DFS-Fantasy Football 0

DFS in Review: PERFECT DRAFTKINGS LINEUP QB TRENDS

Welcome to another offseason in which we track how many Sundays until football graces our TVs once again.  The NFL season is such a whirlwind that Week 1 turns into another Super Bowl champion in the blink of an eye.  Now that it’s over and the Patriots have returned to championship glory, it’s time to reflect on 2018 and begin preparations for the 2019 season.  


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Introduction

Compared to the other three major American sports, the NFL allows us a week in-between main slates for quality preparation and research.  For some, that may not be enough time for those who have work and family obligations that consume large chunks of time.  However, there is enough time from the moment you’re reading this until the first Sunday of football on September 8th to invest time in preparing for the 2019 campaign.  At 15-30 minutes per week, you’re already putting in more time than the masses that will resurface from their fantasy football slumber around the end of July/beginning of August.  

This first article in a five-part series will cover the DraftKings perfect lineups from the 17 main slates in 2018; this will not cover the ones that won the Milly Makers.  It will identify and highlight some of the stronger trends and observations from those lineups that may prove useful in weekly lineup construction beginning with the quarterback position.  While FanDuel and Yahoo aren’t covered in this writing and some of those perfect lineups may be slightly different due to different pricing and PPR formats between the sites, some of the same principles and ideas can be utilized on those DFS platforms as well.  For those that want to access each site’s perfect lineups, they can be found on numberfire.com

Before we dwell any further, it’s important to clarify what perfect means for the purpose of this article.  The perfect lineup reflects the best possible fantasy score per week on DraftKings given the $50000 salary cap.  This differs from the best weekly lineup in redraft leagues that various sites put together that consists of the top QB, top 2 RBs, top 3 WRs, top TE, top flex option, and top DEF.  While there are some weeks when the DK perfect lineup and redraft perfect lineup are identical, most will have a few player variances.

This article is intended to shed some light on lineup construction tips for the novice players that are just getting their feet in daily fantasy and intermediate players that are beginning to find their groove and possibly need an extra boost. 

14 OF THE 17 PERFECT QUARTERBACKS WERE PART OF GAMES THAT WENT OVER THE GAME TOTAL 

Of those 14 games, 10 of them featured a game total of 50 or higher that saw the over go 7-2-1.  Targeting quarterbacks in games with a high over/under has been and will continue to be a strategy worth consideration each week, especially those games that combine high totals with lower spreads that possibly indicate a shootout.  

Overall, there were 73 instances in 2018 with a game total of 50 with the over going just 33-38-2.  Of the 146 quarterbacks involved, only 46 of them went over 25 DK points.  More than ever, the NFL has become a passing league which would lead you to believe that there would be more than those 46 to surpass 25 fantasy points.  This demonstrates that opportunities also exist with game totals under 50 where there is great potential for that matchup to eclipse the number. 

Mitchell Trubisky shredded a Buccaneers defense that surrendered 35.75 points per game away from Raymond James Stadium in 2018 en route to the best fantasy performance from a quarterback in 2018.  The Bears covered not just their team total but also the game total of 46 by themselves back in Week 4.  Fast forward to Week 16 where both the Packers and Jets were out of playoff contention with nothing to lose and possessed secondaries that were hemorrhaging fantasy points to wide receivers.  The teams comfortably hit the total of 47 points in the third quarter as Aaron Rodgers was the QB1 for that week with 45.88 DK points.  

As these two scenarios illustrate, some of the games with lower totals can yield as much fantasy goodness as the low-hanging fruit of the 50+ game totals.  Be prepared for some of those games with the high total to bust as 38 of them did in 2018.  The ability to pivot from the rest of the field when that happens can prove extremely effective if you project low ownership for players in games with lower totals that shows signs of a sneaky shootout.

12 OF THE 17 QUARTERBACKS THREW FOR OVER 300 PASSING YARDS AND THREE OR MORE TOUCHDOWNS

The other five quarterbacks who didn’t meet this benchmark achieved a spot in the perfect lineup by utilizing their legs; Josh Allen comes to mind as he made it in both matchups against a Dolphins team that he slaughtered for a combined 230 rushing yards and two touchdowns.  Rushing upside can compensate for what isn’t achieved through the passing game and makes quarterbacks like Allen and Lamar Jackson intriguing options.  Cam Newton and DeShaun Watson warrant weekly consideration as they can do it with both their arm and legs on a weekly basis.

300 passing yards and three touchdowns equates to 27 DK points, a solid floor that Patrick Mahomes achieved seven times in what was a MVP season for the first-year starter.  Ryan Fitzpatrick and Jameis Winston combined to do this five times for a Buccaneers offense that struggled mightily to establish any sort of running game.  Put the two of them together and you have the QB2 for 2018.

Whether it’s operating in a pass-heavy offense, facing a stingy rush defense that forces passing attempts, or dueling in a shootout, you’re looking for a quarterback that’s going to sling the ball early and often and produce as this next subject will expand upon.

10 OF THE 17 QUARTERBACKS PLAYED IN GAMES WHERE NO RUSHING TOUCHDOWNS WERE SCORED UNLESS REGISTERED BY THEMSELVES

Excluding the formality of the extra point, these 10 quarterbacks accounted for 84.18% of the points on the scoreboard.  Naturally, this makes perfect sense as a quarterback can throw for 400 yards but without passing or rushing touchdowns to compliment that production, it’s a wasted fantasy effort.  

With a lethal aerial attack but an inefficient running back corps that scored just seven rushing touchdowns, the Buccaneers certainly didn’t have as dynamic of an offense as the Chiefs.  However, whether it was Winston or Fitzpatrick under center, Tampa Bay could throw with the best of them as the two quarterbacks joined to throw for the most passing yards and third most passing touchdowns last year.  Not including the extra point, the two accounted for 68.42% of Tampa Bay’s total points scored.  Depending on who started, each made for a viable quarterback option nearly every week as neither was priced over $6200 at any point.


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15 OF THE 17 QUARTERBACKS WERE PART OF A TEAM STACK

Stacking your quarterback with another teammate should be a fundamental tactic in weekly lineup construction as these figures show.  More likely than not, a quarterback needs a sidekick in order to secure a spot in the perfect lineup.

A QB-WR stack was unsurprisingly the most frequent stack with 10 occurrences, three of them as part of a QB-RB-WR stack.  QB-TE was the other common pairing which happened three times along with a QB-RB and QB-DEF stack each making an appearance once.

14 OF THE 17 QUARTERBACKS PLAYED IN GAMES WITH EXPECTED WIND SPEEDS OF 10 MPH OR LESS 

Of these 14 quarterbacks, nine played in a fast-paced dome where the elements didn’t play a role in the outcome.  When elevated wind speeds, gusts, and inclement weather become a factor in a game, it shrinks the playbook as running games along with dump-offs and short passes increase while deep throws are either reduced or rendered useless in extreme circumstances.

Running backs typically aren’t affected in these conditions as rushing attempts typically rise and they see more work out of the backfield.  Tight ends don’t see much of an effect as you usually don’t see that position stretching the field for 40+ yard completions.  The shorter passing game works in their favor in these circumstances.

As quarterbacks are affected in these situations, so are the wide receivers as 48 of the 55 to make the perfect lineup also played in games with wind speeds of less than 10 mph.  Monitoring weather reports should be a weekly ritual right around Saturday morning heading into Sunday before the first set of games begin.  

82.35% of quarterbacks and 87.27% of wide receivers that were perfect is enough of a correlation to ensure rostering players in ideal passing conditions.  Further, in 42 games with wind speeds over 10 mph or temperatures below 30 degrees Fahrenheit in 2018, the average FPPG of the 84 quarterbacks was 16.56.  The other 150 outdoor games that were played with less than 10 mph winds and no inclement weather saw those 300 quarterbacks post 18.55 FPPG, a +1.99 FPPG differential in outdoor games played in ideal football conditions.

