NFL DFS is a tough game. But whether you are playing cash games or tournaments, you need to be acutely aware of the slate’s top values.
These are the best plays of the slate once price, matchup, median projection, and a player’s floor and ceiling are factored in.
You’ll want to maximize your exposure to these players in cash games (50/50s, head-to-head contests, etc). And you’ll be mixing these players into your tournament lineups alongside some of our favorite GPP plays – which are discussed in Scott Barrett’s DFS Breakdown.
It’s important to note that ownership will not be a factor in this article. These are simply the best values of the slate once all other variables are considered. Plays are listed in descending order of salary, but a full ranking of the slate’s best plays in order can be found in Scott Barrett’s DFS Breakdown.
Joe Burrow, QB, Cincinnati Bengals (VS. HOU)
DraftKings: $6,800 (QB4) | FanDuel: $8,200 (QB3)
Since 2021, Burrow has averaged 25.9 FPG in games with a PROE (pass rate over expectation) above +8.0% – a mark that would easily lead all slate-eligible QBs. Good news! Cincinnati has cleared that mark in four straight games, averaging a league-high +16.7% over this span. Sure, the WR injuries are a concern, but not a notable detriment to Burrow’s fantasy outlook unless both Tee Higgins and Ja’Marr Chase miss this game. We need to remember this is a very weak slate overall – Burrow is playing in one of just three games with a total of over 44.0, and – given his recent pass-happy ways – pops as the top QB value on both sites in a neutral matchup.
Sam Howell, QB, Washington Commanders (@ SEA)
DraftKings: $5,900 (QB8) | FanDuel: $7,200 (QB10)
Howell has 46 more dropbacks than the next-closest QB. Washington is throwing the ball – in every conceivable scenario – as much or more than any other team. Sure, Howell is on pace to set the single-season record for sacks, but that doesn’t matter for fantasy. What does matter is that Howell has averaged 21.6 DraftKings FPG (QB1 on this slate) in the eight games Washington has scored a TD. His matchup with a resurgent Seattle secondary is far from ideal, but any hiccups with efficiency can easily be overcome by raw volume. He’s a top-5 QB value on both sites this week.
Brock Purdy, QB, San Francisco 49ers (@ JAX)
DraftKings: $5,700 (QB12) | FanDuel: $7,400 (QB8)
Purdy averages 19.4 DraftKings FPG across his 15 fully healthy career starts, which would rank 5th-best among slate-eligible QBs this season, presenting obvious value relative to his price on both sites. San Francisco has leaned into the run game all year, but that probably changes this week. Jacksonville has forced the 2nd-highest defensive PROE (+7.8%) while ranking as the 2nd-toughest schedule-adjusted matchup for opposing RBs on the ground (-4.0 FPG). He’s a strong value on both sites – especially DraftKings.
Tony Pollard, RB, Dallas Cowboys (VS. NYG)
DraftKings: $7,300 (RB5) | FanDuel: $7,800 (RB7)
Pollard is priced as the RB6 despite ranking just 11th among slate-eligible RBs in DK FPG (13.9). That’s the easy argument against him. The argument in favor of him is that his usage and volume have been that of a mid-range RB1. He’s no doubt due, and this does look like the ultimate get-right spot, given Dallas’ slate-high 28.0-point implied total against Tommy DeVito’s Giants… That said, all of the upside seems more than baked into his projected ownership, and the 17.0-point spread in Dallas’ favor speaks to exactly what has plagued Pollard all year. He’s a viable cash game play on both sites (especially FanDuel), but he’s far from the perfect tournament play.
Aaron Jones, RB, Green Bay Packers (@ PIT)
DraftKings: $6,500 (RB13) | FanDuel: $6,800 (RB14)
Green Bay finally unleashed Jones in Week 9, as he totaled 20.8 XFP (2nd-most on the week) and scored 18.9 fantasy points (7th-most) on the back of 20 carries and 6 targets. There have only been 5 instances of an RB handling 20-plus carries and 6-plus targets in a single game this year, and those RBs collectively averaged 23.5 FPG. So, Jones’ workload is elite, and probably far better than his price on both sites would imply. The matchup with Pittsburgh is largely a neutral one, but the spread (GB +3.0) is a bit concerning – Jones averages +6.2 more FPG in wins (17.3) than losses (11.1) since 2021. Still, he’s a solid value on DraftKings and a fringe cash play on FanDuel.
