Okay. So, we’ve gotten some complaints about the word-count on this bad boy, so we’ve decided to cut it short. This week I’ll just be writing up my Tier 1 and Tier 2 favorite plays at each position. I’m really just focusing on what I think are the best plays at each position.
Okay, I didn’t write up “Player X”. He’s in play, he’s a fine play, but there’s at least one guy I prefer more at a similar price-tag.
Johnny is always telling me, “DFS is evolving, and we need to evolve with it.” DFS cash has gotten exceedingly more difficult. Tournaments are looking like a completely different game. As projections and DFS players have gotten better, knowing who the best plays are is becoming less and less important in contrast to game theory (how to then leverage off of those best plays). We’ll have a section on that at the end of the article.
Here we go….
Alvin Kamara – If Michael Thomas is out, there’s no question Kamara is the single-greatest play of the slate. He ranks 2nd in XFP per game (22.4) and 1st in XFP% (29.3%), averaging 12.2 carries and 9.0 targets per game. He’s averaging 29.5 FPG, which leads the next-closest flex-eligible player (Aaron Jones) by 6.5 FPG. Kamara, sans Thomas, is basically 2019 Christian McCaffrey in terms of usage and production, but on DraftKings he’s about $2,800 cheaper than where McCaffrey would typically be priced.
Notes: Michael Thomas is out.
Giovani Bernard – Bernard would rival Kamara (sans Thomas) as the best point-per-dollar play on the slate (but not the best overall play, due to a lesser ceiling) if Joe Mixon sits out. Over the past two seasons only three Cincinnati RBs have seen a single touch: Mixon (453), Bernard (111), Perine (1). Since 2017, Bernard averages 19.4 FPG when Mixon sits out, playing on nearly every snap.
Notes: Joe Mixon is out.
Kareem Hunt – Hunt is easily one of the best plays of the slate, handling 73% of the backfield XFP since Nick Chubb went down. Hunt had little to show for that good usage, but both games came against defenses ranking top-5 in FPG allowed to opposing RBs. Through the first 4 weeks of the season, Hunt ranked 9th in FPG (17.4), and on just 50% of the backfield XFP and 41% of the snaps. This week’s matchup is much better – Cleveland is favored by 3.5-points, and Cincinnati ranks bottom-5 in YPC allowed (5.19). When these two teams faced off in Week 2, Chubb and Hunt combined for 234 yards and 4 touchdowns.
Aaron Jones – Jones is not technically a bell cow, playing on just 56% of Green Bay’s snaps to-date, but Jones still ranks 2nd among all players in XFP market share (28%). He’s averaging 15.0 carries and 5.6 targets per game on one of the most efficient offenses in football. Houston is giving up the most schedule-adjusted FPG to opposing RBs (+11.4), ranking worst in both YPC allowed (5.94) and rushing FPG allowed (24.2) to opposing RBs. He’s a great play, with a proven ceiling, posting highs of 52.2, 48.6, 44.6, 34.2, 32.0, and 28.0 DKFP over the past two seasons.
Note: Aaron Jones was dealing with calf tightness at practice on Friday, but is confident he will play. Jamaal Williams is a pretty intriguing leverage play for large field tournaments and MME. If Jones is out, Williams becomes an amazing play. Though he wouldn’t be a true bell cow like Bernard, he may still be the better play overall in a smash-matchup. He’ll likely split early-down rushing work something like 65/35 with A.J. Dillon, while handling nearly all of the passing down work.
Ezekiel Elliott – Elliott is leading the league in XFP per game (24.6), and has hit 17.5 DKFP in 5 of 6 games, but has yet to go nuclear, or even keep pace with his volume (21.1 FPG). After Andy Dalton’s disastrous showing last week, it wouldn’t shock me to see Dallas lean even harder on Zeke this week, and use this as a get-right spot after he fumbled twice last week. He offers slate-busting upside at just 8% ownership.
Mike Davis – Y’all know the deal by now. 90% CMC priced like 70% CMC. It’s a brutal matchup, but this sort of usage implies he’s more matchup proof than most.
Jerick McKinnon – Johnny made a great point on the podcast. Is Jerick McKinnon really this team’s bell cow? He played every snap in Q3, after Raheem Mostert’s injury, but JaMycal Hasty played 15 of 19 snaps in Q4. With the score 21-9 at the time, maybe they were just resting their bell cow? And if McKinnon is the bell cow, like he was in Week 4, he’s way too cheap (at least on FanDuel). And even when he was not the bell cow (Week 3), he was still fairly productive. I’m not all-in on this call, but it was a very interesting point, and he does project to be low-owned (4%).
