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 inform us of how we should be attacking each slate.
Spread: -9.5 vs Washington | Total: 37
John Brown ($6,100) has seen 24% of the work in the Buffalo passing game so far this season. He’s only put together two WR1 weeks, but the slate this week is a bit rough so we have to take some shots somewhere.
He’s a boom-or-bust option but he’s been a bit lucky in the TD department. Our very own Michael Dubner has done great work with touchdown regression and he puts Brown’s touchdown expectation at over 3.5 but he’s only found the end zone twice this year.
Spread: -4 vs Tennessee | Total: 41
Knitting, collecting stamps, basket-weaving, breadmaking. I’m sorry … I thought you were asking what hobbies you should consider instead of DFS if you aren’t playing Christian McCaffrey ($10,000) this week.
McCaffrey is averaging 35.6 PPR points in games in which the Panthers didn’t play the Buccaneers. He’s the first player this season to hit five figures, but you could argue that the price is still low. McCaffrey is seeing 20.1 carries per game1 and 7.1 targets per game. His carry total is 0.4 carries ahead of Marlon Mack,2 and he’s $6,400 this week. CMC is also seeing more targets than Tyler Lockett, who is $7,700 this week.
Spread: +5 @ Philadelphia | Total: 42
Allen Robinson ($6,800) is up near the top of the heap at wide receiver despite the limitations that have been put on him by the QB play.
His efficiency is never going to be through the roof, but the volume makes up for it. Robinson is 9th in targets and 5th in WOPR but just 50th in FPOE per game. He gets a plus matchup this week against an Eagles secondary that has given up spike weeks to target hogs3 so far this season.
Spread: -3 @ Denver | Total: 39
The benching of Joe Flacco moved this line from Denver as a two-point favorite to the Browns as a three-point favorite. The dropoff from Flacco to their backup QB, Brandon Allen, has to be quite severe for that to happen. Even though they’re on the road, getting Nick Chubb ($7,300) as a favorite is a spot we want to target. He could go under-owned with all of the options in the mid-$6,000 to mid-$7,000 range.
He’s seen the seventh most opportunities of all running backs so far this season. Chubb has been an RB1 in four of his seven starts so far this year. The Broncos have been somewhat stingy against running backs over the past few weeks, but two of those contests came against piles of dust in Dion Lewis and LeSean McCoy.
Spread: +3 vs Cleveland | Total: 39
The line movement seems to indicate that Denver could be in a tough spot this weekend with Brandon Allen ($4,100) at the helm. The idea that the line could move five points with Flacco of all people moving to the bench is a bit scary. If he has a pulse,4 though, we might be able to fire up Courtland Sutton ($5,800). As I mentioned last week, the departure wouldn’t vault Sutton’s target ceiling through the roof, but in theory, it raises his floor.
It’s not like he was particularly efficient with Flacco at the helm anyway. He ranks just 38th in FPOE per game. Sutton has seen the 11th most targets and has the eighth-most yards of any WR in the league. The targets will be there and the ownership will be low, so he’s worth a GPP flier.
Spread: +2 @ Oakland | Total: 50.5
Matthew Stafford ($6,800) is No. 3 on the slate in DK salary at the quarterback position. He’s had at least 24 DK points in three of his last four games. Stafford and new offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell haven’t been shy about taking shots downfield.
Stafford is averaging over 375 passing air yards. His 2,630 air yards thrown is the third-most in the league and he’s already had his bye week. Stafford has already turned in four top-12 performances this season.
Green Bay Packers
Spread: -3 @ Los Angeles Chargers | Total: 48
Aaron Jones ($7,000) is in an excellent spot this week. The Packers have shown that they are prioritizing using Jones in all facets of the game. He’s shown slate-breaking upside on a few occasions this season already.
Jones has managed to finish as an RB1 in three of the last four weeks, including two 40-plus DK point performances. Among RBs, he ranks No. 6 in targets and No. 12 in rushing attempts. Jones is cash viable this weekend.
Spread: -1 @ Pittsburgh | Total: 42
It’s rare that I write up a defense in this article, but I’m not too interested in the Colts’ offense this week. The Colts DST ($2,800) has been solid for DFS in the last few weeks. In each of the last three games, they’ve had at least three sacks. If they’re generating pressure on Mason Rudolph, a pick or two isn’t out of the question either.
Kansas City Chiefs
Spread & Total: Off the board now, pending Patrick Mahomes News
Travis Kelce ($6,900) hasn’t had the season we envisioned for him heading into the season. He’ll likely go under-owned this week because of a perceived bad matchup, though. But it’s easy to overreact to a difficult matchup.5 Projecting a player for a higher/lower ceiling because of how many points a defense has allowed to the tight end is something I’m unwilling to do.
The tight end position is about volume and hopefully scoring a touchdown. While Kelce hasn’t flashed the ceiling we’re used to, he has been a TE1 in each of the last seven games.
Los Angeles Chargers
Spread: +3 vs Green Bay | Total: 48
One thing I am willing to do is to bang my head against the wall and play wide receivers that are seeing valuable targets consistently. Since Week 5, Mike Williams ($4,600) is tied for sixth in the league in red-zone targets. There are six wide receivers who have seen at least seven RZ targets since Week 5. Only Williams and Auden Tate have negative FPOE numbers overall during that span.
