Clash of the Beards and Bellies

Something About a Blind Squirrel

Don’t let his gruff exterior fool you, Scott Simpson is incapable of doing harm. That is, unless you are in the DraftKings lobby, with banks of flickering fluorescent lights and creaky floorboards. In that world, he’s leaning into the bricks in a leather jacket, carving a Fuji apple with a switchblade knife. For some unknown reason, he’s wearing skull rings on every finger and keeps muttering something about ROI under his breath.

Like a wild animal backed into a corner, his pupils contract to pinpoints and he hisses and shrieks before mounting a furious counterattack. I had driven him to that, with a month of deprivation from the sweet, thick nectar of victory. Parched, he championed a trio of wide receivers who rode in on translucent steeds to the tune of 84.40 fantasy points. He coaxed an immortal goat from his patch of thistle to cap off a resounding 27-point triumph over my more-than-adequate band of hired guns.

I liked my lineup. It was quite strong, but Scott’s lineup was the highest score in the Clash so far this season. It was quite remarkable how vividly I picture the squirrel in Ice Age finally capturing the elusive acorn. Scott is the squirrel. Ice Age has multiple sequels. I will have my vengeance in an eruption of pyroclastic flow.

Bo’s Lineup

QB – Dak Prescott – Dallas Cowboys – $6,700

ARLINGTON, TEXAS – OCTOBER 11: Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys celebrates his touchdown reception against the New York Giants during the second quarter at AT&T Stadium on October 11, 2020 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

The quarterback for America’s Team is my favorite to roster on DK this week. His letdown performance against the Saints last week drove his salary down by $400, making this value impossible to ignore. Washington isn’t built to beat this Cowboys team, especially coming off a 10-day break.

RB – Alvin Kamara – New Orleans Saints – $7,900

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – DECEMBER 25: Alvin Kamara #41 of the New Orleans Saints scores a fifth touchdown during the fourth quarter against the Minnesota Vikings at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on December 25, 2020 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

He’s baaaack. No, not Cam Newton. AK41 is back to take on the very worst defense in the NFL at defending the running back position. To roster a healthy Kamara under $8k is Valhalla. The Saints are in a must-win situation with a mere speed bump in the way. The god damn Jets are going to get steamrolled.

RB – Antonio Gibson – Washington Football Team – $6,000

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DECEMBER 05: Antonio Gibson #24 of the Washington Football Team scores on a touchdown reception against the Las Vegas Raiders during the fourth quarter of a game at Allegiant Stadium on December 05, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Washington Football Team defeated the Raiders 17-15. (Photo by Chris Unger/Getty Images)

It seems fitting that Gibson against the Cowboys led to my demise on Thanksgiving 2020. Washington has given the Memphis product all the work he can handle since their bye week. Dallas has good numbers against running backs on paper, but have truly been gashed when teams emphasize the inside zone running game.

WR – Michael Gallup – Dallas Cowboys – $5,500

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – DECEMBER 02: Michael Gallup #13 of the Dallas Cowboys catches the ball for a touchdown as Bradley Roby #21 of the New Orleans Saints defends in the first quarter of the game at Caesars Superdome on December 02, 2021 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

Gallup has the highest projected points-per-dollar value on this slate for me. He draws one of the friendliest matchups possible with the Washington secondary. All three Cowboys wideouts will feast on Sunday, with Gallup doing so at the lowest DK salary.

WR – Nick Westbrook-Ikhine – Tennessee Titans – $4,500

Houston and Jacksonville have had similar struggles in coverage this season. Two weeks ago, NWI was running wide open all game and put up over 20 fantasy points. As stunning as it is to imagine a team “coached” by Urban Meyer struggling with communication, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Westbrook-Ikhine light this defense up at a bargain.

