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 MULTIPLE LINEUPS. Historically, I have played a single cash game lineup because my rationale has always been that any subsequent lineup would be worse than the one that preceded it (or it would have been generated in my first go-round). And to be clear, that has been a profitable approach for me over the years. That said, there are times when a single cash game lineup can cause you to lose all of your 50/50 and double-ups for the entire week...sometimes weeks at a time. Thus, the variance associated with a single lineup can be either thrilling (i.e., during a hot streak) or frustrating (i.e., when luck is not on your side).

This season, I have toyed with creating multiple cash game lineups and have been pleased with the results. In short, I engineer a player pool of cash game-viable players across all positions and use an automated lineup builder to create 10 different cash game lineups for both DraftKings and FanDuel. At that point, I enter those lineups using the .csv editing tools found on each site (on the "lineups" page) and wait for the games to begin. What I have found is that my variance is decreased and my overall winning percentage is slightly improved from when I was using a single cash game lineup. Please note that the sample size is limited for the moment, but I feel strongly that my results will maintain over a larger sample size.

The lesson here is that you, too, might try to diversify your cash games to minimize risk. It is a little extra work to learn the details of the .csv editing and uploading of those files to the DFS sites, but it is time well-spent if it increases your return-on-investment over time. YMMV.

...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

NAMEOPPONENTSALARYCROWD EXPOSURECASH RANKGPP RANKNOTES
Lamar Jackson @KC $5700 4% 1 6 70+ rushing yards in all starts = solid floor.
Jameis Winston NO $6200 10% 2 7 Plus gamescript versus pass-funnel defense.
Deshaun Watson IND $5900 9% 3 10 35 DK points against IND earlier this season.
Drew Brees @TB $6600 8% - 1 TB DEF has no answers for Saints' weapons.
Ben Roethlisberger @OAK $6800 10% - 2 Only Vikings throw the ball more than PIT.
Patrick Mahomes II BAL $7000 10% - 3 Matchup-proof. Averaging over 4x his salary.
Philip Rivers CIN $6500 5% - 4 CIN: Allowing 34 PPG over last 7 contests.
Aaron Rodgers ATL $6000 9% - 5 No McCarthy = ARod calling his own plays?
Baker Mayfield CAR $5800 2% - 8 CAR DEF getting thrashed of late. Contrarian.
Tom Brady @MIA $5800 4% - 9 NE always comes around in December.

QB OVERVIEW:

CASH

  • Scoring floor: Air game. If you want to acquire your scoring floor via the pass this week, look to Jameis Winston, whose matchup against the Saints looks to force him to loft the ball 35+ times on Sunday. Previously a risk for mid-game benching, Winston has gone two consecutive games without turning the ball over, so it would appear to be safe to roll him in cash games once again. The Saints field a pass-funnel defense that is strong against the run, but yields yardage through the air, (3rd most fantasy points per game allowed to the quarterback position) which bodes well for Winston when we consider that he should be throwing the ball often as a 10-point home underdog. The only thing that you need to monitor on Sunday morning is the weather--early reports are that it could be rainy and/or windy. If the Vegas total begins to drop, pivot to one of the other two recommended cash game quarterbacks.
  • Scoring floor: Ground game. If Jameis Winston is not to your liking for cash games (or you want to mix it up with multiple rosters), you might consider Lamar Jackson against the Chiefs or Deshaun Watson against the Colts, both of whom should rack up rushing yardage to bolster their scoring floors. It appears that Lamar Jackson should get one more full game in before Joe Flacco returns and the matchup against the Chiefs is intriguing. The Chiefs are hiding the league's worst DVOA rush defense by forcing their opponents to pass to keep pace with their offense. The fact that Jackson runs well (he has 70+ yards in each of his 3 starts) and that he should throw the ball more often this week should help pad his stats for a substantial scoring floor at a fair $5.7K price point. In Houston, Deshaun Watson will look to lead the Texans to their 10th straight victory as they host the Colts at Reliant Stadium. Watson has 30+ rushing yards 3 times over the past month and looks to have all three of his wide receivers for the first time in several weeks. The last time that Watson faced Indy, he posted a monster 35-point performance, one that could be repeated again this week, as this game has shootout potential featuring the league's 2nd- and 8th-fastest offenses.

