Perfect DraftKings Lineup Tight End Trends

We continue our five-part series with the fourth installment that analyzes a tight end position that leveled out after a horrendous 2017 season.  As many in redraft and dynasty leagues can attest, finding a reliable tight end was quite the endeavor in 2018 after the position was already a dumpster fire the year before.  In fact, 2015 saw 15 tight ends maintain an average of double-digit fantasy points in PPR scoring but that number has dropped to only 13 of them in 2016 to just eight and nine in 2017 and 2018, respectively.

While overall tight end targets and touchdowns have decreased each season since 2015, overall tight end receptions and yards saw a slight bump in 2018 after experiencing the same decreases as the aforementioned targets and touchdowns.  There were 209 tight end touchdowns in 2015 and since that season, that number hasn’t eclipsed 200.

As we discussed in part two of this series, the running back has been integrated more and more into the passing game over the last few years.  Receiving touchdowns from the running back have increased from 94 in 2016 to 108 and 120 in 2017 and 2018, respectively.  Circa back to 2016 when total running back and tight end receptions were nearly identical with 2,516 of them at running back and 2,484 at tight end.  Since that season, running back receptions are up an average of 242 per year while tight end receptions are down an average of 169.  

This helps explain some of the reasoning why tight end fantasy production has been on the decline.  The running backs are syphoning work from their tight end teammates, especially when some of them are the best offensive asset on their respective teams and deserve additional work.  It also validates taking a top-tier tight end in fantasy drafts as early as the second round when Zach Ertz, Travis Kelce, and George Kittle all led their offenses in receptions and targets.  The drop off after those three is pretty significant and one can only hope Eric Ebron continues what was an unexpected 2018 season and O.J. Howard rebounds from his season-ending foot and ankle injuries.

This first tight end trend should come as no surprise after reading the intro to this article.  While you were able to find bargains that did pay off, there was safety in paying up for the top options that delivered more than they disappointed.  

12 OF THE 22 PERFECT TIGHT ENDS REPRESENTED THE TOP FIVE IN SCORING AT THE POSITION IN 2018 IN FULL POINT PPR FORMATS

The struggle at this frustrating position could also be felt in the DFS community.  For the first half of 2018, rostering Zach Ertz or Travis Kelce yielded excellent returns as they represented the perfect tight end in five of the eight weeks when both were available on the main slate.  These two continued to dominate in the second half but an injury to Jack Doyle opened the door for the usually unreliable Eric Ebron to post his best season at the NFL level which generated two spots on the list.  Kittle had a December to remember as the top tight end in the final month and one that helped make money for those that rostered him in Weeks 14 and 17.

Ertz, Kelce, Kittle, and Ebron combined to make up half of the perfect tight ends with soon-to-be free agent Jared Cook sneaking into the list in Week 4 to complete the 12 occurrences from the top 5 at the position in 2018.  Pending the Week 1 schedule, the former three should represent the priciest options on the first main slate of 2019.

15 OF THE 22 TIGHT ENDS WERE PRICED UNDER $6000

Even the better tight end options had some pricing errors that made them so enticing, they couldn’t be passed up.  Travis Kelce was inexplicably priced under $6000 in Week 2 as he went off for 32.9 DK points.  Eric Ebron wasn’t correctly priced until week 13 as the DFS community took advantage of this low cost with Jack Doyle lost for the year.  George Kittle was slightly discounted at $5500 when he destroyed the Broncos to the tune of 210 yards and a touchdown.

As maddening as the position could be, 15 of the 17 weeks in 2018 featured at least one tight end not named Ertz or Kelce that scored 20+ fantasy points; Weeks 8 and 15 had no one eclipse that mark.  Like the wide receiver, this shows there were some perfect options that didn’t require breaking the bank in order to get to the coveted bell cow backs.  Austin Hooper took advantage of a Buccaneers defense that was extremely inept against the position prior to defensive coordinator Mike Smith being fired at the low cost of $3500.  Kyle Rudolph had dominated at Ford Field to the tune of 17.56 FPPG in his last three at that venue prior to the 2018 matchup that saw him continue that trend with a 36.2 DK point performance.  $3400 was the cost to roster his best performance of the year.

THE AVERAGE NUMBER OF RECEPTIONS PER GAME FOR THE TIGHT ENDS WAS 7.73 

This figure is nearly identical to the average number of catches for the perfect receivers.  The ceiling was 16 catches by Zach Ertz who slaughtered the Texans while Eric Ebron needed three touchdowns off as few as four touches to cement his spot in perfection.  There’s no secret here, paying up means obtaining a solid floor of volume while rolling the dice on a cheaper option can pay off but is certainly a riskier proposition; ask those that rostered Matt LaCosse and Anthony Firkser who both posted goose eggs in favorable matchups in Week 13 and 15 respectively. 

HOUSTON, CLEVELAND, OAKLAND, DENVER, AND MIAMI EACH ALLOWED TWO TIGHT ENDS IN THE PERFECT LINEUP

All five of these teams have been repeat offenders in the top 10 in FPA to tight ends since 2017.  Cleveland’s spot on this list should come as no surprise as they’ve been inside the top 10 in FPA in each of the last three years.  The Browns looked to have remedied their issues in the first eight games but allowed 17.81 FPPG in the second half to the position.  Pending where Jared Cook lands in the offseason and Gronk’s decision to continue to suit up or retire, the Browns tight end schedule eases up in 2019 as they would only face two tight ends inside the top 10 in FPPG in 2018 in George Kittle and Vance McDonald.  

Oakland and Denver fall victim to facing Travis Kelce twice a year which explains part of their heartache.  Still, the Broncos allowed a tight end playing his first game in the NFL in Will Dissly and an aged Antonio Gates to have their best performances of the season while the Raiders let a cornucopia of Ravens and Colts tight ends destroy them.  The Dolphins will benefit from a retired Gronk if that indeed happens but still deal with Zach Ertz and an Indianapolis offense that almost doubled up every team in touchdowns thrown to the position last season.  The Texans have dates with that same Colts offense and Travis Kelce who the Texans have failed to contain in three of four career matchups.

CONCLUSION

When August comes around and you get to the second round of redraft leagues, you will be faced with the decision of taking one of the big three tight ends or playing the crapshoot at the position.  That’s the same scenario DFS players will face weekly in 2019.   

Playing the defensive matchups can work to your advantage as the last trend indicates where paying down is viable.  However, that’s the headache in what can be an unreliable position.  Will you pay up for the consistent Travis Kelce or Zach Ertz, or let it ride on a cheaper option in a favorable matchup?  Hopefully our struggle is alleviated with the emergence of more reliable tight end options as the 2019 season unfolds.

DFS in Review: PERFECT DRAFTKINGS LINEUP QB TRENDS

Welcome to another offseason in which we track how many Sundays until football graces our TVs once again.  The NFL season is such a whirlwind that Week 1 turns into another Super Bowl champion in the blink of an eye.  Now that it’s over and the Patriots have returned to championship glory, it’s time to reflect on 2018 and begin preparations for the 2019 season.  


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Introduction

Compared to the other three major American sports, the NFL allows us a week in-between main slates for quality preparation and research.  For some, that may not be enough time for those who have work and family obligations that consume large chunks of time.  However, there is enough time from the moment you’re reading this until the first Sunday of football on September 8th to invest time in preparing for the 2019 campaign.  At 15-30 minutes per week, you’re already putting in more time than the masses that will resurface from their fantasy football slumber around the end of July/beginning of August.  