James Conner – Conner ranks 5th among RBs in our projections, but ranks just 7th (DK) and 10th (FD) in salary. And he’s projected to draw contrarian levels of ownership this week (4%), despite the good value. Conner has scored 23.1, 27.9, 15.3, and 20.2 DKFP in his last 4 games, Tennessee ranks 6th-worst in YPC allowed and 8th-worst in schedule-adjusted FPG allowed to RBs.
Other: I don’t love Justin Jackson as much as my peers. He saw 71% of the backfield XFP in Week 5, but New Orleans is a pass-funnel which lends itself more towards Jackson’s talents. I’m projecting about a 50/50 split of the rushing work with Joshua Kelley this week. And though Jackson will handle the far majority of the passing-down work, it might not be needed this week, as 7.5-point favorites…. Chris Carson is a great on-paper play, while also offering leverage off of the chalkier pass-catchers from the Seattle @ Arizona game. The same can be said for Kenyan Drake who is also a little too cheap on DraftKings… Jackson, Antonio Gibson, and David Johnson are a little too cheap on DraftKings… Todd Gurley and Gibson are a little too cheap on FanDuel… Jamaal Williams is cheap, pretty interesting leverage off of Jones, and he’ll get around 10 opportunities in a near-perfect matchup… Clyde Edwards-Helaire is intriguing if Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill go highly owned. Many are worried about Le’Veon Bell, but there’s a chance he’s little more than a back-up in his first game with the Chiefs… Ronald Jones is very interesting to me, but I’ll talk a bit more about him later…
Terry McLaurin – McLaurin is just the 19th-highest-priced WR on DraftKings, priced in line with his per-game average – 16.6 FPG, which ranks 19th. However, his volume has been quite a bit better than that production implies, ranking 8th in targets per game (9.7), 9th in air yards per game (110.5), and 11th in XFP per game (18.4). One cause for the poor efficiency, beyond dreadful QB play, is a brutal schedule to start the year. Seriously, one of the toughest for any WR. This week he gets an easy top-3 matchup, and easily the easiest matchup he’s had to-date. I discussed this all in more detail here.
Keenan Allen – Allen scored 10.9 fantasy points on just 6 routes (2 targets) in Week 5, before exiting the game early due to injury. Before that, across all other games with Justin Herbert starting (Mike Williams missed one of these games, was banged up in another), Allen averaged 13.3 targets, 96.7 yards, and 20.7 FPG. He saw double-digit targets in all of these games, averaging an absurd 37% market share. He’s egregiously mispriced on DraftKings, as the 15th-highest-priced WR of the slate, up against a Jaguars defense that ranks 3rd-worst in FPG allowed to opposing slot WRs.
Diontae Johnson – Johnson destroyed our cash lineups in each of his last 2 games, running a combined 14 routes before exiting both games early due to injury. But he still could be the Exodia we drafted him to be in season-long. For instance, he still ranks 4th among all WRs in targets per route run. Across those first two healthy games, Johnson averaged 17.5 fantasy points, 18.7 XFP, 12.0 targets, 1.5 deep targets, and 1.5 end zone targets. Okay, maybe Claypool has established himself as the alpha, or will at least eat into that good volume. Still, that’s more than priced into his measly $4,200 salary on DraftKings, which ranks 49th at the position. He’ll get quite a bit of Malcolm Butler, arguably the worst CB in the NFL. The Titans have given up highs of 33.5, 27.3, 23.6, and 21.8 DKFP to opposing outside WRs over their last 3 games, and rank 5th-worst in deep FPG allowed to WRs on deep passes.
DeAndre Hopkins – Hopkins “flopped” last week in a plus matchup, turning 8 targets into two catches and 73 yards while Kyler Murray completed just 7 other passes. But Hopkins hit 20.0 DKFP in 4 of his 5 prior games, averaging 23.8 DKFP and 10.6 targets per game. He now gets an absolute perfect matchup against a Seattle defense that’s allowing opposing WR1s to out-score their per-game average by a league-high 12.1 fantasy points per game. In Hopkins’ case that means we should expect him to score… oh boy… 32.3 fantasy points this week.
