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 a negative reason. It informs us of how we should be attacking each slate.
Spread: +2 vs Cleveland | Total: 48
Kyler Murray ($5,600) has gone through a couple of growing pains over the last couple of weeks.1 His expected points haven’t varied much, if at all.
Over the past four games, Murray’s Total EP per game is exactly the same as his season-long average (20.1).
It’s his efficiency (FPOE — fantasy points over expectation) that has fallen off a cliff during the past couple of weeks. Murray will look to bounce back at home against Cleveland. He’s in play at least as a stack with Christian Kirk ($5,500) and a case could be made for his cash viability.
Spread: +11.5 @ San Francisco | Total: 46.5
After we take a moment of silence for Calvin Ridley, we need to look at the rest of the pass-catching options in Atlanta. Matt Ryan ($5,900) has had exactly one game this season where he didn’t throw it at least 30 times.
The Falcons haven’t been shy about throwing the ball, and I’d imagine that continues here. The decision between Russell Gage ($5,500) and Justin Hardy ($3,300) is an easy one in Gage’s favor. The larger question is which Falcons team shows up. I’m not sure there will be too many points to be had in this game and it’s likely a situation I’ll be avoiding.
Spread: +6 vs Seattle | Total: 48.5
When Reggie Bonnafon ($3,900) got a carry early in the game, Christian McCaffrey ($10,000) owners — myself included — were a little scared. You never know what a regime change will bring, especially in the middle of the year.
That worry proved to be unnecessary as McCaffrey saw 23 opportunities, including a dozen targets, and he scored 24.5 DK points.
Spread: +5 @ Green Bay | Total: 41
Allen Robinson ($6,800) has been a completely different player with Taylor Gabriel ($4,200) off the field.
Robinson is averaging nearly 22 PPR points per game with Gabriel sidelined. Robinson has had three straight WR1 games and is averaging over 24 DK points per game over that stretch.
Spread: +10 vs New England | Total: 40.5
Tyler Boyd ($5,500) has been a staple of this article week-in and week-out. He’s been largely disappointing, though. It’s certainly not all on him as he’s attached to an offense that has been brutal throughout the whole season.
He’s been a bit of a roller-coaster all season and it shows no signs of stopping. The Bengals are unlikely to get much going this weekend, but they will certainly be forced into passing as they fall further and further into the dark void that is their season.
Spread: -2 @ Arizona | Total: 48
I picture Odell Beckham ($6,400) sitting somewhere in a lonely hotel room blasting “How Do I Live” by LeAnn Rimes and thinking about Eli.
His volume has been solid all year but wildly inconsistent. Beckham’s had five games with double-digit targets and four at six or fewer. Over the past three weeks, Greg Ward and Christian Blake have more expected points
Spread: +1 vs Los Angeles | Total: 49
Ezekiel Elliott’s ($7,800) usage has been odd this year. The Cowboys have been unpredictable.2 The targets? All over the place.
The rush attempts? All over the place.
He does technically have eight RB1 finishes but most of them are right on the fringe of RB1/RB2. Elliott hasn’t shown the ceiling to justify this price tag.
Spread: +10 @ Kansas City | Total: 45.5
Phillip Lindsay ($5,600) has taken a firm hold of the Broncos backfield. After the week 10 bye, he’s been averaging 18 opportunities. That’s only a couple more opportunities than he was averaging pre-bye week but it’s a larger pie of the offense. Lindsay has seen 33% of the team’s opportunities over that stretch compared to Royce Freeman’s ($4,000) 15%.
Lindsay hasn’t been particularly efficient with those touches, but the volume has been steady. He makes for an interesting GPP flier in Week 15.
Spread: +3.5 vs Tampa Bay | Total: 45
Kenny Golladay ($7,200) has done a lot with a little at quarterback this year. He’s now caught passes from three different signal callers and Marvin Jones is on IR. Golladay has been very efficient. He’s the WR9 on the year despite only seeing the 20th most targets among WRs.
Green Bay Packers
Spread: -5 vs Chicago | Total: 40
Jamaal Williams ($4,200) is the RB25 on the year and has shown a couple of ceiling games. Last week, he took a backseat to Aaron Jones but at $4,200 he’s worth a GPP flier if you’re building 20-plus lineups.
