This article is part of our DraftKings NFL series.
Sunday's 11-game slate includes a number of high-total games, including three at 49.5 or above, highlighted by the 51.5 for Texans at Ravens. The upper tier of the pricing scale continues to get pushed up, so fantasy players will have hard decisions to make in terms of whether they want to rely on unreliable value plays to ensure they lock in expensive floors or head down the middle and hope they don't get burned by high-priced chalk.
Christian McCaffrey, CAR vs. ATL ($10,500): Another week of McCaffrey at $10,500, the highest regular-season salary we've gotten on DraftKings, but it's another week where you could argue McCaffrey is underpriced. That isn't to say he's easy to fit in, but only that his floor and ceiling combination should make him at least $1,000 more; it just so happens that there is value elsewhere, including at the running back position, that fitting McCaffrey into cash-game lineups shouldn't be overly difficult. He "disappointed" with only 29.1 fantasy points last week against the Packers, rushing 20 times for 108 yards and a touchdown while catching six of seven targets for 33 receiving yards, a total that dropped his per-game average to 32.3 for the season. The Falcons have been decent against the run and pretty awful against the pass, but McCaffrey's work in the passing game makes that DvP consideration moot. There are other elite running backs on the slate, including Ezekiel Elliott ($9,000) against the Lions, who have allowed the second-most fantasy points per game to running backs this season, and Dalvin Cook ($8,900) at home against the Broncos, but neither has McCaffrey's floor. Elliott continues to dominate the backfield touches for the Cowboys, while Cook does the same for the Vikings, so don't be surprised if people in cash games bypass McCaffrey for these two (or at least one) because they feel like they can utilize the $1,000+ in salary better.
Brian Hill, ATL at CAR ($4,800): Hill figures to take on a significant role Sunday in place of the injured Devonta Freeman (foot), and he'll do so against a Panthers defense that's allowed the third-most fantasy points per game to running backs this season. Carolina has been particularly awful against the run of late, allowing multiple touchdowns to running backs in four straight games after allowing five total in their first five games. Hill hasn't been much of a pass catcher, but Freeman's absence should allow him to get a few more opportunities, and his low price with the matchup should make him very popular in cash games and GPPs.
Josh Jacobs, OAK vs. CIN ($6,900): There are are few solid options between McCaffrey and Hill, including Le'Veon Bell ($7,200) against Washington, Tevin Coleman ($6,100) against the Cardinals if Matt Breida (ankle) doesn't play, Marlon Mack ($6,400) against Jacksonville and even James White ($5,400) against Philadelphia, but Jacobs' significant role for the Raiders in a game they are double-digit favorites in should put him above the rest. Only the Lions and Panthers have allowed more fantasy points per game to running backs this season among teams on the slate, and Jacobs has rushed for more than 100 yards and/or scored at least one touchdown in four of his last five games. Meanwhile, Cincinnati has given up at least one rushing touchdown in every game this season, and while Jalen Richard ($4,200) will still get some pass-catching work, Jacobs still figures to get significant touches with Oakland favored by 11.5.
Lamar Jackson, BAL vs. HOU ($7,700): Jackson is the most expensive quarterback on the slate, but his rushing yards continue to give him a higher floor than any other player at the position. You certainly have to pay up for that floor Sunday, but it comes against a Texans defense that's allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks this season, including at last three passing touchdowns in four of their past five. They haven't faced a running quarterback like Jackson, but he's shown enough times that he can beat teams with his arm.
Dak Prescott, DAL at DET ($6,700): Prescott comes in a full $1,000 less than Jackson and actually has just as good a matchup against a Lions defense that's allowed multiple passing touchdowns in five consecutive games. That certainly fits well with how Prescott has been playing, throwing for three touchdowns in each of his past two. Consideration for Prescott means you also have to look at Drew Brees ($6,900), who was awful in last week's loss to the Falcons but now faces a Buccaneers defense that has allowed the second-most fantasy points per game to quarterbacks this season, in part because they have allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to running backs. Brees had an ideal matchup last week and didn't capitalize, and Prescott's recent success could have more people looking his way, even if they're basically even and have solid stack partners. The Bucs' success against the run helps Brees, but rostering Prescott means you're relying on the Cowboys not to over-focus on getting the ball to Elliott, even if they're capable of producing well at the same time.
Dwayne Haskins, WAS vs. NYJ ($4,800): No, really, hear me out. Admittedly, Haskins has been pretty awful in his limited time, and his first start last week against Buffalo didn't change that, completing 15 of 22 passes for 144 yards with no touchdowns. This pick hardly comes without risk, but Haskins' low price and matchup against a Jets defense that has allowed at least three passing touchdowns in each of the past three weeks has to be considered, especially when the three quarterbacks who accomplished those feats were Gardner Minshew (three TDs), Ryan Fitzpatrick (three) and Daniel Jones (four), respectively. Only Jones was able to eclipse 300 yards, but Haskins really shouldn't have to reach that level to make good on his salary, one that could certainly make stacking his game easy.
