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
TYPICAL ROSTER BUILDS: Over the past few weeks, building cash game lineups on DraftKings has been a tedious task, as value has been limited and pricing has been tight. One result from that type of situation is that we often look to cheaper quarterbacks to save salary, particularly on DraftKings because of the dynamic manner in which they price their quarterbacks (as opposed to FanDuel). This week, those cheaper quarterback options are more limited and in worse situations than we might otherwise like, which makes the pricier quarterback options more attractive for cash games. With that in mind, it looks as though the way most people will be generating their cash game lineups this week will include an expensive quarterback, moderately expensive running backs, and an array of value wide receivers. There are a number of options at each level, which (again) is unusual after several weeks of ridiculously difficult lineup-building under a tight salary cap; this week, the options are plentiful due to late-breaking injuries (Deshaun Watson, Pierre Garcon), ongoing legal battles (Ezekiel Elliott), and a series of mid-week trades that disrupted the status quo on a number of teams (Carolina, Seattle, Philadelphia). Collectively, these events have led us to a summit late in the week where cash games look more straightforward than they have in recent memory, while tournaments could be a lot of fun due to a number of unknown variables that should lead to interesting game strategy decisions on Sunday morning.
FINDING THE GEMS: With the late-breaking news this week, a lot of value has emerged. Some of it will pay off, while others will prove to be fool's gold. The key to winning tournaments this weekend is going to be predicated on your ability to isolate and roster the low-priced and low-owned players who benefitted most from this week's crazy news cycle. I have outlined a few of my favorite plays later in the article (Marquise Goodwin, Russell Shepard, Eddie Lacy, etc.), but you will have to run through your process(es) to come to the same type of conclusion. Is Devin Funchess truly the most likely beneficiary of Kelvin Benjamin's departure? Or did Carolina trade him because they know what they have in Curtis Samuel? Will Patrick Peterson shadow a Niner wide receiver now that Pierre Garcon is not playing? If so, which one? If not, who is the most likely to avoid him most often? Can Brock Osweiler be a value-based quarterback against the Eagles? What about Tom Savage? Can we rely on what we heard coming out of Arizona this week regarding Adrian Peterson's potential usage? Ditto Eddie Lacy? With Mike Evans seeing shadow coverage from Marcus Lattimore, which cheap(er) Bucs receiver is most likely to be targeted most often? You see, there are plenty of questions to be asked and you have to distill all available information into a story that fits your data and hope that you are correct when the games close on Sunday evening; the difference between winning and losing GPPs will be how effectively (and intelligently) you built those stories. Best of luck!
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
Russell Wilson (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $7,300). Outside of an outlier 12.52-point performance against the Rams in early October, Russell Wilson has been extraordinary since unloading on the Titans in late September for 373 passing yards and 4 touchdowns. Surpassing ~ 30 points in four of his previous five games, Wilson has led the Seahawks to a first-place tie with the resurgent Los Angeles Rams in the NFC West. Wilson's fantasy success should be largely attributed to the complete lack of a running game in Seattle, which has forced him to carry the offense on his back entering the season's midpoint. The Seahawks running backs have averaged an embarrassing 3.16 yards per carry, largely due to the league's 28th-ranked offensive line (FootballOutsiders); however, Wilson got a shot in the arm this week when Seattle traded for former Texan offensive tackle, Duane Brown, who will provide much needed pass-blocking stability to that offensive unit. The projected team total for the Seahawks at 26 points is the third-highest on the Vegas board, a promising indicator for Wilson because when the Seahawks score more than 20 points this season, Wilson is averaging ~ 34 DraftKings points. Look for Wilson continue his hot streak against the Redskins battered squad and 16th-ranked DVOA pass defense this weekend.
