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: $7,800). If you have salary to spend this weekend in DFS contests, you should probably be earmarking those monies on Cam Newton against the Atlanta Falcons. Newton is coming off a week that saw him sacked eight times and pressured on a hair under 50% of his 46 passing plays; he will not be pressured nearly as much this Sunday against the Falcons, who are currently 28th in the league in pressuring the quarterback (8.5% of plays; FootballOutsiders) and next-to-last in sacks (3) over three games. Despite the fact that the Panthers had no answer for the Vikings' tenacious defense last week, Newton still escaped with 16.08 DraftKings points, which is exactly what makes him a cash game play in most weeks--he just scores fantasy points. In Week #1 against the Broncos, Cam threw for less than 200 yards and still walked away with 22 fantasy points; the following week, he trounced the Niners for almost 35 fantasy points in a blowout victory. Meanwhile, the Falcons have allowed 25+ points to opposing quarterbacks in every game this season, further adding to the allure of rostering Cam and locking in 20+ fantasy points with 30+ point upside.
Philip Rivers (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $6,900). The plush matchup of the week goes to Philip Rivers against the do-nothing-right New Orleans Saints defense. The Saints currently rank amongst the bottom of the league in pass and rush defense and those trends will likely continue after their game in San Diego this weekend. No team on the Vegas board is projected to score more points than the Chargers, so it makes a lot of sense to try to get a piece of their offense. Grabbing their quarterback, who should throw 35+ times against subpar coverage, also feels like a decision that should pay fantasy dividends. Rivers is coming off a somewhat disappointing performance against the Colts that saw him throw for a respectable 330 yards, but did not result in a single touchdown; that said, Rivers is completing almost 70% of his pass attempts and has the third best quarterback rating (amongst qualifying QB's) to this point in the season. If he continues that level of efficiency against this horrid defense, Rivers should have no trouble collecting 20+ fantasy points at a fair salary.
Also eligible: Kirk Cousins ($6,500)
Melvin Gordon (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $6,300). In 217 touches in his rookie season, Melvin Gordon did not score a single touchdown; through 61 touches and three games this season, Gordon now has four touchdowns and is trending towards a monster season. That trend should not stall this weekend against the league's worst defense, the New Orleans Saints, who are allowing 4.9 yards per carry and nearly 150 rushing yards per game. Gordon has reached cash game value on DraftKings every game this season, but his salary has not yet caught up with his usage in this offense; since Keenan Allen and Danny Woodhead were lost for the season, Gordon has averaged 24 touches per game and is still priced lower than other running backs enjoying similar volume. Further supporting a role for Gordon in your lineups is the fact that the Chargers are boasting the highest implied team total on the Vegas boards this weekend at 28.5 points. Averaging 0.81 DraftKings points per touch, Gordon should easily hit 16-20 points in this matchup due to sheer volume; when one takes into account the incompetency of his opponent, Gordon becomes an elite play.
Jordan Howard (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $3,700). There is no question that the Bears offense has been anemic in 2016 since Adam Gase has departed for Miami. That said, Jordan Howard is a Bear whose matchup, salary, and skill set intersect to generate an excellent cash game play against the Lions this weekend. A fifth-round draft selection out of Indiana this Spring, Howard has been thrust into the starting role due to injuries sustained by both Jeremy Langford and Kadeem Carey; in limited action last Sunday against the Cowboys, Howard averaged 5.0 yards per carry and caught 4 passes for 47 yards. This weekend, he will face a Lions defense that has yet to yield a rushing touchdown this season, but has allowed a league-worst 5.1 yards per carry to opposing running backs. The Bears signed Joique Bell as a backup to Howard on Tuesday this week, but he will likely be limited as he learns the Bears' playbook, which means that Howard should get all the action he can handle at a bargain $3.7K salary; with usage as a third-down back, Howard should see plenty of action in the passing game, as well, which should lead to him collecting double-digit fantasy points prior to halftime of this game. Barring any freak circumstances, Howard is a virtual lock to achieve the 3x value necessary for cash games and is has potential to hit 20+ fantasy points in this matchup.
