The beauty of DFS is that we can take a pair of 0-4 teams and have the most important game of the whole slate. That’s what we have in Arizona at Cincinnati as two uptempo teams with poor defenses square off. Getting this game right will be a key to the week.
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 12 Sunday day games.
SITUATIONS TO CAPITALIZE ON
1. DeAndre Hopkins off three quiet gamesOver his last three games, DeAndre Hopkins has totaled 148 yards and zero touchdowns. Yet his price has stayed sky-high at $7,800 – the most expensive WR on the slate. It sets up an opportunity to “pay up to be contrarian.” Note that Hopkins has faced three of the league’s top shadow corners during this dry spell in Jalen Ramsey, Casey Hayward and James Bradberry. The Falcons don’t have a corner capable of shadowing, are currently 21st in pass defense DVOA and have given up at least 20 points in all four of their games. That’s despite facing Kirk Cousins ($5,300), Carson Wentz ($6,100), Jacoby Brissett ($5,300) and Marcus Mariota ($4,900) so far.
2. Javon Wims getting his chanceWith Taylor Gabriel (concussion) out last week, Javon Wims ($3,500) played on 66-of-70 snaps as the primary outside receiver and commanded five targets in a tough slogfest against the Vikings. Anthony Miller ($3,900) was limited to 43 snaps as the slot guy. Now Gabriel is out again, this time for a neutral-field matchup against an Oakland defense which has allowed the opposing QBs to hit them for a 106.8 rating – 7th-highest in the league. That’s despite matchups against Joe Flacco ($4,700), Kirk Cousins and Jacoby Brissett in three of four games. Wims has been one of the preseason’s most dominant players over the last two years, going 23-309-1 on 199 snaps (roughly three games worth).
MATCHUPS TO EXPLOIT
1. Carson Wentz against the JetsArguably the biggest trench mismatch of the week is the Jets defensive line against the Eagles offensive line. We can also make a case the Jets have the league’s least talented group of corners in the league. They’ve already been hit by Josh Allen ($5,700) for 19.96 DK points, Baker Mayfield ($5,800) for 16.0 and Tom Brady ($6,500) for 23.14. Enter Wentz ($6,100), who won’t have DeSean Jackson (groin) but will have all his other weapons for a home game in which the Eagles are tied for the highest implied total on the slate. It certainly helps that Wentz is only the 6th-most expensive QB despite topping 19 points in all four of his games so far.
2. Larry Fitzgerald against the BengalsWith Christian Kirk (ankle) plus Damiere Byrd (hamstring) out, the Cardinals are down to the likes of KeeSean Johnson ($3,500), Trent Sherfield ($3,000) and Pharoh Cooper to support Larry Fitzgerald ($6,000). So when Kyler Murray ($6,300) drops back, we know he’s looking to get the ball out quick and short, which meshes perfectly with Fitz’s game at this point in his career. The 36-year-old Fitzgerald already leads the league in targets inside the 10-yard line and now gets a Bengals barely-there defense allowing the third-most yards per play in the league. Of course, the Cardinals are threats to lead the entire slate in plays run if they can improve their efficiency – they’re already 8th in plays per game despite all of the immaturity and struggles.
CONTRARIAN GPP STACKS
1. Kirk Cousins and Adam ThielenIt takes a leap of faith to believe in the Vikings pass game. After all, Kirk Cousins ($5,300) is attempting just 24.7 passes per game and Adam Thielen ($6,700) is at a pathetic 5.5 targets per game. But, the inmates appear to be plotting a mutiny against Mike Zimmer’s 1950s-style offense. “At some point, you’re not going to be able to run the ball for 180 yards… in this league you can not be one-dimensional, it’s just too easy to defend.” Stefon Diggs ($6,200) skipped practice Wednesday. Now the Vikings go to face the Giants and Daniel Jones ($5,600), who has the ability and weapons to force Zimmer to call more passes. And if that happens, Cousins should find strong efficiency. The Giants are 30th in PFF’s pass rush grades and 30th in coverage.
2. Andy Dalton to Tyler BoydI expect Auden Tate ($3,500) to be one of the most-owned players on the slate. But what if it’s not Tate who exposes this dream matchup for the Bengals? We can gain maximum leverage by finding the salary for the far more talented Tyler Boyd ($6,500), who has the prime matchup in the slot and who also benefits from John Ross’ absence. Boyd is coming off a quiet 3-33-0 game on national television in Week 4, but before that had at least 10 targets in three straight games. And Andy Dalton ($5,700) has been eviscerated by the national media, but in the right spots, he can hang crooked numbers. Dalton put 418 yards on the Seahawks in Week 1, 311 on the 49ers in Week 2 and went for 4,206 passing yards in 2016.
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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.