Since Week 6, he’s averaging 12.5 opportunities per game.
Spread: +3 @ Tennessee | Total: 51
DeAndre Hopkins ($8,000) is a lock-button play this week. He’s one of the most heavily targeted and efficient wide receivers in the league.
He’s top six in 9 of 11 wide receiver categories. Hopkins has seen at least seven targets in every game this season and has been in double digits in six of the last eight games.
Spread: +6.5 @ Oakland | Total: 45.5
The Jaguars got embarrassed in their own building last week. A 35-point loss to the hapless Chargers. Leonard Fournette’s ($7,600) targets came down to Earth a bit as he only registered three catches on six targets. He plodded along to another 3.3 YPC game on just 15 attempts.
He’s been one of the least efficient running backs in the league this year and in recent memory. Fournette has had over 320 opportunities on the year and has exactly three touchdowns.
Kansas City Chiefs
Spread: -10 vs Denver | Total: 45.5
The regression monster has swallowed Patrick Mahomes ($7,100) whole. He currently sits at QB6. I’m saying that somewhat facetiously but since he broke fantasy last year, it’s a little disappointing. Mahomes comes into this game as the most expensive QB on the slate despite three straight QB2 finishes.
In his first seven full games, he was averaging just under 400 passing air yards. Over the past four weeks? Just under 290 passing air yards. As big home favorites, they’ll likely continue to take the air out of the ball. He’s GPP viable, but I’m not paying up in cash this week.
Los Angeles Rams
Spread: -1 @ Dallas | Total: 49
Todd Gurley ($6,000) feels a bit underpriced this week and will likely be a popular option this Sunday. The Rams have shown a desire to get him a bit more involved over the past month.3 Three of his last four games have seen him get 20-plus opportunities.
Unsurprisingly, three of his five RB1 finishes have come during that stretch.
Spread: +3.5 @ New York Giants | Total: 46.5
Since becoming the full-time starter, Ryan Fitzpatrick’s ($6,200) has been throwing it a ton. In his last eight games, he’s averaging over 37 pass attempts. Fitzpatrick has thrown at least 33 passes in every game over that stretch.
That’s translated into four QB1 and four QB2 performances for an average of 20.1 DK Points. None of those starts have fallen below 14 points. The issue with Fitzpatrick is that he might not have many options to throw to besides our Laird and Savior, Patrick Laird ($4,500).
Spread: -2.5 @ Los Angeles Chargers | Total: 45
There wasn’t much competition to Dalvin Cook ($8,900) to begin with, but the potential absence of Alexander Mattison ($4,500) raises his floor a bit. Either way, Cook has been great throughout most of the season but his DK point output has slipped a little of late.
With just one RB1 finish out of his last five contests, it’s a bit tough to trust him. The Vikings are favored but they are on the road. I could get on board with some exposure if you’re making 20-plus lineups, but he’s definitely not on the cash radar for me.
New England Patriots
Spread: -10 @ Cincinnati | Total: 41.5
Tom Brady ($6,000) looks like he’s ready to ride off into the sunset. He’s one of the least efficient quarterbacks of the 2019 season.
He is number one in pass attempts but it all goes downhill from there. Whether you’re looking at touchdowns, QBR, fantasy points per game or FPOE, the story is the same. Brady has been a QB1 in exactly one of his last seven games. Julian Edelman ($7,100) is firmly in play as a volume option but I’m not interested in any other Patriots option.
New York Giants
Spread: -3.5 vs Miami | Total: 46.5
Saquon Barkley ($7,700) is shaping up to be chalky this weekend. Barkley hasn’t broken 15 DK points in a month, and the last time he did so he only managed a 15.5-point effort. It hasn’t been from a lack of opportunities, either.
In his last seven starts, he’s seen at least 20 opportunities six times. Over that same timeframe, he’s averaging 14 DK points per game. But if all the pass catchers on the Miami side end up out on Sunday, they may have a hard time getting things going, which could equal even more work for Saquon.
Spread: -6.5 vs Jacksonville | Total: 45.5
This is the battle of the team that wants it less. It looks like both sides of this match have all but given up on the season. It appears that Josh Jacobs ($7,000) will be back in action this week after a one-game hiatus. The problem with him, as it has been for his entire rookie year, is that he has no pass-catching floor.
