The main question for Week 10 is how to handle all of the cheap running back value. Mike Davis is minimum-priced on DraftKings ($4,000) and will be one of the most popular plays we’ll see all year long with CMC out once again. Davis should end up 60-70% owned in some single-entry and 3-max tournaments. Meanwhile, both Gio Bernard ($5,400 DK; $6,200 FD) and Duke Johnson ($5,000 DK; $5,800 FD) are going to be among the highest-owned running backs on this slate with Joe Mixon and David Johnson both out, but neither back will come close to Davis’ ownership.
Davis is a free square for cash games this weekend but does he have a 60% or better chance at delivering a big enough score to win tournaments a terrific Bucs’ run defense? Just as importantly, is he that much better of a play than Duke Johnson at what should be about half of the ownership? I think if you’re just playing one lineup this week, you almost have to play Davis and then find low-owned pieces or a different path of roster construction to give yourself the best chance at taking down first place. But if you’re playing 10+ lineups, going underweight on Davis makes sense with other value options in great spots.
Gio Bernard in particular will be a great leverage play off of Davis if he ends up coming in at 10-15% ownership. Just like Davis, Bernard is in a bad matchup against an equally imposing Steelers defense. Both Tampa Bay (101.7) and Pittsburgh (104.5) are among the bottom-5 teams in scrimmage yards allowed per game to RBs. Still, Bernard has been a locked-in RB1 play when Mixon is out of the lineup. Over the last three seasons, Bernard is averaging 22.2 fantasy points per game when Mixon is inactive — which would be fourth-most among RBs this season — because his usage is matchup/game-script proof. In Week 7-8 without Mixon, Bernard ran a route on a CMC-like 75 of Joe Burrow’s 90 dropbacks (83%) and tallied 8/75/2 receiving.
With everyone wanting to play a cheaper Davis and Duke, I suspect Bernard will come in way lower owned than he should.
Also, keep an eye on the weather in Cleveland on Sunday morning. Right now, forecasts are calling for 28-33mph winds during game time and a chance for rain. That would basically be a repeat of the conditions of the Browns Week 8 messy affair against the Raiders that ended up as a gross 16-6 slugfest where Baker Mayfield and Derek Carr combined for just 27 completions.
All right. Let’s get to the rest of this week’s angles.
Note: All ownership projections referenced in this article is from our dashboard, which is powered by FanShare. These are updated constantly throughout the weekend.
Pay up at RB?
With ownership flocking on to the cheap running backs, it’s going to make some of the higher-priced running backs come in at much lower ownership. Aaron Jones ($7,100 DK; $8,800 FD) figures to be the most popular expensive back for obvious reasons, but there are three leverage plays that are catching my eye and all project for under 15% ownership…
Miles Sanders ($6,400 DK; $7,700 FD) — Back healthy through the Eagles bye after missing two games with a knee injury, Sanders says that he “feels like himself again” and is 100% ready for Sunday. The Giants run defense is playing pretty well, but they are getting shredded through the air by running backs to the tune of 6.6 receptions (fifth-most) and 55.9 yards (second-most) per game. If he’s truly back to 100%, Sanders shouldn’t have any snap restrictions and resume his bell-cow role. In his four full games in Week 2-5, Sanders played on 79% of Eagles’ snaps which was third-most among RBs in this span. He’s my favorite running back play on this slate.
Josh Jacobs ($6,500 DK; $7,500 FD) — Outside of two big games back in Week 1 vs. the Panthers (35.9 fantasy points) and Week 5 vs. the Chiefs (22.5), Jacobs has been fairly quiet in the Raiders other six contests. However, Jacobs has a real chance to hit his third big score of the season in this spot. The Raiders are at home and favored by 4 points over the Broncos. Vegas is very confident in the Raiders offense this week as their 27.5-point team total is sixth-most on this slate and just behind the Seahawks (28.3 implied points). What’s interesting is that Jacobs has smashed in similar game environments in his career. Jacobs has averaged 99.3 scrimmage yards per game and scored six of his 13 career TDs in the six games the Raiders have been favored to win over the last two years. Jacobs is off of the injury report after dealing with a knee injury last week, too.
James Conner ($6,900 DK; $7,600 FD) — After falling flat on his face in a perfect matchup in Dallas last week, recency bias and Conner’s price will keep almost everyone off of him. Like Jacobs, Conner is one of the most game-script dependent running backs in the league and has averaged +5.6 more fantasy points per game when the Steelers are at home and favored over the last three seasons. Conner has another great chance to hit a big ceiling score against this Bengals front-seven that has been ripped for the third-most YPC (5.1) and fifth-most scrimmage yards per game (150.6) by opposing running backs.
Note: If Kenyan Drake (foot) ends up missing his second-straight game, Chase Edmonds ($6,300 DK; $7,100 FD) will be among the top-5 highest owned backs on this slate and make all three of these RBs even lower owned. If we get Edmonds, I’d rank the 6K range of running backs on DraftKings as follows: 1) Sanders, 2) Edmonds, 3) Jacobs, 4) Conner, 5) Hunt, 6) Robinson, 7) Chubb.
