This article is part of our DraftKings NFL series.
This weekend's slate includes four games and, unlike last week, all are appealing from a watchability standpoint. From a DFS perspective, the Bills-Chiefs matchup will be the most popular target as it's 54-point total is six points higher than the next closest game and on top of that, it features soft pricing. Leonard Fournette and Devin Singletary are expected to be the most popular running backs. Tyreek Hill, Stefon Diggs and A.J. Brown are significantly under-priced at wide receiver. For tournaments, remember to focus on passing stacks and fade some of the chalk. The NFL is as unpredictable as ever and the leverage gained by rostering less popular players is the No. 1 factor when it comes in winning large-field GPPs. Good Luck.
Note: All prices listed come from DraftKings, but most of the logic can be applied to other sites across the DFS industry. The strategy below is meant for large-field tournaments, where payouts typically are limited to ~20 percent of lineups, with the majority concentrated at the very top.
|47.5||Cincinnati Bengals||22||Tennessee Titans||25.5|
|47.5||San Francisco 49ers||21||Green Bay Packers||26.5|
|48||Los Angeles Rams||22.75||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||25.25|
|54||Buffalo Bills||26||Kansas City Chiefs||28|
These are the players with the best projections relative to their salaries — good plays both for cash games and large-field tournaments. While we don't want our GPP lineups to look like cash-game lineups top to bottom, there's nothing wrong with using a few chalky plays. These players, along with a couple passing-game stacks, tend to form the core that remains fairly consistent throughout my lineups.
- RB Leonard Fournette vs. LAR ($5,700)
Assuming he starts, Fournette is expected to be the most popular running back on the slate. Prior to his hamstring injury, he'd been priced in the mid-$7K range, which makes him look like quite the bargain for just $5,700. Much of his appeal comes from pass-catching upside as he's caught seven passes in three of his last four games. It's worth noting that Giovani Bernard looked good in his return last week and likely will spell Fournette on third downs. $5,700 is still too cheap, however, as Fournette should still draw targets in the passing game, especially considering the Bucs are without Chris Godwin and Antonio Brown.
- RB Devin Singletary at KC ($5,900)
From a DFS perspective, Singletary has been incredible recently. He's scored multiple touchdowns in three consecutive games as he's clearly established himself as the Bills every down back. He should see upward of 20-plus touches and is playing in the most favorable game environment on the slate for fantasy points. The $5,900 salary is too cheap for his role in this spot and too cheap in general for the lead running back of an elite offense.
Other Cash-Game Options
QB Josh Allen ($7,600) at KC ($7,600)
QB Patrick Mahomes vs. BUF ($7,300)
QB Ryan Tannehill vs. CIN ($5,800)
RB Joe Mixon at TEN ($6,600)
RB Devin Singletary at KC ($5,900)
RB Elijah Mitchell at GB ($5,800)
RB Leonard Fournette vs. LAR ($5,700)
WR Cooper Kupp at TB ($8,600)
WR Davante Adams vs. SF ($8,500)
WR Tyreek Hill vs. BUF ($6,600)
WR Stefon Diggs at KC ($6,500)
WR A.J. Brown at CIN ($6,200)
WR Tee Higgins at TEN ($5,700)
TE Travis Kelce vs. BUF ($6,500)
TE Rob Gronkowski vs. LAR ($5,800)
TE Tyler Higbee at TB ($4,000)
TE C.J. Uzomah at TEN ($3,400)
D/ST Tennessee Titans vs. CIN ($2,900)
Stacks are the centerpiece of any tournament lineup, seeking to take advantage of positive correlations between players. It rarely makes sense to use a quarterback without one or two of his pass catchers, even if the player in question scores a decent portion of his fantasy points with his legs. Ideally, a stack also includes a pass catcher from the other side of the game, hoping to take advantage of a back-and-forth shootout. (Implied team totals are listed in parentheses.)
