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
Philip Rivers (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $6,700). It is a peculiar week in daily fantasy because there is not a single quarterback that stands out as a strong cash game play. Most have poor matchups or are prohibitively priced for their projected fantasy output, but Philip Rivers is an option that does not fit into either of those categories. The Chargers offense has been excellent to start off the season, averaging 32.5 points per game en route to a 1-1 record. Rivers, himself, is coming off an efficient 4 touchdown performance against the Jaguars last week that saw him log 24.8 DraftKings points on only 24 pass attempts. This week, Rivers will face an Indianapolis defense that has been hobbled to this point in the season, but will likely return cornerback Vontae Davis, which should help shore up their 26th ranked pass defense. That said, the Colts will still be without cornerbacks Patrick Robinson and Darius Butler, which means that at least one side of the field should be able to be picked apart by Rivers and company on Sunday. This game has the highest Vegas total on the board outside of the Monday night game and Indy is only a slight 1.5-point favorite, which should mean that it becomes a back-and-forth offensive slugfest; assuming the game plays out in that manner, Philip Rivers should provide excellent return on investment for a modest $6.7K salary..
Ryan Tannehill (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $6,200). The chalk cash game quarterback of the weekend is likely going to be Ryan Tannehill against the lowly Cleveland Browns. Starting the season with losses to both the Eagles and Ravens, the Browns are big 9.5-point underdogs when they travel to Miami. Their offensive personnel are an absolute mess due to injuries, but it is an injury on their defensive unit that raised eyebrows on Friday; perennial All-Pro cornerback, Joe Haden, appeared on the injury report with a questionable tag due to a groin injury that held him out of practice and could keep him out of the game on Sunday. Entering Week #3, Haden was ProFootballFocus’ 2nd-ranked coverage cornerback (behind Josh Norman) and was likely going to see a lot of DeVante Parker. If Haden is unable to go, Adam Gase will likely put together an offensive strategy to exploit that secondary, especially because the Dolphins’ staff have made it very clear that they are not pleased with Jay Ajayi, who inherited the RB1 role last week after Arian Foster suffered (another) groin injury. If Ajayi is somewhat limited, Tannehill should easily achieve cash game value (18-20 points), which is something both Carson Wentz and Joe Flacco did already this season with lesser-talented offensive units..
Also eligible: Aaron Rodgers ($7,700)
DeAngelo Williams (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $7,500). With an astounding 68 touches through his first two games, DeAngelo Williams is a must-play for cash games. The Steelers appear to be content force-feeding Williams, likely because they expect him to get plenty of rest starting next week (Week #4) when LeVeon Bell returns from his three-game suspension; that is exactly what happened last season when Williams went from 20+ touches per game to less than 10 snaps per game after Bell returned from his first NFL suspension. This week, Williams will face off against an Eagles’ defensive front that has allowed only 92.0 rushing yards per game (10th in NFL); however, that statistic is somewhat flawed because Eagles’ opponents (Browns and Bears) were trailing for most of their games which limited their respective number of rushing attempts. Closer inspection shows that the Eagles are actually the league’s 5th-worst rushing defensive unit, allowing 4.7 yards per carry, which bodes well for Williams’ fantasy prospects because we know that he is going to get 25+ touches in this matchup. Assuming this is all true, Williams should be the player you build your rosters around in cash games this Sunday.
Christine Michael (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $5,000). Assuming Thomas Rawls is not playing on Sunday, Christine Michael is a player you are going to want to consider for your cash games because of a perfect combination of gamescript, opportunity, and value. The Seahawks are sizeable 9.5-point favorites over the visiting 49’ers, which should bolster the number of times Seattle runs the ball in the second half of the game as they try to wind out the clock. That should result in a 20+ touch Sunday for Christine Michael because Thomas Rawls is currently ‘doubtful’ with a leg injury and C.J. Prosise is ‘questionable’ with a wrist injury. What about the matchup? In Week #1, the Niners held Todd Gurley in check (17/47/0), but they were much less successful last week when they faced a legitimate offense in the form of the Panthers (30/134/0). While this Seahawks offense is far from a juggernaut at this point in the season, Vegas expects them to score 25+ points, which should yield sufficient fantasy production for Christine Michael at a modest price point..