This first article in a five-part series will cover the DraftKings perfect lineups from the 17 main slates in 2018; this will not cover the ones that won the Milly Makers.  It will identify and highlight some of the stronger trends and observations from those lineups that may prove useful in weekly lineup construction beginning with the quarterback position.  While FanDuel and Yahoo aren’t covered in this writing and some of those perfect lineups may be slightly different due to different pricing and PPR formats between the sites, some of the same principles and ideas can be utilized on those DFS platforms as well.  For those that want to access each site’s perfect lineups, they can be found on numberfire.com

Before we dwell any further, it’s important to clarify what perfect means for the purpose of this article.  The perfect lineup reflects the best possible fantasy score per week on DraftKings given the $50000 salary cap.  This differs from the best weekly lineup in redraft leagues that various sites put together that consists of the top QB, top 2 RBs, top 3 WRs, top TE, top flex option, and top DEF.  While there are some weeks when the DK perfect lineup and redraft perfect lineup are identical, most will have a few player variances.

This article is intended to shed some light on lineup construction tips for the novice players that are just getting their feet in daily fantasy and intermediate players that are beginning to find their groove and possibly need an extra boost. 

14 OF THE 17 PERFECT QUARTERBACKS WERE PART OF GAMES THAT WENT OVER THE GAME TOTAL 

Of those 14 games, 10 of them featured a game total of 50 or higher that saw the over go 7-2-1.  Targeting quarterbacks in games with a high over/under has been and will continue to be a strategy worth consideration each week, especially those games that combine high totals with lower spreads that possibly indicate a shootout.  

Overall, there were 73 instances in 2018 with a game total of 50 with the over going just 33-38-2.  Of the 146 quarterbacks involved, only 46 of them went over 25 DK points.  More than ever, the NFL has become a passing league which would lead you to believe that there would be more than those 46 to surpass 25 fantasy points.  This demonstrates that opportunities also exist with game totals under 50 where there is great potential for that matchup to eclipse the number. 

Mitchell Trubisky shredded a Buccaneers defense that surrendered 35.75 points per game away from Raymond James Stadium in 2018 en route to the best fantasy performance from a quarterback in 2018.  The Bears covered not just their team total but also the game total of 46 by themselves back in Week 4.  Fast forward to Week 16 where both the Packers and Jets were out of playoff contention with nothing to lose and possessed secondaries that were hemorrhaging fantasy points to wide receivers.  The teams comfortably hit the total of 47 points in the third quarter as Aaron Rodgers was the QB1 for that week with 45.88 DK points.  

As these two scenarios illustrate, some of the games with lower totals can yield as much fantasy goodness as the low-hanging fruit of the 50+ game totals.  Be prepared for some of those games with the high total to bust as 38 of them did in 2018.  The ability to pivot from the rest of the field when that happens can prove extremely effective if you project low ownership for players in games with lower totals that shows signs of a sneaky shootout.

12 OF THE 17 QUARTERBACKS THREW FOR OVER 300 PASSING YARDS AND THREE OR MORE TOUCHDOWNS

The other five quarterbacks who didn’t meet this benchmark achieved a spot in the perfect lineup by utilizing their legs; Josh Allen comes to mind as he made it in both matchups against a Dolphins team that he slaughtered for a combined 230 rushing yards and two touchdowns.  Rushing upside can compensate for what isn’t achieved through the passing game and makes quarterbacks like Allen and Lamar Jackson intriguing options.  Cam Newton and DeShaun Watson warrant weekly consideration as they can do it with both their arm and legs on a weekly basis.

300 passing yards and three touchdowns equates to 27 DK points, a solid floor that Patrick Mahomes achieved seven times in what was a MVP season for the first-year starter.  Ryan Fitzpatrick and Jameis Winston combined to do this five times for a Buccaneers offense that struggled mightily to establish any sort of running game.  Put the two of them together and you have the QB2 for 2018.

Whether it’s operating in a pass-heavy offense, facing a stingy rush defense that forces passing attempts, or dueling in a shootout, you’re looking for a quarterback that’s going to sling the ball early and often and produce as this next subject will expand upon.

10 OF THE 17 QUARTERBACKS PLAYED IN GAMES WHERE NO RUSHING TOUCHDOWNS WERE SCORED UNLESS REGISTERED BY THEMSELVES

Excluding the formality of the extra point, these 10 quarterbacks accounted for 84.18% of the points on the scoreboard.  Naturally, this makes perfect sense as a quarterback can throw for 400 yards but without passing or rushing touchdowns to compliment that production, it’s a wasted fantasy effort.  

With a lethal aerial attack but an inefficient running back corps that scored just seven rushing touchdowns, the Buccaneers certainly didn’t have as dynamic of an offense as the Chiefs.  However, whether it was Winston or Fitzpatrick under center, Tampa Bay could throw with the best of them as the two quarterbacks joined to throw for the most passing yards and third most passing touchdowns last year.  Not including the extra point, the two accounted for 68.42% of Tampa Bay’s total points scored.  Depending on who started, each made for a viable quarterback option nearly every week as neither was priced over $6200 at any point.


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15 OF THE 17 QUARTERBACKS WERE PART OF A TEAM STACK

Stacking your quarterback with another teammate should be a fundamental tactic in weekly lineup construction as these figures show.  More likely than not, a quarterback needs a sidekick in order to secure a spot in the perfect lineup.

A QB-WR stack was unsurprisingly the most frequent stack with 10 occurrences, three of them as part of a QB-RB-WR stack.  QB-TE was the other common pairing which happened three times along with a QB-RB and QB-DEF stack each making an appearance once.

14 OF THE 17 QUARTERBACKS PLAYED IN GAMES WITH EXPECTED WIND SPEEDS OF 10 MPH OR LESS 

Of these 14 quarterbacks, nine played in a fast-paced dome where the elements didn’t play a role in the outcome.  When elevated wind speeds, gusts, and inclement weather become a factor in a game, it shrinks the playbook as running games along with dump-offs and short passes increase while deep throws are either reduced or rendered useless in extreme circumstances.

Running backs typically aren’t affected in these conditions as rushing attempts typically rise and they see more work out of the backfield.  Tight ends don’t see much of an effect as you usually don’t see that position stretching the field for 40+ yard completions.  The shorter passing game works in their favor in these circumstances.

As quarterbacks are affected in these situations, so are the wide receivers as 48 of the 55 to make the perfect lineup also played in games with wind speeds of less than 10 mph.  Monitoring weather reports should be a weekly ritual right around Saturday morning heading into Sunday before the first set of games begin.  

82.35% of quarterbacks and 87.27% of wide receivers that were perfect is enough of a correlation to ensure rostering players in ideal passing conditions.  Further, in 42 games with wind speeds over 10 mph or temperatures below 30 degrees Fahrenheit in 2018, the average FPPG of the 84 quarterbacks was 16.56.  The other 150 outdoor games that were played with less than 10 mph winds and no inclement weather saw those 300 quarterbacks post 18.55 FPPG, a +1.99 FPPG differential in outdoor games played in ideal football conditions.

