For the uninitiated, playing daily games on DraftKings can be an enjoyable experience, but equally sobering is the fact that season-long knowledge does not always translate to success in the daily space. FootballGuys will bring you a series of value- and strategic-based selections from a number of seasoned daily veterans throughout the NFL season. Herein is another edition of “Tipandpick’s Tips and Picks,” where we will examine the salaries of players at each position on DraftKings and make value-based recommendations for both your cash games and tournaments.
Below you will find a list of recommended players for both formats. GPP players generally have high-upside, but are too risky for cash games; cash game players are consistent with high fantasy floors. In some instances, the value for a player is so strong, he may fall into both categories…let’s have a look.
CASH GAME PLAYS
Cam Newton (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $7800). With a tightening of salaries for their marquis event, the Fantasy Football World Championship, DraftKings has made choosing quarterbacks a bit more challenging in Week 15. Cam Newton is a strong option as a cash game quarterback because he gets an opportunity to take advantage of a New York Giants secondary that is allowing 20.6 DraftKings points per game to the quarterback position, which ranks 27th in the league; the fact that the Giants rank that poorly is not surprising, considering no team has allowed more passing yards per game (308.4), including 300-yard performances in three of their previous four games. Newton is generally a do-it-all type of quarterback, but he could be asked to do even more this week with his primary running back, Jonathan Stewart, missing this game due to a foot injury; a combination of Fozzy Whittaker, Cameron Artis-Payne, and Mike Tolbert will handle the rushing duties, but it will be Newton who acts as the spark plug to get this Panthers offense firing. Newton is averaging ~ 28 fantasy points per game over the past month, a number that would be higher if not for blowouts against the Cowboys and Falcons, where Ron Rivera called off the dogs; this weekend, the Giants' offense should be able to keep the game competitive, which should keep Newton fully involved for 60 minutes to maximize his fantasy numbers.
Philip Rivers (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $5500). If you are high on more expensive players at other positions this week, you might consider Philip Rivers as your cash game quarterback at a modest $5,500 salary. In truth, rostering Rivers for cash games will not inspire a lot of confidence, as the Chargers offense has scored only a field goal in three of their past four games, but those games were against the Chiefs (twice) and the Broncos, both of whom boast top-end defensive units. This week, the Chargers will face-off against a far less talented opponent, the Miami Dolphins, who are coming off a short week of preparation and field the league's 31st ranked pass defense (FootballOutsiders' DVOA metric). The Chargers should lean heavily on Rivers to carve through this Miami secondary that has allowed 11 passing touchdowns over the past month, particularly in light of how feeble the Chargers' rushing attack has been this season (79.7 rushing yards per game; 31st in NFL). The Dolphins are allowing an average of 19.9 fantasy points to the QB position this season, which would more than exceed the 16 fantasy points needed for Rivers to reach cash game value. One more thing: Rivers is a great GPP play this week because he will be extremely underowned due to recency bias...he has 30-point upside (that he has achieved five times this season), so do not overlook him in GPP formats.
Also eligible: Russell Wilson ($7000)
Adrian Peterson (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $7100). Adrian Peterson is once again the league's leading rusher and has been dominant in games where the Vikings are playing with a lead. In fact, the Vikings have won 8 games this season and Peterson has 100+ all-purpose yards in 7 of those games, including touching the ball an average of 26.3 times in each contest. This weekend, the Vikings find themselves in the thick of a playoff battle and will host the Chicago Bears, who field the league's worst rush defense (FootballOutsiders' DVOA metric) that has allowed a whopping 4.7 yards per carry this season. Since entering the league in 2007, Peterson has faced the Bears on 13 different occasions and has piled up some impressive numbers in those outings--his average statline against the Bears is 23 carries for 115 yards and a touchdown (~ 21 fantasy points per game), which would reach the 3x multiplier needed to hit cash game value this weekend. That said, I expect significantly more in this matchup because of the probable run-heavy gamescript (Minnesota is a 5.5-point favorite) and the fact that the Vikings rarely throw the ball (31st in number of passing attempts).
