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.
GAME STRATEGY: APPROACHING 50+ POINT SHOOTOUTS IN TOURNAMENTS. Through two weeks in the young NFL season, Vegas has projected several barn-burners surpassing 50-points, most of which have delivered excessive fantasy production with the world watching. This week, we have a pair of games with similar firework potential: New Orleans at Atlanta and San Francisco at Kansas City. Because of what we have seen in the early-going, you can expect players from these games to be rostered at high frequency (check out our most recent roster projections HERE). So how do we know where to land with respect to rostering players from those games when we know that they will be extremely popular? The game strategy that I employ in these cases is to try to get a piece of the game on players who are being overlooked. For example, Sammy Watkins was rostered on less than 3% of lineups in last week's Millionaire Maker on DraftKings; meanwhile, Tyreek Hill was approaching 20% because of his breakout game on opening weekend. The outcome? Watkins delivered 5x on his salary whereas Hill was a shade under cash value at 3x his salary. The lesson to be learned is to roster players who carry upside in those games without investing an exorbitant amount of your overall exposure in any single player.
To take this a bit further, always map out the games in your mind. Imagine how you see the game playing out and how that affects the players involved in those respective scenarios. This week, I do see the Saints-Falcons game as a back-and-forth slugfest featuring a heavy dose of Drew Brees to Michael Thomas, so I will be fairly well-exposed to each of them despite their hefty respective ownership rates. For Atlanta, I will assuredly have a piece of Julio Jones, but it will not be as high as the field because I think that Mohamed Sanu and/or Austin Hooper will be underrepresented for the value and upside that they bring to my rosters. In Kansas City, I'm going against Vegas in the sense that I'm not convinced that the 49ers can keep this game as close as they might lead us to believe. While I will have my share of Jimmy Garoppolo-George Kittle stacks (and a lot of Kittle by himself), I will probably go underweight on the Niners, in general, because I have questions regarding their ability to keep pace with the Chiefs in their home-opener at Arrowhead. If that gamescript comes to fruition, it also probably helps Kareem Hunt, who could be in line for additional action in the second half of the game. Thus, I'll have more shares of Hunt than the field and probably less Kelce and Watkins (I do like Hill, however, and will try to mirror the field on my exposure).
Summary: 1) Grab high-snap percentage players from shootout games who are offered at single-digit ownership rates, 2) Map potential outcomes in your mind and roster players who align with that gamescript, and 3) Do not be afraid to go with (or even over) the field if you feel strongly that a given player's elevated ownership is merited.
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.
|NAME||SALARY||% ROSTERED||CASH RANK||GPP RANK||NOTES|
|Matt Ryan||$5700||9%||1||3||Cheap, at home versus the 32nd ranked DVOA pass defense.|
|Cam Newton||$6000||9%||2||2||CIN DEF: Allowing 348 pass yards per game (30th in NFL).|
|Blake Bortles||$5600||3%||-||1||Titans secondary has allowed big games to Tannehill & Watson.|
|Carson Wentz||$6200||4%||-||4||Can anybody run the ball for the Birds on Sunday?|
|Patrick Mahomes II II||$7000||16%||-||5||Only reservations are his implied ownership and price.|
|Deshaun Watson||$6100||9%||-||6||Giants missing key personnel that could lead to big day.|
|Kirk Cousins||$6800||4%||-||7||Leverage play away from Latavius Murray; high team total.|
|Aaron Rodgers||$7100||5%||-||8||Always a high-upside play. Scored 29 vs. MIN last week.|
|Joe Flacco||$5400||1%||-||9||Daunting DEN secondary has been anything but daunting.|
|Drew Brees||$6400||10%||-||10||300+ yard upside is there in potential barn-burner.|
- In cash formats, it's tough to get away from Matt Ryan at home against a Saints' passing defense that ranks dead-last in the league via FootballOutsiders' DVOA metric. Ryan was stymied in the season-opener against a stingy Eagles defense, but he bounced back last week at home against the Panthers with 34.4 DraftKings points. Bolstering an argument for Ryan is that the Saints are primed to put points on the board, which should force Atlanta's quarterback to keep his foot on the pedal for four full quarters at a reasonable $5.7K salary.
