This article is part of our DraftKings NFL series.
Sunday's Week 13 slate includes 10 games and will feature Zack Moss as overwhelming chalk with his price not adjusted for Jonathan Taylor's absence. Unless you plan on multi-entering the largest-field GPPs like the millionaire maker or $3 20 max, I think it's best to treat Moss like a "free square" and move on. That's what I plan on doing at least. There's plenty of opportunity to gain leverage in other spots, with little else standing out besides the Dolphins in a favorable spot against the Commanders. In this article I highlighted some of the best cash-game options and tried to inspire a few ideas for tournaments. Good Luck.
Note: All prices listed come from DraftKings, but most of the logic can be applied to other sites across the DFS industry. Discussion is limited to players from the main slate of games kicking off at 1 p.m., 4:05 p.m. and 4:25 p.m. EDT on Sunday. The strategy below is meant for large-field tournaments, where payouts typically are limited to ~20 percent of lineups, with the majority concentrated at the very top.
|New York Jets
|New Orleans Saints
|Los Angeles Chargers
|New England Patriots
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers
|Los Angeles Rams
|San Francisco 49ers
These are the players with the best projections relative to their salaries — good plays both for cash games and large-field tournaments. While we don't want our GPP lineups to look like cash-game lineups top to bottom, there's nothing wrong with rostering some of the chalk.
- RB Zack Moss at TEN ($4,600)
Jonathan Taylor is out after undergoing thumb surgery and because DraftKings released salaries before the news, we have a situation where Moss has chance to be the highest-owned player of the season. I'd imagine he will be rostered on 75 percent of lineups in single-entry and small-field tournaments. He's a no-brainer for cash games, and I'm leaning toward playing him in GPPs too but anytime someone is going to be that popular on a 10-game slate, fading them for leverage makes sense. Maybe you can poke some holes in the matchup against Tennessee, but Moss crushed the Titans in Week 5 for 36 fantasy points when he ran for 165 yards and two scores on 23 carries. He'll be involved in the passing game too. I don't use this term often, but he's as close as it gets to a "free square."
- WR Terry McLaurin vs. MIA ($5,500)
As things stand Friday, there are no glaring value options at WR. I'm highlighting McLaurin because he's drawn at least seven targets in seven consecutive games and has averaged five catches in that span. The Commanders are passing at the highest rate in the league and that should continue in Sunday's matchup against the Dolphins where they're likely to be playing catchup. If you prefer Courtland Sutton ($5,400) I wouldn't have much of an argument. Sutton has caught a touchdown in five of his last six games and the strength of the Texans' defense is stopping the run.
Other Cash-Game Options
QB Sam Howell vs. MIA ($6,200)
QB Brock Purdy at PHI ($6,100)
QB Russell Wilson at HOU ($5,700)
RB Christian McCaffrey at PHI ($9,000)
RB Rachaad White vs. CAR ($6,300)
RB Rhamondre Stevenson vs. LAC ($6,000)
RB Javonte Williams at HOU ($5,700)
RB Jaylen Warren vs. ARI ($5,400)
WR Tyreek Hill at WAS ($9,600)
WR Tank Dell vs. DEN ($7,400)
WR Nico Collins vs. DEN ($6,800)
WR Terry McLaurin vs. MIA ($5,500)
WR Courtland Sutton at HOU ($5,400)
WR Josh Downs at TEN ($5,100)
WR Diontae Johnson vs. ARI ($5,000)
TE David Njoku at LAR ($4,100)
TE Juwan Johnson vs. DET ($3,400)
TE Brevin Jordan vs. DEN ($2,500)
D/ST Atlanta Falcons at NYJ ($3,400)
D/ST Tennessee Titans vs. IND ($2,800)
D/ST Carolina Panthers at TB ($2,500)
Stacks are the centerpiece of most tournament lineups, seeking to take advantage of positive correlations between players. It rarely makes sense to use a quarterback without one or two of his pass catchers, even if the player in question scores a decent portion of his fantasy points with his legs. Ideally, a stack also includes a pass catcher from the other side of the game, hoping to take advantage of a back-and-forth shootout. (Implied team totals are listed in parentheses.)
