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2016 NFL DFS: Week 10 DraftKings and FanDuel Breakdown

Below you’ll find discussion of the players that are “in play” at each position for the Week 10 main slate DFS contests on DraftKings and FanDuel (aka the 12 Sunday games beginning 1:00 PM ET or later). Players are arbitrarily listed in descending order of FanDuel salary and are not ranked in order of preference given differences between the sites and the varying types of contests you might be playing.

Quarterback

Aaron Rodgers — @ TEN — $7,600 — $9,000

Cheaper is generally better at quarterback, but plenty of variables are working in Rodgers’ favor this weekend to at least put him in consideration despite his cost. For one, he’s all Green Bay has right now with all the injuries they’ve had in the backfield, which has led to Rodgers throwing at least 38 passes in each of their last five games. Volume isn’t the most important factor with QBs like it is with backs and receivers, but it doesn’t hurt. The key is that Rodgers has the chance to do damage with volume in this matchup against Tennessee who ranks 27th in Football Outsiders’ pass DVOA and 23rd against QBs in 4for4.com’s Schedule-Adjusted Fantasy Points Allowed (aFPA). Rodgers will take up a little more of the cap on FD than DK, but given that pricing is generally softer on FD, that’s the site on which I’d rather pay up for him.

Carson Palmer — vs. SF — $6,500 — $7,900

The Cardinals are by far the biggest favorite on Sunday (-13.5) and have the highest implied total (31). They’ll host the 49ers who rank 19th in DVOA and 22nd in aFPA. Palmer has definitely been a disappointment this year, but he’s still plenty of capable of producing as he has thrown for 300+ yards in each of the last two weeks, once against Seattle and with three touchdown passes last week against Carolina. There are likely going to be at least four or five other QBs owned at a higher rate than Palmer, which makes him a fine GPP play given the circumstances. But those circumstances also make him a good cash game play. He has been priced better on DK all season and is again this week to some degree, but he’s an option on both sites.

Cam Newton — vs. KC — $6,800 — $7,800

Another reason Palmer is a slightly better play on DK is because he’s not more expensive than Cam Newton there like he is on FD for some reason. It wasn’t that long ago that Cam was $9K plus on FD, but here he is below $8K. Admittedly Cam doesn’t have the best matchup against Kansas City who ranks eighth in DVOA and 10th in aFPA, and the Panthers have a mediocre implied total against them (23.5). But Cam undoubtedly has upside, and he has a nice FD price tag and likely low ownership to go along with that upside, making him a nice GPP option there.

Ben Roethlisberger — vs. DAL — $6,800 — $7,700

Big Ben’s return last week didn’t go as well as hoped, but he still racked up 18.9 fantasy points, which is more than the seventh best fantasy QB this season has averaged per game. Dallas ranks 17th in both DVOA and aFPA, so they’re not an intimidating matchup, and they’re also missing Morris Claiborne. Pittsburgh has the fourth highest team total this weekend and they’re a home favorite, so this is a good spot for Ben. He’s priced reasonably on both sites and makes for a reasonably priced cash option on either.

Carson Wentz — vs. ATL — $5,400 — 6,800

If you’re looking to go as cheap as you can at QB, Wentz is your guy this week. The Eagles have the sixth highest implied total of the weekend and are a slight home favorite. The matchup with Atlanta is an excellent one as the Falcons rank 21st in DVOA and 30th in aFPA. Wentz has certainly struggled of late, but he hasn’t faced a decidedly below average pass defense in his last four games. His hot start was overrated and now his struggles are being blown out of proportion as well. Don’t let recency bias get in the way here. He doesn’t figure to be highly owned, so he’ll work in GPPs as well as cash games.

Behind the paywall you’ll find the rest of our Week 10 NFL DFS breakdown.

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Running Back

David Johnson — vs. SF — $8,400 — $9,400

We covered the lopsided Vegas numbers with Palmer above, so you know this game sets up well for Johnson. The one concern here is that Arizona jumps out too far ahead too quickly and either the passing game or the running game does all the damage early thereby preventing everyone from getting their share. As an example, Arizona beat Tampa 40-7 in Week 2 and Johnson had only 15 touches (though he still managed 143 yards). But when they played San Francisco a few weeks ago the Niners hung with them throughout the game and both Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald got a couple of scores. Though the lesson you could take from these examples is that Johnson always finds a way to get his (unless they get blown out like they did last week against Carolina).

