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.

TIPS...

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 SELECTION: GPPs. I often get questioned about how I select tournaments because there are so many different types that you really need to have some sort of formula or guidance to help narrow those selections to something more manageable. In truth, it is a difficult question to answer because the answer is dependent on your level of risk aversion and overall goals with DFS. If you are looking to steadily make money, building a bankroll over time, then a top-heavy payout format is not for you; if you are hoping to play a tournament as a lottery ticket and pay off your house with the winnings, then the top-heavy tournaments fit your goals. For me, I treat the Millionaire Makers as lottery tickets...just with better odds. Each week, I'll throw in anywhere from one to ten lineups into those contests and I write off that money immediately because a minimum cash in that format is so difficult to achieve and if you are fortunate enough to get there, the payout is generally only 1.5x your original buy-in.

As such, I tend to seek out tournaments that meet the following criteria:

  • RAKE:
    • Rake is no greater than 15% for low-dollar (< $10); rake should scale down as buy-in increases (~10% for anything > $150).
  • PAYOUT DISTRIBUTION:
    • 1st place payout = 10-20% of total prize pool.
    • 1-10th place payout = ~ 33% of total prize pool.
    • At least 20% of all entries should double their entry fee.
  • MULTI-ENTRY: Try to maximize the number of entries you can enter into any given tournament.
    • For example, if the choice is between 50 entries @ $9/each ($450) in a 150 maximum entry tournament OR 3 entries @ $150/each (also $450) in a 3 maximum entry event, always choose the latter option.

These criteria are guidelines, not sticking points. Please treat them as such. You will certainly see my name in contests that do not adhere to these guidelines 100% of the time, but I offer them up because they do align with my approach to tournament play: Take shots at potentially life-changing money without putting my entire bankroll at risk over time. Your mileage may vary.

...AND PICKS

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.

QUARTERBACKS

NAMESALARY% ROSTEREDCASH RANKGPP RANKNOTES
Andy Dalton $5400 12% 1 1 ATL = 4th most FPs allowed to QBs; plus gamescript.
C.J. Beathard $4600 1% 2 10 Salary-saving punt play. Not for the weak-hearted.
Aaron Rodgers $6800 4% - 2 Recency bias will drive down % rostered. Upside is there.
Eli Manning $5600 4% - 3 Uber-efficient last week vs. HOU; Saints are similar defense.
Philip Rivers $6500 6% - 4 Cake-walk game with 35+ point upside. Beware MG3.
Tom Brady $6700 5% - 5 MIA: Allowed back-to-back 300-yard passers (Carr & Darnold).
Matt Ryan $6100 10% - 6 Highest implied team total on slate. 75 FPs in last two contests.
Deshaun Watson $6300 8% - 7 Pace of this game is intriguing. Talented receiving corps.
Andrew Luck $5500 4% - 8 Even 5 YPA adds up when there is no rushing game.
Drew Brees $6600 10% - 9 Decision distills down to belief in Brees on the road.

QB OVERVIEW:

CASH

  • In cash games on DraftKings this weekend, it is tough to get away from Andy Dalton at only $5.4K. For his part, Dalton has shined in 2018, averaging 21.7 fantasy points per game (4x his salary) largely due to the uprise of Tyler Boyd and loss of Joe Mixon (knee). He will square up against the Falcons, who allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to the quarterback position to this point in the season, including a pair of 300+ passing yards with 3 touchdowns games to Drew Brees and Cam Newton. Andy Dalton is not as talented as those quarterbacks, but the Bengals' offensive attack appears to be legitimate this season, having averaged ~ 30 points per game entering this week. Given the Falcons' inability to defense pass-catching running backs (see Giovani Bernard writeup, below) and the likelihood that the Bengals play from behind, 80% of Cincinnati's offense could come through Dalton, which makes him an excellent cash game option with upside at a fair salary.
  • On this week's edition of the PowerGrid, we debated the plausibility of playing Philip Rivers in cash games and my feeling is that the gamescript could work against Rivers' involvement in the second half of the game. If the Chargers jump out to an early 14-point lead, we might see a heavy dose of Melvin Gordon III for the remainder of the game, which dissuades me from wanting to spend an additional $1.1K on Rivers when the risk for Andy Dalton (above) is less. If you want to save almost $1K, however, there is an argument to be made for punting the position with the quarterback on the other side of the field in that same game, C.J. Beathard. Rostering Beathard in cash games might actually make your heart beat-hard (see what I did there?), but there is logic behind the selection. First, as we have already noted, this game sets up as a blowout, which means that Beathard should get ample opportunity to throw the ball in garbage time in the second half. Next, the Chargers' 24th ranked DVOA defense has not been untouchable to this point in the season; in fairness, they have played two elite offenses (Chiefs and Rams), but also allowed Josh Allen to compile 245 passing yards and a touchdown plus another 32 yards on the ground on 8 carries, which is about what we should expect from Beathard here. In 5 starts last season, Beathard surpassed 200 passing yards in every game and also averaged ~ 25 rushing yards on 5 attempts in those contests; in 60% of those games, he scrambled for a rushing touchdown. At only $4.6K, he needs to put up similar numbers to 2017 to return cash game value; it may not happen until later in the game, but the bar is low for the investment and the gamescript sets up perfectly for ample return on that investment.

