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.
WHERE TO PAY UP THIS WEEKEND? As we progress past college football, the NFL begins to spread out their games across four different days, which results in a short slate of games on Sunday afternoon. This week, we lost a game to Thursday Night Football (LAC@ KC), two games to Saturday (HOU @ NYJ and CLE @ DEN), a game to Sunday Night Football (PHL @ LAR), and yet another game to Monday Night Football (NO @ CAR). In total, that amounts to 10 teams from which we cannot choose players for the main slate. The result, particularly evident for cash games, is that there are few, if any, options at the high end of the salary scale where you will want to spend a good chunk of your salary.
At the wide receiver position, we are forced to choose between Antonio Brown ($8.5K) and JuJu Smith-Schuster ($8.0K) against the Patriots. In cash games, you cannot afford to choose the wrong option here, which makes it almost imperative to look elsewhere. The same argument could be made against Adam Thielen ($8.6K) and Stefon Diggs ($7.6K) despite plus matchups against inferior Dolphins coverage. That leaves Julio Jones ($8.4K) against the Cardinals, but Julio will see at least half of his snaps across from shutdown coverage from Patrick Peterson, who is putting together another top-10 season at the position. All of which is to say that there is no shoo-in candidate at the wide receiver position for cash games. The recommendation is to build your lineups with mid-range receivers in good matchups and potentially spend up elsewhere.
So can we spend at the running back position? Maybe. Hear me out on this one. Saquon Barkley is priced out of this world at $9.4K because he has posted 140+ all-purpose yards in every game over the past month. The question surrounding Barkley is how Odell Beckham Jr's inactive status affects the Giants offense, in general? On one end, you can make the argument that Barkley should touch the ball 30 times, but we have to remember that that Titans are the league's 2nd-stingiest defense against the position and have allowed only 1 running back to surpass 100-rushing yards all season. In Indianapolis, Ezekiel Elliott ($9.0K) will look to collect 25+ touches for the 6th consecutive week against an underrated Colts defense that has not allowed a single 100-yard rusher all season. The Colts do, however, tend to struggle against pass-catching running backs and Zeke is averaging eight targets per game over the Cowboys' previous five contests. In all, neither is a perfect cash game option, but you may be forced to roll with one of them simply because you will have salary remaining (and we never want to leave salary on the table in cash games).
The best approach, therefore, is to build your cash game roster(s) with a balanced approach, targeting mid-ranged options wherever available. This is not a week where you want to use a "stars and scrubs" strategy because the "stars" are lined with potential pitfalls. If you do build lineups with these players, be sure to build multiple lineups to diversify the risk that is described above. Best of luck!
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|
|Tom Brady||@PIT||$5900||7%||1||2||PIT: Allowed back-to-back 300-yard passers.|
|Dak Prescott||@IND||$5500||9%||2||9||Amari's arrival makes him relevant again.|
|Ben Roethlisberger||NE||$6600||10%||-||1||Pass-heaviest offense in potential shootout.|
|Kirk Cousins||MIA||$6200||6%||-||3||Allowed 28+ FPs to QBs in 5 of last 8 contests.|
|Jeff Driskel||OAK||$5100||2%||-||4||Every offense has had their way vs. OAK.|
|Lamar Jackson||TB||$5900||8%||-||5||Upside comes via 100-rush yard & TD potential.|
|Josh Rosen||@ATL||$4700||1%||-||6||ATL: Friendliest defense to QB position. Cheap.|
|Derek Carr||@CIN||$5400||2%||-||7||4x value on this salary in last two games.|
|Aaron Rodgers||@CHI||$5700||3%||-||8||Bet on talent. Different offense w/out McCarthy.|
|Matt Ryan||ARZ||$6100||5%||-||10||2nd highest implied team total = GPP-worthy.|
- The Brady Hunch. Prior to the Patriots' Week 11 bye, their offense was limited by suspensions (Julian Edelman), injuries (Rex Burkhead, Rob Gronkowski, Sony Michel), and a lack of depth (pre-Josh Gordon). Since the bye, however, it has been all-hands-on-deck and Tom Brady has responded by throwing for 280+ yards in every effort including 6 touchdowns against only 1 interception. Brady will face off against the Steelers' 21st-ranked DVOA pass defense on Sunday at Heinz Field and will look to stay hot into the playoffs in typical Brady fashion. At a sub-$6K price point and playing against the league's most pass-happy offense in the highest-projected game on the Vegas boards, this is a perfect high-floor spot to gain some exposure to Brady in all contest formats across the DFS industry.
