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.
In order to help you build winning rosters, let's walk through some of the observations that I have made while doing my research for DraftKings this week. As you build out your lineups on DraftKings, try to consider the following commentary, which revolves around game strategy and how we will want to take advantage of what the masses are doing when they construct their own lineups.
CASH GAME TIPS
TRUST THE PROCESS: Here, you will always get the stone-cold truth. It is not en vogue for a so-called "tout" to admit when he loses, but my last two weeks have snake-bitten and resulted in some very poor performances. Two weeks ago, I wrote up names like Jay Ajayi, Derrick Henry, Kelvin Benjamin, and Darren Sproles, all of whom suffered injuries that caused them to leave the game. Last week, it was more of the same; Dalvin Cook was on his way to a big day when he left the game (and the season) with an ACL tear, while Jordan Matthews broke his thumb, Marquise Goodwin got a concussion, and Julio Jones suffered a hip flexor injury. Each of those injuries ended the respective player's day despite solid starts. Waking up Monday morning, you can (and should) sometimes second-guess the decisions that led you to lose on any given week. When you find yourself going through that process on consecutive weeks, it is not an enviable exercise. That said, you have to be able to separate the results from the decisions. If Julio Jones stays healthy throughout last week's game, there is virtually no way that I finish in the 55th percentile in all of my double-ups on FanDuel (all of which were losers); if Jay Ajayi does not get hurt early against the Jets in Week #3, allowing Miami to fall behind early and abandon the running game, my DraftKings' rosters would have likely finished with an extra 10-15 points that week; if Marquise Goodwin does not get concussed last week, he likely finishes with the volume that Aldrick Robinson compiled against the coverage I described in last week's article (12 targets)...and so on. The point is this: Sometimes we miss and the analysis was wrong. There is no shame in missing...just learn from those mistakes. But understand if you truly missed the analysis or if you simply were the victim of the highly volatile nature of the sport. If you were truly the victim of something truly unpredictable (injuries, gamescript changes due to defensive touchdowns, etc.), just put it behind you and get onto the next week because losing sleep over unpredictable phenomena is a waste of time.
BUILDING CONTRARIAN ROSTERS: There should be little dispute that Le'Veon Bell and Todd Gurley will be the highest-owned plays on the DraftKings board in tournaments this weekend. Both are in pristine matchups and appear to be the surest things going on this Week #5 slate. Because both are pricey, however, rostering one (or both) of them is going to create a roster imbalance that will leave you looking to skimp at other positions. The bulk of tournament rosters on DraftKings this week will start with one of these running backs and build around them; if you want to create a contrarian lineup that is diversified from the masses, start by 'spending up' at QB or WR instead. Doing so will naturally force you to roster players that those Bell and Gurley owners simply cannot afford; likewise, by spending up at those alternative positions, you will likely not be able to get Bell or Gurley into your lineups without being compelled to fill out the remainder of your lineups with minimum-priced, low-upside players. There is no dispute that getting Bell and Gurley into your lineups is an attractive prospect, but if we have learned anything over the previous few weeks, it is that anything is possible and either of those running backs could finish with far less than the 30+ points they would require to justify their placement in 30% of GPP rosters.
CONTEST SELECTION: Assuming you read last week's edition of "Tips and Picks," you saw my commentary about the rapidly-rising rake across the DFS industry. I made a point of saying that I would be decreasing my level of play until the rake returned to previous levels and/or I would only play in contests where I believed the rake to be at a level whereby it is possible to win over the long-term. Because I believe strongly in that premise, I am writing about it again this week. There are plenty of tournaments on DraftKings where the rake is more reasonable (i.e., < 14%) and you should be seeking those out, rather than playing in those GPPs that are raking at 16%. The 2% difference does not sound like a lot, but it makes a world of difference in your long-term returns. Continue to seek out lower-rake contests (both cash and GPP) and make them a priority--do not get lazy and haphazardly enter contests without checking for the rake/payout structure because you will quickly learn that your bankroll will head in the wrong direction. Please take note.