GPP

  • Because he is the highest-priced quarterback on the main slate and has been playing with a gimpy knee, Aaron Rodgers may not be one of the top-ten rostered quarterbacks in tournaments on Sunday. Further scaring people away will be the premise that Buffalo is better than we previously thought, as evidenced by their 27-6 shellacking of the Vikings in Minnesota last Sunday. But let's not get ahead of ourselves: The Bills are not a legitimate NFL team. They unveiled their true talent in the first 2 weeks of the season when they allowed the Ravens and Chargers to combine for almost 80 points in a pair of games; I suspect those data are most in line with what to expect moving forward than what we saw last week in Minneapolis. No team in the league has allowed a higher completion percentage (74.2%) to opposing quarterbacks and we can probably expect Rodgers to take snaps exclusively from the shotgun yet again this week, which tends to create an uptick in pass attempts. With an implied team total approaching 28-points, Rodgers carries immense upside at home in a letdown spot for Buffalo and brings 4+ touchdown upside to your rosters with an expected contrarian level of ownership.
  • In the cash game section of this article, you were advised to avoid Philip Rivers in cash games because of the possibility that the Chargers jump out to an early, uncontested lead that minimizes Rivers' usage in the second-half of the game. For tournament play, however, Rivers is firmly in play and merits serious consideration largely because of the pass funnel nature of the 49ers defense. To date, the Niners have been stout up front, yielding only 3.3 yards per carry to opposing running backs and it is worth noting that two of those games were without Rueben Foster, their best rush-stuffer; in fact, no opposing running back has surpassed 45 rushing yards against the Niners yet this season, a list that includes Dalvin Cook and Kareem Hunt. Thus, the path of least resistance for the Chargers might be through the air, as San Francisco fields the 28th ranked DVOA pass defense and will be without their best cornerback, Richard Sherman (calf), for this contest. Given that the Chargers often use Melvin Gordon III in the passing game, it would not be surprising to see Rivers finish Sunday with a hefty stat line whereby all of the Chargers' scoring is achieved through his arm.
  • With only one entry in the Millionaire Maker (only $10 this week), you could do worse that taking a quarterback from the Colts-Texans game, stacking him with your favorite receiver, and running back that stack with a receiver from the other team. It's an interesting strategy because both of these teams run at an extremely fast pace; in neutral situations, the Texans are running the 5th-fastest offense in the league and the Colts are the fastest-paced offense in the NFL. Together, we could see a lot of plays in a sneaky back-and-forth shootout. Deshaun Watson is certainly in play because of what he can do on the ground (averaging 40 rushing yards per game) and through the air (2x 300+ yard games thus far); he has an arsenal of weapons including DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller V, both of whom should provide matchup problems to the Colts' untested secondary. On the other side, the DFS world is down on Andrew Luck because his yards per attempt (YPA) is down, but do not forget how abysmal the Colts' running game has been (82.3 yards per game with 1 touchdown) and why that might lend itself to additional volume for Luck; if Luck is forced to throw the ball 35+ times, his YPA may not be an issue. Furthermore, the Texans defense will encourage action through the air, as their 3rd ranked DVOA rush defense should minimize whatever the Colts try to establish on the ground; Houston's secondary is where they can be beaten, as their 28th ranked DVOA pass defense is far from intimidating.

