WEEK 3 TOURNAMENT VALUE CHART
The chart below is a value guide for this week’s DraftKings tournaments. In an effort to help the widest range of players, only tournaments ranging from $1-to-$100 buy-ins are listed. The color scaling favors lesser entry fees, lower entry limits, and flatter payout structures since these tournaments generally represent the best return on investment for average DFS players. But remember it’s important to consider your specific strengths and goals when choosing which tournaments to enter.
Do you excel at GPP roster construction and game theory? Then don’t avoid GPPs like the Millionaire Maker due to high entry limits and a top-heavy payout structure -- you can still profit in these types of tournaments while giving yourself a shot at a life-changing payday. Therefore, cells in red do not indicate tournaments to avoid. The color scaling serves primarily to highlight the differences between tournaments, which will make it easier for you to identify the best ones to enter based on your individual skills and goals.
Before constructing your own GPP lineups, it’s important to consider how most of your opponents will be making theirs. Due to the salary cap, figuring out the most common roster construction each week isn’t necessarily as simple as looking at a list of projected ownership percentages for individual players.
This week, there are a few near-certainties when it comes to how most people will build their rosters:
- Vegas is projecting a low-scoring slate, with only two games -- Oakland at Washington and Atlanta at Detroit -- listed with over/unders north of 50 points. We’re likely to see a fair amount of ownership concentrated on these games, especially at quarterback and WR1. Green Bay and New England are both at home this week and expected to blow out inferior opponents. As usual, Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers will be popular plays, however, both stud quarterbacks are dealing with injuries (of varying degrees) to multiple receivers. Until inactives become official, it will be tough to get a clear read on which pass catchers stack best with them.
- The crowd is going to spend up at running back. Kareem Hunt, Jay Ajayi, and Ty Montgomery are all in excellent spots and priced inside the top-6 players at the position. Expect to see plenty of rosters that include at least two of them together.
- Tight end fantasy production has been hard to come by this season and that was before Greg Olsen, Rob Gronkowski, Jordan Reed, Jimmy Graham, and Tyler Eifert were injured last week. Expect to see significant spending on Travis Kelce (TE2) and Zach Ertz (TE4) -- the only reliable options with upside the position has to offer.
It’s tempting to say the clearest path to a unique lineup this week comes by spending down at running back and tight end, but the excess of potential low-scoring games sets this up as a week to swallow the chalk and focus on identifying one or two low-owned players per lineup (regardless of position) to differentiate your rosters.
WHAT ABOUT THE CHALK?
Assuming you plan on making multiple GPP lineups each week, your decision on highly-owned players usually isn’t whether to fade them completely, but rather how much exposure you want to them in comparison to their projected ownership.
Some suggestions on how to treat this week’s chalk plays (ownership percentages based on Steve Buzzard’s projections)
QB: Kirk Cousins (vs. OAK, $6,100, 8% owned) - Cousins is off to a sluggish start, failing to reach 14 DraftKings points in each of his first two games, but his affordable price (QB11) and Washington’s 25.5 point implied team total will make him a chalk play. Washington’s first two games came on the road against the tough defensive fronts of the Rams and Eagles, so the expectation is Cousins will settle back into his 2016 self in a back-and-forth matchup at home with the Raiders. But there are a couple of problems with blindly following Vegas on Cousins this week. First, Washington’s offensive line graded third in overall pass protection last season but has slipped to 18th through two games this year (per Football Outsiders). Maybe the poor ranking is due in part to the quality of opponents they've faced, but Oakland’s defensive linemen, led by All-Pro Khalil Mack, aren’t exactly pushovers. The Raiders above average 7.4% adjusted sack rate suggests Cousins will once again be forced to make plays under pressure, an area in which he’s had trouble this season. According to Pro Football Focus, Cousins’ 42.8% completion rate while under pressure ranks 21st out of 28 qualifiers. Also, nothing in Cousins’ 2016 splits suggest home games place him at an advantage. In fact, he averaged 21 fantasy points per game at home last year, compared to 26.6 in eight road contests -- a 27% decline in fantasy points per game. While you should go lighter on Cousins than the field (in favor of someone like Matthew Stafford for example), there is a clear benefit to using him if you trust Vegas on Washington’s implied point total. With Jordan Reed looking iffy to suit up, it’s easy to guess where Cousins' targets are going and you won’t have to break the bank for either Terrelle Pryor ($6,000) or Jamison Crowder ($4,900).
