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.
In order to help you build winning rosters, let's walk through some of the observations that I have made while doing my research for DraftKings this week. As you build out your lineups on DraftKings, try to consider the following commentary, which revolves around game strategy and how we will want to take advantage of what the masses are doing when they construct their own lineups.
CASH GAME TIPS
CONDENSED VERSION: If you follow me on Twitter, you have probably gleaned from that medium how much time this article requires before the reader sees it in its completed form. On a typical week, the writing portion, alone, takes about 12-14 hours; add in the research component and we are talking nearly a full day out of the week for four consecutive months. Why am I telling you this? Because there are those occasions where life gets in the way and I cannot possibly deliver the same product in the same format every week without otherwise negatively affecting my personal life. This weekend, I am at a family wedding in Lake Keowee, SC, and am trying to squeeze in the writing between family outings, the rehearsal dinner, and the wedding festivities. As a consequence, you will find that this week's version of the article is shorter than it normally is, but I assure you that the research that went into this week is no different than any other week--my time restrictions were more back-ended, meaning that I was able to do all the digging I typically do on a given week, but just find myself scrambling to get it into the system before my personal obligations begin. To ensure that I am able to check every box on this weekend's schedule, I have tried to limit myself to just a few sentences for each player in the article. As always, if you have additional questions about players, why I like them, and/or how I am using them in my lineups, please reach out to me via my Twitter page where I try to answer every question posed.
**Now that I've finished the article, I have realized that I just cannot help myself--even when I try to condense it, I fail. My sleep has suffered, but the article did not...enjoy!**
LESSONS LEARNED: Last week in this space, I did my best to outline why rostering players from road favorites was a risky proposition. I sincerely hope that you weighed that advice, as many of those road favorites underperformed and likely would have killed your cash game rosters. Even if you were judicious and rostered according to my advice, you may still have battled to pull out victories in your cash games due to a litany of injuries that pervaded Week #3. I, myself, was the victim of multiple injuries, including Jay Ajayi, Darren Sproles, Kelvin Benjamin, and Derrick Henry, all of whom suffered injuries early in the game and returned in a limited capacity (Ajayi and Henry) or not at all (Benjamin and Sproles). The combination of these injuries in my cash game lineup on DraftKings proved to be too much in many cases, resulting in a poor week on the site. In 50/50 and double-up contests, I lost nearly every contest I entered with that injury-laden lineup, but managed to salvage about a 30% win rate in head-to-head contests, which reversed some of the losses encountered in the former games. These results serve as a reminder that you should be entering both types of cash games to diversify your action so as to maximize your return on investment, while minimizing the likelihood that your cash games are an all-or-nothing endeavor. The takeaway of this rambling paragraph is that you should always look back to your results, analyze what went right (and wrong), and evolve as a player. In Week #3, we were reminded that road favorites can be hit-or-miss, injuries are unpredictable lineup killers, and cash game diversity is essential for minimizing risk.
GAME SELECTION: If you are not on Twitter and do not have the RotoGrinders' Chrome Extension for DraftKings, you may not be aware that DraftKings raised the rake on many of their flagship tournaments this week. In some cases, DraftKings is now taking a lofty 16% off the top of their lower buy-in GPPs (i.e., $1 First-Down, $3 Play-Action [Classic and Pick'em], $4 Cover-Four, and $5 Flea-Flicker). The decision to rake these contests at 16% should create some additional caution with regards to the contests you decide to enter on the site moving forward. For every percentage point the rake is raised, it can have a significant effect on your bottom line over the long-term. My recommendation is to use the aforementioned Chrome extension to seek out contests with 13% or lower rake to maximize your long-term profitability. I will be taking some of my action to FantasyDraft this weekend, where all head-to-head contests are rake-free, but will still play on DraftKings in contests where the rake is more reasonable (i.e., $100 Spy single-entry = 9.99%, $100 Double-up single-entry = 9.75%, $300 Spin Move = 9.75%, etc.). Admittedly, these higher-dollar contests may be out of your budget, but they represent some of the more attractive contests on the site this weekend; if your bankroll cannot support playing in these types of contests, I recommend that you explore other DFS sites and find contests that align with both your bankroll and the mathematics.
