DFS Player Pool Week 10
Double digits hit hard this week, with several fantasy relevant teams on bye. For the second week in a row, the top DFS player has a six-figure salary, and the main slate features just 10 games. Luckily, there are several good matchups to stack up and lots of interesting value popping up. There are two games with 50+ point totals and several games that look to provide heavily tilted game scripts to leverage, so even with pricing climbing for top plays, building should be fun this week. Lots of interesting plays up and down the range of each position will make for some interesting hindsight analysis on Sunday night. Enough stalling, on to the DFS player pool, Week 10 edition.
DFS Player Pool Week 10
Patrick Mahomes, $7,000, vs. TEN
Just watching Mahomes on the sidelines the last few weeks, it’s obvious how much he wants to be playing. Season-long owners must have been cringing seeing him jumping around and being very involved with some of the celebrations the Chiefs have had with Matt Moore starting. With reports on Wednesday showing him as a full practice participant, it seems like an inevitability that he starts Sunday. If he plays, then I don’t expect there to be any issues using him in any fantasy format.
Tennessee has produced decent results on the season against opposing QBs, but they have only faced ONE top 10 QB, Jameis Winston. In the last three weeks, they’ve given up two weekly top 10 finishes, to Winston and Philip Rivers, and the other guy was Kyle Allen. With Malcolm Butler going on the IR on Tuesday, the secondary will be down a starter in a game where they will need all the help they can get. His resume speaks for itself, and having a rested Mahomes against a defense that just put a starting CB (Malcolm Butler) on IR is a scary thought. Considering that this game will feature the full receiving group with Mahomes is even worse.
Drew Brees, $6,700, vs. ATL
So, the second oldest starting QB in the league suffers a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his thumb, misses just 6 weeks, then comes back and puts up 28.92 points? Any ideas of rust or bringing him back in slowly were quickly washed away against Arizona. A 3 TD and 373 yard game later, and it didn’t seem like Brees missed any time. He has once again proven that he is one of the best to play the position and is safe to play as usual for DFS.
Now, after a bye week to heal, even more, comes the 2nd most QB-friendly defense at home. The Falcons are a disaster on defense. They have allowed a top 10 QB finish 4 out of the last 5 weeks and allow the second-highest TD% and opposing QB rating. Honestly, you couldn’t pick a better matchup for him coming out of the bye. In 27 career games against Atlanta, Brees averages 304.6 yards per game and just under 2 TDs. His floor is as safe as possible, and the ceiling is exactly what you would expect from Brees.
Kyler Murray, $6,500, @ TB
For all of his talents and physical skills, Murray has still been subject to the same inconsistencies most young QBs face. After a career day in Week 6, Murray’s fantasy output came crashing back down. In Weeks 7 and 8 on the road, against New York and New Orleans respectively, Murray totaled 17.06 points. To complete the roller coaster, he followed those duds up by scoring 23+ against the hottest defense in his conference. On a Thursday.
So now, Murray has a great matchup lined up against a defense allowing the 4th most points to opposing QBs. There is a wide range of possibilities for Murray in this game, but given the Tampa Bay defenses’ pass funnel tendencies a solid passing day seems likely. Given the high likelihood this game turns into a shootout, Murray has an excellent ceiling this week.
Ryan Tannehill, $5,100, vs. KC
The early returns have been Ryan Tannehill 2.0. Out from under the watch of Adam Gase, who is currently busy torpedoing a different young passer, Tannehill has been a step above a game manager in his last three starts. In his first loss as the Titans’ starter, Tannehill set new season highs in pass attempts, yards, and, unfortunately, interceptions. It was the best defense he’s seen and it was on the road, so some of the struggles can be forgiven. The Chiefs are not a great defense and more than half the QBs they have faced turned in a top 10 day.
This week, the game script looks to be negative for the Titans, with a healthy Kansas City Chiefs offense rolling into Tennessee. For this price, having a competent player looking at 30+ passing attempts against a middle of the road pass defense is worth a shot. Once Tannehill’s rushing ability is factored in, he becomes an even more interesting, cheap play. Last week was the first time he’s utilized his legs as a part of his offensive arsenal, but it has always been a part of his identity as a player.
