TipAndPick's: Tips and Picks, DK Edition

Cash game and GPP selections for DraftKings

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.


FLEXIBLE WEEK: There are a number of ways you can build your cash game lineups this week because of the value offered at each position. At quarterback, you can opt for Russell Wilson at $7.0K or go as low as Drew Stanton at $4.5K. If you choose Wilson, you'll need to go cheaper elsewhere (and vice-versa). At running back, you will likely want to focus on higher-priced options (Ezekiel Elliott and Melvin Gordon III top the list), but Kapri Bibbs is an interesting volume-based, salary-saving option at $3.5K against the Broncos. For salary relief at the wide receiver position, Kendall Wright could be considered at only $3.8K and Chris Godwin is certainly in play at $3.0K. Lastly, both Cameron Brate and Antonio Gates are viable cash game tight ends at low price points. My best advice is to first choose the low-priced options you like most and build around those options with more expensive, more reliable players thereafter. 


WHEN TO FADE A PLAYER ALTOGETHER: A quick commentary on fading players...there may be times when your analysis leads you to a place where you conclude that there is very little chance that a given player will return sufficient value on his salary to merit playing in your rosters. When that happens, it is entirely acceptable to have 0% of that player on your DFS rosters that weekend. Last Sunday, I made the decision to completely fade Ricky Seals-Jones at $3.0K against the Washington Redskins. He was ~ 20% owned in the DraftKings Championship amongst a group composed primarily of DFS pros, largely because the other tight end options were less than stellar and because Jermaine Gresham was slated to miss the game with an illness. I decided to fade Seals-Jones based on the fact that the Cardinals simply do not utilize their tight ends sufficiently to merit having him in my lineups; across a 14-game sample size this season, no Cardinal tight end has amassed more than 4 receptions or 72 receiving yards...numbers that do not align with 20% ownership. That is a singular example, but the larger point is this: If you have a good reason to fade a potentially high-owned player, build your rosters accordingly. This week, I will be far underweight (although not a complete fade) on Todd Gurley (projected at 25% ownership) and Christian McCaffrey (projected at 17% ownership) because I think their respective salaries and ownership have risen to a point where the likelihood that they reach GPP value at high ownership is minimal.


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. A short summary follows each respective table to fill in the gaps that led to the respective recommendations; that text represents only an overview of the methodology and rationale that goes into each recommendation. Note that all projected ownership numbers are derived from fellow Footballguy Steve Buzzard's weekly ownership report


Cam Newton 6800 17% 1 4 40+ rushing yards in 8 of last 9 games. TB: 29th DVOA pass DEF.
Russell Wilson 7000 8% 2 2 Do not fear after last week's disaster. Bounce-back spot vs. DAL.
Drew Stanton 4500 4% 3 7 Punt option vs. 25th DVOA pass DEF.
Alex Smith 6600 5% - 6 MIA: 27th DVOA pass DEF that allows big plays. Tyreek Hill anyone?
Drew Brees 6500 9% - 5 Still waiting on that 30-point game. Potential barnburner vs. ATL.
Blake Bortles 6500 6% - 8 Averaging 25 FPs/game over past month = 4x value on salary.
Philip Rivers 6400 7% - 9 25-point implied team total vs. funnel defense = plenty of passing.
Matthew Stafford 6200 4% - 3 Total mismatch vs. banged-up & defeated CIN DEF.
Jared Goff 6100 5% - 1 TEN missing two starting DBs. Goff could pick apart LAR WRs.
Jameis Winston 5700 4% - 10 Gamescript sets up for excessive passing. Low-owned GPP dart.