WR – Joshua Palmer – LA Chargers – $3,000

Speaking of bargains, Palmer is a less-polished version of Mike Williams. Williams is unlikely to be activated from the COVID reserve list for Sunday’s game, vaulting the rookie from Tennessee into a prominent role. Keenan Allen is already ruled out. Palmer is a touchdown waiting to happen against the dreadful New York Giants.

TE – Travis Kelce – Kansas City Chiefs – $7,400

GLENDALE, ARIZONA – AUGUST 20: Tight end Travis Kelce #87 of the Kansas City Chiefs on the sidelines during the first half of the NFL preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium on August 20, 2021 in Glendale, Arizona. The Chiefs defeated the Cardinals 17-10. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The Chiefs are back on the main slate this week, bringing the ultimate stack back into play. I won’t have very many lineups that won’t have Kelce as a pillar. The Raiders stink. Don’t think for one second that I forgot about Week 10, when Kelce went for 10/8/119 in Vegas, for his best performance since Week 3.

FLEX – Chuba Hubbard – Carolina Panthers – $5,900

ATLANTA, GEORGIA – OCTOBER 31: Chuba Hubbard #30 of the Carolina Panthers runs with the ball against the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on October 31, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)

I think Chuba stinks. He’s simply not that good at football. What does not stink is his gorgeous matchup with the Falcons, nor his sub-$6k salary. In Atlanta in Week 8, the Oklahoma State rookie got a hefty 24 carries and scored a touchdown. Matt Rhule wants to pound the rock, now that Joe Brady was sacked. A little more receiving volume and a tick up in the yards per carry would be nice step toward hating Chuba a bit less.

DST – Carolina Panthers – $2,800

Running backs are fun to stack with their correlating DST, especially when they face really bad teams. Atlanta has allowed the most points to opposing defenses in fantasy, which means they don’t score many points and surrender a ton of sacks and turnovers. The Panthers DST scored 11 DK points in Week 8 in Atlanta with three sacks and two interceptions. That was at a higher salary, to boot.

Don’t Call it A Comeback

Literally don’t call my resounding victory over Bo in the ‘Clash of the Beards and Bellies’ last week “a comeback.” I’m officially 5 – 8 against Bo through 13 weeks of NFL action. It’s pathetic. No celebration from me this week. I’ll start celebrating when I’m over .500. Right, Jeff Fischer?

Scott’s Lineup

QB – Dak Prescott – Dallas Cowboys – $6,700

The smart money is on Dak this weekend at only $6,700. No big shocker that Bo is all over this play as well. The Cowboys’ 26 implied point total means that points should be plentiful come Sunday. With Amari Cooper healthy and an ailing Tony Pollard, look for Dak to get it done through the air, I’m projecting him for over 300 yards passing and three touchdowns, or around 23 DraftKings points.

RB – Josh Jacobs – Las Vegas Raiders – $6,200

LAS VEGAS, NV – DECEMBER 5: Las Vegas Raiders running back Josh Jacobs (28) beats the tackle by Washington Football Team outside linebacker Cole Holcomb (55) as he runs the ball into the end zone for a touchdown in the fourth quarter during a game the Washington Football Team and the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium on December 5, 2021. (Photo by John McDonnell/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

I’m really high on Josh Jacobs this week. Last week he saw nine targets and has seen 30 over the last six weeks. All it took for Jacobs to finally become a PPR back was for Gruden to be fired. Who knew? This week the Raiders should lean on Jacobs in the rushing and passing game, as Darren Waller will miss another game with knee and back injuries. Look for Jacobs to see 20 plus touches in this matchup against a Chiefs’ defense that 25 points per game to running backs.