- On an otherwise limited week for cash game quarterbacks, Cam Newton is the only other recommendation in this space. Newton has run the ball 18 times in his first two games and has surpassed double-digit rush attempts in every game dating back to the beginning of December 2017; his lowest yardage total in that span of six games is 42 rushing yards, a nice cushion for a $6.0K quarterback. With a base of 4 fantasy points via rushing, Newton has to put up only 200 passing yards and a touchdown to achieve the 18 points required to reach value in cash game formats. That said, it would not be surprising to see Cam thrive against a Bengals defense that has allowed both Andrew Luck and Joe Flacco to surpass 300 passing yards thus far; if Newton can do the same, he is capable of getting the ultra-rare "double-bonus" on DraftKings by reaching 300-passing yards and 100-rushing yards, which merits additional GPP consideration.
- The addition of Malcolm Butler to the Titans secondary has done little to shore up last year's 24th DVOA pass defense. Butler, himself, has been dreadful in coverage, allowing 257 receiving yards and 3 touchdowns in Tennessee's first 2 games; opposite Butler, Adoree' Jackson has had his own struggles against the likes of Kenny Stills and Will Fuller V. Entering Week #3, Butler and Jackson both rank in the bottom 5 in the league in pass coverage and will be tasked with improving against a diverse and talented Jacksonville receiving corps. Enter Blake Bortles off a 37+ fantasy point game against the Patriots last week; Bortles spread the ball around to 9 different receivers and finished the afternoon with 377 passing yards and 4 touchdowns. The return of Leonard Fournette will scare away anybody chasing that output, but the weakness of the Titans defense is through the air and the strength of the Jags offense is the depth of their receiving corps, which could collectively result in another big day for Bortles at low ownership.
- On this week's episode of the PowerGrid, we discussed players from the Eagles who we thought might be viable DFS candidates. Nelson Agholor and Zach Ertz topped the list and Corey Clement was also mentioned. Given Clement's smaller size and quad issues, it stands to reason that we could see more Wendell Smallwood on Sunday, too. That quartet of players has one thing in common: heavy involvement in the passing game. All of which is to suggest that Carson Wentz likely will not be handing off the ball often despite being near-touchdown favorites against the Colts. When the Birds get inside the redzone, it is tough to envision them repeatedly handing the ball to Clement or Smallwood, which boosts Wentz' fantasy prospects as a GPP candidate. Extra points because he is slated to be rostered in less than 5% of all lineups.
- Elsewhere, Patrick Mahomes II II is in play and he should be in at least 10% of your GPP lineups because of what Tyreek Hill can do to this susceptible 49er secondary. Mahomes is going to experience some negative regression, but it is difficult to envision him having a subpar day against a defense that has not been able to slow down an opposing quarterback yet this season.
|NAME||SALARY||% ROSTERED||CASH RANK||GPP RANK||NOTES|
|Latavius Murray||$5800||23%||1||4||Should see 20-25 touches as 17-point home chalk.|
|Corey Clement/Wendell Smallwood||$4300/$3000||29%||2||1||Only healthy RB in PHL backfield is min-priced.|
|Tevin Coleman||$6400||12%||3||10||20 touches in 1st game without Freeman. Still cheap.|
|Kareem Hunt||$6000||22%||4||3||Bellcow back on home fave with highest Vegas total.|
|Giovani Bernard||$5900||16%||5||8||Injury to Joe Mixon makes Gio next man up in CIN.|
|Jordan Howard||$6500||5%||-||2||Nagy: We have to get Howard more involved vs. ARZ.|
|Kenyan Drake||$5600||9%||-||5||Mismatch against a battered OAK defensive unit.|
|Todd Gurley||$9200||22%||-||6||Gurley is matchup-proof. Price is only deterrent.|
|Lamar Miller||$5000||9%||-||7||Gamescript has been Miller's enemy thus far.|
|Melvin Gordon III||$7400||12%||-||9||Tough to see LAC moving the ball any other way.|
|Alex Collins||$5200||2%||-||11||Wonky gamescripts have minimized Collins thus far.|
|Leonard Fournette||$6900||6%||-||12||Practiced all week. TEN: Largely untested on the ground.|
- The late announcement that Dalvin Cook would be inactive (hamstring) catapulted Latavius Murray to the top of a lot of DFS lists. To be fair, Murray is a much better value on FanDuel, where his price is depressed because they tend not to 'price up' backups as DraftKings has been doing this season; however, Murray is still an excellent value on DK because of his implied volume and overall role. Over the past two seasons, Murray has scored on 20 different occasions, which argues that the oft-overlooked running back has a nose for the endzone. After Kansas City, no team has a higher implied team total (28.5) than the Vikings and as a whopping 17-point home favorite, it is difficult to envision Murray getting anything less than 20-25 touches and a score in this matchup against the Bills, who have allowed more touchdowns to running backs (6) than any team in the league.
