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Hello Degenerates! As I begin my weekly NFL DFS articles, you all should know that I will be looking at these games through the lens of a tournament player. Some of my views may seem odd but, I truly enjoy looking at NFL DFS as a lottery ticket play. If you are looking to make consistent money on a weekly basis, tournaments are most certainly not for you. In a tournament it is important to be smart yet, different. Don’t get too reckless (stacking the jets) but, maybe look to take some different angles that maybe the field isn’t seeing. In this article I will go game by game and highlight some of the top plays as well as potential fades. Remember, my portfolio will likely consist of 7 to 8 lineups. I enjoy playing a scattershot of options because I’m not necessarily looking to cash all my lineups rather, looking for that one big winner!
This is looking like a fun slate! Of course the masses will likely be pouring into the Kansas City/Dallas game and with good reason. With an implied total of 56 points it stands out like a sore thumb. Completely fading the game would probably be unwise but, I think there are ways we can get different with it. Last week’s millionaire winner played three runningbacks sub 5k and I think a similar approach this week will prove fruitful. Runningbacks are simply more easy to project touches for and playing cheap runningbacks over the long run is a winning strategy. Lucky for us I see a bounty of cheap backs I love this week and a bevy of pay up pass catchers that should produce high scores. Let’s dive in!
Chicago- Not too much to see here. I won’t be playing any quarterbacks or stacks from a team with a total below 20, not to mention there could be some wind and rain concerns. David Montgomery (5,500) stands out to me as the best option here. Many thought he would be eased into action last week but, typical Matt Nagy completely ignored his talented back Khalil Herbert, and gave Montgomery 83% of the offensive snaps last week. That kind of workload is appealing but, I just see better options at similar prices. None of the pass catchers stand out here but, I suppose Cole Kmet (3,400) isn’t a terrible option for a punt tight end when you consider that Allen Robinson may not play and Kmet himself has been seeing over 6 targets per game over his last three contests.
Baltimore- Not sure I will get to any ravens in my 8 lineups this week but, a case can certainly be made for Lamar Jackson (8,000). He won’t be particularly popular but, I don’t love this game script and I think there are better, cheaper options. Lamar is passing at a much higher rate this year so, if you did want to play him I don’t think it is crazy to pair him with two pass catchers. Marquise Brown (7,100), Rashod Bateman (4,500), and Mark Andrews (6,000) are all fine plays. Marquise Brown’s price stands out and appears a bit egregious but, over his last three games he has a target share of 13, 12, and 14! Quite impressive for the diminutive speedster.
Game Priorities: Kmet
Minnesota- The Vikings are typically a great team to stack because you have a good idea where the production is going to come from. Dalvin Cook (8,200) makes for a fine contrarian play but, I think there are better values out there. Same goes for Justin Jefferson (8,100). My biggest worry in this game is the opponent. The Green Bay Packers play at the slowest pace in the entire NFL and their defense is fresh off of shutting down both the Chiefs and Seahawks offenses. I’m not sure how they’re doing this without Jaire Alexander but, their system is working brilliantly. Of course, you can never say never in NFL DFS but, I will be looking elsewhere than the Vikings this week.
Green Bay- Welcome to AJ Dillon (6,200) chalk week! Typically, I look for reasons to avoid the chalk at all cost but, this looks like one I might have to eat. If I am ever going to eat the chalk I look for two main components that player must possess. A very good offense as well as a locked in role for at least 20 touches. AJ checks both boxes. In last weeks game, Aaron Jones played 50 percent of the snaps and AJ still received 23 opportunites! 20 touches is the absolute floor this week and at that price I will be playing a lot of him. Davante Adams (8,400) is always an excellent option, though I think there are some better ones below. If Marquez Valdes-Scantling (3,700) plays I think he makes for a decent tournament dart throw because of his big-play ability.