Antonio Brown (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $9,600). If you have the salary to do so, Antonio Brown is probably the player you want to “spend up” on this weekend. Coming off a(nother) disappointing performance against the Bengals last week, Brown is in a prime spot for a bounce-back game against an Eagles secondary that has yet to be challenged this season. Brown now has 11 consecutive games with 10 or more targets and he has scored 25+ DraftKings points in over half of those appearances. Lastly, the case for Brown is augmented by the fact that over half of his snaps should be taken across from the Eagles’ Nolan Carroll, who is ProFootballFocus’ 91st ranked (out of 99) coverage cornerback this season. .
Jarvis Landry (Cash games only, Salary: $6,600). This article called out Jarvis Landry last week because of his implied volume and likely gamescript; he responded with a 10-catch, 123-yard game against the Patriots for 22.3 DraftKings points. With a high implied team total and questions surrounding the Dolphins’ running game, Landry is in play as a cash game receiver again in Week #3. The Dolphins have still not named a starting running back for Sunday’s game and are indicating that they will use a running back by committee with Jay Ajayi, Damien Williams, and Kenyan Drake. Assuming that is true, we should probably expect Adam Gase to put the bulk of the heavy-lifting on the Dolphins’ aerial attack, of which Jarvis Landry is the central focus. Since the beginning of 2016, Landry has 13 games with double-digit targets, including six in a row entering this week’s matchup against the Browns. Landry will almost exclusively square off against Tramon Williams, ProFootballFocus’ third-worst slot coverage cornerback this season, further bolstering an argument to roster Landry.
Terrelle Pryor (Cash games only, Salary: $3,400). It is difficult to envision a scenario where Terrelle Pryor does not score 10 fantasy points against the Dolphins this weekend. With Corey Coleman breaking his hand in practice on Wednesday, Terrelle Pryor is the only healthy primary wide receiver on the Browns. Prior to Coleman’s injury, Pryor was still the most targeted receiver on the Browns; with Coleman’s 6.5 targets per game to be redistributed amongst other Browns receivers this week, it would appear that Pryor should see his second consecutive week with 10+ targets. Most football pundits would agree that many (all?) of those targets are going to be of the low-value, non-redzone variety, but full PPR scoring combined with a bare bones salary make Pryor a shoo-in for reaching 3x value necessary for cash games..
Dennis Pitta (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $3,400). With 16 targets through his first two games, the 31-year old Dennis Pitta enters Week #3 as the Ravens’ most-targeted receiver in 2016. Pitta has a well-documented friendship with Joe Flacco off the field, which has led to on-field chemistry whenever Pitta has been able to maintain his health. This week, Pitta will line up across from the Jaguars, who have allowed 32.5 points per game, including six receiving touchdowns, to their opponents this season; while we should not expect that level of output from this aging Ravens’ offensive unit, they should not have any difficulties moving the ball in Florida on Sunday. Last week, we saw Pitta collect a team-high 12 targets against the Browns, ending the game with a 9/102/0 stat line that resulted in 22.2 DraftKings points. Even a slight decrease in volume against the Jags should result in 10+ fantasy points, which is all that is needed for Pitta to achieve value at a $3.4K salary..
Trey Burton (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $2,500). At DraftKings’ site-minimum salary, Trey Burton is an interesting low-risk, low opportunity cost tight end option for cash games. Relatively unknown outside of DFS circles, Burton is a three-year veteran who had been seldom used in the Eagles' offense before last week (63 lifetime snaps prior to this season). In his first NFL start last Monday night, Burton stepped in nicely against the Bears, finishing the evening with 5 catches for 47 yards and a touchdown (15.7 fantasy points). He should get one more start prior to the return of Zach Ertz in Week #5 (Eagles have a bye next week), which means that we can take a stab at a repeat performance by Burton against the Steelers. Assuming he catches the ball 3-5 times in this full PPR format, Burton is almost assured to meet cash game value; if he manages to find the endzone again, he will have reached GPP value at only $2.5K. The best aspect of slotting in Burton is that the opportunity cost is low and it affords you the flexibility elsewhere to roster more expensive players with higher H-values, thereby solidifying a high floor for your cash game rosters.
