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 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.
Week 13 daily fantasy: Draft Kings sleepers | FanDuel sleepers
Jay Cutler, $7,000, 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.
Austin Davis, $5,400, CLE vs. CIN — You just don’t find quarterbacks you can start at this price on FanDuel. Davis isn’t a great option, purely a speculative tournament play. However, it won’t take much for him to pay off his salary and I wouldn’t be surprised if Gary Barnidge had a pair of touchdowns in this game.
Eli Manning, $7,600, NYG vs. NYJ — The Jets have been good against receivers this season, but Darrelle Revis concussion and their recent performance screams opportunity for Eli at home. Over the last five weeks, the Jets have allowed 67 receptions, fifth-most in the NFL, 1,001 yards, most in the NFL, 10 touchdowns, tied for second-most , and 32.7 fantasy points, fourth-most.
Ben Roethlisberger, $8,100, 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, $8,000, 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.
Alex Smith, $6,600, KC at OAK — Smith just missed the cut to make our Draft Kings sleepers list. He’s a much better value at FanDuel. The Raiders have allowed a pile of yards to No. 1 wide receivers and are one of the teams more susceptible to tight ends. Smith’s top two targets — Jeremy Maclin and Travis Kelce — happen to fit in those categories. He’s a tournament-only play, but pair him with Maclin and/or Kelce and hope for an old-school AFC West shootout.
Matt Hasselbeck, $6,500 IND at PIT — Getting a starting quarterback at this price is pretty good at FanDuel. Getting one with the weapons and opportunities Hasselbeck has this week is rare. He has been a little bit more than a game manager, limiting mistakes and getting the ball to star receiver T.Y. Hilton and up-and-comer Donte Moncrief to let them make plays. No. 1 WRs have gashed Pittsburgh for 87 yards per game, they’ve given up 70.5 per game to WR2s and have given up 60 yards per game to tight ends. that’s a pile of yards per game. If this thing turns into a shootout, and it really could, Hasselbeck and his receivers will be on the lower-owned end of it and that could give you an edge in tournaments.
David Johnson, $5,900, 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.
DeAngelo Williams, $7,200, 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.
Shaun Draughn, $5,900, 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.
Darren Sproles, $4,900, 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.
Mark Ingram, $7,200, NO vs. CAR — The Saints are projected to score 20.75 points this week, tied for ninth-lowest in the NFL. The Panthers rank third in run DVOA. They have given up extra receiving yards to running backs, but not enough to really turn us onto Ingram. There just isn’t a ton of great RB options at FanDuel this week. I would only consider Ingram in tournaments.
Danny Woodhead, $5,700, SD vs. DEN — Denver’s been one of the best defenses all season, but in the last three weeks they’ve allowed RBs to score four touchdowns, tied for most in the NFL, including two receiving touchdowns, which fits into Woodhead’s profile. They’ve allowed the eighth-most fantasy points to running backs over the same span and ninth-most over the last five games.
Thomas Rawls, $7,000, SEA at MIN — This isn’t a great machup for Rawls, but it’s a better one than it is for the passing game. The Vikings rank 23rd in rushing DVOA this season and 13th in passing DVOA. The game has the lowest projected point total of the week, which points to a ball control-type game in which Rawls should have a part.
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.
T.J. Yeldon, $6,100, JAC at TEN — The Titans have been stingy against running backs over the last five weeks, but they rank 24th in run DVOA, which indicates they may be worse than fantasy points allowed indicates. The biggest boost here is Yeldon’s usage, which has been pretty high. If he ever gets red zone opportunities, he’ll vault to the top of quite a few lists.
Giovani Bernard, $6,200 CIN at CLE — The Browns are a fantasy wonderland for opposing offenses and they’ve allowed 52.3 receiving yards to opposing running backs this season. Bernard costs $1,000 less than Mark Ingram and DeAngelo Williams and should approach 100 total yards against the 28th-ranked run DVOA defense.
Kendall Wright, $5,200, TEN vs. JAC — You don’t get many opportunities to roster a No. 1 wide receiver at this price on FanDuel. Wright is, of course, coming off an injury, which is why his price is deflated. QB Marcus Mariota has thrashed some bad defenses this season, and the Jaguars qualify, ranking 30th in pass DVOA. What makes it an even better spot for Wright is that the Jaguars allow little in the run game, so everything funnels into the pass, and the Titans are at home. I’ll have Wright in more than a few tournament lineups this week.
