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Author: madurocw

With some solid tournament choices on FanDuel’s Sat-Sun slate, it’s worth checking in on each of the four matchups to see if they offer any funnel opportunities to exploit. This will be the final edition of this piece for the 2018 fantasy football season, so best of luck and we hope to have you back in 2019. Now let’s dive into this weekend’s quartet of playoff tilts.

Indianapolis Colts at Kansas City Chiefs (-5.5, 56.5)
The most important thing about this matchup is the shootout potential it possesses. With the highest Vegas total on the board, there promises to be enough production for everyone to enjoy a piece of the pie. There are a number of attractive choices to consider, but Marlon Mack ($7,400) stands out as a premium option thanks to the Chiefs surrendering 32.58 percent of their slate-high 6,488 scrimmage yards on the ground. With Andrew Luck under center, it makes sense that the Colts prefer to rest their hopes on No. 12’s right shoulder, but with one of the game’s best offensive lines, look for the Colts to place an extra emphasis on the run. As long as they can remain within striking distance — as the spread suggests they’ll be able to do — Mack should remain involved in the action.

Dallas Cowboys at Los Angeles Rams (-7, 49.5)
Even as a touchdown underdog, we are not likely to see Ezekiel Elliott ($8,700) fall short of a full workload. The Cowboys may have the least prolific offense on the slate, but they collect 35.68 percent of their yardage via the run. Meanwhile, the Rams surrender the highest share of rushing yards, 34.11 percent, of the eight remaining playoff clubs. If the Cowboys are going to pull off the upset, it’s going to be on the back of their workhorse, but it’s also worth noting that when they do take to the air, the Rams have allowed an average of 82.7 yards to No. 1 wide receivers, making Amari Cooper ($6,800) — who owns a 32 percent share of the team’s air yards and 24 percent of the team’s targets — an intriguing option at receiver.

Los Angeles Chargers at New England Patriots (-4, 47.5)
From an offensive perspective, both the Chargers and Patriots run fairly balanced attacks, but the Patriots could find some success on the ground as they have all season. They’ve gained the second most rushing yardage (2,037) on the slate while the Chargers allowed 4.3 yards per carry on the season. That’s not the juiciest figure on the slate, but if the Pats — and specifically James White ($7,400) and Sony Michel ($6,000) — can get their offense rolling downhill, they could create some problems for the Bolts. As is typically the custom with Patriots running backs, picking the right runner in a given week can be trickier than gripping a greased pole.

Philadelphia Eagles at New Orleans Saints (-8, 51.5)
Nick Foles ($7,400) may be the most vanilla quarterback option in action this weekend, but not only is he going to save you salary, but he’s quarterbacking in a tailor-made funnel matchup. The Saints own the stingiest rush defense on the slate which has forced teams to attack them through the air all season. That plays right into the Eagles’ wheelhouse as their passing game has accounted for 73.14 percent of their total yardage, the largest share of this weekend’s eight participants. Sure, much of the credit goes to Carson Wentz for those numbers, but the Eagles are intimately familiar with the ceiling they have with Foles running the show and will have no choice but to rely on him to lead them to another postseason upset.

Each week, we’ll dive into Fanduel’s main slate to highlight some of the juiciest matchups and situations to exploit. Whether it’s finding the low(er)-owned gems in a popular upcoming shootout or identifying an overlooked clash that DFSers can use to gain leverage over a tournament field, our aim is to provide you the individual plays and overall strategy to consider as you chase profitability in your DFS portfolio. Let’s jump in.

Raiders at Chiefs (-14, 52.5)
With Spencer Ware ($6,600) likely back in action after making his return to practice this week, the Chiefs will pair him with Damien Williams ($6,900) for a nice 1-2 punch in their backfield. This can be a tricky situation from a DFS perspective as we’re not certain who’s going to get the bulk of the work, but consider that when both backs were healthy against the Ravens in Week 14, Ware handled 20 touches and earned 15.4 FanDuel points while Williams received 13 touches for 17 FD points. That was against one of the top defenses in the league. Volume shouldn’t be an issue when they line up against the Raiders, owners of one of the league’s worst run defenses. As 14-point favorites, the Chiefs should be able to provide volume for each runner as they’ll probably be taking the air out of the ball much of the second half. Williams is the safer choice as he’s been healthy, but Ware offers appeal as a low-owned leverage play.

Speaking of taking advantage of low ownership, Derek Carr ($6,800) will not be a popular play as he’s fresh off a pair of stinkers. But if you’re willing to place the fate of your lineup in Carr’s hands, there are a couple of promising points to hang your hat on. First of all, as much as the Raiders may have enjoyed only attempting 26 passes in last week’s win against the Broncos, they’re likely to have to rely heavily on Carr’s right shoulder in order to keep this contest close. Secondly, the last time these two division foes met back in Week 13, the Raiders and Carr kept things interesting as the latter attempted 38 passes and came away with 24.2 FD points in a 40-33 barn burner.

