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.

TODD GURLEY. All early projections are showing that Todd Gurley will appear in > 40% of tournament rosters on Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers. At a $200 discount from a week where Gurley rushed for 200+ yards and scored twice after scoring three times the week prior, it is entirely understandable why the entire DFS community wants Gurley on their tournament rosters. HOWEVER...my recommendation is to go underweight on Gurley's extreme ownership. In fact, I am considering having zero exposure to Gurley in GPP formats. Why? Largely because his recent rate of fantasy production is simply unsustainable. To expect Gurley to continue to hit 4x value (or even 3x+ value) on his near-$10K salary is not realistic--the Rams have other options on offense beyond Gurley...good options, two of whom (Robert Woods and Brandin Cooks) have not scored in several weeks. If one (or both) of them experience touchdown regression and get into the endzone on Sunday, Gurley is going to have a difficult time delivering on his lofty salary. Lest we forget that the 49ers field a respectable, if not above-average, defensive front that has only allowed one opposing running back to surpass 60 rushing yards all season. Of course, I fully expect Gurley to approach (or surpass) 100 yards in this matchup and I DO RECOMMEND HIM FOR CASH GAME FORMATS, but I question whether rostering him at levels approaching 40% is a long-term +EV decision in tournaments.

WEATHER CONCERNS. In the Northeast corridor, there are two games on Sunday that are calling for questionable weather: Minnesota at NY Jets and Carolina at Philadelphia. Being somewhat local to these areas, they are only separated by ~ 100 miles and the same windy weather pattern is being projected to hit them both. In general, fantasy players tend to overreact to weather news, but the time to listen is roughly when winds are sustained at 20 MPH or more and/or when the Vegas total begins to drop. I monitor both on Sunday mornings and you should do the same. If either (or both) of these games have wind issues, you might want to dial back your exposure to names like Adam Thielen, Stefon Diggs, and Alshon Jeffery and pivot to players involved in the running game and/or short passing game (i.e., tight ends, slot receivers, pass-catching running backs).

If you have a DFS question that you would like to have me address in a future edition of Tips and Picks, give me a shout on Twitter @tipandpick!

...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

NAME OPPONENT SALARY CROWD EXPOSURE CASH RANK GPP RANK NOTES
Joe Flacco NO $5400 7% 1 3 Pass-heavy offense faces 30th DVOA pass defense.
C.J. Beathard LAR $4800 8% 2 5 Rams' offense makes for solid opposing QB output.
Blake Bortles HOU $5200 4% 3 4 Bounce-back spot vs. HOU's pass-funnel defense.
Jared Goff @SF $6600 12% - 1 Leverage play against Gurley's elevated ownership.
Baker Mayfield @TB $5800 6% - 2 Play your QBs against TB's sieve secondary.
Tom Brady @CHI $6100 4% - 6 Pats quietly scored 38+ in 3 straight. Matchup-proof.
Jameis Winston CLE $6300 11% - 7 11 complete games since '17: 8x 300+ yard games.
Carson Wentz CAR $6000 5% - 8 Has reached 4x value in 75% of starts in 2018.
Matthew Stafford @MIA $5800 4% - 9 MIA: Allowed 3 of last 5 QBs to surpass 300 yards.
Kirk Cousins @NYJ $6400 9% - 10 Tough to ignore with Thielen & Diggs matchups.

QB OVERVIEW:

CASH

  • With Patrick Mahomes II, Matt Ryan, Aaron Rodgers, and Ben Roethlisberger playing on alternative slates or resting due to their byes, the quarterback position is particularly thin for cash games this weekend. At the top of the list, however, is Joe Flacco at home against a Saints pass-funnel defense that is ranked 1st against the run (FootballOutsiders' DVOA metric), but 30th versus the pass. The Ravens boast the second-highest implied team total on the main slate and an offense that has thrown the ball far more than the gamescript would have otherwise dictated to this point in the season. With Drew Brees manning the opposing offense, we should expect to see these offenses exchange blows throughout and Flacco would be the primary beneficiary at a reasonable $5.4K price point.
  • It might not be pretty, but you could do worse than punting the position with C.J. Beathard against the Los Angeles Rams. Beathard almost pulled off an improbable road win in Lambeau Field on Monday Night Football, if not for Aaron Rodgers taking the Packers on his back and scoring 10 points in the last 120 seconds of football. In that contest, Beathard was efficient, tossing the ball only 23 times, but compiling 245 passing yards and a pair of scores to a healthy Marquise Goodwin while adding another 21 yards on the ground. This week, Beathard might be forced to double last week's number of pass attempts as he tries to keep pace with Sean McVay's potent offense. Beathard is liable to throw a pick and not look good throughout, but there is a strong chance that he finishes with close to 20 fantasy points (4x his salary) in this matchup because the Rams have allowed every quarterback they have faced over the past month to reach that threshold.
  • When the 6th and 2nd overall DVOA rush defenses face off against one another, you can probably bet that those offenses will choose to take the path of least resistance and throw the ball more often than normal. For that reason, Blake Bortles is an acceptable cash (and tournament) option against the Texans, who have only performed well defending the pass when they have played teams without a legitimate passing attack (TEN, DAL, BUF); in their other three games, the Texans are allowing ~ 27 DK points per game to opposing quarterbacks, which bodes well for Bortles and his stable of receivers that includes Dede Westbrook, Keelan Cole, and Donte Moncrief. Further supporting the case for Bortles is the fact that both of these teams run extremely fast offenses, ranking in the top ten for offensive pace entering Week 7.

GPP

  • Strictly a game strategy recommendation, Jared Goff will be my #1-rostered quarterback on Sunday. Why? Because end-of-week projections have Todd Gurley's ownership coming in at a level approaching 40% and his current rate of fantasy production is unsustainable over a larger sample size. Over the past two weeks, Gurley has nearly 73 DK points and the masses are going back to the well with him because they perceive the Niners to be a bad team (probably a fair perception) and because Gurley's priced dropped after last week's 200+ rushing yard performance. As ridiculous as Gurley has been, he has finished with less than 30 fantasy points in 50% of his games this season and would have achieved GPP value on his current salary only once (last week). With that information in mind, I will be fading Gurley in tournaments on Sunday and leveraging that reduced exposure by going overweight on Jared Goff, whose last two subpar games came against top-ten DVOA pass defenses. This week, he gets a softer matchup against the 26th-ranked DVOA pass defense that is better-than-advertised against the run (11th DVOA) and, while Todd Gurley is matchup-proof, there is reason to think this could be a breakout spot for Goff, whose team boasts the highest implied team total on the main slate.
  • There is little amount of research required to tout a quarterback against the Buccaneers. To this point in the season, no team in the league has allowed more fantasy production to the quarterback position and only Nick Foles would not have reached GPP value against Baker Mayfield's $5.8K salary. The volume should be there for Mayfield, who has thrown 40+ passes in 3 straight games and toyed with or surpassed 300+ passing yards in 2 of those efforts. Assuming Jameis Winston can lead the Bucs offense to put points on the board against the Browns defense, this game becomes stackable with multiple players across all positions.
  • You can bet that Bill Belichick paid close attention to the Dolphins-Bears game last week when Brock Osweiler led Miami to an upset victory over a supposedly superior Bears defense. Osweiler finished with 380 passing yards, of which nearly 270 were yards accumulated after the catch, thanks largely to Albert Wilson's speed and sound play-calling. A master of game-planning, Belichick will look to exploit similar personnel matchups with a diverse receiving corps that includes Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan, Josh Gordon, and Rob Gronkowski, all of whom bring a unique skill set to the field. Enter Tom Brady, who is going to be woefully under-rostered across the industry despite the fact that the Patriots are rounding into form, as evidenced by the fact that they have scored 38 or more points in every game over the past 3 weeks.
    • SUNDAY AM UPDATE: It seems that Rob Gronkowski is dealing with back issues and will not play today. Gronk is a difference-maker for Tom Brady...the historical statistics are clear. As such, it probably makes sense to dial back your exposure to Brady in this matchup. He is still in play for tournaments, but my exposure at kickoff will be less than I originally anticipated when this article was originally written.