Let's take a deeper look into some of the players who I will be targeting for my cash game and tournament rosters this weekend. There is little difference in terms of strength of selection between those players who have text to justify their appearance in this article versus those in the "also eligible" section; all are strong plays in their respective categories, but time and space restrictions do not allow for expansive written summaries of every player listed.
CASH GAME PICKS
Aaron Rodgers (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $8,100). If you can jam Aaron Rodgers into your cash game lineups this weekend, he represents the quarterback with the highest floor and the highest ceiling in his matchup against the Dallas Cowboys. The Packers will be without Ty Montgomery due to broken ribs suffered against the Bears, leaving Green Bay with a pair of rookies (Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams) to split time out of the backfield. Look for the Packers to mix in these young running backs in short-yardage situations and to set up the passing game, but the lack of depth and experience at the position will likely result in increased action from Aaron Rodgers. Aside from their opening game where they stymied Eli Manning and the Giants' passing game, the Cowboys have been gouged through the air this season, allowing an average of 270.3 passing yards and 2.7 touchdowns per game to the likes of Trevor Siemian, Carson Palmer, and Jared Goff, none of whom hold a candle to Rodgers' play-making ability. Off to an astounding start, Rodgers posted three consecutive 300+ yard performances before a four-touchdown game against the Bears last Thursday night. Rodgers posted those gaudy numbers despite missing his talented starting tackles (David Bakhtiari and Bryan Bulaga), both of whom are expected to return to play together for the first time this season. Add in a plus gamescript (3-point underdogs in the highest-scoring game of the week) and this is a prime situation for Rodgers to continue his torrid start to the 2017 season.
Josh McCown (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $4,500). You will probably want to do just about anything to get Le'Veon Bell into your cash game lineups this weekend for the reasons described in the next paragraph...and that could feasibly include rostering a quarterback from the Jets. On any other week, the notion of rostering a Jets quarterback in cash games might render one nauseous, but there is good reason to give it consideration this weekend. First, building a cash game roster that you like on DraftKings this week is near-impossible--the salaries are just too tight and you will be forced to take a few chances at some place(s) on your roster. Since the quarterback position is the least variant of all positions in football DFS, there is logic to punting the position to ensure that you can afford the lofty salaries of Le'Veon Bell and Todd Gurley, both of whom look to be in pristine spots for maximal fantasy production. Of the potential punt plays at quarterback, Josh McCown is my favorite to surpass 15+ DraftKings points because of his matchup and likely gamescript. First, only three teams in the league have allowed more points to the position than the Browns, who McCown will face on Sunday. Next, the Browns are solid up front, having allowed only 3.0 yards per carry this season against better running backs than they will see in the Jets backfield; this should force the Jets' coaching staff to air the ball out against a secondary that has allowed every opposing quarterback to score 15+ DraftKings points this season. Lastly, I think the Browns will tally their first win of 2017 in this game, which would imply that McCown will be throwing late in the game to try to close the gap in the score.
Also eligible: Dak Prescott ($6,800)
Le'Veon Bell (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $9,500). As I discussed on this week's edition of the PowerGrid, there is an opportunity cost associated with rostering Le'Veon Bell on DraftKings this weekend. His position in your lineup will occupy 11% of your roster spots, but nearly 20% of your allotted salary, which creates an imbalance for the remainder of your roster whereby you have to seek out value players who you perceive to be safe, which is not an easy task when DraftKings has priced everybody so tightly again this week. That said, it can be done and you should give the utmost consideration to Bell as the anchor of your cash game lineups because his implied volume, gamescript, and matchup are all heavily in his favor. First, Bell is finally in mid-season form after a slow start; he did not score through the first two weeks, but has found the endzone in consecutive games and finished out last week with a massive 39-touch, 37.6-point performance against the Ravens. Next, the Steelers are 8-point home favorites over the visiting Jaguars, which also indicates heavy usage near the end of the game assuming it plays out as Vegas projects. Lastly, the matchup is perfect; the Jaguars boast an incredible secondary headlined by Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye, two of the younger, more talented coverage cornerbacks in the league, but have been giving up rushing yardage in droves through the first month of the season. Entering this week, Jacksonville has the #1 ranked DVOA pass defense, but is dead-last in DVOA rush defensive rankings due to the 5.8 yards per carry that they have allowed to opposing running backs, a list that does not contain a running back that is close to the talent level of Le'Veon Bell.
