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
DIVERSIFYING RISK: For many of you veteran DFS players, this paragraph is nothing new and you can feel free to skip to the "GPP Tips" section of the article. For those of you who are relative newcomers to the DFS scene, I want to remind you of how to diversify your DFS entries to maximize profits without exposing yourself to excessive risk. The first rule is to never play more than 20% of your bankroll on any given week; this is fairly obvious because one bad week can sink your ship for the entire season, particularly if you have no further funds to deposit. Next, you should allocate the majority of your weekly entry fees into cash games because they are easier to win and less variant than tournaments; the likelihood of losing for a month straight in cash games is minimal for a savvy DFS player, but even the best DFS minds can go on long winless streaks in tournament play. As a result, you should **limit your GPP play to ~ 20% of your overall buy-ins for any given week. Now that we have identified that the majority of our contests should be cash games, let's remind ourselves that those might include head-to-head, 50/50, and possibly triple-up contests. Some players, myself included, can get into a dangerous routine of just mass-entering 50/50 (or double-ups) contests and calling it a day. The issue with this approach is that it results in all-or-nothing payouts whereby your cash games will give you 100% return on investment (or thereabouts) or leave you without any chance of winning, depending on where your cash game roster(s) fall within the contest. A finish in the 60th percentile is, for all intents and purposes, the same as finishing dead-last in a 50/50 contest; however, if that same roster were entered in 100 different head-to-head contests, it would cash in approximately 40 of them, thereby minimizing your losses for the week. Relatedly, if you finish in the 20th percentile with your cash game roster in a 50/50 contest, but do not enter it into any triple-ups, you are also missing out on an opportunity for quick bankroll growth. Collectively, this quick overview should serve as a reminder that you should be devising an entry strategy that is amenable to your level of risk tolerance, as well as the size of your bankroll. Last thing: The aforementioned entry strategy should be based on your actual results, which can be determined with a little effort and some spreadsheet know-how; if your Excel skills are substandard, our friends at RotoGrinders offer a DFS Results Analyzer tool that does much of the heavy-lifting for you.
**It is worth noting that some DFS players play exclusively in GPP contests for their own reasons. The above advice was written for the more traditional DFS player.**
BUILDING CONTRARIAN ROSTERS: Last week, I implored you to build your rosters 'backwards' by spending on expensive wide receivers, which would force you away from the likes of Le'Veon Bell and Todd Gurley, both of whom had excellent matchups, but were very pricey. If you followed that advice, you likely did quite well in GPPs because Gurley was a total flop at 30+% ownership and Bell had a decent game, but not enough to pay off his exorbitant salary. Meanwhile, A.J. Green, Odell Beckham Jr Jr., and Antonio Brown all turned in excellent performances at low ownership levels; in fact, my buddy and CEO of RotoGrinders, Cal Spears, managed to take down the Millionaire Maker with a lineup that followed that advice to the "T." This week, I suspect the contrarian build will be through avoiding the 'stars and scrubs' approach, whereby people tend to load up on value players (i.e., Jerick McKinnon, Alvin Kamara, etc.) and then max out the remainder of their rosters with high-priced stars in great situations (i.e., DeAndre Hopkins, Leonard Fournette, etc.). My recommendation is always to pick the players you like the most, but I will go on record stating that I think the highest-scoring rosters this week will employ a strategy of selecting players primarily in the middle threshold of pricing. That may or may not come to fruition, but it will be my approach for the larger tournaments on DraftKings.