Brandon Bolden (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $3200). The one glaring value play on DraftKings this week comes from New England after LeGarrette Blount was placed on the injured reserve list on Monday, a day after DraftKings released their Week 15 salaries. Brandon Bolden is the next-in-line RB1 on the Patriots, now that both Dion Lewis and LeGarrette Blount have been lost to season-ending injuries; last week, Bolden saw 16 carries (for 51 yards) in relief of Blount, indicating that Bill Belichick sees Bolden, not James White, as the heir-apparent to Blount. You will want a piece of the Patriots offense this week because they are playing at home as 14-point favorites with an implied team total of 31 points against the Titans; Bolden would appear to be the safest bet to reach cash game value because his salary is just too low for a running back expected to touch the ball 16-18 times under those circumstances. Some DFS players will be scared away from Bolden because they cannot trust Belichick to be consistent from week to week, but there are too many rushing opportunities and too few Patriots' running backs for Belichick to do anything too crazy this Sunday; play Bolden with confidence in your cash games (and GPP's) because the opportunity cost is minimal and it affords you the ability to spend up at other positions.
Calvin Johnson (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $6900). Outside of Julio Jones, most of the higher-end wide receivers have situations that render them somewhat risky for cash games this week; for those reasons, I will be dropping down to the middle-tier of receivers to fill out my cash games. Against the Saints' historically bad secondary, Calvin Johnson is in a prime position to bounce back from one of the worst games of his career last week, when he caught a single pass for 16 yards. Johnson will line up across from Brandon Browner, who has allowed 713 receiving yards (6th worst in the league) and an opposing QB rating of 105.6 while in coverage this season (ProFootballFocus). The Vegas total on this game has been set at 51 points, which is the highest on the entire Week 15 slate and a good indication that we should expect a barrage of scoring; in these instances, it makes a lot of sense to get some exposure to the preeminent options in each offense and Calvin Johnson is definitely that player for the Lions...at $6,900, he is $2,000-$2,500 cheaper than some of the other elite WR options, but has a better matchup and overall fantasy circumstances (i.e., gamescript, implied team total, etc.).
Jeremy Maclin (Primarily cash format, Salary: $5500). The red-hot Kansas City Chiefs will go on the road to Baltimore this weekend and look to extend their seven-game winning streak against the talent-depleted, injury-riddled Ravens. Despite the litany of injuries sustained by the Ravens on both sides of the ball, their rush defense remains strong (3.8 yards per carry); they have allowed the 5th lowest number of fantasy points to opposing running backs, a statistic that does not bode well for Charcandrick West and/or Spencer Ware. The Ravens' passing defense, however, has been gouged for 27 passing touchdowns (6th worst in the NFL) and is FootballOutsiders' 30th ranked secondary (DVOA), which argues that Alex Smith and Jeremy Maclin could be called upon quite often this weekend. After a hot start, Maclin's productivity dropped during October and November, only to heat back up again over the past three weeks, where he is averaging nearly 10 targets and 25 DraftKings points per game. Because Baltimore's defense tends to force opposing offenses to funnel their action through the air, Maclin should be heavily-involved in this effort and finish with a minimum of 15-20 fantasy points, thereby reaching cash game value on his fair $5,500 salary.
Malcom Floyd (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $3500). After scoring only three points in 75% of their games in the past month, the Chargers will look to get back on track at home against the Dolphins on Sunday. They will, however, have to do it without Steve Johnson, who will miss his second consecutive game due to a groin injury, which means that Malcom Floyd will inherit the WR1 role in the Chargers offense; as the WR1 last week against a strong Chiefs coverage unit, Floyd saw 9 targets, but only hauled in 3 of them for 56 yards (8.6 DraftKings points). This weekend is different for two reasons: 1) Floyd will line up primarily across from Brent Grimes, one of ProFootballFocus' worst-rated coverage cornerbacks this season (76th out of 79 qualifiers), and 2) This game will be Malcom Floyd's swan song; the veteran is retiring this season after 11 seasons with the Chargers and this will be his last game in front of the San Diego faithful--I fully expect Philip Rivers to pepper Floyd with targets and get him some looks in the redzone for that reason alone. Do not overlook Floyd as a GPP play, either...most DFS players will likely avoid the entire Chargers offense after their dismal performances over the past month, but this Sunday is a much more optimal situation for them to succeed.
