WEEK 14 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.
A few points to consider as it relates to this week’s common roster construction:
- New Orleans, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, and New England aren’t on the main slate, leaving only four teams -- the LA Rams, LA Chargers, Kansas City, and Philadelphia -- implied by Vegas to score more than 24 points. We should see significant ownership settle on the marquee players from the Chargers and Chiefs, but the crowd appears lukewarm on Eagles at Rams despite the game opening with a slate-high 50.5 point over/under. It’s not often stacking the game projected for the most points qualifies as borderline-contrarian, but it could be the case this week.
- Giovani Bernard (assuming Joe Mixon scratches) and Josh Gordon are mispriced, which makes it possible to spend up at quarterback and tight end -- positions the crowd usually looks to for cap savings. But with Tom Brady off the main slate and Russell Wilson on the road in Jacksonville, there isn’t a quarterback in the top price tier who profiles as an auto-play. Not a whole lot of projected fantasy points separate the QB1 from the QB15, which suggests ownership at the position will be extremely flat.
- Bernard is going to attract massive ownership priced just $100 above the site minimum, leaving entrants free to spend at RB1, but the most expensive running backs come with question marks. Todd Gurley and Leonard Fournette are in tough matchups, LeSean McCoy faces the prospect of Nathan Peterman or a hobbled Tyrod Taylor tanking the Bills offense, and it’s been a month since we’ve seen Melvin Gordon III score at least 15 fantasy points. Each of these backs will command significant ownership by default, but the most common roster construction will probably see entrants pair Bernard with Lamar Miller ($5,800 vs. SF) and use the savings to spend at wide receiver and tight end. Starting a roster by plugging in at least two of the most expensive running backs is likely to get you building in a different direction than your opponents.
- Paying down at running back and auto-playing Gordon at wide receiver leaves room for both a stud WR1 and Travis Kelce -- this week’s top projected tight. Expect to see plenty of owners pair Bernard/Gordon with Kelce and either A.J. Green, DeAndre Hopkins, or Keenan Allen, creating a pocket of lightly-owned wide receivers in the $5K-$6.5K range.
- Those who don’t wish to pay the premium for Kelce are most likely to punt with Stephen Anderson ($3,200). Anderson is coming off a 12 target game (18.9 fantasy points), is facing the 49ers at home, and a slew of injuries have effectively made the third-stringer Houston’s de facto WR2 behind Hopkins. With tournament ownership heavily concentrated on Kelce and Anderson, the remaining tight ends can be used to differentiate your lineups.
- This is the first week in recent memory there isn’t a team defense priced at $4K or above. The Bengals will be a popular option as big home favorites against a Bears team that doesn’t travel well, but after Cincinnati, you hardly have to factor ownership into your decision-making process at the position.
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 our Steve Buzzard’s projections). Be sure to check back on Saturdays for updated ownership projections.
QB: Alex Smith (vs. OAK, $6,500, 10% owned) - Only 1.7% of entrants enjoyed Smith’s 40.64 fantasy points in last week’s Millionaire Maker, so it’s safe to expect point-chasing to inflate his ownership this week. The burning question is whether rostering Smith is in fact point chasing or rather just good process? It would be foolish to expect another 40 fantasy points, but Smith has now cleared at least 25 in 5-of-12 games this season, which gives him a reasonable expectation of returning value at home against the Raiders. Pick a pass defense category -- DVOA, opponent completion percentage, yards per pass attempt allowed -- and Oakland ranks at or near the bottom. Smith passed for 342 yards and 3 touchdowns when these teams met in Week 7, making him one of four quarterbacks to exceed 300 yards and pass for 3 touchdowns in the same game against the Raiders this season. The matchup is clearly in Smith’s favor, but research suggests quarterback scoring tends to decline in division rematches. There’s a greater likelihood Smith’s output is on the high side of his season average (think 22-25 fantasy points), which makes him a fine play but not a tournament winner, especially at increased ownership. Don’t go heavier than the field on your exposure.