WHAT TO DO WITH THE TEXANS: The biggest question facing us in tournament play is, "How do we handle players from the Texans in GPP formats?" Deshaun Watson is an excellent cash game play this weekend (on multiple sites), but he is going to be the highest-owned quarterback in tournaments, which gives us reason to ponder whether rostering him is the shark move? My gut feeling is telling me to get away from Watson (in tournaments) for a number of reasons: 1) He is still a rookie quarterback and subject to a bad game, even against a questionable defense, 2) He has basically achieved his ceiling game for three consecutive weeks and his salary would require him to do it again this week to hit 4x value for GPP play, 3) He was having an average game against the Chiefs last week until the last quarter when he threw three relatively meaningless touchdowns after the Chiefs put the game away, and 4) his presence in your roster will force you to build it out like a lot of other rosters in the same contest. Relatedly, I love DeAndre Hopkins' situation this Sunday against the Browns secondary--he is written up below for good reason. That said, he is expected to be owned at 30% (or more), which means that we should expect him to score 30+ fantasy points at least 30% of the time to substantiate his spot in our lineups this weekend. Given that Hopkins has already scored more touchdowns this season than he did in the entire 2016 campaign, we have to expect some regression to his lifetime averages and that does not juxtapose well against him scoring multiple touchdowns in this contest. Relatedly, Will Fuller V has four touchdowns on six receptions this season and his ownership is projected in the neighborhood of 10% despite only averaging only 4.5 targets per game this season; that level of efficiency is unsustainable and he is a complete fade for me at $5.2K. So what's the answer to the original question? I'm leaning towards playing Deshaun Watson only in stacks with Ryan Griffin because of how inept the Browns are at covering tight ends and because Griffin will be owned at 5% or less...I will have a little bit (10-15%, at most) of DeAndre Hopkins, but will be well underweight from the field and, as stated earlier, I will have zero exposure to Will Fuller V for the reasons outlined previously. Your mileage may vary on these decisions. Best of luck on Sunday!
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
Deshaun Watson (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $6,700). Averaging 41.3 points over their previous three games, the Houston Texans look to keep piling points on the board against the Cleveland Browns and their 29th overall DVOA defense on Sunday. Leading the charge will be Deshaun Watson, who has nearly 100 DraftKings points over that timeframe, including a 5-touchdown effort last Sunday night against the Chiefs. Watson started the season slowly with 25 total fantasy points in his first two contests, but surpassed that number in each subsequent game and will be this week's highest-owned quarterback across the DFS industry. The matchup is pristine against a Browns defense that funnels action to the pass because of the strength of their front seven that saw the debut of first overall pick, Garrett Myles, last week against the Jets. Cleveland currently boasts the 3rd best DVOA rush defense (2.9 yards per carry; 2nd in NFL), but are next-to-last in pass defense, having yielded multiple touchdowns to every quarterback they have faced this season. Supporting the case for Watson in cash games is the fact that he is not afraid to scramble, as evidenced by his average of 35.8 rushing yards per game to this point in his rookie season. With an implied team total of ~ 28 points, Watson appears to be a shoo-in for 200+ passing yards, 2 or more touchdowns, and 30+ rushing yards, which should land him with a minimum of 20 DraftKings points for his $6.7K salary.
Kevin Hogan (Cash only, Salary: $4,600). If you are looking to save salary at the quarterback position to slot in the series of expensive receivers in great spots, you might consider the other quarterback in the Houston-Cleveland game, Kevin Hogan. A second-year quarterback out of Stanford, Hogan is extremely cheap and has multiple factors in his favor for DFS purposes. First, his salary is dirt-cheap at $4.6K; his presence in a cash game roster affords the ability to get names like Julio Jones, DeAndre Hopkins, and Antonio Brown into your lineups, all of whom have excellent matchups. Next, Hogan's matchup against the Texans is appealing, as Houston has allowed the 6th most fantasy points (19.8 per game) to the quarterback position this season and will be without J.J. Watt, whose season was ended prematurely with a leg injury last weekend against the Chiefs; in the secondary, the Texans have not been the same since A.J. Bouye left for Jacksonville in the off-season, resulting in quarterbacks averaging ~ 29 DraftKings points per game over the previous three weeks. While that kind of upside is unrealistic for Hogan, the gamescript sets up perfectly for a lot of passing volume and/or garbage time for the Browns' passing game. Another reason to consider Hogan is his running ability; he has 134 rushing yards in two halves of football in the NFL, numbers that suggest he should be good for 30-40 rushing yards on a typical day. Similar to last week when Josh McCown appeared in this same space, Hogan appears to be destined for ~ 15 DraftKings points due to his matchup, gamescript, and implied volume.