  • Cam Newton (vs. TB): At almost double the rest of the field (17%), Cam Newton will easily be the most highly-owned quarterback on the Christmas slate at DraftKings. Coming off a 31.5-point game against the Packers last week, Newton has an equally tempting matchup against Tampa Bay, the league's 29th ranked DVOA pass defense on Sunday. Newton is a spectacular cash game option because of the yardage he has been accruing on the ground this season; since the Panthers Week #11 bye, Cam is averaging 10 carries for 52 yards and 0.3 touchdowns (7.0 DK points) on the ground, alone. Add in his plus matchup against a Bucs secondary that will be without starting cornerback, Ryan Smith, and it is a great spot for Newton to have back-to-back big games.
  • Russell Wilson (vs. DAL): Fresh off a dismal 12.5-point performance at lofty ownership against the Rams last week, Russell Wilson will get a chance to redeem himself against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday. Dallas has allowed 26 (out of 33) touchdowns through the air this season, third-highest in the league; meanwhile, the Seahawks' rushing attack is anemic, having scored 88% of their touchdowns (30 of 34) through the air. Given the likelihood of a negative gamescript for Wilson and the Seahawks, this is an excellent rebound spot for all game formats.
  • Drew Stanton (vs. NYG): If you want to save a bit of salary, you could do worse than taking a flyer on Drew Stanton at the site-minimum $4.5K. Stanton put together back-to-back 15-point performances against San Francisco and Seattle earlier this season before spraining his knee and missing the next six weeks. His matchup against the Giants, the league's friendliest defense to opposing quarterbacks, is stellar, as the Giants have allowed 9 of their last 10 opposing quarterbacks to score 15+ fantasy points. With questions abound in the Cardinals backfield, Stanton will be looking to hit Larry Fitzgerald early and often. 


  • Jared Goff (vs. TEN): The Titans were gashed by Jimmy Garoppolo (381 passing yards; 72.1% completion rate) across the middle last week...just ask fellow Footballguy and talent evaluator, Matt Waldman. Things could get worse for Tennessee this week, as they will be without two starting cornerbacks; Logan Ryan (ankle) did not practice all week and looks doubtful to suit up on Sunday and LeShaun Sims suffered a hamstring injury in practice that landed him on the injured reserve list. This all bodes well for Jared Goff and his bevy of receiving options against a defense that already funneled action to opponents' passing attacks (10th DVOA versus the rush; 24 versus the pass). Sean McVay's offensive strategy should be to exploit those defensive injuries and Goff would be the primary beneficiary at 5% ownership.
  • Matthew Stafford (vs. CIN): The Bengals will return Vontaze Burfict (concussion) to the field this week, but it may not matter because it appears that the Bengals have mailed it in for the season after scoring only 14 points in their previous two contests. Marvin Lewis is a lame-duck coach (he will not return in 2018) and the Bengals 5-9 record leave little incentive to play hard on Sunday against the Lions, who are motivated and chasing a playoff spot. Enter Matthew Stafford, a consistent, but underrated option, who has not thrown for less than 200 yards since the second game of the season. The Lions backfield is an enigmatic trio of backs (Theo Riddick, Tion Green, and Ameer Abdullah), none of whom pose a major threat to score via the rushing attack (8 team rushing touchdowns is 23rd in the NFL); meanwhile, Golden Tate, Marvin Jones Jr, and Eric Ebron are all threats to score on any given play. 
  • Drew Brees (vs. ATL): Just two weeks ago, the fantasy world was afire envisioning a back-and-forth shootout between the Falcons and Saints on Thursday Night Football. The resultant 20-17 Falcon win left many with a sour taste in their mouth and it could explain why Drew Brees is available at single digit ownership this weekend. Brees is averaging almost 300 yards per game (291.3) at home this season, which is reason enough to make him a high-priority GPP option; if he throws for 300 yards, he will have 15 fantasy points just from yardage, alone...a pair of touchdowns puts him into 4x value territory. If the Falcons can muster offense from their side of the field (and Vegas thinks that they can), Brees has blowup potential in this matchup.