Christian McCaffrey, $10,500, @GB
So the top fantasy player hits a 5-digit salary and what does he do? He goes 4X ROI, naturally. CMC gets a slight salary bump this week but has an even better defensive matchup. Green Bay has been operating as a run funnel for most of the season and is the fifth most fantasy friendly defense for RBs. The Packers have given up the 3rd most rushing yards to RBs and the second most TDs (Carolina is actually first). This isn’t rocket science; CMC is the top RB on the slate by points scored and has the best matchup of the top-priced RBs. He also doesn’t have anyone taking volume away from him unlike some of the other top backs. Squeezing in McCaffrey can be limiting, but there is enough value down at other positions to make this worth it.
Marlon Mack, $7,000, vs. MIA
The Colts win the “Playing the Dolphins” lottery this week and Marlon Mack is set to be one of the biggest beneficiaries. Indianapolis has the 7th most team rushing attempts in the league with Mack totaling more by himself than the rest of the team combined. There is no doubt who the workhorse is on this team. On the season, the only thing that has slowed Mack down in a major way was being down early and for most of the game against the Oakland Raiders in Week 4. Bad game script should not be a problem for him this week.
Miami is bad at almost everything defensively. They have been solid vs. TEs but that more to do with who they have played than anything. Against RBs, though, they are very generous. Miami’s defense has allowed the most rushing yards to RBs and the fourth-most points per game. They are 13th in receiving yards allowed to RBs, but that production profile fits Mack to a tee. He gains his yardage on the ground (he hasn’t topped 16 yards receiving yet this season). Jacoby Brissett is expected back for this game, but even if he is a late scratch, Brian Hoyer starting would likely mean even more reliance on the run game. Mack is a very solid bet to have 20+ carries this week, and against Miami, that could be enough for a top 5 day.
Derrick Henry, $6,500, vs. KC
In addition to his quarterback, Henry offers a good chance for above price production this week. Henry is another workhorse back who dominates touches in his backfield. Looking at the matchups, Tennessee would be best served to hold the ball as long as they can against the Chiefs. Luckily, that strategy aligns nicely with the Titans’ strength and KC’s weakness. Heading into the week, KC has allowed the second-most rushing and receiving yards to RBs and the second-most points per game. Henry just has his second-best game of the season and first 20+ point day since the season opener.
While Henry won’t torch defenses through the air, he has set a new career-high for receiving yards and is only 4 receptions away from establishing a career-high for that too. It is likely this game ends bad, but Tennessee can keep it close long enough to get solid value from Henry this week.
David Montgomery, $5,300, vs. DET
Finally, it seems like the Chicago Bears have accepted their fate and are taking the ball out of the hands of Mitch Trubisky. A week after setting new career highs in carries and yards, Week 9 started rough for Montgomery. With the Eagles up by as much as 19, Montgomery began to come alive. Starting the Bears’ first drive of the second half with just 3 yards rushing and 6 yards receiving, he finished with a respectable 76 total yards and 2 TDs.
He now has 50 combined touches the last two weeks and has scored 20+ points in both games. He is definitely trending up. His increased role comes with great timing too, as the Detroit Lions, a.k.a the most fantasy friendly RB defense in the league comes for a visit. Chicago would do well to continue to feed Montgomery while also simultaneously reducing Trubisky’s exposure.
Ronald Jones II, $4,300, vs. ARI
Jones is the cheapest starting RB that should receive real lineup consideration. His best quality is his salary, as $4,300 allows for some of the top plays elsewhere this week. That’s not to say that he is without value beyond that, though. Jones finally made coach Bruce Arians acknowledge what everyone already knows: that Jones, NOT Peyton Barber, is the more explosive and productive starting option for the team. Now looking at a starter’s workload, Jones should hit value, or very close to it, with ease. Arizona has been a decent rush defense, but with the volume of plays they produce utilizing their air-raid offense can help offset that.
Michael Thomas, $8,300, vs. ATL
This season rostering Thomas has been better than putting your money in the bank. His ROI has hit 3X or better in half his games, and even his lowest scoring week managed to be a 2X return.
His floor has been high enough to still drag teams to the cash line, and he has been almost matchup proof. Missing Drew Brees, Alvin Kamara, Ted Ginn, or really any consistent secondary receiving threat hasn’t been able to slow him down. It’s almost unfair to throw him against the reeling Falcons. Atlanta allows the 3rd most points per game to WRs, and are tied for second in the league in WR TDs. A home date with the full allotment of Saints offensive skill players is a formula for success for Thomas and DFS players able to roster him.
