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.
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….
Last week, I thought I wrote up the nuts, telling you exactly that in Discord Saturday morning. Come Sunday night, it’s clear that was almost exactly the case. This week I’m far less confident.
It’s a tricky slate, and one that is especially tricky to try to decipher on a Friday (when this article is written). There’s still a lot of injury-related news we’re waiting on. Expect the Sunday AM update to be a little more comprehensive than most weeks. And don’t be surprised to see me change my mind, or move a guy way up or down in contrast to where he currently ranks right now. That hasn’t been the case much at all this season, but, again, it’s a weird week and an extra day of research and news is always helpful
Weather is another big factor. Here are some stats I tweeted earlier in the week. Wes Huber (here) and Graham Barfield (here) dug in deep on this in their respective columns. The worst games to watch out for are [email protected] (extreme wind), [email protected] (extreme wind), and [email protected] (cold, windy, and rainy). I’m laying this all out here now, and won’t bring it up again later, so just keep this in mind when I bring up players from these games later in the article. And, especially, make sure you go back and check on the weather on Sunday morning, as weather projections can change drastically day-to-day.
To me, it certainly has a real impact. In games with 20+ mph winds, we should downgrade QBs. We should upgrade low-aDOT WRs and downgrade high-aDOT WRs. RBs get a very slight boost. That said, factor in ownership, and it might be worth ignoring weather entirely. At most the impact is like 5% off of a player’s projection, but we’ve seen before bad weather games can drop ownership by 10-15%.
Alvin Kamara (19% / 27%) – You know the rules. When Michael Thomas is out, Alvin Kamara is a lock. The only reason you wouldn’t play him is due to ownership, but even then it always feels thin – even in games when he doesn’t score touchdowns his floor is proven to be at least 20.0 fantasy points. Kamara ranks 2nd in XFP per game (22.0) and 1st in XFP% (28.6%), averaging 12.5 carries, and 9.0 targets per game. He’s averaging 28.7 FPG, which leads the next-closest RB (Aaron Jones) by 5.7 FPG. Kamara, sans Thomas, is basically 2019 Christian McCaffrey in terms of usage and production, but on DraftKings he’s about $1,800 cheaper than where McCaffrey would typically be priced.
Kareem Hunt (DK: 36% / FD: 31%) – In Week 7, Hunt played on 92% of the snaps, earning 18 of 19 carries and 4 of 4 targets out of the backfield. This is elite usage and a true bell-cow workload, and his best workload of the season – he dealt with groin and thigh injuries across Weeks 4-6, which helped D’Ernest Johnson and Dontrelle Hilliard carve out a slight role. Last week’s matchup was fairly soft but was spoiled a bit by game script, and he still walked away with 19.2 fantasy points. That game came after back-to-back bottom-5 matchups in his only other games without Nick Chubb (18.3 FP vs. IND, 7.7 FP vs. PIT). This week’s matchup, however, is near-ideal – the Raiders are giving up the 4th-most rushing FPG (17.7) and the 5th-most receiving FPG (14.3) to opposing RBs. And they’re giving up the most schedule-adjusted FPG to opposing RBs (+7.8). According to the SuperModel, Hunt isn’t just the top value of the week on DraftKings, but he’s one of the best values we’ve seen this entire season, mispriced by nearly $1,700.
Giovani Bernard (9% / 13%) / Jamaal Williams (5% / 9%) – Williams and Bernard both saw price increases but are still way too cheap. Allow me to dump some stats on you real quick: last week, Williams ranked 3rd in Snap% (89%), 7th in fantasy points (21.4), 4th in XFP (21.6), 6th in RB XFP% (90%), and 2nd in Team XFP% (27%). Bernard ranked 7th in Snap% (75%), 5th in fantasy points (21.9) 8th in XFP (18.4), 7th in RB XFP% (88%), and 21st in Team XFP% (17%). What does this mean? Basically, both RBs saw elite bell cow usage in Week 7, and better usage than what we would have expected the starter to see. Williams’ usage was a little bit better than Bernard’s. Bernard’s on-paper matchup is slightly better than Williams’ but it’s close, and Williams has the far superior game environment (28.5 implied total). Williams is decisively the better play on DraftKings, but Bernard is the slightly better value on FanDuel where he’s $1,100 cheaper.