- Dak Attack. If you cannot quite slot in Tom Brady's salary for cash games, Dak Prescott is an acceptable substitute and/or a way to diversify your cash game lineups. Since Amari Cooper arrived on the scene in Dallas in Week 9, Prescott is averaging 21 DK points per game and has not fallen below 15 points in any of those efforts. At only $5.5K, he needs only ~ 15 points to justify his spot on your cash game lineups (although we should typically strive to get closer to 3.5x value at the quarterback position). His matchup against the Colts is generally unremarkable, as the Colts are not a polarizing defense at either end of the spectrum. Where they do struggle, however, is to defend against a scrambling quarterback; both Deshaun Watson and Cody Kessler have for significant yardage totals against Indy this season.
- Ben at Home. If you have played fantasy football for more than a week, you are assuredly aware of Ben Roethlisberger's heavily skewed home/road splits. That bodes well for Roethlisberger's fantasy output this weekend, as the Steelers host the Patriots in a game that Vegas oddsmakers project to score 54 total points, by far the highest on the main DFS slate. Big Ben gets a boost with James Conner (ankle) on the "doubtful side of questionable" per our own Dr. Jene Bramel, which should mean that Roethlisberger will continue to air the ball out to keep pace with the Patriots. And the Steelers have already been throwing the ball a lot this season--they lead the league in passing percentage and have thrown the ball in 73.6% of plays over their previous 3 contests. Getting Roethlisberger's hefty salary into your lineups would be difficult on any other week, but the "pay up" options at other positions are limited on this week's slate, which means that you can slot him into your tournament lineups without excessive opportunity cost.
- Kissin' Cousins. Coming off an improbable home win against their division rival, the New England Patriots, the Miami Dolphins are in a class let-down spot this weekend when they travel to Minneapolis to take on the Vikings, who are hanging by a thread to wild-card aspirations. The truth is that the 7-6 Dolphins (alongside the Titans) are the only team(s) in the league whose team points differential (i.e., points scored versus points allowed) is in the negative, an indemnification of their playoff legitimacy. In the past month, the Dolphins have allowed 50% of opposing quarterbacks to throw for 300+ yards and they will be without their top cornerback option, Xavien Howard (knee), for the second consecutive week. Meanwhile, Kirk Cousins has been quiet of late, largely because of tough matchups against the Bears, Patriots (in Foxborough), and Seahawks. This is a bounce-back situation for Cousins and the only thing that could stop him from posting 25+ DK points is if Dalvin Cook steals the glory versus an equally inept Dolphins' front seven.
- Cheap Low-owned Options. Jeff Driskel and Josh Rosen are two options who have excellent defensive matchups with weapons around them that could otherwise hide their own inefficiencies. Driskel faces off against a Raiders defense that has allowed 13 out of 14 quarterbacks to score multiple touchdowns this season (Case Keenum being the lone exception). Given the Bengals' own issues on defense, this game could feature an immense amount of ugly play, largely by the defenses, which should elevate offenses that we would otherwise ignore, including Jeff Driskel. Pair him with Tyler Boyd (chalk option), John Ross (speed mismatch), or C.J. Uzomah (see notes in tight end section below). Rosen has admittedly been a disaster under center, but we cannot just ignore his sub-$5K salary and soft matchup altogether. The Falcons field the league's 30th-ranked DVOA pass defense, one that has allowed more fantasy points to the quarterback position than any team in the league. With a gamescript that projects Rosen to throw the ball 30+ times and talented players like Larry Fitzgerald and David Johnson, who are capable after-the-catch receivers, you could do worse than building a few rosters with Josh Rosen as contrarian options in large-field tournaments.
