Tom Brady (at DAL, $7,800) – It is tough to shy away from Brady right now, as he continues to make a statement this season. He’s averaging 371 yards and 3 touchdowns per game (28.5 fantasy points) this season. He gets a matchup against the Cowboys, who have played fairly well against the quarterback this season. Still, this game is set at 49.5 points, which is the highest over/under of the slate. The Patriots are also -7.5 point favorites. One of the biggest concerns in NFL DFS is game script, but that generally isn’t a concern with the Patriots. Brady is averaging 44 attempts per game, and New England isn’t a team that takes their foot off of the gas when they are winning. Brady is one of the safest options on the slate, and he makes a great stacking option with either Edelman or Gronkowski.
Carson Palmer (at DET, $6,600) – Palmer has been one of the most consistent quarterbacks in the NFL to start the season, but he has somewhat lacked elite upside. That lack of upside has kept his price in the mid-range, which is a bit too cheap for the consistency he brings. The over/under of this game is not through the roof, but the Cardinals are only -3 favorites, meaning Palmer should have a full four quarters to throw the ball. He gets a great matchup against the Lions, who currently rank as the 24th overall defense against quarterbacks this season. For his price, I may avoid Palmer in GPPs, but he’s one of the best cash game plays on the slate.
Josh McCown (at BAL, $5,100) – McCown is one of the most underrated quarterbacks in fantasy, and his price may be on the rise soon. He’s currently priced the same as Weeden, Bortles, and Winston, although he has averaged 24.94 fantasy points per game in his two full starts this season. If you’re looking for a bit of comparison, McCown is averaging the same amount of fantasy points per game as Aaron Rodgers, who is priced at $7,900 this week. McCown has thrown the ball an outstanding 90 times over the last week, and Cleveland will likely be playing from behind again. One of the biggest benefits from having McCown is that his electric weapons, such as Johnson or Benjamin, are a threat to take the ball to the house every time they touch it. Last, the Ravens have been one of the bottom six worst teams in the NFL against quarterbacks, and McCown makes a great salary relief option in all leagues.
Le’Veon Bell (at SD, $8,500) – Yes, Bell is the obvious choice here, but that doesn’t mean he’s the wrong one. He gets a matchup against the Chargers, who have allowed 4.9 yards per carry this season, which is tied with the Patriots for last in the NFL. They have also struggled severely this season against receiving running backs. Bell has only played in two games this season, but he has recorded 191 yards and 2 touchdowns on the ground, while adding 14 receptions for 91 yards. While it is an extremely small sample size, Bell averaged 5.9 yards per carry against a tough Ravens defense in his only game with Vick at quarterback. Bell has one of the best floor/ceiling combinations in the NFL, which makes him a great play in all leagues.
Latavius Murray (vs DEN, $6,300) – There are a few defenses in the NFL that fantasy players tend to avoid, and Denver is one of them. If you look closer at the statistic, however, they aren’t an elite defense against the run. They have allowed only the 10th most rushing yards in the NFL, which skews their rank a bit, but that can be attributed to the amount of rush attempts they have faced. They are allowing a healthy 4.0 yards per carry, which is right around the league average. They do, however, have an elite passing defense, and the Raiders best chance at this game is to ride their workhorse back. Murray is a big part of the passing game, as well, and he has the chance to score every time he touches the ball. He’s a bit more of a GPP option because of the game script, but he has loads of upside.
Todd Gurley (at GB, $4,300) – Gurley burst onto the scene last week, recording 146 yards on the ground. He also had the chance at his first NFL, but opted to run out the clock and win the game instead of scoring. He gets a great matchup against Green Bay, who is allowing 4.8 yards per carry on the season. There are a couple factors working against Gurley, though. His role is still a bit of an unknown, as a one game sample size does not quite satisfy me. The second question mark is the game script. Green Bay is a sizable favorite this week, and if they score a few times early in the game, St. Louis will likely abandon the run, which will limit Gurley’s upside. His talent is undeniable, but his unknown usage this week makes him a better GPP play than cash game option.
Demaryius Thomas (at OAK, $8,100) – There are a few things I tend to look at for receivers over their actual production. The first factor is targets. Thomas is third in the NFL in targets, and he has only caught 66% of his targets this season. That leaves a lot of room for improvement, which means he has yet to reach his ceiling in his first four games. Thomas has also been trending up since the start of the season, as his reception totals have gone up in three of his first four games. He has also been a major red zone threat, as he has recorded 35 touchdowns over his last three seasons. Thomas isn’t quite priced at an elite level because of his slow start to the season, but from his targets and previous seasons, he has as much upside as anyone. He also gets a good matchup against a weak Raiders secondary, and Thomas makes a great play in all leagues this week.
Jeremy Maclin (vs CHI, $6,000) – Maclin is priced in the mid-tier, but he has been playing at an elite level over his last couple games. After starting the season out with 9 catches and 109 yards in his first two games, Maclin has recorded 19 catches for 289 yards and 1 touchdown over his last two games. He has 40 targets on the season, and he has proven to be a big play threat, recording 7 catches of 20+ yards. He’ll draw a matchup against a weak Chicago defense, and there is really no reason to avoid Maclin in any league.
Willie Snead (at PHI, $3,000) – Kamar Aiken is going to be the sexy pick if you need a cheap wide receiver, but Snead will also be able to provide quite a bit of value. He’s the minimum price on DraftKings, and has recorded 16 catches for 240 yards and 1 touchdown this season. He continues to become a bigger part of the offense, as his catch total has increased in each of the first four weeks. He gets a matchup against the Eagles, who have been one of the worst defenses in the NFL against wide receivers this season. Snead is a high upside play, but for his ridiculous price tag, he can be used in all leagues.
Rob Gronkowski (at DAL, $7,500) – The Gronk continues to produce week in and week out. He’s the safest option at tight end, but he also has the highest ceiling of anyone. In three games this season, Gronk has recorded 16 receptions for 308 yards and 4 touchdowns. He gets a tough matchup against the Cowboys defense, but he’s essentially matchup proof. Gronkowski is averaging just under 10 targets per game, which is the highest for a tight end in the NFL. He’s a great option to pair with Brady, which makes up one of my favorite stacking options on the slate.
Owen Daniels (at OAK, $2,700) – If you are new to weekly NFL leagues, it is in your best interest to plug in the tight end who plays the Raiders. They are far and away the worst defense in the NFL this season against tight ends, allowing a 31-380-6 line in only four games this season. Less than elite talents, such as Crockett Gilmore and Gary Barnidge, have dominated the Raiders, and it’s likely that the Broncos will game plan the ball to Daniels this week. Daniels has flashed a bit of upside in his start against Detroit, and he makes a great play in all leagues for his low price tag.
Giants D/ST (vs SF, $2,900) – Some players overlook picking a defense, but the difference between scoring 10 points and -5 points could be the difference between winning and losing that week. The Giants are in a great position this week, as they will face a struggling 49ers offense. The 49ers recently told Kaepernick that they want him to be aggressive with the ball, regardless of the results. That will help the Giants defense, as they already have 5 interceptions this week. This game also has an over/under of 43 points, and the Giants are -7 favorites. That projects the 49ers as one of the lowest scoring offenses on the slate, and the Giants may even be a bit contrarian this week.