In this weekly article, we’ll use the early betting lines from Vegas to take a deeper look at which games to target and avoid for NFL DFS. Implied team totals have positive correlations with fantasy output, especially for quarterbacks. Plus, we’ll highlight some potentially under the radar teams with high implied team totals despite a lower over/under. Note that these lines will probably change over the course of the week, which is why we call it ‘starting’ points.
Buffalo at Arizona, Total 56 points
It appears that the Bills are back, baby! Our top games to target this week feature sky-high totals and the slimmest of margins. As good as the game script looks, there are definitely some preferred ways to play this one. Starting at QB, Josh Allen and Kyler Murray have nearly identical salaries, except on DraftKings, where Allen is $500 cheaper. I prefer Murray at home, where he is averaging 300 passing yards per game and about eight more fantasy points per game than on the road. To balance the cost of Murray, and avoid the coverage of Tre’Davius White, I’m adding Christian Kirk over DeAndre Hopkins this week. Buffalo has also been a bit extra-susceptible to slot receivers and tight ends, making Kirk the perfect fit this week. Hopkins was frustrated last week with good defense on the part of the Miami secondary, and he’s hard to hold down two weeks in a row. I view him as a high-end, low-owned tournament play.
The Cardinals run game is an avoid for me right now. Chase Edmonds’ salary has risen too high for my expectations this week, even if Kenyon Drake is out again. It seems more likely that Drake will be back, and if that is the case, I think he makes for an interesting flier. He’s far less expensive than Edmonds, and if history is any teacher, Arizona will go back to him as the clear lead back when he’s ready.
For Buffalo, you could run the Murray/Kirk stack back with Stefon Diggs or John Brown. I kind of like Brown, for many of the same reasons as Kirk. Arizona’s defensive attention will be focused primarily on Diggs, and Brown is like half the cost of Diggs (you know what I mean). Allen did a good job getting Isaiah McKenzie and Gabriel Davis involved, not to mention Tyler Kroft, but Diggs and Brown are his clear go-tos, with 12 and 11 targets, respectively, against Seattle. Allen is the only running back I’m rostering from the Bills.
If you were saving D/ST for last and they fell in your range, I wouldn’t hate the Cardinals here either. I know the points are a concern, but Allen was sacked seven times last week. Traveling cross-country and put in a similarly high-pressure to score game flow, he could be vulnerable to a couple mistakes the Arizona defense, which is better than Seattle, could capitalize on.
Seattle at LA Rams, Total 55.5 points
Speaking of Seattle, they score the most points in the league and allow the third-most points. They are the best overall fantasy matchup as well as the best in fantasy for QBs and WRs. Welcome to the chalk, Jared Goff, Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods. Yahoo, who normally does a great job of adjusting salary to matchup, even has Goff as the ninth-highest priced QB. He’s affordable everywhere, but I like it best on FanDuel ($7400). This should be a get-right fantasy game for everyone, though I give Seattle a good chance of winning the game. This is a rare case where I’d stack all three of Goff, Kupp and Woods. Kupp is more expensive than Woods on FanDuel and DraftKings, but on Yahoo, Woods is the second-highest priced receiver (see what I mean about matchup pricing?). Tyler Higbee could be the miracle tournament play this week. Outside of his one 3-TD game (his only three scores), he hasn’t been usable at all. This is a scenario where he could burst back onto the Rams offensive scene. If you’re a multi-entry tournament player, consider a Higbee lineup. With a passing matchup like this, and a murky backfield, I’m fading Darrell Henderson, Malcolm Brown and Cam Akers.
The Rams Defense has been good enough that I am surprised that the spread is this narrow. They allow the second-fewest fantasy points to QBs and WRs, as well as overall. They rank fourth in the league with an average of 3.1 sacks per game, and Russell Wilson is averaging three sacks himself per game. It would actually be great for Wilson, DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett (especially Lockett) if Chris Carson was back this weekend and the team recommitted to a more balanced game plan. That seems likely as I write this early in the week. Metcalf is likely to see Jalen Ramsey Sunday, which might mean more opportunity for Lockett. If you’re short on salary and still want a piece of the Seahawks, David Moore or Jacob Hollister are getting enough targets to warrant consideration at their salaries, and Moore is always on the radar for a long TD pass from Wilson.
Editor's Note: Looking for an added edge? Dominate all season long with our DFS Toolkit. Use our Lineup Optimizer to come up with winning lineups for DraftKings, FanDuel, and Yahoo! Click here for more!
Philadelphia at NY Giants, Total 44 points
This game has the lowest total, a designation reserved for the NFC East going back a year or two at least. The Giants are certainly far from great, but they aren’t exactly a fantasy pushover. In fact, Giants D/ST might be their most valuable fantasy asset, with 15 takeaways so far this season (second in the league). That’s probably not fair to Evan Engram, who is a rosterable tight end this weekend despite the low game total. Tight end is too tricky to navigate to let the implied team total dictate every decision.
The same goes for the Eagles side. I think any of Greg Ward, Travis Fulgham and Jalen Reagor are usable in GPP lineups, but I prefer the latter two based on their Week 8 usage. I’m avoiding Dallas Goedert and Miles Sanders, if he makes it back this week, due to my strong preference for other options at their positions. I have nothing against them as players, but here the low game total and competency of the Giants D does impact my thinking. Ditto for Daniel Jones and Carson Wentz. There is simply much more realistic upside elsewhere.
Green Bay vs. Jacksonville, Total 52 points
This is the game from which I will draw my main running backs. I expect Aaron Jones and James Robinson to be heavily rostered for Week 10, with all the justification in the world. The game total is high, and Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams have been cooking the past three weeks, but I think we see the script partially flipped as it is just as easy to run on the Jaguars as it is to pass on them, which was not the case last Thursday vs. San Francisco.
The Jaguars are in a trickier spot to analyze. The Vegas line indicates a playing-from-behind, pass heavy game script, but experience says that the best way to attack the Pack is to run on them. They are giving up the second-most fantasy points to running backs this season. James Robinson remains a great mid-range option on FanDuel, DraftKings and Yahoo for Week 10 lineups. Jake Luton was impressive in his debut, but having Robinson take the pressure off will certainly make it easier on him as a new QB too. I’m fading the Jaguars passing game this week.
New Orleans vs. San Francisco, Total 50 points
The Saints were pretty much flawless Sunday night vs. the Buccaneers, which bodes well for them against another fairly stout defense. I never have a quarrel with the talent of the Saints, but there are just so many mouths to feed. I often like to go with a simple Drew Brees/Alvin Kamara pairing when the Saints are in a great spot. It captures most of the possible scoring plays and Brees is coming off a 4-TD game. He’s priced in the low-second tier for Week 10, although the 49ers haven’t been a formidable pass defense. They have done well to stop the run, but Kamara is no ordinary back. He’s matchup proof and I expect a big day from him. If you’re inclined to run it back, Brandon Aiyuk is the 49ers receiver who I trust the most. Jordan Reed is probably second, but he’s not without risk, as we saw Ross Dwelley out-perform Reed in Week 9.