Also eligible: Drew Brees ($7,200)
Kareem Hunt (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $8,200). We all saw just how poorly the Steelers defended the run last week when Leonard Fournette trounced them for 181 yards and 2 touchdowns en route to a big upset victory in Pittsburgh. This week, the Steelers will take their show on the road and face the hottest running back in the game, Kareem Hunt. Thrust into the lead running back role after Spencer Ware went down with a knee injury in the preseason, Hunt has been nothing short of spectacular through the first quarter of the season. He currently leads all running backs in rushing yardage (609), is averaging a ridiculous 6.3 yards per carry, and has surpassed 100+ all-purpose yards in every game this season. The Chiefs are 5-0 entering this game and Hunt's usage has thrived as a result; he has averaged 22.6 touches per game over the course of the season and 28.5 touches over the past two weeks, as Coach Andy Reid puts additional trust in him to extract time late in the game. Hunt has three or more receptions in every game this season except for one, which further supports a case for him in cash games on DraftKings' full PPR scoring format. Meanwhile, the Steelers are allowing a massive 5.1 yards per carry this season (31st in NFL) and have allowed their opposing running back(s) to score 35+ points in each of their losses. With Vegas oddsmakers slating the Steelers to lose this contest by 4.5-points, Kareem Hunt should prosper based on historical performances against this Steeler defensive front.
Mark Ingram II (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $4,400). There will likely be no higher-owned running back in tournaments on DraftKings Sunday than Mark Ingram II. At $4.4K, Ingram offers a sizeable scoring floor without Adrian Peterson, who was traded to Arizona on Tuesday, because there will be nobody to steal carries in early-down situations; furthermore, Ingram should be assured any high-leverage carries near the goalline, something that was not guaranteed with Peterson on the roster. Some DFS players will be scared away from Ingram because of the emergence of Alvin Kamara, whose success allegedly gave the Saints confidence to unload Peterson; that said, Kamara should be thought of as a change-of-pace back who will get an occasional carry out of the backfield while getting most of the passing down action, all of which could amount to 25-30 snaps versus the ~ 50 snaps that Ingram should see throughout this game. The matchup does not look particularly appealing on paper, as the Lions field the league's 5th ranked DVOA rush defense, but Drew Brees and the diversity of the New Orleans offense should spread Detroit's defense out enough to give Ingram space between the tackles. Bolstering the case for Ingram is the fact that the Saints are favored by 4-points headed into Sunday, which means that the sure-handed running back could be pounding the ball late in the game for bonus fantasy production.
DeAndre Hopkins (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $8,100). Only Antonio Brown (64) has more targets than DeAndre Hopkins (61) this season, which makes Hopkins a relative bargain at a $1,200 discount from Brown on a week where the Texans' implied team total is more than a touchdown higher than the Steelers. Hopkins has double-digit targets in all but one game this season (eight in that outlier game) and enters this week trailing only Jordy Nelson in receiving touchdowns; suffice it to say that Hopkins should be considered an elite receiver, even if he has a rookie quarterback tossing him the ball. This Sunday, Hopkins will take on the Browns, who have been fantasy's friendliest defense to opposing WR1s, having allowed a touchdown to every WR1 they have faced except for the aforementioned Brown who finished his matchup with 11 receptions and 182 yards. Some DFS players will worry that Will Fuller V's recent onslaught of touchdowns will negatively affect Hopkins' output, but Fuller has been extremely efficient, scoring 4 times on 6 receptions (only 9 targets) over the pair of games he has played this season; to expect Fuller to maintain that level of scoring efficiency is short-sighted. The Texans' passing game, however, should be trusted against this Browns defense that filters action towards the pass because of the strength of their rushing defense, as described in the Deshaun Watson writeup (above). Hopkins will face off against a combination of Jason McCourty and Jamar Taylor, both of whom have stumbled in coverage this season, allowing over 500 receiving yards and multiple scores between the pair of them. Expect more of the same this weekend in a prime matchup for Watson and Hopkins, who are this week's favorites to connect for substantial yardage and possibly multiple scores.
