This article is part of our DraftKings NFL series.
|Over/Under||Road Team||Implied Total||Home Team||Implied Total|
|42||Chicago Bears||22.5||Detroit Lions||19.5|
|51||Las Vegas Raiders||21.25||Dallas Cowboys||29.25|
|45.5||Buffalo Bills||26||New Orleans Saints||19.5|
At first glance, Josh Allen ($7,800) and Dak Prescott ($6,900) really stand out on a slate that includes Derek Carr ($5,900), Trevor Siemian ($5,600), Andy Dalton ($5,500) and Jared Goff ($5,100) as the other quarterbacks. While Allen and Prescott are undoubtedly the top options, there are good reasons to consider rostering one of the cheaper players.
Allen has struggled in recent weeks, both in real life and from a fantasy perspective. He's failed to reach 20 fantasy points in two of his last three games and has thrown five interceptions in that span. He's thrown for less than 265 passing yards in three of his last four, despite plus matchups against Miami, Jacksonville and Indianapolis. Thursday's matchup against New Orleans is average. The Saints' defense is pretty good, but their offense isn't and playing in dome should benefit the passing game. With Siemian at QB and presumably no Kamara at RB, the Bills offense should see a lot of the ball and have plenty of chances to score points.
Prescott let many fantasy managers down last week when he threw for just 216 yards and zero TDs with two INTs in what was thought to be a prime matchup against the Chiefs. He scored a season-low 5.6 fantasy points as the Cowboys' offense really struggled for the second time in three weeks. Thursday's matchup at home against Las Vegas could be get-right spot. The Raiders' defense has been up and down this season, but it has allowed 32 and 41 points in back-to-back games and was torched for 422 passing yards by Mahomes two weeks ago. The Cowboys will be without Amari Cooper again and CeeDee Lamb is questionable. If Lamb is active, Prescott would be my top option at QB, mostly based on the fact that he's $900 cheaper than Allen. If Lamb sits, Dak could struggle without his top two WRs, and it's likely that the Cowboys would lean on the running game.
Looking at the cheaper range, I have no interest in rostering a Lions QB. Derek Carr has really struggled lately and the departure of Henry Ruggs leaves the Raiders with one of the worst receiving corps in football. Not to mention the Cowboys' defense has been great against the pass recently, holding QBs to less than 245 yards in five consecutive games. That narrows it down to Andy Dalton and Trevor Siemian. Siemian has actually been decent, throwing multiple TD passes in three consecutive games. One of the problems with Siemian is that Saints have arguably the least-talented group of pass-catchers in the NFL, so who do you pair him with? Another problem is the matchup against Buffalo's stellar defense. The Bills have allowed the fewest fantasy points in the league to QBs. Almost by default, Dalton becomes the top option in this group. He replaced Fields in the third quarter of Sunday's game against the Ravens and threw for 201 yards and two TDs. Thursday's matchup against a bad Lions team is favorable. The Bears also have some appealing pass-catching options to pair with Dalton. I don't feel great about rostering any of these cheap options but doing so makes it much easier to spend up at other positions.
From a point-per-dollar perspective, David Montgomery ($6,000) projects as the top running back. He's played 85 and 95 percent of the snaps in back-to-back weeks since returning from a knee injury. The Lions' defense has been crushed by RBs this season, allowing the second-most fantasy points in the league to the position. Expect Montgomery to be the most popular RB; he actually projects for more raw points than Ezekiel Elliott ($8,000), who's $2,000 more expensive. Elliott has rushed for fewer than 70 yards in five consecutive games and hasn't seen more than 17 carries. It's encouraging to see him involved in the passing game, however. He's caught at least three balls in five consecutive games and caught all six of his targets last week. He looked to have been struggling with a knee injury but goes into Thursday's game without an injury designation. In favor of Elliott is the matchup against Las Vegas. The Raiders have struggled against the run all season and yielded 123 yards and two TDs to Joe Mixon last week.
After Montgomery, D'Andre Swift ($7,300) is my next target. He also projects for more raw points than Elliot and it's nice that he's $700 cheaper. Swift has rushed for 130 and 136 yards in consecutive games against formidable defenses and has been elite in the passing game all season. Thursday's matchup against Chicago is favorable. The Bears allow 4.65 yards per carry and 140 total yards to RBs. With Alvin Kamara out, Mark Ingram ($6,200) has shouldered a heavy work load. He had 22 touches last week and has drawn at least seven targets in both starts this season. The matchup against Buffalo is tough, but the Bills were just destroyed by Jonathan Taylor on Sunday. Ingram's projected volume makes him a stellar option if he plays, but he's yet to practice this week due to knee injury. I have less interest in Josh Jacobs ($5,900). It was nice to see him draw seven targets last week, but he's had double-digit carries just once in the last four games. The projected game script against the Cowboys isn't great either as the Raiders likely will be playing from behind.
