This article is part of our DraftKings NFL series.
The first thing that stands out about Sunday's 10-game slate is three massive favorites. The Cardinals, Rams and Buccaneers are expected to dominate; many like to avoid these blowout spots because they don't necessarily go well with game stacks. It isn't mandatory to have a player from the opposite side in your stack, though, and I think it makes more sense in certain situations to just stack the favorite. You wouldn't want to ruin a good lineup by forcing in a questionable play from a big underdog.
Moving on, the Chiefs-Titans game will be the most popular target based on its sky high 57.5-point total. If you choose to target it, make sure the rest of the lineup doesn't include too much chalk. In general, remember to focus on passing-game stacks for GPPs and avoid rostering too many players who project to be popular. The chalky options are rarely that much better, and the leverage afforded by fading them is the No. 1 factor when it comes to winning large-field tournaments. Good Luck!
Note: All prices listed come from DraftKings, but most of the logic can be applied to other sites across the DFS industry. Discussion is limited to players from the "main slate" of games kicking off at 1 p.m., 4:05 p.m. and 4:25 p.m. EDT on Sunday. The strategy below is meant for large-field tournaments, where payouts typically are limited to ~20 percent of lineups, with the vast majority concentrated at the very top.
|43||Carolina Panthers||23||New York Giants||20|
|57.5||Kansas City Chiefs||31||Tennessee Titans||26.5|
|43||New York Jets||18||New England Patriots||25|
|46.5||Cincinnati Bengals||20||Baltimore Ravens||26.5|
|48||Washinton FT||20.25||Green Bay Packers||27.25|
|47.5||Atlanta Falcons||25||Miami Dolphins||22.5|
|48.5||Philadelphia Eagles||22.75||Las Vegas Raiders||25.75|
|50||Detroit Lions||17||Los Angeles Rams||33|
|47||Chicago Bears||17||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||30|
|47||Houston Texans||14.75||Arizona Cardinals||32.35|
These are the players with the best projections relative to their salaries — good plays both for cash games and large-field tournaments. While we don't want our GPP lineups to look like cash-game lineups top to bottom, there's nothing wrong with using a few chalky plays. These players, along with a couple passing-game stacks, tend to form the core that remains fairly consistent throughout my lineups.
- RB Darrell Henderson vs. DET ($6,600)
The Rams have a 33-point implied total, the highest of any team on the slate. The game also features the biggest OL vs. DL mismatch of all 10 matchups. Henderson has been incredibly consistent this season. He has at least 17 touches in every game and has topped 15 fantasy points in each. It was encouraging to see him catch a 25-yard TD last week on a wheel route up the sideline. He has five TDs in five games and should have plenty of opportunities to find the end zone against the struggling Lions.
- WR Calvin Ridley at MIA ($6,600)
Ridley's salary has dropped below $7,000 for this first time this season, likely because he only has one TD and zero 100-yard games. However, he's averaging more than 10 targets per game and the Falcons have a favorable matchup against Dolphins. Miami's top two corners are dealing with injuries, so this should be the perfect spot for Ridley to jumpstart his season.
With the news that Antonio Brown has been ruled out, both Evans and Godwin get a significant bump. Both players were already a bit too cheap for a favorable matchup against the Bears and now they look like two of the top overall plays on the slate.