Adam Thielen (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $6,000). With stablemate Stefon Diggs watching from the sidelines, Adam Thielen should garner all the action he can handle from Case Keenum on Sunday afternoon. Diggs was averaging eight targets per game before a groin injury caused him to miss most of last week's game; those eight targets should be redistributed amongst the Vikings' remaining receivers including Thielen, Michael Floyd, and Kyle Rudolph. Of these options, Thielen is the savvy DFS play this week for a number of reasons: first, he was already averaging eight targets per game himself, so we should probably expect double-digit targets without Diggs on the field. Next, Thielen is in line for some positive touchdown regression in the near future; last season, he scored once every 18 targets, but has not managed to find the endzone in 2017 despite 40 targets entering Sunday's matchup against the Packers. Speaking of the Packers, Thielen toasted this same secondary last Christmas Eve for 12 receptions, 202 yards, and 2 touchdowns en route to a 47+ DraftKings points performance; he will line up across from slot cornerback, Quinten Rollins, who has literally allowed every pass thrown into his coverage to be caught this season (16 for 16, 160 yards allowed, 1 TD on 63 coverage snaps). At a reasonable $6.0K price point, Thielen provides excellent value as a high-volume, stop-gap WR1 while also bringing GPP-like upside to the table.
Zach Miller (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $2,900). Similar to last week, this feels like a week where we can extract value out of the tight end position to enable spending up at other positions. One could certainly make an argument for Travis Kelce as a cash game play, but the opportunity cost may be too high on DraftKings, where pricing tends to be tighter than FanDuel (Kelce, however, is an excellent GPP play--see the writeup on him in the GPP section below). At $2.9K, Zach Miller represents the type of cheap tight end who brings a respectable 3x scoring floor due to implied workload and personnel matchup. As is discussed elsewhere in this article, the Bears' receiving corps has been dwindling due to injuries for weeks and they will run out a series of wide receivers on Sunday who started the season on their practice squad (Kendall Wright being the lone exception). Zach Miller has avoided the injury bug and put up consistent, albeit unspectacular, numbers over the first 25% of the season. That said, things could be about to pick up for Miller, as Mitchell Trubisky makes his second start of the year this week in Baltimore. First, Miller was Trubisky's favorite target last week in his NFL debut, a phenomenon that is not unusual for young quarterbacks in the NFL. Next, the Ravens perimeter cornerbacks (Jimmy Smith and Brandon Carr) have been exceptional this season, which has forced opposing quarterbacks to funnel their passes to the center of the field at slot receivers and tight ends; this is why the Ravens are currently allowing the 10th most points to the position, including a monstrous 3-touchdown game to Marcedes Lewis in London a few weeks ago. Lastly, the implied gamescript favors a lot of passing from Trubisky late in this game, which should result in several garbage time receptions from Miller who needs only 10-12 DraftKings points to justify his spot in your cash game rosters due to his low salary.
Tyler Higbee (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $2,500). Just a few hundred dollars less than Zach Miller, you might consider a site-minimum Tyler Higbee against the Jacksonville Jaguars for many of the same reasons outlined for Miller. First, the Jaguars arguably boast the best CB1/CB2 combination in the league with Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye, which has resulted in miniscule production from the wide receiver position of their opponents (3rd lowest in the NFL); the correlate to those data is that a lot of opponents' passing action has gone towards tight ends, resulting in the Jags' bottom third ranking in the league against the position, allowing 13.4 DraftKings points per game. Higbee is not a household name, which will keep his ownership levels low across the industry, but do not despair--he has 14 targets over the previous two weeks, including a 4-catch, 98-yard performance against the Seahawks just last Sunday. With Sammy Watkins and Robert Woods being negated from the Rams' passing game, it will be a combination of Cooper Kupp, Todd Gurley, and Tyler Higbee to move the ball on Sunday and there is good reason to believe that Higbee can finish with 60+ yards and a handful of receptions, which is all that he would need to reach cash game value on DraftKings.