Notes: HC Kliff Kingsbury said he’s “hopeful” Hopkins can play on Sunday. That’s not very encouraging, and makes Christian Kirk look like an even better play. Andy Isabella would become a more interesting dart-throw if he sits out.
Tyreek Hill – Hill rivals McLaurin as the best WR value on DraftKings, ranking just 13th in salary. Hill flopped last week, but after games with 18.3, 16.4, 21.2, 21.8, and 15.6 fantasy points. Target-volume is a concern – he’s averaging just 6.3 targets per game – but this is Tyreek freaking Hill we’re talking about. He averages 19.3 FPG since 2018, hitting 3X his current salary in 44% of his full games over this span.
Stefon Diggs – Diggs ranks 8th in FPG (19.3) and 3rd in XFP per game (18.2). He saw 16(!) targets in Week 5 when John Brown sat out in Week 5. He’s out again this week, as is TE Dawson Knox. The Jets are giving up the 5th-most FPG to opposing outside WRs. The Bills have the 3rd-highest implied point total of the slate (28.75). He’s just the 9th highest-priced WR on FanDuel this week.
Christian Kirk – Kirk feels like a “fish play” coming off of a 3-target 22.6-fantasy point outing, but I don’t think that’s the case at all. Dallas has allowed 8 WRs to reach at least 23.0 DKFP against them. And they’ve played only 5 games. They’re also giving up the 2nd-most FPG to opposing WRs on deep passes, which is Kirk’s role in this offense, ranking 13th in deep targets per game (1.8). As just the 32nd (DK) and 41st-highest-priced WR of the slate (FD), he’s a great upside play at the price. Notes: HC Kliff Kingsbury said he’s “hopeful” Hopkins can play on Sunday. That’s not very encouraging, and makes Christian Kirk look like an even better play. Andy Isabella would become a more interesting dart-throw if he sits out.
1) With both Michael Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders out, Tre’Quan Smith is your best punt play of the week at just $4,000. He averages 5.0 targets, 47.5 yards, and 11.5 FPG since Week 2. Sanders totaled 23 targets, 18 catches, and 215 yards over his last two games.
2) With John Brown out (and TE Dawson Knox), Gabriel Davis (an Adam Caplan favorite dating back to May) is very intriguing at $3,600. When Brown sat out Week 5, Davis led the team in routes (43 of 49), earning 123 air yards on 9 targets. He’s a very close second behind Smith…
3) Breshad Perriman is another option, but only if Tre’Davious White (currently questionable) sits out. Josh Norman is also out, so Buffalo would be starting two backups on the perimeter. But if White plays there’s a chance he shadows. He saw 123 air yards on 9 targets last week. He’s just $3,700 on DraftKings…
4) With Sammy Watkins out, Demarcus Robinson ran a route on 100% of Patrick Mahomes’ dropbacks last week, catching 5 of 6 targets for 69 yards. You can argue Tyreek Hill has the tougher matchup in the slot (73% of his routes last week) – Denver ranks 3rd-best in FPG allowed to slot WRs, but 13th-worst to outside WRs. Of course, he’s done nothing else all year, and is a distant 4th behind the other 3 options.
Jamison Crowder – Somehow, Crowder is projected to be just 3% owned this week. Through 4 games, he ranks 2nd in XFP per game (18.3) and 6th in FPG (19.8). He finished 2nd among all WRs in XFP last week (22.7), after prior finishes of 19th, 16th, and 8th. Even across his 2-game absence, slot WR Braxton Berrios averaged 17.2 FPG. Crowder saw 13 targets last week (now hitting double-digit targets in every game thus far), but scored just 11.8 fantasy points, after 3-straight 100-yard games. He’ll get Buffalo’s slot funnel defense this week (8th-most FPG allowed to slot WRs, 10th-fewest FPG allowed to outside WRs), who he’s gashed for 23.0 FPG on 13.3 targets across his last 3 games against them. As just the 18th highest-priced WR of the slate on DraftKings, he seems priced at just about his floor, and getting Sam Darnold back is a plus, but bump him down slightly if Tre’Davious White sits out.
