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.

BUILDING LINEUPS. I received another question from @buckjonathan on Twitter this week, so I am going to use this space to answer it here. Maybe it helps you think about how you build lineups each week.

I don't think there is a "correct" order to build lineups per se, but I will tell you how I build mine. For cash games, I insert players I like best, first. This week, that includes Cam Newton, David Johnson, and DeAndre Hopkins. From there, I tend to slot in the highest-priced defense with which I'm comfortable with the idea being that I could always drop down if my eventual build does not allow for that luxury defense. At that point, I will finally add in the value plays that I like most to fill in some gaps, but I am careful to only roster value plays that I truly like; the danger in value plays is that we tend to try to convince ourselves of their legitimacy too much, which can be a dangerous proposition. After inserting the value play(s), there is generally only one or two other players and I tend to use our projections combined with my comfort level to make those decisions.

For tournament lineups, I think the key is to know how much upside you need to build into a given lineup and to roster your contrarian plays accordingly. I have written about this in this section previously this season, so I won't rehash the details again, but suffice is to say that I start with those contrarian options, add in my stack(s), and round out the roster with players who I believe to have 4x scoring potential (3x on FanDuel).

Ending where I started, there truly isn't a right order to build lineups. There is, however, a right way to build lineups--understanding scoring floor/upside, tournament size, and general game strategy are all things that must be considered for the latter. Best of luck on Sunday.

...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
Cam Newton @DET $6200 15% 1 7 Highest floor at position. Gets 31st DVOA pass D.
Dak Prescott @ATL $5200 6% 2 8 Solid price. 3 rush TDs in last 4 efforts.
Lamar Jackson CIN $4700 4% 3 10 Punt option. Electric rookie should rush for 50 yards.
Carson Wentz @NO $6300 7% - 1 Matchups, gamescript, and receivers = A+ GPP option.
Drew Brees PHL $6500 12% - 2 Averaging 4.5x his salary at home this season.
Eli Manning TB $5200 6% - 3 Could feast (before Thanksgiving!) on TB secondary.
Andrew Luck TEN $5900 5% - 4 TEN DEF: Stout up front, funnels action to pass.
Deshaun Watson @WAS $5700 6% - 5 Rested with full receiving corps.
Ben Roethlisberger @JAX $5800 3% - 6 Exposure driven entirely by AB's and JuJu's upside.
Ryan Fitzpatrick @NYG $5600 6% - 9 TB's defense keeps him in play every week.

QB OVERVIEW:

CASH

  • With 30 or more rushing yards in all-but-one game this season, Cam Newton brings the highest floor of any player at the position in Week 11. Newton is averaging almost 4x this week's salary across the season and has scored 65 fantasy points across the Panthers' last 3 games despite the fact that Christian McCaffrey has 4 rushing touchdowns during that same period. Newton gets an attractive matchup against the league's 31st-ranked DVOA pass defense that allowed Mitchell Trubisky to carve them apart last week to the tune of 355 passing yards and a rushing touchdown en route to 39.0 DraftKings points. With the second-highest implied team total on the Vegas boards and the Lions' Damon Harrison restoring some stability against the rush (opponents are averaging 2.0 YPC less since Harrison was acquired), Cam should easily acquire 20+ fantasy points in this soft matchup.
  • In Atlanta, Dak Prescott is primed for a solid fantasy day against the league's 29th-ranked DVOA pass defense. The Falcons are yielding 18% more fantasy production to the quarterback position than league average-adjusted defenses and have allowed 3 of their previous 4 opponents at the position to surpass 300+ passing yards. For much of the season, Prescott had few receiving weapons, but the acquisition of Amari Cooper in a trade several weeks ago restores some fantasy value that was lost when Dez Bryant and Jason Witten left the team in the off-season. For cash game purposes, Dak gets a bump because of his ability to scramble--he has averaged a shade over 5 rushes with nearly 30 yards and 0.3 rushing touchdowns per game (4.8 DK points per game) this season. There is zero doubt that Ezekiel Elliott is the centerpiece of this offense and the Cowboys will do their best to feature him throughout the matchup, but Dak's skillset combined with the implied pass-heavy gamescript sets Prescott up for a solid fantasy floor with decent scoring upside.

