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.
CASH GAME PLAYS
Cam Newton (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $7,900). Most people will be excited about playing Cam Newton simply because he has a great matchup that has resulted in the Panthers having the highest implied team total on the Vegas board this weekend. There are other reasons to consider paying a premium for Newton, the primary of which is gameflow. Despite building an early lead and never having that lead threatened, the Chip Kelly-led 49ers ran a remarkable number of plays (77) from the line of scrimmage last week, a rate equivalent to one play every 25.18 seconds; that ranked only behind the Browns (24.31), Bengals (25.12), and Colts (25.14), all of whom were trailing for a significant portion of their respective games. This quick tempo should yield extra opportunities for the Panthers' offense, an offense that scored 20 points against the defending Super Bowl champs in their house last week. With ten days to prepare for this matchup and the Niners coming off a short week for an early game on the East coast, this has all the makings of a blowout and Cam Newton should have his hand in all facets of the Panthers offense.
Trevor Siemian (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $5,200). With questions abound entering his NFL debut in Week #1, Trevor Siemian silenced his critics with a come-from-behind victory against one of the better defensive units in the league, the Carolina Panthers. Siemian was not flashy, but he was efficient, completing 18 of his 26 attempts for 178 yards and a touchdown (11.12 DraftKings points). This week, Siemian will face the Colts, who field the antithesis of the Carolina defensive unit he saw last Thursday. In their home opener, the injury-riddled Colts defense was gouged for 456 total yards and 5 touchdowns by the visiting Lions; while the Colts will return a few of their missing defensive starters this week, they are still lacking a considerable number of players including perennial All-Pro cornerback, Vontae Davis. The Broncos will surely take a run-first approach to this game, but Siemian will get a chance to carve up this battered defense as a cut-rate price point, which is why he appears in this space. At $5.2K, he needs only ~ 15 fantasy points to reach value for cash game format; given the Broncos' 26-point implied team total, the likelihood of Siemian finishing in that scoring threshold against this defense is quite high.
Also eligible: Carson Palmer ($6,900)
DeAngelo Williams (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $7,100). The 'not-so-secret' secret to winning cash game roster construction is to combine opportunity with matchup. DeAngelo Williams represents the pinnacle of that intersection this week against the Bengals, who were gashed for 151 rushing yards (5.1 yards per carry) by the Jets' Matt Forte and Bilal Powell last Sunday. Meanwhile, Williams received 26 carries and another 9 targets in the passing game against the Redskins, en route to a 171 all-purpose yard performance that was highlighted by a pair of touchdowns. This week, only two games have a higher Vegas total than this Steelers-Bengals matchup, which should yield some fireworks from both teams. With LeVeon Bell returning in a few weeks and no reason to save DeAngelo Williams' legs, you can expect Williams to touch the ball 25+ times once again; his scoring floor is in the neighborhood of 20 fantasy points, but his ceiling is arguably double that number.
C.J. Anderson (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $6,800). Patience is a virtue. All the pieces are finally in place for C.J. Anderson to have the type of fantasy year many of us expected from him in 2014 and 2015. Anderson's fantasy output has been hampered by the presence of Peyton Manning, who clashed with Gary Kubiak's run-heavy mindset, not to mention Ronnie Hillman, who managed to cannibalize enough carries from Anderson to make both fantasy underperformers. This season, both Manning and Hillman are gone and Anderson is primed to take advantage of his opportunity. In his first game as an every down starter, Anderson collected 20 carries for 92 yards and a touchdown while also catching 4 passes for 47 yards and a receiving touchdown. It should also be mentioned that this performance was against a Panthers' front seven that ranked 4th in the league last year against the rush (88.4 yards per game). There will be far less of a defense on the gridiron this weekend in Denver because (as discussed above) the visiting Colts are fielding a decimated crew of defenders that bled out 236 all-purpose yards and four touchdowns to the Lions' lesser-talented running backs (Ameer Abdullah and Theo Riddick) in Week #1.
