Supermodel Tyra Banks has amassed $95M in earnings throughout her 30-year career.
Similarly, I have a model. It’s super – a true thing of beauty. And, while it hasn’t earned $95M, it has made me quite a bit of money over the years.
That model is the DFS SuperModel. Each week it will highlight the top-25 most mispriced players on both DraftKings and FanDuel. While I can’t tell you what exactly goes into the DFS SuperModel, I can tell you what does not go into it – namely, our projections. For the most part, you should be deferring to those – primarily the FPTS/$ column you’ll find here – or use both together.
That’s what I’ll be doing in this article, using both resources to help me highlight the top main slate DFS Value Plays in any given week. Here’s Week 5:
Daniel Jones, QB, New York Giants
Model (DK: +557 / FD: +511)
Jones is by no means a safe play, or an exciting play, but he is a pretty good value. He comes out of a brutal stretch of schedule, up against the 1st, 2nd, 5th, and 18th toughest defenses by passing fantasy points allowed per pass attempt. His output in those games: 9.1, 8.7, 11.1, and 19.4 fantasy points. But he has a great matchup this week -- Dallas ranks 2nd-worst by the same stat and 4th-worst by passer rating allowed (111.8).
Of course, the loss of Saquon Barkley hurts (defenses don’t have to worry at all about the running game). The offensive line is an issue. The receiving corps is an issue. So maybe he’s just a tournament dart throw, but maybe he’s one of the better ones on the slate. He’s flashed a high ceiling before, exceeding 32.0 DKFP four times over the past two seasons, which is tied with Josh Allen and more than Pat Mahomes and Aaron Rodgers.
Still, Jones makes me nervous, so maybe the better play is Darius Slayton who is averaging 7.3 targets per game and ranks 10th in air yardage market share (37%). Dallas ranks 4th-worst in FPG allowed to opposing outside WRs (where Slayton runs 86% of his routes), and are giving up the 4th-most FPG to opposing WRs on deep passes, which is Slayton’s role in this offense. He ranks as our 7th-best WR value on DraftKings, as per the DFS SuperModel.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, Kansas City Chiefs
Model (DK: +1,294 / FD: +706)
Edwards-Helaire is far and away the top value of the slate on DraftKings, mispriced by about $1,300 as per the DFS SuperModel. He’s also the top overall value as per our DFS Projections (3.40X), and, believe it or not, our highest projected non-QB (23.1 FKDP). He’s also a top value on FanDuel. Here’s what I had to say about him in Start/Sit:
Edwards-Helaire has seen terrific usage this season, and growing usage in each game, playing on a season-high 73% of the team’s snaps last week. He now ranks 6th in carries per game (17.75), 9th in targets per game (4.75), and 5th in XFP per game (20.6). Though he ranks just 16th in FPG (15.8) that’s bound to regress – he’s gotten a little unlucky in the touchdown department, scoring only once for the 9th-highest-scoring team in the league, despite 7 opportunities inside the 5-yard-line (4th-most) and an 88% snap share in the red zone. Look for a big game this week – the Chiefs are 13.0-point favorites with the highest implied point total of the week (34.75) against a Raiders defense that is giving up the most FPG to opposing RBs (38.0), ranking 4th-worst in YPC allowed (5.34), 3rd-worst in rushing FPG allowed (21.9), and 4th-worst in receiving FPG allowed (16.2) to opposing RBs.
Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Dallas Cowboys
Model (DK: +1,213)
Elliott is by no means cheap, but he is a top value, mispriced by about $1,200 on DraftKings. Fully expecting this, I went out of my way to spend a great deal of time on Elliott in the Week 5 XFP Report. Here’s what I had to say:
Elliott is seeing unreal usage. Usage comparable only to the best seasons from Christian McCaffrey, LaDainian Tomlinson, Le’Veon Bell, and Marshall Faulk. Through the first four weeks, Elliott has finished 7th, 1st, 1st, and 4th among RBs in XFP. He leads all players in XFP per game (26.3), ranks first among RBs in snap% (88.7), and is averaging 17.5 carries and 7.5 targets per game.
Elliott is a true bell cow – as evident by the 88.7% snap share and 7.5 targets per game – and as such will not be game script-dependent like a Kenyan Drake (16.8 carries, 1.3 targets per game), he’ll still be productive in losses but he will still be much better off in games with positive game script. (Unless you’re as capable of a receiver as Christian McCaffrey or Austin Ekeler, it is better for a bell cow to play behind positive game script. Over the past three seasons, winning teams average 26.6 fantasy points per game at the RB position. Losing teams average 20.8.)
All this to say Elliott has been disadvantaged by negative game script thus far, with Dallas leading on just 2% of their offensive plays. Their defense may be apocalyptically bad, but it’s still bound to regress. He’s also gotten a little unlucky in the touchdown department, totaling just three rushing touchdowns vs. an expectation of 5.5. That’s also bound to regress. And this would be a great week for it, favored by 9.5 points against a Giants team that ranks dead-last in points scored per game (11.8).
The key takeaway is this – Elliott is easily now one of the most valuable assets in fantasy, maybe the most valuable asset in fantasy. And we haven’t yet seen him reach his true potential in an offense that ranks 2nd in net yards per drive (41.6) and 1st in plays per game (77.2). He’s my top regression candidate to target in DFS this week, and my top regression candidate to target in season-long via trades.
