The slate gets a little tougher this week as the rotten Dolphins have the week off. Fortunately, New England gets to face yet another pansy team, putting their players in prime position for an offensive explosion coming off a slow game against a premium Buffalo defense. The Patriots may be chalk this week, but as Will Dissly proved last week, sometimes it is best to just eat the chalk. Remember, next week is the first major bye week terrorism with four teams on bye, plus a London game that will be off the main slate. The smaller field will make the player combinations all that more important. In addition, remember, that next week we begin our Primetime-Only slate breakdowns as well.
Each week we 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 (less than 2X price), Black = Acceptable Value (2X price) and Green = Great Value (best chance to finish greater than 3X price).
Tom Brady, Deshaun Watson, or Carson Wentz are the three obvious plays this week. Brady is the safest of the three, but each makes a good play, and the other two may have lower ownership. I’m not ready to trust Andy Dalton full gore this week, especially after his poor performance against Pittsburgh. That said, it is a good matchup, I just don’t like that FD price. Teddy Bridgewater could be a sneaky value play here, but his lack of throwing scores takes some of the shine from him. I don’t like their FD prices, but if you decide to punt here, consider Chase Daniel or whoever starts for the Jets. Nabbing one of that top-threesome will cost just over 13% on either site.
Alvin Kamara is the only higher priced RB that I want nothing to do with this week. I’m also lightly concerned about Pat Shurmur strategizing to shut down Dalvin Cook. I’m also concerned about what the split will be in Los Angeles. That uncertainty makes it tough to play either Austin Ekeler or Melvin Gordon. It shouldn’t matter too much as both will be serviceable. It also shouldn’t matter much in terms of lineup setting since they are both easily faded. David Johnson is locked in as my RB1, this week. I will probably be safe and pair him with Joe Mixon, Leonard Fournette or Derrick Henry. I may even go on a spending spree and pair him with Christian McCaffrey. Other cheaper options I like include: the Chicago running backs, the Philadelphia backs and the Patriots’ backs. I may roster one of them at FLEX, but I am more likely leaning towards using that slot for a WR. If I go with C-Mac and Johnson, I will tie up 32.4% on DK – but only 26.5% on FD. So that combo is more playable in the FD universe. If I go Johnson with Mixon, Fournette or Henry, then it will run me just 28% on DK and 23% on FD.
DeAndre Hopkins is primed for a huge week as is Michael Thomas. Thomas is much cheaper this week, making him the easier WR1 play. I also like one of the Vikings’ WRs to have a big game, as Kirk Cousins feels the need to throw the ball this week. Adam Thielen is the smart play after giving Kirk the squeaky wheel treatment this week. I could easily pair Thielen and Thomas and still have room to do damage at WR3. Those two combined with Tyler Boyd and Julian Edelman, will make up my WR1 and WR2 on most of my rosters at a total cost of between 24% and 27%. I have five options I am leaning towards for WR3 and FLEX: Philip Dorsett, Auden Tate, Robby Anderson, Will Fuller and Diontae Johnson. I will likely roll with two of them (unless I pull my FLEX from RB). That twosome should cost you 20% on DK, and just over 18% on FD.
There are four great deals at TE this week: Jared Cook, Ben Watson, Trey Burton and Tyler Eifert. They will each go for about 7.5% on DK and 9% at FD. If I spend up it will likely be for Evan Engram or Mark Andrews. That said, I feel like playing the chalk again this week is the right call, and that means lots of Eifert.
The Patriots, Bears, Titans, Eagles and Vikings are the safe defense plays. Since Minnesota and Tennessee are the cheapest of that fivesome, they will be my primary defense choice at 6-6.5% on DK and 7-7.5% on FD.
Here are my recommended lineups.
