Welcome to the 13th week of NFL action and another edition of my Sunday Morning Player from Every Game article!
This slate we are presented with another solid helping of foolish ownerships. In particular there are some value options who are near min-salary but playing in starting roles. Suspensions, injuries, and season ambitions play a massive role in this slate, and while it’s another Chiefs and Rams slate there are more than enough options to make things less cut-and-paste.
In particular, I’m most excited about the QB position. I think there’s some serious mispricings, ownership diversification issues, and exploitable matchups to be had, especially with the likes of the Lions, Vikings, and Colts.
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Thanks for reading, hope you enjoy. Best of luck this weekend and as always see you at the top!
RB, Baltimore Ravens
Best Use: Pass catching upside RB
For the first game of the slate I wanted to go over the pass catching opportunity the Atlanta Falcons present. My hope is this will best be represented through the Ravens’ pass catching RB Ty Montgomery.
If you are new to my articles, one of the two basic meta-plays of this season (we will get to the other shortly) has been playing pass catching backs against the Falcons; no matter what. This has rung true for multiple seasons and can be proven week after week. The Falcons give up points to literally ANY pass catching back. They’re horrid around the edges and have a space behind the 2nd line wide enough for the whole Mississippi to run through it. We can take even the most fledgling options like the Buccs’ Peyton Barber (back when he was irrelevant), Duke Johnson Jr. (when Chubb was Chubbing), or even the Redskins’ pass catching back Kapri Bibbs, who has done comparatively nothing before and since. They all found the end zone. With Gus Edwards dealing with an ankle injury this play is only amplified. Lamar Jackson still represents an excellent option and lines up to be just the type of player the Falcons can’t stop, however, massively owned. Falcons’ receivers Julio Jones and Austin Hooper are also viable, but not as much. Anytime you can get Julio at little to no ownership is a week you need to consider Julio, not to mention he’s probably too cheap. He’s generally borderline matchup proof, and he always finds a way to show up in games he shouldn’t. The only place the Ravens lack is in their TE coverage, so if I was to give anyone a slight uptick on matchup it would be Austin Hooper.
I still like Montgomery because he will go completely under all the radars. I’m not expecting a slate breaking performance, but from his salary on DK, it’s hard to turn down Ravens’ RB Ty Montgomery.
side note: since fd isn’t full ppr site this is strictly a dk play. on fd i prefer either julio or lamar as the play from this game.
Other Options: Lamar Jackson, Julio Jones, Austin Hooper, Ravens DST
WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Best Use: Ultimate GPP WR
This is my borderline favorite play of the slate, so user beware, but Buccs’ wideout Chris Godwin is lining up to be one of the sneakiest smash plays of the slate.
I think there’s no secret the Panthers are really good at DFS, the Buccs’ DST are atrocious, and every game featuring a capable opponent makes Panthers’ games instant game stacks. However, much like the opening pick in Montgomery, this season there’s two basic meta-plays I preach that have repeatedly reaped rewards; play pass catching backs against Falcons, and play deep ball threats against the Panthers. With DJacks expected to miss this opens a massive door for Godwin to preach his advantages. Godwin is bigger, faster, and stronger than his opposition cornerbacks. With so much ownership falling onto Brate, Humphries, and Evans, Godwin will make either an excellent pivot or the final play in a team/game stack. I can’t stress this enough; the further away from the line of scrimmage the weaker the Panthers get.
Buccs’ WR Chris Godwin is far too cheap given the matchup. He will have little ownership (especially compared to his teammates and opposition), plays on a pass heavy attack, and is in a game with a massive total potential. All things are pointing Godwin this slate.
Other Options: Peyton Barber, Adam Humphries, DJ Moore/Curtis Samuel, Cameron Brate
RB, New York Giants
Best Use: Top High-end Mispricing of the slate
For the third match of the slate we have what could be one of the sneakier results of the weekend with the New York Giants playing host to the Bears.
Now, by “results” I didn’t exactly mean a blowout. In terms of Giants home/away splits one of the biggest factors is Giants’ home games stand a much higher chance of finishing under the projected total. That doesn’t mean it will, but that instantly draws myself, among with numerous others, to no doubt the more popular option in the Bears DST. Considering how poor the Giants OLine has been at preventing pressure, and considering how the Bears DST have easily the most dominate pressure backs in the league, this should be a smash spot for the Bears DST. However, the Giants still have a couple solid outs in the likes of Barkley and OBJ. It doesn’t matter how great a pass rush is if the opposition can capably dump off the ball. There’s rarely two better short pass options in the league than the Giants pair of OBJ and Barkley. This season the Bears pass defense have had issues with elite wideouts, so OBJ is still an elite target, despite opposition. But, in terms of Barkley he has seen a massive salary drop despite showing no signs of slowing down, especially against a side he stands to crush. While I don’t think Barkley stands as a standout play like McCaffery or the week-to-week Gurley, he will fall through the ownership cracks due to the fact everyone can’t own everyone. Tarik Cohen is always a sneaky play, and that’s no different this weekend. With Engram missing out with a hamstring issue Giants TE Ellison is also a low owned, low salary punt option. Yeah, you can also just play the Bears DST as well, that’s never a bad option either.