GPP

  • Featuring a pass-funnel defense, the New Orleans Saints attempted to fill a much-needed gap when they traded for Eli Apple several weeks ago. Since his arrival, Apple has been underwhelming, allowing 17 receptions on 23 targets (74% completion) for 236 yards and a pair of scores in 3 games. Even shutdown cornerback, Marshon Lattimore, has been semi-human this year, as evidenced by a 70% completion rate allowed and an opposing quarterback rating of 121.8 while in coverage. Enter Carson Wentz and an Eagles team that is struggling to restore the offensive magic displayed during their 2017 Super Bowl campaign. Wentz, himself, has been a model of consistency since Week 4, scoring between 22 and 26 DraftKings points in every game over that sizeable span. This matchup favors a big game from Wentz, as the Eagles are heavy road underdogs (+ 8.5-points) and should be expected to put air under the ball to keep up with this Saints offense that has scored a hair under 100 points over their previous 2 contests. The Birds have not rushed for 100+ yards since Week 4, which further supports the premise that Wentz will have to carry this offense on his shoulders if they are to be competitive in this contest. With four legitimate receiving options and a pair of sure-handed receivers out of the backfield, all the pieces are there for him to deliver 4x upside on his $6.3K salary.
  • Opposite the aforementioned Carson Wentz will be Dree Brees and the explosive Saints offense that posted 51 points against the Bengals last Sunday and 45 versus the Rams just a week prior. Brees' exquisite accuracy (77.3% completion leads the next-closest quarterback by nearly 6%) has resulted in a 2018 season that has seen him hit 4x on this week's salary on 5 different occasions (55% of the time). Oddsmakers love the Saints in this matchup, as evidenced by the 32.3-point implied team total they have bestowed upon Brees and company. The beauty of rostering Brees is that you can pair him with any player on his team and know that there is a possibility that he will connect with that player for a passing touchdown, including both of his running backs (Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram II) who have combined for 600 receiving yards and 4 receiving touchdowns to this point in the season. Of course, Michael Thomas is always in play, but his salary and likely elevated ownership provide a compelling reason to pivot to Tre'Quan Smith as an alternative stacking partner for Brees.
  • DFS players often look towards a quarterback matchup to help drive their roster-making decisions. However, the more appropriate process should involve analyzing receiver-based matchups and using those to drive which quarterback(s) you wish to roster. This week, the Giants' receivers have top-notch matchups against the beleaguered Buccaneers defense that has been blasted by opponents throughout the course of this season. Simply put, the Bucs have no answer for Odell Beckham Jr, Sterling Shepard, or Evan Engram; each should have their way with the untalented and banged-up Buccaneers defense. Sure, Saquon Barkley is an excellent play (see commentary below), but a large component of his value is derived from his role as a receiver; he trails only James White in receptions and receiving yardage at the position this season and will be set up for success against a Bucs team that has allowed 4 different running backs to compile 50+ receiving yards this season. Collectively, these personnel mismatches make Eli Manning an intriguing GPP option despite a season that has seen him top out at only 24 DK points across 9 contests.

