FanDuel was a little frustrating because I ended up either over the field or matching the field with exposure to all of the plays you needed to win, they just didn’t all end up in the same lineup. I also had four times the exposure to Dallas Goedert as the field, which ended up sinking a lot of my lineups when he was knocked out of the game with a concussion. Ultimately I’m pretty happy with how the lineups looked, they just didn’t get the results. I lost $2.04, dropping the bankroll to $39.74.
Draftkings finally went well. Who knew surrounding an offense that scored 43 real points with all of the chalk value plays would work out? Playing D’Ernest Johnson and Mark Ingram together was chalky as expected, as was playing Mike Evans. I had hoped the Titans DST would have been less popular, and in retrospect, I regret playing them. The Dallas stack worked aside from Amari Cooper, who ended up being the odd man out in the offense. Jerry Jeudy disappointed, as did Kyle Pitts, but they weren’t lineup killers at their salaries. A net profit of $3 brings the Draftkings roll up to $36, and we’re officially on a winning streak.
Dallas Cowboys, team total of 26.5 @ Kansas City Chiefs, team total of 29
This is the clear standout game this week and will be very popular. The Cowboys come into this one after hanging 43 on the Falcons. Michael Gallup ($4200 on DK/$5400) returned from injury last week and should have a bigger role this week especially since Amari Cooper is set to miss due to COVID. CeeDee Lamb ($7600/$8000) smashed last week with two touchdowns and his price is up to reflect that, but he’s the clear alpha receiver this week for Dallas. Dak Prescott ($7200/$8400) should have plenty of time in the pocket to pick apart a weak Kansas City defense, and while Lamb is his top weapon all of the pass catchers should be in play. That includes both running backs, with Ezekiel Elliott ($7700/$8500) getting a majority of the work but Tony Pollard ($4700/$5600) offering a discount in both salary and popularity. Dalton Schultz ($4600/$6000) took a backseat last week, likely due in part to Gallup’s return, but should see plenty of targets with Cooper out and the Chiefs being particularly welcoming to tight ends.
All the Cowboys aside from Pollard will be popular, especially Gallup who stands out as a great value play. The Dallas DST ($2800/$3700) has shown the ability to generate big plays and offers a nice way to get leverage on the rest of this game.
The Patrick Mahomes ($7600/$8300) panic came to an end last week thanks to a five touchdown, 400-yard performance. I’m not sure if the Chiefs are all the way back, but they certainly looked like it last week. Tyreek Hill ($8200/$8500) has had double-digit targets every week but one since Week 4, with nine targets in the lone exception, and is putting up big fantasy scores without breaking any big plays. Hill hasn’t had a reception longer than 32 yards since Week 4, but thanks to a ton of targets and strong red zone usage it hasn’t mattered. I expect Hill to see a lot of cornerback Trevon Diggs in this one. Diggs is having a great year with eight interceptions and two touchdowns already, but he also is willing to gamble to force those turnovers which could lead to Hill having more opportunities to break a big play. Travis Kelce ($7100/$7300) is the only other part of this offense I’d have any interest in. He’s the top tight end this week but he’s expensive, especially relative to the Draftkings salary cap, and with all the other top tight ends available on this slate I’ll probably avoid Kelce outside of game stacks. On Fanduel he’s a little easier to fit in, but I’ll still probably be leaning away from him outside of stacks.
Cincinnati Bengals, team total of 26
Before their Week 10 bye, the Bengals’ passing game had been on a tear, right up until Week 9 when they got shut down by the Browns. With an extra week to right the ship and a less intimidating defense on tap for this week, I love the Bengals to retake their place as one of the best passing attacks in the league. Joe Burrow’s ($6600/$7400) salary has come back down a little after peaking at over $7k on DK. Aside from that aforementioned Browns game Burrow has multiple touchdowns in every game, and even in his worst game he threw the ball 40 times and would have had a useable fantasy performance if not for a dropped touchdown. Ja’Marr Chase ($7200/$7700) earned double-digit targets in three of his last five games and sees an extremely valuable combination of targets down the field and in the red zone. Chase has elite usage and has shown the ability to take a simple slant route and turn it into a huge play. Tee Higgins ($5400/$6500) is still too cheap for his role as the number two in this offense. Higgins has had bad touchdown luck, but he’s still earning targets. There just aren’t many receivers in this price range that can boast a recent game with 15 targets, and Higgins seems like a prime candidate to improve off the bye after missing time with an injury earlier this year.
If you need help figuring out that this is the premiere fantasy matchup of the week, it may be time to find another hobby. Perhaps competitive Candyland is more your speed. Tyler Boyd’s ($4800/$5600) usage has been pretty bad this year, a combination of inconsistent target volume and a low aDOT, but he’s cheap and this is a good matchup for him. The Raiders’ secondary isn’t that good, but their pass rush might force Burrow into more check downs this week. C.J. Uzomah ($3500/$5200) makes sense in stacks but is priced too high to use by himself; he hasn’t topped six targets in a game this season and isn’t really a featured part of the offense. Joe Mixon ($7600/$7600) looks like a great play, especially on Fanduel, as a running back with an elite role and multi-touchdown upside that doesn’t appear to be gaining much hype.