Also eligible: Jordan Reed ($6,500)
Panthers (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $3,800). The Panthers allowed only 18.3 points per game to visiting teams last season. Last week in their home opener, they allowed a surprising 27 points to San Francisco, but 17 of those points were scored in garbage time in the fourth quarter when the game was already out of reach. Carolina will host the Minnesota Vikings this Sunday, a Vikings squad that has already lost both Teddy Bridgewater and Adrian Peterson for the season; Sam Bradford looked solid in his debut with the Vikings last week, but much of his production came from targeting Stefon Diggs, who actually missed practice on Friday with a groin issue. Diggs is expected to play (he is not on the injury report), but he is the only legitimate weapon the Vikings have against the Panthers. As touchdown favorites at home, Carolina could put extra pressure on Sam Bradford late in the game to try to make big plays to keep pace with Cam Newton, which does not play to Bradford’s skill set and could result in additional defensive opportunities.
Dolphins (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $3,000). The Dolphins are going to be the most heavily owned defense of the weekend and it would not be surprising if their ownership levels approached 50%. And for good reason: The Dolphins will play host to a Cleveland Browns offense that is on their third quarterback in as many games and who will have lost their best receiving option (Corey Coleman) due to a broken hand suffered in practice earlier this week. Having scored only 30 points in their first two contests against the Eagles and Ravens with better options at quarterback, it is difficult to envision a scenario where the Browns achieve success with Cody Kessler leading the charge. Less than two weeks ago, team sources were quoted as saying that Kessler was “not even close” to being ready to become a starting NFL quarterback; this weekend, he will be thrust into that role without his team’s best receiver. The Browns will likely play it conservatively early, but if the Dolphins build a lead (as they should), Kessler is going to be asked to do things that he cannot do and the Dolphins defense should capitalize accordingly. .
Matthew Stafford (Salary: $6,800). Detroit is a touchdown underdog to the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau this weekend, which could result in plus fantasy production from Matthew Stafford as the Lions try to keep pace with Aaron Rodgers and company. In their first two outings, Green Bay allowed an average of 303 passing yards per game in addition to a trio of touchdowns to Sam Bradford and Blake Bortles. We should expect more of the same when Stafford arrives, especially if history is our guide—Stafford has averaged 27.3 fantasy points per game in Lambeau over his career, including 298.4 passing yards and 2.4 touchdowns per game. With Ameer Abdullah’s recent addition to the IR, Theo Riddick will absorb the RB1 role in Detroit, but the Lions will be smart to use him sparingly as a lead rusher and instead mix in rookie Dwayne Washington, who has the size to withstand the physical demands of being an every down back. Assuming Jim Bob Cooter is in agreement with that line of thinking and oddsmakers are correct in predicting that the Packers offense will wake up this Sunday, Matthew Stafford could see plenty of passing opportunities against a Packers secondary that will be missing their best cornerback, Sam Shields (concussion), and might also be without their best defensive player, Clay Matthews (ankle/hamstring), who did not practice all week.
Marcus Mariota (Salary: $5,900). The Oakland Raiders have allowed more passing yardage through the first two games of the season than any team in the league; in fairness, they have faced the Saints and the Falcons, two high-flying teams, but 404 passing yards per game and a 131.4 QB rating is downright dreadful. This weekend should be a better assessment of just how bad the Raiders secondary is when Marcus Mariota takes the field in Nashville; Mariota could be without Delanie Walker, who missed practice on Friday with a nagging hamstring issue, leaving only Tajae Sharpe as a top-end receiving option. That said, Mariota has exhibited an ability to make plays happen on his legs alone, as evidenced by this 87-yard touchdown run last year against the Jaguars en route to a 31.2 fantasy point performance. Furthermore, Tajae Sharpe has should an ability to compete at this level and his matchup against the Raiders’ corners, Sean Smith and D.J. Hayden, skew heavily in his favor because both are ranked in the bottom 25% of ProFootballFocus’ coverage ratings thus far this season. The key to a big game for Mariota will be whether the Raiders are able to move the ball against Tennessee, whose defense has kept both of their games somewhat close thus far; if Oakland jumps out to an early lead, this game has sneaky shootout potential.