Derrick Henry (29% / 26%) – Henry averages 25.7 DKFPG over his last 13 games, hitting at least 24.9 DKFP in 8 of 13 (62%) games over this span. Over this stretch, he averages 124.8 rushing YPG to just 12.3 receiving YPG. So, absurdly, he’s putting up Alvin Kamara-esque numbers despite being – basically – a non-factor in the passing game. The matchup looks great on paper, as the Titans are favored by 7.0 and the Bengals rank 2nd-worst in YPC allowed (5.06). Still, he’s an easier ownership-related fade than Hunt or Kamara, because that lack of passing down usage necessarily makes him more game script-sensitive and week-to-week volatile. Melvin Gordon (7% / 8%) – Gordon would be a top play if Phillip Lindsay sits out this week. He handled 83% of his team’s backfield XFP across Weeks 2-4 with Lindsay out. That’s typically mid-RB1 usage, though he didn’t exactly produce like a mid-RB1. He scored 16.4 fantasy points in Week 2 in a bottom-5 matchup against the Steelers. He struggled in Week 3 without Drew Lock, and in another bottom-5 matchup against the Buccaneers. And then went off for 25.8 fantasy points against the Jets (still without Drew Lock). This week he gets a Chargers defense allowing the 13th-most YPC (4.44) and the 3rd-most receiving FPG (14.7) to opposing RBs. Over the last 4 weeks, they’ve given up the 5th-most FPG to opposing RBs. Myles Gaskin (13% / 15%) – Gaskin earned just 53% of Miami’s RB XFP through their first 4 games of the season, but that jumped to 72% over their last two games with Jordan Howard out (a healthy scratch). If he maintained that over the full season, he’d average 18.9 XFP per game, which would rank 7th-most at the RB position. He’s another strong value on both sites, in a neutral matchup against the Rams.
Seattle RB – Seattle’s backfield is an absolute mess. Chris Carson (Questionable), Carlos Hyde (Doubtful), and Travis Homer (Questionable) are all, at least supposedly, going to be true game-time decisions. That’s tricky for a 4PM game. You could just fade the lot – San Francisco isn’t exactly a great matchup, though this game should be ripe with scoring potential. You could just play Carson at low ownership (he’s actually out-scoring DK Metcalf this year) and then late-swap to whoever you want if he’s out. I don’t know. But Greg Cosell-favorite DeeJay Dallas would be the stone-cold nuts if all of the other RBs sit out. He’d play on nearly every single snap. Keep an eye on this situation when it comes time for late swaps, and expect Seattle to lean even more pass-heavy this week given the state of their RB corps.
Davante Adams (23% / 29%) – Adams has scored 41.6, 6.6 (hurt), 12.1 (Carlton Davis shadow), and 47.6 fantasy points through four games this season. He totaled 34.2 XFP in Week 1 and 29.9 XFP in Week 7, the 2nd- and 4th-highest XFP outputs from any WR this year. If we just throw out Week 2 due to injury, Adams is averaging an absurd 26.3 XFP per game and 32.8 FPG, which easily leads all players at all positions. Adams is $8,800 on DraftKings, which is expensive, but maybe not expensive enough. After Week 10 last season, Michael Thomas had an average salary of $9,214, ending at $9,900 in Week 17. Adams was almost never drafted before Thomas in redraft leagues this offseason, and we’re still not viewing Adams similarly to 2019 Thomas, but that’s a mistake. And especially with Aaron Rodgers looking the best we’ve seen him since maybe 2016. 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 81% of his games. And Adams also averages more targets per game over this span (11.0 vs. 10.2). This week, he gets a Minnesota defense he brutalized in Week 1 that is now without all 3 of their Week 1 starting CBs. Yikes.
Tyler Lockett (14% / 24%) / DK Metcalf (12% / 14%) – Lockett ranks 2nd (23.5) and Metcalf ranks 12th in FPG (17.7). By now you know the deal – each week any one of these WRs could go nuclear, and this feels like a great week for it. Seattle’s entire RB corps is hurt, and so are a number of San Francisco’s defensive starters, and this game sports the highest Over/Under by a wide margin. It also doesn’t have the weather concerns some of the other games have. Who do you play? Lockett or Metcalf? To me, it felt like a coin-flip (and you can play both, especially on FanDuel) but Wes Huber fully sold me on Lockett over Metcalf here.