|NAME||OPPONENT||SALARY||CROWD EXPOSURE||CASH RANK||GPP RANK||NOTES|
|Joe Mixon||OAK||$6100||35%||1||5||Home fave vs. 27th DVOA rush defense.|
|Jaylen Samuels||NE||$5200||18%||2||8||Impressed in debut as RB1. PPR helps floor.|
|Tevin Coleman||ARZ||$4200||4%||3||3||Ito's injury status boosts Coleman's snaps.|
|Ezekiel Elliott||@IND||$9000||38%||4||11||30 touches in 4 straight contests.|
|Saquon Barkley||TEN||$9400||28%||-||1||No OBJ puts bulk of offense on Saquon.|
|Leonard Fournette||WAS||$7500||13%||-||2||Could be 1st winning gamescript of 2018.|
|Dalvin Cook||MIA||$6500||18%||-||4||Somewhat overlooked despite 2 TD upside.|
|David Johnson||@ATL||$7100||11%||-||6||Plush matchup vs. 31st DVOA rush D.|
|Gus Edwards||TB||$4400||6%||-||7||Style is more suited for TB than Dixon.|
|Jordan Howard||GB||$3900||8%||-||9||17+ touches in 3 of last 4. Home fave.|
|Sony Michel||@PIT||$5400||4%||-||10||Would be $7.5K with Develin's vultured TDs.|
|Chris Carson||@SF||$5600||6%||-||12||Should get bulk of work w/Penny inactive.|
- Mixon it up. Fresh off a game that saw Joe Mixon touch the ball 31 times against the Chargers, the crowd is going back to the well with him against the Raiders' 27th-ranked DVOA rush defense on Sunday. Mixon will likely go off as the chalk running back in tournaments and will be found in at least half of cash game lineups because of the implied gamescript as short home favorites with a young quarterback. The price tag is the most attractive aspect of getting Mixon into your lineups because, at $6.1K, he should touch the ball 25+ times and get most of the redzone looks out of the Bengals backfield. A competent receiver, Mixon gets bonus points on DraftKings because of their full PPR scoring format, too.
- Zeke. Assuming you read the Tips section at the top of the article, you know that this week is not one that lends itself to spending up at any particular position. That said, if you need to spend remaining salary, Ezekiel Elliott is the choice (over Saquon Barkley) because the Cowboys are the more reliable offense entering this point in the season. Dallas is at the top of their division and is looking to win their sixth straight, while the Giants will be without Odell Beckham Jr and have little to play for with a 5-8 record. The matchup for Elliott is less than stellar against the Colts' 5th-ranked DVOA rush defense, but they have been effectively attacked by pass-catching running backs and Elliott is averaging eight targets per game since the Cowboys' Week 8 bye. With ~ 30 touches in every game over the past month and a team looking towards the playoffs, Ezekiel Elliott is the pay-up option for cash games, if your lineup construction is taking you down that route.
- Fournette and Jags Defense. Since returning from a hamstring issue that kept him from playing for the first two months of the season, Leonard Fournette has not started a game where the Jags have actually played with a lead. Despite going 0-4 in those contests, the Jags have fed Fournette to the tune of 24 touches per game. This week, Fournette gets his first plum matchup of the season against Washington's front seven that started hot against the rush, but has struggled as of late. Over their past 5 games, the Skins have allowed 4 different running backs to surpass 100 all-purpose yards, including a monstrous 14/170/1 (plus 4/27/0 through the air) stat line to Saquon Barkley just last week. Playing for the home-field Jags as touchdown favorites, there are multiple reasons to be excited about Leonard Fournette's fantasy prospects on Sunday.
- Cookin' in Minnesota. With a clear command of snaps and touches in the Vikings backfield, Dalvin Cook is in a prime spot to deliver against an overmatched Dolphins rush defense on Sunday in Minnesota. A hefty home favorite, the Vikings could pound the ball late in this game and provide Cook with what he has been missing since returning from a hamstring injury: volume. Cook has been stellar in the five games since he returned, averaging over 5.0 yards per carry, but he has not surpassed 20 touches in any of those efforts. This Sunday may mark the first time that Cook gets those all-important extra touches to help catapult his GPP upside. For their part, the Dolphins are allowing the 7th most fantasy points to opposing running backs, a statistic that may be worse if they had played against better quality running backs across more games this season.