RUNNING BACKS

NAMESALARY% ROSTEREDCASH RANKGPP RANKNOTES
Giovani Bernard $6300 28% 1 2 Atlanta cannot stop pass-catching RBs. Gamescript-proof.
Ezekiel Elliott $7700 18% 2 5 Opponent allows 4th most FPs to position. Blowup spot.
Sony Michel $4500 16% 3 6 Burkhead to IR thrusts rookie into premier role vs. MIA.
Alvin Kamara $9600 32% 4 3 Simply dominant. Cost is only downside.
Leonard Fournette $7000 5% - 1 If active, expect Fournette to see heavy action as home fave.
Chris Carson $4600 8% - 4 ARZ: Yields 2nd most FPs to RBs. 34 touches last week.
Jordan Howard $6800 7% - 7 Saw increased action in Week 3. Home fave = volume.
Kenyan Drake $5200 3% - 8 Burned by efficient offense last week; bounce-back potential.
Marshawn Lynch $4800 6% - 9 Thrives when OAK plays with lead; home fave vs. CLE.
Melvin Gordon III $8300 18% - 10 Should thrive as 10-point chalk, but SF rush defense is legit.
Lamar Miller $5000 6% - 11 Losing gamescripts have limited him. Should be closer vs. IND.
Tevin Coleman $5900 12% - 12 Devonta Freeman will sit again = volume at modest salary.

RB OVERVIEW:

CASH

  • Giovani Bernard is primed for a solid fantasy day against a Falcons defense that has not been able to contain pass-catching running backs dating well over the previous 12 months. Last season, the Falcons allowed an opposing running back to catch 5 or more passes in 10 out of 16 (63%) of games. This season, they are tracking similarly, having allowed Christian McCaffrey and Alvin Kamara to post 14/102/0 and 15/124/0 receiving stat lines already. Enter Gio Bernard, who saw 17 touches, including 5 receptions, in his first game without Joe Mixon (knee) last week against Carolina. Bernard should enjoy similar action this week and brings the relief of a 'gamescript-proof' existence to your cash game rosters in that he will play all phases of the Bengals offense throughout the game. He is fairly priced and feels like one of the safer cash game running backs this weekend.
  • The Dallas Cowboys' pass offense is listless and there is no solution in sight; no team has less passing touchdowns and only Arizona has less passing yardage through the first three games of the season. The only salvation for Dallas is the relative strength of their offensive line and Ezekiel Elliott. Despite losing gamescripts, stacked boxes, and a one-dimensional offense, Elliott continues to impress; he scored in each of the Cowboys' first two games and he compiled 127 rushing yards in a losing effort against the Seahawks last Sunday. This week, however, should be a different story. Dallas matches up against the Detroit Lions, who are allowing a league-high 150 rushing yards per game to the position despite facing low-caliber running backs like Isaiah Crowell, Bilal Powell, Matt Breida, Alfred Morris, and Sony Michel. Expect Zeke to get fed in this matchup, as the Cowboys need a win and his legs represent the path of least resistance towards that victory.
  • If you can afford Alvin Kamara without having to completely punt another position in your cash game lineups, do it...his continued efficiency and fantasy output merits it. If you feel that the cost is too high, you might consider Sony Michel, who should absorb the lead running back role for New England as touchdown home favorites against the Dolphins. A 2018 first-round pick, Michel was eased into action after dealing with a knee issue near the end of the preseason; his role is likely to be increased this week after Rex Burkhead (knee) was placed on injured reserve on Wednesday. Michel will still losing passing down action to James White, but he should see 15+ touches and most of the goalline action in this matchup, making him a legitimate cash game option with GPP upside at a reasonable $4.5K price point.