*UPDATED @ 10 AM (EST) Sunday: The weather in Seattle is not going to be pleasant, but the sustained winds and downpours that were forecasted yesterday appear to have been premature. There is about a 25% of showers thoughout the game and winds no higher than 10 MPH, which should not affect passing. Supporting this notion, Vegas has not moved the line in several days. Wilson and the Seattle passing game should still be on your radar (pun intended).*
Drew Brees (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $7,000). Near-guarantees in life: Death. Taxes. Changes in Ezekiel Elliott's eligibility. Drew Brees at home. Over his previous five years, Brees has averaged 30.3 DraftKings points per game versus only 23.0 points on the road, a 32% increase at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. This season, Brees' output at home has not mirrored those historical numbers, as he has posted an average of only 16.8 fantasy points per game (versus 19.9 on the road). This observation leads to two logical conclusions: 1) Drew Brees and/or his receivers are incapable of generating the numbers of yesteryear, or 2) Drew Brees is primed for positive regression to align with his career success at home. Given that Brees' other numbers (completion percentage and yards per attempt) parallel his lifetime averages, I am leaning towards option #2 and believe that we are going to see Brees have some big games down the stretch. This week would appear to be one of those games, as the Saints host Tampa Bay and the league's 30th ranked DVOA pass defense that has yielded an average of 20.2 DraftKings points per game to opposing quarterbacks. The Bucs will be without Brent Grimes (shoulder), their best coverage cornerback, which only augments the case for Brees. Some will be scared away from using Brees in cash formats because of the recent success of Mark Ingram II, but the 29-point implied team total for the Saints argues that there is plenty of fantasy output to be had across their offense.
Also eligible: Dak Prescott ($6,700)
Ezekiel Elliott (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $9,000). Following the Ezekiel Elliott legal merry-go-round is a tiresome act that has no place in this column. However, it is important to speculate what must be going on behind closed doors at AT&T Stadium and the most likely train of thought running through Jason Garrett's mind is that Zeke is going to get suspended sooner than later. With that premise in mind, it is not difficult to envision continued heavy usage of the second-year superstar out of Ohio State. Over his previous three games, Elliott has touched the ball an astonishing 91 times (30.3 per game) and Garrett has been unapologetic about that level of usage, presumably because he feels that Elliott will get a six-week rest at some point in the near future. On Sunday, Elliott will get a chance to do more damage against the league's 31st ranked DVOA rush defense that is getting gouged by opposing running backs to the tune of 4.58 yards per carry this season; the 131.1 rushing yards allowed per game ranks Kansas City as the 5th worst rush defense in the league, in terms of raw yardage. The Vegas implied team total for the Cowboys has jumped from 24 at open last Sunday to 28 entering this Sunday, which is second only to the New Orleans Saints; if we take note that Dallas is now a small favorite (-2.5 points), the scales tip further in favor of a heavy workload for Elliott in Week #9.
Lamar Miller (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $6,200). The unfortunate injury to Deshaun Watson on Thursday placed the Texans' playoff hopes squarely in the hands of Lamar Miller, who will need to be effective without the luxury of a quality quarterback to keep opposing defenses from stacking the box against him. Miller has not been exceptional this season, averaging only 3.6 yards per carry and finding the endzone only twice, but Watson's success was often times at Miller's expense; for example, Watson was averaging a hair under 40 rushing yards and 0.3 rushing yards per game before his injury, numbers that historically would have fallen to Miller. With Tom Savage introduced into the system this weekend, we might expect Bill O'Brien to lean heavily on Miller to literally carry the load and lead the team to victory over the visiting Indianapolis Colts as touchdown favorites. Houston is projected to score ~ 26 points on Sunday and it is difficult to envision Savage accounting for more than one, maybe two, touchdowns considering he has yet to throw for a single touchdown across three years in the league; that most likely means that Miller gets into the endzone against the Colts, who have allowed the 3rd-most fantasy points to the position (27.8 DraftKings points per game) and six different running backs to achieve 18+ fantasy points, which is what Lamar Miller would require to reach cash game value on Sunday.