RB: Kareem Hunt (@ LAC, $6,800, 20% owned) - Hunt was on his way to an awful game against Philadelphia last week, but exploded in the second half for a pair of touchdowns. We can safely say at this point Hunt’s dominance is not a small sample fluke. His snap percentage jumped from 58% in Week 1 to 74% in Week 2, proving Andy Reid trusts Hunt to hold his own in pass protection against tough opponents in closely contested games. With any playing time worries now behind him, we should expect to see Hunt find the end zone most weeks. Since Reid took over as head coach in 2013, the Chiefs lead the NFL with 73 rushing touchdowns. Jay Ajayi proved last week a workhorse running back can get over on the Chargers middling rush defense in a neutral game script. Hunt profiles as a staple for GPP lineups with 100+yards, multi-touchdown upside.
RB: Jay Ajayi (@ NYJ, $7,700, 22% owned) - Fresh off an impressive 28-122-0 rushing line in his season debut, Ajayi finds himself in a cushy matchup with the Jets, who have allowed 68% more fantasy points to opposing running backs than the league average through two weeks. As will be the case for all teams matching up with New York until further notice, the game script (Dolphins -6) points to a heavy dose of the run for Miami, which is exactly how Dolphins coach Adam Gase prefers to operate. In their closely contested game against the Chargers last week, Gase called run on 47% of Miami’s plays (10th highest rate in the league). With the Dolphins expected to lead most of the way, Ajayi profiles as the frontrunner to lead the league in rush attempts this week, which almost assuredly won’t end well for the sorry Jets. Keep tabs on Friday's practice reports for an update on Ajayi's knee. Gase has all but confirmed he'll play this week, but it would be a relief to see him return after missing Wednesday and Thursday. Provided Ajayi’s injury status checks out, play him at will.
WR: A.J. Green (@ GB, $8,100, 18% owned) - Green came out of last week’s game vocal about not getting the ball enough. A day later, offensive coordinator Ken Zampese was fired after only two games on the job. Guess who won’t be quick to make the same mistake as Zampese? That would be new offensive coordinator Bill Lazor, who has been tasked with turning around the Bengals dismal offense (league-low 4.5 points per game). If Lazor knows what’s good for him, he’ll scheme the ball into Green’s hands often against the Packers inexperienced cornerbacks and safeties. Even if Cincinnati's offense sputters again, Green should at least have the chance to rack up garbage time points. This is also the first opportunity we get to chase Green’s home/road splits narrative in 2017. Since entering the league, Green has averaged 15.7 PPR points per game at home vs. 20.6 per game on the road -- a 31% increase in fantasy production. Available at a substantial discount compared to Julio Jones and Antonio Brown, Green warrants at least as much ownership as the field.
WR: DeAndre Hopkins (@ NE, $6,200, 15% owned) - With a league-leading 29 combined targets through two games, Hopkins is back to his early-2015 target monster ways. While the quality of those targets leaves something to be desired, Hopkins should once again be one of the busiest receivers in the league as Houston attempts to keep pace with New England on the road. The Patriots are one of only three teams to allow over 400 total yards and multiple touchdowns to opposing wide receivers this season (New Orleans and Indianapolis are the others). Tyreek Hill torched New England in Week 1 (7-133-1) and the Patriots failed to eliminate Michael Thomas from New Orleans’ game plan in Week 2 (5-89-0 on 10 targets). Since Hopkins’ touchdown projection is lower than most WR1s, he makes for a stronger play in cash games, where he can 3x his value on receptions and yardage alone. Still, as the best dollars per target value on the slate, Hopkins belongs in about 20% of your GPP lineups on the chance he scores and crushes value.
TE: Zach Ertz (vs. NYG, $5,000, 21% owned) - As previously mentioned, Ertz is one of only two tight ends you can feel great about plugging into your lineup this week. Kelce has the higher ceiling, but comes at a $1,000 premium, making it difficult to squeeze him in alongside the top running backs and wide receivers. Only Jason Witten has soaked up more tight end targets than Ertz’s 13 this season and the Giants have a recent history of defending tight ends poorly dating back to last season. Witten (7-59-1) and Eric Ebron (5-42-1) have continued the trend into 2017. The Eagles are favored by six points at home and their implied point total is over 24 points. It’s a spot to pounce on Ertz, whose price mysteriously dropped $300 from last week. Make him your highest tight end exposure on Sunday.