On a related note, DraftKings has also eliminated the Sunday Night Football game from the main slate because they wanted "larger SNF/MNF contests," to appease their European customers, and because we should "try new things." This decision has removed a key game from the main slate and resulted in yet another two-game "primetime" slate. These two-game slates can also be bankroll busters because there is very little edge to be had when you are selecting players from a total of four teams--the most casual of players will make less mistakes when the player pools are smaller. As a general rule, I do not play these slates, unless it is a special occasion (i.e., Thanksgiving 3-game slate) because they are almost impossible to win over the long-term. In parallel to what I described about raising rake (above), DraftKings has decided to include the Sunday night game as part of their $5 Sunday Night Spectacular with 237,800 entries, raked at a whopping 15.9%! For the reasons described, I will sit out that contest (and any others like it) in the hopes that DraftKings will reinstate the Sunday night game as part of the main slate in weeks to come...particularly when NBC begins to implement so-called "flex scheduling" whereby they cherry-pick the best game of the week.
Let's take a deeper look into some of the players who I will be targeting for my cash game and tournament rosters this weekend. There is little difference in terms of strength of selection between those players who have text to justify their appearance in this article versus those in the "also eligible" section; all are strong plays in their respective categories, but time and space restrictions do not allow for expansive written summaries of every player listed.
CASH GAME PICKS
Carson Palmer (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $6,100). After starting the season with a bad-on-paper, but not-his-fault, three-interception game, Carson Palmer has rebounded nicely despite poor offensive line play and losing star running back, David Johnson, to the injured reserve. Palmer has averaged ~ 22 DraftKings points in his most recent pair of games and will square off against a 49ers team that enters Week #4 with the 30th DVOA pass defense, having allowed Jared Goff to carve them up for 292 passing yards and 3 touchdowns just last week. The case for Palmer is bolstered when one juxtaposes their sizeable 26-point implied team total against the dearth of talent they will display out of the backfield; Chris Johnson and Andre Ellington will handle the running back duties, neither of whom inspire confidence in helping get into the endzone, which suggests that Palmer gets those points through an aerial assault against this Niners secondary in Phoenix.
Eli Manning (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $5,700). In a similar situation to Carson Palmer, Eli Manning finds himself playing out the 2017 campaign behind poor offensive line play and without an NFL-caliber running back. There are weeks where that combination will spell disaster for Manning's fantasy numbers, but when he faces an inferior defensive backfield, Manning could present significant value at a modest price point. Against the Buccaneers, Manning's DFS prospects are strong, as Tampa Bay has allowed both Mike Glennon and Case Keenum to surpass 300-passing yards in their only two games this season. While Eli Manning has arguably seen better days, he still has an arsenal of weapons including Odell Beckham, Brandon Marshall, Sterling Shepard, and Evan Engram, all of whom present mismatches for the Bucs secondary. Because the Giants have no strong runner out of the backfield, this could be another situation whereby the quarterback does most of the heavy lifting to put points on the board for his team.
Also eligible: Deshaun Watson ($5,100)
Ezekiel Elliott (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $8,200). Fresh off an impressive road victory against the Arizona Cardinals on Monday Night Football, the Cowboys enter Sunday with a short week of rest at home against the surprising Los Angeles Rams. The Rams are certainly improved under the leadership of Sean McVay, but they have been gutted on the ground, allowing a league-leading six rushing touchdowns through three weeks against the likes of Marlon Mack, Chris Thompson, and Carlos Hyde. With that in mind, it is enticing to think about Ezekiel Elliott's fantasy production, particularly given his increased usage as a pass-catcher out of the backfield this season. As seven-point home favorites, the implied gamescript also supports a big role for Elliott in this matchup, one that could be further boosted by shadow coverage on Dez Bryant via the underrated Trumaine Johnson who has allowed only 1 catch for every 20 coverage snaps this season, a rate that could feasibly limit Bryant's involvement to 3-5 receptions in Dallas on Sunday.
