As we head into Week 13 of the NFL, the DFS world likely will heavily target the Lions-Saints game as it features an over/under of 53.5, a full 4.5 points higher than any line on the slate this week. As usual, we will hopefully provide a combination of expensive and cheap plays with a mix of some players that may be popular, but also some sneakier low-percentage plays. I have also thrown in some cheapie stabs you could take at each position if you wanted to save money to try and slide more studs into your lineup. I will cover the main DraftKings slates, which feature only the games played Sunday. Good luck this week.
Drew Brees, NO vs. DET ($7,600) - This likely will be a chalky play this week, but it is hard not to strongly consider Brees despite the percentage in the highest projected scoring matchup of the weekend. Brees has been an absolute monster at home (as usual) in 2016 with 21 touchdowns (19 passing, two rushing) in six home games, an incredible average of 3.5 touchdowns per home game. Brees is off a five-touchdown performance at home last week against the Rams and gets the Lions this week, whom he torched for 341 yards and three TDs last year. Brees has all his weapons healthy, and with the game at the Superdome, 300 yards with three scores could be the starting point this week. Brees is the highest-priced QB on the slate and will be heavily played, but he will be well worth it and is not someone to fight against this week.
Russell Wilson, SEA vs. CAR ($6,300) - A lot of DFS players were on a surging Seahawks offense last week against Tampa Bay and it laid a huge egg, managing a grand total of five points (and two of those came from a Tampa Bay safety). Wilson only threw for 151 yards with no scores and two interceptions but did manage to run for 80 yards. In the three games prior to the Tampa disaster, Wilson had averaged 300 yards passing with two scores as Seattle made a clear attempt to open its passing game. Carolina is in the bottom five in the NFL in passing yards allowed per game (275.2 yards per game), which provides a perfect landing spot at home for Wilson to get back on track. After last week's struggles, Wilson is the 13th highest-priced QB on the slate this week and thus presents a really good value in a great matchup and a nice play if you want to fade the popular Drew Brees in a tournament.
Other Options: Tom Brady, NE vs. LA ($7,500); Matthew Stafford, DET at NO ($7,000); Colin Kaepernick, SF at CHI ($6,100)
Andy Dalton, CIN vs. PHI ($5,200) - Dalton does not have A.J. Green or Giovani Bernard to throw to, but his price has reached an extreme low, and if you wanted to save a ton of cash at QB, he faces an Eagles D that has given up 11 touchdown passes in the last five games.
Jordan Howard, CHI vs. SF ($6,900) - It might get boring to keep playing running backs against the 49ers' defense, but when it keeps working, there is no reason to go away from it. The Niners' rush D has plugged some holes the last three weeks after being flat-out shredded the five previous weeks, but it still allowed touchdowns to starting running backs in that stretch. After a lull in Weeks 6 and 7, Howard has been extremely effective running the ball for the Bears even through all the other issues on their offense. In the last four games, Howard has averaged 103.5 yards per game at an exceptional 5.45 yards per carry. With Matt Barkley calling the signals again this week for the Bears, they likely will lean heavily on Howard again, and at only $6,900 he is an excellent options at running back.
Jeremy Hill, CIN vs. PHI ($4,300) - While Howard likely will be a popular play, I think Hill will be a sneaky, very low percentage play. Hill has struggled to run the ball the last four weeks, averaging only 3.25 yards per carry, but has still managed two touchdowns in that stretch. The real bright spot with Hill was how the Bengals used him in the passing game last week with Giovani Bernard out. Hill caught all six of his targets and compiled a solid 61 receiving yards. Hill is always a threat for a touchdown (or two!), but if the Bengals utilize him catching the ball out of the backfield, with full point PPR scoring, he becomes a really strong value at a dirt-cheap price. The Eagles are a middle-of-the-road rush defense, so while this is not a great matchup on paper, with A.J. Green and Bernard out, the Bengals should lean on Hill more than usual and that is just too good of a situation at his price.
Other Options: David Johnson, ARZ vs. WAS ($9,500); Le'Veon Bell, PIT vs. NYG ($9,200); Melvin Gordon, SD vs. TB ($7,200); Lamar Miller, HOU at GB ($5,600); Carlos Hyde, SF at CHI ($5,300); Mark Ingram, NO vs. DET ($6,000).
Kenneth Dixon, BAL vs. MIA ($3,700) - Dixon is slowly getting more work in the Ravens' backfield and actually out-snapped Terrance West last week (31 to 23). He has run the ball well and has caught nine passes in the last three weeks. He may not be available at this super-cheap price much longer and has a shot to be a great value home this week against the Dolphins.
