What is this column? Each week I’ll be listing the best and most-interesting plays of the week, grouped by position, and ranked and tiered in some sort of descending order. Keep in mind, we’re looking only at the players available on the main slate for both DraftKings and FanDuel.
This article is long. It’s going to be long every week. Ideally, it’s all you should need to know to be able to profit playing DFS in any given week.
Be sure to also watch our DFS Preview livestream every Friday at 3PM EST. Be sure to get in our Discord — if you’re not in there already, you’re missing out on a lot of important news updates as well as personal guidance and advice from our experts. And, most importantly, be sure to check back on Sunday mornings for the “Sunday Morning Update” – basically a TLDR version of this piece along with any injury-related updates we might need.
Anyway, let’s dive in…
TLDR: Too Long, Didn’t Read
Notes: As always this is geared more towards cash than tournaments. In the above chart, I’m assuming Darrell Henderson is out. I’m assuming Odell Beckham Jr. is active. I left off both Jaylen Waddle and DeVante Parker due to the uncertainty over whether or not Parker will be activated. If Parker plays, he’d rank about 5th or 6th on both sites. If he’s out, Waddle would rank about 10th on DraftKings and 8th on FanDuel.
Jonathan Taylor, RB, Indianapolis Colts
[DK: RB1, FD: RB1]
Since Week 4,Taylor has hit at least 19.0 fantasy points in 9 straight games. Over this span, he averages 28.5 FPG (+5.0 more than next-closest). Since Week 7, he leads all RBs in XFP/G (21.4), though throughout the remainder of his career averaged just 14.4 XFP/G (a 49% increase).
The Colts are now a 1-back team, and that team runs almost exclusively through their 1-back. Potentially to an even greater extent than the Titans ran their offense through Derrick Henry. In my estimation, he should be viewed almost exactly like Henry plus ~4.5 targets in a pillow-soft matchup. Which is to say, he offers (easily) the highest ceiling, floor, and median projection of any player on the slate. Even at his exorbitant price-tag the only thing stopping him from being a must-play is how many other attractive RBs are on this slate.
Taylor has done nothing but dominate as of late, averaging 32.9 FPG over the last four weeks. That incredible success is largely thanks to Taylor’s ascension to true bell cow status. He’s exceeded a 69% snap share in each of his last 6 games — a mark that he exceeded only twice in his previous 21 games. He’s also seen an uptick in passing-game usage, running 19% more routes and earning 11% more backfield targets over his last 6 games.
So, not only is he really good (+4.8 PAR this season, +3.6 PAR in 2020), he’s also, finally, seeing the workload of a top-3 RB.
And It’s hard to see Taylor’s dominance changing in Week 13 as he faces a Texans defense that ranks dead last in YPC allowed to opposing RBs (4.81) and 4th-worst in rushing FPG allowed to opposing RBs (17.5). And that’s after averaging 5.6 YPC in his last three games against run defenses that all ranked in the top-12 toughest by YPC allowed to opposing RBs.
Taylor should be a popular play this week (on a slate without Christian McCaffrey and Dalvin Cook) as the Colts are likely to take a run-heavy approach given they are favored by 9.5-points (the 3rd biggest spread on the slate). Thus far in his career, Taylor has averaged a completely ridiculous 30.2 DraftKings FPG and 26.7 FanDuel FPG when the Colts are favored by 8.0-points or more, (5 instances) with most of those games coming before his ascendance into bell cow-status.
30.2 DK FPG is 35% more than the RB2 on DraftKings (Austin Ekeler) is averaging this season, and 45% more than the RB2 (Joe Mixon) on FanDuel. Given that Taylor is only 11% more expensive than the RB2 on DK, and 12% more expensive than the RB2 on FD, it wouldn’t be hard to argue he’s easily the best value among the expensive RBs, and I’d be inclined to agree. Taylor can be safely relied on in both cash games and tournaments this week.
Antonio Gibson, RB, Washington Football Team
[DK: RB17, FD: RB22]
The only thing I’ll add to everything further below, in addition to the fact that he’s egregiously mispriced on both sites coming off of career-highs in both carries and targets, is that Wendell Smallwood doesn’t worry me at all. He’s played 2 snaps all year and it wasn’t even for the team he now plays for.
Could it be? Might all of our offseason dreams finally be coming true?
Gibson has been dealing with a stress fracture in his shin since Week 4. Per Virginia Zakas of The Athletic, “This is an injury that isn’t going to heal until he takes time off, and it is an injury that can get worse the more he plays on it. Gibson needs to be shut down for at least a month, and even then it won’t be 100%." He’s still listed on the injury report, and is only practicing in a limited capacity. But…
Since the team’s Week 9 bye, Gibson has played on 60% of the team’s snaps, averaging 24.0 carries, 3.0 targets, 106.3 YFS, and 17.6 FPG. And this culminated in career-best usage for Gibson in Week 12, earning 29 of 37 carries (4 of 4 inside the 10-zone) and 7 of 12 targets out of the backfield (on 68% of the team’s snaps).
It’s worth pointing out that all 3 games since the team’s bye were wins, and he’s historically been very gamescript-dependent. Plus Washington is projected to lose this week, as 2.5-point road underdogs traveling across the country on a short week. But that probably shouldn’t be too big of a concern if J.D. McKissic (concussion protocol) sits out. In fact, if that happens, I think we’ll finally see Gibson as the gamescript-immune McCaffrey-like bell cow we’ve long dreamed he might one day become. Jaret Patterson is averaging just 7.0 snaps, 4.0 carries, and 0.0 targets per game since their bye. But McKissic leaves behind (over the same span), 5.3 carries, 3.7 targets, and a 41% snap share.
And minus the negative gamescript, the on-paper matchup is just about perfect. The Raiders rank bottom-7 in both rushing and receiving FPG allowed to opposing RBs, and 4th-worst in schedule-adjusted FPG allowed (+5.4) — and, 3rd-worst over the last 5 weeks (+5.9). We have him ranked as a top-5 RB this week, and keep in mind, that’s with McKissic expected to play.
Miles Sanders, RB, Philadelphia Eagles
[DK: RB22, FD: RB16]
From our writeup last week:
In Sanders’ return to action last week (Week 11), he played on only 46% of the team’s snaps, but gained 94 yards on 16 carries and 1 target. He fumbled early in the second quarter and then essentially sat out Philadelphia’s next 5 drives (minus one touch). But minus those 5 drives, he handled 15 of 18 touches out of the backfield (83%). He’s practiced in full all week and is off the injury report.