RUNNING BACKS

NAME OPPONENT SALARY CROWD EXPOSURE CASH RANK GPP RANK NOTES
Peyton Barber CLE $3800 6% 1 2 Bucs finally feeding him. Salary-saver.
Ezekiel Elliott @WAS $8100 31% 2 1 Volume vs. 30th ranked DVOA rush defense.
Todd Gurley @SF $9800 41% 3 12 Should be the staple in cash game lineups.
Nick Chubb @TB $3600 24% 4 4 Late-week trade escalates his value across formats.
Latavius Murray @NYJ $5000 4% 5 6 Crowd still ignoring him off 150+ yard game.
Sony Michel @CHI $5500 8% - 3 100+ all-purpose yards and a score in 3 straight.
Matt Breida LAR $5300 2% - 5 LAR: 26th DVOA rush defense allows 4.7 YPC.
LeSean McCoy @IND $5600 8% - 7 Oft-overlooked focal point of BUF offense.
Alvin Kamara @BAL $8500 8% - 8 1 bad game & bye week = reasonable ownership.
Chris Thompson DAL $5800 4% - 9 Dearth of healthy WRs = uptick in targets.
Duke Johnson Jr @TB $4000 11% - 10 Tarik Cohen role versus TB's inept def. scheme.
Christian McCaffrey @PHL $7700 11% - 11 PHL: Susceptible to pass-catching RBs. Ask Saquon.

RB OVERVIEW:

CASH

  • Peyton Barber's slow start to the season appears to have been based on several factors, most of which were beyond his control. First up, gamescript: The Buccaneers secondary has been so dreadful that they have had to minimize the running game in most of their contests. Next, opponents: In the first month of the season, the Bucs played 3 different top-12 DVOA rush defenses (and the 4th was 18th overall). Lastly, sharing: Until last week, Barber was sharing touches out of the backfield with both Jacquizz Rodgers and Ronald Jones Jr. That said, it appears that Head Coach Dirk Koetter got his priorities in line during their Week 5 and Barber emerged with a bellcow-like role against the Falcons, yielding only 4 touches (out of 21) to Jones over the course of the game and seeing Rodgers play only special teams snaps. The result was a 13/82/0 rushing stat line combined with 4/24/1 as a receiver, good enough for 20.6 DraftKings points. This week, Barber's salary is raised only $300 against the league's 24th-ranked DVOA rush defense as a short home favorite. After what he showed in last week's effort, it is difficult to envision seeing Barber end with anything short of 16-18 touches in this contest.
  • For cash games, consistency and volume are key. Outside of Todd Gurley and Melvin Gordon III, only Ezekiel Elliott provides excessive amounts of each of those components. Zeke has touched the ball at least 18 times in every game this season and has 19-, 29-, 27-, and 25-touches over the past month. Across that month, Zeke faced the 4th-, 5th, and 8th-ranked DVOA defenses in the league and delivered limited, but respectable, fantasy production in those efforts; in the other game against Detroit's 30th-ranked DVOA defense, Zeke exploded for 37 DK points. Facing the Redskins' 23rd-ranked DVOA defense on Sunday, we should expect output that mirrors his production against the Lions moreso than the others. Look for another 25-touch game with a minimum of one score, which should be good enough for 3x his reasonable $8.1K salary.
  • When Carlos Hyde was traded to the Jaguars earlier this week, Nick Chubb's value skyrocketed across all formats of fantasy football. In DFS, he is going to be one of the more popular plays this weekend because his price reflects his backup role rather than the lead role he will take on now that Hyde has departed for Florida. Chubb deserved a bigger slice of the backfield, having averaged a ridiculous 10.8 yards per carry across 16 carries in his first 6 games as a pro. After the trade, he should get plenty of action as the lead back in Cleveland on Sunday, yielding only passing down work to Duke Johnson Jr. The matchup against Tampa Bay is not as pristine as one might otherwise conclude without looking at the numbers; the Bucs have not allowed an opposing rusher to surpass 61 rushing yards all season, but they have allowed an average of one rushing touchdown per game simply because their opponents are moving the ball so effectively through the air. Thus, even though Chubb will yield touches to Johnson and even though the Bucs are allowing a paltry 3.8 yards per carry (5th best in NFL), the combination of Chubb's price and role make him a viable cash game option with tournament upside.