Dalvin Cook (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $6,500). Through his first three games as a rookie in the league, Dalvin Cook is living up to his preseason hype. Despite starting the season with subpar offensive line play, the Vikings are much improved entering Week #4 and now rate out as Footballguys' 11th overall offensive line. The improvement in blocking only adds to Cook's early success in the NFL, as he is ProFootballFocus' 4th most elusive running back, averaging 2.7 rushing yards per attempt after initial contact. The Vikings will face off against the Lions, who boast the league's 5th best DVOA pass defense, headlined by shutdown cornerback, Darius Slay (who will shadow Stefon Diggs) and the resurgent Quandre Diggs, who enters this week as PFF's #8-ranked overall cornerback and will follow Adam Thielen out of the slot. Still unsold on Case Keenum after last week's breakout performance, I prefer Cook in this spot as a slight home favorite at a fair price tag; when Minnesota has experienced winning gamescripts this season, Cook has averaged 31 touches and 23.8 DraftKings points per game.
A.J. Green (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $8,100). The Cleveland Browns have been getting feasted upon by opposing WR1s this season, allowing an astounding 25.5 DraftKings points per game to Antonio Brown, Jeremy Maclin, and T.Y. Hilton. We could see more of the same when A.J. Green takes the short flight to Cleveland this weekend because the Bengals will once again be without the sure-handed redzone specialist, Tyler Eifert, who is dealing with knee and back issues. Without Eifert in the lineup last Sunday, A.J. Green pulled in a season-high 13 targets against the Packers; the next closest receiver (Tyler Kroft) had 4 targets, an indication of how heavily the Bengals could continue to lean on Green in Eifert's absence. Some might argue that the Bengals will give the ball a bit more to Joe Mixon this week, after anointing him as the lead back last week under new Offensive Coordinator, Bill Lazor; however, the Browns have been fairly stout against the run this season, boasting the league's 5th best DVOA rush defense that is yielding only 3.1 yards per carry entering this matchup. Meanwhile, Green will line up across from Jamar Taylor, who has allowed 85% of passes thrown into his coverage to be completed this season for 247 yards and a touchdown. The passing game represents the easier path to victory, which makes Green the stronger cash game play.
Larry Fitzgerald (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $6,100). Coming off a short week, it might be otherwise unadvisable to roster an aging Larry Fitzgerald in cash games, but Fitz cannot be ignored after an incredible Monday Night Football performance that saw him finish with 13 catches for 149 yards and a touchdown against the Dallas Cowboys. Because pricing was released prior to the end of that contest, Fitzgerald's salary is too cheap at $6.1K to ignore in a plus matchup against the San Francisco 49ers. The Niners field the NFL's 30th ranked DVOA pass defense and will send K'Waun Williams into the slot to defend Fitzgerald, who has a 6-inch height advantage and 11-years' worth of NFL experience to trump Williams, the 93rd ranked cornerback (out of 110) on ProFootballFocus. Accounting for the general lack of talent in the Cardinals backfield, it could stand to reason that Fitzgerald sees another double-digit target game and should be a highly-visible redzone target against his much smaller defender. At $6.1K, he needs only 18 DraftKings points to reach cash game value, a number that two opposing receivers (Sammy Watkins and Robert Woods) surpassed in the Niners' previous game.
