On FanDuel I ended up falling victim to Tyreek Hill flopping, as I was about five times over the field on him, and Calvin Ridley vanishing after catching an early touchdown. A few lineups centered around Atlanta stacks looked like they had a chance to finish pretty high, but were ultimately anchored down by Ridley barely breaking double-digits. The rest of the lineups finished slightly below average, leading to a net loss of $2.44, dropping the bankroll to $51.77.
Draftkings continues to be a struggle for the featured lineup. Stacking the Rams worked out fine, but doing so with Darrell Henderson didn’t work out as Henderson failed to find the end zone. Matthew Stafford and Cooper Kupp were great though, with Kupp, in particular, posting a monster 40.6 DK points. Leonard Fournette was fine thanks to a touchdown, and Rashod Bateman and Dallas Goedert didn’t kill me. Allen Robinson was wide open for a long touchdown but his quarterback couldn’t find him, and in retrospect maybe it was an overly optimistic play to expect anything out of the Bears’ offense. Henry Ruggs was quiet, and while fading the Kansas City/Tennessee game worked out I had the wrong defense. Another tough week, another loss of $3, dropping the DK bankroll to $39.
Buffalo Bills, team total of 31.5
The Bills are in a great spot this week, playing in what projects to be one of the highest pace games and sporting a team total tied for highest on the slate. Josh Allen ($8100 on DK/$8800 on FD) looks like the clear top quarterback as he continues to combine prolific passing numbers with a lot of rushing volume. Allen has gone for over 32 DK points in three of the last four games, with the lone exception also being the only game in that stretch he hasn’t thrown for at least 300 yards. The Bills’ offensive line has been good and Miami has struggled to generate pressure, so Allen should have plenty of time to pick apart the Dolphins.
Dawson Knox will miss this game, vacating his 12% target share. That should further concentrate the offense around the top three receivers. Stefon Diggs ($8100/$7300) is priced up on Draftkings, but for some reason, he’s just the 11th most expensive receiver on FanDuel. Diggs has the eighth-most air yards of receivers on this slate to go with a 26% target share. Diggs is also third in the league with 12 red-zone targets and is due for some positive touchdown regression. Emmanuel Sanders ($5400/$6700) has the second-highest aDOT of receivers on this slate at 17.3 and is just behind Diggs in his share of the Bills’ air yards. Cole Beasley ($4900/$6100) isn’t that much cheaper than Sanders and has a less valuable role, but he does have a 19% target share and should pick up some of the work that Knox is vacating.
As for options to run it back from Miami, there are several. DeVante Parker ($4900/$5700) is questionable after missing the past few games with both a hamstring and a shoulder injury. It sounds like he’s closer to playing than not, and if he suits up he stands out as the best play from Miami based on his role and his price. Parker has a healthy 22% target share to go with a 39% share of the team’s air yards. Jaylen Waddle ($5600/$6400) is a safer option, but you do have to pay up for him and his aDOT of 5.6 makes him much less appealing. Mike Gesicki ($5000/$6300) is one of the best tight end options this week, but his price has come up to reflect that. He has thrived with the return of Tua Tagovailoa ($5500/$7100), posting consecutive games with over 21 DK points since his quarterback has been back. Lastly, Myles Gaskin ($5600/$5700) catches enough passes to make sense in a game stack here. His role has fluctuated, but aside from one game where he barely played in Week 4, he has at least four targets every game.
Los Angeles Chargers, team total of 27
The Chargers play at the fastest pace of any team on the slate and have one of the most aggressive offenses in the league. Justin Herbert ($7300/$7900) had an extra week to think about how bad his offense looked in Week six against the Ravens. Before that game, Herbert had three straight games with at least three touchdown passes, including a slate-breaking 45.82 DK points against the Browns in Week 5.
