The chalk plays left us hanging again last week. And once again, there’s not too much we can do. We’re making the right plays even though they aren’t paying off.
Maybe it’s a sea change? Maybe because of the influx of all the new players this season coupled with the soft pricing we need to consider being more contrarian in cash games?
Three weeks isn’t enough to make a sweeping generalization like that, but it’s something we need to file in our reference data bank.
I’m sticking with the chalk again this week in cash. Many of the players on this list will be cash game-friendly
Our formula 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.
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 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.
Week 13 daily fantasy: Draft Kings sleepers | FanDuel sleepers
Jay Cutler, $5,100, CHI vs. SF — We showed love for cutler in our early rankings and in our projected scores column. Attack the 49ers defense, especially when they are on the road, a half a country away from home.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, $5,200, NYJ at NYG — You never want to chase points (29+ last week), but Fitzpatrick has averaged 18 Draft Kings points per game this season and he faces one of the worst pass defenses in the NFL who have a particular weakness to slot receivers, where Fitzpatrick has Eric Decker, one of the quietest studs of 2015 football.
Cam Newton, $7,400, CAR at NO — Newton is my top play this week. I’m probably going to have him in my primary cash game lineup. Bad matchups haven’t hurt Newton this year. Now he gets to face the worst defense in the NFL.
Russell Wilson, $5,600, SEA at MIN — Like with Fitzpatrick, you don’t really want to chase points and Wilson is probably an even better example. He’s more of a star, had a more huge game and he’s been on a bit of a streak of late. Minnesota is much better against the pass than the run, which means lots of Thomas Rawls is probably the smart play for Seattle. Still, at $5,600, with his current production, Wilson is a supreme value. Just make sure you play him only in tournaments this week. If he goes large again this week, he slides into Cam territory and we consider starting him each week.
Ryan Tannehill, $5,300, MIA vs. BAL — It’s been difficult to rely on too many Dolphins — at least ones not named Jarvis Landry — this season, but Tannehill comes in with an insanely low salary, a likely low ownership percentage and he has a cushy matchup against a Ravens defense that has been better against the pass since the bye, but still isn’t very good. The Dolphins also unveiled potential star rookie Devante Parker last week. He has the potential to be a game-changer. This feels like a tournament-only play.
Ben Roethlisberger, $6,600, PIT vs. IND — While I’m keeping Tannehill on the tourney list, I’m all-in on Roethlisberger in both kinds of contests. Indianapolis hasn’t been good against the pass — even Vontae Davis has struggled. Meanwhile, Roethlisberger and friends went ballistic last week. It also doesn’t hurt that these teams are uncommon opponents and that the game is in Pittsburgh.
Andy Dalton, $6,400, CIN at CLE — Cleveland is one of those defenses we just have to pick on. Run, pass, it doesn’t matter. Just start players against them, especially ones who have been putting up spectacular numbers. Here’s the big concern with Dalton, the Bengals and Browns have played each other and Dalton has proven to be far better against uncommon opponents. I’m not as concerned in this case because of the defense he’s facing and because the Bengals won 31-10 last time. However, I’ll probably limit my Dalton exposure to tournament games only. There are other guys on this list playing at home with fewer question marks.
DeAngelo Williams, $5,600, PIT vs. IND — You want chalk? We have your chalk right here. Williams will likely be the most-owned player this week, at home, against the Colts, with his team expected to score a ton of points. He’ll be in my primary cash game lineup and I’ll have exposure to him in tournaments as well.
David Johnson, $3,400, ARI at STL — I saw a couple headlines today saying Johnson should see 20-25 touches. That translates into potentially huge fantasy points against a Rams defense that hasn’t been so good of late. Johnson is a big play waiting to happen, and he’s proven to have a nose for the end zone. Both of those make him a tournament play. His price and those 20-25 touches make him an almost lock for cash games.
C.J. Anderson, $3,500, DEN at SD — I wish Anderson wasn’t in a time share — and the non-starting part of it, for that matter — with Ronnie Hillman. He’s been far more effective. However, that fact has probably kept his ownership and salary down. The Broncos are unlikely to outscore Philip Rivers and the Chargers if this somehow turns into a shootout. The best way for the Broncos to win is to rely on their defense and play keepaway by running the ball.
Shaun Draughn, $4,000, SF at CHI — The 49ers have shown sparks, err, at least a spark, of life lately. Draughn is one of the brighter points. He’s not going to have a Thomas Rawls-type day. But he’ll make some catches and approach 100 total yards. That’s not bad for this salary. If he gets in the end zone, bonus.