Case Keenum (Salary: $5,000). No team in the NFL applies less pressure to the quarterback than the Tampa Bay Buccaneers; in their first two games, the Bucs pressured the opposing quarterback only 5.0% of the time (FootballOutsiders’ charting data), a rate that has resulted in an aggregate 113.3 QB rating versus Tampa Bay. Through a pair of games, the Bucs sport the 27th ranked pass defense, but continue to be effective against the run as evidenced by their 5th seed in that category, rankings that are very similar to where they ended last season (FootballOutsiders’ DVOA metric). Collectively, these numbers suggest that it is going to be another poor outing for Todd Gurley this Sunday, but it might be the first glimmer of hope we have seen for Case Keenum, who has been sacked five times and constantly flushed from the pocket this season. Make no mistake, Keenum is not a good NFL quarterback, but this matchup is as good as he will see for most of the season and the fact that the Rams are 5-point underdogs helps his fantasy potential because it could eliminate Jeff Fisher’s primary plan of attack (Todd Gurley). Do not own more than 5-10% of Keenum across your entire GPP exposure because he is very risky, but if he manages to throw for 200 yards and a pair of touchdowns, he should approach GPP value and you will have him at unprecedented ownership levels.
Ezekiel Elliott (Salary: $6,900). The Cowboys are heavy favorites for the first time this season against an already beleaguered Chicago Bears team that is playing on a short week of rest after taking a beating at home at the hands of the Eagles on Monday night. That game not only added another loss to the Bears’ record, but it also added several players to the injury report, including nose tackle Eddie Goldman and linebackers Lamarr Houston and Danny Travathan, all of whom play big roles in stopping the rush. Without those key personnel, the Dallas Cowboys’ elite offensive line should have their way with the Bears and open some huge holes for Ezekiel Elliott, who will be primed to bounce back from a two-fumble performance against the Redskins last Sunday. All of this fits squarely into Jason Garrett’s gameplan, which includes a heavy dose of the run, controlling time of possession, and limiting the need for Dak Prescott to throw the ball. With all of these pieces in place, it would not be surprising to see the Cowboys finish with three rushing touchdowns against the Bears; as long as Alfred Morris does not vulture any of them, Elliott could be the lynchpin to winning GPP rosters this weekend.
Eddie Lacy (Salary: $6,100). Priced at $6.1K on a week where there are a slew of lower-priced alternatives due to a rash of injuries suffered in Week #2, Eddie Lacy represents a contrarian play who has several factors working in his favor, none of which are his supposed weight loss. His weight aside, Lacy will be the lead running back for a Packers team that is favored to win their home opener by a touchdown, which should mean additional carries for him in the latter stages of the game. Furthermore, Coach Mike McCarthy has gone on record this past week saying that the Packers need to get Lacy (and James Starks) more involved in the offense moving forward. Lacy has looked good in limited action this year, averaging 4.3 yards per carry on 26 carries; meanwhile, Starks has only 10 yards on 11 carries, which might argue that Lacy would be the biggest beneficiary of increased rush attempts by the Packers. The Lions boast one of four defensive units that has yet to yield a rushing touchdown on the season, but they have allowed 110.5 rushing yards per game (19th in the league) and a league-leading 5.1 yards per carry, suggesting that those touchdowns will not be eluded for long. If Eddie Lacy is able to put together a 100-yard game with a touchdown, he will achieve GPP value at ownership levels that will definitely differentiate your rosters.
