My first few seasons playing DFS, I got crushed. Lineup after lineup, slate after slate, I just couldn’t do anything right. I was hemorrhaging my hard-earned money, and I really didn’t have much to spare. Just like those late-night infomercials, I had to find a better way!
I was making far too many mistakes to list them all here, but what I really needed then was a guiding hand, a voice (or an article perhaps?) that could, at the very least, help me understand who the best plays were, and more importantly — why?
This is that article.
Once I found FantasyPoints, and this article, everything changed. With a deeper understanding of which players are values (and why) I was able to make great strides in my own DFS play. And now, I’m writing this article.
Jonathan Taylor, RB, Indianapolis Colts (VS. HOU)
DK: +$869, 2.84X / FD: +$612, 2.50X
Taylor ranks 5th among RBs in XFP per game (17.7), 1st in goal line opportunities per game (1.8), and tied for first with Derrick Henry in XTD per game (1.1). Encouragingly, Taylor has seen an uptick in pass game work this season, averaging 3.8 targets per game (+1.2 from 2020). And now the Colts and Taylor get arguably their best matchup of the year as a 10-point favorite against Houston, who’s allowed the 6th-most rushing yards per game (120.2) this season. In his career, Taylor has averaged 22.4 DraftKings FPG and 20.4 Fanduel FPG when the Colts are favored by 7.5-points or more (4 instances). Those numbers would currently rank 3rd-best among all RBs this season, yet Taylor is the RB8 on both sites this week. Gamescript-dependent RBs like Taylor typically need a plus matchup to be considered favorable DFS plays, and it’s tough to think of a more favorable matchup than playing the Texans as 10-point favorites.
Devontae Booker, RB, New York Giants (VS. LAR)
DK: 2.31X / FD: +$341, 2.12X
Saquon:— Edwin Porras, DPT (@FBInjuryDoc) October 10, 2021
*Classic lateral “low” ankle sprain
*NYG will assure no fracture
*His swelling is very normal. Don’t freak out
*Return to sport time is 6.5 days
*If no fracture, this will resolve in 7-10 days
*I think (and hope) he’ll be fine
Recent comps in tweet 2
Saquon Barkley was thankfully able to avoid serious injury, but he’s still doubtful to play Week 5. That leaves Devontae Booker as New York's lead back in a Week 6 matchup with the Rams.
Devontae Booker yesterday:— Jake Tribbey (@JakeTribbey) October 11, 2021
- 60/68 snaps
- 29 routes on 41 dropbacks
- 19 touches
- an incredibly gross 2.6 YPC
- 20.8 fantasy points
Booker saw great volume filling in for Barkley Sunday, but his efficiency was rather dreadful. Thankfully, the Rams run defense is vulnerable, and begging to be run on.
Most rush attempts allowed with 6 or fewer defenders in the box, per SIS:— Jake Tribbey (@JakeTribbey) October 6, 2021
1. LAR - 78
2. LAC - 57
3. WAS - 50
3. MIN - 50
5. MIA - 49
Both LA teams really want you to run on them
It’s almost certainly schematic, but the Rams are a clear run funnel. They are letting up 4.5 YPC (8th-worst) and are allowing 23.0 FPG to opposing RBs (8th-worst). And Booker should be a focal point of the Giants offense as a result. Well, that, and the Giants are arguably the most injured offense in the NFL right now. Daniel Jones (concussion), Kenny Golladay (knee), Sterling Shepard (hamstring), Kadarius Toney (leg), and Darius Slayton (hamstring) are all dealing with injuries that cloud their Week 6 status. Should the Giants be missing the majority of their WRs or even their QB, a run heavy game plan featuring Booker may end up being the team’s path of least resistance. Booker figures to see a near bell cow workload as the RB23 on DraftKings and the RB25 on Fanduel.