Keenan Allen (26% / 27%) – For seemingly the 8th week in a row, Allen is egregiously mispriced on DraftKings, as just the 15th-highest-priced WR of the slate. Excluding Week 5 – when Allen scored 10.9 fantasy points despite running just 6 routes on the day, leaving early due to injury – Allen is averaging 13.3 targets, 103.8 yards, and 21.2 fantasy points per game with Justin Herbert under center. Over this span, his absurd 35.3% target share and 0.33 target per route run average leads all WRs by a mile. He’s a glaring top value in this neutral at-worst matchup.
Tyler Boyd (10% / 21%) – We were all over Boyd last week, and he hit in a big way – and I’m fully expecting the same thing to happen again this week and for all of the same reasons. Boyd has quietly been one of the more matchup-sensitive WRs in fantasy. If excluding just the shadow games against the two best slot CBs in football (Chris Harris Jr. and Marlon Humphrey), Boyd is averaging 10.0 targets and 19.9 fantasy points per game. But he gets a great matchup this week, against a Titans defense that is giving up the 4th-most FPG to opposing slot WRs. Keep in mind they’ve been that bad, and are now without their starting slot CB Kristian Fulton, replaced by CB Chris Jackson who was brutalized by the walking corpse of JuJu Smith-Schuster last week. Of 103 qualifying CBs, Jackson ranks 5th-worst in fantasy points allowed per snap in coverage. Boyd is glaringly one of our top values over on FanDuel.
Brandon Aiyuk (13% / 18%) – Aiyuk’s numbers are decent, averaging 70.8 air yards (31% market share), 5.8 targets, 0.8 carries, and 13.8 fantasy points per game since Week 3. And his volume should be a bit better this week with Deebo Samuel out. But he ranks as a top value over on FanDuel almost entirely due to matchup – and what a matchup it is! Seattle has given up 2,212 passing yards through 6 games, which ranks most in NFL history. They’re giving up the most FPG to opposing outside WRs (38.0, +8.0 more than next-closest) and the 2nd-most FPG to opposing WRs on deep passes (13.0). They’re giving up, by far, the most schedule-adjusted FPG to opposing WRs (+23.1, more than double the next-closest team) and WR1s (+11.5). Seattle has played just 6 games, but has allowed 10 WRs to hit 20.0-plus fantasy points, and 7 to hit 27.5-plus DK fantasy points.
Marquise Brown (6% / 11%) – Brown ranks just 46th in FPG (12.0), but his volume has been a good deal better than that production implies. He ranks 25th in XFP per game (13.1), 26th in targets per game (7.2), 6th in air yards per game (112.0), and 4th in deep targets per game (2.5). He draws a great on-paper matchup this week, against a Steelers defense that is giving up the 6th-most FPG to opposing outside WRs. They’re also giving up the 5th-most FPG to WRs on passes thrown 15-plus yards through the air, which (as we just established) is firmly within Brown’s wheelhouse. He’s a terrific tournament play and a strong value on FanDuel.
Justin Jefferson (10% / 8%) – Jefferson – PFF’s single-highest-graded WR (90.8) – is averaging 7.5 targets per game, 116.8 yards per game, and 21.9 FPG since Week 3. Green Bay ranks 5th-worst in passer rating allowed (107.7), but they’re especially stout against opposing WR1s. Since Week 4, Jaire Alexander has shadowed Calvin Ridley, Mike Evans, and Will Fuller, allowing them to total just 6 yards on a combined 7 targets (78 routes) against his coverage. Of course, Adam Thielen did get the better of Alexander in Week 1 (and throughout his entire career), but the disparity in talent between him and Josh Jackson should lead to more looks for Jefferson. Green Bay’s defense also sports the league’s 3rd-highest zone coverage rate, and Jefferson not only out-targets Thielen when against zone coverage (since Week 3), but he’s also averaging an absurd 12.7 YPT against zone coverage.
