TipAndPick's: Tips and Picks, DK Edition

Cash game and GPP selections for DraftKings

For the uninitiated, playing daily games on DraftKings can be an enjoyable experience, but equally sobering is the fact that season-long knowledge does not always translate to success in the daily space.  FootballGuys will bring you a series of value- and strategic-based selections from a number of seasoned daily veterans throughout the NFL season.  Herein is another edition of “Tipandpick’s Tips and Picks,” where we will examine the salaries of players at each position on DraftKings and make value-based recommendations for both your cash games and tournaments.

Below you will find a list of recommended players for both formats.  GPP players generally have high-upside, but are too risky for cash games; cash game players are consistent with high fantasy floors.  In some instances, the value for a player is so strong, he may fall into both categories…let’s have a look.

QUARTERBACKS

GPP

Marcus Mariota (GPP only, Salary: $5800).  Until last week against a respectable Buffalo Bills defense, rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota had thrown multiple passing touchdowns in every one of his games this season. The flailing Miami Dolphins come to Nashville this Sunday and bring with them a defensive unit that has yielded significant fantasy points when they have faced a legitimate NFL quarterback this season. The Dolphins allowed Tyrod Taylor to score 24.3 fantasy points and 21.6 fantasy points to Blake Bortles; the Dolphins look good on paper because they largely shut down Kirk Cousins in Week 1 and Ryan Fitzpatrick was never asked to throw the ball in London because Chris Ivory did the heavy lifting that day. Furthermore, the Dolphins have only one sack all season, which means that Marcus Mariota should have all the time he needs to find open receivers.  Without much of a ground game to lean on, Mariota will be asked to score the bulk of the Titans' projected 23 points. Last week, we finally saw Mariota run the ball (5 rushes for 47 yards), which could bode well for his fantasy prospects moving forward, as we know he has the ability to break a long TD run at any time. With a modest $5800 salary, a 20-fantasy point performance would almost reach GPP value, allow you to spend the saved salary at other positions, and likely give you a player who is less than 5% owned in the process. 

Ryan Fitzpatrick (Primarily GPP, Salary: $5000).  Ryan Fitzpatrick is no world-beater, but he is offered at DraftKings' minimum salary and he has a fantastic matchup this weekend against the Washington Redskins. The Redskins will enter Sunday without both starting cornerbacks (Chris Culliver and DeAngelo Hall), but still boast a solid front seven that are allowing only 97 rushing yards per game and 2 rushing touchdowns all season. My suspicion is that the Jets take a pass-heavy approach and try to attack the Redskins where they are most vulnerable. Bolstering Fitzpatrick's fantasy prospects is the fact that Eric Decker appears to 100% for the first time since Week 2 when he suffered a knee sprain; the Redskins' backup cornerbacks will have no answer for Brandon Marshall or Eric Decker, who both have multiple touchdown upside. Because his name is Ryan Fitzpatrick, the Jets' QB will not be highly-owned, but he possesses immense upside in this matchup and is a fantastic GPP play for those reasons.

Colin Kaepernick (GPP only, Salary: $5000).  Colin Kaepernick is another quarterback option offered at minimum salary who will be underowned, but has significant upside against the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens will travel across the country, fresh off another shellacking at the hands of Josh McCown and the Browns; in fact, the Ravens have been soundly beaten by a number of quarterbacks this season, having given up > 30 fantasy points in three out of their five games (60%) this season. If we take a quick trip down Narrative Street, let's not forget that the 49ers two primary receivers (Torrey Smith and Anquan Boldin) are ex-Ravens, who would love nothing more than to sock it to the Ravens for letting them go over the past few years. All the pieces are in place for a strong showing by Kaeparnick, including a hobbled Carlos Hyde and a doubtful Reggie Bush; the only questions is whether or not Kaeparnick will take advantage?