GPP

  • After missing several weeks with a hamstring issue, Leonard Fournette got in a full week of practice and is expected to lead the Jacksonville offense at home on Sunday. Because he has logged only 21 snaps all season, most DFS players will want to see what Fournette can do on the field before paying a premium for him, but there is value to be had based on the low-implied ownership. The concern regarding Fournette's health should be minimal, as Jacksonville has not put him on the field when he is not 100%; in other words, if he is starting, you can safely assume that he is ready to go. The matchup is solid, as the Jets have not faced a top-end running back yet this season, but enter this game after allowing 98 rushing yards and a pair of rushing touchdowns to Carlos Hyde on Thursday Night Football. Barring a strange (and unlikely) gamescript involving the Jets building a big early lead, Fournette should finish this game with 22-26 touches and offers excellent upside at reduced ownership.
  • Chris Carson is the Rodney Dangerfield of running backs: No matter what he does, he gets no respect. Last season, Carson excelled in limited action when no other Seattle running back could advance the ball behind an otherwise inefficient offensive line; he was injured and the Seahawks "rewarded" him by drafting Rashaad Penny with their first overall pick in this year's draft. Penny entered camp as the favorite to win the starting job, but a finger injury allowed Carson back into the mix. When the season started, it was more of the same until it became obvious that Carson is the more productive player (for now). Last week, it became glaringly obvious when Carson touched the ball 35 times in the Seahawks' win against the Cowboys, as he posted 23.4 DK points. This week, his price has risen from $4.3K to $4.6K and he gets the league's second-friendliest defense to running backs, the Arizona Cardinals. The Cards have yielded six touchdowns to running backs over their first three games and four different running backs have posted 4x return on Carson's salary. Providing Pete Carroll stays in his lane, this is an excellent opportunity for Carson to cement himself into a lead role while Rashaad Penny learns from the sidelines.
  • Last week in this space, I talked about how Matt Nagy had promised to get Jordan Howard more involved in the Bears offense and he responded by feeding Howard with 26 total touches en route to a road win over the Arizona Cardinals. This week, the Bears return home as short favorites over the Tampa Bay Bucs. If Ryan Fitzpatrick returns to form and the stout Bears defense creates short-field opportunities based on turnovers, you have to believe that Jordan Howard brings significant upside to GPP rosters. The quality of the Bucs' rush defense is largely undefined at present because they have forced opponents to throw so often this season, but they were 4th-worst in the NFL in 2017 and they have yet to be tested in 2018. Even if Fitzpatrick minimizes turnovers, you have to believe that Jordan Howard will see extensive action in this matchup as 3-point home favorites with an implied team total that is only a few points off the top of the list.

WIDE RECEIVERS

NAMESALARY% ROSTEREDCASH RANKGPP RANKNOTES
Sterling Shepard $4900 25% 1 1 All the factors favor a breakout game from Shepard.
Quincy Enunwa $4300 8% 2 12 Limited upside vs. JAX, but should see ~ 10 targets.
Mohamed Sanu $3600 4% 3 5 Forgotten man in ATL is still leading team in snaps.
Allen Robinson $5900 14% 4 4 Many factors in ARob's favor versus bad TB secondary.
Michael Thomas $9100 19% 5 14 10+ catches in every game thus far. Price is rough.
DeAndre Hopkins $8400 9% - 2 Should have his way with untested IND secondary.
Julio Jones $8200 13% - 3 Highest upside on board, but TDs seem to elude him.
Amari Cooper $5600 4% - 6 1st non-elite CB matchup of the season.
A.J. Green $7500 8% - 7 Boyd at 25% or Green at 10%? Definitely Green.
Odell Beckham Jr Jr. $8700 19% - 8 Lattimore is only deterrent. Huge game is imminent.
Geronimo Allison $4700 6% - 9 If Cobb is inactive, Allison gets plush CB matchup in slot.
T.Y. Hilton $7000 6% - 10 Should feast on untalented HOU DBs in fast-paced game.
Jarvis Landry $7400 9% - 11 Taking on Antonio Brown role under OC Todd Haley.
Chris Hogan $5800 4% - 13 MIA's Xavien Howard funnels passes to interior. Ask Jordy.
Taylor Gabriel $3900 4% - 15 Speedster can pay off salary in one play vs. poor DBs.

WR OVERVIEW:

CASH

  • In this week's video edition of Tips and Picks, I discussed a list of reasons why Sterling Shepard should be in store for a solid fantasy day against New Orleans in Week #4. First off, the Giants lost Evan Engram (MCL), who was absorbing 15% of Eli Manning's targets through the first 3 games of the season. With those targets being redistributed this Sunday, Shepard is the logical candidate because Odell Beckham Jr Jr. will be facing shadow coverage from one of the league's best coverage cornerbacks in Marshon Lattimore; while OBJ will still get his attention from Manning, it is Shepard who should see the most action. Likewise, the Saints have been dreadful when defending the pass this season--they rank dead-last in fantasy points allowed to opposing wide receivers and they probably got worse this week when CB Patrick Robinson (ankle) was put on injured reserve. On a week that is relatively thin on cash game-viable wide receivers, Shepard tops the list for these reasons.
  • Many people are going to overlook Quincy Enunwa simply because of face-value: He plays for the Jets and is facing the best defense in the league. A deeper analysis, however, might sway that opinion, as Enunwa has emerged as Sam Darnold's top receiving option this season with target totals of 11, 10, and 8 (12th-highest amongst NFL wide receivers). Bolstering the case for Enunwa is the fact that he runs nearly 3/4 of his routes from the slot, where he will avoid the likes of Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye, the Jags' top defensive backs; instead, he will line up across from Tyler Patmon, who is getting a spot start after the Jags' top slot cornerback (toe) was marked inactive for this contest. As a hefty touchdown-plus underdog on the road, we should expect to see Darnold loft the ball often in this contest and Quincy Enunwa is the most likely beneficiary, all at a reasonable $4.3K price tag.
  • For both cash games and tournament play, you could do worse than rolling with Mohamed Sanu in Atlanta. Sanu will be largely forgotten in DFS circles this Sunday after being overshadowed by Calvin Ridley in his breakout game against the Saints last weekend. But that could be a mistake, as Sanu is still leading Falcons' wide receivers in snaps and is just a few plays behind Julio Jones in total routes run. Sure, Ridley looks the part and is the long-term solution for Matt Ryan and company, but Sanu is not going to fall off a fantasy cliff. In 15 games last season, he reached cash game value on this week's $3.6K salary in 67% of those contests; with his continued level of usage and the Falcons' implied team total, chances are that he surpasses that threshold against the Bengals on Sunday.

GPP

  • The emergence of Will Fuller V as more than a big-splash wide receiver has taken some of the luster off rostering DeAndre Hopkins in 2018. Fuller has played in two games and has surpassed 100 receiving yards and scored in both of those contests, while Hopkins continues to see double-digit targets despite not parlaying those targets into GPP-like return on investment. The tides could turn for these receivers on Sunday when Houston invades Lucas Oil Stadium. Hopkins will match up against Pierre Desir and Nate Hairston, neither of whom will be able to contain Hopkins' skillset; the only other legitimated WR1 that they faced this season was A.J. Green, who finished with a 6/92/1 stat line on 8 targets. We should expect more targets and resultant output for Hopkins in this potentially fast-paced contest. Side note of interest: I like rookie Keke Coutee as a deep, deep GPP option to pair in a 'super stack' with Deshaun Watson and Hopkins in large-entry GPP contests. Coutee will make his first start of the season after Bruce Ellington (hamstring) was placed on injured reserve earlier this week. Coutee was impressive in the preseason and our Matt Waldman has gone on record stating that his strength as a receiver is navigating zone defenses like the one that the Colts employ under DC Matt Eberflus; he is the stone-cold minimum price on DK and will be less than 1% rostered, which makes him an intriguing super stack option with Watson and/or a salary-saver for large-entry tournament formats like the Millionaire Maker
  • Outside of Jared Cook, rostering Raiders has not been a recipe for GPP success in 2018. As such, the crowd has soured on Oakland's offense, but maybe it is a bit premature? Last week, Jordy Nelson displayed fantasy relevancy when he broke out for 6 catches for 173 receiving yards and a score against the Dolphins. Could he do it again this week? Or perhaps it is Amari Cooper's time to shine? I'm counting on the latter and hoping to capitalize on sub-10% ownership in the process. To this point in the season, Amari Cooper has dealt with superior cornerback play every week, including the likes of Aqib Talib, Marcus Peters, Bradley Roby, and shadow coverage from Xavien Howard just last week. This week, Cooper will deal with Denzel Ward, a first-round pick out of Ohio State, but the rookie is not yet on par with the aforementioned names. Look for Cooper to finally find space in a rebound spot against this young Browns secondary (as have JuJu Smith-Schuster, Antonio Brown, and Michael Thomas) at reasonable ownership levels for a WR1 with multiple-touchdown upside.
  • Monitor the news on Sunday morning surrounding Randall Cobb (hamstring). If Cobb is named inactive, Geronimo Allison becomes very interesting for tournament formats because he will move from the perimeter to the slot, which would also allow Marquez Valdez-Scantling to get his first NFL start at only $3K. Allison becomes the play, however, as the Bills have struggled to contain slot receivers this season; Willie Snead IV, Adam Thielen, and Keenan Allen have been the highest-targeted receivers on their teams when facing the Bills and have collectively averaged 18.3 DK points during those contests. Allison is offered up at only $4.7K and should see more attention without Cobb, who enters Week #4 with a 36% marketshare of wide receiver targets for the Pack. If Cobb is active, monitor reports on Twitter for his on-field warmups to gauge how much we can trust him; either way, we need to target whoever lines up as a slot receiver for Green Bay.