Game Priorities: AJ Dillon, Adams
New York- The Jets unsurprisingly will be a pass for me this week. I suppose you could do worse than playing Corey Davis (5,000), the change from Mike White to Joe Flacco should benefit him the most. During the Mike White era, he was targeting his runningbacks on an astounding 36 percent of dropbacks. There is no way Flacco replicates that, making Michael Carter (5,800) much less appealing. If you’re thinking about playing Joe Flacco;
Miami- Miami on the other hand offers a ton of appeal to a game that would otherwise go overlooked. Do I think that Tua Tagovailoa (5,500) is good? No. Do I think the Jets defense is bad? No. I think it is DEPLORABLE. This “unit” is an unholy atrocity. The secondary for the Jets is littered with undrafted free agents and marginal talent that should not be in the NFL. Add to that the Dolphins play at a top ten pace while also passing at the third highest rate in the NFL and there is a path to major success here. Jaylen Waddle (5,600) and Mike Gesicki (5,200) are tremendous pairing options to go with Tua and very inexpensive. Myles Gaskin (5,700) has some appeal but, the Dolphins 32nd ranked run blocking unit still has me slightly concerned, although against the Jets maybe I should be more bullish on Myles.
Game Priorities: Tua, Jaylen, Gesicki
Philadelphia- Sometimes it feels like the Eagles are run by a frustrated Madden Player. One week they throw the ball 40 times and run it two times, then they do the complete opposite. Seeing this team do a complete 180 has been quite something. Jalen Hurts (6,800) is always viable due to his rushing. However, with this team being so content with running at all times, his upside has been capped. You would think that would mean we can go to the run game but, trying to explain the Eagles runningback rotation is like explaining the Big Bang. None of these guys really stands out. If I were to play Hurts I would pair him with Dallas Goedert (4,400) who has a massive 39 percent target share since the Ertz trade. Overall, this team is pretty unappealing.
New Orleans- Both the Eagles and Saints want to run the ball and churn up time of possession which makes this whole situation unappealing from a fantasy standpoint. The runningback rotation is tricky and a bit price up but, I’ll never talk someone out of playing Alvin Kamara (8,100) and if he sits Mark Ingram (5,400) would be viable although I like other options. Adam Trautman (3,300) is actually my favorite piece in this game as he has received over 6 targets in three straight games and the Eagles are dead last vs tight ends in the league which makes sense given their abysmal linebacking corps. EDIT: Kamara has been ruled out. I still prefer the options around Ingram (Williams, Foreman, Wilson) and this is good news to take away some ownership from those three.
Game Priorities: Trautman
Buffalo- I’ll start off by saying that there are some weather concerns that I will be monitoring that may impact how much I get of the Bills. However, if the weather looks decent, I will be hammering the Bills. A few weeks ago I remember Josh Johnson coming in for the Jets on a showdown slate vs the Colts and thinking, “Oh boy, Colts defense captain is going to win it.” Josh Johnson’s corpse proceeded to throw for over 300 yards on the hapless Colts secondary. The Colts run defense is top third in the league while their pass defense is the exact opposite. As if Buffalo needs anymore excuses to throw the ball. This team has the highest neutral game pass rate in the NFL. The stars are aligning for a wonderful passing display. Josh Allen (8,100) looks like a wonderful play and you can play him with any of his pass catchers. Obviously Stefon Diggs (7,900) stands out the most, while Cole Beasley (4,800) scares me the most. Coming off a game in which he played only 8 snaps, I prefer Dawson Knox (4,000) but honestly with Allen’s rushing ability I think you can get away with just single stacking him with Diggs.
Indianapolis- This should be quite a display of strength on strength. The Bills are a top 3 run defense vs. arguably the league’s most impressive runner in Johnathan Taylor (8,300). This is a brutal matchup for Taylor and I worry about the game script getting away from the Colts in this one. If you want to do a run back with Carson’s Bible Study partner Michael Pittman (6,100) that’s fine but, I think that actually my favorite run back from this team would be Nyheim Hines (4,300) although that’s a total dart throw.
Game Priorities– Allen, Diggs, Knox, Sanders
Detroit- I’ll keep it simple. Don’t do it! The only viable piece here would be Deandre Swift (7,000) coming off a game he had a mind-boggling 39 opportunities! Normally, that would be a smash spot. However, with that mammoth workload Swift still was unable to eclipse 20 points. No thank you, especially with the potential return of Jamaal Williams.
