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:
FanDuel Core 4: Deshaun Watson, David Johnson, Julio Jones & Golden Tate
DraftKings Core 4: Deshaun Watson, Ezekiel Elliott, Julio Jones & Auden Tate
ADDING TO PLAYER POOL:
Matt Ryan, QB, Falcons – Was in GPP pool but is cash viable for sure now
Le’Veon Bell, RB, Jets – Cash on DK, can use in the place of David Johnson on FD
Keenan Allen, WR, Chargers – I shouldn’t have to write this but Allen will NOT be shadowed by Chris Harris and is among the best WR’s in fantasy. He’s WAY underpriced on FD this week at $7500.
Jimmy Graham, TE, Packers – Personally, I hate GB TE’s but without Davante Adams there are a lot of targets to be had and the Cowboys give up 7th most receptions to TE’s. Graham has moved into my #2 TE spot for this week behind only Mark Andrews.
After week three, I was chatting with Ted Schuster on the phone and telling him how this year was different. The work is the same, most of the players are the same or at least similar, and the results thus far were right in line with what they always are. Winning.
But what was different were you, the subs. The staff here at Elite Fantasy are what we are, and there is no changing who we are, for better or for worse. We’re the most established and experienced DFS content staff in the industry. But what ultimately makes the site and the culture tick are all of you. We’ve all learned through years of following and covering sports that the culture of a team is what fuels it to succeed or fail. Over the years, we’ve had good cultures and we’ve had bad cultures around here. Where some of the “bad cultures” created and expounded by the staff? Absolutely. Are those staff members still around or in prominent roles here? I will let you be the judge of that.
What Ted and I were talking about after week three of the NFL season was that it felt as if our DFS NFL subs were REALLY on it this year. It was easier for us to communicate with, picking up information quicker, and the results were incredible. Had we finally broken through? Not so fast…
I’m going to be straight with you guys. I read the chat on Sunday afternoon and evening, and I wanted to just purge a dozen or so of you. I think there is this idea that I personally (because that is who was being attacked) somehow need dollars from sub money to live my life. Like that is why I am doing this or something. But let me be real clear with everybody here, I have a GUARANTEED contract with a lot of ownership of this company. I could sit on my balls and collect the same check that I do by informing, educating, assisting, writing, talking and chatting with all of you every day. I do this because I fucking love it. I do this because I REALLY believe that together we can get you (not me, I have already made it) to winning life-changing money in DFS. I do this to fly the EliteMafia flag right in the face of all the people taking advice from people who cut every conceivable corner they can, and if they were in my chair, they would sit on their ass and collect the check. Fuck those people.
When you lose, I lose. It fucking KILLS me when we have a bad week. Whether it’s bad luck, injuries or bad analysis by me, a loss is taken VERY seriously, as I know each of you has skin in the game. Skin that nobody wants to or can afford to lose. Therefore, you don’t need to tell me that the week was shitty. Moreover, if you think somebody else is going to give you a better analysis or chance to win, by all means, take their advice! I know what my system of DFS NFL can do, and I know what I and our team are capable of doing. If you want to come after me for bad information or analysis, no problem. But I’m not having ANYBODY poison our culture here because it’s not conducive to winning. And that is all we care about at the end of the day.
OK, so on to week five, thank God. As most of you know, a shitty week sends me into orbit in terms of work and I’ve spent this week canceling every single thing that was planned which didn’t involve getting it right. What I have figured out is that our QB model is on point. Deshaun Watson had a terrible game, the worst of his career so far and missed some big plays. There’s nothing we can do about it. The RB model though, I’ve put in some markers for non-pass catchers, as I felt I was willing to pay too high of a price for guys like Mark Ingram, Chris Carson and Marlon Mack over the last two weeks. If we pay up at RB, it’s got to be for an all-purpose back. The WR model is the most difficult on a weekly basis. Paying up for the studs is easy but not allowable very often. So, when paying down, we have to side with volume over efficiency (perceived talent). The TE spot is simply not a problem for us. We’ve been paying up and found the teams that suck against the position, so we’ll keep doing what we’re doing.
This week is going to tempt us to our core to pay up for ALL the RBs. My first pass through had Christian McCaffrey, Ezekiel Elliott and Dalvin Cook in the main lineup. But as you will read, there are some other backs that are incredibly interesting this week and cost us a little less salary. There are also a few key games this week that we really need to invest in or fade carefully. Therefore, if we are going to invest in games like Atlanta/Houston or Arizona/Cincinnati, then we must diagnose the game flow correctly. That will tell us whether the RBs, WRs or QBs are the right ones to build around.
