Herein is another edition of “Fantasy Draft Dominator” where we will examine the salaries of players at each position on FantasyDraft and make recommendations for both your cash games and tournaments. FantasyDraft is one of the few sites in the industry that allows you to see Ownership Percentage after roster lock but before the player’s game kicks off. To leverage this unique opportunity, we have compiled Ownership Percentages from the biggest Thursday GPP to help lend insight into both tournament and cash-game strategy for the Sunday Contests.
Below you will find a list of recommended players for both formats. Cash game players are the top overall values of the week and can be used without regard to expected ownership percentage. GPP players generally have high-upside, but are too risky for cash games. Expected ownership levels is also a major consideration in determining the top GPP options. In some instances, the value for a player is so strong, he will fall into both categories.
FantasyDraft Dominator will be posted each Friday morning, but will also be updated throughout the week as new information becomes available. Should you have any questions or players you want to discuss, hit me up on twitter (@hindery).
Cash Game Considerations
The quarterback position is absolutely wide-open this week. There are a number of good options, but none that really standout as obviously better than the rest. For the most part the position is priced fairly and there are intriguing options at every price point. Aaron Rodgers ($14,200) and Tom Brady ($14,000) stand out as the top options in the higher price range. Dak Prescott ($11,400), Jay Cutler ($10,500) and Marcus Mariota ($11,200) are amongst the top bargain options. We will see a lot of ownership overlap at running back this week, so the quarterback decision could be especially crucial to separating from the pack.
Top Cash-Game Options
Tom Brady (Cash and GPP; $14,000) Brady has been on a tear since returning from suspension. He already has 1,319 passing yards (330 per game) and 12 passing touchdowns (3 per game). While the reputation of the Seattle defense will scare many away from rostering Brady this week, it is a sneaky good spot for the Patriots. New England is well rested after a bye and the offense is as healthy and deep as it has been in many years. Meanwhile, Seattle is without top defender Michael Bennett and traveling to the West Coast on the short week after playing a physical Monday night game. The Patriots implied team total has been creeping up all week and currently stands at 28.8. Making Brady especially intriguing is that the Patriots have used their extremely pass-heavy game plans against the Seahawks in both recent matchups. In the Super Bowl win, Brady threw 50 times and racked up 328 yards and 4 touchdowns. In the previous meeting in 2012, Brady threw 58 times for 395 yards and 2 touchdowns. We could see another game of 45+ attempts for Brady, especially with top receiving back Dion Lewis likely to suit up and give Brady the league’s deepest collection of pass game targets. If you can afford to pay up in cash games, Brady is the preferred option. In tournaments, expect to see Brady’s ownership in the 8-10% range due to the reputation of the Seahawks defense and most owners looking to pay down at QB to fit in as many top RBs as possible.
Dak Prescott (Cash and GPP; $11,400) Prescott has been excellent as a passer this year, averaging 8.2 yards per attempt and completing 66.5% of his passes. He has been able to string together a long stretch of strong fantasy games despite the Cowboys being the rare NFL team averaging more rushing attempts (34.8) per game than passing attempts (31.3). The run/pass ratio should flip this week. The Steelers have a well-earned reputation as a “funnel defense,” which takes away the opposition’s running game and funnels them to a more pass-heavy attack. While some teams were able to run on the Steelers in recent weeks (Jay Ajayi rushed for 204 yards), that was with top run stuffers Cameron Hayward and Ryan Shazier. Healthy again, the Steelers limited Baltimore backs to just 36 yards on 25 carries last week. Dallas will certainly try to impose their will on the ground, but odds are the Cowboys will have to rely more heavily than normal on Prescott and the passing game if they hope to pull off the mild road upset of Pittsburgh. Prescott has been one of the most consistent touchdown producers at the quarterback position, which gives him a solid floor for cash games. He has at least three touchdowns in each of his last three games and has at least two touchdowns in six straight. The tournament upside is definitely there as well. Prescott already has four rushing touchdowns on the season and in recent years, Steelers home games against non-divisional opponents have had a tendency to shootout.
Low-Owned GPP Option
Trevor Siemian (GPP; $11,200) There’s a good reason why Siemian’s ownership was so low in Thursday GPPs (just 1%) and likely to be extremely low on Sunday as well; he hasn’t played well over the past month. In his four starts since returning from injury, he has thrown just four total touchdowns and averaged 241.5 passing yards. If there was ever a “get right” spot though, traveling to the Super Dome to face a porous Saints pass defense is it. New Orleans ranks 28th in pass defense DVOA and has allowed 300 net passing yards per game on the season. Denver comes in as slight road underdogs (+3) and with injuries along the offensive line and at running back (backup turned starter Devontae Booker is nursing a sore shoulder) is likely to have to pass a lot to outscore the potent Saints offense. Siemian succeeded in a similar road spot early in the year, throwing for 312 yards and 4 touchdowns in a come-from-behind win in Cincinnati. Stacking Siemian with one or both of Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas is a high-upside, but relatively inexpensive stack that still allows you to roster two or three of the elite running backs and wide receivers on the slate.