Mike Williams ($7700/$7600) and Keenan Allen ($6500/$6900) are close in target share, 23.4%, and 24.3% respectively, but with Williams, you’re paying up for the more explosive role. Williams leads the team in air yards, and while his aDOT of 11.9 is down from his career average he’s still plenty capable of coming down with big catches down the field. He has a reception of at least 20 yards in five of six games and has gone for over 20 DK points in four of six. Allen leads the team in red-zone targets with nine but has only caught one touchdown this year. Without a dominating target share, Allen hasn’t been as effective for fantasy this year, but he’s still had at least eight targets in five of six games and has seen his price fall from the $7000 range to fairly reflect his new role. Jared Cook ($3400/$5200) doesn’t have a consistent role, but he’s one of the better tight ends in his price range and especially makes sense as part of a game stack given how touchdown-dependant the position is as a whole. Austin Ekeler ($7900/$8700) is questionable but expected to play, and as long as he’s good to go he is an excellent play. He has a 13% target share and is dominating the red zone work.
From the Patriots there are two main bring-back options with each representing a different approach. Jakobi Meyers ($5100/$5700) still hasn’t caught a touchdown, but he leads the Patriots with a 24% target share and operates in the shorter area of the field, a place the Chargers have struggled to defend. If the Patriots are forced to throw a ton because they fall behind early, then Meyers should see plenty of targets. If New England can keep it close though I prefer using Damien Harris ($6100/$6900), as the Chargers have the worst run defense on this slate. Harris has at least 14 carries in five of seven games, with the exceptions being a non-competitive loss to the Saints and a matchup with the Buccaneers and their league-leading run defense. Harris doesn’t offer much as a receiver, so if the game gets out of hand he’s likely scripted out, but he should be able to dominate on the ground if given the chance.
Philadelphia Eagles, team total of 26
Playing Jalen Hurts ($7200/$8400) and targeting the Lions have been profitable strategies this season, and there’s no reason to stop now. Hurts has over 20 DK points in every game this season, and while a lot of that has come in garbage time it still counts the same. Hurts should see an efficiency boost this week since the Lions both struggle to cover anyone and to generate any pressure. The Eagles are throwing at a very high rate, and even when they have run the ball it’s usually been Hurts doing the running with at least seven carries every week and double-digit carries in three games already. He has ten passing touchdowns to go with five on the ground and is well-positioned to keep it going against one of the worst defenses in the league.
DeVonta Smith ($5500/$6200) continues to struggle to produce a huge game but has fantastic underlying stats. Smith has a 23% target share to go with a 38% share of the team’s air yards, it’s just that a lot of those targets and air yards have been difficult to catch. Against the Lions, he shouldn’t struggle to create separation, and sooner or later with that many opportunities, Smith will go off. Dallas Goedert ($4700/$5900) didn’t exactly dominate in his first game without Zach Ertz, but he did play a ton and lead the team in receiving yards. Goedert will be a huge part of this offense, particularly in the red zone.
The Lions’ offense has been going through D’Andre Swift ($7100/$7900) for the past three weeks. His usage in the passing game has been elite for a running back, earning a 17% target share, and his ability to generate explosive plays is exactly the type of player I want against a lackluster Philadelphia defense. T.J. Hockenson ($5400/$6200) has a 20.6% target share, higher than any of the other expensive tight ends on this slate, and should be able to terrorize a weak Eagles’ linebacking group.
Matthew Stafford ($7600/$8200) and Tom Brady ($7400/$8300) are both expensive, but both have been extremely efficient this year and have high implied team totals this week. Brady would be my preferred choice, as his game projects to be a little closer and the Buccaneers have shown a willingness to run the score up via the pass even when they’re comfortably ahead, but both quarterbacks deserve consideration every week.
Trevor Lawrence ($5500/$6700) has to go on the road to Seattle, but I like him coming out of the bye against a weak Seattle secondary. The Jaguars’ offensive line has done a good job of limiting pressure, which combined with Seattle’s struggle to generate pressure should give Trevor time to find his weapons downfield.
Alvin Kamara ($8700/$8400) has been getting more involved in the receiving game after a weird start to the season. He should continue to be the focal point of the Saints’ short passing attack, and he might go overlooked this week after the Saints added Mark Ingram to presumably take away some of Kamara’s carries. Tampa Bay is best attacked through the air, so at least for one week, Ingram shouldn’t eat into Kamara’s value too much.
