Welcome to the DFS NFL Cash Game Breakdown, where Mans breaks down everything you need to know (and plenty of things you probably don’t!) to build safe, high-floor lineups on DraftKings and FanDuel!
SUNDAY MORNING UPDATE
PLAYERS ADDED TO CASH GAME POOL
- Julian Edelman, WR, Patriots
- Diontae Johnson, WR, Steelers
- JJ Arcega-Whiteside, WR, Eagles – Assuming Alshon Jeffery is OUT
FANDUEL CORE 4: Kyler Murray, Christian McCaffrey, Mike Evans, Zach Ertz
DRAFTKINGS CORE 4: Kyler Murray, Christian McCaffrey, Devonta Freeman, Zach Ertz
At least we won’t have to deal with that anymore. I may have taken it on the chin in cash games last week, but not having to worry about or watch Ben Roethlisberger pretend to be the Great American Hero for the rest of 2019 feels kind of like a win.
I have zero regrets about last week. It sucks to have your QB rip his elbow (supposedly) in the first quarter of the game, but somehow I was able to pull back a very tiny amount (5/26) in cash last week even with that piece of garbage giving us just three total points. While it’s easy to dwell on the bad, let’s look at the good of week two. Dalvin Cook at 4%, Derrick Henry in the endzone again and Tyler Boyd’s huge game were a tremendous foundation for our cash game lineups. Cooper Kupp as the lone representative from the Saints/Rams also proved to be right on the money. So, if you survived Big Ben and used any other QB, congratulations on doubling up.
As we all know by now, Roethlisberger wasn’t the only QB who hit the injured list after last week. Drew Brees will miss six weeks with a torn thumb ligament, Sam Darnold has mono, Trevor Siemian is out for the season with a dislocated ankle, Eli Manning has been benched in favor of rookie Daniel Jones and now Cam Newton is highly doubtful for week three with a foot injury. We’ve spent the week trying to figure out which QBs we can count on the rest of the season, but fortunately for us in DFS, all we have to worry about is this week. In fact, a couple of the QBs that grade out highest for us this week will downright shock you. More on that later…
The first two weeks was chock-full of value at both RB and WR. Guys like Dalvin Cook, Derrick Henry and Mark Ingram have been in the $6K to low $7K range to start the season. But they are now moving up in the world, and their prices are reflective of that. So, we will either have to pay that premium or find new RBs to use from the bargain bin.
The thing that should jump out to you immediately is many of the higher-priced RBs & WRs are in tremendous spots this week. This is the first week of 2019 where we are really going to have to dive in and dissect which studs provide us with the absolute highest floor with as much upside as possible. For those that are newer to playing DFS, you may think that finding the value options will be the hardest thing, but it really isn’t. The process of differentiating the best from the best takes a lot of deep analysis, but that is exactly why you’ve got me.
Speaking of which, here is your weekly reminder of SOME of the great content that we have here at Elite Fantasy. I STRONGLY recommend catching any or all of these DFS NFL Coaching Sessions when you can. Our team is helping you prepare, research, analyze and decide on every position each week. Here is the lineup:
Monday – Lineup Review w/ Taylor Canevari
Tuesday – QB Coach w/ Vlad Sedler
Wednesday – RB Coach w/ Ted Schuster
Thursday – WR Coach w/ Tyler Buecher
Thursday Night – Primetime Livestream w/ Corey Parson & Benny Ricciardi
Friday – TE Coach w/ Benny Ricciardi
Friday Night – NFL NOW Livestream w/ Tommy G & Jeff Mans (Hey, that’s ME!)
Saturday – DST Coach w/ Thad Houston
Saturday Night – Lineup Coaching w/ Jeff Mans (Hey, that’s me AGAIN!)
Sunday – NFL NOW Livestream w/ Draftcheat & Brian Healy (10am ET)
Sunday – Lineup Lock Chat w/ Ted Schuster (11:30am ET)
I hope you’re liking the new sortable tables here in the Cash Game Breakdown as well. We got a lot of great feedback and for one of the first times in my career, all positive. As I mentioned last week, there is over $400 worth of data in this article each week alone. Just in these tables for each position. Go ahead and toggle through which QBs are most protected, which RBs are most elusive, which WRs have the most separation and which TEs are lining up off the line of scrimmage. These are the tools that have fueled my cash game process for a decade now, and it’s all right in front of your nose as we speak.