LeSean McCoy, $5,700, BUF vs. HOU — I said in the projected scores column that I’m going to have lots of McCoy this week, and that is the case. I’m just not sure I’m going to be able to get him in my primary cash lineup if I pay for Cam and a couple of those top-shelf receivers. But I am going to try. I like him in both tournament and cash. He might be the third-highest owned running back this week behind Williams and Johnson
Darren Sproles, $3,400, PHI at NE — Ryan Mathews will be out this week, which means the Eagles will have DeMarco Murray and Sproles in the backfield. Sproles gets a boost because Tom Brady and company will force the Eagles to keep up by putting the ball in the air.
Duke Johnson, $3,800, CLE vs. CIN — Like Sproles, Duke Johnson is a pass-catching back with extra value at daily fantasy sites like Draft Kings which awards a full point per reception. He’s had four or more targets in eight of 11 games this season.
Darren McFadden, $5,300, DAL at WAS — McFadden was one of the few bright points for the Cowboys during Matt Cassel’s last string as the starter. He also doesn’t have a terrible matchup against Washington, which ranks 21st in both pass and rush DVOA. I feel like there are better values on the board, and the next two guys are better mid-range options. A lot of other players will think the same way, making McFadden an interesting tournament play. In the last five weeks, the Redskins have allowed four touchdowns and the seventh-most fantasy points to opposing running backs.
Adrian Peterson, $6,600, MIN vs. SEA — I don’t care who the opponent is, Peterson’s salary is unthinkably low right now. I want to call him a must-play in all formats, but we’ve gone over some cheaper options. If you decide to work Peterson into your cash lineups instead of DeAngelo, Johnson or McCoy, I’m not going to argue with you.
Doug Martin, $5,900, TB vs. ATL — Interesting story, you might have already known. Martin was on the team that won me my biggest ever daily fantasy payday — $350 in one FanDuel tournament and $500 in a single day. That was on his four-touchdown game in his rookie season. He’s been an enigma since then, especially this season. He has put up some DFS-winning numbers and put up some unexplainable stinkers. All we can do is study the matchups and statistics. In the last five weeks, the Falcons have given up the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs. In the last three weeks, they’ve given up the second most. That number is a bit skewed thanks to Adrian Peterson’s monster game last week. But they did give up two receiving touchdowns to Ahmad Bradshaw two weeks ago and rank 19th in run defense DVOA.
Devante Parker, $3,300, MIA vs. BAL — Baltimore is giving up one of the highest yards per game to No. 2 wide receivers, which is where Parker fits following Rishard Matthews’ broken ribs. Parker is also a big target with massive upside. This is probably more of a GPP play than a cash play because we’re not sure what Parker is yet. But at this price, it won’t take him much to pay off his salary and the relief it gives allows you to roster players like this next guy. Tannehill-Parker may be a low-owned tournament stack that could have major returns.
Antonio Brown, $8,600, PIT vs. IND — As we said in the Roethlisberger bit, Vontae Davis has struggled along with the rest of the Colts passing defense. They’ve given up big games to both No. 1 and No. 2 wide receivers and we all know Brown is far from an ordinary No. 1 wide receiver. Despite Davis’ struggles, I’m a little reluctant to go all-in on Brown in cash. I’m afraid I might regret it.
Doug Baldwin, $3,800, SEA at MIN — Baldwin has been targeted six, 10, six and eight times in the last four games. Among those was a whopper (6-145-3 against Pittsburgh) and a monster (7-134-1 against ARIZONA!). While this may not be a big day for Wilson, Baldwin has been getting too many targets for a player with his salary.
Martavis Bryant, $5,600, PIT vs. IND — If Roethlisberger is one of our top passing options, the big guns in his passing attack need to be considered too. Bryant has a freak combination of size and athleticism. He is a weekly consideration for our tournament lineups in an excellent spot this week.
Julio Jones, $9,000, ATL at TB — When we throw all the numbers in our formula spreadsheet and it still spits out the most expensive player on the board, that means he’s a near must-play who is projected to live up to the expectations that come with that price. Jones is a cash game play. His weekly upside is off the charts, so we also must always consider him in tournaments.
Anquan Boldin, $4,100, SF at CHI — 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. That floor is a bit scary, but that ceiling is pretty nice, especially at his current low price.