- Other Thoughts. The DFS community will be gravitating towards the passing units in the New England-Pittsburgh game, particularly where the Patriots are concerned because there is a conception that the Pats distribute their backfield workload across too many players. The truth is that Sony Michel is still the workhorse running back, having enjoyed 23, 18, and 20 touches over the Patriots' last 3 contests. Where DFS players become concerned is around the goalline, as Michel has lost three touchdowns to James Develin in those same contests. If you believe Develin has become the goalline back for New England, you should not roster Michel, but if you (like me) know the redzone touches for those individuals over that span (Michel: 14; Develin: 3), you will feel just fine clicking on Michel's name in tournaments. In Chicago, do not be afraid to get a few shares of Jordan Howard against the Packers' 29th-ranked DVOA rush defense. Howard is unattractive on DraftKings because he rarely catches passes, but his $3.9K price tag reflects that reality and he brings multiple touchdown upside to your rosters at single-digit ownership rates, a combination that rarely manifests itself at this price point.
|NAME||OPPONENT||SALARY||CROWD EXPOSURE||CASH RANK||GPP RANK||NOTES|
|Tyler Boyd||OAK||$5700||12%||1||3||Leads team in targets since AJ's injury.|
|Sterling Shepard||TEN||$4400||14%||2||14||Should get WR1 looks with OBJ inactive.|
|Kenny Golladay||@BUF||$5400||9%||3||11||Tough coverage in last two. Bounce back spot.|
|Larry Fitzgerald||@ATL||$4700||6%||4||15||Future HOF'er still getting his. Plus matchup.|
|Dede Westbrook||WAS||$4500||7%||5||12||Kessler's fave target. Avoids Norman coverage.|
|Julian Edelman||@PIT||$7200||12%||-||1||PIT cannot cover slot receivers. See gamelogs.|
|Antonio Brown||NE||$8500||13%||-||2||JuJu is good but AB can still score twice.|
|Stefon Diggs||MIA||$7600||13%||-||4||No Xavien Howard = MIN WRs gonna eat.|
|JuJu Smith-Schuster||NE||$8000||18%||-||5||Difficult decision between AB and JuJu.|
|Amari Cooper||@IND||$7500||23%||-||6||Saw his upside in last. 8+ catches in 3 straight.|
|Davante Adams||@CHI||$7900||8%||-||7||Matchup-proof all season. Plug gamescript|
|Corey Davis||@NYG||$5600||5%||-||8||GPP sleeper gets suspect NYG secondary.|
|Josh Gordon||@PIT||$6400||5%||-||9||Gotta target players from this game on sad slate.|
|Adam Thielen||MIA||$8600||13%||-||10||See notes on Stefon Diggs above.|
|Doug Baldwin||@SF||$5300||3%||-||12||Slot receivers have slaughtered SF all season.|
- Don't Avoid Boyd. Since A.J. Green injured his foot in Week 8, no Bengals receiver has more targets than Tyler Boyd. A third-year receiver out of Pittsburgh, Boyd should surpass 1,000-receiving yards for the first time in his career this Sunday and will do so against a soft Raiders secondary that saw JuJu Smith-Schuster rip them for 130 yards and a pair of scores just last weekend. Some may shy away from Boyd because he has only one score over the Bengals' previous five games, but he has faced superior coverage in those contests and this game represents the easiest competition he has faced since before A.J. Green was injured. Boyd is affordably priced at only $5.7K and confers a WR1 floor without paying an extra $1-2K to get there.
- Take Advantage of Injuries. Both Odell Beckham Jr and Bruce Ellington will be inactive on Sunday, which leaves their target loads (10/game and 8/game, respectively) to be redistributed amongst other receivers. In New York, the most logical recipient of those additional targets will be Sterling Shepard, who has played third-fiddle behind OBJ and Saquon Barkley all season. On Sunday, however, Shepard should see double-digit targets against a suspect secondary that includes Adoree' Jackson and Malcolm Butler, who have combined to allow a prodigious 11 touchdowns to be completed in their coverage this season. In Detroit, no Ellington means that Kenny Golladay will absorb additional targets on a wide receiving corps that has lost Marvin Jones Jr to an injury and Golden Tate to a trade. Golladay should also enjoy double-digit targets against the Bills on Sunday and we should expect him to deliver after several clunkers over the past few weeks. In those contests, Golladay dealt with superior coverage including Patrick Peterson, Marcus Peters/Aqib Talib, and Kyle Fuller. This week, he will get a steady dose of TreDavious White, but White is in the midst of a disappointing season (92nd of 129 cornerbacks on PFF), one that saw him get toasted by Robby Anderson just last week.