Week three was quite intimidating at the start. All of that high-priced talent in smash spots felt like we were never going to be able to build quality lineups. But the value has leaped out at us like your big Brother in a dark room growing up. Patrick Mahomes is sensational, and there’s no doubt we love him this week. But we are going to have to pay up for the running backs I feel this week. When each of the top 5 RBs are in great spots, we don’t want to fade all of them just to try and find that value guy who will rack up a bunch of garbage time receptions.
We always want to pay up for TE so that will cost us too. The good news? There is quite a bit of real good value WRs for us to save salary this week. It will be tempting to try and read into how these new QBs are going to do or who their favorite receiver(s) may be, but let me remind you, this is the CASH GAME BREAKDOWN. I’ve got a couple GPP nuggets in here for you, but our zero-fat policy of building cash game lineups does not allow for skepticism. We are looking for sure things only my dear friends. Let’s GOOOOOOO!!!
Here is the DFS NFL Cash Game Breakdown for Week 3:
Baltimore Ravens at Kansas City Chiefs – There’s an 80% chance of rain in Kansas City during game time Sunday. With a slick football and wet grounds, the high-flying offensive matchup might come in just short of our expectations this week.
New Orleans Saints at Seattle Seahawks – Small chance of rain in Seattle on Sunday with the risk reaching 40-50% during game time. When the CenturyLink Field turf gets wet, it creates a very slick environment so both passing and running becomes difficult. The good news is it won’t be very windy, which means the rain wouldn’t be driving or affect the kicking game very much.
|NAME||TEAM||OPP||DVOA TOTAL||DVOA PASS||DEF VS QB||TOTAL OLINE||PASS OLINE||TIME TO THRW||PACE||ATTS PG||INT AIR YDS||CMP AIR YDS|
WEEK 3 DFS NFL QB BREAKDOWN
Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs ($9200/$7600) – Patrick Mahomes is so good that it is actually much better for his fantasy value to have a difficult matchup than it is for him to have an easy matchup. This game has by far the highest expected total of the week and will consume a lot of ownership in both cash and GPP. This Ravens defense is strong but not as good as they were a year ago, and Mahomes threw for 377 and two TDs against them in December of last year. The issue for Mahomes is simply pricing. If we are going to pay up for even one elite level RB, we are going to need the $1400-$2000 savings at QB.
Lamar Jackson, Ravens ($8500/$7000) – As I was saying, the Baltimore/Kansas City game is going to be the one we want to get a part of here this week. If you’re considering Mahomes, you need to also consider Lamar Jackson. We all have seen what Jackson has done the first two weeks of this season. He is averaging three more FD points per game than Mahomes. Last year when these teams met, Jackson had a very ho-hum game for himself, throwing for 147 yards, 2 TDs and rushing for 67 yards. That was good for 20.58 FD points compared to the 22.08 FD points that Mahomes got for 377 yards & 2 TDs. I wish the savings here were more significant than the $600-$700 we see here this week. The thing that gives me pause here is Jackson really hasn’t faced any mediocre defenses yet this season nor has this offense been trailing in a game.
Kyler Murray, Cardinals ($7200/$5800) – Surprised? Me too. But the DFS sites have kept Murray’s price way down this week, which is very odd considering all of the hype he has been getting. I guess hype hasn’t equaled ownership in DFS. Here is the deal. The Cardinals have attempted the most passes in the NFL so far this season. Hence, Murray has back-to-back 300+ yard passing totals. That is solid especially for a near minimum priced QB. But what really interests me is the Cardinals insanely awful red zone production. That should scare me away you say? Probably, but there are reasons behind this. Murray is going to have real problems throwing into tight windows due to his height. Red zone passing is never going to be his thing. But the way to combat this is to set up more QB runs when the Cardinals get into the red zone. They tried one of these against Baltimore, a read-pass-option, but Kyler didn’t keep it and elected to hand to a totally engulfed Chase Edmonds instead of running left to daylight himself. The Cardinals will see this on tape and correct these errors. All week long, the stress has been on improving their red zone efficiency, and that is how they will do it. A heavy dose of passing attempts and more rushing attempts, especially in the red zone, is a recipe for fantasy success.
