After this Sunday, we’ll officially be over halfway through the NFL season, so be sure to soak in all the fantasy football goodness while you can. There are 10 games on the main slate again this week because there are six teams on byes. There are some high-powered offenses missing from the main slate with the Patriots and Packers on Sunday Night Football, but there are also some important divisional matchups to check out like the Steelers visiting the Ravens, the Panthers hosting the Bucs and the Lions taking on the Vikings. The most fun game on the main slate, though, is probably the late afternoon matchup of the Saints and Rams in New Orleans.
As you dig into each head-to-head matchup to find just the right fantasy football fits, make sure to take a look at these less expensive plays, who can help you be able to afford big-name, big-salaried stars like Todd Gurley ($9,500), Patrick Mahomes ($7,100) or Adam Thielen ($8,900).
QUARTERBACK($6,000 and under)
Jared Goff, LAR at NO, $6,000 – Goff didn’t struggle without Cooper Kupp ($6,000), who was sidelined by a knee injury against the Packers. Goff still threw for 295 yards and three touchdowns to post 26.5 DKFP. It was his best showing since Week 4, when he lit up the Vikings for 42.3 DKFP on Thursday Night Football. Most of Goff’s best performances have come at home, but even on the road, he’s a nice play against the Saints, who have been the most generous defense in the NFL to QBs. Hopefully, this NFC clash turns into a high-scoring fantasy point bonanza, and Goff is a great way to get a piece at a nice price.
Philip Rivers, LAC at SEA, $5,600 – I get that facing the Seahawks in Seattle is no picnic, but Rivers has been sneaky-good all season and thrown multiple touchdowns in each of his seven contests. He is averaging 22.6 DKFP and 287 yards per game and has thrown a total of 17 touchdowns compared to just three interceptions. Rivers usually plays stronger coming down the stretch and is coming off a bye week which should only build his connection with options like Tyrell Williams ($4,200) and Mike Williams ($3,800), who are emerging as secondary targets behind the always-productive-when-healthy Keenan Allen ($7,300).
RUNNING BACK($5,000 and under)
Chris Carson, SEA vs. LAC, $4,700 – Carson has seized control of the backfield workload in Seattle and distanced himself from Rashaad Penny ($3,700) and Mike Davis ($3,700). While Davis still got some carries, Carson was able to pile up 105 yards on his 25 carries against the Lions in Detroit. He added a rushing touchdown and a pair of catches for 19 yards to finish with 23.4 DKFP, matching his season-high from Week 3. He has at least 100 yards on the ground in three of his four games since the bizarre benching/miscommunication in Week 2. The Chargers defense has been decent against the run this season, but Carson should still be able to get things going in Seattle on Sunday. The Seahawks love to build their offense around running the ball, and Carson’s success is letting them do just that.
Nick Chubb, CLE vs. KC, $4,500 – No one knows exactly what to expect from the Browns’ offense after coach Hue Jackson and offensive coordinator Todd Haley were fired this week, but Chubb should be heavily involved, especially if interim coach Gregg Williams goes with a defense-run heavy scheme. Chubb has looked decent in his two weeks as the main back after Carlos Hyde was traded to Jacksonville. He had 80 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries for 14.0 DKFP against the Bucs and 65 yards on 18 carries for 9.5 DKFP last week in Pittsburgh. The Chiefs have given up the second-most DKFP per game to RBs this season, so Chubb could find room to work. There is some risk that the Browns fall behind big and abandon the run, but Chubb should still get enough work since Duke Johnson Jr. ($3,800) hasn’t been used much at all. Chubb has a high ceiling since he’s dominating the workload.
WIDE RECEIVER($5,000 and under)
Sammy Watkins, KC at CLE, $4,900 – Watkins has gotten lost a little bit in the glare of Mahomes and Tyreek Hill ($8,000), but in Week 8 he exploded with eight catches for 107 yards, two touchdowns and 33.7 DKFP. He has actually been quietly involved all season with at least seven targets in five of his past six games and at least 13 DKFP in each of those five contests. Watkins could be in line for even more work since Tyreek Hill (groin; $8,000) could be slowed by a strained groin sustained last week. If Hill is less than 100% or the Chiefs choose to be cautious with their star, look for Watkins to be heavily targeted again.
Danny Amendola, MIA vs. NYJ, $4,700 – Amendola has become a nice fantasy option since Brock Osweiler ($4,900) took over for the injured Ryan Tannehill (shoulder; $5,200). With Osweiler starting, Amendola has posted 13.9 DKFP, 20.4 DKFP and 14.42 DKFP. He has been targeted an average of eight times per game in those three starts and even threw a touchdown on a trick play. Amendola and the Dolphins have a great matchup against the Jets in Week 9, so he should be a great play, especially with Osweiler expected to stay under center.
D.J. Moore, CAR vs TB, $4,300 – Moore broke through with five catches for 90 yards and a pair of carries for 39 yards against the Ravens in Week 8 to put up 17.9 DKFP. The Panthers have slowly been working the rookie into their game plan and he has been able to put up at least 9.0 DKFP in three of his past four games. The Panthers are in a great matchup against the porous secondary of the Bucs, so it looks like time for some Moore.
Cortland Sutton, DEN vs. HOU, $3,900 – Sutton’s potential is why the Broncos felt confident enough to trade Demaryius Thomas ($4,500) to the Texans earlier this week. They’ll face DT and the Texans in Denver this week, and Sutton should be used as the team’s second WR. He had a career-high 78 yards last week against the Chiefs and posted 10.8 DKFP, giving him over 8.0 DKFP in four straight weeks. With his expanded workload, he has a very high ceiling at a very affordable salary against the Texans.
TIGHT END($4,000 and under)
Vance McDonald, PIT at BAL, $3,700 – In an AFC North slugfest, the Steelers visit the Ravens looking to avenge their Week 4 loss. McDonald caught five passes for 62 yards and 20.2 DKFP in that contest. He continues to share time with Jesse James ($2,700), but McDonald has been more productive lately catching 20-of-22 targets over his past five games for 295 yards. His bruising style should fit this game perfectly.
Chris Herndon, NYJ at MIA, $3,000 – I’ve been rolling with Herndon the last few weeks as the rookie has ripped off a three-week touchdown streak. The Jets have gotten very thin at WR, allowing him to be more involved in the passing game. He had only one catch last week against the Bears but made it count for 16 yards, a touchdown and 8.6 DKFP. The Dolphins have been a good matchup for TEs this season, so look for him to continue connecting with Sam Darnold ($4,800)
DEFENSE/SPECIAL TEAMS($2,800 and under)
KC at CLE, $2,700 – As mentioned above, there’s no way to know exactly what the Browns offense will look like after losing their coordinator and coach, but they will still have a rookie QB and a so-so offensive line. The Chiefs’ defense has at least nine DKFP in three of their past four weeks with the only down game coming against the Patriots. This unit has recorded five sacks and forced two turnovers last week against the Broncos.
BAL vs. PIT, $2,500 – The Ravens get a tough matchup against the Steelers, but they are facing Big Ben on the road, where he can be turnover prone. Baltimore had 6.0 DKFP against the Steelers in Week 4 before a pair of great games against the Browns and Titans. They did struggle the past two weeks against the Saints and in Carolina, but this unit should be set up to bounce back and offer a lot of talent at a very affordable salary.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is Z.Thompson) 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.