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 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. … Continue reading WEEK 14 DRAFTKINGS/FANDUEL SELECTIONS

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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Want an easy, non-intimidating way to try DFS? Check out DRAFT with a free $3 entry.Use promo code “Top2” 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 … Continue reading WEEK 13 DRAFTKINGS/FANDUEL SELECTIONS

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

Like DFS? Try DRAFT with a free entry. When making first deposit, use promo code "Top2" 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 … Continue reading WEEK 12 DRAFTKINGS/FANDUEL SELECTIONS

DFS: Week 11 Draft Kings & Fan Duel Values, Favorite Plays & Bargain Bin Picks

QUARTERBACK

Drew Brees: vs PHI (DK 6500; FD 8500)

A game total of 56.5, a team total of 32.5, the home dome, and an injured Eagles secondary; what more could you ask for in this spot?  The only question is the willingness to pay up for the 1st and 2nd most expensive quarterback on DraftKings and FanDuel respectively that has scored 30+ fantasy points in three of his first four home games.  The dream scenario is the Eagles being able to live up to their end of the bargain offensively in this potential shootout.  The floor is 17.6 fantasy points at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome this year for Drew Brees but it’s a safe expectation for at least 25 in this incredible spot.

Cam Newton: at DET (DK 6200; FD 8600)

The Lions have allowed multiple touchdown passes in seven of nine games while Cam Newton has thrown for multiple touchdowns in eight straight.  His rushing upside makes him worthy of consideration even against a Detroit defense that has allowed the fewest rushing yards to quarterbacks thus far.  The wheels look like they have fallen off during the Lions three game losing streak and after a shellacking courtesy of the Steelers, the Panthers come into Ford Field needing this game to keep pace with the Saints.  Cam should continue to play at the level that won him the MVP in 2015.

Lamar Jackson: vs CIN (DK 4700; FD 7000)

DraftKings is usually the site that is on top of salary adjustments due to injuries and much to my surprise, they never adjusted Lamar Jackson’s salary to one that reflects a starter.  At his $4700 on DraftKings, he possesses such sheer running ability that he could return value just with his legs alone.  He faces a Cincinnati defense that just gave up 51 points to the Saints and subsequently fired defensive coordinator Teryl Austin.  It’s a great spot for him to make his first NFL start and one that shouldn’t be difficult to return value at his inexpensive price tag.  The question will be how much carnage can he create by running the ball himself and whether he is officially named the starter, something that has not happened at the time of this writing on Friday afternoon.

RUNNING BACK 

Saquon Barkley: vs TB (DK 8700; FD 8800)

The Buccaneers have allowed 25+ FD/30+ DK point performances to Joe Mixon, Christian McCaffery, and Alvin Kamara and in those games, each of them crossed the pylons at least twice.  Saquon Barkley is on pace to just miss posting 2,000 scrimmage yards in his rookie year but a date against this Tampa Bay defense may be just what he needs to stay on track for that accomplishment.  He has no competition for running back touches as he’s seen 94.5% of them in the G-Men’s last three games and he will have plenty of work whether the Giants lead or trail in this game.  

Ezekiel Elliott: at ATL (DK 8500; FD 8400)

He’s an absolute must-start on both sites but FanDuel has him underpriced for the damage he will inflict upon an Atlanta defense that gave up a combined 265 scrimmages yards and three touchdowns to Nick Chubb and Duke Johnson last week.  Ezekiel Elliott is averaging six targets per game, an ideal number against a Falcons team that has traditionally struggled against pass catching backs.  He more than possesses the ability to duplicate Chubb’s performance on the ground and if he does, Elliott is in a prime spot for another 25 FD/30 DK point performance.

David Johnson: vs OAK (DK 7500; FD 7900)

The signs were there against the 49ers before Arizona’s bye and now we know for certain David Johnson is free from the unimaginative offensive mind of Mike McCoy.  Byron Leftwich knows how to utilize Johnson’s dynamic skillset as he looked to him on 30 of the 73 offensive snaps and posted 183 scrimmage yards and two touchdowns against a Kansas City defense that has been awful against running backs.  It only gets better against an Oakland one that’s allowed 100+ rushing yards in seven of nine games and if week 10 was any indication how the Arizona offense will operate, DJ should be in for another monster performance at a discounted price on both sites.

Dion Lewis: at IND (DK 4800; FD 5900)

The Titans never trailed in their victory against the Patriots which took away any negative gamescript that Dion Lewis could have worked with.  Not to mention Derrick Henry vulturing him out of two touchdowns but Lewis still touched the ball 11 more times and he’s the running back to roster against a Colts defense allowing the third-most targets and receptions along with the fourth-most receiving yards to running backs.  That’s 10.28 FD/14.20 DK points per game that the Colts allow to pass catching backs and Lewis should be the sole beneficiary as Henry has seen just 10 targets all year.  This game sets up as a trap for Tennessee after winning a game that not many thought they would and if they get caught smelling themselves, expect them to trail which sets Lewis up to rebound from last week at a much lower ownership.