Antonio Gates (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $4600). If you have not yet realized it, I am high on the Chargers passing game this weekend, as Antonio Gates marks the third option in San Diego's offense that has appeared in the cash game section of this article. Because of the ineptitude of the Chargers' offense over the past month, their players' salaries remain very affordable on a week where DraftKings tightened up their salaries for the FFWC; as a result, some of the best value plays come from this Chargers' offense, including Antonio Gates, who will be Philip Rivers' top target on Sunday with an inactive Steve Johnson and Ladarius Green being highly questionable to suit up. In the two games that Steve Johnson has missed recently, Gates was targeted a total of 17 times and pulled in 12 of those for 126 yards (12.3 fantasy points per game); expect more of the same this weekend against the Dolphins, who have been soundly beaten by every above-average tight end they have faced this season. The only caveat to playing these Chargers' players is that you do not want to overexpose yourself to any one team, so I would advocate a position where you have no more than two of the three Chargers I recommended on any given cash game roster, in the event that something strange happens (i.e., two early defensive touchdowns for San Diego, which minimizes the need to throw the ball, etc.).
Heath Miller (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $3700). A week after missing a game due to a rib injury, Heath Miller returned to catch all 10 of his targets against the Bengals last week en route to a 16.8 DraftKings point performance. It is very possible that we see a similar statline this weekend against the stingy Broncos' defense; the Broncos rank first, second, and third in run defense, pass rush, and pass coverage, respectively, on ProFootballFocus and allow the fewest points per game (17.3) of any team in the league. So why should we target Heath Miller? ...because nearly every other player on the team has a poor personnel matchup except for Miller. Antonio Brown will line up across from Bradley Roby, Martavis Bryant will see Aqib Talib, and Markus Wheaton will be covered by Chris Harris, all of which are very tough matchups for Ben Roethlisberger's receivers; DeAngelo Williams will certainly get his opportunities, but his work will be cut out for him against a defensive front that is allowing a league-low 3.3 yards per carry. That only leaves Miller, who could become Roethlisberger's safety blanket against the Broncos, who lead the league in sacks; the Broncos rank 24th in the league in defending the tight end position and have yielded three touchdowns to tight ends over their previous four games. All of these factors suggest that Heath Miller should be a key component of the Steelers offense that is projected to score 25 points on Sunday.
Also eligible: Zach Ertz ($3200)
Seahawks (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $4200). This one is a no-brainer, if you have the salary available. Winners of four straight, the Seahawks return home to take advantage of the "Twelfth Man" against a Johnny Manziel-led Browns team that has lost seven of its last eight games. Manziel, however, did lead the Browns to victory last week, albeit against an even worse 49ers team; that victory proved costly, however, as the Browns lost their best wide receiver, Brian Hartline, to a collarbone injury for the remainder of the season. Now Manziel will be asked to mount an offensive attack with Travis Benjamin, Terrelle Pryor, and Gary Barnidge in Seattle against one of the league's best defenses that has allowed only 13 points over their previous two games. As 14-point underdogs, the Browns will call Manziel's number often on Sunday and the young quarterback is prone to trying to do too much at times...if he falls into that trap against this defense in this stadium, a defensive score is not just possible, but probable.