Darrel Williams, RB, Kansas City Chiefs (AT WAS)
DK: +$689, 2.51X / FD: +$1200, 2.37X
Clyde Edwards-Helaire suffered an MCL sprain and is out for a few weeks, sources say. While he’ll miss time, not quite as bad as it appeared last night.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 11, 2021
Clyde Edwards-Helaire suffered a knee injury in the 3rd quarter of Sunday Night Football, and will “miss a few weeks.” For Week 6, look for Darrel Williams to take over most of his role. Given that Jerick McKinnon has only seen 1 carry this season, Williams should see the vast majority of the 14.5 carries per game (8th-most) that CEH earned in the first four weeks of the season. Crucially, Williams is the team’s goal line back, as he is the only player with a carry inside the five yard line, scoring twice on three attempts. We’ve never seen CEH score more than 20.9 fantasy points in a single game, so I’m inclined to limit my Williams exposure in tournaments due to the concerning ceiling. Regardless, as 6-point favorites against Washington, Williams figures to be heavily involved as the lead rusher on one the NFL’s best offenses. From a median projection standpoint that makes Williams a great value, especially on Fanduel as the RB38.
Khalil Herbert, RB, Chicago Bears (VS. GB)
DK: +$774, 2.09X / FD: +$718, 2.37X
David Montgomery is on IR. Damien Williams was just placed on the reserve/COVID list. That means this is Khalil Herbert’s backfield in Week 6. Last week, despite everyone believing Damien Williams would be the backfield's bell cow, Herbert actually led the team in carries (18) and recorded 10.2 XFP - showcasing the coaching staff’s confidence in the Round 6 rookie.
Herbert was excellent in his final season at Virginia Tech. Of the 95 FBS RBs with at least 100 rushes in 2020, Herbert was 5th in PFF rushing grade, 1st in yards after contact per attempt, and 15th in missed tackles forced. Athletically, he’s roughly middle of the pack, and he is on the older side of RB prospects at 23 years old. He also ranked 8th in Scott Barrett’s rookie RB model. Herbert did only catch 10 passes in his final college season, so it’s reasonable to expect him to cede some pass game work to backup RB Ryan Nall, who’s primarily been used in passing situations during his time in Chicago. Still, Herbert did run 7 routes last week to Damien Williams’ 10, so Herbert will still be involved in some capacity if the game gets out of hand (a real possibility with Chicago as 6-point underdogs).
Herbert is staring 15-20 touches right in the face, and is the RB36 on DraftKings and the RB31 on Fanduel. He’s a lock-button play in cash, and an elite value everywhere else.
Davante Adams, WR, Green Bay Packers (AT CHI)
DK: 2.50X / FD: +$617, 2.29X
Adams is on a historic run. Since the beginning of the 2020 season, Adams is averaging 24.8 FPG. Over a full season, that would rank as the 5th-best fantasy season by a WR all-time. This year, Adams leads all WRs in XFP per game (22.6), target share (38.1%), and air yards per game (143.6). Over the last three weeks, Adams has seen a completely ridiculous 45% target share, which is 12.6% higher than the next closest player. Adams has been, and almost surely will continue to be, the best WR in fantasy football. And it may not be close.
Still, Adams’ Week 6 price tag of $8,500 on Fanduel is $483 cheaper than his price over his last 12 games, and he’s the WR2 (by salary), behind Tyreek Hill. And then there’s the strong matchup against Chicago - PFF’s 5th-worst graded coverage unit (44.4 team coverage grade). With the exception of rising star Jaylon Johnson (71.8 coverage grade), the Bears don’t have a player in their secondary with a PFF coverage grade above 56.0 (min. 100 coverage snaps). Adams doesn’t have problems getting open against some of the best corners in the league, so this soft Bears coverage unit could easily be looking like swiss cheese come Sunday. Adams is a solid value on DraftKings, but an elite value on Fanduel as the WR2 (by salary). He should be heavily considered in all formats.
