Everyone knows to start studs in DFS. What can bring home the money in is finding players who will produce at a lower salary that might not be on many lineup cards. Each week we’ll release our top DFS value plays and bargain basement plays to help fill out your lineups.
Week 4 Recap (Points are based on DraftKings scoring)
Derek Carr: 9.7 (Injured)
Jared Goff: 18.1
Trevor Siemian: 11.3
Joe Mixon: 8.8
James White: 15.4
Bilal Powell: 32.0
Alshon Jeffery: 11.9
Devin Funchess: 26.0
Cooper Kupp: 17.0
Cameron Brate: 18.0
Eric Ebron: 4.7
Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals ($5,900 DraftKings; $7,200 FanDuel)
Palmer has a surprisingly low salary this week, despite the fact he has a favorable matchup and been productive over his last three games. During that span, Palmer has put up 19.9, 24.7 and 20.4 points at DraftKings. Now he gets a struggling Eagles pass defense.
The Eagles are allowing the fifth most fantasy PPG to quarterbacks on DraftKings (20.3) and the seventh most on FanDuel (18.0). In their last two games, Philly’s pass defense has allowed 366 yards to Eli Manning and 347 yards to Philip Rivers. The two combined for five touchdown passes and with two interceptions.
The Cardinals can’t run the football at all. Palmer has attempted at least 36 passes in every game this season. Despite his low salary, Palmer’s ownership numbers aren’t expected to be crazy this week. Take advantage of Palmer before his salary starts to catch up with his production.
Philip Rivers, Los Angeles Chargers ($5,800 DraftKings; $7,300 FanDuel)
Rivers bounced back from his stinker against the Chiefs two weeks ago with 347 yards and two touchdowns versus the Eagles. On paper, the Giants should be a tough matchup for Rivers but they don’t play football on paper.
The Giants allow the 11th most fantasy PPG to quarterbacks (DraftKings 18.5, FanDuel 17.5). Last Week, Jameis Winston ripped the Giants pass defense for 332 yards and three touchdowns. New York has allowed seven passing touchdowns in four games.
Rivers has put up strong fantasy numbers in three of four games this year. Like Palmer, the volume is there every week. Rivers has attempted over 30 passes in every game. Rivers’ ownership is projected to be low this week because many are still perceiving the Giants pass defense to be the unit it was in 2016. So far it hasn’t been. Don’t shy away from Rivers.
Bargain Basement Play
Jacoby Brissett, Indianapolis Colts ($5,600 DraftKings; $7,000 FanDuel)
Brissett was in a tough spot last week at Seattle. After a solid first half, the Seahawks smothered Brissett and the Colts offense in the second half, outscoring them 36-3.
Two weeks ago, Brissett threw for 259 yards and accounted for three touchdowns against the Browns. Brissett has another favorable matchup this Sunday when the Colts host the 49ers. San Francisco’s defense allows the 12th most fantasy PPG to quarterbacks on DraftKings (18.4) and the ninth most on FanDuel (17.6). In its last two games, the 49ers defense has given up 694 yards and four touchdowns to Jared Goff and Carson Palmer.
Brissett wasn’t playing poorly in Seattle until the wheels fell off in the second half and the Seahawks defense smelled blood. Now he’s back home facing a secondary with far less talent. Brissett has one of the highest ceilings of any quarterback this week at a bargain price. You can build a talented roster around a quarterback with his salary.
Aaron Jones, Green Bay Packers ($5,100 DraftKings; $5,900 FanDuel)
Ty Montgomery suffered broken ribs last Thursday night but now it appears he may start in Week 5. Jamaal Williams (knee) was also injured against the Bears. This is more of a “wait and see” play.
Jones will draw the start against Dallas if both Montgomery and Williams can’t play Sunday. He performed well last week, rushing 13 times for 49 yards and a touchdown. The key here is Montgomery. Even if Williams plays, Jones will see touches should Montgomery not be available.
The Cowboys limited the teams they faced without a running game (Giants, Cardinals) but the two backs they played with a heartbeat (C.J. Anderson and Todd Gurley) ripped them up. Anderson recorded 154 total yards and two touchdowns, while Gurley put up 215 yards and a score.
