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, for either a positive or negative reason. These situations help us understand how we should attack each slate.
Spread: +2.5 vs Atlanta | Total: 51
Kyler Murray ($6,500) is succeeding in fantasy despite Kliff Kingsbury’s infatuation with kicking field goals. He broke 25 DK Points for the first time since Week 1 as he flashed the rushing upside we were so desperately hoping for.
In fact, he nearly hit the 100-yard rushing bonus on DraftKings last week. Murray is running for his life on most plays, though, which has severely impacted the Cardinals’ ability to go vertical in the passing game. Per the Stat Explorer, Murray has yet to attempt a pass that traveled 21-plus yards in the air. That hasn’t affected his ceiling, though, and Kyler makes an interesting GPP play once again this week.
Spread: -2.5 @ Arizona | Total: 51
Austin Hooper ($5,000) continues to dominate this year. He’s the overall TE1 in PPR formats and is Top 10 in every volume-based statistic at the position.
The Falcons are averaging 44.4 pass attempts per game, per the Screener. That’s tied with the LA Rams for first in the league through five weeks. Between the price, how much the Falcons pass, and how bad the Cardinals are against the TE, though, Hooper’s ownership will be astronomical. Even when you include the Bengals game last week,1 Arizona is giving up an average of 19.62 PPR Points to the TE1 that lines up against them.
Spread: -12 vs Cincinnati | Total: 47.5
Lamar Jackson ($6,900) is coming off of a rough performance. It’s been a couple of subpar outings in a row for the Ravens QB. He hit his floor, but his rushing output saved him from a complete and utter dud. It’s now been four straight weeks that he accumulated 40-plus yards on the ground.
His attempts and completions are around the middle of the pack, but he’s been good in the red zone and has the most rushing yards among QBs so far this year. Jackson has attempted the sixth most passing air yards in the league. Even with a few rough outings thrown in, he’s still averaging 26.5 DK Points.
Spread: +12 @ Baltimore | Total: 47.5
Tyler Boyd ($6,300) and Auden Tate ($4,500) will be on the field a ton this week as the Bengals are most likely trying to catch up. Last week, the duo missed just one snap when Boyd took a breather for a play. Boyd dropped a 30-plus DK point performance on the Cardinals and went down $200. Over the course of the season, only two of Boyd’s targets have been more than 20 yards downfield.
Boyd has seen the fourth-most targets of any WR. His aDOT is 131st of WRs with at least three targets on the season but his 26% target share makes him interesting.
Spread: +1.5 vs Seattle | Total: 46
The offense was an unmitigated disaster on Monday night. The workload didn’t go anywhere for Nick Chubb ($7,300) though and he’s in a bit of a no man’s land for RB salaries. He’s seeing 42% of the total opportunities in CLE which is tied for the fourth-most in the league with Leonard Fournette.2
I’m firmly in the “Defense Doesn’t Matter” crowd, but it’s also encouraging that the Seahawks have given it up to RBs. In the last three weeks, they’ve let up at least 20 PPR points to an opposing RB.
Spread: -7.5 @ New York Jets | Total: 44
Ezekiel Elliott ($8,500) is the most expensive RB on the main slate. They’re big road favorites against the Jets. Elliott has been an RB2 in three of his five games so far this year. One would’ve hoped that the seven targets he saw in Week 4 would be the more likely outcome for his pass-game usage but that’s his only game above five targets.
Obviously, as touchdown favorites, you’d think they won’t need to pass much but those are valuable touches. If he’s missing out on targets and they get ahead early, they may want to mix Tony Pollard in at some point too.
Spread: -2.5 vs Tennessee | Total: 39
Philip Lindsay ($5,300) has these spike weeks that put him in play despite the offense he’s attached to. He’s been an RB1 in just two of five starts, but both of those performances were above 25 points.
Lindsay’s currently 15th in opportunities among RBs and is the RB12 in PPR.
Spread: +5 @ Kansas City | Total: 54.5
DeAndre Hopkins ($7,400) is shaping up to be a GPP target this week. We’re a week removed from a game where a Houston wide receiver dropped one of the best fantasy performances of all time and it wasn’t Hopkins. It’s easy to forget that Hopkins is still sixth in the league in targets and top 20 in air yards.
After an explosive Week 1, Hopkins hasn’t had another WR1 performance. This game has the makings of a fast-paced shootout, and Hopkins should factor in heavily.
Spread: -1 vs New Orleans | Total: 44
It looked like it might be curtains for Dede Westbrook ($5,100) after a disappointing performance in Week 2. Things just didn’t click that week, but since then Westbrook is averaging nearly nine targets per game.