At DK: $6.5K at QB for Tom Brady. $15K or less for two of: Christian McCaffrey, David Johnson, Leonard Fournette, Joe Mixon and Derrick Henry. $6.6K for Michael Thomas. $6.3K for Julian Edelman or less for Alshon Jeffery. $9K or less for two from this list at WR3/FLEX: Robby Anderson, Philip Dorsett (if I don’t use Edelman), Will Fuller, Diontae Johnson, Auden Tate, or James White or Rex Burkhead at FLEX. $3.3K for Tyler Eifert. $3.2K for the Vikings’ defense.
At FD: $7.6K for Brady. No more than $16K for two of the above listed RBs. $7.7K for Thomas. Less than $7K for WR2: Alshon, Edelman, Thielen, Boyd, or Fitzgerald. Less than $6K for WR3 of choice. $6.2K for James White at FLEX. $4.6K For Eifert. $4.5K for the Vikings’ defense.
At Fanball (includes Sunday Night): Brady, McCaffrey, D. Johnson, M. Thomas, Edelman, Robby A, Auden, Tate, Eifert, Titans’ defense.
At Fantasy Draft (includes Sun Night): Brady, McCaffrey, D. Johnson, Thomas, Edelman, Eifert, Derrick Henry, Philip Lindsay, Titans’ defense.
|Gardner Minshew II||$5,300||$6,600|
|Dwayne Haskins Jr.||$4,400||$6,200|
Weekly strategy – Tom Brady is the best option and his price is gentle to your cap. He will likely be heavily owned, making Carson Wentz and Deshaun Watson nice pivots at a similar price. I will have minor exposure to Andy Dalton (on DK only) and Teddy Bridgewater paired with Tyler Boyd and Michael Thomas. Chase Daniel, Mason Rudolph and Luke Falk are the only punt plays I might roll with.
Your Fantasy Four Pack:
Tom Brady, Patriots @ WAS ($6500 DK, $7600 FD)
Coming off of a mediocre game against a very talented Buffalo defense, Tom Brady will be looking to show out against the JV-squad, Washington Redskins. Washington has allowed three passing TDs to every quarterback not named Daniel Jones that they have faced. Meanwhile, Brady had eight total scores over the first three weeks. Three scores here seems certain.
Deshaun Watson, Texans vs. ATL ($6700 DK, $8000 FD)
The Falcons have allowed multiple QB scores in every game this year (including two rushing scores). Deshaun Watson is certainly capable of scoring both through the air and on the ground. I particularly like the idea of stacking Watson with one of DeAndre Hopkins or Will Fuller. Fuller has just missed a couple touchdowns recently. This week the two should finally connect.
Lamar Jackson, Ravens @ PIT ($7100 DK, $8300 FD)
Pittsburgh’s pass defense has gotten better the last couple of games with the addition of Minkah Fitzpatrick. That could pull some of the shine from Lamar Jackson’s passing line. Fortunately for Jackson, he can also do damage on the ground. Jackson has ten passing TDs on the year. I’m not expecting him to throw for more than two this week. That said, 60 yards rushing and a score are certainly in play.
Carson Wentz, Eagles vs. NYJ ($6100 DK, $7800 FD)
Carson Wentz may be the safest overall play this week. He has recorded 10 total touchdowns this season despite having multiple injured WRs each week. DeSean Jackson is not back yet, but most of Wentz’s other weapons have returned. The Jets defense has allowed back-to-back 320+ yard games, another is set here.
Teddy Bridgewater, Saints vs. TB ($5200 DK, $7200 FD)
Tampa Bay proved the first four weeks just how bad their secondary still is, even as they have drastically improved their defense overall. They have allowed a ridiculous 1186 passing yards over the last three weeks. They also gave up six total QB touchdowns during that span. Teddy Bridgewater is synonymous with the 200-1 game line, but this may be the best chance for him to double that. I’m not going to go overboard to get him into my lineup, but a few sets where he is stacked with Michael Thomas should cash.