DEF: Philadelphia Eagles (vs. NYG, $3,000, 17% owned) - The Giants have now played in two nationally televised games and looked rotten in each. Football Outsiders ranks their offensive line 22nd in run blocking and 26th in pass blocking. None of this bodes well for Eli Manning and company as the Giants face off with Philadelphia’s elite defensive front. The Eagles have the fourth-highest sack percentage in the league, while the Giants allow the fifth-highest. The puzzle pieces fit like a glove here. Defense is not the place to differentiate from the pack this week.
MORE CHALK PLAYS:
|Player||Pos||Opponent||Salary||Proj. Own %||Comment|
|Aaron Rodgers||QB||CIN||$7,300||8%||Gets LT Bulaga back, always potential for a nuclear game at Lambeau|
|Ty Montgomery||RB||CIN||$6,900||22%||Salary still does not reflect his role in elite offense|
|Le'Veon Bell||RB||@CHI||$8,800||17%||Workload was back last week. Production will be back this week.|
|Christian McCaffrey||RB||NO||$6,100||14%||At home vs. NO defense is ideal spot to get rookie on track.|
|Davante Adams||WR||CIN||$9,000||19%||Likely Cobb misses and Nelson limited. More targets for Adams at modest price.|
|Antonio Brown||WR||@CHI||$6,900||15%||Mike Evans disproved the Vic Fangio vs. WR1 narrative last week.|
|Travis Kelce||TE||@LAC||$6,000||9%||Number one target on reliable offense.|
|Dolphins Defense||DEF||@NYJ||$3,700||10%||Never a bad idea to pick on the Jets|
These players fall in the middle to upper-middle ownership tiers. Each has a path to top-5 numbers at their respective positions or a strong chance to exceed their salary-implied point expectation. You want more of them than your opponents.
QB: Matthew Stafford (vs. ATL, $6,200, 11% owned) - Don’t be put off by Stafford’s modest 122-2-0 passing line in the Lions Monday night win over the Giants. He wasn’t forced to keep his foot on the gas with Detroit in control for most of the game but still completed over 70% of his passes, including two touchdowns. Matt Ryan will give Detroit’s defense all they can handle, which should result in Stafford nearly doubling last week’s 21 pass attempts against a Falcons defense missing their best pass rusher (Vic Beasley Jr). Like Cousins, none of Stafford’s main pass-catching options are too expensive, which offers you the ability to jam studs in around your QB-WR/TE stacks.
RB: Mike Gillislee (vs. HOU, $5,700, 7% owned) - If this were last season and the Patriots were favored at home by two touchdowns, entrants wouldn’t be able to click the plus next to LeGarrette Blount’s name fast enough. So why is Gillislee -- the new and improved Blount -- flying somewhat below the radar in the same spot? If there were any doubt remaining if Gillislee had inherited the Blount role after his three short scores in Week 1, they were laid to rest after he carried the ball 18 times (and scored another touchdown) in a positive game script situation last week against the Saints. Predictably, Gillislee is tied for the NFL lead with five goal line carries and he’s converted touchdowns on four of those attempts. An 80% goal line touchdown conversion rate is nowhere near sustainable, but make no mistake -- Gillislee is good at this. Last year, he scored a touchdown on 8.2% of his total touches, which led the league (minimum 100 touches). In a game New England figures to dominate, Gillislee is good for 15-18 carries and is likely to see more than one short scoring opportunity. Who cares if he doesn’t get catches? You can’t ask for more from a running back priced under $6K.