Philadelphia has fully recommitted to the ground-game in recent weeks, running on early downs a league-high 72% of the time, well above the next-closest team (New England, 61%). Since Week 8, Eagles RBs are averaging: 30.8 carries, 150.0 rushing yards, and 1.5 rushing touchdowns since Week 8. Or, 24.0 rushing FPG. You don’t need me to tell you that’s Derrick Henry-levels of production.
And what happened next? Sanders averaged 7.11 YPC (he ranks 4th among all RBs in YPC over the past three seasons), gaining 64 yards on 9 carries. But he also suffered an injury, limiting him to 33% of the team’s snaps. Together, he and RB Boston Scott combined for 22.6 fantasy points. And now Scott is on the doubtful side of questionable and RB Jordan Howard is also out. And so, he appears locked into a high-end bell cow role, with RB Kenneth Gainwell being the only other threat for touches (2.3 touches per game over the last four weeks).
And the matchup is incredible, against a Zach Wilson-led Jets team. They’re giving up a league-high +11.3 schedule-adjusted FPG to opposing RBs, one of the highest marks I’ve ever seen. He’s a phenomenal play, though I don’t expect him to be too highly owned.
Sony Michel, RB, Los Angeles Rams
[DK: RB40, FD: RB42]
It seems all but certain “Sony Michel will move into the lead role” with Henderson on the doubtful side of questionable. He’s a terrific value, and should be viewed as a significantly-cheaper but slightly-better Darrell Henderson this week.
Darrell Henderson hasn’t practiced this week (thigh), and if he can’t suit up, then Sony Michel will almost certainly be the top projected value at the RB position.
Henderson has missed only one game this season (Week 3), and in that game, Michel earned a 74% snap share, 23 touches (96% of backfield opportunities) and 16.9 XFP (97% of backfield XFP). For a backfield that averages 19.9 FPG this season, a similar workload in Week 13 would translate to roughly 18.9 FPG, which basically makes Michel a free square on both sites, as he clocks in as the RB42 (by salary) on DraftKings and the RB40 on FanDuel.
Not to mention the Rams are 12.5-point favorites, the biggest spread on the slate. So a run-heavy approach in the face of positive gamescript is extremely likely. Jacksonville has been a plus matchup for opposing RBs, albeit just barely, allowing +0.8 schedule-adjusted FPG to opposing RBs (9th-worst). So, yeah, Michel is probably the most obvious play of the slate, and arguably one of the best RB values of the entire season if Henderson sits, which at this point seems more likely than not.
Elijah Mitchell, RB, San Francisco 49ers
[DK: RB13, FD: RB8]
I don’t have much to add to the analysis further below. Mitchell is undeniably a top value on DraftKings, though one that’s better suited for GPPs than cash.
From the Week 13 XFP Report:
Mitchell is the perfect example of how median projections are flawed. All season I’ve been viewing him as essentially this: 50% chance he gets 90 rushing yards and nothing else (9.0 fantasy points), 50% chance he scores twice (or once with the 100-yard bonus) and drops ~22.0 DK fantasy points. He averages 16.3 DK FPG this season. But that’s better expressed this way — he averages 23.2 DK FPG in his top-50% of games and 9.4 DK FPG in his bottom-50% of games.
Essentially, he’s great for tournaments, but is exceedingly risky for cash. But, for season-long leagues, if you own Mitchell, you have to be feeling pretty good. Mitchell went undrafted in 99.999% of leagues, but I’m viewing him as a solid low-end RB1 for the remainder of the season.
Mitchell earned a season-high 70% snap share in Week 12. He finished the week 3rd among RBs in both XFP (24.8) and fantasy points scored (28.0). He earned a bell cow-like, 28 of 30 carries and 6 of 8 targets out of the backfield (minus Deebo Samuel).
Mitchell was a bell cow in Week 12, and even in a worst-case scenario is an extremely high-end workhorse. He’s seen at least 27 carries in back-to-back games, and at least 18 carries in 4 of his last 5. And, encouragingly, it seems he’s finally being used in the passing game. He’s seen 5 or more targets in 2 of his last 3 games, though he had just 4 total targets through his first 5 games. (Granted, Jamycal Hasty’s absence last week might have been a factor there and he only ran 16 total routes.)
In victories, Mitchell is averaging 21.6 carries and 101.4 rushing YPG. And, good news! The 49ers are favored this week, by 3.5-points, against a Seattle defense that ranks 2nd-worst in schedule-adjusted FPG allowed to opposing RBs (+8.4). He’s an easy RB1 this week.
Leonard Fournette, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
[DK: RB7, FD: RB7]
Fournette has been priced up, but is still about $1,000 off from where he should be. I told you last week Fournette was a phenomenal leverage play off of Tom Brady and his pass-catchers, but didn’t have as much exposure as I should have, thinking he’d be 10-15% owned. Instead, he was only 3% owned. But he’ll be closer to 15-20% this week. Still, Brady stacks are looking chalky again this week, and so, in addition to being a phenomenal value, he does offer some slight leverage for lineups fading Brady and his pass catchers.
From the Week 13 XFP Report:
In Week 12, Fournette led all RBs in fantasy points scored (44.1) and XFP (29.6). For perspective, 29.6 XFP ranks as the 6th-best volume any RB has received this season. 44.1 fantasy points ranks 3rd-most.
Bruce Arians told us all offseason he wanted a backfield by committee. But maybe we shouldn’t have believed him.
Fournette was an all-time bell cow in 2019 (17.7 carries and 6.7 targets per game), and he was a bell cow last season when it mattered most for the Buccaneers, averaging 16.0 carries, 5.3 targets, 112.0 YFS, and 21.7 FPG in the postseason. And, well, he’s clearly a bell cow now.
Last week Fournette played on a season-high 81% of the team’s snaps, earning 17 of 24 carries (7 of 8 inside the red zone) and 8 of 8 targets out of the backield. This came one game after Fournette played on 65% of the team’s snaps, earning 11 of 12 carries and 9 of 12 targets out of the backfield. Keep in mind, this was a game Tampa Bay lost 19-29 and trailed throughout.
Fournette is definitely going to continue to be far more productive in wins than losses, but it’s good to know he has some resilience against negative gamescript, thanks to an increase in target volume. (He has seen at least 5 targets in 6 of his last 7 games, and is averaging 7.7 over his last 3 games.)