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Bengals at Steelers (-14.5, 45.5)
After nearly breaking the 30-point barrier, we’re going back to the well on Ben Roethlisberger ($8,700) in a must-win showdown with the Bengals’ sieve defense. The Steelers continue to rely on their passing game, gaining 77.4 percent of their yardage through the air. Meanwhile, they’ll line up against the team that has allowed the most yards from scrimmage in the NFL thus far. Big Ben may not need to chuck it 50 times Sunday, but he’ll be a safe, albeit popular, option this week.

Falcons (-1.5, 52) at Buccaneers
With two high-flying offenses pairing with two incapable defenses, we could be treated to southern shootout to close the chapter on both teams’ disappointing seasons. At the time of this posting, it looked like Tevin Coleman ($6,300) was a long-shot to suit up, leaving Brian Hill ($5,300) in line to handle the bulk of the work. Considering the former is nursing a groin strain, there’s reason to fire Hill up in your lineups even in the event Coleman is active. On the other sideline is Peyton Barber ($5,500), who makes up for a lack of flash with healthy volume. He’s cracked the 20-touch plateau in four of the last six weeks, but not one of those teams was as disinterested in providing defensive resistance as the Falcons.

Jets at Patriots (-13.5, 46)
It’s been back-to-back strong performances for Sam Darnold ($7,500), who will look to crack 20 FD points for the third straight week. Facing off against the Pats defense is never a walk in the park, but considering the spread is large enough to span the distance between East Rutherford and Foxborough, Darnold figures to be in a position to pad his fantasy stats with meaningless production. The natural inclination will be to stack Darnold with his top target, Robby Anderson ($7,000). The volume has been plentiful (31 targets since Week 14) and the price is reasonable. Before you submit that lineup though, keep in mind that Bill Belichick and Co. are notorious for making teams beat them with secondary options.

Each week, we’ll dive into Fanduel’s main slate to highlight some of the juiciest matchups and situations to exploit. Whether it’s finding the low(er)-owned gems in a popular upcoming shootout or identifying an overlooked clash that DFSers can use to gain leverage over a tournament field, our aim is to provide you the individual plays and overall strategy to consider as you chase profitability in your DFS portfolio. Let’s jump in.

Steelers at Saints (-6, 53)
If you’re in the mood to spend up at quarterback, look no further than Ben Roethlisberger ($8,700), the top-priced option at the position. Not only do the Steelers gain 76.8 percent of their yardage through the air, but the Saints also surrender 76.8 percent of their yardage through the air, setting up a promising funnel effect for Big Ben and the Steelers. Aside from a worse TD-to-INT ratio, Roethlisberger’s home/road splits have not been as pronounced as we’ve seen in recent seasons. Don’t expect your lineup(s) to be particularly unique if you take this route at QB, but there is immense upside as the Vegas odds suggest a high-scoring affair in which the Steelers are playing catch up. Teams have had success throwing to primary and secondary receivers, so if your desire is to stack this matchup, both Antonio Brown ($8.700) and Juju Smith-Schuster ($8,000) are viable options.

Vikings (-6, 42.5) at Lions
We saw the Vikings impersonate a road grader as Dalvin Cook ($7,100) gashed the Dolphins defense between the tackles en route to 28.8 FanDuel points. The Lions, statistically, have fared better against the run than the ‘Phins, particularly since trading for Damon Harrison, but interim offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski’s first game calling plays suggests the Vikings want to run, run and run some more. The sample size may be small, but with only two games left in the season, there’s no time to see what constitutes a trend and what is simply a matchup anomaly.

Texans at Eagles (-2, 46)
If bargain shopping under center is your jam, say “hello” to Nick Foles ($6,000), who will run the show again for Philadelphia. While the numbers have not been pretty in his three starts, Foles has averaged 37.7 pass attempts, so it’s not as if the Eagles are keeping a tight leash on him. Philly has leaned heavily on the pass this season, gaining 72.1 percent of their yardage through the air. Meanwhile, Houston’s ability to stonewall opposing rushing attacks has led to opponents earning 74.5 percent of their yardage against them via the pass. No. 1 receivers and tight ends have been particularly troublesome to defend for the Texans pass defense, making Zach Ertz ($7,400) and Alshon Jeffery ($6,300) intriguing stack options.

Jaguars at Dolphins (-4, 38.5)
The Dolphins’ backfield warrants monitoring leading up to lineup lock on Sunday as both Kallen Ballage ($5,500) and Kenyan Drake ($5,800) figure to take aim at a Jaguars defense that forces teams to advance against them in a methodical, ground-based fashion, which is fine for a Miami squad that features a run-heavy offense. Ballage handled the bulk of the rushing load in Week 15, but with Drake practicing in full as of Thursday, the carry split becomes murky. But as they say, with risk comes reward. Both backs figure to be on the lower-owned side in tournaments, so if you pick the right one, you may be able to create some separation in tournaments while saving money to spend up elsewhere.

Each week, we’ll dive into Fanduel’s main slate to highlight some of the juiciest matchups and situations to exploit. Whether it’s finding the low(er)-owned gems in a popular upcoming shootout or identifying an overlooked clash that DFSers can use to gain leverage over a tournament field, our aim is to provide you the individual plays and overall strategy to consider as you chase profitability in your DFS portfolio. Let’s jump in.

