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, for either a positive or negative reason. These situations inform us of how we should attack each slate.
Spread: +11 @ San Francisco | Total: 45
Christian Kirk ($5,700) exploded last week, scoring 40.8 DK points. He’s currently 12th in air yards per game and is the clear-cut WR1 for Arizona. Now that Kirk is back in the fold he’s completely taken over the EP battle at WR.
Kirk is seeing an average of 13.7 expected points per game while no other Cardinals wide receiver is seeing more than eight.
Spread: +5.5 @ Carolina | Total: 49.5
Atlanta is running out a 61-39 pass/run split in neutral game scripts so far this season. With both Devonta Freeman and Austin Hooper set to miss time, Calvin Ridley ($5,500) seems optimal this week. In no way do those absences mean that Ridley will all of a sudden see 16 targets. But, it likely mitigates the risk of a really low target game from him.
Ridley has only had one game with fewer than five targets and he’s mostly lived in the six target range. Hooper and Freeman accounted for 12.3 targets per game so far this season, if even two of those 12-plus targets go Ridley’s way, he’s a steal at $5,500.
Spread: -4.5 vs Houston | Total: 50
This is one of the most appealing games on the slate. We get to see two of the best quarterbacks in the league face off against one another. The Ravens have become appointment television with Lamar Jackson ($7,700) being the main reason to tune in.
He’s becoming the CMC of quarterbacks. Jackson has had four 33-plus DK-point efforts. The most impressive part of his game last week was the fact that he did all of that damage against the Bengals in the first three quarters, basically. We should be getting four quarters of Jackson this weekend and it’s impossible to fade him.
Spread: -5.5 @ Miami | Total: 41
John Brown ($6,400) has been a decent floor play this season. That’s a bit of an odd statement given what we thought we knew about Smokey.
He’s seen at least five targets in every game this season. Brown’s price has gone up, though, and he has only paid off this salary twice this season. It’s a tall order to pay this price for Brown given how tight pricing is at the top of wide receiver and running back.
Spread: -5.5 vs Atlanta | Total: 49.5
D.J. Moore ($5,900) is underpriced for the 11th week in a row. Let’s play “One of These Things Is Not Like the Other.”
Moore is 10th in targets, 9th in receptions, 13th in receiving yards and … wait for it … 70th in touchdowns. There are 69 wide receivers that have more touchdowns than Moore. The level of run-bad to get to this point in the season with just one touchdown on 79 targets is absurd.
Spread: +10.5 @ Oakland | Total: 48.5
Speaking of wide receivers I’ve mentioned 11 weeks in a row … Tyler Boyd ($5,200) is fresh off an eight-target game. Boyd is tied with Moore with one lone touchdown on the year.
He’s fifth in targets, eighth in receptions and — *checks notes* — 199th in FPOE per game. One would assume that they would be willing to throw once they fall behind, but they got the doors blown off of them last week and Joe Mixon inexplicably got 33 opportunities. Even with that insanity, Boyd still saw heavy usage.
Spread: -3 @ Detroit | Total: 51.5
Amari Cooper ($7,700) is the third-most-expensive wide receiver on the slate. Since the midway point of the season last year, he’s scored the fifth-most DK points of any receiver. It’s a similar story if we narrow down just to this season.
He’s one of the most efficient receivers in the league, with the 30th EP per game but the best FPOE per game. A lot of that has to do with the fact that Dak Prescott has been so efficient this season. If Cooper continues to see this volume or even more,1 then he’s a plug-and-play until further notice.
Spread: +10.5 @ Minnesota | Total: 40.5
The departure of Emmanuel Sanders should’ve meant an explosion for Courtland Sutton ($6,000) as the No. 1 option in Denver. The results, so far, have been mixed. Sutton has managed just one WR1 performance so far this season and that happened with Sanders still in a Broncos uniform.
He’s had four WR2 performances, which are fine, but you likely want a higher ceiling attached to a price tag of $6,000.
Spread: +3 vs Dallas | Total: 51.5
Jeff Driskel ($4,600) is at the helm this weekend again. He didn’t make a fool of himself in a tough matchup against the Bears last week. Driskel tallied 19 DK points while throwing for 269 yards, and a touchdown. He added 37 yards on the ground. Kenny Golladay ($6,700) caught the lone touchdown pass of the day and was targeted nine times.
Nine Driskel targets are different than nine Stafford targets, though, as he only managed 14.7 DK points despite the volume. Golladay has had an up-and-down year, but it’s likely to be more down with Driskel.
Spread: +4.5 @ Baltimore | Total: 50
Even at just a shade under $7,000, Deshaun Watson ($6,800) feels like he’s not quite expensive enough. After a rollercoaster start to the year that included a couple of 12-point outings, he’s now scored 20-plus DK points in each of his last five games.
His rushing has added a solid floor to his weekly expectation. He’s had at least 30 rushing yards in each of the past five games2. Over the course of the season, he’s hit the 300-yard bonus on three occasions, as well.
Spread: -3 vs Jacksonville | Total: 43.5
Zach Pascal ($5,800) has seen plenty of volume in T.Y. Hilton’s absence. Over the past two weeks, he’s seen six and seven targets, respectively. The issue is that he didn’t do much with them last week.
He’s only averaging about 11 DK points despite seeing decent volume. Some of that, obviously, has to do with the quarterback play as the Colts went all the way down the depth chart to Brian Hoyer last week.
Spread: +3 @ Indianapolis | Total: 43.5
Dede Westbrook ($4,500) is in play this week with Nick Foles ($5,600) making his triumphant return to Duval. Besides the Jets game where he left early, he’s seen an average of 7.7 targets per game.
