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. Tyreek Hill’s last three receiving lines against the Pats are 1/42/0 > 7/142/3 > 7/133/1, while Tyreek’s short-area quickness and ability to go zero to sixty in a blink make him capable of causing less-twitchy Stephon Gilmore fits. Hill’s floor is lower than usual, but his ceiling remains sky high.
The matchup and price insure Hill ($8100, 5-8%) will not be overly popular. We like this play only in large-field GPP as a way to get access to an underowned stud, but do not believe this is a core GPP play. We do believe a ceiling output is significantly less likely than in a typical game, but the lack of ownership should offset that. Travis Kelce ($6200, 5-8%) is in play every week by virtue of being a TE that puts up double digit points with regularity, and this week is no different. He won’t be too contrarian, but that’s okay at this position. LeSean Mccoy ($4400, 5-8%) should get 60%+ of the work and has a cheap price tag, putting him into consideration in all formats. Sammy Watkins ($4600, 0-1%) is arguably the biggest bust of the season given the circumstances, but his price is low enough to where a GPP worthy output really doesn’t have to be a huge score. We think there is contrarian appeal if you can stomach the high likelihood of a 2-23 type game.
The Patriots struggles have been much discussed, and given they are in somewhat of a get-right spot here, there is some appeal. Julian Edelman ($7100, 13-16%) has been productive all year and there’s no reason to think it can’t continue here. Any other player outside of James White ($5500, 9-12%) should have extremely low ownership, which isn’t something you can find often in a team with a 26-point implied total. It’s incredibly scary and ugly, but it wouldn’t surprise us to see a blow-up game from Sony Michel ($5600, 5-8%) against a team that is among the worst in the league in adjusted fantasy points allowed to RB’s. That’s how the Patriots attacked the Chiefs last season.
2. DJ Chark has settled in as a boom-bust WR2, but it’s notable that he leads the Jaguars in targets, yards (697), and touchdowns (5) on Minshew throws and offers a slate-breaking ceiling each week with 4.34 speed and heaps of opportunity. Only 12 NFL receivers have commanded more Air Yards than Chark (1,193) this year.
Chark ($6200, 5-8%) has cooled off, but we know the upside exists. The box score, matchup and team total are all pretty bad, so we’re pretty confident he should go overlooked by most. We like him a lot in large-field tournaments. The volume for Leonard Fournette ($7800, 13-16%) has been absurd, with 30 targets in his last three games. He’s still not been great near the goal line and we don’t expect him to suddenly become a touchdown machine, but he’s a fringe top-tier RB play.
For the Chargers, Melvin Gordon ($6400, 21-25%) is priced extremely attractively this week in a good matchup, ensuring he will catch some ownership. Keenan Allen ($6600, 5-8%) has really fallen off the fantasy radar and we think could be a pretty interesting somewhat contrarian tournament option. Hunter Henry ($5100, 9-12%) is a top TE play on the slate and in consideration in all formats. Putting all this together, we wonder if Philip Rivers ($5600, 2-4%) makes some sense, as he has plenty of excellent stacking options and shouldn’t be heavily owned.
3. The Bengals finally promoted Joe Mixon to Week 13 every-down duties; Mixon set or equaled season highs in snap rate (80%), routes run (22), and catches (4) after working in a near-even committee with Giovani Bernard for most of the year prior.
Mixon ($5800, 2-4%) is never a guy the field tends to overplay, so this could be a pretty sneaky tournament angle. Auden Tate ($4000, 2-4%) is one of the top values on the slate, and is viable in smaller field tournaments especially. Tyler Boyd ($5900, 2-4%) was one of the top WR plays on the slate last week, but is now priced up and not projecting as a top value. We would expect him to not be very popular given this, making him an interesting tournament option.
Odell Beckham Jr. ($6300, 17-20%) is making headlines this week and projecting well, so there isn’t much doubt in our mind that he will be popular even with his atrocious game log. We like a fade here in tournaments at this price and ownership. Jarvis Landry ($6500, 13-16%) is in a pay up to be contrarian spot, and we like him for large-field tournaments.
4. Averaging 7.2 targets over Darnold’s last five starts, Jamison Crowder is worth sticking with as a volume-driven WR3 play against Miami. The Dolphins have allowed nine TDs on 97 slot targets this year; Crowder runs 75% of his routes inside. He’s also popping in Week 14’s Buy Low Air Yards Model.
It’s pretty clear by now that Miami is an incredible DFS matchup at any position. As such, Crowder ($5300, 13-16%) is more than a viable tournament play here. Given the ownership, we see him as a second-tier GPP play. Robby Anderson ($5100, 9-12%) has had a disappointing year, but we like him a lot in tournaments. We don’t know what Le’Veon Bell’s ($7200, 5-8%) status is, but if he’s out, Bilal Powell ($3500, 2-4%) appears to be a top value at the position. If Bell plays, we would expect his ownership to take a dive from where it would normally be in this spot, giving him some contrarian appeal.
On the Miami side of the ball, Patrick Laird ($4100, 9-12%) is a reasonable value though we question what kind of upside exists here and he’s going to be owned. Incredibly, DeVante Parker’s ($6900, 9-12%) price is near $7k and he’s still a consideration in tournaments. We lean towards a fade at this price, and prefer Allen Hurns ($4100, 0-1%) and Mike Gesicki ($4000, 5-8%) in tournaments.
5. Vulnerable to long balls, Green Bay has coughed up the NFL’s seventh-most 20-plus-yard completions (46) and a league-high 14 completions of 40-plus yards. Terry McLaurin ranks top five in 20-plus-yard vertical targets (22).
With McLaurin’s ($5100, 0-1%) price falling, he’s starting to become appealing in tournaments to us. Derrius Guice ($4900, 0-1%) is in an interesting situation. Looking at his game log, you might be inclined to take a shot on him, but he’s only getting about half of the backfield touches on a bad offense, making him a stretch given his rising price. However, there is at least some reason to think Washington might give him some more work, and that a pass-heavy game script would benefit him, so if you think the volume increases, there is some appeal here in tournaments.
Green Bay continues to be a frustrating DFS offense. Davante Adams ($8000, 21-25%) is priced as the stud that he is, and is a consideration in all formats. Every other player on the offense is involved in something of a time-share, while prices don’t fully reflect that. Aaron Jones’ ($6700, 9-12%) price is somewhat appealing, and we think he’s a consideration in tournaments. Allen Lazard ($4200, 0-1%) showed us last week that one of these secondary Green Bay options can still pay off, but we still lean towards a fade as there are plenty of mouths to feed and not much week-to-week predictability