Russell Wilson, Seahawks ($7600/$6300) – For whatever reason, Russell Wilson just doesn’t have good week ones. His ho-hum 2019 debut against the Bengals was underwhelming, as he threw for just 195 yards in 20 pass attempts. Still, 2 TDs in that game were enough to give him a 2.5x return that week. Then, last week he went off against the Steelers, throwing for 300 yards, 3 TDs and ran for 22 more yards. The Saints have already allowed two rushing TDs to QBs this season after allowing a league-high five in 2018. They have also allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to QBs so far this season while really struggling in coverage. The matchup of Tyler Lockett on P.J. Williams is absolutely delectable, and I would expect that to generate quite a bit of fantasy points alone.
Kirk Cousins, Vikings ($7300/$5100) – There are a lot of QBs who graded out above the cash line this week, and Cousins is probably the one who will surprise you the most. The Vikings have been very run heavy so far this season, and that has meant little fantasy production for Cousins. But this week’s matchup against the Raiders is obviously fantastic and surely the one that will jumpstart his production. Oakland grades out as the fifth-worst in pass coverage according to PFF; they will struggle to keep up with Adam Thielen and a now fully healthy Stefon Diggs. Oakland has surrendered the most passing yards so far this season and is without safety Jonathan Abram for the rest of the season.
Don’t Forget About…
Jacoby Brissett, Colts ($6800/$5200) – While the Ravens/Chiefs game is the obvious one to invest in this week, this Falcons/Colts game is floating under the radar. It’s crazy that despite five TD passes on the road this season against top third defenses, Brissett is still just the 22nd highest priced QB on the board on FD and 20th on DK this week. In his first home game as starter against a team that will likely score at will on his defense, Brissett is in a real good spot to hit us with a 3x+ return this week.
Favorite GPP Play…
Matt Ryan, Falcons ($7800/$5700) – His DK price is way too low, but we love it. DFS players don’t use Ryan on the road for some reason, but this is a terrific matchup for him. Ryan has attempted the fourth-most passes and has the second-most completions this season. The Colts are down two of their top three CBs and possibly without star LB Darius Leonard for this game while having to contend with Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley. If this game goes according to the script, there will be over 50 points scored with both QBs generating well above three times their salary.
|NAME||TEAM||OPP||DVOA TOTAL||DVOA RUSH||DEF VS RB||TOTAL OLINE||RUSH OLINE||EVADED TKLS||BRKWYS||OPP SHARE||RZ TOUCH||GZ TOUCH|
WEEK 3 DFS NFL RB BREAKDOWN
Christian McCaffrey, Panthers ($8900/$8700) – Very expensive but also my #1 overall point producer this week, including Patrick Mahomes. CMC is coming off of a down week but has had extra time to rest, which is always a big deal to RB production. The Cardinals are currently middle of the pack against the run in many categories but are still giving up 4.6 YPC, and their first two opponents, Detroit & Baltimore, really left rushing yards on the table. With Kyle Allen starting, that means less risk for loss of carries for McCaffrey and a similar to slightly increased involvement in the passing game as well. The game will be quite competitive and will likely come down to the wire, which means more CMC either way
Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys ($8800/$8900) – So, I have had to make several manual edits with this week’s breakdown, and I went back and forth on whether to make one here or not. I originally had Zeke in the “Don’t Forget About” section just because he is too obvious, and this matchup is actually too good. There is risk he only pays a quarter and a half against the Dolphins. But, at the end of the day, it is our responsibility as cash game players to not overlook the obvious and take what the opponents give us. Zeke is going to be the highest owned RB this week and rightfully so. But whereas he should be 100% owned with no questions asked, the ego of our opponents will drive that down to like 30%-40% because folks love to pretend everything is difficult. I don’t have to sell you on how bad the Dolphins are or that the Cowboys will have this game in tow start to finish. So, all that is in question is whether or not he can get us a guaranteed 16 points and 20 point-plus upside. It would take a lot to keep him under 100 yards rushing in this game, and if there were ever a likelihood of a TD, this week is it. There is our 16 points right there, and 2-20 receiving would add another 3 points to that mix. That baseline is just so darn high to try and get fancy and use somebody sexier. If he winds up with multiple TDs this week and you don’t use him in cash, I hope you have a very good plan on how to chase down those 30 points that a third of the field will own.