Buffalo Bills (26.5) at Kansas City Chiefs (28)
This matchup is clearly the most appealing game to target as its 54-point total is the highest on the slate by a significant margin. Buffalo has looked great recently with Josh Allen ($7,600) playing the best football of his career. I wrote about him in more detail below in the "High-Priced Heroes" section. His rushing upside makes him the top option at quarterback. Stefon Diggs ($6,500) is the cheapest he's been all season. He's been inconsistent and hasn't hit the heights of last season, but $6,500 is too cheap for a player who drew double-digit targets in half his games and scored 10 TDs. Gabriel Davis ($4,600) has caught five TDs in his last six games. Emmanuel Sanders ($4,100) caught one last week in his return from a knee injury. I prefer both over Cole Beasley ($4,000), who's scored fewer than 10 fantasy points in eight of his last nine games. Dawson Knox ($4,900) caught two TDs last week to give him 11 for year. He had 117 receiving yards when these two teams met in Week 5. He and Diggs are my preferred options to pair with Allen. Devin Singletary ($5,900) has multiple TDs in three consecutive games. He's cheap enough to roster with either Allen or Mahomes.
Patrick Mahomes ($7,300) torched the Steelers for five touchdowns and 41 fantasy points last week. He's put up 20-plus fantasy points in six consecutive weeks as the Chiefs have found form again after some early season struggles. Tyreek Hill ($6,600) is the most under-priced WR on the slate. I highlighted him below in more detail in "The Smash Spot" section. I expect double-digit targets, mostly of the shorter variety to combat Buffalo's two-deep zone. Byron Pringle ($4,200) has established himself as the clear No. 2 WR. He's drawn at least seven targets in three of his last four games and is coming off two TDs last week. Similar to Hill, Travis Kelce ($6,500) is much too cheap. It's only the second time this season that his salary is less than $7K. He has five touchdown catches in his last four games and even threw one last week as he put up 28 fantasy points. The running back situation is a bit murky. Clyde Edwards-Helaire ($5,200) is expected to return after missing the last few weeks with a shoulder injury. A positive outcome for him likely includes at least one rushing TD, which makes him better to pair with Allen. Jerick McKinnon ($4,800) caught six passes last week and could be paired with Mahomes based on his receiving upside.
- Favorite Bills Stack: QB Allen + RB Singletary + WR Diggs + WR Hill or TE Kelce
- Favorite Chiefs Stack: QB Mahomes + RB Singletary + WR Pringle + WR Hill or TE Kelce
Cincinnati Bengals (22) at Tennessee Titans (25.5)
Joe Burrow ($6,600) was brilliant to finish the season. He has 13 TDs with no INTs in his last five games. The matchup against Tennessee sets up favorably as the Titans defense allowed the second-most fantasy points in the league to WRs. That bodes well for Ja'Marr Chase ($7,100). Chase exploded in the last month, drawing double-digit targets in three of his last four games and topping 22 fantasy points in each. Tee Higgins ($5,700) disappointed a lot of fantasy managers last week, and now his salary is down. Both things make it a good time to go back to him. He's been inconsistent this season but still has 19-plus fantasy points in four of his last seven games. He has sizable ceiling potential relative to salary. Tyler Boyd ($4,800) has caught a TD in four consecutive games. C.J. Uzomah ($3,400) has drawn at least six targets in five of his last six games and found the end zone last week with six catches and 64 yards. His salary seems a bit too cheap for that type of consistent volume. Joe Mixon ($6,600) has seen a drop in salary and projects decently, but I much prefer the Bengals passing game in this matchup.
Ryan Tannehill ($5,800) had seven rushing touchdowns this season and is the second-cheapest QB on the slate, which makes him at least a viable option. A.J. Brown ($6,200) is cheaper than he's been since Week 6. He flashed a big ceiling this season, topping 30 fantasy points in three of his last eight games. Julio Jones ($4,700) is coming off his best game of the season in Week 18 in which he caught five of nine targets, including his first TD as a Titan. Derrick Henry ($7,500) will make his long-awaited return after injuring his foot in Week 8. His salary is lower, but it's unclear how healthy he is or how much he'll be involved. He won't be overly popular, which makes him appealing from a game-theory perspective. If he breaks a couple big runs, he could easily be the highest-scoring running back and provide significant leverage. This game stack is more about the Bengals side.