Hopefully, that upswing continues, though, and we’re able to see his ceiling in Week 9. It’s also worth mentioning that Williams ranks No. 27 targets and is tied for No. 104 in touchdowns among wide receivers.
Spread: +3 vs New York Jets | Total: 41
When Ryan Fitzpatrick ($4,800) has been on the field, he’s thrown 103 passes. Of those 103 passes, 43 have gone to either DeVante Parker ($4,400) or Preston Williams ($4,200). You could make a case for a cheap stack with either of these receivers given the target concentration with Fitzmagic under center. It’s a thin proposition, but what you lose in floor you make up for in lineup construction flexibility.
Spread & Total: Off the board now, pending Patrick Mahomes News
Dalvin Cook ($9,500) continues to impress, week in and week out. Cook has had exactly one game where he didn’t put up at least 19 DK Points. He’s averaging over 26 points per game, good for second among running backs in PPR.
His target volume has been a bit hit or miss, but he’s seen five or more passes go his way in four of his past six games. Cook is third overall in opportunities among running backs so far this season and has seen 41% of his team’s opportunities. That’s the fifth-highest share across the league.
New York Jets
Spread: -3 @ Miami | Total: 41
Once the ghosts have cleared out after Halloween night, maybe Sam Darnold ($5,900) can put his game back together. That would be welcome news for Robby Anderson ($5,500) and Jamison Crowder ($5,300). In games that Anderson has played with Darnold and seen at least six targets, he’s averaging over 14 PPR points.
Spread: -2 vs Detroit | Total: 50.5
Tyrell Williams ($5,900) is a receiver that I’m prioritizing this week. This game, in general, is one that I’m willing to stack up quite a few ways and Williams will play a big part in that exposure. If Williams hadn’t missed two games, I’d imagine his price would be much higher at this point in the season. In the games that he’s played, he’s been excellent.
He’s seen six or more targets in all but one game so far and Derek Carr ($5,500) has been targeting him all over the field. He has 17 targets that have traveled 15+ yards in the air. Williams has turned those into 10 receptions for 244 yards and a few scores.
Spread: -5 vs Chicago | Total: 42
If Miles Sanders ($4,600) is active, he’s worth a look as a GPP flier. He exited the game early with an injury, but they’ve been actively looking for ways to get the rookie involved in the passing game especially. He isn’t cash viable in any way, but he’ll likely be less than 2% owned and at that price he only needs one big play to pay off in a tournament.
Spread: +1 vs Indianapolis | Total: 42
There was a JuJu Smith-Schuster ($6,300) in primetime last week. His price actually dropped $200 despite the first 20-plus DK point performance of the year for the Steelers’ wide receiver.
It was his first WR1 performance of the year. His production has hit peaks and valleys along with the volume that he’s received. There have been two games that he’s only seen four targets, and he’s averaging a paltry 3.1 PPR points in those contests. In the rest of the games, he’s seen at least seven targets per game and is averaging over 17 PPR points per game. JuJu might be worth a flier in GPPs, but the target inconsistency takes him out of the cash conversation.
Spread: -6 vs Tampa Bay | Total: 50.5
Russell Wilson ($7,100) is at the top of the salary heap on the main slate this week. He’s had a couple of down weeks for one reason or another but his 24.2 DK-point average is good for No. 2 in the league at the moment.
He’s averaging over 300 attempted air yards per game (2,421) which is the sixth-highest total. Wilson is so efficient, though, that he’s completed the third-most air yards. He also leads the league in passing touchdowns, QBR, and is sixth in rushing yards among QBs.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Spread: +6 @ Seattle | Total: 50.5
The floor-ceiling combo of Chris Godwin’s ($7,300) week-to-week performance is what makes him so great in DFS, but also so difficult to roster.
He’s seeing 24% of the targets in Tampa Bay and has four out-of-this-world WR1 performances. The issue is that those other performances have all been outside of the top-24 at the position. Since the Giants game back in Week 3, he’s averaging over 10 targets per game. Even with eight targets last week, though, he only managed 10.3 DK points. It’s hard to imagine making multiple lineups and not having at least some exposure to Godwin in tournaments, though.
Spread: +4 @ Carolina | Total: 41
Ryan Tannehill ($5,300) garnered some interest last week and his owners were rewarded with a 19.4 performance. Not too shabby. The Titans, in general, aren’t particularly fantasy friendly. When the game is within a score, they are in the bottom third of the league in pace and are middle of the pack in passing rate. This game will likely be slow and ugly.
Spread: +9.5 @ Buffalo | Total: 37
This team is implied to score just 13.75 points. I’d rather avoid the situation altogether. Terry McLaurin ($6,100) is in play as a GPP flier but we’ve seen him completely dud out a couple of weeks and be a lineup killer.
The offense is a mess — they don’t really have an identity right now. Even if they fall behind, I don’t necessarily trust them to play catchup with any sort of efficiency.