Joe Mixon, RB, Cincinnati Bengals (VS. HOU)
DraftKings: $6,200 (RB12) | FanDuel: $7,700 (RB8)
Mixon is still a highest-end bell cow (league-high 93% backfield XFP share last week). Mixon is still seeing the highest-end RB volume – he ranks 3rd in XFP/G since Week 5 (19.2). And he’s still one of the least efficient RBs in fantasy and far more touchdown-or-bust than I might want to admit. Nonetheless, this appears to be a great spot for him. The Bengals have the 2nd-highest implied point total of the slate (27.25), are favored by 6.5 points, and Mixon has averaged +5.8 more FPG in wins (19.1) than losses (13.3) since 2019. He’s a top RB value at his 3rd-cheapest DraftKings price since the start of the 2021 season.
Bijan Robinson, RB, Atlanta Falcons (@ ARI)
DraftKings: $6,000 (RB14) | FanDuel: $6,600 (RB16)
Obviously, Robinson’s usage thus far has been incredibly stupid. And although we need to know that it’s unlikely to change anytime soon, Robinson still pops as a strong value. He’s priced as just the RB14 of the slate, and – if we exclude Week 8 for obvious reasons – he ranks 9th among all slate-eligible RBs in DK FPG (15.2). The close spread benefits Robinson more than it does Tyler Allgeier, and the matchup is excellent – Arizona is giving up the 3rd-most schedule-adjusted FPG to opposing RBs (+5.1). He’s a strong value on DraftKings and a cash game play on FanDuel.
Rachaad White, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (VS. TEN)
DraftKings: $5,800 (RB16) | FanDuel: $7,000 (RB12)
White has finished as a top-12 fantasy RB in three straight games. Over this span, he ranks 4th in snap share (79.5%), 8th in carries (42), 2nd in targets (17), 4th in XFP/G (18.5), and 6th in FPG (20.6). And Week 9 was his best performance yet – 51 of 63 snaps (81.0%, best on the week), 20 of 27 carries, 4 of 6 targets, 25.1 XFP (best among all RBs on the week), and 27.9 fantasy points (best)… He’s up against a tough(ish) run defense in Tennessee, but that concern is more than negated but his expected volume (especially in the passing game) relative to his RB16 price tag. He’s right there as a cash play on DraftKings, but merely a top-10 value on FanDuel.
Ja’Marr Chase, WR, Cincinnati Bengals (VS. HOU)
DraftKings: $8,600 (WR3) | FanDuel: $9,300 (WR1)
Chase (back) is dealing with injury issues of his own, but any concerns over his health (assuming he plays) can be canceled out by Tee Higgins’ absence this week. Since joining the NFL, Chase averages +4.6 more FPG without Higgins (23.3) than with him (18.7). Just this season, Chase has averaged an absurd 15.5 targets per game and 136.0 receiving YPG in the two games Higgins was either out or limited. Chase is the premier pay-up option at WR on both sites and a near-must-play in cash games on FanDuel.
Calvin Ridley, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars (VS. SF)
DraftKings: $5,600 (WR21) | FanDuel: $6,700 (WR19)
Ridley has been incredibly inconsistent this season, scoring double-digit DraftKings points in just half of his games. But Ridley has seen some consistency in favorable matchups, averaging 16.0 DraftKings FPG and 9.7 targets per game in his three games against teams that rank among the 10-softest schedule-adjusted matchups for opposing outside WRs. San Francisco falls into that category, and Jacksonville should be forced to throw in this game as 3.0-point underdogs. Ridley is the cheapest he’s been on both sites all season and is a screaming buy-low candidate in a solid matchup.
Tank Dell, WR, Houston Texans (@ CIN)
DraftKings: $5,500 (WR22) | FanDuel: $6,400 (WR25)
We just saw CJ Stroud shatter single-game rookie records, and the Texans coaches seem to have finally caught on to the idea that throwing the ball is their best path to offensive dominance. Meanwhile, Nico Collins (calf) has been ruled out. Things are setting up perfectly for Tank Dell – who leads the Texans in target share (23%) and XFP/G (13.9) over his last two healthy games. The matchup is below average, but Dell remains a strong value on DraftKings and a borderline must-play in cash games on FanDuel regardless.