- Check back here on Sunday morning for the final call, but we have to consider whichever Eagles running back is getting the lion's share of carries on Sunday. Corey Clement was the likely recipient, but he apparently injured himself at (or before?) practice on Friday and appeared with a surprise 'questionable' tag on the team's injury report. That relegates one Wendell Smallwood as the only healthy running back in Philadelphia and he is offered up at the site-minimum $3K price tag on DraftKings. Monitor the situation on Saturday to see if the Eagles sign another running back, which would indicate that Clement will be inactive on Sunday, pushing Smallwood to the lead role; if no signings are made, the 'questionable' designation may have been a formality and Clement would be the choice at $4.3K. Follow me on Twitter (@tipandpick, link at bottom of article) to get my most updated thoughts on Sunday morning; I will also update here with a timestamp when clarity is achieved. **SUNDAY AM UPDATE (8:20 AM EST): It appears that the questionable tag for Corey Clement was more of a precaution than anything & he should draw the start today in rainy Philadelphia. Clement is still worthwhile for your cash games based on what we currently know. For GPPs, however, I am backing away from him a bit and will have about half of the field (~ 15% total exposure) because I think that Wendell Smallwood still sees significant action in this game. I am guessing a 65/35 snap split in favor of Clement, which will prevent me from going all-in on him; likewise, that means that I will have a few shares of Smallwood because we currently project him on 1% of rosters, which is way too low given his price and assumed role.**
- Tevin Coleman gets another shot to compile substantial fantasy points with Devonta Freeman (knee) watching again from the sidelines this weekend. In his first game without Freeman against the Panthers last Sunday, Coleman surpassed the century mark with a 16/107/0 stat line that also included 4 receptions for 18 receiving yards (19.5 DK points). We should expect similar output in Atlanta this week, as the Falcons are slight home favorites and Coleman figures to be a focal point of the offense in both rushing and receiving. If he finds the endzone, he should easily hit the 3x value necessary to substantiate his place in your cash game lineups.
- Coming off a slow game against a decent Seahawks rush defense, Jordan Howard's ownership levels (and salary) have taken a dive. Historically, this is the time when DFS players can leverage those changes for an advantage in tournaments. In his first 30 games as a starter in the league, Howard amassed 12 100+ rushing yard games, an admirable 40% rate especially considering his team was playing from behind in the vast majority of those games. With a renewed defense and a coach committed to get him more carries moving forward, Howard is well-placed to experience positive regression in the near future; Sunday looks like a great spot for him, as the Cardinals were unable to slow down Adrian Peterson/Chris Thompson in Week #1 or Todd Gurley last week, leading them to a league-worst 41.5 DK points per game allowed to the position.
- Footballguys' offense/defense matchups are one of the more overlooked gems on the site every week. Our team does the legwork for you and this week, they outline a litany of reasons why we should be considering Kenyan Drake as a GPP candidate against the Raiders. If you clicked on the link (you did, right?!), you found out that the Raiders' defensive front is in shambles after Khalil Mack left for the Bears a few weeks ago; meanwhile, the Dolphins have made adjustments to their offensive line that is resulting in holes for both Drake and Frank Gore, the latter of whom is probably why most people pause when considering Drake for tournaments. That said, Drake's usage in the redzone is more than 2:1 over Gore and his big play potential is a mismatch that the Raiders fear.
- A serviceable cash game option, Kareem Hunt holds GPP appeal because he represents leverage away from the Patrick Mahomes II II-Tyreek Hill stacks that will pervade tournaments in Week #3. All the pieces are there for Hunt to have a big day: He plays for the team with the highest implied team total on the Vegas boards (31); his team is favored to win by nearly a touchdown, so second-half carries should be in full supply; he has exhibited an ability to break loose for big plays. The return of Reuben Foster to the Niners defensive front does pose some threat to Hunt's numbers, but it is not enough to take him away from GPP consideration.