Michael Thomas (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $7,200). Outside of a 3-reception, 11-yard performance against the Lions when Michael Thomas was shadowed by shutdown cornerback, Darius Slay, Thomas has been a model of consistency for DFS purposes. He has garnered eight or more targets in every other game and has consistently averaged in the neighborhood of ~ 80 receiving yards, repeatedly achieving 15+ DraftKings points despite tallying only a pair of touchdowns on the season. Thomas will get plenty of opportunities to exploit a secondary that has yielded big games to other WR1s this season, including Larry Fitzgerald (31.8 points), Chris Hogan (21.4 points), Stefon Diggs (40.3 points), and even Deonte Thompson (twice...with the Bears and the Bills); entering Week #9, no team in the NFL allows more normalized fantasy points to the wide receiver position than this Tampa Bay secondary (42% over league average). This would appear to be a "get right" spot for Thomas, who is on pace to score only four touchdowns after finding the endzone nine times in his rookie season; expect positive touchdown regression for both Brees and Thomas in this matchup and do not be afraid to get them into all formats of DFS lineups
T.Y. Hilton (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $4,900). A superficial analysis into T.Y. Hilton's 2017 campaign would render most people to suggest that he really misses Andrew Luck as his starting quarterback. While that may or may not be true, Hilton's poor numbers are likely more attributable to a gauntlet of top-tier coverage situations, moreso than quarterback play. Here is the murderer's row of coverage that Hilton has faced thus far (starting from Week #1): Trumaine Johnson (8.7 points), Patrick Peterson (8.9 points), Richard Sherman (6.0 points), A.J. Bouye/Jalen Ramsey (4.7 points), and Dre Kirkpatrick/Adam Jones (3.5 points). What about those few times when Hilton has lined up across from non-elite coverage? Cleveland: 28.3 points, San Francisco: 24.7 points, and Tennessee: 2.9 points (the sole outlier from all data). This week, Hilton will face off against a Houston Texans secondary that allows the sixth-most normalized fantasy points to the wide receiver position and is only a week removed from giving up 100+ yard games to both Tyler Lockett and Paul Richardson Jr. RotoWorld's Evan Silva recently pointed out that T.Y. Hilton's road/home splits should not necessarily be isolated to "home" or "away," but instead "indoors" versus "outdoors;" in his career, Hilton has averaged 15.81 DraftKings points indoors, as opposed to only 11.65 when playing outdoors (over 35% more production on artificial turf). This also bodes well for Hilton's fantasy prospects on Sunday because the Texans play indoors at NRG Stadium, where Hilton's speed should create further problems for the Texans secondary.
Jack Doyle (Primarily cash games, Salary: $4,300). Coming off 32 targets over the previous 3 weeks, it is difficult to ignore Jack Doyle for cash games entering this Sunday's slate. Doyle has received a lot of the overflow action from Jacoby Brissett while T.Y. Hilton has been dealing with lockdown coverage (see Hilton write-up, above) for most of the season. This week, Hilton is squarely in play, but that should not affect Doyle's floor, particularly given the matchup against the league's sixth most-friendly defense to opposing tight ends (14.9 points per game allowed). The Texans' ineptitude in containing opposing tight ends has actually gotten worse more recently; since J.J. Watt was injured in Week #5, Houston has allowed opponents' tight ends to score at least 20 points or a touchdown in all 3 contests. Entering this weekend's contest, only Zach Ertz and Rob Gronkowski have been targeted more (8.0 targets/game) than Doyle (7.9 targets/game), a good indication that we are seeing the genesis of a volume-based tight end option for DFS purposes for the remainder of 2017.
Ed Dickson (Primarily cash formats, Salary: $3,100). To save a few bucks at the tight end position, you might consider Ed Dickson as a cash game tight end for only $3.1K. With Kelvin Benjamin departing for Buffalo earlier this week, there are about eight targets per game that need to be redistributed amongst the remaining Panthers receivers. Dickson has been firmly ensconced in the Panthers' gameplan over the previous month, collecting an average of 4 receptions for 63.3 yards on 5.8 targets per contest. It is difficult to envision Dickson's role in the offense diminishing with the departure of Benjamin, which should result in 6-8 targets for the tight end against a Falcons defense that is better than average in defending the position (12th in fantasy points allowed; 11.1 per game), but certainly not a shutdown unit. Dickson is not a touchdown-based receiver, so you can probably dial back exposure in tournament formats, but a 4-catch, 50-yard day would pay off his modest salary for cash games.
