Kyle Allen – CAR ($5300)
I like DJ Moore. I like Christian McCaffrey. I’m even alright with Olsen. Spending down this much on QB sure is risky, but enough things are stacking in favor of Allen that I’m going to pull the trigger. This is a contrarian play that will net you leverage if Allen manages to outscore his projection, which I think is fair to assume. He might not break the ceiling that allows a tournament win, but he’s fair to stack with basically anybody in Carolina who can catch a ball, as this game is likely to move more through the air than the ground. As one-score favorites against Atlanta, Carolina shouldn’t be playing from behind, but Atlanta’s particular weaknesses all seem to be against stopping the pass, no matter who is on the receiving end. Low ownership; low cost; opportunity to spend up on RB and stack with CMC / DJ Moore.
Patrick Mahomes – KC ($7000)
I’m so tempted to put Lamar Jackson here, but a $700 savings for 2018’s best QB isn’t a bad option to spend upon while slimming down just slightly. Although the Ravens are expected to win their game by just a bit more, KC has a higher-scoring matchup. Both are good indicators of DFS success, so I think this is a good week to spend WAY down on WR and spend up on both QB and RB. I’m fine with all the top choices for QB, but if I have to be particularly choosy while spending up, it’s Mahomes because he has the highest ceiling and Tyreek Hill has a great opportunity to score one or more TDs this week. Increasing your exposure to the highest-scoring games is typically sound advice, particularly if the Over/Under on a game is over 50 points.
Dalvin Cook – MIN ($8900)
I think the top three RB choices this week are all fair play, but my pick of the lot is Cook. For a brief time during the beginning of the season, Cook held the honors over CMC as a fantasy MVP, and he’s retained solid production ever since McCaffrey started shattering expectations. Let’s not sleep on this stud, however. Although this is projected to be a low-scoring game against Denver, it’s also expected to be the week’s second-largest margin of victory. As well, Denver’s CBs, led by Chris Harris, have dominated wide receivers, and we should expect both shadow coverage on Stefon Diggs and an injured Adam Thielen. If those two are canceled, Dalvin Cook could realistically top thirty total touches.
Damien Williams – KC ($5300)
Our pre-season hopes for Damien Williams were so lofted, and we were so wrong. He is currently priced as a borderline RB2 but has recently secured the lead role in Kansas City. Although many have come into town, Williams has finally, clearly positioned himself ahead of LeSean McCoy, despite coach-speak saying everybody would get their reps. Damien Williams is coming off a scoreless loss with nearly twenty carries and heavy involvement in the passing game. Not only is the opportunity locked, but this could be the week’s highest-scoring game with KC as favorites against a team that is allowing significantly more points to RBs than WRs.
Other Targets: Christian McCaffrey ($10500) once again draws this price, but a “down” game against a soft RB defense opens up leverage opportunity against sour owners; I expect multiple TDs. Kalen Ballage ($4300) leaves a bad taste in the mouth, but this Miami RB is getting as much or more opportunity than the league’s best RBs; just don’t expect much return, but he’s a perfect flex price. Melvin Gordon ($6300) has resurged as the team’s RB1, but I like him particularly because he’s a cheaper option than Josh Jacobs, who might draw a lot of ownership. Joe Mixon ($5500) racked up thirty carries in a blowout loss to the Ravens, and it’s hard to imagine Cincy will have an even worse game this week against Oakland.
Keenan Allen – LAC ($6300)
Early in the season, Keenan Allen was on pace to shatter records for targets in a season (a stat line we knew wouldn’t hold up), but his return to earth might once again take a stratospheric leap in this matchup against Kansas City. Let’s be clear that KC is no pushover to the wide receiver, but one of the strategies teams have been adopting against the Chiefs to try to score quickly and aggressively. While Damien Williams should lead the team to victory on the opposite side of the field, the Chargers will most likely spend the game playing catch-up in what could be a shootout. Allen comes off a game with double-digit opportunity (a habit of his), but no TDs to yield. He’s underpriced at this level and owners are going to fade fearing staunch pass protection.
DJ Moore – CAR ($5900)
Moore is a nice price for your WR2 option (or WR1 if you want to spend up on RBs this week). Although I’m fine with Christian McCaffrey this weekend, it’s mostly because he’s a receiving threat as well, because Atlanta has actually been decent against RBs on the year. We shouldn’t expect a game of catch-up here, even though the Falcons did manage to pummel the Saints, but nevertheless, DJ Moore is receiving most of Kyle Allen’s love. It hasn’t produced in TDs, yet, but this is the turnaround. It’s nice to come off a game against one of the league’s best pass defenses and face a much easier opponent in Atlanta. I’m not worried about this and I’ll be starting Moore everywhere in redraft. Might as well boot him up in DFS.
Other Targets: Julio Jones ($7500) is my only option for spending up on WR because I don’t want to pay that much for MT; Julio is due for a TD this week in a plus matchup without Austin Hooper active. Tyler Boyd ($5200) AJ Green is still OUT, and Boyd plays the absolute worst defense against WRs and he’s not even priced as a WR3. Terry McLaurin ($5600) hasn’t been scary as of late, but he has a good matchup and Washington is a rare close favorite.
Jared Cook – NO ($4400)
Cook has one of the better matchups of all TEs this week, but I think that opportunity is going to swing his way. Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara are always going to be target hogs, but with Kamara’s diminishing opportunity, Cook has been knocking on the door of double-digit targets. He experienced superb fantasy success in Oakland, but just never managed to live up to the hype in New Orleans. I feel that Brees had a down game in his return from injury, but we shouldn’t expect more of the same. What’s clear to me is that Brees likes Cook as a safety valve. New Orleans faces a tough run defense in Tampa Bay, who are relinquishing ridiculous points to tight ends in the process. This is a high scoring-game and Brees looks poised to explode. Kamara and MT should both have good games, but Cook is easily the most affordable.
Jason Witten – DAL ($3700)
Dak is one of this week’s top options at QB. I wouldn’t mind stacking him with either Gallup or Cobb, although Gallup is a bit pricey. But you know who isn’t pricey? Witten! His opportunity hasn’t been great, but this is likely the best matchup he’ll have all year against coverage linebackers. As well, Amari Cooper is dealing with an injury, although most signs point to his playing this week. Teams will be forced to cover the three starting WRs who all scored in their previous outing, leaving a bit more air work to first-ballot Jason Witten in one of this week’s highest-scoring outings against the Lions.
Defense / Special Teams
Washington Redskins ($2800)
This is a spend-down option, but it isn’t a total dart throw. I’m particularly fond of picking defenses nobody else wants to pick, but this is one spend-down defense that is favored to win it’s game that I’m just fine playing. Washington is awful, yes, but they face an also-awful Jets team that is surrendering massive amounts of points to DK defenses. I’m already putting my hat in for McLaurin and Derrius Guice is potentially in the mix, breathing a little more life into this team that is just barely favored to win. This should be one of the lowest-scoring games of the week.
New England Patriots ($3500)
If you’ve got the cash to fling around, the Patriots are my choice for a number of reasons. It was very clear with their historic start to the season that they had an unsustainable pace in fantasy football. Now, they’re not even top dogs, but they absolutely should be this week. They play an injury-riddled Eagles defense that was already facing an uphill battle. The Patriots are one of the best pass defenses in the league, and we can absolutely bet the Eagles will be playing from behind. The problem is, who is the ball going to? My guess is Ertz, who is honestly a fair play, but Philadelphia will also likely play in the nation’s worst weather. And it’s a GRASS FIELD. Pay special attention to the weather reports this weekend, and if it comes down in Philly, light up that Patriots defense everywhere you can.
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