Mark Ingram, Ravens ($7000/$5800) – A very disappointing effort against the Cardinals last week should not discourage you from going back to the underpriced well of Mark Ingram this week. The game plan against Kansas City simply has to be slow down the pace, run the hell out of the ball and keep the Chiefs offense off of the field. The Ravens went out and got Ingram in free agency, drafted Justice Hill and are giving Gus Edwards a decent supply of snaps each week too. Last December (in Week 14) when these teams played in Kansas City, the Ravens took the Chiefs to overtime before a Lamar Jackson injury in OT ended their chance for a win. They did this by running the ball 40 times while gaining 194 yards. Kansas City is dead last in the NFL in YPC to RBs at 6.2 and ranks dead last in DVOA against the run in 2018+19 combined. This defense has made some improvements in pass coverage and pass rush but still lacks ability to stop the run; something that could be a path to a Baltimore upset.
Devonta Freeman, Falcons ($6200/$4900) – Just look at how low that price has fallen on Freeman in just two weeks. It’s a thing of beauty with the Falcons traveling to Indianapolis to face the Colts. The simplest way to put this is, if Freeman can’t produce in this matchup, he cannot produce in any matchup. The Colts are third-worst DVOA against the run, are surrendering the sixth-worst YPC at 5.6 and are second in TDs allowed to RBs this season. The Colts have also given up the third-most fantasy points to RBs so far in 2019. What’s more is the Colts are notorious for surrendering receptions to RBs, allowing the second-most (110) last season while also giving up the 7th most receiving yards to RBs. Indianapolis will be without star LB Darius Leonard this week, which is a massive upgrade for all the Falcons offensive players. Freeman is the perfect low-priced complement with CMC or Zeke this week or a standalone value in your FLEX spot.
Chris Carson, Seahawks ($7000/$5900) – This one does worry me a bit, and I was tempted to leave off Carson despite his high grade this week against the Saints. Carson had three fumbles last week against the Steelers, and if this continues, his name could be Saquon Barkley and his coach would put him on the bench. What gives me confidence in him is the fact they put the ball in his hands on fourth down late in that game last week and Rashaad Penny is banged up and questionable for this matchup. The Saints defense is struggling, having given up the sixth-most rushing yards this season and the fifth-worst YPC in 5.6. The Seahawks are a run first, run second offense that will very likely establish the run game and have much success doing so this week at home. Carson has also been more involved in the passing game than I would have ever envisioned, and if he’s going to be running 10+ routes a game like this (22 so far), he’ll sprinkle in a mixture of points receiving also. You give him a bonus 5-8 points that we never would have projected to start the season, and he’s an $8K RB on both sites every week.
Frank Gore, Bills ($5700/$4400) – What do you want me to tell you? That I am excited about playing a 57-year-old RB this week in DFS? Hell no. But Devin Singletary is out, LeSean McCoy is in Kansas City, and this Bills backfield now belongs to Frank Gore. We just saw Cincinnati get gashed to the tune of 250 yards on the ground by San Francisco. The Bills are a heavy run volume offense, and even with QB Josh Allen swiping some of that action, there is plenty of production in this matchup for Gore to return a 3x minimum and 5x likely return this week.
Don’t Forget About…
David Johnson, Cardinals ($7000/$6800) – I am pretty certain of the Kyler Murray rushing attempts and TD this week, but if for any reason that doesn’t come to fruition, it’s a bonus for DJ users. Carolina is struggling against the run a bit, giving up the fifth-most rushing yards and 11th most fantasy points to RBs so far. As I have stated many times on radio and in this breakdown, my model has this game playing out at a much more aggressive pace and point total than Vegas or the general population believes. Johnson had seven targets in week one but only one last week while leaving for half the game with a wrist injury. He is 100% though going into this contest, and a 15 carry, 8+ target afternoon is ahead of him against the Panthers. His price is just too low for what the volume and expected production suggest.
Favorite GPP Play…
Dalvin Cook, Vikings ($8300/$7800) – Evidently, the world hasn’t been alerted to the fact Dalvin Cook is a superstar RB this season because I had him at 4% ownership last week. This week appears to be a bit higher but still a tremendous value in terms of expected ownership. When an RB is executing breakaway runs at the rate that Cook is, it’s often a function of the offense. That is certainly the case here in Minnesota where you have two premium outside receivers, a dangerous QB and a zone blocking scheme that opens up massive cut-back lanes for the running game. Cook is on his way to being one of, if not, the top running back in the NFL this season, and a home game against the Oakland Raiders will not stand in his way.