It’s been a long week but one that I’m ready to conquer. What follows here is your path back to the sunny side of the street and positive cash flow. Check your excuses and negative vibes at the door and let’s get to work.
Here is the DFS NFL Cash Game Breakdown for Week 5:
Chicago Bears “at” Oakland Raiders (London) – This game is being played at the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, England where the weather can be quite frigid and windy. While the game time temps appear to be in the mid-50’s for this game, winds will be between 13-15 MPH.
|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 5 DFS NFL QB BREAKDOWN
Deshaun Watson, Texans ($8000/$6700) – What do you do when you fall off? Get right back up on the horse, baby. Watson is pretty clearly the best DFS QB this week. Of course, we don’t have Patrick Mahomes, Jared Goff, Russell Wilson, Jacoby Brissett or Baker Mayfield at our disposal. Watson got neutralized by the Carolina cover-4 last week. What they basically did was play prevent defense and took away the Texans deep routes that they had used in the past to make big plays against zone coverages. It’s alarming that Houston didn’t have an answer for this, considering they have weapons like Duke Johnson to use for check-down passes and Watson himself running the football. The Panthers LBs likely had a lot to do with that though, so that all checks out. The natural question is, can the Falcons duplicate these coverages and stop Watson? The short answer is: absolutely not. The Falcons are beyond thin in the defensive secondary especially with the season-long loss of S Keanu Neal due to an Achilles injury. They traded for the Eagles Jonathan Cyprian, a veteran presence but one that couldn’t get on the field with the NFL’s third-worst secondary. The Falcons don’t have the pass coverage depth or talent to play a consistent cover-4 and definitely don’t have the LB talent to spy and stop Watson from running if they did. This game is going to be a track meet, and taking either QB in cash games isn’t a bad idea. Watson is my choice because of his price decrease and outstanding home matchup.
Tom Brady, Patriots ($7600/$6500) – The Patriots offense started out hot last week against the Bills then went completely silent, which was a bit alarming, but nothing that we are concerned with going forward. The Redskins organization is in disarray, and their defense is falling into that black hole too. Washington owns the fourth-worst DVOA against the pass, eighth-worst pass coverage grade according to PFF and has given up the second-most passing TDs so far this year. The Redskins have given up the fourth-most fantasy points to QBs overall, as well. What’s more, CB Josh Norman left last week with a knee injury from when he came down hard on it on a second-half play. Everyone is forgetting about Brady and this Pats offense, but that just makes him an even better option for us in cash this week.
Jameis Winston, Buccaneers ($7600/$6200) – After a real slow start, Winston appears to have grasped this Bruce Arians offense and is suddenly thriving in it. Winston is in the top five in the NFL in passing yards, average yards per completion and TDs right now. Last December when Winston started against the Saints, he had a miserable game but still threw for 213 yards and 2 TDs while rushing for another 47 yards. Putting up 55 points against the Rams last week has opened a lot of people’s eyes across the league and in fantasy football. The Saints are seventh-worst in DVOA against the pass, seventh-worst in yards per pass completion and have given up the second-most fantasy points to QBs so far this season.
Kyler Murray, Cardinals ($7400/$6300) – If you are playing on DK, Andy Dalton is a better choice because he is $600 cheaper than Kyler and they award the 300-yard bonus for QBs, which Dalton is more likely to surpass. But Kyler gets the nod here on FD because he brings a higher passing volume offense and the ability to run for big numbers also. The Bengals feature the second-worst pass coverage according to PFF, second-worst DVOA against the pass, third-highest yards per pass completion and has allowed the seventh-most passing TDs so far this season. If this wasn’t a matchup against the Bengals, we would be more concerned about the Cardinals missing Christian Kirk and Damiere Byrd for this game. But Larry Fitzgerald and the inclusion of Andy Isabella is enough for us to not dock Kyler for this matchup.
DraftKings Players: Andy Dalton is a viable alternative to Murray because of the lower price and bonus point ability. The Cardinals have given up the second-most fantasy points to QBs themselves.