Tee Higgins / Tyler Boyd – Higgins is popping as our top WR value on FanDuel (as per the DFS SuperModel), which is notable after Justin Jefferson ranked 2nd-best last week. Higgins averages 14.8 XFP over his last 4 games, hitting at least 13.9 in every game, and out-totaling Tyler Boyd in each of his last 3 games. For perspective, that ranks 17th-best over this span, and his 15.7 FPG average over this span ranks 20th-best. But he ranks just 31st in salary on FanDuel… Still, he’s only slightly cheaper than Tyler Boyd (just $100 cheaper on DraftKings, $300 cheaper on FanDuel), and they both have great matchups. The Browns are giving up the 9th-most FPG to opposing outside WRs (Higgins and Green), but the 2nd-most FPG to opposing slot WRs (Boyd). Boyd has quietly had a brutal schedule to start the year, with 4 of his 6 opponents ranking top-12 in FPG allowed to opposing slot WRs, including shadow coverage from the league’s 2 best slot CBs Chris Harris Jr. and Marlon Humphrey. Just excluding those two shadow games, Boyd is averaging 18.0 FPG on 9.3 targets per game… For what it’s worth, Wes Huber prefers Higgins, based on Cleveland’s zone-heavy scheme. Both are likely to draw low ownership, while also offering leverage off of Giovani Bernard.
DK Metcalf / Tyler Lockett – Arizona is giving up the 4th-fewest FPG to outside WRs, but the 5th-most to slot WRs. That had me leaning Lockett, though Wes Huber prefers Metcalf against their Cover-1 scheme. Ultimately, Metcalf is probably somewhat matchup-proof, and Wilson is playing out of his mind. I think I still prefer Lockett, but it’s basically a coin-flip. One easy way to split this is by playing both sites and rolling with Lockett on DraftKings (where he’s cheaper than Metcalf) and Metcalf on FanDuel (where he’s cheaper than Lockett).
Kenny Golladay – Johnny said Golladay is only ever a WR he’ll play when stacked with another piece from that game (e.g. Matthew Stafford, Calvin Ridley) due to volume and pace concerns, but he is a strong play on paper. The Falcons are giving up the 4th-most FPG to outside WRs, but this is also a type of coverage Golladay historically dominates. Remember, this was a matchup Wes Huber circled for us earlier in the offseason. He’s averaging 7.0 targets per game (23% TMS) and 17.1 DKFPG.
Julio Jones / Calvin Ridley – Ridley has posted totals of 36.9, 32.9, 19.7, 0.0, 24.6, and 18.9 DKFP this year. He ranks 6th among all WRs in XFP per game (17.7)… Jones, in maybe his only two healthy games thus far, totaled 17 catches (on 22 targets) for 294 yards and 2 scores. Wes Huber prefers Jones due to his historical dominance against Cover-1 shells. They’re about evenly priced with near-identical ownership projections.
Will Fuller / Brandin Cooks – If we exclude Week 2, when Will Fuller was dealing with injury, he’s averaging 14.9 XFP per game and 19.5 FPG. For perspective, those numbers would rank 15th- and 8th-best among all WRs. By DKFPG, he’d rank 5th-best (21.3)… Over the last two weeks, Brandin Cooks averages 20.1 XFP per game and 26.0 FPG. Those numbers rank 3rd- and 2nd-best over this span. By XFP, Cooks has eclipsed Fuller in both games, but not by much (20.8 vs. 14.5, 19.3 vs. 18.5)… Wes Huber prefers Brandin Cooks due to the threat of a Jaire Alexander-shadow, and even if he doesn’t shadow, Fuller will still see twice as much of Alexander than Cooks. That’s especially notable with Kevin King (their other perimeter CB) out. Both are projecting to go low owned (<8%).
A.J. Brown – Apparently we’re not only going to get Brown as a top value on both sites, but we’re also going to get him at contrarian levels of ownership. He was already popping as one of the most mispriced plays on both sites, as per the SuperModel (DK: +537 / FD: +694), and now he’s projected to be just 5% owned? He's averaging 17.6 FPG through 3 games, despite playing one game hurt, and drawing Bradley Roby in shadow coverage in another.
Robby Anderson – D.J. Moore saw twice as many targets as Anderson last week (10 to 5), but after dropping 3 of those targets one has to expect volume to tip back towards Anderson who has been significantly more efficient on a per-route and per-target-basis. He’s hit 55 receiving yards in every game thus far, and ranks 15th in both XFP per game (14.8) and FPG (17.2). Though he’s surely a little mispriced, I have more respect for New Orleans’ perimeter CBs than the rest of the industry. They’re giving up the 11th-fewest FPG to outside WRs, and Janoris Jenkins and Marshon Lattimore should be healthier off of the bye.