Also eligible: Austin Seferian-Jenkins ($4,300)
Ravens (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $3,700). What do you get when you line up a rookie quarterback making his second career NFL start against the league's second-ranked overall DVOA defense? The week's chalkiest DFS defense, of course. The Baltimore Ravens will be the highest-owned team defense this week because the very best defensive matchup (Denver versus a receiverless Giants offense) is being played on Sunday night and not available on DraftKings' main slate. The Ravens will play at home in front of a fired-up crowd as they look to go 4-2, building off last week's big road victory in Oakland. Outside of an outlier performance in London against the Jaguars in Week #3, Baltimore has begun to piece together a respectable season on the heels of the strength of their defense. In Week #1, they shut out the Cincinnati Bengals and then allowed only 10 points to the Browns in Week #2; since then, they slipped up against Jacksonville and Pittsburgh before holding an E.J. Manuel-led Raiders offense to only 10 points last week in Oakland. Enter rookie Mitchell Trubisky and a receiving corps that will start multiple receivers (Tre McBride, Tanner Gentry, Joshua Bellamy) who were on the Bears' practice squad to start the season. In his season debut last week, Trubisky completed only 48% of his passes against the Vikings and managed only 128 total passing yards against a similarly talented defense in the Vikings; it is tough to envision any improvements for the Bears offense in a hostile environment with the receivers they will be starting against this strong Ravens' defensive unit.
Redskins (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $3,400). Despite having faced some very strong offenses this season (PHI, LAR, OAK, KC), the Redskins defense has managed respectable fantasy output with double-digit scores in 50% of their games. No team they have faced has surpassed 20 points scored and they have allowed only 13.5 points per game on their home turf at FedEx Field. This Sunday, the Redskins will host a beleaguered San Francisco squad that has traveled to Phoenix, then to Indianapolis, and now to Washington D.C. over their previous three weeks. Look for the winless Niners to come out flat in this matchup against a rested Washington squad that has had two weeks to prepare. Oddsmakers have pinned a low 17.5-point implied team total on the 49ers, which supports the notion that San Francisco has an uphill battle in front of them on Sunday. For $3.4K, you will get the league's 8th overall DVOA defense that has allowed only 7 touchdowns this season against Brian Hoyer, who has thrown as many interceptions as touchdowns in 2017; as 11-point underdogs on the road, it is easy to envision a scenario where the Niners fall behind early and Hoyer is forced to take some chances later in the game that could result in defensive scores for Washington.
Kirk Cousins (Salary: $6,800). For the first time all season, the Washington Redskins will enter a Sunday with all of their receivers at 100% health. Jordan Reed has been dealing with a foot injury for months and Jamison Crowder has been slowed with a hamstring issue, but both were absent from the injury report entering this weekend's matchup against the 49ers. Meanwhile, Terrelle Pryor has yet to have a breakout game, despite having far more talent surrounding him than he had for a full season in Cleveland in 2016 when he posted superior numbers. Add in a red-hot Chris Thompson, an emerging former first-round pick (Josh Doctson), an extra week of preparation for the entire team, and Kirk Cousins is in an excellent position to put together a huge fantasy performance against San Francisco at FedEx Field on Sunday. Head Coach Jon Gruden might elect to lean a bit more heavily on Cousins in this matchup, as Rob Kelley will miss the game with an ankle injury, leaving rookie running back Samaje Perine to handle the bulk of the rushing duties out of the backfield; highly-touted in this year's draft, Perine has been disappointing thus far, averaging only 3.1 yards per carry despite plus matchups against Oakland and the L.A. Rams. If Gruden does throw the ball more often, Cousins will have his choice of receivers against the league's 26th ranked DVOA pass defense that has allowed three consecutive quarterbacks to post 20+ DraftKings points. With San Francisco's lightning fast pace (25.4 seconds/play; 1st in NFL), this should be a fast-paced back-and-forth contest that enables the Redskins to rip off a slew of offensive plays, thereby allowing Cousins to rack up fantasy output early and often.
