I’m going with a little different format this week. Don’t worry, we’re still going to list the top sleepers and values.
But I’m going to add a little more to it this week. Thanks in large part to this week’s Millionaire Maker, which only costs $3 to play.
So, you could turn $3 into $1 million. That’s pretty insane.
If you haven’t signed up for Draft Kings yet, consider this pretty sweet deal. If you sign up by using my personal affiliate link between now and Dec. 14 you get $25 Draft Kings bucks and I get $25 Draft Kings bucks to use in contests on the site. You can also click this link to help out Chinstrap Ninjas we get a few fractions of a cent when people click and a few cents when people sign up and deposit through that link, but there’s no $25 bonus for either of us there.
Thanks for considering and sorry for the sales pitch (even though it’s a pretty good deal).
The formula we use for our rankings and our daily fantasy sleepers and values is not perfect, but I feel it’s at least as good as most of the advice out there. Each week, this thing spits out the best chalk plays and a couple contrarian plays that match up with our discoveries in the weekly projected scores column.
Last week, I had a pretty good week. I lost a few dollars at FanDuel, but I profited overall. I had one tournament lineup that took off early, but didn’t have enough legs to keep it up. One of these weeks it’s all going to fall in line for one of us. If it’s not me, I hope it’s you, Ninja.
It’s important to keep a few things in mind before jumping into daily fantasy each week:
- Only play 10% of your bankroll. Your bankroll is the amount you are going to play with this year. Wagering more than 10 percent sets you up to go bankrupt before the end of the season. Only wager more if you play a lot of cash games and have found success there.
- Always follow rule No. 1, unless you find some serious overlay. And even then, don’t go overboard. We’re all going to have bad weeks, even when we do everything right. Don’t spend so much that you can’t recover from it the following week. This allows us to brush off a bad week and move on to the next.
That said, I’ve been playing 40% at both Draft Kings and FanDuel this season and these last three weeks have really ground down my accounts. I’ll be sticking to 10-20% this week on both sites.
OK, let’s get to this weeks sleepers and values at Draft Kings. I will referenceDefense-adjusted Value Over Average a lot, it is a Football Outsiders’ metric which can be a better predictor of future success than fantasy points allowed. All team rankings and yards allowed to receivers are referenced from Football Outsiders’ Defense Efficiency page.
Daily fantasy: Draft Kings values | FanDuel values
Sleepers and values
When you sort players by dollar per point a couple sleepers are good, but there are some players in there that are extreme values, that we probably shouldn’t start. It also virtually eliminates “overpriced” superstars and even many mid-range values. Our formula for sleepers and values also factors in expected performance in an attempt to bring those top players into the fold. So if you see someone like Cam Newton in the quarterback listing even though he’s the second-highest priced quarterback, it means he’s expected to be so good that he belongs on the value list.
Russell Wilson, $6,300, SEA at BAL — We should never chase points and the Ravens have allowed the fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks and running backs in the last five weeks. Despite that, Las Vegas has nearly doubled the odds of Seattle winning from earlier this week, from -6 to -11, pushing the Seahawks to the sixth-highest projected score of the week.
Cam Newton, $7,500, CAR vs. ATL — In a battle of two teams on opposite trajectories, I want the player nicknamed Superman (or CaMVP), especially considering it should be a good matchup for his two favorite receivers, TE Greg Olsen and WR Ted Ginn Jr.
Jameis Winston, $5,500, TB vs. NO — Tampa Bay has the highest projected score of the week on the Sunday/Monday slate and the Saints have, arguably, the worst defense in the NFL.
Carson Palmer, $6,500, ARI vs. MIN — Played on Thursday
Tyrod Taylor, $5,400, BUF at PHI — Taylor to Sammy Watkins has worked pretty well this year. This week they face a stumbling Eagles defense that allows 91.7 yards per game to No. 1 wide receivers.
Blake Bortles, $6,000, JAC vs. IND — After watching what Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown did to the Colts last week, I’m going to have lots of exposure to Bortles and his receivers. It helps that the Jaguars almost exclusively pass in the red zone.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, $5,400, NYJ vs. TEN — Over the last five weeks, Tennessee has allowed the fifth-least fantasy points to running backs but the fourth most to quarterbacks. That means offenses are taking the path of least resistance and the Titans can’t answer.
Alex Smith, $5,100, KC vs. SD — I’m not a big fan of Smith, but the Chiefs are projected for the second-highest score of the week and it’s a great matchup for TE Travis Kelce, one of Smith’s favorite targets.