RUNNING BACKS

NAME OPPONENT SALARY CROWD EXPOSURE CASH RANK GPP RANK NOTES
David Johnson OAK $7500 27% 1 2 New OC Leftwich has restored DJ's value.
Saquon Barkley TB $8700 28% 2 1 Presents every possible mismatch for TB defense.
Theo Riddick CAR $4000 16% 3 7 Should fill slot WR role at bargain price.
Alex Collins CIN $4400 10% 4 3 CIN: Allowing 2nd most FPPG to RB position.
Ezekiel Elliott @ATL $8500 22% - 4 ATL: Allowed 8 different RBs to score 20+ FPs.
Leonard Fournette PIT $6900 6% - 5 Destroyed this PIT defense (twice) last year.
Mark Ingram II PHL $4700 12% - 6 Half-price from Kamara with similar upside.
Melvin Gordon III DEN $8900 16% - 8 Averaging 29 FPPG in LAC's 5-game win streak.
Dion Lewis @IND $4800 23% - 9 21.3 touches per game over last 3 contests.
James Conner @JAX $7200 16% - 10 Good RB1s have performed well vs. JAX defense.
Christian McCaffrey @DET $8000 18% - 11 CMC poses a matchup issue for DET's front seven.
Jalen Richard @ARZ $4300 2% - 12 No Jordy, No Martavis = Overflow volume.

RB OVERVIEW:

CASH

  • God bless Byron Leftwich. The former NFL quarterback and current Cardinals' Offensive Coordinator has restored David Johnson to fantasy relevancy in just two weeks. Prior to Mike McCoy's firing as the Cards' OC, Johnson was averaging ~ 15 DK points per game; in the two games since Leftwich took over, Johnson has touched the ball nearly 50 times and enjoyed an increase of 67% in fantasy production. DJ is again involved in all aspects of Arizona's offense and has been targeted 13 times in the past two weeks, his highest target total in any 2-game span across the season. He gets a perfect home-field matchup as a sizeable 5.5-point favorite against a Raiders defense that has allowed 6 different running backs to compile 100+ all-purpose yards this season. With few other skill players to turn to, Arizona should lean on Johnson to put one in the win column in this one; at $7.5K for 20+ touches, he is fairly priced and should be an anchor in your cash game lineups.
  • There may not be a bigger talent mismatch on the Week 11 schedule beyond Saquon Barkley facing the Tampa Bay Bucs defense. Barkley has been everything the Giants had hoped he would be when they drafted him second overall in this year's draft. He has overcome a bottom-tier offensive line to amass over 1,000 all-purpose yards and trails on Todd Gurley and James Conner in that category. As mentioned above, Barkley is putting in work as a receiver, trailing only James White in receptions at the position, which could yield dividends against a Bucs defense that has demonstrated an inability to contain pass-catching running backs this season (see Tarik Cohen, Week 4). With double-digit targets as a receiver in three games over the past month, you are basically getting a combination of a WR1 and a RB1 for the price of just one of those players. On the ground, Barkley has largely generated fantasy points on big plays behind a subpar offensive line that ranks dead-last in FootballOutsiders' Adjusted Line Yards metric that quantifies run-blocking prowess, which further underscores his ability to put numbers on the board.
  • With two fairly expensive running backs on your cash game lineups, you will need to save money elsewhere. Tight end is one place where that might be possible (see writeup below), but you can also consider either Alex Collins at home against the Bengals or Theo Riddick in Detroit against the Panthers. Collins gets a matchup against the Bengals' 30th-ranked DVOA rush defense that allows the 2nd-most fantasy points per game to the position and is fresh off a game where they allowed Saints running backs to amass 300+ all-purpose yards. Collins has scored four touchdowns over the past month and has been generally solid when the Ravens are competitive; as short home favorites, we should expect Collins to finish this one with 12-16 touches and a score, which should be enough to reach cash game value at his $4.4K salary. In Detroit, Theo Riddick is in play because Marvin Jones Jr' absence (knee) will force T.J. Jones to the exterior and open up a slot receiver role for Riddick. Coming off a pair of games where he saw seven and eight targets respectively, there is reason to believe that Riddick could get to double-digit targets on Sunday when he will likely play a season-high number of snaps against the Panthers.