Note: Noah Brown ($3,700) is a similarly-strong value to Dell, and draws a slightly better matchup in the slot.
Diontae Johnson, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers (VS. GB)
DraftKings: $5,400 (WR24) | FanDuel: $7,000 (WR12)
Johnson is an absurd value, and a cash game must play on DraftKings. Scott Barrett detailed why right here. His matchup is tough on paper, but it’s probably better than meets the eye with Jaire Alexander (shoulder) very beat up and potentially out this week.
As absurd as it seems, all three of Marquise Brown ($5,200), Michael Wilson ($3,500), and Rondale Moore ($3,000) are excellent DraftKings values this week, largely thanks to the return of Kyler Murray. The Cardinals currently rank 3rd-worst in off-target throw rate (21.3%). But by the same stat last year, Murray ranked 4th-best of 47-qualifying QBs (12.1%). This is a huge upgrade for the entire passing attack, and that makes Brown a cash game must-play on DraftKings and a top-5 value on FanDuel (despite a poor matchup). Wilson and Moore are both top values on DraftKings but merely above-average values on FanDuel.
Trenton Irwin, WR, Cincinnati Bengals (VS. HOU)
DraftKings: $3,000 (WR67) | FanDuel: $4,800 (WR71)
When Tee Higgins sat out in Week 5, Irwin ranked 2nd on the team in target share (21.7%), in between Ja’Marr Chase (41.3%) and Boyd (15.2%). Irwin both out-scored (14.0 fantasy points to 9.9) and out-targeted Boyd (10 to 7) while only running 3 fewer routes (35 to 38). Last season, Irwin had 4 touchdowns in the 5 games he played on over 45% of the Bengals’ snaps. Needless to say, Irwin is a screaming value on both sites – priced at (or near) the stone minimum on the NFL’s most pass-happy offense.
TJ Hockenson, TE, Minnesota Vikings (VS. NO)
DraftKings: $5,000 (TE5) | FanDuel: $6,600 (TE3)
Hockenson’s workload was as strong as ever once Josh Dobbs came into the game in Week 9. Per four quarters, Hockenson posted 22.5 XFP – the 3rd-best workload by any TE in any game this season. Overall, he finished the week with 12 targets (2nd-most of any player), and a 33.3% target share (4th-most of any receiver). He’s an outstanding value this week, even if his rib injury limits his overall efficiency.
Dalton Schultz, TE, Houston Texans (@ CIN)
DraftKings: $4,900 (TE6) | FanDuel: $6,100 (TE6)
Schultz is averaging 8.3 targets per game, 65.3 receiving YPG, 13.8 XFP/G, and 16.7 DK FPG over his last four games. Among slate-eligible TEs over the full season, those marks rank 2nd-, 1st-, 3rd-, and 1st-best. Across the full season, he’s also earned a position-high 8 end zone targets – as many as Travis Kelce and George Kittle have combined. He’s an obvious top DFS value this week, priced as just the TE6 on DraftKings ($4,900), up against a Bengals defense that is yielding a league-high +5.2 schedule-adjusted FPG to opposing TEs.
Trey McBride, TE, Arizona Cardinals (VS. ATL)
DraftKings: $3,500 (TE15) | FanDuel: $5,100 (TE15)
The TE position has been a massive focal point of Arizona’s passing attack – Trey McBride ranks 2nd (0.29), and Zach Ertz ranks 5th (0.24) among all TEs in TPRR. In his first game without Ertz, McBride earned 14 targets (most of any TE in any game this season) and a 37.8% target share (most of any TE in any game this season). He caught 10 of those targets for 95 yards (6th-most of any TE in any game this season). Last week, with an entirely new (and completely incompetent) QB under center, McBride’s results were poor, but he did again finish top-6 among all TEs' target share (25.0%) and first-read target share (28.6%). Obviously, the healthy return of Kyler Murray could be massive for McBride’s fantasy potential… But with all of this being said, it’s a little concerning McBride’s route share fell from 88% (2nd-most) to 59% (19th-most) last week. And that his snap share dropped from 83% (10th-most) to 67% (20th-most). Still, he’s clearly too cheap given his recent volume, facing one of the 10-softest schedule-adjusted defenses against TEs in Atlanta.