Check out the Top 2 Staff Preview Week 11

WIDE RECEIVER

Michael Thomas: vs PHI (DK 8800; FD 8800)

Ronald Darby has been lost for the year to a torn ACL, Jalen Mills will miss this game, and Sidney Jones is banged up as he missed the Sunday night game following a bye week.  The cornerback situation is bleak for Philadelphia and it couldn’t set up any better for Michael Thomas who averages 12.5 targets per game at home, a +5.1 target differential in games played at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. As mentioned above, the Eagles keeping up on offense would make this spot even more attractive but even if they don’t, he should have more than enough opportunities to tear apart this injury-riddled secondary.  It’s another excellent spot for Thomas who finishes the 2018 campaign by playing against teams in the top half in FPA to wide receivers in six of his last seven games.

Keenan Allen: vs DEN (DK 6700; FD 7600)

This is the lowest he has been priced on DraftKings this year and he is underpriced as he is facing a “tough” Broncos defense.  The Broncos have allowed the 4th most FPA to slot receivers over the last three weeks and this is where Keenan Allen spends half of his snaps.  He draws the majority of the wide receiver targets and is certainly due for positive regression in touchdowns as he scored his second one of the season last week.  Allen has a good chance to find the end zone for the second week in a row at a reasonable cost against a Broncos team that has allowed a minimum of 27 points in three of their first four road games.

T.Y. Hilton: vs TEN (DK 6100; FD 6800)

Not only were the 2017 Colts in the top three in tight end target share but also the 2017 Eagles under offensive coordinator Frank Reich.  It’s no surprise that the Colts have maintained their membership in this club with Reich as the Colts head coach but considering the Titans have effectively shut down running backs and tight ends, this may be T.Y. Hilton’s breakout game.  The way to attack the Tennessee defense is through the wide receiver as they surrender the 9th most FPA to the position.  He will spend time opposite Logan Ryan and Adoree Jackson who have been solid thus far but he should capitalize on snaps in Malcolm Butler’s coverage.  Reich has quietly revitalized Andrew Luck’s career as he’s thrown the second-most touchdown passes in the league and while a majority have been to the tight end, Hilton should be able to cross the pylons for the fifth time on Sunday.

Amari Cooper: at ATL (DK 5400; FD 6600)

He simply improves the Dallas offense just being another weapon that defenses have to account for other than Ezekiel Elliott.  While boom or bust in six games prior to the trade with the Raiders, Amari Cooper has shown more consistency with a floor of five catches off eight targets for 58 yards in two games with the Cowboys.  Like Keenan Allen, his salary on both sites is too cheap against an Atlanta defense that is not just decimated with injuries but has given up an average of 3.77 pass plays per game of over 20 yards.  That figure would be much higher if the Falcons had any capability of stopping running backs that have also slaughtered this defense.  Cooper is seeing 28.1% of the team’s targets since the trade and finds himself with an opportunity for a ceiling game in a fast-paced Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

TIGHT END

Zach Ertz: at NO (DK 6600; FD 7600)

He has seen at least nine targets in all but one game and he’s arguably Carson Wentz’s most trusted weapon on offense in a game with the highest total on the main slate this week.  Not to mention Zach Ertz is totally underpriced on both sites after his dominating performance on Sunday Night Football.  Although the Saints have allowed just one tight end to score this year, Ertz’s reliability and heavy involvement in the Philadelphia offense make him worth the price of admission.  He’s the Eagle I have the most confidence in performing to and exceeding his fantasy point projections and with Travis Kelce off the board, expect him to be heavily rostered across cash games and GPPs. 

Vance McDonald: at JAX (DK 4000; FD 5500)

In keeping Alshon Jeffery and T.Y. Hilton to a combined seven receptions for 125 yards in the last two games, the Jacksonville defense has been slaughtered by the tight end position to the tune of five touchdowns.  While Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster battle it out with a tenacious Jaguars secondary, it’s going to leave Vance McDonald open often in the middle of the field.  He’s experienced success against this defense as he posted 10 catches for 112 yards in the divisional round last season and if you’re unable to roster Zach Ertz, McDonald is a nice pivot at a reasonable cost with excellent upside.

Jordan Reed: vs HOU (DK 3800; FD 5400)

While it’s discouraging he hasn’t found the end zone since week 1, the targets have been there for Jordan Reed as he’s seen a minimum of six in four of the last five games; only Zach Ertz and Travis Kelce have also seen that volume in that span.  Then again, the passing options that Alex Smith has available keep dwindling due to injury and against a stingy Houston rush defense, it will force him to throw the ball more.  This is the lowest his salary has been all year and given the tight end position is highly touchdown-dependent outside of Ertz and Kelce, you could do worse than Jordan Reed as two catches for 30 yards and a touchdown returns value.  This is absolutely within the range of outcomes for what should be a lowly-owned Reed after a disappointing performance against a Tampa Bay defense that should have been a better spot.

