Last Updated: Saturday 9:52pm
EDITORS 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 AM, if necessary.
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.
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 soon find suggested rankings by site once salary is accounted for.
Lamar Jackson ($7100 DK, $8300 FD) — Averaging nine carries per game plus 33.5 pass attempts, Jackson’s fantasy-friendly game keeps him in play weekly. The Steelers play a man base defense, increasing Lamar’s rushing outlook.
Deshaun Watson ($6700 DK, $8000 FD) — Watson’s early-season schedule has been difficult (at NO, vs. JAX, at LAC, vs. CAR) but still flashed his ceiling with two games topping 29 DK points. Sunday marks easily his best matchup to date.
Tom Brady ($7600 FD) — A better play on Fanduel due to increased value of touchdowns and no 300-yard bonus.
Carson Wentz ($6100 DK, $7800 FD) — Eagles are tied for the highest implied team total on the slate yet Wentz is the 6th-most expensive QB. Operating on a long week, he’ll have his full complement of weapons other than DeSean Jackson (groin). Jets rank dead last in PFF’s pass rush grades.
Matt Ryan ($5900 DK, $7700 FD) — With the running game stuck in neutral, the Falcons offense is on Ryan. He leads all QBs in attempts, is second in yards and has hit the 300-yard bonus in four straight games. If the Falcons are going to keep up with Deshaun Watson, Ryan will need another big day. Note he’s significantly cheaper on DK relative to the cap.
Christian McCaffrey ($8700 DK, $9100 FD) — CMC’s usage is unheard of in today’s NFL. McCaffrey projects to play 100% of the snaps and has double-digit targets plus 25 carries in his range. The Jaguars defense is certainly more formidable than the Texans unit he incinerated last week, but it’s not insurmountable. They’re just 19th in yards per play allowed.
Dalvin Cook ($8400 DK, $8200 FD) — True three-down plus goal-line role facing a Giants defense dealing with injuries to its top-three ILBs. Cook has at least 20 touches in all four games so far.
Ezekiel Elliott ($8300, $8800 FD) — Tony Pollard completely faded out last week as Zeke out-snapped the flashy backup 56-2. Now Elliott gets a home game against a Packers defense which has funneled action to the ground and ranks near the bottom of nearly every advanced metric vs. the run.
David Johnson ($7500 DK, $6800 FD) — With Christian Kirk (ankle) out, there are even more underneath targets for Johnson to soak up. He’s lined up in the slot on 15% of his snaps so far this season and we suspect that number will rise against a Bengals defense ranked 30th in yards per play allowed. Johnson is laughably cheap on Fanduel.
Joe Mixon ($6100 DK, $7100 FD) — Matchup couldn’t get much better. Problem is we know Gio Bernard is going to mix in for at least 30% of the snaps.
Aaron Jones ($5900 DK, $6800 FD) — With Jamaal Williams out, there’s a good chance Jones sets a career-high in snap rate. We don’t think the Packers will trust Dexter Williams for many reps. That gives Jones a big usage ceiling — we just saw him catch six balls last week.
James White ($5000 DK) — With Rex Burkhead ruled out, White should receive nearly all of the Patriots passing down work in addition to a handful of carries. The Patriots should be able to move the ball efficiently, giving White a nice floor in addition to an attractive price to median projection ratio.
DeAndre Hopkins ($7800 DK, $8500 FD) — Three straight bad games from Hopkins shouldn’t scare anyone. He’s popping in the Buy Low Model in a tasty matchup after dealing with Jalen Ramsey, Casey Hayward and James Bradberry the last three weeks.
Julio Jones ($7700 DK, $8200 FD) — After facing the slow-paced and risk-averse Colts and Titans the last two weeks, Jones finds himself in a likely shootout Sunday. The Texans have already been flamed by Keenan Allen and Michael Thomas this year.
Keenan Allen ($7300 DK, $7500 FD) — It remains to be seen if Chris Harris will chase Keenan on every snap Sunday. Even if he does, the sheer volume Allen projects to see puts him firmly in play. Only Mike Evans has seen more Air Yards than Allen this season even though Allen’s average depth of target is a low 11.0 yards.
Michael Thomas ($6600 DK) — The huge part of Thomas’ route tree was always within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage, so nothing changes with Teddy Bridgewater checking down. Thomas’ price drop on DK is eye-opening against a funneling Bucs defense. He fits better on that site as a high-volume, low-aDOT receiver in an offense which projects to score fewer TDs under Teddy.
Larry Fitzgerald ($6000 DK, $5800 FD) — With Christian Kirk (ankle) out, Fitz projects as the clear focus of Kyler’s quick-hitting short looks. The 36-year-old is no slam dunk at his elevated price on DK, but he’s outrageously cheap on FD.