- Favorite Stack: QB Burrow + WR Chase + WR Brown + TE Uzomah
Other Stacks to Consider
- QB Josh Allen at KC ($7,600)
Allen has been the best quarterback in DFS recently and was incredible last week against the Patriots, tossing five touchdowns on his way to 41 fantasy points. The rushing upside is why I prefer him to Patrick Mahomes ($7,300). Allen has at least 60 rushing yards in five of his last six games. He had 11 carries for 59 yards when the Bills played the Chiefs in Week 5. If the Chiefs choose to blitz again, which I'd expect them to, Allen should have plenty of opportunities to run.
- WR Davante Adams vs. SF ($8,500)
Adams has drawn double-digit targets in each of his last four playoff games. He's also crushed the 49ers lately, topping 130 receiving yards in four of the last five meetings. Aaron Rodgers is likely to target Adams early and often and the 49ers have no one in the secondary that can contain him. The decision between Adams and Cooper Kupp ($8,600) is a tough one. You can obviously make credible arguments for Kupp based on the historical season he's had. For me, it's slightly concerning that he hasn't drawn more than seven targets in three consecutive games, and I want the player who will see the most volume.
Fading the Field
Every week we see at least one or two players who are popular without the backing of a top point-per-dollar projection. In some cases it even makes sense to fade a player with a strong projection, particularly when there are good alternatives at the same position and price range.
- RB Joe Mixon at TEN ($6,600)
Mixon is expected to be relatively popular, mostly based on the fact that his salary is cheaper than it's been since Week 7. He's averaging just 3.26 YPC over his last six games. The matchup against the Titans looks considerably more favorable for the Bengals passing game than the running game. Tennessee allowed the second-most fantasy points to WRs in the league this season, but they have a stout run defense. If the Bengals are going to have success, I'd expect it to come through the air.
The Smash Spot
(Players in favorable spots to significantly outperform their salary.)
- WR Tyreek Hill vs. BUF ($6,600)
It's crazy to see Hill's salary so low. He's rarely priced less than $8K and has never been priced less than $7K until now. He appears to be fully healthy after injuring his heel two weeks ago. He drew 13 targets in the Week 5 matchup against the Bills. Assuming Buffalo uses a similar defensive strategy, Hill should draw plenty of short targets again. The Chiefs love to use him around the goal line too and he has considerable touchdown equity in this spot as Kansas City has the highest implied total on the slate. Hill has the upside for 100-plus receiving yards and multiple scores.
The Bargain Bin
QB Matthew Stafford at TB ($6,200)
QB Ryan Tannehill vs. CIN ($5,800)
QB Jimmy Garoppolo at GB ($5,200)
RB Cam Akers at TB ($5,500)
RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire vs. BUF ($5,300)
RB AJ Dillon vs. SF ($5,100)
RB Jerick McKinnon vs. BUF ($4,800)
WR Odell Beckham at TB ($5,300)
WR Tyler Boyd at TEN ($4,800)
WR Allen Lazard vs. SF ($4,400)
WR Byron Pringle vs. BUF ($4,200)
WR Tyler Johnson vs. LAR ($3,700)
WR Randall Cobb vs. SF ($3,100)
TE Tyler Higbee at TB ($4,000)
TE C.J. Uzomah at TEN ($3,400)
Injuries to Monitor
- RB Leonard Fournette vs. LAR
Fournette hasn't played since Week 15 due to a hamstring injury, but he's expected to return Sunday. If he doesn't, Ke'Shawn Vaughn ($4,700) and Giovani Bernard ($5,000) would share the running-back duties. Both would be viable options based on their cheap salaries.
- It will be cold in Green Bay, with the wind chill expected to be around zero degrees. Usually that's a slight downgrade to the passing games, but Aaron Rodgers and the Packers are used to that type weather. I wouldn't worry about it too much.