Welcome back to another season of Daily Fantasy Domination. Our goal here is to maximize your profit on the major Daily Fantasy Sports sites. Throughout our weekly articles, you will see us reference Draft Kings as DK and Fan Duel as FD. Certainly, there are other daily fantasy sites to play at, however these two remain the kings of this industry.
Each week we will list the top-four point-producers at each position regardless of their salaries. We will also list two bargain players who will dramatically outperform their salaries. In addition, we will grade every legitimate player at each position based on their expected production in comparison to their price tag. Each player is identified through one of three colors: Red = Negative Value, Black = Acceptable Value and Green = Great Value. Since the prices differ between these two sites, often times a player who is a great value on one site isn’t a value on the other. It is very important that you consider the site you are playing at when filling out your roster.
Monday night brings two contests, limiting the player pool slightly for the Sunday-only slate. If you are playing a contest featuring Monday night games, avoid the passing games of both the Denver Broncos (incompetence) and San Diego Chargers (Denver’s defense). Instead, draft your QB and WR from either the Minnesota Vikings or New Orleans Saints. At QB, Sam Bradford will be considerably less expensive than Drew Brees, making him slightly more appealing. At WR, I am happy to roster any of the following: Stefon Diggs, Ted Ginn Jr., Adam Thielen and Michael Thomas. Running back is a little trickier where RBBCs cloud both Minnesota and New Orleans’ outlooks. Making matters murkier, Denver’s defense could stifle Melvin Gordon. C.J. Anderson probably has the safest matchup, but he is also the most vanilla of anyone on the docket. That said, I’d feel the most comfortable starting Anderson and Dalvin Cook. Looking at the TE position, both Kyle Rudolph and Hunter Henry provide solid, yet unspectacular, options.
For those playing on FD, I recommend targeting: Chris Boswell, Matt Bryant, Matt Prater and Justin Tucker for your kicker. Each is $5K or less and are in a position to produce double-digit kicker points.
I believe that most owners will use either the Pittsburgh or Buffalo defense. I wouldn’t argue with either of those plays, but if you are seeking variance from the chalk, consider the Los Angeles Rams. I also wouldn’t fault you if you paid up for the Houston Texans. Houston, Pittsburgh and Buffalo will all be in the $3.9K range on DK and the $5K range on FD. If you take a chance on the Rams you will save roughly $0.5K.
Derek Carr and Matt Ryan are my favorite higher-dollar plays at QB. Each could be had for around $7K on DK and $8K on FD. That said, I will probably be more exposed to a bargain play at this position. I expect most of my rosters to feature: Brian Hoyer, Mike Glennon or Jared Goff. You can nab any of those three for roughly $5K on DK and for $6.5K on FD.
I am considerably frightened by Detroit’s run defense. Enough so, that I am going to avoid David Johnson like the plague. I will likely have minimal exposure to LeVeon Bell, but most of my RB1 play will go to LeSean McCoy for roughly $8.5K on both sites. There are a lot of “upside plays” available for RB2, but I prefer to play it safe with Todd Gurley, Isaiah Crowell, Carlos Hyde or Rob Kelley. They can each be had for around $5K-$6K on DK and for between $6K-$6.7K on FD.
Antonio Brown has easy 3X-upside despite his huge price tags. I will have him in most of my lineups. Most of the other high-priced WRs make me wary (except for Julio Jones, who I will have some exposure to). Look for me to pair Brown with the No. 1 WR from whichever team I target QB from Pierre Garcon, Kevin White or Sammy Watkins. I may actually roster two of them. If not, Terrelle Pryor Sr. and Kelvin Benjamin are two others I’d consider as my WR3.
As usual, I will not pay up the TE position. Zach Ertz has an incredible price tag for his potential output. I will have huge exposure to him, along with C.J. Fiedorowicz and Charles Clay. I could also choose a second from this threesome as my DK-FLEX.
Here are my recommendations for this week’s price range targets by position.
At DK: $5K at QB for Brian Hoyer, Jared Goff, or Mike Glennon, $8.2K for LeSean McCoy and $6K for Todd Gurley, $8.8K for Antonio Brown, $10-12K for WR2 and WR3, $3.5K for Zach Ertz and 3K for a second TE as your FLEX, and $3.2K for the Rams defense.
At FD: $7K for one of the three bargain QBs, $8.5K for McCoy and $5.5K-$7.5K for our RB2, $9.1K for Brown, $12K-$13K for WR2 and WR3, $4.6K for Charles Clay at TE, and less than $10K total for kicker and defense.
