Welcome in to a new year of Ben’s NFL DFS Building Blocks for DraftKings and FanDuel! In this article, I will highlight my favorite NFL DFS plays at each position for small-field tournament formats. If you’re interested in signing up for premium access, which grants you Core Plays for every slate, projections, Final Thoughts player pool + expert picks and our premium Discord click HERE. You can also sign up for our plethora of AI-driven sports betting tools and access to my weekly betting card by clicking HERE. Let’s get into the plays…
It was an amazing start to the NFL season with my premium Core Plays taking down tournaments on the first slate of the season!
This will be a condensed version of my article for the Week 12 main slate. Be sure to tune into the Sunday morning livestream for any updated last thoughts on the slate!
Highest pOWN% QB’s: Justin Fields, Brock Purdy, Jake Browning, Russell Wilson
My Conviction Plays: Jake Browning, Josh Allen, Patrick Mahomes, Desmond Ridder, Joe Flacco (if starting)
This is actually a super fun slate, its tough to build lineups early with so many moving parts in the injury department, but there are several QB’s/stacks that I’m interested in. As for the chalk plays, I’m fine being a bit underweight on Fields and Burdy. Both are good plays, but I’d rather lean into my favorite spot on the slate, or the highest total (KC/BUF) in my main GPP builds. Fields has historically crushed the Lions – running for 100+ yards in each of his last three starts against them. I’ll have some exposure, but he isn’t my top-overall play this week. It looks like Geno Smith is a GTD for the Seahawks, and if he’s out the whole game takes a hit for me which lowers my overall interest in Purdy.
My favorite overall option this week is Jake Browning. Browning has been unbelievable for the Bengals since Joe Burrow went down and he has kept Cincy firmly in the playoff race. I love what Zac Taylor has done to the offense with Browning at the helm, and he’s actually thrown for over 8.5 Y/A over the last two games. That’s worth noting because only three QB’s in the NFL have averaged over 8.5 Y/A this season — Tua, Purdy and CJ Stroud. Now he gets a great match-up vs a Colts team that’s been playing extremely fast – and they own a very respectable 23 point implied team total. I’ll be building around the Bengals stack on my main team this weekend.
Obviously we love the Chiefs/Bills match-up and stacking that game will be a must on one of your three-max entry teams. I prefer Allen-Diggs-KC run back but I will consider Mahomes stacks as well.
For cheap plays, we have Desmond Ridder and Joe Flacco, assuming he starts. Ridder has been a different player at home in ATL this season, and draws the Buccaneers this weekend. TB is allowing over 20 DK points per game to QB’s this season, and there is always rushing TD upside with Ridder. He can be very cheaply stacked with Drake London. As for Flacco, he looked great in his first start and actually topped 17 DK points vs the Rams. He’s sub-$5K facing off against the same defense that Jake Browning just cooked for 354 yards. Flacco is in play for me if announced as the starter this weekend.
Highest pOWN% RB’s: Christian McCaffrey, Zack Moss, Joe Mixon, Bijan Robinson, Clyde Edwards-Helaire
My Conviction Plays: Christian McCaffrey, Zack Moss, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Rachaad White, Alvin Kamara, Keaton Mitchell
I really like the chalky running backs this week, and am likely going to have to get weird elsewhere because I can see myself leaning into the high-owned plays. CMC is the best overall play on the slate with Eli Mitchell listed doubtful – and for cash games in specific I view him as a must play. Zack Moss is once again too cheap with Jonathan Taylor out – and can be used in all formats. For me, he correlates with my main stack anyways. I also like the cheap Clyde Edwards-Helaire. I totally get the CEH is not good narrative, but frankly I don’t care if he’s good when he’s a $4,200 starting running back in the game with the highest total on the slate. You can definitely pivot to Jerick McKinnon in tournaments if stacking this game, but I worry that could be a popular narrative and he actually comes in close to CEH in ownership. I’ll make a prediction that CEH scores this week, and he’s going to be featured in my builds.
Mixon is fine in all formats, but I’ll likely be underweight just because of my Browning exposure. I do, however, think you can play them together. Bijan is another guy I’m always fine fading, but if Vita Vea is ruled out, I may reconsider my stance there.
For tournaments, it’s hard to ignore this role from Rachaad White. I think he can be used as a run-back in a Ridder team — or as a mini stack with London on a non stack of that game. Alvin Kamara will be low-owned this week, despite arguably the best match-up on the board.
I also like Mitchell as a cheap GPP pivot — this is more for larger-field stuff but there is a world where he outscores the KC RB’s for a few hundred more.
Highest pOWN% WR’s: Keenan Allen, Elijah Moore, Rashee Rice, Drake London, DJ Moore, Michael Pittman, Chris Olave, Jonathan Mingo
My Conviction Plays: Ja’Marr Chase, Courtland Sutton, Nico Collins, Rashee Rice, Elijah Moore, Michael Pittman, Drake London, Jonathan Mingo, Chris Olave, Stefon Diggs
I absolutely love Ja’Marr Chase this week. I thought he would be chalky coming into the week, but now it seems like more people want to play Keenan Allen over him which is lowering his overall pOWN%. This is arguably the best WR in football, coming off a 30+ DK point game, against a team that’s been cooked by outside WR’s, with 23 point team total…that’s not going to be high-owned? Sign me up. He’s my favorite play on the board this week.
I like all the mid-tier chalk plays this week, which is scary because that’s typically a place I want to be different. If Flacco starts, Elijah Moore is a great play and I’ll continue to fire up Rashee Rice who has become the best Chiefs receiver.
For GPPs, I can’t believe more people aren’t targeting Courtland Sutton. Sutton has been fed from Russ the past few weeks, and they’ve been making a point to get him the ball down the field. That’s exactly where you can beat the Chargers — and I love Sutton in all formats this week.
Both Michael Pittman and Josh Downs are strong run-backs for a Browning stack – or can be used as a mini-stacks or one-offs. It’s tough to argue this Pittman run with Minshew at QB – but both are good plays.
Jonathan Mingo saw a legit role change with Frank Reich gone last week, and he’s only a few hundred off the minimum on DK.
Nico Collins has a horrible match-up, but I can’t ignore the monster numbers he has with Tank Dell off the field. GPP only, but he’s in play for me.
Highest pOWN% TE’s: Isaiah Likely, Kyle Pitts, David Njoku, Cade Otton
My Conviction Plays: Isaiah Likely, Brevin Jordan, Taysom Hill, Tanner Hudson, Travis Kelce
Per usual, ownership is concentrating on the low salary tight ends. Likely and Jordan stick out to me as the top plays, as both have seen role changes in recent weeks with the teams starting TE’s out. Dalton Schultz is out once again for the Texans, while Jordan ran a season high in routes last week with five targets. If you’re worried about the Jets outside corners, Jordan has the best match-up of the bunch over the middle of the field. For my cheap pivot, it has to be Tanner Hudson given my interest in Browning. I think Browning double-stacks are firmly in play, while Hudson has quietly been one of the most consistent options over the last few weeks.
I just can’t quit Travis Kelce. I know he hasn’t been good, but in this match-up I think some shares are in order especially if you’re already stacking that game.
Taysom Hill is listed Q to play this week – if he’s in and a few of the other Saints pass catchers are out (Shaheed most likely) I think you can easily target him in tournaments on any non-Kamara team.
Written by Ben Hossler (Follow @BenHossler on Twitter)