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 5 Recap (Points are based on DraftKings scoring)
Carson Palmer: 15.6
Philip Rivers: 21.8
Jacoby Brissett: 22.0
Aaron Jones: 23.4
Duke Johnson: 17.3
Andre Ellington: 15.3
Jarvis Landry: 15.4
Jaron Brown: 6.9
Aldrick Robinson: 1.5
Hunter Henry: 13.2
Austin Seferian-Jenkins: 14.9
Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals ($6,100 DraftKings; $7,100 FanDuel)
Palmer is still being undervalued, despite his strong start to the season. He wasn’t great last week but even in a game where the entire Cardinals offense struggled, Palmer still put up 15.6 DK points. He’s now scored 19.9, 24.7, 20.4 and 15.6 DK points in his last four games.
The Cardinals can’t run the football. They just signed Adrian Peterson, which means they still can’t run the football. Even if Peterson takes some of the load off Palmer, he’s not going to carry the ball 20 times this week. Palmer has thrown the ball at least 36 times in every game and over 40 times in every game but one this season.
Palmer has a favorable matchup at home to exploit this week. The Buccaneers defense allows the 12th most fantasy PPG to opposing quarterbacks on DraftKings (23.2) and the 13th most on FanDuel (20.5). Tampa Bay’s defense has allowed a 300-yard quarterback in 3 of 4 games this season. The one time they didn’t, Eli Manning threw for 288 yards, rushed for 22 yards and accounted for three touchdowns.
Palmer’s ownership numbers aren’t expected to be big, despite his high ceiling, favorable matchup and low salary. Keep riding Palmer until his price rises.
Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers ($5,700 DraftKings; $7,400 FanDuel)
Roethlisberger is coming off one of the worst games of his career against the tough Jaguars defense. Big Ben threw for 312 yards, no touchdowns and five interceptions.
So, why would we want to start him? Football is a week by week game. Roethlisberger is a great bounce back candidate in Week 6. Likely future Hall of Fame players typically respond well to one of the worst games of their careers, especially when the matchup is much more favorable.
Let’s not understate how good the Jacksonville pass defense is this year. It ranks No. 1 in the NFL and allows the fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks. The Chiefs aren’t nearly as formidable. Kansas City’s defense gives up the sixth most fantasy PPG to quarterbacks on DraftKings (20.4) and the fifth most on FanDuel (19.8). The Jaguars allow fewer than 10 points at both places.
Look at this realistically. Roethlisberger’s salary on DraftKings is $300 less than Sam Bradford and $200 more than Jimmy Garoppolo. Bradford has one good leg and Garoppolo hasn’t played a snap all year. Big Ben is great value this week.
Bargain Basement Play
Brian Hoyer, San Francisco 49ers ($5,100 DraftKings; $6,600 FanDuel)
Hoyer threw for 353 yards with two touchdowns and no interception against the Colts. He’s thrown for over 300 yards and two touchdowns in two of his last three games. The best part about Hoyer is his coach Kyle Shanahan. Shanahan hates running the football. Just ask Atlanta Falcons fans.
Hoyer’s passing attempts in the 49ers last three games are 49, 46 and 37. Keep in mind, these are games San Francisco lost by a combined eight points, so it’s not like they were getting blown out. As Carlos Hyde’s touches decrease, Hoyer’s pass attempts are increasing. One thing you can count on with Shanahan is, he’s going to throw the football.
The Redskins defense has allowed 20 fantasy points to quarterbacks in two of their four games this year. The total for the 49ers/Redskins game is set at 47, so a lot of points are expected. It’s a good bet Hoyer tops 40 pass attempts again on Sunday. Out of all the lower-salary quarterbacks, Hoyer offers the most upside.
Chris Thompson, Washington Redskins ($5,000 DraftKings; $6,000 FanDuel)
Thompson had been on fire until his last game against the Chiefs where he was held to 27 total yards and failed to score for the first time all season. Expect him to get back on track Sunday against the 49ers.
San Francisco’s defense is allowing the third most fantasy PPG to running backs (29.8 DraftKings, 25.5 FanDuel). The 49ers really struggle at allowing receptions to running backs. They give up an average of seven receptions per game to the position. Christian McCaffrey, Todd Gurley and Andre Ellington all caught at least five balls against the 49ers.
Thompson doesn’t see a lot of touches but he’s done a great job of maximizing his touches this year. Prior to his last outing, he scored at least 15 DK points in every game. Thompson is expected to have modest ownership numbers this week. Given the matchup, it would be a letdown if he didn’t approach the 19.4 points he’s averaging on DraftKings for the season.
Marshawn Lynch, Oakland Raiders ($5,000 DraftKings; $6,000 FanDuel)
Lynch is coming off his best game of the year against the Ravens. That’s not saying much though considering his best game is 53 total yards and a touchdown. This could be the week the Beast finally gets unleashed.
The Chargers defense has been awful against running backs. It’s been so bad, the Giants even had a running game against them. Orleans Darkwa and Wayne Gallman combined for 127 yards and a touchdown last week. Los Angeles’ defense is allowing the seventh most fantasy PPG to running backs on DraftKings (28.0) and the sixth most on FanDuel (23.8).
Derek Carr is expected to start on Sunday but he’s still dealing with a fracture in his back. Expect the Raiders to lean on Lynch on their running game this week versus a Chargers rush defense giving up an NFL-worst 151 yards per game on the ground.
Bargain Basement Play
Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints ($4,600 DraftKings; $5,800 FanDuel)
Kamara has been the Saints top fantasy running back and that was with Adrian Peterson wasting snaps. Now with Peterson gone, Kamara will see even more playing time.