WR: Terrelle Pryor (@LAR, $6,000, 12% owned) - Pryor has been a disappointment through two games, but he’s worthy of one last shot before you excise him from your player pool completely. Even if Cousins doesn’t light the world on fire, around 250 passing yards and a touchdown have to go somewhere and with Jordan Reed either out or playing through a pair of injuries, Pryor figures to carve out the biggest slice of Washington’s receiving pie. According to airyards.com, the Raiders allow an above average completion rate on passes thrown between 10 and 15 yards downfield, which is where Pryor (12.8 aDOT) operates most frequently. After getting bottled up in coverage by Rams cornerback Trumaine Johnson last week, Pryor has a far more beatable assignment against Oakland’s David Amerson on about 40% of his routes. And if Reed is out or not moving around well, Pryor, at 6’4’’. 228 lbs., becomes Cousins’ de facto red zone target.
WR: Jarvis Landry (@NYJ, $6,800, 5% owned) - For one week anyway, DeVante Parker’s ascending talent and preseason rapport with Jay Cutler had little impact on Landry’s trademark target volume. Landry caught 13-of-15 targets for 78 yards against the Chargers in Week 1 and could be in for another boatload of looks, especially if the ankle injury that held Parker out of Thursday’s practice doesn’t improve quickly. While it may be coincidence, Landry has enjoyed playing at MetLife Stadium. In his last two trips to the Jets home field, Landry has dropped 13-165-1 and 3-108-1 receiving lines on New York. Considering the sad state of their linebackers, youth at safety, and poor play of nickel corner Buster Skrine, Landry is set up nicely to make it three big games in a row against the Jets.
TE: Martellus Bennett (vs. CIN, $4,000, 5% owned) - As of Thursday, Randall Cobb had yet to practice this week and Jordy Nelson was getting in limited sessions. While it appears Nelson is on track to play, Cobb is closer to doubtful. If Cobb can’t go, 24% of the Packers season-to-date targets are up for grabs. Bennett was the beneficiary of Green Bay’s in-game injuries last week with 11 targets and we also saw the Packers scheme the ball effectively to tight end Jared Cook in last year’s playoffs while Nelson was out. Cook combined for 18 receptions, 230 yards, and 2 touchdowns in the Packers three postseason games. The one concern with Bennett is he may be called on to block more with Green Bay’s offensive line banged up, but starting left tackle Bryan Bulaga returned to practice Wednesday and should be ready to make his season debut against the Bengals. Cincinnati has allowed a combined two receptions and 19 yards to tight ends this season, but their opponents were Benjamin Watson and Evan Baylis. Last year, the Bengals allowed the fourth-most raw fantasy points to opposing tight ends. The targets, matchup, point spread, and Packers 27.75 point implied team total all point to Bennett having his Lambeau Field breakout game.
DEF: Pittsburgh Steelers (@ CHI, $3,700, 5% owned) - Pittsburgh has the second-highest adjusted sack rate in the league through two games, which comes as no shock considering their opponents have been DeShone Kizer and Case Keenum. The good times should continue to roll for the Steelers aggressive pass rush unit against Mike Glennon and the Bears. Per PFF, Glennon has been pressured on 39% of his dropbacks (fifth-most in the league) and the results have been predictably awful. His 38.9 QB Rating when pressured places him just outside the bottom-five quarterbacks. The crowd is about twice as likely to use Miami against the Jets for the same price, making the Steelers an ideal GPP pivot in a game where they should get to Glennon pretty easily and force some bad decisions.
MORE CORE PLAYS
|Player||Pos||Opponent||Salary||Proj. Own %||Comment|
|Carson Wentz||QB||NYG||$5,900||6%||What more does he have to do for DraftKings to raise his price?|
|Ameer Abdullah||RB||ATL||$4,700||7%||Ran well against tough Giants front last week and has receiving upside vs. ATL.|
|Isaiah Crowell||RB||@IND||$4,800||8%||Finally a positive game script.|
|Doug Baldwin||WR||@TEN||$6,400||8%||Picks up targets with Graham likely out. Great matchup in the slot vs. Logan Ryan.|
|Michael Thomas||WR||@CAR||$7,000||5%||See Drew Brees blurb below.|
|Jared Cook||TE||@WAS||$3,100||13%||Washington defense has been obliterated by tight ends thus far.|
|Patriots Defense||DEF||HOU||$3,800||9%||13.5 point home favorites vs. rookie QB with accuracy issues.|
These players will appear in a small percentage of your opponent’s line-ups. The greater your exposure to these players, the farther your teams will separate from the pack if they have big games.