A.J. Brown (11% / 11%) – Brown totals 293 yards and 4 touchdowns through 3 healthy games this year. Wes Huber loves him this week, whether or not William Jackson III suits up, against Cincinnati’s Cover-1 defense.
A.J. Green (16% / 15%) – Listen, it’s gross, I know, but Green is just way too cheap on DraftKings. Over the last two weeks, Green ranks 2nd among all WRs in total XFP (42.3), averaging 158.0 air yards, 12.0 targets,1.0 end zone targets, and 2.0 deep targets per game. He’s far-and-away the least-efficient player in fantasy (by PAR), but that also means he’s our top regression candidate. Maybe he’s just cooked, but here’s one reason for optimism – only 54% of Green’s targets have been catchable (by far the worst rate in the league), implying Green’s inefficiency hasn’t totally been his fault.
Cheap WR Tier (In Order)
Kendrick Bourne (9% / 6%) – Since 2018, Deebo Samuel averages 21.9 FPG, Dante Pettis averages 21.5 FPG, George Kittle averages 12.5 FPG, and Bourne averages 9.9 FPG in games each player was targeted against Seattle. That’s uhhhh pretty shocking, and perhaps a reason to fade Kittle while targeting the WRs against Seattle – which is how this defense has funneled production all year. With Samuel out, the only other WR play would be Trent Taylor who has totaled just 45 yards on 12 targets all year. Bourne isn’t exactly lighting up the stat sheet, but again, this is the ultimate WR matchup and he is exceedingly cheap.
Darnell Mooney (6% / 7%) – With Allen Robinson out, Mooney is looking like a terrific punt-play for tournaments. He ranks 30th in air yards per game and gets a New Orleans defense that is (I don’t actually have access to this sort of stat, but I have to imagine it’s accurate) leading the league in blown coverages per game. At the very least, the Saints are giving up the 6th-most FPG to WRs on passes traveling 15-plus yards through the air. They also rank worst in passing fantasy points allowed per pass attempt and 3rd-worst in passer rating allowed (111.6). Every tape expert I’ve talked to has raved about Mooney’s ability to create separation. It hasn’t exactly translated to fantasy, but that’s entirely been on the QB.
Denzel Mims (12% / 4%) – Mims saw 7 targets and 12.1 XFP in his Week 7 NFL debut, but as a percentage of the team’s total XFP (28%), that ranked 5th-best among all players. Braxton Berrios might have been in play, but the Chiefs are the league’s toughest defense against slot WRs. It’s gross to play anyone on the tanking Jets, but I mean… They have to throw the ball to somebody in a game that should offer 3+ quarters of garbage time. Right?
Tre’Quan Smith (1% / 5%) – With the Saints down Michael Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders, and Marquez Callaway, somebody has to get the ball. Right? So why not Smith, the guy every DFS Pro played in cash last week? With Callaway out, he should be an even better play this week. Smith averages 4.8 targets and 11. 1 FPG since Week 2. It’s a tough matchup, but somebody is going to get the ball. Miniature speedster Deonte Harris (5-6, 4.35) is also in play as a punt option. He caught 4 of 5 targets for 46 yards and a score last week. Saints beat writer Nick Underhill raved about him to me in DMs this offseason.
Darren Waller (17% / 25%) – Waller is averaging 16.2 XFP per game along with a 21.9% share of the team’s XFP. Both numbers lead all TEs, and would rank top-12 among WRs. On DraftKings, he’s just the 4th-highest-priced TE this week, or the No. 22 WR. Outside of one game against the Patriots where he was hurt, Waller is averaging 10.2 targets and 17.7 FPG. That’d be enough to lock him in as a top value, but the matchup is strong as well – Cleveland is giving up the 9th-most schedule-adjusted FPG to opposing TEs (+3.2).
Jonnu Smith (16% / 4%) – Smith totals just 4.2 fantasy points on 6 targets across his last two games, hitting season-lows in snap share (41%, 70%) in both games. Part of that is due to an ankle injury suffered early in Week 6 (no longer listed on the injury report), but maybe part of that is also due to the healthy return of A.J. Brown and Corey Davis. Still, Smith was looking like a potential league-winner prior to this down-stretch, averaging 6.8 targets and 17.5 fantasy points per game. The Bengals are giving up the 4th-most FPG to opposing TEs (18.0), and Smith is egregiously mispriced as just the 13th-highest-priced TE of the slate on DraftKings.