CONCLUSION

2018 may have felt like the year of Mahomes but Matt Ryan and Ben Roethlisberger quietly put together QB2 and QB3 campaigns with the former overcoming what had become drastic home/road splits in prior years.  DeShaun Watson and Andrew Luck returned from their respective injuries to post solid numbers as the QB4 and QB5.

The league won’t directly say they want more games like the Chiefs-Rams slugfest that took place in Week 11 but with more offenses trending towards more pass-centric gameplans, the future of the fantasy quarterback has never looked brighter.  39 different quarterbacks reached 20 fantasy points at some point in 2018 with each team having at least one representative in that club.  As long as this trend continues, it shows that paying down at quarterback can be just as effective as paying up for the top-tier each week.

Welcome to another offseason in which we track how many Sundays until football graces our TVs once again.  The NFL season is such a whirlwind that Week 1 turns into […]

DFS 0

WEEK 16 DRAFTKINGS/FANDUEL SELECTIONS

QUARTERBACK

Baker Mayfield: vs CIN (DK 6100; FD 7700)

Winning.  Direction.  Hope.  These are all words that haven’t been associated with the Cleveland Browns organization in years while the Cincinnati Bengals are heading in the opposite direction of their interstate rivals.  No team allows more fantasy points to quarterbacks than the Bengals and one that Baker Mayfield enjoyed success against in week 12, throwing for four touchdowns.  Cincinnati gave soon-to-be fired Marvin Lewis one last hurrah in front of the home crowd and now winds down the season on the road and may lack motivation in the final two weeks.  Look for Baker to pierce through a porous, uninspired defense in Cleveland’s home finale to begin putting the finishing touches on its most successful season since 2014.

Dak Prescott: vs TB (DK 5700; FD 7300)

Dak Prescott has been lights out in home games since Cooper became a Cowboy, possessing a +7.89 DK point differential at AT&T Stadium and squares off against a Buccaneers defense that surrenders 37 points per road game.  The DFS community may overlook Dak after his dismal week 15 showing which would be foolish considering Dak has eight touchdown passes at home compared to just one on the road since the trade while the Bucs have allowed multiple touchdown passes in all but one road game.  His ability to scramble goes unnoticed at times but one he can utilize as needed as he’s found paydirt five times with his legs.

Nick Foles: vs HOU (DK 4700; FD 6000)

Rostering Nick Foles is like flipping a coin; will he be the quarterback that scorched the Vikings and Patriots en route to a Super Bowl title or will he be the version that struggled immensely against the Raiders on Christmas night and the Falcons in the divisional round?  He will be forced to throw as the Texans defense allows just 66.35 rushing yards per game but has surrendered the 8th most FPA to tight ends this season and the most FPA to perimeter receivers over the last four weeks.  There’s value to be found at other positions this week where you don’t need to necessarily pay down at quarterback.  If your roster construction involves jamming in two expensive backs or inserting as many high-priced options as possible, Foles allows for that strategy in a game where Philadelphia’s success on offense will be predicated on the MVP of Super Bowl 52.

RUNNING BACK

 

Ezekiel Elliott: vs TB (DK 9000; FD 8800)

The last time he didn’t touch the ball at least 25 times was back in week 9 and both DraftKings and FanDuel neglected to raise his salary heading into this juicy matchup.  Ezekiel Elliott has reached 100 scrimmage yards in every game since week 7 and it’s all but a guarantee he will shred a Buccaneers defense en route to another 100 as the last feature back that didn’t reach that mark against Tampa Bay was Nick Chubb back in week 7.  Zeke’s weekly reliability comes at a hefty cost but it’s a cost worth paying up for as he’s returned value in five of the last seven games.

Nick Chubb: vs CIN (DK 7300; FD 7900)

The Bengals have appeared competent against opposing running backs the last two weeks.  Against Nick Chubb, they will revert back to the turnstiles that allowed 100+ rushing yards in seven of the prior eight games.  Running backs against the Bengals have found the end zone with as much ease as Chubb has in the last month, averaging a touchdown per game in his last four.  As 8.5-point favorites (yes, the Browns are favored by more than a touchdown), look for Chubb to have plenty of opportunities to shred this Bengals defense that has been victim to the position throughout 2018.

Marlon Mack: vs NYG (DK 5500; FD 7000)

From a motivational standpoint, the Giants head into Indianapolis with nothing to play for while the Colts need a win to set up a possible showdown with the Titans for the final AFC Wild Card.  Enemy running backs have run for over 100+ rushing yards in six of the last seven against the G-Men and this is a game where Marlon Mack can once again take over as he did against the Cowboys the week before.  The loss of Damon Harrison to the Lions has really taken its toll on a Giants rushing defense that has struggled since the trade and in a game where the Colts are 9-point favorite, Mack will have plenty of touches to manufacture another solid performance.

Jamaal Williams: at NYJ (DK 5400; FD 5800)

At the time of this writing, Jamaal Williams and the recently signed Kapri Bibbs are the only two running backs on the active roster with Williams being the only one familiar with the playbook.  Essentially, you’re getting a running set to play a minimum of 80% of the snaps on a Packers team that is clearly trying to win this game as Aaron Rodgers is expected to suit up in the Meadowlands.  In an offense that is expected to perform much better now that Green Bay doesn’t have to battle with a vaunted Bears defense, this is essentially a free square in a game that the Packers should win for their first road victory of the season.  Williams totaled 97 scrimmage yards and a touchdown on 16 touches in that game at Soldier Field and should see between 18-20 touches this week at a bargain on both sites.

WIDE RECEIVER

DeAndre Hopkins: at PHI (DK 8600; FD 8900)

14.05 yards per reception, the highest target share on the team, the most red zone targets, and a floor of 12 DK points this season; DeAndre Hopkins meets all of the desirable criteria you’d want against an Eagles secondary that is decimated by injuries and can be exploited on the perimeter.  He’s excelled in road games as 7 of his 11 touchdowns and four of his five 100 receiving yard performances have been in hostile territory and it bodes well for Hopkins to continue his road dominance at Lincoln Financial Field.  He’s the second and most expensive option on DraftKings and FanDuel respectively and has a great chance to go off again as he did against the Jets last week.

Amari Cooper: vs TB (DK 7500; FD 7000)

Regression was all but inevitable for Amari Cooper after he destroyed the Eagles in epic fashion.  Like Dak, a good majority of the DFS community will remain sour on Cooper after a disappointing showing in Indianapolis and that’s a scenario to consider rostering him against a Tampa Bay defense that has been killed by wide receivers outside of Raymond James Stadium.  Cooper boasts a +2.17 target differential in games at AT&T Stadium since the trade from Oakland and should feast on a Bucs defense that surrenders a +8.34 FPPG differential in PPR scoring to wide receivers in road games.

Alshon Jeffery: vs HOU (DK 5300; FD 6300)

It lacks logic as to why it may be the case but Alshon Jeffery benefits by having Nick Foles as the starter instead of Carson Wentz.  In 24 games with Wentz under center, Alshon has just one game over 100 receiving yards vs one game over 100 yards in seven Foles starts.  Also, he has a +2.12 FPPG differential in PPR scoring with Foles as the starter, not including the throwaway game in week 17 last year.  These two figures along with a salary that was never adjusted after an excellent performance on Sunday Night Football put him on the DFS radar against a Houston secondary that surrenders the 7th most FPA to perimeter receivers, including the most in the last four weeks.  Given Houston’s proficiency at stopping the run, Foles may be forced to throw more than the 31 passes he tossed against the Rams and Alshon should be the beneficiary of additional targets in a game the Eagles need to win to stay in wild card contention.

Robby Anderson: vs GB (DK 4500; FD 5900)

He leads the team in targets since Sam Darnold returned to action in week 14 and with Quincy Enunwa missing another game against the Packers this weekend, look for Robby Anderson to once again be an integral part of the offense in a favorable matchup.  Anderson will duel with Josh Jackson and Javier Alexander, cornerbacks that are part of a Green Bay secondary that has been hurt by perimeter receivers over the last two months, giving up the 3rd most FPA to receivers on the outside.  It looks like he has recovered from the high-ankle sprain that bothered him earlier in the year and he has another good opportunity to close out 2018 on a good note.