CASH GAMES

Carson Palmer (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $6600).  Last Sunday, Carson Palmer had his worst fantasy week of the season (18.3 points), but he finished the day with a 154.2 quarterback rating. His opponent, the Detroit Lions, set up the Cardinals with short field position multiple times and the Cardinals had the game in-hand before halftime, which limited Palmer's pass attempts to 14 (likely to be a season-low). This week, Palmer will get a chance to chuck the ball a bit more against a Steelers secondary that has generated three different 25-fantasy point quarterbacks this season; since losing Troy Polamalu to retirement last season, the Steelers cornerbacks, already known to be poor, have been completely exploited and are now ProFootballFocus' 31st ranked coverage unit. Palmer needs 19 fantasy points to achieve cash game value against the Steelers, which is on par with his worst performance of the season...it's tough to see him doing anything less than that against this porous Pittsburgh secondary.

Sam Bradford (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $6000).  Generating fantasy points does not have to be pretty and Sam Bradford is evidence of that fact. Against the terrible Saints secondary last week, Bradford threw two interceptions in the endzone, but still escaped with an Eagles win and 22.6 DraftKings points. While the interceptions got the headlines, there were other interesting components of that Eagles-Saints game: the Eagles got back to running their no-huddle offense and Bradford continued to take chances on deep passes, something he did not do prior to Week 5. The combination of those two features raises Bradford's fantasy prospects dramatically because his opportunities will increase and the value of those opportunities is greater than it was when the majority of his passes were within 10 yards. Bradford's matchup this weekend is perfect, as it features a Giants defense that ranks dead-last in generating a pass rush and 27th in pass coverage (ProFootballFocus), while allowing a league-high 304.2 passing yards per game to this point in the season; furthermore, the Giants have one of the better rush defenses in the league (3.5 yards per carry; tied for 1st in the NFL), which might force the Eagles to air it out more often (pun intended). 

Andy Dalton (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $5700).  The Red Rocket is sizzling-hot entering Week 6--no quarterback in the NFL has more fantasy points this season than Andy Dalton and he will look to continue his massive 2015 campaign in Buffalo this Sunday. For their part, the Rex Ryan-led Bills have been defensively solid, if unspectacular, this season; they are allowing only 82.2 rushing yards per game (3.8 yards per carry) and have a +4 turnover ratio. Where the Bills have been susceptible is through the air--they have allowed 10 passing touchdowns and are yielding 274.0 passing yards per game (24th in the NFL). With Jeremy Hill struggling, Dalton will continue to look for Giovani Bernard, A.J. Green, Tyler Eifert, Marvin Jones, and even Mohamed Sanu (see below); individually, the Bills could match up against each of those players, but collectively, they will be too much for this Bills defense and the resultant mismatches will be exploited. Because the Bills are fairly stout against the run, I expect to see Dalton throw the ball more than 32-34 times, which should result in enough fantasy production to achieve value on his modest $5700 salary.

RUNNING BACKS

GPP

Marshawn Lynch (Primarily GPP, Salary: $6900).  Head coach Pete Carroll has gone on record saying that Marshawn Lynch will "play a lot" against the Panthers on Sunday. This news comes after Lynch missed the last two games with a hamstring issue and was questionable entering the weekend. Truthfully, the matchup is not attractive, as the Panthers are 6th in the league against the rush (92.0 yards per game) and will return All-Pro linebacker Luke Kuechly, who has missed three games on the league's concussion protocol. That, alone, will be enough to keep 95% of DFS players away from Lynch, but that is exactly why you should gravitate towards some exposure to Lynch in your GPP lineups this weekend. If he is only 5% owned, you have to ask yourself if he can achieve GPP value (~ 28 points) at least 5% of the time in this same matchup? Having watched Marshawn Lynch play in tougher matchups than this over the years, the answer (for me) is unequivocally 'Yes!' With the fourth highest team total on the weekend and a gamescript that favors the running game, Marshawn Lynch is a great GPP play this weekend for those willing to shoulder the risk.

