put together a big game. He is my sleeper pick on team Rice.

 

Team Irvine

 

PlayerName Position
Teddy Bridgewater QB
Russell Wilson QB
Jameis Winston QB
Patrick DiMarco RB
Devonta Freeman RB
Todd Gurley RB
Latavius Murray RB
A.J. Green WR
DeAndre Hopkins WR
Julio Jones WR
Allen Robinson WR
Tyler Eifert TE
Delanie Walker TE

 

 Team Irvine is made up somewhat differently, mostly because their quarterback roster is all three players who have proven to be effective with both their arms and their legs. My bet would be that Wilson gets the most play time and should have no problem passing the ball with a stronger receiving squad.

 

Julio Jones and Hopkins should be the main targets but Green and Robinson are both very effective at getting downfield and open. Without a Bortles/Roethlisberger/Cousins type quarterback who loves chucking the ball downfield though, Green and Robinson may not be able to put up the numbers they are used to. Whoever the quarterback here, I expect them to play the short game with Julio, Hopkins, Eifert, and Walker while giving Freeman and Gurley plenty of rush attempts.

 

My strategy is Running backs and Tight ends from Team Irvine and Quarterback and Receiver stacks from Team Rice.

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NFL Week 17 Stacks to look out for

Choosing your stack in week 17 is a difficult thing to do. Most playoff implications are already determined so a Cam Newton/Ted Ginn stack will not be beneficial, even against the Bucs. The other side is true as well, even against the Saints defense, Matt Ryan and Julio Jones may not bring full effort with nothing on the line.

Stafford and Johnson Stack

While Calvin Johnson has been very unproductive lately, catching only one pass in each week 14 and 15, he has since turned things around with 6 catches for 77 yards and a touchdown. While not huge fantasy value, this is a good sign going into week 17 against the Bears. While neither team has much to play for, Stafford and Johnson may be able to load up on the garbage time points.

Eli Manning and Odell Beckham

While the Giants don’t have anything on the line this week against the Eagles, Odell could be looking to have a big game after his week 16 suspension. The Eli Manning and Odell Beckham connection is one of the most dangerous in the NFL, and facing the Eagles poor secondary, they will connect for more than a couple long balls.

Kirk Cousins and Jordan Reed

After two consecutive high scoring weeks between these two, it may be too much to ask for another one. Reed has shown to be the Redskins top receiver scoring 4 touchdowns in the past 2 weeks. Although they have locked up their spot in the playoffs, they may come out strong against the Cowboys before starting to rest up starters.

Matt Ryan and Julio Jones

This stack is somewhat risky with both of these two showing poor performances as of late. After a strong start to the season, the Falcons seem to be falling apart. They however did upset the undefeated Panthers last week, moving in a positive direction for these two players. We all know how valuable this stack can be when they are both on their game. Plus, with the Saints secondary on pass coverage, Julio should not have much opposition.

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New York Giants versus Miami Dolphins Monday Night Football Fantasy Picks 12-14-2015

The Miami Dolphins will be home for Monday night football as they meet the New York Giants. NFL fantasy GMs can tune to ESPN on December 14th at 8:30PM Eastern Time to follow the results of their one day leagues.

The Giants are in the middle of the NFC East race with a record of 5-7. They are on a three game losing streak after they are beaten 23-20 at home last week to the New York Jets. Defense has been a major issue for the Giants on the year as the club ranks 32nd and last in the NFL against the pass as they allow 314 yards per game through the air.

The Miami Dolphins enter Monday night football with an identical 5-7 mark. They have struggled on both sides of the football ranking 27th in total offense (326 yards per game) and 28th in the NFL in total defense (390 yards per game). A two game losing streak was broken last week as Miami was able to earn the 15-13 victory at home to Baltimore. They have been held to 17 points or fewer in four of their past six games.

New York Giants QB:

Eli Manning

The Giants veteran quarterback is completing 62.3% of his throws for 3318 yards with 24 touchdowns and 10 picks. Last week against the Jets Manning threw for 297 yards with a touchdown and pick. He has thrown for multiple touchdowns in four of his past five games.

New York Giants RB:

Rashad Jennings

Jennings has rushed 116 times in 2015 for 431 yards with a touchdown. He is rushing for just 3.7 yards per carry on the year which surprisingly is not a career low. In 101 rushing attempts in 2012 Jennings ran for 2.8 yards per rush average.

Shane Vereen

The former New England Patriot has rushed 51 times for 216 yards for 4.2 yards per rush. He has caught 42 balls for 349 yards and three touchdowns. He is on pace for the same receiving yardage that he had in the 2014 season. Vereen was a key cog for the Patriots on third down extending drives. He is not having the same impact with the Giants as he did in his years with the Patriots.

Andre Williams

Williams has been a major disappointment in 2015 as he has rushed for 202 yards on 71 carries for 2.8 yards per carry average.

New York Giants WR:

Odell Beckham

The Giants wide out has caught 78 passes for 1154 yards with ten touchdowns. He is averaging 14.8 yards per catch on the season. Against the Jets last week Beckham had six catches for 149 yards with a touchdown. Two weeks ago at Washington he grabbed nine passes for 142 yards and a touchdown. Beckham has a touchdown reception in three straight games.

