Jonathan Bales is a DraftKings Analyst and the author of the Fantasy Sports for Smart People book series, most recently Fantasy Football for Smart People: How to Win at Daily Fantasy Sports.
I’m just ‘bout that action boss.
Tom Brady, New England ($8100) I generally try to avoid jumping on narratives I know the public will eat up. In this case, though, I also think it’s true; I do believe the Patriots are going to come out firing, and I don’t think they’re gonna let up. It also helps that where New England excels in the passing game (over the middle) is where Indy is weak.
Andrew Luck, Indianapolis ($7600) Obviously we need to monitor Luck’s health, but if he looks good to go, I think he’s a sneaky play on Sunday. The Colts are likely to be playing from behind and airing it out often. The Pats figure to try to take T.Y. Hilton out of the game, so I like Luck with pretty much any of his other receivers in tournaments.
Sam Bradford, Philadelphia ($6000) The Giants have allowed 1.7 points per game above salary-based expectations to quarterbacks over the past 12 months. They’re bad. Bradford doesn’t appear to be good, but he’s still posted some quality numbers from bulk attempts alone. Once he’s efficient, which at some point is going to happen in this offense, look out. I love him with Jordan Matthews.
VALUE OF THE WEEK
Matthew Stafford, Detroit ($5300) This dude sucks, right? That seems to be the general consensus. I’m a buyer at this price—$1700 cheaper than the start of the season—at home against a horrible Chicago defense. When you can get value along with low ownership, which should be the case here because everyone is so down on Stafford, that’s a great situation.
Arian Foster, Houston ($7000) Last week was the first time we saw Foster get his normal workload: 19 carries and a ridiculous 10 targets. The Jags have allowed 1.1 points per game above expectation to running backs over the past year. Foster’s pass-catching ability means his production comes pretty much independently of game flow.
Eddie Lacy, Green Bay ($6300) Let’s list some of the positives for Lacy this week. His salary has dropped. He’s playing on a home favorite. The team is favored by 10.5 points. They’re average-at-best against the run. And he has Aaron Rodgers moving his offense up the field.
Gio Bernard, Cincinnati ($4600) Even with Cincy feeding Jeremy Hill the rock more since sitting him down for fumbling, Bernard has still been utilized out of the backfield. He has at least 13 carries in each of the past four games and saw eight targets last week. The Bills have a quality defense against opposing backs, but Bernard is almost more of a slot receiver. I think he has a similar outlook as when Dion Lewis faced the Bills and racked up 98 receiving yards.
VALUE OF THE WEEK
Charcandrick West, Kansas City ($4000) West is a really interesting player because he’s clearly underpriced at $4,000 as the lead back for the Chiefs. However, he’s a risk with Knile Davis still in Kansas City, and we know he’s going to be highly owned in GPPs. I’d be more comfortable if we knew how this breakdown of touches would shake out, but we really don’t. And since Davis is in line for goal-line touches, this is a value to whom I probably will have less exposure than the field.
Demaryius Thomas, Denver ($7900) With Joe Haden out, Thomas is in position to dominate the Browns’ secondary. He would be, anyway, if his quarterback could get him the ball. That’s the perception, anyway, but I’m willing to take the chance they’ll connect this week given that I expect low ownership on Demaryius. Plus, he’s actually still on pace for plenty of yards; he just hasn’t gotten into the end zone much, which won’t continue at the rate we’ve seen.
DeAndre Hopkins, Houston ($7700) Hopkins will be in a ton of lineups and I don’t care; you can’t pass on a player seeing 15 targets per game at this price, especially when he won’t be facing a lockdown cornerback.
Randall Cobb, Green Bay ($7300) Cobb has been seeing a lot of double-coverage, but there’s no reason his price should drop to $7300 in a quality matchup. The Packers are projected extremely well, with only the Pats expected to score more points.
VALUE OF THE WEEK
Anquan Boldin, San Francisco ($4300) I’m not a big fan of Boldin in general given his quarterback situation and the lack of upside for the Niners’ offense, but he is underpriced here. The Ravens quietly have one of the worst defenses in the league against the pass, and Boldin can still get the ball into the end zone. This is about as cheap as you’ll find legitimate two-touchdown upside.
Rob Gronkowski, New England ($7600) Is Gronk playing this week? Oh, he is? Okay, then you should put him into your lineup.
Travis Kelce, Kansas City ($5000) I think Kelce is one of the beneficiaries of Jamaal Charles’ absence who people aren’t talking about. The offense might not even be that worse off with West and Davis—probably less so than people think, anyway—and now Kelce will likely be relied upon more often in the red zone.
Jordan Cameron, Miami ($3000) There are only so many elite athletes at the tight end position, and the three I have listed here are among them. Cameron has been absolutely awful this season, but he does have 17 targets over the past two games and we know he at least possesses the ability to turn in a big game. I won’t have exposure in cash games, but he’s certainly on my GPP radar.
VALUE OF THE WEEK
Larry Donnell, New York Giants ($2900) Even if Beckham and Randle suit up for the Giants, I like Donnell. If one or both are out, that obviously improves his value even more. The Giants are 4.5-point underdogs in a game in which they should be able to run a bunch of plays, and Donnell has exceeded expected production in every game this season.
Denver ($3700) The Broncos probably have the best defense in the league, and they’re facing the Browns. My hope is that the $3700 price tag will scare away some users. This season, the Broncos’ D is scoring 7.34 points per game above what you’d expect based on their salary, which is absurd.
Green Bay ($3200) I think this is going to be an underutilized defense given the potential explosiveness of the San Diego offense. However, the Packers are almost certainly going to be up late in this game, forcing Philip Rivers to throw in low-percentage situations. He’s a quarterback who will hang onto the ball and deliver it into traffic, too.
NY Jets ($3100) The Jets will probably be a popular choice, but they’re in a really good spot against Washington. Over the past 12 months, no offense in football has been better for opposing fantasy defenses than that of the Redskins.
VALUE OF THE WEEK
Detroit ($2500) The Lions defense isn’t particularly great, but they are home favorites against a quarterback in Jay Cutler who can either torch you or do some of the dumbest stuff you’ve ever seen. He’s the perfect quarterback to face in GPPs. Over the past year, defenses playing Chicago have scored 2.3 points per game above expectation.