Davante Adams – The argument for Adams is the same as it was last week. Basically, Adams isn’t priced like a healthy Michael Thomas, certainly not like 2019 Michael Thomas, and we don’t view Adams the same as we do Thomas, but maybe that’s wrong. A quote from a few weeks back – “Since 2018, Thomas averages 21.1 FPG, hitting 16.0 fantasy points in 70% of his games. Adams, meanwhile, averages 20.9 FPG, hitting 16.0 fantasy points in 86% of his games.” And now Rodgers is rolling in a way in which we haven’t seen since maybe 2016 (last week excluded), and this game offers us by far the highest Over/Under (57.0) and implied point total of the slate (30.25). The argument against Adams last week is the matchup was brutal for both Rodgers and Adams (shadow coverage from Carlton Davis). The argument against Adams this week is that, though the matchup is much softer for Rodgers, he’s expected to draw shadow coverage from Bradley Roby. Despite shadowing many of the league’s best WRs, Roby ranks top-7 of 90 qualifying CBs in yards allowed per route in coverage, but he’s also given up 4 touchdowns to-date. And Adams is fairly elite, and possibly totally CB-immune. Though Wes Huber seems to disagree.
Travis Kelce – With Kittle in a brutally tough on-paper matchup, Kelce is our highest-projected TE of the week. Typically the top TE of the slate is priced around $7,100 on DraftKings, but Kelce is just $6,300 this week. $6,300 would also rank 14th among WRs. Kelce ranks 3rd among TEs in XFP per game (15.1) and 2nd in FPG (19.0). But, those numbers would rank 15th and 9th among WRs. With TE being as bad as it has been all year, it makes sense paying up for Kelce this week.
Hunter Henry – Henry is only $4,500 on DraftKings and $5,800 on FanDuel, and that’s just silly. Henry ranks 10th in FPG (11.0), 6th in XFP per game (11.2), 6th in targets per game (6.4), and 5th in YPG (53.6), while running a route on 81% of his QB’s dropbacks this year. Jacksonville ranks 8th-worst in FPG allowed and 2nd-worst in fantasy points allowed per target to opposing TEs.
T.J. Hockenson – Hockenson rivals Henry on FanDuel, where he’s just $100 more. Target-volume is a serious concern, but target-quality has been very good. He ranks 12th in FPG (10.9), 12th in XFP per game (10.5), 2nd in XTD per game (0.8), and 20th in targets per game (5.0). That’s all very underwhelming, at least relative to preseason expectations, but he gets a near-perfect matchup – against the Falcons which now seems on par with the 2019 Cardinals. Last week the Falcons gave up 17.2 fantasy points to Minnesota’s TEs (on 9 targets). The week before it was Robert Tonyan scoring 33.8 on just 6 targets. The week before that it was Jimmy Graham scoring 24.0 on 10. Before that, Dalton Schultz scored 23.8 on 10. And in Week 1 we saw Greg Olsen score 12.4 on 4 targets. The only TE who flopped was Ian Thomas, because, of course, and he only saw 1 target.
Jared Cook – Cook is averaging 14.3 FPG across his last 13 full games, with lows of 9.3, 9.4, and 11.3 over this span, and highs of 23.4, 21.9, and 20.4. For perspective, his 3X expectation on DraftKings is just 12.9 fantasy points. Without both Michael Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, Cook should see a massive jump in volume, and against a defense that’s funneled volume away from WRs.
David Njoku / Harrison Bryant – With Nick Chubb out, Austin Hooper was averaging 12.3 XFP, 7.7 targets, and 11.8 FPG over his last three games (on a 70% route share). For perspective, those numbers would rank 5th-, 4th-, and 8th-best if over the full season. And now he’s out, with Jarvis Landry also banged up, which pushes both Bryant ($2,500) and Njoku ($3,000) in play. Njoku ran more routes than Bryant in each of the past two weeks, but only barely so (10 to 9, 8 to 7). You can only play one, so lean Njoku for sure, but there is some uncertainty here. Hopefully, we’ll get some late news that offers more clarity.
