Each week I search for the cheapest viable options for your DFS lineups at every position. The plays are geared toward cash games unless otherwise indicated and I do try to use a price ceiling of $7000/$6000 for QB, $6000/$5000 for RB/WR, and $5500/$4500 (FD/DK) for TE insomuch as possible.
Kyle Allen, Carolina Panthers vs. Atlanta ($7200 FD, $5300 DK)
Allen is slightly over threshold on FanDuel, but not so much that I could ignore this spot. Although Drew Brees fell short of my fantasy dreams against Atlanta in Week 10, the Falcons remain one of the worst pass defenses in the league and most QBs take advantage (fifth-most fantasy points to QB). Allen is coming off his first 300-plus passing yard game of the season, and seems to be comfortable with all four of his primary receivers (Christian McCaffrey, Greg Olsen, D.J. Moore, and Curtis Samuel) as all had between 7-10 targets. The Panthers are home favorites in one of the highest point total games of the week, always a good indicator for your DFS QB.
Ryan Finley, Cincinnati Bengals vs. Oakland ($6300 FD, $5000 DK)
Finley debuted against the Ravens, and actually wasn’t horrific. I mean the final numbers weren’t what you want, exactly (167 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, 1 FL), but he attempted 30 passes and used his legs when necessary, adding 22 yards on the ground. Things should go a bit easier for him in Oakland, given that the Raiders are a much softer pass offense (allowing the third-most fantasy points to QBs) and fourth-most to WRs. We saw that Finley’s favorite target was Tyler Boyd, followed by Auden Tate, Tyler Eifert, and Stanley Morgan Jr. Eifert caught a touchdown pass, and Tate was the only other player to see a red zone target. I think they’ll keep pushing Finley and I think he’ll improve this week.
Kalen Ballage, Miami Dolphins vs. Buffalo ($5300 FD, $4300 DK)
The Dolphins are thin at running back, so while Ballage didn’t do as much as one would hope with the 20 carries he saw in Week 10, there is still some optimism around that usage for this price. It’s incredibly hard to throw successfully on the Bills, even on the road, yet they are in the upper half of the league in fantasy points allowed to running backs. I think Ballage can pay off his salary as the Dolphins, who were not keen on tanking at the beginning of the year, try to keep some momentum going at home.
Brian Hill, Atlanta Falcons at Carolina ($5900 FD, $4800 DK)
Playing Hill will of course depend on what the news is on Devonta Freeman. Right now, he looks doubtful to suit up versus Carolina. In Week 10, Hill rushed 20 times for 61 yards and caught one of two targets for a touchdown after Freeman left the game. It was not a bad day on the ground vs. a New Orleans defense that has been one of the best against the run. Should Hill get a starter’s workload, against the fifth-best RB matchup Panthers, I expect him to not only be one of the highest owned players of the week, but one of the best values.
Calvin Ridley, Atlanta Falcons at Carolina ($5500 both)
The truth is that I love Julio Jones this week, but he’s too expensive to include here, and Ridley is seeing enough targets to be productive at this price. In what could be a shootout game script for both teams, even secondary receivers can have value. I’d use Ridley as a WR3 or as part of a Falcons or game stack.
Terry McLaurin, Washington Redskins vs. NY Jets ($5500 FD, $5600 DK)
McLaurin is a name that has fallen off people’s lips the past three weeks as the Redskins have faced some of the best pass defenses in the league lately. That ends this weekend and I think we see a nice McLaurin bounce-back. Dwayne Haskins will make his first home start and the offense will add dimension with Darrius Guice. The best way to beat the Jets is still via the air, however, and they’re the No. 2 matchup for WRs. You could also consider Paul Richardson ($5000 FD, $3800 DK), as the WR2 on this team if your salary cap dictates saving even more (especially on DK).
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Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers vs. Atlanta ($5100 FD, $3900 DK)
Tight end is not my favorite position this weekend, as several go-to guys are playing in island games, dealing with injuries, or facing the best defense in the league. Those are conditions where I think it pays to save, and Olsen has looked as good as several more expensive TEs lately. He nearly hit the 100-yard mark in Week 10, and as noted above, is in a very friendly game situation again this week. He’s my safe TE bargain.
Irv Smith, Jr., Minnesota Vikings vs. Denver ($4700 FD, $3100 DK)
You could also go full risk punt at the position, particularly if Adam Thielen remains out. Smith Jr. was a highly touted prospect when the Vikings drafted him earlier this year, and like most TEs, has taken some time to acclimate. Once he does, he’s expected to be a dynamic game changer more in the pattern of Austin Hooper or Travis Kelce than Kyle Rudolph. He caught five of six targets in Week 10, consistent with his overall 83 percent catch rate this season and his growing target share. Expect Minnesota to think outside the box a bit when trying to pass through Denver’s third-best pass defense (in terms of fantasy points allowed to QBs and WRs).
Washington Redskins vs. NY Jets ($4000 FD, $2800 DK)
The Bills and Raiders top the salary charts this week but the Jets are an equally good matchup for opposing defenses. The Jets allow the QB to be sacked more per game than any other, and rank second in sack percentage (per TeamRankings).Moreover, they are tied for fifth in the league with 17 turnovers and score the third-fewest points per game. Washington’s D/ST has looked good at various points this season, especially in the first half of games, though they aren’t especially opportunistic with only eight picks and three fumble recoveries. For the price, however, they are unlikely to crush your otherwise solid lineup.