Dolphins at Vikings (-7.5, 44.5)
Through Week 14, the Vikings have been a very pass-heavy team, gaining 75.9 percent of their yardage through the air. However, they’ll introduce a new offensive coordinator and play-caller in Week 15 after canning John DeFilippo. We don’t know how the offensive balance will change under the guidance of Kevin Stefanski, but the uncertainty could favor those who play the odds that the Vikings will trend to a more run-heavy attack. Dalvin Cook ($6,200) has retaken hold of the lead backfield role and dominated snaps as he moves further away from the hamstring injury that hampered him earlier in the year, averaging 16 touches and 15.5 FanDuel points over his last three games. This week he takes aim at one of the game’s most porous run defenses in the Dolphins, who have given up the fourth most total yardage on the ground. Cook has the potential to be one of the most explosive value plays this week and maybe even at a reasonable ownership level.

Buccaneers at Ravens (-7.5, 46)
This Sunday pairing looks like a fantasy mismatch: The Bucs’ offensive strength is the strong suit of the Ravens and the Ravens’ offensive strength is the Bucs’ defensive forte, at least relative to their (in)ability to slow down the pass. What you’ll get by playing Jameis Winston ($7,000) is plenty of risk, but also plenty of potential reward if he’s able to elevate his game against a stout defense. Neither was on the road or against a unit as stingy as the Ravens, but he’s crossed the 20-point plateau in each of his last three contests. He’ll be underowned on Sunday, providing a chance to apply leverage over a large tournament field. If you want to stack him, Adam Humphries ($6,200) and Cameron Brate ($5,400) are intriguing options. Chris Godwin ($5,400) isn’t a terrible gamble either as he’s coming off a 10-target game in the absence of DeSean Jackson, who’s been ruled out for this contest, but the Ravens’ have funneled the limited amount of passing production gained against them to No. 3 receivers and tight ends.

On the other sideline, it’s all about the rushing yards and touchdowns we could see from Lamar Jackson ($7,700) and Kenneth Dixon ($5,700). The Bucs’ poor run defense has been overshadowed by their atrocious results against the pass, but it’ll be tested against a Ravens offense that has adopted an extreme ground-heavy attack, rushing the ball 1.93 times per pass attempt. Jackson has scored at least 16.5 FD points since taking over as starter and averaged 83 rushing yards over that four-game span. He won’t be the only one dashing through running lanes though. Dixon has seen his snap percentage climb from 21 percent to 32 percent since rejoining the backfield and could be in line for an uptick on the nine touches he’s seen in each of his last two contests. Considering the modest volume he’s seen thus far, consider him a promising “punt play”.

Raiders at Bengals (-3, 45.5)
Welcome to Week 15’s “Charmin Bowl”, where both teams aim to play the softest defense. Both the Bengals and Raiders rank in the top five in yards allowed, setting the stage for gobs of fantasy points. Players on both sides warrant looks as underowned value plays. From Derek Carr ($6,800) and Jeff Driskel ($6,400) to Joe Mixon ($7,800), Doug Martin ($6,300), Tyler Boyd ($6,700) and Jared Cook ($6,300), there is a lot of value — and upside — to be sought in this matchup. In terms of the way the Raiders and Bengals attack and get attacked, both teams are reasonably balanced relative to one another, so this looks like a matchup where any and everything could be on the menu.

Each week, we’ll dive into Fanduel’s main slate to highlight some of the juiciest matchups and situations to exploit. Whether it’s finding the low(er)-owned gems in a popular upcoming shootout or identifying an overlooked clash that DFSers can use to gain leverage over a tournament field, our aim is to provide you the individual plays and overall strategy to consider as you chase profitability in your DFS portfolio. Let’s jump in.

Colts vs. Texans (-4.5, 50)
Will Andrew Luck’s ($7,900) Week 13 stinker linger among DFSers like the remnants of a half-eaten McDonald’s combo? It’s entirely possible as he’ll lead the Colts on the road against another tough defense. He deserves a mulligan though, as his 10.52 FanDuel points marked his first time falling shy of 22 since Week 3 at Philadelphia. All he did in between was deliver eight straight games with three or more touchdown passes. Houston, while strong overall defensively, allows the second-highest percentage of yardage allowed to come through the air. Meanwhile, as you may have come to expect from a team with a franchise quarterback of Luck’s stature, the Colts rely heavily on the pass to move the ball. This matchup represents a chance to roster Luck at below-market ownership and potentially gain leverage over a large tournament field that shies away from a stout opponent.

Giants (-3.5, 41) vs. Redskins
It wasn’t the Week 13 performance we expected from Eli Manning ($6,500), but he gets another look against the hated Redskins on the road. Yes, this is another leverage play that also carries upside thanks to the salary it opens up for you elsewhere. The pass-heavy Giants once again face off against another defense that funnels production through the air. Opposing quarterbacks have lit up the Redskins with more frequency in recent weeks with the likes of Matt Ryan, Dak Prescott and Carson Wentz each turning in great performances spanning back to Week 9. Whether Manning is up to matching that production remains to be seen, but what can safely be presumed is many of your DFS foes will shy away. Furthermore, this looks like a week to stack him with Odell Beckham Jr. as the Redskins give up the most yardage on average to opposing No. 1 receivers.