Cleveland- I absolutely hate doing this and Ryan Schroeder if you’re reading this I’m sorry. Nick Chubb (7,800) is the play everyone is talking about this week but, I can’t get there. First off, let me say that Chubb could absolutely break the slate and if you want to play him do it. However, I am going to stick to the numbers here. Chubb’s almost complete lack of receiving game really hinders him here. For example, Tyreek Hill at a similar price could easily get the same yardage as Chubb but, he will get there with 10 catches, which means 10 additional points. For Chubb to be in a tournament winning lineup he will likely need 150 yards and 2 to 3 touchdowns. Could he do it? Absolutely. Am I terrified not playing him? Absolutely. However, we have to take a stand somewhere and this one could really come back to bite me. I just prefer the cheaper options. For example, AJ Dillon at about $2,000 cheaper projects for more touches than Chubb and plays in a better offense at the moment. I could see this being a sloppy game and with Chubb coming off covid I could see D’earnst mixing in a little more than usual. Baker Mayfield is just too inconsistent at the moment for me to feel comfortable playing any pass catchers here.
Game Priorities– None
Washington- Not much to see here. Carolina has a top five defense in most metrics and Washington just isn’t a very good team. I could see throwing a flier on Antonio Gibson (5,900) who is playing with a shin fracture (ouch) but, still saw 24 rush attempts last week. Beyond that I’ll pass I don’t want to give myself any reasons to watch this game anyways.
Carolina- Cam Newton (5,100) is the talk of the town and everyone is back in love with the man. HE’S BACK!!!! Yeah no thanks. He projects pretty well and in cash games would be a decent play but, I’m not there in tournaments. As I type this out, Matt Rhule just said he thinks that Cam will start but, P.J. Walker will “probably” play. Weird. I’m going to stay away from this one and the pass catchers because I’m not totally bought into the fact that Cam is all the sudden good or something. However, one man I will play is Christian McCaffery (8,900). This man is simply a fantasy machine. Last week he scored 26 points and literally everything went wrong. He didn’t score any touchdowns, and he fell a couple yards short of the 100 yard bonuses. Simply amazing. In places I play Tua I will likely roll with CMC and hope to leverage some of the Cam ownership hoping that CMC gets the tuddies instead.
Game Priorities– CMC
San Francisco- Late breaking news! With Eli Mitchell being ruled as doubtful I have a new favorite play on the slate and it is Jeff Wilson (5,100). The niners love running the football and Jags are the perfect punching bag to do so. Jeff is a guy that has popped before and a guy that Shanny seems to trust, unlike Trey Sermon. Jamychal Hasty being ruled out is icing on the cake. Great matchup, high implied total, tons of looks coming his way. I might play 100% Jeff Wilson this week. The other options on the niners are perfectly fine but, Wilson is my guy this week.
Jacksonville- Dan Arnold (4,100) has been a money printing machine but, DK finally started pricing him up a bit. The matchup is rough but he is viable. I may dabble with some James Robinson (6,400) as well since he is a workhorse back and game script proof. No one here though is obviously a must play and I’ll likely look elsewhere than the Jags.
Game Priorities– JEFF WILSON JUNIOR
Houston- It feels gross but, I think I may have a guy I like from this woeful squad. Brandin Cooks (6,000) looks like a great play to me. Tyrod goes to Cooks about as often Lou Williams goes Magic City and can you blame him? I imagine Tyrod looking at all these other bums in the huddle and telling himself “Cooks, no matter what.” Last game Cooks accumulated 14 targets and really racked up those “prayer” yards that mostly fell harmlessly to the ground but, hey you never know. I do know he will get the opportunities at least.
Tennessee- Now we’re talking! Perhaps not my best points per dollar play but, probably my favorite overall play when you include tournament leverage and it is D’onta Foreman (4,900). Not a lot of people are talking this guy up and there are several positive signs here. First, it is the Texans. Check. Second, his snaps increased by 20 percent last week and he led the backfield in opportunities. Third, Jeremy McNichols was ruled out, opening up 36 percent of the snaps. I don’t think the Titans want to over use dusty old AP. Foreman in this matchup reminds me a lot of Rhamondre Stephenson last week. A guy that will be getting lots of work, in a positive game script that carries some questions but, I think it is worth the gamble. AJ Brown (7,700) is viable and could erupt but, I like him less in a ppr format, while Marcus Johnson (3,500) I think is a great punt play after his six target game and positive matchup.
