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 ($7,700), Dak Prescott ($6,700), Josh Allen ($6,600), Jameis Winston ($6,500), Tom Brady ($6,400), Kyle Allen ($5,300)
Lamar Jackson: Jackson has played too well to be just $7,700 at this point, especially against a poor Houston pass defense. This game could also become a shootout with Deshaun Watson on the other side of the field. The over/under is a lofty 51.5 points.
Kyle Allen: Allen is my cheap play this week due to his excellent matchup against the Falcons at home. Alle isn’t great, but he has a great receiving back and strong receivers in D.J. Moore, Curtis Samuel, and Greg Olsen. Against the Falcons, who give up the fifth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks, he should be able to hit value at his price.
Brian Hill: With Hill’s low price, you can likely get Christian McCaffrey on your team, especially with Kyle Allen. That’s a great way to go, but I also want to get some expensive WRs and Lamar Jackson on my teams, which makes it more difficult.
Hill will have ownership percentages over the roof, so I can understand moving away from him in some GPPs, but the matchup and his likely usage along with his price make him a must play in cash games. The Panthers have given up a whopping 17 touchdowns to running backs this year, including 13 in the last five games to go along with 5.5 yards per carry allowed. Hill has shown that he’s more than just a schlub backup at times, and I expect a strong game from him.
Dalvin Cook: Cook doesn’t have a smash spot against an awful run defense, but he does have a game where more than 10 points favor his team at home. That scenario will give him plenty of work on the ground. But the reason I’m going all-in is his usage in the passing game since Adam Thielen went down. He’s averaged 6.7 targets, 5.3 receptions and 68 yards through the air over the last three games. Before Thielen’s injury, he averaged 3.4 receptions for 31.4 yards.
Josh Jacobs: Jacobs’ price in this smash spot makes him hard to ignore. The Bengals come into Oakland, giving up the fourth-most fantasy points to running backs and the third-most rushing yards. The Raiders are -11.5 favorites at home, and there’s no reason to think Ryan Finley and the Bengals are going to turn that line on its head this week. Jacobs should get a significant workload with a lead. His shoulder should also be the healthiest he’s been in a while since they played on Thursday night last week. All signs point toward prominent usage in a smash spot.
Michael Thomas ($9,900), Amari Cooper ($7,700), Julian Edelman ($7,600), Mike Evans ($7,400), Chris Godwin ($7,300), John Brown ($6,400), Courtland Sutton ($6,000), D.J. Moore ($5,900), Jamison Crowder ($5,700), Marquise Brown ($5,600), Calvin Ridley ($5,500), Tyler Boyd ($5,200), Mohamed Sanu ($5,100), Kenny Stills ($4,600), Deebo Samuel ($4,000)
D.J. Moore: Moore has topped 100 yards in his last two games while averaging the twelfth-most targets for wide receivers in the league. Over his last four games, he’s seen ten targets a game and averaged seven receptions. Now he gets a Falcons defense that has given up the most fantasy points per target. His price is suppressed due to his low touchdown numbers, but this matchup is one that should help him hit with or without a touchdown.
Michael Thomas: If Thomas were just a little cheaper, he’d be a must-play across the board, but as it is, he may not be 100 percent owned this week in an excellent spot. Thomas is a cheat code on DraftKings, which gives one-point per reception. Thomas is on pace to break the receptions record and has already put up an 11/182/2 line on the Buccaneers in Week 5. He’s priced accordingly and is by far the safest play on the main slate.
Julian Edelman: For cash games, I love Edelman against the Eagles weak secondary. He’s been hurting with a rib injury, and the bye-week likely helped him. Edelman is on pace for his best season ever and remains Tom Brady’s primary target. New England is, of course, favored, but only by -3 points. The Eagles have a strong run defense, and Bill Belichick usually attacks the weakness of a defense, which this week is their secondary.
Darren Waller ($5,500), Jared Cook ($4,400), Greg Olsen ($4,900), Noah Fant ($3,700), T.J. Hockenson ($3,600), Ross Dwelley ($3,400)
Jared Cook: The main slate is a wasteland for tight ends, so there’s no reason to pay up at the position. Cook is my favorite play at his price, matchup, and recent production. That doesn’t mean he’s in a smash spot, but there is plenty of value there, as the Bucs are only out-sucked by the Cardinals when it comes to defending tight ends.
I could also see completely punting the position with Ross Dwelley against Arizona with George Kittle out.
Vikings: Minnesota matches up well with the Broncos, as two of the Broncos’ strongest producers are at running back, and they have a scout team quarterback leading the way. The Vikings are a Top-5 defense against the run and average against the pass. They’re also over 10 point favorites and should have no trouble putting the Broncos in troubling spots.