The Raiders offer three real run-back options. If you think the game shoots out then Hunter Renfrow ($5800/$6100) makes sense. He’s earned at least eight targets six times this year, including his last three games, and is one of their preferred options around the goal line. But Darren Waller ($6100/$6700) would be my preferred option, as he’s not much more expensive but offers a more valuable downfield role and knocks out the tight end position. If you think the Raiders can jump out to a lead, thus forcing the Bengals to play catch up for most of the game, then Josh Jacobs ($6000/$6900) works as a pivot off of the popular running backs. Jacobs has a beatable matchup, and since their coaching, the change the Raiders have been leaning on Jacobs while phasing Kenyan Drake ($5200/$5900) out of the rushing attack and into more of a pure passing-down back role.
Buffalo Bills, team total of 28
If the Bills are on the slate there’s a good chance I’m looking to stack them, and this week is no exception. Josh Allen ($8100/$8800) is the most expensive quarterback on both slates and is getting overlooked for the cheaper options, namely Mahomes and Prescott. While Allen has a tougher matchup on paper the Colts have been generous to opposing quarterbacks. I have some concert that their pass rush can take away some of the Bills’ deep passing attack, but Allen is good enough that I’ll risk it. After a terrible performance in Jacksonville Allen predictable bounced back by shredding the Jets for 366 yards and two touchdowns. If the Colts can force Allen to drop back more than 28 times, and his line can hold up enough to let him attack downfield, Allen should be able to light up a suspect Indianapolis secondary.
Stefon Diggs ($7900/$8100) is also getting overlooked in favor of other elite receivers, but this is a great spot for him. There’s no one on the Colts that can credibly cover Diggs and we saw just last week that he’s still capable of breaking big plays and putting up a GPP-winning performance. Diggs leads the Bills in targets and has overtaken Emmanuel Sanders ($5300/$5800) for the team lead in air yards. Sanders has been awful the last three weeks and appears to be slowing down a bit. Gabriel Davis ($3900/$5000) hasn’t overtaken him yet, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Davis starts getting more snaps at Sanders’ expense. Cole Beasley ($4800/$5700) appears to be limited by his rib injury, and I’m fine to fade him until he shows me he’s fully healthy. Due to the cost, most of my Buffalo stacks will be single stacks of Allen to Diggs, with some Davis mixed in as a value option.
The Colts should look to lean on their running game in this one, making Jonathan Taylor ($8300/$8800) stand out. Taylor was a monster in the first half last week, but a quiet second half is keeping his popularity in check. Taylor has five games with over 100 rushing yards, including four of the last five, and is solidifying his passing game role as evidenced by his eight targets last game. That gives Taylor a reliable route to 20 touches, however, they come, which almost guarantees him over 100 yards from scrimmage and one of the best chances at a touchdown on the slate. Taylor has at least one touchdown in every game since Week 4.
Michael Pittman ($6100/$6900) has a tough matchup but is talented enough to earn consideration in any matchup. Pittman has a 23.5% target share and leads the team in both air yards and end zone targets.
Ryan Tannehill ($6700/$7800) has a date with the Texans’ defense and is missing several of his running backs. The Titans will likely need to lean on Tannehill’s arm a little more to move the ball given their banged-up rushing attack, and he’s always a threat to run it in around the goal line.
Russell Wilson ($6500/$7300) returned from injury last week and was terrible. Russ completed just 20 of 40 passes for a pathetic 161 yards and two interceptions. That has scared everyone off him, but this is still one of the best quarterbacks in the league and I’m betting on a bounce back one more week removed from his finger surgery.
Joe Flacco ($4600/$6300) is never going to feel good to click on, but at just $4600 on Draftkings I think he deserves consideration. Are we sure that he’s not an improvement over Zach Wilson or Mike White at this point in their careers? I’m certainly not, and in a matchup, with the Dolphins that looks to play pretty fast, I like Flacco to at least have to throw the ball a lot, even if they’re all checkdowns. If he can just manage a respectable game he can easily pay off this salary, and the savings let you fit in more of the elite receivers that are otherwise tough to play together.
Christian McCaffrey ($8900/$10000) remains underpriced. He scored 26.1 DK points last week despite not hitting the yardage bonus or scoring a touchdown. His usage when he’s on the field is absurd, and as he continues to get healthy his role is only going to increase. I’m going to happily play him until his salary gets closer to $10k on Draftkings. On Fanduel he’s a little less appealing because it’s only half-ppr and he’s more expensive, but make no mistake he still looks fantastic.
AJ Dillon ($6200/$7000) takes over an every-down role now that Aaron Jones will miss a few weeks due to injury. Dillon is the clear best play on the slate, and while he’ll be extremely popular he’s the best kind of chalk. He’s a true three-down back, he’s talented, and he’s going to get the goal-line work.