Jared Cook (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $3,400). For the second consecutive week, building cash game rosters on DraftKings is a painful process because you are almost forced to punt the position due to how tight the salaries are on the site. There are a few options, however, including Jared Cook, who appeared in this column last week prior to posting a respectable 14.3 DraftKings points performance on a night where the remainder of the Raiders offense was largely garbage. We could potentially see a similar phenomenon this week when Oakland travels to Denver to take on the Broncos, who are undefeated at home this season. The Broncos will try to minimize Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree with the likes of Aqib Talib and Bradley Roby, while slowing down Marshawn Lynch with the league's top rated DVOA rush defense. The weak spot could be in defending the tight end, where the Broncos are 25th (DVOA) against the position having allowed touchdowns to opposing tight ends in back-to-back weeks leading into this matchup. Coming off a week where Cook was credited for ~ 36% of the entire offense's receiving yards, he is sure to be on Derek Carr's radar in a tough matchup again this week.
Evan Engram (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $3,000). At a deeper discount to Jared Cook, you might consider Evan Engram against a battered Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense. Entering the weekend, reports are suggesting that an already depleted Bucs defense will be without linebackers Lavonte David and Kwon Alexander, as well as safety T.J. Ward; David and Alexander are both solid pass coverage defenders, having rated out as the 13th and 30th best at the position in 2016 (PFF), whereas Ward's loss is probably a non-factor in pass coverage, where he has historically struggled. Given that the Bucs have allowed both of their opposing quarterbacks to throw for 300+ yards this season, we can expect the Giants to attack them through the air and Engram represents the cheapest price point at which you can get a piece of the Giants receivers. The overall opportunity cost is low and the savings are necessary, both of which make Engram enticing from a cash game perspective.
Also eligible: Charles Clay ($3,700)
Seahawks (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $4,100). It seems counterintuitive to list the Seattle Seahawks in this space a week after watching them get roasted by Marcus Mariota and company for 33 points and over 400 yards of total offense, but this weekend's matchup against the Colts is just too good to ignore. Prior to last week's 31-point outburst against a terrible Browns defense, the Colts had mustered only 22 points through 2 games to the Rams and Cardinals, a pair of defenses with far more talent than Cleveland. Seattle fits into the mold of those other defenses and is arguably better, even if they did not display it last week in Nashville. The Seahawks are 13-point favorites over the Colts, who had allowed the 2nd most sacks in the league (11) entering Week #4. If Seattle jumps to an early lead in line with the Vegas gamescript, Jacoby Brissett will be forced to make a lot of passes against one of the league's more accomplished all-around defenses in a hostile "12th man" environment.
Jaguars (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $3,600). The revamped Jacksonville Jaguars defense has been impressive through the first three weeks of the season, allowing only 17 points per game. The Jags lead the league in sacks (13) and are the best overall DVOA pass defense, having yielded only 124.3 passing yards per game; they can be susceptible to the run, where they have allowed 135.3 rushing yards per game, 5th worst in the NFL. That should not present a major issue for the Jags, as the Jets will be without Matt Forte and are likely going to be playing from behind in this matchup, if we are to believe oddsmakers pegging the Jags as 3.5-point favorites. To his credit, Josh McCown has eluded a complete meltdown of a game despite missing NFL-caliber talent at many positions surrounding him, but that horrendous performance is forthcoming and it could very well happen at the hands of the Jags defense that is headlined by Calais Campbell, A.J. Bouye, and Jalen Ramsey.