- Elsewhere. A plus gamescript and personnel matchup against Brian Poole, who gives up five inches in size and considerable talent to Larry Fitzgerald, makes the future Hall of Famer a cash game option against the Falcons on Sunday. Fitz is fairly priced at only $4.7K and should get a steady dose of targets from Josh Rosen, who is expected to be playing from behind for much of this contest. The upside for Fitzgerald may be limited, but his floor for this contest should be in the 10-15 point range given the aforementioned factors, which makes him a relatively safe cash game play despite his volatile quarterback. Speaking of questionable quarterback play, Cody Kessler will be under center again for the Jaguars on Sunday. With two games of data, it is clear to see that Kessler favors throwing to his slot receiver, Dede Westbrook, to get the ball out of his hands and thereby keeping him upright. Westbrook will line up across from rookie Greg Stroman, who has allowed a 121 QB rating when targeted this season.
- Loading up in Pittsburgh. Feel free to roll with just about any starting receiver in the Patriots-Steelers game on Sunday. Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster have arguably become the best WR1/WR2 combination in the league over the course of this season and will present serious matchup problems for Bill Belichick's man-heavy defensive scheme. The only drawback, as we saw last week in Oakland, is that it is difficult to afford the salary of both receivers and there is a distinct chance that only one could deliver fantasy goodness. On the other side of the field, Julian Edelman tops the list for tournaments. The name-brand recognition for Julian Edelman does not resonate with the DFS community as much as names like Odell Beckham Jr, Julio Jones, Michael Thomas, and the like; as a result, Edelman's crowd exposure tends to stay on the better side of reasonable. This week, our Steve Buzzard projects him to land on 12% of tournament rosters on DraftKings, a number that is too low given the likely pace of this game and the Steelers' general inability to cover inside receivers--over their previous three games, the Steelers have allowed Seth Roberts, Keenan Allen, and Emmanuel Sanders (all slot receivers) to surpass expectations. To round out this paragraph, do not dismiss Josh Gordon, who becomes more ensconced into this offense with each passing week; he brings multiple touchdown upside to your lineups at a WR2 price point.
- Diggs and Thielen. With Miami's best cornerback, Xavien Howard, watching from the sidelines, Kirk Cousins should have little difficulty carving through the Dolphins' 26th-ranked DVOA pass defense. The Vikings are projected to score 26 points, just a shade beneath the highest-projected team (Patriots, 28.3 points) on the main slate. Thus, the upside should be there for the Vikings' receiving corps, including Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen, and even Kyle Rudolph (see commentary in next section). Thielen is the most expensive receiver on this slate and his implied ownership is somewhat low (13%) despite his hot start to the season; Diggs is offered up at a $1K discount from Thielen and has been eerily similar to Thielen since the Vikings' Week 10 bye. Both have solid personnel matchups, as Thielen will face-off against Bobby McCain, who gives up three inches and some speed to Thielen, whereas Diggs will get time across from Torry McTyer who is allowing > 80% of passes into his coverage to be caught. In both cases, the Vikings possess a solid athletic edge.
