For the uninitiated, playing daily games on DraftKings can be an enjoyable experience, but equally sobering is the fact that season-long knowledge does not always translate to success in the daily space. Footballguys will bring you a series of value- and strategic-based selections from a number of seasoned daily veterans throughout the NFL season. Herein is another edition of “Tipandpick’s Tips and Picks,” where we will examine the salaries of players at each position on DraftKings and make value-based recommendations for both your cash games and tournaments.
Below you will find a list of recommended players for both formats. GPP players generally have high-upside, but are too risky for cash games; cash game players are consistent with high fantasy floors. In some instances, the value for a player is so strong, he may fall into both categories…let’s have a look.
In order to help you build winning rosters, let's walk through some of the observations that I have made while doing my research for DraftKings this week. As you build out your lineups on DraftKings, try to consider the following commentary, which revolves around game strategy and how we will want to take advantage of what the masses are doing when they construct their own lineups.
SPENCER WARE. The firestorm out of Kansas City on Friday was the release of surveillance video that showed Kareem Hunt knocking over a 19-year old woman and then kicking her while she crouched and tried to compose herself. The fallout was swift, as Hunt was released outright by the Chiefs only six hours after the release of the video and now Spencer Ware inherits the bellcow role in the Chiefs' potent offensive attack. DraftKings was understandably unprepared for the news and Ware is priced at only $4.0K, a salary that reflected his backup role entering this week. So how do we handle Ware this week in cash games and tournaments?
In cash games, rostering Ware is an absolute must. His 'percent rostered' in cash games is going to go well over 50% and you do not want to be in the minority on that decision. If he delivers, it will be near-impossible to cash your 50/50's and double-ups because of the immense value that his salary provides. Just roster him in cash games and beat your opponents at other positions.
In tournaments, game strategy comes into play. As of Saturday morning, my best guess on his ownership in GPP formats is that he will land in approximately 50% of lineups. Using that number as a guide, I will likely be overweight on Ware because the likelihood that he finishes with 16+ fantasy points as 14-point Vegas favorites against the Raiders is high. And more to the point, the likelihood that Ware gets into 5-7x territory on his salary is what is most scary about going lower than the field on him. If Ware puts together a 20+ fantasy point performance on Sunday and you do not have him, it will be difficult making up ground on the 50+% of rosters that feature him. His floor (barring injury) in this matchup would appear to be 12-15 touches for 50 yards and a few receptions; even if he does not score a touchdown, he should still deliver a minimum of 2.0 to 2.5 times his salary, which makes it extremely difficult to justify going under the field on him. Our consensus projections show him finishing with 17.4 points on DraftKings, which is 4.4x his salary and does not reflect his upside projection of 32.9 DK points (8.2x his salary). If you do fade Spencer Ware on Sunday, my recommendation is to stack Patrick Mahomes II with his receivers (Tyreek Hill, Chris Conley, Travis Kelce) on those rosters because the Chiefs are a near shoo-in to score 28+ points in this matchup; if Ware does not get into the endzone, it will have meant that the passing game excelled and you will want to have adequate exposure.
Let's take a deeper look into some of the players who I will be targeting for my cash game and tournament rosters this weekend. A short summary follows each respective table to fill in the gaps that led to the respective recommendations; that text represents only an overview of the methodology and rationale that goes into each recommendation.
