In this weekly article, we’ll look at the cheaper options that should return good value to your NFL DFS lineups. The bargain threshold varies by site, and position, but generally we’ll aim for our bargain plays to take up about 8-10 percent of your salary cap, except for quarterbacks, which we’ll allow 11-12 percent. A great tool to find bargains is our DFS projection system, which gives a dollar per fantasy point projection for each player. I refer to it often!
Drew Lock, Denver Broncos at Atlanta ($7200 FD, $5200 DK, $24 Yahoo)
Lock steps into one of the best QB and overall fantasy matchups of the week. He and Noah Fant are likely to be a popular combo in all formats this weekend. The only issue that Denver has struggled to score touchdowns this season, while ranking third in offensive giveaways. Lock made some strides to correct that in Week 8, where he threw for three scores, bringing his total now to four. It was easily his best game of the season, and I’m hoping he can carry that momentum into this sweet matchup. Vegas has a 50-point over/under on this game, and the Falcons are pretty small home favorites, all things considered.
Jake Luton, Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Houston ($6500 FD, $4900 DK, $20 Yahoo)
I’m betting on Luton being the starting QB in Jacksonville this weekend, and with his salary at the minimum, he’s on my tournament radar. He has several quality receiving options and a run game that shouldn’t be ignored by the Houston defense. I love James Robinson this weekend also, but I have to note that the Texans rank eighth in fantasy points allowed to QBs (and fifth overall). This could be a disaster, of course, but it’s not a bad place to start if you’re looking to roster high-end skill players like Dalvin Cook, Travis Kelce, DeAndre Hopkins, DK Metcalf, or Stefon Diggs this weekend.
Le’Veon Bell, Kansas City Chiefs at Carolina ($5500 FD, $5100 DK, $17 Yahoo)
I’m not thrilled with the bargain selection of running backs this week. I was pretty high on the Chiefs run game last week and that turned out to be pretty wrong. Of course, Carolina is still a far better rushing matchup than passing/receiving, and I think Patrick Mahomes made his point pretty clearly last week. I think KC will look to the run game a lot more here. In Week 8 the limited running back touches were divided evenly between Bell and Clyde Edwards-Helaire. I’m still a believer in CEH’s talent, but the salary difference does not appear equal to the opportunity or production difference (which is negligible), so I’m favoring Bell for DFS this week.
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Darnell Mooney, Chicago Bears at Tennessee ($5500 FD, $3900 DK, $14 Yahoo)
Mooney has been quietly carving out a role in this new Bears Offense. I like how, as a rookie, he’s been brought up to speed more slowly than some guys, who create unrealistic follow-up expectations (Chase Claypool and Justin Jefferson come to mind). He’s had a lot of single-digit fantasy points, even in PPR, but finally caught his first touchdown of the season in Week 8, and has seen 6-7 targets in the last two games. Tennessee is one of the best WR matchups in the league – they’ve allowed the third-most fantasy points to the position. Mooney is especially desirable on DraftKings, but playable everywhere at these salaries despite the low game total.
Jordan Akins, Houston Texans at Jacksonville ($4800 FD, $3300 DK, $13 Yahoo)
Akins is technically still questionable, but should be ready to make his return. Prior to getting concussed and hurting his ankle, Akins was putting up good tight end numbers, and as I’m sure you’re aware, those are rather hard to come by lately. Deshaun Watson is the NFL DFS Optimizer's best value QB this week. Given this game features little in the way of defense, boasting one of the several 50-plus point totals, I’m happy taking as many cheap pieces as I can to afford the elite talent elsewhere.
Atlanta Falcons vs. Denver ($3300 FD, $2500 DK, $14 Yahoo)
You obviously can’t take all this advice together, as I noted above that I do like Drew Lock this week. The point of the Falcons’ defense is just that Denver has been a very low-scoring, and somewhat turnover-prone team this season. I hope Lock keeps his momentum, and if he does, you’re not out too much salary on the Atlanta D. If they make a play or two, they probably outscore a bunch of higher priced units. To my way of thinking about D/ST, after the Steelers, it’s about all equal this week.
Also consider: Tennessee Titans D/ST