Ezekiel Elliott — @ PIT — $7,900 — $8,900

Zeke is a bit overpriced this week, but that may actually help his case for being a GPP option by keeping his ownership levels down. Pittsburgh ranks 14th in rush DVOA and 27th in aFPA against RBs, so he could certainly do some damage in this matchup. Johnson and the two guys to be discussed immediately after we finish with Zeke figure to see much higher levels of ownership, so keep Elliott in mind for GPP lineups if you can afford a pricey back.

Melvin Gordon — vs. MIA — $7,100 — $8,300

Gordon doesn’t have a great matchup against the Dolphins who rank 16th in DVOA and fourth in aFPA. But Gordon is getting so much volume that he’s hard to completely ignore. He’s leading the league in touches per game (24.6), and he’s destroying the field when it comes to red zone touches as his 47 red zone touches have him in first in that stat by a whopping 14 touches. He’s going to be heavily owned, so feel free to fade him in GPPs given the matchup. But he is priced decently on DK so he’s still a cash consideration there.

LeVeon Bell — vs. DAL — $7,700 — $8,100

Dallas is better against the run than they are against the pass as they rank eighth in both DVOA and aFPA. But like Gordon Bell is tough to ignore given all the volume he sees (23.8 touches per game). Somehow Bell hasn’t scored a touchdown despite having 119 touches this season, and he could well get that monkey off his back this weekend with the Steelers having a high implied total of 26.5.

Lamar Miller — @ JAC — $6,400 — $7,500

The Jags have been decent against the pass this season, but against the run they rank 27th in DVOA and 19th in aFPA. Miller sees plenty of work with the sixth highest rate of touches per game, and he’s priced quite nicely on DK. That makes him a cash consideration, but he’s also a GPP option as he doesn’t figure to be too highly owned.

DeMarco Murray — vs. GB — $6,900 — $7,400

Marcus Mariota is projected to be one of the more popular QB plays this weekend, though that seems strange to me given the quality of Green Bay’s defense and Tennessee’s average implied total of 23.5. As you can tell by Mariota not being listed above, I’m not really buying Mariota this weekend, but I do think Murray is an interesting contrarian play to zig when everyone else is zagging. Murray should be lightly owned given the strength of Green Bay’s run defense, but he could provide value given his volume. He ranks fifth in touches per game and is priced quite reasonably on FD for a guy who gets that kind of work.

Matt Forte — vs. LA — $6,100 — $7,100

Forte is a lot like Murray in that he get a lot of touches but doesn’t have the best matchup this week. But all the touches and the likely low ownership makes Forte a GPP option just like Murray. Forte is essentially a cheaper version of Murray, especially on DK.

Jonathan Stewart — vs. KC — $4,900 — 6,800

Stewart is averaging 20 touches per game in his three games back from injury, and he’s averaging a healthy 0.78 fantasy points per touch in that span (per 4for4). As for his matchup, Kansas City isn’t as tough on the run as they are on the pass as they rank 18th in DVOA and 17th in aFPA. With that decent matchup and Carolina being a home favorite with a decent implied total, Stewart is a nice, cheaper cash game option. But he shouldn’t be highly owned so he’ll also work in GPPs.

Rob Kelley — vs. MIN — $3,600 — $5,300

Kelly doesn’t have a great matchup or anything against Minnesota, but he’s way, way too cheap on DK for a guy that should see at least 15 touches and maybe closer to 20. His value in terms of dollar spent per expected touch is better than any other back on DK this weekend. Feel free to use Kelley as salary relief in any contest type.

Wide Receiver

Mike Evans — vs. CHI— $9,000 — $8,500

With Julio Jones and Antonio Brown potentially having difficult one-on-one CB matchups this weekend, Mike Evans is the chalk. Evans leads the league in targets per game by a little more than a target and a half per game as he’s the only receiver to top 100 targets so far this season. He shouldn’t be too difficult to fit into FD lineups, but find a way to fit him into DK lineups as well if possible.

