I can’t believe we’ve already consumed one quarter of the season. Yikes. What I can certainly believe is almost everything each team has shown on the field. Long gone are preseason speculations about how this player will perform for his new franchise, or how that player will be used in his new offensive scheme. We have seen enough to know which defenses should be avoided and which receivers (helped by their quarterbacks) are primed to end each week with glaring fantasy numbers.
In DFS, knowing that information is key. Without the need to hang onto someone for the entire season, we’re just left to pick whoever plays the best matchup each week. But salaries are a thing to consider. Highly-priced players often produce the most points, but goose eggs can fly toward anyone at any time, so you better choose wisely. With Week 5 around the corner, here are three players that slipped through the DraftKings salary-assignation algorithm who should offer the best return for their price, and three others that look way overvalued considering what they have ahead.
Week 5 - DFS Best Values
Diontae Johnson, PIT (vs BAL) — $4,400
Since Donte Moncrief left the spotlight and Diontae Johnson started seeing more snaps, the rookie has raved in connection with Mason Rudolph. Johnson had a great outing against San Francisco in Week 3 (14.8 DK Fantasy Points) and he was able to improve on it against the 4th-best defense in preventing WRs from scoring fantasy points by getting 18.7 DKFP. After crushing Cincinnati, the Steelers host Baltimore in Week 5 and the Ravens defense doesn’t look as scary as we thought not long ago (10th-worst in points allowed to WRs), having surrendered 846 receiving yards to wideouts in four games. Considering Johnson is the most targeted player in Pittsburgh other than JuJu Smith-Schuster (21 to 27), and has the second-most receiving yards of all Steelers’ receivers (171 to Juju’s 258) and two touchdowns already, Johnson looks like a bargain at his current price. The game script could also help him, as Pittsburgh enters the contest as the underdog by 3.5 points and might find itself relying heavily on the passing game.
Mohamed Sanu, ATL (at HOU) — $4,200
First of all, this matchup is tasty. Houston has allowed opposing teams to score 30, 12, 20, and 10 points for a combined 72 in four games. More than that, they’re conceding 43.3 DKFP per game to WRs, the seventh-worst mark in the league. The Falcons are underdogs in this one by 4.5 points, and they don’t know how to rush the ball, so they’ll pass no matter what. Looking at individual players to put in your lineup this weekend based on value is where things get interesting regarding Atlanta. Sanu is priced at $4,200 and Calvin Ridley at $4,900. It is not an incredible difference, but those $700 can come in handy at other positions. Through Week 4 Sanu has 48.1 DKFP and Ridley 51.7. Sanu has been way more targeted (31 to 23), has more receptions (24 to 16), and leads Ridley in yards too (239 to 207). Ridley is a touchdown-dependent fantasy bet (he has two), and Sanu has a good chance to catch one this week. With such a difference in salary but the similarity in production you’re better saving money on this one and rostering the un-sexy Sanu.
Emmanuel Sanders, DEN (at LAC) — $6,100
It’s incredible how good Sanders has looked so far after coming back from his Achilles injury. Although he was a dud against Green Bay in Week 3 (3.0 DKFP, but against the No. 1 defense against WRs), he came back to his 2019 averages in Week 4 by breaking the 100-yard receiving mark and finish the game with 104 yards on five receptions from nine targets. Aside from that bad game versus the Packers, Sanders has posted 19.6, 26.8, and 18.4 DKFP scores so far, and is the Broncos leading receiving weapon (most targets, receptions, and touchdowns, and just 11 yards shy of the most yards). Denver is a big underdog this week (good game script for Sanders), yet the Chargers defense has been average at best and keeps piling on injured players with DE Melvin Ingram the last one.
Week 5 - DFS Worst Values
Keenan Allen, LAC (vs. DEN) — $7,300
Keenan Allen has been a beast this season. He leads all wide receivers in total DKFP so far and is averaging 25.88 points per game. Allen’s production, though, has been a little bouncy over his four games, with his massive Week 3 performance for 46.6 points making his overall outcome look better than it’s been. Allen has yet to face a top-10 defense (he will against Denver in Week 5), and in a weird game against Miami last week he could only catch five passes for 48 yards. While Allen carries a floor of around 10 DKFP, his ceiling is a little volatile. With the Chargers clear favorites this weekend and Melvin Gordon III back, there will be reasons to rush the ball instead of passing if all goes according to plan. Add a stout defense against quarterbacks and wide receivers in that of Denver and all points down for Allen this weekend.
Amari Cooper, DAL (vs. GB) — $6,800
Dallas was frustrated against New Orleans in Week 4. Even leading the Cowboys in targets (eight) and receptions (five), Cooper could only rack up 48 receiving yards, with his longest catch going for just 14 yards. Ankle injury aside (Dallas cleared Cooper and he seems to be past it), Cooper has always been like this: boom-or-bust by nature. Looking at his weekly production in 2019, Cooper has alternated 25-plus DKFP performances with 15-or-less ones each week. The more concerning trait is that Cooper (and Dallas, by extension) had played mediocre teams in the Giants, Washington, and Miami through Week 3. Once he had to face a little better team, Copper floundered. And on schedule is the No. 1 defense in the league against WRs. Green Bay is the only team that has given up less than 500 yards to wide receivers in four games (462) and is only allowing 22.0 DKFP per game to them. Cooper may end with a touchdown (he’s got the ability and the opportunities), but his total contribution could be way lower than his price would indicate.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is chapulana) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.