Jonnu Smith – Smith was averaging 13.2 XFP per game and 17.5 FPG, before seeing his average take a hit after last week’s game. Due to an ankle injury suffered in the first half, Smith played on just 41% of the team’s snaps to Anthony Firker’s 56%. Smith scored just 2.3 fantasy points on a 3.1-point expectation. Firkser scored 25.3 fantasy points on a 17.7-point expectation. That was a season-high for any Titans TE, coming on 10 targets and 74 air yards. One has to think that if Smith hadn’t suffered the injury, a large chunk of Firkser’s production would have gone to Smith, and he’d be far more highly owned this week (currently at just 4% projected ownership). But then again, Firkser got rolling early, scoring 11.6 fantasy points on 4 targets in the first 3 drives.
On DraftKings your best pure values are Kyler Murray (expensive) and Joe Burrow (cheap). On FanDuel, it’s Murray (expensive), Russell Wilson (expensive), and Stafford (cheap). That’s probably what you’re looking at for cash. Though stacking an expensive RB with his QB is also always in play as a means of raising your floor.
For tournaments… Oh boy…
All we’ve talked about all week on podcasts and livestreams is the importance of game theory, leverage, and stacking. And really, that’s what’s most important with the QB position. Who do you play? Whoever makes the most sense for your lineup.
“I really love the value on Keenan Allen and Hunter Henry this week.” Okay, then stack them with Herbert, who has been lights-out and now draws the best matchup he’s seen all season, and then run that stack back with D.J. Chark. He’s risky for cash due to volume concerns in a game Los Angeles should win easily, but he has phenomenal upside for tournaments.
“I really love the value on Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill this week.” Okay, then play Patrick Mahomes. Same thing for Alvin Kamara and Tre’Quan Smith or Jared Cook. Same thing for Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd. Robby Anderson and D.J. Moore. Etc.
“I think Green Bay @ Houston destroys the slate.” Okay, then play Aaron Rodgers or Deshaun Watson. Obvious stacking options are Davante Adams, Aaron Jones, Will Fuller, and Brandin Cooks. You can swap in some ancillary pieces for additional leverage. Fuller and Cooks will be owned. Will Darren Fells, David Johnson, or Randall Cobb? Adams is chalky, but Marquez Valdes-Scantling or Robert Tonyan won’t be. Is stacking Rodgers with Aaron Jones and Adams a contrarian play? It might be.
Kyler Murray is looking like Lamar Jackson 2.0, and the matchup is near-ideal. Russell Wilson is looking like an unstoppable GOAT. That game could be better than GB@HOU.
Matthew Stafford has volume concerns, but this looks like a pass-heavy potential-shootout on paper, against maybe the worst defense in the NFL. Matt Ryan is averaging 30.3 DKFPG with both Calvin Ridley and Julio Jones in the lineup this year. This could be another slate-buster. Ryan Tannehill is a top-5 QB by nearly every stat (fantasy or NFL), and Pittsburgh is a pass-funnel defense. Ben Roethlisberger has played well, but has yet to go fully nuclear. Maybe it comes this week in this soft matchup, with Diontae Johnson healthy and Chase Claypool established.
Josh Allen was looking like a potential MVP candidate to start the season, historically has been one of the most schedule-sensitive QBs in the NFL (this matchup is soft), and effectively serves as his team’s goal-line back. Cam Newton is boom-or-bust, but is another great upside bet relative to ownership (3%). Literally everyone on Tampa Bay projects to be under 2% owned, offering massive upside for tournaments in a game that’s only 2.0-points off SEA@ARI’s Over/Under.
Just be smart about how you’re building these lineups. Make sure everything is well correlated to best capture upside. Look at ownership, and find ways to play off of that.
Current Chalk (per FanShare Projections)
1. Alvin Kamara (33%)
2. Giovani Bernard (30%)
3. Kareem Hunt (25%)
4. Davante Adams (22%)
5. Justin Jackson (17%)
6. David Njoku (16%)
7. Terry McLaurin (16%)
8. DeAndre Hopkins (16%)
9. Travis Kelce (15%)
10. Mike Davis (15%)
1. Alvin Kamara (33%)
2. Kareem Hunt (31%)
3. Davante Adams (22%)
4. Aaron Jones (20%)
5. Travis Kelce (18%)
6. DeAndre Hopkins (18%)
7. Buffalo Bills DEF (18%)
8. Hunter Henry (17%)
9. Kyler Murray (17%)
10. Mike Davis (16%)
1. Aaron Rodgers + Davante Adams (29%)
2. Kyler Murray + DeAndre Hopkins (27%)
3. Russell Wilson + DK Metcalf (24%)
4. Matt Ryan + Julio Jones (20%)
5. Matthew Stafford + T.J. Hockenson (20%)
Game Theory / Leverage
Latavius Murray is the appropriate leverage off of Alvin Kamara. I mean, I guess. He’s reached 13.0 fantasy points just once in games Kamara was active. But Kamara only barely out-carries him this year (61 to 52). Still, it feels gross. I might prefer Tre’Quan Smith and Jared Cook, but they’re going to be owned. Maybe you can get contrarian by also playing Drew Brees. I’m not totally sure how to attack this.