Demaryius Thomas (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $6,700). The Tampa Bay Buccaneers continue to stifle the run again this season, currently yielding only 3.5 yards per carry to opposing running backs, all of whom have been immensely talented (DeVonta Freeman, David Johnson, and Todd Gurley). The byproduct of that stout rush defense is that opposing quarterbacks have gone to the air to put up points, which has generated solid results for receivers on those respective teams; through three games, the Bucs have allowed seven receiving touchdowns to seven different receivers and have the league's 25th worst pass defense (FootballOutsiders' DVOA). These metrics bode well for Emmanuel Sanders (see GPP section below) and Demaryius Thomas on Sunday, both of whom are priced too cheaply for their likely output against this secondary. Thomas has been targeted less than Sanders to this point in the season, but his looks from Trevor Siemian and subsequent yardage have increased in each game, resulting in Thomas' first touchdown last week against the Bengals. As the WR1, Thomas should see double-digit targets in this matchup, most of which will be against subpar cornerbacks who cannot contain Thomas; look for him to finish with another 6-8 catch, 100-yard day which would reach 3x value for his modest $6.7K salary.
Jamison Crowder (Cash and GPP formats Salary: $4,200). There are several wide receivers priced in the $4K range that are extremely attractive for cash games on DraftKings this weekend, the first of which is Jamison Crowder who takes on the Browns. Crowder is currently tied for first in targets (25) on the Redskins with Jordan Reed, an indication that Kirk Cousins is beginning to trust the second-year receiver out of Duke. Last season, it took Crowder 16 games to score a pair of touchdowns, but he has tied that number over his previous two weeks. To expect Crowder to continue collecting touchdowns at that pace would be absurd, particularly given his 5'8" frame, but his matchup against Browns' slot cornerback, Tramon Williams, could keep the streak going at least through Week #4. When in coverage this season, opposing quarterbacks have thrown in Williams' direction 14 times and completed 12 of those passes for ~ 150 yards and 3 touchdowns. The Redskins have one of the higher projected team totals this week, which should mean plenty of fantasy production to be distributed amongst their skill players; at only $4.2K, Crowder needs only 6 catches for 60 yards to reach cash game value, something he has done in every game this season.
Cole Beasley (Cash games only, Salary: $3,900). DraftKings' pricing algorithm must hate Cole Beasley because he continues to put up solid numbers, but still has not crossed the $4K plateau on DraftKings. Beasley has reached cash game value in every game and has reached GPP value in two-thirds of his games this season. Now that Dez Bryant will miss time with a knee injury sustained in last week's game against the Bears, Beasley should become the de facto WR1 in the Cowboys offense, an offense that was previously targeting him nearly seven times each game. Furthermore, the matchup against the Niners is attractive because of how quickly they run plays, thereby forcing their opponents to run their offenses at a faster rate, too; the result is between 10-20% more plays for opposing offenses, which then correlates to fantasy production for their playmakers. Ordinarily, we might consider fading Beasley in a tough matchup against one of the better slot cornerbacks in the league, Jimmie Ward, but Ward has already been announced as inactive for this game, which further bolsters an argument for Beasley in multiple formats.
Kyle Rudolph (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $3,400). Since Sam Bradford arrived in Minnesota and took over the reins from Shaun Hill a few weeks ago, Kyle Rudolph is tied with Stefon Diggs for the team lead with 18 targets. Rudolph has scored in each of those efforts and is a threat to continue doing the same this weekend against the NY Giants because the Vikings simply do not have a receiver outside of Rudolph with any redzone prowess. Stefon Diggs is getting WR1 snaps and targets, but is not a prototypical redzone receiver at 6'0", nor is Adam Thielen or Charles Johnson, both of whom are splitting snaps with one another and have three combined career touchdowns. What is bad for Minnesota is good for Rudolph, however, as Rudolph will continue to be a (literal) big target when the Vikings get inside the 20-yard line. The matchup is pristine, as the Giants were the second-worst team against the tight end position last season and will be without several of their key personnel in their secondary this weekend, including Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Eli Apple, and a pair of safeties. Expect at least a handful of receptions and 50 receiving yards as a floor with upside in the form of touchdowns.