Patriots (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $3700). For many of the same reasons as described for the Seahawks above, you might also consider the New England Patriots at home against the Tennessee Titans for your cash games this weekend. After back-to-back losses to Denver and Philadelphia, the Patriots bounced back last weekend in Houston, allowing only 6 points to the Texans, collecting 6 sacks and 15 fantasy points along the way. The Patriots' front seven should experience similar success against the Titans, who have allowed the second most sacks (44) in the league this year and will be without their best wide receiver, Kendall Wright, due to a rib injury. Realistically, only Delanie Walker serves as a threat to this defense and he will not be able to carry the Titans offense by himself, as suggested by the low 16-point Vegas' implied team total for the Titans.
Carson Palmer (Salary: $7000). Having hit the 300-yard threshold in five of his last six games, Carson Palmer gets a plush matchup against the Eagles, who have yielded the second most fantasy points to the quarterback position, including 30-fantasy point performances in three of their past four games. Only the Panthers have scored more points per game (31.6 versus 31.2) and Vegas projects the Cardinals to score nearly four touchdowns in this effort. Somewhat surprisingly, the Eagles are projected to keep pace with the Cardinals, which could result in a back-and-forth scoring fest between these two very capable offenses. The risk with rostering Palmer is that Bruce Arians decides to ground the ball with David Johnson against an equally susceptible Eagles' defensive front, but that possibility will keep Palmer's ownership levels reasonable, particularly when DFS players can have the red-hot Russell Wilson at the same price point. Larry Fitzgerald is the stacking option that most will gravitate towards, but his matchup against Malcolm Jenkins is not ideal, so I will be rolling with John Brown (below) and/or Michael Floyd, both of whom have high ceilings in a potential shootout.
Drew Brees (Salary: $6600). Any time Drew Brees is playing at home, he should be considered for GPP lineups because of how differently he plays at the Superdome; this season, Brees is averaging a pedestrian 16.8 fantasy points per game as a visiting quarterback, but that number jumps to 27.7 fantasy points per game at home. This matchup against the Lions has the highest Vegas game total on the week with a somewhat tight spread (Saints are only a 3-point favorite), which sets up well for a shootout; Matt Stafford should have zero problems slicing through the Saints secondary and scoring at will, which should cause Brees to keep his foot on the gas for a full 60-minutes. The Lions' top-end coverage cornerback, Darius Slay, is the only legitimate reason to fade Brees, but Brees is a deadly-accurate, savvy veteran who will easily find the open receiver that is not covered by Slay (likely Willie Snead, Marques Colston, and Ben Watson). Lastly, Brees will be underowned because a lot of DFS players will be searching for value and finding it with Tim Hightower at $3,900, thereby swaying them away from the Saints' passing attack.
Brock Osweiler (Salary: $5100). A lot of things are in favor of a big performance from Brock Osweiler this week. First, he faces a Steelers team that can score points against the best defenses in the league, including Arizona (25), Seattle (30), and Cincinnati (33); their ability to score points forces opposing offenses to try to do the same, leading to high-scoring affairs (Steelers' games have averaged 57.8 points over the past five weeks). Next, the folks in Denver are growing restless with the Broncos offense over the past few weeks because, despite their talented receiving crew, Denver has only mustered a single passing touchdown in their most recent pair of games; if Osweiler does not perform this week against a Steelers defense that is ranked 30th in the league in pass coverage (ProFootballFocus), he could very well give back the starting job to Peyton Manning, who is making good progress and could return to the field soon, if needed. The Steelers have allowed four out of their last five opponents to accumulate 300 passing yards, which is also a good indicator that Osweiler could be in store for a nice fantasy day.
Eddie Lacy (Salary: $5200). Eddie Lacy is quietly regaining his form as a top-end RB1 in Green Bay. Over the past month, Lacy has 20+ touches and 100-rushing yards in every game except for Week 13 against the Lions, where he was punishing by Head Coach Mike McCarthy for missing a team curfew the night prior to that game; otherwise, Lacy has been downright dominant, in terms of volume (23 touches per game) and production (131 all-purpose yards per game) over that time frame. This Sunday, Lacy will face-off against the Oakland Raiders, who have stymied running backs for the past month, but those games were against far less-talented running backs (Ronnie Hillman, Antonio Andrews, and Joique Bell to name a few); when the Raiders faced DeAngelo Williams and Adrian Peterson in Weeks 9 and 10, they yielded 30+ DraftKings points to both backs, a number that is in line with what Lacy could produce if everything falls into place this week. At a fair $5,200 salary, Lacy would need to surpass the 100-yard plateau and to score a touchdown to reach GPP value, which seems entirely reasonable given his implied volume and plus matchup.