A.J. Green (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $8,900). There are a number of legitimate options at the top tier of wide receivers this week, namely Odell Beckham Jr. and Antonio Brown. Both Beckham and Brown are going to be highly-owned and for good reason: Beckham has a glorious matchup against a Saints' secondary that was throttled for 319 passing yards last week and Brown is averaging 12 targets per game since the end of 2013. A.J. Green, however, is slightly cheaper than both of those options and has a similar scoring floor/upside against the Steelers. Green received 13 targets last weekend against the Jets, where he caught 12 of them for 180 yards and a touchdown. We should expect more of the same this Sunday because Tyler Eifert has already been announced as 'out,' leaving Green to compete with the likes of Brandon LaFell and C.J. Uzomah for targets in the Bengals' passing game. Over the course of his career, Green has excelled against Pittsburgh, averaging 12.3 targets, 6.9 receptions, 93.7 receiving yards, and 0.6 touchdowns per game (19.9 points per game). This is another great matchup for Green, as the Steelers are coming off a short week of preparation that saw them yield 329 passing yards to Kirk Cousins on Monday night, which was the 5th most passing yards allowed by a team in Week #1.
Jarvis Landry (Cash games only, Salary: $6,400). This Sunday, Adam Gase's Miami Dolphins will fly to Foxborough to take on Bill Belichick's Patriots and, based on the Vegas odds (NE -7), we should probably expect the Patriots to easily win this contest. Assuming that is how the game plays out, Jarvis Landry could be in a prime spot for a solid fantasy day on full-PPR sites like DraftKings because the implied gamescript would involve a lot of passing from Ryan Tannehill. Last week, the Patriots were diced apart by Larry Fitzgerald running out of the slot in Phoenix (8 receptions, 82 yards, 2 touchdowns), while largely holding in check the remainder of the Cardinals' receiving corps. In line with that observation, Landry should also thrive out of the slot and pick up plenty of opportunity for short receptions. The only drawback to rostering Landry is that his upside is limited, as evidenced by only 9 touchdowns in 33 career games; that said, Landry is averaging 15.5 DraftKings points over the course of his career when the Dolphins are trailing. If the Pats' slot coverage is as vulnerable as last week indicated, Landry could easily reach the 3x value needed to legitimize him as a cash game wide receiver.
Tajae Sharpe (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $4,100). Tajae Sharpe is 2-for-2 in making an appearance in "Tips and Picks" this season. The 5th round UMass draft pick was the focal point of the Titans' passing game last weekend, picking up 7 receptions and 76 yards on 11 targets in his NFL debut. His 14.6 fantasy points easily reached value across multiple formats for his site-minimum $3K salary. DraftKings has raised his salary to $4.1K this weekend against the Lions, but it is still not high enough to keep him from being a viable cash game option. His opponent, the Lions, allowed 368 yards passing to the Colts last week (2nd most in NFL) while Andrew Luck threw 47 passes to try to get his team back into contention for the win. A Mike Mularkey-led team will probably not throw the ball 47 times all season, but they are going to pass in this effort because Vegas projects Tennessee to be playing from behind as 7-point underdogs. Assuming that happens, there is no reason to think that Tajae Sharpe will not finish with a similar stat line to last week, which would be more than enough production for his pittance of a salary.
Delanie Walker (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $4,500). As the Colts scrambled to come back from an early 21-3 deficit last week against the Lions, they found success when targeting their tight ends, Dwayne Allen and Jack Doyle, who collectively finished the afternoon with 7 receptions for 108 yards and 3 touchdowns. The tight end the Colts will face this weekend is far more talented than Allen and Doyle, not to mention that he is a much more integral aspect of his team's offense; that tight end is Delanie Walker, who was the 4th highest scoring fantasy player at the position in 2015. In his last seven games of 2015, Walker averaged 11 targets, 7 receptions, 82.9 receiving yards, and 0.4 touchdowns per game (17.7 points per game), an elite rate of usage for the tight end position. He stumbled out of the block last week against the Vikings, who field an underrated defensive unit; this is a stellar spot for a rebound performance from Walker, a top play at the position in Week #2.
Virgil Green (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $2,800). At the University of Nevada, Virgil Green was about as productive as tight ends can be at the collegiate level. The 6'3", 250-pound tight end played three years at Nevada with Colin Kaepernick as his quarterback, collecting 72 receptions for 939 yards and 11 touchdowns. Drafted in the 7th round of the 2011 NFL draft by the Broncos, Green was almost immediately relegated to become a blocking tight end behind names like Jacob Tamme, Joel Dreesen, and Julius Thomas. A year removed from barely using the tight end in their passing attack, Gary Kubiak has vowed to get the position more involved in the 2016 season and Virgil Green is the likely beneficiary of that edict. Last week against the Panthers, Green played 41 snaps, picked up 4 receptions for 28 yards, just missed a touchdown, and scored 6.8 DraftKings points in the process. This Sunday, he will face a Colts defense that allowed Eric Ebron to score over 15 fantasy points a week ago. If you want to pay up for Cam Newton, Virgil Green might represent some salary relief to enable that decision.