Zach Miller (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $2,700). Coming off a two-touchdown performance against the Cowboys last week, Zach Miller is sure to be a chalk selection for cash games on DraftKings at only $2.7K this weekend. With Brian Hoyer making his second start in as many weeks, Miller should expect to be heavily-targeted from Hoyer against a Lions defense that has been shredded by the tight end position this season. Detroit is allowing 23.5 DraftKings points per game to the tight end position, a number that is spiked because they have allowed a touchdown (or more) to a tight end in every game they have played this season. There are certainly multiple ways for the Bears to attack this terrible Lions defense, but the risk associated with rostering Miller is minimal because his $2.7K salary necessitates only eight fantasy points to reach cash game value; he should almost be guaranteed that number with DraftKings' full PPR scoring format.
Also eligible: Hunter Henry ($2,700)
Cardinals (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $3,900). A week after getting soundly beaten by the Bills in Buffalo, the Arizona Cardinals return home to take on the Los Angeles Rams in an attractive rebound game. The Cardinals were beaten primarily because they could not stop the Bills' rushing attack, which compiled over 200 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns against them. You can bet that Bruce Arians will have addressed those shortcomings this week and be prepared for the Rams and Todd Gurley on Sunday; Gurley is averaging a paltry 2.9 yards per carry behind this year's offensive line, a number that does not breathe fear into opposing defenses. This game has all the makings of a blowout (i.e., must-win for 1-2 team, home after road loss, poor opponent, etc.) and the Rams are being led on offense by the untalented Case Keenum, who has no legitimate receivers to help him move the ball against an elite Cardinals secondary. Sure, the Cardinals defense is the most expensive defense on the board, but they have the best matchup on the board too. With all the value plays available on this weekend's slate, it should be no problem to slot in this defense as a safe option for your cash and GPP lineups.
Texans (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $3,200). Likely the highest-owned defense on the Week #4 slate, the Houston Texans will play host to the anemic Tennessee Titans on Sunday afternoon. The Texans will certainly miss their best defensive player, J.J. Watt, who will miss the remainder of the season after back surgery earlier this week, but Vegas oddsmakers still feel strongly that the Titans will have issues scoring against the Texans defense. There is probably solid merit in that line of thinking, as the Titans have scored no more than 17 points all season and have played two of the worst defenses (Detroit and Oakland) in the league already. Meanwhile, the Texans boast the league's 10th best defensive unit (FootballOutsiders' DVOA metric), one that allowed only 12 and 14 points in their two games prior to getting "Belichick'ed" last Thursday in Foxborough; expect them to use the extra prep time to recoup from that loss and lay it on the Titans in this matchup.
Joe Flacco (Salary: $5,900). If you are not reading "Trendspotting" by fellow FootballGuy, Ryan Hester, you are missing out on an excellent weekly feature here on Footballguys. In that piece, my fellow bourbon enthusiast identifies statistical-based trends that could help identify undervalued DFS plays for the upcoming week. This week, Ryan points out that both Steve Smith and Dennis Pitta have received an inordinate amount of targets, yet still have not scored a touchdown, with the implication being that positive regression is forthcoming for both of those pass catchers. If that regression occurs this week, it will be on the right arm of Joe Flacco, who has led his team to open the season with a 3-0 record. To be fair, though, Flacco has beaten the Bills, Jaguars, and Browns, who have a combined record of 1-8 thus far. This week, Flacco will face-off against Derek Carr and the Raiders, whose offense is currently ranked second in the league, which should force Flacco to keep pace rather than protect a lead, as he has done in two of his three games this season. The Raiders have one excellent coverage cornerback in David Amerson, ProFootballFocus' 2015 Comeback Player of the Year and current #1 ranked cornerback. The dropoff after Amerson, however, is deep; both D.J. Hayden and Sean Smith have struggled this season, allowing opposing quarterbacks to hit 24 of 33 passes for 409 receiving yards and 4 touchdowns. This entire game has sneaky stack potential and Joe Flacco could easily achieve 4x value on his sub-$6K salary if these offenses come out firing on Sunday.