Jets vs. Bills (-3.5, 38)
Could one of this week’s most exciting plays be hiding within what — at least on paper — appears to be among the most snooze-worthy matchups of the slate? The Bills host the Jets and there isn’t a team in the NFL that relies more on the ground game to move the ball. If you’re looking for a near-free square at the running back or flex position, have a look at LeSean McCoy ($5,700). Just like in real life though, you often get what you pay for, so McCoy isn’t for those afraid of receiving a return commensurate with his price. Even though his production hasn’t been up to par in recent weeks — a 24.3-point performance against these same Jets notwithstanding — McCoy has still received healthy volume with 19, 18 and 27 touches spanning over his last three contests. The more intriguing option, however, is quarterback Josh Allen ($7,400). Some may consider his price tag a bit too steep for someone who has only surpassed 200 passing yards on two occasions, but he’s made up for that with 135 and 99 rushing yards over the last two weeks. Allen has four games with at least eight rushing attempts, including 22 carries coming over the past two weeks. If the Bills are going to allow Allen to continue relying so heavily on his legs, he’ll warrant much more DFS attention than he’ll likely receive for this promising matchup.

Panthers (-1, 47.5) vs. Browns
The Panthers are mired in a brutal skid, they just fired multiple defensive coaches and quarterback Cam Newton is banged up. Carolina needs a win in the worst way and they’ll lean on Christian McCaffrey ($9,100) to lead them to one. Praise McCaffrey with whatever superlative you’d like as he’s simply been outstanding this season, particularly over the last five weeks in which he’s scored over 30 FD points on three occasions. The Browns give up a lot of yardage (third most yards from scrimmage in the league) and allow a third of that yardage to be earned via the ground. McCaffrey will cost you, he owns the second most expensive price tag on the main slate, but there’s enough value elsewhere to roster him along with other quality options.

Lions (-2.5, 40.5) vs. Cardinals
LeGarrette Blount ($5,600) isn’t for the risk averse, but he’s operated as the Lions’ top back in the last two weeks, handling 20 and 16 touches, respectively, in the two contests since taking over the lead role. He scored twice against the Bears on Thanksgiving day and remains one of the game’s elite red zone weapons. If you’re trying to squeeze in an extra high-priced player or two, Blount at his modest salary provides some upside should he get another full workload and, more importantly, find paydirt.

Patriots (-7.5, 48) vs. Dolphins
The Dolphins have traditionally given Brady and Belichick some headaches down in Miami Gardens, but that’s not going to be enough to shy away from this matchup. Not only have the Dolphins given up the fourth most yards from scrimmage in the league, but they surrender 36.1 percent of their allowed yardage on the ground, the fifth highest percentage on the main slate. Enter Sony Michel ($6,900), who has received 41 touches over the past two weeks and stands to see another heavy workload against a porous run unit. Those looking to find a pivot opportunity could also look at James White ($7,200). He’s more expensive than his backfield mate and has been the less-utilized option, but rostering Patriots backs can be a vexing exercise. We never know when Belichick and Co. will completely turn the industry expectation on its ear. Consider White the option if you’re taking an all-or-nothing approach as his ownership virtually promises to be lower than Michel’s.

Each week, we’ll dive into Fanduel’s main slate to highlight some of the juiciest matchups and situations to exploit. Whether it’s finding the low(er)-owned gems in a popular upcoming shootout or identifying an overlooked clash that DFSers can use to gain leverage over a tournament field, our aim is to provide you the individual plays and overall strategy to consider as you chase profitability in your DFS portfolio. Let’s jump in.

Cardinals at Packers (-14, 43.5)
We’re going to kick off this week’s plays with one that may be a bit obvious on certain levels, but with a fully-stocked main slate, there will be a number of attractive options to choose from and only so many lineup spots in which to fit them. Aaron Jones ($7,600) has been over 15 FanDuel points in four of his last five contests and the Cardinals allow the highest percentage of opponents yardage to come on the ground. Not only that, but we’re also talking about a matchup in which the Packers are an overwhelming home favorite. This isn’t a case where Jones should be expected to see low ownership, but the matchup pieces are there to warrant heavier ownership within your Week 13 DFS portfolio.

Chiefs (-14.5, 55.5) at Raiders
What was shaping up to be another obvious play has since become anything but a sure shot. Kareem Hunt ($8,900) was sent home from the Chiefs facility after video of a February 2018 altercation was released, putting his status for Sunday’s succulent matchup against the Raiders in jeopardy. This situation obviously requires monitoring, but should Hunt be active on Sunday, he’s another player who should be locked into your lineups. Not only are the Chiefs massive favorites, but the over/under of 55 is tied for tops on the slate. If Hunt is held out of action, Spencer Ware ($5,200) may very well be the highest owned player across the site. We know Ware can produce when given the touches, but fading him in tournaments is worth consideration. There’s certainly risk in such a maneuver, but with such a high percentage of the field expected to be on him in that scenario, it presents a prime opportunity to zig while everyone else zags and potentially gain significant leverage over your competitors.