Marvin Jones, $3,800, CIN at CLE — Joe Haden is concussed and may be put on injured reserve. That means passing offenses will have mostly free reign against the Browns. Marvin Jones is a big play waiting to happen. I’ve called him that a couple times this season. He’s going to break out, and when he does, at this price, you want him in the (tournament-only) lineup so you can win the money.
Alshon Jeffery, $6,900, CHI vs. SF — Jeffery is probably my favorite play of the week. He gets 11 targets a game, he’s facing the 49ers who give up lots for every target and more importantly he’ll cost you $2,000 less than Julio Jones and has a chance to put up similar production this week.
Brandon Marshall, $7,100, NYJ at NYG — Eric Decker might be a better play this week, but the formula spit out Brandon Marshall. It’s not exactly a bad matchup for Marshall. The Giants have given up 82.5 yards per game to No. 1 wide receivers and they rank 25th against the pass, according to DVOA.
Brandon LaFell, $4,800, NE vs. PHI — We’re still waiting for LaFell to return to the pencil-him-in-every-week wide receiver he was last season for us. Against a weakened Philadelphia secondary, he may have a game that reminds us of that magical 2014.
Scott Chandler, $2,500, NE vs. PHI — Here are the key stats on this one: Chandler is 6-feet, 7-inches tall, weighs 260 pounds and he was targeted 11 times last week during the game in which Rob Gronkowski got hurt.
Jacob Tamme, $3,700, ATL at TB — What’s that? Leonard Hankerson’s on injured reserve? Puts Tamme in all his lineups. Seriously, when Hankerson was out or less than 100 percent this year, Tamme feasted on defenses focusing on Julio Jones. Tamme caught 10 of 12 targets for 103 yards and a touchdown the last time these teams met.
Martellus Bennett, $3,600, CHI vs. SF — Bennett has a rib injury and he’s sharing opportunities with Zach Miller. However, his potential is so high — especially in this matchup — and his price is so low, he must be considered for tournament lineups if he plays.
Julius Thomas, $4,000, JAC at TEN — Tennessee has give up 17.6 PPR fantasy points to tight ends in the last three weeks and has allowed them to score eight touchdowns this season. Thomas, meanwhile, is coming on, scoring touchdowns in each of the last two weeks and catching nine of 10 targets for 110 yards last week in a performance that reminded us of his days in Denver.
Kyle Rudolph, $3,700, MIN vs. SEA — In the last two weeks, Rudolph has been targeted a whopping 19 times and has caught 13 for 159 and a touchdown. That’s a huge usage uptick from the rest of the season. This week, he faces a Seahawks defense that hasn’t been as dominant as in the last few years, but has been particularly susceptible to tight ends. I’m not sure I trust him in cash games, but 9.5 targets per game is an awful lot of opportunities, especially considering his salary.
Heath Miller, $3,300, PIT vs. IND — Indianapolis has allowed a touchdown to a tight end in five of the last six games. Miller has averaged 8.6 targets per game while Ben Roethlisberger has been quarterback this season. Miller does have a rib injury, so we need to check his status before the game.
Will Tye, $2,500, NYG vs. NYJ — The Jets have only allowed two passing touchdowns this season — one to Rob Gronkowski and one to Jake Stoneburner, talk about opposite ends of the spectrum. The Jets appear, on paper, to be excellent against the tight end, but I wonder if that’s a mirage. They faced Gary Barnidge in Week 1, before he really took off. They faced the Redskins when Jordan Reed was out. Gronk went ballistic on them for 11-108-1 on 16 targets. Charles Clay caught five of six targets for 52 yards in Week 10. Tye has averaged seven targets, 4.3 catches and 49.6 yards per game in the last three.
Zach Ertz, $2,600, PHI at NE — Ertz is likely to return from his concussion this week, which means there’s always a chance for another concussion. There’s also a chance Ertz and Mark Sanchez hook up like they did at the end of last season when it looked like Sanchez was going to be the 2015 starter and Ertz looked like one of the most promising up-and-coming tight ends in the game. Just saw Sam Bradford is back this week. I’m not even going to consider Ertz.
San Francisco 49ers at CHI, $2,100
Miami Dolphins vs. BAL, $2,300
New Orleans Saints vs. CAR, $2,000
Washington Redskins vs. DAL, $2,300
Cleveland Browns vs. CIN, $2,300
Oakland Raiders vs. KC, $2,300
Philadelphia Eagles at NE, $2,300