Brock Osweiler (Salary: $5,800). We still not have seen what Brock Osweiler can do in the Texans offense. To date, Osweiler has been a decent game manager, leading Houston to victories against the Bears and the Chiefs, while getting embarrassed by Bill Belichick and the Patriots 27-0 last Thursday night. With 10 days to prepare for this week's matchup against the Titans, Osweiler could be primed for his first big performance of 2016. The Titans have actually curbed some pretty solid pass defenses in the form of Detroit and Oakland this season, but Osweiler is still in contention as a GPP play for several reasons. First, his ownership should be limited because of what has already been outlined: a previous lack of upside and a lackluster "on-paper" matchup. However, Osweiler's salary is only $800 over DraftKings' site minimum and he needs only a 200+ yard, 3-touchdown or 300+ yard, 2-touchdown performance to achieve GPP value on that salary. With Perrish Cox, ProFootballFocus' worst-ranked coverage cornerback through three games, lining up across from the likes of big-play receivers DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller on half of their routes, it would not be surprising to see Osweiler connect with one (or both) of them for a quick 60+ yard touchdown strike to quickly compile some gaudy numbers. Lastly, J.J. Watt is out for the season after back surgery, which may enhance the odds of the Titans being able to keep this one close and keep Osweiler throwing the ball late into the game.
Trevor Siemian (Salary: $5,400). The undefeated Broncos travel to Tampa Bay on Sunday and will attempt to win back-to-back road games after trouncing the Bengals in Cincinnati last weekend. In that effort, Trevor Siemian silenced critics with a 312-yard, 4-touchdown day that resulted in 32 DraftKings points. This week, Siemian gets a tastier matchup against a Buccaneers team that is stout against the run (allowing only 3.5 yards per carry), but has yielded 20+ fantasy points to any quarterback not named Case Keenum in every game this season. This is a trend that carries over from 2015, where the Bucs allowed only 3.4 yards per carry (second in NFL), but were 26th against the pass, all of which argues against a heavy role for C.J. Anderson in this matchup. Assuming Denver struggles to move the ball on the ground, Gary Kubiak could try to build Siemian's confidence off last week's game and have him find Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders in space against the Bucs' subpar cornerbacks. With 83% of the public action on Denver and the line standing pat at 3-points, there is a distinct possibility that Tampa Bay keeps this one close, which could also add to the allure of getting a piece of the Broncos' passing game.
Lamar Miller (Salary: $7,000). With 20+ carries in every game this season, one would likely conclude that Lamar Miller has reached paydirt at least once, if not multiple times, this season. Miller, however, has not yet scored despite the abundance of looks he has enjoyed in the Texans offense, a trend that likely will correct itself in the near future. In his time with the Dolphins, Miller scored a touchdown approximately once every 30 touches; since arriving in Houston, he has 84 touches without a score, implying that positive regression to the mean should present itself in the near future. While it is unlikely that Miller would collect the three touchdowns he would need to coincide with his career output, we know that he will be heavily used and probably will be underowned in DFS circles due to his previous lack of scoring, both of which make him interesting fodder for tournament play. His matchup against the Titans is tough to read because Tennessee has stifled opposing running backs in all three of their games this season, but they have allowed 4.3 yards per carry, which is not intimidating nor a reason to avoid rostering a running back against them. Lastly, with LeVeon Bell and David Johnson just a few hundred dollars above Miller and Melvin Gordon a few hundred dollars less than Miller, most DFS players are going to avoid him in tournament play, which makes him an appealing low-owned option.
Spencer Ware (Salary: $5,700). Jamaal Charles is making his season debut on Sunday while Charcandrick West is going to sit out due to an ankle injury. Assuming Andy Reid takes his time integrating Charles into the Chiefs' offensive scheme, Spencer Ware should see an abundance of action against the Steelers, who were lit up by pass-catching running backs (Giovani Bernard and Darren Sproles) over the past two weeks. Ware, himself, made a concerted effort in the off-season to work on his ability to catch passes out of the backfield, an effort that was realized quickly when Ware opened the season with 7 catches for 129 receiving yards against the Chargers. Since then, the Chiefs have not targeted him as often because it was not necessary; it will, however, be necessary against the Steelers, who have shown a complete inability to defend the screen game this season. While Charles will steal a few looks from Ware, he will likely be limited in his return to action, which should result in Ware getting 20+ touches in this effort. If the Steelers can get their offense back on track after a disappointing Week #3 performance, this game could turn into a back-and-forth slugfest featuring LeVeon Bell, Antonio Brown, and Spencer Ware, the last of whom is going to be very low-owned.