Cash Game Considerations
For the third straight week, the top running backs will be extremely chalky and border on “must-play” status. David Johnson ($16,000) is the obvious top overall option on the slate and should destroy an awful 49ers run defense. Melvin Gordon III ($13,400) has averaged over 30 combined carries/targets per game over the past month and his heavy red zone usage rates make him a good bet for at least one score.
Top Cash Options
David Johnson (Cash and GPP; $16,000) The week’s chalkiest option, Johnson could approach 90% ownership in cash games and is an obvious top play. San Francisco’s run defense is atrocious, allowing 193 yards per game and 5.3 yards per carry. The 49ers are dead last in run defense DVOA. In the previous matchup this season in San Francisco, Johnson had a monster game with 185 total yards and two touchdowns. San Francisco has been even worse on the road and enter the game as massive 13.5-point underdogs. Arizona has the highest implied team total on the slate at 30.8 points. Johnson has been incredible this season and consistently put up big fantasy numbers no matter the game script for Arizona. He has topped 17 fantasy points in each game. In cash games, don’t overthink it. In GPPs, the decision is a bit more nuanced. Ownership is going to be through the roof (68% in Thursday GPPs), so it may make sense to be a bit underweight compared to the field and instead stock up on the elite receivers in the same price range who will come at a fraction of the ownership if you are feeling contrarian or are not completely sold on Johnson having a huge game. Darren Sproles ($8,500) bargain price and heavy pass-game usage (16 targets over the past two weeks) makes him an almost must-play option as well. Le’Veon Bell ($14,600) and Ezekiel Elliott ($14,900) are also strong options and will make playing four running backs a popular choice this week.
Melvin Gordon III (Cash and GPP; $13,400) It feels like Gordon has been written up here every week. He continues to get a monster workload in both the run and pass game an is the go-to option for the Chargers high-scoring offense in the red zone. Whatever your feelings on Gordon as a player, there is nothing fluky about his massive production given his usage rates. He has topped 29 combined rushing attempts/targets in four straight games and touched the ball a whopping 32 times last week against. The Titans are the #12 run defense in DVOA, making Gordon’s 196 rushing yards in Week 9 all the more impressive. He is in a great spot again in Week 10, with the Chargers listed as 3.5-point home favorites against Miami. The Chargers have a mediocre run defense, allowing 136 rushing yards per game and 4.6 yards per carry on the season. Gordon comes at a $1,200 discount compared to Le’Veon Bell. He has proven to have a similar floor in terms of usage and yards to Bell, but has also been incredibly successful at finding the end zone. The cash game case for Gordon is pretty obvious and he is nearly a must-play on FantasyDraft. As with David Johnson, the GPP case is more nuanced. At an expected ownership rate of nearly 50%, there is potentially some merit in trying to pivot to a cheaper, lower-owned back and hoping Gordon doesn’t find the end zone.
Darren Sproles (Cash and GPP; $8,500) Sproles is looking like the go-to punt play of the week in the sub-$9,000 price range. He has combined for 22 rushing attempts/targets in each of the past two games and was recently announced as the “feature back” by head coach Doug Pederson. "Right now, yeah, by stats and by what you're seeing, I would say that Darren is the No. 1 back," Pederson said. "Obviously we haven't hung our hat on one guy, but we tend to lean more toward Darren Sproles. It's hard to take him off the field right now. The matchup against Atlanta is favorable for Sproles, so we should continue to see him heavily involved. Atlanta has given up a whopping 70 receptions to opposing backs and Sproles is one of the all-time great receiving backs. He has 16 targets over the past two weeks and should again see 6-10 targets against the Falcons bend-but-don’t-break style defense. At just $8,500 in a week where everyone understandably wants to pay up for the top backs, Sproles is a great option as a bargain RB2 or Flex in all formats.
Low-Owned GPP Options
Chris Ivory (GPP; $6,600) Playing Ivory in cash is a slight stretch due to his lack of usage this season in the passing game (just 7 catches this season) and the timeshare with T.J. Yeldon. However, in a week where value is tough to come by at running back and wide receiver and so many of the expensive options are poised for potentially monster games, the risk/reward of using Ivory to get another stud into your lineup in a GPP is an intriguing option. Jacksonville replaced offensive coordinator Greg Olsen with Nathaniel Hackett prior to Week 9 and Hackett has said he wants to establish the running game. In Hackett’s first game, he was true to his word and Ivory broke out with over 107 rushing yards on 18 carries against the solid Chiefs run defense. The matchup is better this week. Houston ranks just 28th in DVOA against the run and has been crushed by opposing backs. The Texans have given up at least 100 combined rushing/receiving yards to the seven starting running backs they have faced and opposing rushers have scored 9 touchdowns. With ownership just 2% in Thursday GPPs, Ivory is a great pay-down option to put together a unique lineup and still have the realistic potential for 100+ yards and a score.