Kenneth Gainwell ($5000/$5900) should take over as the lead back for Philadelphia with Mile Sanders hitting injured reserve. Gainwell didn’t lead the team in carries after Sanders went down, but he does appear to have a lock on all of the receiving work out of the backfield.
Zack Moss ($5200/$6100) has been the Bills’ red zone running back and should see plenty of work against the Dolphins as the Bills are 14-point favorites. He offers some leverage off of the Bills’ passing attack, because if he’s scoring the touchdowns then obviously they’re not, and he has a real chance at multi-touchdown upside which is not something most running backs in this salary range have.
Calvin Ridley ($6600/$7000) has struggled to produce this season but he’s still getting a ton of targets. Ridley has a 26% target share and a massive 40.7% of the team’s air yards. If he keeps seeing that type of workload he’s simply too talented to not have a blow-up game, and a matchup with a struggling Carolina secondary seems like a good get-right spot. In that same game, D.J. Moore ($7200/$7700) has similarly strong metrics and gets a similarly favorable matchup against a bad Atlanta secondary. Moore is coming off three straight down games, and it seems like the field has forgotten how great he was to start the season.
Tee Higgins ($5200/$6300) had a ridiculous 15 targets last season, which he turned into only 62 yards. Higgins has under-produced on his targets all season, but we saw last year that he is talented and a go-to option in the red zone. He has a 27% target share in a good offense, which is unheard of in that salary range.
Van Jefferson Jr. ($3900/$5700) doesn’t see a ton of targets, but the ones he gets are the valuable ones down the field. With DeSean Jackson out due to seeking a trade, Jefferson’s role should be more solidified this week. It only takes one play for him to pay off his salary, and against the Texans, there is unlikely to be much resistance to the Rams’ offense.
Rob Gronkowski ($4600/$6500) is returning from injury this week and should immediately return to a high-value role. Antonio Brown is out, and Mike Evans ($7000/$7500) is likely to draw shadow coverage, so Gronk should see plenty of work especially in the red zone.
Dan Arnold ($2800/$4900) has seen eight and five targets in his first two games with the Jaguars. He appears to be a real part of this offense, which makes his salary seem very affordable.
New York Jets DST ($2200/$3000) is a cheap home defense and faces an offensive line that has struggled at times this season. Ditto the Detroit DST ($2300/$3200), who face a Philadelphia offense that has given up points to opposing DSTs even when they put up points themselves.
Starting with the stack I want to use Jalen Hurts and DeVonta Smith, with a D’Andre Swift bring back. Swift is one of my favorite plays this week, and the Eagles stack is an affordable one with a strong ceiling. Next, I want to force in three of my favorite receivers. Calvin Ridley and D.J. Moore face off against each other, giving the lineup some more correlation, and are both target hogs that are trending towards big games. Tee Higgins is one of the top values and lets me play four receivers with strong target shares. The last play I want is Damien Harris, as I expect the Patriots to lean on him heavily in a matchup he should be able to exploit on the ground. That doesn’t leave a lot of salary cap space, so Dan Arnold and a cheap DST, likely Washington to avoid any negative correlation, will be the last two pieces.
As of now, I have pretty flat exposures to most players, with the only real standouts being Darrell Henderson, D’Andre Swift, Stefon Diggs, and Brandin Cooks. Cooks always pops in projections due to his target share, and I’m fine going with him when he fits. Otherwise, it’s mostly standard plays, and I’ll hope to just win via roster construction as opposed to winning by being over-exposed to any particular plays.
My top five plays at each position right now, by how much exposure I have to them:
QB: Josh Allen, Matthew Stafford, Jalen Hurts, Justin Herbert, Matt Ryan
RB: Darrell Henderson, D’Andre Swift, Alvin Kamara, Eli Mitchell, Antonio Gibson
WR: Stefon Diggs, Brandin Cooks, Calvin Ridley, Jakobi Meyers, DeVonta Smith
TE: Kyle Pitts, Jared Cook, T.J. Hockenson, Mike Gesicki, Tyler Higbee
DST: Jets, Bears, Jaguars, Seahawks, Chargers
Good luck this week!
Photo by Matthew Maxey/Icon Sportswire