Giovani Bernard (Primarily GPP, Salary: $4600).  Despite the coachspeak coming out of Cincinnati these days, Giovani Bernard is quickly supplanting Jeremy Hill as the lead running back in the Bengals offense. Since Week 1, Bernard has outsnapped Hill in every single game and is averaging four points less than Bernard thus far. The Bengals will travel to Buffalo to Ralph Wilson Stadium, where the Bills have been downright stingy against the run this season (3.8 yards per carry, 82.2 rushing yards per game); given the Bills' strong defense and Jeremy Hill's lack of production to this point in the season, we might see a heavy dose of Gio Bernard in the backfield because of his propensity to catch the ball. The Bills allowed Dion Lewis to rack up 6 catches for 98 yards (plus another 40 yards rushing and a touchdown) back in Week 2, which means that they can be susceptible to this type of running back. Bernard's price point is interesting because it is close enough to the aforementioned Dion Lewis that most people will roster Lewis over Bernard in GPP format; while Lewis has the higher floor, both have similar (25-point) upside, which makes Bernard the shark GPP play between the two options.

Lamar Miller (GPP only, Salary: $4300).  Nobody knows what is going to happen with the Dolphins in Tennessee this weekend, but the coaching change would almost have to ensure that the Dolphins try to run the ball more than the 26.4% of the time they have run the ball to this point in the season. In fact, it might be reasonable to expect that number to almost double against a Titans' front seven that is allowing 4.4 rushing yards per carry (tied for 25th in the league). Lest we forget that Lamar Miller rushed for 1000 yards last year and averaged > 5.0 yards per carry over the course of the season in 2014; if the new coaching staff decides to emphasize the run (or even value it), there is zero reason to think that Miller cannot run for 100 yards and a touchdown against the Titans, which would be enough to reach GPP value. Recency bias will dictate that Miller will be approximately 5% owned, which is absurd given that Miller scored at least 16 DraftKings' points in 9 out of 16 games last season (56%).

CASH GAMES

Matt Forte (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $7100).  Entering Sunday morning, things are dicey in Chicago--Alshon Jeffery, Eddie Royal, and Martellus Bennett are all questionable. The one star player on the Bears who is not dealing with an injury is Matt Forte. Forte, however, has been somewhat disappointing in fantasy circles since Week 1 when he scored 30.6 DraftKings points; since then, Forte has been the victim of poor quarterbacking (Jimmy Clausen), poor matchups (SEA and ARZ), and bad luck (29 touches and 155 all-purpose yards, but no scores against OAK). With the number of injuries facing the Bears this weekend, Forte could be asked to touch the ball 25-30 times; if that comes to fruition, Forte is a lock for 20 fantasy points using DraftKings' full PPR scoring system. He would need a combination of 100 all-purpose yards, 5 receptions, and a touchdown, all of which seems entirely reasonable given his expected volume and the plus matchup (Detroit is 27th in the league in rushing yardage allowed and 31st in rushing touchdowns allowed).

Eddie Lacy (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $6300).  Since opening the season with a 17.9 fantasy point performance, Eddie Lacy is another running back who has disappointed his fantasy owners in 2015. The reasons for Lacy's slow start are less clear (compared to Matt Forte); aside from an injury suffered in Week 2, Lacy has had ample opportunity to break out, but the Packers have not played him in more than 57.5% of the team's offensive snaps since opening weekend. Some might argue that the Packers were bring Lacy back slowly in games where they did not need him to win; others might intimate that Lacy has seen better days. My feeling is that Lacy is a bit of a slow starter, as he did not break 50 yards rushing until Week 5 last year, but went on to pile together over 1500 all-purpose yards and 13 touchdowns. This matchup would appear to be perfect for Lacy to break out of his slump, as the Chargers have given up 20 or more fantasy points to every RB they have faced in 2015; as the biggest favorites on the Vegas board with a 30-point team total, the Packers should rely heavily on Lacy, making him the perfect cash game play.

