Hey there boys and girls! Welcome back to your weekly DraftKings NFL preview. This is the last week before the byes start, so there are plenty of players to choose from. Don’t forget that there is a London game this week. I am not writing about players in that game, but I do love Jay Cutler and especially Davante Parker against the Saints defense if you are playing in a slate that includes the 9:30 a.m. game. Let’s get on with the show.
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Matt Ryan vs. Bills ($7,400) – Truth be told, I don’t love any of the high priced QBs this week, which is especially the case since Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees are not playing on the main slate. That having been said, I feel like very few people will pay up for a quarterback in tournaments and I like Matt Ryan as a kind of contrarian play. His DraftKings points per game is all the way down to 17.5 and he had three interceptions last game which might lead to lower ownership. But, it is important to note that 2 of the 3 picks last week were not Ryan’s fault and he is still 4th in the NFL in passing yards. I think the touchdowns start to come this week and this could be a week to take advantage of more depressed ownership than usual.
Bang for Your Buck
Andy Dalton @ Browns ($5,800) – Much like many other players, Dalton loves seeing the Cleveland Browns on the other side of the field. Dalton has 20 career touchdowns versus Cleveland which nearly doubles his next highest touchdown total versus an opponent. In 2016, the Red Rifle threw 4 TDs with 0 Ints and a 70% completion percentage against the Browns. On top of all that, the Browns are off to a slow start versus the pass, ranking 26th in Football Outsiders’ defensive efficiency. This could be a nice game for Dalton.
Trevor Siemian vs. Raiders ($5,200) – I like this price for Siemian who had a slight hiccup last week, but was dynamite at home in his first two starts. He returns home where he threw for 6 touchdowns and ran for 1 more in his first two starts and had over 23 DraftKings points in both. The Raiders have been generous against the pass ranking 28th in defensive efficiency. Siemian should get back to his good form.
LeSean McCoy @ Falcons ($8,400) – It has been a bit of an inauspicious start for McCoy, but he has faced stiff competition, especially in weeks 2 and 3 versus Carolina and Denver. He gets a bit of a reprieve this week against the Falcons who rank 31st in defensive efficiency versus the run. While McCoy has not been his usual self, he has amassed 12+ carries and 6+ targets each game this season. The usage will continue and the production will start to follow suit.
Christian McCaffrey @ Patriots ($6,800) – McCaffrey is a rock solid play in what I expect to be a shootout between the Panthers and the Patriots. After it looked like Cam Newton was having trouble integrating his young running back in the Panthers’ passing attack, McCaffrey came back with 9 catches on 11 targets for 101 yards last week. The Patriots allow an average of 7 catches for 84.3 yards to running backs coming out the backfield this season. McCaffrey will be a star this week.
Bang for your Buck
Leonard Fournette @ Jets ($6,500) – The Jaguars have wanted to be a pound it down your throat with rushing and play defense type of team. And Fournette is their bell cow running back. Thus far on the season he has 14+ carries each game and even has amassed over 20 yards receiving each game. Fournette will see many carries and he should be successful versus the Jets who rank a mediocre 25th in defensive efficiency versus the run.
Joe Mixon @ Browns ($5,700) – As you can see, I like the rookie running backs this week. Mixon is another guy I expect to succeed merely because of his usage increase. In week 1 he saw 8 carries, week 2 9 carries and week 3 18 carries. Not coincidentally, week 3 was the first game that the Bengals had Bill Lazor as their offensive coordinator. Facing the Browns with increased usage, Mixon should shine.
Bilal Powell vs. Jaguars ($4,600) – While the Jaguars’ defense has looked impressive, it has actually been the pass defense that has carried the way while their run defense has struggled. The Jaguars quietly rank #1 in pass defensive efficiency while ranking last in rushing defensive efficiency. The raw numbers bear that out as well as Jacksonville has allowed the 5th most rushing yards in the league and the 2nd most yards per carry. Matt Forte is out and Powell should be seeing a lot of work. This could be a huge game at a low price. For those looking to save even more money, Elijah McGuire should get some usage as well and costs only $3,600.
Wendell Smallwood @ Chargers ($4,100) – Smallwood was a favorite of mine on fantasy draft day, as it looked like LeGarrette Blount was losing his hold on the Eagles’ starting running back slot. Smallwood was not paying off for me early in the year as he was tied to the Eagles’ bench. But last week, Smallwood started to get used by the Eagles and he responded with an impressive 71 yards on 12 rushes. With Darren Sproles out, Smallwood is expected to assume the passing running back role which is very important in Philadelphia. And he faces the Rams who rank 24th in defensive efficiency versus the run. Smallwood should be in for a good game at a low price.
Oddell Beckham Jr. @ Bucs ($8,900) – After being slowed by injury to start the year, OBJ looked like himself last week with 13 targets and 2 touchdown catches – both of them beautiful grabs. The Bucs are worst in the NFL allowing an average of 13.3 catches and 121 receiving yards to #1 receivers thus far. OBJ should have a field day.