Also eligible: Jacob Tamme ($2,900)
Panthers (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $3,900). The only question about rostering the Panthers in cash games this weekend is whether their salary can be fit into your roster. The no-brainer defensive choice of the weekend, the Panthers should have no trouble shutting down this Niners offense that scored 28 points on Monday Night Football against the Rams. Blaine Gabbert and Carlos Hyde will try to recapture that Monday night magic, but they will not be facing the Rams, nor will they be at home in this matchup. Instead, they will have a short week to prepare for Cam Newton and company, who have an extra three days of rest and preparation coming off the Thursday night game last week. Likewise, San Francisco will have to travel cross-country to play at 1 PM (EST) game against this defense that is itching to get a win under their belt after letting one slip away to the Broncos in their season opener. In that effort, the Panthers sacked Trevor Siemian twice, intercepted him twice, and recovered a fumble, which is probably the minimum that we should expect to see against Blaine Gabbert in Charlotte this Sunday.
Patriots (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $3,000). To save a bit of salary, you might consider the Patriots at home against the Dolphins. When these two teams met last year at Foxborough, the Pats torched the Dolphins 36-7 in a Thursday Night matchup; Ryan Tannehill was sacked five times, threw a pair of interceptions, and fumbled in the endzone to give the Patriots a safety, all of which led to a 15-fantasy point performance from the Pats. In their season debut, the Dolphins were only able to muster 10 points against the Seahawks in a closely-contested battle in Seattle and Tannehill was, once again, sacked five times. While Seattle's defense has a better reputation than New England's unit, the Patriots held a potent Arizona offense to 21 points in their home field last weekend, an indication that they might also have a fairly strong defense entering their 2016 campaign.
Drew Brees (Salary: $8,200). The most expensive quarterback available, Drew Brees' ownership will be negatively affected simply because his name is at the top of the list during roster construction on DraftKings this week. Many DFS players will scroll past him towards names like Cam Newton, Eli Manning, and Carson Palmer, all of whom are cheaper and have attractive matchups. Others will also argue that Drew Brees is not the same caliber of quarterback on the road as he is in New Orleans, but Brees' numbers on the road are still elite. The veteran has averaged 298.6 passing yards per game on the road over the previous two years and 1.7 touchdowns per game; while those numbers are slightly lower than his output in the Superdome (340 yards and 2.5 touchdowns per game), they still represent substantial fantasy output. This weekend, Brees will face a Giants secondary that was gouged for 289.9 passing yards per game last season (worst in the NFL) and was FootballOutsiders' 28th ranked pass defense (DVOA metric). To be fair, the Giants looked much improved last Sunday against the Cowboys, but Dak Prescott is not Drew Brees. With a Vegas total of 53.5 points, this matchup appears to be this week's version of either Colts-Lions or Saints-Raiders, so you will definitely want a piece of it. Most people are going to be stacking Eli Manning with Odell Beckham Jr., but it is the Saints who are 5-point underdogs and could be playing from behind, which increases the likelihood of a 300-yard performance for Drew Brees at modest ownership.
Blake Bortles (Salary: $6,700). A game that is being overlooked in DFS circles this weekend is the Jaguars-Chargers game in San Diego. The Jaguars continue to carry the stigma of being a bad offense despite their quarterback finishing as the QB3 in season-long fantasy last season (behind only Cam Newton and Tom Brady). Blake Bortles averaged 38 passing attempts per game last season (6th in NFL) and his 35 passing touchdowns were second in the league behind only Tom Brady. This weekend, Bortles will travel to sunny San Diego to take on a Chargers secondary that is led by Jason Verrett, a rising star amongst NFL cornerbacks. Beyond Verrett, however, the Chargers do not have the personnel to match up with the Jags' receivers. Verrett will presumably focus on Allen Robinson, but Verrett rarely enters the slot and Robinson runs about one-third of his plays from that area of the field; meanwhile, both Allen Hurns and Julius Thomas should enjoy positive matchups against their respective defenders. With Chris Ivory's status being announced as "out" on Friday, that leaves T.J. Yeldon as the three down running back again this week. Yeldon disappointed with only 1.8 yards per carry on 21 carries last week, so it would not be surprising to see the Jags lessen his carries to some degree while trying to work him into the passing game a bit more on Sunday. Lastly, the Chargers offense, despite losing Keenan Allen for the year, is still capable of keeping this game close, which should amount to a lot of fantasy potential for Bortles at ownership levels that are less than names like Eli Manning and Carson Palmer.
