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 11 Recap (Points are based on DraftKings scoring)
Blake Bortles: 9.6
Eli Manning: 8.7
Kenyan Drake: 2.4
Rex Burkhead: 7.7
Michael Crabtree: 13.1
Marqise Lee: 9.5
Jared Cook: 5.6
Tyler Kroft: 9.2
Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals ($6,000 DraftKings) ($7,200 FanDuel)
Dalton put up a solid fantasy performance last week against the Broncos. He completed only 15 passes for 154 yards but threw three touchdown passes. Dalton has been good in three of the last four games. Take out a clunker versus the Jaguars top rated pass defense and Dalton has thrown seven touchdowns and no interceptions in his last three games. He’s scored 18.7, 16.6 and 18.6 DraftKings points in those games.
Dalton had his best fantasy outing of the season earlier this year against the Browns when he threw for 286 yards and four touchdowns (29.3 DK points). The Browns pass defense hasn’t improved much since that meeting. Cleveland allows the 13th most fantasy PPG to quarterbacks on DraftKings (18.8) and the 12th most on FanDuel (18.6).
Dalton is a pretty easy quarterback to figure out. He’s solid against bad teams and struggles versus good ones. The Browns qualify as a bad team. Roll with Dalton this week.
Bargain Basement Play
Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders ($5,600 DraftKings) ($7,500 FanDuel)
Carr has been a disappointment this season with 14 touchdowns and eight interceptions. He’s been up and down as a DFS play. Last week versus the Patriots was a down week (14.5 DK points).
Carr is worth consideration this week though against the overrated Broncos defense. Denver is still tough against receivers but they struggle to cover tight ends and running backs, so quarterbacks have had surprising success versus them. The Broncos allow the 19th most fantasy PPG to quarterbacks on DraftKings (17.4) and the 17th most on FanDuel (17.2).
Those numbers aren’t awful but quarterbacks still tend to be priced too low when facing the Broncos. Denver has allowed 10 touchdown passes in its last three games. Carson Wentz (4), Tom Brady (3) and Andy Dalton (3) each threw for at least three touchdown passes against the Broncos.
Carr’s salary ranks 12th among quarterbacks on DraftKings this week. He’s cheaper than Tyrod Taylor and $100 more than Ryan Fitzpatrick. Carr is a strong value play versus a suddenly beatable Denver defense.
Dion Lewis, New England Patriots ($4,800 DraftKings) ($6,200 FanDuel)
Lewis continues to be undervalued, even though he’s scored 17.5 and 18.8 DraftKings points the last two weeks.
Lewis still must share carries in New England’s backfield but he’s seen 28 touches in his last two games. Over that span, Lewis has 143 total yards and he’s scored three touchdowns.
He gets a good matchup this week, especially in a game where the Patriots could get out to an early lead. New England is a 17-point favorite at home. The Dolphins allow the 16th most fantasy points to running backs (DraftKings 24.3, FanDuel 20.1). Miami’s defense has given up nine total touchdowns to running backs this season.
Lewis still costs under $5,000 at DraftKings because of the crowded Patriots backfield but he’s emerged as the top ball carrier out of the group. He’s an under-the-radar play this week in what looks like a one-sided game on paper.
Bargain Basement Play
Devontae Booker, Denver Broncos ($3,700 DraftKings) ($5,500 FanDuel)
Booker had his best game of the year last week against the Bengals. He rushed for 44 yards on 14 carries and added 54 yards receiving on five receptions. Booker’s 19 touches are the most he’s gotten in a game since Week 13 of 2016. Booker also played 18 more snaps than starter C.J. Anderson.
The Broncos backfield has been a fantasy mess this year but it now looks like a two-man committee with Booker and Anderson. Booker has more fantasy upside because he’s used in passing situations. He has a favorable matchup this week against a Raiders defense that bleeds fantasy points to running backs.
Oakland allows the fifth most fantasy PPG to running backs on DraftKings (27.2) and the sixth most on FanDuel (23.2). The Raiders defense really struggles with allowing receptions to running backs. They give up an average up 6.4 receptions and 51.7 receiving yards per game to running backs. Ten different backs have caught at least four passes in a game against the Raiders defense this year, including both Dion Lewis and Rex Burkhead last week.
Booker’s workload has increased in each of the Broncos last four games. He’s scored 14 DK points in two of those games. Booker has the right matchup this week to have a breakout fantasy performance.