CONCLUSION

2018 may have felt like the year of Mahomes but Matt Ryan and Ben Roethlisberger quietly put together QB2 and QB3 campaigns with the former overcoming what had become drastic home/road splits in prior years.  DeShaun Watson and Andrew Luck returned from their respective injuries to post solid numbers as the QB4 and QB5.

The league won’t directly say they want more games like the Chiefs-Rams slugfest that took place in Week 11 but with more offenses trending towards more pass-centric gameplans, the future of the fantasy quarterback has never looked brighter.  39 different quarterbacks reached 20 fantasy points at some point in 2018 with each team having at least one representative in that club.  As long as this trend continues, it shows that paying down at quarterback can be just as effective as paying up for the top-tier each week.

WEEK 16 DRAFTKINGS/FANDUEL SELECTIONS

QUARTERBACK

Baker Mayfield: vs CIN (DK 6100; FD 7700)

Winning.  Direction.  Hope.  These are all words that haven’t been associated with the Cleveland Browns organization in years while the Cincinnati Bengals are heading in the opposite direction of their interstate rivals.  No team allows more fantasy points to quarterbacks than the Bengals and one that Baker Mayfield enjoyed success against in week 12, throwing for four touchdowns.  Cincinnati gave soon-to-be fired Marvin Lewis one last hurrah in front of the home crowd and now winds down the season on the road and may lack motivation in the final two weeks.  Look for Baker to pierce through a porous, uninspired defense in Cleveland’s home finale to begin putting the finishing touches on its most successful season since 2014.

Dak Prescott: vs TB (DK 5700; FD 7300)

Dak Prescott has been lights out in home games since Cooper became a Cowboy, possessing a +7.89 DK point differential at AT&T Stadium and squares off against a Buccaneers defense that surrenders 37 points per road game.  The DFS community may overlook Dak after his dismal week 15 showing which would be foolish considering Dak has eight touchdown passes at home compared to just one on the road since the trade while the Bucs have allowed multiple touchdown passes in all but one road game.  His ability to scramble goes unnoticed at times but one he can utilize as needed as he’s found paydirt five times with his legs.

Nick Foles: vs HOU (DK 4700; FD 6000)

Rostering Nick Foles is like flipping a coin; will he be the quarterback that scorched the Vikings and Patriots en route to a Super Bowl title or will he be the version that struggled immensely against the Raiders on Christmas night and the Falcons in the divisional round?  He will be forced to throw as the Texans defense allows just 66.35 rushing yards per game but has surrendered the 8th most FPA to tight ends this season and the most FPA to perimeter receivers over the last four weeks.  There’s value to be found at other positions this week where you don’t need to necessarily pay down at quarterback.  If your roster construction involves jamming in two expensive backs or inserting as many high-priced options as possible, Foles allows for that strategy in a game where Philadelphia’s success on offense will be predicated on the MVP of Super Bowl 52.

RUNNING BACK

 

Ezekiel Elliott: vs TB (DK 9000; FD 8800)

The last time he didn’t touch the ball at least 25 times was back in week 9 and both DraftKings and FanDuel neglected to raise his salary heading into this juicy matchup.  Ezekiel Elliott has reached 100 scrimmage yards in every game since week 7 and it’s all but a guarantee he will shred a Buccaneers defense en route to another 100 as the last feature back that didn’t reach that mark against Tampa Bay was Nick Chubb back in week 7.  Zeke’s weekly reliability comes at a hefty cost but it’s a cost worth paying up for as he’s returned value in five of the last seven games.

Nick Chubb: vs CIN (DK 7300; FD 7900)

The Bengals have appeared competent against opposing running backs the last two weeks.  Against Nick Chubb, they will revert back to the turnstiles that allowed 100+ rushing yards in seven of the prior eight games.  Running backs against the Bengals have found the end zone with as much ease as Chubb has in the last month, averaging a touchdown per game in his last four.  As 8.5-point favorites (yes, the Browns are favored by more than a touchdown), look for Chubb to have plenty of opportunities to shred this Bengals defense that has been victim to the position throughout 2018.

Marlon Mack: vs NYG (DK 5500; FD 7000)

From a motivational standpoint, the Giants head into Indianapolis with nothing to play for while the Colts need a win to set up a possible showdown with the Titans for the final AFC Wild Card.  Enemy running backs have run for over 100+ rushing yards in six of the last seven against the G-Men and this is a game where Marlon Mack can once again take over as he did against the Cowboys the week before.  The loss of Damon Harrison to the Lions has really taken its toll on a Giants rushing defense that has struggled since the trade and in a game where the Colts are 9-point favorite, Mack will have plenty of touches to manufacture another solid performance.

Jamaal Williams: at NYJ (DK 5400; FD 5800)

At the time of this writing, Jamaal Williams and the recently signed Kapri Bibbs are the only two running backs on the active roster with Williams being the only one familiar with the playbook.  Essentially, you’re getting a running set to play a minimum of 80% of the snaps on a Packers team that is clearly trying to win this game as Aaron Rodgers is expected to suit up in the Meadowlands.  In an offense that is expected to perform much better now that Green Bay doesn’t have to battle with a vaunted Bears defense, this is essentially a free square in a game that the Packers should win for their first road victory of the season.  Williams totaled 97 scrimmage yards and a touchdown on 16 touches in that game at Soldier Field and should see between 18-20 touches this week at a bargain on both sites.

WIDE RECEIVER

DeAndre Hopkins: at PHI (DK 8600; FD 8900)

14.05 yards per reception, the highest target share on the team, the most red zone targets, and a floor of 12 DK points this season; DeAndre Hopkins meets all of the desirable criteria you’d want against an Eagles secondary that is decimated by injuries and can be exploited on the perimeter.  He’s excelled in road games as 7 of his 11 touchdowns and four of his five 100 receiving yard performances have been in hostile territory and it bodes well for Hopkins to continue his road dominance at Lincoln Financial Field.  He’s the second and most expensive option on DraftKings and FanDuel respectively and has a great chance to go off again as he did against the Jets last week.

Amari Cooper: vs TB (DK 7500; FD 7000)

Regression was all but inevitable for Amari Cooper after he destroyed the Eagles in epic fashion.  Like Dak, a good majority of the DFS community will remain sour on Cooper after a disappointing showing in Indianapolis and that’s a scenario to consider rostering him against a Tampa Bay defense that has been killed by wide receivers outside of Raymond James Stadium.  Cooper boasts a +2.17 target differential in games at AT&T Stadium since the trade from Oakland and should feast on a Bucs defense that surrenders a +8.34 FPPG differential in PPR scoring to wide receivers in road games.

Alshon Jeffery: vs HOU (DK 5300; FD 6300)

It lacks logic as to why it may be the case but Alshon Jeffery benefits by having Nick Foles as the starter instead of Carson Wentz.  In 24 games with Wentz under center, Alshon has just one game over 100 receiving yards vs one game over 100 yards in seven Foles starts.  Also, he has a +2.12 FPPG differential in PPR scoring with Foles as the starter, not including the throwaway game in week 17 last year.  These two figures along with a salary that was never adjusted after an excellent performance on Sunday Night Football put him on the DFS radar against a Houston secondary that surrenders the 7th most FPA to perimeter receivers, including the most in the last four weeks.  Given Houston’s proficiency at stopping the run, Foles may be forced to throw more than the 31 passes he tossed against the Rams and Alshon should be the beneficiary of additional targets in a game the Eagles need to win to stay in wild card contention.