|NAME||SALARY||% ROSTERED||CASH RANK||GPP RANK||NOTES|
|Tyler Boyd||$3700||13%||1||5||#2 option for Dalton is $1K too cheap.|
|Michael Thomas||$8900||21%||2||4||Saw 40% of Brees targets through two games.|
|Cooper Kupp||$4900||15%||3||14||3rd in league in redzone targets. Price is right.|
|Julio Jones||$7900||25%||4||2||Volume will be there. Did well vs. Lattimore in '17.|
|Nelson Agholor||$6100||17%||5||13||Enjoying time without Alshon: 11 targets/game.|
|Tyreek Hill||$8500||21%||-||1||SF secondary has no answer for Hill's skillset.|
|DeAndre Hopkins||$8300||11%||-||3||Underowned due to M.Thomas & Julio at similar price.|
|Mohamed Sanu||$3800||3%||-||6||Pivot away from Julio at 1/8 the ownership, 1/2 the price.|
|Allen Robinson||$5400||11%||-||7||Getting more slot duties. Should avoid Patrick Peterson.|
|Donte Moncrief||$3800||2%||-||8||Keelan Cole pivot and salary-saver in good matchup.|
|Keenan Allen||$7300||5%||-||9||Should avoid Talib and Peters in coverage = volume.|
|T.Y. Hilton||$6700||12%||-||10||No Mack. No Doyle. Hilton will see plenty of action.|
|Will Fuller V||$5900||10%||-||11||Fuller's speed is dangerous against backup NYG DBs.|
|DeVante Parker||$4100||1%||-||12||WR1 is quietly returning at low ownership & price.|
|Michael Crabtree||$5000||2%||-||15||DEN secondary has sprung leaks in 2018. Avoids Harris.|
- If you want to get names like Michael Thomas and Julio Jones into your cash game lineups, you will need some salary relief elsewhere and that could come from a receiver in Cincinnati who has gone largely unnoticed in his first few years in the league: Tyler Boyd. A.J. Green's three-touchdown performance against the Ravens overshadowed the emergence of Tyler Boyd as a legitimate WR2 last Thursday night, when he finished with a respectable 6/91/1 stat line on 9 targets. Boyd is offered up at only $3.7K against the Panthers this weekend and the implied gamescript suggests that he should be involved once again.
- Speaking of Michael Thomas and Julio Jones, do whatever you can to get them both into your cash game lineups. Both are expected to see substantial action in their respective offenses and both have demonstrated that they can be successful against their personnel matchups, including Julio versus Marshon Lattimore (2017: 5/98/0 and 7/149/0). Both should be upwards of 50% rostered in cash games; this is one of those scenarios where you just want to beat your opponents with other selections and not take any chances. In tournament play, both are viable options and should be paired with their respective quarterbacks.
- Just over a thousand dollars more than Tyler Boyd, you might consider Cooper Kupp as another cash game option who can save some salary. Kupp is currently tied for the third-most redzone targets in the league, picking up from 2017 when he trailed only Keenan Allen and Jimmy Graham. It is obvious that Jared Goff has a 'thing' for Kupp and we should be quick to appreciate that Kupp's targets are just more valuable than those of his flanking wide receivers (Robert Woods & Brandin Cooks) due to his usage inside the twenties. Given that he has 15 targets through a pair of games (versus 18 and 17 for Woods and Cooks, respectively), he looks like a shoo-in for 5-7 receptions for 50-70 yards. At only $4.9K, those numbers bring him close to 3x value without getting into the endzone.
- It is difficult to "tout" players that are going to be rostered at rates approaching 25%, but not discussing Tyreek Hill's upside against the 49ers would otherwise be irresponsible. Hill brings speed to the equation that creates problems for all NFL defenses, but the 49ers have three defensive backs (Richard Sherman, K'Waun Williams, Ahkello Witherspoon) who run a 4.5 40-yard dash or slower. Simply put, Hill is going to get behind these defenders and if Patrick Mahomes II II is able to connect with him, Hill could be in for a big day. The only drawback is the likely ownership of TyFreak, but if he goes off against this defense, you are going to need him to win tournaments, so it might be best to try to roster him and beat your opponents elsewhere.
- The Giants secondary has been playing well to date with improved play from Eli Apple and continued excellence from Janoris Jenkins. However, Apple (groin) has been announced as "out" for this game and will be replaced with undrafted free agent rookie, Donte Deayon. Likewise, the Giants will miss their best edge rusher, Olivier Vernon (ankle), which should help Deshaun Watson allow time for his receivers to find space. Both DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller V are GPP options for these reasons. Hopkins gets the tougher draw against Jenkins, but Hopkins' talent transcends matchups and he will get his numbers; Fuller's success generally depends on getting behind receivers and facing an UDFA rookie would help increase the odds of that occurring. Hopkins is a strong pivot against the higher-priced, higher-owned wide receivers (Julio Jones and MIchael Thomas), whereas Fuller is an excellent play due to his ultra-low implied ownership.