Broncos (-5, 45) at Bengals
The Broncos hit the road as five-point favorites against the team that has surrendered the most total yardage all season. Of those 4,836 yards, a healthy 33.5 percent have come on the ground. Enter Phillip Lindsay ($7,000), who’s seen 15, 21, 19, 15 and 14 touches over his last five games. While fantasy owners would prefer their players to more consistently cross the 20-touch threshold, Lindsay’s productivity can’t be denied as he’s scored at least 16.1 FD points in four of those five contests. Even with a workload in the 17-20-touch range, Linsday has a reasonably good shot of delivering 3x value in this favorable matchup.

Bears (-3.5, 44.5) at Giants
With a number of ground options covered, let’s take to the air and hitch some of our Week 13 DFS dreams to Eli Manning ($6,500). The matchup doesn’t look great on its surface, but the Bears ($4,800) — who are worth stacking with Manning — have been most vulnerable through the air. Meanwhile, the Giants use the pass to gain nearly three quarters of their overall yardage. Additionally, Manning has been quite efficient of late, averaging 8.37 yards per attempt over his last five contests and has topped 17 FD points three times over that stretch. If you find that your lineup doesn’t offer the type of differentiation necessary to give yourself a shot at a high tourney finish, Manning is someone that you should be considering. If you’re looking for a receiver to stack him with, you can add another wrinkle at your opponents by throwing Sterling Shepard ($5,400) into your lineup as the Bears have allowed the fourth most yardage to No. 2 receivers. You don’t have to stretch your imagination too far to envision a scenario in which the Bears — like any other opponent — do everything in their power to slow down Odell Beckham Jr. at the expense of favorable coverage on secondary pass-catchers.

It’s Thanksgiving Thursday and that means a day of lounging, drinking, letting others handle the cooking and hopefully DFS profits. With only three games taking place, we’ll highlight each one and try to provide some context to your decision making.

Bears (-3, 43.5) at Lions
Mitch Trubisky’s likely absence — he’s listed as ‘Doubtful’ — throws a bit of a cutter into the Thanksgiving slate but life and football power forward. While it may be tempting to throw a Hail Mary with Chase Daniel ($6,000) at minimum price, it’s worth noting that the Bears are already the second most run reliant team on the slate, so while there are obvious benefits to rolling with Daniel, you may be putting yourself in a position where there is zero margin for error throughout the rest of your lineup. Both Jordan Howard ($6,100) and Tarik Cohen ($6,000) face a better outlook, at least based on what the matchup tells us. Not only are the Bears a run-heavy unit, but the Lions give up a slate-high 34.28 percent of their yardage on the ground. That didn’t help either one when these two teams met in Week 10 but that can also be considered a buying opportunity. Howard has handled a shade under 17 touches over the past four weeks with Cohen averaging nine over that same span. Conventional wisdom suggests both will be busy.

On the other side of the ball, the pass-happy Lions will be facing off against a Bears funnel defense that allows three quarters of it’s yardage to come through the air. That plays into the Lions’ strengths, particularly with their top runner, Kerryon Johnson, ruled out. Even as a three-point underdog with a relatively low Vegas total, Matthew Stafford ($6,800) has some appeal as a low(er)-owned tournament option.

Here’s a counter-intuitive wrinkle to consider for differentiation in tournaments: Pair Stafford with the Bears D/ST ($4,700). Stafford isn’t afraid to give the opposing defense chances at takeaways, and the Bears have players who can create them. You’ll obviously need Stafford to handle his business overall, but the isolated result of any potential turnover is a net positive — and maybe if the fantasy gods are smiling down upon you, the Bears can take one back for six. These are the types of scenarios you need to hope for if you want to take down a massive small-slate tournament.

Redskins at Cowboys (-7, 41)
If footballers haven’t had their fill of backup quarterback play during the day’s first course, there will be a second helping when Colt McCoy ($6,500) slides under center. While those who decide to go against the grain will have the potential to gain leverage over a tournament field, neither McCoy nor Dak Prescott ($7,400) stand out as viable tournament plays as both the Cowboys and Redskins lean heavily on a ball-controlling ground attack — hence the slate-low Vegas total.

Even with that established, it’s still worth giving Amari Cooper ($6,500) an extended look. The Cowboys may not want to air things out offensively, but the Redskins continue to provide tough sledding for those looking to advance via the ground. Ezekiel Elliott ($8,700) will continue to devour touches (one has to believe he’ll receive significantly more than the 17 he saw in his first meeting with the ‘Skins) and is always a solid bet to deliver on his price tag, but Cooper is the player who stands out here based on matchup strengths. His volume has been inconsistent, but he did see eight and 10 targets, respectively, in his first two games with Dallas and has allowed the offense to operate with a sense of increased balance.

The Cowboys are no slouches against the run either, a likely deterrent to those who might’ve otherwise considered taking a stroll down narrative street and running Adrian Peterson ($6,700) into a lineup. As much as the Redskins ran the ball before losing their starting quarterback, the logical assumption is that they’re going to keep pounding the rock. One caveat though: While Peterson has been undeniably productive in Washington’s wins, he’s been virtually non-existent in most of their losses. If Peterson is on your radar for Thursday, make sure you’re comfortable with the potential game flow and script.

