Patrick Mahomes – KC (DK: $7200)
There’s no surprise here. There are several positions you should pay up for this week, especially because I think there’s some interesting deep value to be found, especially at the wide receiver position. While Mahomes is significantly more expensive than the next guy (A.Rodgers $6400), he’s leading the league with a ridiculous 30.5 DK points per game. Arizona will be the softest target this week as this game opened with KC as 16.5-point favorites. The top QB in the league always draws high ownership, but it’s often worth it, especially in cash games. Try stacking Sammy Watkins instead of Tyreek Hill if you want to save some money and gain leverage on the field.
Ryan Fitzpatrick – TB ($5900)
It’s true that the hot mess that is Tampa Bay isn’t the best environment for fantasy quarterbacks, and while I do have a number of QBs I’ll throw in lineups before Fitzmagic, I don’t have any lineups including a QB priced outside of the top ten, so he’s my “cheap” option. Even though he hasn’t started every game, Fitzpatrick is behind only Mahomes in most DK points per game. With a home game as favorites against one of the worst teams against both QBs and WRs, Fitzpatrick has an opportunity to notch his 4th 4-TD game of the season.
Melvin Gordon – LAC ($9000)
He’s right up at the top with Todd Gurley (a great cash play), but Gruden is blazing ahead burying this team right into the 2019 draft. While Vegas doesn’t project the greatest matchup disparity this week, this game could easily get out of hand. Last week, the 49ers and their 3rd-string quarterback pummeled the Raiders in a 31-point advantage. Every Charger on the team is in play this week, but my roster usually begins with my top RB, and I’m looking at Gordon to build up most of my cash lineups.
Ito Smith – ATL ($3700)
Ito Smith and teammate Tevin Coleman are both in play for me this week, but Ito Smith is especially appealing as a flex option in GPP games as he won’t be nearly as highly owned and offers tons of upside for low cost. Atlanta are favorites in this 51-point over/under. Cleveland will have trouble with both backs, as they’ve been the absolute worst team against the RB position over the last four weeks, and 3rd-worst over the season. Things are changing for the worse in Cleveland, and Smith drew only three less carries than Coleman in last week’s matchup against Washington.
Kareem Hunt ($8500) I’m not shying away from paying up for the RB this week, and as 3-score favorites, Hunt is going to carry the ball to the Moon. Mark Ingram ($4500) is certainly falling out of favor on this contract year, but he’s incredibly affordable and plays in the highest scoring game this week. Isaiah Crowell ($4200) isn’t the sexiest pick, but with QB Sam Darnold ruled out, the Jets might be forced to run against the terrible Bills.
Michael Thomas – NO ($8100)
Michael Thomas is one of the only super-pricey WRs that I feel comfortable starting. Unfortunately, selecting him won’t allow you to pivot from the crowd, but that didn’t stop Thomas owners from dominating both tournaments and cash games a week ago. We should probably just accept by now that Thomas is the best receiver this year, and as the 3rd-priced WR, he’s technically at a discount. While we won’t see another 80-point game, this is a high scoring mismatch against Cincinnati’s William Jackson in coverage, where Thomas will draw targets, catch them at an absurdly high rate, and rack up some yards.
Tyrell Williams – LAC ($4500)
Although I like Sammy Watkins as a leverage play, Tyrell Williams is my absolute favorite of the week against… you guessed it… the Raiders! Owners are going to target Keenan Allen and Mike Williams at high rates. While I think the Allen pick is fairly justified, our hopes for Mike Williams is partly wishful thinking. Tyrell Williams is only two targets behind Mike Williams, and yet has more yards and as many touchdowns. Unfortunately, Tyrell’s target share has been dwindling, but against the Raiders, both volume and efficiency should tick up. With his big play potential and low ownership, Williams is a perfect pivot play in tournaments.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling ($5000) might have solidified a role as GB’s #2 outside WR, even if Allison comes back. DeSean Jackson ($4900) and fellow WRs benefit from Fitzpatrick under center, and the trick is to find the right one. I don’t expect a repeat from Adam Humphries. Alex Erickson ($3400) is my punt play with AJ Green injured against the league’s softest team against the WR.
Austin-Hooper – ATL ($3800)
Hooper is very affordable and is quietly averaging double-digits in DK points per game. The Cleveland Browns are on a downward slide, forfeiting an increasing amount of fantasy points to each position as the season marches on. Hooper is in a neat spot in the middle of the pack in terms of price, but this high scoring game as favorites against a weak team where most competitors are targeting Julio Jones (I know! He scored a touchdown!) draws me into a Hooper/Ryan stack that will be very lowly owned.
Travis Kelce – KC ($7000)
Breaking the 7k barrier shouldn’t deter you from owning him, and it unfortunately won’t deter your neighbors. I recommended him last week, and it only paid off. While the over/under isn’t quite as high as last week, I’ll have to remind you for the third time that the Chiefs were 16.5 point favorites at open. Stack your team with as many Kansas City players as you can, saving money in the WR position where possible. This is a must play in cash games.
Defense / Special Teams
Kansas City Chiefs – ($3300)
Cue the broken record joke, but seriously, you need Kansas City in every part of your lineups, as long as you spread them around. While I like to target games with a low over/under before I look at spread, this seems like a special case. Yes, the Chiefs have been susceptible to offensive attacks earlier this season, but Arizona is in such miserable shape, that they’ll have a tough time producing the points necessary for this game to hit it’s 50-point O/U at open. In the past three weeks, Arizona’s Rosen has been sacked 13 times and thrown 5 ints. There is plenty of opportunity for KC to both capitalize on weak QB play and potentially score on the defensive side.
Chicago Bears – ($3600)
I like paying up for defenses, and why not? The best defenses of the week score double digits and none of them usually cost more than your flex player. The Bears currently lead the league in DK points per game, and they’re priced appropriately. As well, their price actually dropped in this matchup against the Lions. The Lions are clearly more capable of scoring than the Bills, but the Bears have no realistic chance of harming you for their price, and their ownership is going to take too dramatic a hit from what might appear to be a significantly weaker matchup on paper. They’ll be fine. They’ll produce.