Robby Anderson: vs GB (DK 4500; FD 5900)

He leads the team in targets since Sam Darnold returned to action in week 14 and with Quincy Enunwa missing another game against the Packers this weekend, look for Robby Anderson to once again be an integral part of the offense in a favorable matchup.  Anderson will duel with Josh Jackson and Javier Alexander, cornerbacks that are part of a Green Bay secondary that has been hurt by perimeter receivers over the last two months, giving up the 3rd most FPA to receivers on the outside.  It looks like he has recovered from the high-ankle sprain that bothered him earlier in the year and he has another good opportunity to close out 2018 on a good note.

TIGHT END

Eric Ebron: vs NYG (DK 5700; FD 6100)

In two games against Zach Ertz and one game against George Kittle, the Giants surrendered 23 catches for 217 yards and two touchdowns, an average of 15.06 FD/18.9 DK points per game.  The Giants are not as horrid as they were to the position last year but have been burned by the top-tier of tight ends in 2018 and Eric Ebron is in that tier, especially when Andrew Luck throws to the tight end at the fourth-highest rate in the league.  Lower ownership will come into play after a one catch, eight yard performance against the Cowboys and given he hasn’t posted back-to-back single-digit DK point games all season, it correlates well for Ebron to rebound from last week’s clunker.  

Evan Engram: at IND (DK 4600; FD 5700)

On the other side of the ball, Evan Engram has benefitted from Odell Beckham’s absence as he’s seen a +3.79 target differential and +39.29 receiving yard differential in those two games.  Indianapolis has allowed just the 9th most FPA to tight ends largely in part because the defense keeps them out of the end zone.  However, the Colts have allowed the 2nd most receptions and most receiving yards to the position and if ODB misses his third straight game, fire up Engram with confidence as the Giants should be playing from behind as 9-point underdogs.

David Njoku: vs CIN (DK 3800; FD 5300)

Paying up for tight end didn’t prove effective in week 15 on the main slate as neither Kittle, Ebron, Gronk, nor Cook eclipsed double-digit fantasy points.  David Njoku is a nice pivot in a good matchup for those unwilling to pay up again at the tight end position.  He’s seeing a floor of four targets in five of the last six games and faces a Bengals team that has given up eight touchdowns to the position.  He crossed the pylons against them in week 12 and if he’s able to do so again this week, Njoku will certainly be on his way to easily returning value.

DEFENSE

Los Angeles Rams: at ARI (DK 3200; FD 4900)

The Cardinals allowed seven sacks, three turnovers, and a defensive score to the Falcons last week and now get to deal with Aaron Donald on Sunday.  The offense has been held to under 20 points in 11 of 14 games and after this date with the Rams, it will become 12 of 15.

Miami: vs JAX (DK 2700; FD 4400)

Take away the Dede Westbrook punt return for a touchdown and the Jaguars have averaged eight points with Cody Kessler as the starter.  Not to mention allowing five sacks and 1.5 turnovers per game in that two-game span.

New Orleans: vs PIT (DK 2300; FD 3500)

Contrary to popular belief, the Steelers have been sluggish offensively, scoring 21 or less in four of the last five games with Big Ben throwing 1.5 interceptions in his last four games.  Meanwhile, the Saints have forced multiple turnovers and kept opponents under 17 points in five of their last six games.

PRICE SHOPPING

Each week, I will identify what players are bargains based on the salary cap percentage difference they represent on the respective site.  Here are the notable week 16 bargains from both sites:

NOTABLE DRAFTKINGS BARGAINS

QB Matt Ryan: 1.96

WR Chris Hogan: 2.23

TE Dallas Goedert: 3.3

TE Kyle Rudolph: 2.36

DEF Jacksonville: 2.6

NOTABLE FANDUEL BARGAINS

RB Ezekiel Elliott: 3.34

RB Jaylen Samuels: 2.24

WR Amari Cooper: 3.34

WEEK 15 DRAFTKINGS/FANDUEL SELECTIONS


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QUARTERBACK 

Mitchell Trubisky: vs GB (DK 6000; FD 7900)

Glance over the game logs of the Packers and it becomes apparent that they’ve faced weak competition at the quarterback position this season, especially at home.  When removed from the friendly confines of Lambeau Field, they’ve allowed multiple touchdown passes in five of six road games and face a quarterback who has put together three 30+ DK point performances at Soldier Field. 

Not many will start Mitchell Trubisky after posting a dud against the Rams last week but that’s the type of low-rostered individual that can win a GPP if he goes off.  The Packers are in the top 10 in FPA to both receivers lined up on the perimeter and in the slot and with the quality of weapons that he has in his arsenal, expect Trubisky to rebound from his dismal performance on Sunday night.

Tom Brady: at PIT (DK 5900; FD 7900)

The bye week has rejuvenated not just the future first-ballot Hall Of Famer but the New England offense as a whole as prior to the bye, Tom Brady had three 300+ passing yard games along with throwing 1.7 touchdowns and causing .9 turnovers per game in the first 10 weeks.  Since then, he’s thrown for two 300+ yard passing games, six touchdowns, and turned the ball over just once in the last three and duels with a Steelers defense that is stingy against running backs but can be penetrated through the air.  He’s discounted on both sites in a game that has the highest total on the main slate and given Pittsburgh’s effectiveness against running backs on the ground, look for Brady to sling the ball early and often in what could be a high-scoring affair at Heinz Field.

Josh Allen: vs DET (DK 5800; FD 7600)

As long as he continues to use his legs to return value, Josh Allen will be an asset for DFS purposes.  This play doesn’t come without risk as he’s completed just over 50% percent of his throws and turned over the ball five times in three games since returning from injury.  If he can put it all together against a middle of the pack Detroit defense, he is a bargain at his affordable salary.  An Allen, Buffalo defensive stack is in play here as the Lions offense has been anemic with Marvin Jones and Kerryon Johnson absent from action, scoring no more than 17 points in the last three weeks while turning the ball over five times.  

RUNNING BACK

Saquon Barkley: vs TEN (DK 9400; FD 9400)

He’s proving that he is indeed a generational talent as he hasn’t hit the wall that rookies encounter at this point in the season and is comfortably on pace to reach 2,000 scrimmage yards in his first year at the pro level.  Although the Tennessee defense has surrendered the 2nd fewest FPA to running backs and has improved tremendously from prior year against those out of the backfield, I’ll take my chances on Saquon Barkley who has posted 20+ DK point performances in all but one game. 

The Titans bolstered a respectable defense against running backs last year that Todd Gurley destroyed in week 16 to the tune of 44.6 FD/55.6 DK points and Barkley already possesses the ability and skillset to mimic that performance, even with the maddeningly inconsistent Eli Manning under center.  He’s worth paying up for as he’s all but a lock to touch the ball 20+ times and with Gurley, McCaffery, and Kamara all unavailable on the main slate, he’s worth the roster spot while the rest of the field ponders the tough matchup on paper and gets cute.

