As we all surely have learned by this point in the season, value on a slate sometimes doesn’t materialize until Sunday morning. Heck, often we don’t even get a clear picture of the afternoon’s events right up until each team announces their inactives an hour-and-a-half prior to kickoff. Still, as someone who has spent their entire life procrastinating, that timeline doesn’t always work for me. I mean, how am I supposed to wait until the last minute for a thing that doesn’t happen until the last minute? It’s all very confusing.
Anyway, due to perpetual fear of the dreaded slate lock, I recently decided to go against my lazy nature and seek out my value early on in the week. Basically, it’s my own little story of personal growth and you kind readers get to come along for the ride. So, with that in mind, let’s pinpoint some poorly priced assets position-by-position.
NICK FOLES, QB, JAX AT TEN, $5,400
Though I can almost assure you Jacksonville won’t be passing the ball on a jaw-dropping 84.5% of its offensive snaps for two consecutive weeks, it probably would be wise to consider a similarly aggressive approach through the air against Tennessee. Quietly, the Titans have sort of become the AFC’s answer to the Buccaneers — at least in terms of where their strengths and weaknesses lie on defense. In fact, like Tampa Bay, Tennessee can claim a monstrous difference in its defensive rankings according to DVOA, where the team sits fourth-best versus the run but only 22nd versus the pass. These deficiencies have been brought to the surface in recent contests, too.
In the Titans’ final four matchups before going on bye in Week 11, the team surrendered 327.0 passing yards per game and multiple touchdown passes to every quarterback lucky enough to be on the other side of the field. However, if that sample size isn’t large enough for you, consider that Tennessee comes into Week 12 conceding a whopping 77.3% of overall opponent touchdowns through the air so far in 2019 — the fourth-highest ratio in all of football. That might seem like something set to regress; yet, the three squads allowing a higher percentage of opponent passing touchdowns — the Buccaneers, the Vikings and the Texans — all have comparable splits to the Titans when it comes to defending the pass and run. Simply put, Tennessee is a team that induces success through the air and, after shaking off the rust last weekend, Foles should be able to take advantage.
BO SCARBROUGH, RB, DET AT WAS, $4,200
It needs to be addressed right out of the gate that Scarbrough is a running back with immense flaws. There’s a reason he was readily available for the Lions to pick up prior to their Week 11 loss to the Cowboys. To be frank, the former seventh-round pick is about as one-dimensional an archetype as we’ll see at the position. He just isn’t someone conducive to being utilized in the passing attack. In fact, in three years at Alabama, Scarbrough caught a mere 21 passes in 21 games, as he shared the backfield with the likes of Derrick Henry, Kenyan Drake, Josh Jacobs and Damien Harris. It’s also not like he’s stepping into an ideal situation in Detroit, where the Lions have mustered only 4.04 adjusted line yards per carry through 10 games — the 10th-lowest mark in the entire NFL.
Still, opportunity and price tag are sometimes to the two most important factors in DFS, and Scarbrough checks each box as he and Detroit head into their matchup with Washington this Sunday. Scarbrough is coming out of a contest where he out-snapped Ty Johnson ($3,700) 32-to-19 and garnered two rushing attempts inside the opponent’s 10-yard line. He’s clearly the preferred goal line RB, and that’s a valuable trait to add to the volume opportunities the Redskins tend to create for running backs. Not only has Washington conceded the fifth-most rushing yards per game in 2019 (133.9), but, on top of that, it’s induced an NFC-high 32.3 opponent rushing attempts per contest. Scarbrough might be a one-trick pony, yet that trick is running the ball between the tackles while his team enjoys a second-half lead. The Redskins have shown time and time again that that specific script is an obtainable dream for opposing RBs.
JOHNNY HOLTON, WR, PIT AT CIN, $3,300
As I’m sure it was for a lot of people, my lasting image of last week’s Thursday Night Football game between the Steelers and the Browns was Holton continuously running fly patterns down the sideline and Mason Rudolph ($5,500) frantically trying to connect with his speedy wideout. Seriously. This happened a lot. Holton only played 59.5% of Pittsburgh’s offensive snaps and yet he managed a more-than-respectable seven targets with a mind-numbing 27.9-yard aDOT. Sure, Holton came down with just one of these opportunities, and he finished the contest with an underwhelming 2.8 DKFP; however, the lone wide receiver to finish Week 11 with more air yards than’s Holton’s total of 195 was D.J. Chark. Efficiency is nice, but sometimes the potential volume numbers are too tantalizing to ignore.
Holton could be in line for a huge workload this Sunday depending on how the Steelers’ injury woes play out. JuJu Smith-Schuster ($6,000) and Diontae Johnson ($5,100) are both listed as questionable to suit up versus the Bengals after suffering concussions last week, while the former also is dealing with a nagging knee ailment. You’ll have to keep an eye on both as it pertains to Holton’s viability, but, if both end up being absent, the WR’s ceiling is staggering. If Rudolph and Holton were going to connect on a deep ball against any secondary, it would be Cincinnati’s. Dating back to the beginning of Week 6, the Bengals have surrendered 11.8 yards per target to opposing wide receivers — the highest mark in the NFL by over a full yard. Additionally, for the season, they’ve allowed the third-most 20-plus yard passing plays (47).
Editor’s Note: JuJu Smith-Schuster has been ruled out for Sunday’s game. Diontae Johnson has been cleared and is no longer in the concussion protocol.
NOAH FANT, TE, DEN AT BUF, $3,900
I get the distinct impression Fant will not be a popular play in Week 12 against the Bills. Statistically speaking, that’s a fair approach to have. Buffalo has conceded the fewest targets (4.2) and receptions (2.9) per game to tight ends through 10 contests, which has resulted in the Bills giving up the fewest overall DKFP to the position. Of all the reasons to steer clear of a TE, those seem like some pretty good ones. Not even to mention the fact Fant’s exceeded 10.0 DKFP on only two occasions in his rookie campaign.
However, I think offensive inclination is more important than defensive trends when it comes to tight ends, and the Broncos love throwing to their TEs. Since Brandon Allen ($4,600) took over for Joe Flacco in Week 9, Denver’s directed a whopping 35% of its passes towards the position — the third-highest rate in all of football. Heck, if you want to include Flacco’s final start of the season against Indianapolis in Week 8, Fant’s seen a team-high 27.4% target share and played at least 80.0% of the Broncos’ offensive snaps in every game within that span. Sure, it’s a bad matchup on paper, but it’s hard to find that level of volume at tight end; especially on a slate missing George Kittle, Travis Kelce, Mark Andrews, and possibly the likes of Austin Hooper (knee) and Evan Engram (foot) due to injury. Toss in that Fant’s salary is under $4K, and there’s really more to like than you initially would think.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is theglt13) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.