GPP

  • It has been a long time coming to have a legitimate bellcow running back in New England, but the last few weeks indicate that we might finally be seeing it come to fruition. First-round pick, Sony Michel has 19 or more touches and a score in each of his previous 3 games, while James White's involvement is starting to skew more towards a receiver. This bodes well for Michel, whose $5.5K price tag is reasonable for a two-touchdown upside running back offered up at single-digit ownership rates. The matchup against one of the league's stronger defenses is the culprit for Michel's deflated price and popularity, but we can safely expect Tom Brady to move the Pats into the redzone, where Michel is leading the team in touches including 16 over the Pats' last 3 games. And lest we forget that the Bears allowed a 35-year old Frank Gore to rack up 100+ yards on the ground against them just a week ago, so it is not out of the realm of possibility for Michel to compile similar numbers on Sunday.
  • Much like Sony Michel (above), Matt Breida is often overlooked on DraftKings because he does not catch a lot of balls out of the backfield. That said, their price points generally reflect that reality and they both are the primary scoring threats when their respective teams get inside the redzone. Breida's skillset is substantial; he is averaging an impressive 6.8 yards per carry against opponents, easily best amongst qualifying running backs. On Sunday, he will start as the lead back in San Francisco against a Rams' defensive front that is allowing 4.8 yards per carry to opposing runners (28th in NFL) and is the league's 26th-ranked DVOA rush defense. Our Steve Buzzard has him in only 2% of all GPP lineups this weekend, so you only need minimal exposure to be overweight on him, but my recommendation is that you are exposed at least 2-5x over the field because of his big-play ability and contrarian nature.
  • As discussed in the "Tips" section of this article, monitor the weather situation in Philadelphia on Sunday morning via Twitter. If the winds are approaching (or surpassing) 20 MPH, get additional shares of Christian McCaffrey against the Birds. On its face, it's a tough call to pay a premium for a running back against a top-10 defense that has allowed the 8th-fewest fantasy points to running backs this season. However, we have seen that the Eagles do not defend pass-catching running backs well, as both Dion Lewis and Saquon Barkley had season-high receiving numbers against them. If the winds are tough to navigate on Sunday at the Linc, we might see increased involvement for McCaffrey in all phases of the game, particularly as a receiver.

WIDE RECEIVERS

NAME OPPONENT SALARY CROWD EXPOSURE CASH RANK GPP RANK NOTES
Jermaine Kearse MIN $4200 16% 1 5 Plus gamescript & personnel matchup. No Enunwa.
Adam Thielen @NYJ $8600 26% 2 9 The Todd Gurley of the WR position.
Keke Coutee @JAX $4300 4% 3 12 Avoids Ramsey & Bouye in coverage.
Willie Snead IV NO $4000 6% 4 3 Showing chemistry w/Flacco. Leaky coverage.
Robert Woods @SF $7000 25% - 1 Should get slot action vs. Kwaun Williams.
Brandin Cooks @SF $7100 15% - 2 Speedy WR can best Jimmie Ward.
Stefon Diggs @NYJ $7200 9% - 4 Leverage play off Thielen at half-ownership.
Jarvis Landry @TB $7300 13% - 6 Has 2-TD upside vs. league's worst DVOA pass D.
Josh Gordon @CHI $5600 8% - 7 Snaps were there in last. He's coming folks.
Marquise Goodwin LAR $4600 10% - 8 Gamescript and speed = legit GPP contender.
DeSean Jackson CLE $5800 5% - 10 If Mike Evans gets Denzel Ward shadow, play DJax.
Kenny Golladay @MIA $6000 11% - 11 Emerging phenom should not be ignored.
Devin Funchess @PHL $5300 7% - 13 WR1 vs. 6th friendliest WR defense (43.5 FPs/game).
Dede Westbrook HOU $4800 5% - 14 Two tough rush defenses = lots of passing & plays.
Mike Evans CLE $7700 11% - 15 6-inch height advantage over Ward = redzone target.