George Kittle (14% / 22%) – Kittle has slate-busting upside every single week, and especially this week against a Seattle defense that’s just allowed the most passing yards through six games all-time. The main concern (beyond Waller and Smith being extreme values on DraftKings) is Seattle has been terrific against TEs this year, and Kittle himself has historically struggled against the Seahawks (see: Kendrick Bourne blurb). Jamal Adams sitting out (currently Questionable) would certainly help, but, ultimately, the argument is simple – Kittle is a superhuman freak of nature, Kyle Shanahan is one of the most creative minds in football, San Francisco doesn’t really have anywhere else to go with the football, Seattle is a historically bad pass funnel, and this game is ripe with scoring potential.
Cheap TE – Harrison Bryant (61%), Trey Burton (40%), Irv Smith Jr. (41%) are all in play. The number next to each player’s name is their route share in their last game active. Bryant is coming off of a big game, but he still saw only 5 targets. Burton has seen between 5-6 targets in every game thus far, and, like Bryant, scored twice in his last outing (once on the ground), but the team might be getting back Mo Alie-Cox this week. Burton would still be the best TE play on the team, but Alie-Cox would siphon about 7-9 routes away from Burton and Doyle. Smith posts a 8-119-0 line on 10 targets across his last two games. Okwuegbunam played only a part-time role last week, but still saw 7 targets, catching all of them for 60 yards. Gerald Everett is also in play if Tyler Higbee sits out, though he ran just 20 routes and saw only 5 targets last week. If forced to pick, my lean is Irv Smith on FanDuel ($4,500) and Harrison Bryant on DraftKings ($3,200).
Jared Cook (2% / 3%) – Excluding Week 3 (due to injury), Cook is averaging 14.7 FPG across his last 10 games (would rank 4th-best this year), or 14.2 across his last 14 games. Over this span, he’s hit highs of 23.4, 21.9, and 20.4, and lows of 9.3, 9.4, and 11.3 fantasy points. He’s a terrific high-floor option with Michael Thomas, Marquez Callaway, and Emmanuel Sanders all out, and he’s a top value on FanDuel.
Hunter Henry (8% / 7%) – Henry is in something of a slump (68.7 YPG W1-3, 28.3 YPG W4-7), but he has seen between 7 and 8 targets in 5 of 6 games this year. He’s historically been one of the most efficient TEs in the league from a per-target perspective so I do expect him to bounce back. This week’s matchup is only neutral, but he is pretty mispriced on both sites.
Quarterbacks / Gamestacks
On DraftKings and FanDuel your best pure values are Jimmy Garoppolo (cheap) or Russell Wilson (expensive). That’s probably what you’re looking at for cash. I’d be surprised if those weren’t the highest-owned QBs by a mile. Though Ryan Tannehill is a decent play on FanDuel, and I like Joe Burrow and Derek Carr quite a bit on DraftKings. In cash, stacking an expensive RB with his QB (e.g. Henry + Tannehill) is also always in play as a means of raising your floor.
For tournaments… Oh boy…
All we’ve talked about 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. Make sure you’re optimally stacking, and don’t be afraid to full-on gamestack.
Going all in on SEA/SF gamestacks makes a lot of sense, and honestly, I’m shocked at how lower-owned a lot of these players are likely to be. If I’m playing a bunch of single entry or 3-Max lineups, my inclination is to just go all in on this game and never look back.
TEN/CIN gamestacks are probably your 2nd-best option but still not quite on SEA/SF’s level. Cincinnati and Tennessee’s defenses are green at every position by schedule-adjusted FPG. If Henry fails to meet expectations, it’s hard to imagine Ryan Tannehill doesn’t come away with a big game. We do like A.J. Brown and Jonnu Smith quite a bit. Wes Huber absolutely loves Burrow this week, who has hit 300-plus passing yards in 5 of his last 6 games. We wrote up Tyler Boyd, A.J. Green, and Giovani Bernard earlier, but Tee Higgins is also in play (especially on FanDuel).
