Editor’s Note: We may not write up every player we consider to be a top play. Be sure to consult the chart at the bottom of the page. This page will be updated once on Sunday morning, if necessary.
DFS Optimizer? We do not have an optimizer, but we have a promotional deal with FantasyLabs. For $30 per month, you will gain access to their optimizer and it will come pre-loaded with both ETR projections and Adam Levitan’s ownership projections. Click here for details. If you want to get a sense of how to use the optimizer correctly for tournaments, watch this video from Drew Dinkmeyer.
You don’t have to play cash games to understand why it’s important to grasp them. Players we consider for cash are the ones we believe are the most underpriced, have the best floor/ceiling combo and feature a relatively tight range of outcomes. In other words, these are the best plays on the board once price, slate context and positional depth is accounted for. Those sound like pretty good options for GPPs as well.
The optimal GPP lineup will mix some of these cash-type plays with higher-variance options in correlated lineups. In cash games (where roughly 50% of the field gets paid out), we don’t worry about ownership or game stacks or correlation. In large-field tournaments, our ACO (average cumulative ownership) should stay reasonably low. Please read this article and listen to Episode 102 of the podcast for more on large-field tournament strategy. For more tournament content, check out our projections and Saturday’s Establish The Million show with Drew Dinkmeyer and Mike Leone.
With all that said, these are our Top Plays considering the following factors: Median projection, matchup, upside and value. Ownership is not considered here. Generally speaking, these players are what we consider to be “head-to-head and 50/50 considerations.” They are listed in price descending order (NOT ranked by “best play”). At the bottom, you’ll find suggested rankings by site once salary is accounted for.
Kyler Murray ($8000 DK, $8800 FD) — Our preferred QB on both sites if we can find the money. Whereas Josh Allen has found some floor games and Russ Wilson has a theoretically difficult matchup, Kyler is a one-man wrecking crew in a plus matchup. He has at least 24 DK points in every game this season.
Russell Wilson ($7700 DK, $8900 FD) — Rams have been excellent against QBs, trailing only Steelers and Patriots in our DvP rankings. However, we’re not going to overreact to matchups here as 2020 Seattle’s pass-first obsession and massively pass-funneling defense is the perfect combo for eruptions.
Josh Allen ($7500 DK, $8700 FD) — Allen has struggled in difficult matchups throughout his career and gone berserk in good ones. We’d classify this spot at Arizona an above average one and the overall game environment is excellent. With his rushing and throwing ability, no QB accounts for a higher percentage of his team’s TDs than Allen. Better play on DraftKings, where he provides $500 savings off Kyler.
Jared Goff ($7400 FD) — A FanDuel-specific salary-saver, although we don’t expect to need the savings at QB in cash. Only the Falcons are a better matchup for QBs than the Seahawks. Goff comes out of the bye with dream matchups at all pass-catcher spots.
Alvin Kamara ($8200 DK, $9000 FD) — On DraftKings, saving $1100 down to Aaron Jones is easy. On FanDuel, the price difference is just $200 and it becomes a debate. Optimal strategy on FD is almost always to jam in as many touchdowns as possible and we give Jones the slight edge there this week.
Aaron Jones ($7100 DK, $8800 FD) – Last Thursday, Jones (calf) surprisingly played and handled 20 touches. Now he’s had a long week to get ready and practiced in full each day. The price on DraftKings is wildly low. On FanDuel Jones is priced more appropriately, but the TD-heavy format there favors him in a big way.
Miles Sanders ($6400 DK, $7700 FD) — We are expecting Sanders (knee) to be full strength as he returns Sunday. Prior to injury, he was at 15.5 carries plus 5.7 targets per game — very strong usage at these prices. However, Sanders will get lost in the ownership shuffle this week thanks to the strength of other RB values.
** Chase Edmonds ($6300 DK, $7100 FD) — Only if Kenyan Drake is out. If that’s the case, Edmonds slides in as the second-best RB play on both sites as he projects for 90% or more of the RB work against the Bills. Even with docked efficiency and his seasonal rate in targets per game, Edmonds is popping. Note that his is a 4pm ET game, so we need to have late swap options ready.
UPDATE 8:07am ET Sunday — Adam Schefter is reporting that Kenyan Drake (ankle) has a “good chance” to play today at 4pm ET against the Bills. This doesn’t make a lot of sense to us given a non-conference matchup with a division game against the Seahawks Thursday of Week 11. Still, this makes it almost impossible to play Edmonds in cash with Mike Davis, Duke Johnson, Miles Sanders, Aaron Jones and Alvin Kamara all standout options at the RB position. In tournaments, this news will crater Edmonds’ ownership. He still has a floor of 7-9 touches with upside for a lot more if Drake ends up limited.