Falcons at New Orleans (-13, 60.5)
The NFL saves us the best for last this year. Expect the big hitters in this matchup, particularly on the New Orleans side, to be heavily owned. A game with this total can’t be faded, but you’ll want to make sure you have the right pieces in this contest. Nobody can predict the future obviously, but the signs available suggest to us that the Saints will put up a large sum of points while the Falcons play catch up for much of the second half.

With the expected scoring so high, it stands to reason Drew Brees ($9,000), in spite of his cost, will be a popular play. The Saints’ implied point total compared to the other teams on the slate means Brees has a good shot of being the highest-scoring quarterback on the slate as well. The question you’ll have to ask yourself is whether you’re more comfortable taking the field at QB or finding the requisite value throughout the rest of your roster to offset the cost it’ll take to roster Brees.

Regardless of whether you decide to go heavy, light or completely fade Brees altogether, the trio of Alvin Kamara ($8,900), Michael Thomas ($8,800) and Mark Ingram ($7,400) figure to be busy. Not only are the Saints heavy favorites, but the Falcons are susceptible to the run, setting up a scenario in which Brees and Co. are milking the clock late in the game — an obvious plus for Kamara and Ingram. If you’re torn between these three, it’s worth noting that Thomas has only received double-digit targets once over his last seven games. He’s remained productive in spite of the tighter workload, but was below 10 FanDuel points in two contests over that span. Nobody is going to scoff at the notion of rostering Thomas, but when you only have room for a finite number of studs, you have to nitpick.

Pivoting to Matt Ryan ($8,600) in this expected shootout will be a tempting move, but a scenario exists in which the Falcons can’t keep the Saints off the field. That means Ryan will need to be at his most efficient in order to provide his expected value. If you remain bullish on the Falcons’ ability compete and linger within striking distance throughout this contest, you’ll also want to strongly consider paying up for Julio Jones ($8,800). After much hand-wringing over his aversion to finding the end zone, he’s broken the plane in each of his last three games while topping 100 yards in his last five. Over that stretch he’s averaged 11.2 targets per game and has converted nearly 70 percent of them into catches. Even if Ryan struggles overall, Jones is a nice bet to deliver a strong performance.

Each week, we’ll dive into Fanduel’s main slate to highlight some of the juiciest matchups and situations to exploit. Whether it’s finding the low(er)-owned gems in a popular upcoming shootout or identifying an overlooked clash that DFSers can use to gain leverage over a tournament field, our aim is to provide you the individual plays and overall strategy to consider as you chase profitability in your DFS portfolio. Let’s jump in.

Eagles at Saints (56.5, -8)
In one of the premier matchups of the week, the defending Super Bowl champion Eagles travel to the Big Easy looking to build some momentum down the home stretch. On paper, this matchup presents the makings of a fun, up-and-down, pass-heavy contest as both teams have mostly stonewalled opposing ground games this season. Newly acquired Golden Tate ($6,600) only played 18 of 62 snaps in his first game with his new team, but he’s expected to take on a larger role this week in what Vegas predicts to be a high-scoring affair. Matchups from a year ago should be taken with a grain of salt, but for those who do place stock into such things may recall Tate finished with seven catches for 96 yards and a score in a 2017 matchup against the Saints. The more attractive — and expensive — option in this matchup is Zach Ertz ($7,600), who’s coming off a monster 14-145-2 line and 33.5 FanDuel points. He may end up being the most popular tight ends on the main slate, but this is an instance where going with the herd is the right move while you look elsewhere to create differentiation.

Buccaneers at Giants (53.5, -1.5)
The Bucs continue to surrender gobs of fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks, so we’re going to continue picking on them. The Giants have a particularly pass-heavy approach on offense, not a surprise considering the type of pass-catching talent they have on the perimeter, not to mention the backfield. Odell Beckham Jr. ($8,500) isn’t one to slide under the radar obviously, but it’s still worth noting that he’s seen fewer than 10 targets on a single occasion this season. Over his last three games he’s received 33 targets, catching 20 of them for 352 yards and three touchdowns. He’s going to be popular, but the volume is there and the matchup is juicy. Those looking to get a little cute can look at Evan Engram ($5,800). He’s only scored double-digit FD points in two contests, but he should be running on all cylinders physically after missing time with a knee sprain. More importantly, the Bucs’ sieve pass defense has been particularly yielding to the tight end position, allowing a league-high 77.1 yards per game to the position. He presents an affordable and potentially profitable option at flex or a Zach Ertz alternative if you’re looking to fade the popular pick at the position. Finally, while Sterling Shepard ($6,300) is strictly a boom or bust option for tournaments, he’s an interesting one to consider if you’re of the belief that Tampa Bay will do everything necessary to slow down Beckham Jr. He’s seen eight targets in two of the last three games.

