Week 10 NFL DFS Starting Points: Vegas Lines
You know that targeting the highest scoring games and particularly the teams with the highest implied totals makes sense in fantasy football. This analysis will highlight exactly which situations are the best to take advantage of and which you might want to avoid within those games. We’ll also highlight a couple games to use caution with as well as some less obvious targets. DK=DraftKings, FD=FanDuel.
The high scoring games:
New Orleans at Cincinnati, Total 54.5
The Saints continue to live up to the hype, winning people money week in and week out. Michael Thomas still isn’t the most expensive WR on the slate, and his still insane but now 88.6 percent catch rate shows no sign of slowing down. He and Drew Brees are an every week cash game stack, but it’s worth noting they both get Top 5 fantasy matchups here. Tre’Quan Smith wasn’t amazing last week, but he still caught two of three passes including his third touchdown of the season. At $4600 (DK) and $5600 (FD), he’s very playable in tournaments. Alvin Kamara was terrific again last week, and he and Mark Ingram also benefit from a fantasy-friendly Bengals run defense. Use Ingram in tournaments only after his usage plummeted in Week 9 (where he lost a fumble and failed to score for the third consecutive week). Ben Watson (3-62-1 in Week 9) could be a sneaky TE play in this high scoring game given that the Bengals rank third in fantasy points allowed to TEs (and are one of only six teams allowing more than 10 fantasy points per game to the position).
The Bengals should also enjoy high fantasy usage this weekend. The Saints rank first in fantasy points to opposing receivers, and second to QBs, making Andy Dalton and Tyler Boyd the poorer person’s version of a Brees/Thomas stack. I expect high Joe Mixon usage, and ownership at $8000 (FD) and $7700 (DK). The potential return of Giovani Bernard doesn’t worry me as far as Mixon goes, because the Bengals are without star wideout A.J. Green. Bernard could slot in as a receiver and the Bengals would benefit from 2-RB sets. I’d play Bernard, assuming he progresses through the week and is cleared fully to play Sunday, over someone like Cody Core who’s getting his name thrown around. That Core talk may subside, however, if John Ross is cleared for action. The Bengals provide some nice salary relief in the form of Ross and Bernard, but both need to be monitored closely. I’ll give C.J. Uzomah another chance in this good matchup, but only in tournaments after he put up a zero in Week 8 and is dealing with a sore shoulder.
Washington at Tampa Bay, Total 51.5
Alex Smith and company travel down south for another terrific fantasy matchup. No team surrenders more fantasy points than the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Alex Smith came through decently as a bargain option last week, with over 300 passing yards and a touchdown vs. Atlanta. His salary is up a bit and I’ll be the first to admit I trust him less on the road. He’s also down to few receiving options. Maurice Harris is a screaming bargain on DK -- $3900 ($5900 on FD), coming off a big 10-124-0 game. He’s basically the only healthy body catching passes for Smith, so I do plan on using Harris a lot this weekend against Tampa Bay’s generous pass defense. Adrian Peterson was a big let down against the soft Atlanta run defense, and won’t have an easier time even against the Bucs thanks to several key Washington offensive line injuries. I’m fading AP in cash games. If Chris Thompson played, however, he’d be a lock for me.
On the other side of the ball, Washington has slowly crept into the top 10 for fantasy QB and WR matchups. Having started the season very strong, this Redskins Defense has allowed potent offenses like New Orleans and Atlanta an average of 40 points per game. Ryan Fitzpatrick may not quite be in that league, but he still has some magic…for the same price as Alex Smith (on FD), give me Fitz all day. He had two 100 percent receivers in Week 9, Cameron Brate (3/3), though it was O.J. Howard who hauled in 2 TDs, and Adam Humphries (8-82-2), with his second good week in a row. Humphries will probably headline the bargain article this week. Mike Evans caught 1-of-10 targets and is a prime bounce-back candidate in Week 10. I’m over trusting a bigger role for Chris Godwin given the surprising emergence of Humphries, but the talent he has is undeniable. A GPP play only. As usual, the running game of the Bucs is ever-fadeable.
