Welcome to the weekly tournament plays article for Sunday’s main DraftKings fantasy football slate. I’m going to be focusing purely on high-upside plays and stacks that are likely to be lower-owned in the largest tournaments on the slate. There will be a lot of bust potential found here most weeks too, but big GPPs are generally not won by making the popular moves.
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Baker Mayfield ($6,100) – Jarvis Landry ($6,900) – Rashard Higgins ($4,800) – Denzel Mims ($3,600)
Mayfield is on a serious roll right now. The former number one overall pick has thrown for 10 TDs vs. just one INT over his last four games and comes in with a passer rating average of 119.35 over that same span. The fear in rostering him this week is that the Browns get out in front early and simply salt this game away with their stud running backs. That fear should help to drive his ownership down in GPPs and may also be unfounded. The Jets are allowing the third-most DKFP per game to opposing QBs this year and have also allowed the second-most passing TDs in the league. Despite getting pummeled most weeks, this Jets team sets up as a funnel defense which can be attacked without malice by good precision passers, which is what Baker has become of late.
Emphasizing the Browns’ passing game in your stacks will mean that you’ll get to take advantage of the potential lower ownership that we should see on their WRs. Jarvis Landry has seen a massive surge in usage of late and he comes in averaging 9.75 targets over his last four games. The Jets have given up seven TDs to WRs over their last five games and the second-most receptions on the year. Landry should go up against slot corner Javelin Guidry here, who has allowed an 80% completion rate to opposing WRs thus far, the ninth-worst mark in the league. Given that both Donovan Peoples-Jones ($3,700) and Higgins are so cheap, double stacking here also looks optimal. Peoples-Jones is coming on, but Higgins has been the asserted number two of late and has 24 targets over his last three games—while averaging 17.3 DKFP.
The passing game on the other side also has a bit of intrigue as Cleveland’s secondary can be prone to lapses and has allowed four TDs to the position over their last four games. It is a bit of a roll of the dice on who to take from the Jets as both Breshad Perriman ($3,800) and Mims have big play ability, play almost every snap and have similar targeting and conversion rates with Sam Darnold ($5,000) at QB. Mims’ athletic potential/promise would have me lean towards him here, although if his foot injury turns out to be serious, coming back with Perriman (who would be likely to see more targets) would be fine. Both are solid, cheap GPP plays with high ceilings here and could be in a spot to see more targets than usual given how efficient the Browns’ offense has been of late.
Just Missed: Patrick Mahomes ($8,500) – MeCole Hardman ($3,100) – Travis Kelce ($8,500)
Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys ($7,000)
Despite a price increase of $1,100, there’s absolutely zero reason to stop playing Hurts right now. He’s now rushed the ball 29 times in his first two games for 169 yards (and a TD) and even blew up in the passing game last week against a weak Arizona secondary, going for 338 yards and three TDs. That kind of usage as a rusher, and efficiency as a passer, can only be found with a couple of QBs (Kyler Murray, Lamar Jackson) and they are both typically priced much higher than this, week-in-week-out. The Cowboys represent Hurts’ best matchup yet as they were shredded on the ground by the last two highly mobile QBs they faced, allowing rushing TDs and over 60 rushing yards to both Murray and Jackson earlier in the season.
Dallas also remains one of the faster-paced teams in the league, as does Philly, and both teams rank inside the top 10 in pace of play this year. A similar style of game to the one we saw in Arizona/Philly play last week could be on tap here and the Cowboys have ceded 28 or more points in four of their last five games. Let the price increase suck out the people who want to pay down at QB, it will only ensure lower ownership on Hurts in a great spot.
Just Missed: Justin Herbert ($7,400)
David Johnson, Houston Texans vs. Cincinnati Bengals ($6,100)
Don’t ask me why the Texans took 15 weeks before they decided to start using David Johnson as a receiver, but they did. Prior to his 13-target, 11-reception performance in Week 15 against the Colts, Johnson had not seen more than four targets in a game with Deshaun Watson ($7,600) at QB. After seeing DJ rack up 11 receptions for 103 yards, you have to figure Watson and the Texans’ coaches won’t bother trying to put the genie back in the bottle here. The Bengals are a decent matchup for opposing RBs as they still have a weak LB crew and have allowed TDs to the RB position in four of their last five games. Johnson should see a big workload with Duke Johnson (neck) missing early practices this week and likely doubtful for this game. There’s risk that last week was just a blip but the upside here for one of the better receiving backs in NFL history has been uncorked in Houston and it is definitely worth chasing in GPPs for at least one week.