David Johnson, $4,300, ARI vs. MIN — Played Thursday
LeSean McCoy, $6,100, BUF at PHI — The Eagles have the 20th ranked DVOA run defense and have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to running backs in the last five weeks, and McCoy has been playing extremely well of late.
Doug Martin, $6,200, TB vs. NO — Martin has had some massive games this season and could be in line for another. The Saints have allowed the second-most fantasy points to opposing running backs in the last five weeks.
Shaun Draughn, $4,800, SF at CLE — The Browns have the 29th-ranked run defense and Draughn has been the only runner in town for San Francisco. He’s also a pretty big part of the passing game.
Theo Riddick, $3,600, DET at STL — The Rams have allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to running backs in the last five weeks. Detroit doesn’t run particularly well, but Riddick has had some big games in the receiving game this season and could be in for another one this week.
Darren Sproles, $3,500, PHI vs. BUF — Sproles was a big part of the Eagles victory last week. Hopefully, the Eagles coaching staff took notice. The Bills have the 30th ranked DVOA run defense.
James White, $4,100, NE at HOU — Like Sproles and Riddick, a player like White has huge value as a pass-catcher at a PPR site like Draft Kings.
DeAngelo Williams, $6,000, PIT at CIN — It’s not a great matchup for Williams, but the Steelers put a lot on their running backs’ shoulders in the running and passing games. Williams has proven capable of taking on the extra work.
Frank Gore, $4,300, IND at JAC — The Jaguars allow 50.6 receiving yards per game to opposing running backs. Gore has been targeted at least three times in nine games this season and has 46 or more yards in two of the last three weeks and scored a touchdown last week.
Lamar Miller, $5,700, MIA vs. NYG — The Dolphins continue to occasionally, it seems, put all of their eggs in the running game basket and feed the ball to Miller. While he’s had a couple disappointments, Miller is the No. 5 fantasy running back in PPR leagues.
Antonio Brown, $8,900, PIT at CIN — The Bengals defensive secondary is ailing right now, which is not where you want to be with Antonio Brown rolling into town. I’m surprised the Steelers projected score is only 23.75.
Doug Baldwin, $4,500, SEA at BAL — Baldwin’s price is so low and yet he’s scored the third-most fantasy points among all wide receivers in the last three weeks, behind only Brandon Marshall and Antonio Brown.
Michael Floyd, $3,800, ARI vs. MIN — Played Thursday
Anquan Boldin, $4,000, SF at CLE — Boldin disappointed last week, but I keep referencing our Draft Kings post from last week: “Over his last five games, Boldin has been targeted 12, nine, seven, seven and 11 times. Blaine Gabbert has been surprisingly effective at QB for the 49ers, which has led to production for their top wide receiver. Boldin’s yardage totals over the same stretch: 107, 102, 39, 93, 93.” Boldin is way too good for his price.
Danny Amendola, $5,200, NE at HOU — Whether Rob Gronkowski plays or not, Amendola should be a great play if he can overcome his questionable tag. The Patriots receiving corps has been decimated this season.
Devante Parker, $4,000, MIA vs. NYG — Parker has scored 18 and 15.3 fantasy points per game in the last two weeks. He’s emerging as a significant threat for the Dolphins in time to face arguably the worst pass defense in the NFL.
Tyler Lockett, $3,500, SEA at BAL — Again, this isn’t a great matchup on paper, but Lockett is an explosive player, the projected score is climbing and he has 15 targets in the last three weeks, including seven last week when he had 90 receiving yards.
Golden Tate, $4,500, DET at STL — There’s not a great matchup here, but Tate has scored 10.3 or more points in nine of 12 weeks and has scored 15.3, 18.0 and 14.6 in the last three weeks.
Marvin Jones, $4,200, CIN vs. PIT — Jones has 77 targets (an average of seven in the last four weeks) and just 47 catches. Jones is a big-play waiting to happen. At this price, you want him on your tournament team when everything falls into place.
Martavis Bryant, $5,700, PIT at CIN — If the Bengals secondary is ailing, they’re going to do everything they can to stop Antonio Brown until Bryant burns them for 100 yards and two touchdowns.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins, $2,700, TB vs. NO — The Saints have allowed 81.4 yards per game to opposing tight ends, most in the NFL.
Scott Chandler, $3,800, NE at HOU — Like Amendola and Gronkowski, Chandler is questionable. Unlike Amendola though, Chandler loses almost all of his value if Gronkowski plays. Chandler has scored 16.1 and 16.8 fantasy points in the last two weeks.
Julius Thomas, $4,200, JAC vs. IND — Thomas is the No. 2 fantasy tight end in the last three weeks, largely fueled by his 26.6 fantasy points two weeks ago. However, Thomas needs to be considered almost every week in tournaments because the Jaguars throw the ball in the red zone and Thomas is a matchup monster.
