MadPicks will be bringing you the top Daily Fantasy options each week through the regular season and into the playoffs. We have a small sample size of which offenses look good to target and others we should avoid until further notice. As for who should be in your lineups, here are the top value plays of the week, with an eye toward low ownership and high upside.
Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys vs. Los Angeles Rams ($6,200 DK, $7,600 FD)
Prescott has endured a brutal three-game stretch to start the season, facing three of the best secondaries in the league, two on the road, in his first three games. The Rams’ defense has not been nearly as effective since its Week 1 thrashing of hapless Scott Tolzien. Even with his brutal schedule, Prescott has been 3X’ing his still relatively-modest salary. This is a spot where he can finally let it all hang out to his wide receivers. Prescott has 5X upside in this matchup.
Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals vs. San Francisco 49ers ($6,100 DK, $7,400 FD)
Reports of Palmer’s demise may have been premature. Like Prescott on Monday night, Palmer had his best game of the season in Week 3 and now he gets a defense that got torched by Jared Goff last week. With David Johnson out, Palmer has consecutive 300-yard passing games. Put down a three-peat on Sunday.
Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns ($5,800 DK, $7,100 FD)
DeShaun Watson, Houston Texans vs. Tennessee Titans ($5,100 DK, $7,300 FD)
Watson looked like a poised and polished veteran last week in Foxboro. This week, he draws a defense handing out touchdowns to QBs like Halloween in September. The Titans have surrendered nine total touchdowns to QBs (7 pass, 2 rush), and Watson at home should be brimming with confidence. At 5,100, he is a steal this week.
Discount Darling: Case Keenum, Minnesota Vikings vs. Detroit Lions ($5,000 DK, $6,800 FD)
Keenum exploded last week for 369 yards and three touchdowns against the Buccaneers. Can he repeat that performance this week at home against the Lions? Probably not. But at 5K, how much of that production to you really need to have the kind of result you want from a QB this cheap?
Avoid: Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens ($6,000 DK, $7,800 FD)
Big Ben on the road against a division foe coming off an embarrassing loss? His price on DraftKings reflects his formidable challenge. This is the week to fade.
Also consider: Tom Brady, New England Patriots; Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions; Trevor Siemian, Denver Broncos
Joe Mixon, Bengals at Browns ($5,700 DK, $5,600 FD)
Mixon was the clear beneficiary of the new regime in Cincinnati, touching the ball 21 times against the Packers after combining for 21 touches in his first two games combined. The Browns are somewhat improved against the run this season, but they are still beatable, and if Mixon’s usage increases again, he has a chance to crush his salary.
C.J. Anderson, Denver Broncos vs. Oakland Raiders ($5,600 DK, $6,900 FD)
The Broncos turned in a stinker last week in Buffalo and Anderson took a huge step back, rushing just eight times after getting 45 carries over the first two games. The game script should flip back in Anderson’s favor this week at home against the Raiders, so take advantage of Anderson’s dip in price (and likely ownership) and enjoy his bounce-back effort.
Dalvin Cook, Vikings vs. Lions ($6,500 DK, $7,500 FD)
The Vikings feasted all day against the Buccaneers last Sunday and Cook was right in the thick of it, carrying the ball 27 times for 97 yards — just missing the 100-yard bonus on DraftKings—and a touchdown, while also catching five passes for 72 yards. This is what the Vikings expected when they drafted Cook, and he’s poised for a repeat performance against the Lions, who allowed 106 yards to Devonta Freeman last week.
Javorius Allen, Ravens vs. Steelers ($4,700 DK, $5,500 FD)
The Steelers have really struggled against pass-catching running backs through three weeks — the Bears’ backs combined for 12 receptions last week. Not many owners will be looking at Allen after Baltimore fell apart in London last week. Consider that game an aberration and expect Allen to be very busy in the passing game this week.
Discount Darling: Duke Johnson Jr., Browns vs. Bengals ($4,500 DK, $5,900 FD)
While Isaiah Crowell continues to underwhelm with the Browns rarely playing with a lead, Johnson has excelled as the pass-catching back. Johnson already has 18 targets through three games, catching 11 passes for 160 yards. Last week, he threw in a rushing touchdown. Johnson is the back to roll with in this emerging offense behind impressive rookie DeShone Kizer.
Avoid: Melvin Gordon, Los Angeles Chargers vs Philadelphia Eagles ($7,000 DK, $7,500 FD)
Gordon practiced in full on Friday, but he’s just not fulfilling his promise in this offense, topping 20 DK points just once through three games. Of course you play him in season-long leagues, but until he shows more bang for his buck in DFS, he’s a fade.