Wayne Gallman or Thomas Rawls (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $3,900 & $3,700). In line with getting Le'Veon Bell into your cash game lineups, you are going to need to save money elsewhere and you can accomplish that goal by rostering a cheap running back who is expected to see decent volume against an inferior rush defense. Your choices include Thomas Rawls against the Rams and/or Wayne Gallman against the Chargers. Rawls should get first crack at the Seahawks' starting job vacated when the previous starter, Chris Carson, landed on the injured reserve with a broken leg last week. Gallman is the beneficiary of a slew of poor running back play in the Giants backfield and will get a shot at earning the job after showing signs of competence last week in limited action; our Matt Waldman stylistically compares him to DeMarco Murray and expects him to secure the job, as well as the 16+ touches that come with it each week. Both running backs have plus matchups, as Rawls faces the Rams' 24th ranked DVOA rush defense and Gallman will see the Chargers' 18th rated anti-rush unit; these defenses enter Week #5 having allowed the 3rd and 2nd most rushing yards (behind Jacksonville) on the entire season. Both the Seahawks and the Giants have similar implied team totals, although Gallman's gamescript is arguably a tad better due to the Giants being slight home favorites. There will undoubtedly be questions on Twitter regarding which of these backs is more preferable for cash games and there is no clear answer, so my advice is to make two cash game lineups with Bell and place Rawls into one of them and Gallman into the other to diversify your risk while maximizing your upside.
**Sunday morning update: Ian Rapoport is reporting that Eddie Lacy will get the start for the Seahawks today over Thomas Rawls. This obviously is a downgrade for Rawls in cash game formats; stick with Gallman for the reasons described. I do not recommend jamming Lacy into your lineups because I still think Rawls could get plenty of playing time, but it's a risk that you should not take in cash games.*
Also eligible: Todd Gurley ($8,000)
Dez Bryant (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $6,500). After enduring a barrage of world class shadow coverage for the first month of the season, Dez Bryant finally gets a reprieve this Sunday against the Packers no-name secondary. Bryant's output has been hampered by the likes of Janoris Jenkins, Aqib Talib, Patrick Peterson, and Trumaine Johnson to this point in the season, which has caused his DraftKings salary to plummet to the lowest in recent memory. Despite the aforementioned coverage, it has not prevented Dak Prescott from throwing the ball to Bryant, as he has averaged 10 targets per game and even managed to find the endzone twice over that span. Green Bay will try to contain Bryant with a combination of the oft-beaten Damarious Randall and rookie Kevin King, who have collectively been targeted 37 times in coverage this season and allowed 23 receptions for 317 yards and a score. The gamescript also sets up perfectly for Dez, as the Packers are banged up at the running back position, which should force a lot of passing from Aaron Rodgers and his arsenal of receiving weapons in a back-and-forth contest. Add in the lack of viable secondary receivers in Dallas and Bryant looks to be a lock for double-digit targets against the softest matchup he has seen all season. He will easily be the highest-owned wide receiver in cash games on Sunday and you should be part of that group.
T.Y. Hilton (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $6,000). In a similar situation to Dez Bryant (above), T.Y. Hilton has been the victim of excellent coverage and/or poor quarterback play for 75% of his games this season. He suffered through Scott Tolzien in Week #1 while being covered by the underrated Trumaine Johnson and was later minimized by elite coverage from Patrick Peterson and Richard Sherman. In his only other game, Hilton destroyed the Browns secondary for 31.3 DraftKings points when he caught 7 passes for 153 yards and a touchdown. Hilton will face a San Francisco 49ers secondary that looked strong early in the season, as they limited two struggling pass offenses in Carolina and Seattle, but more recently showed their true colors, allowing three 100-yard receivers (Robert Woods, Sammy Watkins, and Jaron Brown) in their previous pair of games. Hilton outclasses all of those receivers and will be the focal point of the Colts offense, who will be without Jack Doyle due to a concussion suffered last week. The Colts have been unable to muster much of a ground attack under a 33-year old Frank Gore, who is averaging only 3.1 yards per carry against teams with far worse rush defenses (Seahawks/Rams) than the 12th ranked DVOA rush defense they will face on Sunday. All of this points in the direction of T.Y. Hilton, who should get all the volume he can handle against an untalented San Francisco secondary at a fair $6.0K salary.