Jacob Tamme, $3,400, ATL at CAR — Leonard Hankerson is on IR. Tamme has feasted when Hankerson has been out. However, the Falcons offense has been struggling of late, making him a tournament-only play.
Will Tye, $2,800, NYG at MIA — Tye is scored the ninth-most PPR points among tight ends in the last three weeks and there’s a zero in there, skewing the numbers greatly. He’s scored at least 10 fantasy points in three of the last four weeks.
Ben Watson, $4,400, NO at TB — Watson has been targeted five or more times in nine of 12 games. Although he hasn’t done much with them, he’s averaging 8.5 targets per game in the last two. In the only other weeks this season where he got more than five targets, he had 100 yards.
Jordan Cameron, $2,500, MIA vs. NYG — Cameron is one of our sleeper that never woke up this season. He’s had only three games with 10 or more points and none with more than 12. That said, the entire Dolphins offense has been pretty disappointing. However, they get arguably the worst pass defense in the NFL this week, a defense that is arguably the worst in the NFL against the tight end. A Ryan Tannehill-Cameron stack should be a super low-owned lottery ticket that could pay off huge this week.
San Francisco 49ers at CLE, $2,100
Houston Texans vs. NE, $2,200
Dallas Cowboys at GB, $2,100
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. NO, $2,200
Jacksonville Jaguars vs. IND, $2,300
Minnesota Vikings at ARI, $2,300
Indianapolis Colts at JAC, $2,300
One of the most positive value plays you can make in tournaments is to start a quarterback and his top receiver on a week when the receiver catches three touchdown passes. It helps maximize lineup output. Here are the stacks I’m considering this week:
Jameis Winston and Vincent Jackson and/or Mike Evans and/or Austin Seferian-Jenkins vs. NO — I think I prefer a Winston-Jackson or Winston-Seferian-Jenkins stack in this one. Putting all four into the same lineup is probably a bad play, but pairing Winston with Jackson and Seferian-Jenkins is a play I’ll consider.
Alex Smith and Travis Kelce and/or Jeremy Maclin vs. SD — I prefer Smith-Kelce, but Maclin has been so good and the Chiefs are expected to score so many points, pairing all three may work out and most people will be afraid to pair all three, increasing your lineup diversity, one of the keys to winning a big tournament.
Andy Dalton and A.J. Green and/or Marvin Jones vs. PIT — The smart play here is Dalton-Green, because Green crushes the Steelers. However, Dalton-Jones or all three is a sneakier play that could pay off bigger dividends.
Russell Wilson and Doug Baldwin and/or Tyler Lockett at BAL — I wouldn’t stack all three. In fact, until I ran the numbers and Lockett showed up on our values list, I wouldn’t have considered Lockett. It’s Wilson-Baldwin all the way for me.
Eli Manning and Odell Beckham Jr. at MIA — We need to consider this stack every week in daily fantasy tournaments, but especially against a Dolphins defense that allows 82.2 yards per game to No. 1 wide receivers.
Ryan Fitzpatrick and Brandon Marshall and/or Eric Decker vs. TEN — I have no problem stacking all three of these players in tournaments. It’s a high-risk play, but it’s probably even safe in cash games. Decker has been steady Eddie in PPR all season. Marshall has outscored all other wide receivers in the last three weeks and Fitzpatrick has scored the fifth-most fantasy points over the last three weeks.
Tyrod Taylor and Sammy Watkins at BUF — Buffalo falls just outside of the top projected scores this week, however Watkins has been so good and his usage has been so high that we need to consider this pairing. It also helps that Taylor is a threat to run the ball.
EP’s top plays in cash games (in no particular order)
QB: Cam Newton, Tyrod Taylor, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Alex Smith
RB: LeSean McCoy, Shaun Draughn, Doug Martin, DeAngelo Williams, Lamar Miller, Thomas Rawls
WR: Antonio Brown, Brandon Marshall, DeAndre Hopkins, Danny Amendola, A.J. Green, Alshon Jeffery, Odell Bekcham Jr., Jarvis Landry
TE: Delanie Walker, Scott Chandler (if Gronk is out), Greg Olsen, Travis Kelce, Julius Thomas
DEF: Lions, 49ers, Chiefs, Texans, Broncos, Buccaneers, Seahawks
Notes: I don’t want to chase Russell Wilson’s points. I want to put Jameis Winston on this list, but he hasn’t thrown for 300 yards yet, his 5-TD game is skewing his average a bit and the Saints have already faced him once this year. They’re both tournament plays and not cash plays for that reason in my book.