It’s been very difficult to use him because of that. Now that he’s banged up, as well, he’s a hard sell for me this week even in a situation that we’d usually like to roster him.
Spread: -4.5 @ Washington | Total: 39
Zach Ertz ($6,000) is back in the $6,000 range to stay, it seems. His fantasy performance has been all over the map during the past four weeks. Ertz’s DK-point output has ranged anywhere from 5.4 to 30.1 over that span.
There’s definitely been more bad than good, though. He’s seen a 25% target share during those four games and nobody else on the team is over 20%.
San Francisco 49ers
Spread: -11.5 vs Atlanta | Total: 48
People will gravitate towards Raheem Mostert ($5,200) this week. He’s been uber-efficient this year. In the past three weeks he trails only Derrick Henry in raw FPOE. The workload hasn’t been out of this world, though. He has about the same rushing EP as Frank Gore.
If you think he can keep up this historic pace and average nearly 7.5 YPC, then, by all means, jam him in there. I’d consider him in GPPs only.
Spread: -6 @ Carolina | Total: 48.5
Russell Wilson ($7,000) has always been one of the guys who can do more with less as a signal-caller. Over the past month or so, he hasn’t had that trademark efficiency. He’s averaging over 22.5 DK points across his 13 starts. Wilson has only hit the QB1 threshold on five occasions, though.
They’ve been taking some shots lately with three of his last five games over 340 passing air yards. Hopefully, he can start connecting and get back to his QB1 ways.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Spread: -3.5 @ Detroit | Total: 45.5
Jameis Winston ($6,900) is the third most expensive quarterback on the slate this week and at the time of this writing, he’s yet to throw a football because of a thumb injury. I’m sure they’re being overly cautious with him, but it doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence in him for Sunday. People will play Chris Godwin ($7,700) now that Mike Evans is out and there’s a lot of galaxy-braining going on to determine who the relevant cheap wide receivers in the offense will be. Breshad Perriman ($4,500) is the only other guy that’s gotten remotely consistent volume at any point this season.
If Scott Miller ($3,000) is ruled out, then that opens up opportunities for Justin Watson ($3,700) but if they’re both active, I’m not interested in either.
Spread: -3 vs Houston | Total: 51
I’m sick of writing about how Derrick Henry ($8,500) somehow continues to get there on DraftKings despite being a non-factor in the passing game. So, I’d rather talk about the breakout we’re seeing from A.J. Brown ($6,000) at the moment. While the targets have been up-and-down in this Titans’ offense, the production has not.
Brown has seen the 55th most targets among wide receivers but has scored the 29th most PPR points in the league so far. A lot of that has to do with his YAC, where he’s ranked second among all pass-catchers. Brown is at the highest price he’s seen all year, but the passing part of this Titans attack seems like it’s going through him for the foreseeable future.
Spread: +4.5 vs Philadelphia | Total: 40
Terry McLaurin ($5,300) is that girl in college that has an on-again, off-again long-distance boyfriend. There are stages to the chase here.
- Stage 1 is you thinking she’s cute but knowing nothing about her.
- That’s the first three weeks of the season. McLaurin’s seeing all of these targets and you think he’s a sure thing.
- Stage 2 is you finding out she has a boyfriend, but he goes to a different college.
- That’s the injury and him missing the Giants game. You’re still interested … but you’re not sure how it’s going to turn out.
- Stage 3 is when you start to talk to her and she complains about her boyfriend for the first time … so you think there’s a chance.
- That’s the Dolphins game where he drops 29 DK points on seven targets.
- Stage 4 is the weekend that the boyfriend visits and you run into each other on campus and she ignored you.
- That’s the month where he struggled to break 10 DK points despite averaging seven targets per game during that stretch.
- We’re stuck in Stage 5. She started complaining about him again and you think there’s some hope but you’re unsure.
- He’s shown flashes, but he’s largely been held back by the QB and in a more macro sense the philosophy of the offense.
And it will end the same way it always does — you will never play McLaurin on the right week and will live your life in regret always wondering about what could have been.