Dion Lewis (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $5800).  Dion Lewis has been off-the-charts good this season, averaging 20.5 DraftKings points per game. Lewis is playing 68.4% of the Patriots' offensive snaps and is averaging ~ 17 opportunities (carries plus targets) per game, which explains his production. This Sunday night, he will face off against a Colts' defense that has been decimated by Patriots' running backs over the past ~ 18 months (550+ rushing yards and 11 touchdowns over three games); there is little reason to believe that Bill Belichick will get away from trying to run the ball against the Colts, who are admittedly appear improved against the run (3.8 yards per carry, only 4 rushing touchdowns allowed in 2015). That said, the Colts have not played an offense like the Patriots all season and until last week, when they faced Arian Foster (who scored 20.8 points), they had not seen a running back of Lewis' caliber. Lewis is the Swiss Army knife of fantasy football because he can accumulate points in so many ways; if he were to struggle to gain yardage on the ground, the Patriots will look to get him the ball in space via the pass. Either way, Lewis should get ample opportunity to score the 17 points he needs to reach value for cash games on DraftKings.

Charcandrick West (Primarily cash format, Salary: $4000).  There are a lot of people questioning if Charcandrick West is indeed the bona fide beneficiary of the Jamaal Charles injury that landed him on the injured reserve last week. From everything I have observed, West will be the running back receiving the bulk of the work out of the Chiefs' backfield unless something drastic happens. First, West was spectacular in the preseason before getting concussed in the last game of the preseason; that was enough to keep him on the sidelines until Week 4, when he spelled Charles on multiple third downs. Since West returned, Knile Davis has seen the field for a grand total of 4 snaps. Four. Snaps. Footballguy Bob Henry feels that West is the clear cut better running back and there is no question that West will inherit the Charles' role in this offense. Others are stating that Knile Davis will see goalline carries, which makes sense since Davis is the bigger back, but on a full-PPR site like DraftKings, West's projected volume and ability to receive the ball out of the backfield make him the stronger play. Add in the fact that West comes at a $500 discount and he is a great cash game play against a Vikings defense allowing a generous 4.7 yards per carry in 2015.

WIDE RECEIVERS

GPP

Calvin Johnson (Primarily GPP, Salary: $7300).  At $7300, Calvin Johnson's salary is getting dangerously low. Most will look at his game logs and conclude that there just is not much tread-life left on the wheels of the 30-year old future Hall of Famer...but a deeper look into his game logs would show that Megatron has been the victim of poor matchups for most of the season. In Week 1, Johnson was subject to double coverage from the Chargers' 9th ranked passing defense (passing yards per game), but in Week 2, Johnson reemerged with a 24.3 fantasy point performance against the Vikings; since then, however, Johnson has endured some of the league's best coverage cornerbacks in the form of Bradley Roby/Aqib Talib (Week 3), Richard Sherman (Week 4), and Patrick Peterson (Week 5). Given that kind of All-Pro coverage, it is no wonder that the Lions' offense, which tends to run through Calvin Johnson, has stuttered. This week, Johnson will line up across from Bears' coverage cornerback Tracy Porter, who in limited action has struggled against lesser receivers this season. Only five receivers in the entire league have more targets than Calvin Johnson and none of them have less touchdowns; with questions in the Detroit backfield, look for Matthew Stafford to pepper Johnson with as many targets as he can handle against the Bears on Sunday.

Jordan Matthews (Primarily GPP, Salary: $6200).  After starting the season with a $7200 salary, Jordan Matthews' pricetag has plummeted alongside his performance (23.2 points in Week 1 to 9.4 points in Week 5). That said, Matthews continues to be the most heavily-targeted receiver on the Eagles (9.0 targets per game) and his matchup is second-to-none this Monday night at Lincoln Financial Field. When the 6'3" Matthews takes the field, he will line up across from the diminutive, 5'9" Trumaine McBride, who is giving up 6-inches to the Eagles slot receiver; McBride is the league's worst slot coverage cornerback on ProFootballFocus, having allowed 22 receptions on 28 targets into his coverage this season. With the improvements the Eagles have made over the past few weeks in their passing game, the pace in which they run, Matthews' fair salary, the plus matchup, and low ownership due to recency bias, JMatt makes for a keen GPP play this weekend.

