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Daily Fantasy Football Strategy: Week 13 DraftKings Breakdown

Below is a breakdown of Sunday’s Week 13 NFL contests on DraftKings along with player rankings. Keep in mind that price has a huge impact on a player’s ranking.

Editor’s Note: If you haven’t deposited at DraftKings yet, we’ll help you get started & give you access to our #FrontOffice for free if you use this link.

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  1. Cam Newton – $7,400 – Carolina Panthers
  2. Ryan Tannehill – $5,300 – Miami Dolphins
  3. Ryan Fitzpatrick – $5,200 – New York Jets
  4. Ben Roethlisberger – $6,600 – Pittsburgh Steelers

Cam Newton is about as obvious as a play gets. He has a great matchup against the Saints who rank dead last in both 4for4.com’s schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed (aFPA) and Football Outsiders’ pass defense DVOA,. He’s also not ludicrously priced. The problem is that he’s too obvious of a play. He was the most highly owned quarterback in Thursday’s FanDuel contests, and his ownership percentage was more than double the second most highly owned QB. For that reason, he’s someone to fade in tournaments, and I might even look elsewhere in cash games. But I certainly can’t fault you for using him in cash games.

For a look at more Thursday ownership percentages, Moxyball has you covered.

That second most owned QB in Thursday contests was Ben Roethlisberger. He was still plenty popular as a play, so I would fade him in tournaments as well. But if you’re looking to differentiate a bit in cash games while not using too risky of an option, Roethlisberger makes some sense. He’ll face a middling Indy defense that ranks 16th in aFPA and 17th in pass DVOA.

The tournament options this week are Ryan Tannehill and Ryan Fitzpatrick. They’re very similar plays in so many respects. As you can see, they’re priced almost exactly the same. As for their matchup, they both have a very good matchup. Tannehill will face the Ravens and Fitzpatrick the Giants who rank 31/26 and 27/25 in aFPA and pass DVOA, respectively. And both guys were owned lightly in Thursday contests with Fitzpatrick having an ownership rate of 3.7 percent and Tannehill’s sitting at two percent. Because Tannehill was slightly lesser owned and has a slightly better matchup, he is who I prefer. But if you like Fitzpatrick more for whatever reason, go for it.

Running Back

  1. LeSean McCoy – $5,700 – Buffalo Bills
  2. DeAngelo Williams – $5,600 – Pittsburgh Steelers
  3. David Johnson – $3,400 – Arizona Cardinals
  4. Mark Ingram – $6,400 – New Orleans Saints
  5. Shaun Draughn – $4,000 – San Francisco 49ers
  6. C.J. Anderson – $3,500 – Denver Broncos

Per the Thursday ownership percentages, the running back chalk this week is DeAngelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart, David Johnson and Doug Martin. We all saw that coming on draft day, right? Anyway, that entire group has good matchups, which is obviously why they’re so popular. Of the group I prefer Williams and Johnson, Williams because of how much he has done in the passing game and Johnson because he’s so damn cheap. As you might expect, I’d prefer to fade them in tournaments given their ownership levels, but they make plenty of sense in cash games.

One guy I’m surprised didn’t crack double digits in terms of Thursday ownership percentage was LeSean McCoy. Shady is seeing a lot of volume recently with at least 22 touches in each of his last three games and an average of 24 touches over that stretch. He also has a nice matchup against a Houston defense that, while playing better recently, still ranks 25th in aFPA against backs in PPR leagues and 20th in run defense DVOA. Shady was still the sixth most owned back on Thursday, but he’s not so chalky that he has to be faded in tournaments.

The contrarian tournament options are Mark Ingram and Shaun Draughn. Ingram has seen his volume drop in recent weeks, but that has been more a function of New Orleans trailing and throwing a lot. It’s not as if another New Orleans back is stealing a chunk of touches from Ingram. Carolina is definitely a favorite over New Orleans this week, but the line is under a touchdown, and the Panthers have a fairly low margin of victory for an undefeated team. It’s a tough matchup for Ingram to be sure as Carolina ranks 12th in aFPA and third in run DVOA. But Ingram had an ownership rate around one percent on Thursday, so he’s the ultimate contrarian play.

As for Draughn, he continues to see a healthy amount of work as he now has exactly 20 touches in each of his three starts for San Francisco. Draugh has 17 receptions in those 60 touches, which is nice with DK’s PPR format. This week he’ll face the Bears who rank 13th in aFPA but 31st in run DVOA. Draughn was only owned in about four percent of Thursday contests and provides a fair bit of salary relief, making him an attractive tournament option.