TIGHT ENDS

NAMESALARY% ROSTEREDCASH RANKGPP RANKNOTES
Austin Hooper $2900 4% 1 4 Averaging almost 4x this salary. Allows flexibility elsewhere.
Eric Ebron $3600 16% 2 2 11 targets without Doyle last week. Efficiency improves this week.
Rob Gronkowski $7000 15% 3 1 Dolphin-killer. Expect him to deliver when Pats need a win.
Tyler Eifert $3800 8% - 3 Displaying improvement each week. TD is impending.
Dallas Goedert $2800 3% - 5 Rookie excelled with opportunity last week. Still no Alshon.
David Njoku $3200 8% - 6 Established chemistry with Baker in camp. Redzone monster.
Trey Burton $3900 5% - 7 TB: Most FPs allowed to opposing TEs. Miller injury helps.
Jimmy Graham $4500 5% - 8 If Cobb is inactive, upgrade Jimmy for redzone activity.
Ben Watson $3300 3% - 9 NYG has not faced a team that uses TE yet this season. Sleeper.
Zach Ertz $6200 9% - 10 In play, but prefer Gronk for the premium price point.

TE OVERVIEW:

CASH

  • If you do not have the salary to get Rob Gronkowski into your cash game lineups (and you probably will not), my recommendation is to punt the position with either Austin Hooper or Eric Ebron. The case for Ebron is obvious: He accrued 11 targets against the Eagles last week in his first game without Jack Doyle; Doyle has already been named inactive for this week's matchup against the Texans, so Ebron should be in store for a similar workload. While he largely disappointed last week at extreme ownership, you can feel relatively safe going back to the well with him again this Sunday against the Texans, who have allowed a touchdown to opposing tight ends in two of their first three games.
  • At a considerable savings from Ebron is Austin Hooper, who can be had for only $2.9K on DraftKings. Hooper likely will not see double-digit targets and he is probably the fourth receiver on his team, but his price has those factors baked in. Lest we forget that the Falcons boast the highest implied team total on the main slate and that their opponent, the Bengals, have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to the tight end position to this point in the season. Lastly, Hooper is averaging 9.9 DK points per game, which is almost 4x his salary this week.
  • Trying to cram Rob Gronkowski's salary into cash games is a Herculean effort this week. It is possible, however, if you take a chance at quarterback with C.J. Beathard or by taking multiple low-priced wide receivers; it is probably not the approach that I will personally take, but Gronk is cash game-viable as the Patriots' primary receiving weapon in a must-win game at only $7.0K. New England plays host to the undefeated Dolphins, who sit atop the AFC East and two games ahead of the 1-2 Patriots. Suffice it to say that Bill Belichick may try to win this one on talent alone by asking his two future Hall-of-Famers (Tom Brady and Gronk) to do the heavy-lifting until Julian Edelman returns from suspension next week. In tournament format, Gronk always bring multiple touchdown upside to your rosters and he has experience doing so against this Miami defense, having surpassed 25 DK points in 2 of his previous 3 games against them.