Philip Rivers (Salary: $6,300). Fresh off a thrilling victory against the Giants, the Philadelphia Eagles take a five-hour flight to southern California this week to take on an 0-3 Chargers team that finds themselves in a must-win situation. Preseason candidates for playing deep in January, the Chargers have not been able to put together a complete game on both sides of the ball, but have an excellent opportunity to right their ship against an Eagles secondary that was picked apart by Eli Manning last week for 366 yards and 3 touchdowns. Up front, the Eagles will be without Fletcher Cox, their best pass rusher; in the secondary, Philadelphia will continue to miss Ronald Darby, who suffered an injury early in Week #1 and continues to watch from the sidelines, as well as a pair of safeties in Corey Graham and Jaylen Watkins. The personnel matchups heavily favor the Chargers' excellent receiving corps, including Keenan Allen, Tyrell Williams, and Travis Benjamin, all of whom have 100+ yard upside. Selecting the correct receiver for your DFS lineups may be troubling, but the common denominator is Philip Rivers, who is due for some positive regression after starting the season slowly with only four touchdowns; he is on pace for 21 touchdowns after throwing 29 or more for the previous four years with lower caliber receivers. Putting everything together, it would not be surprising to see Rivers finish this matchup with 300+ yards, 3 touchdowns, and a victory against a depleted Eagles defense in a letdown situation after an emotional victory last weekend.
Tyrod Taylor (Salary: $5,300). The Atlanta Falcons are averaging 29 points per game this season and are projected to do the same again this week at home against the Buffalo Bills. The implied team total for the Falcons sets up well for Tyrod Taylor and his basement bargain $5.3K price, as he will be playing from behind for most of this game. The Falcons defense, however, is banged up--they will be without three key defenders in DE Courtney Upshaw, LB Vic Beasley Jr, and S Ricardo Allen, whose collective absence could be exploited by Taylor's playmaking skillset. Taylor's price is depressed because the Bills have leaned heavily on LeSean McCoy this season en route to their 2-1 record, with the sole loss being a tight contest against the Panthers. This game should be different, as the Bills will likely fall behind early and Taylor will almost assuredly throw the ball 30+ times; since becoming the Bills' starting quarterback in 2015, Taylor has averaged 17.4 DraftKings points per game when throwing the ball more than 30 times (versus 13.7 when under 30 passes), a number that is just shy of the 4x multiplier needed to reach tournament value on DraftKings. Do not be too afraid of LeSean McCoy vulturing Taylor's upside, as McCoy could be the primary receiver against the Falcons, who have bled receptions and yardage to running backs this season (Tarik Cohen and Ty Montgomery). Add in Tyrod's ability to run the ball and there is definitely 20+ point potential for him in this matchup on a week where saving at the quarterback position enables a lot of roster flexibility elsewhere on DraftKings.
Devonta Freeman (Salary: $7,300). Rostering Devonta Freeman at home last season would have won you a lot of contests in DFS circles because he averaged nearly 50% more output in home games than when on the road (21.7 at home versus 14.9 as a visitor). In only one home game this season, Freeman amassed 100 all-purpose yards and a pair of touchdowns, thus starting the same trend into 2017. This week, Freeman will face the Buffalo Bills, who have been stingy against opposing running backs, allowing only 3.4 yards per carry, which might be enough to keep Freeman's ownership at a reasonable level. A deeper look into the numbers, however, reveals that the Bills have had positive gamescripts for most of the season, thereby emphasizing passing from their opponents; furthermore, none of those opponents (Jets, Panthers, Broncos) boasts a running back with as much upside as Freeman, who scored 20 or more DraftKings points in just under half of his games last season. As 8-point favorites with an implied team total approaching 30 points, the Falcons should be running often in this matchup and Freeman is the most likely candidate to get into the endzone multiple times.
Jacquizz Rodgers (Salary: $4,400). The data set on the Buccaneers is limited because of Hurricane Irma canceling their Week #1 game against the Dolphins. What we do know is that this will be the last week for Jacquizz Rodgers as the lead running back in Tampa, as Doug Martin is scheduled to return prior to next Thursday's game against the Patriots. Because Martin is returning, there will likely be no limit on the number of carries Rodgers is given against the Giants on Sunday. Through two games, Rodgers has one respectable stat line (19/67/1) and one terrible stat line (5/15/0), both of which were reflective of the outcome of those games; in the first, the Buccaneers bested the Bears and fed Rodgers throughout the game, whereas his involvement was largely eliminated last week against the Vikings, who jumped out to an early lead and never looked back. This week, the Bucs are short favorites over the visiting Giants, who have been susceptible to the run this season, allowing a league-high 153.3 yards per game and currently field the league's 29th ranked DVOA rush defense. With Mike Evans slated to get shadow coverage from Janoris Jenkins (who has been downright spectacular this season), Rodgers' number could be called upon even more often than normal, a prospect that is enticing with his $4.4K price tag. Assuming we are to believe the Buccaneers will win this game as home favorites, Rodgers should see 20+ touches in that potential gamescript.
