Fantasy Roundtable: Peyton Manning, Branden Oliver, and More

Fantasy Roundtable is a free-form discussion between our three head writers, examining the hot topics in the NFL and fantasy every week. This week the topics include Peyton Manning, breakout running backs, and sleepers for daily fantasy.




Nick Juskewycz:

Nick is a former featured columnist for Bleacher Report and a Daily Fantasy enthusiast. He graduated with honors from Bowling Green State University with a degree in sport management and journalism. While obtaining that, Nick also worked for the BGSU athletics department, wrote for the BG News and was a play-by-play and color commentator for their football, men’s basketball, women’s basketball and baseball teams.




Max Steinberg:

Max is a professional poker player and a part-time daily fantasy professional. As a poker player, Max has almost 2 million dollars in tournament earnings lifetime and a WSOP bracelet. In Daily Fantasy, Max is a successful player, having won FanDuel’s MLB Monster several times . Max recently qualified for FanDuel’s FFFC, where he will be one of 100 competing for the $2,000,000 1st prize.




Danny - Poker



Danny Steinberg:

Daniel Steinberg is a former bond trader at a multi-billion dollar proprietary trading firm in Chicago. Danny used his creativity developed from playing poker professionally to become one of the top trader’s in his firm. He is responsible for most of the statistical analysis on this site, most notably our MLB projections which are the best daily fantasy player projections found anywhere.




Q: Is Peyton Manning the top play at QB this week?


Danny: Peyton Manning is the best QB in the league with a great matchup, of course he’s the best play. Manning already has shown age is irrelevant for him, so I’m expecting another 40+ TD season. There’s no other QB in the league who is close to him. FanDuel never seems to be able to make his salary high enough.

Max: Absolutely not. I wrote in my game review of the Broncos Cardinals game that I thought despite an amazing from game statistically, Manning actually didn’t look great. He’s still throwing a lot of a lot of wobbly throws and ducks and away from home without perfect weather I just don’t have as much faith in him as I do Matt Ryan this week. The Jets D is terrible against the pass, sure, but even with the great field position they should have against the terrible Jets offense, Vegas still doesn’t think their offense will have a spectacular game.

Danny: Manning hasn’t thrown a bullet since he joined the Broncos. He showed he can have a 50 TD season without having a strong arm last year. I doubt it’s significantly worse this year.

Max: Watch his last 2 games, it definitely is. And these have been good weather games. I worry about what will happen if he plays away from home on a windy day.

Nick: Manning did have an outstanding week last week and I don’t really care how he gets the ball to his receivers, but he’s definitely not the best play this week.

1) He will be very highly used due to his recent great game.

2) The expected points for the Broncos isn’t much different than other teams this week, including the Bears, Falcons and Seahawks (and all three of those QBs have outstanding matchups that should be competitive games).

3) When teams are big favorites and the opposing offense struggles, the leading team tends to run a lot more to shorten the game. We saw this with the Chargers against the Bills in Week 3. Donald Brown got 32 carries for 64 yards, simply because EJ Manuel couldn’t mvoe his team down field. I don’t expect this Jets offense to move the ball much, simply cause they haven’t been able to against just about anyone. Look for Denver to run quite a bit in this one, despite that the Jets rush D is better than their pass D.

Q: Who’s your favorite RB out of these three: Matt Forte, Marshawn Lynch, Giovani Bernard.


Danny: Matt Forte, and it’s not even close to me. I wrote about him in my game review for the Bears at Panthers game. Ever since Trestman has come to the team, Forte’s workload has went from 75% of snaps to upwards of 90% of snaps. More playing time means more touches and production. Last year was by far his best year in fantasy and first under Trestman, where he had a career high 74 receptions. This year he is on pace for almost 120! He shouldn’t keep that pace up, but we could be seeing an 100 catch season as he continues to be more of a focal point. It certainly doesn’t hurt that he is facing the best matchup for a RB this year, the Atlanta Falcons.

Max: Wow, I love all these guys but I have to say Matt Forte. When you have a player like Forte getting so many touches this year going against a terrible defense in Atlanta, there are going to be fireworks. Rashad Jennings had 10 carries for 55 yards and 2 catches against the Falcons last weekend and he barely player more than a half, and Forte is 10x the player Jennings is. I do love Bernard though, especially with AJ Green probably out. And I love Lynch, but I’m concerned about his health.

Nick: This is actually a no-brainer. It’s Gio Bernard. With AJ Green most liekly out, Bernard is now the leader in targets, receptions and yards, not to mention his three TDs and 247 yards rushing. But here’s why it’s even better. Bernard got most of that production when the Bengals were 6 or 7 point favorites against the Falcons and Titans. The Bengals are -7 this week, and Carolina has given up the fifth most FPTS to RBs. While Forte does have a great matchup, the Bears throw an insane amount and will likely be doing so in a close matchup since it’s their strength, not to mention the game is indoors when teams tend to throw more. So what would you rather have? A RB as a 7 point favorite who is the leader on the team in rushing and receveing? Or someone who is a 3 point underdog on the road indoors that is the leader in rushing but 4th in receiving?

