WATCH: MATCHUP TO WATCH – COLTS @ RAIDERS
This is a weekly series where I break down my favorite tournament plays for the upcoming NFL week. I’m going to be focusing on high-upside plays and pairings that could really pay off big for you in a tournament.
Tom Savage ($5,000) and DeAndre Hopkins ($5,200) = Combined $10,200 Total
For barely more than $10,000 we are getting a quarterback who threw for 260 yards last week in two-and-a-half quarters of play (the fifth-most anyone has put up this season against a tough Jacksonville secondary). Hopkins saw 14 of Savage’s 36 attempts last week, good for a mammoth 38 percent market share. Even if that figure comes down a bit, that is still great usage for the price we are paying. Finally, the matchup isn’t all bad either. The Bengals have given up the 10th-most points to opposing QBs on DraftKings this year, and while their secondary is solid, elite WRs (Odell Beckham, Demaryius Thomas) have beaten Pacman Jones for big games. I think a 5x return on value is well within reach here.
Bonus: Cam Newton ($6,600) and Ted Ginn Jr. ($4,500)
Tom Brady ($7,700): Tom Brady is the highest-priced quarterback on the slate this week. That — plus the fact there are a lot of intriguing cheaper priced plays at his position — will likely keep his ownership levels fairly low. While Brady takes up a lot of salary space, I think he is worth paying up for. Brady’s broken the 28-point barrier five times already this year on DK (in just 10 games) and gets a Jets defense this week that is truly terrible at defending the pass. New York has allowed the third-most passing TDs on the year thus far, and Andrew Luck and Matt Moore recently threw for four touchdowns each against it. Considering the turnover-prone Bryce Petty (five INTs in his last nine quarters played) and the emerging Patriot defense, Brady could be firing at the end zone all day here.
Bonus: Blake Bortles ($5,000)
Latavius Murray ($6,200): Murray has dominated the red-zone touches for Oakland this year as his 38 red-zone carries are 33 more than second-place Jamize Olawale, who has five. Meanwhile, Indianapolis (Murray’s opponent this week) has allowed five games this year where a single RB has gained at least 100 yards rushing and scored a TD (Jordan Howard, Lamar Miller, Demarco Murray, Le’Veon Bell). With Oakland sporting an implied team total of over 28 points, I do expect Murray to visit the end zone at least once this week. Given that Murray averaged 22 touches between Weeks 12-14, I would simply overlook his reduced usage from last week and take advantage of the recency bias which may lead others off him.
Thomas Rawls ($5,100): On paper Arizona is a tough matchup, but given its recent play I wouldn’t shy away from using Rawls against it. The Cardinals allowed the Saints’ mediocre group of RBs to accumulate 137 yards rushing and three TDs last week, and I expect Seattle to try and attack Arizona in a similar fashion. Rawls struggled against the Rams in his last start but saw 93 percent of the snaps in that game, and his usage is unlikely to change this week. Off a long week of rest (10 days) in which some O-line changes were made, I expect Seattle to be far more effective running the ball against the Cardinals. Rawls has tons of upside in a home matchup where the Hawks have an implied team total of 26.
Bonus: Dion Lewis ($4,100)
Amari Cooper ($6,500): Cooper is at his lowest price in a while and also in a nice spot for a breakout in Week 16. Cooper has scored single-digit DraftKings points in three of his last four games, but he’s seen the likes of Marcus Peters, Stephon Gilmore and Casey Hayward in matchups during that stretch. This week he gets the struggling Vontae Davis, who’s allowed big games recently to other team’s primary receivers: Jordy Nelson 7-94-1, Antonio Brown 5-91-3 and Rishard Matthews 9-122-0. Production-wise, Cooper may have a low floor, but for tournaments you should care more about his ceiling, which is tremendous — as he’s proven by topping 24 points on four different occasions in 2016. Oakland has one of the largest projected team totals on the board this week, so I don’t think rostering multiple Raiders is out of the question.
Sammy Watkins ($5,000): Watkins has now played over 80 percent of snaps the past two weeks. This week against Miami he’ll be matched-up against a somewhat questionable secondary that will likely be without its best player in Byron Maxwell. The Dolphins have allowed the fifth-most TDs to the wide receiver position this year, and while their slower pace of play has somewhat insulated their defensive passing stats, elite wideouts have had no issues burning this unit as Doug Baldwin (9-92-1), Terrell Pryor (8-144-0), Tyrell Williams (5-125-1) and A.J. Green (10-173-1) have all had huge days against them.
Bonus: Cam Meredith ($4,700)
Daniel Brown ($2,500): Brown is a rock-bottom salary-saver at a position with very little high-end options this week. Brown has only averaged about four targets per game since becoming starter, but he popped up against the weak TE defense of the Detroit Lions two weeks ago with six catches on six targets. This week, Brown — who is a very athletic and capable pass catcher — takes on the Redskins, who are currently battling the Lions and Cleveland for the worst TE coverage in the league. Washington has allowed the most receptions and yards to TEs this year. Brown is a great way to go cheap at TE this week and brings upside in a fantastic matchup.
Bonus: Kyle Rudolph ($4,900)
Bears ($2,300): Chicago is a bottom-feeding team that has not played like one of late. As a defense, the Bears have accumulated 13 sacks over their last three games and have not allowed more than 230 yards passing since Week 10. The matchup this week doesn’t scare me either, as Kirk Cousins may be second in the league in yards passing, but he’s also turned the ball over five times in the past three games (two fumbles and three INTs). Add in some potential 20mph winds and rain for Chicago on Sunday, and this game might be a great spot to roster an on-the-rise defense against a somewhat error-prone quarterback in bad conditions. And all that comes at just $100 more than the cheapest D/ST on the board this week.
Bonus: Green Bay ($3,300)
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is wavegoodbye) 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.