Chase Daniel, Bears @ OAK ($4800 DK, $6500 FD)
In reality, Chase Daniel may truly give Chicago a better chance of winning than Mitchell Trubisky. From a fantasy standpoint, he at least doesn’t provide a step down in potential. Making things easier, is that he gets to face a choppy Oakland defense without Vontaze Burfict. The Raiders gave up big passing games to both Pat Mahomes and Jacoby Brissett and allowed Joe Flacco and Kirk Cousins to look serviceable. I’m not going all-in on Daniel, but if he hits 250-2, a stack with Allen Robinson could be profitable.
|Melvin Gordon III||$7,000||$6,800|
|Mark Ingram II||$6,300||$7,500|
|Wayne Gallman Jr.||$5,400||$6,300|
|Ronald Jones II||$4,600||$5,900|
Weekly strategy – Despite the high price, I will do everything possible to keep Christian McCaffrey in my lineups. I will also do everything possible to have the reasonably-priced, David Johnson, in all of my lineups. Every lineup will have at least one of those two. They will be paired with one of: Leonard Fournette, Derrick Henry, Joe Mixon or perhaps one of the Chargers. I will also have a fair amount of exposure to James White (and maybe Rex Burkhead), the Bears’ backfield, the Eagles’ backfield, and even Carlos Hyde. These cheaper options will be among the players I consider for my FLEX slot.
Your Fantasy Four Pack:
Christian McCaffrey, Panthers vs. JAX ($8700 DK, $9100 FD)
A couple of years ago, we were able to play Todd Gurley and LeVeon Bell even when they broke five figures. Christian McCaffrey may approach that hallowed ground if he keeps up his current pace. It really won’t matter because he is routinely producing 30-point games. Through four weeks, he is averaging nearly 160 combo yards per game despite facing three quality run defenses and despite having Kyle Allen under center. The Jaguars are the worst team against the run, but they can be beaten through the air by opposing backs. That is C-Mac’s wheelhouse.
Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys vs. GB ($8300 DK, $8800 FD)
Everyone seems to be on board with Ezekiel Elliott this week despite offensive line injuries for Dallas. I have to feel concerned that the loss of Tyron Smith and potentially La’el Collins will not help his ground production. What we can hope is that the Cowboys need to dump off the ball more when Dak gets pressured. Plus, the line shortage may not even matter against the Green Bay defense. They have allowed an awful 186 combo yards per game to opposing RBs to go along with six running back scores. The line injuries could keep some people away from Zeke, this might make him an even more appealing pivot.
David Johnson, Cardinals @ CIN ($7500 DK, $6800 FD)
Sooner or later, the websites’ algorithms will catch up with David Johnson’s salaries. In the interim, I’m hoarding shares of the Cardinals’ back. The Bungles have given up eight total RB touchdowns and 193 combo yards per game. The Cards have started to use Johnson in the passing game again, and with Christian Kirk out, he may be targeted even more this week. Johnson has slate-breaking potential this week. I would not be shocked to see him push C-Mac for total points. If you can figure out a financially viable way to roster both of them, you are a cash lock.
Dalvin Cook, Vikings @ NYG ($8400 DK, $8200 FD)
I love Dalvin Cook. I love that he gets to face a subpar defense this week. That said, I’m probably going to fade the heck out of him. With all the local media (and some of his teammates) slamming Kirk Cousins, I expect Kevin Stefanski to put together a game plan more heavily featuring the passing game. Cook could catch a few balls to save a quality line. Further mucking the waters, is that Pat Shurmur is very familiar with the Vikings’ offense and will be able to scheme to try to take Dalvin Cook out of the game and force Cousins’ hand. Despite my concern, worse RBs than Cook have crushed this defense the last three weeks. So, don’t completely ignore him.
James White, Patriots @ WAS ($5000 DK, $6200 FD)
James White is the PPR safety option for your DFS lineups when you spend heavily elsewhere. The Redskins have given up five or more RB receptions in three of four games. White is always a lock to catch five balls, and if Sony Michel continues to struggle on the ground, we might see even more of him. I’ll try to squeeze him into my FLEX spot on a couple of entries too.