|NAME||OPPONENT||SALARY||CROWD EXPOSURE||CASH RANK||GPP RANK||NOTES|
|Jameis Winston||CAR||$6000||12%||1||3||Faces pass-funnel defense in likely shootout.|
|Patrick Mahomes II||@OAK||$7600||15%||2||1||Has not scored < 20 DK points all season.|
|Cam Newton||@TB||$6600||15%||3||8||Mr. Everything faces worst DVOA pass defense.|
|Tom Brady||MIN||$5800||2%||-||2||Team is quietly coming together. Overlooked.|
|Kirk Cousins||@NE||$5500||5%||-||4||Game could shootout with weapons everywhere.|
|Matt Ryan||BAL||$5600||3%||-||5||Ravens' name-brand defense is overrated.|
|Jared Goff||@DET||$6400||10%||-||6||Always in play. Bump if Stafford can keep pace.|
|Deshaun Watson||CLE||$6100||4%||-||7||5x this salary twice in past month = upside.|
|Aaron Rodgers||ARZ||$6200||5%||-||9||Leverage play away from Aaron Jones' ownership.|
|Russell Wilson||SF||$6300||4%||-||10||All Seahawks going overlooked this week.|
- Carolina versus Tampa Bay. In cash games, feel free to roll with either quarterback in the game between the Panthers and Buccaneers. Entering Week #13, the Bucs are allowing the 4th-most fantasy points to quarterbacks and the Panthers are not far behind at 6th-worst in the league. With neither defense demonstrating an ability to slow down an NFL offense, the quarterbacks in this game are primed for substantial fantasy output. Jameis Winston is an intriguing option against the Panthers, who have allowed 20+ fantasy points to the quarterback position in 5 of their previous 6 contests. When we consider that the Panthers field the 7th-best DVOA rush defense and the 6th-worst DOVA pass defense, it would stand to reason that Winston will take the path of least resistance and look for Mike Evans, Adam Humphries, Chris Godwin, and Cameron Brate in space. That theory is supported by the premise that the Bucs have not generated much of a ground game on offense all season. On the opposite side of the field, Cam Newton gets a salivating matchup against Tampa Bay's last-ranked DVOA pass defense that has improved recently because of the quality of opponent (Nick Mullens, Eli Manning, and Alex Smith) than because of any schematic or personnel improvements. In their last contest a month ago, Cam Newton finished with a pedestrian afternoon that saw him throw only two touchdown passes, but it was good enough for 3.5x this week's salary.
- The "sure thing." While there is no such thing as a 'sure thing' in DFS, Patrick Mahomes II is about as consistent as an NFL player can get. Averaging over 30 points per game with no game less than 20 points, Mahomes represents a reasonable cash game option against the Raiders on Sunday. His $7.6K salary might scare some people away, but the value offered at other positions this week is solid enough that you can feel good about paying the premium for Mahomes, if that is the route you decide to take. With Mahomes, the matchups really do not matter, but Oakland has allowed at least two touchdowns to every quarterback they have faced this season except Case Keenum, a list that includes Ryan Tannehill, Nick Mullens, and Josh Rosen, among others.
- Why is nobody talking about the Pats and Vikings? There is considerable attention being paid to the 50+ point total games in Oakland, Detroit, and Tampa Bay, but there is a game in New England that features two strong offenses, two pedestrian defenses, and a game total that is just below 50 points at 49.5. The captains of those offenses, Tom Brady and Kirk Cousins, are sound GPP options because of the matchup and because the DFS community is overlooking their hefty upside in a potential shootout. Kirk Cousins is priced fairly at $5.5K and is coming off a game against Green Bay that saw him post over 30 DK points. New England is yielding the 7th-most fantasy points per game to the position despite playing a slew of poor quarterbacks to the point in the season. The public seems to be in tune with this sentiment, as Cousins' projected ownership has increased to ~ 10% over the week, but Tom Brady is still setting at only 3% as of Saturday. Brady has surpassed tournament value on his $5.8K salary only twice this season, but he has been without one receiver or the other for almost the entirety of the season. This week, he should have his full arsenal of weapons and possibly even returns the Swiss Army knife, Rex Burkhead from injured reserve. Look for Brady to come out firing against the Vikings' overrated secondary, whose best cornerback (Xavier Rhodes) is extremely iffy with a hamstring issue. In a game featuring the league's 3rd- and 7th-fastest offenses, there is good reason to think that this one goes back and forth for four quarters, which elevates both quarterbacks to GPP relevance.
- Death, taxes, and Matt Ryan at home. Having started the season with 4 consecutive home games that saw him score 30+ DK points, Matt Ryan was on a roll until Week #7 when he 'stumbled' against the Giants with 379 passing yards and only 1 touchdown for 22.3 points. His next game against a strong Dallas defense saw him through for 'only' 291 yards and collecting only 14.7 DK points. This week, Ryan will face the Baltimore Ravens at home, which has kept his projected ownership at a reasonable level. Prior to last week when they faced the dreadful Oakland Raiders, the Ravens had allowed two or more touchdowns to quarterbacks in four consecutive games. Averaging nearly 350 passing yards per game at home and having Julio Jones facing off against a struggling Jimmy Smith, Matt Ryan is an excellent GPP option at sub-5% crowd exposure.