Jordan Howard (GPP; $11,300) Howard is fresh off of a monster 200+ total yard performance against the stout Vikings defense and faces a mediocre Bucs defense that has given up at least 23 fantasy points to every opposing group of running backs they have faced in their last four games. Howard looked as explosive as ever in Week 8 and is now averaging 5.1 YPC on the season. He has been a workhorse back and played at least 49 snaps in 5 of the last 6 games, with just one week of wonky usage (Week 7 against the Packers) since taking over as the starter for the Bears. The Buccaneers have played at a faster pace at home (where they have dabbled with some hurry-up offense) and the Bears offense should see more snaps than normal. Chicago is expected to get top guard Josh Sitton back from injury as well. There has been some reverse line movement towards the Bears in Vegas and they are currently listed as 1-point road favorites, so we could see a favorable game script for Howard to see a huge workload. Howard will come at much lower ownership (10% in Thursday GPPs) and at a nice price discount compared to the top backs on the slate.
Cash Game Considerations
Unlike running back, where most lineups are going to look very similar, there is no clear consensus on the best plays at wide receiver in Week 10. Ownership is going to be relatively low on every receiver in all formats, though we may see Alshon Jeffery ($12,300) emerge as somewhat chalky with many owners not able to pay up for a top WR1 due to rostering a few of the top running backs. The elite receivers, Mike Evans ($16,900), Antonio Brown ($16,700), A.J. Green ($16,000), Odell Beckham Jr, Jr. ($16,600) and Julio Jones ($18,000) are all in play. Expect Evans to be the most popular and highest-owned of the group if he is cleared from he concussion protocol and fully participates in late-week practices. At the lower end, Dontrelle Inman ($6,700) will be a good option if Travis Benjamin is held out with injury.
Top Cash Options
Alshon Jeffery (Cash and GPP; $12,300) Alshon Jeffery has been a major red zone threat throughout his career. In his two full seasons as a starters, he caught 8.5 touchdowns per year. He was on a similar pace last season, with four touchdowns in less than nine full games. After starting the 2016 season with seven straight scoreless weeks, he finally found the end zone in Week 9. Jeffery’s solid performance in his last game was especially impressive since the Vikings have held opposing WR1s to just 48.9 receiving yards per game this season. The targets have slowly increased for Jeffery as he has returned to health in recent weeks. He has seen 32 targets over his last three games (10.7 per game) and has a great chance to see double-digit targets again against the Buccaneers. Tampa ranks 20th in DVOA against the pass and 19th against WR1s (who average 78 yards per game against them). With Jay Cutler back at the helm for the Bears, Cameron Meredith has faded back into obscurity (just two targets per game over his past two) as Cutler looks to his favorite targets Jeffery and Zach Miller. Locking up both Jeffery and Miller ($7,100) is a nice cash-game strategy to soak up most of the Bears passing game production (and likely 16-20 combined targets) for under $20,000. In GPPs, Jeffery is a decent option and the Cutler-Jeffery stack will be amongst the slate’s most popular. But there are lesser-owned guys (Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders, etc.) with similar upside in the same range who will come at a fraction of the ownership.
Dontrelle Inman (Cash, $6,700) With starter Travis Benjamin unlikely to play, Inman should again be poised for a heavy workload. He has played at least 66 snaps in each of the past three games and seen at least 6 targets in each of those games. Inman saw 9 targets last week and was able to produce a solid 6-56-0 line. It is hard to get excited about Inman’s upside as a GPP play. He has scored just 4 touchdowns on 127 targets in his NFL career. But he provides a relatively strong floor as a possession receiver likely to see 6-10 targets from Philip Rivers. The Dolphins are allowing 7.5 yards per attempt and 271 passing yards per game. If trying to fit in three or four elite backs in your cash game lineup, Inman provides one of the few decent options for significant salary relief on the slate.