Raiders at Cardinals (41, -5.5)
The Cardinals haven’t been favored in a contest this season since Week 1 against the Washington Redskins, but that says everything you need to know about the state of the Raiders. It hasn’t been all smiles for those who have invested in David Johnson ($7,900), but he’s coming off a great game in which he delivered a vintage performance (98 rushing yards, 85 receiving yards, seven receptions, two touchdowns, 33.8 FD points) in a loss to the Chiefs. Sure, he may not be delivering up to the lofty expectations thrust upon him this season, but it’s worth noting that he’s only scored fewer than 10 FD points on two occasions. DFSers need more than a solid performance from a player at Johnson’s price point, but given the way the Raiders have let teams plow over them without much resistance, he figures to be very busy this Sunday. There are a number of high-profile running backs

Running Wild
There are a number of attractive choices at the running back position this week, but three in particular head into matchups against teams that funnel opposition’s yardage through the ground. Melvin Gordon ($8,700) vs. Broncos, Christian McCaffrey ($8,600) vs. Lions and James Conner ($8,200) vs. Jaguars are each in a spot that could put smiles on DFSers faces. Naturally, it will take concessions elsewhere, but all three can be jammed into a lineup if you’re comfortable with the value plays available to you at other positions.

Each week, we’ll dive into Fanduel’s main slate to highlight some of the juiciest matchups and situations to exploit. Whether it’s finding the low(er)-owned gems in a popular upcoming shootout or identifying an overlooked clash that DFSers can use to gain leverage over a tournament field, our aim is to provide you the individual plays and overall strategy to consider as you chase profitability in your DFS portfolio. Let’s jump in.

Cardinals at Chiefs (-16.5, 49.5)
It only takes one look at the teams in this matchup, let alone the Vegas point spread, to know that the game script is going to lean heavily toward the run for the Chiefs. If you’re not convinced, consider that the Cardinals allow the third highest percentage of allowed yardage — and it’s a lot of yardage in their case — to come via the ground. If all goes as expected, the Chiefs will be milking clock by halfway through the third quarter. Not only should DFSers expect a big game from Kareem Hunt ($9,000), who presents a strong alternative for those unwilling to spend five figures on Todd Gurley, but they shouldn’t be surprised if Spencer Ware ($4,900) delivers 10-plus points himself.

Redskins (-3, 51) at Buccaneers
Another week, another focus on a Buccaneers matchup. Only this time we’re not picking on them. While the Redskins are favored and have played well thus far, they have also forced opposing teams to take to the air to move the ball, something that’ll allow the Bucs and Ryan Fitzpatrick ($7,600) to remain in their wheelhouse. As we all know, Fitzpatrick is a threat to completely tank a lineup at any point. We also know that he’s more than capable of 25-30 FanDuel points at a reasonable price. As far as his targets, don’t be afraid to go back to the well on Mike Evans ($7,500). Evans delivered a dud last week, there’s no doubt about that, but he still saw 10 targets and volume is the constant variable we should lean on each week. With their defense still being unable to stop anyone, the Bucs should have to continue to throw the ball early and often.

Saints (-5.5, 54) at Bengals
It’s not every week you see a legit playoff contender getting 5.5 points in Vegas, but that’s what happens when A.J. Green is set to miss the contest. In spite of his top receiver’s absence, Andy Dalton ($7,900) should still garner a long look as a sleeper option at the position. No, Dalton is not a slam dunk option at the quarterback position this. However, he is a player whose likely low ownership puts you in a position to create some separation from the tournament field you’re competing against and sometimes that is just as — if not more — important than rostering the industry’s “lock”. On the receiving end, expect Tyler Boyd ($7,800) to remain busy as Bengals OC Bill Lazor orchestrates an aerial-focused game plan aimed at taking down a defensive unit funneling offensive production through the air.

Run for it!
For those value-conscious owners looking to save a bit at running back this week, there are a few matchups and moderately-priced plays worth considering. Both the Colts (-3, 46.5) and Jags are back in action which means Marlon Mack ($7,400) will try to make it three strong performances in a row after ripping off 30.9 and 27.9 FD points over his last two contests. The Jaguars are bottom third in terms of defending the run as teams are so discouraged from throwing against their top-rated pass defense. While Andrew Luck will certainly see his fair share of dropbacks and attempts, Mack will serve as a prominent factor in the Colts’ offensive attack.

It’s been a bit of an up and down year for Jordan Howard ($6,500), who looked like he was on his way to being a consistent 15-20-touch back before seemingly falling out of favor. It’s no secret that Tarik Cohen remains a big part of this offense, but Howard has been productive in the right spot. And another one of those spots is on tap for Week 10 as the Bears (-6.5, 44) host the Lions and their beleaguered run defense. While his ceiling isn’t sky high, Howard has seen three games with 20-plus touches and enters a situation in which another 20 or more chances is a reasonable expectation.

Finally, assuming Aaron Jones ($6,500) isn’t chained up in the proverbial doghouse for his costly fumble against the Patriots last Sunday, he could also end the week as one of the top values at running back. He’s seen 14 and 16 touches over the last two contests and could finally be on the cusp of taking ownership of the lead role in the backfield. The Packers (-9.5, 47.5) are not only heavy home favorites, but they’re facing a Dolphins defense that has seen teams attack them on the ground. With Aaron Rodgers serving as the primary threat against any opposition, the Packers really have a chance to put the Dolphins in a bind and open up even more holes through which Jones can gallop and rip off chunk yardage. Teams gashing the Dolphins front seven has been a common occurrence in recent weeks and the stage is set for another bludgeoning.