- Other Thoughts. Do not sleep on Davante Adams against a reputable Bears defense. Chicago has earned high praise for their defensive prowess, having just shut down the potent Los Angeles Rams offense on Monday Night Football last week. But it would not be surprising to see their divisional rivals come to town and put the Bears to task with Aaron Rodgers under center and no Mike McCarthy to hold him back. Davante Adams has been on fire for much of the season and has bested some of the league's premier coverage cornerbacks including Darius Slay, Richard Sherman, Xavien Howard, and Patrick Peterson. Kyle Fuller is putting together a stellar season, but Adams is worth a GPP flyer as a stack with Rodgers when they are both at single-digit ownership. Lastly, monitor the news coming out of Seattle, but if Doug Baldwin is active, he is an intriguing tournament option against the Niners' slot cornerback, as slot receivers have destroyed San Francisco all season. Baldwin is fairly priced at only $5.3K, but keep him in your flex position and be prepared to late-swap him to Jaylen Samuels ($5.2K) if he is announced as inactive after the early games lock.
|NAME||OPPONENT||SALARY||CROWD EXPOSURE||CASH RANK||GPP RANK||NOTES|
|Eric Ebron||DAL||$5900||21%||1||1||T.Y. trending poorly = Ebron all day.|
|Vernon Davis||@JAX||$3200||8%||2||8||Loss of Reed cements every down usage.|
|Evan Engram||TEN||$4100||6%||3||5||Should see increased work again w/out OBJ.|
|Rob Gronkowski||@PIT||$5800||14%||-||2||Steeler killer. Scored in 2 of last 3 games.|
|Jared Cook||@CIN||$5600||10%||-||3||Looking for 3 straight 100-yard games.|
|Kyle Rudolph||MIA||$3500||4%||-||4||Sneaky GPP spot vs. poor TE defense.|
|Vance McDonald||NE||$3900||2%||-||6||Big Ben will need to use all weapons vs. NE.|
|C.J. Uzomah||OAK||$3600||3%||-||7||OAK: Worst NFL defense vs. TE position.|
|George Kittle||SEA||$6300||12%||-||9||Price is only deterrent. 200+ yards in last.|
|Trey Burton||GB||$3700||3%||-||10||Contrarian option on high-scoring team.|
- Ebron. Last week, I recommended T.Y. Hilton as a top play and he delivered nearly 200-receiving yards despite questions about his health headed into that contest. This week, I have larger reservations about T.Y. Hilton, so much so that I have "X'ed" him out of my GPP player pool because I believe he either will not play, will not be effective, or is subject to re-injury, if he does play. In line with that reasoning, Eric Ebron should become the de facto number-one receiver for the Colts this Sunday. Since Jack Doyle went down for the season with multiple injuries, Ebron is averaging over 10 targets per game and it would be difficult to imagine him getting less targets with Hilton sidelined on Sunday. The matchup against the Cowboys is solid, as Dallas is allowing the 8th most fantasy points to the position and have allowed 5 touchdowns to the position in their last 6 games.
- Vernon It Up. To save a bit of salary from Eric Ebron without sacrificing a scoring floor, Vernon Davis is a compelling cash game option against the Jacksonville Jaguars. First, the Jags boast one of the more elite perimeter coverage units in the league with A.J. Bouye and Jalen Ramsey, which tends to funnel passing action to inside routes. Next, we should not expect Josh Johnson, making his first start in seven years, to throw the ball deep in this contest, an expectation that benefits Vernon Davis' likely routes. Lastly, Davis has been surprisingly efficient in limited action this season, scoring as many touchdowns as Jordan Reed in a fraction of the routes that Reed ran. Over their previous six contests, the Jaguars have allowed six receiving touchdowns to the tight end position.
- Gronk Smash. Hampered by injuries, Rob Gronkowski has been a disappointment for much of the 2018 fantasy season, but he appears to be getting healthy at just the right time as the Patriots make their playoff push into late December. Last week, Gronk posted his first 100-yard receiving game since Week 1 and scored his first redzone touchdown of the season. This Sunday, he will face a Steelers team that he has historically crushed; in six career games against the Steelers, Gronk is averaging over 110 yards receiving and has scored 8 touchdowns. Meanwhile, the Steelers have not done much to slow tight ends this season, as they allow the 4th-most fantasy points to the position and are coming off a week where they allowed nearly 40 fantasy points to Raiders' tight ends. This is a blowup spot for Gronkowski, all at a fair price and relatively low ownership.