Prices indicated: Red = Negative Value and Black = Acceptable Value and Green = Great Value
Weekly strategy – I want nothing to do with Aaron Rodgers or Ben Roethlisberger. Both will produce solid numbers, but neither has a prayer of returning 3X-value. If I have money burning a hole in my pocket I’d feel more comfortable rostering Matt Ryan or Derek Carr. That said, I think the money is better spent elsewhere this week. I will have slight exposure to each of them (along with Marcus Mariota), but I will spend most of my dollars on Jared Goff, Mike Glennon and Brian Hoyer.
Your Fantasy Four Pack
Matt Ryan, Falcons @ CHI ($6900 DK, $8500 FD) The Chicago Bears allowed the 10th-highest passer rating and the 10th-most total points last season. Matt Ryan was held to one touchdown only four times last year. He also had six games with three or more scores. His first three-plus score game of 2017 comes this week along with a minimum of 290 yards.
Derek Carr, Raiders @ TEN ($6700 DK, $7700 FD) Only three teams allowed more passing yards than Tennessee last year. This included allowing 300+ yards in seven games (including five games against Jacksonville, Chicago, Denver, and Cleveland). If those five chucklehead-led teams can top 300 yards against this defense, imagine what type of pain Derek Carr will impact against them. 300 yards is a lock and two scores is inevitable (and his floor).
Marcus Mariota, Titans vs. OAK ($6800 DK, $7800 FD) This game should turn into a pinball machine allowing both sides to march up and down the field. Marcus Mariota will need to air it out to keep up with the Raiders’ offense. Fortunately, he has two very good pass-catching running backs, and several quality receivers to target. Oakland’s defense was slow out of the gate last season allowing 819 yards and seven touchdowns over their first two contests against “premiere” offenses. I would expect a similar lackluster start facing another high-octane offense. Mariota is a lock for 275-2 and another score on the ground.
Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers @ CLE ($7300 DK, $8200 FD) I said that I was not going to pay up for Ben Roethlisberger because I didn’t think he’d hit 3x-value. Nevertheless, he will still top 2x-value making him a solid play, just not a favorite. The biggest knock against him is his home-road splits. Over the last couple seasons, Big Ben has been extremely good at home and very mediocre on the road. Mediocre against the Browns should still add up to 250-2, with most of that love going to Brown-killer, Antonio Brown.
Mike Glennon, Bears vs. ATL ($4900 DK, $6700 FD) Atlanta’s defense was hot garbage last year. Only three teams allowed more passing touchdowns per game than the Falcons. Mike Glennon doesn’t really excite me, but he does have exactly two touchdown passes in 12 of 19 starts. He should get exactly two again this time.
Jared Goff, Rams vs. IND ($4800 DK, $6600 FD) Indianapolis’ secondary stunk as bad as the corpse flower before losing Vontae Davis to injury. Now, they will trot out a rookie, a former undrafted-free agent, a Chargers’ castoff and anyone else willing to show up for a jersey fitting this Friday at the team offices. When you are playing in large tournaments variance is important. Not too many people will give Jared Goff the time of day, let alone roster him in a DFS contest. Fortunately for Goff, Buffalo gifted the Rams its top two WRs this offseason. They also drafted a PPR-machine in Cooper Kupp to give Goff a few new toys to play with. If Goff cannot produce 250-2 against this injury-riddled defensive unit, he never will.
|Duke Johnson Jr.||4600||5600|
Weekly strategy – I will do one obligatory lineup with both LeVeon Bell and David Johnson but that will be the only exposure I have to Johnson. Most of my lineups will feature LeSean McCoy paired with one of the rookie RBs, Isaiah Crowell, Todd Gurley or Rob Kelley. Even if I spend up at QB, I am not going to spend down at RB. I would rather recoup that cost at the WR2 position. Be careful to not spend more than 28 percent of your budget here so that you have more room for WR.
Your Fantasy Four Pack
LeSean McCoy, Bills vs. NYJ ($8200 DK, $8500 FD) In the “Battle for the Bottom, Volume 1”, the edge goes to the Buffalo Bills. It isn’t so much that they are a good, average, stomach-able team, it is more that the Jets are just that much worse than them. New York just jettisoned their best defensive lineman in a deal with Seattle literally leaving a huge hole in their front seven. Pair that with the likelihood that Buffalo will be without their starting quarterback (and yardage thief), Tyrod Taylor, as well as recently cut, goal line vulture, Jonathan Williams, and you have a setup for a huge ground game for LeSean McCoy. Anything less than 145-1 would seem like a fail.