- Earlier in this article, Blake Bortles' GPP upside is discussed. If you are considering Bortles, most will roll with Keelan Cole, a DFS darling who was rostered at rates exceeding 30% on opening weekend, only to crash and burn before rebounding nicely last week against the Patriots with a 7/116/1 stat line. Due to that breakout game, Cole's salary has jumped to $5.6K while his stablemate, Donte Moncrief, has seen his salary remain stable at $3.8K. Moncrief has more overall targets (14 to 12) and more redzone targets (2 to 0) than Cole, yet he is nearly $2K cheaper and will go off at a fraction of the ownership as Cole. Both will get their chance to compile numbers against the struggling Tennessee defensive backs (see Blake Bortles writeup for details), but Moncrief is the edge for tournament play for the reasons outlined above.
|NAME||SALARY||% ROSTERED||CASH RANK||GPP RANK||NOTES|
|Eric Ebron||$3400||28%||1||3||Catapults to top after Doyle was named inactive.|
|George Kittle||$4500||9%||2||1||Mr. Missed Opportunity will deliver soon.|
|Austin Hooper||$2900||7%||3||8||Punt option for cash. GPP will require a TD to pay off.|
|Zach Ertz||$6800||8%||-||2||Fresh off 11 targets, expect more of same vs. IND.|
|Evan Engram||$4300||4%||-||4||Do not expect Saquan to steal 16 targets every week!|
|Travis Kelce||$6700||11%||-||5||As we saw last week, 2-TD upside is always there.|
|Jimmy Graham||$4900||4%||-||6||Rodgers found him vs. much better MIN defense last Sunday.|
|Jordan Reed||$5400||3%||-||7||GB allowed 7/72 to Rudolph a week ago. Low ownership.|
|Ricky Seals-Jones||$2800||4%||-||9||Redzone threat has been limited by offense. Salary-saver.|
|Tyler Eifert||$3200||2%||-||10||Doubled snap count from W1 to W2. Excellent value.|
- With Jack Doyle's hip injury sidelining him for a few weeks, we should expect to see an uptick in Eric Ebron's role in the Colts offense. Ebron, a former first-round pick, has largely been a disappointment at the NFL level, but he is a serviceable as a DFS option in PPR formats. The Eagles have a legitimate pass rush from their defensive front and will put pressure on Andrew Luck to release the ball quickly, which plays to the advantage of Eric Ebron who will serve as an outlet receiver when Luck finds himself under pressure. If Ebron gets even half of the targets that were previously going to Doyle (7.5/game), he should have no problem amassing 10 DK points under the above-referenced conditions.
- George Kittle is an excellent play in all DFS formats and is the player who I expect to have the most exposure to in Week #3. Kittle has done just about everything right through the first two games, but his box scores have not reflected his usage and general aptitude. In Week #1, he self-sabotaged a bit when he uncharacteristically dropped a pass that could have gone for an 80-yard touchdown; in Week #2, the Lions had no answer for him, as they were penalized on three separate occasions for holding and Jimmy Garoppolo missed him entirely on another opportunity. He enters this week at an affordable $4.5K price point against a Chiefs team that is allowing the third-most fantasy points to the position. With questions surrounding Marquise Goodwin's quad, Kittle could find himself at Garoppolo's favorite target in a game where Jimmy G throws the ball 40 times to keep pace with the red-hot Chiefs offense. This is a breakout spot for Kittle.
- For salary relief, feel free to plug in Austin Hooper at $2.9K. Hooper is not an exciting DFS play because his volume is never going to approach that of some of the other names discussed in this section, but Matt Ryan will look to him from time to time and is fairly consistent about doing so. Hooper has three redzone targets this season, trailing only Julio Jones, so he brings upside to your rosters and minimal risk at the price point. For cash games, you are looking for a 4/40/0 stat line; for tournaments, a touchdown will get you where you need to be. Of the punt options at the position, he is the one who merits the most discussion.