Jeremy Hill (Salary: $5000). With rookie A.J. McCarron running the offense against a bad 49ers team on the road, Hue Jackson is likely going to lean upon his running backs a bit more than usual to prevent McCarron from making too many mistakes that could otherwise result in a loss to a very beatable team. Only the Saints allow more yardage on the ground than the 49ers, which makes both Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard interesting fodder for GPP's in Week 15; of those options, my preference is to roster Hill, who has seen 17.6 touches per game over the Bengals past five wins, but only 10.7 touches per game over their past three losses. In short, it pays to roster Hill when the Bengals win...and this week, they are 6-point favorites against the Niners, which means that Hill could see 16-20 touches once again; on a dollar per touch basis, Hill could be a bargain for GPP lineups at ownership levels south of 5%.
Latavius Murray (Salary: $4500). When volume, talent, and matchup intersect, you want a piece of that action in DFS. This week, Latavius Murray gets a sweet matchup against the Packers, who are allowing the 6th most yards per carry (4.4) in the league in 2015, but do not have a reputation for having a poor rushing defense because they tend to build a lead, thereby forcing their opponents to abandon the run prematurely. The risk in rostering Murray this week is exactly that--if the Packers jump out to an early lead, the Raiders could be forced to resort to throwing the ball to Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree, rather than exploiting the mismatch between Murray and the Packers' front seven. That said, I think this is going to be a close, hard-fought game and expect to see a lot of Murray, who is only 122 rushing yards away from a 1,000-yard season...if he hits that number on Sunday, he will surely reach the 4x multiplier needed to put you in a position to win your DraftKings tournaments.
Matt Jones (Salary: $4000). Over the past two games, Matt Jones has taken over the lead running back duties in Washington, touching the ball 39 times (versus 17 times for Alfred Morris). Jones and the Redskins host the Buffalo Bills, who have not performed well against powering running backs similar to Jones' makeup; in Week 12, Spencer Ware rushed 19 times for 114 yards and a score...in Week 10, Chris Ivory touched the ball 20 times and picked up 135 all-purpose yards. Enter Matt Jones, a 6'2", 230-pound bruiser, who runs with a punishing style similar to Ware and Ivory. If Jones can manage to get 16-20 touches for the third consecutive game, he could legitimately surpass the 100-yard threshold needed to pick up DraftKings' 3-point bonus...and if he adds a touchdown in the process, this $4,000 running back would have surpassed 5x value for his salary. Jones will be 1-2% owned because most DFS players will slide down to Tim Hightower at $3,900 or even Brandon Bolden at $3,200 to save additional salary...Dernard Robinson will steal most attention above Jones at $4,600, further camouflaging him from the masses.
Demaryius Thomas (Salary: $6800). In Brock Osweiler's four starts, Demaryius Thomas has 41 targets...18 more than any other receiver. Expect that trend to continue this week when the Steelers, 5th in the league in sacks, pressure Osweiler and force him to get rid of the ball quickly to Thomas. Once in the secondary, the Steelers' defensive prowess drops dramatically; the Steelers are ProFootballFocus' 30th ranked pass coverage unit and are allowing more passing yardage per game than the infamous New Orleans Saints' secondary. Thomas has multiple touchdown upside on any given Sunday and this matchup is arguably one of the best matchups he has had all season because the Steelers do not field a cornerback that can keep up with him on every play. Furthermore, the Steelers should have zero difficulties shutting down Ronnie Hillman and/or the oft-injured C.J. Anderson, which means that the Broncos should focus their offensive efforts through the air...do not be surprised if Demaryius Thomas ends this game with 15+ targets.