Jakobi Meyers, WR, New England Patriots (VS. DAL)
DK: 2.10X / FD: 1.99X
Meyers ranks 12th in targets per game (9.2), 16th in target share (25%), 5th in routes (199), and 7th in receptions (31), but his fantasy production hasn’t kept pace, as he’s the WR36 by FPG (12.6). Unbelievably, Meyers has 116 career receptions, and 0 TDs. That’s the 6th-most receptions without a receiving TD ever, and Meyers has fallen short of his TD expectation by 2.3 TDs since the start of 2020. Thankfully, Week 6 ushers in a solid matchup against Dallas, who’s allowed 30.3 FPG to opposing WRs (6th-worst). With the Patriots as 4-point underdogs, a pass-happy Week 6 for New England appears more than likely.
He’s seeing WR1 levels of volume, is a screaming TD regression candidate, and has a great matchup. Meyers may slide under the radar in Week 6 with DFS players potentially frustrated by the lack of big games despite great usage, and that makes him an ideal GPP play.
Amon-Ra St. Brown, WR, Detroit Lions (VS. CIN)
DK: 2.35X / FD: 1.89X
It hasn’t been talked about much, but Amon-Ra St. Brown has actually led Lions’ WRs and TEs in targets (16) and XFP per game (15.0) over the last two weeks. 15.0 XFP ranks 22nd over the last two weeks, and would rank 24th among WRs this season. Still, St. Brown is WR41 (by salary) on DraftKings, and WR50 on Fanduel. He draws a solid matchup against a Bengals defense that’s allowed 277.3 passing yards over their last 3 games (10th-worst). And the Lions are 3-point underdogs, so we are likely to see a continuation of their 64% pass rate (6th-most), should the Bengals get out ahead early. With St. Brown emerging as the WR1 on this team, he’s clearly underpriced, and that makes him an obvious value.
Mark Andrews, TE, Baltimore Ravens (VS. LAC)
DK: +$726, 2.29X / FD: +$572, 1.89X
Andrews busted his scoring slump in a big way last week and was a huge part of the Ravens come from behind win, posting 11/147/2 while adding not one but two (!!) octopuses (TD + 2-point conversions). While we obviously can’t expect another 40-burger, this has the makings of another strong game with the Ravens likely trading points with Justin Herbert and the Chargers all day long. While L.A.’s defense has been stellar at limiting big plays against wide receivers, the trade-off is that tight ends are getting free underneath against their zone coverage. To be fair, the Chargers have faced Kelce and Waller, but David Njoku just shredded them last week as well. Overall, L.A. has the worst tight end defense in the league right now by the numbers and are giving up 2.43 fantasy points per target (most) and 81.3 yards per game (second-most) to the position. (GB)
He’s a phenomenal value, and probably a must-play on FanDuel.
Ricky Seals-Jones, TE, Washington Football Team (VS. KC)
DK: +$829, 2.55X / FD: +$394, 1.53X
With Logan Thomas out, WFT giving Ricky Seals-Jones some of the best TE usage in the league.— Adam Levitan (@adamlevitan) October 11, 2021
* 82-of-83 snaps
* 43 slot, 10 wide
* 46 routes on 53 Heinicke dropbacks
* 8 targets for a 19.5% share
* 5-41-0 result
In Week 5, Ricky Seals-Jones essentially became Logan Thomas. RSJ ranked 2nd among TEs in total routes (42), tied for 4th in targets (8), 1st in snaps (82), and 1st in end zone targets (3). That’s elite Tier, TE1 usage. He draws a dream Week 6 matchup against KC in the highest-total game of the week (55.5), who’s allowed the 4th-most FPG to opposing TEs (17.9). If this were Logan Thomas, we would be talking about him as one of the top TE plays of Week 6. Instead, RSJ is flying under the radar when he should be viewed as a low-end TE1 this week. RSJ is far and away the top punt play at TE on DraftKings in Week 6, as his workload and matchup suggest he should cost about $1,000 more.