RB: Giovani Bernard (vs. CHI, $3,100, 48% owned) - Few plays this season have stood out as more obvious than Bernard. Joe Mixon’s concussion/shoulder injury occurred on Monday night, after Week 14 pricing had already been released, leaving Bernard just $100 over the site minimum for running backs. Bernard’s matchup against the Bears isn’t very appealing on the surface. Chicago ranks 12th in rush defense DVOA and has allowed the seventh-fewest normalized fantasy points to opposing running backs over the last five games. The matchup would be a concern if Bernard were properly valued, but that’s simply not the case. He handled every running back touch for the Bengals following Mixon’s injury, ran with some juice in his legs (5.9 yards per attempt), and will almost certainly have the game script in his favor this week. The Bears are 1-4 in road games and have been outscored by an average margin of 15.2 points away from Soldier Field. If the game goes according to Vegas (Bengals -6), Bernard will receive too many carries to fail. And if things somehow go off-script for Cincinnati, Bernard’s trademark receiving ability will bail him out. There’s merit to fading any player who projects to exceed 30% tournament ownership, but sometimes you have to take the value for what it’s worth. It's fine to fade Bernard relative to the field for game theory purposes, but don't drop below 25% exposure.
RB: Todd Gurley (vs. PHI, $8,100, 29% owned) - The Eagles third-ranked rush defense (DVOA) would ordinarily put people off Gurley, but loose pricing and a general lack of high-end running backs in great matchups will conspire to make him chalky. While his opponent and projected ownership are less than ideal, Gurley still has the profile of a great GPP play. The Rams are favored at home, their 26.5-point implied team total is the highest on the slate, and Gurley is an absolute usage monster. He has handled 85% of the Rams total backfield touches this season, which trails only Le'Veon Bell for the largest team market share. The Rams have run the ninth-most plays from inside their opponent’s 10-yard line and Gurley has either ran the ball or been targeted on a league-leading 52% of those opportunities. Besides, the Eagles rush defense is beginning to show some cracks. Alfred Morris bullied them in Week 11 (17-91-0) and Mike Davis totaled 101 yards against Philadelphia last week. Make Gurley one of your top running back exposures.
WR: Josh Gordon (vs. GB, $5,500, 34% owned) - The results in the box score (11-4-85-0) were about all we could reasonably expect after a three-year layoff, but take it from Matt Waldman -- Gordon’s skill in the air and after the catch haven’t gone anywhere. He has immediate fantasy WR1 upside in any given week, which means DraftKings has his price wrong by at least $1,500 heading into a prime matchup with Green Bay’s dismal secondary. The Packers have allowed 24% more fantasy points than league average to opposing wide receivers over the last five weeks and now they’re banged up in the secondary. Gordon’s primary matchup was supposed to be against Green Bay cornerback Kevin King, who had Pro Football Focus’ fifth-worst coverage grade on the slate, but King needs shoulder surgery and was placed on IR. Davon House -- who was largely responsible for shutting down Mike Evans last week -- is also questionable with a shoulder injury. House’s absence would leave nickel corner Demarious Randall and a handful of undrafted free agents to keep up with Gordon. Like Bernard, Gordon is a screaming value who shouldn’t be faded, but keep an eye on the weather. Early reports suggest sustained winds of 20mph in Cleveland, which is bad news for Gordon, who has to rely on DeShone Kizer to get him the ball downfield.
WR: A.J. Green (vs. CHI, $7,300, 20% owned) - If the Bengals hadn’t faced the Steelers on Monday night, it’s a safe bet Green would be priced above $8K. Andy Dalton peppered Green with 16 targets against Pittsburgh, which resulted in a 7-77-2 receiving line that would have been 8-137-3 if not for a phantom holding penalty on Bernard wiping out an incredible 60-yard touchdown reception. Everything there is to like about the Bengals status as big home favorites for Bernard also applies to Green. And unlike Bernard, the matchup is in Green’s favor. Football Outsiders ranks the Bears 28th vs. enemy WR1s, as proven by Mike Evans (7-93-1), Antonio Brown (10-110-1), Jordy Nelson (4-75-2 w/ Aaron Rodgers), Davante Adams (5-90-1 w/ Brett Hundley), Marvin Jones Jr (4-85-1), Alshon Jeffery (5-52-1), and Marquise Goodwin (8-99-0) this season. If Green’s target volume from last week is indicative of how the Bengals plan on playing without Mixon in the lineup, we’re looking at another blow-up game. Playing less than the field is not advisable.