Other Cash-Game Options
QB Lamar Jackson vs. CIN ($7,400)
QB Jalen Hurts at LV ($6,900)
QB Daniel Jones vs. CAR ($5,400)
QB Justin Fields at TB ($5,300)
RB Derrick Henry vs. KC ($9,200)
RB Leonard Fournette vs. CHI ($6,400)
RB Chuba Hubbard at NYG ($6,100)
RB D'Andre Swift at LAR ($6,000)
RB Darrel Williams at TEN ($5,800)
WR Davante Adams vs. WAS ($8,900)
WR Cooper Kupp vs. DET ($8,400)
WR Mike Evans vs. CHI ($6,500)
WR Robert Woods vs. DET ($6,400)
WR A.J. Brown vs. KC ($6,300)
WR Ja'Marr Chase at BAL ($6,200)
WR Brandin Cooks at ARI ($6,000)
WR Chris Godwin vs. CHI ($5,900)
WR Mecole Hardman at TEN ($4,300)
TE Travis Kelce at TEN ($7,600)
TE Mark Andrews vs. CIN ($6,000)
TE Dallas Goedert at LV ($4,600)
TE Ricky Seals-Jones at GB ($3,700)
D/ST Arizona Cardinals vs. HOU ($3,100)
D/ST New York Giants vs. CAR ($2,500)
D/ST Philadelphia Eagles at LV ($2,300)
Stacks are the centerpiece of any tournament lineup, seeking to take advantage of positive correlations between players. It rarely makes sense to use a quarterback without one or two of his pass catchers, even if the player in question scores a decent portion of his fantasy points with his legs. Ideally, a stack also includes a pass catcher from the other side of the game, hoping to take advantage of a back-and-forth shootout. (Implied team totals are listed in parentheses.)
Kansas City Chiefs (31) at Tennessee Titans (26.5)
This should be a smash spot for the Chiefs. Sunday's matchup against Tennessee has a 57.5-point total, the highest this season. The Titans are on a short week after playing Monday night and they're without their top two cornerbacks. Patrick Mahomes ($8,400) leads the NFL in touchdown passes and leads all QBs in fantasy points. Darrel Williams ($5,800) had 24 touches and two TDs last week filling in for the injured Clyde Edwards-Helaire. He's too cheap for that type of usage and has considerable TD equity in this spot. Tyreek Hill ($8,600) has drawn at least 12 targets three consecutive weeks despite a quad injury. He has the upside to break any slate, and that's especially true in this soft matchup. Mecole Hardman ($4,300) has 17 targets the last two weeks and has topped 60 receiving yards in each game. His salary hasn't really changed and he looks like one of the better values on the slate. Travis Kelce ($7,600) dealt with multiple injures last week but still finished with eight catches and 99 yards. He's still quite affordable too after being priced in the low 8K range through the first four weeks of the season.
This should be a great spot for the Titans as well. Ryan Tannehill ($6,400) goes against a Chiefs defense that's allowed the second-most fantasy points to QBs. Julio Jones has a hamstring injury and is in danger of missing out. I have more interest in A.J. Brown ($6,300) regardless of Julio's status. Brown is cheaper that we're used to seeing and he looked great in the second half of Monday's game, when despite dealing with food poisoning, he caught seven balls for 91 yards. Derrick Henry ($9,200) is the league's best running back and the best from a DFS standpoint too. After Monday's incredible performance, he's now scored at least 34 fantasy points in half of the games this season as he continues to put up massive scores at a high frequency.
- Favorite Stack: QB Mahomes + WR Hardman + WR Brown + TE Kelce/WR Hill
Detroit Lions (17) at Los Angeles Rams (33)
Detroit is in a tough spot; this stack is more about the Rams. However, the Lions do have a few appealing options to run it back with and that's why I chose the Rams over the Bucs. D'Andre Swift ($6,000) is averaging seven targets per game and leads the NFL in fourth quarter receptions. He's good enough to be rostered on his own and definitely makes sense opposite a Rams stack. Amon-Ra St. Brown ($4,100) has drawn at least seven targets in three consecutive games. He could bring some leverage being that he's in the same salary range as the popular Mecole Hardman. T.J. Hockenson ($5,100) caught eight of 11 targets for 74 yards last week. After being popular to start the season, he'll be largely overlooked Sunday.
I'd argue that the Rams have Sunday's most favorable matchup. The game features the biggest OL vs. DL mismatch of all 10 games. That bodes extremely well for Darrell Henderson ($6,600), who I mentioned in the point-per-dollar section is among the top overall value plays on the slate. Matthew Stafford ($7,100) threw four TDs for the second time in four games last week. He's looked great in Sean McVay's offense, and there might be some added motivation for a matchup against his former team. Cooper Kupp ($8,400) ranks as the No. 1 WR in DFS through six weeks. He's drawn double-digit targets in every game this season and has put up 30-plus fantasy points three times already. Robert Woods ($6,400) has been hit or miss, but he's shown big upside when he gets the targets. You could pair him with Kupp or get some leverage by rostering him instead. Van Jefferson ($3,500) is an option for larger-field GPPs. Tyler Higbee ($4,500) won't be overly popular but he has considerable touchdown equity in this spot.