Randall Cobb (Salary: $6300). With Mike McCarthy calling the plays in Green Bay, Randall Cobb touched the ball a season-high 11 times last week against the Cowboys. The talented young receiver is leading all Packers with 111 targets this season, yet has only six touchdowns, which is less than both James Jones and Richard Rodgers; on a pass-heavy team with his voluminous role, Cobb could be expected to experience some positive scoring regression in the near future. Cobb also gets a plus matchup against the Raiders' Travis Carrie, who is one of ProFootballFocus' lower-ranked coverage cornerbacks this season, including back-to-back-to-back negative coverage ratings over his most recent three games. Because he has only score 30 fantasy points one time all season, Cobb is going to be underowned once again this week...this is a prime spot for him to break out of a bit of a funk and very few people would have them in their rosters.
Jarvis Landry (Salary: $6300). When the Dolphins want to toss the pigskin on Sunday, they will have to do it with primarily with Jarvis Landry. Landry runs the vast majority (~ 75%) of his routes from the slot and should face an untested rookie (Craig Mager) in almost all of those routes; Mager got his first start last week after the Chargers' Brandon Flowers was lost to a season-ending injury in Week 13. Some have suggested that the Chargers will consider moving their best coverage cornerback, Jason Verrett, inside to the slot position to man-up against Landry, but history does not jibe with that speculation, as Verrett very rarely covers slot receivers. So how does this play out? My expectation is that the Chargers come out fired up to play and put points on the board against the Dolphins porous secondary (see comments on various Chargers in the cash game section of this article); if that happens, the Dolphins will not be able to utilize Lamar Miller as much as they might otherwise wish, thereby forcing Ryan Tannehill to find open receivers...the primary of which will be Jarvis Landry. Ordinarily, Landry is not a great GPP play because his is not a big redzone target, but I think this week could be the exception.
John Brown (Salary: $4900). Carson Palmer and the Cardinals travel east to take on the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday night football in what could be a high-flying affair. Over the course of the season, the Eagles allow nearly 25 points per game on defense, but have been especially leaky over the past month, where they have allowed an astounding 34.5 points per game. Bruce Arians will have his choice of matchups to exploit, as the Eagles will have a difficult time slowing down David Johnson and the rush attack, but the Eagles are equally poorly-suited to stop the Cards' passing game...only Larry Fitzgerald has a negative matchup against Malcolm Jenkins, the Eagles' best coverage cornerback; meanwhile, Michael Floyd and John Brown will face-off against free agent bust, Byron Maxwell, and rookie Eric Rowe, neither of whom can adequately cover these Cardinals' speedy receivers. Earlier in the season when both Floyd and Brown were dealing with injuries, Fitzgerald was handling much of the receiving duties (i.e., targets) in Phoenix, but as Floyd and Brown have returned and are nearing 100%, we have seen a shift of targets away from Fitzgerald and towards the two younger receivers. This week, both are in play in GPP formats, but Brown gets the nod here because of his big-play ability.
Robert Woods (Salary: $3800). Tyrod Taylor and the Buffalo Bills have been running a successful read-option offense for most of the year, where Sammy Watkins tends to stretch the field, while Taylor looks to Charles Clay and/or Robert Woods for underneath routes; this week will be different, however, as Charles Clay will be inactive, meaning that Woods should benefit from additional targets in the passing game. Over their past five games, Woods has been enjoying similar volume to Watkins (35 versus 39 targets, respectively), but Watkins gets all of the DFS attention because of his big play ability and the fact that he is the undisputed WR1 in that offense; that said, Robert Woods is quietly becoming more embedded in this offense each week and, without Charles Clay, could see even more action in Week 15. At $3,800, Woods needs only ~ 14 fantasy points to reach GPP value, which is entirely plausible given the volume he should see in Clay's absence this Sunday.