Each week, we’ll dive into Fanduel’s main slate to highlight some of the juiciest matchups and situations to exploit. Whether it’s finding the low(er)-owned gems in a popular upcoming shootout or identifying an overlooked clash that DFSers can use to gain leverage over a tournament field, our aim is to provide you the individual plays and overall strategy to consider as you chase profitability in your DFS portfolio. Let’s jump in.

Buccaneers at Panthers (-6, 55)
Another week, another chance to pick on an abysmal Bucs pass defense. Cam Newton ($8,600) has been as advertised thus far in 2019, averaging 24.7 FanDuel points through seven contests. He’s this week’s chalk play, so don’t expect to create much leverage over the field, but also fade at your own risk. Those willing to zig away from the zaggers — but still seeking a piece of this matchup — can explore the Panthers receiving options, who are still bound to be popular, but maybe not as highly-owned as Newton. Here are the target shares of the Panthers’ top active pass-catchers:

Christian McCaffrey ($7,900) – 22 percent
Devin Funchess ($6,400) – 21 percent
Greg Olsen ($6,200) – 14 percent
D.J. Moore ($5,300) – 11 percent
Curtis Samuel ($4,600) – 6 percent

With Torrey Smith out, it should be noted that Moore played in 71 percent of the team’s snaps in Week 8 and that trend should continue with Smith ruled out again for Week 9.

On the other sideline, have a long look at Mike Evans ($7,900), who is reasonably priced this week. Sure, we all know that there’s a fair chance of Ryan Fitzpatrick being an unmitigated disaster, but he’s also clicked with Evans in a way that Jameis Winston has not been able to this season. In Fitzpatrick’s three full games, Evans has caught 23 of 30 targets for 367 yards and three TDs, good for 21.4 FanDuel points per game. In Winston’s two full contests, his line is 11 catches on 16 targets for 165 yards and zero TDs, good for 11 FanDuel points per game. Additionally, his score in Week 8 came courtesy of Mr. Fitzpatrick, and with the Buccaneers gaining over 80 percent of their offensive yardage through the air, Evans figures to be busy on Sunday.

Falcons at Redskins (-1.5, 48)
If you’re looking for a smidgen of value at QB and want someone with the ability to eclipse the 20-point plateau without being more popular than a homecoming king, look no further than Matt Ryan ($8,200). There are enough warts on this matchup to keep DFSers away, i.e. the Redskins’ tough — and reinforced — defense, Falcons on the road, low Vegas total compared to some other matchups with stud QBs, etc. But it’s those superficial blemishes that will scare others off and have you smitten when Ryan’s true beauty is revealed to everyone’s astonishment a la the overlooked band-geek-turned-prom-queen. High school cliches aside, the appeal Ryan provides comes from the fact that the Falcons lean so heavily on the pass to move the ball (79.2 percent of their yardage comes through the air) while the Redskins, thus far, have forced teams to beat them through the air (75.1 percent of yardage allowed has come via the pass). As 1.5-point Vegas dogs, the expectation is that the Falcons will need to keep the pedal to the floor and lean heavily on Ryan’s right arm.

Jets at Dolphins (-3, 43.5)
DFSers naturally want to squeeze in as many good — and often expensive — players into their rosters every week and that not only means finding the values that save money, but also the values that go overlooked. Enter Isaiah Crowell ($5,700), who is a prime candidate to provide both savings and differentiation within your tournament field. As road dogs, it goes against fundamental strategy to rely on the Jets ground game, but that’s why he’ll likely come in at modest ownership. The belief that he could deliver the goods to those with enough stomach to go against the grain stems from the funnel effect of this matchup. The Jets have relied on the run for 36.2 percent of their offensive yardage while the Dolphins have surrendered 35.1 percent of their total allowed output on the ground, both figures rank among the top eight on this week’s main slate. The host Dolphins laying three points in Vegas means oddsmakers see the Jets and Dolphins as two evenly matched sides (generally speaking, home field advantage is worth three points, so many would accept that the Jets and Dolphins would be a coin flip on a neutral field), and thus, this matchup could go well into the fourth quarter in neutral game script, allowing Crowell to see a healthy dose of touches.

BONUS: Titans at Cowboys (-5.5, 40.5)
Even during a heavy bye week, there are still a number of high-priced studs to choose from, and with Todd Gurley commanding an $11,200 price tag, there will again be incentive to pivot away from him to secure more value. For those participating in full slates, the splurge move at running back is Ezekiel Elliott ($8,400). Not only does the matchup between a run-reliant offense and a defense funneling a high percentage of production toward opposing ground games fit together like two puzzle pieces, but Elliott’s price tag still allows you to field a lineup without too many items from the clearance rack. The addition of Amari Cooper gives the Cowboys a much-needed perimeter weapon to encourage opposing defenses to demonstrate a half step of honesty, and it might be just enough to give Elliott the extra bit of room he needs to run wild on Monday night.

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