Welcome to the weekly tournament plays article for Sunday’s main DraftKings fantasy football slate. I’m going to focus purely on upside plays, stacks and strategies to help tackle the largest tournaments on the slate. GPPs are not won by using all of the most popular players on the slate and finding some relatively lower-owned diamonds in the rough will be the goal of this article.
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Game Stack: Seattle Seahawks at Detroit Lions
Geno Smith ($5,400) — Tyler Lockett ($5,900)/DK Metcalf ($6,800) — Jamaal Williams ($6,100)
Given the defenses involved, the game environment in the SEA-DET matchup this week looks like a great one to target for DFS purposes. Detroit has given up the second-most fantasy points to the QB position on the season and still ranks just average in pressure rate and 17th in opposing QB rating. Geno Smith has faced a couple of tough defenses in San Francisco and Denver, but showed off against a poor pass defense in Atlanta last week, completing over 72% of his passes while posting a solid 7.4 yards per attempt.
Smith is still available at well under $6,000 and — much like Week 2 GPP winner Tua Tagovailoa — has two elite WRs to stack with for daily fantasy. Both Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf received over 10 targets last week against Atlanta and Seattle’s defense, which ranks fourth-to-last in yards per play allowed itself, should mean steady volume for both men when Seattle is matched up against decent offenses. Lockett at under $6K makes for a great value target in his own right (game stack or not). He’s now gone for at least 5 receptions and at least 90 yards in three of his past six games with Smith as his quarterback. If we’re playing for an outright slugfest though, the big play ability of Metcalf makes him a great addition to a Seattle triple stack. Metcalf’s efficiency went down last week but his yards per reception went up and the Detroit corners both allowed Terry McLaurin and AJ Brown to average well over 15 yards per catch against them in previous weeks.
The great thing about stacking the Seattle side of the ball this week is that none of their players project as uber chalk in Week 4, with Metcalf and Smith likely to bring down the total ownership of your lineup by a solid amount. That means we’ll be free to roster a player like Jamaal Williams on the other side, who should be one of the highest-owned players on the slate but is also in line for a monster workload. Williams took 22 touches last week with D’Andre Swift (questionable) still active and has out-touched Swift 12-2 in the red zone. Going up against a Seattle defense that has allowed 4.9 yards per carry this year and has also given up the 10th most points to opposing RBs makes Williams an easy comeback play. Especially since Seattle’s passing game will help keep our lineup unique.
QB/WR Stack: New York Jets at Pittsburgh Steelers
Zach Wilson ($5,200) — Elijah Moore ($4,800)
For a cool $10,000 you can roster a second-overall draft pick at QB in Zach Wilson and a second-round draft pick at WR (whom Wilson targeted on over 25% of his routes in 2021) in Elijah Moore. Still interested? You can also pair these two together this week against a Steelers defense that has seen its pressure rate has gone down since losing TJ Watt and allowed a 109.6 passer rating to Jacoby Brissett last week.
The Steelers rank in the top half of the NFL in yards per carry allowed, but have also allowed the seventh-most fantasy points this season to opposing WRs. Moore is at his lowest price point of the season on DraftKings and figures to see a bump in efficiency and volume with Wilson, who looked his way more than any other receiver last season. Both teams have been giving up big plays in the secondary and both rank in the top five in pace of play on the year, giving this game sneaky shootout appeal. You could even look to game stack this one by coming back with Diontae Johnson ($6,000) on the other side, but a Wilson-Moore combo gets your lineup off to a very nice start from a value perspective and exposure to a game with underrated upside for fantasy.
Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills at Baltimore Ravens ($8,400)
I’ve given you two good cheap options above to consider for your QB position, so now let’s talk about the place you should go if you’re paying up. While there are three legitimate studs above $8K on DraftKings this week, there’s only one QB who gets to take on a bottom-five secondary and that’s Josh Allen. The Ravens have allowed the third-most fantasy points to opposing QBs on the season and are also in the bottom three in yards per attempt and yards per play allowed.
Allen’s 63 pass attempts likely won’t get replicated but also expect increased efficiency in Week 4, given the Ravens just finished allowing Mac Jones and the Patriots to throw for 10.0 yards per pass last week. While Jalen Hurts ($8,200) and Lamar Jackson ($8,300) give us better rushing upside, the defenses on the other side of those QBs also pose legitimate threats to stifle their passing upside — to the point where if either QB gets held out of the end zone as a rusher then a mediocre day could be on the table. There’s nothing in Baltimore’s secondary that will slow down the Bills' passing game so if you’re paying up for some chalk, do it with the Bills' signal caller.