Julio Jones, $9,200, 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.
Martavis Bryant, $6,900, 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.
Larry Fitzgerald, $7,300, ARI at STL — The Cardinals offense is virtually matchup proof at this point. STL has a scary DVOA, but they’ve allowed seven passing touchdowns in the last three weeks, tied for third-most in the NFL.
Marvin Jones, $5,200, 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.
Jeremy Maclin, $6,500, KC at OAK — Like I said in the Smith blurb, this is a decent spot for Maclin, who caught nine of 11 targets for 160 yards and a touchdown last week. He’s had double-digit targets four times this season. If the Chiefs brass is smart, he’ll have another one after this week.
Chris Givens, $4,500, BAL at MIA — A starting wide receiver at minimum price? Awesome. Givens, if we can all remember back to his rookie year, has shown sparks of greatness and big-play ability. It’ll be interesting to see how Matt Schaub and the Ravens adjust based on Givens 48-yard catch last week.
Jarvis Landry, $7,400, MIA vs. BAL — Landry is a PPR machine. While that holds more weight at a site like Draft Kings, we can’t ignore it at half a point at FanDuel, when a player like Landry is getting 10 or more targets a game in seven of 11 contests. He had one of the best games of his career last week, catching 13 of 16 passes for 165 yards and a touchown.
Alshon Jeffery, $7,700, 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 $1,500 less than Julio Jones and has a chance to put up similar production this week.
Travis Benjamin, $5,900, CLE vs. CIN — This is another ranking that is as much about Benjamin’s low-low price as a No. 1 wide receiver as it is about the matchup. It’s a bad matchup according to DVOA and Football Outsiders’ yards allowed per position, however the Bengals have allowed the ninth-most fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers over the last three weeks.
Greg Olsen, $6,600, CAR at NO — It may seem odd that Olsen is a “value” on FanDuel at $200 more than he costs at Draft Kings, but he is. The pricing algorithm at FanDuel is a little tighter, which usually means prices are a bit higher and in some cases quite a bit higher. They also have a higher minimum salary, which skews the curve a bit. In any case, Olsen is a top play this week against a Saints defense that is terrible against the pass and has shown a weakness against tight ends.
Scott Chandler, $5,300, 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, $5,200, 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.
Delanie Walker, $6,000, TEN vs. JAC — While Kendall Wright is the Titans No. 1 wide receiver, Walker is Marcus Mariota’s top target. The Jaguars have allowed 18.9 fantasy points per game and four touchdowns in the last three games to tight ends, both most in the NFL.
Ben Watson, $5,300, NO vs. CAR — Watson has been an integral part of the offense in some of Drew Brees’ best games of 2015. Carolina held Jordan Reed and Jason Witten in check over the last few weeks, but also gave up a pair of receiving touchdowns to Richard Rogers in Week 9 and gave up a huge game to Jimmy Graham on 12 targets in Week 6. With Josh Norman blanketing Brandin Cooks all over the field, Watson might find extra room to work
Jordan Reed, $5,900, WAS vs. DAL — I’ve worn some paint off my keyboard typing how Reed is Kirk Cousins’ favorite target this season. I don’t need to ruminate on that too long. Other than that, this isn’t a terribly great matchup. However, because of the number of opportunities he’ll get and the relative low price, Reed has to be considered in tournaments.
Kyle Rudolph, $5,100, 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.
Martellus Bennett, $5,200, 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.
Cairo Santos, $4,800, KC at OAK
Chris Boswell, $4,500, PIT vs. IND
Dan Carpenter, $4,500, BUF vs. HOU
Ryan Succop, $4,500, TEN vs. JAC
Dustin Hopkins, $4,500, WAS vs. DAL
Stephen Gostkowski, $5,100, NE vs. PHI
Brandon McManus, $4,800, DEN at SD
New England Patriots vs. PHI, $4,800
Cincinnati Bengals at CLE, $5,100
Miami Dolphins vs. BAL, $4,500
Chicago Bears vs. SF, $4,400
Carolina Panthers at NO, $4,900
Seattle Seahawks at MIN, $4,800
Kansas City Chiefs at OAK, $4,700