Whether you've played Daily Fantasy on Yahoo before or are giving it a try for the first time, this weekly column will take a look at the DFS landscape, revealing whom I like building lineups around, stars to fade, undervalued plays and bargain-bin options to help you construct a better team.
Lineup building blocks
Amon-Ra St. Brown ($31) @ Los Angeles Chargers
St. Brown has averaged 14.3 targets over his last three games and should be fully recovered from his nagging foot issue coming out of Detroit’s bye. He’s scored all his touchdowns on the road this season and gets to play indoors in a favorable matchup this week. The Chargers have shut down the run recently, but have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to wide receivers this season. St. Brown is among the league leaders in yards per route run against press, a coverage LA uses at one of the league’s highest rates.
The Lions have one of this week’s highest implied team totals in a fast-paced matchup, making St. Brown a DFS building block.
Christian McCaffrey ($40) @ Jacksonville Jaguars
McCaffrey should be healthier coming out of the bye after playing through an oblique injury. He could also set an NFL record with his 18th straight game with a touchdown if he hits paydirt Sunday. CMC is averaging 19% more fantasy points (0.5 PPR) than the No. 2 RB (Travis Etienne) this season despite playing through a painful injury and coming off an incredibly difficult four-game stretch against tough run defenses.
Jacksonville has also defended the run well, but the Jaguars have allowed the most receptions (7.5) and the third-most receiving yards (49.4) to running backs. The 49ers are getting the second-most yards per play and EPA/play, and have a healthy Week 10 team point total. San Francisco also hopes to get star LT Trent Williams back, so CMC should be worth his high salary.
DeAndre Hopkins ($26) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Titans naming Will Levis the team’s new starter is huge news for Hopkins, who has the fourth-lowest catchable target rate this season. He pulled down three touchdowns during Levis’ NFL debut and then saw 11 targets last week, when Hopkins had the third-most unrealized air yards (128) while being shadowed by breakout corner Joey Porter Jr. more than any other WR in the league.
Tennessee gets a premier pass-funnel Tampa Bay defense this week that’s absolutely shutting down the run but has been gashed for 9.2 YPA, a 9:1 TD:INT ratio and by far the most passing yards over the last month. The Bucs have allowed the second-most fantasy points to receivers this season and could be missing CB Jamel Dean (concussion), so D-Hop is a strong DFS option.
Star to Fade
Derrick Henry ($28) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The emergence of Will Levis should benefit Henry long-term, but he has a tough matchup this week. The Buccaneers have yielded the fourth-fewest EPA/rush and the second-fewest fantasy points to running backs this season. Despite facing a tough schedule, Tampa Bay has allowed just one back to reach 70 rushing yards and none have reached 15.0 fantasy points (0.5 PPR). Teammate Hopkins looks like the better DFS play this week.
Joe Mixon ($23) vs. Houston Texans
Mixon remains inefficient but is top 10 among RBs in expected fantasy points per game. He could be extra busy Sunday with Ja’Marr Chase dealing with a back injury and Tee Higgins ruled out after suffering a hamstring injury during Wednesday’s practice. The Bengals are touchdown favorites at home and sport one of the week’s highest implied team totals (thanks to a now-healthy Joe Burrow).
It should be noted Houston has defended the run much better lately, although Rachaad White still finished as fantasy’s top back last week anyway. Moreover, the Texans are dealing with a ton of defensive injuries, so Mixon looks undervalued with a salary outside the top-10 RBs.
Chris Olave ($19) @ Minnesota Vikings
Olave continues to lead the league in unrealized air yards thanks to Derek Carr’s second-lowest catchable target rate (and seeing few layups). But he’s set up for a bunch of targets this week against a Minnesota defense that’s been tough to run against. The Vikings have one of the league’s lowest pressure rates and have allowed the ninth-most fantasy points to wide receivers this season. Carr has also performed much better on the road (7.5 YPA) than at home (5.9 YPA), and this matchup should be fast paced. Maybe Olave’s salary is appropriate (WR18) given his QB’s inaccuracy issues, but his volume and matchup this week make him a fine DFS play.
Marquise Brown ($15) vs. Atlanta Falcons
Brown ranks top 12 in air yards and targets but has the third-lowest catchable target rate. Kyler Murray is set to make his return from knee surgery this week, which is huge for Brown. Hollywood was a top-five fantasy WR last year with Murray and no DeAndre Hopkins, averaging 12.8 targets, 7.2 catches and 97.0 yards with three touchdowns over five games.
Murray may be rusty, and Brown will face plenty of A.J. Terrell, but he’s undervalued with a WR39 salary in DFS this week.
Juwan Johnson ($10) @ Minnesota Vikings
Johnson saw season highs in snap% (74) and route% (71) during his second game back from injury last week, including three red-zone targets. He gets a Vikings defense that’s stingy against the run but has allowed the 10th-most fantasy points to tight ends this season. Johnson is a DFS punt option at tight end this week.