Frank Gore (Salary: $5,000). In Week #1, Frank Gore was largely eliminated from the Colts’ gameplan when they fell behind 21-3 midway through the second quarter; he finished that game with 18 touches for 78 yards without a score. His second game was against an excellent Broncos’ defensive front and he performed admirably, finishing with 16 touches for 63 yards and a receiving touchdown. So through two games, where conditions were not favorable to Frank Gore, he has managed to average 17 touches and 13.55 DraftKings points. This week, Gore will face a Chargers defensive front that shut down the Jaguars rushing attack last week, allowing only 35 rushing yards on 8 carries to an untalented T.J. Yeldon. Their Week #1 performance was not nearly as successful because Spencer Ware blasted them for 199 all-purpose yards on only 15 touches. Collectively, those results would argue that the Chargers can be beaten up front with an effective plan of attack and sufficient talent; with questions surrounding Andrew Luck's health, shutdown corner Jason Verrett blanketing one side of the field, and a ton of youth playing other skill positions, Chuck Pagano might decide to try to ground the ball with Gore and gauge what he can do early. The Colts are projected to score 25+ points in this matchup and if Gore gets a significant piece of that action at $5.0K, he will catapult his rosters up the ranks because he will be owned at less than 5%.
Cameron Artis-Payne (Salary: $3,000). The Panthers are touchdown favorites over the visiting Vikings on Sunday despite the fact that Jonathan Stewart will be watching the games from the sidelines with a hamstring injury. Coach Ron Rivera has gone on record stating that second-year RB Cameron Artis-Payne will get the start in a running back by committee approach involving Artis-Payne, Fozzy Whittaker, and Mike Tolbert. Last season when Stewart missed time due to injury, they split carries in a 4:2:1 ratio, respectively. If that trend holds up this season and the Panthers run the ball ~ 30 times on Sunday, Artis-Payne should see about 14-16 touches (versus 7-8 for Whittaker and 3-4 for Tolbert), a sufficient number to achieve fantasy relevancy for his $3.0K site-minimum salary. The matchup, however, is not stellar, as the Vikings have been stingy against the run, allowing only 3.3 yards per carry this season to the Packers and Titans; if they are able to contain this Cam Newton-led offense on Sunday, the Vikings defense would appear to be an “avoid” after Week #3. That said, the Panthers have one of the higher implied team totals on the slate and are big favorites, which argues that we should grab a piece of that backfield; doing so at only $3.0K is a risk that is worth taking in tournament formats.
Larry Fitzgerald (Salary: $6,900). Over 80% of NFL betting in the Arizona-Buffalo game has gone on the Cardinals to cover the 5-point spread, yet that number has dropped to 3.5-points by week’s end, meaning that the smart money is on Buffalo to give the Cards a run for their money at Ralph Wilson Stadium. It is somewhat easy to make the call on Larry Fitzgerald to have a good game, especially considering he has two consecutive 10-target efforts to open the season, alongside a trio of touchdowns. However, it is easy to envision that streak continuing this week against the diminutive Nickell Robey-Coleman, who, at 5’9”, stands six full inches less than Fitzgerald. When the Cardinals get into the redzone, Carson Palmer’s first read will no doubt be the sure-handed future Hall-of-Famer in a bona fide mismatch. The biggest detractor of Fitzgerald’s potential upside is if the Cardinals were to build an early lead and run David Johnson down the Bills’ throats to wind down the clock; given what we are seeing with the negative line movement on this game, we might conclude that scenario is less likely than we would have otherwise thought earlier in the week.
Marvin Jones (Salary: $6,200). Through two games as a Detroit Lion, Marvin Jones continues to impress. The 26-year old appears to finally be coming into his own in this Jim Bob Cooter offense that is giving him the opportunity that he never saw in Cincinnati due to the presence of A.J. Green and Tyler Eifert. Jones now has 21 targets in two games and has caught 12 passes for 203 yards; he has not, however, scored yet, which has kept his salary reasonable given his heavy usage in this pass-laden offense (79 attempts in two games). This week, Jones will get most of his action against the Packers’ Demarious Randall, who stepped in to (try to) fill Sam Shields’ shoes as he continues to go through the league’s concussion protocol; this bodes well for Jones because Randall was continuously toasted by Sam Bradford and Stefon Diggs last Sunday night despite the fact that they had less than two weeks to develop any chemistry prior to that matchup. Matthew Stafford will continue to feed Jones in these types of matchups and the Vegas odds (Green Bay – 6.5) imply that we should see Stafford dropping back plenty on Sunday.