Charles Clay (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $4,800). When Jordan Matthews left last week's game with a broken thumb, Charles Clay became the Bills' de facto number-one receiver until Matthews returns next month. Clay is the only receiver on the team with an established rapport with Tyrod Taylor, as Zay Jones is still adapting to the NFL after his first month in the league and Andre Holmes has done little between the 20's to merit Taylor's attention (5 non-redzone targets in 4 games this season). That leaves Clay as the best receiving option for a Bills team that is projected to be playing from behind this weekend in Cincinnati. The Bengals have faced only one tight end this season who is a staple in their opponents' offense; in that game, the Packers tight ends finished with 5 receptions for 64 yards and a score. With Adam Jones and Dre Kirkpatrick locking down the perimeter of the field against Jones and Holmes, look for Tyrod to try to keep the Bills in contention with short screen passes to LeSean McCoy while staking claim to the middle of the field with Clay. Outside of Zach Ertz, who is priced $1.4K higher than Clay, there is not a tight end on the main slate who should be more important to their respective offense in Week #5.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $3,500). Only the New York Giants have allowed more fantasy points to opposing tight ends than the Cleveland Browns this season. That bodes well for Austin Seferian-Jenkins, who is tied for second with the most targets (10) on the Jets, trailing only Robby Anderson, since returning from a suspension in Week #3. Of those 10 targets, ASJ has managed to pull in 9 of them for 77 yards, but has not yet managed to hit paydirt despite his massive 6'5", 260+ pound frame. This is a week where we should probably expect to see more passing from Josh McCown and the Jets, as the Browns are stout up front, allowing only 3.0 yards per carry entering this weekend's matchup. Likewise, Matt Forte will miss another game with turf toe, leaving Bilal Powell and Elijah McGuire in the backfield to try to battle this underrated defensive front that will also premiere their #1 overall draft pick, Myles Garrett, who should be expected to further solidify the rush defense. All of this foreshadows a big role for Seferian-Jenkins against the Browns, who have allowed a pair of 2-touchdown games to opposing tight ends already this season and another game where they allowed 13 receptions for 121 yards to the position. This is an ideal spot to save some salary on a tight overall cap at DraftKings without completely punting the position altogether.
Also eligible: George Kittle ($2,500)
Ravens (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $2,900). Because there are only two strong home favorites (Philadelphia and Pittsburgh), neither of whom have dominant defenses, there is not a lot to love at the team defense position this weekend. Due to the tight nature of pricing on the site, the best bet is to try to find value and hope that you can muster double-digit point production from the team(s) that you choose. One possibility is the Baltimore Ravens on the road against Oakland. This is only a cash game play if Derek Carr does not play on Sunday. At the moment, he is a game-time decision, but there is good reason to believe that the Raiders will not take the chance of worsening the injury to their franchise quarterback at such an early point in the season; instead, we should expect to see EJ Manuel lead the offense against the Ravens' top-ranked DVOA defense. Manuel has not thrown a touchdown pass in nearly two years and has never exhibited the type of ability to lead his team to strong offensive performances (which is why he narrowly bested Connor Cook for the backup position in the preseason). Over the past two weeks with Derek Carr at the helm, opposing defenses have scored 14 and 9 points, respectively, against the Raiders, which argues that rolling with the Ravens against an EJ Manuel-led Raiders offense could yield similar fantasy returns.