Also eligible: Vernon Davis ($4,100)
Jaguars (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $3,800). Bookended by a pair of the 10-sack games, the "Saxonville" Jaguars defense is putting together a season that is on pace to compete with some of the best defenses of all time. The Jags are averaging an astounding 15.3 fantasy points per game on the strength of their pass rush and stellar secondary, headlined by A.J. Bouye and Jalen Ramsey. If the Jags have a weakness on defense, it would be defending the run, as they have allowed a whopping 5.27 yards per carry to opposing running backs (worst in the NFL). To address that deficiency, Jacksonville traded for the beefy 330-pound nose tackle, Marcell Dareus, earlier this week; Dareus is a former third overall pick out of Alabama, who should be able to help contain opposing running backs as the Jags make their playoff run. Expect to see Andy Dalton under a lot of duress for this contest, as the Bengals field the league's 30th ranked pass protection unit (FootballOutsiders) that has allowed an adjusted sack rate of 9.8%, including 3 or more sacks in all but one game. With an implied team total of 16.5-points, the Bengals do not pose much of a threat to otherwise thwart your cash game defense on Sunday, especially in front of a fired-up Jacksonville crowd whose playoff fever is expected to be elevated after Deshaun Watson went down for the season earlier this week.
Eagles (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $3,300). The chalk defense of the week is clearly the Philadelphia Eagles, who will play host to the visiting Denver Broncos. After throwing eight interceptions (versus only three touchdowns) over the past month, Trevor Siemian was named the backup quarterback by Head Coach Vance Joseph earlier this week. Siemian's demise thrusts Brock Osweiler into the spotlight. Last season, Osweiler was atrocious at the starting quarterback in Houston, logging 16 interceptions against only 15 passing touchdowns, resulting in him being traded to Cleveland in the off-season; unable to best the likes of DeShone Kizer, Kevin Hogan, and Cody Kessler in the pre-season, Cleveland quickly dropped Osweiler and Denver scooped him up because of his familiarity with their system and a general need for a backup. The Eagles will not roll out the welcome mat for Osweiler, as they have thrived this season by pressuring the quarterback so as not to expose their overrated secondary. Expect Philly to blitz Osweiler often, which should result in plenty of sack opportunities against the Broncos' 29th ranked pass-blocking unit. If you need to save a few bucks for your cash game defense, the Eagles represent that option and will be the most highly-owned team defense on the Week #9 slate.
Cam Newton (Salary: $6,300). A pair of 17-3 games over the previous two weeks has limited fantasy production from one of the league's more electric quarterbacks, but Cam Newton is in a great spot to rebound from those lackluster fantasy days this weekend against the Falcons' 25th ranked DVOA pass defense. Newton has rushed 30+ times over the previous 3 weeks for 150+ yards and a touchdown, an indication that he is returning to his 2015 form that saw him post an average of 8.3 carries for 39.8 rushing yards and 0.6 touchdowns per game. Through the air, Newton will have to do it without his former WR1, Kelvin Benjamin, who finds himself in Buffalo after a trade earlier this week; that leaves a combination of Devin Funchess, Curtis Samuel, Russell Shepard, Ed Dickson, and Christian McCaffrey to get the job done on Sunday in Charlotte. McCaffrey should be in a prime spot to post solid numbers against a Falcons defense that is hemorrhaging fantasy production to pass-catching running backs dating through last season; this year, the Falcons are allowing 14.9 DraftKings points per game via the pass alone to opposing running backs (31st in NFL), which bolsters the case for Newton's passing productivity given McCaffrey's role in this offense. Meanwhile, Devin Funchess has been a pleasant fantasy surprise this season, collecting six or more targets in every game since the Panthers' opener; behind him, Samuel is a Percy Harvin-clone with world-class speed (4.31 40-yard dash) who can stretch the Falcons secondary and Shepard is a journeyman, who can contribute in whatever way the offense might need. Perhaps the biggest argument for Newton lies in the complete absence of a ground game in Carolina (outside of Newton, himself)--Panthers' running backs have a single touchdown (versus 13 scores elsewhere) on the entire 2017 campaign.