Mohamed Sanu, Atlanta Falcons ($5,200 DraftKings) ($5,800 FanDuel)
While Julio Jones continues to struggle finding the end zone, Sanu has scored a touchdown in three of his last four games. He’s only topped 40 yards once over that span but scoring has helped Sanu put up 11 or more DK points in three of his last four.
Sanu could find pay dirt again on Sunday when he faces the Buccaneers. Tampa Bay’s defense allows the most fantasy points to wide receivers on DraftKings (42.4) and the second most on FanDuel (32.5). The Buccaneers have allowed at least 70 yards to 11 different receivers this season and a total of 12 touchdowns.
The Falcons offense has started to play better over its last two games and the Buccaneers present a perfect matchup to build on that momentum. Sanu has a high ceiling in Week 12.
Bargain Basement Play
Kenny Stills, Miami Dolphins ($4,800 DraftKings) ($5,600 FanDuel)
Jay Cutler left Sunday’s game with a concussion and he was still in the NFL’s concussion protocol as of Wednesday. He’s questionable to play this week against the Patriots.
Matt Moore replaced Cutler and will get the start Sunday if he’s unable to play. Stills caught 7 of 8 targets for 180 yards and a touchdown last week. In three games with Moore at quarterback this year, Stills has 18 receptions for 330 yards and three touchdowns on 27 targets. Some quarterbacks like throwing to certain receivers. Moore likes throwing to Stills.
The Patriots allow the third most fantasy PPG to wide receivers (DraftKings 40.7, FanDuel 32.3). New England’s defense is playing better but they still allow fantasy points to receivers and Miami could be playing from behind. Stills is a cheaper high-upside receiver option, especially if Moore starts.
Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers ($4,800 DraftKings) ($6,400 FanDuel)
Olsen is eligible to come off injured reserve this week. He’s been practicing and is expected to play against the Jets.
It doesn’t appear Olsen will have any restrictions and his presence is a big boost to the Panthers passing game. He has just three receptions for 28 yards but Olsen played in the first two games when Cam Newton was still recovering from offseason shoulder surgery and was more erratic than normal.
Olsen gets a favorable matchup in his return. The Jets defense allows the eighth most fantasy PPG to tight ends (DraftKings 13.2, FanDuel 10.9). New York has given up at least four receptions to a tight end five times this year and allowed six touchdowns to the position.
It’s hard to know what to expect from a player in his first game back from an injury but Danny Woodhead wasn’t limited last week. Don’t expect Olsen to be either. Assuming he plays, Olsen is solid value play at his reasonable salary.
Bargain Basement Play
Tyler Kroft, Cincinnati Bengals ($3,900 DraftKings) ($5,700 FanDuel)
Kroft only caught two passes against the Broncos last week but one went for a touchdown. He doesn’t have a high ceiling, although Kroft has scored at least nine DK points in four of his last five games.
Kroft’s best fantasy outing of the year came in Week 4 against the Browns when he caught six balls for 68 yards and two touchdowns. He has a chance for a repeat performance because Cleveland still ranks among the NFL’s worst defenses when it comes to covering tight ends.
The Browns are allowing the third most fantasy PPG to tight ends on DraftKings (17.5) and the fourth most on FanDuel (14.1). Cleveland has allowed a touchdown to a tight end in three straight games and eight overall in 10 games this season.
Kroft may not put up 25 points like he did in the first meeting but with a salary under $4,000 on DraftKings, he’s worth consideration for those looking to go cheap at the tight end position.
New England Patriots ($3,400 DraftKings) ($4,700 FanDuel)
After a disastrous start to the season, the Patriots defense has played much better in the last month. Over their last five games, New England has recorded seven sacks, five interceptions, three fumble recoveries and a touchdown. The Patriots have scored at least nine DK points in four of their last five games. This week New England gets a Miami team that has given up the 10th most fantasy points to team defenses (8.5). Look for the Pats to continue their upward swing this week.
Bargain Basement Play
Atlanta Falcons ($2,900 DraftKings) ($4,600 FanDuel)
The Falcons defense has been red-hot over the last two weeks, scoring 16 and 12 DK points. In victories over the Cowboys and Seahawks, Atlanta’s defense has put up 11 sacks, an interception, three fumble recoveries and scored a touchdown. The Buccaneers offense hasn’t been as bad versus team defenses without the turnover-prone Jameis Winston at quarterback but Tampa Bay is facing a hot Falcons team at home. Atlanta has the highest ceiling out of all the defenses priced under $3,000 on DraftKings this week.