Will Fuller ($4500 DK, $5700 FD) — Advanced stats continue to point toward Fuller popping off soon. He’s in the Buy Low Model and is top-15 in the entire league in Air Yards but has just 14-183-0 through four weeks. Sunday’s home game vs. the Falcons marks Fuller’s best chance yet to capitalize on his plentiful opportunity.
Auden Tate ($3500 DK, $5300 FD) — The Kelvin Benjamin-esque Tate was already playing on 89% of the snaps and seeing a strong 21.9% target share over the last two weeks. Now John Ross (shoulder) is sidelined and the Bengals have arguably the best possible matchup — home vs. the Cardinals. Despite reasonable box scores the last two weeks, Tate still popped into Josh Hermsmeyer’s Week 5 Buy Low Model.
Golden Tate ($4500 FD) — Inexplicably left at minimum price on FanDuel as he comes off suspension, this is purely a pricing play. Anytime a new, historically high usage player is injected into an offense, there’s uncertainty in how things will shake out. But Tate projects for the valuable slot role with high-upside Daniel Jones at QB.
Zach Ertz ($6000 DK, $6600 FD) — We can’t project the jaw-dropping target numbers now that Alshon Jeffery and Dallas Goedert are healthy. But as Silva noted in Matchups, Gregg Williams’ defensive strategy often leaves tight ends with tons of room in the short-middle. That’s where Ertz eats.
Evan Engram ($5800 DK, $6300 FD) — Golden Tate’s return widens the target tree a bit, but we continue to want to bet on Engram’s natural talent. Tight ends have the best pass-game matchup against this Vikings defense.
Mark Andrews ($4800 DK, $6100 FD) — Fighting foot issue, but got in limited practice Thursday and full on Friday. Often lines up in slot, where Steelers have been destroyed.
Austin Hooper ($4500 DK) — Hooper is a rough play on Fanduel as he’s somehow priced higher than Zach Ertz. But on DraftKings, we can bet cheap access to a likely shootout with a player who has seen at least six targets in every game this year.
Greg Olsen ($4000 DK) — It’s somewhat concerning that his targets have dropped over the past two weeks in seemingly good matchups without Cam Newton, but he projects to play nearly 100% of the snaps. Olsen is more interesting on DraftKings, where he saves $2600 off Ertz.
Patriots ($4300 DK, $5500 FD) — The best defense of the Tom Brady era against a Washington team playing without it’s starting left tackle, starting quarterback, top-2 tight ends and possibly top wideout. Expect tons of Colt McCoy dropbacks in the second half.
Bears ($3800 DK, $5000 FD) — It’s not a home game as this game is in England. But Derek Carr is severely lacking weaponry with Tyrell Williams (hip) in major doubt. Bears DL over Raiders OL is Brandon Thorn’s No. 5 mismatch on the week.
Eagles ($3700 DK, $4900 FD) — Sam Darnold (doesn’t want to die) is out, leaving Luke Falk under center. Eagles DL vs. Jets OL was Brandon Thorn’s biggest mismatch of the week. There’s a great chance Falk will have to drop back a ton in the second half.
Panthers ($2600 DK, $4400 FD) — This defense quietly has been lights out, recording 14 sacks across the last two weeks while holding Houston and Arizona to a combined 30 points. Now comes Gardner Minshew.
Bengals ($2500 DK, $3700 FD) — Kyler Murray has taken a remarkable 20 sacks through four games. That’s a risk you take with a terrible offensive line and playing at a league-high pace.
|1||Carson Wentz||Deshaun Watson|
|2||Deshaun Watson||Lamar Jackson|
|3||Dak Prescott||Carson Wentz|
|4||Lamar Jackson||Tom Brady|
|5||Matt Ryan||Matt Ryan|
|1||Christian McCaffrey||Christian McCaffrey|
|2||James White||David Johnson|
|3||Ezekiel Elliott||Dalvin Cook|
|4||Dalvin Cook||Joe Mixon|
|5||Aaron Jones||Alvin Kamara|
|6||Joe Mixon||David Montgomery|
|1||Michael Thomas||Larry Fitzgerald|
|2||DeAndre Hopkins||Keenan Allen|
|3||Keenan Allen||Julian Edelman|
|4||Auden Tate||Marquise Brown|
|5||Julio Jones||Golden Tate|
|6||Larry Fitzgerald||Julio Jones|
|7||Will Fuller||DeAndre Hopkins|
|1||Zach Ertz||Zach Ertz|
|2||Greg Olsen||Mark Andrews|
|3||Darren Waller||Evan Engram|
|4||Austin Hooper||Darren Waller|
|5||Mark Andrews||Tyler Eifert|