If you need an even cheaper back, C.J. Anderson is $500 cheaper than Draughn and has a good matchup against San Diego who ranks 29th in aFPA and 32nd in run DVOA. I was hoping Anderson would have been lightly owned on Thursday, but apparently his big week against the Patriots caught everyone’s eye because he was owned about as much as McCoy was. Given how unreliable the Denver running game has been this year, I’m not overly inclined to roster Anderson unless he’s a contrarian play.

Wide Receiver

  1. Julio Jones – $9,000 – Atlanta Falcons
  2. Antonio Brown – $8,600 – Pittsburgh Steelers
  3. Alshon Jeffery – $6,900 – Chicago Bears
  4. Danny Amendola – $4,700 – New England Patriots
  5. T.Y. Hilton – $5,700 – Indianapolis Colts
  6. Jarvis Landry – $6,700 – Miami Dolphins
  7. Eric Decker – $6,300 – New York Jets
  8. Martavis Bryant – $5,600 – Pittsburgh Steelers
  9. Ted Ginn – $3,600 – Carolina Panthers

Julio Jones seemed like such an obvious play last week and did not deliver. As a result, Julio was only the sixth most highly owned receiver on Thursday despite having another great matchup this weekend. He’ll face the Bucs who rank 23rd in aFPA against receivers in PPR leagues and 24th in pass defense DVOA. According to Pro Football Focus’ WR/CB matchup chart, he has the second best individual matchup of the day against a weak set of Tampa Bay corners. I’m not going to let last week’s disappointment scare me off Jones. He’s a cash game and GPP option this week.

The chalk receivers that will work for cash games but might be guys to fade in tournaments are Antonio Brown and Alshon Jeffery. Those two were the most highly owned receivers on Thursday and the only two receivers with an ownership percentage of 20 percent or higher. Their matchups, both on a team level and individual level, are good but not elite. And their pricing is good, but they’re not massive values.

As far as individual matchups go, Danny Amendola and T.Y. Hilton have good ones per the WR/CB matchup chart. Hilton has the best individual matchup of the day as he should see a good bit of Antwon Blake in coverage. Amendola also has a very good matchup against E.J. Biggers working out of the slot. Hilton had the 10th highest ownership rate on Thursday and Amendola was 20th. Neither is so chalky that they must be avoided in tournaments, though Amendola is the better contrarian play.

Finally, we’ve got your stack options. If you’re going with Tannehill, Landry is your stack option. Landry is a PPR machine, and there’s no other reliable option in Miami. With Fitzpatrick there is an alternative to Eric Decker with Brandon Marshall. But Decker is more likely to have a better individual matchup working out of the slot. New York’s better corners work on the outside where Marshall lines up primarily, while Decker works out of the slot about two-thirds of the time.

Other stack options include Martavis Bryant with Roethlisberger and Ted Ginn with Newton. Bryant and Greg Olsen probably make more sense as stack options with those QBs in cash games. But if you really like those QBs and want to use them in tournaments, Bryant and Ginn are a way to use them and make them slightly less chalky plays.

Tight End

  1. Greg Olsen – $6,400 – Carolina Panthers
  2. Scott Chandler – $2,500 – New England Patriots
  3. Travis Kelce – $4,700 – Kansas City Chiefs

Tight end is pretty simple this week. Olsen and Scott Chandler are the cash game options. Olsen is a safe option because of his matchup with New Orleans who ranks dead last in both aFPA against tight ends in PPR leagues and DVOA against tight ends. Chandler doesn’t have a great matchup against the Eagles who are good against tight ends, despite struggling otherwise in pass defense. But Chandler is the minimum price in a great situation and thus a good option.

Of course, everyone knows they’re good options because they were the two most highly owned tight ends on Thursday. For tournaments, I might look elsewhere and go with Travis Kelce. He’ll face Oakland who ranks 21st in aFPA and 16th in DVOA against tight ends. He had an ownership rate of about six percent on Thursday, so he should be a contrarian play.


  1. Cincinnati Bengals – $3,400
  2. Tennessee Titans – $2,600
  3. Washington Redskins – $2,300

Fill out the rest of your roster and then go as cheap as you need to with your defense. If you want to be contrarian, avoid the Bengals who were the second most owned defense on Thursday. The Redksins were actually the fourth most owned defense, so Tennessee is the true contrarian option here.


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