His game logs aren’t going to knock you off of your feet, but he’s a talented guy who should see volume in a close game against the Colts. Stacking these two options is in play if you’re looking to jam in guys like McCaffrey and Michael Thomas.
Spread: +5.5 vs Buffalo | Total: 41
The Dolphins are on quite the winning streak.3 They’re implied for the third-lowest team total, however. Perhaps we were a week early for Mike Gesicki ($3,500). To be fair, it’s also entirely possible that we were a week late.
He saw six targets in each of the last two weeks but had very little to show for it last week. We’re still dealing with a second-year tight end who has a lot of growing to do before he becomes a week-in-week-out fantasy option. As a flier in a GPP this week, he’s fine.
Spread: -10.5 vs Denver| Total: 40.5
Dalvin Cook ($8,900) is around the price we’re used to seeing from him, but the pricing dynamics at running back have changed. A price tag of $8,900 was in the top tier a few weeks back. Now? He’s a steal as a $1,600 discount from the most expensive running back. There’s a chance that he’s only the fourth or fifth highest owned running back on the slate despite being a home favorite of 10.5 points.
New England Patriots
Spread: -3.5 @ Philadelphia | Total: 44.5
Julian Edelman ($7,600) seems like he’s in a bit of no man’s land when it comes to salary. With the trio of Michael Thomas, DeAndre Hopkins, and Amari Cooper right above him and the trio of Julio Jones, Mike Evans, and Chris Godwin right below him, there’s a chance Edelman goes under-owned relative to his volume. He’s quietly fifth in the league in targets, averaging exactly 10 per game.
Three of his last five games have resulted in WR1 finishes. It’s hard to imagine a scenario where he duds out when seeing this type of volume. The only question is how high his ceiling is.
New Orleans Saints
Spread: -5 @ Tampa Bay | Total: 50
To think that Michael Thomas ($9,900) was $6,600 at the start of October and some people didn’t play him. He’s in a tier all alone this week. At nearly $10,000, he puts you on a completely different lineup build than even the second-most expensive wide receiver. That’s a good thing for tournaments if you can find the value to fit him in.
His usage is incredible. He’s had seven of nine games with 11-plus targets. It hasn’t mattered who the signal-caller is, Thomas continues to see work and produce every week. Getting exposure in GPPs to a potentially lower-owned Michael Thomas seems like a no-brainer.
New York Jets
Spread: +1 @ Washington | Total: 38.5
With both teams implied for totals in the teens, this game doesn’t have much fantasy appeal. Jamison Crowder ($5,700) is a lineup filler at his price with some semblance of a decent projection. He’s gone for 5-plus catches, 80-plus yards, and a score in each of the last two games. I’m underwhelmed at the thought of playing anyone in this game, though.
Spread: -10.5 vs Cincinnati | Total: 48.5
Josh Jacobs ($6,900) is the workhorse running back of a team that is playing at home and is favored by 10.5 points. These situations will typically lead to chalky running backs and it seems like this will be no exception. Jacobs is the only game in town when it comes to rushing. He’s seen at least 15 rushing attempts in all but two games this season and has never been in the single-digits. Jacobs also saw five targets for the first time in his young career.
Figuring out if that’s an anomaly or something we can count on moving forward is going to go a long way in figuring out whether Jacobs is worth a GPP fade this week. From a cash game4 perspective, he makes a lot of sense. But there’s definitely an argument to be made for a GPP fade.
Spread: +3.5 vs New England | Total: 44.5
After missing practice entirely on Wednesday, it appears possible that Alshon Jeffery ($4,800) could miss. DeSean Jackson is already on IR, so the wide receiver room is looking quite thin at the moment. Zach Ertz ($5,000) seems underpriced once again. After seemingly losing targets to Dallas Goedert ($3,200) for a small stretch, he exploded with 11 targets last game.
The state of the tight end position is so nauseating that Ertz, even with a slow start to the year, has managed to finish as a TE1 in five of nine contests this year. If we’re assuming an 8-10 target game than $5,000 is simply too cheap for Julie Ertz’s husband.
San Francisco 49ers
Spread: -11 vs Arizona | Total: 45
San Francisco is implied for nearly 29 points which is good for the second-highest on the slate. They are also the biggest favorites at the time of this writing. With Matt Breida out, it should be the Tevin Coleman ($6,100) show. With so many people gravitating towards one of the more expensive running backs plus Josh Jacobs at $6,900, we could be looking at Coleman with significantly lower ownership than this situation would typically call for.
The number of opportunities he’s likely to see will go up in the absence of Breida. Even with his fellow running back in the lineup, though, Coleman has been averaging just under 17 opportunities per game.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Spread: +5 vs New Orleans | Total: 50
The Bucs are right in the middle of the pack in neutral game script over the course of the year. If you filter that down and take a look at Week 7 on, though, they’re the sixth fastest team in the league at 25.9 seconds/snap. They’re also tied for the seventh-highest pass rate in that timeframe. Jameis Winston ($6,500) is good for a bone-headed play5 each and every game but his DK point floor is pretty remarkable.
After putting up two duds to start the season, he’s had just one game under 20 DK points and has been a QB1 in six of seven starts.
Spread: -1 vs New York Jets | Total: 38.5
This game has about as much appeal as a roadkill buffet. Dwayne Haskins ($4,600) hasn’t shown that he can do much of anything in this offense. Even in a 24-9 loss, Washington only attempted 22 passes. Hard pass all around.