Ezekiel Elliott: at IND (DK 9000; FD 8800)

He’s touching the ball a ridiculous 32.5 times per contest in the last four and posting 24.42 FD/31.02 DK points in that span.  The coaching staff has succeeded in getting Ezekiel Elliott more involved out of the backfield and this is before he caught 12 balls in week 14 and now he faces a Colts defense that gives up the second-most receptions to pass catching backs, something to keep in mind in DraftKings scoring.  Jamming in Barkley and Elliott is in play with the lack of reliable running back options this week and with a +10.4 DK point differential since the arrival of Amari Cooper, look for Zeke to continue his second-half dominance.

Leonard Fournette: vs WAS (DK 7500; FD 8200)

Prior to the blowout loss against the Titans and the game he was ejected in Buffalo, Leonard Fournette was touching the ball 29.5 times and he should see that volume again in a game that the Jaguars should easily win with Josh Johnson suiting up as the starter. 

The Washington defense has been hemorrhaging yards on the ground as opposing backs are accumulating 154.25 rushing yards per game in the last four weeks and with Cody Kessler under center, expect another run-heavy gameplan against a team that simply can’t stop the run.  He’s a nice pivot in a great spot from the aforementioned expensive backs and will save at least $1000 in salary on both sites.

David Johnson: at ATL (DK 7100; FD 7400)

The Arizona offensive line is in shambles as three rookies are now thrust into starting action last week and it showed as David Johnson was only able to muster a meager 3.26 yards per carry on 15 attempts.  However, Byron Leftwich is trying everything he can to get his best offensive weapon involved as evidenced by his 25 touches per game in the last five weeks and eight receptions out of the backfield against the Lions. 

Even with a makeshift line, DJ is capable of more than the eight catches for 12 yards he generated in week 14, especially against a Falcons team that allows the most receptions to running backs and has been bitten by this weakness for the better part of two years.  He’s more of a GPP play as the Arizona offense has been a question mark all season but if there was a spot for DJ to erupt, this is the one.

WIDE RECEIVER

JuJu Smith-Schuster: vs NE (DK 8000; FD 7800)

The New England defense is in the bottom half in FPA to wide receivers but can be attacked via the slot receiver as defending the slot has been a challenge for the Patriots.  Enter JuJu Smith-Schuster who is leading the team in receptions and receiving yards and is cheaper than Antonio Brown on both sites. 

Recent slot receivers to face the Patriots like Jermaine Kearse and Adam Thielen have seen double-digit targets and a touchdown in two of the last three weeks while JuJu has seen double-digit targets in three of his last four games and crossed the pylons three times in that timeframe.  Getting exposure to the game with the highest total on the main slate is always a viable strategy, more so when this game is the only one that boasts a total over 50 and inserting JuJu is a great way to do just that.

Julian Edelman: at PIT (DK 7200; FD 7200)

Like their opponent, the Steelers have also been victim to the slot receiver, allowing the 2nd most FPA to those lined up in the slot.  Julian Edelman is seeing nine targets per game and it’s a safe assumption he’ll see at least that amount of volume with Tom Brady forced to throw more against a solid Steelers defense against running backs on the ground and Josh Gordon seeing shadow coverage from Joe Haden.  He’s already exceeded his 2016 touchdown total in nine games played this season and expect Brady to look for Edelman in the red zone as he’s seen the most red zone targets since he has returned from suspension.

Tyler Boyd: vs OAK (DK 5700; FD 6700)

His ceiling definitely drops with Jeff Driskel at the helm but this is about opportunity meeting a reasonable price point.  Fellow slot receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster was last seen torching the Raiders and Tyler Boyd is capable of putting together a performance that at least returns value and possibly exceeds it if this game between two terrible defenses generates points on the scoreboard.  As this is the final home game of 2018 and possibly the final time Marvin Lewis coaches at Paul Brown Stadium, expect the Bengals to come out with extra motivation for their head coach and Tyler Boyd to be an integral part of that effort.

Adam Humphries: at BAL (DK 5100; FD 6200)

The Ravens don’t bolster many weaknesses on defense but the two positions that have given them fits are the tight end and the slot receiver.  Baltimore has been lights out against perimeter receivers which should funnel targets in the direction of Adam Humphries who has posted a double-digit fantasy point floor in five of the last seven games.  He’s tied for the team lead with 12 red zone targets, four which he has converted into touchdowns.  Given that Jameis Winston will be expected to throw the ball a ton as the Bucs are 7.5-point underdogs against a tenacious Baltimore defense against running backs, Humphries will be relied upon to move the ball in a tough matchup.

TIGHT END

Eric Ebron: vs DAL (DK 5900; FD 6500)

You could argue he’s still too cheap for the output he’s generated since Jack Doyle went on IR and as long as he remains underpriced, Eric Ebron will be an option worth consideration.  He draws a Cowboys defense that Zach Ertz has carved up twice and the way the Indianapolis offense utilizes the tight end, Ebron should find similar success in a game that could see the teams exchanges blows throughout the afternoon.  He’s as reliable of an option at the position in what has been anything but predictable this year; start him with confidence.

 Rob Gronkowski: at PIT (DK 5800; FD 6900)

His ownership levels are naturally going to skyrocket due to posting his best fantasy performance of the season as well as Kelce and Ertz being off the main slate this week.  However, Rob Gronkowski’s next two opponents are ones that he has crushed throughout his career and it begins with a visit to Heinz Field against a Steelers team that he’s found paydirt eight times in six regular-season meetings while averaging 110.66 receiving yards in those contests.  Tight ends have had their way with Pittsburgh throughout 2018 and an underpriced Gronk on both sites should continue this trend and his dominance of the Steelers.

Anthony Firkser: at NYG (DK 2900; FD 5100)

Even before Jonnu Smith was put on IR, Anthony Firkser has had a solid floor of three catches in the last four weeks.  The only competition he now has for targets at the position are Luke Stocker and MyCole Pruitt, both who have had no more than two receptions in any game in 2018.  Firkser enables the rostering of two or three of the higher-priced options on a main slate where value hasn’t opened up at any of the positions at the time of this writing.  If paying up for Gronk, Ebron, or Cook isn’t an option, Firkser is a punt with upside as he’s shown reliability by catching all 16 passes thrown his way this season.

DEFENSE 

Jacksonville: vs WAS (DK 3400; FD 4800)

Expect a more valiant effort from a Jacksonville defense in front of its fans for the final time in 2018.  With Josh Johnson assuming the starting role for the Redskins, the Jaguars should feast on this backup that saw his first NFL action last week since 2013.

Baltimore: vs TB (DK 3000; FD 5000)

No team has given away the ball more than Tampa Bay’s 31 offensive turnovers through 13 games.  Although the Ravens have forced less than a turnover per game, the chances of multiple Buccaneer turnovers in this game is likely as they’ve turned the ball over multiple times in 9 of 13 games this year.

Chicago: vs GB (DK 2900; FD 3700)

Byron Bell, Bryan Bulaga, and Lane Taylor were all inactive last week en route to Aaron Rodgers being sacked four times against the Falcons.  Taylor could be the only one of the three to suit up for the Packers offensive line which means only good things for a tenacious Chicago defense.  