You’d notice we spent very little time on Kansas City, but Travis Kelce is in play and Tyreek Hill is mispriced in a great matchup after scoring in 5 of 7 games. Really, Patrick Mahomes should be able to do whatever he wants in this game. To me, this looks like a throwback to any of their games against the Raiders over the past two seasons, where Mahomes basically threw for 300 yards and 2 touchdowns in just two quarters of football and then did very little for the remainder of the game. This should be a blowout, and Kansas City’s defense has been terrific this year, and there’s really no way I see New York keeping things competitive, but still… they’re all in play. There’s just not much analysis needed beyond: “Chiefs offense good, Jets defense bad, Chiefs should be up 31-0 at the half.” We didn’t mention it earlier so I’ll bring it up now. Le’Veon Bell in a revenge game or Clyde Edwards-Helaire? I have no idea. I wouldn’t be shocked if both get pulled early and we see some DeAndre Washington. Or if both score 15-20 fantasy points. This game has a 34.25-point implied point total (5.0 more than next-closest). If the defense and the backups don’t score a high percentage of that, one or more of the players from this game could be slate-busters.
Josh Allen (3%) is the most matchup-sensitive QB in fantasy football. Here’s what we had to say in the offseason: “Since entering the league, Josh Allen averages 25.8 FPG against bottom-12 defenses (by FPG allowed). If over a full season that would rank 6th-most all-time, comparable to Peyton Manning’s famed 2013 season (26.3).” New England is a very tough matchup on paper, but maybe only on paper. Are they tanking? They might be tanking. Stephon Gilmore is out (hello Stefon Diggs), perhaps due to injury, or perhaps because they’re trying to trade him before the deadline. Josh Allen is a sort of Jekyll and Hyde type of player in fantasy, but Justin Herbert has only ever looked like the good version of Josh Allen. Despite a brutal schedule to start the season (2nd-toughest to-date), Herbert ranks 4th in FPG (25.8) and 1st in FPG since Week 4 (29.9). Denver is a top pass funnel and an above-average matchup for QBs this year. He’s cheaper than he should be, and projected to be lesser-owned than he should be (4%). I like him a lot, though Vegas disagrees. As I wrote up here, I was very confident in a blow-up game from Derek Carr at a borderline-insulting salary on DraftKings, but weather concerns have since tempered my expectations.
Green Bay has the 3rd-highest implied point total of the slate, and you can play Davante Adams and Jamaal Williams to capture (basically) 50% of the team’s expected fantasy points and then stack that up with Aaron Rodgers. And then run that back with either Adam Thielen or Justin Jefferson. However, Wes Huber has warned us all week he thinks Minnesota is unable to keep things competitive.
Lamar Jackson is always in play for tournaments, and especially when he’s likely to go low owned (5%). It’s a very tough matchup, however, and one he struggled with last year.
Current Chalk (per FanShare Projections)
1. Kareem Hunt (36%)
2. Derrick Henry (29%)
3. Keenan Allen (26%)
4. Davante Adams (23%)
5. Alvin Kamara (19%)
6. Darren Waller (17%)
7. A.J. Green (16%)
8. Jonnu Smith (16%)
9. Josh Jacobs (15%)
10. Tyler Lockett (14%)
1. Kareem Hunt (31%)
2. Davante Adams (29%)
3. Jonathan Taylor (28%)
4. Alvin Kamara (27%)
5. Keenan Allen (27%)
6. Derrick Henry (26%)
7. Darren Waller (25%)
8. Tyler Lockett (24%)
9. George Kittle (24%)
10. Tyler Boyd (21%)
Game Theory / Leverage
Leverage off of Kareem Hunt would be Baker Mayfield stacked with one or two options in the passing game.
Leverage off of Derrick Henry would be Ryan Tannehill stacked with A.J. Brown and/or Jonnu Smith.
Leverage off of Keenan Allen would be Mike Williams or Hunter Henry. We mentioned Henry earlier, but Williams will go nearly 0% owned, and is one game removed from a 30.9 DKFP game. (Of course, this was the game Allen left early due to injury.)