Eric Decker (Primarily GPP, Salary: $4900).  After missing several weeks due to a sprained knee, Eric Decker returned two weeks ago and saw limited action against the Dolphins. With an extra week of rest during a Week 5 bye, Decker is reported to be 100% entering his Week 6 matchup against the Redskins. Speaking of the Redskins, they will be without both starting cornerbacks (DeAngelo Hall and Chris Culliver) for the second consecutive week, which means that both Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker should enjoy skill mismatches at the line of scrimmage. Decker will have a 5-inch height advantage over Kyshoen Jarrett and be a consistent threat in the redzone; Marshall will have an equally attractive matchup against Will Blackmon, who struggled against multiple Falcons' receivers last week. Decker gets the edge for two reasons: 1) because he has not played a complete game since Week 2 and for that reason will be lower-owned, and 2) he is offered at a $2200 discount to Marshall, yet has similar upside.

Mohamed Sanu (GPP only, Salary: $3200).  Mohamed Sanu is the first of two off-the-grid GPP wide receiver recommendations this week (Justin Hunter, below, is the second). Sanu is not here because of the volume he is going to receive on Sunday because he likely will not see more than 4-6 targets, but he does not need a lot of production to reach value for GPP's at his $3200 salary. Working out of the slot, Sanu will have a ridiculous 7-inch height advantage over his coverage cornerback Nickell Robey, who is only 5'7"; when the Bengals get into the redzone, I fully expect to see Sanu working his height advantage to generate touchdown opportunities that would not exist against taller cornerbacks. Sanu is tied for second on the team with six redzone targets on the season, so it would not be improbable for Sanu to score a touchdown this weekend with this matchup. If you roster Sanu, that is the bet you are making because his volume will not be sufficient to reach GPP value on catches/yardage alone, but if he does catch a touchdown, he will almost assuredly achieve > 4x value necessary to win GPP's.

Justin Hunter (GPP only, Salary: $3000).  A deep GPP flyer for consideration this week is the underwhelming Justin Hunter. Most fantasy football aficionados, particularly DFS players, have been burned by Justin Hunter too many times to count, which means that Hunter will be 1% owned (or less) on Sunday. Any player who is GPP-worthy and less than 1% owned deserves your attention for large contests because when they perform, you gain ground on nearly every person in that contest. In this instance, I think the game sets up nicely for a big performance from Justin Hunter for a number of reasons. First, the Tennessee backfield is a complete mess; there are too many mouths to feed and most Titans' fans will tell you that they are counting the days until David Cobb comes off the injured reserve next month. Next, Mariota should have all the time he needs to find an open receiver, as the Dolphins only have one sack on the season; extra time should favor a big-play receiver's skillset, such as Hunter. Lastly, Hunter will line up against Dolphins cornerback Jamar Taylor, who has allowed an opposing quarterback rating of 114.6 when passes are thrown into his coverage this season (ranked 101st out of 108 qualifying coverage cornerbacks on ProFootballFocus). Collectively, everything lines up for a positive performance from Justin Hunter, who at $3000, could boost your GPP lineups dramatically with minimal calculated risk.

CASH GAMES

DeAndre Hopkins (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $7700).  If you read from top-to-bottom, you have noticed that Arian Foster is not mentioned in this weeks "Tips and Picks." Why? Because I prefer DeAndre Hopkins' fantasy prospects in this matchup. The Jaguars rush defense is solid when Paul Posluszny is active (I discussed this last week when I recommended Doug Martin as a GPP play in Posluszny's absence), which should force the Texans to throw the ball more often than they might otherwise want. Enter DeAndre Hopkins, who has been the league's best receiver to this point in the season, if for no other reason, due to sheer volume. The third year receiver is on pace to accumulate 240 targets this season, which would shatter the previous record (held by Rob Moore at 208 targets in 1997). With an average of 14.8 targets per week, Hopkins has scored > 27 fantasy points in each of his previous three weeks; given his ridiculous volume in this offense, his floor would appear to be in the neighborhood of 20 fantasy points, putting him squarely in range for cash games.

