We did another 2022 mock draft this week, and was obviously pleased to get Christian McCaffrey with the No. 4 overall pick, and that's exactly where he went in the first mock draft we did the previous week. I'm taking him No. 1 overall if I get the chance, but hopefully people won't be willing to let him fall much further than No. 4. They shouldn't.
We're looking ahead to 2022 – and beyond, as Heath Cummings updated his Dynasty Trade Chart Thursday for those of you looking to flex those trade muscles early in the offseason – but we're also keeping an eye on the playoff matchups as they unfold. On Tuesday's episode of Fantasy Football Today, Jamey Eisenberg, Adam Aizer, and I talked about the six teams that lost during the Wild Card round, focusing on the biggest offseason question each faces.
On Friday's episode of FFT, Jamey, Adam, Dave Richard, and Heath Cummings threw some DFS lineups out there for this weekend's games, and Jamey has his top DFS picks for the weekend here. In today's newsletter, we're looking at the same thing.
First up, I have one thing to watch for in each game, from Derrick Henry's health to Aaron Rodgers' future. Then, I have some insight from the Fantasy Football Today DFS Podcast with Frank Stampfl, Mike McClure, and Sia Nejad as they previewed the DFS slate this week. Make sure you check out their lineups and picks on SportsLine.com if you want to play along – you can join for just $0.99 for the first three months right now with the promo code "CENTS."
And now, here's what to watch from this weekend's games:
What to watch
Here are the key storylines to keep up with this weekend:
Barring a setback that requires surgery, there really isn't anything that could change my view of Henry in this playoff run, I think. If he looks great, that won't be a surprise, and it won't really change my view that this injury increases his risk moving forward. Still, if Henry has a typical Henry game, the hype is going to build and he'll probably cement his place among the top three picks for 2022. He won't be there for me regardless, but if he looks slow or just doesn't produce much, I could see his price sliding a bit. I wouldn't mind that.
The thing is, there aren't that many questions on these teams worth wondering about until we know the fate of the starting quarterbacks. If the 49ers lose, does that make it easier to move on from Jimmy Garoppolo this offseason, especially if he has another bad game? I would think so, and that would obviously impact a lot about how this offense operates in 2022 – it would be a lot harder to trust all three of Deebo Samuel, George Kittle, and Brandon Aiyuk if Trey Lance is starting at QB. That might happen no matter what happens this week, of course, but until we know about that, nothing else really matters.
And on the Packers side, of course, anything short of a Super Bowl appearance would be considered a pretty big disappointment, and would likely spell the end of Rodgers' time in Green Bay. And if Rodgers leaves, it's going to be awfully hard to get excited about this offense based on what we've seen from Jordan Love in his two starts. Of course, even if Love is a viable starting NFL quarterback, he figures to be a significant downgrade on Rodgers, so that looms over absolutely everything here. If the Packers lose Saturday, I would bet Rodgers is all but gone.
Rams @ Buccaneers – How does Cam Akers look?
Akers garnered rave reviews for his play in the Wild Card round game against the Cardinals, racking up 95 total yards on 18 touches. He had at least one nice gain in the passing game called back by a penalty, too. He wasn't particularly efficient in the running game, but he showed better burst than I expected in his first extended run coming back from Achilles surgery. He's already done a ton to increase his price for 2022 drafts, but a good game here would push him into first-round territory. People are very excited about Akers.
Bills @ Chiefs – Can they get Tyreek Hill going?
Hill had his first game with more than 10 Fantasy points in a month in the Wild Card round, but it was still just a five-catch, 57-yard game. He's topped 100 yards just once since Week 4, and he has more than 60 yards in just two of his past seven games. The Chiefs offense has rebounded a bit from its midseason doldrums, but Hill has kind of been left behind. I'm not terribly worried about his 2022 value, but I'd sure like to see a big game from him, especially against a very tough matchup.