- Elsewhere. Quick hits on a few other tournament options...Aaron Rodgers has struggled on the road, but he returns to Lambeau Field to face a warm weather Arizona team that is floundering. The Cards have faced only a few above-average quarterbacks this season and their results have not been exceptional in those contests; likewise, when they have squared off against a respectable quarterback, they have failed to contain them. Rodgers represents an excellent GPP option for these reasons, not to mention the fact that Aaron Jones will be highly popular and Rodgers represents an excellent leverage play away from those rosters...Also, check out Russell Wilson in Seattle against the 49'ers. The Niners feature the league's 24th-ranked DVOA pass defense and will play in front of a fired-up home crowd in Century Link Stadium. With an implied team total of 28 points, the Seahawks and Wilson have upside that is not being fully appreciated in this matchup.
|NAME||OPPONENT||SALARY||CROWD EXPOSURE||CASH RANK||GPP RANK||NOTES|
|Spencer Ware||@OAK||$4000||46%||1||1||Hunt no more. Lock-and-load.|
|Aaron Jones||ARZ||$6700||26%||2||2||Cards are bleeding FPs to the RB position.|
|Christian McCaffrey||@TB||$8800||31%||3||3||20+ touches vs. TB defense? Yes, please.|
|Carlos Hyde||IND||$3300||11%||4||12||12-15 touches for near site-minimum.|
|Todd Gurley||@DET||$9300||23%||-||4||Heavy-fave matchup-proof RB off layoff.|
|Saquon Barkley||CHI||$7900||16%||-||5||Do not let the Bears defense scare you away.|
|LeSean McCoy||@MIA||$4900||2%||-||6||Generous MIA defense vs. Bills' best player.|
|David Johnson||@GB||$7400||4%||-||7||GB: 23rd DVOA rush defense. PPR helps.|
|Joe Mixon||DEN||$7300||3%||-||8||Driskel dumped off a lot to Mixon in debut.|
|Theo Riddick||LAR||$4700||3%||-||9||7.3 targets per game since Tate trade.|
|Peyton Barber||CAR||$3700||3%||-||10||20 touches and a score in last two games.|
|Ty Montgomery||@ATL||$3600||1%||-||11||Sneaky. Passing RB role vs. ATL defense.|
- Spencer Ware. The case for Spencer Ware was made in the "Tips" section of the article. His floor statline is probably 12-14 touches for 50 all-purpose yards and a few receptions, which equates to ~ 10 DK points (or 2.5x his salary). The matchup against Oakland's 30th-ranked DVOA rush defense is pristine and given Ware's prowess in the passing game, he should easily hit 3x his modest salary. Lock him into your cash games and give him serious consideration in GPP formats.
- RBs versus the Cardinals. Coming off a week that saw the Chargers' running backs combine for > 50 fantasy points against the Cardinals, there is good reason to stay on that train. Arizona is allowing the 4th-most fantasy points per game to the position and 26% more production after adjustment for defensive strength of schedule. Meanwhile, Aaron Jones has seen his snap counts increase from ~ 25% before the Packers' Week #7 bye to ~ 75% since that bye week. Jones is averaging ~ 22 DK points per game since he took over the lead role in Green Bay and has demonstrated a solid floor with substantial upside (32+ fantasy points versus Miami) over that time. Look for him to get fed early and often against the Cards' 21st-ranked DVOA rush defense that just lost its best rush stuffer, Josh Bynes, to injured reserve last Sunday.
- The luxury and punt options at cash. At the high end of the salary scale, try to jam Christian McCaffrey into your cash game rosters against the Buccaneers. McCaffrey is coming off a game that saw him hit the vaunted "double-bonus" on DraftKings, where he surpassed 100 yards rushing and receiving and piled up 52+ DK points in the process. It would be folly to expect a repeat performance, but CMC is playing at a high level and providing DFS players with both RB1- and WR1-like production for the price of a single player. The matchup is pristine against Tampa Bay's flawed defense that did not have an answer for him just a few weeks ago when he scored 32.7 DK points. At the lower end of the salary scale, the one-week replacement for Leonard Fournette, Carlos Hyde, lost a lot of luster with the Spencer Ware news on Friday. Prior to the Kareem Hunt release, Hyde was projected to be on 35% of tournament rosters this weekend, but that number dropped nearly 2/3 overnight and now Hyde may ironically go overlooked in tournaments. For cash games, however, he looks like a nice way to save salary and nab 10 easy DK points against the Colts, who allowed Jacksonville running backs to compile ~ 40 fantasy points just a few week ago. Hyde will lose passing down action to T.J. Yeldon, but should retain goal line touches and early-down work; at only $3.3K, he looks like a fairly safe way to save salary and spend up elsewhere, should you need the savings.