The low scoring game:
Buffalo at NY Jets, Total 37
Stay away, far away from anyone but the Jets Defense in this one. Despite being terrible on offense, the Bills Defense has had some success in thwarting opposing QBs and WRs, holding them to the third- and fourth-fewest fantasy points so far this season. Aside from games against Minnesota and Chicago, the Jets D/ST has actually been pretty good. They’re pricey, but worth it.
High team totals you might miss:
Miami at Green Bay, Total 47.5
The Dolphins are quietly not a terrible team, though Brock Osweiler’s fantasy value has dropped steadily week to week. The Packers are coming off a tough loss to the Patriots, and now have a losing record on the season (3-4-1) despite Aaron Rodgers’ often laudable play this season. I think the best DFS option in this game is Aaron Jones. He’s clearly the lead back in Green Bay, and Miami is one of the more fantasy-friendly teams to run on, allowing 136.1 rushing yards per game. Davante Adams continues to be Rodgers’ favorite target, but the sideline catches Marquez Valdes-Scantling made Sunday night were memorable to say the least. He’s earned the respect of fans and fantasy players alike. At around $5K, Valdes-Scantling is still very playable in all formats, and won’t command the defensive attention that Adams always does.
The Packers aren’t a concerning defense at all, but Miami is so conservative and there are so many time shares that I have no interest in playing roulette with them. Kenny Stills and Davante Parker, both of whom have been productive previously shared just THREE targets in Week 9. The field conditions weren’t perfect, but still. Danny Amendola might be the value receiver I’d use if I were hell-bent on using a receiver from Miami, but the enthusiasm is quite low.
LA Chargers at Oakland, Total 50.5
If you saw Thursday Night Football last week, it’s easy to imagine what Philip Rivers might be able to accomplish vs. the Raiders. Priced for cash games, but probably low owned enough for tournaments, Rivers should exceed value this weekend. You might be scared of his home/road splits this season, but the strength of opponents has also correlated there. I’m not overly concerned this week. Melvin Gordon, Keenan Allen and one of the Williams should also be great. Which Williams is the question…Mike and Tyrell were nearly identical last week, but Mike W. edges Tyrell W. in red zone targets this season, 6-2. Mike has more targets, Tyrell more catches and yards. Both blow Allen away with five touchdowns apiece to his one. The fact that both sites have Mike priced around $1000 cheaper than Tyrell make him somewhat more appealing in this easy matchup.
You know the risks with Oakland. The Chargers Defense is slowly tightening up, allowing fewer than 20 points in each of the last four games, with 14 sacks and five interceptions in that span. I’m not buying any of them in anything but the most ‘throw caution to the wind’ multi-entry tournament lineup.
Things you don’t need me to tell you:
Seattle at LA Rams, Total 51.5
I’ve got absolutely no problem with any Rams you can fit. The price on Todd Gurley has come down a little and the three receivers are all reasonable. Jared Goff has just been super impressive. His price still isn’t giving enough respect. On the other side of the ball, we saw Drew Brees cut through the Rams Defense, but Russell Wilson hasn’t gotten his passing game quite as together as Brees has. That said, Wilson is one of the steadiest QB options out there, with at least 20 fantasy points in each of his last four games. Mike Davis would be a nice value play if it turns out that Chris Carson and his hip can’t go this week. I’m avoiding the WRs for Seattle, but if you’re keen on using one, David Moore is getting the most targets since the bye week (11).
Arizona at Kansas City, Total 50.5
The Chiefs have shown no sign of letting up this season, so I’m not concerned about the big spread here. Kareem Hunt gets the best matchup in this game, and the second-best for RBs in general. Patrick Mahomes is impossible to argue against, except on the basis of his high salary. Going solo Mahomes or solo Hunt is probably how I’ll approach this one, given that Arizona’s pass defense has been solid.
The Cardinals are still perhaps a mess. Coming out of their bye week, they couldn’t ask for a better test than a high powered Chiefs team that will keep them pushing for four full quarters. The Chiefs Defense has been about four times better at home than away (fantasy points scored) and are a likely target for DFS players this week. That makes Josh Rosen, David Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald and Christian Kirk probable low-owned, high upside targets. They’ve had an extra week to work with the new coaching staff and get healthy. Teams have done very well, fantasy-wise, against Kansas City this year. It’s a definite risk/reward situation for the Cardinals, but their salaries are low enough to mix and match them into tournament lineups.