When I’m looking into the DFS slate each week, I like to go game by game and identify players or situations that intrigue me. In every game, on every team, there’s a situation that’s relevant for DFS purposes. Whether it’s for a positive or negative reason, doesn’t matter. It informs us of how we should be attacking each slate. Each week, I’m going to go through that process here and give my view on a player or situation based on what we know so far and what we can expect to see in the future.
The Arizona Cardinals are fresh off of an embarrassing loss against the Denver Broncos on Thursday Night. But, they play host to a struggling 49ers team and are home favorites by a point in Week 8. This is the second go around for the Cardinals against the 49ers and David Johnson ($6,700) scored 21 PPR Points on 26 opportunities in that first meeting. They also just fired their offensive coordinator and now have Byron Leftwich at the helm. Getting DJ more involved should be priority number one. In the last four weeks, with a completely inept offensive coordinator, he has averaged four red zone opportunities per game. The workload he’ll see is too valuable to fade him while he’s under $7,000.
If it isn’t apparent already, I’m a sucker for John Brown ($5,900). He’s seen 7-plus targets in five of seven games so far this season. He’s second on the team with 54 targets but has the most air yards by a 300-plus yard margin. Over the past three weeks, Brown has seen four red zone targets, which is good for a 22 percent RZ Market Share in that span. He’s earned the most air yards on the team and has seen usage in the red zone. The price might drive some people away, but Smokey is always just a play or two away from turning your screen green on DK.
The Carolina Panthers play host to the Baltimore Ravens this week as 2-point home underdogs. It’s getting to the point where you can’t avoid Cam Newton ($5,800). Baltimore has been impressive on defense but they’ve given up some decent DK scoring days to QBs. They’ve given up 20+ rushing yards to three of the six QBs they’ve faced this year. The TD equity that Newton possesses means that he’s in play every single week, and his rushing provides an excellent floor for his price.
If you listen to the On The Daily DFS show, which you should, you know that Mitch Trubisky ($6,100) is becoming a bit of a brand play for me. We’ve seen the ceiling that Trubisky has in this offense when it all clicks for him. With the exception of an awful game from Matthew Stafford and a split game between Tyrod Taylor and Baker Mayfield, the Jets haven’t exactly been juggernauts against the QB. They’ve given up at least 17 DK Points in all of their other games. Trubisky is developing a solid floor thanks to his rushing as well. He’s rushed for an average of 40 yards per game this season, plus two rushing TDs. That’s a four-point floor from his yardage on the ground, with a decent shot at a huge jump because of a rushing TD. As the usage of Tarik Cohen ($5,800) increases and the chemistry with Trey Burton ($4,800) develops, the Bears could prove to be very valuable on DK.
I’m not sure that the term boat raced even scratches the surface of what happened to the Bengals last week. It’s hard to imagine a better “get right” spot for your offense than hosting the Buccaneers. Tampa Bay has given up seven 20-plus PPR-point games to WRs through six games this season. Over the past few years in similar game environments against bottom ten pass defenses, A.J. Green ($8,000) has thrived, averaging nearly 20 PPR points. He’s scored 16-plus in all but one of the Bengals games this year. The price might seem high, but his usage in this matchup is worth paying up for.
The Browns head up to Pittsburgh as 8-point underdogs this weekend and are implied for just 22 points. We’ve seen this movie before, with the Browns having already faced the Steelers this season. In that game, Jarvis Landry ($7,200) saw 15 targets. In all but one of the games since then, Landry has seen double-digit targets. Outside of the Chargers game, Landry has been productive, with at least 12 PPR Points. The GLSP App likes him this week, with an 18 point median projection and 25 point ceiling. Don’t sleep on Landry in GPPs this week.
Emmanuel Sanders ($6,500) has seen tied or out-targeted Demaryius Thomas ($4,900) in all but one game this season. He gets a cushy matchup this weekend against a Chiefs team that has allowed five 15-plus PPR Point scorers so far this year. Sanders has seen at least seven targets in all but one game so far this season. Over the past three games, he’s seen at least 70 air yards and has averaged two red zone targets per game. Sanders has scored 20-plus points in three of seven games this year and is in a game where the Broncos will need to throw to keep up.
If Theo Riddick misses again this week (he didn’t practice on Wednesday or Thursday), Kerryon Johnson ($5,300) should see plenty of work again this week. He saw 19 carries last week to go along with three targets. Of those 22 opportunities, seven came inside of the red zone which is an encouraging sign. Detroit is a home favorite which is exactly the situation we like our running backs in. Hopefully, Matt Patricia saw what we’ve all been seeing in Kerryon Johnson this year.
Green Bay Packers
It’s Aaron Rodgers ($6,400) season this weekend in Los Angeles. The Packers are going out to Hollywood to face off with the Rams as 8.5-point underdogs. If the game goes the way Vegas sees it, Rodgers will be forced to throw quite a bit. Per multiple reports, Randall Cobb and Geronimo Allison are expected to play this week which helps the offense as a whole. Rodgers has scored at least 20 points in four of six games so far this season. The Stat Explorer has a median projection of 18 points for Rodgers this week.