TIGHT END

Eric Ebron: vs NYG (DK 5700; FD 6100)

In two games against Zach Ertz and one game against George Kittle, the Giants surrendered 23 catches for 217 yards and two touchdowns, an average of 15.06 FD/18.9 DK points per game.  The Giants are not as horrid as they were to the position last year but have been burned by the top-tier of tight ends in 2018 and Eric Ebron is in that tier, especially when Andrew Luck throws to the tight end at the fourth-highest rate in the league.  Lower ownership will come into play after a one catch, eight yard performance against the Cowboys and given he hasn’t posted back-to-back single-digit DK point games all season, it correlates well for Ebron to rebound from last week’s clunker.  

Evan Engram: at IND (DK 4600; FD 5700)

On the other side of the ball, Evan Engram has benefitted from Odell Beckham’s absence as he’s seen a +3.79 target differential and +39.29 receiving yard differential in those two games.  Indianapolis has allowed just the 9th most FPA to tight ends largely in part because the defense keeps them out of the end zone.  However, the Colts have allowed the 2nd most receptions and most receiving yards to the position and if ODB misses his third straight game, fire up Engram with confidence as the Giants should be playing from behind as 9-point underdogs.

David Njoku: vs CIN (DK 3800; FD 5300)

Paying up for tight end didn’t prove effective in week 15 on the main slate as neither Kittle, Ebron, Gronk, nor Cook eclipsed double-digit fantasy points.  David Njoku is a nice pivot in a good matchup for those unwilling to pay up again at the tight end position.  He’s seeing a floor of four targets in five of the last six games and faces a Bengals team that has given up eight touchdowns to the position.  He crossed the pylons against them in week 12 and if he’s able to do so again this week, Njoku will certainly be on his way to easily returning value.

DEFENSE

Los Angeles Rams: at ARI (DK 3200; FD 4900)

The Cardinals allowed seven sacks, three turnovers, and a defensive score to the Falcons last week and now get to deal with Aaron Donald on Sunday.  The offense has been held to under 20 points in 11 of 14 games and after this date with the Rams, it will become 12 of 15.

Miami: vs JAX (DK 2700; FD 4400)

Take away the Dede Westbrook punt return for a touchdown and the Jaguars have averaged eight points with Cody Kessler as the starter.  Not to mention allowing five sacks and 1.5 turnovers per game in that two-game span.

New Orleans: vs PIT (DK 2300; FD 3500)

Contrary to popular belief, the Steelers have been sluggish offensively, scoring 21 or less in four of the last five games with Big Ben throwing 1.5 interceptions in his last four games.  Meanwhile, the Saints have forced multiple turnovers and kept opponents under 17 points in five of their last six games.

PRICE SHOPPING

Each week, I will identify what players are bargains based on the salary cap percentage difference they represent on the respective site.  Here are the notable week 16 bargains from both sites:

NOTABLE DRAFTKINGS BARGAINS

QB Matt Ryan: 1.96

WR Chris Hogan: 2.23

TE Dallas Goedert: 3.3

TE Kyle Rudolph: 2.36

DEF Jacksonville: 2.6

NOTABLE FANDUEL BARGAINS

RB Ezekiel Elliott: 3.34

RB Jaylen Samuels: 2.24

WR Amari Cooper: 3.34

QUARTERBACK Baker Mayfield: vs CIN (DK 6100; FD 7700) Winning.  Direction.  Hope.  These are all words that haven’t been associated with the Cleveland Browns organization in years while the Cincinnati […]

DFS 0

WEEK 15 DRAFTKINGS/FANDUEL SELECTIONS


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QUARTERBACK 

Mitchell Trubisky: vs GB (DK 6000; FD 7900)

Glance over the game logs of the Packers and it becomes apparent that they’ve faced weak competition at the quarterback position this season, especially at home.  When removed from the friendly confines of Lambeau Field, they’ve allowed multiple touchdown passes in five of six road games and face a quarterback who has put together three 30+ DK point performances at Soldier Field. 

Not many will start Mitchell Trubisky after posting a dud against the Rams last week but that’s the type of low-rostered individual that can win a GPP if he goes off.  The Packers are in the top 10 in FPA to both receivers lined up on the perimeter and in the slot and with the quality of weapons that he has in his arsenal, expect Trubisky to rebound from his dismal performance on Sunday night.

Tom Brady: at PIT (DK 5900; FD 7900)

The bye week has rejuvenated not just the future first-ballot Hall Of Famer but the New England offense as a whole as prior to the bye, Tom Brady had three 300+ passing yard games along with throwing 1.7 touchdowns and causing .9 turnovers per game in the first 10 weeks.  Since then, he’s thrown for two 300+ yard passing games, six touchdowns, and turned the ball over just once in the last three and duels with a Steelers defense that is stingy against running backs but can be penetrated through the air.  He’s discounted on both sites in a game that has the highest total on the main slate and given Pittsburgh’s effectiveness against running backs on the ground, look for Brady to sling the ball early and often in what could be a high-scoring affair at Heinz Field.

Josh Allen: vs DET (DK 5800; FD 7600)

As long as he continues to use his legs to return value, Josh Allen will be an asset for DFS purposes.  This play doesn’t come without risk as he’s completed just over 50% percent of his throws and turned over the ball five times in three games since returning from injury.  If he can put it all together against a middle of the pack Detroit defense, he is a bargain at his affordable salary.  An Allen, Buffalo defensive stack is in play here as the Lions offense has been anemic with Marvin Jones and Kerryon Johnson absent from action, scoring no more than 17 points in the last three weeks while turning the ball over five times.  

RUNNING BACK

Saquon Barkley: vs TEN (DK 9400; FD 9400)

He’s proving that he is indeed a generational talent as he hasn’t hit the wall that rookies encounter at this point in the season and is comfortably on pace to reach 2,000 scrimmage yards in his first year at the pro level.  Although the Tennessee defense has surrendered the 2nd fewest FPA to running backs and has improved tremendously from prior year against those out of the backfield, I’ll take my chances on Saquon Barkley who has posted 20+ DK point performances in all but one game. 

The Titans bolstered a respectable defense against running backs last year that Todd Gurley destroyed in week 16 to the tune of 44.6 FD/55.6 DK points and Barkley already possesses the ability and skillset to mimic that performance, even with the maddeningly inconsistent Eli Manning under center.  He’s worth paying up for as he’s all but a lock to touch the ball 20+ times and with Gurley, McCaffery, and Kamara all unavailable on the main slate, he’s worth the roster spot while the rest of the field ponders the tough matchup on paper and gets cute.

Ezekiel Elliott: at IND (DK 9000; FD 8800)

He’s touching the ball a ridiculous 32.5 times per contest in the last four and posting 24.42 FD/31.02 DK points in that span.  The coaching staff has succeeded in getting Ezekiel Elliott more involved out of the backfield and this is before he caught 12 balls in week 14 and now he faces a Colts defense that gives up the second-most receptions to pass catching backs, something to keep in mind in DraftKings scoring.  Jamming in Barkley and Elliott is in play with the lack of reliable running back options this week and with a +10.4 DK point differential since the arrival of Amari Cooper, look for Zeke to continue his second-half dominance.

Leonard Fournette: vs WAS (DK 7500; FD 8200)

Prior to the blowout loss against the Titans and the game he was ejected in Buffalo, Leonard Fournette was touching the ball 29.5 times and he should see that volume again in a game that the Jaguars should easily win with Josh Johnson suiting up as the starter. 

The Washington defense has been hemorrhaging yards on the ground as opposing backs are accumulating 154.25 rushing yards per game in the last four weeks and with Cody Kessler under center, expect another run-heavy gameplan against a team that simply can’t stop the run.  He’s a nice pivot in a great spot from the aforementioned expensive backs and will save at least $1000 in salary on both sites.