In any case I love Giants RB Saquon Barkley. He should be the lowest owned of the most expensive RB options and still has a sneaky script to play.
Other Options: Tarik Cohen, Odell Beckham Jr., Rhett Ellison, Bears DST.
DST, Buffalo Bills
Best USe: Top Faded Game DST
Nobody will be playing this game because of the players, but that doesn’t mean the Bills DST hasn’t been solid for most of the season.
The Bills have rattled off back to back wins. Considering they are playing the Dolphins twice, the Jets, and the Lions in four of the next five weeks they could still easily make the playoffs (not to mention as the fifth another divisional matchup against the Pats). The Bills have been winning games on defensive skill, not offensive production, so there’s still lots to suggest against a team like the Dolphins this can and should continue.
While the Bills are one of the top defensive salaries on DK they are under priced on FD. I have no issues using them in GPP, but I would prefer them over on FD.
Other Options: LeSean McCoy, Zay Jones, Frank Gore
RB, Denver Broncos
Best Use: Top mid-range Value QB
Unlike Godwin who is borderline my favorite play, Broncos’ RB Philip Lindsay is easily my favorite play of the slate.
Salary. Matchup. Ownership. Stacking. Scripting. I’m having issues not going overboard on Lindsay despite going over the field being a relative easy cause. In particular there are two or three options ahead of him on FD, and five or six on DK, will draw so much ownership that there will be little to none left for Lindsay. Over the past five weeks no defense has compared to the inability of the Bengals; especially against the rush. Lindsay has been priced down as if Freeman and Booker are massive components and present a run-by-campaign scenario. This couldn’t be farther from the truth; Lindsay dominates in both shares and role. Only once this season Lindsay hasn’t reached near 5 YPC; against a Bengals side who are starting a backup QB, Lindsay makes for an excellent stacking option with one of the better DST’s in the league. There are far too many options this slate for people to fall on Lindsay unless they actively seek out his name. I am genuinely excited for the Broncos against Jeff Driskel (who has rushing upside, therefore some limited DFS relevance) and potentially getting ahead early, creating the dream script for Philip Lindsay to see around 20 touches compared to his usual 15.
I’ll still take 15 touches for his salary against the Bengals. The Broncos’ RB Philip Lindsay makes for one of the sneakiest RB options this slate, for either format, and I’m monster jacked to use him.
OTHER OPTIONS: Broncos DST, Emmanuel Sanders, AJ Green, Jeff Driskel.
QB, Detroit Lions
Best Use: TOP Sneaky QB GPP
Finally. Is this it? My destiny in NFL DFS is to get rich off of Matty Staffshow. I think this is it. Lions’ QB Matthew Stafford is about to go ham for your Sunday dinner.
Over the past while, on the defensive side the Rams have been absolutely shredded by everything but TEs. It should be no secret by now Matthew Stafford has lost all TE relationship with his options, especially with Roberts likely missing out this weekend. So, he is lining up to have a dream matchup in a game where he’s going to need at least five TDs to stay competitive. Blount shouldn’t be in a position to steal the slate, and over the past few weeks Theo Riddick has been one of the top targeted RBs in the league. So, there’s little to no run game to steal Matty Staffshow’s ceiling. Golladay has an excellent matchup, and not to mention everyone coming back the other way has a great go as well. If I was to avoid anyone it would be the Cooks v Slay matchup, but I’m not overly concerned because this game should have the highest total of the slate (and it may not even be close). Ideally the spot to use Stafford is in a game stack where most people would use Goff instead of Stafford. However, I don’t even mid him naked. While Galloday is a great option he may be the only option, and Stafford may end up going anti-chalk with his TD production. I think Stafford/Riddick/Galloday is an excellent start to any GPP stack, but in either format even sticking to just Stafford and Riddick makes for one of the sharper stacks of the slate.
Either way, Lions’ QB Matthew Stafford makes for one of my favorite QB plays of the slate. Finally, I can say that with confidence once more, but with the limited run options and the massive over potential, he makes for a super sneaky play in either format.
OTHER OPTIONS: Fade the TE’s.
DST, Green Bay Packers
Best Use: Best stacking DST of the slate
Another place I will be looking to use a sneaky, low owned defense is the less-than-admirable Packers’ DST.