Carson Palmer (Salary: $6,100). No team in the league is throwing the ball on a higher percentage of their offensive plays than the Arizona Cardinals. Entering Week #6, Coach Bruce Arians has called Carson Palmer's number on 71.8% of the team's offensive plays, which has resulted in gaudy passing totals for Palmer--only Tom Brady has more passing yards (1,702) than Carson Palmer (1,574) to this point in the season. This weekend should be no different against a Buccaneers defense that is tough up front (6th DVOA rush defense), but shaky in their secondary (27th DVOA pass unit; 309.0 passing yards per game). Through the first four games, the Bucs have allowed every opposing quarterback not named Eli Manning to surpass 300+ yards (Manning scored 27.72 DraftKings points in his 288-yard outing against Tampa Bay); in fact, only three teams (New England, Tennessee, Indianapolis) have allowed more points to the position than Tampa this season. Naysayers will point out that Arizona brought in Adrian Peterson to try to help establish a run game in Phoenix in the absence of David Johnson, but Peterson has had less than a week to learn the Cardinals' playbook and was not tearing it up in New Orleans behind a much better offensive line; expect to see him in pass protection, a lot, this weekend. Meanwhile, Palmer's case is strengthened by the fact that Tampa Bay will be without several key starters, all of whom are key contributors to the Bucs' pass defense. Lest we forget that playmaker John Brown is trending in the right direction for the first time in recent memory and Larry Fitzgerald is still a full six inches taller than Robert McClain when Arizona finds their way to the redzone. At home with a fair $6.1K salary and likely low ownership, Carson Palmer is an excellent GPP flyer on DraftKings this weekend.
Javorius Allen (Salary: $5,400). After inheriting the lead running back role last week due to a Terrance West calf injury, Javorius Allen responded with a 25-touch, 18.5-fantasy point performance that saw him get into the endzone for the second time this season. Allen should enjoy similar usage this weekend against the Chicago Bears, who allowed a similarly-stylistic Jerick McKinnon to thrash them for 146 all-purpose yards on 21 touches (26.6 DraftKings points) just a week ago. Prior to that, the Bears were respectable on the ground, allowing no opposing running back to surpass 70 yards; however, every RB1 the Bears have faced this season has found the endzone and none have finished their respective games with less than double-digit fantasy points. Allen's ownership will be too low for the type of upside he presents for two reasons: 1) His salary is in the middle of the running backs, which traditionally is lower-owned because most DFS players employ a 'stars and scrubs' approach whereby they roster players at the top and bottom of each position, and 2) Others will be worried about the presence of Alex Collins, who has exhibited an ability to run between the tackles and is arguably the best runner on the Ravens. However, Collins has not shown that he can hang onto the football (two fumbles and a dropped pass in 39 opportunities this season) and his usage will be limited until the coaching staff can trust his hands. The implied gamescript sets up well for Allen to be closing out the game with a lead, as Baltimore enters Sunday as a touchdown favorite over the visiting 1-4 Bears.