TE: Travis Kelce (vs. OAK, $7,400, 21% owned) - After disappearing against the Bills in Week 12, Kelce got back in our good graces with his sixth 20+ fantasy point game of the season. He’ll be the most popular stacking partner for Alex Smith lineups, especially given the Raiders struggles to contain opposing tight ends. Even though Rob Gronkowski (3-36-0) wasn’t needed much in New England’s blowout win over Oakland in Week 11, the Raiders have still given up 51% more fantasy points than league average to opposing tight ends over the last five weeks. Kelce is an affordable luxury in the context of this slate, but with ownership so heavily concentrated on Kelce and Anderson, tight end -- easily the most volatile of the skill positions -- is an easy place to differentiate your lineups. Go with less exposure than the field.
D/ST: Cincinnati Bengals (vs. CHI, $3,300, 11% owned) - As we covered in our Early-Week Roundtable, there are no sure things at defense on the main slate. The Bengals should have a decent floor at home against the Bears. Chicago averages a meager 12.6 points per game in away games and ranks inside the bottom-10 in sack percentage allowed, but their opponents' ceilings have been capped by the Bears refusal to take chances on offense that lead to turnovers. There’s also the matter of cornerback Adam Jones (groin), linebacker Vontaze Burfict (head), and cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick being declared inactive this week for the Bengals. Pass on Cincinnati as the chalk defense.
MORE CHALK PLAYS
|Player||Pos||Opponent||Salary||Proj. Own %||Comment|
|Philip Rivers||QB||WAS||$6,800||8%||Should be fine for his usual 20 fantasy points. Best used in cash games.|
|Dak Prescott||QB||@NYG||$5,600||7%||Price way down due to recent erratic play. Giants D should be the cure.|
|LeSean McCoy||RB||IND||$7,200||17%||20.5 DK PPG in Bills four games as home favorites. BUF -4 vs. IND.|
|Melvin Gordon III||RB||WAS||$7,800||19%||Unquestioned 20+ carries, WAS D struggling vs. run.|
|DeAndre Hopkins||WR||SF||$8,500||26%||Talent-deficient SF secondary has no answer for him.|
|Keenan Allen||WR||WAS||$8,300||20%||Putting up Antonio Brown numbers over the last three weeks.|
|Dez Bryant||WR||@NYG||$5,900||16%||Poor recent track record vs. NYG, but Janoris Jenkins not there to hamper him.|
|Larry Fitzgerald||WR||TEN||$6,500||19%||Target hog too much for TEN CB Logan Ryan in slot.|
|Stephen Anderson||TE||SF||$3,200||12%||Ownership will rise with Ertz active, but Fuller back for HOU to challenge for targets.|
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: Jimmy Garoppolo (@ HOU, $5,500, 8% owned) - Despite failing to convert a touchdown on five red zone opportunities in his debut as a starter for the 49ers, the arrow is pointing up for Garoppolo. He completed 70% of his passes for 293 yards on the road in Chicago and looked good doing it. Garoppolo was aggressive, fitting several throws into tight windows not many quarterbacks in the league would even attempt. Be thankful he didn’t throw for a touchdown since otherwise, he wouldn’t be affordable or moderately owned headed into this week’s matchup against the Texans. Prior to Marcus Mariota throwing up a stinker last week (in which he still managed 18 fantasy points), Houston had been getting eviscerated by opposing quarterbacks. From Weeks 5-12, the only quarterbacks who failed to throw for either 300 yards, three touchdowns, or both vs. the Texans were Kevin Hogan and Joe Flacco.