Miami Dolphins (29.5) at Washington Commanders (20)
Miami has the highest implied total on the slate and it's easy to see why when you look at their matchup against Washington. Commanders games have been fruitful for fantasy points all season because they pass at the second-highest rate in the league and have a bad defense. The Cowboys just put up 45 points against them on Thanksgiving and the Dolphins' offense is just as capable. They lead the league in explosive play rate and average points per snap. Tua Tagovailoa ($7,900) continues to prove he deserves to be mentioned among the league's best QBs and he should have plenty of time to stand in the pocket against a weak Commanders pass rush. Him and Tyreek Hill ($9,600) will pick them apart if that's the case. Hill's salary has climbed to its highest point of the season, but he's still expected to be among the slate's chalkiest players due to the prime matchup and the cheap value at RB. Jaylen Waddle ($7,600) won't be popular, however, and is coming off a big game against the Jets in which he caught all eight of his targets for 114 yards. His ceiling potential makes him one of the better leverage options on the board. I like stacking the Dolphins' passing game because it's straightforward in that you really don't have to consider any of the other WRs or TEs.
Washington ranks second in situation-neutral pass rate (68 percent) and is likely to be playing from behind, which should mean elevated passing volume throughout. Despite the offense scoring only 10 points against Dallas, Sam Howell ($6,300) completed 28 passes and threw for 300 yards. It was his fifth consecutive game with at least 28 completions and the fourth time in that span that he's topped 300 passing yards. Those type of numbers make it likely that one or more of his receiving options will put up a big score. Last week it was Curtis Samuel ($4,100), who caught nine passes for 100 yards and broke the Thanksgiving slate. We've seen Jahan Dotson ($4,600) and Logan Thomas ($3,600) do it as well. You'd imagine it's only a matter of time before someone as talented as Terry McLaurin ($5,400) reaps the benefits. All four of the Commanders' pass-catchers are favorably priced and any of them make sense when paired with either Howell or Tua. I haven't mentioned a running back yet because none stand out, but it's worth noting that Raheem Mostert ($7,300) and De'Von Achane ($6,900) won't be popular at all due to elevated prices and because they split work. We know Achane can put up a massive ceiling with limited opportunities and the leverage he'd offer should at least make him a consideration if you plan on stacking Howell.
- Favorite Dolphins Stack: QB Tagovailoa + WR Hill and/or WR Waddle + WR McLaurin or WR Dotson
- Favorite Commanders Stack: QB Howell + WR Hill/WR Waddle + WR McLaurin + WR Dotson/WR Samuel
Denver Broncos (22) at Houston Texans (25.5)
What a turnaround it's been for Denver. Written off after an embarrassing start to the season highlighted by a 70-point drubbing at the hands of Miami, the Broncos have won five in a row, including back-to-back upsets of the Bills and Chiefs, and now find themselves fighting for the playoffs. It looked like it might be time for Russell Wilson ($5,700) to hang it up, but he's silenced the doubters with stellar play and an impressive ratio of 20 touchdown passes to just four interceptions. He's been using his legs too, rushing for at least 30 yards in six of 11 games. Pairing him with Courtland Sutton ($5,400) makes most sense to me. Sutton's enjoying a bounce-back season as he's already caught eight TDs, including five in his last six games. He's clearly been Wilson's favorite target, and I expect that to continue based on his lack of other options. I have some interest in Jerry Jeudy ($4,700) as well. Obviously, he's struggled after dealing with injury to start the year, but he's still an elite talent and his salary has fallen to its lowest point of the season. Javonte Williams ($5,700) has 20-plus touches in three of the last four weeks and projects as one of the better values at RB. He'd be a good option in tournaments when paired with the Texans' passing game.
Denver's defense has been better lately, but matchups haven't mattered for C.J. Stroud ($8,100) this season. Already a shoe-in for rookie of the year, he's coming off another big performance after 34 fantasy points against the Jaguars last week. He's been making plays with legs and running for touchdowns too, with three in his last five games. It's hard to believe that his salary has climbed higher than $8K, but that means he's not going to be popular, even on a slate without many high-ceiling QBs, and that makes Stroud appealing in tournaments. Tank Dell ($7,400) and Nico Collins ($6,800) are two of the best projected WRs on the slate. Dell is coming off another TD, his fifth in his last four games and he would've had another 100-yard game if not for a 62-yard reception called back on a questionable illegal shift. Collins is coming off 104 yards and a score. He has seven catches in back-to-back games. Both him and Dell would stand to benefit if Dalton Schultz (hamstring) is ruled out. So would Brevin Jordan ($2,500), his direct replacement. Jordan would make sense in double-stacks as his minimum salary makes it easier pay up for Stroud.