GPP

  • It has been a long time coming, but we may have finally reached the point where Tyler Eifert's string of injuries are behind him and he is certifiably healthy. Through the first 3 weeks of the season, Eifert has seen increasing action in each week in the form of snaps (40%, 64%, 65%) and targets (3, 4, 8) and he has displayed increased physicality in each successive game, as well. In Week #2, Eifert drew a pass interference call in the endzone and last week, the Bengals drew up a run-pass option play that was exploited to get the ball to Eifert in space; these are strong indications that Eifert is ready for primetime and Marvin Lewis is doing what he can to restore his dominance from years past. With injuries throughout the Falcons' defensive pass coverage, Eifert could be primed for a breakout game favored by a pass-heavy gamescript.
  • Trey Burton, of Philly Special fame, is an interesting GPP target for the tight end position this week for two primary reasons: 1) matchup, and 2) an injury to a teammate. On paper, his matchup against the Buccaneers is excellent, as no team in the league has allowed more fantasy production by tight ends than Tampa Bay; that statistic, however, could arguably be misconstrued by a single play where Vance McDonald stiff-armed his way to an 80-yard score and the fact that the Eagles utilize their tight end more than most NFL teams. That said, the Bears might be forced to use Trey Burton more than usual because Anthony Miller suffered a dislocated shoulder last week and will miss this contest. Miller's modest target share should be redistributed and Burton is a potential beneficiary of that overflow volume. Burton trails only Allen Robinson in redzone targets, which polishes the luster on his GPP appeal.
  • Last season, the Giants allowed more receiving touchdowns to the tight end position than any team in the league. In the 2018 preseason, they picked up where they left off, allowing David Njoku to garner a pair of scores on limited action before not facing another legitimate tight end thereafter. To this point in the regular season, the Giants boast the 7th-best defense (FPs allowed/game) against tight ends, which might indicate that they have addressed their deficiencies defending the position. But there might be another explanation: The Giants have not yet faced a legitimate tight end, as was the case in the preseason (save Njoku). In their three games, the Giants have faced the Jaguars, Cowboys, and Texans, none of whom use their tight ends extensively; yet, the Texans trio of low-recognition tight ends still finished with a cumulative 5/115/0 stat line, indicating that Alex Ogletree's coverage ineptitude is still prevalent. This week will be a truer test of the Giants' ability to slow down the tight end position when they face Ben Watson, who has seen increased targets in each game, but has yet to find paydirt. He is GPP-worthy in less than 5% of rosters, particularly considering his team's lofty implied team total, low salary, and indiscriminate quarterback.

TEAM DEFENSES

NAMESALARY% ROSTEREDCASH RANKGPP RANKNOTES
Bears $2600 16% 1 6 Can Khalil Mack convert Fitzmagic to Fitztragic? Cheap at home.
Jaguars $4100 8% 2 2 Terrible spot for rookie QB vs. top-tier defense in their house.
Chargers $3900 11% - 1 Not a good defense, but SF offense is far less without Jimmy G.
Seahawks $3200 5% - 3 Mike McCoy's anemic offense is worst in NFL through 3 weeks.
Eagles $3100 6% - 4 Birds defense should feast on this shaky TEN offensive unit.
Packers $3500 10% - 5 Let's not crown Buffalo an 'avoid offense' after just one win.
Lions $2500 2% - 7 Outside of Zeke, Dallas has real issues on offense.
Raiders $2500 3% - 8 Rowdy fans will be eager to welcome opposing rookie QB.

TEAM DEF OVERVIEW:

  • Ryan Fitzpatrick has been in the NFL for 14 years and played for 7 teams, yet has never finished in the top ten of fantasy quarterbacks a single time during his career. He enters this week with an 11.1 average yards per attempt, which is approximately 40% above his career average. To state that he is playing above his level of proficiency would be an understatement. It is not a matter of "if" but "when" Fitzpatrick's performance will begin to regress to his career numbers. This week would appear to be a perfect spot for that to happen against a Bears defense that creates immense pressure on the quarterback and has scored double-digit fantasy points in every game this season. They will play at home in front of a fired-up Bear contingent and are offered up at only $2.6K. Lock and load in cash game formats.
  • Always in play, the Jaguars are a luxury defense this week, if your remaining salary allows for it. The Jags have been solid on defense, as expected, but they still have not had a blowup game where they have disbanded an opposing offense and delivered GPP-winning upside. This could be the weekend where that happens against a rookie quarterback in Sam Darnold, who has thrown five interceptions versus only three touchdowns against much lesser defensive units. The Jags are touchdown-plus favorites at home and have the personnel up front to pressure Darnold into making a bad rookie decision and tossing the ball up for grabs amongst their elite cornerbacks. If you can afford them, the Jags offer a substantial floor alongside the highest upside on the board in Week #4 DFS.
  • Elsewhere, you might consider the Chargers at home against a San Francisco offense that will be sorely missing Jimmy Garoppolo. The Chargers have not been a stellar defense to this point in the season, but any time a young quarterback has to throw 30+ times, there is a possibility for defensive touchdowns. Other options include Seattle's surprising defense against the Cardinals, who are allowing more fantasy points (12.7 per game) to team defenses than any team in the league, as well as the Eagles and Packers, who square up against offenses with questionable quarterback statuses and/or experience.


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