Carlos Hyde, Texans vs. ATL ($4300 DK, $5600 FD)
This is more a testament to how rough the value-pool is at RB this week. I’m not a Carlos Hyde fan. I actually prefer Duke Johnson and wish that Houston had just continued to use him in a James White type role. The fact remains, however, that Houston is using Carlos Hyde more than Johnson. I see this as a high-scoring game, and Vegas agrees, giving this game the second-highest line of the week.
|Allen Robinson II||$5,600||$6,900|
|DJ Chark Jr.||$5,000||$5,800|
|Phillip Dorsett II||$4,900||$5,400|
|Paul Richardson Jr.||$4,500||$4,700|
|Will Fuller V||$4,500||$5,700|
|Willie Snead IV||$4,500||$5,000|
|Ted Ginn Jr.||$3,700||$5,000|
Weekly strategy – DeAndre Hopkins will have a strong game despite solid coverage, I just feel like my money is better served elsewhere this week. That said, with his high price, he may have lower ownership. I also have a strange feeling that the Vikings will get their passing game going this weekend (if for no other reason than to salve Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs’ chafed egos). At their prices, playing one of them could be beneficial. I feel Thielen is the safer of the two. He is one of five higher-priced guys I will roster along with: Tyler Boyd, Michael Thomas, Alshon Jeffery and Julian Edelman. My plan is to have two of those guys on my roster, with one of them paired with their QB. If I don’t roster Edelman or Boyd, I will roster Philip Dorsett or Auden Tate at WR3. I will also have a lot of exposure to Robby Anderson, Will Fuller and Diontae Johnson. There is a great chance that two of that fivesome will make up my WR3 and FLEX. That is if I don’t go triple-RB this week.
Your Fantasy Four Pack:
Michael Thomas, Saints vs. TB ($6600 DK, $7700 FD)
Michael Thomas has faced Tampa Bay five times in his career. He only has one touchdown against the Bucs, but he has averaged nine catches for 107 yards over those games. Over the last three weeks, six different WRs have topped 80 yards against this defense. Not to mention, Brandin Cooks topping 70 yards as well. The stars are aligning for a huge game for Thomas even with Teddy Bridgewater under center.
DeAndre Hopkins, Texans vs. ATL ($7800 DK, $8500 FD)
It was several years ago, but in DeAndre Hopkins only career start against Atlanta, the unholy duo of Ryan Mallett and Brian Hoyer peppered him with 22 targets for nine receptions and 157 yards. Hopkins is a lock to score this week and top 100 yards, I just prefer the stack involving Will Fuller (who is overdue for a score of his own) at the cheaper price.
Julio Jones, Falcons @ HOU ($7700 DK, $8200 FD)
I said above that I expect this to be a high-scoring game. If that is indeed the case, Julio Jones will need to be featured in the Atlanta passing offense. The guy who never scores TDs has four through the first four weeks. So, a score seems likely. Opposing #1 WRs such as Keenan Allen, Michael Thomas and Christian (pretty good WR for an RB) McCaffrey have each destroyed the Texans. Julio should easily top 100 yards with double-digit receptions.
Adam Thielen, Vikings @ NYG ($6700 DK, $6900 FD)
Squeaky Wheel, meet end zone. Adam Thielen (and Stefon Diggs) both were very outspoken this past week about the passing game or lack thereof in Minnesota this season. One, or both will be fed in response to their cries. Adam Thielen is the safer choice of the two since WR1s such as John Brown, Amari Cooper and Mike Evans have all scorched the earth against New York. That said, WR2s have also balled out against this defense so show Stefon some love too.