WR OVERVIEW:

CASH

  • After Quincy Enunwa went down with an early ankle injury last week, Sam Darnold peppered Jermaine Kearse with targets (10, to be exact) for the remainder of the game. Kearse stands to get a bigger bump this Sunday now that Terrelle Pryor is expected to miss with a groin pull. Between Enunwa and Pryor, there are ~ 12 targets that will be redistributed between the likes of Kearse, Robby Anderson, Charone Peake, and Andre Roberts. While Robby Anderson deals with shadow coverage from Xavier Rhodes, Darnold will look to Kearse as his most trusted receiver out of the slot against Mackensie Alexander, who has allowed 88% of passes thrown into his coverage to be caught this season. Kearse could easily finish this matchup with another double-digit target game, which should confer a solid scoring floor in DraftKings' full-PPR scoring format.
  • No need to go into great detail about why Adam Thielen is a strong cash game play in 2018. The fifth-year veteran is crushing his career averages with Kirk Cousins under center, averaging 13.5 targets per game and having surpassed 100-receiving yards in every game this season. Out of the slot, Thielen will line up across from rookie backup slot cornerback, Parry Nickerson, which just sounds like yet another 100-yard game in the making. By slotting in Peyton Barber and/or Nick Chubb, there should be no issues affording Thielen's hefty $8.6K salary.
  • At a price point near the aforementioned Jermaine Kearse, you might consider either Keke Coutee or Willie Snead IV against the Jaguars and Saints, respectively. Coutee has snatched 27 targets over the 3 games he has played this year and would stand to be in line for more action as Will Fuller V and DeAndre Hopkins deal with the likes of A.J. Bouye and Jalen Ramsey on the perimeter of the field; Coutee represents the easiest way for Deshaun Watson to dump off passes while trying to avoid the surging Jacksonville pass rushers and he could finish with 6-8 catches for 60-80 yards at a modest salary. In Baltimore, Willie Snead IV will be looking to extract revenge on his former team when he lines up across from one of the league's worst-rated cornerbacks, P.J. Williams. Snead has quietly collected 24 targets across his past 3 games and is establishing a rapport with Joe Flacco that could get him into the endzone for the first time since opening weekend.

GPP

  • Earlier in the article, I outlined the reasons why I am (reluctantly) fading Todd Gurley and leveraging that fade with heavy exposure to Jared Goff. As an added bonus to rolling with Goff, you can remove 33% of his primary receivers from your player pool, as Cooper Kupp is slated to miss several weeks with an MCL sprain suffered last week on a horse-collar tackle. So pick your poison with either Robert Woods or Brandin Cooks against a Niners secondary that is bereft of talent outside of Richard Sherman, who will likely spend his day locking down Kupp's replacement, Josh Reynolds. Woods should absorb Kupp's slot role against the perennial underperformer, K'Waun Williams, while Cooks will work against Jimmie Ward on the outside; in both instances, the Rams receivers outclass their respective coverage, but when one takes into account Sean McVay's ability to scheme, they get an added bonus. If you are playing in larger tournaments, a Goff-Woods-Cook triple-stack is not out of the question.
  • Through six games, Stefon Diggs has three off performances. In those games, he lined up across from Richard Sherman, TreDavious White, and/or received Patrick Peterson shadow coverage; in his other three games, Diggs is averaging 13 targets and a hair under 30 DK points per game! While it might not be reasonable to expect a 30-point performance against the Jets on Sunday, we can safely assume that Diggs should get ample opportunity to excel against the non-elite coverage he will face in the Meadowlands.
  • In Chicago, there are a litany of options from which you can choose to stack opposite Tom Brady, but Josh Gordon tops the list. At his peak in Cleveland, Gordon was commanding $8K+ across the DFS industry, but now that he is playing with a future Hall-of-Fame quarterback in a Bill Belichick system, we can get him at a 30+% discount? Yes, please. Presumably in line with his understanding of the offense, Gordon has watched his usage (and snap count) steadily increase since arriving to New England; last week, he saw 81% of the team's offensive snaps and received 9 targets en route to a quiet 5/42/0 stat line. What is not reflected in that stat line is a 40-yard pass interference call that could have resulted in a huge day and second straight scoring week for Gordon. Get him at the discount while you can--it will not last much longer.