Julio Jones, ATL vs. KC ($8,700) - Choosing which expensive wide receiver to play each week is a difficult but extremely important decision in DFS. Julio is coming off a down week with only four catches for 35 yards against the Cardinals. After his last two down games (Week 5 and Week 8), Jones was subsequently heavily targeted and posted back-to-back games with more than 110 yards. Jones rarely has two poor games in a row and presents an ideal bounce-back target home this week against the Chiefs. With Odell Beckham Jr, Mike Evans and Antonio Brown likely to be fairly popular, Julio has a chance to sneak under the radar, as fantasy owners will be concerned about his matchup against Marcus Peters. A lower-percentage Julio Jones off a bad week is a perfect time to slot him into your lineup and expect at least 100 yards and a score.
Brandin Cooks, NO vs. DET ($6,400) - I mentioned earlier how bad Russell Wilson was last week, but that paled in comparison to Cooks not only catching zero balls, but receiving zero targets while the Saints dropped 49 points on the Rams. Prior to last week, Cooks had received a minimum of five targets in each game and had an average of 7.5 targets per contest. I love Cooks this week in a bounce back and while the Lions-Saints game will be popular, his disappearing act hurt a lot of owners last weekend and hopefully could keep his percentage down as Michael Thomas is played instead. Cooks killed the Lions last year for 10 catches, 124 yards and a touchdown, and Drew Brees is going to make sure he gets involved this week. At his lowest price of the season by far, he is my favorite receiver play of the week.
DeAndre Hopkins, HOU at GB ($6,000) - Hopkins has severely burned those who drafted him in season-long leagues with his first-round price tag. He has suffered due to the inconsistent play of Brock Osweiler, and after scoring a touchdown in the first two games, Hopkins has managed only a single score in his last nine games. Through all the struggles, Hopkins has continued to be heavily involved in the offense with double-digit targets in four of the last six games. This week, he gets a Packers defense that struggled for a month before playing well last week against the Eagles. In the two games prior to that game, the Packers allowed 446 yards to Tennessee and 515 yards to the Redskins. Hopkins started the season with an $8,800 price on DraftKings and is now at his lowest price of the year. I like the combination of matchup, volume and likely low percentage ownership for Hopkins.
Other Options: Odell Beckham, NYG at PIT ($8,500); Mike Evans, TB at SD ($8,600); Golden Tate, DET at NO ($6,200); Tyrell Williams, SD vs. TB ($6,100); Tyler Boyd, CIN vs. PHI ($4,800); Sterling Shepard, NYG at PIT ($4,900)
Dorial Green-Beckham, PHI at CIN ($3,000) - Green-Beckham's usage has ramped up recently with 18 targets in the last two games. In a full-point PPR format, that volume at a near minimum price presents a huge opportunity to save cap without giving up production. Both Green-Beckham and Marquess Wilson ($4,000) are especially good plays this week at cheap prices.
Travis Kelce, KC at ATL ($4,700) - Kelce has been significantly involved in the Chiefs' passing attack the last five games, averaging more than nine targets per game in that stretch, including a huge 15 targets last week for eight catches and 101 yards. Despite the heavy usage, Kelce is still only the seventh-highest priced tight end at an affordable $4,700. The Chiefs likely will have to score to keep up with the Falcons in a game that features an over/under of 49, and Kelce should be a huge beneficiary of that game flow. It was tough to pick between Kelce and Jimmy Graham, but the extra $800 to use elsewhere was just too valuable.
Other Options: Jimmy Graham, SEA vs. CAR ($5,500); Cameron Brate, TB at SD ($3,600); Coby Fleener, NO vs. DET ($3,500), Vernon Davis, WAS at ARZ ($3,300), if Jordan Reed does not play.
Vance McDonald, SF at CHI ($2,900) - McDonald continues to be very involved in the passing game with Colin Kaepernick at the helm, totaling 32 targets the last five weeks and another 60 yards last week. He is a great punt play at tight end if you need to save cash.
Denver, at JAX ($3,900) - This is a tough week to find a good defenset, maybe because the Browns are on a bye. The Broncos likely will be popular this week, even on the road, with their reputation as an elite defense and facing a struggling Jaguars offense. The Broncos found their pass rush last week against the Chiefs, sacking Alex Smith six times. They are going to get after Blake Bortles, who will give them multiple chances to make plays on balls in the secondary. I see solid sack numbers for the Broncos this week with a couple Jaguar turnovers and will ride the chalk even at the highest price among defenses.
Green Bay, vs. HOU ($2,900) - The Packers have been a very disappointing fantasy defense this season, but they get Brock Osweiler at home this week and that in itself presents a chance for a nice game at a meager price.