I’ve heard some complaints about pricing on DraftKings lately. David Johnson, Scott Chandler, C.J. Anderson were all “too cheap.” This week, there’s going to be complaining about people not having enough money to fit who they want. The lack of quality cheapies means we have to be more price-sensitive and dig deeper in the mid-range.
The point of this column is to use the news, snap count, usage and trends to both be a little contrarian and avoid whiffs.
MATCHUPS TO EXPLOIT
1. Jarvis Landry against the league’s worst pass defense
Making fun of and attacking the Saints pass defense is all the rage these days. No one seems to realize the Giants actually give up the most pass yards per game. Their weakest link is on the inside, where slot corner Trevin Wade and an inept linebacker/safety group have been getting exploited all year. That’s where Jarvis Landry is the primary target and Jordan Cameron is a secondary target for Ryan Tannehill.
Landry’s down game last week was a blessing in disguise as it means his ownership will be depressed. Note that in that 15-13 win over the Matt Schaub-led Ravens, Tannehill was only forced to throw 19 times. That won’t be possible against the Giants, who will light up the Dolphins’ leaky secondary with Odell Beckham. Expect Landry to get back in the 9-12 target range with elite efficiency.
2. Martavis Bryant against Dre Kirkpatrick
The Bengals are very banged up in the secondary. Pacman Jones (foot), Leon Hall (back) and George Iloka (groin) are each either out or banged up. Their lone healthy corner, Dre Kirkpatrick, is PFF’s No. 114 CB out of 116 qualifiers. Via PFF, Martavis Bryant lines up on the right side of the formation – that’s where Kirkpatrick always is. The freakishly talented Bryant has seen at least seven targets in every game this year and is averaging 9.0 per day.
SITUATIONS TO CAPITALIZE ON
1. Allen Hurns’ return from concussion
No one wants to roster the guy coming off injury. Everyone wants to the guy who had 10 catches, 153 yards and three touchdowns last week. By reversing our first instinct with the Jacksonville receiving corps, we can leverage our way into a +EV situation. Allen Robinson’s price has jumped to $8000, up from the $7300 he was last week, $6400 he was in Week 9 and $5500 he was in Week 5. Meanwhile, Hurns’ price has held steady all year and is at $5500 this week – an important savings of $2500. I’m expecting Hurns to have about a quarter of the ownership Robinson has in tournaments.
In this matchup against the Colts, their projections aren’t all that different. Robinson’s eruption last week came with Hurns on the sideline – in all other games he’s averaging 18.6 DK points per game. Hurns is at 15.8 DK ppg on the year, including an 11-116-1 line against Indy in Week 2. With Vontae Davis playing at a “meh” level and Greg Toler getting roasted weekly, it’s a fine spot for Hurns to jump back in with a splash.
2. Bengals taking to the air
The Steelers run defense quietly ranks 4th in DVOA, sixth in YPC against (3.77), sixth in yards allowed per game (90.3) and T-2nd in touchdowns allowed (4). This is not a Jeremy Hill game for the Bengals, who will have to light the scoreboard to keep up with Ben Roethlisberger and will have to do it through the air. Cincy has an implied team total of 26 points, putting Andy Dalton, Marvin Jones, Tyler Eifert and Gio Bernard all in play. The most likely beneficiary of a big Dalton game is A.J. Green, who has feasted on the Steelers in his career. In the last five matchups, Green has seen 15, 18, 15, 13 and 17 targets.
More from Adam Levitan on the DK Playbook
CONTRARIAN GPP PLAYS
1. Todd Gurley at home against the Lions
Gurley is going to be something around 2 percent owned in tournaments, and for good reason. The Rams offense is not producing scoring opportunities due to inept quarterback play and Gurley is a two-down back who doesn’t have a real role when his team is in comeback mode. However, I’m not so sure the Rams will be behind in this home game against the Lions, where they are only 3-point underdogs. Also note the recent opponents Gurley has had to deal with: BAL, CIN and ARZ. With only nine carries in back-to-back games, the Rams should be willing to ride their best offensive player hard in this game. From a game theory perspective, there are roughly zero running backs in “lock” spots this week. There isn’t a ton of opportunity cost in taking a chance on Gurley’s unique upside.
2. Tyrod Taylor instead of LeSean McCoy
I’m well aware of all the revenge Shady McCoy has bottled up. I’m also aware of how productive he’s been lately. But we have to realize that running back failure rates at a $6100 price tag are very high and McCoy is going to be at least 30-40 percent owned. One way he could fail is by watching helplessly as Tyrod Taylor shreds a secondary starting Byron Maxwell and Eric Rowe at outside corner. Another way is by watching TyGod use his legs to snap up the rushing scores. If either of these things happen, Taylor owners will soar up leaderboards, leapfrogging all the McCoy ownership. And it’s very possible, as the Eagles’ personnel dictates they’re easier to throw on than run.
WHO I’M CONSIDERING IN DRAFTKINGS CASH GAMES
(No particular order)
QB: Ben Roethlisberger, Jameis Winston, Tyrod Taylor, Cam Newton
RB: LeSean McCoy, Doug Martin, DeAngelo Williams, Shaun Draughn, Tim Hightower, C.J. Spiller
WR: Antonio Brown, Odell Beckham, A.J. Green, Alshon Jeffery (weather permitting), Jarvis Landry, Martavis Bryant, Danny Amendola, Allen Hurns, Vincent Jackson, Doug Baldwin
TE: Scott Chandler (if Rob Gronkowski is out), Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Jordan Cameron, Greg Olsen
D: Chiefs, Seahawks, Broncos, Jaguars, Packers, Panthers