Jordy Nelson — @ TEN — $7,500 — $7,700

Jordy is the preferred stack candidate with Rodgers this weekend despite the fact that Davante Adams has been a big producer in recent weeks. Jordy should draw a very nice individual matchup with Perrish Cox, so he’s the GB receiver to own. Rodgers has targeted Jordy 22 times in the last two weeks, which is good for eighth most targets in the league in that stretch. Jordy may not be too highly owned, so feel free to use him in GPPs.

Larry Fitzgerald — vs. SF — $7,600 — 7,200

You probably get it with the Cardinals at this point. Fitzgerald is in play most weeks given that he works out of the slot a lot and generally teams don’t have a tough corner in the slot to match up with Fitz. Well, that’s no different this week, though receivers lining up both inside and outside against San Fran aren’t faced with tough matchups either way. Fitz is priced better on FD, so he should see a higher level of ownership there. But, if you recall, Palmer is a better play on DK so it’s nice that Fitz is likely to be more lightly owned there.

Alshon Jeffery — @ TB — $6,600 — $7,200

Jeffery finally got his first touchdown of the season last week, but he still doesn’t have more than 12 standard fantasy points in any week this season. But this could be the week Jeffery finally breaks out as Tampa ranks 27th in aFPA against receivers. And Jeffery should have a good individual matchup as well against rookie Vernon Hargreaves. Jeffery is going to be popular on both sites, so he’s someone you can fade in GPPs.

Brandon Marshall — vs. LA — $6,900 — $7,100

Marshall ranks 10th in targets per game this season and has seen the second most red zone targets among receivers. He has a nice matchup this week against the Rams who rank 23rd in aFPA against receivers and individually against EJ Gaines. Marshall is not expected to be highly owned at all, so he makes for a fine GPP play, but the volume he gets and his matchup are good enough to consider him in cash as well.

Kelvin Benjamin — vs. KC — $6,800 — $7,000

Phillip Gaines, not Marcus Peters, lines up on Benjamin’s side of the field a majority of the time, so Benjamin should largely avoid Peters assuming they don’t choose to shadow him, which is not expected. Benjamin is priced better on FD than DK, which is also where Cam is priced better, so they make for a nice stack option there.

Emmanuel Sanders — @ NO— $6,800 — $6,900

Delvin Breaux, who was the one bright spot in New Orleans’ secondary, makes his return this week and is more likely to see Demaryius Thomas in coverage than Sanders. Given that a Breaux-less New Orleans secondary ranks 28th in DVOA to date, Sanders has a nice matchup this weekend. He’s a better value on FD than DK.

Doug Baldwin — @ NE — $5,800 — $6,900

Baldwin is another guy who works primarily from the slot, and the Pats don’t present a tough individual matchup for slot receivers. And on the whole the New England pass defense isn’t great as they rank 26th in DVOA. Baldwin should be lightly owned, and he’s priced nicely on DK where the PPR format benefits him.

Mohamed Sanu — @ PHI — $4,600 — $5,600

Philly ranks first in pass DVOA, and they figure to focus their attention on stopping Julio Jones this season. But Sanu is another slot guy who should avoid a tough individual matchup. Sanu should draw the struggling Malcom Jenkins on the inside while Nolan Carroll and likely a double team partner keep an eye on Jones. Sanu makes for an interesting GPP option this week if you’re looking for a cheap one at receiver.

Tight End

At tight end you’re looking for guys on teams with an implied total of 24+, and their team is preferably a favorite (even more preferably a home favorite). In general, tight ends see less volume than receivers, and they do their work closer to the line of scrimmage than receivers do on average, so tight ends are much more touchdown dependent for fantasy scoring. Touchdowns come with much more volatility than targets and yardage do, so it’s not a bad idea to spend less on such a volatile position.

To that end, Jason Witten and Antonio Gates are your cheaper TE options this week. Both guys are tied for the lead among tight ends in red zone targets at 16 each. Gates is in a nice spot as the Chargers have an implied total of 26.5, though Witten has the slightly better matchup against Pittsburgh who ranks 19th in aFPA against TEs. Gates is going to be the more popular play, especially on DK where he’s cheaper than Witten, so Gates feels like the more cash-appropriate play while Witten works in GPPs.