RB: Marshawn Lynch (@ KC, $5,700, 7% owned) - The primary pass-catching options for the Chiefs and Raiders will get plenty of love in tournaments, but the running games figure to go lightly owned. It’s understandable on Kansas City’s side of the ball, where Kareem Hunt hasn’t cracked 11 fantasy points since Week 8, but not so much on Oakland’s where the offense has clearly shifted in favor of Lynch and the running game. Over the last three games, the Raiders have called run on 43.5% of their offensive plays, up from their season average of 38.9%. Lynch has at least 16 touches (and 20 fantasy points) in three of the last four games and figures to remain a focal point since it’s been a winning recipe for the Raiders. Kansas City’s secondary is touted as the weakness of their defense (for good reason), but they also rank 30th against the run (DVOA). Lynch is a leverage play in a potentially high scoring game and makes for an interesting addition to the otherwise chalky Smith-Kelce stack.
RB: Alfred Morris (@ NYG, $5,500, 10% owned) - Morris is a complete zilch in the passing game, which makes him less appealing on full PPR sites like DraftKings, but his odds of appearing in a first-place lineup this week are greater than his ownership percentage. To put it simply, Morris is running well. Per Pro Football Focus, the only running back averaging more than Morris’ 4.04 yards after contact per attempt this season is Alvin Kamara (4.24). 39% of Morris' runs have gone for five yards or more, which is the same rate as 2017’s cumulative RB1, Todd Gurley. The Giants have given up back-to-back 100-yard rushing games to Samaje Perine and Marshawn Lynch, both of whom fit Morris’ profile as a runner. Over the last five weeks, New York has allowed the third-most normalized fantasy points to opposing running backs and David Dodds’ Game Predictor projects Dallas for the most team rushing yards on the main slate. The implied game script (Cowboys -4.5) suggests plenty of carries will be there for Morris. Whether or not he’s a worthwhile tournament play, however, will depend on his ability to find the end zone. It’s worth noting Rod Smith has out-carried Morris 4-1 from inside the opponent’s five-yard line since Ezekiel Elliott’s suspension began, but most of Smith’s opportunities have come in the fourth quarter of games that were already decided. Look for Morris to reach the 100-yard bonus and punch one in for the second straight week.
WR: Marvin Jones Jr (@ TAM, $6,800, 8% owned) - Matthew Stafford’s hand injury threatened to make all Lions pass catchers a fade early in the week, but with news Stafford was “spinning the ball pretty well” in Thursday’s practice, it appears safe to play Jones, Golden Tate, and maybe even a little Kenny Golladay in a pristine matchup vs. Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers have allowed the most normalized fantasy points to wide receivers this season and given up two monstrous games in the last three weeks to the opposition’s top downfield threat -- Kenny Stills’ 7-180-1 receiving line in Week 11 and Julio Jones’ week-winning 12-253-2 explosion in Week 12. The top downfield threat for the Lions is, of course, Jones whose 37% market share of Detroit’s air yards leads the team by a wide margin (per airyards.com). Jones’ ascension to top-10 fantasy wide receiver status may have taken fantasy owners by surprise, but it can no longer be denied. He’s racked up at least 85 receiving yards in six of the last seven games and Jones’ eight touchdowns trail only Antonio Brown, DeAndre Hopkins, and A.J. Green for the league-lead.
TE: Hunter Henry (vs. WAS, $4,600, 8% owned) - Henry’s playing time and target volume have stabilized, which gives us every reason to get him into our lineups. In the seven games he’s received at least five targets this season, Henry has averaged 13.1 fantasy points and cracked double-digit scoring on DraftKings in all games but one. Washington ranks at or near the bottom in target rate, pass success rate, and yards per pass attempt allowed to tight ends and have given up the fourth-most fantasy points to the position as a result. The Chargers are heavy home favorites with one of the highest implied team totals on the slate (26.5 points), giving Henry -- who trails only Keenan Allen for the team lead in both red zone targets and targets from inside the 10-yard line -- the touchdown equity we’re looking for in GPPs.