Kamara may be the biggest bargain on the board this week. He’s scored 13.2 and 25.6 DK points in his last two games, as the Saints continue to incorporate Kamara into their offense more. He’s averaging just under 14 DK points and again, that’s with Peterson stealing away some snaps.
Kamara has a good matchup to exploit this week. The Lions defense has been tough to run on (71 rushing YPG) but it allows 6.4 receptions and 58.2 receiving yards per game to opposing running backs. Christian McCaffrey and Jonathan Stewart combined for eight receptions last week.
Given his low salary, Kamara is projected to be heavily owned. However, with a price tag at under $5,000 at DraftKings, it’s worth eating the chalk with Kamara. He’s a good bet for at least 15 points this week.
Terrelle Pryor, Washington Redskins ($5,700 DraftKings; $6,800 FanDuel)
Pryor scored for the first time this season in his last game against the Chiefs. He’s gotten off to a slow start with only 13 receptions in four games.
Things should pick up for Pryor on Sunday against the struggling 49ers pass defense. San Francisco’s defense allows the fifth most fantasy PPG to wide receivers on DraftKings (39.8) and the eighth most on FanDuel (30.5). The 49ers have allowed at least six receptions to five different receivers and over 100 yards to four receivers this season.
The 49ers rank 24th in the NFL defending No. 1 receivers, according to Football Outsiders. Pryor’s ownership is expected to be a little over 10 percent this week. It could reach 15 percent given the matchup. This is the game he could go off. Get Pryor in your lineup.
Jaron Brown, Arizona Cardinals ($4,900 DraftKings; $5,600 FanDuel)
Brown only caught three balls for 39 yards on six targets last week but don’t read too much into that stat line. The Cardinals offense struggled against the Eagles defense on Sunday.
Arizona still can’t run the football. As mentioned above, Palmer has thrown the ball at least 36 times in every game this season and over 40 times in every game but one. Brown is in a great spot to bounce back this week. The Buccaneers defense allows the sixth most fantasy PPG to wide receivers (49.0 DraftKings, 39.3 FanDuel).
Brown is still seeing a healthy number of targets from Palmer. He’s been targeted 35 times in his last four games. He doesn’t have a huge ceiling but Brown’s ownership numbers are expected to be significantly lower than teammate John Brown. They’re both good options but Jaron could be the smarter play given the fact he’ll be in fewer lineups.
Bargain Basement Play
John Brown, Arizona Cardinals ($4,500 DraftKings; $6,300 FanDuel)
If Jaron Brown doesn’t do it for you, give Arizona’s other Brown a try. Like we stated, John is projected to have higher ownership numbers be he’s also $400 cheaper on DraftKings.
Brown returned from a quad injury in Week for and he’s seen seven targets in each of the last two games. He scored his first touchdown of the season last week against the Eagles and should have had another but Brown fumbled just before crossing the goal line. He also played the second most snaps of any Cardinals receiver behind Larry Fitzgerald.
The Buccaneers rank last in the NFL covering receivers no designated as the team’s No. 1 or 2 receivers. Brown lines up all over in the Cardinals offense, so he should be able to exploit mismatches in Tampa Bay’s secondary. It’s tough to predict the Cardinals receivers from week to week but there’s a good chance one of the Browns pops against the Buccaneers Sunday.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins, New York Jets ($4,300 DraftKings; $5,600 FanDuel)
Seferian-Jenkins was a popular play last week versus a Browns defense that struggles to defend tight ends. He paid off by catching 6 of 8 targets for 29 yards and a touchdown.
Seferian-Jenkins has another strong matchup this week against a Patriots defense that can’t stop anyone. New England allows the third most fantasy PPG to tight ends (DraftKings, 16.7 FanDuel, 14.0). The Patriots have given up a touchdown to a tight end in four of five games this season.
ASJ has seen 18 targets in three games since returning from suspension. He should continue to be heavily targeted versus New England. With a projected modest ownership and one of the highest ceilings for a tight end in Week 6, Seferian-Jenkins is a strong tight end value play.
Bargain Basement Play
Austin Hooper, Atlanta Falcons ($3,500 DraftKings; $4,800 FanDuel)
In his last game against the Bills, Hooper led the Falcons in targets (7) and receptions (5) and finished second to Tevin Coleman in receiving yards (50).
Both Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu left that game with injuries. Jones is expected to return Sunday but Sanu (hamstring) will likely sit out. That should mean more targets for Hooper in a favorable matchup versus the Dolphins. Miami’s defense allows the 13th most fantasy PPG to tight ends on DraftKings (15.7) and the 12th most on FanDuel (12.2).
Hooper has put up two strong fantasy games and two poor ones. If Sanu sits, he has the matchup to see enough targets to make it three good fantasy games this season.
Washington Redskins ($3,400 DraftKings; $4,700 FanDuel)
The Redskins defense has rewarded fantasy owners at home this season. In two home games, Washington’s defense has scored 12 and 14 DK points. In their last two games overall, the Redskins have recorded eight sacks, two interceptions and one fumble recovery. We mentioned the total in this game is 47. The 49ers could score some points but they could also fall behind and be forced to throw. That means the opportunities for sacks and turnovers for the Redskins defense. They’re in a good spot at home this week.
Bargain Basement Play
New Orleans Saints ($2,700 DraftKings; $4,200 FanDuel)
The Saints defense has turned things around in its last two games against the Panthers and Dolphins. New Orleans scored 14 and 16 fantasy points in those games – both wins – away from home. The Saints allowed a total of 13 points, while recording eight sacks and four interceptions. Now they return home to face the Lions with a hobbled Matthew Stafford. Stafford is dealing with knee and ankle injuries but is expected to play. The Saints are a hot defense at home facing a quarterback not 100 percent healthy. They’re worth a shot.