Greg Olsen (Salary: $6900). This one is fairly easy to justify--only the Saints have yielded more fantasy points to the tight end position than Greg Olsen's Week 15 opponent, the New York Giants. Olsen is coming off a disappointing 3 catch for 52-yards game, particularly in light of the fact that his team scored 38 points in that matchup, but he was banged up (knee) in that effort and was pulled early because of the lead the Panthers had built by that point in the game. Meanwhile, names like Ted Ginn Jr, Jerricho Cotchery, Ed Dickson, and Corey Brown have been scoring touchdowns; this week, I expect to see a return to normalcy with the Panthers offense and believe that we will see Greg Olsen score a touchdown...possibly two against a Giants team that just cannot cover the tight end position.
Vernon Davis (Salary: $3300). Since arriving to Denver in Week 9, Vernon Davis has been slowly integrating himself into the Broncos offense. The veteran tight end had his best game of the season last week against the Raiders, catching 7 passes for 74 yards (on 9 targets), but dropped a key 4th and 5 pass that would have likely sent the game into overtime and given the Broncos a chance to win. Against the Steelers, Davis will be looking to atone for that misstep and it would not be surprising to see Brock Osweiler target the big tight end 8-12 times again this week in a game that projects to be high-scoring. Davis should see as many targets as Emmanuel Sanders, but is offered up at a 40% discount, so I am recommending him as a cheaper option to Demaryius Thomas, assuming you want a piece of the Broncos' passing attack against a bad Steelers secondary.
Cardinals (Salary: $3900). The Arizona Cardinals defense represents the perfect GPP play this weekend for a number of reasons: 1) Vegas projects the Eagles to score 24 points, which will scare most DFS players away, 2) The Seahawks, Chiefs, and Patriots all have better matchups on paper at a similar price point, which (again) will keep ownership levels for Arizona low, and 3) the Cardinals present a lot of mismatches for the Eagles offense, which could result in turnovers and/or defense scores. A bit more about the last point...Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu are two of the better coverage cornerbacks in the league and will have little problems shutting down the likes of Jordan Matthews and Nelson Agholor; the Cardinals boast the league's second best rush defense (FootballOutsiders' DVOA metric), yielding only 87.7 rushing yards per game, which should be enough to negate any contributions from the already underperforming Eagles' rush attack. In sum, there just is not a lot to like about the Eagles' offensive upside on Sunday night and the likelihood of a Sam Bradford pick-six is above-average, given the likely gamescript.
Texans (Salary: $2500). Against the Jaguars last Sunday, Matt Hasselbeck left the game twice due to injuries; until Friday, he was highly-questionable to play this weekend against the Texans, but it appears that he will give it a go in a must-win for both teams vying for the AFC South title. This game does not set up well for the Colts offense--the Texans have one of the better pass defenses in the league, allowing the 3rd fewest passing yards per game (216.6); likewise, Houston boasts ProFootballFocus' 7th ranked rush defense, which should be enough to contain a meager Frank Gore-based rush attack. If the Texans can log a few hits on Hasselbeck early, we could end up seeing Charlie Whitehurst lead the Colts offense, which would not end well for Colts' fans, but could end well for DFS players who rostered the Texans defense. Either way, the Texans defense is a viable play for GPP's and represents solid value at a pedestrian $2,500 salary.
Jaguars (Salary: $2000). Fresh off a fiery 23 fantasy point performance last week against the Colts, the Jaguars get another cushy matchup against a lifeless Falcons offense in Jacksonville. The Falcons have dropped six in a row and are averaging only 14.3 points per game over that span. Meanwhile, the Jags boast one of the better rush defenses in the league (3.6 yards per carry; 3rd in the NFL), which should be enough to contain DeVonta Freeman, whose fantasy stock has fallen dramatically over the past six weeks. The only player who could hurt the Jags defense is Julio Jones, who could conceivably put up big numbers, but at $2,000, the opportunity cost and risk is minimal, as the Jags need only 8 fantasy points to reach GPP value...with Matt Ryan averaging over one interception per game, the Jags could hit that mark with a single pick-six.
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