Jonathan Taylor, Indianapolis Colts vs. Tennessee Titans ($8,800)
Taylor enters this week coming off of two down games and a performance against the Chiefs that saw him gain just 3.4 YPC. He is also dealing with a toe injury but returned to full practice on Thursday. Given the abundance of negative sentiment suddenly swirling around the consensus No. 1 overall pick, this feels like the perfect time to swoop in. His price is the lowest we’ve seen in over 10 games on DraftKings and he will be taking on a Titans squad that has posted a league-worst 5.8 yards per carry to opposing rushers this season.
Despite the plus matchup — and the fact that the -3.5 line in favor of the Colts means he’s likely to see a positive game script — Taylor is drawing a limited amount of heat for daily fantasy. The trend of elite WRs posting massive performances to start the year seems likely to help keep Taylor’s ownership low in this spot, but pivoting back to an RB-heavy build (before Taylor regains form) makes a lot of sense given the matchup. If he can’t get it going against a weaker Titans D-line then there will be legitimate concern but, for now, paying up for Taylor seems like a great way to gain leverage off of the multitude of lineups that will decide to spend up at WR instead.
Top end: Courtland Sutton, Denver Broncos at Las Vegas Raiders ($6,400)
Despite the universal hate the Broncos’ offense is getting this year, it’s been encouraging to see the way that Courtland Sutton has been used. Sutton enters 12th in yards per route run, second in total air yards and already has eight catches of 15 yards or more. He’s also yet to find the end zone, a sore point for season-long owners but a gift for daily fantasy purposes as his salary has stayed below $7,000 because of it. Las Vegas has managed almost zero pressure this year (averaging less than a sack per game) and the Raiders are eighth in yards per attempt allowed. Sutton should again see good downfield usage and if he finds the end zone (finally) will likely push for 5x or more return on his salary.
Value: Treylon Burks, Tennessee Titans at Indianapolis Colts ($4,700)
Burks regressed to a 1-13 (two targets) game against the Raiders last week, a disappointing result after he seemed to be on the verge of breaking out against the Bills. It’s possible an ankle issue limited him somewhat but Burks returned to being a full practice participant on Thursday and seems on track for a better outcome against the Colts. Tennessee is +3.5 underdogs in this game on the DraftKings Sportsbook and has a rush defense that leads the league in yards per carry at a stingy 2.6 YPC. Burks also hit a season-high in snaps (69%) and routes run (27) last week, so despite the slow Week 3 the potential for a massive breakout is on the table in Week 4. At under $5K in price, pairing him with Jonathan Taylor (see above) makes sense as a way to attack this game for DFS.
Evan Engram, Jacksonville Jaguars at Philadelphia Eagles ($3,400)
Don’t be shocked if we see a bounce-back performance from Engram in Week 4. Engram only caught one ball last week but Philadelphia’s elite corners are going to force Trevor Lawrence ($5,700) to look elsewhere more often than not this week. Philadelphia tends to allow the TE position to roam a little too freely, as well, as the Eagles ceded the most TDs to the position last season and gave up a 77% completion rate to TEs in 2021. Engram has seen about a 70% snap count this season and saw his first two red zone targets of the year last week, narrowly missing his first TD as a Jaguar. I expect him to see solid usage around the goal line again this week against an Eagles team that tends to smother opposing WRs.
Daniel Bellinger, New York Giants vs. Chicago Bears ($2,800)
Rookie Daniel Bellinger has suddenly turned into a very pivotal player for the Giants. Down Sterling Shepard for the season and without any kind of true No. 1 receiver, Bellinger has seen his snap count rise the past two weeks and was about equal with TE Tanner Hudson ($2,500) in routes run against the Cowboys. Bellinger is also grading out well as a run blocker, though, which means there’s a chance his role grows from here, especially with the lack of receivers on the Giants. He posted a season-high four receptions on five targets last week and was clearly being favored over the aforementioned Hudson, who saw zero targets on the day. As a sub-$3K option, Bellinger is well in play for GPP lineups even though the game environment against Chicago is likely to be less than ideal.
Denver Broncos ($2,700) at Las Vegas Raiders
The Denver defense has been an elite unit this year, holding teams to under 5.0 yards per play while showcasing an improved pass rush compared to 2021. The Broncos currently rank eighth in sacks per game and dominated late in the Sunday Night game last week against a non-mobile pocket passer in Jimmy Garoppolo. The Broncos grabbed four sacks, a safety and two fumbles in the victory. The fear of Davante Adams ($8,300) seems to be scaring people off of the Broncos this week, but it’s likely unfounded. Derek Carr ($5,800) has posted a completion rate under 60% in two of three games this season and he and Adams have connected on just 40% of his passes over the past two weeks despite facing two bottom-five secondaries in Tennessee and Arizona.
Simply put, the Denver DST looks highly undervalued and is seemingly getting ignored for daily fantasy purposes as people choose to focus on the team’s offensive woes, rather than the fact the defense has been an elite unit. Now facing a struggling Raiders squad, Denver sets up as a prime GPP play this week at well under $3,000.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is wavegoodbye) 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 do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. 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.