I hope you haven’t started playing at Draft Kings yet, but you are considering it. This week, until Dec. 20, if you sign up using my refer-a-friend link and deposit a few bucks, we each get two $20 tickets into the $5 million Millionaire Maker, the final milli-maker of the season.
So, you drop a couple bucks, use the info we have on this site (I started by depositing just $50 this season, finished high in a couple tournaments and have profited 600% combined across three sites) and get two chances to win a million. So even if you drop $40 on DK, you’re still even because of the tickets. And I get two free entries for all the work I’ve done on these boom-or-bust projections this season.
Thanks for considering it, and sorry for selling it here, but it is a pretty sweet deal, even better than last week’s.
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’m still up 600% on the season, but I’ll be sticking to 10-20% again this week on both sites. Pricing is a little tighter this week, so it’ll be interesting to see how things play out.
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.
Projected scores/matchups/Las Vegas | Game day weather | Waiver wire
Daily fantasy: Draft Kings values | FanDuel values
Russell Wilson, $7,000, SEA vs. CLE — Last week I told you to not chase the points and Wilson throws five more TDs. I wonder if things had been different if Thomas Rawls had finished the game. In any case, people who chased points won money last week. I’m not going to tell you to do it again, especially against a Cleveland defense which is among the worst in the NFL. My big concern here is the blowout factor.
Tyrod Taylor, $5,600, BUF at WAS — The Redskins have allowed 300 yards and two touchdown passes in two of their last three games. The game before that, Cam Newton threw five TDs against them.
Cam Newton, $7,800, CAR at NYG — Just like with Wilson, my only concern here is the potential blowout factor, but I think it’s even more prominent here because Josh Norman could — it’s unlikely, but — shut down Odell Beckham Jr. If that happens it might be a long week for the Giants and a short week for Newton.
Carson Palmer, $7,000, ARI at PHI — What’s not to love about Palmer going up against an Eagles defense that has allowed 29.4 fantasy points and 16 touchdown passes to quarterbacks in the last five weeks, both tops in the NFL.
Blake Bortles, $6,100, JAC vs. ATL — Bortles has thrown at least two touchdowns in 10 of 13 games this season. Play Bortles and hope Matt Ryan and Julio Jones can connect and turn this thing into an epic shootout. This feels like a tournament-only play to me, but Bortles has been so consistent I’m not going to tell you to avoid him in cash.
Alex Smith, $5,100, KC at BAL — Smith’s price is ridiculous, near minimum for a quarterback. And now he faces a Ravens defense which got torched by Wilson for 292 yards and five passing touchdowns last week. Smith is usually a game manager, so he is far from safe. A tournament-only play, but pair him up with Charcandrick West and/or Jeremy Maclin this week.
Adrian Peterson, $7,100, MIN vs. CHI — Some very smart people are recommending paying up for running backs this week. Our formula thinks Peterson is the best running back value on the board despite being the second-most expensive. He is a threat to turn any (and every) touch into an 80-yard TD.
David Johnson, $5,700, ARI at PHI — The hits just keep coming for Johnson, who has had several good matchups to begins his experience as a starter. The only downside here is that the game is on the road, where letdowns often creep up. I’m inclined to believe this will be a big game for the Cardinals and that Johnson will be in line for some extra work late.
Tim Hightower, $3,900. NO vs. DET — Stepped into the Mark Ingram role admirably last week. I don’t think the Saints skip a beat and Hightower produces steady production with some touchdown upside, making his price tag a potential huge value.
Brandon Bolden, $3,200, NE vs. TEN — Bolden is as close to a big back as the Patriots have now. Just as there were LeGarrette Blount games, there could be Brandon Bolden games. Bolden is a tournament play for me until we see some more evidence to tell us otherwise
Frank Gore, $4,000, IND vs. HOU — Gore has had 60 or more combined yards in all but two games this season. He has low touchdown expectations, but does have a two-touchdown game. He also has 18 targets in the last four weeks.
Theo Riddick, $4,000, DET at NO — The Saints have allowed 301 receiving yards, fourth-most in the NFL, and two receiving touchdowns, tied for second most, to running backs in the last five weeks. They’ve also allowed the most fantasy points per game to the position.
Matt Jones, $4,000, WAS vs. BUF — Like some of the guys on this list, Jones’ price provides an opportunity for a very high payoff. The Bills rank 30th in DVOA run defense. This is strictly a tournament play, but Jones was one of the first quarterbacks I considered this week.
LeSean McCoy, $6,300, BUF at WAS — McCoy disappointed in an especially big spot last week and his competition for carries, Karlos Williams, returns. It’s not a great spot, but not an awful spot for McCoy either, and considering those other two points we talked about, McCoy’s ownership should be lower. Good tournament play.
Javorius Allen, $4,500, BAL vs. KC — There’s no real competition for Allen in the Baltimore backfield and his price is extremely low. That means we have to consider Allen despite a poor week last week. Allen is a tournament play, but because of the matchup and last week’s performance his ownership should be low too.
Darren Sproles, $4,200, PHI vs. ARI — Sproles wasn’t nearly as featured as we expected him to be going into the week, but he did get into the end zone. Sproles may have a tough go of it on the ground, but his potential in the passing game — he has 28 targets in the last five weeks and had a 10-target game and a nine-target game before that — means he should be in play in an expected blowout loss.