Carlos Hyde (Salary: $4,200). [Full disclosure: This article is written by a long-time disgruntled Dallas Cowboys fan.] With said disclosure in mind, Jason Garrett's Cowboys have rarely stomped on lesser opponents, even when Vegas oddsmakers projected that they might do so. This week, the Cowboys are 3-point road favorites over the San Francisco 49'ers, yet they will be without a pair of starting offensive linemen, Dez Bryant, and Tony Romo. Speaking in the first person, I fully expect the Cowboys to falter in this spot and lose the game outright to a Chip Kelly offense that leaves them reeling. If that prophecy comes to fruition, Carlos Hyde could be in store for a huge game against Dallas, who have allowed 5.0 yards per carry this season which is tied for 30th in the entire league; that statistic is particularly striking when one considers that the Cowboys have faced a series of lackluster running backs to this point in the season, including Rashad Jennings/Shane Vereen, Matt Jones, and Jeremy Langford/Jordan Howard. Meanwhile, Carlos Hyde has been reborn under Chip Kelly's tutelage, touching the ball over 20 times per game and reaching the endzone four times this young season; his upside is certainly there, as evidenced by the pair of two-touchdown games he has posted already.
Justin Forsett (Salary: $3,800). There is no need to have an abundance of Justin Forsett in your GPP rosters on Sunday, but a 5-10% share might pay dividends against the league's worst rush defense, the Oakland Raiders. Allowing 5.1 yards per carry, the Raiders' ineptitude in defending the run has largely been overshadowed by their potent offense, which has kept opponents primarily throwing the ball instead of running it. As 4-point underdogs at home on Sunday, the Ravens might be forced to follow a similar pass-heavy gameplan, but if they can keep the game close, John Harbaugh would be wise to ground the ball with Justin Forsett and Terrance West to avoid getting into a shootout where he does not have the requisite players to compete. Through three games, Forsett and West split the workload out of the Ravens' backfield fairly evenly, but Forsett continues to see more snaps (118 to 68) and touches (42 to 37). Neither of these backs will be featured once Kenneth Dixon makes his NFL debut next week, but until that happens, Forsett is the player who is most likely to put up a higher stat line on Sundays. At $3.8K, Forsett will be extremely low-owned because Jordan Howard is a more obvious play for $100 less, which makes him a stellar GPP play.
Odell Beckham Jr. (Salary: $8,700). Not a lot of justification is necessary to validate Odell Beckham Jr. as a tournament play, so this commentary is going to be somewhat short. Rostering Beckham in tournaments is simply a game strategy decision; after seeing what the Vikings defense did to Cam Newton (8 sacks, 0 passing TD's) and Kelvin Benjamin (1 targets, 0 catches), a large contingent of the DFS community is going to fade any quarterback and/or wide receiver facing the Vikings until somebody beats them. That could be a mistake with Beckham, who has a skill set that trumps just about any coverage cornerback in the league; just last week, Beckham dogged Josh Norman in shadow coverage for 7 catches and 121 yards receiving. Beckham did not, however, score a touchdown, which makes three consecutive games for him without hitting paydirt, the longest scoreless streak of his career. He will get at least half of his routes against the Vikings' Trae Waynes, who is ProFootballFocus' 84th ranked coverage cornerback out of 104 qualifiers; the other half will be run against Terrance Newman, who is having a great season thus far, but at the age of 38, does not have the ability to contain Beckham. Barring an Eli Manning meltdown, which is admittedly possible at any time, Odell Beckham Jr. could be in store for his first big stat line of the year at low ownership on Sunday afternoon.