Larry Fitzgerald (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $7000).  Larry Fitzgerald continues to be the star of the Cardinals' receiving corps and receives another nomination this week as a cash game play in this space. Last week, he managed 16.8 fantasy points in a game where the Cardinals basically shut down their passing game in the second half; this week should be different, as the Steelers have been abashedly competitive despite being without Ben Roethlisberger for another week or two. The Steelers' competitive nature is in spite of their defense, which has allowed 19 or more fantasy points to every WR1 they have faced this season (except Keenan Allen last week). Earlier this week, John Brown suffered a hamstring injury and, although he will start on Sunday, I tend to believe he will be used as a decoy because his strength lies in stretching the field; if Brown is minimized, expect an even larger role for Fitzgerald, who is already averaging 8.8 targets per game.  With a solid team total of 24 points (fourth highest on the week), you want exposure to the player(s) on that team who are used most often--there is no question that Larry Fitzgerald is that player.

Jeremy Maclin (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $6500).  The loss of Jamaal Charles will be felt through Kansas City this season, but Andy Reid will be expected to pick up the pieces and put together an offense that can be competitive without Charles. This season, Jeremy Maclin has been a boon to the Chiefs' passing offense, which did not throw a touchdown to a wide receiver for the entire 2014 campaign. Entering Week 6, Maclin is averaging 10.4 targets per game and should be in store for additional usage now that Jamaal Charles is no longer touching the ball 20+ times each game.  Maclin should line up across from Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes, who has been less than stellar this year, allowing an opposing quarterback rating of 112.9 when passes are thrown into his coverage. At $6000, Maclin needs only 18 fantasy points to achieve value, which is 8 catches for 100 yards without a score...or 6 catches for 60 yards and a touchdown...either way, both seem reasonable given the previous volume and expected uptick due to the loss of Jamaal Charles.

Kamar Aiken (Primarily cash games, Salary: $4300).  Kamar Aiken appeared in this space last week and he reached cash game value despite Justin Forsett stealing most of the fantasy points to be had on the Ravens' side of things (Forsett was also recommended). This week, Steve Smith is still nursing cracked ribs, which means that Aiken will again resume the WR1 role against the 49ers, who have the worst-rated pass coverage unit in football through five weeks (ProFootballFocus). Meanwhile, Justin Forsett tweaked an ankle last week during overtime and is questionable to play this weekend; if Forsett does not play, Javorius Allen becomes very interesting for DFS circles, but Kamar Aiken could be the biggest beneficiary, as he would be the most senior ball handler on the entire Ravens' offense. You can expect Joe Flacco to try to expose the Niners' porous secondary and Aiken will be his first look on most plays; with a modest salary, Aiken only needs 13 points to reach value and rostering him allows you to beef up your other positions with the extra remaining salary.

Cecil Shorts (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $3200).  Do not cheat--how many targets was Cecil Shorts averaging before he was injured in Week 4? I would be willing to wager that 80% of those reading this article would not have guessed anything near 9.8 targets per game! That's right...Cecil Shorts was being heavily-targeted prior to his shoulder dislocation, but nobody noticed because we were all too busy watching the quarterback controversy in Houston, DeAndre Hopkins' massive usage, and awaiting the return of Arian Foster; meanwhile, Cecil Shorts was putting together one solid game after the next (9.7, 9.4, 11.8, and 19.7 fantasy points, respectively). Just a few paragraphs above, I explained why I think the Texans' passing game is preferred to Arian Foster and Cecil Shorts is part of that thought process; his salary is ridiculously cheap for the type of volume that he was seeing just a few weeks ago...there is no reason to think that volume will diminish against the Jaguars this week. Shorts makes for a great cash game and GPP play this week because his value is fantastic and he will be completely overlooked by the masses.