Don’t Forget About…
Chase Daniel, Bears ($6500/$4800) – Daniel draws the start for the Bears in place of Mitch Trubisky, who is out with a separated shoulder. Daniel came on in relief last week against a tough Vikings defense and put up 195 yards and a TD (12.2 FD points). This week, he has a week to prepare for the Oakland Raiders, who are sixth-worst in DVOA against the pass and have given up the sixth-most fantasy points to QBs this season. In two starts in relief of Trubisky last season, Daniel averaged 257 yards passing, 20 yards rushing and 0.75 TDs. That is an average of 18.3 FD points per start, which is a 3x plus return. With a plus plus matchup and a low enough price that helps us afford one more elite level RB or WR this week, Daniel is cash viable in week five.
Favorite GPP Play…
Matt Ryan, Falcons ($7700/$5900) – Second week in a row for Ryan being our model’s top GPP QB option. Folks will be down on Ryan because of a perception that he didn’t play well last week against Tennessee, but he threw for 397 yards in the loss. There are two QBs in the NFL who have thrown for 300+ yards in each of their first four games: Patrick Mahomes and Matt Ryan. In fact, Ryan leads the NFL in pass attempts (176), fifth in completion percentage (70.5%), second in yards (1325) and eighth in passing TDs (8) this season. This Falcons/Texans game is going to shoot out, and if you need a cheaper QB than Deshaun Watson with less ownership, Ryan is your guy.
|NAME||TEAM||OPP||DVOA TOTAL||DVOA RUSH||DEF VS RB||TOTAL OLINE||RUSH OLINE||EVADED TKLS||BRKWYS||OPP SHARE||RZ TOUCH||GZ TOUCH|
WEEK 5 DFS NFL RB BREAKDOWN
Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys ($8800/$8300) – There are a lot of RBs worth paying up for this week, and selecting which one (or two) to invest in will ultimately be one of our biggest decisions of the week. Zeke gets my vote atop the Cash Game Breakdown because he’s slightly cheaper than McCaffrey, is an absolute lock for volume regardless of the game flow, is at home and faces the worst opponent of any of the other elite backs. The Packers are sixth-worst in DVOA against the run, have surrendered the second-most rushing yards (525), fourth-highest rushing yards per attempt (5.0), second-most TDs (5) to RBs, second-most receptions to RBs (29), seventh-most receiving yards to RBs (217) and the third-most fantasy points to RBs so far this season. I don’t like that LT Tyron Smith is out, but that is where the depth along the offensive line is key and good enough to propel the Cowboys offense through this week.
Dalvin Cook, Vikings ($8200/$8400) – Remember in weeks one and two how I told you guys that Cook was an $8K+ player playing in a $7K player’s salary? Our buy low time is up, my friends, but he’s still a great play this week at the increased cost. Now, some of you are going to say stupid shit like “why isn’t CMC in the breakdown this week?” If you want me to list every obvious play here in order to “cover my ass” in case some other asshole declares that I “didn’t like him” this week, well then…find yourself another provider. Mans don’t play that. If I am paying up this week, Zeke is my guy with Dalvin as the second option. If you use CMC instead, wonderful cause I have no problems with that. But Cooks is a machine that is the only positive thing coming out of Minnesota this week. This offense completely runs through him, whether it is in the rushing or passing game. The Giants are not bad against the run but surrendered a whopping 5.6 YPC to zone runs last season and are coming in at 4.3 this season, which is considerably higher than the 3.9 YPC overall they are at. The Vikings will gash them on the ground this week and take all of the pressure off of Kirk Cousins and the WRs.
David Johnson, Cardinals ($6800/$7500) – How does FanDuel price David Johnson so low this week? What I love about Johnson here is everything that I should have not loved about our RBs last week. He is below $7K, he is a full duty RB – meaning he is the first down guy – the between the 20’s guy, the goalline guy and the passing down guy. He is protected against game flow completely. Johnson is fourth in the NFL in snap rate at 80.8% and fourth in opportunity share at 82.4% this season. The Bengals cannot stop the run. Cincinnati has given up the fifth-most rushing yards, second-most rushing TDs, second-most receptions, most receiving yards to RBs, most receiving TDs to RBs and the second-most fantasy points to RBs this season. At this price, he is a lock button guy on FD and right at the cusp on DK.