Marquez Valdes-Scantling is excellent leverage off of Davante Adams. He’s done nothing since Week 1, but he is cheap, likely to go extremely low-owned (3%), and is seeing terrific usage. He ranks 4th in deep targets per game (2.0) and 12th in air yards per game (101.0). Keep in mind, that means this is the perfect matchup for him – the Vikings are giving up the most FPG to opposing WRs on deep passes. He’s also in play stacked with Rodgers and Adams.
Tevin Coleman or JaMycal Hasty (if Coleman sits) would be leverage off the passing game options from SEA/SF, but again, that game isn’t looking as chalky as it should be. Still, Coleman (0%) and Hasty (4%) are pretty intriguing on paper, and neither player is being talked about at all. When Raheem Mostert was healthy, he was averaging 16.7 carries, 3.7 targets, 150.7 total yards, and 22.7 fantasy points per four quarters. Coleman isn’t Mostert, but we know San Francisco loves to run, and, seemingly whoever they plug in behind this line has found a great deal of success. Jerick McKinnon has been “battling tired legs” and saw just 3 touches last week. Jeff Wilson (31 fantasy points last week) and Mostert are out. Coleman saw a “heavy workload in practice Thursday” and the team is hopeful he can play. This game should be a pass-heavy high-scoring shootout, but the 49ers (down Deebo Samuel) may want to go back to their roots. Or maybe Coleman can at least fall into the end zone a few times. He’s not a Tier 1 or Tier 2 play, but he’s one worth thinking about given how massively owned all of the receivers are going to be from this game. If he can’t suit up, JaMycal Hasty would be an even better play.
And so on…
Now, some low-owned plays with upside…
Diontae Johnson at 2% ownership? Whyyyyyy?? It’s a bad matchup – Baltimore is giving up the 10th-fewest FPG to opposing outside WRs and the implied total is super low – okay, but 2%? He’s cheap and he’s seen elite usage in the three games he’s been healthy. Throwing out Weeks 3 and 5, Johnson is averaging: 21.3 FPG, 21.1 XFP per game, 13.0 targets per game, 1.7 red zone targets per game, and 2.0 end zone targets per game. For perspective, among WRs, those numbers would rank: 3rd, 1st, 1st, 2nd, and 1st.
I love me some Jerry Jeudy (1%) this week. I talked to one of my go-to tape experts earlier in the week. He told me he heard a fantasy analyst say, “It’s time to drop Jerry Jeudy in season-long. He’s just not getting open.” And so, he decided to go back and watch every route from last week’s game. His response (paraphrased): “Bro, this is the same Jerry Jeudy from college. He’s getting open on every single play. He looks amazing. But I have no idea why he’s not getting the ball.” With Chris Harris Jr. out, Los Angeles is a top slot funnel defense, giving up the 5th-most FPG to slot WRs, but the 3rd-fewest FPG to outside WRs.
James White is pretty interesting at 3%. He missed nearly a full week’s worth of practice last week, and was understandably not really a part of the gameplan. But he saw 17 targets across the two games prior, and has practiced in full all week. Edelman has missed 4 games since 2018, and James White averaged 19.1 FPG over that stretch.
I expected Nelson Agholor to be higher owned, but he’s settling in at just 5% on both DraftKings and FanDuel. The weather is a concern, but far more a concern for a high-aDOT WR like Henry Ruggs. Agholor has run 78% of the routes over his past two games, nearly double Hunter Renfrow. He’s scored a touchdown in three straight games, and posted a 5-107-1 line on a team-high 9 targets last week. Cleveland is a top slot WR funnel defense, giving up the most FPG to opposing slot WRs, but Agholor, Renfrow, and Ruggs are all sharing the slot role 33%/33%/33%, so it’s hard to say with any certainty he’s the one who goes off this week.
Darrell Henderson at 5% is a decent leverage play off of much chalkier options at a similar price-tag. He’s locked into about 15 carries and 2 targets against a run funnel defense.
D’Andre Swift is similarly in play at 4%. His snap share is worrisome, but he’s seeing better volume than most would think, averaging 16.9 XFP, 11.5 carries, 4.5 targets, 3.0 carries inside the 10-yard-line over the past two weeks.