Demaryius Thomas/Emmanuel Sanders (Combined Salary: $12,400). The Broncos offense is unique, in that they lack legitimate tertiary receivers behind Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders. To this point in the season, Thomas and Sanders have been targeted on 54% of the Broncos' passing plays, a number that is as high as any WR1-WR2 combination in the league. They will face-off against a Raiders defense that enters Week #4 as the 28th ranked DVOA pass defense, after being torched by Kirk Cousins for 365 yards and 4 touchdowns last Sunday night. Cornerbacks Gareon Conley, David Amerson, and Travis Carrie out of the slot have been battered by far lesser receivers (Jermaine Kearse and Josh Doctson) than Thomas and Sanders, which makes this a pristine matchup for those Broncos receivers on Sunday. Because their price is depressed due to a relative lack of production (two touchdowns between both of them through three weeks), the combination of Thomas and Sanders will only cost you a few more thousand dollars than Antonio Brown ($9.3K), but should feasibly garner all the meaningful fantasy value in the Broncos' passing game. If you stack Trevor Siemian with Thomas and Sanders, you will be looking for approximately 60 combined fantasy points, an entirely reasonable number if Siemian surpasses 300 passing yards with 3 touchdowns because you can almost guarantee that Thomas and Sanders will account for well over half of those yards and at least 2 of those touchdowns. This double-stack is more of a bet on Siemian than on either receiver because if Siemian blows up, at least one, and possibly both, of these receivers will do the same.
Marquise Goodwin (Salary: $3,500). While Pierre Garcon is locked up by Patrick Peterson in shadow coverage on Sunday, speedster Marquise Goodwin will be on the other side of the field locking horns with Arizona's biggest liability in the secondary, Justin Bethel. Through 180 snaps this season, Bethel has been targeted 19 times in coverage; receivers have caught 11 of those passes for 205 receiving yards and 3 touchdowns (tied for worst in the league). Meanwhile, Trent Taylor will run out of the slot and largely be negated by Tyrann Mathieu, who has not dominated this season as in years past, but still outclasses Taylor by a longshot. That leaves only Goodwin as the primary target for Brian Hoyer in a gamescript that favors the pass. Goodwin's 4.27 40-yard dash speed is unparalleled, even at this level, and it will only take one deep touchdown pass for him to reach tournament value on his bargain $3.5K salary. Rostering Goodwin at 3% ownership also provides extreme leverage over the ~ 20% of DFS players who will take the side of Carlos Hyde in their rosters; if the Niners manage to score 17+ points (Vegas' implied team total for SF) and Hyde does not score a touchdown, it is highly likely that Goodwin will have been a key factor in that scoring and provide you with exceptional roster uniqueness needed to place high in DFS tournaments.
