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Mining Matchups: DFS Nuggets Using Silva’s Column

Some of the most common feedback we get at ETR is how to put the content we offer into practice for DFS. To help with this, our staff has pulled out interesting nuggets from Evan Silva’s Matchups Column and will combine them with DFS-specific insights and analysis. All salaries referred to in this column are on DraftKings. All projected ownership numbers can be found here.


1. Top-five MVP candidate Deshaun Watson has been all but unfazed by environmental limitations, registering top-12 fantasy outcomes in 6-of-9 starts with five top-four results. Week 11 represents Watson’s hardest to-date matchup at Baltimore, whose secondary has reached near-full strength after yielding just one top-12 QB1 score in its initial nine games.

Even though it’s a tough matchup, Watson ($6800, 5-8%)  is coming in as a good play by almost any measure. His projection puts him near the top of the list on a point-per-dollar basis, while his raw projection is at worst third-highest on the slate. Watson is clearly in play in tournaments, as is DeAndre Hopkins ($8100, 9-12%). If Will Fuller doesn’t suit up, we think just about everyone will be off Kenny Stills ($4600, 0-1%) after weeks of disappointing results, leaving him some contrarian appeal if game-stacking or looking for a contrarian last piece of a tournament lineup. Carlos Hyde ($4600, 2-4%) and Duke Johnson ($4000, 0-1%) are priced to where they are only in consideration as part of contrarian large-field game stack builds. 

For the Ravens, Lamar Jackson ($7700, 17-20%) is priced high, but not high enough to make him the most popular QB on the slate. Outside of Marquise Brown ($5600, 9-12%) who has clear big play upside but concerning usage and Mark Andrews ($6100, 9-12%), it’s really hard to justify other Ravens price tags. We lean towards playing Lamar solo, or just focusing on Houston stacks where there is more contrarian appeal and better stackability. 


2. Even as Devin Singletary’s box-score results disappointed against the Browns, his usage did not with a season-high seven targets, 68% snap rate to Frank Gore’s 32%, and 11 touches to Gore’s 6. Over the past three weeks, Singletary has run 45 routes to Gore’s 20.

As Singletary’s ($6000, 5-8%) price has soared while his box-scores have disappointed, we suspect most will look in other directions at RB. Frank Gore ($4400, 0-1%) is still a problem, but if we’re looking for situations where outlier games from low-owned players are realistic, this is a decent spot. Josh Allen ($6600, 5-8%) has been priced up as DraftKings has been doing when teams play Miami. He’s still an acceptable play, though there aren’t any great values to pair him with. This should keep ownerships reasonable, making John Brown ($6400, 5-8%) and Cole Beasley ($4700, 0-1%) deep-field GPP considerations.

The Dolphins once again have some ugly plays that are at least in consideration for GPP’s. Ryan Fitzpatrick ($5100, 0-1%) is not a great value, but Kalen Ballage ($4300, 0-1%) and DeVante Parker ($4700, 2-4%) are two of the best values at their positions, ensuring stacks will have solid projections with low ownership. Mike Gesicki ($3500, 0-1%) may be a post-hype GPP sleeper this week after disappointing many as one of the highest owned TE’s on last week’s slate.


3. Per Sports Info Solutions, Amari Cooper has scored five of his seven touchdowns against man coverage this season, while his share of Dallas’ passing-game targets spikes from 20% versus zone to 31% versus man. The Lions play man coverage at the NFL’s second-highest rate. 

Some may shy away from a tough matchup with Darius Slay or Cooper’s ($7700, 13-16%) elevated price, but Dak Prescott ($6700, 5-8%) to Amari is a more than viable stack here. Michael Gallup ($6500, 5-8%) should catch less ownership with at least a similar amount of upside. It’s fair to start wondering if we’ll see a vintage  Zeke ($9000, 17-20%) spike week this year, while he’s still priced $100 more than Dalvin Cook. If you think the field is starting to move away from Zeke, this is an appealing GPP target.

The Lions are one of the more interesting GPP situations this week, with Jeff Driskel coming in as a top value, but all of his stacking options being significantly overpriced. Given that Driskel looked adequate last week in a tough situation, and ownership levels should be modest, we think Driskel to any of his primary receiving targets are reasonable stacks as long as the rest of the team is filled with plays that are solid values. Bringing it back with any Cowboy outside of Cooper will also be relatively contrarian, leaving no concerns about needing to fade any high-owned plays on the rest of the lineup.


4. Fresh legged off Week 10’s bye, Leonard Fournette will serve as Jacksonville’s offensive engine against Indy’s lightweight defensive front, which has surrendered a middling 181/736/3 (4.07 YPC) rushing line to enemy backs.

Leonard Fournette ($7900, 2-4%) has been a popular play all year long, with his price never fully catching up to his usage, likely due to his touchdown luck being so bad. He’s a viable play in small or large field GPP’s. With Nick Foles ($5600, 0-1%) back at the helm, there’s uncertainty with exactly how the team will operate, which is always a good thing when you’re looking at tournament options. We wouldn’t be surprised to see this offense become more efficient, though we wouldn’t bet on a major leap. Dede Westbrook ($4500, 5-8%) and D.J. Chark ($6200, 2-4%) are both reasonable tournament options. 

The Colts just haven’t been a great offense for DFS this year, with difficult to predict scoring and a lack of spike weeks. Eric Ebron ($3600, 13-16%) is coming in as the only legitimately “good” play on the Colts, essentially due to an extremely depressed price. There really aren’t any other great stacking options here if looking to play Jacoby Brissett ($5900, 0-1%). After failing last week vs. Miami, one thing we are sure of is that Marlon Mack ($6400, 2-4%) will not be a popular option.


5. This game sets up well for top vertical threat Tyrell Williams; Cincinnati allows a league-high 9.0 yards per pass attempt and has surrendered the NFL’s fourth-most 20-plus-yard completions (40) despite facing the league’s third-fewest pass attempts per game (29.2).

While Hunter Renfrow ($4000, 9-12%) is coming in as a better value play, paying up for Tyrell Williams ($5400, 9-12%) we think is the better tournament option. With Josh Jacobs ($6900, 26-30%) being one of the best plays on the entire slate, taking a piece of the Raiders passing game could be relatively underowned compared to slate-winning potential. Darren Waller’s ($5500, 9-12%) production has fallen off enough to where he shouldn’t be massively owned, making him another solid option here.

The Bengals offer reasonable bring-it-back appeal here, with Joe Mixon ($5500, 0-1%), Tyler Boyd ($5200, 5-8%), and Auden Tate ($4200, 2-4%) all checking in at better than average projection values while not commanding heavy ownership.