2018 Fantasy Alarm Draft Easy BIG GAME Optimal Lineups
Steve Pimental analyzes the three slates for H2H matchups for the Big Game on Sunday on Draft Easy and gives you his winning picks.
After we got back on the winning track with our NBA picks last week, it's time to transition back to the NFL. DraftEasy is offering not one, not two, but three contests for Eagles vs. Patriots. We are going to pick every single matchup, so let’s get right to it.
These picks are the ones I am actually playing in my own entries. I feel better about the first and third slates than I do about the second, so do with that information what you will.
Super Bowl - All Day 1
This seems obvious on its surface, but Nick Foles threw for more yards and touchdowns than Tom Brady in the Championship Round. On top of that, Brady is facing the better defense, and Foles is more likely to face a negative game script that would force him to throw more. If his four starts this season, not including Week 17, Foles has thrown three, zero, one and four touchdowns. Brady has thrown at least two touchdowns in each of his last four games. Bill Belichick has had two weeks to prepare for Nick Foles, and it is hard to imagine that going well for Foles, even though New England’s defense isn’t very good.
The best way to attack New England is with the running back, and Ajayi has at least 14 touches in each of his last five games. That being said, he has just two touchdowns in nine games with the Eagles. Philadelphia appears content to give LeGarrette Blount the ball when they get in close, which severely limits Ajayi’s production. Dion Lewis hasn’t scored in the playoffs this year, but he had five touchdowns over his last three regular season games, and he too has at least 14 touches in five consecutive games. Lewis could lose red zone looks to James White, which has happened in the playoffs, but even if he doesn’t get in the end zone, his advantage in the receiving game should help him outscore Ajayi.
One of the least fun things you can do is pick against Brandin Cooks on DraftEasy. It only takes one play to make you look silly. Cooks has at least eight targets in each of his last three games, thought he only caught three passes for 32 yards against the Titans. That being said, Alshon Jeffery had more than five targets in just one of his games with Nick Foles.
Amendola had at least seven receptions and 84 yards in each playoff game, though it is important to note Rob Gronkowski was out for most of that game. Agholor, on the other hand, hasn’t topped four receptions in any of his last three games and he topped 84 yards just three times all last season. Agholor does have eight touchdowns this season, but none in the post season, while Amendola caught two during the regular season and two against the Jaguars. I can’t bring myself to pick all Patriots in this slate, and Agholor should benefit if the Eagles stick to a short passing game.
Zach Ertz was one of the best fantasy tight ends for most of the season, but just one of his eight touchdowns this season came from Nick Foles. He caught just three of five targets for 32 yards against Atlanta, and he has a similar floor in this game. Gronk, on the other hand, failed to top 50 receiving yards just three times all season, including the AFC Championship when he got hurt. He has the safer floor, which is why he gets my pick.
Super Bowl - All Day 2
From above for convenience: This seems obvious on its surface, but Nick Foles threw for more yards and touchdowns than Tom Brady in the Championship Round. On top of that, Brady is facing the better defense, and Foles is more likely to face a negative game script that would force him to throw more. If his four starts this season, not including Week 17, Foles has thrown three, zero, one and four touchdowns. Brady has hthrown at least two touchdowns in each of his last four games. Bill Belichick has had two weeks to prepare for Nick Foles, and it is hard to imagine that going well for Foles, even though New England’s defense isn’t very good.
It is hard to believe a matchup of No. 3 running backs could be so interesting. As I mentioned above, the best way to attack New England’s defense has been with the running back, and while Jay Ajayi has been better catching passes out of the backfield down the stretch, Corey Clement may be Philly’s best receiving back. He caught five passes for 31 yards against the Falcons, and he could get even more work if Philadelphia falls behind. Burkhead, on the other hand, had just one touch against Jacksonville. He was more involved before he suffered his knee injury against the Steelers, but with Dion Lewis looking great and James White consistently getting into the end zone, there really isn’t much reason for Bill Belichick to call Burkhead’s number.
Hogan doesn’t have more than four targets or two receptions in any of his last three games. He has had two weeks to get healthy, and he has big play ability as well, but much like Rex Burkhead, you have to question if New England will even need to look his was with all of their other weapons. This call could blow up in my face, but Agholor certainly seems like the safer pick.
Smith had a big game against the Vikings, but then again, so did all of his teammates. Before that, his biggest contribution to the season was a fluke catch that bounced off a defender’s knee. White has three touchdowns in two playoff games, and he is far more likely to find the end zone than Smith.
Neither player had a catch in the Championship Round, but Allen has gone three consecutive games without a reception. I don’t think I will enter the RapidFire Max game with this slate, because there is a decent chance this is a wash. That being said, Celek has fewer players to compete with for targets, and Philadelphia is more likely to have to get creative and utilize their backup tight end a bit more. Let’s hope Allen goes another game without any receptions.
Super Bowl - All Day 3
Picking against Ertz above had far more to do with Rob Gronkowski being safe than anything else. Even though I like Cooks better than Alshon Jeffery, I am a bit worried Chris Hogan is finally healthy and will take away some targets that have been going to Cooks. Give me Ertz.
Both players have found the end zone pretty frequently in the playoffs. Amendola has benefited from injuries to Gronk and Chris Hogan, while White is clearly playing second fiddle to Dion Lewis, and it is possible that role gets usurped by Rex Burkhead. If White gets in the end zone he probably wins this matchup, so we will have to hope that doesn’t happen.
For Burkhead to win this matchup, two things would have to happen: Burkhead would have to get a lot more work than he did against the Jaguars, and LeGarrette Blount would have to be kept out of the end zone. Do you really feel strongly about both of those things happening?
Lewis is probably the safest player in this game, outside of maybe Rob Gronkowski. Jeffery is good enough to make me sweat this matchup, but Lewis is too good, and should get too many touches, for me to go against him.
In some ways, this matchup is similar to Dwayne Allen vs. Brent Celek. Both players are pretty far down their respective team’s depth charts, and they are as likely to get shut out as they are to catch a pass or two. Each of these players has exactly one reception in the playoffs. That being said, Dorsett’s catch came on a flea flicker when New England was a bit desperate to move the ball against a stout Jacksonville defense. New England has a lot more weapons than Philadelphia, and Dorsett may not even see the field if Chris Hogan is completely healthy. Also, the Eagles are more likely to get down big and have to spread the field, in which case Hollins could catch a handful of passes.