Leonard Fournette, Jaguars ($6900/$6400) – As we stray from the elite level (and priced) DFS NFL RBs this week, we need to look for fellow RBs who complement whoever we use at the top. Fournette is a guy who goes quite well with any of the CMC, Zeke or Dalvin tier of RB. He is a reasonably priced, true workhorse RB in a heavy run volume offense with a plus matchup. The Carolina run defense is below average and currently rank 29th in run defense DVOA and 20th in run defense per PFF. What’s more, the Panthers lost All-Pro DE Kawaan Short for the season last week, opening up these running lanes even wider. Fournette is ninth in the NFL among RBs with 16 receptions, which is tied with James White. He hasn’t seen less than 17 touches in a game all year, and there is no reason to see why that trend doesn’t continue on the road in week five.
David Montgomery, Bears ($5700/$5200) – Again, it’s all about who to pair with these high-end RBs this week, and Monty is a very solid option. The price is dirt cheap, despite a favorable opponent and a high usage rate. Montgomery had a very disappointing week one against the Packers where the Bears just didn’t use him whatsoever. Since then, however, he is playing 65% of snaps – 13th most in NFL among RBs – has 16+ touches in every game and is averaging over five yards per touch in that span. The Raiders are the third-worst run defense according to PFF and are allowing the 10th most receptions to RBs this season.
Don’t Forget About…
Joe Mixon, Bengals ($7100/$6100) – Mixon failed to exist in the first two games of the season but has come back in the last couple weeks to post 17+ touches and 75+ yards per game. The Cardinals defense appears to be better against the run than they actually are, but they are still eighth-worst in DVOA against the run and fifth-worst against the run according to PFF. This game has shootout potential, and though I love David Johnson for sure, Mixon is much cheaper on DK and could be a real viable option to pair with either Zeke, Dalvin or CMC.
Favorite GPP Play…
Le’Veon Bell, Jets ($7300/$6800) – Yeah, I don’t ever trust Bell to play a full game or a full season, but as we break things down in week five, the Jets simply have no other options on offense. The Eagles are quite stingy against the run, allowing just 3.2 YPC (3rd best in NFL), but have allowed the sixth-most receptions and seventh-most receiving yards among RBs this season. That is where I expect Bell to rack up the fantasy points. His $6800 price tag is just far too cheap on DK, and the full point PPR scoring system places him over the cash game line on DK this week. Personally, I wouldn’t play him in cash game, but he is quite a sneaky option for all contest formats this week.
|NAME||TEAM||OPP||DVOA TOTAL||DVOA PASS||DEF VS WR||PASS CVG||TGT SHARE||AIR YD SHARE||ADOT||CATCH%||SEPERATION||FPTS PER TGT|
WB/CB MATCHUPS (BASED ON PFF RATINGS – % Rating Difference 2019)
- Adam Thielen, Vikings → DeAndre Baker, Giants – 44%
- Stefon Diggs, Vikings → Janoris Jenkins, Giants – 42%
- Julio Jones, Falcons → Lonnie Johnson Jr., Texans – 38%
- D.J. Moore, Panthers → Tre Herndon, Jaguars – 28%
- Anthony Miller, Bears → Lamarcus Joyner, Raiders – 26%
- Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals → B.W. Webb, Giants – 26%
- Michael Thomas, Saints → Vernon Hargreaves, Buccaneers – 24%
- T.Y. Hilton, Colts → Morris Claiborne, Chiefs – 23%
- Calvin Ridley, Falcons → Jonathan Joseph, Texans – 23%
- Alshon Jeffery, Eagles → Darryl Roberts, Jets – 22%
WORST COVERAGE CORNERBACKS – WR MATCHUP (Mans Model)
- P.J. Williams, Saints → Chris Godwin, Buccaneers
- DeAndre Baker, Giants → Stefon Diggs, Vikings
- Daryl Roberts, Jets → Alshon Jeffery, Eagles
- Janoris Jenkins, Giants → Adam Thielen, Vikings
- M.J. Stewart, Buccaneers → Tre’Quan Smith, Saints
- Daryl Worley, Raiders → Allen Robinson, Bears
- Lonnie Johnson, Jr. → Julio Jones, Falcons
- Lamarcus Joyner, Raiders → Anthony Miller, Bears
- Isaiah Oliver, Falcons → DeAndre Hopkins, Texans
- Bradley Roby, Texans → Mohamed Sanu, Falcons
- Sidney Jones, Eagles → Demaryius Thomas, Jets
- Buster Skrine, Bears → Hunter Renfrow, Raiders
- De’Vante Bausby, Broncos → Mike Williams, Chargers
- Fabian Moreau, Redskins → Julian Edelman, Patriots
- Damontae Kazee, Falcons → Kenny Stills, Texans
WEEK 5 DFS NFL WR BREAKDOWN
Julio Jones, Falcons ($8200/$7700) – Picking your favorite WR this week is like picking your favorite child. Sure, we all have one, but it’s not politically correct to talk about it. Mine is Julio Jones this week. Julio is sixth in the NFL in targets, 12th in receiving yards and fourth in fantasy points among WRs this season. He’s drawing the coverage of the sixth-worst team in pass coverage in the Houston Texans and my seventh-worst CB in the NFL in Lonnie Johnson Jr. this week. If the game shoots out as expected, it will be Julio who is the Falcons most heavily targeted and relied upon asset to keep them in or get them back into the lead.