Philip Rivers (Salary: $6,400). It's ironic that after Keenan Allen's season-ending injury, everybody seems to be scrambling to exploit the overflow value in the Chargers' receiving corps (Travis Benjamin and Tyrell Williams), yet there has not be a lot of talk in the DFS world about Philip Rivers. Rivers will get his first home game of the year against the Jacksonville Jaguars, who have been a "funnel defense" for the past few seasons; a funnel defense is one where the opposing offense is forced to 'funnel' their plays towards either the pass or the run because the defense is strong in one aspect, but weak in the other. The Jaguars' run defense has been strong as long as Paul Posluzny is on the field (17th DVOA in 2015), but have struggled to defend the pass (31st DVOA in 2015). Last weekend, Melvin Gordon finally got into the endzone twice for the first touchdowns of his career after nearly 200 rushing attempts. To expect him to do the same again this weekend against a solid Jacksonville front seven feels unlikely, which means that Rivers should be involved early and often in reaching the Chargers' 25-point implied team total. Rivers has four strong receiving options including Antonio Gates, Danny Woodhead, and the two aforementioned wide receivers, all of whom could contribute to a big day from last year's second-ranked yardage leader.
Lamar Miller (Salary: $7,200). This selection is all about Lamar Miller's salary. He is priced just above the two (likely) highest-owned running backs of the week, C.J. Anderson and DeAngelo Williams. With ~ $7K to spend, DFS players will have a choice of Anderson, Miller, or Williams and ~ 90% of them are going to choose either Anderson or Williams because of their strong Week #1 performances and projected Week #2 fantasy output. That, however, does not mean that the rest of us should ignore Lamar Miller, who quietly saw 32 touches last week against the Bears en route to 117 all-purpose yards, but did not reach paydirt. Any time a running back is seeing that kind of volume, we should be paying attention. Over the past few seasons in Miami, Miller has been a frustrating running back to own because he was excellent when he was on the field (4.6 yards per carry), but the Dolphins' staff rarely gave him enough opportunity (10.5 carries per game). Since arriving in Houston, opportunity has never been in question, as Bill O'Brien has given Miller his assurance that he will get as many touches as he can handle. Miller and the Texans will host the Chiefs, who were thrashed for 151 yards (3rd worst in NFL) and a pair of touchdowns by Melvin Gordon and company last weekend; if the Chiefs' ground defense is as bad as it appeared against the Chargers, this could be an excellent spot for Miller to end up with multiple touchdowns himself.
Rashad Jennings (Salary: $5,600). DFS game strategy largely dictates that when the field does one thing, you should do the other in GPP contests. This weekend, the entire DFS world is going to be stacking Eli Manning with Odell Beckham Jr. because they are facing a Saints secondary that amazingly got worse after it was revealed that Delvin Breaux broke his fibula in last week's debacle against the Raiders. Certainly, there is merit to rostering that combination because both have immense upside in this matchup, but at ~ 30% ownership, the shark move might be to leverage against Manning/Beckham and pivot to the Giants' running game. Rashad Jennings could represent the player you want in the pivot; he received 18 carries last week against the Cowboys and even a couple of looks in the passing game, but did not score a touchdown, so he is not in the spotlight on the Giants offense...for now. His matchup against the Saints is far better than what he saw against the Cowboys because the Saints, for all their issues in the secondary, could actually be as bad up front; New Orleans lost their nose tackle and key outside linebacker in the preseason, which resulted in a 26-carry, 167-yard, and 3-touchdown game for Raiders running backs last Sunday. All the pieces are there for a big day for Jennings at low ownership, so do not be afraid to make a few tournament rosters with him to leverage the high ownership associated with Eli and Odell.
