Patrick Mahomes vs Oakland Raiders
FD: $8,600, DK: $7,400
If I am spending all the way up at quarterback this weekend, it is going to be for Mahomes in an absolute smash spot. I’m not sure that the Chiefs will be able to run the ball extremely well in this game and just 22.8 percent of the touchdowns scored against Oakland this year have been via the run, the sixth-lowest rate in the league. Mahomes has the highest ceiling of any quarterback on the slate, in my opinion. Averaging six deep attempts per game, he hosts an Oakland defense that is allowing a league-worst 9.9 average depth of target, as well as 12.3 yards per completion, the second-worst mark in football. The Raiders are also allowing the most completed air yards in the NFL, as well as the most passing plays of at least 20 yards (55). This has the makings of a 400-yard, four-touchdown game from Mahomes.
Andy Dalton vs New York Jets
FD: $6,000, DK: $4,700
He’ll be fairly popular on DraftKings but how do you get away from Dalton at that price? It may seem gross to use him but Dalton averaging 42.2 pass attempts per game and over 281 passing yards per game before being benched. I expect a lot of pass attempts again here, whether the Bengals fall behind or not, though they easily could given how well the Jets have been playing as of late. New York has been one of the biggest pass funnels in the NFL this season, as 75.6 percent of the yardage surrendered by the Jets defense has come through the air, the second-highest rate in the league. Meanwhile, 73.2 percent of the yardage accumulated by this Bengals offense has been via the pass the eighth-highest rate in football. The Jets are also allowing opposing offenses to score touchdowns on 64.5 percent of their red zone trips this year, the fourth-highest mark in the league.
Also consider: Sam Darnold, Aaron Rodgers, Carson Wentz
Derrick Henry @ Indianapolis Colts
FD: $8,600, DK: $7,600
Locked in. Henry is dominating right now, having rushed for at least 150 yards and two touchdowns in each of his last two games. The Titans continue to run their offense through him, as his 80.4 percent opportunity share is the fourth-highest among all running backs this season. He’s remained very difficult to bring down, leading all backs in yards after contact per attempt (4.09). His 12 carries of at least 15 yards are fourth-most in the league, while he’s averaging 1.85 yards created per carry, which takes into account all yards beyond what was actually blocked, the fourth-best mark. The Colts are allowing touchdowns on 53 percent of all carries from inside the five-yard line against them this year, the second-highest mark on the slate. Henry, meanwhile, has handled 83.3 percent of the Titans carries from that area of the field, the third-highest rate in the league.
Ronald Jones @ Jacksonville Jaguars
FD: $6,200, DK: $5,100
His inconsistent usage keeps him from cash consideration for me, but Jones has plenty of tournament potential here. Since Week 9, Jones has still played 46 percent of the snaps, which easily leads all Tampa Bay running backs, while Barber is at 20 percent. However, Barber is touching the football on 48.3 percent of his snaps during that span, while averaging just over seven touches per game. Barber also saw 11 carries last week, as his presence continues to cap Jones’ upside. Still, Jones looked good again last week, touching the ball 15 times for 67 yards and a touchdown, and now gets an awesome matchup. Jacksonville’s run defense is really struggling right now, surrendering four 100-yard games over the last three weeks. They are now coughing up a league-worst 5.4 yards per carry, while also ranking sixth in the league in missed tackles. Jones is 17th in the league in avoided tackles, despite ranking outside the top-20 in carries.
Also consider: Saquon Barkley, Jonathan Williams, Miles Sanders
Davante Adams @ New York Giants
FD: $8,000, DK: $7,000
Adams is far too cheap on DraftKings since the Packers last played on Sunday night, making him arguably my favorite overall play of the entire slate. Since returning from his toe injury in Week 9, Adams has been targeted on 20.8 percent of his snaps, the second-highest rate among qualified wide receivers. During that three-game span, Adams is averaging 11 targets per game, seeing double-digit targets in all three contests. Rodgers has no trust in any of his other wide receivers, so double-digit looks should be a norm for Adams going forward. Although the Green Bay offense was bottled up last Sunday night, it was nice to see Adams get into the end zone for the first time this season and now gets a much better matchup against a Giants defense that just allowed 131 yards and a touchdown to Allen Robinson last week. New York is also coughing up the second-most fantasy points and third-most touchdowns per game (1.4) to opposing wide receivers on the season and at just $7,000 on DraftKings, Adams is my favorite wide receiver play on the board.
Cooper Kupp @ Arizona Cardinals
FD: $7,800, DK: $7,100
I know, I know. Kupp and the Rams offense have been awful lately. In fact, over the last three weeks, Kupp has totaled just nine catches for 88 yards and zero touchdowns on 17 targets. However, he is still playing seemingly all of the snaps for the Rams and has a very advantageous matchup this week, facing a Cardinals defense that is coughing up the third-most yards after the catch in the NFL. That bodes well for Kupp, who still leads the league in yards after the catch, averaging 4.3 per target. Arizona has also missed the most tackles in football (100), presenting him with plenty of after-the-catch ability against a defense that also allows 27.8 fantasy points per game to the slot, per Pro Football Focus, the most in the league.
Also consider: DJ Chark, DeVante Parker, Auden Tate
Darren Waller @ Kansas City Chiefs
FD: $6,100, DK: $5,500
Waller has fallen off a bit as of late, failing to find the end zone since Week 8, though his floor has been solid, especially in the yardage department. I think we could get back to seeing bigger games starting this week, especially with Hunter Renfrow sidelined. Very quietly, Renfrow has become a big part of this Oakland offense. Over the last four weeks, Renfrow has two end zone targets, four red zone targets and 23 total targets, which actually leads the Raiders. He’s been targeted on 18.3 percent of his snaps during that span, too. Because Waller is sixth among tight ends in yards per target (9.1), fifth in yards per pass route (2.69) and sixth in completed air yards, he doesn’t need to catch seven or eight passes to have a strong fantasy day, especially in a strong matchup. The Chiefs are coughing up the sixth-most fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends this year (11.1), as well as the fifth-most receiving yards (60.5) and second-most targets per game (9.6) to the position. With Renfrow lining up in the slot 73.3 percent of the time, he would operate in the same area of the field as Waller but now that he’s out, the middle of the field could solely belong to the athletic tight end.
Jack Doyle vs Tennessee Titans
FD: $5,000, DK: $3,300
Eric Ebron was placed on injured reserve and requires season-ending surgery on both ankles. This is very noteworthy, as Ebron has played 42 percent of the snaps this season, but has run 211 pass routes compared to Doyle’s 228, despite Doyle playing over 70 percent of the snaps this year. In fact, Ebron had been targeted on 15.9 percent of his snaps this season, the second-highest rate among all tight ends on the year. Ebron has also seen five end zone targets this year, as well as 24 percent of the Colts red zone targets. All of this should open up the door for Doyle to be a more consistent fantasy option, though he is still third among all tight ends in run-blocking snaps (268), while the Colts are calling run 48.4 percent of the time, the fourth-highest rate in football. But a huge reason behind Doyle’s huge run-blocking role was the fact that it was Ebron’s weakness, while someone like Mo Alie-Cox is much better, so we could see Doyle run far more routes going forward.
Also consider: Travis Kelce, Tyler Higbee