GPP

  • A Brees-ey Day in Tampa. After allowing the first 5 quarterbacks they faced to throw for 330+ yards, the Tampa Bay Bucs have held every subsequent quarterback to 300 or less yards. Some might argue that they adjusted their scheme, filled defensive gaps, and became an improved unit in the second half of the season. I might argue that they have not faced a legitimate quarterback (save Cam Newton, whose receiving corps has been lifeless) since the beginning of October. That will change on Sunday when Drew Brees comes to town. Brees threw for 440 yards and 3 touchdowns when he faced this team on opening weekend. Since then, a lot has changed, including the venue, but there is little reason to believe that Brees will not put together another strong game as hefty road favorites with the highest implied team total on the main slate. As discussed above, monitor the weather situation and resultant field conditions on Sunday morning to ensure it is not prohibitive to the passing game.
  • Big Ben in Cali. The rhetoric is that you should avoid Ben Roethlisberger when he is playing on the road, but this is a week where it makes a lot of sense to go overweight on him in tournament formats. He will face off against the Raiders' last-ranked DVOA pass defense and the team is projected to score over 30 points. Jaylen Samuels (see below) will get the start in the backfield and will be a crowd favorite in DFS tournaments, which makes Roethlisberger a solid leverage play against the 25% of rosters that will bear Samuels' name. From a personnel standpoint, the Raiders cannot match up well against either Antonio Brown or JuJu Smith-Schuster (see below) and even Vance McDonald gets a soft spot against the league's friendliest defense to tight ends. Only the Vikings pass the ball more than the Steelers, a fact that makes Roethlisberger even more compelling in tournament formats.
  • Can the Ravens do it again? Patrick Mahomes II may not be "matchup-proof" because it is difficult to prove a negative, but we do not have an instance where the second-year quarterback has struggled against a defense this year. He is averaging well over 4x this week's salary and is facing a Ravens defense that shut down Matt Ryan on his home turf last Sunday; they might just be that good, but until Mahomes demonstrates that a defense is capable of tripping him up, he should be on your tournament radar every week. Sammy Watkins will sit this one out, which means that we should see a steady dose of Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill. Kelce scored twice last week and had a third score called back whereas Hill had multiple misfortunes that led to a disappointing day; both possess a skill set and a quarterback that could land them on winning tournament lineups by Sunday night.

RUNNING BACKS

NAMEOPPONENTSALARYCROWD EXPOSURECASH RANKGPP RANKNOTES
Jaylen Samuels @OAK $3700 28% 1 3 Price is right for 12+ touches in this offense.
Jeff Wilson DEN $3800 26% 2 5 Tough matchup but PPR volume will be there.
Ezekiel Elliott PHL $8600 24% 3 4 Cowboys will try to lock up NFC East with Zeke.
Alvin Kamara @TB $8100 17% 4 1 Bucs have no answer for Kamara's skillset.
LeSean McCoy NYJ $5000 2% - 2 Throttled this NYJ defense just 3 weeks ago.
Austin Ekeler CIN $6200 7% - 6 Rebound spot vs. generous Bengals defense.
Christian McCaffrey @CLE $9300 25% - 7 CMC = RB1 + WR1. 20 catches in past 2 games.
Sony Michel @MIA $5900 5% - 8 Solid fave gets Dolphins' 6th-worst RB defense.
Nick Chubb CAR $6700 6% - 9 6 TDs in past month. Soft spot vs. CAR.
Adrian Peterson NYG $4800 6% - 10 If Skins are competitive, he will be the reason.
LeGarrette Blount @ARZ $3900 1% - 11 No Kerryon = 16+ touches vs. porous ARZ defense.
David Johnson DET $6500 7% - 12 Only competition for touches/scoring is Fitz.