After Fournette’s monster Week 12, he now ranks 7th in both FPG (18.3) and XFP/G (17.9). Remember, we warned this might happen in Week 6. And, like with Mixon, I see no reason why he can’t be a real league-winner and a top-5 RB down the stretch.
And, at least, he should be viewed as an easy top-5 RB this week. Fournette is basically Jonathan Taylor in wins, averaging 16.0 carries, 4.7 targets, 111.8 YFS, and 23.9 FPG over Tampa Bay's last 6 victories. And, good news! Tampa Bay is favored by 11.0-points, and Atlanta ranks 5th-worst in schedule-adjusted FPG allowed (+3.9) and bottom-10 in both rushing and receiving FPG allowed to opposing RBs.
Jamaal Williams, RB, Detroit Lions
[DK: RB20, FD: RB18]
The only thing I’ll add to this is that we did also see Swift used as a high-end bell cow without Williams. In Week 9, a 38-point blowout loss, Swift played on 95% of the team’s snaps through the first three quarters. In Week 10, Swift played on 93% of the snaps, earning 33 carries and 7 targets (24% target share). However, RB Jermar Jefferson could be a threat to steal some work (5 snaps, 0 touches last week). I wasn’t very concerned, though Johnny was.
He’s undeniably a top value, though Johnny was also worried about his upside given the dumpster-fire nature of this Lions offense. And well, I have a hard time disagreeing with that point.
Undoubtedly, the Lions are a hapless disaster. And Jamaal Williams hasn’t been particularly productive this season. But, with D’Andre Swift out (shoulder), he feels like a near-lock for mid-range RB1 volume at worst, which makes him worthy of a start as (at least) a fringe-RB1.
On Thanksgiving, Swift played on 20% of the team’s snaps (suffering an injury early in the second quarter), and Williams walked away with 15 carries and 5 targets. Following the Swift injury, he played on 81% of the snaps, earning 79% of the carries and 83% of the targets out of the backfield.
The Lions rank 3rd in team RB FPG (29.3) and 7th in XFP/G (26.7). Which means if Williams can be just 60% of what the backfield has been as a whole, he’d be a top-10 fantasy RB (17.6 FPG). And if 70%, then he’d rank behind only Derrick Henry, Jonathan Taylor, and Austin Ekeler in FPG (20.5).
The matchup is a little tricky, though I don’t think it matters too much if Williams gets the high-end bell cow workload we’re expecting. Minnesota ranks 8th-worst in YPC allowed (4.50) and 9th-worst in rushing FPG allowed to RBs (14.5). But the Vikings are favored by 7.0-points, and rank middle-of-the-pack in receiving FPG allowed and 14th-best by schedule-adjusted FPG allowed (-1.3).
Joe Mixon, RB, Cincinnati Bengals
[DK: RB3, FD: RB2]
Mixon is no longer cheap, but he is still a strong value with tremendous upside. I can nitpick him a little bit on his gamescript-sensitivity, but that’s been significantly less true this season. And this week’s on-paper matchup is just about perfect, and Vegas expects Cincinnati to win (-3.0).
From the Week 13 XFP Report:
In Week 12, Mixon led all RBs in XFP (29.6) and ranked 2nd in fantasy points scored (32.3). He earned 28 of 37 carries (5 of 5 inside the 10-zone) and 4 of 7 targets out of the backfield.
Mixon now ranks 5th among all RBs in FPG (19.6), and has finished top-4 at the position in 5 of his last 6 games, averaging 24.7 FPG over this span. He’s on quite the hot streak, and he’s undeniably a mid-range RB1 at-worst moving forward (and a possible or probable league-winner down the stretch), but…
His role hasn’t been quite as good as we were promised, which is to say he’s still far more a workhorse than a true bell cow. We were promised an 80% snap share with heavy target volume, but he’s at a 67% snap share and has fewer than 5 receiving yards in 7 of 11 games (63%).
His role really hasn’t changed much at all from 2020, with Samaje Perine serving as the team’s new Giovani Bernard. He’s scoring more fantasy points, yes, but that’s because his gamescript is significantly improved, and the offense as a whole is much more potent (more sustained drives, more scoring opportunities, etc.). Mixon has handled 78% of the team’s carries but just 49% of the targets out of the backfield, which comes out to only 70% of the backfield XFP (9th-most). And, so, with the other RBs siphoning off about 50% of the passing-down work, Mixon is going to continue to be highly-volatile and gamescript dependent on a week-to-week basis.
Now, this doesn’t mean Mixon is due for a massive regression, or that he shouldn’t be viewed as a top-5 RB moving forward. Just that we should expect some volatility week-to-week. Since 2018, Mixon averages 24.4 DK FPG in wins but only 14.4 FPG in losses. And that’s at least a little concerning, because the Bengals face the Ravens (Week 16) and Chiefs (Week 17) in playoff weeks.
But, good news this week! The Bengals are favored to win, albeit just slightly (-3.0), and the on-paper matchup is just about perfect. The Chargers are the league’s top run funnel defense (league-high +5.2% run rate over expectation), ranking 6th-best in passing FPG allowed to QBs (13.9) but 2nd-worst in rushing FPG allowed to RBs (19.8). They also rank 4th-worst in YPC allowed (4.64) and 8th-worst in schedule-adjusted FPG allowed to opposing RBs (+2.6).
Alexander Mattison, RB, Minnesota Vikings
[DK: RB6, FD: RB4]
Vikings’ RB Dalvin Cook (shoulder) is expected to miss at least the next two games - Sunday at Detroit and the following Thursday against Pittsburgh - with the hope being that he can return the next week for the Monday night Dec. 20 game at Chicago, per source.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) November 30, 2021
With Dalvin Cook expected to miss the next two games, Alexander Mattison is poised to make his 5th career start for Minnesota in Week 13. Scott Barrett noted in the Week 13 XFP Report that, “In 4 career starts, Alexander Mattison averages 20.5 carries, 5.0 targets, 124.8 YFS, and 21.2 FPG. Or in his last 3 starts / his 3 starts Minnesota has won, he averages 24.0 carries, 5.3 targets, 156.3 YFS, and 27.0 FPG.”
Relative to Cook’s 2021 performance, Mattison has been roughly 29% more productive overall, and 64% more productive in Minnesota wins. Despite this, Mattison is cheaper this week on DraftKings than Cook has been all season, and on FanDuel, Mattison is $1,016 cheaper than Cook’s average price this year. So not only has he been more valuable than Cook when Cook is out (albeit on a small sample), he’s also significantly cheaper than Cook has been at basically any point this year.
