Antonio Clown may be back but so are your DraftKings lineups, begging to be set with only the finest of advice. Newton and Edelman certainly let me down last week, but D’Andre Swift’s breakout certainly made my day brighter. Hopefully that gem is a sign of to come in this week’s piece!
All values are subject to DraftKings’ prices and scoring format. All ownership data is courtesy of Pro Football Focus
Fire ‘em up
Matthew Stafford @ ATL ($6,500)
Atlanta has allowed FIVE QB1 finishes this season. Reminder: they have only played six games. Stafford is set for an awesome bounce back game after a dud against Jacksonville. The odds that the Lions keep a potent rushing attack for two weeks in a row at Stafford’s expense is low. Kenny Golladay deserves his due, and it will come against the Falcons defense that is allowing 30.7 points per game, the fifth-worst average in the league.
Ronald Jones @ LV ($6,200)
The Raiders have been a decent defense through the air, surprisingly, but have been horrid on the ground. They have the third-highest rushing touchdown percentage in the league, allowing an average of two per game. Jones should have one as a baseline and based on the way he’s playing, two or more should not be out of the question. Whether Leonard Fournette returns or not is irrelevant; Jones has earned every penny of his price tag in a juicy matchup.
Christian Kirk vs. SEA ($4,900)
Seattle’s defense can’t guard the last kid to be picked in gym class for dodgeball. So, it can be expected that Kirk, who has absolute burners, can take full advantage of a vulnerable secondary allowing the most fantasy points to wide receivers. DeAndre Hopkins is an attractive play, but Kirk serves the same upside at a cheaper price and a much lower ownership. Hopkins is also harboring a gimpy ankle. Kirk has started to find his form after a slow start to the season — expect him to keep it going this week.
Jonnu Smith vs. PIT ($4,700)
Playing a tight end against Pittsburgh has been a death knell this season, thanks largely due to the coverage ability of linebacker Devin Bush. Sadly, for Steelers fan Bush tore his ACL last weekend, leaving the middle of the field exposed. The remaining linebackers do not have anywhere near the athleticism needed to cover Smith, who resembles a larger wide receiver. The Titans tight end was dealing with a minor ankle sprain but after putting in a pair of “full” practices he should be all-systems-go on Sunday. In a huge game with playoff ramifications, Smith will expose the Steelers in a spot they haven’t needed to worry about with Bush — the tight end.
New England Patriots @ SF ($3,900)
They are highly owned so I prefer my bargain bin option; stay tuned. But the Patriots are a great matchup for the 49ers. The 49ers like to run the ball, the Patriots like to stop it. Without Raheem Mostert, the 49ers are already limited. Factor in that the Patriots have allowed just ONE rushing touchdown, and it becomes a clear mismatch. George Kittle will certainly make plays that will cause regret, but all in all the Patriots are a great option in a slug-fest matchup.
Colder than ice
Justin Herbert @ LAC ($6,400)
The rookie quarterback is among the frontrunners for Offensive Rookie of the Year honors, but this week might be tough sledding for fantasy. Not to the fault of anyone other than his opponent, the Jaguars, who have one of the worst rushing defenses imaginable. The same thing happened for Stafford who was usurped for touchdowns by his rushing attack. Expect healthy volume for Justin Jackson and Joshua Kelly who will cap Herbert’s upside. It’s also worth noting that the Chargers just had their bye, which normally would be good news. But for a rookie quarterback riding the heat and momentum of the week prior, this could be a tough spot.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire @ DEN ($6,100)
This is not some Le’Veon Bell conspiracy bit. I fully expect CEH to lead the backfield, but Denver is a tough tilt. They allow the second-fewest fantasy points to running backs and have absolutely stifled opposing running backs, allowing just three rushing touchdowns. A lack of touchdowns on the ground caps CEH’s upside in this matchup where Bell should siphon the passing work CEH gets in the air. Look elsewhere.