- Favorite Stack: QB Stafford + WR Kupp + WR Woods + RB Swift or TE Hockenson
Other Stacks to Consider
- RB Derrick Henry vs. KC ($9,200)
No running back in the league passes the eye test quite like Derrick Henry. He was unstoppable again Monday as the Titans upset the Bills. It was third time in six games that he's rushed for three TDs and his third time topping 34 fantasy points in that span. His ceiling is massive and he hits it with relative frequency. Sunday's matchup against Kansas City has the highest total on the slate and for the most part, the Chiefs defense hasn't stopped anyone this season.
- WR Davante Adams vs. WAS ($8,900)
Adams is coming off only four catches for 89 yards in last week's win over the Bears. The Packers have a very favorable matchup against a bad Washington defense that's given up big plays in the passing game all season. Adams always seems to bounce back in a big way after down weeks as Rodgers makes a point of getting him the football. While he'll still garner popularity, it won't be as high as usual with Tyreek Hill and Cooper Kupp priced so closely. Hill and Kupp are great options too of course, but I especially like Adams when he's getting a bit overlooked.
Fading the Field
Every week we see at least one or two players who are very popular without the backing of a top point-per-dollar projection. Recency bias is often to blame, but in some cases it even makes sense to fade a player with a strong projection, particularly when there are good alternatives at the same position and price range.
- QB Kyler Murray vs. HOU ($8,500)
Murray is the most expensive QB on the slate. He's put up fewer than 26 fantasy points in four consecutive games. He has a combined seven rushing yards in his last two. Of the three big favorites, the Rams, Bucs and Cardinals, Arizona is the team that's most likely to slow the game down by running the ball in the second half. All considered, it's hard to envision a big ceiling game in this spot without much resistance from the Texans.
The Smash Spot
Players in favorable positions to significantly outperform their salary.
- WR A.J. Brown vs. KC ($6,300)
Brown has so much going for him this week. The Chiefs-Titans matchup has the highest total and a likely game script that projects favorably for the Titans passing game. Julio Jones has an injured hamstring. Even if he plays I expect most of the targets to go to Brown, similar to what we saw in the second half of last week's game against the Bills. Lastly, his salary is cheaper than we're used to seeing and just too cheap for such a great spot in general. He should be about $7,000, so you're getting a significant discount on a player with considerable upside.
The Bargain Bin
QB Derek Carr vs. PHI ($6,000)
QB Matt Ryan at MIA ($5,700)
QB Tua Tagovailoa vs. ATL ($5,500)
QB Mac Jones vs. NYJ ($5,300)
RB Mike Davis at MIA ($5,200)
RB Miles Sanders at LV ($5,100)
WR Marquise Brown vs. CIN ($5,800)
WR DeVonta Smith at LV ($5,400)
WR Tee Higgins at BAL ($4,900)
WR Robby Anderson at NYG ($4,800)
WR Darnell Mooney at TB ($4,600)
WR Rashod Bateman vs. CIN ($3,400)
TE Mike Gesicki vs. ATL ($4,700)
TE Tyler Higbee vs. DET ($4,500)
TE Hunter Henry vs. NYJ ($4,100)
- WR Antonio Brown vs. CHI
With the news that Brown is out, Mike Evans ($6,500) and Chris Godwin ($5,900) become two of the better WR options on the slate. Their salaries were already discounted and the Bucs are in a great spot at home against the Bears.
- RB Saquon Barkley vs. CAR
Barkley was ruled out Friday and that means Devontae Booker ($5,500) is in line for another start. He played 71 percent of the snaps last week and had 16 touches. He won't be very popular and that makes him viable for large-field GPPs but the matchup against Carolina and that game in general is not very appealing from a DFS standpoint.
Nothing to be overly concerned about this week.