With the Vikings favored by 7.0-points against a Detroit defense that ranks 3rd-worst in schedule-adjusted FPG allowed (+5.4) and 4th-worst in rushing FPG allowed (16.4) to opposing RBs, Mattison is a top-5 RB value and a strong candidate for cash game lineups in a week loaded with value RBs.
Other / Notes
Yeah, so there are a metric ton of attractive RBs this week. That will be the position that defines this slate. Good luck!
Over the last 4 weeks, Gaskin averages 18.5 carries, 4.0 targets, 19.2 XFP, and 15.0 FPG. Among all slate-eligible and active RBs, that would rank 3rd-, 14th-, 2nd-, and 11th-best. He’s just the 16th- (DK) and 20th- (FD) highest priced RB of the slate… Gaskin's backfield XFP% over the last 4 weeks: 91%, 79%, 84%, 60% (Week 12)… Last week RB Phillip Lindsay received 12 carries and 0 targets, good for a 26% XFP share. And now he’s doubtful, so it seems likely Gaskin is back to a full-on bell cow workload this week… Gaskin probably just isn’t very good, and he’s certainly never an exciting play, but the matchup is great. Miami is favored by 6.0-points against a Mike Glennon-led Giants team that ranks 7th-worst in schedule-adjusted FPG allowed (+2.7) and 5th-worst in YPC allowed to opposing RBs (4.63). He’s seriously in play and is easily stacked with MIA DST.
I don’t think I like Austin Ekeler quite as much as I like Joe Mixon. But I do like him, and view him as almost identical to 2020 Alvin Kamara. And he has a massive ceiling, with highs of 41.5, 33.9, and 32.5 DK fantasy points. In large field tournaments he’s certainly in play as a pivot off of some similarly-priced RBs who expect to be pretty chalky (Jonathan Taylor, Joe Mixon, Alexander Mattison, etc.)
David Montgomery is popping as an XFP-related value, and he’s no doubt a high-end bell cow. I spent a little more time on him here. Arizona ranks 3rd-worst in YPC allowed to RBs (4.71), but they’re tough by every other stat I typically look at. And the production and raw volume just hasn’t been there. So, on a week with so many other attractive RBs, he’s not really in play for me.
Diontae Johnson & Chase Claypool, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
Johnson currently leads all players at all positions in XFP/G (21.9). In 8 of 10 games, he’s hit at least 20.5 XFP (more than all but 2 other WRs are averaging per game). He’s seen double-digit targets in 9 of 10 games. And he’s scored at least 15.0 fantasy points in 8 of 10. He hasn’t flashed much of a ceiling (high of 24.2), but he’s easily the most consistent and dependable player in fantasy.
And he’s always mis-priced. By salary, he ranks as just the WR8 (DK) and WR10 (FD) of the slate. For perspective, he ranks 3rd among all slate-eligible and active WRs in FPG (17.7). And he has a very favorable matchup this week; the Ravens rank 3rd-worst in schedule-adjusted FPG allowed to opposing WRs over the past 5 weeks (+5.1), worst against opposing WR1s over the last 5 weeks (+8.0), 11th-worst in FPG allowed to outside WRs (22.3), and 2nd-worst in FPG allowed to WRs on deep passes (10.9). For perspective, Johnson ranks 6th among all WRs in deep targets per game (2.0, +0.2 more than Chase Claypool). And, now, keep in mind, the Ravens have 5 CBs (all 3 starters and 2 backups) on the injury report listed as questionable. That is not a typo.
So, this may now be a top-1 matchup. We’ll provide an update on Saturday, but even if all 5 CBs play (while banged up), it’s at least top-3.
At just $6,800 on DraftKings, I’m going to continue to play Johnson in cash every single week until they bump his salary by $1,000 or more. But, given his matchup, he’s an especially terrific play this week.
Obviously, Claypool is in a great spot as well, and he also pops as a top XFP-related value. He ranks 10th among all active and slate-eligible WRs by XFP/G (15.7), but just 17th and 22nd in salary. He’s also the No. 1 touchdown regression candidate in fantasy, falling 4.7 touchdowns short of his volume-based expectation. And this should be a great spot for the regression to hit.
I certainly think Johnson is the better play, but Claypool might have the higher ceiling, and certainly deserves some GPP exposure as well.
Brandon Aiyuk, WR, San Francisco 49ers
[DK: WR23, FD: WR14]
From Start / Sit:
Since being let out of the doghouse in Week 8, Aiyuk has seen at least 7 targets in 4 of his last 5 games. And he’s hit at least 85 receiving yards in 3 of his last 4 games, averaging 15.1 FPG over this span (16th-most). And now, Deebo Samuel, who leaves behind a 23% XFP share (6th-most) is expected to sit out the next 1-2 weeks with a strained groin. And Aiyuk averages a whopping 11.3 targets and 21.6 FPG (low of 19.7) in his last 4 healthy games with Samuel out. (Though, granted, George Kittle only played in one of these games.)
The on-paper matchup is absolutely brutal — the Seahawks rank top-3 in both FPG allowed to outside WRs (15.5) and schedule-adjusted FPG allowed to opposing WR1s (-6.0) — but we still like Aiyuk this week as a low-end WR2.
It’s worth pointing out that the matchup is far more in George Kittle’s favor, as Seattle ranks 4th-worst in schedule-adjusted FPG allowed to TEs (+3.5). But, for whatever reason (and I’m not sure this means anything), he’s actually been less productive without Samuel, averaging only 9.8 FPG over his last 5 games Samuel has missed.
Hunter Renfrow, WR, Las Vegas Raiders
[DK: WR19, FD: WR25]
I question Renfrow’s ceiling for tournaments, but I’m willing to look past that this week, as he offers significant leverage off of Foster Moreau who might be the single highest-owned WR of the slate.
From Graham in Start / Sit:
If Darren Waller misses this game, Hunter Renfrow becomes a nails WR2 play in PPR leagues. He’s obviously coming off of his best game of the season (8/134 vs. Cowboys), so it might feel like you’re chasing points here – but you’re really not. It’s no surprise that Renfrow went off in a game that Waller sustained two injuries (back and knee) and it’s no surprise that he led the team in targets (9) and had a solid 7/58 back in Week 7 when Waller was out. Renfrow catches a great matchup here, too, as Washington is permitting the sixth-most FPG (21.8) to opposing slot WRs.
