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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. If you isolate Sam Darnold’s Weeks 1 and 6-8 starts, Robby Anderson ranks No. 9 in the NFL in Air Yards (424). 

While it hasn’t exactly always been pretty with Darnold in the lineup, it’s not fair to dock the Jets skill players for what happened when he wasn’t playing. Outside of the “seeing ghosts” game vs the Patriots, Darnold has been at least relatively competent, and his skill players are capable of GPP-type games with him at the helm. The problem very clearly here is that DraftKings priced Robby up to $5500 and Crowder to $5300. This is significantly higher than they’ve been priced all season, and we suspect there could be some pay up to be contrarian GPP appeal here. Le’Veon Bell ($7700, 9-12%), is priced more “reasonably” compared to his average output, so we consider him playable but not a primary target. Demaryius Thomas ($4000, 2-4%) is coming in as a very solid value and is viable in any format. 

While it’s almost hard to imagine any Dolphins player putting up a GPP-worthy output, there are plenty in play this week looking purely at a price and projections. Mark Walton ($4500, 5-8%), Preston Williams ($4200, 5-8%), DeVante Parker ($4400, 5-8%) are all excellent values and priced low enough to where one big play can make their day. We consider them excellent “bring it back” options at a minimum, and believe they are viable in large-field GPP as well.


2. Allen Robinson ethered a similar-looking Eagles secondary (10/143/1) last January, while this year’s version has coughed up seven 100-plus-yard wideout performances through eight games.

DraftKings is seemingly more woke than ever to factoring matchups into player pricing, and ARob’s $6800 (9-12%) is a great example here. He’s about $1,000 more than his highest price on the season, though he certainly has multiple touchdown and double digit catch upside here. Secondary Bears WR options Anthony Miller ($3700, 2-4%) and Taylor Gabriel ($3900, 0-1%) do not project well but are viable large-field GPP only dart throws.

The Eagles continue to be tough to play in DFS, but Alshon Jeffrey ($5000, 0-1%) and especially Zach Ertz ($4700, 13-16%) have appeal here. The Bears defense has shown serious cracks under the weight of the offseason coaching change and the Akiem Hicks injury.


3. Although Frank Gore out-touched Devin Singletary 9 to 7 last week, Singletary seemed to pull away as OC Brian Daboll’s favored option by out-snapping Gore 68% to 29% and running 31 pass routes. The Redskins have allowed the NFL’s second-most running back receptions (52).

Singletary ($4700, 5-8%) doesn’t have a favorable price, but it’s reasonable to think his ceiling could be pretty high here and he’s not going to be a popular play. Even though they have a solid team total and a decent matchup, you can play pretty much any combination of Buffalo offensive players and expect to be contrarian. Players we think are deep-field GPP viable include Josh Allen ($6500, 5-8%), Cole Beasley ($4100, 0-1%) and John Brown ($6100, 9-12%).

We don’t think you need to force in a “bring it back” option if stacking Bills players, but while tough to stomach, Adrian Peterson ($4200, 0-1%) offers by far the best value on the team and can be had at low ownership.


4. Keenan Allen runs 53% of his routes inside, where Green Bay has coughed up 8.07 yards per attempt and five touchdowns on 57 slot targets.

After an incredible start to the year, Allen ($6400, 17-20%) has cooled off and his price has come down quite a bit. We aren’t 100% convinced he is completely healthy, though he logged a full practice on Friday. It’s worth noting that the target volume and output we saw while Melvin Gordon ($5000, 5-8%) and Hunter Henry ($6000, 5-8%) were out probably isn’t ever coming back. Still, he’s a viable tournament play, as is Gordon who’s price has plummeted. Given the Chargers have a new OC this week, there should be some uncertainty built into the volume expectations for every player.


5. Bottom six in sack rate (4.4%) and bottom three in QB Hit Rate (10.8%), the Lions defense is giving enemy passers clean pockets on a weekly basis. When kept clean this year, Derek Carr is averaging 7.99 yards per attempt with an 8:4 TD-to-INT ratio.

We aren’t typically Derek Carr ($5500, 13-16%) enthusiasts in any DFS format, but this is about as good as it gets for him from a value and matchup perspective. He’s cracked “DFS Top Plays” for the first time all year, and can be paired in GPP’s with a variety of options, including Josh Jacobs ($6500, 13-16%), Darren Waller ($6300, 13-16%) and Tyrell Williams ($5900, 13-16%). If using Carr with Waller and/or Jacobs in GPP, we wouldn’t expect this to be sneaky, thus including some other low-owned options in that lineup is a must.

For the Lions, we predictably saw frustrating usage out of the backfield last week, making it hard to justify any RB even in a tournament. Marvin Jones ($6000, 5-8%) and Danny Amendola ($4700, 2-4%) are reasonable bring it back options, while Kenny Golladay ($7700, 13-16%) has been priced up to the point where he won’t be massively owned, but needs a huge game to justify his price.


6. Running 70% of his routes inside, Tyler Lockett is an easy WR1 play against the Bucs, who’ve permitted 83.7 yards per game and five TDs on slot targets this year. 

Anyone reading this column will know Tyler Lockett ($7500, 17-20%) has a high raw projection. This price makes it hard to decide what to do, and at least ensures he won’t be overwhelmingly popular. Given Seattle stacks figure to be incredibly popular and bringing it back with excellent options on the Bucs will also be appealing to many, we lean towards playing players from this game very selectively. We wonder if Chris Carson ($7200, 5-8%) might go overlooked given everyone will want a piece of both of these passing games, and the obvious talent he’s facing on the Bucs rush defense. 

Chris Godwin ($7300, 21-25%) and Mike Evans ($7200, 21-25%) will be two of the most popular expensive WR’s on the slate, for good reason. Cameron Brate ($3100, 2-4%) is dealing with an injury and we think may have some contrarian and value appeal if he does suit up.