Wait to see on Montgomery. If he’s out, Jones is a strong start versus a Dallas defense allowing the sixth-most fantasy PPG to opposing running backs.
Duke Johnson, Cleveland Browns ($4,900 DraftKings; $6,000 FanDuel)
Johnson caught 9 of 10 targets for 47 yards last week. Over his last two games, Johnson has 15 receptions for 128 on 17 targets and two rushing touchdowns (one in each of the last two games). He’s scored 22.4 and 21.0 points on DraftKings. Johnson has been the Browns offense the last two weeks.
Johnson has a chance to put up strong numbers again versus a Jets defense that struggles to stop opposing running backs. Through four games, New York’s defense gives up the fourth most fantasy PPG to running backs (DraftKings 29.4, FanDuel 25.5). Where the Jets have the most trouble is allowing receptions to running backs. Opposing running backs average 6.3 receptions per game against the Jets. Johnson is averaging five catches a game. Seems like easy math.
Isaiah Crowell has been a disappointment early in the year. He has only 134 yards on 46 carries. Crowell is also a non-factor as a receiver (5 receptions). This game sets up for Johnson to be busy once again as a receiver out of the backfield.
Bargain Basement Play
Andre Ellington, Arizona Cardinals ($4,600 DraftKings; $5,400 FanDuel)
Ellington is another running back that’s been making his money more as a receiver than runner.
Cardinals coach Bruce Arians is using Ellington to replace David Johnson’s production as a receiver out of the backfield. In his last two games, Ellington has only rushed for 40 yards but he’s caught 14 of 22 targets for 145 yards. The Cardinals can’t run the football at all and so Ellington has led the backfield in snaps each of the last two weeks.
The Eagles have been tough on running backs this year. Philadelphia’s defense allows just 55 yards a game on the ground but the Cardinals aren’t going to try to run the ball anyway. As mentioned above, Palmer will throw it 40 times and utilize Ellington as a receiver. The Eagles give up four receptions per game to running backs. Ellington averages five receptions a game.
Ellington is projected to have decent ownership this week but he’s a safe play given his salary in a game with a total set at 46. There should be some points scored and over 70 pass attempts between the Cardinals and Eagles on Sunday.
Jarvis Landry, Miami Dolphins ($5,800 DraftKings; $6,600 FanDuel)
There’s nothing to like about Jay Cutler and the Dolphins offense right now. Miami scored on its final play against the Jets. If it weren’t for that, the Dolphins would have been shut out in back to back games. That’s ugly.
A pessimist might only look at the glass half empty side but there is a glass half full side this week as well when looking at Miami’s receivers. The Titans allow the most fantasy PPG to opposing wide receivers through four games (DraftKings 46.0. FanDuel 37.1). Tennessee’s defense has given up 10 receptions and over 100 yards to two receivers (Doug Baldwin, DeAndre Hopkins) and a total of eight touchdowns to the position.
Landry has caught at least six passes in every game this season. He’s been targeted a whopping 33 times in three games. The problem is Landry is only averaging 6.6 yards per reception. Landry has scored at least 10 fantasy points in all three games this year. He has a higher ceiling this week at a lower salary. Roll with him.
Jaron Brown, Arizona Cardinals ($4,500 DraftKings; $4,500 FanDuel)
Brown is starting to become a real factor. Against the 49ers on Sunday, he caught eight passes for 105 yards. Over his last three games, Brown has 14 receptions, 205 yards and one touchdown on 29 targets. In two of those games, Brown has been targeted 12 and 11 times.
Brown is also being featured in the red zone. Palmer leads the NFL in red zone passing attempts with 32. Larry Fitzgerald ranks first with 10 red zone targets but Brown is right behind him with six (tied for fourth in the NFL).
The Eagles have been really struggling in their secondary since cornerback Ronald Derby got injured in Week 1. Philadelphia allows the second most fantasy PPG to wide receivers (DraftKings 44.7, FanDuel 34.4). The Eagles defense has given up 34 receptions, four touchdowns and three 100-yard receivers (Sterling Shepard, Tyrell Williams, Keenan Allen) in its last two games.