Jacoby Brissett (Salary: $5,200). Just a week ago, Russell Wilson posted a season-high 39.08 DraftKings points against the Houston Texans secondary; Wilson threw for 452 yards and 4 touchdowns en route to a 41-38 victory over Houston. This week, Houston will play host to a 2-6 Colts team that has only beaten winless teams (Cleveland and San Francisco) to this point in the season. Jacoby Brissett will again be under center for Indianapolis and will look to exploit a depleted Texans defense that is without DE J.J. Watt (tibia), LB Brian Cushing (suspension), LB Dylan Cole (hamstring), and DE Joel Heath (knee). The Texans' defensive strength is defending the run, as they have allowed only 3.36 yards per attempt to opposing running backs this season (4th in NFL), which largely eliminates any role for Frank Gore in this matchup. Marlon Mack, more integrated as a pass-catching running back, and the Colts receivers (T.Y. Hilton, Donte Moncrief, Kamar Aiken, and Jack Doyle) appear to be the reasonable contributors for the Indianapolis offense. The Texans' funnel defense has resulted in opposing quarterbacks scoring an average of 20.7 DraftKings points per game (tied for 2nd worst in NFL), an average that could be even higher without clunkers from the likes of Blake Bortles (10.3 points), Andy Dalton (9.5 points), and Kevin Hogan (10.2 points). Offered up at a fair $5.2K salary, Brissett is an intriguing GPP flyer who can be paired with any of his receivers, all of whom are less than $5.0K, to create a stack capable of 4x value while saving valuable salary to spend elsewhere on your tournament rosters.
Adrian Peterson (Salary: $5,600). Regular readers of this column are aware that I do not buy into narratives often, which is why I am hesitant to start with a narrative coming out of Phoenix earlier this week. Harold Goodwin, the Cardinals' Offensive Coordinator went on record saying that the Cards need to "feed the beast" now that Carson Palmer will miss the rest of the season with a broken arm. That "beast" is none other than Adrian Peterson, who dusted the Buccaneers for 134 rushing yards and a pair of touchdowns in his debut with Arizona, only to see that volume reduced to 11 carries against the Rams the following week; Goodwin went on to say that the Cardinals' best chance for offensive success with Drew Stanton as their quarterback starts with giving Adrian Peterson as much volume as he can handle. Assuming we buy into that narrative, there could not be a better situation for Peterson than to line up across from the San Francisco front seven that has allowed more fantasy points to the running back position than any team in the league and 46% higher scoring when normalized against other teams facing the same running backs. Things could be more bleak for the Niners on Sunday, as they will be without DE Solomon Thomas, who sprained an MCL last week and will miss this game. The Cardinals are short favorites (-2.5 points) projected to score 20 points--if Adrian Peterson were to touch the ball 20+ times in this contest, it is difficult to imagine a scenario where he does not finish with close to 100 yards and score, which would be almost enough production to net him the 4x value you seek from players in your tournament lineups.
Eddie Lacy (Salary: $3,200). The weather in Seattle is taking a turn for the worse as this article is being completed and it appears that the passing game for both Washington and Seattle could be affected by cold temperatures combined with precipitation and sustained winds. My general approach for handling weather concerns is to monitor Vegas lines on Sunday morning, as I outlined last week in this same column; that said, Eddie Lacy is an intriguing low-dollar option to consider not just because of the weather, but also because Coach Pete Carroll has suggested that the staff has decided that they will try to get away from the split they have been employing between Thomas Rawls and Eddie Lacy, in favor of getting Lacy involved early and potentially often ("Going to see a lot of Eddie this week." -Carroll). Assuming that happens, Lacy represents solid GPP value at a price point approaching site-minimum because he could conceivably get 15+ touches behind an improved offensive line that added OT Duane Brown in a trade earlier this week. As touchdown favorites over the visiting (and depleted) Redskins, Lacy could not only be given the ball early, but also late to help wrap up the game...all at a bargain price point.