A lot of this has to do with three factors. Firstly, Josh Rosen has been turnover prone to even the most susceptible pass defenses. I still love him as a future talent, but this season we can continue to bet on his turnover issues. Secondly, Aaron Jones will be one of the more, if not highest owned RB of the slate. His usage is through the roof and the Cards are next to incapable at stopping the run. Thirdly, and most importantly, this game will be at Green Bay; it’s going to be snowing, and it’s going to be ccooolldd. I can’t see a lot of successful Cardinals’ pass attempts and lots of opportunities for dropped balls. This is a must-win, massive game for the Packers. This weekend their entire division should be walking away with points, so a third straight loss would all but seal their season. So, needless to say the DST are being given the opportunity this weekend, it depends on whether or not they take it.
While I think Aaron Jones will smash and still deserves ownership, don’t be afraid to finish off your cards with the Packers’ DST stack. Not only does it make sense, but it’s especially valuable on DK.
OTHER OPTIONS: Aaron Rogers, Aaron Jones/David Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald.
TE, Cleveland Browns
Best USE: Top TE pivot of the slate
It took eight games before I finally got around to talking about a TE, but here we have it, the Browns’ TE David Njoku may not be the biggest smash spot of the slate, but he’s definitely one of the sneakiest TE options of the weekend.
Njoku, along with a lot of the Browns’ pass catchers not named Landry, have been particularly strong at catching their targets. Obviously, on three occasions he saw less than three targets, but as a whole and especially in the past few weeks Njoku has been particularly sound. The Texans are a massive TE-funnel target defense, so if the Browns look to find an exuberance of success it should come through the QB/TE connection. I think a TON of people will be drawn to Miller despite his career 20-25fpts ceiling and 15-20fpts floor. On top of this they will mistakenly look to pair him with the Texans DST, which while extremely formidable, pail in comparison to the RB/DST combos found with the Broncos, Packers, Ravens, or even the Bills and their ownership. In recent weeks Baker has been one of the more DFS relevant QBs, Nick Chubb is still chubbing, and Callaway is similar to Njoku in the dropped ball ratio, I also don’t mind the idea of Chubb and the Browns’ DST, though I would prefer the QB/TE combo.
In the slate-to-slate wasteland that is the TE options don’t be afraid to pivot from the massive Ebron chalk onto the Browns’ David Njoku. It could be all the difference when Ebron flops, again.
OTHER OPTIONS: Baker Mayfield, Lamar Miller/Texans DST, Nick Chubb, Antonio Callaway, Browns DST
QB, Indianapolis Colts
Best Use: Top QB Pass Attempts of the slate
Another slate, another Colts’ QB Andrew Luck throws the ball a gazillion times weekend. However, this game should draw two of the highest owned players of the slate, and I’m not interested in either of them.
If we take this on face value, at the moment the Jags are one of the more exploitable teams in the league and the Colts are one of the more usable. Marlon Mack is coming back (rather quickly) from a concussion injury and Jalen Ramsey (marking Hilton) has been dealing with a serious knee issue (not to mention a serious bruised ego). Ebron stands as one of the highest owned players of not only the slate, but of the entire season, and while Kessler isn’t incapable, he’s also on the Jags. Fournette is suspended and that should draw equally massive ownership to Carlos Hyde and his near min-salary. While I also think the Colts DST are playing extremely well it’s tough to hedge so much against the ownership of Hyde. While at the same time we can safely take Andrew Luck as the ultimate hedge. If Hyde is scoring than Luck will need to respond. If Ebron is going to succeed at his insane/chalk ownership than he can only do so catching balls from Luck (unless he makes another rushing TD). So, despite both player having such extreme ownership we can take Luck and know we are safely siding with the ownership without jumping on board.
One quick note on Hyde and Ebron. These guys have repeatedly shown up as chalk and crapped on everyone. Especially Ebron, in his chalkiest slates he has left everyone on edge to only barely get by in cash, and repeatedly fail to find a ceiling for GPP. Sure, we could get back to the 10+ targets of the past, but again, there’s lots to suggest neither of these players deserve any of the ownership…well, outside their very obvious spots. Hydes’ salary and Ebrons’ role make them plays, but their history also warrants fades.
In either format I think Colts’ QB Andrew Luck makes for one of the sharper QB plays of the slate. He safely manipulates the massive ownership this game presents while at the same time sets you apart with little to no risk.
OTHER OPTIONS: TY Hilton, Eric Ebron, Carlos Hyde, Colts DST
TE, New York Jets
Best Use: Top TE Punt of the slate
For the 10th game of the slate we have another super sneaky TE option in the Jets’ Chris Herndon.