Kareem Hunt, RB, Cleveland Browns
Model (DK: +649 / FD: +706)
Hunt rushed 11 times for 71 yards and 2 scores in last week’s game, but that amounted to just 28% of the team’s total rushing attempts. Hunt didn’t touch the ball until Nick Chubb suffered a game-ending injury on the final drive of the 1st Quarter, and then spent the rest of the game (21 snaps) in a full-on 3-way committee with D’Ernest Johnson (17) and Dontrell Hilliard (15). The threat that this happens again is real and hinges totally on Hunt’s health – he barely practiced at all last week due to a groin injury and has practiced only in a limited capacity this week.
Sure, Hunt’s health is a legitimate concern, but if it wasn’t, he’d probably be neck-and-neck with Edwards-Helaire as the clear top value of the slate. Cleveland’s RBs are averaging an absurd 35.0 touches, 33.6 fantasy points, and 200.8 yards from scrimmage per game. Hunt is averaging 5.50 YPC and ranks 9th in FPG (17.4), despite playing on just 41% of the team’s snaps thus far. So, the analysis is simple – imagine if that snap share doubled with Chubb out, which seems to me like a realistic expectation if he were operating at full health.
Olamide Zaccheaus, WR, Atlanta Falcons
Model (DK: +606)
It's not often we get a minimum-priced WR coming off of the type of game Zaccheaus had last week – he saw a team-high 9 targets, catching 8 for 86 yards. The week prior, he caught 4 of 6 targets for 41 yards. With Julio Jones likely to sit out this week, Zaccheaus is firmly in play on DraftKings as one of the best salary-savers of the slate. While I’m not expecting a performance like the one he had last week, or for Calvin Ridley to again score zero fantasy points, it’s hard to imagine he doesn’t at least hit 3X value. Carolina has given up the 14th-most FPG to opposing outside WRs (where Zaccheaus runs nearly all of his routes), though they rank 7th-best against slot WRs and 10th best against TEs. And there should be plenty of scoring potential in a game with the 3rd-highest Over/Under of the slate (53.5, opened at 51.0).
Robby Anderson, WR, Carolina Panthers
Model (DK: +383 / FD: +856)
You may have drafted D.J. Moore as a top-10 WR this summer, but Anderson is looking like the clear WR1 on this team. Moore ranks 20th in XFP per game (13.9) and 41st in FPG (11.7). Anderson, meanwhile, ranks 15th in XFP per game (14.6) and 13th in FPG (18.0). Priced as just the No. 18 WR of the slate on FanDuel, and against Atlanta’s pass funnel defense (behind the 3rd-highest O/U of the slate), he’s a clear top value.
CeeDee Lamb, WR, Dallas Cowboys
Model (FD: +622)
For whatever reason, FanDuel continually refuses to price up Lamb anywhere close to the sort of salary he’s rightfully earned. Lamb ranks 13th in XFP per game (15.2), but just 23rd in salary on FanDuel. Look for him to expose their price-fixers again this week, as Dak Prescott force-feeds him the ball while Amari Cooper gets shadow treatment from James Bradberry, who has been excellent this year.
Marquise Brown, WR, Baltimore Ravens
Model (FD: +572)
Could it… Could it finally be Hollywood Brown week? We’ve waited all summer for Brown to go nuclear in the right spot. Graham Barfield seems to think so -- here’s what he had to say about Brown in Start / Sit:
Welcome to Hollywood week. Brown is a great buy-low candidate right now if any of your leaguemates are afraid of his somewhat slow start ahead of this potential eruption spot. This year, Brown has taken on a much larger role in the Ravens offense as he’s commanded 27% of Lamar Jackson’s targets and 43% of his air yards. Last year, Brown saw 19% of targets and 23% of air yards (when healthy). Brown is getting true WR1 volume this season and has a pristine matchup this week against this Bengals secondary that is allowing the second-most fantasy points per game to receivers aligned out wide. That’s where Hollywood runs 81% of his routes.
Brown is a top-10 value on FanDuel, mispriced by about $600 as per the DFS SuperModel. The only concern with him is the same concern we’ve had all season – as 13.0-point favorites, there’s little need for Baltimore to keep their foot on the gas. Still, a slate-busting game is always within his range of outcomes.
Min. Price Tight End
Adam Trautman flopped in a big way last week, but there will always be credence to punting the TE position outright (on DraftKings) – and especially this season with TE being the absolute wasteland it’s been. (Just 3 main slate TEs cleared 60 yards last week, only 5 reached 11.0 fantasy points.) Punting TE allows us to pay up elsewhere, at the other more important positions that offer more upside. So, who is in play this week?
Trey Burton ($2,900), Harrison Bryant ($2,500), Gerald Everett ($2,500), and Richard Rodgers ($2,500) are all at least vaguely in play, and should at least be expected to eclipse Trautman’s Week 4 output. My favorite among these is Burton, who earned 5 targets on a position-high 17 routes last week in his return to action. We should only expect those numbers to climb as he returns to full health, but he’ll probably remain only a part-time player in Week 5. Indianapolis TEs quietly rank 7th in receiving yards (271), and Frank Reich has a long history of coaxing elite fantasy production from the TE position. From 96 Stats:
2A. Across six seasons as NFL offensive coordinator or head coach, Frank Reich’s TE1 has averaged at least 13.0 FPG five times.
2B. That’s typically enough to rank top-5 or top-6 at the position in FPG.
2C. Last year was the first year Reich’s TE1 failed to average at least 13.0 FPG. Even so, Jack Doyle still led the team in targets.