Week 10 daily fantasy advice: Previewing the week in DFS
Week 9 was a twisted tale. On the one side, we had brutally a tough DFS main slate that featured little in terms of easy pickings. On the other side, Week 9 brought with it a glorious Sunday, consisting of no London game (I’m not a fan), six early afternoon games and four more late Sunday games. I like it when the RedZone Channel stays busy all day.
Week 10 should be the best of both worlds. We have eight 1 p.m. games, three late-afternoon games, and a rocking Sunday night matchup between the Patriots and Seahawks. We also have a gross-but-needs-to-be-talked-about Thursday night matchup (Browns-Ravens) and a juicy Monday night game (Bengals-Giants). From a DFS perspective, this is definitely a week to play the Thursday-Monday slates as well as the “main” slate.
As usual, this column will provide some early-week thoughts on players, salaries, matchups or anything else I find noteworthy in my initial pass through the players on DraftKings and FanDuel.
If you are going to play the Thursday-Monday slate, there are a million ways to slice the Thursday night pie. You can load up on Ravens players, since they figure to smash the Browns at home, or fade them entirely, since plenty of people will be rolling out Flacco-Smith-Wallace stacks this week. By playing this slate, you also leave yourself open to Odell Beckham Jr., A.J. Green and Tyler Eifert Monday night surges. That could be a good or bad thing, depending on whether you’re the one surging or not.
The Bills, Lions, Colts and Raiders are all on bye in Week 10, so there are plenty of big names missing from the DFS pool. But there are still many matchups that are already jumping off the page. We’ll go over a few of them below.
There’s the 30,000-foot view of Week 10. Let’s take a closer look. Remember, this is not meant as a comprehensive, refined list of players I love, like, or hate each week. These are early-week musings.
(Note: I’m providing only DraftKings and FanDuel salaries as I live in Florida, where Yahoo does not operate.)
This looks like a tough week for the pricy quarterbacks. Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Matt Ryan and Drew Brees are the four most expensive options on both sites, and all of them have legitimate question marks this week. It looks like a week to pay down at quarterback.
Cam Newton burned me last week, but at only $6,800 on DraftKings and $7,800 on FanDuel — his lowest prices of the season — he needs to be considered. After giving up just two passing touchdowns in their first three games, the Chiefs have given up 13 passing scores in their last five contests. It’s also a home game for Newton, which is always a positive. He’s going to be low owned after recent poor performances, which makes him an intriguing tournament option.
Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott is still being disrespected in the price category. He’s only $6,100 on DraftKings, the same price he was in Week 9, and only $300 more than he was in Week 2. He’s averaging 20.2 DraftKings PPG this season, and he has scored at least 18 points in every game from Week 2 on, including 20-plus points in his past three outings. Over his past three games, Prescott has eight passing scores. He’s in play against the Steelers this week.
I’m not buying in on Blake Bortles this week, whose priced at $7,300 on FanDuel. The matchup looks potentially good when you first glance at it — Bortles and the Jaguars take on the Houston Texans — but the Texans actually boast a top-five pass defense, a fact that is certainly flying under the radar. Bortles might simply get swallowed up in this one.
Come Sunday, I might not have the guts to pull the trigger on this one, but Trevor Siemian against the New Orleans Saints has me interested. Siemian is pretty awful, but in the dome against the also-awful Saints (last in pass defense), he’s an intriguing tournament play. Siemian has attempted 150 passes in his previous four games, which ranks sixth among quarterbacks in that span, so he’s certainly seeing a lot of volume. He hasn’t done much with the volume, of course, but he has displayed some nice deep ball accuracy this season, which could come in handy against the Saints in Week 10.
Several of the top options are running back are worth rostering in DFS this week, starting with the big, expensive name at the top of the list. There are, however, some value plays to be found further down the line — as is usually the case with running backs.
David Johnson is absurdly expensive on both DraftKings ($8,400) and FanDuel ($9,400), but — like Ezekiel Elliott last week — it’s still probably worth it. Johnson takes on the San Francisco 49ers in Week 10. To say the 49ers are vulnerable against the run would be a misuse of the word “vulnerable.” Johnson will light the 49ers defense on fire and eat them alive. Figuratively (maybe). I’ll load up on Johnson and differentiate my lineups elsewhere.
Jay Ajayi got some love on both sites. He’s the sixth-most-expensive option DraftKings and the No. 5 running back on FanDuel. The Chargers have been solid against the rush this season, but then again, so were the Jets and Bills, the two teams the Jay Train just plowed over. And Ajayi isn’t just running through giant holes left and right: He’s straight up making dudes miss and/or bowling over them. He ranks second in PFF’s Elusive Rating so far this year, and he ranks first — by a lot — in average yards gained after contact per attempt (3.72). We haven’t seen a number that high since Adrian Peterson averaged 3.93 in 2012.