- Is Todd Gurley safe as a road favorite? I have gone on record multiple times in this column describing the perils of rostering running backs from road favorites and how it can quickly ruin a DFS roster. At the top of the Vegas Value Chart this week, there are three road favorites, all of whom boast running backs near the top of our 'percent rostered' charts. Of those running backs (Spencer Ware, Todd Gurley, Christian McCaffrey), all are relatively safe because those individuals play substantial roles in the passing game, too. Todd Gurley's hefty salary would be extremely risky if he left the field when the team is trailing, but he has played nearly 90% of the team's snaps this season and is an excellent receiving option out of the backfield. The matchup against the Lions would have been better before the addition of Damon "Snacks" Harrison a month ago, but the Lions have allowed running backs to catch the ball six or more times in three consecutive games, which makes me believe that Sean McVay, coming off an extra week of preparation, will scheme to take advantage of that trend.
- The mid-$7K running backs and GPPs. Saquon Barkley and David Johnson are priced similarly and are GPP contenders for one reason or another. Barkley is on his way to win the Rookie of the Year and possesses a similar skill set (and upside) to Christian McCaffrey; his on-paper matchup against the Bears is less-than-desirable, but if Barkley has taught us anything through the first three months of his NFL career, it's that we should not dismiss him (just ask the Eagles). David Johnson will travel to play the Packers at Lambeau as a hefty two-touchdown underdog. Ordinarily, that would be enough to ignore any running back, but DJ trails only Larry Fitzgerald in targets since Byron Leftwich took over as Offensive Coordinator of the team. The implied team total (14 points) appears to limit Johnson's upside, but I'm banking on the Cardinals going over that total against a Packers defense that might be looking past the Cardinals.
- Sleeper status of TyMont in Atlanta. Nobody in the DFS world is talking about it, but you should not be sleeping on Ty Montgomery against the Falcons on Sunday. After being traded to the Ravens in Week #8, Montgomery watched and learned from the sidelines for several weeks before finally getting substantial time in the offense last week against the Raiders. There, he finished with 28 snaps (40%) that saw him compile 64 all-purpose yards on 11 touches behind Gus Edwards. Since then, Alex Collins has been placed on I.R. and we should expect to see more of Montgomery against the Falcons, who have not been able to slow down pass-catching receivers for the better part of two years. Look for the Ravens to try to exploit that defensive deficiency and use TyMont's value as a receiver as a way to keep pace with Atlanta. At only $3.6K and implied ownership levels in the low single digits, Montgomery is the type of differentiator that can win Millionaire Maker-type tournaments if he manages to get into the endzone.