Andrew Luck ($6,300) is on pace for 700-plus attempts this season. Per the RotoViz Screener, exactly one QB since 2000 has thrown 700-plus times in a season. In fact, only 14 QBs in that time frame have thrown over 650 passes in a season. Luck gets a matchup against Oakland who has given up 17-plus points to everyone they’ve faced not named Case or Baker. Luck’s yards-per-attempt numbers are coming up from the valley they hit in Week 3. He’s thrown for at least 300 yards in four games and has multiple TD passes in six games. It’s hard to argue with that type of production, regardless of price.
Kansas City Chiefs
This might be a hot take, but Patrick Mahomes ($7,000) is #good at football. According to the RotoViz Sim Scores App, 24 percent of the most similar historic QB matchups have resulted in at least 21 DK point. Mahomes has had six games above 23 points so far this season. The weapons around him can be stacked in a bunch of different ways for GPPs but he may be too expensive for some people in cash. Even if value opens up, it’s hard to imagine paying $7,000 for a QB in cash, but you need exposure in GPPs.
Los Angeles Rams
There are going to be people again this week that don’t play Todd Gurley ($9,800). He’s lapping the field when it comes to red zone usage. Gurley sees 8 red-zone opportunities per game. There are starting running backs that haven’t seen as many RZ opportunities all season, combined. The median projection from the Stat Explorer for Mr. Gurley is 22. Before you hit me with the “well that isn’t hitting value” talk, just keep in mind that we want to score more points than our opponents. Value is great and all, but at a certain point we need to just take raw DK scoring into account, too.
New York Giants
There are quite a few unknowns when it comes to the Giants. One thing that’s pretty clear, is they are going to make a concerted effort each and every week to get Saquon Barkley ($8,800) the ball. He’s averaging 14 carries and nine targets per game. Barkley is seeing a ton of volume, but he’s also efficient on that volume as he’s tied for 3rd in points per opportunity for running backs. He has one of the flattest production profiles you’ll see, meaning that he isn’t relying on any one part of his game to score points. No one has been able to hold him under 20 PPR points yet this season and I think that continues in a plus matchup against the Redskins.
New York Jets
Sam Darnold is running out of healthy skill players to throw to. Quincy Enunwa has already been ruled out, Robby Anderson is banged up, Bilal Powell is on IR. They are road underdogs which isn’t an ideal spot for RBs, but I’m not sure they have much of a choice other than feeding the ball to Isaiah Crowell ($3,700). At that price, you need 11 points out of him. According to the Sim Scores app, 42% of the most similar historic RB matchups have resulted in at least 11 points. It’s not pretty, but it makes some sense if you want some value at RB.
Jordy Nelson ($4,700)? Jalen Richard ($4,200)? Martavis Bryant ($3,700)? Who’s going to be the biggest beneficiary of Amari Cooper’s departure. Nelson’s role seems pretty much solidified and Richard doesn’t occupy the same parts of the field that Cooper was. Richard has the highest ceiling of the cheap RBs, but Bryant could score two long touchdowns and break the slate. The savings they provide could be quite valuable by the time the games go final Sunday night.
This is the type of game where we love to target the Steelers. High total, Ben gets to sleep in his own bed the night before the game, and big favorites. This would be a Le’Veon Bell game at $9,100 but he’s on his couch losing money. James Conner ($7,500), on the other hand, is not on his couch. After a slight dip in usage over Weeks 2 and 3, Conner has seen 25-plus opportunities in each of the last two games. In the games where he’s seen 19-plus carries, he’s hit the 100-yard bonus. He’s added at least three catches in every game, as well. Conner can score touchdowns in bunches and has multiple touchdowns in his range of outcomes.
San Francisco 49ers
C.J. Beathard ($4,900) is coming off of a performance that we’d rather forget. But it’s the first time that he’s missed salary based expectation. He might not have access to the highest ceiling, but if he scores you 16 points you take it and use the $2,100 at other positions. George Kittle ($5,500) makes some sense as well. He’s seen at least a half-dozen targets in all but one game this season. In the disgusting cesspool that is TE this season, Kittle’s been a bright spot. He’s finished inside of the Top 12 in 5-of-7 starts.
After a bit of a lull, Russell Wilson ($5,900) has once again come out firing. He’s scored at least 20 DK Points in each of the past two weeks. The concerning thing is that he hasn’t finished as a QB1 yet this season. Going on the road as underdogs to Detroit isn’t exactly the best spot to get things right on track. This Detroit defense has allowed multiple passing TDs in all but one of their games this year. The sim score app isn’t giving him a ton of love, but the ceiling is there for a GPP.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The weapons around Jameis Winston ($6,000) are proving to be a force this season. In his two full games since returning from suspension, he’s attempted nearly 100 passes. Winston has approached 400 yards in both of those games and has added an average of four points rushing as well. You can stack him with Mike Evans ($7,800), OJ Howard ($3,900), or DeSean Jackson ($5,300) pretty confidently in GPPs.
Washington gets a cake matchup with a tanking New York team on Sunday. For the first time in this article, I’m going to suggest a defense. We know the Steelers are going to be uber chalk at DST, but Washington ($2,700) deserves some attention too. A matchup with Eli Manning can elevate your sack and interception total in a hurry.