Mike Evans vs. Giants ($7,500) – The Giants have a nice defense and there are no metrics that really jump off the page that indicate that Evans will have a huge game this week. That having been said, I think Evans is $1,000 too cheap given that he is a target monster both between the 20s and in the red zone. After dominating the league in targets last year, he has 9+ targets and 7+ catches in each game this year. I love this price and will be playing plenty of Evans.
Dez Bryant vs. Rams ($6,500) – I was really hoping that this would be a low owned contrarian play given Dez’s difficult start to the season – but I have seen many analysts advocating for this play. No matter – I am still going to use Dez anyway. Bryant has had a ridiculously difficult slate of opposing corners in facing the likes of Patrick Peterson and Aqib Talib to start the season. He should start to do a little better this week against the Rams. Even despite the tight coverage, Bryant has caught TDs in back to back weeks. I think he goes over 100 yards with a score this week.
Bang for your Buck
Emmanuel Sanders vs. Raiders ($6,100) – Sanders’ targets have increased every week this year, starting with 6 and then increasing to 8 and going all the way up to 15 last week. While I am not expecting more than 15 targets against the Raiders, Sanders should expect to continue to see a lot of action. He has also been targeted in the red zone quite a bit this year. He is in for a nice game.
Adam Thielen vs. Lions ($5,800) – Thielen has been money at home this year with 8+ targets and 98+ yards in both games in the friendly confines this season. He now gets to face the Lions who are ranked only 29th in defensive efficiency versus slot receivers on the year. That is a recipe for a nice game.
Sammy Watkins @ Cowboys ($5,900) – Predictably, after getting traded during training camp, Watkins had a bit of trouble building rapport with Jarred Goff in the early going this season. However, things seem to have taken a turn last week as Watkins went for over 100 yards with 2 touchdowns. Watkins may be a bit lower owned this week because he was on the injury report for a while, battling back from a concussion. Watkins is now off of the injury report and is good to go this week. I like him for a good game.
Rishard Matthews @ Texans ($4,900) – Matthews is quite simply too cheap as he has been the Titans’ #1 wideout thus far this year. He has 9+ targets in 2 of 3 games and 70+ yards in 2 of 3 games. I expect more of the same this week. Matthews is an excellent value play.
Mohammad Sanu vs. Bills ($4,800) – I won’t be playing Sanu in tournaments as he has limited upside, but in cash games you would be hard pressed to do better than the Falcons #2 wideout at this price. Sanu has seen 6+ targets and caught 4+ balls every game this season. This steady Eddie should once again see some looks and make some catches and will be a staple in my cash game lineups.
Marqise Lee @ Jets ($4,500) – Since Allen Robinson got hurt, Lee has had 65+ yards and 7+ targets in both games. Lee will be on the field 85% of the time and should lead the Jaguars in targets this week against a moribund Jets’ defense. I love him at this low price.
BONUS – Trent Taylor @ Cardinals ($3,300) – If you need someone at a bargain basement price, I like how Taylor looked last week against the Rams. Brian Hoyer is a product of the Patriots’ system and really knows how to use his slot receivers. Taylor looks like a good one and should more than exceed value at this price.
Rob Gronkowski vs. Panthers ($6,600) – Gronk has looked like his monster self the last two weeks which is bad news for the Panthers and the rest of the league. He has 85+ yards and touchdowns in each of his last two games. I am also going to play a bit of narrative street here as I think Gronk wants some revenge against the Panthers as the last time these two teams played he was interfered with the end zone on the last play of the game but it was not called by the refs, leading to a New England loss.
Bang for your Buck
Charles Clay @ Falcons ($3,700) – Clay is the #1 receiver for the Bills, so this is quite a price for him. I would consider playing him in the flex spot if you want to pay up for Gronk. The Bills’ tight end has 15+ fantasy points in 2 of his last 3 games and has been the #1 red zone target of Tyrod Taylor. He is excellent value at this price.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins vs. Jaguars ($3,000) – In his first week active with the Jets, Seferian-Jenkins had 6 targets against the Dolphins. Josh McCown has made tight-ends fantasy relevant before, most recently turning Gary Barnidge into a superstar. I love this price for ASJ.
Steelers at Ravens ($3,500) – The Ravens offense looks punchless and the Steelers have a solid defense. I would pay up for this unit.
Giants @ Bucs ($2,900) – I like the Bucs’ offense, but Jameis Winston sometimes gets careless with the football. At a pretty good price, this could be a good tournament play if Winston throws it to the wrong team a bunch.
Raiders @ Broncos ($2,300) – Trevor Siemian is someone who I like this week (as you saw above), but he has also shown himself to be turnover prone at times. The Raiders are among the cheapest defenses this week and I see a scenario where they could score a bunch.
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