D/ST: Green Bay Packers (@ CLE, $3,700, 6% owned) - 83% of the defenses Cleveland has faced this season have scored at least eight fantasy points, so at the very least the Packers can be trusted for a high floor. It’s never especially appealing to pay top dollar for a defense on the road -- especially one with a secondary as abysmal as Green Bay’s -- but there’s no need to overthink the matchup. DeShone Kizer (even with Josh Gordon) is the worst passer in the league. His 52.5% completion rate ranks last among 28 qualifiers and those errant throws have led to a league-leading 15 interceptions. Green Bay ranks 11th in adjusted sack rate, which should rattle Kizer, who may be more inaccurate than usual due to the aforementioned high-winds in the forecast.
MORE CORE PLAYS
|Player||Pos||Opponent||Salary||Proj. Own %||Comment|
|Blaine Gabbert||QB||TEN||$4,800||8%||Titans just allowed Tom Savage to pass for 365 yards on their home field.|
|Carlos Hyde||RB||@HOU||$6,000||13%||Garoppolo improves offense in aggregate, still had 5 targets last week.|
|Jamaal Williams||RB||@CLE||$5,900||8%||Has done nothing to relinquish grip on feature back job.|
|Mike Davis||RB||@JAX||$3,700||7%||Best dollar per touch value on slate after Bernard.|
|Demaryius Thomas||WR||NYJ||$5,000||5%||Jets have allowed most normalized fantasy points to WRs over last 5 games.|
|Tyreek Hill||WR||OAK||$7,100||19%||6-125-1 in Week 7 game vs. OAK. Chiefs going vertical more start of a trend?|
|Michael Crabtree||WR||@KC||$6,700||13%||Will see big target bump w/ Cooper out vs. porous, depleted KC secondary.|
|Marquise Goodwin||WR||@HOU||$5,100||7%||Riffed with Garoppolo last week, caught all 8 targets.|
|Cameron Brate||TE||DET||$4,100||4%||DET leads league in opponent TE yds./att. Consider O.J. Howard too.|
These players will appear in a small percentage of your opponent’s line-ups. They're high variance plays, but the greater your exposure, the farther your teams will separate from the pack if they have big games.
QB: Trevor Siemian (vs. NYJ, $4,700, 1% owned) - The public is all over Alex Smith and the Chiefs pass catchers after they exploded in Week 13, yet no one is targeting the defense responsible for allowing said explosion. The Jets have given up the most raw fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season, as well as the most normalized fantasy points over the last five weeks. Granted, Trevor Siemian is a far cry from Smith, but he does have three games with at least 20 fantasy points this season and costs only $200 more than the site minimum for quarterbacks. This will be Siemian’s first home game since Week 6, which is worth noting since his home/road splits are especially stark. In four home games, Siemian has averaged a 250-2-1 passing line vs. 202-0.6-1.8 in five games on the road. The bottom has fallen out on the prices of Demaryius Thomas ($5,000) and Emmanuel Sanders ($4,700), who have combined for over 40% of the team’s season-to-date targets, making a Broncos stack cost effective as well as low-owned.
RB: Matt Forte (@ DEN, $4,300, 2% owned) - Forte has quietly scored at least 11 fantasy points in seven of his nine appearances this season. He returned from a two-week knee injury to a Week 12 matchup with Carolina’s fifth-ranked rush defense and predictably disappointed with 26 yards on 10 carries. But Forte was able to parlay 18 touches into 18.1 fantasy points against a much softer Chiefs rush defense last week and could find similar success against the floundering Broncos. Despite still having the second-ranked rush defense (DVOA), Denver has allowed 29.3 normalized fantasy points per game to opposing running backs over the last five weeks, which trails only Buffalo for most in the league. If Siemian can sustain drives for Denver, don’t be surprised to see this game shoot out, lifting the key players for both teams. Jets games have totaled at least 55 points in three consecutive games and none of the opposing offenses -- Buffalo, Carolina, and Kansas City -- can be confused with powerhouses.
