When researching DraftKings, I usually end up with a set of core players that end up running through all of my lineups. Typically, they are consistent fantasy producers in good matchups or have value due to an injury. You will likely see them across the fantasy football blogosphere because, well, they’re core plays for a lot of people. We could probably call them chalk plays too, so there is a good reason to lean toward cash games with these types of players, but even in GPPs, I want consistent and high-upside plays, and sometimes my core players might not be fully in the chalk column. Let’s get to it.
Lamar Jackson ($7,300), Patrick Mahomes ($7,000), Jameis Winston ($6,800), Drew Brees ($6,700), Kyler Murray ($6,500), Matt Ryan ($6,100), ($6,100), Brian Hoyer ($5,900), Sam Darnold ($5,800), Ryan Tannehill ($5,100)
Jameis Winston: The most expensive quarterbacks also happen to be the best plays this week. Lamar Jackson is probably the safest play for cash games, and Patrick Mahomes could be somewhat contrarian in his first game back from injury, but Winston has the best game environment.
The matchup between the Bucs and Cardinals pits two of the fastest-paced offenses and worst pass defenses against each other. This game has the highest over/under at 52.5 points, and the Cardinals have given up the most fantasy points to quarterbacks, including seven Top-10 finishes in nine games. And lately, they’ve given up some massive games. Last week Jimmy Garoppolo had his best game of the season with a line of 317/4 and before that Drew Brees 373/3 and Matt Ryan 356/4. Even Kyle Allen put up 261/4 and Lamar Jackson, well, he destroyed them.
Winston isn’t as reliable as Jackson or Brees, but his upside is likely the highest of the week in this matchup. He has an excellent floor no matter what, but if he avoids turnovers against a Cardinals team that ranks last in interceptions, he gets a shot at his biggest game of the season.
Christian McCaffrey ($10,500), Saquon Barkley ($8,800), Alvin Kamara ($7,400), Aaron Jones ($7,400), Mark Ingram ($7,100), Nick Chubb ($7,000), Marlon Mack ($7,000), Jaylen Samuels ($6,300), David Montgomery ($5,300), Devin Singletary ($5,000), Damien Williams ($4,900), Ronald Jones ($4,300)
Christian McCaffrey: Fitting McCaffrey on your team at his $10,500 might be tough, but it’s worth giving it a good try, as he is still a value even at his high price. He averages a fat 155.5 yards, 5.25 receptions and 1.6 touchdowns for 32.7 DraftKings points per game. The next highest on the main slate is Aaron Jones at 21.6 DK points.
McCaffrey’s played some tough matchups this season and still put up these numbers, but this week he gets a great matchup against the Packers, who have given up the sixth-most fantasy points to running backs and the fourth-most yards per run at 4.89 yards.
Devin Singletary: Singletary took over the lead back role last week and awarded his coach with 95 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries, while catching 3-of-4 targets for 45 more yards against Washington. This week he’ll get a Browns defense that has given up the eighth-most fantasy points to running backs per game and rank 21st in DVOA against the run. His price hasn’t caught up to his new starting status, so it is time to take advantage.
David Montgomery: I want to give Aaron Jones some love, but if we’re paying up for McCaffrey, Jones is a pipe dream unless you get risky. Montgomery, on the other hand, gets an easy matchup, should see plenty of work, and has a friendly price. Over the last two weeks, Montgomery has 41 rushing attempts for 175 yards and three touchdowns while catching 7-of-9 targets for 48 yards. The Lions allow the most fantasy points per game to running backs, so we have a perfect storm brewing for a Full Monty.
Michael Thomas ($8,300), Tyreek Hill ($7,700), Mike Evans ($7,600), Chris Godwin ($7,400), Cooper Kupp ($7,300), Davante Adams ($6,900), Golden Tate ($5,900), Calvin Ridley ($5,400), Zach Pascal ($5,300), Christian Kirk ($5,200), Jamison Crowder ($5,000), Jarvis Landry ($4,900), DeVante Parker ($4,800), Robby Anderson ($4,700), A.J. Brown ($4,300), Darius Slayton ($4,200), Chester Rogers ($4,100), Josh Reynolds ($3,800)
Golden Tate: Tate should see targets funneled his way with both Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram out this week. The last time that happened was against the Patriots’ strong defense, and he put up the best game a wide receiver has had against the Patriots this year with a 6/102/1 line. No other receiver has caught a touchdown on New England or scored a touchdown.
Davante Adams: Adams proved he was healthy last week with seven receptions on 11 targets, but he only put up 41 yards. This week he gets a matchup against the Panthers, who are strong against wide receivers, but their top cornerback James Bradberry has a groin injury and is questionable to play. If he’s out, Adams will be a core play this week.
Christian Kirk: Kirk has been Kyler Murray’s favorite target, as he’s looked his way 8.8 times per game and has played a brutal schedule for wide receivers. This week he gets the best possible matchup, as the Buccaneers have allowed the most fantasy points to wide receiver on the year, with an average of 15.1 receptions, 197.3 yards, and 1.5 touchdowns.
Travis Kelce ($6,400), Austin Hooper ($5,500), Mark Andrews ($5,200) Gerald Everett ($4,500), Jack Doyle ($3,600), Greg Olsen ($3,600), Jonnu Smith ($3,500), O.J. Howard ($3,300), Mike Gesicki ($3,100)
Mike Gesicki: Gesicki will be a popular play this Sunday at his low price, recent production, and upped opportunity with Preston Williams done for the year. After a slow start to the season, Gesicki has 15 receptions for 197 yards over his last four games, and last week he caught all 6 of his targets for 95 yards. This week he gets a Colts defense that doesn’t mind giving up receptions to tight ends underneath instead of giving up big plays. They give up the seventh-most tight end receptions per game, and with Williams out, I expect Gesicki to get enough work to have a strong PPR floor, especially for his price.
Baltimore Ravens: To fit McCaffrey in, you may need to skimp a bit at D/ST, but if I had my druthers, the Ravens would be my main target. They face a rookie quarterback behind a weak offensive line, and their offense should run up the score, pushing Ryan Finley to throw much more than he’s probably capable.