Bills (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $2,600). The Bills are a surprising 3-1 and sit atop the AFC East after the first month of play. They have allowed only 54 total points through four games (13.5 points per game; best in the NFL) and are riding high off a big road victory against the Falcons. Rookie 1st-round pick TreDavious White appears to be the real deal and E.J. Gaines has stepped up his game after struggling in coverage in years past, resulting in the league's 3rd best DVOA pass defense. Up front, the Bills have yielded only 3.9 yards per carry and no opposing running back has surpassed 80 yards to this point in the season. Vegas oddsmakers, however, think that Buffalo will lose to the Bengals on Sunday, which is generally a reason to avoid that team's defense. At only $2.6K, the Bills are still in play because the game is likely going to be low-scoring and there is little reason to spend much more on a defense given the tight nature of the slate and general poor lack of options at the position.
Jay Cutler (Salary: $5,200). The Miami Dolphins are averaging just 9 points per game entering Week #5 and Jay Cutler has admittedly looked like he would rather be spending his Sundays with Kristen Cavallari than with Jay Ajayi and company. That said, this is an ideal spot for a breakout game for Cutler and the Dolphins offense. First, it is their first legitimate home game in Miami; they were slated to play their home opener in early September, but Hurricane Irene caused the cancelation of that game with Tampa Bay. Since then, they have traveled to Los Angeles, New York, and London, all of which are substantial trips for a team playing out of southern Florida. With a fired-up home crowd, Cutler will get to face a Titans defense that has yielded an average of 25.2 DraftKings points per game to opposing quarterbacks, including monstrous 35+ point performances from Deshaun Watson and Russell Wilson over the previous fortnight; only New England has allowed more weekly points to the position. Cutler has the weaponry in Jarvis Landry (11 targets per game) and Devante Parker (9 targets per game), as well as deep threat Kenny Stills (6 targets per game), to carve through this 29th DVOA ranked secondary; if he is going to show that he has retained a viable NFL skill set after his initial decision to retire, this would appear to be as good of a spot as any to make that declaration.
Brian Hoyer (Salary: $4,700). At a bargain $4.7K price point, Brian Hoyer is squarely in play as a GPP flyer who can easily achieve 4x value against the Colts, who have allowed the 4th most passing yards in the league (283.5 yards per game) entering Week #5. Hoyer is a journeyman quarterback who is playing for his sixth team in nine years in the league, but has never managed to hold onto a lead role in that time. This season, Kyle Shanahan handed the keys to the offense to Hoyer, but he has not met expectations, as the Niners have yet to win a game. That said, the 49ers' schedule has been front-loaded with tough opponents--they have faced the 11th (Carolina), 10th (Seattle), 13th (LA Rams), and 12th (Arizona) overall DVOA defenses, 3 of which boast top-ten DVOA pass defensive units. The sledding should get easier this week against Indianapolis, who have allowed quarterbacks to score an average of 21.4 DraftKings points per game this season, including recent back-to-back 3-touchdown games by Deshaun Watson and Russell Wilson. Up front, the Colts have been stingy, not allowing more than 55 rushing yards to any running back thus far, suggesting that the path of least resistance for San Francisco could be via Hoyer and the passing game. Outside of Vontae Davis, who locks down the left side of the field (i.e., Marquise Goodwin/Aldrick Robinson), the Colts secondary is beatable and you can bet that Shanahan will be looking to get the ball into the hands of Pierre Garcon, Trent Taylor, and George Kittle, all of whom have favorable personnel matchups.
Melvin Gordon III (Salary: $6,000). With a salary of only $6.0K, DraftKings is just begging us to take a chance on Melvin Gordon III this week. That price point marks the lowest Gordon has appeared on the site in well over a year, but after failing to surpass 80 rushing yards in each of his first four games, it should not be surprising to see his stock falling in DFS circles. After averaging 22.7 touches per game last season, Gordon has only touched the ball 16.8 times per game this season; that said, Gordon had been nursing a knee bruise for the previous two weeks and the argument could be made that the Chargers were lessening his workload to allow him time to fully recover. This past week marked the first time when Gordon practiced in full every day, a sign that he is 100% entering this weekend's contest against the Giants. The matchup against the Giants is attractive, as New York has yielded the 5th most rushing yards per game (142.8) with the league's 31st ranked DVOA rush defense. This game would represent a perfect time to get the ball into Gordon's hands, as he complained this week that Head Coach Anthony Lynn is not giving him enough opportunity to make things happen. To pay off his modest $6.0K salary for tournaments, he needs to return ~ 24 DraftKings points, a threshold that he surpassed almost half of his games last season.