Jeff Wilson ($5100/$5000) is poised to be the primary back for the 49ers with Elijah Mitchell sidelined. Wilson is a good runner, but more importantly, he doesn’t have much competition in the backfield this week and plays for one of the run-heaviest teams in the league. The 49ers seem more likely to sign someone off the street and start them than they are to play Trey Sermon ($4500/$5500), so Wilson should get all the work he can handle. He looks spectacular on Fanduel, where he’s barely priced above the minimum salary.
Deebo Samuel ($7800/$7600) is ridiculous, and his production doesn’t entirely make sense but until he gives me a reason not to trust him I’m happy to ride him in DFS, especially this week when he projects to have more rushing involvement due to Mitchell’s injury. Samuel is an after-the-catch monster, and while the Jaguars’ defense has looked better lately they don’t really have an answer for Samuel. The 49ers love to manufacture his touches, and he has game-breaking ability every time he touches the ball as evidenced by having several receptions for over 70 yards and at least a 20-yard reception in every game but one.
Tyler Lockett ($6000/$6800) was second in the league in air yards last week but only converted that into 23 actual yards. As I’m willing to bet on Wilson regaining his form this week, I like Lockett to convert those yards at a higher rate.
Marques Valdes-Scantling ($3700/$5200) is a big play waiting to happen and should pick up some extra targets with Allen Lazard sidelined. MVS has only played in five games this year, but he’s still second on the Packers in air yards and has one more end zone target than Davante Adams ($8400/$8400).
Dallas Goedert ($4400/$5700) has been cleared from the concussion that knocked him out of last week’s game. He’s still not priced appropriately for his improved role in the wake of the Zach Ertz trade. Goedert just inked a huge new extension, so the Eagles have some extra motivation to showcase him this week.
Ricky Seals-Jones and Logan Thomas are both out this week. The next man up for Washington is rookie John Bates ($2500/$4800). He’s not an overly athletic tight end and this isn’t a great matchup, but he’s priced at the minimum and should be on the field a ton.
Cleveland DST ($3100/$5000) faces Tim Boyle this week. If you need more convincing, the weather looks like it won’t be ideal, and the Lions changed offensive play-callers last week. If they aren’t able to lean on their rushing attack, which carried them to a huge 16-point performance in a tie, there’s no telling what their passing game will look like. Tim Boyle, on the road, against Myles Garrett, and friends, sounds like a recipe for sacks and turnovers.
New York Jets DST ($2300/$3800) face the Dolphins, and the Dolphins love to pass the ball. I’m not sure Miami’s offense has earned the benefit of the doubt, and they’re looking to be popular this week. The Jets have some decent pass rushers and the Dolphins have possibly the worst offensive line in the league. Lots of passes behind a bad offensive line is a great way to throw interceptions.
The first question you have to ask yourself this week is are you playing AJ Dillon as massive chalk? For this lineup, I will be, as I can’t pass up his role in a good offense at this salary. Stack-wise I’ll be going with the Bengals. Joe Burrow to Tee Higgins and Ja’Marr Chase has a ton of upside and lets me play Higgins without adding another chalky one-off to my team. Darren Waller makes the most sense to me to run it back with, as he knocks out tight end while also functioning as the top receiver for his team. I need to save some salary, so I’ll go with D’Onta Foreman ($4900) at running back. Foreman appears to have a slight lead over Adrian Peterson ($4800) in the backfield, and more importantly figures to be first in line to replace Jeremy McNichols’ role in the passing game. I really want to use the Browns defense, but since they’re so popular I’m going to need two plays that are going under the radar of the field. Tyler Lockett has a ceiling comparable to any receiver this week and comes in cheap enough to fit this build. Lastly, Dallas Goedert projects a little better than most of the receivers in this range. Rashod Bateman and Michael Gallup look like great plays in this salary range, but both are going to be popular and I think I’ve eaten enough chalk at this point. Goedert is mispriced, and while going double tight end isn’t something I love to do it’s also not likely to be popular this week.
Nothing crazy this week, just going to stick to the stacks I like and then mix in the other plays. Jeff Wilson and Dillon might make it into a ridiculous number of lineups, but I’m fine with doing that and just using more running backs in the flex than I typically do.
My top five plays at each position right now, by how much exposure I have to them:
QB: Dak Prescott, Joe Burrow, Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Russell Wilson
RB: Jeff Wilson, AJ Dillon, Dalvin Cook, Joe Mixon, David Montgomery
WR: Stefon Diggs, CeeDee Lamb, Deebo Samuel, Michael Gallup, Tee Higgins
TE: Dalton Schultz, Dallas Goedert, Darren Waller, Travis Kelce, Mike Gesicki
DST: Indianapolis, Washington, Philadelphia, Carolina, Cleveland
Good luck this week!
Photo by Jaylynn Nash/Icon Sportswire