|NAME||TEAM||OPP||DVOA TOTAL||DVOA PASS||DEF VS WR||PASS CVG||TGT SHARE||AIR YD SHARE||ADOT||CATCH%||SEPERATION||FPTS PER TGT|
|Laviska Shenault Jr.||JAX||BYE||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.00||0.11||0.00||0.74||4.00||0.00|
|Odell Beckham Jr.||CLE||BYE||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.00||0.38||0.00||0.55||2.70||0.00|
WB/CB MATCHUPS (BASED ON PFF RATINGS – % Rating Difference 2019)
- Devin Smith, Cowboys → Eric Rowe, Dolphins – 68%
- Randall Cobb, Cowboys → Jomal Wiltz, Dolphins – 64%
- Breshad Perriman, Buccaneers → DeAndre Baker, Giants – 39%
- Michael Thomas, Saints → Tre Flowers, Seahawks – 37%
- Marquise Brown, Ravens → Chavarius Ward, Chiefs – 33%
- Ted Ginn Jr, Saints → Shaquil Griffin, Seahawks – 25%
- Tre’Quan Smith, Saints → Jamar Taylor, Seahawks – 23%
- Adam Thielen, Vikings → Daryl Worley, Raiders – 22%
- Chris Godwin, Buccaneers → Grant Haley, Giants – 21%
- Stefon Diggs, Vikings → Gareon Conley, Raiders – 20%
WORST COVERAGE CORNERBACKS- WR MATCHUP (Mans Model)
- P.J. Williams, Saints → Tyler Lockett, Seahawks
- Ronald Darby, Eagles → Kenny Golladay, Lions
- Tre Flowers, Seahawks → Michael Thomas, Saints
- William Jackson, Bengals → John Brown, Bills
- DeAndre Baker, Giants → Breshad Perriman, Buccaneers
- Bashaud Breeland, Chiefs → Marquise Brown, Ravens
- Daryl Worley, Raiders → Adam Thielen, Vikings
- Nate Hairston, Jets → Antonio Brown, Patriots
- Eric Rowe, Dolphins → Delvin Smith, Cowboys
- Rasul Douglas, Eagles → Marvin Jones, Lions
- Taron Johnson, Bills → Tyler Boyd, Bengals
- Christopher Jones, Cardinals → D.J. Moore, Panthers
- Bradley Roby, Texans → Keenan Allen, Chargers
- Rock Ya-Sin, Colts → Julio Jones, Falcons
- Jomal Wiltz, Dolphins → Randall Cobb, Cowboys
WEEK 3 DFS NFL WR BREAKDOWN
Julio Jones, Falcons ($8300/$7300) / Calvin Ridley, Falcons ($6500/$5300) – Let’s just get right into it. We want to be invested in the Falcons offense this week against the Colts. As I’ve mentioned, I have a much higher total on this game than Vegas does and think there is a tremendous buying opportunity for DFS players who are all laser-focused on Kansas City/Baltimore. There’s no doubt about Julio being in the zone this season and finally catching touchdowns. With Colts top CB Pierre Desir banged up and questionable for this game, Julio is in a smash spot this week. Calvin Ridley is living in the shadow of Julio, and thus, severely underpriced. But he has caught a TD in each of the first two games this season and has a 16-12-169-2 stat line for the year, which averages out to a 20.5 average point total. Depending on how much salary you have available, either of the Falcons receivers is in play this week.
Sammy Watkins, Chiefs ($7100/$6800) – Which Chiefs receiver(s) are cash game eligible all comes down to what you expect from this Chiefs/Ravens game flow. I am not quite as bullish as Vegas is and have this contest coming out under the total, more resembling their Week 14 matchup last season. Obviously, the Chiefs offense is worth investing in, but only Watkins is safe enough for cash. Though he only caught six balls for 49 yards last week, Watkins did generate a game-high 13 targets after racking up 11 in week one. He is in a very winnable matchup against the Ravens Brandon Carr, which tells us this target volume will likely hold. You can use Mecole Hardman or DeMarcus Robinson in GPP contests, but Watkins is the only one recommended for cash.
Mike Evans, Buccaneers ($7100/$6600) – How can a guy who averages 9.4 targets, 5.2 catches, 80.2 yards and .5 TDs per game over his five-year career and who was drafted in the second round in every fantasy league this season be downgraded to a mid-tier price level? I get the excitement about Chris Godwin, but it’s only been two games and Evans still has 13 targets on the season. The Giants and Bucs played in Week 11 last season, which was a 38-35 shootout won by the Giants. In that game, Evans went for 7-6-120-2 in which he was shadowed by Janoris Jenkins, same as will be this week. What makes a great cash game play is a player with a proven track record, in a plus matchup where even a disappointing effort would still result in 2x return on his salary. Evans checks all of the boxes here this week.