DeVante Parker (Salary: $4,900). Assuming DeVante Parker takes the field against the Browns on Sunday, he is a legitimate DFS tournament play because he fits all the requisite criteria: projected low ownership, high-upside, and plus matchup. Evan Silva recently pointed out that since Parker became a starter in Week #12 of last season, he has surpassed 80 or more yards in all but two games, a level of consistency that most probably did not appreciate. Against the Patriots last week, Parker ended the day with 8 receptions for 106 yards on a career-high 13 targets. This week, Parker will see a Browns defense that will be without Joe Haden and projects to be FootballOutsiders’ 30th ranked defense this season (“DAVE” DVOA metric); in their first two games, the Browns allowed both Mike Wallace and Jordan Matthews to score more than 20 fantasy points, a magic number that would also equate to GPP value for Parker’s $4.9K salary. Although Jarvis Landry will probably receive more targets than Parker, it is Parker who is going to get the high-value redzone targets and who will see Joe Haden’s backup, both of which add incentive to roster Parker in GPP formats.
Tajae Sharpe (Salary: $4,700). After a strong NFL debut in Week #1 against the Vikings (7/76/0), Tajae Sharpe took a step back last week (4/33/0) when he was held in check by a much better cornerback in the form of the Lions’ Darius Slay. This weekend’s matchup is far better because Sharpe should line up across from a pair of Raiders cornerbacks (Sean Smith and D.J. Hayden) that rank in the bottom 25% of ProFootballFocus’ coverage rankings this season. With Delanie Walker missing practice on Friday, Sharpe may be the only legitimate receiver playing for the Titans on Sunday, which means that he should get all of the volume he can handle. Some will argue that the absence of Walker hurts Sharpe’s fantasy prospects, but an alternative interpretation is that it could equate to an extra 5+ targets for Sharpe, thereby increasing the likelihood for his first NFL score. At a modest $4.7K salary, Sharpe only needs to score to reach value because he is a virtual lock for 6+ catches and 60+ yards in this matchup.
Tavon Austin (Salary: $4,100). If you are brave enough to roster Case Keenum as a GPP quarterback, as discussed above, you are going to need to stack him with a receiver. While Kenny Britt is certainly an option, particularly because he is outsnapping every other receiver on the team, you might consider rolling with Tavon Austin, big play extraordinaire. Throughout his career, Austin has been a gimmick player with the Rams, who uses him in end arounds, reverse plays, quick screens, nine routes, and the like, all of which have the sole purpose of catching a defense on their heels and trying to steal a quick touchdown. Austin and the Rams will play against the Bucs, whose defense tends to perform well against the rush, but is susceptible through the air (see the writeup on Case Keenum above for more details). Last year against this Bucs defense, Austin scored a pair of touchdowns (one receiving, one rushing) and scored over 22 DraftKings points on only seven touches. Tampa Bay has also been beaten this season by pass-catching running backs; David Johnson, Devonta Freeman, and Tevin Coleman have generated 213 yards of offense on only 12 receptions, an indication that the Bucs have difficulties defending short routes out of the backfield, a role that Tavon Austin occasionally plays because Todd Gurley is not known for his pass-catching prowess.
Hunter Henry (Salary: $2,500). Most injury experts, including our very own Dr. Jene Bramel, believe that Antonio Gates is going to miss this weekend’s game against the Colts. His absence should give us our first real look at the Chargers “next-generation” tight end, Hunter Henry. Henry was a 2016 second-round draft pick out of Arkansas, where he logged 116 catches for 1661 yards and 9 touchdowns over three seasons; the scouting report on Henry says that he has some of the best hands in the league and that NFL linebackers are going to have difficulties containing him. That is high praise for Henry, who will get a plus matchup for his first NFL start against the Colts, who allowed Eric Ebron to score 15.6 fantasy points against them in Week #1. With both Danny Woodhead and Keenan Allen both out for the year, Hunter Henry should see ample opportunity in this matchup that Vegas oddsmakers have projected to be a high scoring, back-and-forth slugfest. At only $2.5K, Henry does not need an abundance of production to reach GPP value, as a 5-catch, 50-yard performance will do it; that said, this is one of those rare situations where a player could potentially return 8x return on investment because of the low salary and implied usage.