Michael Thomas, NO at TB ($9,900): Thomas' price has finally risen to a level that really makes us question whether we can spend up on him or go elsewhere. He was a very popular cash-game play last week against the Falcons for an $8,300 salary, eventually finishing with 13 catches on 14 targets for 152 yards, his fourth game in his last five with more than 25.0 fantasy points, including more than 30.0 in each of his past two. The matchup against the Bucs couldn't be better, as Tampa Bay does an excellent job against the run but struggles significantly against the pass, as we saw in Week 5 when Thomas caught 11 of 13 targets for 182 yards and two touchdowns for a season-high 44.2 fantasy points. Rostering McCaffrey and one of the upper-tier quarterbacks makes it tough to fill out a reasonable roster with Thomas, and even paying down to Elliott or Cook doesn't make things significantly easier. There are other high-priced receivers in good spots, including Amari Cooper ($7,700) against Detroit, Julian Edelman ($7,600) against the Eagles and Julio Jones ($7,500) against Carolina, but none of them have been nearly as good as Thomas, and their matchups aren't as good. Then again, the salary savings makes them much closer in terms of whether they fit into the optimal build.
D.J. Moore, CAR vs. ATL ($5,900): It's still a bit shocking that the Falcons actually beat the Saints in New Orleans last week, but we can't let that make us think they aren't a secondary worth attacking. Yes, they've held wide receivers out of the end zone in three of their last four games, but Moore's target volume and reasonable price should keep him in play. He's had at least nine passes thrown his way in each of the past four games, eclipsing 100 yards in each of the past two, and despite the improvements lately, the Falcons have still allowed the seventh-most fantasy points per game to wide receivers this season. Teammate Curtis Samuel ($5,300) scored a touchdown in three of his last four, though with just one game over that span with more than eight targets, it's tough to see him being a better play than Moore at only a $600 salary difference. Moore's salary range could be popular for those paying up at running back, which should have people also thinking about D.J. Chark ($6,200), Courtland Sutton ($6,000), Jamison Crowder ($5,700), Terry McLaurin ($5,600) and even Mohamed Sanu ($5,100).
Deebo Samuel, SF vs. ARI ($4,000): The recent injuries to tight end George Kittle (knee) and wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders (ribs) means there could be plenty of available targets Sunday. Samuel has stepped up of late with 18 targets in the past two games, including last Monday's eight catches on 11 targets for 112 yards. It's tough to rely on any San Francisco pass catchers, but Samuel is surely trending in the right direction and has a solid matchup against a Cardinals defense that isn't one that needs to be avoided. If Patrick Peterson makes you nervous even though he's dealing with a calf injury, there are other receivers in the price range like Demaryius Thomas ($3,800) of the Jets, though it might be better to pay up a little more for Kenny Stills ($4,600) if Will Fuller (hamstring) is ruled out again.
Ross Dwelley, SF vs. ARI ($3,400): Dwelley is another beneficiary of Kittle's expected absence, and while he didn't do much in last Monday's game against Seattle, catching three of seven targets for 24 yards, he now has the best possible matchup for a tight end this season. As much as people like to joke about the flowchart, how can we possibly ignore that the Cardinals have allowed the most receptions (68), yards (857) and touchdowns (10) to tight ends? Here's a breakdown of what they've allowed to the position this season:
So, do you want to try to keep this going at only $3,400? Fade at your own risk in cash games.
Mark Andrews, BAL vs. HOU ($6,100): I actually don't think Andrews is a good play for his price this week, but he's arguably the best of the upper-tier options, unless you want to believe Darren Waller ($5,500) comes back to life after getting just seven receptions in the past three games combined. He is the obvious stack partner if you're playing Jackson at quarterback, but there really aren't great pay-up tight ends this week, which will only push more ownership toward Dwelley or maybe Jared Cook ($4,400) and Greg Olsen ($3,900) if you don't trust a backup 49ers' tight end.
Saints at TB ($2,900): The Saints had their worst game of the season last week at home against Atlanta, but they'll have an opportunity to bounce back against Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston, who has thrown the most interceptions (14), taken the most sacks (34) and fumbled the fourth-most times (11) among quarterbacks this season. The price is pretty fair given the potential upside if Winston turns the ball over multiple times, something he's done three times in the past four games. If this is too much, the Dolphins ($2,500) are at home against Bills quarterbacks Josh Allen, who has fumbled more than any other quarterback this season, while the Raiders ($3,300) defense has been sacking the quarterback more of late and faces the terrible Bengals offense.