GPP

  • While I gushed about Dak Prescott's floor and upside in the quarterback section, you should not take that to mean that I think Ezekiel Elliott is a subpar DFS option this week. First, Elliott's role as a receiver should not be overlooked; he has averaged 6 targets per game in Cowboys' losses and is coming off a game that saw him catch 6 passes for 36 yards and a receiving touchdown. Next, his matchup against the Falcons' 31st-ranked DVOA rush defense is stellar. Atlanta is allowing the 3rd most fantasy points per game to the position and is coming off a game where Nick Chubb destroyed them for over 200+ all-purpose yards and a pair of scores; in 9 weeks of football, the Falcons have allowed the opposing running back to finish with a top-12 fantasy day on 8 different occasions (89%).
  • Quick to quote the value of DVOA metrics in assessing matchups, there are times when I stray from the numbers and decide on a player based on watching the games. This week, Leonard Fournette is an excellent GPP option against a Steelers' front seven that is currently fielding the 10th-ranked DVOA rush defense and has allowed the 4th fewest fantasy points per game to running backs. That said, this is largely the same Steelers defense that was exposed by Leonard Fournette on multiple occasions last season. In those efforts, Fournette finished with massive stat lines of 28/181/2 and 25/109/3. With a full game under his belt after missing a month due to a hamstring injury, we can expect the Jags to lean on Fournette to play ball control and return Jacksonville to their 2017 form when they led the league in run:pass ratio. If the Steelers jump out to an early lead, Fournette could be minimized, but I'm taking a stance here and think that the Jags can keep this one competitive on their home field; if they do, Fournette represents a contrarian tournament option with two-touchdown upside.
  • To ensure that readers see it, let's not look past the 4x potential of Theo Riddick (referenced in the cash section, above) as the Lions' primary slot receiver against the Panthers. Scoreless across a 2018 season that has seen him miss time with injuries, Riddick's salary is depressed for the role that he should play in this matchup. Marvin Jones Jr will miss the game with a knee injury, which should push T.J. Jones to the perimeter and open up slot duties for the speedy Riddick on the inside. Riddick is an excellent receiver and could see additional action on slant routes, as Matthew Stafford has been sacked on 16 different occasions over the past 2 weeks. The Lions would be smart to scheme to get the ball out of their franchise player's hands to avoid injury and Riddick (alongside Kerryon Johnson) is the most likely beneficiary of that scenario. With 15 targets over this past two games that featured Marvin Jones Jr, there is reason to believe that Riddick will finish this game as the most-targeted Lions receiver at a basement-bargain price point.

WIDE RECEIVERS

NAME OPPONENT SALARY CROWD EXPOSURE CASH RANK GPP RANK NOTES
DeAndre Hopkins @WAS $7900 13% 1 1 Been thriving vs. far better defenses than WAS.
Amari Cooper @ATL $5400 17% 2 4 Being force-fed by Dak. 29th DVOA pass defense.
Seth Roberts @ARZ $3000 9% 3 10 Low ADoT receiver with no comp for targets.
Kenny Golladay CAR $5800 21% 4 8 Only legit healthy Lions WR. 13 targets in last.
Corey Davis @IND $5600 21% 5 6 See note on Golladay (above). 10 targets in last.
Odell Beckham Jr TB $8400 24% - 2 Only Eli can prevent him from scoring 30 FPs here.
Mike Evans @NYG $7300 7% - 3 Rebound spot after back-to-back stinkers.
Tre'Quan Smith PHL $4000 4% - 5 Eagles secondary subject to deep passing plays.
Antonio Brown @JAX $7800 10% - 7 Jags could not stop him in 2017--why now?
Golden Tate @NO $5500 4% - 9 Expect much more with 2 weeks to learn playbook.
T.Y. Hilton TEN $6100 10% - 11 Too low-owned for upside. Big day is coming.
Michael Thomas PHL $8800 26% - 12 Always in play. Price and field exposure hurts.
Sterling Shepard TB $5300 8% - 13 Leverage play against massive OBJ ownership.
Keenan Allen DEN $6700 9% - 14 TD in last. More + scoring regression is in store.
Alshon Jeffery @NO $6300 9% - 15 Gamescript & skillset favors plentiful action.

