I took last week off so we’ll skip the review and head straight to looking to ahead to this week’s slate.
Kansas City Chiefs, team total of 29
Patrick Mahomes ($8000 on DK/$8500 on FD) has broken 20 DK points just once in his last six games, going for over 39 against these same Raiders in Las Vegas. The Chiefs have the highest implied total on the slate and the Raiders seem to lack the defensive scheme and firepower to slow down Mahomes and friends.
Tyreek Hill ($8500/$8700) has been racking up targets, earning at least 10 in all but four games this season, and clearly has the game-breaking speed to take any touch he gets to the house. His 27% target share and 38% air yard share are elite, and he leads the Chiefs with seven end zone targets.
Travis Kelce ($7400/$7500) is second on the team in target share but has surprisingly earned just one end zone target. He doesn’t look as great as Hill but Kelce easily projects as the best tight end on the slate. Stacking both with Mahomes is expensive but those prices depress the full stack’s popularity, especially since it’s disappointed in recent weeks.
Byron Pringle ($3200/$5300) seems to have taken over as the number two receiver, playing on 72% of offensive snaps since Week 12, and offers a cheaper way to double stack this offense.
As for a run-back option from the Raiders, my preferred choice is Josh Jacobs ($6200/$7100). Jacobs’ targets have been trending up, peaking with a ridiculous nine targets last week, and now that Kenyan Drake is on the shelf due to injury Jacobs should have the backfield all to himself.
The Raiders are also missing Darren Waller and just, in general, have a lack of weapons. Hunter Renfrow ($6100/$6700) is also in play as the top receiver for Las Vegas, but his price is starting to get difficult to get excited about given his low aDOT. He’s a good bet to approach double-digit targets and can definitely pay off his salary, but his ceiling is probably lower than comparably priced options.
Dallas Cowboys, team total of 26
Dallas comes into this game with both Zeke Elliott ($7300/$6900) and Tony Pollard ($6400/$6100) dealing with injuries which should lead them to lean on Dak Prescott ($6700/$8100) as they attack a weak Washington pass defense. Prescott offers a discount from the top-tier quarterbacks on DK but has a similar ceiling even if he hasn’t flashed much rushing upside this season. Washington’s pass defense has looked better in recent weeks, but aside from a shocking upset over Tampa Bay, Washington hasn’t really been tested. If the running backs are as limited by injury as they appear to be and Dak drops back to throw over 40 times he should have no issue paying off his salary with upside for more.
CeedDee Lamb ($7200/$7800) has been inconsistent but leads the Dallas receivers with a 22% target share and eight end zone targets. His run after-the-catch ability makes him a constant big-play threat and his salary should keep his popularity in check, making him a strong tournament option.
Amari Cooper ($5900/$6700) is another week removed from battling COVID and looked good on the limited snaps he played last week. His salary is far too low if he’s a full-go, and since the Cowboys have been off since last Thursday I think he’s probably close to all the way back.
Michael Gallup ($5500/$6100) has earned a similar target share to the other two receivers when they’ve all been healthy and is likely to be the forgotten man of the three. Dalton Schultz ($5400/$5700) is overpriced but he knocks out the tight end position and offers a way to stack the Cowboys in a more unique way.
Washington has two strong options to run it back with starting with Antonio Gibson ($6000/$7400). Gibson is a three-down back with J.D. McKissic out and has earned at least 19 touches in four straight games. More importantly, he’s earned 13 targets over the last two weeks. Gibson looks healthier than he did at the start of the season and his salary hasn’t come up to match his new role.
Terry McLaurin ($7000/$7100) dominates all of the receiving metrics for the Football Team and gets a matchup with cornerback Trevon Diggs. Diggs is a good corner but he’s willing to gamble to force turnovers, which gives McLaurin a window to burn him deep as he did when the two faced off last season.
Buffalo Bills, team total of 25
The Bills face a Tampa Bay defense that excels at taking away the run, and it’s not like the Bills need any extra incentive to run a pass-heavy offense. Josh Allen ($7800/$8800) should drop back to throw a ton and will likely be Buffalo’s most effective runner. Allen had registered over 40 pass attempts five times this season and went for over 29 fantasy points in three of those games, with the exceptions being a matchup against a tough Steelers defense and the bizarre loss to the Jaguars when the other Josh Allen terrorized the Bills.
Stefon Diggs ($8100/$8200) is one of the top receivers this week. He leads the Bills with a 25% target share and a ridiculous 13 end zone targets. His production has been inconsistent along with the rest of the offense but his metrics still point to him being an elite receiver in an elite matchup against a defense that should have no answer for him.
Emmanuel Sanders ($4900/$5800) has really struggled in the second half of the season, failing to top 30 yards in four straight games, but he still leads the Bills in aDOT at a health 15.5 and is second among the receivers with an 81% offensive snap share. He’s a risky option but if the Bills do pass a ton he should get several chances to break a big play.
Cole Beasley ($5000/$5900) has also struggled recently but should be called upon a lot as a pseudo-replacement for the running game. I probably won’t play him much because of his lower ceiling relative to Sanders. Dawson Knox ($5000/$6000) has been priced up but he is rarely coming off the field and has been a go-to option in the red zone, earning an 18% target share in that part of the field which trails only Diggs.
Tampa Bay also projects as one of the best offenses on the slate and offers four strong options to finish off the game stack. Chris Godwin ($7100/$7700) and Mike Evans ($6600/$7200) should both be able to take advantage of the Bills secondary sans Tredavious White. Godwin is more expensive and more popular coming off a 17-target game. He’s earned a team-leading 24% target share since Antonio Brown left the lineup due to injury/suspension but has just a 6.1 aDOT over that time. Evans has just a 17.6% target share in the same span but leads the team in end zone targets and leads the every-down players in aDOT at 11.7.