RB OVERVIEW:

CASH

  • Value. To save some salary, you can roll with the masses and get exposure to either (or both) Jaylen Samuels and/or Jeff Wilson. Samuels is getting the start against the Raiders after James Conner (ankle) was announced as inactive earlier this week. Samuels is reportedly going to share the backfield with Stevan Ridley, but the exact distribution is unknown. A reasonable expectation is that Ridley will get no more than 40% of the Steelers' offensive snaps and that Samuels will get most of the passing down action. Due to DraftKings' full-PPR scoring system, Samuels becomes a strong cash game play because of his likelihood to touch the ball 12-16 times with 3-5 of those touches being receptions. In the Bay area, Jeff Wilson will absorb Matt Breida's role as the RB1 in the Niners backfield. After Breida went down with an ankle injury last weekend, Wilson filled in nicely, running the ball 15 times and pulling in 8 receptions as a receivers en route to ~ 20 DK points on approximately 0% of DFS rosters. This week will be different, however, as Wilson is expected to reside on over 25% of tournament lineups and probably closer to 50% of cash game rosters. His matchup against the Broncos is daunting, but the volume, alone, is sufficient to merit consideration in cash game formats.
  • Luxury. If you have the extra salary, feel free to load up on Ezekiel Elliott and Alvin Kamara in cash games on Sunday. The rationale for Elliott is simple: Dallas will try to control the time of possession at home to take down their only legitimate threat for the NFC East, the Eagles. In their surprise upset of the Saints last Thursday night, Dallas held the ball for 37 minutes and Ezekiel Elliott was a key part of that ball-control offense that fed him 29 times. Jason Garrett has played this style of football for years and we will see more of the same on Sunday against the Eagles' 20th-ranked DVOA rush defense. In Tampa, Alvin Kamara is the lead back for the Saints, as evidenced by his snap count advantage over Mark Ingram II over the past month (150 to 109). Kamara presents all sorts of matchup problems for the Bucs' flawed defense and will be assuredly be highlighted by Sean Payton for that reason. Over the past 3 weeks, the Buccaneers have faced a pair of running backs with roles similar to Kamara's--in those contests, Christian McCaffrey and Saquon Barkley compiled 34 and 38 DK points, respectively.

GPP

  • Shady in Buffalo. The emergence of Josh Allen in Buffalo has cast a shadow on LeSean "Shady" McCoy. In the eight games that Allen has started as quarterback, McCoy has exactly zero touchdowns...a statistic that will scare many people away from considering McCoy in DFS contests on Sunday. The seventh overall pick in this year's draft, Allen, has often resorted to scrambling rather than checking down to McCoy, which has hurt Shady's numbers thus far. That said, McCoy is still getting ~ 20 touches per game and is leading the team in redzone opportunities, most of which have not been converted. This weekend, the Bills are home favorites against a Jets squad that allowed McCoy to run for 100+ yards and a pair of scores only 3 weeks ago. We can bet that the Bills' staff is working on getting Allen to better utilize McCoy's talent while also minimizing Allen's propensity to leave the pocket, a habit that could get their first-round pick injured sooner than later.
  • Paying up for Ekeler. At first glance, Austin Ekeler looks to be too expensive for tournaments after we have seen him exists in the $3K to $4K stratosphere for the entirety of his career. And given that Justin Jackson looks to get additional touches this weekend, the price on Ekeler seems even more prohibitive. Coming off a disappointing 9.3-point performance against the Steelers last week, he will be on less than 10% of rosters, which makes him an excellent tournament option as he will retain the RB1 role on a team projected by Vegas oddsmakers to win by over two touchdowns. Ekeler's matchup against the flailing Bengals is pristine, as they have allowed 8 touchdowns to the position over the past month, including 3 different 100+ yard rushers. Just last week, Broncos' running backs compiled almost 250 all-purpose yards against this unit, a sign that they have all-but given up after losing their best two offensive players for the season.
  • Other thoughts. Do not sleep on Sony Michel at single-digit ownership on DraftKings. DFS players are dismissing Michel because James White is used so often in the passing game and Rex Burkhead is back in the mix, too. But Michel led the team in redzone opportunities last weekend and is facing a Dolphins' front seven that is allowing the 6th-most fantasy points per game to the position. If Vegas is correct, the Patriots should easily handle the Dolphins in this matchup and Michel's number will be called often in the second half to run clock. In Arizona, give a glance to LeGarrette Blount in tournament formats. Blount will go unnoticed this weekend because of the popularity of Jeff Wilson and Jaylen Samuels at the same price point. Yet, Blount has 36 touches over the 2 games that Kerryon Johnson has missed and is a game removed from a 2-touchdown effort against the Bears, a far better rush defense than the Cardinals, who allow the 4th-most fantasy points per game to the position.

