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 3 Recap (Points are based on DraftKings scoring)
Kirk Cousins: 29.8
Matthew Stafford: 16.5
DeShone Kizer: 25.1
Tarik Cohen: 14.2
Theo Riddick: 7.8
Ameer Abdullah: 11.6
DeVante Parker: 21.6
Davante Adams: 9.0
DeSean Jackson: 18.4
Kyle Rudolph: 1.4
Ed Dickson: 1.8
Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders ($5,800 DraftKings; $7,900 FanDuel)
Carr is coming off a poor game against the Redskins where he threw for just 118 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Now he has what’s perceived to be a tough matchup versus the Broncos “No Fly Zone” secondary. However, Denver’s defense has actually given up a lot of fantasy points to quarterbacks this year.
Through three games, the Broncos have allowed the 12th most fantasy PPG (18.1) to opposing quarterbacks at DraftKings and the ninth most at FanDuel. Philip Rivers, Dak Prescott and Tyrod Taylor all threw at least two touchdown passes and scored more than 17 fantasy points against the Broncos defense.
The Broncos rank No. 1 in the NFL against the run allowing just 47.3 yards per game on the ground. If the Raiders are going to move the ball Sunday, they’ll have to rely on Carr and the passing game. Carr’s ownership is projected to be very low this week but in reality his matchup isn’t a killer. Take advantage.
Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams ($5,600 DraftKings; $7,200 FanDuel)
What a difference a year makes. Last season’s whipping boy has turned things around and is coming off the best game of his career. Goff completed 22 of 28 passes for 292 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions against the 49ers.
Goff has now hit 19 fantasy points in two of three games this season. He should keep it going this week against a struggling Cowboys pass defense that’s dealing with injuries to its secondary. Dallas’ defense is allowing the 10th most fantasy PPG to quarterbacks on DraftKings (19.0) and the 11th most on FanDuel (17.7). Keep in mind, the Cowboys rank that high even after their 19-3 opening night win over the Giants when they shut down Eli Manning.
Goff has three receivers in Sammy Watkins, Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp that will give the Cowboys secondary fits. He’s still not projected to be highly owned but Goff is a great play this week considering his matchup and salary.
Bargain Basement Play
Trevor Siemian, Denver Broncos ($5,200 DraftKings; $7,500 FanDuel)
Siemian put up a stinker last week but that was on the road against a tough Bills defense.
Now Siemian returns home where he’s been money this season. In two home games, Siemian has completed 65 percent of his passes, thrown for 450 yards, accounted for seven touchdowns and thrown just one interception. He’s averaging 24.2 fantasy points at home.
Siemian faces a Raiders defense that just allowed 365 yards and three touchdowns to Kirk Cousins. Oakland’s defense is allowing the fourth most fantasy PPG to quarterbacks (21.8 DraftKings, 20.5 FanDuel).
One thing to note is Siemian’s salary is much higher on FanDuel than DraftKings. Siemian costs more than Goff on FanDuel. Don’t get sucked in by Siemian’s poor performance last week. Siemian is a prime bounce back candidate at home and he’s not expected to be owned on many rosters.
Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals ($5,700 DraftKings; $5,600 FanDuel)
New Bengals offensive coordinator Bill Lazor promised to get Mixon more involved in the offense. After one game, he made good on that promise. Mixon ran 18 times for 62 yards and caught three passes. He also saw two red zone carries.
It wasn’t a great production day for Mixon but the volume is certainly encouraging moving forward. The Browns have been pretty tough on running backs so far this year but they have allowed touchdowns in back-to-back games to Terrance West and Frank Gore. While Cleveland’s defense hasn’t given up a ton of points to running backs, the Browns have allowed at least 10 points to three backs in the last two weeks (Gore, West, Javorius Allen).
Mixon was close to breaking a couple of big plays last week. The volume is there. Mixon is likely to have high ownership but at his low salary, he’ll be worth eating the chalk.
James White, New England Patriots ($5,000 DraftKings; $5,500 FanDuel)
White was held in check in the Patriots Week 3 win over the Texans. He rushed five times for 17 yards and saw only one target.
It’s odd White was only targeted once in a game where Tom Brady threw the ball 35 times for 378 yards but he still saw 31 snaps. White leads the Patriots backfield with 104 snaps and Rex Burkhead is still not practicing with a rib injury.
Expect to see White on the field a lot again this week against Carolina. The Panthers defense only allows 65.3 rushing yards per game but gives up 7.3 receptions per game to opposing running backs. That’s the fourth most of any team in the NFL. We all know Bill Belichick isn’t going to attack a strength, rather he’ll take advantage of a defense’s weakness. This sets up more as a James White game over a Mike Gillislee game.
White is expected to have lower ownership numbers than Gillislee this week. Be one of the smart ones and take White at a cheaper salary.
Bargain Basement Play
Bilal Powell, New York Jets ($4,600 DraftKings; $6,100 FanDuel)
Matt Forte looks like he won’t play this week with a toe injury. That opens the door for Powell who for some reason has been inexplicably underused early in the year by the Jets coaching staff.
Powell averaged 138 yards from scrimmage and caught 21 passes over the Jets final four games last season when Forte was injured. He’s not going to approach those numbers again because Todd Bowles is in love with sixth-round pick Elijah McGuire but Powell should see 15 to 20 touches with Forte out and be a big factor in the passing game. The Jaguars also rank last in rush DVOA, allowing 4.8 yards per carry, according to Football Outsiders.
Powell’s ownership numbers aren’t projected to be overly high given his low salary at both DraftKings and FanDuel. He’s worth a shot this week, especially considering his expected usage in the passing game.