Cooper Kupp, $7,300, @ PIT
Possibly the biggest value on the slate, Kupp offers some incredible upside facing a cake matchup. This season, Pittsburgh has been destroyed by receivers from the slot and is allowing the most points per game in the league from there. Robert Woods is still viable enough to keep top cover, CB Joe Haden, outside and away from Kupp. The Steelers don’t utilize shadow coverage anyway, making this a very safe matchup.
Kupp is a monster for the Rams and will have less top tier competition than usual for targets with Brandin Cooks out again. There is a fair bit of uncertainty in this game, given that James Connor is out for Pittsburgh and Goff has traditionally been shaky on the road. But, Kupp’s home/road splits this season are still excellent and even his road average would be greater than 3X at this price point.
Christian Kirk, $5,200, @ TB
Three weeks back from brief, injury-related absence and his bye week, Kirk is an interesting boom or bust option. In Week 8, Kirk had his second-best game of the season with 17.8 points. Unfortunately, he followed that up with his worst game of the season, even if it was against an excellent San Francisco defense. No one will mistake the Tampa Bay defense for the 49ers. The Buccaneers have been very generous to receivers, allowing the most total points per game to the position, and that includes the slot position. Opposing slot WRs have scored the third-most points per game against Tampa. Given the aforementioned high total in this game, Kirk should see plenty of targets in this game.
Devante Parker, $4,500, @ IND
Watching Miami go full tank for the majority of the year (only to be outdone by a lifeless New York Jets team) has obscured some hidden fantasy value. The WR duo of Preston Williams and Devante Parker had been functioning as a nice, streaming alternative. Now that Williams is out with a torn ACL, Parker will become the focal point of the passing offense. He already had put together a quiet streak of 5 straight games with double-digit points, and now is a double-digit, road underdog.
The Colts have been an okay pass defense, but their zone scheme offers room to maneuver. With QB Ryan Fitzpatrick behind center, we know there will be no hesitation to take shots anytime, anywhere. Parker’s ceiling might be limited, but for a low price plugin, he offers a very nice floor. That makes him an excellent pairing with more expensive options and opens up lots of other roster possibilities.
With the pricing of the other skill positions this week, the ideal roster construction necessitates paying down, either at WR or TE. This isn’t anything new, but with the way the matchups lined up this week, there is a nice chunk of TEs at lower price points. So, for this week only, the normal player pool format will be skipped. Instead, this is a listing of the bargain plays at the most mercurial DFS position of the year.
Gerald Everett, $4,500, @ PIT
The absence of Brandin Cooks could lead to more TE usage this week against the Steelers. Two of Everett’s best days this season came in two of the weeks that Cooks had his lowest snap counts (Weeks 5 and 7). Everett has a nice matchup here as Pittsburgh has given up the 9th most points per game to TEs.
T.J. Hockenson, $3,800, @ CHI
Chicago is pretty vulnerable to the TE position, allowing the 3rd most points per game there. Most of the production has been spread amongst several players on each team. But big days can happen too; just last week Zach Ertz was TE1. Detroit has struggled to run the ball with Kerryon Johnson out, so look for the Lions to pass a bunch here.
Greg Olsen, $3,600, @ GB
The Packers have been a good defense this season, but RB and TE have been the two ways to beat them. If they sell out to contain CMC, Olsen stands to benefit. In recent weeks Hunter Henry, Travis Kelce, and Darren Waller all scored 15+ points against them.
Mike Gesicki, $3,100, @ IND
The weapons are limited for Miami. As mentioned above, Preston Williams is done for the year. Running back has been a disaster all year. New starter, Mark Walton, who replaced the traded Kenyan Drake, is out as well. Kalen Ballage has been an emergency only option, so it would make sense for the Dolphins to look to the passing offense to pick up the slack. Given the zone scheme the Colts prefer, Gesicki should feast in the underneath areas. And fresh off the best game of his career, a 6/6 day for 95 yards, he might have just defaulted to Fitzpatrick’s second-best option on offense. This is risky but will allow for a lot of other chalk.