MadPicks.com 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.
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers at Dallas Cowboys ($8,100 DK, $9,500 FD)
I generally don’t list the highest-priced players in these articles, as we’re always on the hunt for low-owned value plays. But in this case (and below at running back), it’s impossible to ignore the potential for a monster game from Rodgers against a Dallas defense that has been hurt by far-lesser quarterbacks this season. Rodgers lit up the Cowboys in the playoffs last year, and if Davante Adams gets cleared, he’ll have all his passing weapons to work with. Ownership is not an issue here, so if you can make your lineup work with his high salary, you probably won’t be disappointed.
Dak Prescott, Cowboys vs. Packers ($6,800 DK, $7,700 FD)
Prescott offers similar upside to Rodgers at a nice discount, and has tremendous — albeit brief — history against Green Bay, accounting for six touchdowns over the two games last season. Prescott has posted two strong games in a row after the Denver debacle, and in this shootout, he should be near the top of the QB points leaders.
Eli Manning, New York Giants vs. Los Angeles Chargers ($6,100 DK, $7,000 FD)
Manning has survived those two dreadful games to start the season and is putting up fantasy points like a pinball machine the past two weeks. Having Odell Beckham (relatively) healthy and in the lineup has made all the difference, as Brandon Marshall and Evan Engram have settled into their roles and are flourishing. The Chargers, having come east and playing in an early game only enhances the Giants’ chances of putting up points. Don’t sleep on Eli.
Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals at Philadelphia Eagles (5$9,00 DK, $7,200 FD)
The Cardinals are now a pass-first offense with David Johnson sidelined, and the Eagles are a defense vulnerable to the pass. With John Brown back on the field and Andre Ellington playing the DJ role as a pass-catcher out of the backfield. Palmer has weapons all over the field and he is utilizing them. The Arizona receivers should be able to shred this secondary, and Palmer will be the benefactor.
Discount Darling Jay Cutler, Miami Dolphins vs. Tennessee Titans ($5,200 DK, $6,700 FD)
The Titans have been absolutely dreadful against the pass, allowing a league-high eight touchdowns to wide receivers. Cutler is never someone you want to rely on, but playing at home for the first time this season and having locked in on DeVante Parker and Jarvis Landry, Cutler is at a great price to three times his salary and has the upside for more if the Titans continue to play matador defense.
Avoid: Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers at Detroit Lions ($6,500 DK, $7,800 FD)
The Lions are not the Patriots on defense. Last week was probably a fluke, and Newton should struggle in this spot against a defense that is super stingy against opposing quarterbacks.
Also consider: Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals; Brian Hoyer, San Francisco 49ers; Josh McCown, New York Jets.
Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Jacksonville Jaguars ($9,500 DK, $9,500 FD)
The salary is very high, and the ownership probably will be also, but this is one of those spots where a 40-point explosion is a very real possibility against a defense that sells out to stop the pass and gets gashed on the ground. Bell dropped 37.6 DK points on Baltimore last week and has clearly found his stride. Fade at your own risk.
Jay Ajayi, Dolphins vs. Titans ($6,600 DK, $7,300 FD)
Ajayi has not done much the past two weeks to warrant much love, but he was taken off the injury report on Friday and this is a game where the Dolphins should be playing with a lead, especially if Marcus Mariota sits out. If Ajayi gets 20-plus touches as the Dolphins grind out a lead, a 100-yard day is well within reach.
Melvin Gordon, Chargers at Giants ($6,000 DK, $7,100 FD)
Gordon, like Ajayi, has not done much since Week 1, and like Ajayi, his price has dropped considerably. That is to our advantage this week, as the Chargers will likely rely heavily on Gordon against a defense loaded in the secondary but ordinary in the front seven.
Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals vs. Buffalo Bills ($5,500 DK, $5,900 FD)
It’s coming. I know it’s coming. Mixon is going to have his breakout game, and we’re going to wish we were in on it when it happens. The Bills have given up big chunks of yards to running backs the past two weeks, so Mixon can make some noise, especially if the coaching staff commits to him. At his price, I’m willing to roll the dice that he finds the end zone.
Discount Darling Andre Ellington, Cardinals at Eagles ($4,600 DK, $5,400 FD)
Ellington is soaking up passing targets as though David Johnson never left. He’s been targeted 22 times the past two weeks and had 14 receptions for 145 yards to show for it. On a full PPR site like DraftKings, Ellington is almost criminally underpriced for the production he brings.
Avoid: Marshawn Lynch, Oakland Raiders vs. Baltimore Ravens ($5,100 DK, $6,100 FD)
Game-script favors a big usage day for the lead back on a team trying to hide its backup QB, but Lynch is not that back anymore and the Raiders have not shown much inclination to let Lynch go Beast Mode, limiting his carries the past few weeks. The Ravens are not quite the defense they were two weeks ago, but Lynch just doesn’t seem equipped to take advantage of a great spot on paper.