David Johnson: at ATL (DK 7100; FD 7400)

The Arizona offensive line is in shambles as three rookies are now thrust into starting action last week and it showed as David Johnson was only able to muster a meager 3.26 yards per carry on 15 attempts.  However, Byron Leftwich is trying everything he can to get his best offensive weapon involved as evidenced by his 25 touches per game in the last five weeks and eight receptions out of the backfield against the Lions. 

Even with a makeshift line, DJ is capable of more than the eight catches for 12 yards he generated in week 14, especially against a Falcons team that allows the most receptions to running backs and has been bitten by this weakness for the better part of two years.  He’s more of a GPP play as the Arizona offense has been a question mark all season but if there was a spot for DJ to erupt, this is the one.

WIDE RECEIVER

JuJu Smith-Schuster: vs NE (DK 8000; FD 7800)

The New England defense is in the bottom half in FPA to wide receivers but can be attacked via the slot receiver as defending the slot has been a challenge for the Patriots.  Enter JuJu Smith-Schuster who is leading the team in receptions and receiving yards and is cheaper than Antonio Brown on both sites. 

Recent slot receivers to face the Patriots like Jermaine Kearse and Adam Thielen have seen double-digit targets and a touchdown in two of the last three weeks while JuJu has seen double-digit targets in three of his last four games and crossed the pylons three times in that timeframe.  Getting exposure to the game with the highest total on the main slate is always a viable strategy, more so when this game is the only one that boasts a total over 50 and inserting JuJu is a great way to do just that.

Julian Edelman: at PIT (DK 7200; FD 7200)

Like their opponent, the Steelers have also been victim to the slot receiver, allowing the 2nd most FPA to those lined up in the slot.  Julian Edelman is seeing nine targets per game and it’s a safe assumption he’ll see at least that amount of volume with Tom Brady forced to throw more against a solid Steelers defense against running backs on the ground and Josh Gordon seeing shadow coverage from Joe Haden.  He’s already exceeded his 2016 touchdown total in nine games played this season and expect Brady to look for Edelman in the red zone as he’s seen the most red zone targets since he has returned from suspension.

Tyler Boyd: vs OAK (DK 5700; FD 6700)

His ceiling definitely drops with Jeff Driskel at the helm but this is about opportunity meeting a reasonable price point.  Fellow slot receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster was last seen torching the Raiders and Tyler Boyd is capable of putting together a performance that at least returns value and possibly exceeds it if this game between two terrible defenses generates points on the scoreboard.  As this is the final home game of 2018 and possibly the final time Marvin Lewis coaches at Paul Brown Stadium, expect the Bengals to come out with extra motivation for their head coach and Tyler Boyd to be an integral part of that effort.

Adam Humphries: at BAL (DK 5100; FD 6200)

The Ravens don’t bolster many weaknesses on defense but the two positions that have given them fits are the tight end and the slot receiver.  Baltimore has been lights out against perimeter receivers which should funnel targets in the direction of Adam Humphries who has posted a double-digit fantasy point floor in five of the last seven games.  He’s tied for the team lead with 12 red zone targets, four which he has converted into touchdowns.  Given that Jameis Winston will be expected to throw the ball a ton as the Bucs are 7.5-point underdogs against a tenacious Baltimore defense against running backs, Humphries will be relied upon to move the ball in a tough matchup.

TIGHT END

Eric Ebron: vs DAL (DK 5900; FD 6500)

You could argue he’s still too cheap for the output he’s generated since Jack Doyle went on IR and as long as he remains underpriced, Eric Ebron will be an option worth consideration.  He draws a Cowboys defense that Zach Ertz has carved up twice and the way the Indianapolis offense utilizes the tight end, Ebron should find similar success in a game that could see the teams exchanges blows throughout the afternoon.  He’s as reliable of an option at the position in what has been anything but predictable this year; start him with confidence.

 Rob Gronkowski: at PIT (DK 5800; FD 6900)

His ownership levels are naturally going to skyrocket due to posting his best fantasy performance of the season as well as Kelce and Ertz being off the main slate this week.  However, Rob Gronkowski’s next two opponents are ones that he has crushed throughout his career and it begins with a visit to Heinz Field against a Steelers team that he’s found paydirt eight times in six regular-season meetings while averaging 110.66 receiving yards in those contests.  Tight ends have had their way with Pittsburgh throughout 2018 and an underpriced Gronk on both sites should continue this trend and his dominance of the Steelers.

Anthony Firkser: at NYG (DK 2900; FD 5100)

Even before Jonnu Smith was put on IR, Anthony Firkser has had a solid floor of three catches in the last four weeks.  The only competition he now has for targets at the position are Luke Stocker and MyCole Pruitt, both who have had no more than two receptions in any game in 2018.  Firkser enables the rostering of two or three of the higher-priced options on a main slate where value hasn’t opened up at any of the positions at the time of this writing.  If paying up for Gronk, Ebron, or Cook isn’t an option, Firkser is a punt with upside as he’s shown reliability by catching all 16 passes thrown his way this season.

DEFENSE 

Jacksonville: vs WAS (DK 3400; FD 4800)

Expect a more valiant effort from a Jacksonville defense in front of its fans for the final time in 2018.  With Josh Johnson assuming the starting role for the Redskins, the Jaguars should feast on this backup that saw his first NFL action last week since 2013.

Baltimore: vs TB (DK 3000; FD 5000)

No team has given away the ball more than Tampa Bay’s 31 offensive turnovers through 13 games.  Although the Ravens have forced less than a turnover per game, the chances of multiple Buccaneer turnovers in this game is likely as they’ve turned the ball over multiple times in 9 of 13 games this year.

Chicago: vs GB (DK 2900; FD 3700)

Byron Bell, Bryan Bulaga, and Lane Taylor were all inactive last week en route to Aaron Rodgers being sacked four times against the Falcons.  Taylor could be the only one of the three to suit up for the Packers offensive line which means only good things for a tenacious Chicago defense.  

PRICE SHOPPING

Each week, I will identify what players are bargains based on the salary cap percentage difference they represent on the respective site.  Here are the notable week 15 bargains from both sites:

NOTABLE DRAFTKINGS BARGAINS

QB Aaron Rodgers: 2.1

QB Matt Ryan: 1.8

TE Anthony Firkser: 2.7

DEF Baltimore: 2.33

NOTABLE FANDUEL BARGAINS

RB Ezekiel Elliott: 3.34

RB Saquon Barkley: 3.14

WR Adam Thielen: 3.54

WR Odell Beckham Jr: 2.87




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QUARTERBACK  Mitchell Trubisky: vs GB (DK 6000; FD 7900) Glance over the game logs of the Packers and it becomes apparent that they’ve faced weak competition at the quarterback position […]

Draft Kings/Fan Duel 2018 0

WEEK 14 DRAFTKINGS/FANDUEL SELECTIONS

QUARTERBACK

Patrick Mahomes: vs BAL (DK 7000; FD 9300)

He’s matchupproof at this point as he’s crushing defenses on a weekly basis and available at a discount on DraftKings.  While the rest of the field debates whether to roster Patrick Mahomes against a stingy Baltimore defense, lock him in without hesitation if extra salary remains.  

Philip Rivers: vs CIN (DK 6500; FD 8300)

With Patrick Mahomes dominating most of the news and headlines coming out of the AFC West, the Chargers have quietly put together an impressive 9-3 record.  Before they square off against the Chiefs in what could be the penultimate game that crowns the division champion, they face a Bengals team that is traveling cross-country and struggling on both sides of the ball.  One stat Philip Rivers can claim that Mahomes cannot is that he has thrown multiple touchdown passes in every game in 2018, including three pass touchdown games in three out of five at the Stubhub Center.  The Chargers average 30 points per game at home while the Bengals allow 31.8 points per game and multiple passing touchdown games in four of five on the road and it’s a solid expectation for Rivers to have his way against this hapless defense that will not be able to shut down this dynamic Chargers offense.