Analyzing the cheaper options, I have no interest in the Bills three-man committee against a tough Saints run defense. Tony Pollard ($5,600) had 70 total yards on nine touches last week. The salary is a bit expensive for his projected volume, but the matchup is good. I'd only have interest If CeeDee Lamb misses, as the Cowboys would be without their top two WRs. Kenyan Drake ($4,600) could see opportunities in the passing game if the Raiders are behind. Jamaal Williams ($4,000) had seven carries last week in his return from a thigh injury. Neither is anything more than a leverage option for large-field GPPs and are only in consideration if multi-entering. If both Kamara and Ingram are out, Tony Jones ($4,000) would likely start. It's possible that Ty Montgomery could see some work too, though he's only WR eligible. The matchup against the Bills isn't great, but if Jones starts, he's my preferred option in this range based on his projected volume and minimum salary.
- Top Targets: David Montgomery, D'Andre Swift, Mark Ingram, Ezekiel Elliott, Tony Jones (if he starts in place of Kamara and Ingram)
Stefon Diggs ($7,900) caught two more touchdowns last week, giving him five in his last five games. It's a bit concerning that he's topped 90 receiving yards just twice this season, however. He's the top option from a raw points perspective, but I'd prefer rostering CeeDee Lamb ($6,900) for $1,000 cheaper. Lamb is the clear-cut No. 1 WR in the absence of Amari Cooper and has shown big upside, catching multiple TDs in two of his last five games and topping 20 fantasy points three times in that span. If Lamb misses, Michael Gallup ($5,900) would be the first WR in my lineups. Gallup drew 10 targets Sunday, including some deep balls and end-zone shots. He's a good option even if Lamb plays as both should see plenty of opportunities in the absence of Cooper.
Looking elsewhere, Darnell Mooney ($5,700) drew a whopping 16 targets last week on his way to 121 yards and a TD. He benefited from the Bears missing Allen Robinson ($5,100), who's likely to be out again. Marquise Goodwin ($3,800) saw increased opportunities too. He caught four of eight targets for 104 yards and a TD. If you target the Bills passing game, Emmanuel Sanders ($4,800) and Cole Beasley ($4,500) are viable options. Their salaries have dropped but they've been inconsistent and seem to be slightly less involved with Dawson Knox back healthy. Hunter Renfrow ($5,600) is another mid-range option. He's drawn at least eight targets in three of his last four games and five of his last seven. Running almost exclusively short routes, he's probably touchdown-dependent at his elevated salary. I prefer Mooney for the same salary.
Analyzing the cheaper range, the aforementioned Goodwin is an option if Allen Robinson sits. Cedrick Wilson ($3,600) is my preferred choice in this range, especially if Lamb is out. Wilson drew seven targets last week as he benefited from Amari Cooper's absence and can even be rostered as the Cowboys No. 3 WR behind Lamb and Gallup. If I'm targeting a Saints WR, it'd be Deonte Harris ($3,700). Despite relatively low snap counts, Harris has drawn 24 targets the last four weeks and has big-play potential as a deep threat. I'll likely avoid the Lions, but Josh Reynolds ($3,000) is minimum price and operated as the No. 1 WR last week. He caught zero of three targets but might fare better with Jared Goff back under center.
- Top Targets: Stefon Diggs, CeeDee Lamb, Michael Gallup, Darnell Mooney (if Robinson is out), Cedrick Wilson (if Lamb is out), Marquise Goodwin (if Robinson is out)
Darren Waller ($6,400) caught seven of eight targets for 116 yards last week. Somewhat surprisingly, it was just the second time that he's eclipsed 17 DK this season. Nevertheless, he projects for the most raw fantasy points at the position by a considerable margin and the Raiders are likely to trail, which means they should be passing often. Dalton Schultz ($5,300) is another Cowboys pass-catcher that benefited from the absence of Amari Cooper. He caught six of eight targets for 53 yards last week. The matchup against the Las Vegas is quite favorable as the Raiders have allowed the third-most fantasy points in the league to TEs. If Lamb is out, Schultz is my preferred option at the position, but he's a solid choice regardless. T.J. Hockenson ($5,200) has drawn at least eight targets in four of his last five games. The Lions WR corps is especially bad, leaving Hockenson as the clear No. 1 option in the passing game. Dawson Knox ($4,400) drew a season-high 10 targets last week. He's less consistent than the top-TE options but probably has more touchdown equity than any player at the position. He's scored five times in eight games and has the benefit of having Josh Allen as his quarterback. I likely won't consider him in lineups that don't contain Allen, though that isn't prohibitive considering Allen's high salary.
Looking cheaper, Cole Kmet ($3,700) was disappointing last week, but prior to that he'd drawn at least six targets in three straight games. I'd have some interest if Allen Robinson out. Jimmy Graham ($2,800) has seen three targets in consecutive weeks and had a couple touchdowns called back for penalties. With Adam Trautman out for the Saints, Juwan Johnson ($2,600) is their top pass-catching TE. He had 36 yards on three targets last week and makes sense based on his near-minimum salary.
Normally, I prefer going cheap at defense because the position is so variable and I'd rather use the salary elsewhere. The Lions ($2,400) are viable, despite how bad they are. It's always OK to roster a defense against Andy Dalton. Any defense facing the Lions can be considered too and that makes the Bears ($3,000) a decent option. The Bills ($3,100) are in a nice spot against Trevor Siemian, especially if the Saints are without Kamara and Ingram. With only six teams to choose from, every D/ST is a viable option. Play whichever one you want or whichever correlates best with the rest of your lineup.