LeGarrette Blount (Salary: $4,200). Only the Dallas Cowboys have a higher implied team total than the Philadelphia Eagles amongst the games included in the main slate on Sunday. The Eagles are also nearly a touchdown favorite over the visiting Cardinals, a point spread that generally favors lead running backs. Yet, we currently have LeGarrette Blount as the RB14, in terms of projected ownership in DraftKings tournaments this weekend. If Blount goes off at 7% ownership, he will be far too underowned for the two-touchdown upside that he brings to the table in this matchup against Arizona. You have to ask yourself how you envision the Eagles scoring 26+ points when Alshon Jeffery will be minimized in shadow coverage from Patrick Peterson and when Zach Ertz could have his hands full with a defense that has allowed the 4th fewest fantasy points to the tight end position this season (lest we forget that they were the league's best defense versus tight ends in 2016)? That leaves names like Torrey Smith, Nelson Agholor, LeGarrette Blount, and Corey Clement to get the job done against Arizona; of those names, Blount stands out because he is the likeliest to see significant volume now that Darren Sproles is out for the season (ACL) and Wendell Smallwood is likely to miss the game with a knee injury. Our Footballguys' offensive/defensive line experts point out a huge mismatch in favor of Philadelphia, which also argues a case for Blount at a modest $4.2K price point.
Randall Cobb (Salary: $6,700). After taking a brutal hit by Danny Trevathan last Thursday night, Davante Adams was carted off the field and later diagnosed with "only" a concussion; he practiced later this week and could be available to play against the Cowboys on Sunday pending a Saturday decision by the Packers' medical staff. While a lot of people will focus their attention on Jordy Nelson and Davante Adams' availability for this weekend's game, there is also good reason to consider Randall Cobb in a plush matchup. Cobb suffered a shoulder injury in Week #2 that caused him to miss the following week and play limitedly in Week #4, but he displayed that he was 100% healthy during that time, finishing the game with 4 catches for 44 yards and a touchdown (on 4 targets). Cobb should return to a normal workload this Sunday against the Cowboys, who have been gashed by slot receivers this season; Larry Fitzgerald, Emmanuel Sanders, and Cooper Kupp each scored as a slot receiver against Dallas and each finished with 17.0 or more DraftKings points. With questions abound in the Packers backfield, it stands to reason that Green Bay will opt to throw the ball against this Cowboys secondary that has been exposed for 8 touchdowns over the previous 3 weeks. Our late week ownership projections list Cobb as being ~ 12% owned in DraftKings tournaments, which is too low given his upside, matchup, and reasonable salary in the highest upside game of the lukewarm Week #5 slate.
Travis Benjamin (Salary: $3,500). A battle of 0-4 teams will take place on Sunday when the Chargers take flight to face off against the Giants in the Meadowlands. The Chargers, however, have lost three of those games by a field goal or less and are probably a better team that their record reflects. On paper, there appears to be reason to like the Chargers offense, as the Giants are currently fielding the league's 25th DVOA passing defense and 31st DVOA rushing defense; the latter ranking favors Melvin Gordon III (see writeup above), while the former ranking indicates that Philip Rivers could be in line for some positive regression to his career averages this weekend. Despite their poor DVOA pass ranking, the Giants actually field two of the more accomplished coverage cornerbacks in the league in Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Janoris Jenkins; Jenkins generally shadows the opposing WR1, while DRC plays out of the slot, leaving Eli Apple to cover the remaining WR2. Apple has struggled throughout the season, allowing 21 receptions for 234 receiving yards and 4 touchdowns (worst in the league). Of the Chargers wideouts, Travis Benjamin is likeliest to see Apple most often, which makes him an appealing GPP option at a pedestrian $3.5K price point. Benjamin is the prototype of a GPP play, as he has ~ 1 point in two games and 10+ points in two games this season. Our Steve Buzzard projects Benjamin to be less than 1% owned in tournaments this weekend, which is far too low given his matchup, his big play ability, and the salary relief that he provides to the remainder of your roster.