Melvin Gordon III 7200 20% 1 3 Too cheap for 7-point fave & expected volume w/out Ekeler.
Ezekiel Elliott 8000 25% 2 2 Welcome back Zeke! 30 touches not out of the question in return.
Kapri Bibbs 3500 4% 3 1 "Revenge" narrative. Opportunity will be there at cheap price point.
Devonta Freeman 6500 9% 4 12 NO: 26th DVOA rush DEF. Increased usage of late.
Wayne Gallman 3900 3% 5 9 Tough matchup, but PPR format, volume, & price puts him in play.
Todd Gurley 9100 25% - 10 Cannot ignore after last week, but price is borderline too high.
Kareem Hunt 8400 18% - 4 MIA DEF: 3rd most rushing yards allowed on road this season.
Alvin Kamara 8300 16% - 8 ATL DEF + pass-catching RBs = Recipe for success.
Leonard Fournette 7500 8% - 5 Ownership could be too low for implied volume. Playoff-motivated.
Jordan Howard 6600 4% - 6 6.5-point home fave. Massive volume in winning gamescripts.
Dion Lewis 6000 16% - 7 No Burkhead. Excellent matchup vs. 28th DVOA rush DEF.
C.J. Anderson 5900 7% - 11 WAS DEF: No team allowing more rush yards/game since Week #5.


  • Melvin Gordon III (vs. NYJ): Having surpassed the 100-rushing yard threshold twice the season, Melvin Gordon III has not been a DFS fan favorite. That could change this Sunday, as Gordon is arguably underpriced as a touchdown-favorite over the New York Jets. Gordon should see plenty of action without Austin Ekeler, who is not expected to play in the running back role, an event that boosts Gordon's DFS value because he should see an additional 6+ looks in the offense, including work in the passing game. The Jets are admittedly stout up front, allowing only 3.67 yards per carry to opposing running backs, but Gordon's volume, price, and implied gamescript are collectively too much to bypass him in cash and GPP formats on this Christmas weekend DFS slate.
  • Ezekiel Elliott (vs. SEA): Before his six-game suspension, Ezekiel Elliott had touch counts of 30, 27, 34, and 27 in his last four games, respectively. With fresh legs and a chip on his shoulder, expect Elliott to get similar usage as the Cowboys make one last desperate playoff push against the Seahawks on Sunday. Seattle yielded a 48-fantasy point performance to Todd Gurley last week, an indication that their battered defense may have little left in the tank at this point in the season; assuming Tyron Smith (knee) is able to start on Sunday, Elliott becomes one of the better high-dollar players on the entire DFS slate.
  • Kapri Bibbs (vs. DEN): Simply a volume-based decision, Kapri Bibbs is squarely in play in cash and GPP formats if Samaje Perine is inactive on Sunday (he did not practice on Friday after injuring himself on Thursday). The matchup against the Broncos' 3rd-ranked DVOA rush defensive unit is intimidating, but Bibbs should get 20 touches in an empty Redskins backfield that was forced to sign Dare Ogunbowale from their practice squad on Friday evening. Bibbs has decent hands and can catch passes out of the backfield on third down situations, which bolsters his value on DraftKings (full PPR scoring). If you are into narratives, Bibbs has been quite vocal about the Broncos never giving him a fair shake in Denver and he wants to prove that trading him was a mistake; if he finishes with 80 all-purpose yards and a handful of receptions on Sunday, he will easily achieve value on his $3.5K salary.


  • Kareem Hunt (vs. MIA): Since Matt Nagy took over play-calling three weeks ago, the Chiefs have averaged 29 points per game and Kareem Hunt's early-season success has been revived. Hunt will face off against a Dolphins' defensive front that has bled rushing yardage on the road this season (139.1 yards per game; 30th in NFL), a good sign for the rookie running back who enters this matchup with back-to-back 100-yard performances. The implied gamescript sets up perfectly for Hunt, as the Chiefs are lofty 10.5-point home favorites against the Dolphins, which should mean plenty of late-game action for Hunt as the Chiefs decide to run clock to wrap up an easy win.
  • Leonard Fournette (vs. SF): Questions about Leonard Fournette's overall health and the resurgence of the Niners' defensive front will keep Fournette's ownership a bit too low on Sunday. Our Steve Buzzard projects Fournette to be 8% owned in mid-sized GPPs, which is intriguing for a running back playing for a team that is fighting for a home game in the playoffs. Fournette got in a full week of practice and has logged 20+ touches in 8 of the 11 games he has played in his rookie season. While the Niners have played better as of late, we would be remiss if we did not remember that they have yielded the 9th most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season.
  • Jordan Howard (vs. CLE): In the Bears' four lonely wins this season, Jordan Howard's usage is off the charts. The second year running back is averaging 27.5 touches and 23.8 DraftKings points per game in those victories. As touchdown favorites at home against the Cleveland Browns, Howard should be expected to carry another heavy load on Sunday at ridiculously low ownership. Part of that ownership can be explained away by the fact that the Browns boast the league's best rush defense (DVOA metric), but injuries to Jamie Collins Sr and Emmanuel Ogbah have rendered them susceptible to big games, including 31- and 26-point performances to Jamaal Williams and Joe Mixon over the past month. As long as John Fox does not get in the way, Howard is primed for a monster day at 4% ownership.