He’s been on the upswing ever since and turned in his first WR2 performance of the year last week. Westbrook is 24th in targets but all the way down at 172nd in FPOE per game.3
Kansas City Chiefs
Spread: -5 vs Houston | Total: 54.5
Travis Kelce ($7,000) is in a tier of his own as far as TE pricing this week. It makes sense that he’s at this price when you consider the workload that he receives in addition to the offense he’s attached to.
Over the past three years, 33% of his games have ended up with more than 21-plus PPR points. Regardless of position, that’s an incredible ceiling but at TE it’s an advantage that can’t be understated.
Los Angeles Rams
Spread: -3.5 vs San Francisco | Total: 50.5
Cooper Kupp ($7,100) is putting together an excellent season. His home-road splits are well documented. Kupp is currently first in targets, second in receptions, fourth in yards and comes in as the WR3 overall in PPR scoring.
The Rams face off with a surprisingly good 49ers team that can get after the quarterback. They don’t ask Kupp to go downfield much, if at all. That’s fine in this matchup, though. Kupp is currently 129th in aDOT but is seeing 29% of the targets in this Rams offense.
Spread: +3.5 vs Washington | Total: 41
At some point, DeVante Parker ($4,200) is going to have a big game. The discrepancy between his air yards and his fantasy production is staggering.
Look, he’s never going to be the most efficient receiver in the league. But the targets he is seeing are valuable. Parker is 13th in air yards but is currently WR66 and is 90th in FPOE per game.
Spread: -3 vs Philadelphia | Total: 44
Dalvin Cook ($8,400) has an elite workload. Cook has averaged 23 opportunities so far this season which is good for a 43% team opportunity share. He’s one of six RBs, per the Weekly Stats Explorer, that has seen 20% of their team’s targets.
All of that combines to mean that Cook is the RB3 on the back of a rare combination of volume and efficiency. He’s impossible to ignore in GPPs.
New Orleans Saints
Spread: +1 @ Jacksonville | Total: 44
Michael Thomas ($7,800) is appropriately priced this week. The idea that Teddy Bridgewater ($5,300) would hurt Thomas’ production is foolish from an Xs-and-Os perspective. Bridgewater has looked good, but he doesn’t push the ball downfield. The Saints take a shot or two here and there to Thomas deep every so often, but he makes his money on the short and intermediate routes. Of his 55 targets, only two have traveled further than 20 yards downfield.
Thomas is averaging nearly 25 DK points in 2019.
New York Jets
Spread: +7.5 vs Dallas | Total: 44
Something has to give at some point. For all the talk of these workhorse backs, it seems like Le’Veon Bell ($6,400) isn’t getting the love he deserves. Granted the Jets look like a dumpster fire, but with Sam Darnold ($5,100) coming back maybe the offense can take it up a notch. Bell has seen the largest share of his team’s opportunities at 51%. He’s also been on the field for 94% of the Jets’ snaps.
The lack of touchdowns is certainly a Jets problem, but if that comes up and the workload continues then the sky’s the limit for Bell.
San Francisco 49ers
Spread: +3.5 @ Los Angeles Rams | Total: 50.5
I’d like to say that George Kittle ($5,200) is the beneficiary of the Monday Night Football discount, but I don’t even know if that’s it. DraftKings seems completely unwilling to price up more than one TE over the past couple of weeks. If that’s the case, there’s going to be a point where we have a very clear double TE week.
He’s seeing just as many opportunities as guys like Tyler Lockett ($6,400), and Calvin Ridley ($5,700). Kittle is getting a big discount because of the position he plays, though. That volume is valuable even in a perceived tough matchup.4
Spread: -1.5 @ Cleveland | Total: 46
Russell Wilson ($6,600) is on a completely different level than most other QBs in the league. Dating back to the start of 2017, Wilson has wound up as a QB1 in 62% of his starts. During that same span, he was only outside of the top 24 QBs on two occasions.
He’s the overall QB2 despite having just the 20th most passing attempts among QBs. Wilson is stackable with any of his pass-catching options in GPPs this weekend.
Spread: +2.5 @ Denver | Total: 39
This game is pretty gross from a DFS perspective. The wide receivers on the Tennessee sideline are A.J. Brown ($4,200), Corey Davis ($4,000), Adam Humphries ($3,800), and Tajae Sharpe ($3,100). None of whom have seen more than 22 targets. You also have Derrick Henry ($6,100) on that sideline but he hasn’t even scored 15 DK points since Week 2. Titans are a pretty easy pass for me this week.
Spread: -3.5 @ Miami | Total: 41
With Case Keenum ($5,000) expected to start Week 6, there’s some hope that Terry McLaurin ($6,000) is fantasy viable again. After missing Week 4, McLaurin picked up right where he left off from a volume perspective. It was his fourth straight game with at least seven targets.
Fantasy points didn’t come along with that target share, though, as he scored a season-low 8.1 DK Points. It’s incredibly difficult to have a strong feeling about this game either way but in theory, he could pay off at low ownership.