DEFENSE

Arizona: vs OAK (DK 3100; FD 4000)

The Raiders are spotting fantasy defenses at least four points in four of the last five weeks because they aren’t scoring more than 14 points.  There are serious offensive woes when Jalen Richard is arguably the best weapon on offense, not to mention Martavis Bryant and Jordy Nelson are both not expected to suit up in this game.

Carolina: at DET (DK 2800; FD 4000)

Detroit’s offensive line has struggled in the last three weeks, giving up 6.33 sacks per game, along with the offense turning the ball over 2.33 turnovers per game in that span.  That’s a good amount of opportunity to force a defensive score and Carolina won’t be rostered by many after allowing 51 points to the Steelers.

Houston: at WAS (DK 2600; FD 4700)

Geron Christian, Brandon Scherff, and Shawn Lauvao are all out for the season while Trent Williams is not expected to play in this game against the Texans.  The pricing disparity between the sites is outrageous given the injuries to the Washington offensive line that it makes the Texans a must-start on DraftKings and absolutely worthy of consideration if extra salary remains on FanDuel.

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 11 bargains from both sites:

NOTABLE DRAFTKINGS BARGAINS

QB Lamar Jackson: 2.26

QB Cam Newton: 1.93

RB Mark Ingram: 2.43

WR Brandon LaFell: 2.36

DEF Houston: 2.63

NOTABLE FANDUEL BARGAINS

RB Ezekiel Elliott: 3

RB Joe Mixon: 2.04

WR Michael Thomas: 2.94

WR John Brown: 2.8

WR Odell Beckham Jr: 2.64

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QUARTERBACK Drew Brees: vs PHI (DK 6500; FD 8500) A game total of 56.5, a team total of 32.5, the home dome, and an injured Eagles secondary; what more could you ask for in this spot?  The only question is the willingness to pay up for the 1st and 2nd most expensive quarterback on DraftKings … Continue reading DFS: Week 11 Draft Kings & Fan Duel Values, Favorite Plays & Bargain Bin Picks

How to Build the Perfect DraftKings Lineup: 25 Lessons Learned, So Far

We’re at the point in the NFL season when there is now a 1 in front of each week and now we have a clear picture of who these teams are as they head into the second half of their 2018 campaigns.  Let’s take a moment to step back and reflect on the first half of the season from a DFS perspective by analyzing the perfect lineups from the first nine weeks courtesy of numberfire.com.  

For the purpose of this article, I’m going to look at the perfect DraftKings lineups; I will go into a comprehensive analysis of Fanduel’s lineups in the offseason.  Keep in mind, some of the strategies and principles in this article can be applied when putting together lineups on FanDuel.  I will identify key trends and lineup construction pointers that will help you in the second half of your DFS seasons whether you have found success or struggled through the first nine weeks or whether you are a beginner to DFS or a seasoned veteran.

QUARTERBACK

EIGHT OF NINE PERFECT QUARTERBACKS WERE PRICED UNDER $6500

In redraft leagues, waiting to draft a quarterback has become an ideal strategy as the position can certainly be streamed on a weekly basis.  In fact, there have been 94 instances in which a quarterback not named Patrick Mahomes has posted a 20+ fantasy point performance in 2018.  With that being said, you don’t have to pay up for the top tier at quarterback as there are options below $6500 weekly that have proven viable.  Further, five of the nine perfect quarterbacks were priced below $6000; Mitchell Trubisky comes to mind as he has made the perfect lineup twice.

EIGHT OF NINE QUARTERBACKS THREW FOR OVER 300 PASSING YARDS AND THREE OR MORE TOUCHDOWNS

No surprise here as the league has been geared towards more offense.  There have been 66 instances where a defense has allowed 3+ touchdown passes so far, an average of 7.33 times per week.  Don’t forget the importance of the 300 yard passer bonus.  All points add up and can be the difference between profit and loss.

EIGHT OF NINE QUARTERBACKS WERE PART OF A TEAM STACK

Simply put, unless it’s a running quarterback like DeShaun Watson, Cam Newton, or Russell Wilson, there was a player that helped get that quarterback get to his 300+ passing yards and/or 3+ touchdown passes.  Quarterback stacking should be a focus in lineup construction as a QB-WR stack was part of the perfect lineup four times followed by a QB-TE stack occurring twice and QB-RB-WR and QB-WR-TE stacks each featured once.