Kenny Golladay, Lions ($7000/$6600) – I hate having similarly priced options as our targets, but both Evans and Golladay are in too good of situations to leave either out of the pool. The Eagles are giving up the second-most passing yards so far this season, after giving up the third-most a year ago. They are also giving up the second-most fantasy points to WRs so far this season. Golladay is going to face off against both Rasul Douglas and Ronald Darby, both of whom are bottom third CBs in the NFL, both last year and in 2019.
Tyler Lockett, Seahawks ($6600/$6200) – We have now seen Lockett succeed in both facets of gameflow. In week one, he was barely visible in generating just two targets and one catch against the Bengals. But that one catch was a 44-yard TD. Then, last week the volume was fantastic, as he posted a stat line of 12-10-79-0. In 2018, when he became Russell Wilson’s go-to WR, Lockett averaged 19.5 yards per catch at home opposed to 14.6 YPC on the road. This week, he draws the coverage of the single worst CB in the NFL in P.J. Williams. All we need from Lockett is a 6-80 afternoon to pay us off in cash, but both volume and TDs in a terrific matchup give us the desired upside.
Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals ($5900/$5100) – Come on now. How can a future Hall of Famer, in the league’s most pass-heavy offense where he is currently third in the NFL in targets (24), ninth in receptions (13) and seventh in receiving yards (217) be so low priced? We know Kyler Murray grades out really well at his price point this week so pairing him with Fitz makes a ton of sense.
Don’t Forget About…
Adam Thielen, Vikings ($7000/$6700) – My WR model also loves Stefon Diggs this week, but I already sold out on the Falcons and won’t do that to you guys with the Vikings too. I am as anti-Adam Thielen as anybody because he wilts under tough coverage. But you know what he does do well? Smash poor coverage, which is exactly what the Raiders present this week. Oakland has given up the most passing yards, have the fourth-worst coverage rating according to PFF, sixth-worst DVOA against the pass and have surrendered the fourth-most fantasy points to WRs this season.
Favorite GPP Play…
JuJu Smith-Schuster, Steelers ($7500/$6900) – A significant price decrease, as well as a tremendous amount of interest in James Washington, puts JuJu real high on our GPP radar this week. Mason Rudolph is the new starter here in Pittsburgh, and we do expect more of a balanced offense going forward. The 49ers are showing better but are still not a good defense, especially in the secondary. JuJu is lining up in the slot 65% of the time, which pits him against K’Waun Williams, the #71 rated CB (out of 132) according to PFF this year and #87 (out of 148) last year. We’re going to get JuJu at a real good ownership percentage this week, in a very advantageous matchup and at a tremendous price decrease.
|NAME||TEAM||OPP||DVOA TOTAL||DEF VS TE||SLOT%||TGT SHARE||AIR YD SHARE||ADOT||CATCH%||SEPERATION||FPTS PER TGT|
WEEK 3 DFS NFL TE BREAKDOWN
Travis Kelce, Chiefs ($8000/$7100) – Kelce is going to be in this spot every single week for the entire season unless something goes horribly wrong. Week 14 of last season when the Chiefs also hosted the Ravens, Kelce went for 9-7-77-1 or 17.2 FD points (20.7 DK points). These speedy Chiefs receivers of Sammy Watkins, Mecole Hardman and DeMarcus Robinson open up a lot of room underneath for the likes of Kelce. The Ravens, like all teams, are going to have their hands full trying to cover all of these weapons. He’s so expensive, but the fact is that nobody has the floor or the ceiling of Kelce week after week.
Zach Ertz, Eagles ($6900/$5700) – This is a big savings for a TE with just about as high of a floor as Kelce. Sure, the Eagles offense isn’t as high powered as the Chiefs, but they will be without their top two WR in Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson. Ertz generated 16 targets last week against the Falcons and owns the second-highest target share (26.7%) in the NFL among TEs right now. He also has the most targets (23) of all NFL TEs as well. What’s even better is that Dallas Goedert is doubtful to play as well with a calf injury. Ertz owns an eight-inch height advantage over Lions safety Quandre Diggs and should be able to dominate him all afternoon.