Le’Veon Bell, Kansas City Chiefs vs. Atlanta Falcons ($5,800)
While there’s no guarantee that Bell just steps into the lead role and takes 25+ touches in this spot, it is likely he’ll end up leading the Chiefs’ RBs in playing time, and touches, and that gives him a ton of value. Bell likely had his best game as a Chief last week, against a tough Saints front, producing 76 yards and a TD on 16 touches, and he now has a matchup against Atlanta that could allow him to show off his best attributes, which is as a receiver out of the backfield. Atlanta has always been terrible at guarding against RBs in the receiving game under Dan Quinn and that narrative has held true this year (even with Quinn now gone) as they have allowed the fifth-most receptions to RBs this season—and four receiving TDs to RBs as well. Ultimately this is a bit of a common sense play. The Chiefs have a 32.25 implied team total here and we can roster their lead RB—against a suspect defense—for under $6K. Even if he pushes for top-10 ownership numbers in GPPs, Bell represents good mid-tier upside and value this week on DraftKings.
Just Missed: Melvin Gordon ($5,600)
Tyler Lockett, Seattle Seahawks vs. Los Angeles Rams ($6,500)
Lockett has gone mostly quiet over the second half of the season. The Seattle slot receiver has just one TD since Week 8 and also hasn’t eclipsed 70 yards receiving since his Week 7, 200-yard outburst against Arizona. Despite the negatives here, Lockett’s seen the same number of targets over the last three games as his wingman DK Metcalf ($7,800) and could be in line for some better usage against the Rams’ star-studded defense. Jalen Ramsey was able to hold Metcalf to just two catches on four targets in their Week 10 win over Seattle, but Lockett fared better going for 5 receptions on nine targets. Lockett’s got the more attackable matchup for Seattle and has had success against the Rams in the past as he’s scored TDs against them in three of Seattle’s last five matchups with L.A. The Rams allow just 3.8 YPC against (second-best mark in the league) so Seattle should be looking to work Lockett as much as possible in the short-intermediate game. He’s likely to be lowly-owned but the spot suggests his ceiling is actually quite good for GPPs.
Amari Cooper, Dallas Cowboys vs. Philadelphia Eagles ($5,700)
I mentioned above under the Hurts profile how good a game script this Philly/Dallas matchup could be for fantasy purposes and that may lead to one of the Cowboys’ receivers having a big day. While Cooper was relatively quiet last week (two receptions on three targets) his chances of spiking in Week 16 against a weak Philly secondary seems quite good. The Eagles have had all kinds of issues guarding against WR1s of late, and over the last four games, opposing WR1s (DK Metcalf, Davante Adams, Michael Thomas and DeAndre Hopkins) have gone for an average of 9.25 receptions, 112 yards and a TD. Despite having a solid pass rush, the Eagles have also been kind to opposing QBs, allowing opponent QBs to post a 102.2 passer rating this season (the 7th worst mark in the league). If Cooper goes back to his usual targeting—he averaged eight between Week 11 and Week 13—he’s got a shot at a monster day here and should be available at lower ownership.
Just Missed: Cooper Kupp ($6,600)
Logan Thomas, Washington Football Team vs. Carolina Panthers ($4,900)
Thomas has really come on for Washington over the last few games, to the point where he’s now almost operating as their number one receiver. The former college QB has seen 31 targets over his last three games and turned those into 28 catches (90% conversion rate), 242 yards and a TD. Thomas has seen good usage from both of Washington’s QBs, but it was Dwayne Haskins ($5,200) who peppered him with 15 targets in the Football Team’s loss last week and Haskins is the favorite to start Week 16 given that Alex Smith (calf) didn’t practice on Wednesday. There’s also the matchup against the Panthers which is atrociously good. Carolina has ceded the fifth-most receptions to opposing TEs this year and has given up four TDs to TEs in their last five games. We found out quickly that Haskins’ comfort level with Thomas is high and with such a good matchup it seems likely Washington chooses to go to him in this must-win spot. The targeting increase alone means that he’s still underpriced for DFS too, even after seeing his DraftKings price rise $1,600 over the past two weeks.
Just Missed: Tyler Eifert ($3,000)
Seattle Seahawks ($2,600) vs. Los Angeles Rams
Don’t look now but Seattle is actually starting to play some defense. Over their last six games the Seahawks have only allowed 14.2 points per game and have also limited opposing QBs to just six passing TDs—so one passing TD per game. This is huge progression for a unit who was giving up 400+ yards passing per game early in the year. The Hawks have also ramped up their pressure, recording 15 sacks as a unit over their last four games. As a DFS play, they have been far better at home (7.7 DKFP per game, vs. 5.3 on the road) and they have now averaged 9.75 DKFP over their last four games overall.
The matchup with the Rams isn’t that scary either. Jared Goff ($5,900) has turned the ball over five times (four INTs and one fumble) in the last four games—against just four passing TDs—and they’ll also be without RB Cam Akers (ankle) this week too. If the Jets’ putrid secondary can limit this team to 20 points, the Hawks can likely do better, especially with the division crown on the line. Considering how they’ve upped their level of play of late, this looks like a great time to take a shot on them as a cheap GPP play given the price tag and negative sentiment of this matchup, which will likely keep ownership low.
Just missed: Philadelphia Eagles ($2,900)
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is wavegoodbye) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.
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