TIGHT ENDS

NAME OPPONENT SALARY CROWD EXPOSURE CASH RANK GPP RANK NOTES
David Njoku @TB $4200 25% 1 1 TB: Allowing ~ 100 yards/game to TEs. Affordable.
George Kittle LAR $5000 12% 2 2 #2 receiver on SF with plus gamescript.
Jordan Reed DAL $4800 5% 3 3 Trending in right direction. Breakout forthcoming.
Rob Gronkowski @CHI $6000 10% - 4 Rise of Gordon will minimize double-coverage.
Kyle Rudolph @NYJ $3900 4% - 5 Colts TEs went 6/107/2 vs. NYJ in last.
O.J. Howard CLE $3600 4% - 6 Double-digit points in 75% of starts in 2018.
Zach Ertz CAR $7100 11% - 7 11 targets/game, but price reflects it.
Greg Olsen @PHI $4400 3% - 8 Looked great in return. #1 CAR receiver.
Eric Ebron BUF $5400 9% - 9 Return of Hilton hurts Ebron's usage.
Trey Burton NE $4300 5% - 10 NE: Bottom 10 vs. TE. Scored in 3 of last 4.

TE OVERVIEW:

CASH

  • DraftKings apparently has caught onto my strategy of punting with bargain tight ends due to their relative volatility to other skill positions because there is only one sub-$3K tight end (Charles Clay) on my list of 'playable' tight ends this Sunday. As such, you are going to have to spend a bit more than normal to slot in these recommendations. At the top of the list is David Njoku, who gets a plush matchup against the league's friendliest defense against the tight end position, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Over the past month, every tight end that has faced the Bucs has finished with at least 4x Njoku's Week 7 salary, making him an attractive option for both cash games and tournament play. With double-digit fantasy points in three straight games and double-digit targets in two of those three contests, Njoku's salary feels a bit low for the implied volume and matchup against Tampa Bay.
  • As outlined above, the San Francisco 49ers are expected to throw the ball 40+ times this weekend against the Rams. Despite that having not happened to this point in the season, George Kittle is still leading the team in targets and would appear to be in line for similar usage with a passing gamescript and only Marquise Goodwin vying for targets opposite him. Regular readers of this column know that Kittle started off the season with a series of bad luck games and near-misses that have now begun to evolve into meaningful production with 80 or more receiving yards in 3 of his past 4 games. At $5K, Kittle probably needs to get into the endzone, something he has done only once this year, to reach tournament value, but his floor is fairly solid for the investment price.
  • For both cash games and tournaments, Jordan Reed is an excellent option this week. Reed finished last week with a dismal 5/36/0 stat line that will leave most DFS players looking for a different tight end option this Sunday. But a closer look at the box score and game statistics demonstrates that Reed led the team in targets and that Vernon Davis (also a tight end) 'vultured' a touchdown from Reed in that contest; in other words, a few minor tweaks and Reed finishes that game with 20 instead of 8.6 fantasy points. On Sunday, Reed should be the focal point of this offense once again, as both Paul Richardson Jr and Jamison Crowder will be sidelined with injuries. The matchup against the Cowboys is solid, as our Normalized Strength of Schedule tool demonstrates that Dallas is allowing 26% more production to the position than league average.

