This is going to be a different intro. Nothing specific to football, fantasy, Mexican food, culture, childhood or big families. This is about a man who followed his dream until his life got cut short.
I came to find Mike “Tags” Tagliere on the Fantasy Pros fantasy football podcast a little more than a year ago. We’d started the Familia FFB podcast not long before, and I wanted to listen to some of the pros who’d been at this for a while to learn from them and see if there might be some ideas we could adopt on our own show.
What I heard from Tags was great analysis, well thought out and researched, and delivered impeccably. Having grown up listening to Vin Scully and Jaime Jarrin call Dodger games and Chick Hearn call Laker games, I know talent when it comes to audio delivery. Tags and the guys even worked in some Hamilton references from time to time, which I always enjoyed because my kids got me into the musical a year ago.
Less than 2 months ago Tags got sick with COVID-19, but in a set of early-August tweets he seemed optimistic that he’d pull through and get back to work as the football season was starting. That would never happen. The dreaded virus took him before his 40th birthday on Sept. 24. Tragically, his wife and their two children are left grieving with only memories.
I didn’t know Tags, but just from listening to him I could tell he was beloved by the people he worked with. Now that I’m seeing the outpouring of affection and admiration for him, I could tell he was special and the entire fantasy industry is mourning his loss. Another life taken too young.
Every time I hear this type of news I want to hug my own wife and kids. I want to call my Mom. I want to talk to close friends and tell them how much they mean to me. A Go Fund Me account has been set up to help his family. If you can, please make a donation. It’ll be another example of how the Fantasy Sports community bands together.
What I want to stress here is what Tags did that made him mean so much to the fantasy community. He followed his passion. He had a dream and made it his own. He wanted to work at this whole fake football thing, and ended up working for one of the leaders in the industry. And he was one of the leading voices.
So beyond hugging your loved ones, Tags’ life is a reminder to do what makes you happy. Whether it’s a passion project on the side, or pouring yourself into an industry, Tags is an example of someone who made his dream a reality through pure grit and grind. Doing what you love until the end is the dream that so many don’t get to fulfill. I hope I’m honoring that memory by reminding you all and myself to keep dreaming and grinding.
If you knew Tags, estamos contigo in your time of grief. We’re sharing this with you. It seems almost weird to transition to talking about the Sunday DFS slate, but Tags was a fantasy addict as much as he was a pro, so this column is for you. Salud, hasta que nos vemos.
Note: All dollar amounts are for DraftKings, for the Sunday slate (not including Sunday Night Football).
KYLER MURRAY @ JAX
If you can make it fit, you start K1. Even on the road, he’s going to vaporize a Jacksonville defense that is giving up 309.5 yards and 2 TDs per game. And the Jags haven’t seen anything like Murray. I’m going to keep recommending him until he shows signs that he’s human.
RUSSELL WILSON @ MIN
Almost 300 yards a game and 6 TD passes in the first two weeks, it’s easy to rush to get Wilson into your lineup. The Vikings are #29 against QBs, and are giving up 330.5 passing yards per game. This game is going to be a track meet, as you’ll see from other recommendations.
JOSH ALLEN vs WAS
Seeing Allen at this price makes me rub my eyes. He hasn’t been great thus far, but this is a home date against a defense that just had Daniel Jones run for 95 yards and come within a dropped bomb from surpassing 300 yards. Allen has yet to have his breakout game, so no better time than the present for your DFS lineup.
TOM BRADY @ LAR
We’ve talked about track meets, and this one is the Olympic 100-meter finals. Brady is off to a start with 655 yards passing and 9 TDs. For context, when he threw for 50 TDs in his legendary 2007 season, his output in the first two games was 576 yards and 6 TDs. Not predicting another record-breaking season, but he’s as hot as anyone, and even the Rams’ vaunted defense is going to be on its heels enough in a back-and-forth battle.
JUSTIN HERBERT @ KC
This game has the over/under at 55, and I’m calling that it’s going to blow past this because Herbert is going to come out firing. The Chiefs are giving up 280 passing yards a game, and that’s supposed to be where they are more stout. The TDs are coming, and Herbert is $1,700 cheaper than Mahomes, if you still want a big piece of this game.
MATTHEW STAFFORD vs TB
Did you see above what I said about Brady? Well, Stafford has been scintillating himself, and he’s going up against a secondary that got picked apart by Dak Prescott. Stafford is just as good, and with the running game hindered, the Rams will put the game in the QB’s hands. More like his arm. I can’t wait for this one.
RYAN TANNEHILL $6,200
Tannehill showed so much in his passing to help the Titans come back (noted in Adentro y Afuera). The price tag is very manageable, and his WRs are both ready for breakouts. Indy’s defense has been hit hard with injuries, so there is just enough vulnerability for the return of Tanne-Thrill.
TEDDY BRIDGEWATER vs NYJ
That 328 passing yards and 2 TDs is very real, and is a sign of things to come against a Jets secondary that’s very inexperienced. He’s a great stacking option with Courtland Sutton ($6,000), though the only concern is that the Jets won’t score enough points to keep the Broncos passing.