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Here are three key points to keep an ear out for when you listen to the most recent episode of the FFT DFS show previewing this weekend's games:
Don't be fooled by low prices
One thing Mike pointed out that I found particularly insightful was the point that, while some players might seem underpriced – and thus, might seem like must-play picks – that's as much a product of all scoring being deflated this week (from the 14:00 mark):
"But what I want to caution on with this, just as more of a generic slate comment: We look at Chase's price, or we look at A.J. Brown's price and it looks like, "Man I'm getting a massive bargain on this player." But everyone's price is depressed on this slate because there are so many good players. Like, you go look at the top WR, Cooper Kupp. I should say only it's only $8,600. We're used to him being routinely above $9,000. Now Tyreek Hill and Stefon Diggs are in the mid $6,000s.
It's just that everyone is suppressed because there's a lack of value plays, so they've dropped the pricing. So, I just want to caution on seeing someone at that price and thinking, "Man, they're just drastically underpriced. They're drastically underpriced compared to where they've been, but they're really not relative to the field."
How to handle Derrick Henry?
Henry's expected return this week is going to be one of the biggest storylines, because he's so key to the Titans offense and such a dominant Fantasy player as a result. We've really never seen him in a limited role; when Henry plays, the Titans ride him.
Can we just assume they'll use him how they normally do when he hasn't played in over two and a half months? At a $9,000 price tag on FanDuel and $7,500 on DraftKings, you'd better be pretty sure he's going to get that role. On the other hand, maybe he could be an ideal contrarian play?
Here's what Sia and Mike had to say on the pod about Henry:
- Sia: "This is one of those situations where -- and unfortunately at the running back position over the last couple of weeks there have been a lot of situations -- where you just don't know where to go, and unfortunately information [about usage] doesn't really get revealed. To the extent it does, sometimes that information is wrong, so this is one of those situations. We do know that the Bengals have some issues on the defensive line, so if Henry gets a full complement of snaps -- or I should say maybe even 75% of what is considered a full complement -- he could absolutely smash in this spot. And even if he only gets 50%, what if he gets all the red zone carries against a banged up defensive line? He could still get you 2 touchdowns and 60 yards and really come through for you. I don't know that I love him right now. In the builds that I'm considering, they actually don't have Henry right now."
- Mike: "Like Sia alluded to, I think that he could be not quite at the 80% workload. It could be closer to 60-40 because D'Onta Foreman has had some success and they might want to ease them in and maybe only use him in some of those goal-line situations. I could see scenarios like that. I think the question you have to ask yourself though is do you want to bet on possibly a banged-up Derrick Henry, or would you like to save some money and still be a little contrarian and play Joe Mixon in that same game, right? Because you know Mixon is also someone who's going to touch the ball 20 times, potentially catch 5-7 passes if they're trailing at all. So, I think you have a lot of interesting decisions. So as much as when you see Derrick Henry with a $7,500 price tag you're like, 'Give me all of that.' Not quite so much in this particular slate for me."
A few to fade
Here are a couple of players the guys are avoiding this week:
- Elijah Mitchell, via Sia: "You can run on the Packers. They allow a pretty significant yards per carry amount here. The question for me, though, is does that make me more emboldened about Elijah Mitchell or Deebo Samuel. We mentioned it with Jamar Chase when it's playoff time, especially when you're a six-point dog, you are going to make sure you put it in your best player's hands as much as possible. And given that Deebo is already lining up in the backfield quite a bit, I don't know that Elijah Mitchell is the play for many. They're going to, if it's a neutral game script, run Elijah Mitchell a lot. But if it's not a neutral game script then they run Deebo Samuel a lot and they pass to Deebo a lot, so I think I might just be avoiding Elijah Mitchell."
- Mike Evans, via Mike: "Some might point to the first match up with the Rams where he had eight catches for 106 yards, did not land in the end zone. But we have to remember in that matchup he's playing alongside Chris Godwin, which helps a lot in those kinds of matchups. Having another receiver like that who the quarterback absolutely trusts and looks to really takes a lot of pressure off. So, I am very worried about Evans, just with the combination of the ownership, the price point, and the other guys around him, I think I'm going to be avoiding it."