Greg Olsen, Panthers ($6100/$3700) – Olsen is dealing with a back injury but is probable for Sunday’s game in Arizona. Let me ask you a couple of questions:
- Who was the breakout TE of Week 1? (Answer: TJ Hockenson)
- Who was the breakout TE of Week 2? (Answer: Mark Andrews)
- What do both of these TEs have in common? (Answer: They both played the Arizona Cardinals).
Now, it is Olsen’s turn to shred this horrible Arizona secondary. Olsen is third in the NFL among TEs with 18 targets and eighth in target share at 20.9%. When Kyle Allen started in Week 17 for the Panthers last year, he peppered TE Ian Thomas with targets, ringing up a 7-5-61-1 stat line.
Evan Engram, Giants ($6400/$5200) – I’ve been riding Engram in DFS this season but have to admit that I am a little worried about Daniel Jones taking over for Eli Manning. Whenever there is a QB change, you just never know how the targets will be distributed. Luckily, the Giants don’t really have any viable options besides Sterling Shepard (who is returning this week) and Saquon Barkley. Engram should see plenty of targets against a real soft Tampa Bay secondary, but I’m likely going to use a few more dollars to grab one of the higher-end options this week.
Don’t Forget About…
Mark Andrews, Ravens ($6800/$4600) – The DK price is an enormous value this week. Though he is a fine play on FD, for $100 more, Zach Ertz is just a hell of a lot better. Still, Andrews is leading all NFL TEs with 4.68 yards per route run this season and has an almost perfect passer rating when targeted of 154.6, also the best in the NFL. The Chiefs are surrendering the sixth-most fantasy points to TEs this season, and Andrews owns the largest target share among TEs of 27.9% this season.
Favorite GPP Play…
Jared Cook, Saints ($5800/$3800) – Something that went unnoticed it appears after last week was after Drew Brees went down with the thumb injury, Teddy Bridgewater was throwing to Jared Cook more than Brees had the previous game. Despite the seven targets, Cook only hauled in two receptions for 25 yards, which has him off of most people’s radar here this week. The Seahawks safeties are awful, and they have surrendered the third-most fantasy points to TEs so far this season.
Dallas Cowboys ($5000/$4300) – This top spot is hereby reserved for anybody who is playing the Miami Dolphins this season. Miami has turned to second-year QB Josh Rosen to start this game, which isn’t a downgrade necessarily but also doesn’t do anything to scare me off of paying top dollar for this Cowboys defense this week. It’s been a disappointing start to the season for the Cowboys defense, as they have just two sacks and are giving up 19 points per game.
New England Patriots ($5000/$3800) – Of course, coming off of a 2 TD, shutout win over the Dolphins, it’s easy to get too excited about the Patriots defense. But the Jets are starting third-string QB Luke Falk, on a short week, on the road and possibly without LT Kelvin Beechum. Don’t expect the same kind of domination despite all of these advantages by the Patriots this week. But they are still well worth paying for if you have the salary left.
Green Bay Packers ($4500/$3400) – The Packers defense has given up just 19 points in two games while racking up six sacks, three interceptions and two fumble recoveries. The Broncos have scored just 30 total points, which is 5th worst in the NFL so far, and just three points combined in the first half. Denver’s offensive line is banged up this week with RT Ja’Wuan James and LG Ronald Leary banged up. If either of these two miss this game, it would be another big boost to this Packers defense.
Minnesota Vikings ($4200/$3300) – Vikings DST are averaging 11 points per game and are over a TD favorites at home against the Raiders. Oakland has the third-lowest expected total of all teams this weekend. Although OG Richie Incognito is returning for this game, the Raiders have RT Trent Brown and backup LG Gabe Jackson who are banged up going into this week. The Vikings are sixth in the NFL in defensive pressures so far this season and eighth in sacks with six.
Pittsburgh Steelers ($3500/$2300) – This is a ridiculously low price for a defense that is still pretty darn good. The Patriots beat them up pretty good so we can throw that game out for the most part. But last week against a tough Seattle offense, the Steelers sacked Russell Wilson four times while causing three fumbles and recovering two. Strangely enough, both fumble recoveries were returned for TDs, neither of which stood as they were both nullified by penalty. The addition of S Minkah Fitzpatrick will certainly energize this defensive unit both this week and moving forward. The 49ers have showed well, but they won’t be able to run as they did against the Bengals here this week.