WIDE RECEIVERS

NAMEOPPONENTSALARYCROWD EXPOSURECASH RANKGPP RANKNOTES
Keenan Allen CIN $7400 25% 1 3 Should see double-digit targets again.
Adam Humphries NO $4900 13% 2 15 Best personnel matchup of TB WRs.
T.Y. Hilton @HOU $6300 12% 3 7 Loss of Inman further bolsters volume.
Courtland Sutton @SF $4500 23% 4 12 Crowd fave absorbs WR1 role w/out Sanders.
DaeSean Hamilton @SF $3000 6% 5 14 Better matchup of DEN WRs out of slot.
Michael Thomas @TB $8600 15% - 1 Quiet of late. Blew up TB in Week #1.
Antonio Brown @OAK $9000 11% - 2 Conner injury could force more AB & JuJu.
JuJu Smith-Schuster @OAK $8200 8% - 4 10% discount from AB. Leverage from Jaylen.
Davante Adams ATL $8400 14% - 5 A TD and/or 100 yards in 8 straight games.
Tyreek Hill BAL $8000 9% - 6 Just missed *huge* game in last. Speed kills.
DeAndre Hopkins IND $7800 18% - 8 Always in play. Bump up if Coutee is active.
Julio Jones @GB $7900 13% - 9 Gamescript increased odds of rebound game.
Josh Gordon @MIA $6000 4% - 10 Almost had 2 TDs in last. Back to the well.
Chris Godwin NO $4900 29% - 11 DJax injury makes him a TD threat in shootout.
Tre'Quan Smith @TB $4500 4% - 13 Tremendous upside at single-digit ownership.

WR OVERVIEW:

CASH

  • Broncos receivers. The impact of Emmanuel Sanders' season-ending ACL tear has yet to be felt in Denver, but Courtland Sutton is the next man in line for Case Keenum's attention. The rookie wide receiver started the season as the WR3 and was bumped to WR2 when Demaryius Thomas was traded to Houston and now finds himself atop the chart entering this weekend's game against the 49ers. Sutton will run routes from the outside and match up against Richard Sherman at least 30-40% of the time, which alongside his projected 23% ownership, limits enthusiasm for tournament formats, but for cash games, he is an easy call at only $4.5K. From the slot, DaeSean Hamilton is also expected to get some looks from Keenum at the site minimum $3.0K price point. The rookie receiver out of Penn State had been seeing more snaps since the Demaryius Thomas trade, but should now be an every-down slot receiver with a soft matchup against K'Waun Williams, who has been the whipping boy in the Niners secondary for two years running. Both Sutton and Hamilton are cash game options, but the advice is to play only one option in your lineups because if the Broncos' passing game were to go south (and anything is possible with Case Keenum at quarterback), you don't want to be double-exposed. Choose one and/or run multiple lineups to mitigate risk.
  • The volume guys. Both T.Y. Hilton and Keenan Allen are coming off double-digit target games for their respective teams and are moderately priced for cash game consideration. Hilton gets a plus personnel matchup against an already-hobbled Johnathan Joseph that favors Hilton across multiple facets including speed, age, and general ability. Hilton gets a small boost by the absence of Dontrelle Inman (shoulder) who had quietly overtaken the WR2 role over the past month; Inman's targets will be redistributed amongst Colts receivers and Hilton is a likely beneficiary. In southern California, Keenan Allen is fresh off a monster 40-fantasy point game that saw Philip Rivers blister him with 19 targets against the Steelers. Allen gets an arguably better matchup against the Bengals beleaguered defense on Sunday and is squarely in play as a cash game option. We should not expect another 19-target game, but double-digits is a reasonable expectation for a receiver who is averaging a shade under that number across the season.
  • Hump day. Chris Godwin is the chalk play in the Tampa Bay Bucs receiving corps this weekend, but Adam Humphries is the recommendation as a cash game option in Week #14. Godwin certainly carries touchdown upside that does not follow Humphries, but it is the slot receiver who has the best personnel matchup against the Saints. Humphries will square up across from P.J. Williams, who ranks 111th out of 123 cornerbacks on ProFootballFocus and has allowed 6 touchdowns in his coverage (4th-worst in NFL). Humphries has scored in every game since Winston regained the starting quarterback role and has been steadily fed by Winston throughout the course of the season. At only $4.9K, he is a reasonable middle-of-the-road cash game option with a 12-15 point scoring floor in a plus gamescript and matchup.

GPP

  • Steelers WRs. With nearly 30% of the field on Jaylen Samuels in tournaments, a sharp move is to think about leveraging that ownership with a Ben Roethlisberger stack to one of his receivers. Both Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster look to be on ~ 10% of rosters, which makes them compelling high-upside options against the Raiders' 32-ranked DVOA pass defense. Brown is a touchdown machine, having scored in all but two games this season, while JuJu is a big-play receiver with 13 different 20+ yard catches to this point in the season. For their part, the Raiders have allowed the most 40+ yard passing plays in the league and are in the bottom 10 of 20+ yard passing plays allowed, both of which favor Smith-Schuster's skill set. Because the combination of both receivers would cost nearly 35% of your overall salary allocation, it is difficult to recommend a "superstack" with Roethlisberger, Brown, and Smith-Schuster unless you are striving for extreme upside in a large-field tournament. An alternative superstack option is to pick your favorite wide receiver to pair with Roethlisberger and then add back either Jaylen Samuels or Vance McDonald, both at a savings to the secondary wide receiver. The former could net you all of the Steelers' offensive points, whereas the latter could differentiate your roster from the masses.
  • Targeting NO-TB. Simply put, almost all receivers are in play in the game in Tampa Bay on Sunday. Michael Thomas gutted this Buccaneers secondary for a 16/180/1 stat line back in Week #1 and his projected ownership feels a tad low for the upside that he brings to your rosters. His teammate, Tre'Quan Smith, is a boom-or-bust receiver who has done more busting than booming of late, but this is a prime spot for him to display his speed and get behind a burnable secondary at < 5% ownership; we saw his upside just 3 weeks ago when he posted 10 catches for 157 yards and a score against the Eagles. On the opposite side of the field, Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and Adam Humphries are all in play for tournaments, but Evans is the preferred option at sub-10% crowd exposure levels. Evans has been a frustrating fantasy option in 2018, but his upside cannot be denied and is underscored by the 7/147/1 stat line he put together against this Marshon Lattimore-led secondary back in Week #1. As has been said elsewhere in this article, monitor field conditions, weather, and the Vegas total on Sunday morning to ensure that the passing game will be unaffected before investing.
  • TyFreak. Our Steve Buzzard projects Tyreek Hill to be on less than 10% of tournament rosters despite the fact that Sammy Watkins will be inactive for the second consecutive week. Box score-readers may look at last week's dismal stat line and conclude that he was not used, but those who watched the game saw Hill drop a 50+ yard touchdown strike and later was underthrown by Patrick Mahomes II on a similarly distanced pass. If those two passes are completed, Hill enters this week with 3 consecutive games with 100+ receiving yards and a pair of scores. The matchup against the Ravens is less-than-stellar, but Hill's speed cannot be matched and makes him an elite GPP option every week.