- Favorite Broncos Stack: QB Wilson + WR Sutton/WR Jeudy + WR Dell/WR Collins
- Favorite Texans Stack: QB Stroud + RB Williams + WR Dell/WR Collins + TE Jordan
Other Stacks to Consider
- WR Tyreek Hill at WAS ($9,600)
The matchup against Washington is about as good as it gets for Hill, who's posted ceiling scores with remarkable consistency. He's put up at least 25 fantasy points in six of his last seven games and already topped 30 points five times this season. The $9,600 might seem steep, but it's actually more affordable than usual with Zack Moss offering relief. It makes Hill almost a lock for cash games and, of course, he's a good tournament option as well.
- RB Christian McCaffrey at PHI ($9,000)
The salary relief that Moss offers, as well as the savings from not spending up at QB or TE, makes it easier than you might think to pair Hill with McCaffrey. I say that because doing so looks like the optimal cash-game construction this week. McCaffrey is truly matchup-proof and even though Sunday's game in Philadelphia is a tough spot on paper, his role in the passing-game keeps his floor safe and ceiling high. DraftKings also slashed his salary by a few hundred dollars, which has him projected among the top value options on the slate despite the $9K price.
Fading the Field
In some cases it makes sense to fade a player with a strong projection, particularly when there are good alternatives at the same position and price range.
- QB Jalen Hurts vs. SF ($8,200)
Three factors have me worried about this spot for Hurts. First, the 49ers defense has looked elite since the addition of Chase Young. The were scary good in shutting down Trevor Lawrence and Geno Smith. Second, the Eagles are coming off three consecutive tough wins against the Cowboys, Chiefs and Bills. They were largely outplayed in the last two and seemed prime for a letdown. Third, there could be some weather concerns as the forecast calls for rain and that would make it even harder for Hurts to have success through the air. He'll always have the rushing upside, but it takes more than that to pay off an expensive salary. I'd also rather spend up for the likes of Hill and McCaffrey, so it makes sense to fade Hurts. If you think the opposite, he's still a reasonable tournament option because his WRs won't be popular.
The Smash Spot
(Players in favorable spots to significantly outperform their salary.)
- WR Elijah Moore at LAR ($3,500)
I try to recommend players who are a little bit off the board in this section, but last week I chose Rashid Shaheed and he got injured in the first quarter, tanking all my best lineups in the process. I guess it can't really go worse with Moore. The sub $4K range at WR is particularly barren this week. Believe it or not, what Moore has going for him is the return of Super Bowl champion Joe Flacco, who will try to dink and dunk his way around the Rams defense. Moore is the perfect weapon for that type of game plan, and it's no coincidence that his best games with the Jets were when Flacco was under.
In terms of matchups that could produce smash spots, the Steelers RBs will be licking their chops after seeing what Kyren Williams did to the Cardinals last week. Either Jaylen Warren ($5,400) or Najee Harris ($5,200) could significantly outperform his salary, but it's a coin flip as to who it will be. Warren projects better and will be more popular, if that means anything to you. The often-criticized Harris leads the league in 15-plus yard runs, for whatever that's worth.
The Bargain Bin
QB Baker Mayfield vs. TB ($5,500)
QB Gardner Minshew at TEN ($5,300)
QB Kenny Pickett vs. ARI ($5,100)
WR George Pickens vs. ARI ($4,800)
WR Jerry Jeudy at HOU ($4,700)
WR Jahan Dotson vs. MIA ($4,600)
WR Curtis Samuel vs. MIA ($4,100)
WR Elijah Moore at LAR ($3,500)
WR Jonathan Mingo at TB ($3,300)
WR DeVante Parker vs. LAC ($3,300)
Injuries to Monitor
- WR Chris Olave vs. DET ($6,900)
Olave remains in concussion protocol but "there's a chance" he clears and that news will have big implications. If he plays, he's one of the best WR options on the slate with the Saints at home against a Lions defense that's been bad lately. If he misses and with Rashid Shaheed and Michael Thomas already out as well, players like Juwan Johnson ($3,400) and Alvin Kamara ($8,200) should see a significant bump in target share. You could even take a chance on one of their cheap WRs, either A.T. Perry ($3,300) or Lynn Bowden ($3,000).
- The forecast is calling for scattered showers in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. If you plan on targeting the 49ers or Eagles passing games, it'd be wise to check the weather closer to kickoff. Rainy and/or windy conditions are not usually conducive to shootouts.