Holy value plays Batman! This is going to be a fun week with all the cheap guys that have come out of the woodwork with injuries cropping up, so make sure to get deeply into the secondary stats to get an edge on the competition. We at FTA will be working hard for you all weekend, and make sure to follow me on twitter @jac3600. Don’t forget, we have a three-game slate in NBA tonight too!
Patrick Mahomes, KC ($9300)
Mahomes is becoming the Anthony Davis of DFS football, where he’s always the top play but is not always the top value. This week I think it’s viable to play him in cash with all the cheapies that are in play. Even when you account for the difficult matchup against Baltimore, the Chiefs still come in with an implied total of 30 points, and Mahomes leads the league with a 10.1 AY/A and a 9.6 TD rate. That kind of efficiency gives him by far the highest floor of any QB, and he’s viable in all formats at his price tag.
Other options – Ben Roethlisberger, Drew Brees, Cam Newton, Aaron Rodgers, Philip Rivers
Lamar Jackson, BAL ($7500)
If you can’t afford Mahomes (or any of the other high-priced guys), it makes sense to drop down to Lamar Jackson in cash. It’s scary to put your trust in a QB that hasn’t yet topped 178 passing yards (and against easy defenses), but Lamar’s rushing floor is bonkers. In his last three starts (where the Ravens are 3-0), Jackson has rushed 44 times for 265 yards and two rushing TDs. Even with a negative game script, Jackson should be running a lot, and the Chiefs are 31st in rush defense DVOA.
Other options – DeShaun Watson, Jameis Winston, Tom Brady
Ryan Tannehill, MIA ($6900)
Jackson is the lowest price tag I’m willing to accept for cash, but Tannehill serves as a high-upside GPP play. In a negative game script (NE favored by 8), Tannehill should be throwing a ton, and he also has a 16% MS of rushes with a 14.3% MS of RZ rushing attempts. Tannehill was horrid in the first game against New England, but this is a must-win for Miami and that game was in New England. This is a low-owned, high-upside GPP play.
Other options – Case Keenum, Matthew Stafford, Eli Manning
Christian McCaffrey, CAR ($9100)
With Todd Gurley off the main slate, McCaffrey easily checks in as the top RB, and he’s easy to fit with all the values. His usage is absolutely unreal this year as he’s played on 97% of the team’s snaps (and 100% the last two weeks) while averaging 7.4 targets per week in the passing game. In addition, McCaffrey’s RZ market share has been almost 58% over the past six weeks while sitting at 29% during the first six (that’s double in the second half, math majors). Cleveland ranks 20th in rush defense DVOA, and Carolina desperately needs this game.
Other options – Saquon Barkley, Ezekiel Elliott, Alvin Kamara
Aaron Jones, GB ($7500)
Jones salvaged his day last week with a late TD after being inexplicably underused once again by Mike McCarthy. Well, the longtime GB coach is out and Joe Philbin is in, and we can only hope be realizes how much better Aaron Jones actually is than Jamaal Williams. The matchup is great too, as Atlanta has allowed by far the most targets and catches to the RB position while also ranking last in pass defense DVOA to the position. Jones is viable in all formats, as Green Bay is also in a must-win scenario. One knock on him in cash if the fact that Joe Philbin is historically a pass-heavy coach, and he has Aaron Rodgers.
Other options – Nick Chubb, David Johnson, Joe Mixon
Jaylen Samuels, PIT ($4600)
Samuels will be incredibly chalky this week and it’s a play you’re just going to have to eat in cash even though Stevan Ridley could wind up out-carrying him. Early reports say Samuels will start but split carries, but you have to imagine he dominates the passing game that James Conner was heavily involved in. The Steelers have an implied total of 31 points which is the highest on this slate, and Oakland ranks in the bottom ten of the NFL in all defensive categories. Don’t worry about Samuels being “bad chalk” – he’s a free square and won’t hurt you in cash. Fade away in GPPs if you want.
Other options – Austin Ekeler, Spencer Ware, LeSean McCoy, Jeff Wilson, LeGarrette Blount, Stevan Ridley, Justin Jackson
Davante Adams, GB ($8700)
As I mentioned, Joe Philbin is a pass-happy coach which should have the most direct positive benefit on Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams. In Philbin’s four-year tenure in Miami, the Dolphins were in the bottom 10 in rushing attempts in three of the four years, and Green Bay ranks 28th this season with Philbin as their OC. This plays well to Adams who has a 35% market share of targets over the past five weeks to go along with five TDs. Atlanta likes to funnel targets away from WR1s, but they’ve generally failed this year, ranking 25th in DVOA against the position.
Other options – Antonio Brown, DeAndre Hopkins, Julio Jones, Michael Thomas, Tyreek Hill, Odell Beckham
Keenan Allen, LAC ($7900)
Allen is a lock for me in cash, and I’m likely going overweight in GPPs this week as well. The Chargers have an implied total of 30.5 points (second highest of the week) and Allen has been the most targeted WR in the NFL since week ten (which his price nowhere near reflects). He’s also now being featured in the red zone and has scored in four straight weeks, so there should be massive volume here for Keenan. The Bengals rank 27th in pass defense DVOA, so there’s really nothing (barring injury) that should keep Allen from filling up the stat sheet. He’s at least $500 too cheap.
Other options – Juju Smith-Schuster, Mike Evans, TY Hilton, Kenny Golladay
Courtland Sutton, DEN ($5600)
Sutton is an important part of lineups this week. Emmanuel Sanders tore his achilles in practice on Wednesday, which leaves Sutton as the de facto WR1 in Denver. With Demaryius Thomas traded and Jeff Heuerman already on IR, it’s fair to expect Sutton’s market share to jump to at least 25% which puts him in low-end WR1 territory. He’s priced barely as a WR3, and is facing a San Francisco team that allows the ninth most FPPG to opposing WR1s. I wouldn’t get cute fading him.
Other options – Amari Cooper, DJ Moore, Jarvis Landry, Chris Godwin, Adam Humphries, Devante Parker, Kenny Stills
Travis Kelce, KC ($8000)
Tight end is tricky this week. You don’t have to pay all the way up to Kelce, but you ARE going to have to spend a little more than we’re accustomed to as far as “punting” goes. If you have the money, Kelce is by far the safest at the position with a 31.5% MS of his team’s targets (which is the highest of all TEs in the league). Over the past two weeks Kelce has caught 22 balls on 28 targets and has six TDs over the last five weeks. The Ravens are a funnel defense with top ten DVOA rankings against both WR1s and WR2s but are 25th in DVOA against the tight end. He’s well worth his price tag at a thin position, especially with all the RB value.
Other options – Zack Ertz, George Kittle, Rob Gronkowski, Eric Ebron
Eric Ebron, IND ($6400)
Ebron is essentially still priced as a “top play” and not a “value”, but he’s still the best savings off Kelce. Ebron has 49 targets in five weeks of no Jack Doyle, and his 39% market share of red zone targets is by far the most of any tight end this season (he has 12 TDs). The Texans are terrible against the TE position, ranking 29th in DVOA and allowing the second most yards to them, so Ebron is fully viable in all formats.
Other options – Jared Cook, Austin Hooper, Jimmy Graham, Ricky Seals-Jones, David Njoku
TOP FIVE DEFENSES FOR CASH
- New York Giants ($3500)
- Los Angeles Chargers ($4600)
- New Orleans Saints ($3800)
- Arizona Cardinals ($3700)
- Detroit Lions ($4200)