|NAME||OPPONENT||SALARY||CROWD EXPOSURE||CASH RANK||GPP RANK||NOTES|
|Kenny Golladay||LAR||$6700||18%||1||9||Double-digit targets in pass-heavy gamescript.|
|Emmanuel Sanders||@CIN||$6300||13%||2||13||Plush matchup vs. susceptible CIN secondary.|
|T.Y. Hilton||@JAX||$6000||10%||3||14||JAX defense is not the same. Take the discount.|
|DeAndre Hopkins||CLE||$8200||8%||4||2||Only competing with Demaryius for targets.|
|Bruce Ellington||LAR||$3500||8%||5||10||Punt cash game option opposite Golladay.|
|Adam Humphries||CAR||$4200||9%||6||15||Best WR-CB matchup for TB. Winston likes him.|
|Chris Conley||OAK||$3800||4%||-||1||An injustice if he goes off on 5% of rosters.|
|Mike Evans||CAR||$8100||10%||-||3||CAR DEF: Getting thrashed by WRs of late.|
|Odell Beckham Jr||CHI||$7800||7%||-||4||Squeaky wheel? Asked for more targets after last.|
|Adam Thielen||@NE||$8000||14%||-||5||Plus gamescript and hobbled Diggs helps chances.|
|Julio Jones||BAL||$7700||14%||-||6||Six straight games with 100+ yards.|
|Josh Gordon||MIN||$5900||4%||-||7||Positive TD regression incoming. Get some.|
|Marcell Ateman||KC||$3600||3%||-||8||A TnP fave for large-field GPPs. Plus gamescript.|
|Brandin Cooks||@DET||$7000||14%||-||11||Speedster presents matchup problems for DET.|
|Tyreek Hill||OAK||$9100||14%||-||12||See notes on Brandin Cooks (above).|
- Lions receivers. Opponents have thrown the ball 30 or more times against the Rams in 70% of their games this season. This is not necessarily surprising, given the Rams' ability to get ahead and force opponents to put air under the ball. There is no reason to expect anything different on Sunday when the Lions host the Rams as 10-point underdogs. Look for Matthew Stafford to loft the ball 35+ times and because his receiving corps is so limited, you can count on the majority of those throws going towards Kenny Golladay, Bruce Ellington, and Theo Riddick. Since Marvin Jones Jr went on injured reserve three weeks ago, Stafford has thrown to his wide receivers on 43 different occasions and either Golladay or Ellington were targeted on those attempts 38 times (88% marketshare). Both are affordably priced and benefit from a pass-heavy gamescript. Their upside may be limited by how efficient the Lions' offense runs against an otherwise underrated Rams defense, but the volume should be sufficient to provide high floors on those players for cash game purposes.
- Mid-range cash options. In the mid-range of salaries, both Emmanuel Sanders and T.Y. Hilton continue to be mispriced by DraftKings. Since the beginning of the season, Case Keenum has locked onto Sanders and peppered him with targets (8.5 per game). This week, he gets an enticing matchup against the Bengals, who have failed to shut down a legitimate WR1 all season. Sanders will line up in the slot across from Darqueze Dennard, who is allowing nearly 77% of passes into his coverage to be completed. In Jacksonville, T.Y. Hilton should get shadow coverage from Jalen Ramsey, but it's not enough to sway me away from Hilton in cash game formats. Ramsey is still an elite cornerback and should remain one moving forward, but Hilton is the apple of Andrew Luck's eye and should only benefit from the season-ending injury to Jack Doyle last weekend. Hilton stands to see 10+ targets in this game, which is sufficient volume to merit consideration for cash game formats; his implied ownership projections at ~ 10% also put him into GPP consideration.
- Nuk. Of the high-end receivers on the slate, DeAndre Hopkins stands out as a cash game-viable option because of his marketshare in the Texans' passing game and general skillset. Some will be scared away due to potential shadow coverage from Denzel Ward, but Hopkins has faced better defenders and thrived...repeatedly. With Keke Coutee on the doubtful side of questionable, that leaves only Demaryius Thomas to steal looks from Hopkins and given that he is still trying to establish a rapport with Deshaun Watson, it is Hopkins who should be the primary receiver for Houston on Sunday. At $8.2K, the price point could be prohibitive for cash games, but the lack of other options in the receiving game make him stand out above the other options at that price range.
- The sleepers nobody is talking about. Those of you who follow me on Twitter and watch my video content know that I love to find low-dollar, contrarian GPP options to fill gaps in my rosters. This week, I'm looking squarely at Chris Conley and Marcell Ateman, both of whom are offered up at less than $4K and will be on less than 5% of tournament lineups. Frankly, the lack of love for Conley is confusing? Sammy Watkins would have been 15-20% rostered at a salary nearly $2K higher. Conley is not the same player as Watkins, but the discounted price reflects that sentiment. And getting a piece of the Chiefs offense at such low ownership feels like cheating on a week where they are projected to score five touchdowns. In Oakland, there is very little to like about the Raiders offense, but Marcell Ateman's WR1-like usage at a discounted $3.6K price point is attractive. Last week, Ateman saw over 60% of Derek Carr's targets to wide receivers and just missed on several plays that would have otherwise kicked his salary up a thousand dollars. Nonetheless, he remains largely overlooked and undervalued in tournament formats and should be considered against the Chiefs, who are projected to lead this game throughout and force the Raiders to throw it often.