Darnell Mooney, WR, Chicago Bears
[DK: WR23, FD: WR19]
Over his last three games, Mooney has earned an incredible 34% target share, 12.0 targets per game, 15.8 XFP per game, and 20.4 FPG. If sustained over the full season, those numbers would rank 1st-, 1st-, 15th-, and 4th-best among all WRs.
It’s obviously worth noting that two of those games came without Allen Robinson on the field. Robinson didn’t participate in Thursday’s practice, and given how fickle hamstring injuries tend to be, he seems closer to doubtful than questionable this week.
Should Robinson play, Mooney’s value takes an obvious hit, but he’s still viable in tournaments given 2 of his 4 best games this year have come with Robinson active. But if ARob sits, then Mooney can be considered a top-6 WR value on both sites.
The other question here is who will start at QB. Mooney’s value would take a hit if Justin Fields starts, as he’s averaged 16.1 FPG in the 3 games Andy Dalton has thrown at least 20 passes this season, compared to just 11.7 in games where Fields threw the majority of passes.
Arizona is on the tougher end of matchups, allowing -2.6 schedule-adjusted FPG to opposing WRs this season (3rd-toughest). But, the Bears are 7.5-point underdogs, and given the Cardinals are the NFL’s 2nd-highest scoring team with Kyler Murray under center (30.8 PPG), Chicago will almost certainly need to pass the ball at a significantly higher rate then they are used to, just to have a chance.
With how anemic the Bears’ offense has been this year, I don’t think I can trust Mooney in cash, but I’ll absolutely have tournament exposure, especially if ARob sits.
Jaylen Waddle, WR, Miami Dolphins
[DK: WR14, FD: WR16]
Right now, I think it seems unlikely for Parker to play. But if he’s activated, I’d like Waddle significantly less.
But Parker himself would warrant serious consideration if he isn’t kept on a pitch count. He’s just the WR52 (DK) and WR45 (FD) by pricing on the slate. The matchup isn’t as much in his favor, but he’s seen at least 7 targets in 5 of 5 games, and, among all slate-eligible WRs, ranks 11th by XFP/G (15.7) and 27th by FPG (12.7). He’d be a glaring top value.
From the Week 13 XFP Report:
This season, Waddle has been the intended target on 25.6% of Tua Tagovailoa’s throws. That ranks well ahead of the next-closest Miami receiver (Mike Gesicki, 15.4%), and would rank 10th among all receivers. Clearly, their rapport has carried over from the Alabama days.
In addition to better target volume with Tagovailoa (25.6% target share vs. 19.1% with Jacoby Brissett), Waddle is also seeing significantly better target quality (8.1 aDOT vs. 5.4).
Waddle now ranks as the overall WR2 since Week 6, averaging 9.6 targets and 18.1 FPG over this span. In Tagovailoa’s 5 full games, Waddle is averaging 9.4 targets and 19.3 FPG. And, without DeVante Parker, that jumps to 10.0 targets and 23.5 FPG in a 4-game sample. So, any way you want to look at it, that’s either WR7-, WR5-, or WR2-levels of production.
It looks likely Miami will be without both Parker and Will Fuller again this week. He’ll get a Giants defense that ranks 5th-worst in schedule-adjusted FPG allowed to opposing WR1s (+2.5). The Giants also sell out to stop the deep ball and funnel their production short and to the intermediate areas of the field (86%, 3rd-most), where Waddle does most of his damage. And they’re also a top-10 slot funnel matchup, ranking 11th-worst in FPG allowed to slot WRs (13.8), but 13th-best against outside WRs (20.1). Waddle has run roughly 50% of his routes from the slot over the last four weeks.
Brandin Cooks, WR, Houston Texans
[DK: WR18, FD: WR19]
From the Week 13 XFP Report:
Cooks is again an enticing value on DraftKings, priced as just the WR18 ($5,900). He’s a glaring value based on volume (12th among all active and slate-eligible WRs by XFP/G), but he’s still probably too risky and volatile for cash. The threat of bracket coverage is a serious concern every single week. And he’s incredibly boom-or-bust. But everything (at least on paper) points towards a “boom” performance this week. (Though I’ve said that for three straight weeks now, without much success.)
Cooks is the clear focal point and near entirety of the Texans’ offense, and is seeing terrific volume, but he’s only modestly productive, is woefully inefficient, and highly volatile. He’s hit 17.5 fantasy points in 5 of his 11 games (8th-most), but averages just 8.5 FPG the rest of the time. He ranks 9th in target share (25.6%), 10th in XFP% (22.7%), 15th in targets per game (9.0), 21st in XFP per game (15.9), and 29th in FPG (13.7). So, fringe-WR1 levels of volume, mid-range WR3 production, and bottom-15 levels of inefficiency (-1.6 PAR). I think that seems about right as an every-week expectation moving forward.
However, part of the problem is, Cooks averages just 9.6 FPG over his last 3 games (down from 15.3), and his two worst games by XFP have come over the last two weeks. And, most alarmingly, these were all near-perfect on-paper matchups.
In Week 9, he scored 11.6 fantasy points (on 14 targets) against a Dolphins defense that ranks 3rd-worst in FPG allowed to opposing WRs. In Week 11, after his bye, he scored just 3.8 fantasy points (on 3 targets) against a Titans defense ranking dead-last by the same metric. Last week, he scored 13.5 fantasy points (on 5 targets) against a Jets defense that ranks 2nd-worst in schedule-adjusted FPG allowed to WRs over the last 6 weeks.
So, part of the problem this week — why we can’t just write him off as dead — is that he again draws a near-perfect matchup. He gets a Colts defense that ranks 2nd-worst by schedule-adjusted FPG allowed to opposing WR1s (+4.0). And the Colts also rank 3rd-worst by FPG allowed to outside WRs (24.5). And Cooks caught 9 of 13 targets for 89 yards against them in Week 6. Though they did hold Mike Evans and Chris Godwin to a combined 11.3 fantasy points last week.
So, just know he’s incredibly risky, but he’s a strong high-risk / high-reward GPP-play this week if he goes lower-owned.
Josh Reynolds, WR, Detroit Lions
[DK: WR65, FD: WR59]
Josh Reynolds has only played 2 games for the Lions, but in those games, he’s run a route on 90% of Detroit dropbacks and has earned a 17% target share. So, at this point, I think it’s fair to say Reynolds is right there with Amon-Ra St. Brown and Kalif Raymond as the Lions top WR. With one key difference: Reynolds is $1,000 cheaper than both Raymond and St. Brown on DraftKings.