EIGHT OF NINE QUARTERBACKS PLAYED IN GAMES WITH A GAME TOTAL OF 50 OR HIGHER

From a lineup construction perspective, targeting the games with the highest game totals is one of the best strategies to utilize when selecting a quarterback.  Vegas can give us a good gauge for the type of game to expect with their game totals.  Also, targeting games with a total over 50 and a spread of three or lower has proven successful as that indicates a shootout that should remain close for the duration of the game.  Quarterbacks with spreads under 3 and a total over 50 made the perfect lineup 6 times, a 66% success rate.

RUNNING BACK

19 OF THE 22 PERFECT RUNNING BACKS WON THEIR GAMES STRAIGHT UP

This is one of the most important trends to take from this article.  By predicting who will win the game, you can eliminate half of the running backs on a slate to select from.  Even if a running back has a great matchup on paper, if you don’t think his team will win the game unless involved in negative gamescript when his team is trailing, there’s no sense in wasting the roster spot.  

With a total of 59 between the Rams and the Saints in week 9, it was tempting to roster both Todd Gurley and Alvin Kamara.  However, very rarely does it happen where running backs from opposing teams both end up in the perfect lineup.  Alvin Kamara was perfect but for the first time in what has been a 2006 LaDainian Tomlinsonesque season, Todd Gurley finished with less than 20 fantasy points in the Rams first loss of the season.

ONLY 1 OF THE 22 RUNNING BACKS WAS WORSE THAN A 1.5 POINT UNDERDOG

This coincides with the aforementioned point listed above, running backs that are favorites are those that are expected to win their games and if their respective teams play as they should, increased volume and opportunity should both present itself.  Starting an underdog in redraft leagues is one thing as reliable options at the position are limited but when the whole player pool is available, absolutely be selective, even if it means paying up as high as $9000, which leads to the next trend.

EXCLUDING THE FLEX POSITION, 13 OF THE 18 RUNNING BACKS WERE PRICED ABOVE $7000

Not shocking as Todd Gurley, Alvin Kamara, and James Conner have frequented the perfect lineup numerous times this year.  Most of the backs in this salary range are bell-cow backs that play for efficient offenses.  When we get to the wide receiver trends, it will make paying up for the top-tier running backs not as daunting or difficult as it may seem.

THE AVERAGE NUMBER OF TOUCHES PER GAME FOR THE PERFECT RUNNING BACKS WAS 23.91

The running back that made the list with the fewest touches was Matt Breida in week 2 against a Lions team that he shredded with just 14 touches.  Volume is critical for a DFS running back and with DraftKings full PPR scoring, targeting those that are involved in the passing game is something to be cognizant of each week.  12 of the 22 perfect running backs saw at least five receptions in those games they made the list.

One idea of importance to mention as it relates to volume is when a transaction occurs during the week leading up to the game or a running back being downgraded to out occurs after the salaries release on Sunday night.  While it breaks the rule of selecting backs that should win the game, in most cases, the backup that will assume the lead back duties could be extremely inexpensive for the amount of potential volume he will see.  Nick Chubb is a good example of this as he was priced at $3600 before Carlos Hyde was traded the Friday before Cleveland’s game against Tampa Bay.  These scenarios are welcomed in order to open up salary for other positions of need.

CLEVELAND AND ATLANTA HAVE ALLOWED AT LEAST THREE RUNNING BACKS IN THE PERFECT LINEUP

In fact, Cleveland has allowed four running backs to enter weekly perfection as no team has allowed more rushing touchdowns upon the conclusion of week 9 than the Browns.  Joe Mixon has yet to face them and will do so twice along with Christian McCaffery getting the Browns in Cleveland in week 14.  

Atlanta was another team that allowed three perfect running backs as the Falcons have been a team to attack in recent years due to their struggles against pass catching backs.  Running backs on tap in Atlanta’s final eight games include Ezekiel Elliott, David Johnson, and Christian McCaffery; unfortunately, Alvin Kamara’s juicy matchup lands on Thanksgiving night and leaves him off the week 12 main slate.

Other teams that allowed multiple perfect runners include the Buccaneers, Broncos, and Lions.  Don’t be shocked to find the Cardinals on this list at the end of the season as they’ve allowed 80+ rushing yards in every game along with 10 touchdowns on the ground through eight games.

WIDE RECEIVER

WIDE RECEIVERS IN THE PERFECT LINEUP WENT 15-13-2 STRAIGHT UP

Compared to the running backs where winning was a strong trend among the perfect ones, there was a lot more volatility among the receivers that made the list.  There are much more variables in consideration to include cornerback matchups, how offenses operate when leading or trailing, or defenses that bolster rush-stopping ability and force teams to throw more.  It’s the one position that requires extensive work and research with so much variability each week.

29 OF THE 30 WIDE RECEIVERS SCORED AT LEAST ONE TOUCHDOWN

Maurice Harris was the exception in week 9 as he easily returned value at an inexpensive cost and was a nice building block for the very few that rostered him.  The top fantasy receivers each week are much more touchdown-dependent than the running backs that see more touches.  With fewer opportunities, they need to capitalize on the targets they see and crossing the pylons is definitely an easy boost of fantasy production.  One strategy to consider is targeting the weaker cornerbacks of 2018 that are allowing the most touchdowns in their coverage to include Malcolm Butler, Janoris Jenkins, Marcus Peters, P.J. Williams, and M.J. Stewart to name a few.