WR: Stefon Diggs (@ CAR, $5,800, 4% owned) - Diggs may no longer have a 40-point ceiling, but that doesn’t mean he can’t be useful at his lowest price all season. Carolina has allowed over 40% more fantasy points than league average to opposing wide receivers over the last five weeks and most of the damage is being done on the perimeter, where Diggs will line up against young cornerbacks Daryl Worley and James Bradberry. The Panthers’ strong rush defense should make it difficult for Minnesota to move the ball on the ground, forcing Case Keenum to the air in what has the feel of a sneaky shootout. The last three Panthers games have totaled at least 52 points, while three of the Vikings last four road games have totaled 49 points or more.
TE: David Njoku (vs. GB, $3,000, 2% owned) - With all eyes on Josh Gordon, it might have been easy to miss Njoku having the most impactful game of his career against the Chargers last week (6-4-76-1). The returns of Gordon and Corey Coleman on the outside leave Njoku free to run up the seam, where his size, speed, and athleticism create mismatch nightmares for opposing defenses. Njoku’s upside may be capped by an even timeshare with Seth DeValve, but at $3K, he only needs to approximate last week’s performance to return tournament value at such low ownership. The back end of the Packers defense struggles to defend wide receivers in particular, but they have given up three touchdowns to tight ends in their last two games. Gordon and Coleman are likely to give Green Bay’s secondary all they can handle, putting Njoku in position to convert downfield chunk plays for the second straight week.
D/ST: LA Chargers (vs. WAS, $3,600, 12% owned) - Kirk Cousins has been sacked 19 times in the last five games, which spells trouble for Washington on the road in LA. The Chargers have the fifth-highest sack percentage and are tied for third with 1.8 takeaways per game. Elite pass rushers Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram III are a mismatch for Washington’s beleaguered offensive line and none of Cousins’ receivers match up with well with Casey Hayward and Trevor Williams on the outside. Chances are their ownership will pick up steam by the weekend, but without a consensus top option at the position, LA is the one defense worth paying up for.
MORE CONTRARIAN PLAYS
|Player||Pos||Opponent||Salary||Proj. Own %||Comment|
|Cam Newton||QB||MIN||$6,200||2%||As long as he's running, you need GPP exposure. He's running.|
|Andy Dalton||QB||CHI||$5,400||1%||Everyone loves AJG and Bernard but not Dalton? 2+ TDs in 4 straight.|
|Case Keenum||QB||@CAR||$6,100||2%||Wide receivers could lift him to big game in this matchup.|
|Jay Ajayi||RB||@LAR||$4,500||1%||Weak point of LAR D is on the ground. Saw most PHI RB snaps last week.|
|Jordan Howard||RB||@CIN||$5,400||3%||If script goes bad for CIN, Howard will be the reason why.|
|Trent Taylor||WR||@HOU||$3,300||2%||Garoppolo's new Welker/Edelman?|
|Dede Westbrook||WR||SEA||$4,200||4%||19 total targets last two weeks. Winnable matchup vs. CB Byron Maxwell.|
|Sammy Watkins||WR||PHI||$5,600||4%||Shadowed by Peterson last week and still scored. Massive upside w/ no Woods.|
|Johnny Holton||WR||@KC||$3,500||1%||Team leader in air yards over last two games. Deep ball chemistry w/ Carr.|
|Buffalo Bills||D/ST||IND||$3,100||4%||It doesn't end well when bad dome teams travel to freezing Buffalo in December.|
More articles from Phil AlexanderSee all
Free Agency Roundtable - Ripple Effects
Free Agency Roundtable - Under the Radar Transactions
Free Agency Roundtable - Head-Scratching Moves
More articles on: Daily FFSee all
10 Things I Wish I Knew When Starting DFS - Freeman
DFS Coverage: Super Bowl - Staff
DFS Coverage: Conference Championships - Staff