Samaje Perine (Salary: $4,400). Another overlooked running back who should see plenty of action on Sunday is Samaje Perine, who will take the lead role assuming Rob Kelley sits with an ankle issue. Our Steve Buzzard is projecting Perine to be owned at only 3% on DraftKings, which is ridiculously low for the amount of touches he should see in this matchup. To date, Perine has not played an entire game from start to finish, yet he has two games where he has managed 20 and 22 touches, respectively. We should expect similar usage on Sunday, including goalline looks going to Perine; sure, Chris Thompson will steal any passing down snaps and has been extremely efficient to this point in the season, but there is simply too much opportunity that will presented to Perine to ignore at his $4.4K salary. The DFS community is ignoring Perine because he has admittedly been inefficient this season, averaging only 3.1 yards per carry; however, Perine does not need to be extremely efficient if he is getting 20+ touches and high-value goalline carries as an 11-point favorite over the visiting 49ers. Likewise, the Redskins' running game should become more efficient hereafter simply because they will have their full bevy of receivers at their disposal for the first time all season, which will force opposing defenses to play more honestly and open additional running lanes that may not have been there previously. The bottom line is that Perine's range of outcomes far exceeds 20 DraftKings points given these factors and he would assuredly hit that threshold more than 3% of the time over the long-term, if given the opportunity; as such, he is an excellent GPP flyer in Week #6.
Antonio Brown (Salary: $9,300). Priced well above some of the field favorites (DeAndre Hopkins and Julio Jones), Antonio Brown is going to go underowned against the Kansas City Chiefs this weekend. Brown is the most highly-targeted wide receiver in the league and yet has only a single touchdown on the season; of the top ten receivers in this category, only three of them have one touchdown: Jarvis Landry, Keenan Allen, and Antonio Brown. Landry's presence on this list is not surprising, as he is historically a possession receiver who seldomly gets into the endzone; Allen and Brown, however, are in store for positive touchdown regression in the near future. Where Brown is concerned, he has averaged a touchdown every 10.6 receptions since 2014, yet has only one touchdown in 40 catches this season. His personnel matchup could not be better; he will run about half of his routes at Terrance Mitchell, who ranks 61st of 78 qualifying cornerbacks (PFF) and has allowed 414 receiving yards and 3 touchdowns in coverage this season. Some will be scared away because shutdown cornerback, Marcus Peters, patrols the other side of the field, but Brown only runs to that side ~ 25% of the time on a typical day and you can bet that Coach Mike Tomlin will scheme to get Brown away from Peters as much as possible. As 4.5-point road underdogs, the Steelers could be forced to air the ball out, as they did last week when Ben Roethlisberger threw 50+ times and connected with Brown on 10 of those attempts for 157 yards. It is not out of the question to speculate that Brown finishes with a similar stat line this week, but manages to get into the endzone to push those fantasy numbers even higher.
John Brown (Salary: $4,500). Last week, we may have seen a changing of the guard for the WR2 position on the Arizona Cardinals. After receiving ~ 94% of the offensive snaps for the two weeks prior, Jaron Brown saw his snap distribution drop to 60%, while "the other Brown," John Brown, enjoyed an uptick in playing time when he went from 62% to 80% of the team's offensive snaps. It has been some time since John Brown was 100% healthy, as he has dealt with sickle cell anemia for several years, as well as a litany of nagging injuries that have hampered him in those few moments when his sickle cell condition was asymptomatic. In 2015, John Brown surpassed 1,000 receiving yards and pulled in 7 touchdowns when he was healthy--with John Brown logging his first full practice of 2017 on Friday, we can only assume that he is 100% for the first time all season entering this Sunday's matchup against the Buccaneers' 27th ranked DVOA pass defense. Brown should get a fair bit of coverage from Vernon Hargreaves III III, who has allowed a shade under 100 yards per game to receivers in his coverage and rates out in the bottom 5% of all coverage cornerbacks at ProFootballFocus; when Brown hits the slot, he could see plenty of Robert McClain, who has been equally inept in coverage this season and will have his hands full between Larry Fitzgerald and John Brown on Sunday. With at least seven targets per game in limited action this season, Brown's workload is teetering on the verge of WR1 territory at WR3 pricing. Strike now before the price catches up with the potential.