DeAndre Hopkins (Salary: $8,400). After scoring touchdowns in his first two games of the season, DeAndre Hopkins stumbled in Week #3 against Bill Belichick's Patriots, finishing the evening with only 4 catches for 56 receiving yards. After that loss, Bill O'Brien announced that he would be taking over the play calling moving forward to try to address their offensive woes, which include scoring only three touchdowns all season. When O'Brien was calling plays for the Texans back in 2014, the team could be described as run-heavy, but that was probably a bigger reflection of personnel (Arian Foster and a litany of poor quarterbacks including Ryan Mallet, Thad Lewis, Case Keenum, Matt Schaub, Ryan Fitzpatrick, and Tom Savage) than anything else. This season, O'Brien has a quarterback in Brock Osweiler that Houston paid a lot of money to acquire and a pair of receivers in Hopkins and Will Fuller, who possess the ability to score on any route they run. Hopkins will get at least half of his routes against the league's worst coverage cornerback, Perrish Cox, who despite his terrible start, has surprisingly not yet allowed a touchdown; all of that could change in a hurry on Sunday if O'Brien decides to utilize the talent at his disposal.
Emmanuel Sanders (Salary: $6,400). A case could be made for Emmanuel Sanders as a cash game play against a Buccaneers defensive unit that funnels action to the passing game. Up front, the Bucs are stellar against the run, allowing only 3.5 yards per carry, but they continue to act as a sieve in their secondary, allowing five different receivers to score 15 or more fantasy points against them this season. With an implied team total of ~ 24 points, there are three touchdowns to be scored and the likelihood that they come through the air is high given the strength of the Bucs defense. Adding to the allure of rostering Sanders is the fact that he has been more heavily-targeted by Trevor Siemian than Demaryius Thomas (29-to-20) to this point in the season; while that trend likely will not continue because Thomas is a special talent deserving of his WR1 status, it certainly could continue on any given week, which is why Sanders gets an appearance here.
Ted Ginn (Salary: $3,700). We saw the Vikings make a mockery out of the Panthers offense last week by keying on Kelvin Benjamin, putting pressure on Cam Newton, and making Newton beat them with his auxiliary wide receivers. That recipe worked out well for Minnesota and we could see the Falcons try to mimic it on Sunday by shadowing Benjamin with Desmond Trufant and forcing Cam Newton to look elsewhere. The reason that approach is not going to work for Atlanta is because they cannot get the type of pressure on Newton that Minnesota achieved; entering Week #4, Minnesota has pressured the quarterback on 19.9% of snaps (third in NFL), whereas the Falcons are only getting pressure 8.5% of the time (28th in NFL). So while Kelvin Benjamin might be gummed up in coverage with Trufant, a secondary receiver like Ted Ginn should have plenty of time to get behind coverage for his signature long touchdowns. Ginn had three consecutive two-touchdown games late last season, one of which was against this Falcons defense; he should see plenty of Robert Alford in coverage, who has allowed opposing quarterbacks to post a 137.1 quarterback rating against him when throwing in his direction. At only $3.7K, Ginn needs only one big play to reach GPP value.
Kevin White (Salary: $3,400). The Detroit Lions can be beaten any number of ways on Sunday, including with Jordan Howard and Zach Miller, both of whom are featured in this article. Others will argue that Alshon Jeffery could be in store for a big game, but there are a number of reasons to fade Jeffery this week including the fact that he was dealing with two different injuries (hamstring and knee) that resulted in him having a limited practice on Friday; add in the fact that he will likely see a heavy dose of Darius Slay in coverage and there is not a lot of reason to pay Jeffery's lofty $7.5K price tag. A player who has been overlooked in DFS circles is Kevin White, who was targeted an obnoxious 14 times last weekend by Brian Hoyer. Sure, White has demonstrated some rookie flaws, but he showed resilience and was targeted 14 times by Hoyer! Fourteen. Against FootballOutsiders' worst-ranked pass defense, rostering a $3.4K receiver who will see lesser coverage and is entering the game healthier than the WR1 is a shark move for tournament play. It would not be surprising to see White finish this game with ten times value on his pittance of a salary.
Greg Olsen (Salary: $6,000). One way to differentiate your tournament lineups this weekend will be to spend up at the tight end position. With so many nice value plays at tight end (Kyle Rudolph, Zach Miller, Hunter Henry, Coby Fleener, Charles Clay, etc.), the ownership on names like Greg Olsen, Travis Kelce, and Jordan Reed is going to be too low given their inherent upside. Of those options, Olsen is a player you should be considering because the matchup against the Falcons is exquisite--the Falcons are the league's worst defense against the tight end position this season, allowing 23.6 DraftKings points per game, a number that could be low when one takes into account that the tight ends who have generated those numbers are far less integrated into their respective offenses than Greg Olsen. Olsen has seen at least eight targets in every game this season and will continue to be the focal point of the Panthers' passing game moving forward. If we consider the fact that the Panthers' implied team total is the second-highest on the Vegas board at 27 points, Olsen's upside in this matchup is as high as any receiver playing on Sunday.