27 OF THE 30 WIDE RECEIVERS WENT FOR OVER 100 YARDS

Reiterating the point above, volume is critical for receivers as opportunity can be limited in some weeks.  Not to mention 100 yards activates the three point bonus on DraftKings.  Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Danny Amendola, and Adam Humphries were the three that didn’t get to 100 yards but what they had in common in the weeks they made the perfect lineup was being priced under $4000 in which access to the necessary expensive options was possible which is further elaborated below.  

20 OF THE 30 WIDE RECEIVERS WERE PRICED AT $6000 OR LOWER

Back around 2015 when both FanDuel and DraftKings were investing heavily in advertising, the DraftKings commercial would ask who your sleeper would be to win you $1,000,000.  That old commercial holds up as there is a sleeper every week and is necessary to win the Milly Maker.  No position has more sleepers that make the perfect lineups than the wide receiver.  

As most of the running backs that make it are above $7000, 20 of the 30 perfect wide receivers thus far have been $6000 or lower.  Better than that, 17 of the 30 have been $5000 or lower and of those 17, nine have posted 30+ DK points.  The tools and resources available to DFS players regarding WR/CB matchups and performance metrics in various scenarios and situations has never been more accessible.  The key is putting in quality time and research to make the correct rostering decisions.

DETROIT, CAROLINA, AND NEW ORLEANS HAVE ALLOWED THREE WIDE RECEIVERS IN THE PERFECT LINEUP

The Panthers secondary has struggled against both receivers and tight ends through the first half of the 2018 season.  They have yet to see Michael Thomas but will do so in weeks 15 and 17, along with Julio Jones, Kenny Golladay, and Mike Evans in their final seven games.  

The Saints can keep up on offense with anyone but they have found themselves in three shooutouts so far as they are surrendering the most FPA to wide receivers as we enter week 10.  Receivers to keep an eye on for the rest of the Saints schedule include Tyler Boyd, Mike Evans, Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster; Julio Jones and Amari Cooper both land on Thursday night games and won’t be featured on the main slate.

The Lions were guilty of allowing two Packer receivers in the perfect lineup in the same week as Aaron Rodgers has enjoyed success against Detroit, tossing 11 touchdowns in his last three against his NFC North rival.  Keep in mind that the Packers finish the regular season against the Lions at Lambeau Field.  However, opponents have played to Detroit’s weakness but utilizing their running backs which explains its 6th fewest FPA to receivers.  Future Lions opponents include the triple threat of the Rams and the dual threat of the Vikings.

TIGHT END

FIVE OF NINE PERFECT LINEUPS HAVE FEATURED EITHER ZACH ERTZ OR TRAVIS KELCE

Redraft and DFS players can both agree how disappointing Rob Gronkowski has been since posting his best week of the season all the way back in week 1.  Last year, nearly every perfect lineup featured either Gronk, Ertz, or Kelce.  This year, the position is even more a dumpster fire and it shows the importance of paying up for the consistency of Ertz and Kelce, especially when bargains at the wide receiver position exist on a weekly basis.  Theoretically, take away week 6 as both were off the main slate and you could say they have been in five of the eight perfect lineups when at least one of them was available.  That scenario plays itself out again in week 15 as both are once again unavailable, leaving the DFS community to choose between Gronk against a Pittsburgh he has crushed throughout his career or one of the other options.

ALL OF THE TIGHT ENDS CAUGHT A MINIMUM OF FIVE PASSES

The floor for the tight ends in the perfect lineup was five catches for 70 yards which equates to 12 fantasy points in DraftKings scoring.  Targeting defenses that have struggled against tight ends was also a consistent trend as nine of the eleven achieved perfection against teams in the top 10 in surrendering FPA to the position.  Ertz and Kelce were the two that did it against teams outside the top 10 in FPA, further illustrating they are nearly matchup-proof and worth consideration every week.

9 OF THE 11 TIGHT ENDS SCORED AT LEAST ONE TOUCHDOWN

If your tight end scores a touchdown, more likely than not, that player has returned value for the week.  Kelce and Ertz are used frequently enough in their offenses that nine catches for 90 yards without a touchdown is a great week that you can live with.  The rest of the field is touchdown-dependent in having a decent chance to win a 50/50 or GPP.