Game Priorities– Cooks, Foreman, Johnson
Cincinnati- This is a sneaky team that I think will gain some steam throughout the weekend. Any offensive player is viable here but, I think I prefer some of the value options here. Tee Higgins (5,400) is way too cheap here and is a fine play if you can get different elsewhere. Tyler Boyd (4,800) is coming off a dud but, he is still playing 80 percent of the snaps and looks good while CJ Uzomah (3,500) fits the profile of a good cheap tight end that might pay off. Joe Mixon (7,600) is someone I’m not sure I’ll get to but, I like the contrarian play here. This Raiders defense is about to free fall into oblivion I feel like.
Las Vegas- Scoring 14 points vs the Chiefs isn’t great. This poor team is clouded in distraction, forget the fact that they also play in Vegas which is a distraction in itself. Hunter Renfrow (5,800) is Carr’s little buddy and he looks safe but, I’m not sure he has the tournament winning ceiling. I prefer Bryan Edwards (4,100) as a nice dart throw that could put up a 0 or a 20. Those are guys I like to play in tournaments. Darren Waller (6,100) has been bad lately but, I think in tournaments he is a perfectly viable option.
Game Priorities– Higgins, Boyd, Uzomah, Waller
Arizona- It appears that Kyler will be back here but, not Hopkins. This leads me to really love me some James Conner (6,100). I can remember having this dude on my fantasy team and being so frustrated he would never score and now he’s on pace to lead the league in touchdowns. What a world we live in. Last week in a horrible game, Conner still managed 83 percent of the snaps and now he faces a Seattle defense that lately has been much better vs. the pass than the run. Fire up Conner confidently. Christian Kirk (5,700) has some appeal but, AJ Green (4,600) is the one that stands out to me the most. He has shown great chemistry with Murray and now with Hopkins out, should stand to benefit from the extra targets.
Seattle- This game will show me how I am a glutton for punishment. Anyone with a brain wouldn’t touch a player on this team after watching them last week. Which is exactly why I love them this week. Could Wilson just be cooked with his finger and struggle the rest of the year? Sure. I know it isn’t a guarantee though. Russell Wilson (6,500) should be super low owned but, I love the potential at home here. The Hawks have been playing at a faster pace recently and I’m going to give it a whirl even after it blew up in my face last week. DK Metcalf (6,800) and Tyler Lockett (6,000) are the guys you want. Lockett is my preferred option because when he goes off, he goes OFF. In fact last year vs Arizona he had a 45 point game vs these same Cardinals. I’m totally on board with this low-owned stack. However, I think you can play the two together since they are cheap enough and these two did lead the NFL in air yards last week.
Game Priorities– AJ, Russ, Lockett, Metcalf, Conner
Dallas- This game will be insanely popular but, with great reason. Almost any player that plays in this game is viable. I do however think I prefer the Dallas side here. The reason being because they are harder to find the correct stacks with due to how many viable players they have. My two favorites to pair with an excellent Dak Prescott (7,200) are Ceedee Lamb (7,600) and Michael Gallup (4,200). One thing to note is how dominant Ceedee is in the slot. Now that Gallup is back, he played 80 percent of his snaps there this past week. I LOVE that. He’s also more expensive than Amari Cooper (6,200) meaning he may be less owned. Gallup’s return has hurt Dalton Schultz (4,600) and Dak seems to enjoy targeting the explosive Gallup. Fire them up. Zeke Elliott (7,700) looks like a very fine and safe play but, I see cheaper options (Wilson, Foreman, Dillon) that just look better for far less. EDIT: Amari Cooper has been ruled out. This shakes things up just a bit for the cowboys in that all these other pass catchers will be much more popular. I now like Schultz and even Zeke more than I did before. I like the idea of running Zeke naked in hopes that the Boys control the clock and zeke just chews up the yards and slows the game down.
Kansas City- The Chiefs are back! Or so I hear. It will take a lot more than pounding on the hapless Raiders to convince me this team is fully clicking. However, I think in this game environment you have to be interested. Patrick Mahomes (7,600) is obviously a great play and stacking him with Tyreek Hill (8,200) and Travis Kelce (7,100) is of course going to look great. However, I think my favorite play here might actually be Darrell Williams (5,400). As of this writing doesn’t seem like Clyde will play and Darrell is a beast. With how often teams are playing cover two vs. the Chiefs, Darrell has been feasting on the underneath routes. Fire him up with confidence in this high paced, high scoring affair.
Game Priorities- Dak, Mahomes, Ceedee, Gallup, Hill, Darrell, Zeke
Good luck all you degenerates and Bet Goodenough!