Travis Kelce (Salary: $4,800). If you need to save a bit of salary from Greg Olsen, but still want to differentiate your tournament rosters by spending up at the tight end position, Travis Kelce is another high-upside option in a plus matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers have been continuously beaten by short screen and underneath passes to this point in the season. Last week, Darren Sproles compiled 128 receiving yards, the vast majority of which were after the catch, because the Steelers' linebacking corps are not sticking to their coverage assignments. Pittsburgh has been mediocre against the tight end position this season, allowing an average of 6 catches for 69 yards, but the caliber of tight ends they have played is far less than Travis Kelce, who is a threat to rip off 20 yards on every play. In a game that has shootout potential, grabbing a piece of Kelce at only $4.8K gives you WR1 upside at a WR2 price point in that tight end roster slot.
Patriots (Salary: $3,300). The Patriots play host to a Buffalo Bills squad that pulled off a major upset last weekend by besting the Arizona Cardinals at Ralph Wilson Stadium. They will look to carry that momentum into Foxborough Sunday, but will have to do so without Sammy Watkins, who was placed on injured reserve Friday evening. That leaves Tyrod Taylor with Robert Woods and Marquise Goodwin to take down the undefeated Patriots on their home turf. Sure, LeSean McCoy will play a role, but you have to imagine that Bill Belichick will scheme to shut down McCoy and force Tyrod Taylor to beat them with his pedestrian receiving corps. With the questions surrounding the Patriots' quarterback situation and Tom Brady returning from suspension next week, expect Belichick to feed LeGarrette Blount, run clock, and limit the Bills' offensive opportunities; if those limited opportunities reside with the likes of Woods and Goodwin, the Bills offense is going to struggle in this AFC East rivalry. From a game strategy perspective, the Patriots' ownership will be somewhat limited since DFS players can have the chalk Texans for $100 less.
49'ers (Salary: $2,600). As described above (Carlos Hyde commentary), Cowboys teams led by Jason Garrett have historically underperformed when playing lower-caliber opponents. If the Cowboys continue with that style of play this Sunday in San Francisco, the 49'ers defense could be a very sneaky GPP play to help differentiate your tournament rosters. Dak Prescott has exhibited excellent decision-making through his first three games in the NFL, having not thrown an interception through 99 pass attempts. That could change tomorrow against an underrated Niners secondary that has four interceptions through three games and has generated an 85.1 QB rating for opposing quarterbacks. The Cowboys' offensive line is banged up and Dez Bryant is going to miss the game, both of which could dramatically affect the Cowboys' ability to move the ball on offense. At only $2.6K, the Niners do not need to do much to reach GPP value, so a couple turnovers, a few sacks, and a low scoreboard total for the Cowboys at the end of the game would be more than enough to hit value, all of which are possible in this letdown spot.
Buccaneers (Salary: $2,600). There is not a lot of sound rationale for rostering a 1-2 Buccaneers defense against the Denver Broncos, who enter Week #4 as one of the league's few remaining undefeated squads. Through three weeks, the Buccaneers, who are allowing only 3.5 yards per carry, are mirroring their 2015 defense that saw them finish with the 9th best rush unit, but 26th worst secondary. With that in mind, the Broncos are likely going to have to beat the Bucs through the air on Sunday in Tampa. This recommendation hinges entirely on whether you believe if Trevor Siemian can repeat what he did last week against the Bengals? If you suspect that he can find Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas against the Bucs' subpar secondary, you should not even consider the Bucs defense, but if you can envision a scenario where Siemian struggles, the Bucs defense is in play. Given that 83% of the bets placed on this game have been in favor of Denver and the line still has not moved off of three points, there is reason to believe that the Broncos might not be the lock to win this game that the public might otherwise think.