Demarcus Robinson (Salary: $3,200). There are quite a few low-priced wide receiver options this week for tournament consideration. While the entire DFS world is skimping everywhere to fit the expensive options in the Kansas City-Dallas game into their lineups, do not overlook Demarcus Robinson at $3.2K, who will absorb the WR2 role after Chris Conley (achilles) and Albert Wilson (hamstring) both feel victim to injuries over the past month. A second-year player out of Florida, Robinson was drafted in the fourth-round of the 2016 draft and probably would have gone higher if not for off-the-field issues with marijuana; he has been trouble-free since joining the Chiefs and will get another chance to contribute on an every-down basis this weekend against the Cowboys. Before an understandable dud against the Broncos' stellar secondary last week, Robinson managed 13 targets from Alex Smith in the two games prior as an every-down receiver; in those contests, Robinson played more snaps than WR1 Tyreek Hill and was targeted only two less times than Hill, an indication that Smith is not afraid to feed the young receiver in this offense. Robinson should run the majority of his routes in the direction of Anthony Brown and/or Jourdan Lewis, who have collectively allowed seven receiving touchdowns to this point in the season; as a unit, the Cowboys are allowing the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers (37.1 DraftKings points per game) and 17% more than league average after normalization. There is no argument that Robinson is, at best, the third option in this offense, but he is offered at such a discount to the other Chiefs' offensive players and will be owned at a fraction of those players' rates, which makes him a sneaky, cost-saving GPP option on the Week #9 slate.
Russell Shepard (Salary: $3,100). With the departure of Kelvin Benjamin to Buffalo on Tuesday, there are a shade under eight targets per game to be re-distributed amongst the Carolina receiving corps. It is an interesting exercise to ponder how the Panthers will scheme without Benjamin, whose 6'5" frame was similar to his primary stablemate, Devin Funchess (6'4"). Instead of featuring a pair of large receivers with average speed, Carolina's passing game will spotlight a more balanced approach with Funchess (size), Russell Shepard (versatility from slot & outside), and Curtis Samuel (speed); the combination of these attributes could feasibly provide "addition by subtraction" because the Panthers become less one-dimensional as an offense. Regarding this weekend, Funchess is certainly in play as a GPP option at a fair $5.4K salary, but his ownership is going to surpass 20% on DraftKings, which is simply too high for an unproven receiver suddenly thrust into the WR1 role; likewise, Funchess will run ~ 50% of his routes towards Desmond Trufant, one of the best coverage cornerbacks in the game, further creating questions surrounding his viability as a high-end GPP option. Meanwhile, Curtis Samuel is the big-play rookie receiver whose skill set mandates consideration for tournament formats, particularly at a $3.1K price point; however, I suspect Coach Rivera will ease the rookie into a WR3 role, working him into the slot alongside Christian McCaffrey, rather than playing him as a bona fide WR2. All of which leaves the journeyman, Russell Shepard, to bring upside to the table at a great price and low ownership. Shepard should line up on the outside most of the time with the occasional slot opportunity, which would pit him against the likes of Robert Alford and Brian Poole, two very beatable corners. At $3.1K, you are hoping for a handful of receptions for 50+ yards and a score, which would be more than enough to reach 4x value on his salary.
Delanie Walker or Jonnu Smith (Salary: $4,900 or $3,400). After normalization for opponents, only the Jets and Browns have been more friendly to opposing tight ends than the Baltimore Ravens. In fact, the Ravens are allowing the 11th most fantasy points per game to the position, including a lofty six touchdowns, yet have not faced a high-quality tight end all season. Their inability to defend tight ends is largely due to how well they cover exterior receivers; Jimmy Smith and Brandon Carr have allowed only one touchdown (versus five interceptions) in coverage this year, which forces opposing quarterbacks to look underneath for slot receivers and tight ends. Ladarius Webb, who plays nickel corner, has not graded out well amongst ProFootballFocus raters, but he has yet to allow a touchdown and is allowing less than 40 yards per week to opposing receivers. All of this means that tight ends tend to thrive against the Ravens, which should place either Delanie Walker or Jonnu Smith squarely in your sights for Sunday's DFS contests. Walker is the preferred play because of his history of success in the league and established rapport with Marcus Mariota, but Smith has exhibited a nose for the endzone (2 touchdowns on 11 receptions) in limited action during this rookie season. Monitor Twitter on Sunday morning and roster Walker if it is reported that he is ready to go; if he sits due to his ankle condition, Smith is an excellent backup GPP option.
