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DraftKings core players for Week 13

There are a host of great plays this week for daily fantasy. We take you through some of the safest to help build your team’s core.

Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey before their game against the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

When researching DraftKings, I usually end up with a set of core players that end up running through all of my lineups. Typically, they are consistent fantasy producers in good matchups or have value due to an injury. You will likely see them across the fantasy football blogosphere because, well, they’re core plays for a lot of people. We could probably call them chalk plays too, so there is a good reason to lean toward cash games with these types of players, but even in GPPs, I want consistent and high-upside plays, and sometimes my core players might not be fully in the chalk column. Let’s get to it.


Patrick Mahomes ($7,400), Lamar Jackson ($7,000), Aaron Rodgers ($6,500), Jameis Winston ($6,300), Carson Wentz ($5,800), Andy Dalton ($4,700)

Lamar Jackson

Jackson’s price dips a little due to the opponent, but he already put up a big fantasy game on the Patriots at home and has been unstoppable of late. Mahomes is great in a great matchup but doesn’t have quite the upside as Jackson and the wind could be a factor in Kansas City.

Andy Dalton

Dalton is going to be a popular play, as he wasn’t awful fantasy-wise this season before getting benched and he gets a great matchup with a team that has given up some big games to middling talent this season — Gardner Minshew 279/3, Ryan Fitzpatrick 288/3, Daniel Jones 308/4, Dwayne Haskins 214/2. There is some concern for wind in Cincinnati on Sunday, so check closer to game-time. If winds are above 20 mph, I’d shy away from Dalton.

Running Backs

Christian McCaffrey ($10,500), Derrick Henry ($7,600), Le’Veon Bell ($7,200), Josh Jacobs ($6,900), Miles Sanders ($5,400), Jonathan Williams ($5,300), Ronald Jones ($5,100), LeSean McCoy ($4,800), Darrell Williams ($4,400)

Christian McCaffrey

I do not love this week for running backs, so I’m going to do what I can to get McCaffrey on my team. He’s faced some tough matchups this year and put up big numbers consistently, but this week he gets a matchup where he should coast. Washington ranks ninth-worst in allowing fantasy points to running backs and McCaffrey, well, he’s been so far ahead of the field that he has no competition.

LeSean McCoy

With high winds, I expect even Patrick Mahomes to have some trouble throwing deep, so we should see more work underneath to McCoy through the air and on the ground with Damien Williams out. Of course, if McCoy fumbles, Darrell Williams probably gets a big chunk of work, but it’s the risky I’m willing to take at such a reasonable price.

Le’Veon Bell

Bell has topped 15 DK points in four straight games, as his receiving ability has kept his floor high, but his rushing work hasn’t been very productive. Thankfully he gets all the goalline work, which has given him two touchdowns in the last four games. This week he gets a weak Bengals defense, which allows the fourth-most fantasy points and the third-most total yards to running backs.

Wide Receivers

Cooper Kupp ($7,100), Davante Adams ($7,000), D.J. Moore ($6,800), D.J. Chark ($6,600), Devante Parker ($5,700), Jamison Crowder ($5,600), Tyler Boyd ($5,500), Robert Woods ($5,500), Tyrell Williams ($5,400), Dede Westbrook ($5,00), Sterling Shepard ($4,900), Robby Anderson ($4,800), Auden Tate ($3,800)

Sterling Shepard

The Giants will be without Golden Tate and Evan Engram, which should give Shepard a load of targets against the Packers. The good news is that he’ll play out of the slot with Tate out, where he is at his best, and in a game that could have some nasty weather conditions, he should get plenty of work underneath.

Cooper Kupp

Jared Goff has been awful of late, but when playing weak pass defenses, he still has been able to put up good fantasy points. This week he gets a Cardinals defense that gives up huge fantasy numbers to opposing passing games, especially slot receivers. Kupp’s price is pretty high for his recent production, but I see this game hitting the over and both teams putting up fantasy points worth of consideration.

Devante Parker

Parker has been too consistent to ignore, especially in a good matchup against the Eagles. His price has risen, but it’s still in the value range when looking at his high floor each week for cash games.

Tight Ends

Travis Kelce ($7,200), Darren Waller ($5,500), Ryan Griffin ($4,300), Jack Doyle ($3,300), Tyler Higbee ($2,500)

Tyler Higbee

Higbee is dirt cheap, Gerald Everett is out, and Higbee caught 5-of-6 targets last week, playing ahead of Everett before his injury. You know how the Cardinals absolutely rot at defending tight ends, ranking last in fantasy points allowed by a wide margin, so I’m going to take this discount and run with it.


Panthers ($3,800), Eagles ($3,600), Packers ($3,400), Chargers ($3,100), Ravens ($2,800), Chiefs ($2,700)


The Ravens have been playing great defense since the return of Jimmy Smith and the acquisition of Marcus Peters. The 49ers are good, but Jimmy Garoppolo isn’t perfect, and there’s a good chance that Lamar Jackson gets his team out to an early lead and pushes Garoppolo to throw in a game with rain in the forecast.