This article is part of our FanDuel Fantasy Football series.
Another week of FanDuel football is here and this week the $9 GPP will hand someone a top prize of $300,000. It's becoming clearer on how to start cash game lineups — start with Lamar Jackson (not on the main slate), Christian McCaffrey ($10,500), Mike Thomas ($9,200) and build the rest of your lineup with value. However, their prices have skyrocketed and it may be wise to look elsewhere for value this week. Let's see who else we should consider.
Never at the beginning of the season did I think I would start by writing about Sam Darnold ($7,400), but here we are. He's one of my favorite tournament plays this week, as he's reasonably priced and has upside. The Raiders have to travel across the country and allow the seventh-most fantasy points to quarterbacks. For cash games, the most expensive option, Drew Brees ($8,500), makes a lot of sense and while pairing him with Michael Thomas ($9,200) should be chalky. That's a situation not to fade in cash. The other cash game option to trust is the Falcons' Matt Ryan ($7,900). He's home, facing the worst pass defense in the league and has his two top receivers healthy. Just hope his defense isn't as dominant as it's been the last two games and that Ryan is still throwing in the fourth quarter. Do we trust Baker Mayfield ($7,500) this week? We probably should considering he'll be at home and facing the Dolphins. Miami has allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks and they may call Baker's number at the goal line after scoring last game. The final quarterback to mention is the Eagles' Carson Wentz ($7,300) for GPPs. He's had four consecutive unspectacular games, so his ownership level likely will be low. Many will overlook him because of the matchup against the Seahawks, but Seattle has been league-average against the pass this season. There is no Earl Thomas nor Richard Sherman anymore, and this is no longer a dominant defense. Plus, Jadeveon Clowney did not practice all week because of a hip injury and might not play.
Christian McCaffrey ($10,500) starts the conversation every week no matter the price. He's had at least 19.7 fantasy points in each of his last eight games, though the Saints have allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points to running backs. The team allowing the most fantasy points to running backs is the Lions, who will be on the road at Washington. It would make sense that Derrius Guice ($5,400) leads the RBBC, but both Adrian Peterson ($5,800) and Chris Thompson ($5,200) healthy and active will eat into Guice's touches. He's still the running back to use between the three, but check on the status of the other two 90 minutes before kickoff. On the opposite side of the ball, there's no reason to Bo Scarbrough ($6,400) won't get at least another 14 touches against a Redskins defense that allows the eighth-most fantasy points to running backs. Bo will have a better grasp of the playbook after being with the team a whole week and get work on both early downs and at the goal line. The higher-priced player to use in cash games at the position has to be the Browns' Nick Chubb ($8,200). He has at least 20 carries in five consecutive games, the Dolphins allow the fifth-most fantasy points to running backs and Vegas thinks it's more likely he'll have a 100-yard rushing game than not. Long shot of the week? It has to be the Steelers' Benny Snell ($4,500). He's flying under the radar and was ahead of Trey Edmunds before getting hurt. It's a good matchup against the hapless Bengals, and while he could get the same treatment as Jordan Wilkins did Thursday night, he could also see his way double-digit touches.
I've mentioned Michael Thomas ($9,200) and there hasn't been another wide receiver who has been as consistent this season. However, Julio Jones ($8,200) should go nuts against a Tampa Bay defense allowing the most fantasy points to quarterbacks. Using a stack of Matt Ryan, Jones and either Calvin Ridley ($6,700) or Russell Gage ($5,300) makes sense especially with Austin Hooper out for another week. Is this the week for Odell Beckham ($7,000) to go nuts? My gut says "yes," but let's back it up with some facts. He was half a yard from scoring last game and John Brown just went off on these same Dolphins. Beckham is still one of the most talented wide receivers in the league, and the Browns should put up points at home against one of the worst teams in the league. I like a stack using a random quarterback, Beckham and Nick Chubb; I think the opportunity is there for both of those players to have a big game. At the mid-tier level it's tough to ignore Jamison Crowder ($6,400), especially if you're using Darnold in a tournament. Crowder has had three consecutive strong games scoring 16.1, 16.6 and 18.3 fantasy points and gets an Oakland defense allowing the ninth-most fantasy points to wide receivers. Among the lower-priced wide receiver James Washington ($6,100) stands out as a player to target. Did you know he played in college with teammate Mason Rudolph ($6,900)? JuJu Smith-Schuster has already been ruled out and Diontae Johnson ($5,600) is coming off a concussion. This is going to be a weird argument, but Tyler Boyd ($5,600) is coming off a week where he saw a season-low three targets and aired his objection to that number publicly after the game. I'd guess the Bengals try to force him the ball and there we won't see A.J. Green this week and possibly Auden Tate ($5,300) as well. I can easily see 10 targets for Boyd, who has games of 17.2, and 23.3 fantasy points in two of his four games at home this season.
It's been such a strange season for tight ends given we haven't quite gotten the production from the top-3 that we expected and it seems on a weekly basis there's a no-name player who steps up. Last week it was Ross Dwelley who had two touchdowns and there's some other similar candidates this week to step up. Let's start with the Seahawks' Jacob Hollister ($5,800). The Seahawks had a bye last week, so people may forget Hollister had 16.2 and 17.7 fantasy points in his last two games, and Russell Wilson and the Seattle offense definitely draws up play-action passes targeting the tight end. The Jets' Ryan Griffin has games of 19.4 and 22.6 fantasy points in two of his last four games and pairing him with both Sam Darnold and Jamison Crowder in a tournament stack makes sense (maybe sprinkle in Robby Anderson ($5,400) in place of one of those two in a lineup). The Arizona Cardinals are not on the main slate, but the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are. They allow the second-most fantasy points to tight ends so using Austin Hooper would be a chalky idea. However, he's out but that leaves Jaeden Graham ($4,500) as a possible choice to use. While he only saw two targets last week, he'll be the main passing option at the position for Atlanta.
I don't mind paying up this week for the Bears ($5,000) with Daniel Jones likely good for a turnover or two or the Lions ($5,000) who should should at least get a few sacks of Dwayne Haskins. The Browns ($4,500) are a little cheaper and will welcome one of the worst offenses in the league to the Dawg Pound. Looking at the cheaper options, the Bengals ($3,800) are home and the Steelers defense has been hit harder by injury at the offensive skill positions than any team in the league. I'd only look their way in tournaments if you're needing a cheaper option. Mason Rudolph has been Captain Check-down, rarely trying to go downfield for a big play.