QB: Drew Brees (@ CAR, $7,200, 4% owned) - Brees’ salary is down $500 from last week, but he’s still priced as the QB2 on the road in Carolina. The crowd will surely be off him matched up against the Panthers, who have allowed the fewest raw fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season. But before we anoint Carolina’s pass defense as one of the best in the league, it’s important to remember they finished bottom-10 against the pass in 2016 and they’ve earned their early 2017 reputation by dominating Brian Hoyer and Tyrod Taylor. The Saints are the first legitimate test for a defense Brees torched for a combined 750-6-2 passing line in two games last season. Pairing Brees with Michael Thomas will ensure you’re spending money where your opponents are not and brings the requisite multi-touchdown upside.
RB: Theo Riddick (vs. ATL, $5,100, 5% owned) - The Falcons allowed the most receptions, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns to opposing running backs in 2016 and the trend has continued in the early going this year. Tarik Cohen hung an 8-47-1 receiving line on Atlanta in Week 1 and Ty Montgomery followed it up with a 6-75-1 performance in Week 2. As Detroit’s primary pass-catching back, Riddick’s projections deserve a nudge in this matchup, but his ownership percentage will be lower than warranted due to his 6.7 point stinker last week, a $600 price increase, and the likelihood most entrants will look to spend bigger at running back. Riddick is also an unsung red zone hero for Detroit. Since Calvin Johnson retired, Riddick’s five red zone touchdowns trail only Anquan Boldin’s six for the team lead -- and now Boldin is retired too.
WR: Donte Moncrief (vs. CLE, $3,800, 1% owned) - No one wants to use Colts receivers, even in a plus matchup, but Moncrief could make your week as a low-owned flier. In Jacoby Brissett’s first game at quarterback for Indianapolis, he targeted Moncrief eight times. While Moncrief caught only 2 passes for 18 yards, his air yards profile with Brissett behind center was interesting, especially considering this week’s matchup with the Browns. Per airyards.com, Moncrief’s 8 targets resulted in 128 air yards, nearly twice as many as the next closest Colts receiver. This means on the occasions Brissett was throwing down the field, it was Moncrief he was looking for. The Browns opponent catch rate by depth of target spikes to nearly double the league average on targets of 15-to-25 yards. At least one Colts receiver will take advantage of the matchup against the Browns disastrous secondary. It could very well be T.Y. Hilton, but even at his depressed $5,200 price he still costs $1,400 more than Moncrief, who can essentially pay off with just one big play.
TE: Delanie Walker (vs. SEA, $4,400, 4%) - We’ve already touched on the dearth of quality tight end options outside of the top-two this week, which makes Walker’s reliability desirable, even in a less-than-ideal matchup against the Seahawks. While he won’t be bailed out by another fluky rushing touchdown anytime soon, Walker can still be counted on for receptions and yardage. Through two games, Walker is one of only four tight ends to account for nearly 30% of his team’s total receiving yards and he also ranks fourth in DraftKings points per game. With Corey Davis sidelined for Week 3, an additional 6.5 targets per game will be divided among the Titans remaining pass catchers, Walker included. The matchup caps his ceiling a bit, but this is a week where the most you can ask from a tight end not named Kelce or Ertz is not to destroy your lineup. If Walker maxes out at 3.5x his salary, it should be enough to keep tournament lineups afloat.
MORE CONTRARIAN PLAYS:
|Player||Pos||Opponent||Salary||Proj. Own %||Comment|
|Andy Dalton||QB||@GB||$5,100||3%||New OC, Green Bay defense more forgiving than BAL and HOU.|
|M. Lynch||RB||@WAS||$6,000||5%||Leverage play on Raiders passing game. Snaps a concern but gets all the goal line work.|
|Brandin Cooks||WR||HOU||$7,300||2%||Difficult matchup but suddenly Brady’s only healthy non-RB pass catcher..|
|Odell Beckham Jr Jr.||WR||@PHI||$8,600||3%||Likely he plays full complement this week. Eagles D-line is tough but corners are flammable.|
|Ed Dickson||TE||NO||$2,700||2%||Cheapest way to gain exposure to offense playing vs. NO. Has touchdown potential.|
|Bills Defense||DEF||DEN||$2,600||2%||Siemian not the same on the road. Bills defense overachieving under McDermott.|
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