TIGHT ENDS

NAMEOPPONENTSALARYCROWD EXPOSURECASH RANKGPP RANKNOTES
Travis Kelce BAL $6700 24% 1 1 No Sammy Watkins boosts role again.
Zach Ertz @DAL $6400 13% 2 2 Eagles' best chance of moving the ball vs. DAL.
Matt LaCosse @SF $2700 2% 3 10 Punt cash option. Low ceiling for GPPs.
Eric Ebron @HOU $5700 16% - 3 18+ DK points in 3 of last 4 games.
Rob Gronkowski @MIA $4800 8% - 4 Attractive price for 2-TD upside at position.
David Njoku CAR $3900 4% - 5 CAR: 3rd most points allowed to TEs.
George Kittle DEN $5500 5% - 6 Most reliable receiver on Niners. Tough price.
Vance McDonald @OAK $3800 5% - 7 Raiders allowed most FPs/game to TEs.
C.J. Uzomah @LAC $3500 1% - 8 17 targets in 6 quarters with Driskel.
Ian Thomas @CLE $2700 3% - 9 Olsen replacement had 5 targets in last.

TE OVERVIEW:

CASH

  • Pay up. There is enough value at other positions this week that you should consider paying up at tight end because the middle- (and lower-) tier options are less than desirable for cash game formats. Travis Kelce, fresh off a game that saw him score three touchdowns (one was overturned) against the Raiders, is $6.7K and should retain the role of possession receiver for Patrick Mahomes II, as Sammy Watkins will miss yet another game due to lingering issues with his foot. The matchup against the Ravens is one of the better personnel matchups for the Chiefs in this contest, as Baltimore has allowed five different tight ends in their previous six games to score a touchdown. A $300 discount and alternative to Kelce is Zach Ertz against Dallas. Ertz leads all tight ends in receptions (93) and trails only Kelce in receiving yards. While the Cowboys defense has been stellar of late, they are in the bottom 10 of defenses against the position (fantasy point per game allowed) and are just a few games removed from allowing Ertz to wrangle them for a 14/145/2 stat line that resulted in 43.5 DraftKings points.
  • Pay down. It is no secret that I like to punt the tight end position on DraftKings because of the lower price point on those options and the general volatility of the position. If you feel that you cannot get enough salary to jam either Travis Kelce or Zach Ertz into your cash game lineups, you might ponder last week's bust and Denver Bronco, Matt LaCosse. LaCosse laid a goose egg against the Bengals last week, but what the box score does not reflect is that he ran a season-high in snaps and routes, both of which argue that he is probably too cheap at only $2.7K against the 49ers. With Emmanuel Sanders going down to an ACL injury, his marketshare will have to be redistributed amongst the remaining receivers and LaCosse is just as likely as anybody not named Courtland Sutton to benefit.

