Baker Mayfield – CLE ($6300)
Baker Mayfield will draw a lot of attention from owners, giving you little opportunity to gain leverage on the field. While he is certainly more highly-priced than his season-long performance indicates, this matchup justifies the price. You should avoid him in larger fields because of over-exposure, but light him up in head-to-head and smaller tournaments. Cincinnati is just terrible and the Browns could punch holes all through that defense. One problem I’m having is figuring out who to stack him with, as Landry, OBJ, and even Kareem Hunt are all viable receiving options against this team. Oh, and Njoku is apparently back.
Deshaun Watson – HOU ($6500)
This could certainly bite you, but if you want to gain leverage in a large-field tournament, Watson won’t be highly-owned against the Broncos D. However, this will be the second week in a row that Watson has to go up against one of the toughest passes. Let’s get one thing straight, Deshaun Watson will NOT have another receiving touchdown, so you can cross that one off the board, but Watson managed to throw three TDs with a passer rating of 140.7 against New England. Houston is nearly double-digit favorites and Deshaun Watson definitely does not care how good a defense is supposed to be.
Leonard Fournette – JAX ($7800)
A running back on a losing team isn’t ideal, but Jacksonville has shown their willingness to include him regardless of the situation. Though we mostly think of Fournette as a two-down back, he came away from a big loss to Tampa Bay with nine receptions on eleven targets. Win or lose, Fournette will receive plenty of volume and a two-touchdown game isn’t impossible. The Chargers aggressive pass defense could cause trouble elsewhere, forcing more work on the ground.
Aaron Jones – GB ($6700)
Jones is in a similar situation to Fournette. Both have had huge, tournament-winning games, but are currently off of scoreless outings. While Jones’ opportunity hasn’t been as stable, Jamaal Williams is banged up and may miss time. Although Jones is the clear lead back, Williams has managed to snag his fair share of opportunity away. Dexter Williams, on the other hand, is no threat to Jones’ opportunity. Green Bay is currently the highest-priced D/ST in what should be a cakewalk against Washington. Good defenses and winning teams go hand in hand with successful running backs.
Other Targets: Melvin Gordon ($6400) is one price above Ekeler, but since coming back, the snap share has leaned much more in Gordon’s favor. Alexander Mattison ($4500) could have a monster day if Dalvin Cook is sidelined and would earn a lock on all rosters. Christian McCaffrey ($10300) has come slightly back down to earth, but this price is still low for his season-long performance.
Mike Evans – TB ($7200)
There is nothing wrong with paying up a step for Godwin, but a look at the season tells an important story. Yes, Godwin has been more efficient on a per-target basis and has two more TDs than Evans. Evans, however, has always been the boom or bust guy. While Evans is more than frustrating in redraft and dynasty, we can take advantage of his yo-yo style of play in DFS. Evans leads Godwin in targets on the year and has had five games with double-digit targets. I’m expecting another double-digit game in this high-scoring matchup against a team that is significantly tougher against the run than the pass.
Zach Pascal – IND ($5500)
On the other side of the ball are Indianapolis facing one of the worst pass defenses in the game. The problem with this pick is that it might draw a lot of attention from other owners as this is very clearly an easy matchup. Hilton is currently trending in the wrong direction, and Pascal has already seen a lot of love from Brissett as the top wide receiver. Just like with Mike Evans, Pascal and company are also facing a team that is significantly better against the run than the pass. I’m hoping that this game turns into a shootout where I can take advantage of the game.
Other Targets: Marcus Johnson ($3600) allows you exposure to IND while spending way down. Sterling Shepard ($5100) has a rapport with Eli Manning that nobody else does, and Daniel Jones doesn’t look likely to play. Robert Woods ($6100) hasn’t been nearly as productive as Kupp but he’s been getting insane looks from Goff.
Tyler Higbee – LAR ($3400)
Higbee would be on this list even if Gerald Everett wasn’t injured, which he is. Although Everett is leading the team in targets, it has been weeks since he’s seen more looks than Higbee. At this price, it doesn’t matter much how highly-owned he is, as the Rams will be going up against one of the worst defenses against the tight end.
David Njoku – CLE ($3500)
DraftKings keeps their prices updated even on players we know aren’t playing. Njoku’s return from IR and immediate activation are a bit surprising, but at least we’ve got the heads up. Cleveland will have one of the easier matchups against Cincinnati, hence my endorsement of Baker Mayfield, but I also like this move because it’s an unknown quantity. I don’t expect too much from Njoku, but if he does go off, you have precisely one week to get him cheap.
Defense / Special Teams
Philadelphia Eagles ($3400)
Although a bit more expensive than I usually like to spend on a defense, the situation for the Eagles looks pretty great for a potentially high-scoring opportunity. Eli Manning sat behind Daniel Jones for a reason, and if Jones indeed sits (he probably will), then errant Eli will lead the way in what looks to be the worst weather of all games played this week. Any precipitation is bad news on the Eagles’ grass field. A hurt QB, an abysmal offense, and potentially inclement weather? Looks good.
Baltimore Ravens ($2900)
The Bills are pretty decent, but the Ravens are better. While Josh Allen should still have a number of things working well for him as a mobile quarterback, the rest of the team as a whole is going to suffer. The Ravens are fairly significant favors and they won’t break the bank. As the thirteenth-priced defense, I’m a bit perplexed. While the Bills have been winning games, they haven’t been blowing up and they play in one of the worst divisions. Baltimore is fourth on the year in DK points per game, and I expect their performance to resemble their history more than their price.
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