RB – Javonte Williams – Denver Broncos – $5,900

KANSAS CITY, MO – DECEMBER 05: Willie Gay Jr. #50 of the Kansas City Chiefs reaches to tackle Javonte Williams #33 of the Denver Broncos during the second quarter at Arrowhead Stadium on December 5, 2021 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images)

Javonte Williams is a stud. Last week he finally showed off and showed out, scoring over 30 DraftKings points in Melvin Gordon’s absence. This week Gordon should be back this week, but Williams is the healthy and dynamic back you want to start against the hapless Lions. Sure they got their first win last week, but this week they are down two starting running backs, and T.J. Hockenson is doubtful. The Lions are terrible against the run, giving up over 1,700 total yards and 18 touchdowns to backs in 12 games. Don’t overthink this one, roll with Williams.

WR – CeeDee Lamb – Dallas Cowboys – $7,200

MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA – NOVEMBER 22: CeeDee Lamb #88 of the Dallas Cowboys pulls in a touchdown pass against Jeff Gladney #20 of the Minnesota Vikings during their game at U.S. Bank Stadium on November 22, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images)

CeeDee Lamb ranks 11th for DraftKings wide receivers, averaging 17.4 points per game this season. Over his last six games though, Lamb has averaged 19.3 and over a 25% target share. The Cowboys have lost the last two games vs. the Washington Football Team, giving up 66 points in those two games. The Cowboys are going to need their top-ranked NFL offense to show up if they are going to win this matchup and the NFC East. I expect Dak to target Lamb 7-9 times in this high-scoring game, providing him with plenty of opportunities to bring back value. I’m actually shocked that Bo didn’t roster him.

WR –  Tyler Lockett – Seattle Seahawks – $6,700

DENVER, CO – SEPTEMBER 9: Wide receiver Tyler Lockett #16 of the Seattle Seahawks celebrates after scoring a fourth quarter touchdown under coverage by defensive back Justin Simmons #31 of the Denver Broncos at Broncos Stadium at Mile High on September 9, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

Seattle’s rushing attack has been decimated by injuries this season, losing Chris Carson for the season. Bad news for the Seahawks, but good news for Tyler Lockett, who has been averaging eight targets per game the last five weeks. His 88.8 receiving yards per game over that stretch lead the team. Lockett has a safe 10 point floor, but a tremendous ceiling against PFF’s 82nd ranked cornerback Terrance Mitchell. With a career low 58.6 grade this year, Mitchell is exploitable.

WR – Mike Evans – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – $6,600

Mike Evans is averaging over seven targets per game over the last six weeks and at $6,600 was just too juicy to pass up. Sure, Chris Godwin has seen his target share increase during Antonio Brown’s absence, Evans quietly has six touchdowns in his last six games. I’m banking on Evans to score a solid ho-hum,18-20 points against the Bills. Nothing special, just keep me in the game.

TE – Ricky Seals-Jones – Washington Football Team – $3,600

Logan Thomas is OUT for the rest of the season. Perfect time for Ricky Seals-Jones to heal up and return to the lineup against Dallas. We’ve already seen Taylor Heinicke consistently target the tight end position in this offense. The Cowboys haven’t been impressive against tight ends, giving up 13.75 points per game this season. When he’s started, Seals-Jones is seeing a 17% target share. Wheels up people.

Flex – Jeff Wilson Jr – San Francisco 49ers – $4,400

SEATTLE, WA – DECEMBER 5: Jeff Wilson Jr. #22 of the San Francisco 49ers on the field before the game against the Seattle Seahawks at Lumen Field on December 5, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. The Seahawks defeated the 49ers 30-23. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)

My good friend Dave Kluge recently pointed out that in six career starts, Jeff Wilson is averaging around 17 fantasy points per game. That’s good right? Hell, at $4,400, it’s great. The only question is whether or not Wilson will be a true lead back, garnering 60-70% of touches or if its more of a 50/50 split with JaMycal Hasty. I’m leaning towards the former in this matchup against the Bengals. Wilson could be in line for 20 touches against a Bengals teams that

DST – Cleveland Browns – $2,700

Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens have not looked right all season. Last time these two teams met the Browns picked Jackson off four times. This play will either socre big for me or come back to haunt me. Fingers crossed Lamar struggles in this matchup.

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