Jonathan Stewart (Salary: $5,400). Speaking of leverage and being contrarian, how about Jonathan Stewart? Despite gamescript working against him in Week #1, Stewart still finished the evening with 15 carries for 64 yards (4.3 yards per carry) against a stout Broncos' front seven. The knock on Stewart in this offense is that Cam Newton vultures many of his rushing touchdowns and there is some truth to that notion, as Cam had 10 to Stewart's 6 rushing touchdowns last season. That said, the Panthers are big 13.5-point favorites in this matchup and Cam was beaten around by the Broncos defense in Week #1, so Ron Rivera could elect to pull the reins back on Cam a bit and let Stewart do the heavy lifting against the Niners. Last season, Stewart saw 17 or more touches in 77% of his games, a stark reminder that Stewart is a key component of this potent Panthers offense. His matchup against the Niners is far better than most people think after they held Todd Gurley to 47 rushing yards on national television Monday night; the Niners were the 4th worst team against the rush (126.2 yards per game) last season, allowing a league-high 20 rushing touchdowns. San Francisco will not be able to stack the box against Cam, as they did with Case Keenum, which should open up more holes for Stewart than we saw for Gurley on Monday night. At predicted ownership levels less than 10%, Stewart should be on your GPP radar this weekend for all of these reasons.
LeGarrette Blount (Salary: $4,000). It is always difficult to justify rostering a Patriots running back because we just never know exactly what Bill Belichick is going to do on any given Sunday. As touchdown favorites at home against the Dolphins, it would appear that the gamescript sets up favorably for LeGarrette Blount in this matchup. Last season, the Dolphins were tied for the 4th worst defensive rushing unit (126.2 yards per game) in the league, but showed improvement in Week #1 against the Seahawks, where they held Christine Michael and Thomas Rawls to only 3.5 yards per carry on 32 attempts, indicating that they may have shored up their front seven over the off-season. That said, Blount assuredly faced a much more stout defensive front last week against the Cardinals and he still looked strong, finishing the day with 22 carries for 70 yards and a touchdown. If Blount sees 20+ touches again this weekend at a pedestrian $4K salary with the implied gamescript, he should be on 10-20% of your GPP rosters because he has multiple touchdown upside and the low opportunity cost affords you roster flexibility at other positions.
DeAndre Hopkins (Salary: $8,700). The box score from last week shows that DeAndre Hopkins had a respectable, but far from stellar day against the Bears. He finished the afternoon with 5 receptions (8 targets), 54 receiving yards, and a touchdown for 16.4 DraftKings points, underperforming his $8.8K price tag. If you watched the game, however, you would know that he had several near-misses for additional yardage (i.e., questionable offensive pass interference call, etc.) and also dropped a would-be touchdown pass from Brock Osweiler. If a few things had worked out in Hopkins' favor, he could have easily finished the afternoon with almost double his actual fantasy points and he would be a favorite wide receiver in DFS circles entering Week #2. That, however, plays to our advantage because whoever is spending a lot of money at the WR position will gravitate towards Odell Beckham Jr. and his matchup against the Saints or Antonio Brown against the Bengals or even A.J. Green facing the Steelers, all of which will leave DeAndre Hopkins extremely underowned given his upside. Hopkins will face off against a Chiefs secondary that has performed well over the past year, but also lost their best coverage cornerback, Sean Smith, in the off-season; their Week #1 performance against the pass looks good on paper, but do not forget that the Chargers jumped out to an early lead and got away from the aerial attack for the better part of that game. Bottom line is that Hopkins ownership levels are going to be far too low given his price point versus names like Beckham, Green, and Brown, not to mention that Will Fuller has garnered the attention of the masses at only $4.2K; if Hopkins has the type of game we know that he can, you are going to get him at less than 5% owned.