PRICE SHOPPING

Each week, I will identify what players are bargains based on the salary cap percentage difference they represent on the respective site.  Here are the notable week 15 bargains from both sites:

NOTABLE DRAFTKINGS BARGAINS

QB Aaron Rodgers: 2.1

QB Matt Ryan: 1.8

TE Anthony Firkser: 2.7

DEF Baltimore: 2.33

NOTABLE FANDUEL BARGAINS

RB Ezekiel Elliott: 3.34

RB Saquon Barkley: 3.14

WR Adam Thielen: 3.54

WR Odell Beckham Jr: 2.87




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WEEK 12 DRAFTKINGS/FANDUEL SELECTIONS

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QUARTERBACK

Cam Newton: vs SEA (DK 6200; FD 8600)

When a team faces the quality of quarterbacks that the Seahawks did in the first six weeks, it would be shocking if they didn’t allow the third-fewest FPA to the position.  Their last four games may be more an indication that the legion of boom no longer exists as they’ve surrendered multiple passing touchdowns in four straight games along with 300+ passing yards in three of the last four.  Cam has been lights out, throwing for multiple passing touchdowns in nine straight and while the rushing hasn’t been there the last two weeks, his legs are always in play and can alter the outcome of any game.  Against a Seattle team that is flying cross-country on Thanksgiving weekend, expect Cam to continue his incredible 2018 campaign in a game that the Panthers must have to end a two-game losing skid.

Lamar Jackson: vs OAK (DK 5700; FD 7400)

Oakland has more than had its struggles against running backs as that defense has allowed the most rushing yards to the position and now faces a quarterback that scrambled 27 times for 117 yards.  Lamar Jackson posted 16.7 fantasy points without contributing a touchdown against the Bengals in week 11 and should find success against an equally bad Oakland defense.  He nearly returned value with just his legs at $4700 last week and at his affordable week 12 salary, Jackson should run the ball at will again and hopefully throw or scramble for a score or two.

Andy Dalton: vs CLE (DK 5300; FD 7500)

Some of Andy Dalton’s best games have come against Cleveland at Paul Brown Stadium, throwing for multiple touchdown passes in five of seven career home games against his divisional rival.  The Browns have given up 300+ passing yards and multiple touchdown passes in three of the last four games and Dalton has a good shot at making it four of the last five.  Returning value shouldn’t be an issue here as a 20+ fantasy point performance is certainly in play against this Browns defense that started 2018 strong but has reverted back to their old ways.  Not to mention A.J. Green returning to the offense provides Dalton with his favorite receiver once again.

RUNNING BACK

Melvin Gordon: vs ARI (DK 8600; FD 8900)

A trio of Oakland running backs found success against an Arizona defense that has allowed 100+ rushing yards in 7 of 10 games.  Melvin Gordon should be in for a big day as the Cardinals have struggled to contain backs on the ground; performances from Adrian Peterson and Todd Gurley come to mind.  His work out of the backfield is a valuable asset as he hasn’t seen fewer than four targets in any game this season and he should heavily relied upon as the Chargers are 12-point favorites heading into Sunday.  

Joe Mixon: vs CLE (DK 6800; FD 7300)

He averages 20.25 carries in games that the Bengals win compared to 11.75 in games that they lose and if you believe the Bengals will win this game, Joe Mixon will certainly play a major role.  The Browns are giving up the second-most touchdowns on the ground and have surrendered multiple rushing touchdowns in half of their games played.  Cleveland hasn’t won a road game since 2015 and it further reiterates the point above that if the Bengals win this game, it will involve Mixon touching the ball at least 20 times.  Start him with confidence.

Matt Breida: at TB (DK 5700; FD 6400)

Saquon Barkley single-handedly demolished the Buccaneers to the tune of 152 scrimmage yards and three touchdowns.  Matt Breida now faces this Tampa Bay defense that has squandered the most touchdowns to running backs and with Raheem Mostert on IR, he is the best running back option that the 49ers possess.  Alfred Morris was highly inefficient against the Giants, averaging 2.11 yards per carry compared to Breida’s 5.94 and won’t see the touches out of the backfield that Breida does.  The Bucs have been attacked by both running backs on the ground and through the air and Breida can certainly cause some damage in this game at an affordable salary on both sites. 

Marlon Mack: vs MIA (DK 5500; FD 7000)

He’s $500 cheaper this week on DraftKings in a matchup against a Miami defense that continues to hemorrhage yards on the ground to running backs, allowing at least 100 rushing yards and a touchdown in 7 of 10 games.  Aaron Jones shredded the Dolphins prior to Miami’s bye week and the Colts should continue to exploit this weakness and utilize Marlon Mack early and often.  He’s been boom or bust thus far but has been electric in games against Oakland and Buffalo when he’s really gone off.  His salary on both sites is affordable and should see ownership across the board in this amazing spot.

WIDE RECEIVER

Odell Beckham Jr: at PHI (DK 8800; FD 8500)

Some of the names that were part of the Eagles secondary that Drew Brees torched included Chandon Sullivan, De’Vante Bausby, and Cre’Von LeBlanc.  Odell Beckham Jr should have a field day against this depleted unit that allowed 373 passing yards in a blowout loss to New Orleans.  He has enjoyed playing at Lincoln Financial Field, scoring 24.66 FPPG in his last three in South Philadelphia and Eli should look to him for double-digit targets in this juicy matchup.  OBJ is the highest-priced receiver on the week 12 main slate on both sites but is worth the price of admission as targeting the Philadelphia secondary will be a part of lineup construction for the remainder of the season.

Julian Edelman: at NYJ (DK 7000; FD 7400)

He’s averaging 9.33 targets per game and has seen double-digit targets in three straight as the Patriots come off the bye to square off against a Jets defense that is giving up the 4th most FPA to slot receivers.  Julian Edelman has been one of Tom Brady’s favorite weapons for years and he should be targeted often while lining up opposite Buster Skrine, a slot corner that has been anything but impressive in 2018.  A touchdown from Edelman would be incredible as he’s crossed the pylons just five times in his last 22 regular season games.  However, he has a solid floor of 12.7 fantasy points through six games and if he continues to see the volume that he had prior to the bye, he should post solid numbers in this divisional tilt.

Jarvis Landry: at CIN (DK 5900; FD 6100)

His salary certainly stands out as it’s the cheapest it has been since the opener.  Jarvis Landry was seeing double-digit targets in six straight games before the last two in which Baker Mayfield has thrown his way just 12 times.  Perhaps a meeting with Cleveland’s cross-state rival will get Landry on the right track as Cincinnati is providing the 8th most FPA to slot receivers.  He has always been a target hog from his days as a Dolphin and it’s hard to envision him going three straight games without double-digit tosses in his direction.

Emmanuel Sanders: vs PIT (DK 5500; FD 6900)

He’s currently the top receiver on the Denver roster with the departure of Demaryius Thomas and is now the cheapest he has been on DraftKings since week 1.  Emmanuel Sanders has been contained over the last three games but still possesses a solid floor of 9.1 fantasy points considering he can be absolutely lethal one week and totally quiet the next.  He will spend a good amount of time running routes against Mike Hilton and a Pittsburgh defense that surrenders the 2nd most FPA to slot receivers.  The revenge narrative played a role in two meetings between Sanders and his former squad as he posted a 15/266/1 clip in 2015.  If you believe that he will have extra motivation again on Sunday, then it sets up well for a strong performance in the Mile High City.