DeAndre Hopkins, Texans ($8500/$7800) – I mean…take your pick really. The one negative about Hopkins is his price should be lower based on the mouth breathers at FD who have produced these other prices this week/season. Nevertheless, this is a total “get right” game for Hopkins against the Falcons defense. When you’re looking at the Falcons pass defense, you have to remember they have only faced the Vikings (32nd in pass attempts), Eagles (8th in pass attempts), Colts (20th in pass attempts) and Titans (30th in pass attempts) this season. Thus, they have faced the fifth-least pass attempts so far, yet still, have given up the 11th most fantasy points to WRs. The Falcons traded with of all people, the Philadelphia Eagles this week to get safety Jonathan Cyprien to try and stop the bleeding after losing Keanu Neal two weeks ago.
Chris Godwin, Buccaneers ($7800/$6900) – Godwin is just crushing this season and now gets to face off against the worst CB in the NFL in P.J. Williams. Williams is allowing a 28% target rate and .50 fantasy points per route covered, which is eighth-worst in the league so far this year. The Tampa Bay offense has sprouted over the last two weeks, generating 731 passing yards and a whopping 86 total points. Godwin is really underpriced on DraftKings this week where he should be in the mid $7K range.
Adam Thielen, Vikings ($6900/$6700) – The squeaky wheel usually gets the grease. But now, we have two squeaky wheels here in Minnesota, which complicates matters even more. The Vikings passing offense has been real slow to start the season, but better matchups like this week against the Giants will help tremendously. Thielen is second in the NFL in % of teams air yards and is averaging six targets per game. The Giants have given up the fifth-most receiving yards to WRs, fourth-most TDs to WRs and have the third-worst pass coverage according to PFF. Diggs is also a very interesting play, but Thielen is a safer option for our cash purposes while the other complainer, Diggs is fine for GPP use.
Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals ($5800/$6000) – How is Larry Fitzgerald still this low priced? Larry legend is 10th in the NFL in targets, 21st in receptions and 14th in fantasy points among WRs this season. The Bengals are second-worst in DVOA against the pass and second-worst in pass coverage according to PFF. The Cardinals have the third-most pass attempts in the NFL this season, and in a game that will likely be very back and forth, that trend will likely continue.
Auden Tate, Bengals ($5300/$3500) – DK special here, as I don’t think that I would pay the $5300 on FD but love the $3500 price on DK this week. Tate has generated 16 targets in the past two weeks and now moves up the food chain with John Ross out. Tate will play the slot role for the Bengals, which is a real problem for the Cardinals, who have allowed five TDs to slot receivers this year (four of which were TEs).
Golden Tate, Giants ($4500/$4600) – FanDuel is obviously asleep at the wheel with their pricing. Tate returns to the Giants after serving a four-game suspension to begin the season. Tate is the Giants #1 WR, but few will realize this because they haven’t seen it yet this season. That will keep ownership down on what would otherwise be an obvious 100% across the board play. I am worried about what his exact role and target share will be here this week, but I’ve been told by Jerry Foley, The Giant Insider that Tate will indeed play the slot for the Giants, with Sterling Shepard moving outside. I think the move this week is to use the Tate’s (Golden and Auden) as our value WRs with Golden being on FD and Auden on DK.