Jameis Winston: vs NO (DK 6200; FD 7700)

The difference between Drew Brees and Jameis Winston is the possibility that either Mark Ingram or Alvin Kamara score a touchdown on the ground as the Saints have 19 rushing touchdowns compared to the nine posted by the Bucs.  With the inefficient running game and Tampa Bay entering the game as 8-point underdogs, it should force Winston to throw at will against a Saints defense that gives up the 4th most FPA to quarterbacks and the most to wide receivers.  It’s hard to go wrong with either quarterback option as this game boasts the highest total on the main slate this week but given the choice between the two, give me the quarterback that should register more passing attempts with the better receiving corps.

RUNNING BACK

Christian McCaffery: at CLE (DK 9300; FD 9100)

Had it not been for four Cam Newton interceptions, Christian McCaffery may have been in line for an even better fantasy performance against the Buccaneers.  Nonetheless, he is certainly in play again this week as the Panthers travel to Cleveland to visit a Browns team that has been crushed by bell-cow backs all season.  The price tag is hefty but certainly worth it for the Carolina running back that is seeing all of the touches and keeping Ron Rivera true to his word back in the summer that McCaffery would be heavily involved.  He’s more than proven he’s gamescript-independent as he is averaging 35.15 FPPG during Carolina’s four-game skid and if they fall behind again to the Browns, he will still have plenty of involvement out of the backfield.

Ezekiel Elliott: vs PHI (DK 8600; FD 8800)

A trademark of the 2017 Philadelphia Eagles was their ability to shut down running backs.  However, that never carried over into 2018 as in two games against Saquon Barkley and a previous matchup against Ezekiel Elliott in week 10, the Eagles surrendered 558 scrimmage yards and five touchdowns in three games to those feature backs.  Adrian Peterson broke off a 90-yard touchdown on Monday Night Football and if the venerable 33 year old can do so, imagine the carnage that a well-rested Zeke could do against a Philadelphia defense traveling to Dallas on a short week.  The addition of Amari Cooper has benefitted not just the entire Cowboys offense but Zeke too as he owns a +9.5 FPPG differential in DK scoring since the trade and this week bodes well for another strong showing in a game that the Cowboys can all but seal the division title with a win.

Austin Ekeler: vs CIN (DK 6200; FD 6700)

Rostering running backs against Cincinnati’s putrid rush defense has become a flow chart item as they’ve allowed seven rushing touchdowns in the last four weeks.  Austin Ekeler is in a nice rebound spot after being contained in Pittsburgh last week and should receive a bulk of the running back touches on Sunday in a game where the Chargers are two-touchdown favorites.  His work out of the backfield gives him a nice floor as he’s seen at least eight targets in the last two games and at this price, it’s hard to find a better bargain at the position other than the next one listed below.

Jaylen Samuels: at OAK (DK 3700; FD 4600)

How long James Conner will be out has yet to be determined as being declared out on the Tuesday morning before a Sunday game is concerning beyond this week.  There is certainty that Jaylen Samuels will be the highest-owned player on the main slate in week 14 at his inexpensive salary against an Oakland defense that has allowed 100+ rushing yards in 9 of 12 games.  In a blowout win against the Panthers in week 10 and last week against the Chargers, he caught touchdowns in both those games and seems like the favorite to receive the backfield work in what could be a committee at running back.  Given the choice between the equally inexpensive Justin Jackson of the Chargers and Samuels, despite Austin Ekeler struggling mightily against the Steelers, Samuels should receive more of the running back touches compared to Jackson and register the required 11.1 DK/13.8 FD points to return value.

WIDE RECEIVER

Keenan Allen: vs CIN (DK 7400; FD 7900)

His second-half resurgence should come as no surprise as he posted a +9.46 FPPG differential in PPR scoring in the second half of the 2017 season.  Now, Keenan Allen has a 9.66 FPPG differential through four games of the second half of 2018 and looks to continue this success against the Bengals.  Philip Rivers has thrown for multiple passing touchdowns in every game this year and considering Allen saw nearly 53% of the targets last week and Melvin Gordon will be inactive again, his chances of crossing the pylons are very good in this spot.  He’s priced as a bargain after a monster performance as the salaries for this week posted while the Chargers were playing on Sunday Night Football and should be rostered with confidence as a core piece in both cash game and GPP lineups.

Amari Cooper: vs PHI (DK 6600; FD 6900)

The Cowboys offense has become a three-headed monster since Amari Cooper was dealt to Dallas and if it’s not Zeke causing havoc to opposing defenses on the ground, it’s the blossoming chemistry between Dak Prescott and his new favorite target.  Cooper has led the team in receptions in four of the five games he has donned the silver and blue and squares off against an Eagles secondary that is battered with injuries and hemorrhages yards to receivers lined up on the perimeter.  This game presents a good opportunity for another performance he displayed on Thanksgiving and it comes at an affordable salary on both sites.

Chris Godwin: vs NO (DK 4900; FD 5600)

Jenna Laine, the Tampa Bay beat reporter for ESPN, suggests that it’s “quite possible” the Bucs shut down DeSean Jackson for the remainder of the 2018 season.  At the time of this writing, nothing has been confirmed but if he does miss the game against the Saints, it’s time to once again fire up Chris Godwin.  Godwin, who was featured in last week’s article, has performed well in DeSean’s absence racking up 15 receptions for 310 yards and two touchdowns in those three missed games.  Eli Apple is definitely an upgrade over Ken Crawley but still beatable and given that Vegas has the Saints giving eight points, it suggests that the Bucs will be throwing often and presenting Godwin with ample opportunity to accumulate targets.

Zay Jones: vs NYJ (DK 4200; FD 5100)

The blooming connection between Josh Allen and Zay Jones certainly precipitated the releases of Kelvin Benjamin and Andre Holmes this week.  Jones will duel with Buster Skrine and a Jets secondary that is surrendering the 3rd most FPA to slot receivers this year and one that he fared well against back in week 10 to the tune of eight catches for 93 yards and a touchdown.  New York has defended extremely well against receivers lined up on the perimeter, giving up the 3rd fewest FPA to outside receivers, which should filter additional targets in the direction of Jones.  He’s not the sexiest name on the main slate but one that has accumulated at least 67 yards and a touchdown in two of his last three games and can allocate salary for one or two of the top-tiered running backs.

TIGHT END

Travis Kelce: vs BAL (DK 6700; FD 8000)

The Ravens are in the top 10 in fewest FPA to nearly every fantasy position in PPR scoring.  However, they are susceptible to opposing tight ends and face arguably the best tight end in football coming off his best game of the season.  DraftKings has aggressively priced down players facing tough defenses all year and like Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce should be priced much higher after posting 42.8 DK points against the Raiders.  If week 13 is an indication of how the Chiefs offense will operate minus Kareem Hunt, Kelce is not only going to make people money in DFS for the remainder of the 2018 campaign but assist people in winning fantasy championships in redraft and dynasty leagues.

Eric Ebron: at HOU (DK 5700; FD 6400)

The Browns weren’t able to get David Njoku as involved as they needed to against a Texans defense that had really struggled against the position three weeks prior to that game.  However, that shouldn’t be an issue for Eric Ebron as only a few offenses target the tight end more than the Colts.  It remains to be seen whether Mo Alie-Cox and the recently acquired Clive Walford will be active this week but without those tight ends available for Indianapolis in week 13, Ebron saw a massive 16 targets.  Not to mention Jack Doyle also being out for the rest of the season but Ebron should be in line for double-digit targets once again regardless if Alie-Cox or Walford suit up or not.