8 OF THE 11 TIGHT ENDS PLAYED IN GAMES WITH A GAME TOTAL OF 50 OR MORE

There was a stronger correlation with tight ends making the perfect lineup in games with game totals over 50 than there was with wide receivers in games with game totals over 50.  73% of the tight ends made it compared to just 33% of the wide receivers.  Regardless, targeting players in games with the highest totals should be a strategy that is in consideration every week

CLEVELAND HAS ALLOWED TWO TIGHT ENDS IN THE PERFECT LINEUP

In 2017, if you rostered tight ends against the Browns, Broncos, or Giants, you usually found success in those decisions.  Cleveland has performed much better against the position this year but still shows flashes of their 2017 weakness.  Greg Olsen is the only tight end remaining on the Browns schedule that may cause a headache.  

The Panthers will continue to be a team to target each week as they’ve allowed tight ends to score at least one touchdown in six of eight games.  Also, keep an eye on the Rams as they face one of the hardest remaining schedules against the position as Ertz, Kelce, and George Kittle are some of their future opponents, though Kelce will be off the main slate for that Monday night showdown in Mexico City.

DEFENSE

NO DEFENSE IN THE PERFECT LINEUP LOST ITS GAME

The crazy part is seeing Cleveland and Green Bay make the list in games they tied.  In any case, selecting defenses that should win against teams with low team totals is an effective strategy.  It’s very rare to see a defense make the perfect lineup in a game that it lost. 

SEVEN OF THE NINE DEFENSES WERE PRICED UNDER $3000

Starting defenses against a historically bad Buffalo team has been a successful strategy in both redraft leagues and DFS.  However, the problem is DraftKings aggressively pricing up any defense that has the honor of facing the Bills where that additional salary has needs in other areas.  Fortunately, cheaper options are available and have been just as effective as defenses against the Bills, so much so that five of the nine were $2500 or cheaper.  

SEVEN OF THE NINE DEFENSES FORCED MULTIPLE TURNOVERS

Self explanatory as turnovers can lead to defensive touchdowns, all key components of fantasy production at the defensive position.  Also consider using defenses against teams with porous offensive lines as eight of the nine perfect defenses forced at least three sacks in their respective games.

SIX OF THE NINE DEFENSES WERE FAVORED HEADING INTO THEIR RESPECTIVE GAMES 

The first few weeks of an NFL season are the ones with the most upsets as both Vegas and DFS players are learning about the new versions of the 32 teams.  Games in which a 16.5-point favorite loses outright as the Vikings did against the Bills in week 3 typically don’t occur past week 4.  Thus, from week 4 on, defenses that were favorites were the ones that made the perfect lineup and I anticipate by the end of the season that this figure should be 12 or 13 out of 17.  

OTHER NOTABLE TRENDS

ALL NINE PERFECT LINEUPS FEATURED AT LEAST ONE TEAM STACK

There were a total 15 team stacks in the first nine weeks of 2018 with five of the nine weeks featuring multiple team stacks in the perfect lineup.  The two most common ones were either a QB-WR stack or RB-WR stack, both featured four times thus far.  Simply put, these figures show the importance of stacking and should be part of lineup construction weekly.

EIGHT OF THE NINE LINEUPS USED AT LEAST $49500 OF THE SALARY CAP

With the exception of week 1 when DraftKings releases the salaries a month prior to the start of the season and the week of the trade deadline, the pricing is extremely tight with very few bargains available.  This is why we were seeing scores of 270 and 280 to start the season because with James Conner being $4500, it made more expensive players like Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara easily available to us.  Once DraftKings makes their adjustments, it makes it imperative to use all of the $50000 and not leave anything on the table.

SEVEN OF THE NINE PERFECT LINEUPS FEATURED GAME STACKS

Four of the seven game stacks had game totals of above 50 and if you bring that number down a half-point to 49.5, it would be five out of seven as Chicago and New England ended up in a shootout.  It makes perfect sense to target the games with the highest totals as these games are expected to generate the most offense that leads to high amounts of fantasy production.

THE AVERAGE COST OF THE FLEX POSITION WAS $4000.

This reiterates the idea in the wide receiver section of the article that the sleeper exists every week.  Running backs made up four of the nine flex spots followed by wide receiver at three and tight end with two.

CONCLUSION

One of the beauties of daily fantasy is the availability of all players to the entire field.  An injury of two in a redraft league can wreck havoc to one’s season; DFS works where you can rebound from injuries every week.  The information above shouldn’t be treated as gospel as the unpredictability and parody of the NFL can ruin even the best lineups that you feel like should win cash games or the Milly Maker.  If anything, treat this article as additional tools in your toolbox when putting together your lineups. 

We’re at the point in the NFL season when there is now a 1 in front of each week and now we have a clear picture of who these teams are as they head into the second half of their 2018 campaigns.  Let’s take a moment to step back and reflect on the first half … Continue reading How to Build the Perfect DraftKings Lineup: 25 Lessons Learned, So Far

DFS: 27 Top Targets, Values, & Bargain Bin Picks for Week 10

QUARTERBACK

Patrick Mahomes: vs ARI (DK 7200; FD 9800)

The only concern here is the entire Kansas City team looking forward to the Mexico City showdown and potential Super Bowl matchup with the Rams next Monday night.  Yet, whenever there has been potential a trouble spot on the schedule, Patrick Mahomes has proven the doubters wrong and it shouldn’t be any different this week.  300+ passing yards in eight straight games along with at least three passing touchdowns in the last four, should I go any further?  Mahomes is a must-start each and every week, just like Todd Gurley, Adam Thielen, and Travis Kelce.