Also consider: LeSean McCoy, Buffalo Bills; Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys; Leonard Fournette, Jacksonville Jaguars
A.J. Green, Bengals at Browns ($8,600 DK, $8,000 FD)
As expected with the change at offensive coordinator, Green went off last week, catching 10 of 13 targets for 111 yards and a touchdown, by far his best game of the young season. Finally unleashed, Green gets a chance to terrorize the Browns’ secondary that has been roasted by Antonio Brown and T.Y. Hilton this season.
Chris Hogan, New England Patriots vs. Carolina Panthers ($6,000 DK, $6,900 FD)
From the moment Julian Edelman went down in the preseason with his knee injury, you just knew that Hogan was going to “next-man-up” his way into greatness. Tom Brady has had great chemistry with Hogan going back to last season and now it’s on full display. The Panthers are a shell of themselves right now, and while Brandin Cooks is also a strong play, the savings with Hogan for similar production is hard to pass up.
Adam Thielen, Vikings vs. Lions ($5,800 DK, $6,400 FD)
The Lions struggle to defend slot/No. 2 receivers. Thielen is now QB-proof, having put together a huge game last week with Case Keenum throwing him the ball. It should all come together this week, including a visit to the end zone.
DeSean Jackson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. New York Giants ($5,200 DK, $6,700 FD)
With Xavier Rhodes shadowing Mike Evans last week, Jackson scored his first touchdown with the Bucs. It’s the same script this weekend with Janoris Jenkins drawing Evans and Jackson getting to run relatively free against a team he has tormented throughout his career.
Discount Darling: Marquis Lee, Jacksonville Jaguars at New York Jets ($4,500 DK, $6,200 FD)
Lee has out-targeted teammate Allen Hurns 19-10 the past two weeks, with Allen Robinson out for the year. Depsite that disparity, Lee is $200 cheaper than Hurns. The Jags are looking surprisingly legit in the early going, and a date with the Jets could lead to a Lee explosion.
Avoid: Devin Funchess, Panthers at Patriots ($5,300 DK, $5,400 FD)
Why turn to a receiver who isn’t taking advantage of Greg Olsen’s absence when you can save $100 and roll with DJax? Why, indeed?
Also consider: Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals; Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys; Rishard Matthews, Tennessee Titans
Zach Ertz, Eagles at Chargers ($6,300 DK, $6,900 FD)
Ertz continues to crush with back-to-back 10-target games. This week, the Eagles draw one of the worst defenses against the tight end position, while Alshon Jeffrey must deal with Casey Heyward. This is a no-brainer spot for Ertz, and the only reason to fade is his expected sky-high ownership. Still, if you can make it work with the salary, Ertz is as sure a thing as you can get at the position this week.
Cameron Brate, Buccaneers vs. Giants ($3,800 DK, $5,300 FD)
But if you are going to fade Ertz, consider that Brate draws a very similar scenario, with the Giants’ defensive strength against wide receivers, but their weakness against tight ends. Brate, who found the end zone last week, saves you $2,500 in salary and offers 3-4X production.
Charles Clay, Buffalo Bills at Atlanta Falcons ($3,700 DK, $5,300 FD)
The Falcons have yet to allow a touchdown to a tight end, but Clay will challenge that as the defacto No. 1 passing option in the lineup. Clay has two touchdowns in three games, so the odds are in his favor.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Jets vs. Jaguars ($3,000 DK, $4,800 FD)
ASJ returned from his two-game suspension and had a nice showing with five receptions last week. Josh McCown loves throwing to his tight ends, and Seferian-Jenkins almost by default becomes the most talented receiver on the team.
Discount Darling: Jonnu Smith, Titans at Texans ($2,600 DK, $4,500 FD)
Delanie Walker is still the man here, but Smith does have a touchdown in each of the past two games. If he hits paydirt again, he’s going to pay off his salary.
Avoid: Jason Witten, Cowboys vs. Rams ($5,000 DK, $5,700 FD)
Witten came back to earth on Monday and has to deal with a defense that’s had success against tight ends. This is not like Ertz, where the salary is worth the expected production.
Also consider: Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots; Delanie Walker, Tennessee Titans; Ryan Griffin, Houston Texans
Arizona Cardinals ($3,200 DK, $ FD)
Baltimore Ravens ($3,000 DK, $ FD)
Jacksonville Jaguars ($3,600 DK, $ FD)
Denver Broncos ($3,300 DK, $ FD)
Discount Darling: Detroit Lions ($2,700 DK, $ FD)
Avoid: Tennessee Titans ($ DK, $ FD)