Miami Dolphins QB:

Ryan Tannehill

Tannehill has completed 61.5% of his throws in 2015 for 3079 yards with 21 touchdowns and 11 picks. In the win at home to Baltimore last week the veteran signal caller hit on 47.4% of his throws for 86 yards with a touchdown. Prior to that performance against the Dolphins Tannehill had thrown for multiple touchdown passes in three straight games.

Miami Dolphins RB:

Lamar Miller

The Dolphins leading running back has rushed 139 times for 680 yards and five touchdowns. He is averaging 4.9 yards a carry on the season. Last week in the win against Baltimore, he rushed 20 times for 113 yards. When the Dolphins run the ball and give Miller a high number of carries they have success.

Miami Dolphins WR:

Jarvis Landry

Landry has caught 79 passes for 823 yards with four touchdowns. Two weeks ago at the New York Jets had grabbed 13 balls for 165 yards and a touchdown.

Kenny Stills

The three year veteran receiver has caught 20 passes for 343 yards with two touchdowns. He had no catches against the Ravens and had just two receptions for 12 yards in the loss in Week 12 against the Jets.

NFL Monday Night Football Real Money Fantasy League Picks

QB: Eli Manning (Giants)

RB: Lamar Miller (Dolphins)

WR: Odell Beckham (Giants)

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NFL Fantasy Picks to win each Contest Type

One Day NFL Fantasy drafts are a great alternative for the season long fantasy player looking to add a little more excitement to their fantasy experience while turning their fantasy skill into real money. The issue most crossover players make however is they do not realize the subtle strategy changes necessary to be successful in Daily Fantasy Contests.

One of those such strategy changes is making your picks depending on the contest you are in. There are two broad categories of DFS contests: 50/50s and tournaments. 50/50s are contests (including head to heads) where there are a number of users in the tournament and the top scoring half of users are winners and get $1.80 back for each dollar bet (since the DFS site takes a cut). Tournaments on the other hand pay out to a much smaller portion of the entrants but they pay out in larger amounts, usually graduated to where the first place entrant makes a very large amount.

It’s pretty clear cut that it takes more points scored by your lineup to be in the money in a tournament than it does in a 50/50 contest, however, it is not quite as clear how you should adjust your picks to accommodate that.

50/50 contests

Let’s first look at 50/50 contests and head to heads. In these lineups you are aiming for consistent players and an overall low risk lineup, since scoring a huge point total (and taking on more risk) gives you no more money than the user who just barely exceeds the threshold to score.

While you can go over each individual’s players volatility in performances over the season and recent seasons, it is easier to judge risk positionally. Quarterbacks and running backs for instance have much more consistent fantasy value than wide receivers and tight ends. Don’t take that to mean quarterbacks and running backs score more points however, as while wide receivers and tight ends are just more volatile, meaning they may score 0 points on a day or they may score 40 while a quarterback may be more in a 15-25 point range at the same salary level for example.

In a 50/50 contest however, you don’t need that huge 40 fantasy points value performance from a player. You just need reliable scorers. This means spend a little extra money at that quarterback and running back positions where you can count on them to hit their value, and if you are playing with a flex position, use a running back. Additionally, a running quarterback can be a more reliable fantasy points scorer than a pocket quarterback.

Good 50/50 picks for week 1 at Running Back are Eddie Lacy, Matt Forte, Jamaal Charles, or LeSean McCoy. At Quarterback you can go for shoot for a realiable veteran like Peyton Manning or Aaron Rodgers or take a shot at a running quarterback like Russell Wilson or Cam Newton.

Tournaments

As you can probably guess, the exact opposite applies to Daily Fantasy Tournament structed contests. These are more aggressive and high stakes contests so you need to match your lineup to that attitude. Scoring a moderately good point total does not help you at all here since you will just end up losing your entry fee. In tournaments you need to choose volatile, high risk players, and hope that this is their week.

This doesn’t mean abandon your quarterback and choose second string running backs, but you can splurge a little extra on the wide receivers, tight ends, and defense.

A strategy that also proves beneficial in NFL tournaments is to pair your quarterback with his receivers. Quarterback and receiver performances are linked so if you pick the right team, you will cash in twice on each play made by that team. Obviously picking the same team increases your risk, but that is the goal in tournaments, all or nothing.

The last important factor in tournaments is what fantasy gurus refer to as a contrarian strategy. This means you choose a player that is likely looked over by your opponents due to poor performance lately or a tough defensive matchup. If you choose a player like this and they do happen to have a big day, that gives you a significant advantage on the majority of your opponents.

On the contrary, if you have a player that is owned by the majority of your opponents, then even if that player plays great, you’re still on the same level as everyone else. Remember, this is a risky strategy though as if a player’s ownership level is low in a contest, there is likely a reason for that and that player is probably not going to play well this week.

Good for your tournament picks you will need to pick a couple high ownership receivers like Demaryius Thomas, Odell Beckham, or Antonio Brown. Personally, I am staying away from Randall Cobb as he will have the highest ownership of any receiver with Jordy Nelson out. If he has a big game if may hurt you, but if he doesn’t, you’ll have a nice leg up on the competition.

Some receivers who will be lesser sought after may be Alshon Jeffery, Mike Evans, Sammy Watkins, and Steve Smith. At tight end, I am expecting ownership of Gronkowski upwards of 60 percent so steer clear of him (especially with Brady out) and look to Julius Thomas or Jason Witten.

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