And let’s keep in mind this is a Lions’ team that will likely need to throw as 7-point underdogs in an excellent matchup against a Minnesota defense that’s allowed the most schedule-adjusted FPG (+7.5) to opposing WRs this season. Plus, Reynolds himself has an established rapport with QB Jared Goff, who targeted Reynolds 201 times during their four seasons playing together for the Rams.
As punt plays at WR go, it’s hard to think of a better setup than what we are looking at right now with Josh Reynolds.
Van Jefferson, WR, Los Angeles Rams
[DK: WR30, FD: WR33]
Since Robert Woods tore his ACL in practice prior to Week 10, Van Jefferson has run a route on 100% of Matthew Stafford’s dropbacks, recording a 19% target share, and earning 15.3 XFP per game. For reference, over the full season, only 5 WRs exceed a 95% route share, 30 WRs exceed a 19% target share, and 19 WRs exceed 15.3 XFP per game. So, with his new role post-Woods, Jefferson is a pretty clear value as the WR31 (by salary) on DraftKings and the WR33 on FanDuel. And his role was strong prior to Woods’ injury, as Jefferson had earned 7 or more targets in 4 of his last 5 games, and is averaging 12.0 FPG with a high of 18.3 fantasy points over that stretch.
This matchup with Jacksonville is on the plus side of things, as they’ve allowed the 9th-most schedule-adjusted FPG to opposing WRs (+0.8) this season. And it’s arguably better than that, as the Jaguars’ top CB (Shaq Griffin) is likely out as he’s recovering from a concussion.
Importantly, Odell Beckham (hip) didn’t practice on Thursday and seems legitimately questionable headed into Sunday. So, if Beckham sits, Jefferson goes from a solid target in tournaments to a top value-play in all formats.
Elijah Moore, WR, New York Jets
[DK: WR26, FD: WR28]
Moore pops as a DFS value in our projections, and while I certainly agree, he does carry significant risk.
Moore averages 5.7 FPG in Zach Wilson starts, but 20.9 FPG in all other games. And that’s pretty incredible, given Mike White, Josh Johnson, and Joe Flacco are nowhere close to being considered average NFL QBs.
Wilson is, right now, the worst QB in football. Among QBs with at least 5 starts, Wilson ranks last in PFF passing grade (53.9) and last in passer rating (62.9). And per PFF, he’s committed a ‘turnover worthy play’ on 5.2% of his throws — by far the worst mark in the NFL.
But, on the bullish side of things, Moore has been a superstar. He ranks 5th among all WRs in total fantasy points since Week 8, and that includes his pedestrian 9.3-point performance in Week 12. And he’s PFF’s highest-graded WR (85.4) in that timespan. So, just like we discussed during the preseason, chances are Moore is going to be an incredible player. And, while they haven’t been great (9.8 FPG), Moore’s best two games with Wilson under center have been Wilson’s last two starts, so maybe they are starting to form a stronger rapport.
This is an interesting juxtaposition. On one hand, Moore is amazing, and has been a league-winner in his starts without Zach Wilson. And on the other hand, Zach WIlson, the worst QB in the NFL this season, is the Jets’ starting QB in Week 13.
I think you have to consider Moore a value, but just not one that can be played in cash, or even small field tournaments. For the larger GPPs, however, Moore’s upside relative to his price (WR26 on DK, WR28 on FD) is basically unmatched. Should he and Zach Wilson form a decent connection for the first time all season, Moore is about as likely to wind up on a tournament-winning roster as any other player in Week 13.
Other / Notes
Michael Pittman flopped last week, despite excellent volume. He turned 10 targets and 18.2 XFP (5th-most) into just 9.3 fantasy points (-8.9 PAR). But look for a bounceback performance this week. Pittman runs 80% of his routes out-wide and Houston ranks worst in FPG allowed to opposing outside WRs (25.0). Among all slate-eligible WRs, Pittman ranks 17th in XFP/G (14.7) and 18th in FPG (14.4). And yet he’s priced as just the WR21 and WR18 of the slate. He’s also a phenomenal leverage-play off of Jonathan Taylor, as they’re extremely negatively correlated together (-0.27).
Cooper Kupp is a god. He’s seen double-digit targets in 10 of 11 games. He’s eclipsed 90 yards in 10 of 11 games. And he’s hit at least 16 fantasy points in 10 of 11 games, averaging 25.0 FPG. And he’s still mispriced on both sites, listed at only $9,000… In other words he’s averaging 33% more FPG than the next closest WR, but is only 10% (DK) and 13% (FD) more expensive… Granted, there are some holes you can poke in Kupp — this game has gamescript concerns (favored by 13.0-points), Jacksonville ranks top-12 by FPG allowed to opposing slot WRs, Matthew Stafford hasn’t played as well of late, Jonathan Taylor is the better play if you have to pick one, etc. — but I have a hard time thinking he’s still not one of the best plays of the slate in this game that offers a massive 30.25-point implied total.
Chris Godwin struggled last week, as expected, working in the middle-of-the-field around Darius Leonard. But across his prior 4 games, he averaged 9.8 targets and 21.3 FPG. You can contrast that to Evans’ 7.3 targets and 19.3 FPG over the same span. Though it was a bit more surprising Evans flopped last week (4.6 fantasy points) in a far more favorable matchup. Evans and Godwin have near-equally neutral on-paper matchups this week. So, while both are solidly in play, Godwin is my preference due to his better (and more predictable) production in recent weeks. Per our projections, he ranks as our No. 2 WR value on both sites. Evans will be far less highly owned, so still keep him in mind for large-field tournaments.
Jake Tribbey spent some time on Marquise Brown here. He ranks 5th among all slate-eligible and active WRs by FPG (17.4), but ranks just 12th (DK) and 13th (FD) by salary. Since Week 7, he leads all WRs in XFP/G (23.0) and targets per game (13.3). And, well, it’s really hard to argue against all that, though the production hasn’t quite been there in recent weeks and his recent upsurge in volume does seem to have been driven (at least partly) by an increase in negative gamescript. Baltimore should win this game, favored by 4.5-points, but the on-paper matchup is otherwise very strong. Pittsburgh ranks 4th-worst in schedule-adjusted FPG allowed to opposing WR1s (+2.9) and Pittsburgh’s CB1 Joe Haden is out. (The Steelers rank top-10 by schedule-adjusted FPG allowed to opposing TEs, implying a much more difficult matchup for Mark Andrews.) He’s an especially strong value on FanDuel.
