The main slate on DraftKings includes 12 games this week, and there are plenty of intriguing possibilities to consider at each position and every price point. As always, we’ll kick our research off by taking a look at what the oddsmakers have to say.
Here are this week’s projected high-scoring games for your reference.
- Pittsburgh Steelers @ Cincinnati Bengals, -2.5, 53
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Atlanta Falcons, -3.5, 57.5
- Los Angeles Rams @ Denver Broncos, +7, 52.5
We can expect strong interest in all three games for DFS purposes. That’s especially true for the projected shootout in Atlanta. One other note to keep in mind: the game between the Seattle Seahawks and Oakland Raiders kicks off at 1 PM EST, but that game is actually taking place across the pond in London.
Let’s take a look at some of the top choices by position to keep in mind as you build out your lineups for this week’s games.
Andy Dalton – Cincinnati Bengals ($6.3k)
After five games, the Bengals sit atop the AFC North. The team would be able to put a stamp on that with a victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers, a squad that has struggled to a 2-2-1 record. Andy Dalton has been solid behind center with 12 touchdown passes on the year, but that has been mitigated by seven picks.
All told, he’s averaging 21.6 fantasy points per game per DraftKings scoring, but he had a down week in Week 5 with just 13.92 points. We’ll be looking for him to bounce back in a big way in a contest that has the feel of a big game.
Jameis Winston – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – ($5.8k)
The Buccaneers got their bye week out of the way early, and they return to action with Jameis Winston behind center. After lighting the league on fire with two surprising victories to start the season, the team came back to earth in a big way while dropping two straight.
The week off came at the right time, as Winston got some extra time to get his timing back down with the first team offense. Questions abound as to whether or not he’s the long-term answer for the Buccaneers. For one week at least, we expect the answer to be an emphatic ‘yes’ as he faces off with a defensively-challenged Atlanta Falcons squad.
James Conner – Pittsburgh Steelers ($7.7k)
Top tier running backs are getting pricey on DraftKings, and we certainly understand why. Quite simply, Todd Gurley and company have been flat out producing, and they have become quite popular roster options on a weekly basis as a result. In Gurley’s case, a whopping $10,000 price tag at least moves him from a no brainer option to one that needs to be mulled over.
We could be talked into ponying up that much cash for Gurley if we were sold on the game script, but we’re also fans of saving money where we can to build out more balanced lineups. That’s what we’re doing here with James Conner, who will have a big role in the aforementioned big game with the Steelers.
It sounds like Le’Veon Bell will be back soon, so this could be one of Conner’s last chances to prove he belongs as the future of the Steelers backfield. Here’s a vote that says he’ll make a big statement on Sunday afternoon.
Jordan Howard – Chicago Bears – ($6.5k)
The Bears are off to an outstanding 3-1 start, and the team went into the bye on a high note with a 48-10 thrashing of the Buccaneers. During that points fest – and in the team’s other games – Jordan Howard wasn’t all that involved in the fun. He hasn’t fallen off the map or anything, but he’s simply not being used effectively in the offense.
Perhaps the team used the bye week to fix that obvious kink. While there is of course a possibility that he’s just not a good fit for new head coach Matt Nagy’s offense, the fact remains that Howard has a ton of talent. There’s a role for him here. It’s on the coaches to figure out what that is.
We’ll look for the Bears to figure out how to get Howard more involved this week, and we’ll keep our fingers crossed that we’re catching his bounce back game at a discount.
David Johnson – Arizona Cardinals ($5.9k)
The salary makers at DraftKings don’t think much of David Johnson this year, and we continue to take advantage of the pricing inefficiency. We get it. The Arizona Cardinals are not a good team, and Johnson’s upside is seemingly capped as a result.
That said, he’s still the focal point of the offense, and he gets plenty of targets and touches as a result. Producing on the road against the Minnesota Vikings may seem like too much of an ask, but let’s not forget what happened the last time the hosts were a big favorite in their familiar surroundings. The Buffalo Bills came to town and promptly took ownership of the joint.
We’ll assume the team has learned its lesson and won’t make the same mistake again about taking lesser competition for granted again. That said, Johnson will have plenty of opportunities to produce, and we like him to do just that at an affordable price.
Julio Jones – Atlanta Falcons ($7.9k)
Many around the fantasy sports industry have about had it with Julio Jones. He’s just not scoring touchdowns, and some observers believe that will remain the case for the foreseeable future. While that’s certainly possible, there’s also a chance that they will start coming in bunches when they do.
Even if they don’t, it’s important to keep in perspective what we have in Jones. He’s third in the league in receiving yards with 564, and 11th in receptions with 34. He has been targeted 55 times – tied with Davante Adams and Stefon Diggs for seventh place – and just six players have seen more balls heading in their direction in 2018.