WR OVERVIEW:

CASH

  • With 100-receiving yards and/or a score in 6 consecutive games, DeAndre Hopkins enters Week 11 as the hottest receiver in football. He is averaging 10 targets per game and continues to perform despite a lack of player personnel opposite him to help draw away coverage. This week, however, Demaryius Thomas will have had substantial time to learn the Texans playbook, which should help the Texans scheme to get Hopkins against lesser coverage. On one side, he will deal with Josh Norman, who is not "the" Josh Norman that we used to know; this season, he has allowed nearly 70% of targets into his coverage to be caught and an opposing quarterback rating of 112. Opposite Norman, the Redskins will start undrafted free agent rookie, Danny Johnson, who has less than 100 NFL snaps under his belt. In both cases, Hopkins outclasses his coverage and should be expected to thrive. The Skins have allowed 100-yard receivers in each of their last 3 games, which is the baseline expectation for Hopkins in this matchup.
  • After a half season of substandard wide receiver play in Dallas, the Cowboys appear to have landed a legitimate WR1 in Amari Cooper. In his first two games in silver and blue, Cooper has been targeted 18 times and is averaging a hair over 15 DK points per game. On Sunday, Cooper will get a shot to pad his stats against the Falcons' 26th-ranked DVOA pass defense that is allowing the 3rd-most fantasy points per game to wide receivers. Prior to getting a reprieve against the Browns last week, the Falcons had allowed 6 different wide receivers to compile 100+ receiving yards in their previous 6 games. Given the role that Cooper is absorbing within this Cowboys offense, his $5.4K salary appears to be discounted by ~ $1K--take advantage while you can.
  • In the mid-range of salaries, both Kenny Golladay and Corey Davis enter this week in similar situations. They both are the only healthy starting wide receivers on their teams, are coming off games where they were heavily targeted by their quarterbacks, and are short underdogs against their respective opponents. Of the two, a slight preference goes to Golladay in cash games because his quarterback is more consistent, but a case could be made for either option.
  • At the low end of the salary scale, Seth Roberts returns as a punt option because he will be the only active starting wide receiver on the Raiders this weekend. Both Jordy Nelson and Martavis Bryant will miss the game with knee injuries, which could thrust Roberts into the role of "familiar" wide receiver for Derek Carr in a game that sets up well for plentiful Raiders passing. Running shorter routes out of the slot, Roberts' upside is somewhat limited, but his average depth of target aligns nicely with Carr's sweet spot and his salary does not mandate a gaudy stat line to justify a place in your rosters.

GPP

  • Finishing with 24 or more fantasy points in 4 of his past 5 games, Odell Beckham Jr is rounding into form after a semi-slow start to the 2018 season. This week represents a blowup spot for OBJ against the league's softest overall defense, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who allow the second-most fantasy points per game to wide receivers. With the second-highest implied game total on the Vegas boards, this game has shootout potential, which elevates Beckham's already sky-high upside. In truth, Beckham should be able to do whatever he wants against this defense and will only be limited by what Eli Manning decides to do when they get to the line of scrimmage. Roster accordingly.
  • In New Orleans, the crowds are going to flock towards the likes of Alvin Kamara, Mark Ingram II, and Michael Thomas, but do not overlook the speedy Tre'Quan Smith who could reach GPP value in a single play. Coming off a week that saw him targeted zero times, recency bias should come into play and temper the field's enthusiasm about getting him into their lineups, which makes him an attractive leverage play against the more popular Saints referenced in the first sentence. Smith's speed to get behind a defense combined with Brees' accuracy is going to result in an 80-yard touchdown at some point this season. Considering the Saints are slated to score 32.3 points in this game, it would not be surprising to see it happen here.
  • In Jacksonville, do not ignore Antonio Brown against Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye. At their absolute peak level of play last season, Brown toasted the Jags secondary for 10/157/0 and 7/137/2 across a pair of games. This season, A.J. Bouye and Jalen Ramsey have been average to above-average defenders, but the masses still view them as shutdown cornerbacks, which could keep Brown's ownership levels reasonable. Having scored in seven consecutive games and in eight of the Steelers' nine games this season, there is no Steeler more likely to score in this matchup and Brown is priced semi-reasonably at only $7.8K.