Vance McDonald: at OAK (DK 3800; FD 5500)

Travis Kelce and Demetrius Harris combined for a 15 catch, 207 yard, and three touchdown slaughtering of the Raiders last week.  Enter the Steelers who were already operating in a pass-heavy offense before the James Conner injury as Ben Roethlisberger has 40 or more passing attempts in five of the last seven games.  AB and JuJu will certainly get their looks but after the beating the Raiders took from tight ends the previous Sunday, look for the Steelers to implement their tight ends as well.  Vance McDonald has seen five targets in four of the last five games and all he needs to hit 3x on DraftKings is three catches for 25 yards and a score which is within his range of outcomes.  He’s as cheap as I’m willing to go this week in what has been a tough position to forecast this season aside from the top four or five at the position.

DEFENSE

Los Angeles Chargers: vs CIN (DK 3500; FD 4600)

The Bengals have lost both A.J. Green and Andy Dalton for the season and the struggles on offense against the Broncos don’t look to improve in enemy territory, especially with Jeff Driskel under center.  The Chargers have forced at least one turnover in 10 of 12 games and are positioned well to make it 11 of 13 this weekend.

Buffalo: vs NYJ (DK 3200; FD 4200)

Sam Darnold and his 15 turnovers in 9 games returns as the starter against a Bills defense that held the Jets to 10 points in their previous meeting in week 10.  Buffalo is forcing 1.5 turnovers and sacking the quarterback 2.5 times per game in their last four.

New York Giants: at WAS (DK 2500; FD 3500)

Though it dates back to 2014, in the 10 games that Mark Sanchez has started, he’s turned the ball over 16 times.  In typical Sanchez fashion, he threw a pick in Monday night’s game while filling in for Colt McCoy and the odds of him turning the ball over this week are very favorable as he’s been prone to doing so throughout his career.

PRICE SHOPPING

Each week, I will identify what players are bargains based on the salary cap percentage difference they represent on the respective site.  Here are the notable week 14 bargains from both sites:

NOTABLE DRAFTKINGS BARGAINS

TE Chris Herndon: 3.16

TE Ian Thomas: 2.76

NOTABLE FANDUEL BARGAINS

RB Christian McCaffery: 3.24

WR JuJu Smith-Schuster: 3.9

WR Michael Thomas: 3.34

QUARTERBACK Patrick Mahomes: vs BAL (DK 7000; FD 9300) He’s matchupproof at this point as he’s crushing defenses on a weekly basis and available at a discount on DraftKings.  While […]

DFS 0

WEEK 13 DRAFTKINGS/FANDUEL SELECTIONS


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QUARTERBACK

Cam Newton: at TB (DK 6600; FD 8700)

It’s hard to go wrong with the QB1 in fantasy football through 12 weeks in Patrick Mahomes or the 2015 MVP in Cam Newton.  Cam provides salary relief on both sites and at least the Buccaneers can score and keep the game close compared to what should be a one-sided affair in the Chiefs, Raiders matchup.  Don’t let Nick Mullen’s lackluster performance fool you into thinking Tampa Bay can play any semblance of defense because that defensive unit is awful.  The formula remains unchanged and Cam Newton will prove yet again that targeting the Buccaneers against fantasy quarterbacks is still a viable strategy.

Jameis Winston: vs CAR (DK 6000; FD 7500)

He’s thrown for over 300 yards in three of the four games he has started and meets a divisional foe that has given up nine games of multiple passing touchdowns.  Jameis Winston has the weapons on the outside in Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson, and Chris Godwin against a Panthers secondary that is exploitable on the perimeter and is part of a pass-heavy offense that should give the Panthers a run for their money in this potential shootout.  The risk in 2018 has been the rotation at quarterback at a moment’s notice but at this point, Tampa Bay’s front office needs to determine if he will be in their future plans that Winston being benched shouldn’t occur anymore.  He and the quarterback to be described below are two of the better mid-tier priced quarterback options on the main slate this week.

Lamar Jackson: at ATL (DK 5900; FD 7500)

He was still able to return value on both sites despite the Ravens defense keeping the offense off the field by forcing both a fumble and punt return for a touchdown against the Raiders.  Lamar Jackson has averaged an astounding 12.5 fantasy points with just his running ability in his first two NFL starts and now gets a Falcons defense that allows the second-most passing touchdowns and the second-most rushing touchdowns to quarterbacks.  Rostering the quarterback from Louisville comes with risk in the case that he doesn’t manufacture a touchdown which occurred in his first start against the Bengals.  Nonetheless, Jackson’s dynamic ability to scramble out of the pocket, as evidenced by his 39 yard run in the 4th quarter this past Sunday, makes him worth consideration for rostering at his reasonable salary for a third straight week.

RUNNING BACK

Christian McCaffery: at TB (DK 8800; FD 8800)

One of the deterrents in rostering Christian McCaffery this week will be the soaring ownership levels after an incredible 41.2 FD/52.7 DK performance in a loss against the Seahawks.  However, not rostering him can prove detrimental against this Buccaneers team that has allowed 641 scrimmage yards and six touchdowns to the position over the last four weeks.  McCaffery has handled 92.6% of the running back touches in this same timeframe including all of them in week 12.  Simply put, the Buccaneers defense has no ability to slow him down and paying up for CMC gets you the running back that posted three touchdowns against them four weeks ago.

Kareem Hunt: at OAK (DK 7800; FD 8900)

The last time Oakland gave up less than 100 rushing yards to the running back position was way back in week 6 against the Chargers.  If Gus Edwards can log 100 yards on the ground, Kareem Hunt shouldn’t find this task too challenging in a much more efficient Kansas City offense.   Back to his days with Philadelphia, teams led by Andy Reid have performed well following the bye week and against a terrible Raiders team that the Chiefs are favored to defeat by more than two touchdowns, there shouldn’t be any threat of an upset.  As long as that plays out, Hunt will be in line for plenty of work throughout the duration of this game.

Aaron Jones: vs ARI (DK 6700; FD 7600)

Like the Bucs and Raiders, attacking the Cardinals with running backs is in play each week, especially after Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler slaughtered them for 169 scrimmage yards and three touchdowns on the ground.  Enter Aaron Jones who has assumed the bell-cow duties for the Packers following their bye week and it correlates well for him to be a one-man wrecking crew against this Cardinals team that has allowed at least 75 rushing yards in every game this season.  He’s crossed the pylons six times since he was entrusted with the feature back duties and he has one of the highest Week 14 touchdown potentials-with the Packers favored by two touchdowns.

Phillip Lindsay: at CIN (DK 5400; FD 7000)

Andy Dalton is on season-ending IR, the Bengals were defeated by their in-state rivals for the first time in four years, and the inevitability of firing Marvin Lewis looms in the horizon.  The Bengals are a mess and it sets up well for the Broncos to head into Paul Brown Stadium and continue Cincinnati’s downward spiral.  Phillip Lindsay continues to dominate the touches over Royce Freeman and gets a Bengals defense this week that hemorrhages yardages and touchdowns on the ground.  11 carries for 60 yards has been the floor for Lindsay over the last five weeks with five rushing touchdowns in that span.  He has a solid floor that is slightly touchdown-dependent but has a great chance of crossing the pylons this week as the Bengals have allowed at least one rushing touchdown in six straight games.

WIDE RECEIVER 

Adam Thielen: at NE (DK 8000; FD 8100)

The Patriots have fared much better against receivers lined up on the perimeter as of late but are still susceptible to those lined up in the slot.  If New England determines that Stefon Diggs (if he plays) is the bigger threat and focuses on taking him out of the game, it’s going to open up more opportunities for Adam Thielen to slaughter this defense that surrenders the 5th most FPA to slot receivers.  He’s discounted on both sites this week after his 9th 100+ receiving yard game as the Vikings played on Sunday night.  Thielen is seeing 11.27 targets per game and it’s safe to expect double-digit targets again as the Vikings travel to Gillette Stadium as 5-point underdogs and may be required to play catch-up.

