APTOPIX Bengals Steelers Football

This slate is shaped by two games: Cardinals at Buccaneers and Falcons at Saints. After the most obvious games of Week 9 turned into shootouts (Bucs at Seahawks, Lions at Raiders), we can expect this week’s “obvious” games to garner a ton of attention. For tournaments, the question is if we can find players in other matchups with realistic paths to beating the players in those games?

The point of this column is to use the news, snap counts, usage, matchups and trends to both be a little contrarian and avoid whiffs. Note that I am discussing the DraftKings main slate only, aka the 10 Sunday day games.


1. Jaylen Samuels’ pass-catching role

Yes, Samuels’ price has gone up $2,300 since last week. That doesn’t mean he’s overpriced. Samuels has caught 52 passes on 366 career snaps for an outlandish 14.2% rate. With James Conner (shoulder) and Benny Snell (knee) expected to miss again, we safely can project Samuels for an absolute floor of 40 snaps. Note that Trey Edmunds (ribs) is banged up as well. Mason Rudolph, 26th in the NFL in average depth of target, is going to check it down plenty. Samuels’ game-flow independence and easy projection of 4-7 catches keeps him in play even at the elevated tag.

2. Davante Adams getting healthier

Adams (toe) returned to play something close to his normal role in Week 9, getting 84% of the snaps and handling his typically massive 31% target share. Adams finished with just 7-41-0 in a pathetic Aaron Rodgers performance and a game the Packers ran just 49 plays. Now they come home to face the Panthers, and we can project a far better overall performance. Adams is another week removed from his toe injury, he won’t see Casey Hayward, top Panthers CB James Bradberry (groin) is in doubt and the Packers almost certainly will run 60+ plays. Note that Adams’ $6,900 tag is the cheapest he’s been since December of 2017.


1. Mike Gesicki against the Colts

The tight end defense of the Cardinals grabs all the headlines, but the Colts’ scheme is designed to force targets to the short/middle. They’ve allowed the fourth-most fantasy points per game and eighth-most catches per game to tight ends. Meanwhile, freak athlete Mike Gesicki has run a route in 62 of Ryan Fitzpatrick’s 84 dropbacks (74%) over the past two weeks. A pathetic blocker, Gesicki essentially is playing the role of an oversized wideout. He’s been in the slot on 67-of-79 of his snaps over the past two weeks and drawn nine targets. Rhett Ellison is in play at $2,500, but Gesicki at $3,100 gives us paths to a big plays and a higher ceiling.

2. Chris Godwin against the Cardinals

Mike Evans has dominated the past three weeks, seeing 45 targets and turning them into an absurd 105.4 DraftKings points. During that time, Godwin has seen only 29 targets and scored 52.3 points. Both Bucs wideouts are again set up extremely well against the Cardinals this week, but Godwin is less likely to see Patrick Peterson. Although Peterson has struggled since coming off suspension, it’s been only three games. Godwin is also $200 cheaper and projects to be significantly less owned after he failed at far higher ownership than Evans last week.


1. Daniel Jones to Darius Slayton and/or Golden Tate

Danny Dimes has fared reasonably well when he’s had plus matchups. He put 39.24 points on the Bucs in Week 3 and 32.18 on the Lions in Week 8. Note that the Jets are 17th in yards per pass attempt allowed and 25th in pass defense DVOA. So it’s a plump spot for Jones in this “road” game, and we also have a condensed target tree. Evan Engram and Sterling Shepard are both out, leaving Darius Slayton and Golden Tate to play every snap. Slayton is the big-play, boom/bust option as his 16.8 average depth of target is sixth-most in the entire league. Tate is a bit overpriced for his ceiling at $5,900, but has seen at least six targets in every game this year.

2. Alvin Kamara and the Saints D/ST

With Kamara (ankle) coming off injury and facing the very real threat of losing significant snaps to Latavius Murray, he projects to be relatively underowned despite a picture-perfect matchup. Christian McCaffrey at $10,500 and Saquon Barkley at $8,800 are going to make it difficult for people to spend $8,200 on Kamara. And even though his touch count will be compromised by Murray some, home against Atlanta is a spot where we can project inflated team RB touches and efficiency. Meanwhile, Saints DL vs. Falcons OL is an outrageous mismatch, Matt Ryan is coming off a high ankle sprain and we can project a floor of 35 dropbacks easily. That’s what leads to D/ST scoring.

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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is adamlevitan) 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.