TIGHT ENDS

NAME OPPONENT SALARY CROWD EXPOSURE CASH RANK GPP RANK NOTES
Zach Ertz @NO $6600 19% 1 1 Focal point of Eagles offense is too cheap.
James O'Shaughnessy PIT $2600 4% 2 5 Punt option. Offensive role is evolving.
Jack Doyle TEN $4200 8% 3 4 Ebron's TDs will slow in favor of Doyle.
Jordan Reed HOU $3800 9% - 2 Lack of options on offense favor big day.
Evan Engram TB $4100 8% - 3 TB DEF: 2nd friendliest to TE position.
Jared Cook @ARZ $3900 4% - 6 Arguably #1 receiving option for OAK.
Greg Olsen @DET $5000 6% - 7 Cams fave target. Scored in 3 of last 4.
Jonnu Smith @IND $2700 1% - 8 Only healthy Titans receiver beyond Davis.
Ricky Seals-Jones OAK $2900 13% - 9 OAK: Allowed 4 TDs to TEs over past 3 games.
Austin Hooper DAL $4500 8% - 10 Volatile TE scored 20+ twice over past month.

TE OVERVIEW:

CASH

  • Zach Ertz is trending towards a ridiculous fantasy season. He is averaging over 20 fantasy points per game (PPR scoring) and is on pace to finish with 327 fantasy points in 2018, which would be the highest at the position since 2011 when Rob Gronkowski scored 17 touchdowns (and 330 fantasy points). As a frame of reference, only seven wide receivers in the league have scored more fantasy points than Ertz this season and every single one of those receivers is priced at least $1K higher than him on this slate; thus, you are getting WR1 production at a significant discount. Naysayers will point out that the Saints allowed the 5th-fewest fantasy points per game to the position, but we would be remiss to overlook the fact that they have not faced an elite tight end through the first 10 weeks of football. The only drawback to considering Ertz is that you might need to save salary at the position this week, as injury situations are surprisingly limited on a week in mid-November. That said, the floor and upside are immense in a pass-heavy gamescript and you should do what you can to get him into your lineups, where possible.
  • If you decide that Ertz' salary is simply too high to substantiate a place in your cash game lineups, my recommendation is to punt the position altogether with James O'Shaughnessy, who is priced attractively at only $2.6K. OShaughnessy is slowly emerging as a viable outlet receiver for Blake Bortles when his primary receivers are unable to find space. After missing a few weeks with a hip injury, OShaughnessy returned last week to catch 5 passes (on 6 targets) for 46 yards and was on the field for nearly 3/4 of the Jaguars' offensive snaps. Priced at $2.6K, he represents a low-risk option for cash games, but carries decent upside against a Steelers defense that is allowing the 4th most fantasy points to the position, including 8 consecutive tight ends to reach cash game value on OShaughnessy's current salary.