Robby Anderson, Jets @ PHI ($4500 DK, $5500 FD)
There are two sure things this year from a fantasy standpoint: Start your TEs versus Arizona and start your WRs versus Philadelphia. Kenny Golladay is the only WR1 that has not gone bat guano crazy against this defense. Of course, in that game, Marvin Jones went off for more than 100 yards. Fellow #1’s: Terry McLaurin, Julio Jones and Davante Adams combined for 20-406-2. Luke Falk is not a good QB, but I will still do a few punt lineups with him (assuming Sam Darnold cannot go). If I’m gonna go that far, I probably should stack Falk with his #1 WR, Robby Anderson. Anderson hasn’t done much, but he has also been shadowed by some very good CBs. That won’t be the case this week. Even Falk will make Robby golden here.
Auden Tate, Bengals vs. ARI ($3500 DK, $5300 FD)
John Ross booked his usual seat on the IR-Express opening the door for Auden Tate to get the starting nod opposite Tyler Boyd. Tate has been targeted 16 times over the last two weeks, and he has posted a very reasonable 10-138 over that stretch. Due to their inability to cover TEs, Arizona hasn’t allowed a ton of yardage or receptions to the WR position. The ones they do give up this week will be split between Tate and Boyd. I’d be happy with 6-60-1 at this price point. If you are really ballsy, try the triple stack with Tyler Eifert and Andy Dalton. If it allows me to roster both Christian McCaffrey and David Johnson (or somehow both of them and Zeke), then I will gladly take that leap.
Weekly strategy – Evan Engram and Darren Waller are both safe plays, but with four great bargain plays, I won’t have a ton of exposure to them. Tyler Eifert is this week’s Free Space versus the Cardinals. Ben Watson returns to the Patriots versus a bad Washington team. Jared Cook takes on Tampa and Trey Burton gets Oakland. I will probably just roll with Eifert, but any of those other three would be a good pivot. Dawson Knox could make a sneaky punt play (and his value improves if Josh Allen can play).
Your Fantasy Four Pack:
Evan Engram, Giants vs. MIN ($5800 DK, $6300 FD)
Minnesota used to be really good against TEs. Now, they are allowing a league fourth-worst seven receptions per game to the position. Similarly, talented TEs such as Darren Waller and Austin Hooper have posted big games against the Vikings. Evan Engram should see his targets dip slightly with the return of Golden Tate. That said, he should also see less coverage because of that.
Darren Waller, Raiders vs. CHI ($5000 DK, $6400 FD)
The Bears aren’t awful against TEs, but they have given up 50 yards per game to the position. Darren Waller has been so active in the Oakland passing game, that he should top that without much effort. I’m not going to have a ton of shares of Waller or Engram, because I want more money for RB. Plus, I can just go Tyler Eifert and smile.
Mark Andrews, Ravens @ PIT ($4800 DK, $6100 FD)
Mark Andrews may have a higher ceiling than either Waller or Engram this week. Both, George Kittle and Will Dissly did damage against Pittsburgh’s defense. Andrews’ stats have gone down the last couple weeks, while he has played through some maladies. Nevertheless, he has scored in three of four and he has topped 100 yards twice.
Zach Ertz, Eagles vs. NYJ ($6000 DK, $6600 FD)
Another case of an ok matchup that just won’t get much love from me. The Jets haven’t allowed anything to opposing TEs this season. That said, they haven’t faced a team that regularly uses a tight end either. Ertz is averaging 9.5 targets per game and he has not finished with fewer than 50 yards in any game. 7-70 is certainly in play, and would be a solid line most weeks…of course Eifert could post that at half the price.
Tyler Eifert, Bengals vs. ARI ($3300 DK, $4600 FD)
Yes, it is chalk. Just do it. Don’t pass go. Do collect $200, or more.
Jared Cook, Saints vs. TB ($3400 DK, $5300 FD)
So, you want to avoid the chalk, but not spend up? Ok, consider Jared Cook. He hasn’t been used enough, but he should be this week. Cook was targeted six times last week, so at least Teddy Bridgewater knows he is there. The Cardinals are the only team to give up more receptions or yards per game to the position. So, if Jared was ever going to break out of his funk, this would be the week.