Philip Rivers: at OAK (DK 6000; FD 8200)

Since Amari Cooper played his final snap as a Raider before being dealt to the Cowboys, Oakland is losing by an average of 23 points per game.   The Raiders are in full tank mode and if a third string quarterback can throw for three touchdowns, why can’t Philip Rivers?  Oakland has allowed three touchdown passes in its last three games and if the secondary struggled with the 49ers receiving corps, imagine how much pain a much more talented Chargers group will inflict.  Add in the receiving capabilities of Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler and it gives Rivers several avenues towards success in the second meeting between these divisional foes.

Ryan Fitzpatrick: vs WAS (DK 5900; FD 7600)

This matchup features a Tampa Bay offense that posts the 3rd fewest rushing yards per game against a Washington defense that allows the 5th fewest rushing yards per game.  This should create additional passing attempts from Ryan Fitzpatrick against a team that not only allowed Matt Ryan to throw for 300 yards but also Eli Manning in the last two games.  In selecting Fitzpatrick, you accept that he will turn the ball over at some point as he has done so in all but one game that he was the starter.   However, he has thrown for either a minimum of 400 yards or three touchdowns in those four games and is a solid option at his salary on both sites.

RUNNING BACK

Melvin Gordon: at OAK (DK 9000; FD 8900)

As terrible as the Raiders have been against the pass, they have been equally awful against the run and as a double digit favorite heading into the Black Hole, Melvin Gordon is positioned to touch the ball quite a bit in this game.  He’s averaging at least 100 scrimmage yards and a touchdown in his last three against the Raiders and it aligns well for Gordon to make it a fourth straight game doing so.  Start him with absolute confidence as he possesses one of the highest touchdown expectancies this week. 

Kareem Hunt: vs ARI (DK 8500; FD 9000)

The Arizona defense has been shredded by running backs on the ground as it hasn’t allowed any opponent to rush for fewer than 88 yards on top of the 10 rushing touchdowns surrendered by this group.  Kareem Hunt has scored seven touchdowns in the last three weeks and like the aforementioned Melvin Gordon, he also has an outstanding chance of crossing the pylons.  Opponents have played to Arizona’s glaring weakness and it’s safe to expect the Chiefs to implement that same gameplan.

Tevin Coleman: at CLE (DK 5400; FD 7300)

Three of the last four games have featured the Cleveland defense being slaughtered by either Melvin Gordon, James Conner, or Kareem Hunt.  Tevin Coleman doesn’t need to be either of those guys to return value especially at his low price point on DraftKings but if he can get to 20 touches in a game the Falcons should win, that will suffice.  He has proven effective out of the backfield for the majority of his time in Atlanta and given that the Browns have struggled against both running backs on the ground and through the air, Coleman should have a productive day in Cleveland.

Dion Lewis: vs NE (DK 4600; FD 5800)

He should have extra motivation this weekend as he faces the team he won a Super Bowl with in 2016.  Dion Lewis should enjoy success against a New England defense that has allowed the 4th most catches and 2nd most yards to running backs out of the backfield.  The Patriots should be able to jump out to a lead where Lewis will need to work out of negative gamescript and see coveted receptions in DraftKings full PPR scoring system.  He’s seen 20 more touches than Derrick Henry in Tennessee’s prior two games and considering Henry is hardly utilized out of the backfield, Lewis is the Titan running back to roster this week.

WIDE RECEIVER

Julio Jones: at CLE (DK 8300; FD 8700)

And it’s not because he scored a touchdown for the first time in nearly a calendar year.  E.J. Gaines was put on IR, Denzel Ward and Damarious Randall are banged up, and Phillip Gaines was claimed off waivers after a horrible stint in Buffalo.  Indeed, this Cleveland secondary is a mess and one Julio Jones can slaughter on his own.  He’s seeing 11.4 targets per game in his last five games as the Atlanta offensive staff continues to find ways to use their most prolific player.  He’s gone for over 100 yards in four of the last five and there is a great expectation in this game for him to make it five of six along with a touchdown for the second week in a row.

Tyler Boyd: vs NO (DK 7500; FD 7800)

As long as the Saints continue to roll out slot corner P.J. Williams, attacking the Saints through the slot receiver will be a continuing trend.  Tyler Boyd has been dominant at Paul Brown Stadium, averaging 20.83 FPPG in PPR scoring along with a +6.33 FPPG differential in home games.  He has slaughtered the other three NFC South opponents to the tune of 26 receptions for 370 yards and 2 touchdowns and with A.J. Green expected miss this game, it should filter additional targets in Boyd’s direction.  Hopefully the Bengals keep him in the slot and let John Ross and Alex Erickson work the outside because if that occurs, it’s just another dream matchup for the young receiver in his breakout 2018 campaign.