GPP

  • On this week's video edition of Tips and Picks (you are watching these, right?!), I outlined the reasons that I am willing to go back to the well on Jordan Reed despite him not having scored a touchdown since Week 1. First, Reed is attractively priced at only $3.8K, which is not prohibitive on a relatively tight salary week. Next, he represents the most viable volume receiver on the Redskins, who will again be without Paul Richardson Jr (IR), Jamison Crowder (ankle), and Chris Thompson (ribs); his biggest opposition for targets is Maurice Harris and Josh Doctson, both of whom are more expensive and less talented than Reed. The matchup against the Texans is solid, as they are allowing 17% more fantasy production to the position than league-adjusted defenses and are one game removed from allowing Jeff Heuerman to skewer them for 83 receiving yards and a score on 10 catches. Over the course of his career, Reed has caught a touchdown approximately once in every dozen receptions; this season, he has scored once on 37 receptions, which would argue that he has positive scoring regression in his future.
  • Only the Carolina Panthers allowed more fantasy production to the tight end position than the Tampa Bay Bucs, who have allowed 8 different tight ends to surpass 50 receiving yards this season. Over their previous seven games, the Bucs have allowed five different tight ends to score a touchdown, which bodes well for the volatile, but talented, second-year tight end, Evan Engram. Every time he suits up, Engram brings elite playmaking speed (4.42 40-yard dash), which can create mismatches when the opposing defense has deficiencies, as we all know Tampa Bay has in droves. The arrival of Saquon Barkley has affected the upside of all the Giants receivers this year, but it is encouraging that Engram has been targeted inside the redzone for each of the three weeks he has played since returning from a knee injury in Week 7.
  • Elsewhere, Jared Cook should be the beneficiary of a pass-heavy gamescript, Derek Carr's propensity to throw within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage, and injuries to the Raiders top wide receivers (Jordy Nelson and Martavis Bryant) who will miss Sunday's matchup against the Cardinals. Cook is a journeyman who does not strike fear into the eyes of his opponents, but he has more than doubled the number of redzone targets than any other receiver on the Raiders this season and has demonstrated upside on several occasions including a pair of 30+ point performances against the Rams and Browns. The matchup against the Cardinals is imposing on paper (7th-fewest DK points per game allowed), but Oakland will have so few viable receiving options that Cook becomes tournament-eligible on volume, alone.

TEAM DEFENSES

NAME OPPONENT SALARY CROWD EXPOSURE CASH RANK GPP RANK NOTES
Texans @WAS $2600 6% 1 2 Skins only scored 14 vs. TB last week.
Cardinals OAK $3100 15% 2 1 Home defense against scared Derek Carr.
Chargers DEN $3400 6% - 3 DEN offense = 2nd lowest team total on slate.
Steelers @JAX $2900 12% - 4 Blake Bortles is always pick-six prone.
Ravens CIN $3200 8% - 5 Banged up Bengals in tough matchup.
Jaguars PIT $2500 4% - 6 Big Ben away from home = blowup potential.
Panthers @DET $2800 4% - 7 DET has allowed 16 sacks over last 2 efforts.
Colts TEN $2500 3% - 8 Mariota on road with one healthy receiver.

TEAM DEF OVERVIEW:

  • Having played a Thursday night game before a bye week, the Houston Texans will have had 16 days of rest entering Sunday's game against the Redskins. Some might be scared away by the fact that the Redskins stand alone atop the NFC East with a 6-3 record, but they have beaten only one team with a winning record this season and enter this game off a pedestrian 16-point performance against the Buccaneers, the lowest total they allowed all season. The Skins have actually scored less points than they have allowed and are going to be exposed as frauds within the NFC East as the season comes to a close. This could be the beginning of that revelation, as the Texans rank in the top-ten pressure defenses and they will certainly exploit the fact that the Redskins are missing three of their starting offensive linemen. Ordinarily, it is advisable to avoid defenses on the road in cash game formats, but this feels like a fairly safe play (with upside) at a reasonable price point.
  • An otherwise average defense, the Arizona Cardinals are an intriguing DFS option at home against the Raiders on Sunday. Oakland's offense is a mess and it starts with Derek Carr, who refuses to throw the ball deeper than 10 yards at a time; his average intended (and completed) air yards rank dead-last amongst NFL quarterbacks in 2018. With Marshawn Lynch on injured reserve and both Jordy Nelson and Martavis Bryant watching from the sidelines, it might be possible to think that Derek Carr could struggle more this week. Already yielding the 4th most fantasy points per game to team defenses, targeting Oakland with Arizona's defense makes a lot of sense on Sunday.
  • Elsewhere, consider both defenses in Jacksonville. Losers of five straight, the Jags are in must-win territory and will face Ben Roethlisberger on their home turf. Big Ben can be liable to setbacks on the road and the Jags, with their backs against the wall, represent an intriguing GPP flyer option at only $2.5K. On the other side, this Steelers defense is still somewhat unproven in my eyes, but any defense playing Blake Bortles is always in play because of his propensity to throw touchdowns to opposing players.


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