Keenan Allen 7700 22% 1 1 Returned to Earth last week. Excellent matchup vs. NYJ.
Chris Godwin 3000 11% 2 15 No O.J. Howard, No DJax = 9 targets to redistribute to others.
Mike Evans 6400 20% 3 3 See Chris Godwin (above). WR1 vs. pass funnel defense.
Michael Thomas 7600 22% 4 5 Had 2 TDs negated last week. 8+ targets in 9 straight games.
Demaryius Thomas 5500 5% 5 14 Volume-based play with Emmanuel Sanders unlikely to suit up.
Brandin Cooks 7000 10% - 13 Hogan still dealing with shoulder issue. Overflow action to Cooks.
Larry Fitzgerald 6800 7% - 6 Stanton targets him on ~ 30% of passes. Centerpiece of offense.
A.J. Green 6700 8% - 11 Will be underowned due to Slay shadow, but upside is still there.
Devin Funchess 6600 12% - 7 Bounce-back spot vs. susceptible TB secondary. Underowned.
Tyreek Hill 6500 12% - 4 MIA: 3rd most 20+ yard passing plays allowed = Hill's wheelhouse.
Robert Woods 6500 12% - 2 Solid return last week. Excellent matchup vs. depleted secondary.
Marvin Jones Jr 6400 7% - 8 Playmaker gets a shot vs. former team. Playoff-motivated.
Josh Gordon 6300 7% - 12 If Kizer can find him (12 of 26 targets = catchable), he's in play.
Cooper Kupp 5300 6% - 10 Low-owned pivot away from Woods in Rams' passing game.
Paul Richardson Jr 4300 5% - 9 Plus matchup. Low-owned w/7+ targets in 4 of last 5 games. 


  • Keenan Allen (vs. NYJ): After logging 100+ yard games in four straight games, Keenan Allen had a disappointing showing in an AFC West showdown against the Chiefs last weekend. This would appear to be a bounce-back spot against the Jets, particularly with Allen facing off against Buster Skrine, who is routinely bested by the premier slot receivers in the league; Skrine has allowed 70% of passes into his coverage to be caught and has allowed a 115.6 quarterback rating while in coverage this season. When inside the redzone, Keenan Allen's skill advantage hits another level, literally, as Skrine gives up 5 inches to the 6'2" receiver. With 8 or more targets in his past 5 games, Allen looks well-placed to finish with a plus stat line and a possible score in this matchup.
  • Chris Godwin (vs. CAR): There should not be much justification necessary to advocate a spot for Chris Godwin in cash games on Sunday. The Penn State product has one other start this season (Mike Evans suspension week), where he was targeted 10 times and caught 5 of those passes for 68 yards (11.8 DraftKings points). With DeSean Jackson sidelined with an ankle issue, Godwin should see close to 100% of the snaps as the Buccaneers WR2 against a Panthers defense that allows the 5th most fantasy points to the wide receiver position. Remember that Godwin is a third-round pick and represents a significant asset within the Bucs' future receiving corps, so he will get ample opportunity to perform in this matchup.
  • Mike Evans (vs. CAR): Opposite the aforementioned Chris Godwin will be Mike Evans, who is priced too cheaply for the type of volume he should see in this matchup against the Panthers. After a six-week scoring drought, Evans finally found paydirt against the Falcons last week and will be expected to contribute similarly this Sunday without DeSean Jackson the other side of the field. Some people will ask on Twitter, so I will answer it here: Yes, it is OK to roster both Godwin and Evans in cash games, if you so desire--they cost $9.3K together and will get 75+% of the Jameis Winston's targets. The last time these teams met, the WR1/WR2 roles combined for 18 targets, a number that justifies spending $9.3K. 