Duke Johnson ($5000 DK, $5800 FD) — We are expecting Duke’s competition for RB work to be CJ Prosise (cut and then re-signed to practice squad two weeks ago) plus special teamer Buddy Howell (five offensive snaps all season). Still, we prefer Mike Davis because the Panthers’ offensive scheme targets RBs at a wildly higher rate than the Texans’. Also, the potential for scoring-altering weather in Cleveland is something we’re watching.
Mike Davis ($4000 DK, $5400 FD) — Christian McCaffrey (shoulder) is out. The sites have mind-numblingly priced Davis as if CMC were playing. Davis is projecting as one of our best values of the season on DraftKings and exceedingly strong on FanDuel as well.
Keenan Allen ($7100 DK, $7800 FD) — Matchup against the Dolphins is difficult. But only Davante Adams has a higher target projection than Keenan on this slate. He has at least 11 targets in all six full games with Justin Herbert. Allen’s floor is a bit safer than similarly priced Stef Diggs and DK Metcalf, although his ceiling is lower thanks to extremely low aDOT.
Terry McLaurin ($6800 DK, $7000 FD) — Assuming Alex Smith is as good as Kyle Allen (we think he is), McLaurin’s outrageous usage in this cake matchup can’t be ignored. He leads the NFL in Air Yards share and the Lions are 18th in pass defense DVOA.
Tyler Lockett ($6500 DK, $7400 FD) — We are adjusting for the ascension of DK Metcalf to alpha in Seattle. We have Lockett with only a 24% target share, but he’s still projecting as one the best WR plays on the slate due to efficiency and a better 1-on-1 matchup than Metcalf this week. (Metcalf will likely be shadowed by Jalen Ramsey). Still, we wouldn’t blame anyone for taking a bigger bite out of Lockett’s target share and therefore docking him. Note he has been at seven or fewer targets in four of his last six games.
Diontae Johnson ($5200 DK, $5700 FD) — In his four full games, Diontae has seen 10, 13, 15 and 10 targets for a massive 29% share. The threat of Juju, Chase Claypool and Eric Ebron leaves plenty of room to downside. But even at a 20% share, Johnson is too cheap for this Bengals matchup — especially on FanDuel.
UPDATE 8:49am ET Sunday — The weather in Pittsburgh calls for extremely high winds. We’ve downgraded Diontae significantly and believe his ownership in tournaments will sink as well.
DeVante Parker ($5000 DK, $6000 FD) — With Isaiah Ford traded and Preston Williams injury, the target tree has thinned out in Miami. Enter one of the league’s true GAM (grown ass men) in Parker. The Chargers have turned to a pass-centric style with Justin Herbert, creating shootout potential. We are projecting Parker for 8.6 targets, a massive number for someone at these tags.
Darren Waller ($5900 DK, $7000 FD) — The slate’s best raw tight end play. Waller averages 8.8 targets per game and is sixth among all tight ends in targets inside the 5-yard line. As always, it’s better to “pay up” for tight end in cash on FanDuel where it’s more TD-heavy and the cap is looser.
Dallas Goedert ($4200 DK, $5800 FD) — Goedert (ankle) ran a route on 85% of Carson Wentz dropbacks in Week 8. Then he had the bye week to get even healthier. Now Zach Ertz remains out, clearing breakout opportunity for the wildly talented Goedert. Fits better on DraftKings, where he’s cheaper than Noah Fant and Evan Engram.
** TJ Hockenson ($6200 FD) — Hockenson is questionable after injuring his toe in practice this week. If he plays and is near 100%, he’ll benefit from the both Kenny Golladay’s (hip) absence and the best pure matchup among Lions pass catchers. Hockenson has at least 50 yards and/or a TD in eight straight games.
Noah Fant ($4900 DK, $5700 FD) — Fant is a little pricey on DraftKings. But on FanDuel, we get access to a freak athlete with a condensed target share thanks to Courtland Sutton and Albert O injuries. He’s also popping in the Buy Low Model and appears over his ankle injury after practicing in full Thursday/Friday.
Steelers ($5000 FD) — On DraftKings, the Steelers D/ST is a bit too expensive at $4400. But on FanDuel, the $5K cap on D/ST pricing makes them the best on-paper play. Joe Burrow leads the NFL in dropbacks per game, the Steelers lead the NFL in pressure rate and the Bengals have Thorn’s No. 30 offensive line.
Packers ($3700 DK, $4800 FD) — Jake Luton’s second start is a far different spot than his first. Instead of a cushy home matchup against the Texans, he has deal with a road game at Lambeau.
Saints ($3000 DK, $4500 FD) — Although Nick Mullens isn’t a big downgrade from Jimmy Garoppolo, the 49ers enter 9.5-point road dog and injury-riddled offensive line against the Saints’ top-10 pass rush.
Washington ($3800 FD) — A bit too expensive on DraftKings at $3200, but nice salary-saver on FanDuel. Washington has Thorn’s No. 4 pass rush and the Lions’ offense is broken without Kenny Golladay.