This article is part of our DraftKings NFL series.
Cam Newton, CAR at DET ($6,200) - Newton has hit for 2.6x value in every game this year, so even in a bad matchup he still gives you a 15-18 point floor but has the ceiling to hit for 30 in the right matchup. That is this week as the Panthers get extra rest off the bad loss at Pittsburgh last Thursday night. The Lions' defense is falling apart and was torched by Mitchell Trubisky last week. Even if Newton can get to 25 that is a 4.0x value in cash, where as we only need 3.5x value to cover the cash score.
Marcus Mariota, TEN at IND ($5,500) - Mariota looks to finally be healthy as he has posted back-to-back games of 24.8 and 22.3 for 5.2x and 4.7x value. His salary has jumped up $800, but the situation this week is extremely favorable with a matchup against a weak Colts pass defense and projected team total of 24 (Titans average 19). The Colts have allowed quarterbacks to hit for at least 3.6x value in five consecutive games for an average of 27.8 points.
David Johnson, ARI vs. OAK ($7,500) - All of the bad games earlier this season are now paying off with a lower salary we can take advantage of. The promotion of Byron Leftwich to offense coordinator looks to be exactly what the Cardinals and DJ needed. Johnson broke out in a huge way last week with 37.3 points in a game where the Cardinals were more than two touchdown underdogs on the road. This week, the Cardinals are -5.5 favorites at home against the Raiders, which is a much more favorable game script. I can see Johnson picking up where he left off last week against a Raiders team that has nothing to play for.
Melvin Gordon, LAC vs. DEN ($8,900) - With no Todd Gurley in the Sunday Main slate, we have a group of five running backs that all look to be interchangeable. But in cash games, you want the player in the best spot and has been the most consistent in returning value. Gordon has only had one game of less than 22 points (16.4) all season. He has posted at least 2.6x value in seven out of eight games. Five games have been for at least 27 points or more, which is our target this week for cash games, but even 25 points would be enough to be worth it.
Ezekiel Elliott, DAL at ATL ($8,500) - I love Zeke in tournaments this week because he was in the Sunday night game last week and that old adage of "out of sight, out of mind" is pushing his projected ownership under 10 percent. He is also somewhat overpriced in relation to other running backs in the same tier. He has posted four games in the top 9 with two at first (last week) or second. The key is I am hedging that Elliott sees some action in the receiving game and really bust the game open. The Falcons have been torched by receiving running backs all year, allowing four running backs to hit for at least 30 points, so fingers crossed Jason Garrett knows this.
Alex Collins, BAL vs. CIN ($4,400) - Collins enters this week completely off the radar and rightly so. He has only one RB1 finish this year and three RB2s. The Bengals are a complete mess on both sides of the ball. Without A.J. Green and possibly Joe Mixon, their offense will be in for a very long day against a Ravens defense that has been much better at home the last three years. Also, the Bengals are banged up in the linebacking core, which should open running lanes. There is no Vegas data posted on the game at this writing due to the uncertainty of who is starting at quarterback for Baltimore, but that plays into our favor because people will overlook the game.
Michael Thomas, NO vs. PHI ($8,800) - Another week without Adam Thielen in the Sunday main slate, but fear not because we have a second receiver that we can trust now in Michael Thomas. While $8,800 is pushing it for me in cash games, when looking at Thomas' resume it is hard to go against it this week. Thomas has the most top-5 finishes for receivers with four, but he also has finished in the top 15 six times. Even if he posted a dud (20 points) it won't cause you to lose your cash games. The scary part is the Vegas data on this game. The Saints team total is projected for 32 and Eagles opponents have averaged a 21-point projected total. That is an 11-point differential and by far the largest this week.
Kenny Golladay, DET vs. CAR ($5,800) - Golladay has been hit or miss for me this year. But with Golden Tate in Philadelphia and Marvin Jones potentially out, all the target volume is going to Babytron. In cash games, you need to find value in target projections and the biggest way is when there is an injury to a fellow teammate. He posted 19.8 points last week at $5,100 for a 3.9x value. Add in the game total of 51 and this has the makings of a shootout.
Sterling Shepard, NYG vs. TB ($5,300) - Shepard is projected at less than 10 percent ownership and fits into that perfect range I love for receivers in GPPs ($4,000-$6,000). I am shooting for 4-5x value, which puts the target for Shepard around 20-25 points and is the sweet spot for the range receivers fall into the most when hitting value. The Bucs have allowed a WR1 performance seven times, which I expect Odell Beckham Jr. to hit, but they have also allowed a WR2 5 times. Twelve receivers have hit at least 3.0x value and five have hit at least 4.0x value. The Giants average team total has been 21 points and it is 27 against the Bucs, which is the largest margin on the plus side (+6) in the Sunday main slate. Shepard has posted at least 20 points 3 times this year, and this looks like a perfect spot for him to hit on the fourth at very low ownership. I expect that the majority of his ownership will only be in Giants stacks with Eli Manning and OBJ.
D.J. Moore, CAR at DET ($4,200) - Much like my Aaron Jones recommendation last week (which hit the jackpot, by the way), I am not completely comfortable with Moore, but there is a path to which I can see him exploding. Remember, I also said this about Kerryon Johnson against the Dolphins. Moore looked on the verge of a huge breakout after Week 8 against the Ravens in which he scored 17.9 points. But the Panthers mostly won with the ground game against the Bucs and got smoked against the Steelers last Thursday. Moore has become a distant memory to most DFS players, but with Devin Funchess covered by Darius Slay, I am pushing my chips in on Moore against a Lions defense that was shredded by Allen Robinson and Anthony Miller last week.
Zach Ertz, PHI at NO ($6,600) - I am somewhat baffled by Ertz's pricing this week, but remember the Eagles played Sunday night, so his monster 43.5-point game was not taken into consideration. You have to think his price will be at least $7,500 next week; plus his matchup this week against the Saints projects to be a shootout. I think the Eagles/Saints will approach the mid-60s and easily go over the total, and Ertz should continue to post monster numbers. Good luck trying to figure out what tight end you think will have a big week because there is no Travis Kelce, George Kittle, Trey Burton or Rob Gronkowski. Ertz is on pace for the all-time greatest season for a tight end, and it is going under the radar. While everyone looks to pay down at tight end, just pay up for Ertz who is playing like a WR1 at this point (7th in PPG). Think about this: the average salary for the top-6 WRs on DraftKings is about $8,000 while Ertz is $6,600. I rarely do this, but I would recommend you play Ertz is every single lineup for CASH and GPP this week.
Cardinals vs. Raiders ($3,100) - Cardinals opponents have had an average Vegas team total of 24 this year, and the Raiders are projected for just 18. This gives the Cardinals a six-point edge in the matchup and it is the biggest on the board this week. The Raiders have allowed defenses to score 17, 1, 14 and 13 the last four weeks, and the Cardinals have posted two games of 19 and 12 in Weeks 5 and 6. In cash games, you look for a floor, and I look at how likely getting 8-10 points is for my defense at a $3,000 or less price. I'm OK paying the extra $100 on the Cardinals, who are a solid home favorite against a Raiders team that has quit and a Cardinals team that has something to play for now with a new offensive coordinator.
Chargers vs. Broncos ($3,400) - Joey Bosa is back for the Chargers, whose 2017 defense was dominant. Earlier this year, the Chargers were exposed because of several key injuries, but their recent performances show they have gotten back on track. While the Chargers are still projected to be about the fifth-highest owned defense, I think they have huge upside with sacks this week as a big home favorite and the highest priced defense on the board.