DraftKings Plays – Week 10

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Pat Thorman constructs an optimal lineup for cash games on DraftKings, and gives thoughts on upside plays for use in tournaments.

| 2 years ago
Julio Jones

DraftKings Plays – Week 10


Julio JonesThe players in the cash games lineup are chosen primarily with strong salary value, significant projected touch volume, and favorable matchups that occur in games with a high Vegas over/under. While not every selection will meet each threshold, the quest for a high statistical floor will be a common theme. Last week’s lineup can be seen here, and is reviewed below.

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Week 10 Cash Games Lineup

QB: Matt Ryan ($6,300) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (46)

Ryan’s the seventh-most pressured passer over the last month (42.1% of dropbacks), but Tampa struggles to get to the quarterback – mostly. There’s more on that below in GPP Notes. The Bucs rank 30th in pass coverage (-34.3), and Ryan completed 88-percent of his 24 passes, for 286 yards and three scores, when these teams met in Week 3. He was the fourth-best fantasy quarterback that week, and is the 17th-most expensive now.

RB: Andre Ellington ($7,300) vs St. Louis Rams (43)

Over the last month only DeMarco Murray has more carries, with Le’Veon Bell and Matt Forte qualifying as the lone running backs with more catches. Ellington and his 28.3 looks per game during the last four weeks will take on a St. Louis defense playing their third road game in a row. The Rams have surrendered both the sixth-highest yards per carry and rushing touchdown marks. The fact that their pass rush has finally arrived will mean a truckload of draws and screens for Ellington.

RB: LeSean McCoy ($5,600) vs Carolina Panthers (48)

McCoy is the PPR RB13 during the last four weeks that he’s played, with no fewer than 21 carries (22.5 average) and just under three targets per game (2.8). If he’d scored just a single touchdown he’d be the RB9. He’ll face a defense that’s allowed the second-most rushing scores (11) and the highest yards per carry average. A new quarterback equates to even more looks for the affordably-priced McCoy, who costs roughly half of Murray’s week-high figure.

WR: Julio Jones ($6,600) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (46)

Julio’s seen 15 targets in his last two contests. That’s his lowest two-game total since Weeks 11 and 12 of 2012. It’s an anomaly that led to a juicy price drop. He’s fully healthy and takes on a Tampa Bay defense that he lit up for 161 yards and two scores back in Week 3. His nine grabs came against seven different Buc defenders, including a pair for 49 yards and a score off of prized import Alterraun Verner. Nobody could stop him then, and since Tampa Bay hasn’t traded for Darrelle Revis, nobody will now.

WR: Percy Harvin ($5,300) vs Pittsburgh Steelers (45.5)

If you had said a few weeks ago that Harvin would be in my cash lineup, I’d have wondered what kind of Ortonian-level bender you’d been on. But a huge spike in volume for a talented player can’t be ignored. Harvin’s averaged 7.4 looks (carries plus targets) as a Seahawk this year, and 13.5 in two games as a Jet. New York has run the second-most snaps per game over the last month (73), and Pittsburgh (-14.9 pass coverage grade; 22nd) allowed 29 catches, 456 yards, and three scores to receivers in the last two.

WR: Kelvin Benjamin ($4,200) at Philadelphia Eagles (48)

Although he’s been about as efficient over the last few weeks as a your grandfather’s Chevy wagon (40.9 catch percentage), Benjamin’s still averaging 8.3 targets per game on the year – which is a 41.7 percent market share among Carolina’s wide receivers. He’ll have the pleasure of drawing Eagles’ Duraflame log and PFF’s 82nd-“best” cover cornerback, Cary Williams. While Philly hasn’t given up nearly as many snaps recently as they had been, Benjamin’s price and heavy involvement makes him too useful to pass up.

TE: Martellus Bennett ($5,600) at Green Bay Packers (53.5)

The Unicorn caught nine balls against seven different Packers (11 targets) for 134 yards, and was inches from a Week 4 touchdown. He’ll again be the defense’s fourth priority, behind the twin tower wideouts and Forte. The Packers only give up the 17th-most fantasy points to the position, but opponents with strong tight ends (Bears, Saints, Panthers) average 8.3 catches, 107.3 yards, and 0.7 touchdowns. The others (Seahawks, Jets, Lions, Vikings, Dolphins) average 3.2 catches, 33 yards, and 0 scores.

FLEX: Ronnie Hillman ($6,100) at Oakland Raiders (49)

Since taking the reins of the Broncos’ backfield, Hillman is the fourth-highest scoring running back in PPR leagues and is averaging 20.8 points per game. He’s received the fourth-most carries and the fifth-most targets among running backs during that four-week stretch. The Raiders have PFF’s 26th-graded run defense and give up the second-most points to fantasy running backs. In an expected blowout, Hillman’s workload once again won’t lack in volume.

DEF: Seattle Seahawks ($3,000) vs New York Giants (44.5)

The Seahawks are big favorites (-9) at home against a beat-up Giants squad with more issues than Andy Reid judging a talent show. New York has averaged 3.7 yards per carry since they lost Rashad Jennings, rank 24th in run blocking, and will face a Seattle defense that allows a league-low 3.2 yards per carry. The Giants’ defense is decimated, they’ll likely be behind on the scoreboard for most of the game, and will be forced to throw more than they want to against PFF’s third-rated pass coverage squad.