- Other Thoughts. C.J. Uzomah has not scored a touchdown since Week 7, but this Sunday's matchup against the Raiders could change that trend in a hurry. Oakland allows more fantasy points to the tight end position than any team in the league and are just a week removed from yielding three touchdowns to Chiefs' tight ends. They have allowed 49% more production to the position than league-adjusted defenses, a statistic that drives home the premise that they simply cannot cover the position. Uzomah may not be the most talented tight end on this slate, but his matchup makes him an attractive tournament option at less than 5% ownership. Elsewhere, do not sleep on Kyle Rudolph against a Dolphins team that has not figured out how to slow down tight ends for the duration of this season. Miami has allowed three different tight ends to score multiple touchdowns and a league-high nine touchdowns to the position. All of Rudolph's peripheral stats are in line with his career numbers except for his lack of scoring in 2018; he is in line for positive scoring regression as the season comes to a close and this is a perfect spot to make that happen at ridiculously low crowd ownership.
|NAME||OPPONENT||SALARY||CROWD EXPOSURE||CASH RANK||GPP RANK||NOTES|
|Jaguars||WAS||$3400||8%||1||1||Josh Jackson has not started at QB since 2011.|
|Falcons||ARZ||$2700||7%||2||6||Josh Rosen has helped many defenses already.|
|Vikings||MIA||$3100||8%||-||2||Tannehill is always subject to turnovers.|
|Ravens||TB||$3000||12%||-||3||Always consider the Ravens at home.|
|Seahawks||@SF||$3300||4%||-||4||Nick Mullens: 6 INTs over past month.|
|Bills||DET||$2800||12%||-||5||Underrated defense vs. banged up offense.|
|Titans||@NYG||$2600||4%||-||7||If TEN leads early, Eli has few receivers.|
|Bears||GB||$2900||9%||-||8||Best defense in the league at sub-$3K.|
TEAM DEF OVERVIEW:
- Josh Johnson, Circa 2011. The Jaguars are admittedly a dumpster fire of a team right now, but we should still feel 100% confident starting their defense at home against a quarterback that has not started a game since 2011. Josh Johnson was on his couch watching football just a few weeks ago; after season-ending injuries to Alex Smith and Colt McCoy, the Redskins called him up to back-up Mark Sanchez, who quickly gave way to Johnson last week after Sanchez "Sanchez'ed" himself out of the job. To be fair, Johnson looked solid, if not good, against the Giants in the second half of the game, but it was against a prevent defense due to a substantial lead built by the Giants earlier in the game. Johnson will not have the luxury of facing a prevent defense this Sunday against the Jags in their stadium. Instead, he will have to contend with a talented secondary and edge pass rushers who could force sacks, turnovers, and potential scoring opportunities for the Jaguars defense.
- Purple Reign. As discussed earlier in this article, the Dolphins are in a prime let-down spot after an improbable win against the Patriots last Sunday. Miami will travel to Minnesota to take on a Vikings team in a must-win situation. Generally quiet over the past month against better offenses, this Minnesota Vikings defense has five double-digit fantasy performances this season and brings that level of upside to your tournament rosters when they square up against Ryan Tannehill. To be fair, the Dolphins are 5-1 in games that Tannehill has started and finished this season, but those games were against far inferior opponents. Tannehill is at his best when he is not asked to do much, but this gamescript (Vikings -7.5) does not fall within his comfort zone and could result in sloppy play. Look for the entire Dolphins offense to struggle coming off that big divisional win and fall flat against a fired-up Vikings defense in Minnesota.
- Other Thoughts. Jameis Winston was benched for turning the ball over earlier this season and now travels to cold and rainy Baltimore to take on one of the league's best defensive units. The weather in the Northeast has been rainy for weeks and if the field conditions are unfavorable, Winston could return to his sloppy playing behavior and the Ravens would be quick to capitalize, as their 2nd overall DVOA defense is allowing only 17.0 points per game at home this season. Truth is that the conditions do not need to be poor for Winston to turn in a stinker, as we have seen him do that plenty of times across his young career. In San Francisco, there is reason to consider the Seahawks defense on the road against a Nick Mullens offense that may be feature a limited (or worse) Matt Breida and a hodge-podge set of receivers (save George Kittle). The Seahawks defense is not at the caliber that it was just a few years ago, but they have put together back-to-back 16 fantasy point performances and get a tasty matchup against a turnover-prone quarterback.
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DFS Coverage: Conference Championships - Staff