After a Week 9 loss against the Ravens, OC Klint Kubiak said Justin Jefferson was “deserving of more targets.” And that’s exactly what we’ve seen play out, as he’s averaging 11.7 targets, 23.3 XFP (low of 21.0), 131.7 receiving yards (low of 83), and 24.1 DK FPG in the 3 games since. For perspective, Jefferson averaged just 15.6 XFP/G through his first 8 games, and 21.0 XFP will typically be good for a top-7 finish in any given week…. And this matchup smells like a Jefferson-game. Detroit is giving up the 7th-most schedule-adjusted FPG to opposing WR1s (+2.2), and I think that’s clearly Jefferson (who is averaging 93.4 YPG to Adam Thielen's 62.4). The Lions are also giving up the most YPG to opposing WRs on deep passes (71.5), and Jefferson ranks 4th in deep targets per game (2.4), with twice as many as Adam Thielen (1.2).
We mentioned DeVante Parker in the Jaylen Waddle section.
As Wes Huber explained here, Seattle’s matchup this week is far more in D.K. Metcalf’s favor than Tyler Lockett’s. And he has the squeaky wheel narrative working in his favor as well. I don’t know about you, but this doesn’t seem like an empty promise (from OC Shane Waldren) to me. He’s fairly cheap ($700 cheaper on FanDuel than he was 3 weeks ago), and I think we’ll get him at low ownership. He’s a decent high-ceiling boom-or-bust play for tournaments.
Terry McLaurin has been extremely boom or bust this year, but, of course, that makes him a great tournament-play. He averages 29.1 DK FPG in his 4 best games and only 7.8 DK FPG in his 4 worst games. This matchup projects somewhere between neutral and slightly below-average, but matchups have never really mattered too much for McLaurin. Over the past two seasons, he actually averages 4.1 more FPG in matchups deemed below average (by schedule-adjusted FPG allowed). He’s a slight value on FanDuel.
Tee Higgins vs. Ja’Marr Chase has been an extremely tough call in recent weeks. (Though, of course, you can play both if stacked with Joe Burrow.) And I don’t really have a great read this week, but I will say Higgins has the softer matchup against Asante Samuel’s backup… The Chargers are giving up the 4th-most FPG to right wide receivers, and the most over the last four weeks. They’re top-3 against slot WRs (Chris Harris Jr.) and middle-of-the-pack against left wide receivers. Tee Higgins runs 46% of his routes from the right, in contrast to Chase’s 33%… Higgins definitely has the more favorable matchup but I still might like Chase more on FanDuel as a high-ceiling GPP-play than I like Higgins on either site… Tyler Boyd is likely to be a non-factor in the slot against Harris.
Apparently people want to play Jauan Jennings. I don't know if he's going to be a full-time player — he ran a 57% route share vs. Trent Sherfield’s 21% last week — and I don’t know if he’s any good, but he is cheap on DraftKings ($3,100). And he does have a top matchup; Seattle is the No. 1 slot funnel defense (49.4%), and they’re giving up the 6th-most FPG to opposing slot WRs. Still, I don’t think I’ll be playing him.
Foster Moreau, TE, Las Vegas Raiders
[DK: TE28, FD: TE19]
#Raiders interim coach Rich Bisaccia says TE Darren Waller (knee) is "week to week."— Paul Gutierrez (@PGutierrezESPN) November 29, 2021
Darren Waller appears doubtful to play this week, and if he can’t suit up, Foster Moreau is undoubtedly the top TE value on DraftKings, and a top-3 TE value on FanDuel.
Moreau ranked 2nd on the team in targets (6) and tied for 2nd in routes (30) in Week 7 with Waller inactive. The result? 18.0 fantasy points — by far the best fantasy performance of Moreau’s career. And after Waller left the 2nd quarter of the Raiders Thanksgiving day game with a knee injury, Moreau earned 4 targets in the 2nd half. And that was just in a half. So Moreau is clearly in for a significant volume bump, should Waller be inactive.
He’s an easy cash game play on DraftKings, where he’s roughly 13% more valuable than the next closest TE (James O’Shaughnessy), per our projections. On FanDuel, Moreau profiles as more of a tournament play, given that their condensed TE pricing lends itself more towards playing high-priced TEs, like Rob Gronkowski or George Kittle, in cash.
Rob Gronkowski, TE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
[DK: TE6, FD: TE2]
Gronkowski currently ranks as PFF’s No. 1 receiving TE. He has seen at least one end zone target in all 5 of his 5 healthy games, and averages 7.8 targets, 75.6 yards, and 18.2 FPG in those games. If over the full season, those numbers would rank 4th, best, and best (by +1.5) among TEs. The Buccaneers have a massive 30.75-point implied total, implying Gronkowski has massive touchdown-potential. The scheme matchup is just about perfect, per Wes Huber. He’s the greatest TE of all-time, and he’s egregiously mispriced on DraftKings as just the TE6 ($5,300). On DraftKings, I significantly prefer him to Moreau for tournaments, though cash is a much tougher call.
James O’Shaughnessy, TE, Jacksonville Jaguars
[DK: TE32, FD: TE32]
From Start / Sit:
If you’re desperate for a TE, and Moreau isn’t available off waivers, you can do a lot worse than O’Shaughnessy. In his only two full games (Weeks 1 and 12), O’Shaughnessy averages 7.5 targets, 11.7 XFP, and 8.4 FPG.
If we combine Dan Arnold (now on IR) and O’Shaughnessy, then Jacksonville’s TE1 is averaging 8.1 targets, 12.7 XFP, 51.9 YPG, and 10.1 FPG on a 76% route share in full games started. If over the full season, those numbers would rank: 4th-, 5th-, 13th-, and 12th-best.
And he gets an especially favorable matchup this week — the Rams rank 7th-worst in schedule-adjusted FPG allowed to opposing TEs (+2.7), and 3rd-worst over the last 5 weeks (+4.0).
James O'Shaughnessy is just an eager green but albeit somewhat hot-headed young police sergeant in Chicago. And Jack Doyle is just his gruff surly alcoholic thrice-divorced Lieutenant with 20 years on the job. And you can't tell me anything otherwise— Scott Barrett (@ScottBarrettDFB) September 15, 2021
But of course this is just the best bull-case argument I can make. He’s still James O’Shaughnessy, so you’re only starting him as a high-end TE2. But, again, you could do a lot worse if desperate.