TIGHT END

George Kittle: at TB (DK 6200; FD 7500)

One could argue that George Kittle is filling the void that Gronk left behind in being one of the top three tight ends in football to this point.  This week presents Kittle with another opportunity to build on a strong 2018 season against a Buccaneers defense that has allowed at least 50 yards in all but one game to opposing tight ends and the 3rd most FPA to the position.  Nick Mullens has shown a preference to him as he’s been the leading receiver in both games since filling in for C.J. Beathard and given the Bucs allow points on the scoreboard in chunks, Kittle should be able to find the end zone at least once this week.

David Njoku: at CIN (DK 3800; FD 5100)

This is the cheapest he has been on DraftKings since week 6 as he’s averaged a disappointing 1.66 catches for 23.66 yards in his last three games.  David Njoku draws a Bengals team that hasn’t fared well against tight ends, giving up the 4th most FPA to the position.  The Cincinnati defense is on pace to be one of the worst in NFL history and allows 7.6 targets per game to tight ends.  Njoku should find more involvement in week 12 compared to his last three games, seeing just a minuscule six targets in that timeframe.  

Cameron Brate: vs SF (DK 3600; FD 4400)

O.J. Howard being moved to IR opens up the door for Cameron Brate to rediscover the chemistry he and Jameis Winston once had.  The two of them had connected for 14 touchdowns from 2016 to 2017 prior to Howard seeing the most tight end snaps in 2018.  The Tampa Bay offense prioritizes the tight end position as Howard and Brate have combined for eight touchdowns through 10 games and with the news about Howard occurring after the week 12 salaries released, Brate is available at a discount this week.  Expect high ownership at this inexpensive salary against a 49ers defense that hasn’t faced a tough tight end schedule to this point but has been shredded by Travis Kelce and Jimmy Graham earlier in the year.

DEFENSE

Baltimore: vs OAK (DK 3300; FD 5000)

The Raiders have allowed 16 sacks in their last three games, plenty of opportunity for a strip sack for a defensive score.  They’ve also scored less than two touchdowns in half of their games in 2018 which is at least four fantasy points on DraftKings and FanDuel.  A Lamar Jackson-Baltimore stack can prove viable against this depleted Oakland offense that is missing components that played in week 1 against the Rams.

Indianapolis: vs MIA (DK 2900; FD 4400)

In what has been a resurgence for Andrew Luck and the Colts offense, the defense has quietly put together a better season than the prior year, forcing at least one turnover in every game this year.  They face a Miami offense that is giving up double-digit sacks in six of its last seven games and allowed four of five fantasy defenses to post double-digit performances away from Hard Rock Stadium.

Buffalo: vs JAX (DK 2700; FD 4000)

The Bills come off their bye against a Jaguars team that comes limping into this matchup as losers of six straight games.  Jacksonville has scored over 20 points just once on this skid and have turned the ball over in every game in 2018.  Not to mention the Bills owe the Jags for knocking them out of the playoffs last year.

PRICE SHOPPING

Each week, I will identify what players are bargains based on the salary cap percentage difference they represent on the respective site.  Here are the notable week 12 bargains from both sites:

NOTABLE DRAFTKINGS BARGAINS

QB Philip Rivers: 2.23

QB Cam Newton: 1.93

RB Frank Gore: 2.13

NOTABLE FANDUEL BARGAINS

RB James Conner: 2.44

WR Odell Beckham Jr: 3.44

WEEK 8 DRAFTKINGS/FANDUEL SELECTIONS

QUARTERBACK

Patrick Mahomes: vs DEN (DK 7000; FD 9200)

The Chiefs offense averaged 29 points in Alex Smith’s final five games as the Kansas City starter against the Broncos when the Denver defense was worthy of respect.  Imagine what Patrick Mahomes will do this weekend against this defense that clearly isn’t what it used to be.  300+ passing yards and a 3+ touchdown pass performances in five of seven games as well as 20+ fantasy point performances in six of seven; he has lived up to the preseason hype and shows no signs of slowing down in this high-octane offense.  If the Denver defense still causes concern, Mahomes did throw for 300 passing yards against Jacksonville, arguably the toughest defense he will face in 2018.  The question will be, can you afford to pay up and roster him?

Andy Dalton: vs TB (DK 6200; FD 7800)

Baker Mayfield may have struggled last week but Andy Dalton looks to continue how Drew Brees, Mitchell Trubisky, and Matt Ryan have all performed in home games against a terrible Buccaneers defense on the road.  300 yards and 3 passing touchdowns have been the floor for home quarterbacks against the Buccaneers outside of Raymond James Stadium.  The most recent memory of Dalton was an awful performance against a Chiefs defense that has been burnable all year which may lower his ownership in both cash games and GPPs this week.  He’s in a prime position to rebound from that terrible Sunday Night Football performance; start the Red Rifle with confidence.

Matthew Stafford: vs SEA (DK 5600; FD 7300)

Take a look at the quarterbacks that the Seahawks have faced and it makes sense why they’re the “best” fantasy defense against the position.  They’ve faced Dak Prescott before Amari Cooper became a Cowboy, Josh Rosen in his first NFL start, and Derek Carr who has been pitiful in 2018.  Conversely, when playing teams with a serviceable quarterback and good receivers, notice how Seattle has given up 300+ passing yard games to the Broncos and the Rams.  Detroit has one of the best trios of receivers in football and Matthew Stafford should continue to expose Tre Flowers and Shaquill Griffin on the outside with Marvin Jones and Kenny Golladay.  While the rest of the field looks toward Rodgers, Mahomes, and Roethlisberger, this is a good opportunity to differentiate lineups and save some salary in a good spot for Stafford.

RUNNING BACK

Todd Gurley: vs GB (DK 9800; FD 11000)

FanDuel has finally priced Todd Gurley at an appropriate price as he represents nearly 20% of each site’s respective salary cap for those who roster him.  Even touching the ball just 19 times against the 49ers, his lowest amount all season, he still managed to find his way to 28.6 FD/30.6 DK.  Paying up for Gurley nearly guarantees a floor of 19 touches and 22 FD/25 DK points, all great figures against a Green Bay defense that has been more susceptible to running backs away from Lambeau Field.  As if you needed another reason to roster this elite talent, the Packers allow nearly 10 fantasy points more in full PPR scoring to the running back position on the road.

James Conner: vs CLE (DK 7500; FD 8000)

The latest seems to be Le’Veon Bell reporting after the trade deadline passes on October 30th.  For at least week 8, James Conner remains the starting running back against a Browns team that has allowed the second-most rushing touchdowns.  He has filled in admirably in Bell’s absence touching the ball 20+ times in games that Pittsburgh either won or tied this season while averaging 25.77 FD/30.52 DK points in those games.  Vegas loves the Steelers as they are 8.5-point favorites following their bye week against a Browns rush defense that has been exposed by Melvin Gordon and Conner himself back in week 1.  Expect him to play a major role in this game as the Steelers may lean on him heavily before he possibly relinquishes the starting duties back to Bell.

Kareem Hunt: vs DEN (DK 7100; FD 8100)

While Tyreek Hill has been more of a focal point in road games, scoring six touchdowns away from Kansas City, Kareem Hunt has been more the focal point in home games as he has crossed the pylons six times at Arrowhead.  A 10-point favorite in a high-powered Chiefs offense at a reasonable cost; Hunt meets all of the requirements for a solid DFS start.  It should no longer be a secret how bad the Broncos have performed against running backs on the ground as they have allowed the second-most rushing yards in the league.  Not to mention he totaled 175 scrimmage yards against Denver back in week 4 and it puts Hunt in an excellent spot to duplicate that performance and perhaps exceed value on both sites.