Tyler Higbee (Salary: $2,800). A torrid start to the year for Jared Goff has led to some disappointing performances as of late, which has affected the output of all Rams receivers, including Tyler Higbee. That said, the Rams have won four of their last five games and are doing what it takes to win, even if it does not include embellishing the statistics of the Rams' passing game. This week could be a little different, as the Rams take their show on the road to the Meadowlands, where they will meet up against a rested Giants team coming off their bye week that is also returning a much-needed Sterling Shepard after a multi-week absence. This is all important for Tyler Higbee because his fantasy production has dropped off in games where Todd Gurley sees extensive work, most often due to running clock in the second half. While the Rams are favored this week, Vegas has them as only short 4-point favorites, which might be enough to keep Goff throwing the ball throughout the game. Assuming that Goff is throwing the ball, we can bet that Higbee will be one of his favorite targets, as the Giants allow more fantasy points to the tight end position than any team in the NFL (20.3 DraftKings points per game). At only $2.8K, Higbee basically needs to score a touchdown to reach 4x value for GPP purposes, something that is long overdue for the 6'6" receiver given the usage he has enjoyed this season.
Also eligible: Travis Kelce (Salary: $6,700).
Seahawks (Salary: $3,500). Despite allowing 38 points to the Houston Texans at home last Sunday, the Seahawks still managed to put up 13 DraftKings points because of a defensive touchdown, three interceptions, and five sacks against Deshaun Watson and company. That performance marked the third time in the past month whereby the Seahawks posted double-digit fantasy points against an opponent. This weekend, we could possibly see a similar high-upside situation unfold when the Washington Redskins take the trek to the west coast without a bevy of offensive linemen. The Redskins' injury report is littered with players marked as out/doubtful and there is plausible speculation that Washington could be starting only one starting offensive lineman on Sunday. Likewise, it appears that Jamison Crowder (hamstring) may not play, Jordan Reed (hamstring) is definitely out, and backup tight end, Niles Paul will miss the game with a concussion. All the pieces are in place for the Seahawks to trounce the Redskins on both sides of the ball and they would do so at ownership percentages approximately half of what is expected for this week's chalk defense, the Philadelphia Eagles.
Broncos (Salary: $2,600). Carrying a 7-1 record into this weekend, the Philadelphia Eagles are currently thought of as the NFC's favorite to win the conference. Carson Wentz' name is being tossed around as a league MVP candidate and now that the Eagles have traded for Jay Ajayi, there is full-blown hysteria regarding the future of this franchise in southeastern Pennsylvania. To date, the Eagles' seven wins have come against opponents with a combined overall record of 18-34 (0.346 winning percentage) and their only loss came against the Chiefs, who enter Week #9 with a 6-2 record; in other words, it may be premature to be anointing the Eagles as a powerhouse, playoff-caliber team despite their current record. This weekend, the Denver Broncos will come to town as touchdown-underdogs, which will be enough to sway many DFS players from rostering a Denver defense that boasts one of the premier secondaries in the league, as well as the NFL's best defensive front seven (1st DVOA rush defense; 3.0 yards per carry and no rushing touchdowns allowed--best in NFL). With the aforementioned Ajayi still learning the playbook, the lame-duck LeGarrette Blount filling the gap, the Eagles' best offensive lineman (Jason Peters) out for the year, and Wendell Smallwood's time limited due to poor pass protection, the Eagles' running game is going to be completely negated. That leaves Wentz to carry the load on his shoulders against the best defense he has seen this year; Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor will have their difficulties separating from the likes of Chris Harris Jr, Bradley Roby, and Aqib Talib, leaving only Ertz to beat Denver. Collectively, these factors make Denver an excellent GPP play on DraftKings at only $2.6K
Also eligible: Titans ($3,700), Bengals (Salary: $2,800).