GPP

  • Isn't it Ebronic...don't cha think? Having allowed a tight end to score in three of their previous four games, the Texans better be on full-alert on Sunday when Eric Ebron comes to town. Ebron has feasted in the Colts offense this season, catching 11 touchdowns through 12 games despite having caught only 11 touchdowns across his previous 56 games in Detroit. In six games without Jack Doyle this season, Ebron is averaging a whopping 11 targets and 16 DK points per game. There is no reason to expect anything to change this weekend, particularly with additional looks to be redistributed with Dontrelle Inman (shoulder) listed as inactive. In a sneaky fast-paced game featuring two top-ten-paced offenses, it would not be surprising to see Ebron finish with yet another double-digit fantasy performance on Sunday.
  • Other thoughts. As contrarian options, both C.J. Uzomah and Ian Thomas are compelling options at an otherwise thin position. Uzomah was listed on the video version of Tips and PIcks this week and was highlighted because of his low crowd exposure and elevated usage with Jeff Driskel under center. Through 6 quarters of football, Driskel has targeted Uzomah 17 times, a rate that makes him relevant for GPP contests because his salary is so reasonable at only $3.5K. In Cleveland, the Panthers' 4th-round pick, Ian Thomas, took advantage to the season-ending injury suffered by Greg Olsen last week and put together a respectable 5/46/0 stat line in relief of Olsen. This week, the 4th-round pick will get a crack at holding down the TE1 role to wrap up the season against the Browns, who allow the 6th-most fantasy points per game to the position.

TEAM DEFENSES

NAMEOPPONENTSALARYCROWD EXPOSURECASH RANKGPP RANKNOTES
Chargers CIN $3500 9% 1 2 Perfect spot at home. Bengals mailing it in.
Steelers @OAK $3000 9% 2 1 OAK: Allows 5th-most FPs to team defense.
Cowboys PHL $2600 5% 3 6 Home team is coming alive at right time.
Broncos @SF $3600 4% - 3 Mullens at risk of benching due to sloppy play.
Bills NYJ $3200 6% - 4 Darnold returns vs. underrated defense.
Giants @WAS $2500 6% - 5 Take a stab against Mark Sanchez. Always.
Texans IND $2600 5% - 7 Winners of 9-straight at home.
Saints @TB $2700 5% - 8 Leverage play vs. massive TB field exposure.

TEAM DEF OVERVIEW:

  • The Jeff Driskel Experiment. Coming off a game that saw him turn the ball over twice, targeting Jeff Driskel with the Chargers defense makes a lot of sense for cash game formats on Sunday. The Bengals have lost their best offensive weapons to I.R. this season, including Andy Dalton, Tyler Eifert, and now A.J. Green. In the meantime, their defense is bleeding yardage and points that has caused them to lose six of their previous seven contests. This weekend, they will take a five-hour flight to Los Angeles to take on a Chargers team that is trending in the opposite direction, having won eight of its last nine games. Joey Bosa is finally playing a full bevy of snaps and is coming off a game that saw him sack the quarterback twice. With strong cornerback play and pressure on Driskel throughout, this is a great spot for the Chargers to rack up some solid fantasy production at the team defense position.
  • The Steel 'Drape.' An on-the-record critic of the Steelers defense in 2017, I am pleasantly surprised at the improved play by this similar unit in 2018. Through 12 games, the Steelers defense is averaging a respectable 7.5 DK points per game with four different double-digit efforts. Joe Haden is rejuvenated, playing shutdown defense on the outside, while Mike Hilton has been special as a slot cover man. Up front, T.J. Watt has led the way with seven sacks and will be licking his chops on Sunday to get a piece of the Raiders' offensive line that has allowed Derek Carr to be sacked three or more time in nine of their last ten games. Oakland surprisingly displayed some fight at home last week against the Chiefs, but they still allowed the Chiefs to compile double-digit fantasy points despite putting 33 points of their own on the board.
  • Other thoughts. The Broncos are intriguing GPP options against Nick Mullens, who has turned the ball over five times in his last three games and is at risk to be benched if his poor play continues. If he were to be pulled, it could get uglier with C.J. Beathard under center, as he has three games with multiple turnovers, as well. The Broncos are a wild-card defense, however, as they lost Chris Harris Jr to injured reserve last week with a broken leg, so it will be interesting to see how they adjust on the road in a game that they should win. In our nation's capital, rolling with the Giants defense against Mark Sanchez is also an option in tournament formats. Having been thrust into the game without much time to learn the playbook, Sanchez looked lost against the Eagles last week. He may have had a handful of days to pick up some additional plays, but this is a quarterback who has not played in this league consistently since 2014.