David Johnson: vs SF (DK 6700; FD 7300)

Things can only go up from here with offensive coordinator Mike McCoy removed from the equation.  Byron Leftwich has witnessed what David Johnson is capable of as the quarterbacks coach under Bruce Arians before his promotion to offensive coordinator.  If anything, he should make the gameplan as easy as possible for Josh Rosen and heavily rely on his prized running back.  Hopefully that starts against a 49ers defense that’s given up the 7th most FPA to the running back position.  The price is low enough to take a gamble on DJ with a Cardinals team that should be reinvigorated after the OC change and 10 days to prepare for this game.

WIDE RECEIVER

Antonio Brown: vs CLE (DK 8500; FD 8800)

From a real-life perspective, the 9th year receiver is putting together another solid campaign.  From a fantasy perspective, there are those that feel like Antonio Brown is having a down year as he has produced 222 fewer yards than last year through six games.  However, the targets and the touchdowns have been there and this week, he faces a Cleveland secondary that has surrendered the 3rd most FPA to receivers lined up on the left side of the ball and the 7th most FPA to receivers lined up on the right side.  The Browns have been effective in shutting down slot receivers which gives JuJu Smith-Schuster the tougher matchup of the two which further bodes well for Brown to put together another strong outing.

A.J. Green: vs TB (DK 8000; FD 8800)

Tyler Boyd: vs TB (DK 6700; FD 6800)

Starting each team’s #1 wide receiver against Tampa Bay has yielded excellent results this year as they are averaging 23.06 FPPG in PPR scoring.  A.J. Green should carve up this depleted Buccaneers secondary rather easily and he is slightly discounted on DraftKings.  M.J. Stewart will be someone we continuously target each week as Jarvis Landry posted a 20.7 FD/25.7 DK point performance last week under Stewart’s coverage.  Tyler Boyd will greatly benefit opposite the struggling slot corner and provides extra salary relief compared to Green.

Doug Baldwin: at DET (DK 5500; FD 6400)

Amazingly, Tyler Lockett is priced high than Doug Baldwin on FanDuel, even after Baldwin played his best game of the year with a 6/91/0 clip.  A lot of fantasy owners and experts in the industry have soured on him as he has dealt with a knee injury that has lingered since the end of the preseason.  After two weeks of rest since the matchup in London, his knee has had additional time to recover and it sets up well as he lines up against Teez Tabor.  Tabor, a cornerback filling in for the injured James Agnew and one that has struggled in his first two seasons in the league, will have his hands full with Baldwin who lines up in the slot on 70% of his snaps.  Don’t let the FanDuel pricing cause confusion, he is indeed Russell Wilson’s preferred receiver and it should show in this juicy matchup.  

Anthony Miller: vs NYJ (DK 3400; FD 5200)

He saw seven targets which is the most he has seen in a game thus far and played a season-high 63% of the offensive snaps against the Patriots.  It aligns well for Anthony Miller to be a cheap option that can return value with a few catches and a touchdown against a Jets secondary that has been horrendous against slot receivers.  Adam Thielen, Jarvis Landry, and Golden Tate are among a few of the receivers that have feasted on this weakness that has allowed the 3rd most FPA to the slot.  At the time of this writing, Allen Robinson missed Thursday’s practice and if he were to be inactive on Sunday, it puts Miller in an amazing spot to see additional snaps and targets at a bargain bin price.

TIGHT END

Travis Kelce: vs DEN (DK 6800; FD 7300)

The Broncos have been fortunate to play the Jets, Cardinals, and Rams in the last three weeks, all offenses that don’t utilize the tight end as much as the Chiefs.  Travis Kelce shredded Denver in week 4 to the tune of 9/137/1 and is certainly worthy of being the highest-priced tight end on the main slate.  To pay up for him means paying down elsewhere but the Denver defense hasn’t improved from their struggles last year against tight ends.  Kelce should certainly prove this for the second time this year.

David Njoku: at PIT (DK 4600; FD 5700) 

5.5 catches for 57 yards and .5 touchdowns off 8.75 targets; this is what David Njoku has averaged since Baker Mayfield assumed the starting duties back in week 4.   The connection was notable in the preseason and it has blossomed into a reliable weapon for Mayfield.  The Steelers allow the second most targets to tight ends and hemorrhage yardage to the position.  Njoku is right at that point where he will be considered expensive with another solid outing.  While he’s fairly priced on FanDuel, if all goes according to plan, he will be above $5000 and $6000 on each respective site next week against the Chiefs.

O.J. Howard: at CIN (DK 3900; FD 5800)

Jameis Winston has been known to favor the tight end position and that hasn’t changed in the two games since returning from suspension.  O.J. Howard has been the main beneficiary as he has seen 13 targets compared to Cameron Brate’s five and played 60% of the snaps vs Brate’s 38%.  Up next for Howard is a date with a Bengals defense that allows the most targets to tight ends and surrenders the 4th most FPA to the position in PPR scoring.  He’s priced generously on DraftKings and is a solid option to find the end zone and return value as the Bengals have given up four touchdowns to tight ends.

DEFENSE

Chicago: vs NYJ (DK 4100; FD 5000)

Fantasy defenses against the Jets have forced multiple turnovers in all but one game and have scored double digit fantasy points in four of seven games.  Tom Brady has carved up many of the best defenses in his career; don’t let that deter you from starting the best defense on the main slate this week.

Kansas City: vs DEN (DK 2600; FD 3900)

For as bad as the Kansas City defense has performed on the road, giving up 33.25 points per game while averaging 3.25 fantasy points, it’s been much better at Arrowhead, giving up just 17 points per game while averaging 13.33 fantasy points.  While the Broncos have yet to lose a fumble, Case Keenum has been prone to the pick, having thrown at least one in every game thus far.  The Chiefs have won the last six games against their divisional foe giving up an average of 19.33 points.  There’s plenty of defenses in the $2600 and below category on DraftKings this week; this is surprisingly one of the better options.

Pittsburgh: vs CLE (DK 2300; FD 3800)

The Browns are averaging two turnovers a game since Baker Mayfield took over as starting quarterback while the Steelers force 1.33 turnovers per game along with getting to the quarterback 3.5 times.  Pittsburgh comes off a bye and certainly comes into this game angry from an unprecedented tie back in week 1.  

PRICE SHOPPING

Each week, I will identify what players are bargains based on the salary cap percentage difference they represent on the respective site.  Here are the notable week 8 bargains from both sites:

NOTABLE DRAFTKINGS BARGAINS

QB Jared Goff: 2.16

QB Aaron Rodgers: 1.73

WR Anthony Miller: 1.86 

TE O.J. Howard: 1.86

TE Jimmy Graham: 1.26

NOTABLE FANDUEL BARGAINS

RB James Connor: 1.67

RB Joe Mixon: 1.6

RB David Johnson: 1.24

WR Tyreek Hill: 4.2

WR Jarvis Landry: 3.24

WR Mike Evans: 2.6

WR Tyler Boyd: 2.07