Jonathan Bales is the author of the Fantasy Sports for Smart People book series, and most recently Fantasy Football for Smart People: How to Win at Daily Fantasy Sports.
Looking for a different position? Check out the rest of the positional targets:
I’m normally a proponent of saving money on receivers in cash games, but every heuristic is just a general rule of thumb that needs to be flexible based on changing information. As you’ll see, there are a number of elite receivers whose prices have dropped over the past few weeks, and I think it’s potentially a good time to jump on those values. Wide receiver is the position at which I most care about actual talent, and when you can get a rare player with serious upside at a low cost, it’s definitely something to take advantage of.
Cream of the Crop
Alshon Jeffery, Chicago (vs MIN) – $6400
Alshon Jeffery is an elite wide receiver. Alshon Jeffery is the 17th-most expensive wide receiver on DraftKings in Week 8. Ergo, play Alshon Jeffery. This one is simple.
A.J. Green, Cincinnati (at PIT) – $7600
If DraftKings is going to offer a player like Green—one who is admittedly struggling but we know is elite—at this price, I’m going to take it. It’s worth noting the Steelers have allowed 2.7 points per game above salary-based expectation to opposing receivers over the past year. That’s the second-worst mark in the NFL.
Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh (vs CIN) – $7800
Brown is likely going to get Ben Roethlisberger back this week. In the contests in which Big Ben started this year, Brown posted just under 10 catches for 145 yards per game. The Bengals have a good pass defense, but we’ve seen in the past that Brown is somewhat matchup-independent due to all the quick targets he sees.
Stefon Diggs, Miami (at CHI) – $4800
In his last three games, Diggs has at least nine targets, six receptions, and 87 yards. He’s the clear No. 2 in Minnesota’s offense, and you could make an argument he’s really being used as a No. 1 right now. I love the idea of offsetting the cost of Jeffery and/or Green with Diggs, who is cheap in a nearly ideal matchup; Chicago has allowed 2.4 points per game above expectation to wide receivers. That’s bad.
Middle of the Pack
Demaryius Thomas, Denver (vs GB) – $7700
The Broncos’ offense isn’t particularly good, but there’s zero reason to believe Thomas is going to continue his scoreless stretch. He has just one touchdown all year, but he’s still seeing plenty of targets—17 in his last game, actually. Game script should work out in Denver’s favor in this contest—or at least it’s unlikely they’ll be up so much late that they’ll be draining clock—and Thomas is still a top-five receiver in the NFL.
DeAndre Hopkins, Houston (vs TEN) – $8700
There are better dollar-per-point values at the wide receiver position, for sure, but Hopkins’ volume is simply absurd. Even in a down game in which he was doubled, Hopkins still saw 12 targets. He’s averaging just under 16 per game over the past month, which is bananas, and now faces a weak Tennessee secondary. The biggest concern is the lack of a running game for Houston could limit Hopkins’ efficiency, but he still possesses the most upside of any receiver in the NFL, in my opinion.
Emmanuel Sanders, Denver (vs GB) – $7500
The great thing about Denver is that if their passing game goes off—and by ‘goes off’ I mean Peyton isn’t absolutely putrid—we know where the points will be. Whereas other offenses like New Orleans spread the ball around, the Broncos’ passing attack runs through Demaryius and Sanders. I love the idea of a double-stack with both receivers in GPPs, especially since Sanders can produce PPR value without scoring touchdowns.
Stevie Johnson, San Diego (at BAL) – $3200
We have to monitor Johnson’s health, but he should be good to go in an offense that’s banged up across the board. Even with extra targets, though, I only like Johnson in cash games. He could be the top value at the position and still offer a limited enough ceiling to bypass in GPPs.
Rest of the Field
Randall Cobb, Green Bay (at DEN) – $7000
Cobb hasn’t topped 10 DraftKings points since September 20th against Seattle, and now he draws a tough matchup in Denver. His price is down $1,000 since the start of the season, though, and Denver excels more on the outside. He’s admittedly a high-variance selection, but one I still believe is +EV if you want to take on the risk.
Davante Adams, Green Bay (at DEN) – $3900
Adams is a value at $3,900, but he’s also a risk. He’s returning from injury, but we really can’t be certain what his immediate role will be in the Packers’ offense. The matchup is a really difficult one, too, which limits his safety a bit. This is a situation in which I think I’d prefer to not take on the risk in cash games, even if the strict value is there.
Martavis Bryant, Pittsburgh (vs CIN) – $5300
I wouldn’t trust Bryant in cash games, even with Roethlisberger back, but he’s a dream GPP candidate. Big-play ability, a cheap price tag, and potentially double-digit targets.
T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis (at CAR) – $6900
Hilton hasn’t scored fewer than 13 points in the past five games and he busted out last week for 34 points on DraftKings. I’m fine with him in cash games, even though he can sometimes rely on the deep ball a bit, because he’s seeing enough targets to justify it. The thing that scares me most—and why Hilton isn’t higher—is the Colts are currently projected under 20 points.
Julian Edelman, New England (vs MIA) – $8100
I do think Edelman is overpriced relative to his upside, but he’s worth overpaying for in cash games because of the ridiculous floor. He’s scored fewer than 17 points in a game just once this year.