LeVeon Bell, Steelers @ CLE ($9800 DK, $9300 FD) LeVeon Bell doesn’t need a preseason to showcase his wares. He proved that last season coming in cold following a suspension to blitzkrieg a solid Cincinnati defense for 178 yards from scrimmage. Cleveland’s defense is considerably weaker than Cincinnati’s, so don’t be surprised if Bell carves them up just as easily. The only thing holding me back from giving Bell a Green Grade, is that it took Bell six games to get into the end zone following that return.
Devonta Freeman, Falcons @ CHI ($7000 DK, $8300 FD) Over its final seven games last year, Chicago allowed every team except Green Bay to top 100 running back rushing yards against them. Meanwhile, Devonta Freeman scored and/or topped 100 yards from scrimmage in ten games. The biggest concern I have here for Freeman is how much Tevin Coleman will eat into his touches. I actually consider Coleman a sneaky sleeper play if you want to save some money, but Freeman is a sure thing who will score and top 100 total yards.
Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys vs. NYG ($8100 DK, $8700 FD) I think we need to call this one what it really is, “Ezekiel Elliott vs. Roger Goodell and the NFL”. Every time that he has the ball, Zeke will look forward and not see a linebacker; he will see seven guys with Goodell’s face. These two teams tend to have shootouts. This will not be an exception. The Cowboys are fortunate that Elliott gets to play because the Giants have a scary-good secondary. This suggests that they will turn to their bell cow to carry the load. Elliott will score at least once as he flips the double bird to the league office.
Isaiah Crowell, Browns vs. PIT ($5300 DK, $6500 FD) The Browns committed to run the ball more this year. Last season, they finished near the bottom in rushing play percentage. They will need to grind the ball on the ground with a rookie under center. Fortunately, the Browns finished with the second-highest yards-per-carry rushing average. Of course, you have to worry that an increase in rush attempts will lower that average. Only six teams allowed more running back rushing touchdowns than Pittsburgh. Crowell should get one to go along with about 80 rushing yards.
Rob Kelley, Redskins vs. PHI ($4300 DK, $5800 FD) Philadelphia allowed an average of only 87 rushing yards per game and 0.6 rushing touchdowns per game. What that stat masks are the Eagles performances against Washington. In those two contests, they allowed the Washington backfield to throttle them for a combined 332-3. Some of those stats came at the hands of Matt Jones, but he is gone leaving the heavy lifting to Rob Kelley. Kelley should score this week and I wouldn’t be surprised if he topped 90 yards. What concerns me: is if he will even sniff the field on third down.
|Odell Beckham Jr.||8300||8800|
|Terrelle Pryor Sr.||6100||6200|
|Marvin Jones Jr.||4100||6100|
Weekly strategy – Antonio Brown will be on most of my rosters (occasionally flanked by Julio Jones). I also really like a few tier three guys: Terrelle Pryor, Sammy Watkins, Pierre Garcon, Kelvin Benjamin and Jamison Crowder. I will roster at least one from that grouping. One thing is for sure, I will spend 40 percent on this position.
Your Fantasy Four Pack
Antonio Brown, Steelers @ CLE ($8800 DK, $9100 FD) Antonio Brown loves to face Cleveland without Joe Haden. In his last two games against the Browns without Haden in the lineup, Brown has posted a combined 23-326-3 on 31 targets. Joe Haden will be in the lineup for this game – just not for Cleveland! I completely endorse Antonio scoring twice and topping 150 yards. In fact, 125-1 is his absolute floor.
Julio Jones, Falcons @ CHI ($8500 DK, $9000 FD) Only twice all year did the Falcons fail to score 24 points in a game. This output was fueled by Julio Jones, who scored and/or topped 100 yards in nine different contests. Chicago gave up an average of 25 points per game, but over their final three contests they allowed a league-worst 109 points. This game might feature a Super Bowl letdown by the Falcons, but Ryan and Jones should both still eat.
Amari Cooper, Raiders @ TEN ($7200 DK, $7600 FD) No team allowed more wide receiver receptions or receiving yards than Tennessee. On seven different occasions, the Titans’ secondary allowed an opponent’s receiver corps to top 200 receiving yards. If you split that up between Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree, they should each net 100 yards. I just wish that Amari was more of a touchdown threat. Perhaps, this is the season he finally bypasses Crabtree as the red zone threat.