  • Robert Woods (vs. TEN): After missing three weeks with a shoulder injury, Robert Woods returned to play 76% of the team's offensive snaps last week and finished with a 6/45/1 stat line. Coming out of that game without any issues, Woods can be expected to play even more snaps against a depleted Tennessee secondary that will be forced to start Brice McCain, who was benched earlier this season due to incompetence. Just a week ago, Marquise Goodwin compiled 10 catches for 114 yards (on 13 targets) against the Titans' defensive backfield; with Sean McVay's offensive scheme, better overall personnel surrounding him, and injuries pervading the Titans secondary, Woods is primed for a splash game.
  • Tyreek Hill (vs. MIA): The speed demon has eight touchdown on the season and every one of those scores were from 30 or more yards out (all but two were from 50+ yards). The Dolphins represent the perfect matchup for Hill's big play ability because they have allowed the 3rd-most number of 20+ yard pass plays this season. Given the complete turnaround of this offense since Matt Nagy took over the play-calling, Tyreek Hill might be too cheap at $6.5K, given that he can literally hit 3x value on a single play.
  • Larry Fitzgerald (vs. NYG): The Cardinals are limping into January with a slew of injuries to their running backs, wide receivers, and quarterbacks. Ironically, the one player who has been healthy throughout the season is their 34-year old ageless wonder, Larry Fitzgerald. The future Hall-of-Famer has played in every game and performed admirably without a supporting cast and/or a consistent arm under center. This Sunday, Kerwynn Williams (quad) is highly questionable and Arizona might be forced to start rookie Elijhaa Penny at running back; while Penny is an intriguing GPP option at $3.0K, Fitzgerald would appear to be the biggest beneficiary because he is the most trusted and, therefore, targeted player on this offense. The matchup is solid against the Giants' 25th DVOA pass defense that has yielded big games to other slot receivers (Nelson Agholor and Jamison Crowder) over the past month.


Cameron Brate 3300 6% 1 2 Without O.J. Howard, should see 6+ targets at low salary.
Travis Kelce 6900 13% 2 3 MIA: 28th DVOA vs. TEs. Scored in half of games this season.
Delanie Walker 4900 7% 3 9 Mr. Consistency. SF DEF: 3 TDs allowed to TEs over past 2 weeks.
Rob Gronkowski 7400 16% - 5 Loves to perform against Buffalo. No higher TE upside.
Evan Engram 5600 5% - 4 Getting targets on 40+% of routes. 28 targets over past 3 games.
Greg Olsen 5200 13% - 7 Tough matchup & high ownership limit enthusiasm, but cannot ignore.
Jimmy Graham 4700 6% - 8 Low-volume of late, but TD potential is there vs. DAL DEF.
Eric Ebron 3700 10% - 10 18 targets over past two weeks. CIN: 30th DVOA DEF vs. TEs.
Vernon Davis 3400 3% - 1 Only WAS receiver with plus personnel matchup.
Antonio Gates 2500 15% - 6 No Hunter Henry = more action for savvy vet. Price-driven play.