- Four GPP options from $7.7K to $8.1K. The beauty of the wide receiver position in tournament formats this week is that there is an uncharacteristic level distribution of ownership. There are few field favorites, which means that tournaments will be won and lost with who you decide to roster at the position. At the higher end, each of the following high-upside receivers is squarely in play for tournaments: Mike Evans (vs. Carolina), Odell Beckham Jr (vs. Chicago), Davante Adams (vs. Arizona), and Adam Thielen (vs. New England). Each player has 150-yard upside and could score a pair of touchdowns. One sentence on each: Evans is coming off a pair of 100-yard games and is due for some positive touchdown regression after scoring only twice in the Bucs' previous eight games. Beckham went on record complaining that the Giants' gameplan against the Eagles was flawed last week and that they should have thrown the ball to him more often; if anybody is listening, there is no team or cornerback in the league that can hold OBJ down. Davante Adams should avoid Patrick Peterson, who has shadowed only limitedly this season, for most of this game; the rapport that Adams has shown with Aaron Rodgers this season is incredible and merits GPP consideration every week. Adam Thielen draws a plush matchup out of the slot against the Patrots, who have struggled to cover the position all season.
- Flash Gordon. Locked into the WR2 role in New England, we should fully expect Josh Gordon to begin making strides in this offense as the Patriots enter playoff mode. Gordon was hit-or-miss in his first few weeks with the Patriots, but has settled in nicely and has 40+ receiving yards and/or a touchdown in six straight games. We know that Gordon has WR1 abilities and upside, but has struggled alongside Tom Brady without Rob Gronkowski. Now that Gronk is full-strength, Sony Michel is apparently 100%, and even Rex Burkhead is ready to go, we should expect these Patriots to begin firing on all cylinders soon and taking a chance on Gordon at his salary and sub-5% ownership against a banged up secondary (looking at you, Xavier Rhodes) feels like a calculated decision for tournament play.
|NAME||OPPONENT||SALARY||CROWD EXPOSURE||CASH RANK||GPP RANK||NOTES|
|Eric Ebron||@JAX||$4200||31%||1||7||Last man standing in TE-focused offense.|
|Matt LaCosse||@CIN||$2500||9%||2||10||Punt cash option. Heuerman on IR.|
|Travis Kelce||@OAK||$7000||16%||-||1||WR1 usage at WR2 price in TE position.|
|Kyle Rudolph||@NE||$3600||2%||-||2||Pats allow 5th most FPs/game to TEs.|
|Rob Gronkowski||MIN||$5400||6%||-||3||Played 99% of snaps last week. Fair price.|
|Trey Burton||@NYG||$3800||3%||-||4||7 targets in Chase Daniels' debut.|
|Greg Olsen||@TB||$4100||6%||-||5||TD in 4 of last 6. Big day coming soon.|
|C.J. Uzomah||DEN||$3400||1%||-||6||13 targets with Driskel under center.|
|Austin Hooper||BAL||$3900||3%||-||8||BAL DEF: Allowed TE TD in 4 of last 6 games.|
|David Njoku||@HOU||$4300||6%||-||9||Best personnel matchup for Cleveland.|
- What could go wrong with Ebron? It is no secret that the Colts love scheming to get the ball into the hands of their tight ends. It is also no secret that the Colts only have one healthy tight end this weekend: Eric Ebron. With Jack Doyle (kidney) on I.R., Mo Alie-Cox (calf) announced as inactive, and Erik Swoope (knee) barely practicing, it is all Eric Ebron on Sunday against the Jaguars. Ebron is the hottest tight end in the league to boot; entering this week, Ebron has four more touchdowns (11) than the next closet tight end (Travis Kelce; 7) and is averaging nearly 4x his $4.2K salary on the season. This looks like a lock spot for Ebron against the same Jags defense that allowed him to score nearly 30 DK points just a few weeks ago. In cash games, lock him in; in tournament formats, you might consider going underweight on his ~ 30% projected ownership because the position is extremely volatile from week to week, as evidenced by the goose-egg he laid just two weeks ago against the Titans.
- Punting the position. After Jake Butt went down for the season with an ACL injury, Jeff Heuerman absorbed the primary tight end role in Denver and delivered several solid performances for a cheap tight end before breaking three ribs and ending his own season last Sunday. Heuerman's replacement will be Matt LaCosse, a minimum salary tight end who has jumped around the league, primarily on practice squads, and is finally getting a shot at starting in the NFL. LaCosse's upside is limited, but if he catches 3-4 passes against the Bengals on Sunday, he will deliver value on his $2.5K salary. In limited action last week, LaCosse caught 3 passes for 34 yards and took one of them into the endzone. The matchup is enticing, as the Bengals allow the second-most fantasy points per game to the position and are coming off a game where they allowed a pair of touchdowns to Browns' tight ends.