TIGHT ENDS

GPP

Travis Kelce (Primarily GPP, Salary: $5000).  With the loss of Jamaal Charles to the injured reserve list this past week, the Chiefs are going to have a gaping void to fill in their offense. Charcandrick West and Knile Davis will certainly get increased usage out of the backfield, but Travis Kelce could be another beneficiary because Charles was averaging 6.0 targets per game that will have to be distributed elsewhere. Kelce has been inconsistent this year, with fantasy games ranging from 6.5 to 31.6 points scored, but it would not be surprising to see him become a more integral part of the Chiefs offense in the absence of Jamaal Charles; the talented tight end is averaging 6.8 targets per game and becomes the de facto #1 redzone target in this offense, which makes him an ideal GPP selection on a weekend where Rob Gronkowski and Antonio Gates will be garnering all the attention (i.e., ownership).

Tyler Eifert (Primarily GPP, Salary: $4900).  Tyler Eifert demonstrated last week why he is a member of the upper echelon of tight ends in the NFL at this point in his career. Eifert is averaging 7.2 targets per game (5th of all qualifying tight ends) and has more touchdowns than any tight end in the league. The Bills represent a worse matchup than one might like, but they allowed a 7/113/1 day to Rob Gronkowski for 27.3 points earlier this season, so the upside it there. Like Travis Kelce, Eifert makes for an ideal GPP play because the masses will be spending on either Rob Gronkowski and/or Antonio Gates, which should mean that Eifert (and Kelce) will be less than 10% owned while possessing multiple touchdown upside.

Zach Ertz (Primarily GPP, Salary: $2900).  Through five games, Zach Ertz is averaging only 3 catches per game with 30.8 yards receiving, which is good enough for 6.3 DraftKings points per game. Unappealing, right? And that is exactly what Zach Ertz is a great GPP play this week--he will be less than 5% owned, but the matchup and situation is the best Ertz has seen this season. First, his opponent, the Giants have allowed no less than 11.6 points to opposing TE1's all season, which makes them the worst in the league in covering the position. Next, the Eagles offense, as discussed above, is starting to click and Ertz is the 2nd most targeted receiver in the Philadelphia offense. Lastly, Ertz' salary of $2900 means that he needs only 12 fantasy points to reach GPP value, which is a low bar to achieve considering the Eagles have the 3rd highest team total on the weekend slate.

CASH GAMES

Antonio Gates (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $4600).  In last week's edition of "Tips and Picks," I recommended Antonio Gates as a GPP play and he repaid your loyalty by scoring 30.2 DraftKings points against the Steelers on his first game back from a PED suspension. Philip Rivers looked to Gates often (11 targets) and targeted him twice inside the redzone, resulting in a pair of touchdowns for the veteran tight end. For his part, Gates appears to have lost weight in the off-season and looked rejuvenated in his limited snaps (43/76 for 56.6%) on Monday night. The 35-year old tight end has a tougher matchup against the Packers in Lambeau this week, but the gamescript sets up nicely for a lot of Chargers' passing due to the fact that they are 10-point underdogs and will likely be playing from behind for most of the game; assuming Vegas is correct, Gates could be called upon even more often than last week, as he will assuredly play more than 56.6% of the snaps. At $4600, Gates falls into the higher tier of pricing for tight ends, but his floor would appear to be 4-6 catches for 40-60 yards, which would be almost enough to reach cash game value without scoring a touchdown; at 6'4", Gates is also the biggest redzone threat the Chargers will put on the field, which boosts his value even further.

Richard Rodgers (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $3100).  Since Andrew Quarless suffered a knee injury and was put on injured reserve in Week 4, Richard Rodgers' role in Green Bay has been ballooning. Rodgers is tied with Randall Cobb for the most targets (x 14) to a receiver from Aaron Rodgers over the past two weeks and has pulled in 11 of those targets for 90 yards and a touchdown. The Packers have the second highest implied team total on the weekend at 30 points, which means that there should be plenty of opportunity for Richard Rodgers to accrue solid fantasy numbers. At $3100, he needs only 9 points to reach cash game value, a number he has obtained in both of the games he has played since Quarless was injured.