High-upside game stacks
Justin Herbert with Keenan Allen + DeVante Parker
I wrote up this duo as my favorite stack of Week 9, and once again, Herbert ($6,600 DK; $8,000 FD) and Allen ($7,100 DK; $7,800 FD) are going to come in at way lower ownership than they should. With everyone looking to play Kyler Murray, Josh Allen, Russell Wilson, and Jared Goff, we have Herbert projected to see just 7% ownership while Allen is pegged at 12%. Herbert has been beasting regardless of matchups and is averaging all-time highs in fantasy points (24.3) and yards (306.6) per game by a rookie quarterback. Meanwhile, Allen just continues to go off with Herbert under center. If you discount the game where he left early because of a back injury, Allen has seen 76 targets in six full starts with Herbert under center. His production? Insane. With Herbert, Allen has logged 7/96, 13/132/1, 8/62, 10/125, 9/67/1, and 9/103/1. This game is so easy to stack up, too, with DeVante Parker completely mispriced with Preston Williams on I.R. Scott Barrett wrote up Parker as a value play while Wes Huber is all-in on this matchup.
Drew Brees with Michael Thomas + Brandon Aiyuk
At $7,400 on DraftKings, this is the cheapest we’ll see Michael Thomas again this season. Thomas turned in a pedestrian 5/51 line in his first game action in about two months as the Saints crushed the Buccaneers last week, but this is an eruption spot for him. The 49ers are giving up the seventh-most fantasy points per game to receivers when they line up outside and they could be without their slot man K’Waun Williams. Wherever the Saints line up Thomas this week, he’ll have a good matchup. Over the last three years, Thomas has averaged a ridiculous 9.7 receptions, 104.4 yards, and 0.7 TDs per game when the Saints are at home and favored by at least a touchdown. That adds up to 24.3 fantasy points per game. Vegas has the Saints pegged as 10-point favorites over the completely undermanned 49ers. With multiple passing scores in five of his last 6 games, Drew Brees and Thomas both have massive touchdown upside at what will be low ownership. We have Brees projected at just 2% and Thomas at 11% ownership.
If you want to fully stack up this game, Brandon Aiyuk is by far the best option on the 49ers side. Aiyuk has seen 8, 7, and 10 targets in the last three games Deebo Samuel has missed and the 49ers should have to throw a ton to keep up with the Saints scoring. And he is going to go completely unowned this week.
Jake Luton with D.J. Chark + Davante Adams
Jake Luton ($5,400 DK; $6,700 FD) is viable in tournaments once again with D.J. Chark ($6,200 DK; $6,600 FD) still under-priced. As massive 14-point underdogs, the Jaguars are going to have to throw a ton in this spot against a red-hot Aaron Rodgers. And there are quite a few things working in both Luton and Chark’s favor…
- It’s a great matchup for Luton. The Packers are allowing the ninth-most passing fantasy points per attempt (0.52), the fourth-highest passer rating (106.7), and the second-highest completion rate (70%).
- It’s an even better matchup for Chark. Jaire Alexander (concussion) is doubtful to play. Chark has seen 32%, 26%, and 32% of Jaguars targets over his last three games and will be fed the ball once again with Laviska Shenault (hamstring) out.
- This roster construction will be very low owned. We have Luton projected for 1% ownership on both sites. Davante Adams will likely be the highest-owned receiver on this slate and a full game stack with a lightly owned Luton-Chark pairing is one way to generate unique lineup construction. It’s very easy to fit Adams if you play both Luton and one of the cheap RBs.
Don’t forget about Austin Hooper…
Back healthy after missing two games with an emergency appendectomy, Hooper is simply too cheap on both sites ($3,900 DK; $5,100 FD). After being barely involved in his first few starts with the Browns, Hooper’s usage was on the rise before his surgery. In Week 1-3, Hooper saw just 10 targets and then got 23 in Week 4-6. With no Odell Beckham, Hooper might be leaned on even more heavily. He’s also sort of immune to the weather concerns in this game because he sees the majority of his targets close to the line of scrimmage. Hooper’s aDOT (average depth of target) is just 6.1 yards downfield, which ranks 23rd-of-28 eligible tight ends.
A few low-owned contrarian/leverage plays
D’Andre Swift vs. Washington (DK only)
Just like last week, Swift sets up as an intriguing leverage play off of what will be the far more popular cheap RBs on DraftKings. Swift is only $5,100 and has finally been way more involved recently. Since the Lions bye, Swift has actually seen slightly more carries (41) than Adrian Peterson (39) and he’s caught 3 or more passes in 7-of-8 game so far. It just comes down to the touchdown roulette wheel here. Over this season, Swift has 9 attempts inside of the 10-yard line while Peterson has 7 and Kerryon Johnson has 3.
Gerald Everett vs. Seahawks
Seahawks-Rams will be among the highest-owned games in DFS this weekend and for good reason. On a weak tight end slate, Everett makes some sense as a completely unowned punt play if you want to stack up that game. Everett is the minimum price on FanDuel ($4,500) and costs $600 less than Tyler Higbee on DraftKings despite this duo splitting snaps (127 to 114) and targets (26 to 24) this season.
Good luck this week!