Alshon Jeffery, Philadelphia Eagles ($6,200 DraftKings; $7,100 FanDuel)
Jeffery has made a big fantasy impact in only one game so far this season. He has the matchup to do it again this week.
The Chargers are struggling against receivers since losing top cornerback Jason Verrett. San Diego’s defense allows the ninth most fantasy PPG to receivers on DraftKings (38.1) and the eighth most on FanDuel (31.3). The Chargers defense has allowed five touchdowns to opposing receivers through three games.
Jeffery and Carson Wentz haven’t been connecting yet, especially on the deep ball, but the targets are there. Jeffery has been targeted 28 times in three games but has only 14 receptions. The main problem is Jeffery ranks 129th in the NFL in catchable target rate. Bottom line is Wentz simply isn’t throwing Jeffery many catchable balls. As soon as that changes, so will Jeffery’s fantasy production.
Jeffery’s ownership is projected to be under 10 percent this week but he has a high ceiling. It’s a good week to get Jeffery in your lineup.
Devin Funchess, Carolina Panthers ($5,300 DraftKings; $5,400 FanDuel)
It’s hard to trust the Panthers passing game right now. The only thing that might get Cam Newton and Co. going is if they played the Patriots defense. As luck would have it…
New England’s defense has been surprisingly Swiss cheese this year, allowing loads of fantasy points to every position. The Patriots are giving up the sixth most fantasy PPG to wide receivers (39.7 DraftKings, 32.0 FanDuel). Kelvin Benjamin is dealing with a minor knee injury and is considered questionable for Sunday’s game.
It may not make much difference in if Benjamin plays or not. According to Football Outsiders, the Patriots rank 20th in covering an opposing team’s No. 1 receiver and 23rd in covering its No. 2 receiver, so there’s not much difference where Funchess lines up.
Funchess hasn’t broken out yet but he’s getting close. He has 16 targets and eight receptions in his last two games. Despite the favorable matchup, Funchess’ ownership numbers are expected to remain low.
Bargain Basement Play
Cooper Kupp, Los Angeles Rams ($4,300 DraftKings; $5,600 FanDuel)
After a promising Week 1 performance where Kupp caught four passes for 76 yards and a touchdown, he’s fallen off the map. Kupp only has five receptions on eight targets over the last two games.
Kupp should resurface this week against a Cowboys secondary that’s dealing with injuries and struggles to cover slot receivers. Dallas’ defense is allowing the fifth most fantasy PPG to wide receivers on DraftKings (39.7) and the seventh most on FanDuel (31.4). Sterling Shepard (11.4) and Larry Fitzgerald (33.9) both scored double-digit fantasy points on the Cowboys defense working primarily out of the slot.
Kupp had a lot of hype coming out of the preseason and after Week 1 but that’s died down. He’s not expected to be highly owned this week. Strike now. Kupp lives again.
Cameron Brate, Tampa Bay Buccaneers ($3,800 DraftKings; $5,300 FanDuel)
Brate did what Brate does last week. He caught four balls for 33 yards and scored a red zone touchdown. If you roster Brate, that’s around what you’re expecting.
Brate has a chance to strike again this week and find the end zone against a Giants defense that’s had a lot of trouble defending tight ends this year. New York’s defense is allowing the second most fantasy PPG to tight ends on DraftKings (18.9) and the fourth most on FanDuel (14.7). The Giants have allowed a touchdown to a tight end in every game this season (Jason Witten, Eric Ebron, Zach Ertz).
Brate doesn’t have as high a ceiling as some other tight ends but with one of the best matchups on paper, he’s a good bet to land in that 10 to 15 points range once again this week.
Bargain Basement Play
Eric Ebron, Detroit Lions ($3,100 DraftKings; $5,300 FanDuel)
Ebron remains one of the biggest enigmas in the NFL. Despite having what appears to be loads of physical ability, he remains maddeningly inconsistent.
In two games this year, Ebron has caught two passes for nine yards. In the other, he caught five passes for 42 yards and a touchdown. You never know what you’ll get out of Ebron but he has a low salary this week and a strong matchup.
The Vikings defense is giving up the 10th most fantasy points to tight ends on both DraftKings and FanDuel. With Xavier Rhodes typically locking down an opposing team’s No. 1 receiver, offenses look to attack the Vikings defense with secondary receivers, running backs and the tight end.
Ebron won’t be heavily owned but he’s projected to have one of the highest ceilings of any tight end this week. He’s worth consideration if you’re looking for a cheaper tight end option.
Baltimore Ravens ($3,000 DraftKings; $4,500 FanDuel)
The Ravens have one the NFL’s best defenses. Last week they went over to London and got embarrassed by Blake Bortles and the Jaguars. The Ravens allowed Jacksonville to hang 44 points on them. Now they’re back home facing Ben Roethlisberger and a Steelers offense that typically plays much better at home than on the road. Smell a bounce back performance from the Ravens defense? In the two games prior to last Sunday, Baltimore’s defense recorded eight interceptions, two fumble recoveries and eight sacks. Go back to the Ravens defense and take advantage of their reasonable salary.
Bargain Basement Play
New York Jets ($2,600 DraftKings; $4,100 FanDuel)
The Jets defense is coming off a strong performance against the Dolphins where they racked up three sacks and two interceptions. New York had a shutout in place until allowing a touchdown on the final play of the game. As mentioned above, Bortles had arguably the best game of his career versus the tough Ravens defense where he threw for 244 yards and four touchdowns. We’re betting on that not happening again. The Jaguars coaching staff has done a good job of protecting Bortles this year but before last week he had thrown two touchdowns and two interceptions. This should be an ugly, low-scoring slugfest.