Kenny Golladay: vs LAR (DK 6700; FD 7300)

With Marvin Jones and Golden Tate removed from the equation, it leaves Kenny Golladay as Matthew Stafford’s best receiving option for the remainder of the season.  Since the Tate trade, Golladay has been peppered with targets, averaging 10 of them in those four games and now with Jones on IR, that number has a chance to rise.  This young receiver possesses the ability to break off a deep shot for a score against a Rams secondary that has been torched over the last month and one that is tied for last with the Raiders in allowing 12 pass plays of 40+ yards.  Vegas has Detroit as 10-point underdogs at home and it’s safe to say that the Lions could be playing from behind where Golladay will be counted on to get the Lions back in it.

Emmanuel Sanders: at CIN (DK 6300; FD 7000)

Truth be told, he could have done more damage against the Steelers if not for a few drops that he should have brought in.  Nonetheless, Emmanuel Sanders performed well against his former mates and now faces a Cincinnati defense that won’t be able to keep up with his daunting speed.  Recent receivers that have amassed the required 20+ fantasy points to hit 3x this week against this porous secondary include Tyreek Hill, Mike Evans, and Michael Thomas.  Evans ripped off a 72 yard shot for a score, something that is within the skillset of this speedy Broncos receiver who should have his way at Paul Brown Stadium.

Chris Godwin: vs CAR (DK 3900; FD 5400)

This play is certainly contingent on DeSean Jackson being unable to play on Sunday with a thumb injury.  In the final two games that Jackson missed in 2017, Chris Godwin posted 10 receptions for 209 yards and a touchdown in his absence.  Of course, Mike Evans will be the first receiving option but Godwin has shown he can be a reliable option and this weekend will battle opposite James Bradberry and Donte Jackson, cornerbacks that are responsible for Carolina allowing the 7th most FPA to receivers lined up on the perimeter.  If DeSean plays this weekend, it nullifies Godwin’s ceiling as they will eat into each other’s targets.  If he warms the bench, Godwin has the potential to do some serious damage at an inexpensive salary.

TIGHT END

David Njoku: at HOU (DK 4300; FD 5500)

He performed as he should have against a hapless Bengals defense and now faces a Houston one that also has its struggles against tight ends.  The Texans are surrendering a floor of seven catches for 71 yards and a touchdown to the position in the last three games; Jonnu Smith comes to mind as the latest to victimize that defense.  Ideally, more targets would provide more comfort as David Njoku hasn’t seen at least six in a game since week 7.  Yet, if he can continue to capitalize on the targets he does receive, catching 90.9% of since them since that game against Tampa Bay, he can prove viable in this spot at a reasonable salary on both sites.

Eric Ebron: at JAX (DK 4200; FD 5600)

Enjoy his lowest salary for the rest of the season as the week 13 salaries had already posted when Jack Doyle was placed on season-ending IR on Monday.  Eric Ebron benefits from being part of an Indianapolis offense that has thrown the most touchdown passes to tight ends and now that Doyle is out of the picture, he will assume additional snaps and volume.  He averaged 10 targets from week 3 to week 7 when Doyle was inactive vs 3.66 when he was on the field and it bodes well this week against a Jaguars team that had surrendered six touchdowns in three games to tight ends prior to their matchup against the Bills last week.

Matt LaCosse: at CIN (DK 2500; FD 4700)

He’s the bare minimum on DraftKings as Jeff Heuerman will miss the rest of the season but this is anything but a punt play.  Matt LaCosse encounters a Bengals team that gives up the 2nd most FPA to tight ends and allowed both David Njoku and Darren Fells to score touchdowns last week.  He made his presence felt right away by hauling in his first career touchdown against the Steelers when Heuerman succumbed to injury.  Returning value in this spot on DraftKings should be simple for LaCosse as all he needs is a few catches for some yardage against this Bengals defense that is in competition to be one of the worst units in the history of the league.

DEFENSE

Green Bay: vs ARI (DK 2800; FD 4400)

The Cardinals have eclipsed 20 points just twice this year, a perfect recipe for a Green Bay defense that possesses a +9.8 FPPG differential in games played at Lambeau Field.  The Packers have sacked the quarterback multiple times in every home game as well as forced multiple turnovers in three of five, something to keep in mind as Josh Rosen has thrown at least one interception in six straight games.

Denver: at CIN (DK 2700; FD 4500)

Jeff Driskel is now the starting quarterback for the Bengals and we’re not sure which A.J. Green will return Sunday now that he’s declared himself ready to play.  Both of these facts downgrade the Bengals offense against a Broncos defense that forces 1.63 turnovers and three sacks per contest.

Kansas City: at OAK (DK 2500; FD 4300)

The Chiefs have forced at least five sacks as well as multiple turnovers in three of their last four games.  They travel to the Black Hole to duel with an Oakland offense that is scoring 12.25 points per game in the last four weeks and has allowed 4.75 sacks per game in that same timeframe.

PRICE SHOPPING

Each week, I will identify what players are bargains based on the salary cap percentage difference they represent on the respective site.  Here are the notable week 13 bargains from both sites:

NOTABLE DRAFTKINGS BARGAINS

QB Matt Ryan: 2.96

QB Andrew Luck: 2.06

TE Matt LaCosse: 2.86

TE Ricky Seals-Jones: 2.86

DEF Kansas City: 2.16

DEF Denver: 2.1

NOTABLE FANDUEL BARGAINS

RB Christian McCaffery: 3.14

RB Todd Gurley: 2.27

RB Dalvin Cook: 2.07

WR Tyreek Hill: 4.2


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QUARTERBACK Cam Newton: at TB (DK 6600; FD 8700) It’s hard to go wrong with the QB1 in fantasy football through 12 weeks in Patrick Mahomes or the 2015 MVP […]

DFS 0

WEEK 12 DRAFTKINGS/FANDUEL SELECTIONS

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QUARTERBACK

Cam Newton: vs SEA (DK 6200; FD 8600)

When a team faces the quality of quarterbacks that the Seahawks did in the first six weeks, it would be shocking if they didn’t allow the third-fewest FPA to the position.  Their last four games may be more an indication that the legion of boom no longer exists as they’ve surrendered multiple passing touchdowns in four straight games along with 300+ passing yards in three of the last four.  Cam has been lights out, throwing for multiple passing touchdowns in nine straight and while the rushing hasn’t been there the last two weeks, his legs are always in play and can alter the outcome of any game.  Against a Seattle team that is flying cross-country on Thanksgiving weekend, expect Cam to continue his incredible 2018 campaign in a game that the Panthers must have to end a two-game losing skid.

Lamar Jackson: vs OAK (DK 5700; FD 7400)

Oakland has more than had its struggles against running backs as that defense has allowed the most rushing yards to the position and now faces a quarterback that scrambled 27 times for 117 yards.  Lamar Jackson posted 16.7 fantasy points without contributing a touchdown against the Bengals in week 11 and should find success against an equally bad Oakland defense.  He nearly returned value with just his legs at $4700 last week and at his affordable week 12 salary, Jackson should run the ball at will again and hopefully throw or scramble for a score or two.

Andy Dalton: vs CLE (DK 5300; FD 7500)

Some of Andy Dalton’s best games have come against Cleveland at Paul Brown Stadium, throwing for multiple touchdown passes in five of seven career home games against his divisional rival.  The Browns have given up 300+ passing yards and multiple touchdown passes in three of the last four games and Dalton has a good shot at making it four of the last five.  Returning value shouldn’t be an issue here as a 20+ fantasy point performance is certainly in play against this Browns defense that started 2018 strong but has reverted back to their old ways.  Not to mention A.J. Green returning to the offense provides Dalton with his favorite receiver once again.

RUNNING BACK

Melvin Gordon: vs ARI (DK 8600; FD 8900)

A trio of Oakland running backs found success against an Arizona defense that has allowed 100+ rushing yards in 7 of 10 games.  Melvin Gordon should be in for a big day as the Cardinals have struggled to contain backs on the ground; performances from Adrian Peterson and Todd Gurley come to mind.  His work out of the backfield is a valuable asset as he hasn’t seen fewer than four targets in any game this season and he should heavily relied upon as the Chargers are 12-point favorites heading into Sunday.  