Leverage off of Giovani Bernard would be the wide receivers, which we do like, but maybe also Joe Burrow to a degree. He’s a phenomenal value on DraftKings, and you might be able to get contrarian by playing him stacked with Bernard. Without Mixon, Cincinnati is likely to lean pass-heavy, which is right in Bernard’s wheelhouse, and will help Burrow out – they’ll be using short passes as an extension of the passing game, offering cheap and easy fantasy points to Burrow.
Leverage off of Hunt would be Odell Beckham Jr (6%).
Leverage off of Adams would be Marquez Valdes-Scantling (5%).
Leverage off of Aaron Jones would be Jamaal Williams (<1%).
Leverage off of Terry McLaurin would be Antonio Gibson (6%). Leverage off of Keenan Allen is Mike Williams, who is also one of our top values, per our projections (3.04X). And he’ll go lower-owned as well (7%).
Leverage off of Travis Kelce would be Tyreek Hill. Leverage off of both would be Clyde Edwards-Helaire (4%). Chris Carson and Kenyan Drake are leverage off of the chalkier pass-catchers (and QBs) from their game.
And so on…
Now, some low-owned plays with upside….
Literally everyone in Tampa Bay @ Las Vegas is projected to be under 4% owned. That seems silly. This game has an Over/Under only 2.0-points off of SEA @ ARI. Mike Evans looks hurt, and Las Vegas is a slot funnel, ranking bottom-6 in FPG allowed to slot WRs and top-6 against outside WRs. Hello Chris Godwin. We know Las Vegas’ offense runs through Darren Waller through the air, and he’s leading all TEs in XFP per game (16.2). He averages 18.7 DKFPG minus the game he played hurt against New England. Oh, and, will you look at that. Ronald Jones is projected to go less than 4% owned. He’s hit 100-plus rushing yards in three straight games, averaging 23.1 DKFPG over this span. Maybe he completely won over this backfield and Leonard Fournette is just a backup throughout the remainder of the season. It’s a possibility at least. And Las Vegas is giving up the 2nd-most schedule-adjusted FPG to opposing RBs.
We already talked about James Conner (4%), Jonnu Smith (4%), and Jamison Crowder (3%).
Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb are both projected to be just 2% owned? I feel like that should never be allowed to happen. This also pushes Andy Dalton (1%) in play. Okay, he sucked last week in primetime, like he always does. So what? He still threw the ball 54 times, and he was excellent in relief in Week 5 (10.0 AY/A).
Ryan Tannehill (1%) stacked with A.J. Brown (5%) at just 6% combined ownership? That seems absurd. And we’ll get Jonnu Smith low-owned too? With Ryan Tannehill playing like a legitimate MVP contender against a top pass funnel defense? Yes, please.
Ben Roethlisberger (2%) shouldn’t be as low-owned either. Diontae Johnson isn’t highly owned (11%) and Chase Claypool certainly isn’t (6%), though both are great plays. Roethlisberger has played well, but has yet to go fully nuclear. Getting Johnson back should help, and the matchup is right – Tennessee ranks bottom-10 in schedule-adjusted FPG allowed to opposing QBs, WRs, and TEs.
As we said before, Cam Newton offers terrific upside relative to ownership (3%). He’s scored 25.7, 38.6, 12.2, and 20.5 DKFP in 4 games thus far, and San Francisco has historically struggled against mobile QBs. They've ranked bottom-5 in rushing FPG allowed to opposing QBs in each of the past 2 seasons, getting gashed by Lamar Jackson, Kyler Murray (2X), Russell Wilson, and Daniel Jones on the ground.
D’Andre Swift at just 5% seems wrong. Every tape guy I’ve talked to has gushed about how amazing he’s looked. That’s not even including Wes Huber, who featured him here. He was a slate-buster last week, and is a little mispriced even if this is just a 50/50 committee.