Low-Owned GPP Options
Larry Fitzgerald (GPP; $14,300) Normally our Footballguys H-Value projections for players correlate closely with GPP ownership. The top five options at each position are generally highly owned in tournaments. However, Fitzgerald is a glaring exception in Week 10. He ranks as our #4 WR in H-Value rankings but had a Thursday GPP ownership of just 3%. A big reason for Fitzgerald being surprisingly unpopular this week is that everyone will be on his teammate, David Johnson, and do not want to roster a high-priced receiver and running back in the same game. With the Cardinals’ team total above 30 points, that reasoning doesn’t hold up to scrutiny. Both Johnson and Fitzgerald scored twice when facing the 49ers earlier this season. There should be enough touchdowns and yards to go around this week for the Cardinals offense. While Fitzgerald can certainly be rostered alongside Johnson, he is also a great play as a contrarian pivot off of Johnson. If Johnson doesn’t have a big game as expected, it likely means that Fitzgerald cashed in on some of the red zone opportunities. With the rest of the receiving corp banged up or playing poorly, Fitzgerald has seen 25 targets over the past two weeks. While many will view Fitzgerald as a safe, low-upside option, he has scored double-digit touchdowns in two of his last three games against the 49ers. Over the last two seasons, Fitzgerald has averaged 8.3 receptions, 93.7 yards and 1.3 touchdowns per game against the 49ers.
Dez Bryant (GPP; $13,300) The best time to roster a star receiver is coming off of an awful game. Not only do you get low ownership (Bryant was owned in just 1% of Thursday GPPs), you generally will see a gameplan that tries to reestablish the star receiver to keep him involved and happy. Bryant fits this description perfectly. Often facing double coverage, Bryant had just one catch for 19 yards against the lowly Browns. The extra attention he received allowed tight end Jason Witten to have a monster game (8-134-1) and will give future opponents pause in deciding whether to employ the same strategy. The Steelers are a team that generally does not like to provide too much extra attention to opposing WR1s. They rank 29th in DVOA against opposing WR1s, allowing 89.2 yards per game against. The Steelers have also averaged over 30 points per game at home on offense over the past 2.5 seasons, so the game could easily turn into a shootout. At ownership levels this low despite the favorable matchup, Bryant is a strong GPP play.
Cash Game Considerations
Tyler Eifert ($9,700) is 100% back and a major part of the Bengals offense. He has a nice matchup against the Giants Monday night and is a great play if you can fit his mid-tier salary in. If roster construction forces you to pay down, Zach Miller ($7,100) is a strong option.
Tyler Eifert (Cash and GPP; $9,700) In his first full game back from injury, Eifert exploded for 9 catches, 102 yards and a touchdown. In his last 13 full games, he has scored 14 touchdowns. The yardage hasn’t quite been on the same level as Rob Gronkowski, but the touchdown production and expectation for Eifert is right there with Gronkowksi and until the pricing catches up with that fact, Eifert will be an excellent option in all formats. In looking at where the Bengals could have the most success attacking the Giants defense, Eifert stands out. New York is 3rd in DVOA against WR1s (A.J. Green) and 5th against RBs (Giovani Bernard). While their 19th ranking against tight ends is not awful, it is clearly the best matchup for the Bengals considering the weapons at Andy Dalton’s disposal.
Zach Miller (Cash and GPP; $7,100) Down the stretch of the 2015 season and early in 2016, Miller was a go-to option for Jay Cutler. Miller had 6 or more targets in all but one game in the final six weeks of 2015 and he has averaged 6.8 targets per game this season. With Cutler back in Week 8, he looked to Miller 10 times and his big tight end responded with seven catches for 88 yards. The Buccaneers have been vulnerable against the tight end in recent weeks. In the past two games, Levine Toilolo, Austin Hooper and Mychal Rivera each scored.
Cash Game Considerations
Arizona ($7,300) is clearly the top overall option on the slate. The Cardinals should be playing from ahead against a turnover prone offense that couldn’t protect the passer the last time they faced Arizona. Paying down should also be a strong consideration this week with how strong the elite options are at running back. Jacksonville ($4,600) and both sides of the Jets ($5,600) vs. Rams ($5,600) game look like strong bargain options.
Arizona (Cash and GPP; $7,300) While the salary may be tough to fit in this week, the Cardinals defense is worth paying up for. The game script sets up perfectly for a big fantasy weekend for the Cardinals. Arizona is a 13.5-point home favorite and should be able to jump out to a big lead, which should force the 49ers into the uncomfortable position of having to rely on the arm of Colin Kaepernick. The last time these two teams matched up, Arizona racked up 7 sacks and forced 3 turnovers. Ownership will be relatively high in GPPs (with David Johnson Arizona DST stacks especially popular), but the play makes enough sense to ignore ownership and play the clear best option on the slate.
Jacksonville (Cash and GPP; $4,600) The Jacksonville defense may not inspire much confidence, but to be able to get a home favorite playing an awful offense for such a low price is a rare opportunity. The Texans team total is just 19.8 points and the Houston offense is ranked as the second-worst in the NFL in DVOA. Brock Osweiler has looked incredibly shaky this season and has thrown at least one interception in 7-of-8 games. Jalen Ramsey is slowly emerging as perhaps the best young cornerback in the NFL and should be able to shut down DeAndre Hopkins and force Osweiler to look for secondary options. You get a lot of bang for your buck in rostering the Jaguars this week and lack of trust in the young but talented unit will keep ownership artificially low in GPPs.
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