DEFENSES

GPP

Packers (Primarily GPP, Salary: $3200).  The Packers' defensive inefficiency is their ability to stop the run, which, unfortunately for the Chargers, has been the one part of their offense which has not gotten off the ground through the first third of the season. Philip Rivers has been fantastic thus far, keeping the Chargers in contention in every game, but this matchup might be too much for the Chargers to handle, as the Packers enter this game as 10-point favorites on what is a short week for the Chargers, who just lost a heart-breaker on Monday Night Football. Moreover, the Chargers have allowed four out of five opposing defenses to score double-digit fantasy points against them this season. Lastly, only four teams are projected to score less points than the Chargers this Sunday, all of which bodes well for the Packers defense.

Patriots (Primarily GPP, Salary: $3100).  As of the writing of this article, Andrew Luck is questionable to play against the Patriots on Sunday Night Football. With Luck playing, the Patriots are a GPP play; if Matt Hasselbeck draws the start, the Patriots move immediately to cash game territory. Truthfully, the Patriots' defense is not a stellar unit; instead, they benefit from their opponents being forced to become one-sided (passing) and trying to force plays that often result in sacks and quarterback miscues. Andrew Luck has been prone to many of those miscues this season and Hasselbeck is a backup quarterback for that very reason, so the Patriots could be an interesting GPP play when most others are rostering the safer defenses like the Broncos and Jets.

Bengals (Primarily GPP, Salary: $3000).  The Bengals are in Buffalo to play the Bills this week and their quest for an undefeated season took a turn for the better when Tyrod Taylor was announced as inactive Saturday afternoon. Simply put, the Bills offense flourished under Taylor and I fully expect them to come out flat on Sunday against a Bengals team that can do no wrong right now. EJ Manuel has never demonstrated that he can excel within this offense and there is no reason to believe that will change with an hobbled LeSean McCoy and no Karlos Williams to take the pressure off him on Sunday.

CASH GAMES

Seahawks (Cash & GPP formats, Salary: $3800).  Taking the Seahawks' defense at home has been a consistently lucrative decision for DFS players for the past several years. In fact, the Seahawks defense has scored double-digit points in three out of five games and trails only the Broncos and Cardinals in points per game. Against a Panthers' team with no strong wide receivers, this would appear to be another good spot, if you have the excess salary to spare after rostering your skill players.

Broncos (Cash & GPP formats, Salary: $3700).  The Broncos may stay in this section for the duration of the season; they were here last week and scored 22 fantasy points for anybody who was willing to pay their higher-than-average salary. They are the most consistent team defense in fantasy football, having scored at least 10 points in every game this season; for that reason alone, they are probably the best cash game play on the board this weekend. If that is not enough to convince you, the Broncos are ranked 1st in the league with 22 sacks this season, while the Browns are the 30th ranked team in sacks allowed...it could be a long day for Josh McCown

Jets (Cash & GPP formats, Salary:  $3100).  At the lower end of the salary scale, you could do worse than rostering the Jets against Kirk Cousins and the Redskins this weekend. The Redskins have allowed opposing defenses to score double-digit fantasy points against them in three out of five games this season and we know that Kirk Cousins is always prone to throwing a pick-six. With an extra week to prepare, look for the Jets to come out with a gameplan that puts pressure on Cousins and forces him to make mistakes; Vegas agrees that this is a possibility, as no team has a lower team total than Washington in Week 6.

 

For last-minute advice, player decisions, and injury news on Sunday morning, tune into the “NFL Gameday” webcast at 11:30 AM (EST) on RotoGrinders Live, where John “tipandpick” Lee, Justin "stlcardinals84" Van Zuiden, and Dean “Dean78904” Shavelson will analyze all NFL games every week.   You can find the webcast at:  https://rotogrinders.com/live.  All other daily fantasy questions can be directed to John’s Twitter page at: https://twitter.com/tipandpick