If you want to pay up for one of the stud tight ends like Rob Gronkowski, Jordan Reed or Greg Olsen, do it on FD. As mentioned earlier, the pricing is generally softer there, so they’re much easier to fit in FD lineups than DK. Olsen is the best GPP play of the bunch given his projected low ownership (he’s also a Cam stack option), and Gronk makes plenty of sense in cash given that the Pats have the second highest implied total at 28.

Kicker

All you’re looking for in a kicker is a kicker that plays for a favorite who has an implied total of 24 or more. Preferably the team would be a home favorite, but road favorites are acceptable as well. The cheapest kicker who meets that criteria this week is Arizona’s Chandler Catanzaro. As mentioned above, the Cards have the highest implied total of the day Sunday at 31, so Catanzaro is a no-brainer at the minimum price. If you want to get a bit more contrarian with your kicker, consider Pittsburgh’s Chris Boswell at $4,600.

Defense/Special Teams

I write a DFS D/ST article each week for FantasyAlarm.com, so I’m copy/pasting what I wrote there below.

The key with defenses is finding defenses that will face a lot of passing plays. Fantasy point-scoring events like interceptions and sacks occur exclusively on passing plays, and fumbles actually occur more on passing plays than running plays. Defensive touchdowns are difficult to predict, but they’re also more likely to occur on passing plays with 53 pick sixes last year compared to only 33 scoop ‘n scores.

One of the best ways to identify defenses that will face a lot of passing plays is identifying Vegas favorites, preferably home favorites. And obviously the lower the opponent’s implied point total, the better the matchup for the defense.

Premium Option

The chalk this week is unquestionably Arizona. The Cards will host the 49ers who have allowed the third most fantasy points per game to opposing defenses so far. The Niners have the lowest implied total of the weekend, and they’re gigantic 13.5-point underdogs in Arizona. The Cards defense ranks third in Football Outsiders’ defense efficiency ratings (DVOA), and they’re top 10 against both the run and the pass. Our Ownership Forecaster expects their ownership percentage to be more than double any other defense on both sites. So fire them up all you want in cash games, but feel free to get contrarian in GPPs and look elsewhere.

Sneaky Option

This category is reserved for good defenses that may be overlooked in a given week for whatever reason, providing you with the opportunity to roster a really good unit with a lower ownership rate.

The Ownership Forecaster projects Marcus Mariota to be the most heavily owned quarterback this weekend, which means the Green Bay defense certainly can’t be an obvious play. But there are reasons to like the Packers defense. They rank seventh in DVOA (eighth in the weighted version), and they’re ranked sixth against the run. Their pass defense is their supposed weakness, but they’re average on the back end ranking 16th in pass DVOA. Tennessee has been a good matchup for opposing defenses this year as they’ve allowed the fifth most fantasy points per game to opposing defenses. Every defense that has faced Tennessee that wasn’t Cleveland or Jacksonville scored at least six fantasy points when they played the Titans. So don’t sleep on the top 10 defense who is a favorite against one of the best matchups for fantasy defenses this season.

Bargain Options

The cheapest options you can stomach on DK this Sunday are New York and San Diego. The Jets don’t have a great defense as they rank 24th in DVOA, but they’re a home favorite this week against the Rams who have the second lowest implied total of the week. The Rams have allowed the second most fantasy points per game to opposing defenses, and all but one defense that has faced them scored at least seven fantasy points.

The Chargers are a good defense as they rank eighth in DVOA, but their matchup isn’t as good as New York’s as they’ll host Miami. The Dolphins rank mid-pack in terms of fantasy points allowed to opposing defenses, and they only have a slightly below average implied team total this weekend. The Chargers are projected to be owned more than the Jets, so if you’re playing GPPs the Jets make more sense as a cheap DK defense. But if you’re playing cash games and need to save at DST, it would be understandable if you went with the better defense with the Chargers.

Over on FD the cheapest option you should be able to live with is Washington. Washington is very much like the Jets in that they don’t have a great defense, but they do have a great matchup. They rank 21st in DVOA, but they’re a three-point home favorite against the Vikings, who have given up 40 fantasy points to opposing defenses in their last three games. The Vikes have the third lowest implied total on Sunday, so the Redskins are a nice value against them as the eighth cheapest DST on FD.

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