Rob Gronkowski (Salary: $6,600). Due to the Sunday night game being absent from the main slate, the early game in London, a Thursday and Monday night game, and a variety of injuries to key tight ends, there is not a whole lot to like about the position on the DraftKings' main slate this weekend. For the same reasons described last week in this very same spot, when Rob Gronkowski went on to score 22.9 DraftKings points, we can possibly look to him again this week against the Carolina Panthers. The Panthers have minimized opposing tight ends this season, allowing less than six DraftKings points per week, a fact that should help keep Gronk's ownership levels somewhat depressed. Likewise, Gronk's lofty $6.6K salary will scare away a lot of prospective owners who are looking to save salary at the position. That said, there is no dispute that Gronkowski is matchup-proof and can post a two-touchdown game on any given Sunday, so rostering him at the lowest ownership possible is the shark move when it presents itself. If DraftKings were to make Rob Gronkowski eligible for the WR position for this week only, he would be owned at > 20% in tournaments, but because he is a tight end, his ownership will be about half of that amount, making him an excellent GPP play at an otherwise thin position.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins (Salary: $3,000). A week after returning from a two-week suspension due to violation of the league's substance abuse policy, Austin Seferian-Jenkins looks like a sneaky tournament option against the potent Jaguars defense. In his first game with the Jets last week, Seferian-Jenkins (aka "ASJ") tied for the team-lead in targets (6, with Robby Anderson) and finished the game with 5 receptions for 31 yards in a surprise win against the Dolphins. This week, ASJ is expected to play additional snaps and will likely be asked to carry a larger role as Robby Anderson and Jermaine Kearse will have their hands full on the perimeter of the field with the likes of Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye, leaving the interior of the field for Josh McCown to find the open receiver, namely Seferian-Jenkins. As dominant as the Jaguars defense has been in 2017, their Achilles heel has been defending the tight end position, where they have allowed an average of 17.6 DraftKings points per game (5th worst in the league). If you are looking to save salary at the tight end position without joining the masses rostering Evan Engram at a similar price point, ASJ is an intriguing option who would be owned at approximately 5%.
Also eligible: Eric Ebron (Salary: $3,100).
Broncos (Salary: $3,300). There are seven defenses that are more expensive than the Denver Broncos this weekend. Seven. The Broncos will be at home in Mile-High Stadium and will be hosting a Raiders team that only mustered 10 points last week against a much more pedestrian Redskins defense in our nation's capital. Sure, the Raiders have a great offense headlined by an emerging star quarterback in Derek Carr, a pair of star receivers (Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree), and a hungry, veteran running back in Marshawn Lynch. The Broncos, however, have a top-end secondary that includes Chris Harris Jr, Aqib Talib, and Bradley Roby, all of whom can stifle the best of the best receivers; likewise, they shored up their defensive front in the off-season and enter Week #4 as one of two teams who have yet to allow a rushing touchdown while leading the league in rushing yards allowed (59.7 per game). Simply put, the Broncos field one of the best defenses in the league and are capable of shutting down any offense, including the Raiders. To bolster the case for Denver, we received late-breaking news on Friday that Michael Crabtree is a game-time decision for Sunday's game, a revelation that could quietly make Denver one of the top plays of the weekend.
Chargers (Salary: $2,500). As discussed above (see Philip Rivers writeup), the Chargers find themselves in a must-win situation after losing three straight to start the season. They will host the Philadelphia Eagles, who squeaked by the Giants last week on the leg of Jake Elliott, who kicked a 61-yard field goal as time expired. The Eagles lost Darren Sproles for the season in that matchup due to a broken arm and a torn ACL, a loss that will be felt by the Eagles offense because of the versatility that Sproles brought to the field. Wendell Smallwood and LeGarrette Blount will try to fill the void left by Sproles, but neither running back has exhibited an ability to excel in Head Coach Doug Pederson's offense to this point in the season. That could put pressure on Carson Wentz to find his top receiver in Alshon Jeffery, but Jeffery will get shadow coverage from Casey Hayward, who continues to shut down every WR1 he faces this season. Meanwhile, the Chargers have been successful in generating a pass rush, as evidenced by their 11 sacks to this point in the season (2nd in NFL); Joey Bosa (two sacks in 2017) will lead that effort and try to recapitulate the Eagles' performance from two weeks ago when they allowed the Chiefs to sack Wentz six times. At $2.5K, the Chargers are an inexpensive, high-upside option at the team defense position on a slate where every dollar matters.
Also eligible: Bengals ($3,500), Cowboys (Salary: $2,500).
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