Leonard Fournette has taken full control of the backfield which includes a very healthy 19% target share in the last four weeks. Buffalo has a strong pass defense that could funnel more work on the ground to Fournette, but even if the Bucs stay pass-heavy Fournette has an incredible role.
Rob Gronkowski ($6000/$7000) has been priced up a lot and is really tough to play, but he’s also one of the best tight end options on the slate and if this game does turn into a fast-paced shootout he should see plenty of opportunities to turn in a multi-touchdown performance.
Taysom Hill ($5600/$7700) may not be an effective passer with his finger injury limiting him somewhat this week, but he just rushed for over 100 yards and gets to take on a Jets defense that isn’t stopping anyone. He’s way too cheap on Draftkings for his rushing upside, and on FanDuel he should come in as a contrarian play with a ceiling that’s as high as any quarterback on the slate.
Ryan Tannehill ($6400/$7300) is getting some reinforcements with the return of Julio Jones ($5400/$6500) from the injured reserve. Jacksonville is unlikely to offer much resistance on the road against the Titans and presents Tannehill with a nice spot to bounce back after struggling due to a lack of weaponry over the last several weeks.
Jeff Wilson ($4400/$4900) is slated to get the bulk of the workload for the 49ers and is barely priced above the minimum salary on both sites. There’s some risk that he doesn’t play passing downs and may lose some rushing attempts to the receivers, but at this salary, Wilson doesn’t have to do much to provide upside.
Alvin Kamara ($7900/$9000) is back from injury and doesn’t have to share the backfield with anyone since Mark Ingram is out this week. Kamara carries some risk as he might be eased in, but he’s been practicing and if he’s anything close to full speed he should smash the Jets this week as the top runner and receiver for the Saints.
Mike Williams ($6000/$6900) is likely the chalk receiver this week since Keenan Allen is out. Williams could slide into Allen’s super high-volume role and showed earlier this season he can dominate if he gets the targets to do it. I’ll probably be getting away from Williams where I can due to his popularity, but as long as you’re aware of that as you’re building lineups he does project as one of the best plays on the slate.
DK Metcalf ($6500/$7300) has been underperforming for what feels like forever. A matchup with the Texans should be just what the doctor ordered to get him back on track. The Texans give up big plays and can struggle with tackling receivers after the catch, playing into Metcalf’s strengths and opening the door for him to post a true ceiling performance.
Mark Andrews ($5900/$6900) has a 25% target share over the last three weeks and leads the Ravens with six end zone targets over that stretch. The Browns struggle to cover tight ends and Andrews presents a nice option to spend up at tight end without going all the way up to the top options.
Brock Wright ($2500/$4500) is priced at the minimum on both sites but is likely the top tight end for the Lions as T.J. Hockenson is currently doubtful to play. Wright is an undrafted rookie and nothing in his profile suggests he’s going to be a big passing game weapon, but at such a low price he’s in play as a punt that you hope falls into the end zone like he did last week.
New Orleans DST ($3600/$5000) is the top option among the expensive defenses. They face the Jets who are now missing their top two receivers and their top two running backs and are led by a mistake-prone rookie quarterback. The Saints shouldn’t be too popular due to their salary, but if you can afford them they seem like the best bet to force turnovers.
Cleveland DST ($2700/$4100) are my preferred target of the cheaper defenses coming off the bye and playing at home in a divisional game. The Ravens offensive line should struggle with the Browns’ pass rush and having an extra week to prep for the unique way the Baltimore offense works should give the Browns an edge.
If Josh Allen is playing it’s hard for me to not play him so I’m going to start with a stack of Allen to Stefon Diggs with a Leonard Fournette bring-back. This game should be high paced and I want the three players who figure to touch the ball the most. This is an expensive stack and also likely to be a popular one, so it’s going to be important to be at least a little creative with how the value pieces fit in.
One combination I really like is playing the New York Giants DST with Saquon Barkley. The Giants have quietly been a solid defense this year, but more importantly, they’re the cheapest defense on the slate and play one of the pass-heaviest offenses so there should be chances to generate sacks and turnovers. Barkley has been bad but he’s heavily involved in the passing game and the Chargers are one of the most generous run defenses in the league. The Giants are also getting healthier at the wide receiver position which takes some of the pressure off the running game.
Amari Cooper lets me get some cheap exposure to the Dallas offense, and Jamison Crowder is the last man standing among the Jets’ receivers and should get double-digit targets at just $4700. That doesn’t leave much salary, so I’ll eat the chalk with Jeff Wilson and finish the lineup off with Austin Hooper at tight end, another situation where Hooper is the last tight end healthy for the Browns and is likely to play every snap and be a big part of their offense at just $3400.
Most of my lineups will be built around the games outlined in the top stacks section, with just a mix and match of ancillary pieces to try and land on the right combinations assuming those games do turn into strong fantasy environments. One play I want to be overweight on FanDuel is James Robinson, who projects decently but really stands out narrative-wise as his quarterback advocated this week for him to not come off the field and the coaching staff took a ton of heat for benching him the past two weeks.
My top five plays at each position right now, by how much exposure I have to them:
QB: Dak Prescott, Josh Allen, Patrick Mahomes, Tom Brady, Derek Carr
RB: Leonard Fournette, Josh Jacobs, Antonio Gibson, Jeff Wilson, James Robinson
WR: Amari Cooper, Stefon Diggs, CeeDee Lamb, Tyreek Hill, Mike Williams
TE: Dalton Schultz, Foster Moreau, Austin Hooper, Travis Kelce, Mark Andrews
DST: Tampa Bay, Kansas City, Cleveland, New Orleans, LA Chargers
Good luck this week!
Photo by Andrew Dieb/Icon Sportswire