Jack Doyle (Salary: $2,500). Another minimum-salary dandy, Jack Doyle is going to be less than 2% owned on Sunday, but he could be very sneaky against a Chargers squad that has allowed nearly 200 yards receiving to opposing tight ends over their first two games. With Donte Moncrief watching this game from the sidelines due to a fractured scapula, the Colts will likely be running a lot more two tight end sets featuring Dwayne Allen and Jack Doyle. To this point in the season, Allen has outsnapped Doyle 111 to 84, but Doyle is outscoring Allen 26.2 to 21.8, suggesting that Doyle has been more efficient with his more limited opportunities. Truthfully, both tight ends are strong plays because the Chargers are going to lock down either T.Y. Hilton or Phillip Dorsett with their excellent cornerback, Jason Verrett, leaving only the other receiver (likely Hilton from the slot) and the tight ends to move the ball through the air. Of those three receivers, Doyle is not only the cheapest, but he will also be owned at the lowest rate, which makes him a strong tournament play on DraftKings.
Seahawks (Salary: $4,100). There are a number of reasons to try to fit in the Seahawks’ lofty salary for tournament play this weekend. First off, the Seahawks defense is good. Through a pair of games, they have allowed a grand total of 19 points; the problem is that they have scored a grand total of 15 points, which tends to drive DFS players away because they want to roster “winning defenses” and if the Seahawks are losing, why pay a premium for them? Therein lies one good reason why Seattle is a strong tournament play this weekend—Because nobody else will own them. This is particularly true on a weekend where many are predicting that almost half of DFS rosters will have the Dolphins in their team defense slot. That said, no team in the league is projected to score less points than the Niners in Week #3 and they are coming off a season that saw them score only 16 total points in two games against the Seahawks. If we consider that this Niners offense yielded three turnovers, two sacks, and a defensive touchdown to the Panthers last week, there is little reason to think that the Seahawks are not capable of a similar game against a Blaine Gabbert-led offense; if the Seahawks manage that type of game, they will do it at ownership levels not seen in years for this defense.
Bengals (Salary: $2,800). It was somewhat of a surprise to see that the Bengals are 3-point favorites against the defending Super Bowl champions this weekend. Trevor Siemian has been adequate as a starter, leading his team to victory against two potent offenses (Carolina and Indianapolis) in his first two career starts. Yet, here we are, entering Week #3 with an undefeated defending Super Bowl champ team visiting a 1-1 Bengals squad as a 3-point underdog. So what gives? Well, it’s not exactly straightforward, but one factor is the Bengals secondary that has held opposing quarterbacks to 6.2 yards per attempt (7th best in the league) and has the third-most interceptions in the league (three). Against the rush, they have allowed a lot of yardage, but have kept opposing running backs out of the endzone, one of only four teams to have done so this season. Another factor is pressure—the Bengals are the league’s 5th best team in getting pressure on opposing quarterbacks (20.3% of the time). Most of all, though, is the fact that this betting line just seems out of sorts, which should keep most casual players away from going against Denver, while Vegas is suggesting the opposite. For these reasons, the Bengals are an intriguing contrarian play that could separate your rosters from the masses.
Cowboys (Salary: $2,500). The Cowboys’ defense could arguably be in the cash game section of this article, but the Panthers and Dolphins feel like safer plays because their defensive units feature stronger overall personnel. The matchup the Cowboys face, however, is stellar because the Bears are coming off a short week of preparation and will be without Jay Cutler after he suffered a thumb injury against the Eagles on Monday night. Cutler’s absence means that Brian Hoyer will get the start and try to run an offense that has stammered since training camp began earlier this Summer. In their four preseason games, the Bears first-team offense scored a grand total of 10 points across approximately 60 minutes of play; since then, the offense has played two games against the Texans and Eagles, managing to score a grand total of 21 across those games. Taken together, these early season performances suggest that the Bears are going to miss Adam Gase a lot in 2016 and that may become even more clear this weekend in Dallas when Brian Hoyer makes his first start as a Bear. At only $2.5K, the Dallas defense is a safe bet to return decent fantasy production, but could be even better if Alshon Jeffery (knee) is unable to play.