Andrew Luck #12 QB
Andrew Luck (vs NO, $7,600) – Andrew Luck returned to form last week, as he posted 312 yards and 3 touchdowns on 50 attempts in his first game back from injury. He escaped that game without any setbacks, and he’ll get another great matchup this week against the Saints. New Orleans currently ranks as the 31st defense against quarterbacks in the NFL. After Luck’s game last week, his price is on the rise, which may keep him somewhat contrarian this week. This game is set at 52.5 points, which is the highest of the slate, and the Colts are -5 point favorites. Luck makes a great play in all leagues this week.
Brian Hoyer #7 QB
Brian Hoyer (at MIA, $5,300) – Hoyer has now strung together a couple solid games in a row, and the Texans have committed to him as their starter. I don’t love his talent, but he’s seeing a high amount of volume per game, and he has great playmakers around him, who bring his value up a bit. DeAndre Hopkins and Arian Foster are both huge touchdown threats for the Texans. Hoyer will likely continue to throw the ball 30+ times each week, which should be more than enough attempts to hit value this week. The matchup isn’t ideal, but the price tag, situation, and volume are all too good to avoid.
Josh McCown #13 QB
Josh McCown (at STL, $5,200) – I may seem like a broken record with the McCown recommendation, but he’s too good to avoid at this price. Last week, against the best passing defense in the NFL, McCown threw for 213 yards and 2 touchdowns. This week will be much easier, although the Rams are still one of the better defenses in the league. Even with that down game, McCown is averaging 25.78 fantasy points per full start. He’s likely to throw the ball 40+ times in this game, and once again, he should not have a problem hitting value with his volume alone.
Devonta Freeman #24 RB
Devonta Freeman (at TEN, $7,900) – If you’re playing in a cash game, Freeman is almost a must start. Over his last four games, he has recorded 462 yards and 8 touchdowns on the ground, while adding 25 receptions for 239 yards and 1 touchdown through the air. Over that span, he has touched the ball 109 times, and he’s the clear workhorse back for a powerful Atlanta offense. The Titans have struggled against the run this season, and Freeman will be their toughest test yet. He is one of very few players that isn’t affected by game script, as the Falcons will run the ball if they’re winning or throw him the ball if they’re losing. Freeman is one of the safest options on the slate, and he can be used in all leagues.
Todd Gurley #30 RB
Todd Gurley (vs CLE, $5,000) – Todd Gurley has found his rhythm over his last two games, and he’s displaying the talent that made him a top-10 draft pick in last year’s draft. In those two games, he has touched the ball 51 times for 320 yards, but he has yet to find the end zone. St. Louis looked committed to the run in their last game, as Gurley had 30 carries against Green Bay, and he was even touching the ball when the Rams were in somewhat of a hurry up mode. Gurley gets a matchup against the Browns this week, who are allowing 149.8 yards per game on the ground this season. That ranks dead last in the NFL, and Gurley makes a great play for his price.
Christine Michael #30 RB
Christine Michael (at NYG, $3,000) – Michael is purely a GPP option, as he only has two carries for five yards on the season. His potential is undeniable, however, as he was the star running back in 5 of the 7 NFL Combine events a few years ago. He has yet to play a significant role in the NFL, but that seems to be more because of immaturity than a lack of talent. There have been reports that he has been taking the majority of the Cowboys first team reps, and there is potential any time you get someone with Michael’s talent behind one of the best offensive lines in the NFL. If Michael is named the starter before the game, he’ll be a much safer option, but he’ll also likely be higher owned. If he isn’t named the starter, he’s a GPP only play.
DeAndre Hopkins #10 WR
DeAndre Hopkins (at MIA, $8,600) – I hate to sound like a broken record here, as well, but it’s impossible to avoid Hopkins at this point. He has 90 targets in 6 games this season. He has turned those opportunities into 52 catches for 726 yards and 5 touchdowns. He ranks in the top-5 of all wide receivers in each of those categories. Hopkins price is finally with the top tier guys, and he’s the safest player on the slate. He gets a plus matchup against the Dolphins, who have really struggled against the pass at times this season. Hopkins has over 100 receiving yards in four straight games, and my best guess is that he’ll do it again this week.
Steve Smith #89 WR
Steve Smith Sr. (at ARI, $6,200) – Steve Smith has found new life this season, and he’s coming off a huge game with apparent broken bones in his back. Over his last three “healthy” games, Smith has recorded 30 catches for 473 yards and 3 touchdowns. He’s the only real receiving threat for the Ravens, and Flacco loves peppering him with targets throughout the game. Smith gets a fairly tough matchup against the Cardinals, but he should see more than enough opportunities to exceed value this week. If Smith posts another big game, his price will likely shoot up, so get him while he’s at a bit of an injury discount.
Stefon Diggs #14 WR
Stefon Diggs (at DET, $4,200) – In most DFS circles, the cat is out of the bag about Stefon Diggs. He’s an extremely explosive player, who has the ability to score every time he touches the ball. In his last two starts, he has recorded 13 catches for 216 yards, but each of those games were without Charles Johnson. While Diggs is playing entirely too well to bench for Johnson, he may steal some of Diggs’ targets when he returns. Diggs will be an elite cheap option this week if Johnson is ruled out, as he gets a great matchup against the Lions, who are sporting one of the worst secondaries in the NFL. Even if Johnson plays, Diggs has been playing well enough to be used in tournaments this week.
Antonio Gates #85 TE
Antonio Gates (vs OAK, $5,000) – This may be my favorite play of the slate, as Gates gets a matchup made in Heaven. Aside from shutting down Owen Daniels, the Raiders have been dominated by Eifert, Gillmore, Barnidge, and Bennett this season. They are the worst team in the NFL against the tight end, and Gates has recorded 18 catches for 187 yards and 2 touchdowns in his two starts this season. He’s seeing an extremely high amount of targets, especially in the red zone. Gates has a great floor and an even better ceiling. He’s my favorite play on the week.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins #87 TE
Austin Seferian-Jenkins (at WAS, $3,200) – There are a few conflicting reports on whether ASJ will play this week or not, so you’ll want to check his status prior to game time. He has only played in one full game this season, but in that game, he recorded 5 catches for 110 yards and 2 touchdowns. He’s a massive target for Winston, but he’s also extremely athletic and has the speed for a few big plays. This is the lowest his price has been this season, and it is likely the lowest it is going to get. It looks like DraftKings priced him as if he was not going to play this week, so take advantage of their mistake if he’s a full go in this game.
Washington Redskins D/ST (vs TB, $2,500) – The Redskins have quietly scored double digits as a defense in three straight games. Those three games were against offenses who have scored much more than Tampa Bay this year. Winston has also thrown 7 interceptions in only 5 games this season, while fumbling 3 times, as well. The Redskins have a fairly strong run defense, although their numbers are a bit skewed by the early season matchups. This game has one of the lowest over/unders on the slate, and the Redskins are -3.5 point favorites. They make a great defense, especially for their cheaper price tag.