  • Cameron Brate (vs. CAR): In games that Jameis Winston has started and completed this season, he has thrown a touchdown to a tight end in all but one of them (8-game sample size). With O.J. Howard (ankle) landing on the I.R. earlier this week, Cameron Brate should reclaim his spot atop the tight end options in Tampa Bay; Brate is fairly priced at $3.3K and should see 6-8 targets in a gamescript that favors a lot of passing from Winston. The matchup against the Panthers is generally unappealing, as Carolina fields the 4th best DVOA defense against tight ends, but they have allowed a tight end to score in each of their most recent games and Brate/Howard combined for a 6/80/0 stat line when these teams met back in Week #8. A similar performance from Brate in a less crowded receiving corps (remember that DeSean Jackson will also miss this game) would land him with tournament-based value at 6% ownership.
  • Travis Kelce (vs. MIA): With Matt Nagy calling the plays in Kansas City, the Chiefs' playmakers are all thriving. Kareem Hunt (above) has back-to-back 100-yard games, Tyreek Hill is averaging over 100-receiving yards and a touchdown per game, and Travis Kelce's usage is taking an uptick. With Nagy at the helm, Kelce is averaging 9.3 targets per game and had back-to-back two touchdown games against the Jets and Raiders, although the latter game saw both of those touchdowns negated due to booth reviews. Kelce gets a dream matchup this week against the Dolphins' 28th-ranked DVOA defense against tight ends that allows 22% more fantasy production than league average (after adjusting for strength of schedule). Plus...if he outscores Rob Gronkowski on a points per dollar basis, my good friend and fellow Footballguy, Devin Knotts, will be dressed up as Blackeyed Joe for next week's edition of the PowerGrid (watch this week's episode, where the bet was made, HERE)!
  • Vernon Davis (vs. DEN): The Washington Redskins are 3.5-point home favorites over the visiting Denver Broncos on Sunday and are projected to score 22 points. With Jamison Crowder on lockdown by Chris Harris Jr and Josh Doctson/Ryan Grant dealing with Denver's excellent perimeter defensive backs, it is difficult to imagine how Vegas oddsmakers project the Redskins to put points on the board. The most logical answer is Vernon Davis, who has logged disappointing performances for a month straight, but gets a plus matchup against the league's 26th-ranked DVOA defense against tight ends that also allows 24% more fantasy points to the position after normalization for strength of schedule. If Davis scores, you can almost rest assured that he will hit the 4x value you are hoping for when you slot him into your GPP lineups.


Chiefs 3300 8% 1 2 MIA OFF: Terrible on road (1.1 TDs/game).
Bears 3500 13% 2 3 Cleveland Browns (DeShone Kizer) put all opposing defenses in play.
Lions 2900 5% 3 6 Bengals offense does not match up well. DET: Playoff-motivated.
Jaguars 3900 10% - 4 Always a GPP option with their excellent defensive personnel.
Chargers 3700 14% - 1 Targeting Bryce Petty feels like a +EV decision.
Rams 3600 4% - 7 Thwarted a superior SEA defense just last week.
Redskins 3400 5% - 5 Do not expect another 3-TD game from Osweiler. GPP-only.
Panthers 3100 13% - 8 Carolina needs a win for playoffs & TB has multiple injured receivers.


  • Chiefs (vs. MIA): The Chiefs control their own playoff destiny and will look to take advantage of a fired-up Arrowhead crowd on Sunday. Since the midway point of last season, Kansas City has not allowed more than two touchdowns at home in any game, including the postseason. Given the Dolphins' offensive ineptitude on the road this season (1.1 touchdowns per game; last in NFL), this would appear to be a perfect spot to get exposure to the Chiefs defense. Bolstering the case for Kansas City is the fact that four of the previous five team defenses to face Miami have scored double-digit fantasy points.
  • Bears (vs. CLE): Playing a team defense against the Browns has been a consistent winner over the course of this season, as evidenced the 12.9 DraftKings points per game those defenses have averaged thus far. While the Bears are not defensive juggernauts, they are sixth in the league in sacks (39) and have surpassed double-digit points in over a third of their games this season. With DeShone Kizer under center and his confidence shaken, anything is possible, making the Bears defense an attractive option for all game formats.
  • Lions (vs. CIN): The Bengals' best playmaker, A.J. Green, will be contending with shadow coverage from Darius Slay on Sunday, which means that Cincinnati will be forced to try to keep pace with the playoff-hungry Lions via Joe Mixon, Brandon LaFell, and Tyler Kroft. Mixon has the skillset to make plays for the Bengals, but the gamescript does not suit heavy usage from the rookie running back. That leaves LaFell and Kroft to get the job done against the Lions and that would appear to be an uphill battle with those subpar players. Lastly, with Marvin Lewis set to leave the team the moment the season ends, we have to question how motivated the Bengals will be in this matchup.

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