Anquan Boldin, $3,900, SF vs. CIN — Low price and low ownership, considering his poor performance last week. However, he had a whopping 47 targets in the previous five weeks. It’s not a great matchup, but I expect the targets to return and for Boldin to get an opportunity to pay off at this salary.
Jeremy Maclin, $5,500, KC at BAL — Maclin has 30 targets, 18 catches and three touchdowns in the last three weeks. Now he faces a Ravens secondary that got torched by the Seahawks last week.
Doug Baldwin, $5,800, SEA vs. CLE — Just like in the Wilson blurb, I’m not going to tell you chasing points is a bad idea, because it paid off huge last week. Baldwin has been white hot. He’s on a pace that can’t continue. And you usually don’t want to be on a player like this when he cools off, but I’ll have Baldwin in a number of season-long and daily fantasy spots this week.
John Brown, $4,900, ARI at PHI — Brown is my favorite receiver out of all the Cardinals this week. A lot of people will probably gravitate toward Michael Floyd, who is $500 less, or Larry Fitzgerald, the team leader, who costs the most of the corps. This is a great matchup for all Cardinals wide receivers.
Tyler Lockett, $4,200, SEA vs. CLE — Had his first 100-yard receiving game last week and scored his second two-receiving touchdown game of the season. He’s also a threat to score on returns, making him a natural player to stack with the Seattle defense, in a game Las Vegas thinks Seattle will win by a wild amount.
Malcom Floyd, $3,500, SD vs. MIA — Somebody other than Antonio Gates is going to have to catch passes for the Chargers this week. It’s probably Floyd. He has shown deep-threat flashes, but he hasn’t been very effective since his Week 9 injury. He was targeted nine times and caught only three last week, but he finished with 56 yards — that 18.6 yards per catch is promising.
Calvin Johnson, $6,900, DET at NO — The Saints have, arguably, the worst defense in the NFL and one of the worst if not the worst passing defense in the NFL. They rank third-worst in the league in DVOA against No. 1 wide receivers. I’ll have quite a few shares of Johnson this week.
Marvin Jones, $4,200, CIN at SF — Let’s get this out of the way now: Jones is strictly a GPP play. He usually is, but until we have some idea how this offense is going to look under A.J. McCarron, we need to treat all Bengals except, maybe, A.J. Green, as the high-risk, high-reward variety we need in GPPs.
Jarvis Landry, $6,300, MIA at SD — Here’s a scenario for you: The Dolphins and Chargers are two of the highest-paced teams in the NFL. Both offenses have struggled of late. However, because of the pace and the poor defenses, let’s say the Chargers get on the board with a quick strike, then the Dolphins answer. Next thing we know, this thing is out of control and every network is switching to the final moments. If that happens, Landry is the No. 1 player I want to own. Even if all of that doesn’t come to pass, Landry has such a high floor in PPR leagues, you’ll want him anyway.
Stefon Diggs, $4,000, MIN vs. CHI — Diggs has had some brutal matchups of late. The poor performances have seriously deflated his price, making him nearly free. He’s still the best receiver the Vikings have. Once a player reaches a reference point, like Diggs’ four-game stretch beginning in Week 4, they are always capable of repeating. In a huge division rivalry game, against a team he saw 12 targets against last time and caught 6 for 95 and a touchdown, I’m going to throw him in a low-end tournament two.
Zach Miller, $3,600, CHI at MIN — If you scratch off Week 13, Miller has 24 targets in his last four games. Despite that volume, Miller is no cash game threat. He is, however, a great tournament option at this price.
Eric Ebron, $3,000, DET at NO — Ebron is nearly free and he has one of the best tight end matchups of the game this week, but he’s strictly a tournament play. you could pay up a bit to get Heath Miller or Will Tye. And if you wanted to go bottom basement, you could go with Jordan Cameron at $2,500.
Jordan Reed, $5,900, WAS vs. BUF — Reed has 34 targets in the last three weeks. I shouldn’t have to tell you to play him if you can afford him. You should probably try to afford him in cash games.
Heath Miller, $3,700, PIT vs. DEN — Fourty-two targets and 32 catches in the last five weeks. Now he gets Denver, one of the top defenses in the NFL which has really struggled to slow down tight ends this season.
Will Tye, $3,100, NYG vs. CAR — Has at least 10 PPR points in each of the last four weeks. It’s not a good matchup, but the Panthers will put a lot of resources into stopping Odell Beckham Jr., so Tye might be a decent pivot option.
Jordan Cameron, $2,500, MIA at SD — As I said in the Landry brief, I have a feeling this game could turn into a burner on both sides. Cameron has been nearly invisible this season, that’s why you can’t get some tournament action on this game for bare minimum price.
Travis Kelce, $4,400, KC at BAL — The Chiefs are favored by a pretty large amount and the Ravens are among the bottom third of defenses against tight ends according to DVOA. After a stretch of 34 targets in four games, Kelce has just eight in his last two. The lack of opportunities has deflated his price, making him an interesting and potentially low-owned tournament play.
San Francisco 49ers vs. CIN, $2,100
Indianapolis Colts vs. HOU, $2,000
Baltimore Ravens vs. KC, $2,000
Oakland Raiders vs. GB, $2,000
New Orleans Saints vs. DET, $2,000
Houston Texans at IND, $2,500
Philadelphia Eagles vs. ARI, $2,200