Also consider: Carlos Hyde, San Francisco 49ers; Bilal Powell, New York Jets; Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers.
T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis Colts vs. San Francisco 49ers ($6,000 DK, $7,300 FD)
Hilton has crushed in his two home games this season, where he always seems to produce at a higher level, as opposed to on the road. The 49ers have been giving up oodles of production to opposing wide receivers, and Hilton will probably earn extra targets this week with Jack Doyle ruled out. It’s a great spot at a great price.
DeVante Parker, Dolphins vs. Titans ($6,600 DK, $6,100 FD)
As noted above, the Titans are just getting decimated by wide receivers, allowing a league-high eight touchdowns. Parker has the most upside here, but you could also drop down $800 for teammate Jarvis Landry and probably get a similar excellent result. There may never be a better time to go all in with the Miami offense than Sunday.
Dez Bryant, Cowboys vs. Packers ($6,500 DK, $7,800 FD)
Bryant has been living in cornerback jail all season, facing the likes of Janoris Jackson, Aqib Talib and Patrick Peterson over the first four weeks. Well, Bryant is going free this Sunday and the results could be phenomenal. Bryant is likely to be shadowed by a raw rookie and the Packers as a defensive unit have not been good against the pass all season. Bryant is going to feel like he’s open on every play, and he quite well might be. He has two-touchdown upside at a minimum.
Randall Cobb, Packers at Cowboys ($6,700 DK, $6,100 FD)
Jordy Nelson is always in play, and he should eat in this mega-shootout. But don’t sleep on Cobb in the slot against a defense that’s been burned plenty this season by slot receivers (Larry Fitzgerald, Cooper Kupp). Cobb gives you a nice discount on Nelson with just as much upside.
Discount Darling Jaron Brown, Cardinals at Eagles ($4,500 DK, $4,500 FD)
Brown is still way underpriced, considering he has 14 receptions on 29 targets over the past three weeks, racking up 310 yards and a touchdown. He should easily 3x his salary and could 5x without much trouble against a shaky Eagles secondary.
Avoid: Tyrell Williams, Chargers at Giants ($5,300 DK, $6,500 FD)
Janoris Jenkins is expected to cover Williams, not Keenan Allen, which takes Williams out of the picture entirely, especially at that salary.
Also consider: Golden Tate, Detroit Lions; Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals; Devin Funchess, Carolina Panthers.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Jets vs. Jaguars ($3,500 DK, $5,500 FD)
The Browns have allowed a pair of two-touchdown games to tight ends already this season and are at the rock bottom of most metrics against tight ends. ASJ has looked solid in his first two weeks since his suspension and he should go off in a big way here.
Martellus Bennett, Packers at Cowboys ($4,100 DK, $5,300 FD)
The way to attack the Dallas defense is over the middle, where Cobb and Bennett will be the main targets. Bennett hasn’t scored a touchdown yet this season but could be set up for one here, which would allow him to pay off his salary nicely.
Evan Engram, Giants vs. Chargers ($4,000 DK, $5,400 FD)
Engram continues to emerge as a Jimmy Graham-type tight end, and Eli Manning clearly loves getting him the ball. With Casey Heyward likely taking Odell Beckham Jr. away, Engram has a good chance to be the main focus this week.
Hunter Henry, Chargers at Giants ($3,800 DK, $5,200 FD)
Like the Browns, the Giants are the gift that keeps on giving to tight ends. Henry is probably going to be low-owned, as he has been a huge disappointment this season. Take advantage and hope he does too.
Discount Darling George Kittle, 49ers at Colts ($2,500 DK, $4,500 FD)
The Colts are another team that gives up prime production to tight ends and Kittle has flirted with a big number over the first four weeks. He just needs to find the end zone once to pay off huge, and the Colts are more than willing to oblige.
Avoid: Jason Witten, Cowboys vs. Packers ($4,200 DK, $5,400 FD)
The Packers do not allow much to tight ends, and Witten hasn’t done anything — almost literally —the past two weeks. There are far too many good options in this price range to go here.
Also consider: Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles; Charles Clay, $4,800; Tyler Kroft, Cincinnati Bengals.
New York Giants ($3,600 DK, $4,200 FD)
Cincinnati Bengals ($3,300 DK, $4,500 FD)
Detroit Lions ($3,200 DK, $4,700 FD)
Baltimore Ravens ($2,900 DK, $4,500 FD)
Discount Darling Miami Dolphins ($2,700 DK, $4,100 FD)
Avoid: Jacksonville Jaguars ($2,800 DK, $4,700 FD)