Jordan Matthews (Salary: $6,900). Carson Wentz appeared in this article last week as a cash game play and he rewarded anybody who rostered him with a 19.22 DraftKings point performance at a site-minimum salary. In fairness, Wentz was facing a Browns defense that will be a the whipping boy of many quarterbacks this season, but finding and exploiting value is the essence of DFS. The biggest beneficiary of Wentz' strong NFL debut was Jordan Matthews, who was targeted a whopping 14 times (38% of Wentz' pass attempts); Matthews finished the day with 7 receptions for 114 yards and a touchdown en route to 27.5 DraftKings points. The Eagles will travel to Chicago to take on the Bears on Monday Night Football and we have to consider going back to JMatt in this matchup strictly because of the implied volume he should see in this matchup. First off, Zach Ertz is extremely unlikely to play, which could mean even more action is diverted to Matthews; sure, Brent Celek will get some looks, but the 31-year old tight end has seen less and less time on the field over the past few years for a reason. Next, Matthews should see plenty of cornerback Bryce Callahan from the slot and Callahan was one of ProFootballFocus' lower-ranked coverage cornerbacks in his rookie season last year; furthermore, Callahan has been nursing a groin injury all week and is one bad step from being replaced by a backup cornerback. Basically, this one comes down to opportunity...it is difficult to envision Nelson Agholor and/or Brent Celek stealing enough targets from Jordan Matthews to make him a bad play on Monday night against subpar Bears' personnel.
Emmanuel Sanders (Salary: $6,000). With Demaryius Thomas dealing with a hip injury that was originally reported to cause him to miss this week's game (he will likely play), Emmanuel Sanders could be called upon to fill the void as the Broncos' WR1. The matchup could not be better for Sanders because the Vontae Davis-less Colts were thumped by the Lions' passing game last week to the tune of 332 yards and 3 touchdowns; Davis, and a number of other Colts' defensive starters, will also miss this game, which means that all Broncos receivers are squarely in play. Sanders is coming off a disappointing home opener, logging only 5 catches (8 targets) for 49 yards, which will keep him off many DFS rosters this weekend. That said, Sanders is the prototype of a GPP play because of his volatile, high-upside scoring history; last season, Sanders had eight games with less than 15 fantasy points, but six games with more than 20 fantasy points. Certainly an argument could be made that this game will be all about C.J. Anderson against the Colts' front seven, but if Andrew Luck can somehow jump out to an early lead (as Cam Newton did last week against this Broncos defense), that would mean good things for Sanders, particularly if the Broncos play it cautiously with Demaryius Thomas.
Michael Floyd (Salary: $5,900). The Tampa Bay Bucs defense was the definition of a "funnel defense" last week in Atlanta; they allowed 322 passing yards and a pair of touchdowns through the air, but stymied the Falcons' running game, holding them to 52 rushing yards on 22 attempts (2.4 yards per carry). Given that the Bucs had the league's 9th best rush defense (DVOA metric) last season and the league's 26th worst pass defense in 2015 (DVOA), it would appear that what we saw last week is a trend that will continue onward into the season. Michael Floyd is a sneaky GPP play this week because of the matchup, but also because most DFS players will look to the Cardinals' box score from Week #1 and see that Larry Fitzgerald was the WR1 against the Patriots. While that may be true, Michael Floyd still saw 7 targets and he faced better coverage than Fitzgerald saw out of the slot, which means that we may see a reversal of fortune this week in Phoenix. With Fitzgerald coming in at only a few hundred dollars more than Floyd, the DFS community will gravitate towards the future Hall-of-Famer, but the savvy GPP move is to roll with Floyd, who was targeted three times in the redzone last Sunday night, particularly because his ownership level will be half that of Fitzgerald.
Tyrell Williams (Salary: $3,700). One could argue that Tyrell Williams is a cash game play this weekend and that premise would not be unjustifiable at his $3.7K salary. Williams is the apple of many fantasy eyes right now, particularly because Keenan Allen's slew of targets will be redistributed to the receivers who are still healthy on that squad. Travis Benjamin and/or Danny Woodhead are the most likely possession receivers in this offense moving forward, but Tyrell Williams could be the big play, redzone receiver who collects fantasy points in bunches. At 6'4", Williams is significantly taller than both Benjamin and Woodhead, making him a bigger redzone threat (along with Antonio Gates), but his aDoT (average depth of target) in Week #1 was 16.6 yards, which implies that when Philip Rivers looks to go deep, it will be Williams who he targets. Williams' matchup against the Jaguars is also stellar, as the Jags are coming off a 2015 season that saw them field the league's 31st ranked pass defense (DVOA metric),
Gary Barnidge (Salary: $4,000). Although he will not state it publicly, nobody is happier about the injury to Robert Griffin III than Gary Barnidge. The injury to RG3 yields the Browns' starting quarterback position to Josh McCown, who made Barnidge a household name last season. Barnidge's splits with and without McCown are downright striking. Without McCown at the helm, Barnidge is averaging 1.6 receptions, 18.6 receiving yards, and 0.2 touchdowns per game (4.36 DraftKings points per game); with McCown playing quarterback, those numbers jump to 5.8 receptions, 80.1 receiving yards, and 0.8 touchdowns per game (18.26 DraftKings points per game), a remarkable 418% increase in production. There are, however, things working against Barnidge in this matchup, the primary of which is that Barnidge will probably be fairly high-owned, as most fantasy players with any degree of savvy know that McCown's presence increases Barnidge's fantasy relevance. Furthermore, the Ravens were the league's 4th best team against the tight end position in 2015, a statistic that argues against using Barnidge in cash games, but should not keep us away in tournament play.