Joe Mixon: vs CLE (DK 6800; FD 7300)

He averages 20.25 carries in games that the Bengals win compared to 11.75 in games that they lose and if you believe the Bengals will win this game, Joe Mixon will certainly play a major role.  The Browns are giving up the second-most touchdowns on the ground and have surrendered multiple rushing touchdowns in half of their games played.  Cleveland hasn’t won a road game since 2015 and it further reiterates the point above that if the Bengals win this game, it will involve Mixon touching the ball at least 20 times.  Start him with confidence.

Matt Breida: at TB (DK 5700; FD 6400)

Saquon Barkley single-handedly demolished the Buccaneers to the tune of 152 scrimmage yards and three touchdowns.  Matt Breida now faces this Tampa Bay defense that has squandered the most touchdowns to running backs and with Raheem Mostert on IR, he is the best running back option that the 49ers possess.  Alfred Morris was highly inefficient against the Giants, averaging 2.11 yards per carry compared to Breida’s 5.94 and won’t see the touches out of the backfield that Breida does.  The Bucs have been attacked by both running backs on the ground and through the air and Breida can certainly cause some damage in this game at an affordable salary on both sites. 

Marlon Mack: vs MIA (DK 5500; FD 7000)

He’s $500 cheaper this week on DraftKings in a matchup against a Miami defense that continues to hemorrhage yards on the ground to running backs, allowing at least 100 rushing yards and a touchdown in 7 of 10 games.  Aaron Jones shredded the Dolphins prior to Miami’s bye week and the Colts should continue to exploit this weakness and utilize Marlon Mack early and often.  He’s been boom or bust thus far but has been electric in games against Oakland and Buffalo when he’s really gone off.  His salary on both sites is affordable and should see ownership across the board in this amazing spot.

WIDE RECEIVER

Odell Beckham Jr: at PHI (DK 8800; FD 8500)

Some of the names that were part of the Eagles secondary that Drew Brees torched included Chandon Sullivan, De’Vante Bausby, and Cre’Von LeBlanc.  Odell Beckham Jr should have a field day against this depleted unit that allowed 373 passing yards in a blowout loss to New Orleans.  He has enjoyed playing at Lincoln Financial Field, scoring 24.66 FPPG in his last three in South Philadelphia and Eli should look to him for double-digit targets in this juicy matchup.  OBJ is the highest-priced receiver on the week 12 main slate on both sites but is worth the price of admission as targeting the Philadelphia secondary will be a part of lineup construction for the remainder of the season.

Julian Edelman: at NYJ (DK 7000; FD 7400)

He’s averaging 9.33 targets per game and has seen double-digit targets in three straight as the Patriots come off the bye to square off against a Jets defense that is giving up the 4th most FPA to slot receivers.  Julian Edelman has been one of Tom Brady’s favorite weapons for years and he should be targeted often while lining up opposite Buster Skrine, a slot corner that has been anything but impressive in 2018.  A touchdown from Edelman would be incredible as he’s crossed the pylons just five times in his last 22 regular season games.  However, he has a solid floor of 12.7 fantasy points through six games and if he continues to see the volume that he had prior to the bye, he should post solid numbers in this divisional tilt.

Jarvis Landry: at CIN (DK 5900; FD 6100)

His salary certainly stands out as it’s the cheapest it has been since the opener.  Jarvis Landry was seeing double-digit targets in six straight games before the last two in which Baker Mayfield has thrown his way just 12 times.  Perhaps a meeting with Cleveland’s cross-state rival will get Landry on the right track as Cincinnati is providing the 8th most FPA to slot receivers.  He has always been a target hog from his days as a Dolphin and it’s hard to envision him going three straight games without double-digit tosses in his direction.

Emmanuel Sanders: vs PIT (DK 5500; FD 6900)

He’s currently the top receiver on the Denver roster with the departure of Demaryius Thomas and is now the cheapest he has been on DraftKings since week 1.  Emmanuel Sanders has been contained over the last three games but still possesses a solid floor of 9.1 fantasy points considering he can be absolutely lethal one week and totally quiet the next.  He will spend a good amount of time running routes against Mike Hilton and a Pittsburgh defense that surrenders the 2nd most FPA to slot receivers.  The revenge narrative played a role in two meetings between Sanders and his former squad as he posted a 15/266/1 clip in 2015.  If you believe that he will have extra motivation again on Sunday, then it sets up well for a strong performance in the Mile High City.

TIGHT END

George Kittle: at TB (DK 6200; FD 7500)

One could argue that George Kittle is filling the void that Gronk left behind in being one of the top three tight ends in football to this point.  This week presents Kittle with another opportunity to build on a strong 2018 season against a Buccaneers defense that has allowed at least 50 yards in all but one game to opposing tight ends and the 3rd most FPA to the position.  Nick Mullens has shown a preference to him as he’s been the leading receiver in both games since filling in for C.J. Beathard and given the Bucs allow points on the scoreboard in chunks, Kittle should be able to find the end zone at least once this week.

David Njoku: at CIN (DK 3800; FD 5100)

This is the cheapest he has been on DraftKings since week 6 as he’s averaged a disappointing 1.66 catches for 23.66 yards in his last three games.  David Njoku draws a Bengals team that hasn’t fared well against tight ends, giving up the 4th most FPA to the position.  The Cincinnati defense is on pace to be one of the worst in NFL history and allows 7.6 targets per game to tight ends.  Njoku should find more involvement in week 12 compared to his last three games, seeing just a minuscule six targets in that timeframe.  

Cameron Brate: vs SF (DK 3600; FD 4400)

O.J. Howard being moved to IR opens up the door for Cameron Brate to rediscover the chemistry he and Jameis Winston once had.  The two of them had connected for 14 touchdowns from 2016 to 2017 prior to Howard seeing the most tight end snaps in 2018.  The Tampa Bay offense prioritizes the tight end position as Howard and Brate have combined for eight touchdowns through 10 games and with the news about Howard occurring after the week 12 salaries released, Brate is available at a discount this week.  Expect high ownership at this inexpensive salary against a 49ers defense that hasn’t faced a tough tight end schedule to this point but has been shredded by Travis Kelce and Jimmy Graham earlier in the year.

DEFENSE

Baltimore: vs OAK (DK 3300; FD 5000)

The Raiders have allowed 16 sacks in their last three games, plenty of opportunity for a strip sack for a defensive score.  They’ve also scored less than two touchdowns in half of their games in 2018 which is at least four fantasy points on DraftKings and FanDuel.  A Lamar Jackson-Baltimore stack can prove viable against this depleted Oakland offense that is missing components that played in week 1 against the Rams.

Indianapolis: vs MIA (DK 2900; FD 4400)

In what has been a resurgence for Andrew Luck and the Colts offense, the defense has quietly put together a better season than the prior year, forcing at least one turnover in every game this year.  They face a Miami offense that is giving up double-digit sacks in six of its last seven games and allowed four of five fantasy defenses to post double-digit performances away from Hard Rock Stadium.

Buffalo: vs JAX (DK 2700; FD 4000)

The Bills come off their bye against a Jaguars team that comes limping into this matchup as losers of six straight games.  Jacksonville has scored over 20 points just once on this skid and have turned the ball over in every game in 2018.  Not to mention the Bills owe the Jags for knocking them out of the playoffs last year.

PRICE SHOPPING

Each week, I will identify what players are bargains based on the salary cap percentage difference they represent on the respective site.  Here are the notable week 12 bargains from both sites:

NOTABLE DRAFTKINGS BARGAINS

QB Philip Rivers: 2.23

QB Cam Newton: 1.93

RB Frank Gore: 2.13

NOTABLE FANDUEL BARGAINS

RB James Conner: 2.44

WR Odell Beckham Jr: 3.44

QUARTERBACK Cam Newton: vs SEA (DK 6200; FD 8600) When a team faces the quality of quarterbacks that the Seahawks did in the first six weeks, it would be shocking […]