TREVOR LAWRENCE vs AZ
Did you see the game against the Texans? Lawrence had to pass to keep up, and in this game the Jaguars will have to abandon the run fairly early and put the game on Lawrence to catch up. There could be a pick or two, but Lawrence will be throwing early and often.
PLAY OF THE WEEK
AUSTIN EKELER @ KC
The only way this would be more enticing would be if Ekeler and the Chargers were at home. With his work in the passing game, Ekeler is very much in play in a game that has runaway potential. At this price you can pay up for the WRs or a TE.
CLYDE EDWARDS-HELAIRE vs LAC
That fumble at the end of last week hurt, as does the lack of involvement in the passing game. Confidence is waning, but CEH does have a good matchup with the Chargers allowing 143.5 yards per game to the RB position. If CEH doesn’t break out in this matchup, yo no se.
OTHER NOTABLES: I wanted to put Dalvin Cook into this section, but with concerns over his ankle I’m not going to risk $8,400 on him… Normally I would love Saquon Barkley at $6,500 at home against Atlanta, but I think I’ll wait until after the breakout to start investing in him.
D.K. METCALF @ MIN
I’m sorry, where is all this concern coming from about Metcalf? He’s still running 97% of routes and is even with Tyler Lockett in target share. The Vikings are #30 in Fantasy PPG allowed to the WR position. Metcalf getting 8-10 targets in this game will result in a big day against that secondary.
JUSTIN JEFFERSON vs SEA
Of the 6 games in which Jefferson went over 100 yards in 2020, all but 2 of them were at home. And the big games on the road were against bottom-feeder defenses at Houston and Detroit. Add to it a Seattle D that just gave up 347 yards to Tannehill. Getting ahead of the breakout with Jefferson.
ROBERT WOODS vs TB
I’m not so concerned with the 8 receptions for 91 yards thus far. I’m concentrating on the 9 targets that Roberto Maderas (Bobby Trees is too common) received last week. In a shootout, I expect him to get 10+ targets. Last year against the Bucs, he got 15 targets and turned them into 12 receptions for 130 yards and a score. I’d take that, especially with the TB secondary a little dinged up.
KEENAN ALLEN @ KC
Volume. Yes, it’s good that Mike Williams is getting plenty of attention, but it’s Allen who got 10+ targets in 10 of 14 starts last year (and he went out early with injury in one of those other games). The Chiefs are giving up 150.5 yards receiving to WRs in the first couple games, and haven’t seen anyone as good as Allen so far.
A.J. BROWN vs IND
Brown is just 7 for 17 when it comes to receptions and targets. That’s going to change this week against a Colts’ secondary that has been battling injuries already this season and is giving up 203.5 yards per game just to the WR position. The target volume is very good – yes, I know we want him to get 10+ targets some week.
CHRIS GODWIN @ LAR
Antonio Brown is likely out this game because he tested positive for COVID-19. The 5 targets that Godwin got last week were an anomaly because of the blowout over the Falcons. This game should be more along the lines of the 13 targets that Godwin got in Week 1. The Rams are not the world beaters on defense that they were last season, as they’re just #12 in Fantasy PPG allowed to the WR position. Michael Pittman Jr. just went off for 123 yards last week. In a runaway game, this could be a great day for Godwin.
STERLING SHEPARD vs ATL
We’re talking 19 targets in the first two games. Shepard makes a cheap stack with Jones, and is facing a Falcons D that is allowing 151 yards per game to WRs. With Kenny Golladay, Evan Engram and Kadarius Toney battling injuries, the targets are going to be concentrated on Shepard.
NOTABLE BARGAINS UNDER $5K: Marvin Jones Jr. ($4,900), Tim Patrick ($4,900), Darnell Mooney ($4,300), Emmanuel Sanders ($4,200), Quintez Cephus ($3,900), Gabriel Davis ($3,700), K.J. Osborn ($3,500), Van Jefferson ($3,400), Scotty Miller ($3,100).
ROB GRONKOWSKI @ LAR
There’s a trio of TE bargains for those who do not want to pay up for Travis Kelce and Darren Waller. Gronk is just blowing past what all the naysayers were spewing about him during the preseason. With 13 targets and 4 TDs in the first two weeks, it’s almost like the New England days with Brady. The Rams just got touched for 64 yards on 5 receptions by Jack Doyle, so Gronk could do some damage with some added attention in Brown’s absence.
T.J. HOCKENSON vs BAL
Yes, Kelce and Waller have both already gone for 100+ yards against a Ravens D that is still finding its footing, and has several D-linemen out this week. Hockenson is on the next tier of TE, and by the end of the season may even be #3 behind that dynamic duo. He has 20 targets thus far, and is very much the focal point of the Lions passing attack.
MARK ANDREWS @ DET
This is a play to get in front of the breakout game, as Andrews has just 5 targets in each of the first two games. Along with Marquise Brown, Andrews is the focus of the passing attack for the Ravens. The Lions have been decimated by injuries to the secondary, and are giving up yards in droves to top WRs. They’ve also given up a combined 130 yards to George Kittle and Robert Tonyan thus far.
SOURCES: PFF / Pro Football Reference / Football Guys / Lineups.com / Football Outsiders