Pat Freiermuth, TE, Pittsburgh Steelers
[DK: TE10, FD: TE11]
From Start / Sit:
Since Week 6, Freiermuth ranks 5th in targets per game (6.8), 4th in XFP/G (12.6), and 3rd in FPG (13.6). He’s seen at least 6 targets in 5 of 6 games over this span. He has 5 touchdowns over his last 5 games, and has also hit double-digit fantasy points in 5 of his last 6 games.
Keep in mind, TE Eric Ebron played in 3 of these 6 games, and when he was out, Freiermuth averaged 16.6 FPG, and his route share jumped from 57% to 72%. With Ebron now out for an extended period of time — potentially the remainder of the season — Friermuth needs to be viewed as an every-week mid-range TE1.
Freiermuth is currently in the concussion protocol, but practiced in full on Wednesday. If he plays, he needs to be started as a surefire top-5 option given his recent success and the favorable matchup; the Ravens rank 3rd-worst in FPG allowed to opposing TEs.
Logan Thomas, TE, Washington Football Team
[DK: TE11, FD: TE9]
From Start / Sit:
If (just for fun) we include plays later overturned and/or negated due to penalty, Thomas averages 5.5 targets, 9.6 XFP, and 12.2 fantasy points per full game on a 87% route share. Among all TEs those numbers would rank: 13th-, 12th-, 6th-, and 1st-best.
And if, further, we treat Thomas and Ricky Seals-Jones as one player, then Washington’s TE1 is averaging: 5.8 targets, 10.4 XFP, 42.7 YPG, and 11.3 fantasy points per start on a 89% route share. Among all TEs those numbers would rank: 11th-, 10th-, 12th-, 8th-, and 1st-best.
So, I was already viewing a healthy Thomas as no-less than a fringe-TE1. But he’s definitely a TE1 this week, against a Raiders defense that ranks 5th-worst in schedule-adjusted FPG allowed to opposing TEs (+3.3), with 28% of their total receiving production allowed going to TEs (3rd-most).
Other / Notes
Among all slate-eligible and active TEs, George Kittle ranks 3rd in FPG (10.7) and 3rd (DK) and 4th (FD) by salary. Deebo Samuel is out, leaving behind a massive 26% target share (5th-most). And though Aiyuk has been far more productive without Samuel than Kittle (as we alluded to earlier), Kittle does have the far more favorable matchup. The Seahawks rank top-3 in both FPG allowed to outside WRs (15.5) and schedule-adjusted FPG allowed to opposing WR1s (-6.0). But they rank 4th-worst in schedule-adjusted FPG allowed to TEs (+3.5). He’s a phenomenal play on FanDuel.
I mean, realistically, you’re playing either Moreau or Gronkowski on DraftKings, and Kittle or Freiermuth on FanDuel, but for all you MME sickos, there are a number of other TEs in consideration…
Brevin Jordan is a viable punt on DraftKings, priced at the stone minimum ($2,500). This was a prospect I liked quite a bit in the offseason, though very raw, reminding me of Gerald Everett and Jonnu Smith. His route share jumped to 56% last week and should continue to climb. Last week, he caught 3 of 3 targets for 23 yards and a score. The Colts rank 2nd-worst in schedule-adjusted FPG allowed to opposing TEs (+5.2) and 2nd-worst over the last 5 weeks (+7.1).
David Culley said Brevin Jordan gives them "more versatility in the pass game." They've leaned into packages that feature him more since the bye.— Brooks Kubena (@BKubena) December 2, 2021
He's replaced Jordan Akins as the featured TE in 11 personnel. You can see their shift away from run-heavy 13 toward more 11/12. pic.twitter.com/jKReXVCVhY
C.J. Uzomah is vaguely in play as a GPP-punt on DraftKings ($3,200). He's hit at least 24.0 fantasy points twice thus far, but averages just 4.7 FPG in his other 9 games. And he’s gained just 9 yards on 3 targets in back-to-back games (on an 84% route share), so don’t expect too much, but the matchup is firmly in his favor. The Bengals have the 4th-highest implied point total of the slate (26.75), and the Chargers have given up the 4th-most FPG to opposing TEs. And, 32.7% of their total receiving fantasy points allowed have gone to TEs, which ranks 2nd-most.
Jared Cook is vaguely in play at just ($3,100) on DraftKings. His route share has fallen to 62% over the last two weeks, but he has 5 targets (12%) in both games, catching 5 of 10 for 53 yards and a score. The Bengals rank 7th-worst in schedule-adjusted FPG allowed to opposing TEs (+3.4). And, at least on paper, Mike Williams (shadow coverage against Chidobe Awuzie) and Keenan Allen (Mike Hilton in the slot) have below average matchups, which can funnel more volume in Cook's direction. Still, he's only vaguely in play.
I think, for cash, you’re really only looking at Lamar Jackson and Gardner Minshew (if Jalen Hurts is out).
Gardner Minshew is min. price on DraftKings, and he’d be my preference there if Jalen Hurts can’t play. It’s an easy top-4 matchup and he allows you to pay up for both Jonathan Taylor and Cooper Kupp… Minshew averaged 19.8 FPG in 2020, implying 5X value at his $4,000 salary. Opposing QBs have hit at least 18.5 fantasy points against the Jets in 7 of their last 8 games.
Jackson ranks behind only Josh Allen (off the slate) in FPG (23.3), and offers the highest floor at the position, having hit at least 18.0 fantasy points in 14 of his last 18 games. He’ll get a Steelers defense without CB Joe Haden and likely without EDGE T.J. Watt. The Steelers rank bottom-10 in opposing passer rating and fantasy points allowed per dropback, and middle-of-the-pack by schedule-adjusted FPG allowed (+0.5).
You can make a compelling case for Tom Brady, but… Though the Buccaneers do lead the league in pass-rate over expectation (+12.4%), I just have a really hard time trusting a pure pocket passer in cash when his team is favored by 10.5-points. And especially when the team’s RBs scored 5 touchdowns on the ground the week before. But he’s a fine high-ceiling tournament-play on lineups without Leonard Fournette.
In tournaments, as always, get weird, get creative, have fun. The QB position is always more about the stack (and the leverage you’ll gain if that stack hits) than the individual QB play itself.
Kirk Cousins stacks as leverage off of Alexander Mattison? Joe Burrow dub-stacks? What about Derek Carr in a top-1 matchup? Or Kyler Murray, who has proven he can drop 25-plus fantasy points without using his legs (Week 6)? And Justin Herbert as a ceiling-play, who averages an astounding 37.4 DK FPG in his 4 best games? All that sounds good to me.
Similarly, you should look throughout this article for potential mini-stacks and leverage plays.