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Starting Points NFL DFS Week 10

Dalvin Cook

Dalvin Cook

Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

In this weekly article, we’ll use the early betting lines from Vegas to take a deeper look at which games to target and avoid for NFL DFS. Implied team totals have positive correlations with fantasy output, especially for quarterbacks. Plus, we’ll highlight some potentially under the radar teams with high implied team totals despite a lower over/under. Note that these lines will probably change over the course of the week, which is why we call it ‘starting’ points.

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Minnesota at LA Chargers, Total 52

Chargers minus-2.5

A high point total with a nice, tight spread is just what we like to see here. Though neither of these teams fall at the offensive or defensive extremes, both have been very good for fantasy this season. The Chargers’ Justin Herbert is the fourth-best fantasy player so far this season, averaging 23 fantasy points per game, and his chief weapons, Mike Williams, Keenan Allen and Austin Ekeler are all averaging at least 12 half-PPR fantasy points per game (Ekeler leads with over 18 FPPG). These four make a formidable core stack, and not just on the field. It will cost you. You could get some exposure to this game through the tight ends, as both Donald Parham Jr. and Jared Cook were involved in the scoring in Week 9’s victory over Philadelphia. Wide receivers get the best DvP, and my favorite GPP play of the week has to be Williams coming off three straight duds.

The Chargers are known as a great rushing matchup, so expect Dalvin Cook to be a popular play this week. All of Cook’s best games this season have come on the road, and he’s coming off a 100-yard rushing game with three catches on three targets. Consider him a cash game lock, and appreciate his discounted salary on all the sites. Personally, I’m considering Kirk Cousins, Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson as more limited exposure or if-the-price-is-right plays. It’s possible there is enough scoring to make everyone there viable, and Thielen is the touchdown king in Minnesota (he has a three-game streak going now), but I’m not forcing anyone but Cook into my lineup. Tyler Conklin is a cheaper TE option to consider in the plus matchup and positive game script environment.

Atlanta at Dallas, Total 54.5

Cowboys minus-9.5

Vegas likes the Cowboys to bounce back big time this weekend after the horrible home show vs. Denver in Week 9. The only way to go is up. Expect the expensive skill players to go relatively under-rostered based on the recency effect of Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb and Ezekiel Elliott all underperforming last week. Hopefully people will be high on Malik Turner, right? No, we don’t recommend Turner as a DFS play this week. Going back to Cooper or Lamb with Dak Prescott, who managed to pull his fantasy day out of the toilet in the closing minutes of the fourth quarter, is a fine strategy. The Falcons rank fifth in fantasy points allowed to opposing QBs. The Falcons have been right in every game since Week 3, including more daunting defenses like the Saints and Panthers the last two weeks. I think this stays more competitive than the current spread indicates, making it worthwhile to target both teams in a potential shootout.

As noted, the Falcons have gotten creative and found ways to keep games close. The fact that they’ve been able to unlock Cordarrelle Patterson after all these years is justification enough to be considering them. While Patterson is now quite pricey, he is averaging about 15 half-PPR fantasy points per game since the bye. I’d prefer to spend up on Cook, but have no issue with Patterson this week, especially on DraftKings ($6600, PPR). Where Dallas has been really weak is the opposing pass game, giving up the sixth-most fantasy points to QB and eighth-most to WRs. Russell Gage was outshined by Olamide Zaccheaus scoring two touchdowns on three targets, but remains the WR to roster with a team-high eight targets vs. New Orleans. Tajae Sharpe was a potential bargain play last week, but received only one target. He’s looking like more risk than reward. Kyle Pitts is the most expensive TE on the slate with most of the usual suspects playing in island games this week. He had some ugly drops last week, but still was heavily involved in the game plan. If you can afford him, use him. As usual with these high scoring games, I’m staying away from either defense.

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Detroit at Pittsburgh, Total 43

Steelers minus-9

I’m not sure if I will ever be able to roster Ben Roethlisberger again after seeing the clip of him lumbering around like Frankenstein with ice bags taped to every bendable body part last week. Not that Big Ben has made any of my lineups this season. The only Steeler we want is Najee Harris. With a run-heavy game script on tap against the second-best rushing matchup in the league, Harris is a no-brainer. The only glitch is that he’s the most expensive player on FanDuel (tie – Jonathan Taylor, $9400). So maybe he’s hard to squeeze in there, but he’s practically a bargain on DraftKings ($7900) and fair on Yahoo ($31). I’m not convinced you have to pay top dollar for the Steelers’ D/ST on DraftKings or FanDuel, but they are pretty cheap on Yahoo ($16) and my top choice on that site.


Tampa Bay at Washington, Total 51.5

Bucs minus-9.5

Tom Brady and the Bucs are back off the bye and big road favorites in Washington. The Football Team also had the week off, and both squads should be almost fully healthy. Antonio Brown is likely going to miss at least one more week, but Rob Gronkowski’s status is unknown until he practices (or doesn’t) this week. Still, you can make the early week plan for Brady, Chris Godwin and Mike Evans to anchor cash game lineups and feel good about it. Washington is not only the league’s best QB matchup, they are second to WR and second in overall fantasy points allowed. If you’re only using one Bucs receiver, or hedging in GPP lineups, price might be your guide. Evans is cheaper than Godwin on FanDuel and DraftKings, but $3 more on Yahoo.

Buffalo at NY Jets, Total 47.5

Bills minus-13

Wow were the Bills a let-down in Florida last week. I’d say this is a great time to have a short memory but I won’t feel confident paying up for Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs this weekend. The Jets allow more real points per game and fantasy points per game than any other team in the league, but they are getting beat on the group. I could see using Allen alone in tournament lineups, where his high salary and recent dud will keep him rostered at a very low level, or taking a chance on a cheap Devin Singletary if Zach Moss fails to clear the concussion protocol. The Bills’ D/ST is also pricey, but depending who starts at QB for the Jets, could be the play of the week. The turnover ratio is heavily in their favor, as is the point spread. With the Bills boasting the fewest real points allowed and the worst DvP to QB, RB and WR, there are no Jets I’m considering rostering this week.

Indianapolis vs. Jacksonville, Total 47.5

Colts minus-10.5

Jacksonville looked pretty scrappy against the Bills, but I don’t think they can show up like that on defense twice in a row, and on the road to boot. I credit the Josh Allen name symmetry that the announcers couldn’t get enough of for providing the extra motivation. Carson Wentz and Michael Pittman have been making each other look really good lately, despite the fact that Jonathan Taylor literally steals the show every week. Any of these three make for solid cash game plays, and Zach Pascal is getting enough targets and has enough end zone presence to consider as a bargain option. Pascal has only one fewer red zone target than Pittman, though he hasn’t converted any since Week 2. The Colts D/ST is also in play here. They lead the league in takeaways (20), while Jacksonville is tied for sixth-most giveaways with 14.