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 at Draft Kings, which only costs $3 to play.
So, you could turn $3 into $1 million. That’s pretty insane.
Yeah, you came to this column for FanDuel. Don’t worry, I’ll have plenty of action at both sites, but I’m taking a couple shots downfield over at that other site.
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 FanDuel. I will reference Defense-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.
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).
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.
Alex Smith, $6,800, 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.
Johnny Manziel, $6,400, CLE vs. SF — Before Manziel got stupid on the bye week, he had a game that made him look like a real NFL QB, 33-for-45, 372 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, good for 22.3 fantasy points. Now he gets the 49ers defense, the 30th-ranked DVOA pass defense.
Ryan Tannehill, $6,900, MIA vs. NYG — The Giants have, arguably, the worst pass defense in the NFL. FanDuel QB prices are really tight. You only have a few options in this price range and not all of them have Jarvis Landry as their top wide receiver. This game could also shoot out.
Jay Cutler, $6,700, CHI vs. WAS — Just like with the first three guys, you don’t get many starting-worth quarterbacks at this price on FanDuel. Cutler’s been disappointing for the past three weeks, but the Redskins have the 23rd-ranked DVOA pass defense and the Bears are at home.
Carson Palmer, $8,300, ARI vs. MIN — Played on Thursday.
Blake Bortles, $7,700, 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.
Russell Wilson, $8,500, 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. It’s surprising to me that our formula gave us Wilson as a value even at FanDuel where his price is significantly higher than on Draft Kings.
Tyrod Taylor, $7,500, 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.
David Johnson, $6,500, ARI vs. MIN — Played Thursday.
Lamar Miller, $6,600, 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.
DeAngelo Williams, $7,300, 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.
LeSean McCoy, $7,900, 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.
Charcandrick West, $5,800, KC vs. SD — I was surprised West didn’t make it on the value chart for Draft Kings. Just like with the quarterbacks, the running back prices are a little tighter on FanDuel, too, as you could tell by the prices of our values above. The Chargers have the 31st-ranked DVOA run defense. The only bad point here is that West is in a committee with Spencer Ware, which scares me enough that I won’t have West in my cash lineups.
Doug Martin, $8,000, 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.
Charles Sims, $4,900, TB vs. NO — I wouldn’t roster both Doug Martin and Sims, but Sims should get some opportunities against a Saints defense that allows 61.5 receiving yards per game to opposing running backs, the second-highest average in the NFL. Sims’ price also gives you a ton of room to work.
Shaun Draughn, $6,500, 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.
T.J. Yeldon, $6,400, JAC vs. IND — Yeldon is one of the most used running backs in the NFL. The big trouble is that the Jaguars rarely give him the rock in the red zone. But he got in the end zone last week, caught four passes and had 136 total yards.
Thomas Rawls, $7,400, SEA at BAL — No team has allowed fewer fantasy points to running backs in the last five weeks than the Ravens, but with the Seahawks line and projected score climbing, we have to consider Rawls. I just wonder if his ceiling will be limited.
Alshon Jeffery, $7,500, CHI vs. WAS — Has 11 and 12 targets the last two weeks, along with respectable 7-90 and 4-85. And those have been disappointing for fantasy owners. If he gets that kind of volume again, he could be in for a huge game.
Jarvis Landry, $7,100, MIA vs. NYG — Landry is a PPR plug-and-play machine, but his disappointing two catches for five yards last week is going to scare quite a few people away this week. He, however, gets what many consider the worst passing defense in the NFL. I’ll have him in several of my lineups this week.
Larry Fitzgerald, $7,200, ARI at MIN — Fitzgerald played Thursday.
Brandon Marshall, $8,200, NYJ vs. TEN — Marshall leads all wide receivers in fantasy points over the last three weeks. He is a red zone monster and has had 44 targets in the last four weeks.
Danny Amendola, $7,000, 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.
Anquan Boldin, $5,900, 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.
Chris Givens, $4,500, BAL vs. SEA — Yeah, it’s not a great matchup, but it is rare to find a starting wide receiver at this price on FanDuel. Givens is a big-play specialist and he’s been targeted 25 times in the last four weeks.
Jeremy Maclin, $6,900, KC vs. SD — San Diego hasn’t been generous to No. 1 wide receivers in the yardage category, but DVOA suggests they’ve been worse than they’ve seemed. Maclin on the other hand has returned to WR1 status, scoring 31 and 29.5 fantasy points in the last two weeks.
Dorial Green-Beckham, $5,100, TEN at NYJ — Had his first 100-yard game last week and got into the end zone. Since Week 9, he’s had only one game with less than five targets. The Jets have allowed at least one wide receiver to have at least 100 yards in every week since Week 8.
Antonio Brown, $9,300, 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.
Greg Olsen, $6,600, CAR vs. ATL — It’s not a great matchup for Olsen, but if we expect Cam Newton and the Panthers to score 27.25 points, second most in the NFL, according to Las Vegas, Olsen is going to get in the end zone at least once.
Ben Watson, $5,300, 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.
Scott Chandler, $5,800, 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.
Travis Kelce, $6,000, KC vs. SD — Over the last five weeks, the Chargers have allowed the third-most PPR fantasy points to tight ends. The Chiefs are expected to score 27.75 points this week, tied for most in the NFL. This is a great spot for Kelce.
Jordan Reed, $5,900, WAS at CHI — Reed was a big disappointment last week, but he was targeted eight times, giving him 25 targets in the last three weeks. In the previous two games, Reed scored 9.6 and 17.8 fantasy points. He’s the No. 7 TE in PPR formats this season because he’s Kirk Cousins’ favorite target and one of the NFL’s most difficult TEs to cover.
Julius Thomas, $5,900, 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.
Delanie Walker, $6,100, TEN at NYJ — The Jets are a horrible matchup for tight ends. However, Walker is Marcus Mariota’s favorite target by a pretty large margin. He has more PPR fantasy points in the last three weeks than any other TE. He’s been targeted 30 times in the last three weeks.
Cairo Santos, $4,700, KC vs. SD
Stephen Gostkowski, $5,000, NE at HOU
Mason Crosby, $4,700, GB vs. DAL
Adam Vinatieri, $4,600, IND at JAC
Matt Prater, $4,500, DET at STL
Josh Brown, $4,800, NYG at MIA
Dan Bailey, $4,500, DAL at GB
Connor Barth, $4,600, TB vs. NO
Kansas City Chiefs vs. SD, $4,800
Buffalo Bills at PHI, $4,600
Green Bay Packers vs. DAL, $4,800
Detroit Lions at STL, $4,700
St. Louis Rams vs. DET, $4,600
Chicago Bears vs. WAS, $4,500
New England Patriots at HOU, $4,900
San Francisco 49ers at CLE, $4,300
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:
Cam Newton and Greg Olsen and/or Ted Ginn Jr. vs. ATL — Newton has been a beast all season and pairing him with Olsen has won some people a lot of money. Pairing him with Ginn on the right week has probably won others a lot more.
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, Alex Smith, Blake Bortles
RB: LeSean McCoy, Shaun Draughn, DeAngelo Williams, Lamar Miller, Thomas Rawls, T.J. Yeldon
WR: Antonio Brown, Brandon Marshall, Danny Amendola, A.J. Green, Alshon Jeffery, Odell Bekcham Jr., Jarvis Landry, Anquan Boldin
TE: Delanie Walker, Scott Chandler (if Gronk is out), Greg Olsen, Travis Kelce, Julius Thomas
K: Cairo Santos, Connor Barth, Graham Gano
DEF: Chiefs, Bills, Packers