Josh Gordon: at TEN (DK 6000; FD 6700)

The Patriots will certainly look to exploit their former cornerback that they benched in the penultimate game of 2018.  No team gives up more fantasy points to receivers lined up on the left side of the ball than the Titans and that’s where Josh Gordon spends nearly 60% of his snaps.  He’s developed a chemistry with Tom Brady as he’s averaging eight targets in the last four games and this matchup against Butler is as good as it gets.  His affordable salary on both sites makes him a viable option to do some serious damage this week.

Maurice Harris: at TB (DK 3900; FD 5900)

I’m not one to chase fantasy points but the injuries on the offensive side of the ball for the Redskins are plentiful.  Paul Richardson is on IR, Jamison Crowder hasn’t played since week 5, and Chris Thompson has already been declared inactive for week 10.  It’s shaping up for Maurice Harris to once again play a pivotal role against a Buccaneers defense that surrenders the most FPA to slot receivers.  Definitely check up on the Friday injury report and Sunday inactives to see if Jamison Crowder suits up on Sunday because if he is also inactive, Harris is in an even better spot to see additional targets and too cheap to pass up.

TIGHT END

Travis Kelce: vs ARI (DK 7000; FD 8000)

The Cardinals have given up the 6th fewest FPA to tight ends but if you look inside the numbers, they haven’t faced many names of note.  Arizona allowed 10 catches for 140 yards in two meetings to George Kittle, a tight end that commands respect.  Travis Kelce is in a tier above Kittle and in an offense that is capable of moving down the field at a moments notice, he’s worth the high price of admission.  At minimum, he’s caught five passes for 60 yards in all but one game and in a tight end position of such weekly uncertainty, Kelce provides a good amount of clarity.

Benjamin Watson: at CIN (DK 3400; FD 5900)

There’s such a disparity in the pricing for the Saints tight end between both sites that it certainly stands out against a Cincinnati defense that has struggled against the position.  Not to mention having Drew Brees throw Benjamin Watson the ball in a game with the highest total on the main slate and it makes him a solid play on both sites but absolutely on DraftKings.  He’s good for four targets per game and has an opportunity to find the end zone in this game as the Bengals have allowed five touchdowns to the tight end through eight games.

Chris Herndon: vs BUF (DK 3100; FD 5500)

In what has been a committee at the position for the Jets, Chris Herndon has been the tight end that has stood out in the last four weeks, averaging 2.75 catches for 44 yards and .75 touchdowns.  The Buffalo defense has been more susceptible to tight ends on the road as it allows 13.42 FPPG to the position in road games.  It’s a slight punt but a punt that could pay off with a score, something Herndon has done in three of his last four games.

DEFENSE

Los Angeles Chargers: at OAK (DK 3500; FD 4700)

After allowing 30 points per game in their first four contests, the Chargers have sliced that figure in half, allowing 15 points in their last four.  Easier competition has a lot to do with it and it doesn’t get easier than an Oakland team that has scored an average of 11 points in their last four and just a field goal in two of their last three.

New York Jets: vs BUF (DK 3400; FD 4900)

As long as Josh Allen is unable to play, as I explained last week and will do so again: NATHAN PETERMAN.  Not to mention Josh McCown shouldn’t turn the ball over as much as Sam Darnold and give the Buffalo offense shorter fields to work with.

Kansas City: vs ARI (DK 3300; FD 4600)

The Arizona offense has turned the ball over multiple times in three straight along with fantasy defenses scoring double digit points in five of eight games.  They also welcome back must needed help in the secondary with safety Daniel Sorensen activated from IR.

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 10 bargains from both sites

NOTABLE DRAFTKINGS BARGAINS

QB Matt Ryan: 1.76

RB Tevin Coleman: 1.36

WR Maurice Harris: 2.06

TE Benjamin Watson: 3.03

TE Chris Herndon: 2.96

DEF Los Angeles Rams: 1.7

NOTABLE FANDUEL BARGAINS

RB Melvin Gordon: 3.17

RB David Johnson: 2.1

WR Tyler Boyd: 2

WR Cooper Kupp: 1.97

QUARTERBACK Patrick Mahomes: vs ARI (DK 7200; FD 9800) The only concern here is the entire Kansas City team looking forward to the Mexico City showdown and potential Super Bowl matchup with the Rams next Monday night.  Yet, whenever there has been potential a trouble spot on the schedule, Patrick Mahomes has proven the doubters … Continue reading DFS: 27 Top Targets, Values, & Bargain Bin Picks for Week 10