Travis Kelce (Salary: $6,100). Over his past 16 games, Travis Kelce's fantasy production is unparalleled at a position that includes Rob Gronkowski; Kelce is averaging 16.2 DraftKings points per game over that span (one that includes two disappointing one-catch outlier performances) and has 100+ yard performances in half of those efforts. This type of upside is typically not available at the tight end position, but Kelce continues to be the primary receiver for the Chiefs despite because of his unique fit in this offense; Tyreek Hill is certainly the Chiefs' best wide receiver, but his freakish speed and small frame limit his usage as a typical WR1, which has resulted in the aforementioned numbers for Kelce over the past year. His matchup against the Steelers this Sunday is strong, as Pittsburgh allowed Kelce to tally 10 catches for 100 yards and a touchdown in a pair of matchups last season. The Chiefs will be without WR2, Chris Conley, who ruptured his Achilles tendon last weekend, which should redistribute another 3-4 targets to the remaining Chiefs receivers; as the possession receiver, Kelce would appear to be the biggest beneficiary of that injury heading into Week #6.
Hunter Henry (Salary: $4,100). A slower evolution than most anticipated after the Chargers took Hunter Henry early in last year's NFL draft, it appears that Henry has finally unseated Antonio Gates as the TE1 in Los Angeles. Last week, Henry logged season highs in snaps (78%), targets (8), and fantasy points (13.2), while Gates saw his playing time and targets diminish to low points for the season. With 80% of the offensive snaps, Henry could represent a bargain against an Oakland Raiders defense that continues to struggle to defend the tight end position; to date, the Raiders have allowed 60% (3 out of 5) of opposing TE1s to score 15+ DraftKings points despite facing only one tight end in that period of time who is used as a TE1 (Delanie Walker). There is a lot to like about this game, in general, as the Vegas total has steadily risen throughout the week to 50.5 total points (highest total on the Week #6 slate); likewise, the point spread (Oakland -5.5) implies that Philip Rivers could be looking to throw the ball to keep pace with Derek Carr and the Raiders offense.
Also eligible: Rob Gronkowski (Salary: $6,800).
Falcons (Salary: $3,500). Because they are currently the 22nd overall DVOA defense, ownership for the Falcons will be reasonable (~ 10% to 12%) despite an excellent matchup against a Dolphins offense that has tallied only three offensive touchdowns through their first four games and are averaging only 10.3 points per contest. Jay Cutler has looked as though he wishes he never accepted Adam Gase's invitation to quarterback the Dolphins after Ryan Tannehill tore his ACL in the preseason; through 4 games, Cutler has thrown as many touchdowns as interceptions (3) and his yardage totals have decreased every week (230, 220, 164, 92). To compound the Dolphins' issues, they will be without the best playmaker in their receiving corps, as DeVante Parker is expected to miss this game with an ankle injury. That leaves Jarvis Landry, Kenny Stills, Jay Ajayi, and Julius Thomas to make plays and keep pace with the Falcons in their home stadium, where they averaged 36.0 points per game last season and are already off to an impressive 28.5 points per game in 2017. If Cutler is forced to throw to keep up with the Falcons, the running game will once again be eliminated, leaving Cutler with little choice but to throw the ball into dangerous situations against the likes of Desmond Trufant, who is entirely capable of returning an interception for a quick score.
Chiefs (Salary: $3,200). We talk about floors and ceilings often in fantasy football and we saw Ben Roethlisberger's floor last week against the Jacksonville Jaguars, when he tossed five interceptions, two of which were returned for defensive touchdowns, as the Jags rolled to a 28.0-point fantasy performance that helped secure many GPP wins across the industry. This week, Big Ben will go on the road, where his performance has suffered for the past several years (26.5 PPG at home versus 18.3 PPG on the road since 2013). The Chiefs have logged 9.0 or more fantasy points in every game since they played New England in the season opener and have defensive touchdowns in each of their previous two games; with excellent coverage from Marcus Peters on one side of the field, as well as Tyreek Hill returning punts, the Chiefs offer immense upside for big plays on the defensive side of the ball. Because the DFS community loves to roster Le'Veon Bell and Antonio Brown, the Chiefs will be underowned for the type of upside they offer in tournament formats.
Also eligible: Texans ($3,900), Rams (Salary: $3,200).
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