GPP

  • Scoreless since the first game of the season, recency bias will keep crowd exposure to Rob Gronkowski to a minimum despite his depressed $6K salary. Gronk has been getting throttled by double-team coverage for most of the season, largely because the Patriots were without Julian Edelman and Josh Gordon for all of September. With Edelman back and Josh Gordon finally adapting to the playbook, teams are not going to be able to focus solely on shutting down Gronkowski moving forward--if they do, Tom Brady will pick them apart with his wide receivers. Look for Gronk to take a step forward this Sunday against the Bears, who have allowed a receiving touchdown to every tight end they have faced over the past four weeks.
    • SUNDAY AM UPDATE: On Saturday night, it was revealed that Rob Gronkowski did not take the flight to Chicago due to back issues. Do NOT play Gronk on Sunday! Gronk's absence, however, increases the role of alternative receivers...particularly Julian Edelman.
  • A contrarian option at the position, Trey Burton is an interesting pivot from the masses at home against the Patriots. Despite having scored in three of the Bears' last four contests, Burton is slated to appear in only ~ 5% of tournament rosters, which is too low given the fact that the Bears do not have a 100-yard rusher all season and have scored only 3 times on the ground (versus 11 through the air) this season. With an implied team total approaching 24 points, a hobbled Allen Robinson (groin), and a gamescript that favors an aerial attack, the Bears could ask Trey Burton to carry a heavier load in this contest and getting to do so against the league's 9th worst defense against the position (fantasy points per game allowed) would help that cause.

TEAM DEFENSES

NAME OPPONENT SALARY CROWD EXPOSURE CASH RANK GPP RANK NOTES
Jaguars HOU $3600 7% 1 1 Will be on fire at home after last week's debacle.
Colts BUF $3300 11% 2 2 Home defense vs. QB with 1 start in past 3 years.
Cowboys @WAS $2700 5% - 3 Underrated. WAS offense has holes everywhere.
Bills @IND $2300 10% - 4 Value defense has double-digit FPs in 3 of last 4.
Browns @TB $2400 4% - 5 Leads NFL in takeaways at fair price.
Lions @MIA $2400 8% - 6 MIA: Allowing 3rd most FPs/game to position.
Rams @SF $3500 5% - 7 Only BUF has allowed more FPs to position
Patriots @CHI $2400 6% - 8 Belichick vs. Trubisky? Advantage: Belichick.

TEAM DEF OVERVIEW:

  • The Jaguars were caught off-guard in Dallas last weekend and left with their tails between their legs after a 40-7 drubbing at the hands of an offense that was averaging a meager 16.5 points per game entering that contest. If the past year has taught us anything, it is that this Jacksonville Jaguar defense is elite and to expect them to put together back-to-back stinkers would be surprising. In a three-way tie atop the AFC South, this is a spot where the Jags should command respect at home against a Texans team that ranks in the bottom five in both pass- and rush-blocking (via ProFootballFocus). Look for the Jags' front seven to get pressure on Deshaun Watson early and often, as only the Browns have allowed more sacks this season than Houston. Oh, and pick-sixes are a possibility with Watson at the helm because the second-year quarterback is averaging more than one interception per game in his short career.
  • As attractive as Derek Anderson's salary is for large-field tournaments on DraftKings, the likelihood of him leading the Bills to a flawless 25+ point performance on the road is minimal. The more likely scenario includes a few turnovers, a possible defensive touchdown, and some garbage time production late in the game. Under that scenario, the Colts defense is playable across all formats on a week where there is no clear-cut defense outside of the Jaguars. With LeSean McCoy representing the only bona fide NFL talent amongst the Bills' offensive skill players, the Colts should not have to do much to keep this game under wraps.
  • For tournament play, this is a week where you can go any number of ways and feel good about it. The $2.7K Cowboys are fielding an underrated defense that returns their best player, Sean Lee, against a Redskins team that is without two starting wide receivers and an aging running back who is as banged up as they come. Elsewhere, the $2.3K Bills continue to get no respect on defense despite the fact that they have scored double-digit fantasy points in three of their previous four games. Lastly, the Browns are going overlooked despite a $2.4K price tag and the fact that they lead the league in takeaways as they prepare to take on Jameis Winston, who has thrown a pair of interceptions in each of his two games in 2018.


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