We can all agree that the TE position is generally a crapshoot. One of the more reliable, yet underused TE players in the league has been Herndon. In fact, he’s only dropped eight balls all season, and while he hasn’t seen the same kind of volume other TE’s have he’s still managed to find the end zone, albeit, he hasn’t in three weeks but that was following three straight of cashing in. Despite not finding the endzone over these games he’s still been cash relevant, and in two of the three found double digits from 3k-ish salary on DK. He’s presented himself as a consistent, low salary, low ownership option against all opposition. Considering this is the Titans I’m not jumping for joy at the chance, but the Titans have been faltering as of late and if anything that should reduce his already bare-bones ownership levels. This should be a low scoring game, if not the lowest of the slate, so I don’t have an issue with either DST, however, I haven’t lost with Herndon yet, so there’s little reason to expect it, even now.
He isn’t my favorite TE option of the slate but I’m not sure if there will be any sneakier. The Jets’ TE Chris Herndon represents one of the sneakiest options of the slate, forget position.
OTHER OPTIONS: Corey Davis, Jets/Titans DST.
WR, Kansas City Chiefs
Best Use: Top value WR of the slate
Next up we have another game where we have to try and decipher the highest scoring offensive in the league(‘s history). While he may not be the most popular from this game, Chiefs’ WR Chris Conley is relevant in either format thanks to his salary and the massive points total in this game.
While I am in love with Conley’s salary, as Watkins will miss out again Conley stands to see 6+ targets from a 3-target salary. With Hunt getting suspended/released this should put ownership on Ware along with heavier clicks on the price tags of Kelce and Hill. I have no issues looking past all three as Ware will be too highly owned and the expensive receivers are too, well, expensive.
Chiefs’ WR Chris Conley is the cheaper and lower owned of the Chiefs pass catchers, and while he isn’t as talented or worthy, the game and situation around their passing should allow him more than enough in-game relevance to find value in either format.
OTHER OPTIONS: Patrick Mahomes, Spencer Ware, Travis Kelce, Jared COok, Chiefs DST.
QB, MINNESOTA Vikings
Best Use: Top QB of the slate
So, you’re telling me in the game that should go off like no other in the slate has Kirk Cousins throwing against a mingling mid-range pass defense, AND he’s cheaper than Baker, Matt Ryan, a not playing Trubz, Luck, Lamar, Jamies, Watson, Aaron Rogers, RussBuss, Goff, Newton, AND Mahomes? What am I missing here?
It basically doesn’t matter, take Cousins and any number of his pass catching options and you’ll probably be fine. Diggs is actually seeing more work then Thielen yet costs significantly less on either site. Not to mention, the always sneaky Kyle Rudolph may be coming back into the picture as the Pats are also a joke against the TE, and always have been. Not only do the Vikings have a mixed running game with Murray and Cook, they eat into each other’s production levels. The Pats aren’t without options either, so while Gronk may be falling behind, Gordon and Edelman are looking primed to go off, especially Edelman. I think this game has all the writings of a potential shootout, so I have no issue taking either sides, especially the cheaper QB.
In particular Vikings’ QB Kirk Cousins should be relevant in either format, but especially on DK his salary is one of the biggest steals of the slate. He’s in salary and choice right beside the Staffshow as up as one of my favorite QB plays of the slate.
OTHER OPTIONS: Stefon Diggs/Adam Thielen, Julian Edelman/Josh Gordon, Kyle RUDOLPH.
DST, Seattle Seahawks
Best Use: Top DST of the slate
For the final game of this massive slate, yeah, I’m doin’ it, gonna finish with a DST. Though they burned me last time around I have no issues going back to finish a late hammer slate with the Seahawks DST who are hosting the 49ers.
There’s a few ways to go about this but the main point is every time Seattle is at home against a non-dominant opposition their DST is in play. This weekend is no different as they are hosting the all-but-done SF 49ers in what should be a situation where SF has shown up already rolled over and dead. Mullens, despite some upside, isn’t capable and should offer up more turnovers than TDs. Breida still isn’t 100%, and despite playing quite well, he shouldn’t see any kind of volume, even with a game script going in his favor. The catching options of the 49ers are decimated by injury, and while I think someone like Pettis could be interesting he doesn’t hold the same kind of value nor upside as the Seahawks DST at home. Kittle is Kittle, but again, unless he breaks the slate there’s no way he finishes as a TE2; the position is too volatile and his team isn’t consistent enough. I know the Seahawks’ DST are the most expensive of the slate, but even outside the issues of the 49ers, the Seahawks stand to be great choices. The Seahawks have become massively run oriented, so Chris Carson is not only a decent option but excellent stacking candidate. RussBuss has been playing lights out as well, and while his receivers aren’t exactly target hounds it may be safer to just rest on Wilson naked.
In any case, I like the late hammer nature the Seahawks’ DST present. They should be medium owned and have all the upside going up against a 49ers team that are more concerned about staying healthy than winning the game.