Brown is projected to have higher ownership numbers because of his salary and top matchup this week but given how often Palmer is throwing the ball, this is a time where it’s worth eating the chalk. Ride Brown.
Bargain Basement Play
Aldrick Robinson, San Francisco 49ers ($3,100 DraftKings; $4,600 FanDuel)
Marquise Goodwin left Sunday’s game against the Cardinals with a concussion. It’s Goodwin’s fourth concussion in 14 months. With Pierre Garcon being shadowed by Patrick Peterson, Robinson led the 49ers in targets with 12. He caught three of those targets for 52 yards.
Goodwin had been struggling as the 49ers No. 2 receiver and now with him being questionable for Sunday’s game against the Colts, Robinson is in line for more targets in what is a favorable matchup on paper. The Colts defense is allowing the 10th most fantasy PPG to wide receivers on DraftKings (36.6) and the eighth most on FanDuel (29.7).
Goodwin was brought in to be the big-play receiver in the 49ers offense. Through four games he has nine receptions, 127 yards and no touchdowns. Almost half of his yardage (50) came on one catch. Robinson started to get more opportunities last week. Don’t be surprised if that carries over against the Colts. He’s an intriguing punt play.
Hunter Henry, Los Angeles Chargers ($3,800 DraftKings; $5,200 FanDuel)
Henry is a perfect example of a season-long fantasy disappointment who can still be an asset in DFS because of matchups.
Henry was drafted in most season-long leagues but he’s now only owned on 60 percent of rosters after a slow start to the season. He’s been shut out in two of four games this year and Henry scored his first touchdown last week. If anything can get Henry going, it’s the Giants defense.
The Giants allow the most fantasy PPG to opposing tight ends (DraftKings 22.2, FanDuel 18.3). New York has given up at least one touchdown to a tight end in every game this year. Last week the Giants allowed both the Buccaneers Cameron Brate (4/80/1) and O.J. Howard (2/63/1) to score.
Henry isn’t expected to have big ownership numbers this week because of his slow start but he’s worth strong consideration. The matchup is simply too enticing to overlook.
Bargain Basement Play
Austin Seferian-Jenkins, New York Jets ($3,500 DraftKings; $5,500 FanDuel)
Seferian-Jenkins caught four balls for 46 yards in his second game back from suspension on Sunday. He has nine receptions on 10 targets in two games. The yardage and touchdowns aren’t there yet but the Jets passing isn’t the most explosive in the NFL.
On Sunday, ASJ gets a Browns defense that allowed two touchdowns to Bengals backup tight end Tyler Kroft last week. The Browns are allowing the second most fantasy PPG to tight ends (DraftKings 20.0, FanDuel 16.0). Cleveland’s defense has given up two touchdowns to tight ends in two of four games this season.
Seferian-Jenkins is expected to have healthy ownership numbers because of his matchup this week but he also has a high ceiling. Given the Jets lack of options at receivers, ASJ could have a breakout game versus the Browns.
Baltimore Ravens ($2,900 DraftKings; $4,500 FanDuel)
After big games to start the year against the Bengals and Browns, Baltimore’s defense has come back down to earth the last two weeks. Things are looking up again though for the Ravens defense with EJ Manuel scheduled to start at quarterback for the Raiders. The last time Manuel started was in Week 17 last season against the Jets. He went 9 of 20 for 86 yards. His QB rating was 57.5. Last week after Derek Carr got injured, Manuel was 11 of 17 for 106 yards and an interception. His QB rating was 57.5. See a pattern here? The Ravens defense gets well this week. Start them with confidence.
Bargain Basement Play
Buffalo Bills ($2,600 DraftKings; $4,600 FanDuel)
The Bills defense has been on fire over the first month of the season and it continued last week in Buffalo’s upset of the Falcons. The Bills defense recorded one sack, two interceptions, a fumble recovery and scored a touchdown. For the season, Buffalo’s defense now has 11 sacks, six interceptions, a fumble recovery and a touchdown. The Bills have a strong matchup this week against the Bengals. Cincinnati allows the third most fantasy PPG to team defenses (11.0). Keep riding the still undervalued Bills defense.