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. This is a blowup spot for Cooper Kupp; Atlanta has hemorrhaged the NFL’s third-most receptions (72), fourth-most yards (887), and a league-high nine touchdowns in the slot since the start of 2018 (Sports Info Solutions). Kupp has 12 more slot targets than any other receiver in the NFL 

Kupp’s price is actually $300 higher than last week when he was a fairly popular play at $7100. We expect his ownership to be high enough at (17-20%) to make him just an acceptable GPP play, not a primary target. Brandin Cooks has an extremely attractive price at $5400 and we believe at least some people will start to shy away given his game log is atrocious, making him worth GPP consideration. Todd Gurley ($6400, 9-12%) and Gerald Everett ($3700, 0-1%) should be considered contrian game stack options in big-field tournaments only.

On the other side of the ball, it’s no secret that Atlanta has been scoring a ton of points through the air. Devonta Freeman ($5400, 9-12%) found his way onto some million dollar lineups last week as a secondary option at low ownership in an attractive game, and we wouldn’t be surprised to see it happen again. The rest of the primary Atlanta offensive options are all viable as part of a game stack, but don’t project to be under-owned and shouldn’t be treated as primary plays.


2. Detroit’s run defense has been no great shakes – it’s so far surrendered 113/526/5 (4.65 YPC) rushing to enemy backs – and is playing on a short week after being slaughtered for 196 yards from scrimmage by Jamaal Williams and Aaron Jones last Monday night. The Lions’ 64.8 receiving yards per game allowed to running backs are also third most in the league. This is a definitive smash spot for Dalvin Cook, who has 18-plus touches in 6-of-6 games. 

There’s not much to say about Cook ($8000, 21-25%), who is slightly underpriced for his matchup. We wonder if Stefon Diggs ($6300, 5-8%) might actually go underplayed this week after last week’s explosion, similarly to how Will Fuller wasn’t overplayed against HOU last week even after his 50 point Week 5 explosion.

3. Kenny Golladay has lived up to pre-season expectations and then some with over 100 yards and/or a touchdown in 4-of-5 games while dominating Stafford’s targets and commanding a 33% Air Yards market share in Detroit’s passing attack. Although the Vikings have yet to allow an enemy wideout to clear 80 yards this season, Golladay’s big-play and high-volume usage renders him a matchup-agnostic WR2.

Golladay ($5800, 9-12%) is underpriced yet doesn’t figure to be extremely owned even though the Vikings have been a better than average fantasy matchup to WR’s this season. Kerryon Johnson ($5100, 9-12%) has seen his usage climb of late. It’s not a great matchup but Kerryon is viable in any format, particularly tournament game stacks. Matthew Stafford ($5200, 0-1%), Marvin Jones ($5000, 0-1%), and T.J. Hockenson ($3600, 0-1%) are large-field GPP only options that figure to have a better chance of being in the optimal GPP lineup than their ownership percentages.

4. Colts DC Matt Eberflus’ Cover 2 zone is specifically designed to stamp out long passing plays that are Will Fuller’s bread and butter, downgrading him from high-upside WR2 to risky WR3/flex.

The Colts have been pretty good at limiting their opponents fantasy production this year.  Deshaun Watson ($7000, 5-8%), Deandre Hopkins ($7800, 9-12%) and Will Fuller ($6200, 5-8%) all project as mediocre values from a price per dollar standpoint. We aren’t exactly excited about any of these options except if you believe the ownership dips even more than we’re projecting.

5. The Colts come off their bye with Jacoby Brissett having posted top-12 fantasy scores in three of his last four starts to face a Texans defense that has surrendered top-12 QB1 results in 5-of-6 games and is dealing with hamstring injuries to top CBs Johnathan Joseph and Bradley Roby.

While Brissett ($5600, 2-4%) has been solid, he hasn’t had a ceiling game and it’s fair to wonder just how likely that is in most circumstances. However, this week he’s facing an offense that could conceivably force the Colts to play from behind. T.Y Hilton figures to be one of the more popular WR plays on the slate, so consider pairing him with some other relatively unpopular players, which won’t be hard if you are game stacking. It’s ugly and a large-field GPP only idea, but Jack Doyle ($3500, 0-1%) figures to be ultra-contrarian with at least a path to being on the optimal team if he can catch 4+ balls and a TD.


6. Cardinals DC Vance Joseph’ unit has conceded top-12 quarterback scores in 5-of-6 weeks with a picturesque 16:0 TD-to-INT ratio against while permitting the NFL’s second-most QB rushing yards per game (26.7), helpful based on Daniel Jones’ dual-threat capability. 

7. Golden Tate ran 88% of his routes inside, where Arizona has allowed completions on 38-of-51 targets (75%) for 460 yards (9.0 YPA) and six touchdowns. Although Saquon Barkley and Evan Engram’s returns threaten Tate’s target share, he is a quality matchup-driven WR3 play.

With Barkley ($8900, 21-25%) and Engram ($6500, 17-20%) being among the most owned players on the slate, you’re going to want some other differentiating factors on your team besides Jones if you’re playing this game. David Johnson’s ($7800, 5-8%) health is one of the most important factors to watch, it’s possible he could go under-owned if industry chatter on Sunday morning is not positive (which would of course come with some risk).

8. Derrick Henry is an exciting bounce-back bet coming off last week’s season-worst game at Denver; the Chargers have been trampled for 143/654/4 (4.57 YPC) rushing by enemy backs, while Henry has 100-plus total yards and/or a touchdown in seven straight home games dating back to last year. Even in last week’s negative-script 16-0 loss to Denver, Henry out-touched Dion Lewis 16 to 4.

On DraftKings, Derrick Henry tends to rarely be overplayed due to his perceived / actual lack of receiving production. This figures to be about as good of a setup as you’ll see for him when you factor in ownership, matchup and value. 

For the Chargers, the matchup is pretty tough, and the opportunity has been spread out with Melvin Gordon ($5900, 2-4%), Hunter Henry ($4000, 13-16%) and Mike Williams ($4600, 5-8%) all in the mix, while prices are not yet favorable. Mike Williams and Hunter Henry fall into the category of players where it’s conceivable that one big play could put them into GPP-worthy status, so they are worth consideration.


9. DK Metcalf has cleared 60 yards and/or scored a touchdown in 5-of-6 games, his downfall being Seattle’s limited pass volume on just 5.2 targets per game. Metcalf’s underrated consistency keeps him in every-week WR3/flex range, enhanced in Week 7 should Ravens top CB Marlon Humphrey chase Lockett into the slot. 

Metcalf ($4800, 9-12%) doesn’t expect to carry massive ownership, and there could be some extra passing attempts flowing to pass catchers with Will Dissly out, making him a reasonable tournament play. Tyler Lockett ($6600, 13-16%) will not go overlooked and is undervalued, making various combinations of stacks with Russell Wilson ($6600, 13-16%) viable.

The problem with game stacking here is what to do with BAL. Given it’s unlikely any single player outside of Lamar Jackson ($6800, 13-16%) or Mark Andrews ($4900, 17-20%) will be a GPP must-have, we think it’s fair to consider not bringing it back if you’re playing Seattle stacks.