Dennis Pitta (Salary: $2,800). One of the sneakier GPP plays in "Tips and Picks" this week, Dennis Pitta should be less than 5% owned across all formats, but possesses 5x-value upside against the Cleveland Browns. The Ravens' implied team total is approaching 26 points, yet they are coming off a week that saw them score only 13 at home against the Bills (who, incidentally, allowed 37 points to the Jets just a few nights ago). In essence, Vegas oddsmakers are telling us that we should expect some good things from an offense that looked largely pedestrian last Sunday. Looking over the game log, the Ravens took a balanced approach (33 passes versus 28 rushes) and distributed their touches fairly evenly across their skill personnel. In the receiving corps, Steve Smith saw the most targets (eight) followed by Mike Wallace (six) and Dennis Pitta (four). Of these options, both Smith and Wallace are priced in the mid-$4K range, while Pitta is offered up at near site-minimum at $2.8K. Inside the redzone, Pitta is going to be the obvious target of these three because, at 6'5", he towers over both Smith and Wallace, not to mention that he has an established rapport with Flacco, having played his entire career with him.
Seahawks (Salary: $3,800). Minimal justification should be necessary to convince anyone to roster the Seahawks defense against a Rams team that mustered 185 total yards of offense against the San Francisco 49ers on Monday night. Reports out of San Francisco are now stating that the Niners' defensive personnel knew ahead of time which plays were being run by the Rams due to the manner in which their skill players lined up, so one could argue that will help the Rams offense in Week #2; however, they will be facing a perennial elite defense in the form of the Seahawks who allowed only 10 points to an Adam Gase-led Dolphins offense just last week. Case Keenum threw a pair of interceptions in San Francisco last week and will face a far better secondary, led by Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor this Sunday. If we are to believe Vegas oddsmakers, who have projected the Seahawks to win this game by a touchdown, that would also imply that Keenum will be forced to air it out against that secondary, a situation that looks bleak considering that Keenum has almost as many career interceptions (11) as he does touchdowns (15).
Broncos (Salary: $3,600). After Andrew Luck made a surprise appearance on the injury report last week, there was concern as to the extent and impact of his shoulder ailment. This was particularly disturbing because it came out of nowhere and because Luck was coming off a miserable 2015 campaign, also due to a shoulder injury. Luck, however, quieted naysayers last Sunday, as he compiled some solid fantasy numbers, including 385 passing yards and 4 touchdowns without throwing an interception. Luck will take his show on the road to Denver this week to face a far better defensive secondary that includes Chris Harris and Aqib Talib, both of whom rank amongst the league's best coverage cornerbacks. The implied team total for the Colts is currently sitting right around 20 points, which is probably a bit higher than one might normally target for a team defense, particularly when paying a premium for said defense; however, the Broncos have as much upside as any defense in the league, they are playing at home, and they will be extremely underowned because they are at a similar price point to other units with much better matchups (i.e., Seahawks, Panthers).
Bears (Salary: $2,900). Make no mistake--the Bears are not a good defense. However, they have several factors playing to their favor this Monday night when they host the Eagles. First, they are 3-point favorites playing in their home opener in front of a national television audience. Next, they will face a rookie quarterback, who excelled in Week #1, which will probably scare many DFS players away from rostering the Bears defense, thereby keeping their ownership levels low. Lastly, it is difficult to gauge just how good (or bad) the Eagles offense is after playing against the Browns, who likely have one of the league's worst defenses; if that is true, the Eagles could stumble out of the block on Monday night in a hostile environment with a largely-unproven rookie quarterback. At $2.9K, the Bears are a decent, high-upside value play that could yield dividends if Wentz struggles in his first real matchup.