Doug Baldwin, Seahawks @ GB ($6700 DK, $7500 FD) In their last four meetings (including the postseason), Doug Baldwin has had two great games against Green Bay and two duds. In 2016, The Packers allowed five more wide receiver touchdowns than any other team. They also allowed the third-most yards per reception. Baldwin finally has some healthy alternatives opposite him to prevent double teams. This will hopefully open him up for a line approaching 7-80-1.
Zay Jones, Bills vs. NYJ ($3500 DK, $5100 FD) The Jets are rotten and someone has to catch passes for the Bills. Oh yeah, there is also a chance that Jordan Matthews doesn’t even play. Of course, Tyrod Taylor might not play either. This is why we call them “sleepers”. Zay Jones’ price is so low that you can afford to roster two much more certain options at WR1 and WR2. This makes any stats that Jones produces, gravy.
Kendall Wright, Bears vs. ATL ($3200 DK, $5200 FD) Atlanta’s secondary is definitely their weak link. Last year, they allowed the most completions per game, the third-most passing yards per game and the fourth-most passing touchdowns per game. Chicago challenges this unit with a mediocre quarterback and a hodgepodge of sub-mediocre receivers. Something has to give, Right? Kendall Wright is a veteran who has previously shown the ability to masquerade as a productive wide receiver in the past (even though it seems like a decade ago). Nevertheless, much like Buffalo, someone has to catch Mike Glennon’s wobbly ducks. Once again, you are paying bargain basement prices here so be happy with his 7-65 line and hope he scores.
Weekly strategy – Much like last season, I intend to often pull my DK-FLEX from this position. Zach Ertz is found money at $3.5K on DK and I don’t mind his FD price either. Charles Clay, C.J. Fiedorowicz and Austin Hooper are also in that same price range and any of those three would pair nicely with Ertz. Under no circumstances will I spend up this week at tight end.
Your Fantasy Four Pack
Greg Olsen, Panthers @ SF ($6200 DK, $6600 FD) San Francisco allowed a tight end touchdown in four of their last six games. None of those games was against Carolina, but the Niners did face Carolina back in Week 2. In that game, Greg Olsen smoked the Niners for 5-122-1. I’m concerned that Christian McCaffrey might eat into Olsen’s targets, but at the same time it is hard not to like a guy who has topped 75 receptions and 1000 yards each of the last three seasons.
Jimmy Graham, Seahawks @ GB ($5100 DK, $6200 FD) I mentioned earlier about the atrocity that is the Green Bay secondary. They had a particular problem stopping opposing tight ends as they allowed more than 60 yards to the position nine times last year. They also gave up six or more receptions to the position nine times. Jimmy Graham seems to have finally found his lockstep with Russell Wilson. As long as he isn’t needed to stay in to block, Graham should deliver 6-80.
Zach Ertz, Eagles @ WAS ($3500 DK, $5900 FD) Zach Ertz has been a target hog the last year and a half for the Eagles. A lot of that was due to the teams’ horrible wide receiver corps. The Eagles have upped their WR game this year so I am slightly concerned about a drop off in targets for Ertz. At least this week, Ertz should be the favorite target for Carson Wentz since Alshon Jeffery will be hounded by Josh Norman. Wentz realized that “interior advantage” last season when he targeted Ertz 13 times on route to a 10-112 performance Week 14. Half of that would be solid at this price, but I believe Ertz will provide a similar line once again.
Tyler Eifert, Bengals vs. BAL ($4600 DK, $6100 FD) Tyler Eifert has 18 touchdowns in the last 21 games he has played. This includes his last two starts against Baltimore during which he posted a combined 9-119-2. The Ravens are typically pretty stingy against opposing tight ends. They allowed only five touchdowns to the position last year. Of course, two of those came against Cincinnati.
Charles Clay, Bills vs. NYJ ($3200 DK, $4600 FD) See also: Jones, Zay. Charles Clay is the only returning regular in this passing offense. He averaged 5-57-1 over the last four weeks last season. I expect Tyrod Taylor (or Nathan Peterman) to target him frequently against a Jets’ defense that allowed seven tight end touchdowns over their final five games.
C.J. Fiedorowicz, Texans vs JAX ($3100 DK, $5200 FD) In two contests last season, Jacksonville allowed 16-132-2 to Houston’s tight ends. Unfortunately, most of those stats went to someone other than C.J. Fiedorowicz. It seems that this offseason, Fiedorowicz has carved out the role as Option-B behind DeAndre Hopkins, and with Will Fuller out, expect more of the same for the Texans’ offense.