- Zeus. Not much justification is necessary to try to jam Travis Kelce into your tournament lineups. Kelce has a touchdown and/or surpassed 100 receiving yards in 7 of the Chiefs' 11 games (64%) this season. At $7.0K, he is the most expensive tight end on the board, which could drive down his crowd exposure, but one has to think about Kelce as a wide receiver because that is how the Chiefs utilize him--entering this week, no wide receiver on the team has more targets than Kelce and he is also leading the team in redzone targets. Our Steve Buzzard has Kelce in half of the total number of lineups as Eric Ebron in tournaments, which is criminal. Take advantage.
- It's the Christmas season. We find ourselves in December, so it's time to talk about Rudolph...Kyle Rudolph. In this week's video edition of Tips and Picks, I outlined several reasons why you might consider Kyle Rudolph for GPP formats. First, the Patriots are allowing 33% more fantasy production than league-adjusted defenses to opposing tight ends (3rd-worst on the slate). Next, Rudolph has been the victim of some extreme scoring efficiency by his wide receiver stablemates this season; Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs have scored 14 touchdowns and are averaging a score every 12 receptions, whereas Rudolph has only 2 touchdowns despite having 43 receptions. Positive scoring regression is impending for Rudolph and there is no better time for it to occur than in a pass-heavy game against a friendly defense.
|NAME||OPPONENT||SALARY||CROWD EXPOSURE||CASH RANK||GPP RANK||NOTES|
|Packers||ARZ||$2800||18%||1||1||Only BUF allows more FPs to team defenses.|
|Chiefs||@OAK||$2500||14%||2||5||Raiders cannot stop Carr from taking sacks.|
|Seahawks||SF||$3400||5%||-||2||4 INTs for Mullens in last two. Tough spot.|
|Bills||@MIA||$2900||3%||-||3||Not much to like about Dolphins offense here.|
|Broncos||@CIN||$2700||7%||-||4||Picking on Jeff Driskel here. Could be ugly.|
|Texans||CLE||$2700||5%||-||6||Red-hot Texans host confident rookie QB.|
|Bears||@NYG||$3300||7%||-||7||Always get some of the best NFL defense.|
|Titans||NYJ||$3000||6%||-||8||Jets offense is a mess. Titans at home.|
TEAM DEF OVERVIEW:
- The case for the Pack. Green Bay's defense is allowing almost 10 points less per game at home versus on the road and will face a rookie quarterback that has thrown more interceptions than touchdowns this season. The weather might also play a factor in this game, as there is a 70% chance of rain and winds are predicted to approach 20 MPH, which should work against Josh Rosen if the Cardinals fall behind early. Third in the league in sacks, the poor offensive line play of Arizona combined with the inexperienced quarterback play should set Green Bay's defense up for solid fantasy output with substantial upside.
- The plight of Derek Carr. Having been sacked at least three times in eight of the Raiders' last nine games, Derek Carr is running for his life in Oakland. Meanwhile, he will face Kansas City's front seven that tallied the league's third-most sacks entering this week's contests. The Chiefs are lofty 14-point favorites, which is going to put pressure on Carr to get out of his comfort zone and allow passing plays to develop--any time a quarterback gets out of his comfort zone, you want a piece of the opposing defense.
- Elsewhere. Nick Mullens is on the verge of being benched for C.J. Beathard and a game against the Seahawks in their home stadium may just be enough to make it happen. The Niners will be without Marquise Goodwin and Pierre Garcon, which leaves Kyle Shanahan with few options to best the Seahawks defense in front of their home crowd. On only 5% of rosters, Seattle is a compelling GPP defense. In Miami, take a moment to consider which of the Dolphins players you would like to roster in any format on Sunday. When you come to the realization that there is nobody you like, the logical conclusion is to roster the defense against them: the Bills. Buffalo has scored double-digit fantasy points in 4 of their 11 games (36%) this season and has a strong set of personnel capable of scoring defensive touchdowns to do it again versus the Dolphins.