Total Salary: $50,000

GPP Notes

Ryan is completing 71.7-percent of his passes for 7.9 yards per attempt, 14 touchdowns and just four picks, when not under pressure. Buccaneers defensive right tackle Gerald McCoy (+25.0 pass rush grade) is the only potential (300-pound) fly in that ointment. Tampa Bay’s team pass rush grade is -16.7 without him, and Atlanta’s interior pass blocking is actually one of their line’s lone bright spots.

The Falcons surprisingly held Detroit’s twin terrors, Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley (21 snaps before being injured), to just three combined hurries in their last game. If McCoy can be muted in a similar fashion, Ryan, Jones, and Roddy White make for an affordable high-end double-stack ($18,000; 33% of lineup for 36% of salary cap) against one of the worst pass defenses in the NFL.

Not many tournament lineups will feature Jason Witten against a defense that’s allowed an average of 3.3 catches, 39 yards, and 0.2 touchdowns per game to tight ends over the last six weeks. Fading him is probably smart, despite his performing something of a dead cat bounce (15.1 point average in last two games). He’s the sixth-more expensive tight end and doesn’t have much upside.

However, along with that low ceiling comes a similarly low average depth of target (8.8). With Terrence Williams (Fade City) sporting the 10th-deepest wideout aDOT (17.3), and Dez Bryant typically operating downfield as well, Witten will be a gimpy Tony Romo’s security blanket. It’s not much to go on, but you could do worse for a lightly-used tight end with a solid floor.

Another tight end who won’t see a ton of usage is Delanie Walker. He didn’t set the world on fire in his first game with Zach Mettenberger two weeks ago. However, he did see seven targets, scored once, and ran a whopping 42 pass routes. The pair makes for a dirt-cheap contrarian stack, since anyone who stacks Mettenberger against the Ravens’ suddenly suspect secondary will be doing it with Justin Hunter – who still has more three-drop days (1) than two-touchdown games.

Some juicy matchups for wideouts include:

Jeremy Maclin vs Antoine Cason – Maclin’s wide receiver rating over the last two weeks is a perfect 158.3. While Cason has only given that rating up in coverage one time this year (Week 7 against Green Bay), he’s allowed marks of at least 106.5 in five others. He is PFF’s 106th (and worst) coverage cornerback. The possibility that he could be benched is both terrifying and exhilarating, since his backups could conceivably be worse.

Torrey Smith vs. Blidi Wreh-Wilson – Despite relatively improved play by The Bleeder over the last few weeks, he’s still only received one positive coverage grade since Week 1 (+0.4 Week 6 against Jacksonville) and ranks 102nd on the year (-9.1). Smith costs just $3,500 and, if you remove the Week 8 injury-influenced goose egg (blatant cherry-picking, admittedly), is averaging 15.3 points and is the PPR WR11 over the last five weeks.

Kenny Britt vs Patrick Peterson – Britt costs just $3,800 and faces PFF’s 97th-graded cover cornerback. Peterson’s given up a touchdown in two straight, four in his last four games, and passers are registering a 125.5 QBR when targeting him. Britt has the easiest matchup of the Rams’ top three wideouts in a game that St. Louis will need to chuck it around often, since they won’t make much headway with their mind-melting, three-headed backfield succubus.

Last Week’s Lineup

Colin Kaepernick (12.88) – The oft-sacked Kaepernick would agree with our buddy Rich Hribar that “Alex Boone is holding out still while active.”

Ronnie Hillman (25.30) – After a quiet (and momentarily gimpy) start, the garbage time stats piled up like an overhyped blizzard.

LeSean McCoy (17.30) – The RB14 in PPR leagues after 114-yards rushing and two short catches, his touchdowns loom like a three-pick game for The Sanchize.

Antonio Brown (34.40) – Paying up for the most expensive wideout paid off by overcoming Hawkins’ shortcomings…and then some.

DeAndre Hopkins (26.50) – He got fed by the Amish Rifle for the third week in a row (9 targets) and turned in the ninth-best PPR week among wideouts.

Andrew Hawkins (6.40) – “Brian Football” hit 300 yards, but Baby Hawk had just 34 of them. He saw eight targets while playing only 46.3% of snaps.

Julius Thomas (11.30) – Orange you relieved that your tight end returned value on just two targets?

Jeremy Hill (32.30) – Sure, he was a mindlessly obvious play – but gamers who faded him can’t redeem style points for cash.

San Francisco 49ers (9.00) – If you happened to be watching Denver at New England and didn’t catch this game, it’s probably for the best. We’re on to Week 10…

Total Points Scored – 175.30



Pat Thorman is a lead writer for PFF Fantasy and a Fantasy Sports Writers Association award winner.

  • black26

    Yikes. Not a great week for your cash game picks.

  • Pat

    No, pretty rough indeed. I Tweeted out a pivot plan for Bennett (because he was questionable) on Sunday AM (Julius/Charles/Denver for Bennett/Hillman/Seattle) …hopefully people saw it and changed their lineups. Will do better this week. Thanks for reading.