Jones remains the top option in an offense that can produce a ton of points when it’s firing on all cylinders. The Falcons have a tremendous opportunity to do just that against the Buccaneers on Sunday. We’ll take our chances on Jones to produce at an affordable price point.
Robert Woods – Los Angeles Rams ($6.9k)
The Rams had a tough go of things against the Seattle Seahawks, but they were able to escape with a victory in a hard hitting contest. Both Brandin Cooks and Cooper Kupp were lost to concussion during the game, and that puts their status up in the air for this week against the Denver Broncos.
That means it’s time for other pieces of the Rams loaded offense to shine. We can expect Robert Woods to be the top target in the passing game if both are forced to sit out, and he may just lead the team in targets anyway if they return with lighter than normal workloads.
Keep an eye on the weather for this one, as current forecasts call for a frigid day in Denver. Assuming there’s no major weather curveballs thrown in, we like Woods as a solid option at wide receiver.
Desean Jackson – Tampa Bay Buccaneers ($5.9k)
If we go with Winston at QB and look to pair him up with one of his targets, we’ll naturally look towards Mike Evans. However, a closer look at this year’s stats tells us that Desean Jackson isn’t all that far behind in terms of productivity – and he’s doing it on a lot less targets to boot.
Through four games, Evans has been targeted 39 times and produced a line of 29/426/3 with six plays of 20 yards or more. For Jackson, it’s a line of 17/424/3 on 22 targets with seven big plays. Granted, much of Jackson’s production came with Ryan Fitzpatrick behind center, but he’s not going to fall off of a cliff with Winston hurling the rock.
Jackson is a cheaper stacking option with Winston who can deliver a nice return in what’s expected to be a high scoring game against the Falcons.
Keke Coutee – Houston Texans ($4.6k)
Don’t look now, but Texans QB Deshaun Watson has another viable target in the passing team for opponents to worry about. While opponents know full well the damage that Deandre Hopkins and Will Fuller V can do, Keke Coutee has shown them over the past two weeks that they need to expand their horizons defensively.
Coutee has burst onto the scene with 22 targets over the past two games. He has hauled in 17 of them for 160 yards, and he found the end zone on Sunday Night Football against the Dallas Cowboys. While we can’t expect him to fly under the radar for either opposing defenders or DFS purposes any longer, he still makes for a solid option for some salary cap relief.
One note: keep an eye on the injury status of Deshaun Watson. Signs point to him going this week after being banged up against the Cowboys. If that changes and he ends up sitting out, you can look elsewhere for an affordable receiver. At the same price point, Robby Anderson of the New York Jets makes for a fine pivot off of Coutee.
Jordan Reed – Washington Redskins ($5.2k)
If you want to pay up at tight end this week, you can do so without paying an arm and a leg. Rob Gronkowski, Travis Kelce, and Zach Ertz are all not playing on the main slate of games, and that makes the Indianapolis Colts’ Eric Ebron the most expensive player at the position at a price of $5,400.
One notch down on the salary chart, we find Jordan Reed. The Washington Redskins were just taken out to the woodshed on Monday Night Football by the New Orleans Saints, but the squad seems to insist on playing well every other week. That points to this being an ‘on’ week when the Carolina Panthers come to town on Sunday.
QB Alex Smith and the coaching staff need to get the passing attack moving before the season gets too long in the tooth. We’ll look for them to make that happen on Sunday, and for one of the top targets in the passing game to be a big part of the fun.
Cameron Brate – Tampa Bay Buccaneers ($3.7k)
If you’d prefer to save some coin at the position, we can once again look towards the Buccaneers passing attack. Cameron Brate has taken a back seat to O.J. Howard so far – 10 targets for the former versus 17 for the latter – but it looks like he may not have to worry about the competition this week.
Howard suffered an MCL sprain in the Buccaneers last game. He has returned to practice in a brace, but he’s not 100 percent just yet. That may mean another week off, or it could mean he’ll suit up at less than 100 percent. Either way, Brate should benefit from an extra few targets.
Houston Texans ($3.5k)
The Bills are another team that has been tough to figure so far, but perhaps they’re due for a ‘down’ week after a win last time out. Either way, the Texans defense has been a big part of why the club has rattled off two straight wins. We’ll look for the strong play to continue in Sunday’s home tilt.
Dallas Cowboys ($2.3k)
The Cowboys are a mess on offense, but the defense has actually been decent. Perhaps it’s time for the club to lean on its strength. For the Cowboys ot have success this season, it looks like they’ll need to play smash mouth football featuring Ezekiel Elliott and increased intensity on defense. It’s a good week for them to give that a whirl with the Jacksonville Jaguars coming to town.