- Without Alshon Jeffery (rotator cuff), Ertz has effectively become the Eagles' primary receiver. Through a pair of games, Zach Ertz leads the Eagles in targets (23) and is second in redzone targets (3) behind only Nelson Agholor (2). Nothing should change this week in Philadelphia because Jeffery is not expected to return and Mike Wallace will also miss the game due to an ankle injury. The drawback to rostering Ertz is that his upside is baked into his price; at $6.8K, you are paying a premium for the most volatile position on the DFS roster. That said, most players will want to "luxury spend" at positions where they feel more comfortable, which will drive down his ownership and make him attractive for tournaments.
- Evan Engram is another GPP option whose appeal is 4x upside without massive rostership. Engram disappointed in the box score against the Jags in Week #1, but there were mitigating factors that led to his fantasy demise. He rebounded nicely last Sunday night against the Cowboys and finished with a 7/67/1 stat line that would confer nearly 5x return on his salary this week against the Texans, who were torn up by Rob Gronkowski in their first game before shutting down Luke Stocker last week. The truth is that Engram and his role are probably closer to Gronk than Stocker, so we should be excited about his fantasy prospects in this matchup, particularly if the Giants' offensive line continues to force Eli Manning into short outlet passes.
- Lastly, both Travis Kelce and Jimmy Graham are firmly in play as tournament options against the 49ers and Redskins, respectively. Kelce displayed a rapport with Patrick Mahomes II II last week that resulted in a pair of scores against the Steelers and Jimmy Graham connected with Aaron Rodgers for more receiving yards than any of the Packers wide receivers. These two players are veterans and future Hall-of-Famers, who carry double-touchdown upside to the field every week and deserve GPP consideration for those reasons. Of the two, Graham offers the most roster differentiation at single-digit ownership, but Kelce's implied team total makes him attractive, as well.
|NAME||SALARY||% ROSTERED||CASH RANK||GPP RANK||NOTES|
|Vikings||4300||14%||1||1||Best defense vs. worst offense = no risk.|
|Cowboys||2200||15%||2||2||SEA: 12 sacks allowed = most in NFL.|
|Jaguars||4000||7%||-||3||How will TEN move the ball vs. JAX?|
|Eagles||3000||4%||-||4||Depleted IND offense could have problems here.|
|Bears||3500||7%||-||5||ARZ: 6 total points scored in 2018.|
|Chiefs||2300||5%||-||6||Strict GPP play. Chiefs historically stronger at home.|
|Ravens||2800||5%||-||7||Keenum: More INTs than TDs vs. lesser defenses.|
|Texans||2800||8%||-||8||Giants' O-line is a disaster. Home-opener for HOU.|
TEAM DEF OVERVIEW:
- In what is probably the biggest (on-paper) mismatch of the last several years in the league, the Vikings' excellent defense should absolutely man-handle the Buffalo Bills in Minneapolis on Sunday. The Bills are averaging 223.0 total yards of offense against the Ravens and Chargers, two defenses that do not compare what Minnesota has put together over the past few seasons. With LeSean McCoy dinged up (ribs) and a rookie quarterback at the helm, it is difficult to envision the Bills mustering much offense on the road against a fired-up Vikings defense. Pay the premium for cash games and do not be afraid to do the same for tournaments if the salary is there.
- If you require a bit of salary flexibility at the defense position, the Cowboys are reasonable punt plays against the Seahawks, who have allowed more sacks (12) through the first two weeks of the season than any other team in the league. The Cowboys defense does not appear to be a world-beater, but they have held the Panthers and Giants to 16 and 13 points, respectively. Likewise, the Cowboys are trending towards their 2016 ways, in that they are running very few plays (slowest team in the league on offense), pounding the ball (10th in the league in rush:pass ratio), and thereby allowing their opponents less opportunity to score. With questions at running back, no Doug Baldwin, and one of Footballguys' lowest-rated offensive lines, you could do worse than punting with the Cowboys defense for only $2.2K on Sunday.
- Elsewhere, there are a number of ways you can go. The Jaguars represent a difficult matchup against a Titans offense that has no identity and is still struggling to keep Marcus Mariota on two feet. The Jags are an attractive pivot away from the Vikings, whose ownership will be double despite not having double the upside. The Eagles will host a Colts offense that is bereft of running backs and missing a primary receiver in Jack Doyle; this is a great spot for the Birds to bounce back after a disappointing surprise loss to Tampa Bay just last week. Lastly, the Bears are on the road, but that should not scare anybody away because they face a Cardinals offense that has been abysmal under new Head Coach Steve Wilks. No team in the NFL has less total yardage or points through the first two games of the season and Khalil Mack is assuredly licking his chops at the prospect of facing Sam Bradford's inept offensive unit.