Gabriel Davis @ NYJ ($3,600)
Everyone might feel sneaky for starting Davis at his price tag with John Brown (calf) out but no, you’re not. Davis is projected to be owned in over 14% of lineups in a solid matchup, but one that he will need to do his damage early on. Everyone is aware that the Bills will roll the Jets and that will produce fantasy value. But that could easily result in about three quarters of opportunity rather than four — the Jets have been that bad. Davis has performed admirably as a late-round rookie when called upon, but without the element of surprise there’s no reason to play him in your lineups if everyone is doing the same for a dart-throw prospect.
David Njoku @ CIN ($3,000)
As always, I will never condemn someone for taking the dirt-cheap shot at tight end. In fact, I commend it. But Njoku is projected to be owned in 7.3% of leagues after Austin Hooper was ruled out (illness). Meanwhile he isn’t going to command a large snap count or ceiling in a run-first offense. Rookie Harrison Bryant has played incredibly well and has been a steady part of the game plan. He could be an interesting shot as a $2,500 option that is projected to be played in under 1% of lineups. But for now, avoid Njoku, who has yet to show any of the ceiling that made him a first-round pick in 2017.
New Orleans Saints vs. CAR ($3,200)
The Saints aren’t the strongest defense and the Panthers have been a potent offense. Why 12.7% of DraftKings lineups feature the black and gold is beyond me but I can at least say that you shouldn’t. Carolina is a strong enough offense that is now going against a defense that has allowed 27 or more points in every game since Week 1. They can be beat again this week, and the points allows certainly lowers the floor for fantasy purposes.
Bargain Bin/Tournament options
Gardner Minshew @ LAC ($5,900)
The allure for Minshew has seemingly worn off the community as the Jaguars look to snap their five-game losing streak. But fantasy doesn’t care about records and neither should you. Minshew faces the Chargers, who have allowed the fourth-most passing yards per game. Minshew always has a high ceiling as the quarterback on a losing team, creating the perfect game script. Minshew has surpassed 300 yards passing in three of his last five games while scoring two touchdowns in each of his last three games. At a cheap price with a projected ownership of 1.4%, enjoy some Minshew magic and give the ‘Stache a chance.
La’Mical Perine vs. BUF ($4,200)
If it doesn’t work, try, try again… right?
To be honest, predicting anything Adam Gase does is impossible. But Perine needs to see more work and hopefully that comes this week against Buffalo with a nice post-hype sleeper tag attached to him. He could see passing work as the best man for the job on a team that could be missing target hog Jamison Crowder. Meanwhile Breshad Perriman is being blanketed by Tre’Davious White, which will likely cause him to disappear as well. The team NEEDS him to be involved in the passing game — one can only hope they realize that need.
Marquez Callaway vs. CAR ($3,000)
I always like to throw an incredibly deep name out there that will be barely owned even among the more astute DFS players. So, here’s Callaway, who performed well last week as an undrafted free agent. With Emmanuel Sanders (COVID-19) and Michael Thomas (hamstring) both out, the trio of Tre’Quan Smith, Deonte Harris and Callaway will face the Panthers. Smith is the obvious play but taking a shot on Harris or Callaway is a smart DFS dart throw. The Panthers aren’t the most susceptible to the wide receiver, but Callaway has the perfect opportunity to play more snaps, something he was solid with last week when he caught four balls for 34 yards on 64% of snaps.
Like I said, total dart throw. But if you want to brag about playing that random receiver who catches the deep bomb plus some short routes that leave you yelling “WHERE IS SMITH,” Callaway is your man.
Darren Fells vs. GB ($4,100)
The veteran tight end has been on a roll lately, scoring in each of his last two appearances. He blew up last week with seven targets, catching six balls for 85 yards and a touchdown. Starter Jordan Akins has yet to practice since his ankle/concussion injury in Week 4, leaving Fells as the undisputed snap leader. Green Bay has been stingy against the tight end, but Fells can snap that trend this week with another week of multi-touchdown upside as he proved capable in 2019.
Cleveland Browns @ CIN ($2,800)
The Browns have been beat on the ground this year but with Joe Mixon (foot) out, perhaps they won’t be as vulnerable. Meanwhile Burrow has turned the ball over plenty, whether through the air or on the ground. They’re cheap, lowly owned and an attractive play against an offense allowing the eighth most fantasy points to fantasy defenses. Burrow has thrown an interception in each of the last three games. That streak could very well continue. Play the Browns.