Devontae Booker at $7,800 on FanDuel and $7,000 on DraftKings definitely interests me in tournaments this week. He’s playing against the New Orleans Saints, and as noted above in the Siemian section, it’s impossible not to love a matchup against the Saints. I love Booker in tournaments because everyone is going to be off of him after he put up a stinker on national TV in Week 9 with only 30 total yards. He’s also one of the most expensive players on the main slate, which will scare people off. He’s an early favorite of mine as a contrarian play this week.
In that same Denver-New Orleans game, I like both Saints running backs, but particularly Tim Hightower. People may still be leery of the Denver run defense, but the truth of the matter is that the Broncos really aren’t that great against the run, evidenced by the one-two punches landed by Melvin Gordon and Latavius Murray in recent weeks. But if people are tuned in to the fact Denver is susceptible to the run, they’ll likely look to Mark Ingram, who helped win some tournaments in Week 9. I won’t be point chasing (too much) this week, and I’m setting my sights on Hightower, who out-touched Ingram 24-to-17. Hightower also saw the goal-line work early in the game.
I don’t recall a recent week in which there was such a clear “top tier” in pricing. This week, Mike Evans, Julio Jones and Antonio Brown are all much more expensive than every other receiver. You’ll likely be able to get one of these studs in your lineup, but it will be difficult to get two.
I don’t think Mike Evans is expensive enough on FanDuel ($8,500). You obviously have to pay up for him if you want him — he’s one of only three receivers above $7,700 — but the case could be made for him to be the most expensive option this week. The Bears are a top-five matchup for fantasy receivers this season. Assuming Evans checks out health-wise this week, I see no reason not to fire him up.
Larry Fitzgerald is the fourth-most-expensive receiver on DraftKings’ main slate, at $7,600. This feels wildly overpriced. But, in reality, it’s not. He has been in the $7,500 price range all season long. It’s just weird to see him as the No. 4 option, but that’s just the way it broke this week, due to the fact Odell Beckham Jr., A.J. Green, T.Y. Hilton and Amari Cooper — players usually priced ahead of Fitzgerald — are either not playing this week, or playing on Monday night. Fitz ranks third in the NFL in receptions (56), and in the full-point PPR format on DraftKings, that makes him the gift that keeps on giving.
I’ve been all over Saints rookie Michael Thomas this season, but this is definitely a week to fade him. He’s finally getting some love in the salary department — he’s $6,400 on FanDuel and $6,100 on DraftKings — but DraftKings and FanDuel picked a weird week to finally boost his salary. Thomas will see a lot of Denver corner Bradley Roby in Week 10, and Roby has given up just 0.17 fantasy points per route run, making him one of the toughest matchups in the league.
If we’re looking way down the list for a potential tournament option, Brian Quick offers plenty of upside against the New York Jets’ burnable secondary. Quick is $3,700 on DraftKings and $4,500 on FanDuel. Over one-in-four Quick targets this year (25.6 percent) have come 20-plus yards down the field, making him one of the most-targeted deep threats in the league.
All of the top options at tight end have seemingly difficult matchups this week, but after further review, some of them are still viable plays. As is usually the case, there are only a small number of tight ends to legitimately consider this week.
Rob Gronkowski is $8,000 on FanDuel — $800 more than any other tight end — and $6,900 on DraftKings, $700 more than any other tight end. The Seahawks have been one of the top 10 defenses in terms of slowing fantasy tight ends. However, the teams they have faced include the Dolphins, Rams, 49ers, Jets, Falcons, Cardinals, Saints and Bills. Quick! Name three tight ends the Seahawks have played. Name five. The point is that the Seahawks have “faced” a barren wasteland of tight end talent so far this year. That will change in Week 10. Gronkowski is incredibly pricey, but he’s not an instant-fade because of the matchup. He’s still in play, especially after we saw how easily the Tyrod Taylor-led Bills were able to move the ball against the Seahawks on Monday night.
I fully expect Travis Kelce to be the most popular tight end in DFS this week. He’s $5,600 on DraftKings and $6,300 on FanDuel. After some frustrating games in the middle of the season, Kelce has strung together back-to-back strong performances. He has 17 targets, 12 receptions, 159 yards and a score over the past two weeks combined. Up next are the Carolina Panthers, who have been sieve-like against the tight end position this year.
Can Zach Ertz repeat his strong Week 9 showing against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 10, a team that has been weak against tight ends this year? If you’re interested in playing him, it should probably be on FanDuel. He’s somehow the ninth-most expensive tight end on the main slate on DraftKings, but he’s the 22nd-priciest option on FanDuel. That’s quite the discrepancy. The DraftKings price seems too high; the FanDuel price too low.