Don’t Forget About…
Julian Edelman, Patriots ($6500/$6300) – The Patriots passing game is set to come alive this week against the Redskins defense that is struggling. Washington is fourth-worst in DVOA against the pass, has given up the most receiving TDs (8) and allowed the second-most fantasy points to WRs this season. Edelman draws the matchup with Fabian Moreau, who is the 14th worst CB in the NFL in my model and 138th out of 154 according to PFF. Just like with the Vikings, we have two very worthy WRs here in New England with Edelman being the better cash play while Josh Gordon is in the mix for a GPP throw.
Favorite GPP Play…
Robby Anderson, Jets ($5500/$4500) – I’ve already given you three viable GPP WRs so will dig a bit deeper here with our old boy Robby Anderson. With the Jets two TD underdogs, the game script is pretty obvious, as the Jets will be throwing a lot in order to try and keep pace with this Eagles offense. I am not optimistic about Luke Falk’s overall performance, but he will be throwing a lot against the team who has one of the worst secondaries in the NFL. The Eagles have surrendered the fifth-most receptions, the most receiving yards, second-most receiving TDs and most fantasy points to WRs this season.
|NAME||TEAM||OPP||DVOA TOTAL||DEF VS TE||SLOT%||TGT SHARE||AIR YD SHARE||ADOT||CATCH%||SEPERATION||FPTS PER TGT|
WEEK 5 DFS NFL TE BREAKDOWN
Mark Andrews, Ravens ($6100/$4800) – A $500 price decrease on FD is solid, but on DraftKings, Andrews is $1200 less than the top TE. Andrews is sixth among NFL TEs in targets with 32, fifth in target share with 23.4% and fifth in slot rate at 40.4%. It’s not a great matchup against an improving Steelers defense that now features S Minkah Fitzpatrick, but it’ll be Terrell Edmunds who is responsible for covering Andrews and he surrenders the most yards per route covered to TEs at 3.72. Lamar Jackson has three passing play moves: 1) wing it deep to Marquise Brown 2) get confused by coverage and take off running 3) dump it off to Mark Andrews. Andrews is averaging eight targets per game and hasn’t had below seven yet.
Tyler Eifert, Bengals ($4600/$3300) – I don’t like it, not one bit. But it appears as though Eifert is once again going to be chalk for no other reason than he is playing the Cardinals. My belief is that this is a classic one-sided analysis that gets people in trouble. If you look at the matchup from the Eifert point of view, you think this is amazing and that he could definitely produce. But, if you’re looking at it from the Cardinals point of view, you’ve been bleeding points to TEs all season to guys like T.J. Hockenson, Mark Andrews, Greg Olsen and Will Dissly. So, as Tyler Eifert comes to town, you are thinking this is the week you finally get a break and can shut down the TE spot. The good news is that if Eifert is 40%+ owned, we can drift with it and do so at a tremendously discounted price. Make no mistake, if you use Eifert and he scores, IT WILL NOT HELP YOUR DFS LINEUPS. You will not be gaining on the field doing this. But, sharp players know that we can just pay down for this chalk, deal with whatever it produces and use the savings to be different with a much better player.
Evan Engram, Giants ($6300/$5800) – Tight End is not a great position in the main slate this week. Engram has been a staple for us in cash game this year, but his price is rising. Engram is averaging nine targets, seven receptions, 83 receiving yards and .5 TDs per game this season. He’s fourth in the NFL with a 23.7% target share and eighth in red zone target share among TEs this season. The Vikings have given up the fourth-most receptions, seventh-most receiving yards and eighth-most fantasy points to TEs so far this season. There isn’t a must-have matchup on this slate, and Engram falls into the best of what we’ve got place here at the top. Vikings safety Harrison Smith gives up the second-most yards per route covered at 3.71 this season. Golden Tate being back and Sterling Shepard healthy doesn’t help his cause, but Engram hasn’t had less than seven targets in any game so far this season, so even a minor drop in volume would be alright this week.
Darren Waller, Raiders ($6400/$5000) – If there is one Achilles heel of this Chicago Bears defense, it is covering the TE position. Waller leads NFL TEs with a 29.8% target share, second (tied with Engram) with 37 targets and has run the seventh most routes among NFL TEs. He also is leading the NFL with a 94% snap rate so far this season. Despite all of this volume, Waller is just sixth in fantasy scoring among TEs because he hasn’t gotten in the endzone yet. With Tyrell Williams banged up, Waller could see an uptick in red zone opportunities this week as well.