Martellus Bennett (Salary: $4,100). There has been a lot of smoke, but very little fire, in Martellus Bennett's first four games with the Packers. The Black Unicorn has been targeted an average of 7 times per game, but has yet to surpass 50 receiving yards or score a touchdown despite that level of attention from Aaron Rodgers. Over his previous five years with the Patriots, Bear, and Giants, Bennett has averaged 5.2 touchdowns per season while averaging 6.2 targets per game during that time; if we were to extrapolate those numbers to 2017, it would appear that Bennett is in store for some positive regression in the area of touchdowns, a realistic conclusion given his 6'6" frame and the fact that Aaron Rodgers recently said that he wants to get Bennett even more involved. For their part, the Cowboys have contained the tight end position at a respectable level this season, but they have not faced a tight end who is as integrated into the offense as Bennett is with the Packers. If you want to get a piece of the Packers-Cowboys game at a reasonable salary (and ownership) while still garnering some appreciable upside, Martellus Bennett is the play you will want to consider.
Ben Watson (Salary: $3,600). Nobody is talking about Ben Watson this weekend despite a stellar matchup against the Raiders, who have allowed 15+ fantasy points to all three teams who use their tight ends they have faced this season, including touchdowns in back-to-back weeks against A.J. Derby and Vernon Davis. If you are regular reader of this column, you already know that the Raiders field some of the worst linebackers in the league; ProFootballFocus rates them at the worst off-the-ball corps in the NFL. Meanwhile, Watson has quietly become the most consistent receiver for the Ravens, scoring 9.3, 10.2, and 17.1 DraftKings points since becoming the featured Ravens tight end in Week #2; during that same timeframe, both Jeremy Maclin and Mike Wallace have been extremely hit-or-miss, ranging anywhere from 1 reception (three separate occasions) to 6 catches. The implied gamescript sets up well for Watson, as the Ravens are 3-point underdogs on the road, a scenario that should result in continued action from Flacco against a team that has previously proven they cannot defend the position well.
Also eligible: Jesse James (Salary: $3,000).
Giants (Salary: $3,600). Expensive defenses are going to be an excellent way of diversifying your tournament rosters from the masses this week because the tight pricing at DraftKings is going to push many people in taking chances with lower-priced defensive options. If you have the available salary, you should consider taking a team like the Steelers ($3.9K) against Blake Bortles or the Giants against a deflated Chargers team traveling 5+ hours to play in an early 1 PM game in the Meadowlands. If the Giants jump out to an early lead and force Philip Rivers to try to make plays against Janoris Jenkins and/or Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, there is a distinct possibility for pick-six opportunities for the Giants. There is good reason to believe that the Giants will be severely underowned due to their hefty price, their 0-4 record, and the general consensus that the Chargers are in a must-win situation. That said, playing home favorites is generally a sound strategy for upside and Philip Rivers can implode from time-to-time, as evidenced by his 3-interception game against the Chiefs just a few weeks ago.
Dolphins (Salary: $2,700). While everybody is focusing on just how inept the Dolphins offense has been through three games, it seems that nobody has noticed that Miami has allowed only 19 points per game despite not playing at home in any of those games. This Sunday marks the home opener for the Dolphins and you can bet that the house will be rocking at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami when the Titans come to town. As of Saturday, Marcus Mariota is listed as a game-time decision due to a hamstring injury he suffered last week; he partially participated in practice on Friday and is "optimistic" about playing on Sunday, although most insiders feel that it is a true game-time decision. Either way, the Dolphins are a sneaky GPP play because they are fairly inexpensive, have displayed a decent ability to contain opponents on the road, and will either be facing an immobilized Marcus Mariota or a healthy Matt Cassel--either way, this is a prime spot for some solid upside against a team without a quarterback capable of efficiently leading the Titans offense. Just last week, when the wheels fell off against the Texans, the Titans turned the ball over five times and allowed a defensive touchdown resulting in 19 fantasy points for the Texans, a scenario that is not impossible if Mariota is not able to suit up in this weekend's contest in Miami.
Also eligible: Steelers ($3,900), Bengals (Salary: $3,300).