Danny: Yeah, the Bears do throw an insane amount, right into Matt Forte’s hands.

Q: Who’s your biggest sleeper pick this week?

Max: I keep using him and it hasn’t worked out, but Torrey Smith. Week after week we’ve seen Smith get unlucky, narrowly missing some big plays, and he’s drawn the most pass interference calls in the NFL this year. He has a really, really good matchup at Tampa Bay this week and I think he finally has a breakout game.

Danny: James Jones. The matchup isn’t good and his team is awful, but they are big underdogs and Jones is by far the best receiver on the team. Jones is averaging about 12 FPPG on FanDuel and at 5300 that’s a huge bargain. I think he keeps up that production, and at least the Raiders are at home.

Nick: This is specifically for DraftKings, Odell Beckham Jr. Beckham is not listed on the injury report this week, and he should get a full time workload against the Eagles. Philadelphia has one of the worst pass defenses this week, and the Eagles tempo always leads to more possessions for the opposition. Beckham legitimately might be the best rookie WR in the league, and No. 2 slot receivers have been torching the Eagles all season so far. See Allen Hurns Week 1, T.Y. Hilton Week 2, DeSean Jackson Week 3, Anquan Boldin Week 4 and Kenny Britt Week 5, and all of those guys had great games. Look for Beckham to be the next guy getting near a full set of snaps, and the Giants are a 3-point dog, which should lead to a lot of throwing.

Q: Rank these 3 RBs: Ronnie Hillman, Branden Oliver, Andre Williams

Nick: 1) Andre Williams 2) Ronnie Hillman 3) Branden Oliver

Andre Williams got 20 carries for 65 yards, and Jennings left in the second half with an ankle injury. The Eagles run a ton of plays per game, and the Giants will have more opportunities. Williams is expected to be the fulltime workhorse and the goal line back. Not only has Williams earned a TD in his last two games, he catches passes out of the backfield as well. With the expected workload (I fully expect Williams will get 20-25 carries with Jennings out), Williams is primed for 100 yards rushing and a TD easily.

I actually like Hillman the most on DraftKings from a value stand point since he’s $3k, but either way, I like Hillman a lot. Most people from last week remember the amazing game from Peyton Manning and DeMariyus Thomas. Queitly, Hillman got 15 carries for 64 yards. Ball got six touches, but he left the game injured and no other back recieved more than three carries. The coaching staff says Hillman will be the workhorse back with Ball out. The Broncos are -8.5 this week and should be running it a lot. Hillman is a great sneaky play this week and should be used a lot on DraftKings.

I really like Branden Oliver and he looks a lot like Darren Sproles, but here are the issues I have with him. He only gets a limited workload and isn’t an every down back, plus he will be used be a ton of people after his performance last week. Oliver had his one catch and run that was on a complete busted coverage by the Jets where no one even had a chance at tackling him for the first 35 yards. He also had his huge run where the Jets defense took perhaps the worst angles I’ve ever seen at bringing him down on the sideline. Granted he is going against Oakland, I think he will be overused for someone who will get 15 carries and five catches, who is somewhat dependent on big plays to have a great game and probably won’t be the goal line back

Max: I really really love what I’ve seen out of Oliver, but I think Andre Williams is #1. Williams has a more certain workload than Oliver, and is a very powerful runner who is in a pretty good matchup against the Eagles. Oliver has a fantastic matchup against Oakland, but will probably be more of a #2 back. He does have the advantage of being a better pass-catcher than Williams. If Mike Mccoy comes out and says Oliver is the starter and will get a big workload, I may switch #1 to Oliver. 3rd is Hillman, he’s a viable option but has a bad matchup and isn’t as talented as the other two.

Danny: I agree with both of you, Williams seems to be #1 because I think he has the best offensive line and I think his workload is reasonably 80%+ snaps. I really like Oliver though, especially because he will likely take a Danny Woodhead type role even if Brown plays. But if Brown doesn’t play, Oliver is going against one of the worst run defenses in the league and is a big favorite. I have to rank Hillman last, although its worth noting his salary on DK is 3000 and worth a play there. He has the worst matchup and should get the least workload out of the three.

View all posts by Max J Steinberg
Max J Steinberg

About the Author

Max J Steinberg Max Steinberg is a professional poker player and a top Daily Fantasy player who uses his creativity and mathematical abilities he cultivated as a poker player to win money on both DraftKings and FanDuel. He already has several big tournament scores to his name including the Victiv Bowl and countless MLB Monster wins. Follow him on twitter @maxjsteinberg.

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