DraftKings Week 13 Values & Top Plays
Just kidding, but maybe not because it looks like this tourney could overlay pretty massively. As I write this in the late afternoon on Tuesday, there are only 9,000 lineups entered. There’s less than 48 hours left until kickoff, and there are two things that suggest we might see fewer late entries than normal. One is that the first game kicks off a half-hour earlier than normal at 12:30 EST, and the second reason is that IT IS THANKSGIVING.
This could be a prime money-making opportunity, even with the top-heavy payout structure, because I’d estimate that maybe only 80 percent of the spots will fill.
So how should we approach thing tourney? Well, I’m very concerned about usage rates in regular GPPs, but I still mostly want value because individual player utilization is typically relatively modest in NFL games (as opposed to MLB, for example, where 35 percent of the field might stack the Rockies at home).
In a three-game slate, though, there’s going to be a whole lot of overlap. That means the value of hitting on an under-the-radar player is way greater than normal; if you can identify a low-usage player who goes off, that will be a scarce source of points that will help you separate from the pack.
With that said, I’m going to break down my favorite value plays for Sunday, followed by my favorite tournament plays for Thanksgiving.
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DraftKings Week 13 Value Plays
High QB: Andrew Luck, Indianapolis vs Washington, $9700
Luck is the most expensive player in Week 13, but he’s also the clear top-priced play for cash games, in my opinion. Luck is so consistent each week, due mostly to his workload and market share of Indy touchdowns, and he has an easy matchup against a Redskins defense that has allowed the fourth-most points to opposing quarterbacks in 2014.
If you look at the other expensive quarterbacks, you see a bunch of matchups against above-average defenses. Luck might not be the top $/point value, but he’s the safest option.
Low QB: Philip Rivers, San Diego at Baltimore, $6000
The Ravens just got torched by Drew Brees on Monday night football and they now rank in the bottom 10 in the league in points allowed to quarterbacks. Rivers has struggled of late, but he’s inexplicably priced below Andy Dalton—who has one touchdown per game over the past six weeks—Alex Smith, and Josh McCown. Rivers is a great option if you’re looking to go big at running back for cash games.
High RB: LeVeon Bell, Pittsburgh vs New Orleans, $8700
With both DeMarco Murray and Matt Forte playing on Thanksgiving, I don’t think there’s any doubt that Bell is the top back on Sunday. He’s the second-most-expensive, behind Arian Foster, and will see a New Orleans defense that has struggled against running backs this year. Pittsburgh might get down in this game (although they’re currently 3.5-point favorites), but either way, Bell’s pass-catching ability means he’s not super-dependent on a particular game script.
Low RB: Gio Bernard, Cincinnati at Tampa Bay, $5300
I’m not sure why Bernard is priced so low against the Bucs. He ran for only 45 yards on Sunday, but the important part is that he saw 17 carries in his first game back from injury. If he’s going to see that sort of workload against a crappy defense, I’ll fire him up at $5300—which is $100 less than Jeremy Hill—all day long.
Note that there’s so much value in finding cheap running back production. There’s much more safety among the top-priced backs, but sometimes you can locate opportunities cheaply. It all comes down to workload for backs, so pretty much any cheap backup that is thrust into the starting lineup becomes an immediate consideration.
High WR: A.J. Green, Cincinnati at Tampa Bay, $8200
Green is back with 18 catches, 248 yards, and a touchdown over the past two games. You can always make a case for Demaryius Thomas, but he’s a full $1300 more expensive than Green. That’s extremely valuable cash that I think could be spent more wisely elsewhere in cash games considering the weekly volatility of receivers. I don’t mind playing both Green and Bernard together in cash games.
I’m just a sucker for Decker. Is he crushing it this year? No. Clearly the quarterback situation has hindered him, but Decker still has a line of 47/513/4 even though he missed a game. I don’t think there’s a ton of upside here because of the offense, but I also think Decker has produced at basically his floor for much of the year, so I still believe he’s priced too low.
High TE: Jimmy Graham, New Orleans at Pittsburgh, $7100
I think I like Rob Gronkowski just a tad more than Graham in terms of the total projection, but the $700 price difference is enough for me to favor Graham’s value. He has six touchdowns over the past five games.
Note that you’re going to have a really difficult decision to make if Julius Thomas suits up. He’ll offer value at only $5200 just because he can score so frequently, but his play is extremely volatile; he basically gives you next to nothing or scores three times. That’s not necessarily what you want in cash games, but I wouldn’t be opposed to taking the chance because you normally can’t get that caliber of player so cheaply.
I definitely like the idea of a TE-TE pairing of Gronk/Thomas in tournaments.
Low TE: Jermaine Gresham, Cincinnati at Tampa Bay, $3100
I guess I’m bullish on the Bengals this week. As always, tight end is a mess after the top few players, so your guess is basically as good as mine. Knowing that, I’d prefer to pay as little as possible. Given that Gresham has some upside with Tyler Eifert out, I think he’s probably the best bang for your buck if you don’t pay up for an elite player at the tight end position. I probably wouldn’t pair Gresham with Green or Bernard in tournaments because I don’t know if there’s enough of a ceiling in that offense for everyone to score.
Strictly GPP (Thanksgiving Edition)
QB Mark Sanchez, Philadelphia at Dallas, $6800
Since taking over as the Eagles’ starting quarterback, Sanchez hasn’t failed to reach 37 attempts in a single game. I think that Tony Romo is the top option this week, but I also believe he’ll be the most popular. All of the Thanksgiving quarterbacks are priced near one another, so it’s basically a pick ‘em.
Russell Wilson is also a consideration because, since he’s priced the same as Romo, I think the majority of users who spend that money will go with the Dallas quarterback. Wilson’s upside with his legs puts him in play.
RB Marshawn Lynch, Seattle at San Francisco, $6400
Lynch is a bit of a value at $6400, but I still think he’ll be underutilized—as much so as possible in a three-game slate, anyway—given the difficult matchup. Lynch isn’t going to give you much as a receiver, so this is just a situation in which you’re hoping he can find the end zone a couple times, which is very possible. Most users will be on the top three backs in Forte, Murray, and McCoy.
WR Golden Tate, Detroit vs Chicago, $6600
Tate is only $200 less than Jeremy Maclin and costs more than both Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery. He’s still producing with Calvin Johnson in the lineup, and he has as good of a matchup as you could want on the turf at home against Chicago.
The Patriots tried to shut down the Lions’ receivers by placing their best cornerback on Tate and doubling Calvin Johnson. I think the Bears will try to do the same thing, but they don’t have Darelle Revis to cover Tate on the outside.
TE Vernon Davis, San Francisco vs Seattle, $3000
Davis scored twice in Week 1. Since then, he hasn’t found the end zone, nor has he topped three catches for 39 yards in any game.
SPOLIER ALERT: This probably won’t end up working out.
But the Thanksgiving tight end options are so bare that you can take a chance and hope Davis goes for two touchdowns, but still be in a decent spot in the likely scenario that his one first-quarter catch for eight yards is all he gives you.
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