Don’t Forget About…
Greg Olsen, Panthers ($5700/$4000) – Olsen had a disappointing game last week against the Texans, which has taken him completely off of most people’s radar in DFS this week. But, we know the Jaguars defense is a “funnel defense” because of their two exceptional CBs who force the passing action to the center of the field. If Jalen Ramsey doesn’t play, it’ll simply open up more passing lanes for the entire Panthers offense. Jacksonville has given up the ninth-most receiving yards to TEs so far this season and is seventh-worst in DVOA against the TE this season.
Favorite GPP Play…
Jared Cook, Saints ($5300/$3400) – There was a time, last year basically, in which I’d constantly be searching for enough data points to qualify lower-priced TEs to be cash game eligible. One of my biggest takeaways from both seasonal and DFS NFL after last season was the advantages of having a premium TE on your team were bigger than at any other position. So, I’ve made it a priority to pay the price to have a plus EV player at the TE position. This is why we’ve been relying on Kelce, Ertz and Evan Engram so much this season. But if you want to be different and pay down, Jared Cook is a guy that everybody has given up on now because he hasn’t caught more than three passes in a single game this season. His snap count also dropped into a 50/50 split with fellow TE Josh Hill last week. But Cook did generate the six targets last week and has a good rapport with Teddy Bridgewater. Tampa Bay has given up the second-most yards, third-most receptions and second-most fantasy points to TEs this season.
New England Patriots ($5500/$4300) – The Patriots have surrendered the least amount of points so far this season, giving up just 6.8 points per game. The Patriots also have the most sacks in the NFL and the second-highest sack percentage, which is dangerous to this terrible offensive line of the Washington Redskins. The Redskins are in turmoil right now with their front office and coaching staff battling over which QB should be starting for the team. No matter who they choose, the Patriots defense is licking their chops to get ahold of the Redskins offense this week.
Chicago Bears ($5000/$3800) – It’s a pretty big discount paying down from New England to Chicago this week. There’s really no doubt, pound-for-pound, the Bears defense is the best in the NFL so far this season. They have absolutely dominated two real good offenses in the Packers and Vikings already this year. We know how much this game means to former Raiders and current Bears LB Khalil Mack, so you can bet he will be an animal all game long. Chicago is also sixth in the NFL in takeaways, second in sacks, fourth in sack percentage and first in turnover differential this season.
Jacksonville Jaguars ($4500/$3000) – This isn’t the same Jaguars defense that would shut opponents down and force them into submission, but it’s still a strong unit, nonetheless. The Jaguars are sixth in the NFL in sacks, sixth in sack percentage and ninth in points allowed. Even though Panthers QB Kyle Allen has led the team to back-to-back wins, he is still a raw, inexperienced QB who has been sacked five times in his two starts. The Panthers are also eighth in giveaways on offense this season. If Jalen Ramsey plays, the Jaguars become a priority DST for this week. If he doesn’t, they are still a great option but not a must use.
Dallas Cowboys ($3900/$2800) – Anytime you can get a great defense for a very cheap price, you do it in DFS NFL. The matchup against the Packers isn’t ideal, but the game script really favors the Cowboys defense this week. The Cowboys are going to run the ball up and down on the Packers defense, taking up gobs of time and forcing the Packers into throwing more often, which leads to sacks and turnovers. The Packers are likely without star WR Davante Adams and could even be without RT Bryan Bulaga, who has a shoulder injury. The Cowboys have eight sacks in their last two games, which just so happens to be since DE Robert Quinn returned from suspension.
Pittsburgh Steelers ($3400/$2100) – Do you notice how everybody else is now starting to realize the Steelers defense is pretty damn good? A lot of people got caught up in their offensive injuries and disappointments, but this defense has been really good. The acquisition of S Minkah Fitzpatrick really solidifies the secondary and gives them a boost in sacks and turnovers too. The Ravens offense is dangerous, but Lamar Jackson has taken seven sacks over the last two weeks and turned the ball over three times last week against the Browns.
New York Jets ($3100/$2300) – Just a bottom of the barrel option, but one you could feel good about using this week. The Jets defense isn’t bad at all, but their numbers are skewed because they got waxed by the Patriots then went on a bye. The Eagles offense is good, but it will be hard for them to run against the Jets and the secondary is talented enough to take the ball away as well.
DFS NFL COACHING SESSIONS
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)