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!
We are coming off an interesting Week 5 slate, where I had a few lineups in the mix early in the day on Sunday but ultimately failed to place top-10 in any tournaments due to my lack of Bengals in GPPs. Ja’Marr Chase led me to a cash game win, but let’s see if we can get a nice sweat going in Week 6!
This week profiles a lot like last week for me in terms of the stacks I want to use. Once again, it appears my favorite two spots are Tua Tagovailoa and Matthew Stafford. Miami once again has a 30 point team total, and matches up with the hapless Carolina Panthers defense who will be down a few key players in the secondary. With no De’Von Achane, Raheem Mostert will be a popular RB pick making a full Miami passing stack solid leverage. I also think you can play Mostert alongside Tua and Tyreek – for a double-stack to soak up all the Dolphins points. Each week it seems like Tua is low-owned when I play him and I’m going to continue to do so moving forward. They are shattering NFL records offensively, and it just makes sense to have a full Dolphins onslaught on one of your teams weekly.
As for Stafford — last week I wrote about the touchdown regression that would be coming his way soon. He ended up with 2 passing touchdowns – but I still think we could see a three TD game in the fold for him. Los Angeles has one of the larger team totals on the board at 27 points and I love the match-up against the Arizona Cardinals. LA’s team total is three full points higher than the similarly priced Trevor Lawrence who I think will be higher-owned come Sunday.
Both Lawrence and Joe Burrow appear to be the popular options this week, but I want to get some exposure to Justin Fields even in bad weather. Early week it looked like Fields and the Bears would be a very popular stack. However, bad weather and a five point total drop in the game is pushing people elsewhere. We will have to check the reports on Sunday AM, but it looks like most of the rain will be gone prior to the kick-off. There will still be heavy winds, but Fields is the type of player that can break a slate with his legs…so I don’t worry about wind as much with him as other players. Minnesota has been inviting the run schematically on defense this year, and I think we could see a vintage 100+ yard rushing game from him this Sunday. As of now, he is firmly in the mix for me in three-max entry.
This is an absolutely insane week for running back. Typically I just highlight what I expect to be the highest-owned options here and move on…but there are so many good options this week. With all the injuries we are dealing with – I have all of: Raheem Mostert, Alvin Kamara, Kyren Williams, Travis Etienne, David Montgomery, Raheem Mostert, Chuba Hubbard and D’Onta Foreman graded as cash game viable. That’s not even to mention Joe Mixon and Bijan Robinson who are popping as higher-owned plays as well. So, let’s dive into my favorite options…
I don’t see how you fade Raheem Mostert this week. It looks like Jeff Wilson Jr won’t be back for this game, and without Achane, Mostert is set to feast against one of the worst graded run defenses in football. Listed as a big home favorite, his ownership should be held in check by the abundance of good options this week — I’ll have close to 100% of him in Week 7.
My second favorite play is Alvin Kamara, and I’m hoping he ends up a bit lower-owned than expected. It doesn’t feel like people really want to play him, but he looks back to his old form this season and Houston is still a bottom graded run defense. He’s been more involved in the red-zone, and has an elite receiving role.
I’m not sure where I will end up on Etienne, but he makes for an awesome pivot off the Jags passing game. He has one of the best roles in football this season. If I’m fading the Jags passers on any team, grabbing Etienne makes sense and I may end up overweight here as well.
Of the cheap plays, I prefer D’Onta Foreman to Chuba Hubbard. I think Hubbard is a good real-life football player, but I much prefer the role at home for Foreman in a potential run-heavy Bears game-plan as opposed to Hubbard as a double-digit road fav.
Typically I play four WRs on DK, but this profiles as a 3 RB week for me. I’ll likely be taking two of the mid-tier options I like paired with Foreman on most of my GPP entries.
Mixon is someone that’s a tough click, but I don’t hate getting some exposure on a team where you’re fading Bengals pass catchers. I think I prefer Etienne to him in a vacuum, however.
I also want to mention Emari Demercado as a run-back for a Rams stack. It’s a homecoming game for Demercado, who looked extremely explosive last week after Conner went out.
Like running back, there are plenty of strong WR plays this week particularly at the high-end pricing level. All of Tyreek Hill, Ja’Marr Chase, Davante Adams and Cooper Kupp are projecting for over 15% ownership — with Hill/Chase/Adams all carrying 20%+ numbers. We also have Christian Kirk, Hollywood Brown, Josh Downs and Robert Woods carrying big OWN% numbers in the mid-tier.
I’m pretty much in agreement with the chalky plays this week – I think all of the guys listed above are fantastic plays. Of all of them — Woods is the most likely one I would be underweight on in GPPs – I much prefer Nico Collins on the other side of Alvin Kamara for a mini-correlation. I love Christian Kirk with no Zay Jones, but it does appear that he is going to be around 20% higher-owned than Calvin Ridley. This makes sense given how cheap he is – and with Ridley priced closer to the high-end guys people would rather just jump up to that tier. I actually really like Ridley at his pOWN% though. He shredded the Colts in Week 1 – and is coming off a big game against the Bills. If everyone is on Kirk – it makes sense to pivot up to Ridley and he grades very well against their scheme and coverage. He can obviously be used in a Lawrence stack, or as a one-off/min-stack with one of the Colts guys in GPPs.
Given my interest in Stafford, I’ll be taking a stand on Kupp again this week. We grabbed him at very low ownership last week, he looked fully healthy and should absolutely feast here against the Cardinals.
I’ve played Adam Thielen weekly since Week 1, and I love using him opposite a Dolphins stack this week. He can also be mini’d with Mostert if you’re going that route.
If looking for a low-owned punt, my pick would be Rondale Moore and he can be used opposite Mixon or Chase or as a run-back in a Burrow stack.
Once again most users will be looking to save money at the TE position in their cash game and small-field rosters. We currently have Evan Engram, Logan Thomas, Zach Ertz and Kyle Pitts projected as the highest-owned options. If the weather ends up being okay, TJ Hockenson will crack that list as well. All of those options are fine for cash game contests, but I will likely just be looking to use a TE in my stacks/mini-stacks again this week. I wrote up Tyler Conklin last week, and once again think he is a strong play against a TE-funnel defense – he can be used as a one-off or on the opposite side of a Philly stack. He’s averaging over five targets per game with Zach Wilson at QB – and has multiple targets inside the 10 yard-line over that span.
I prefer Jonnu Smith to Pitts is he’s going to be lower-owned — and I think you could also look at Tyler Higbee in a Matt Stafford double-stack. I’ll likely just plug in whoever fits my build on my main GPP rosters this week – with no firm TE takes as of Saturday.
Written by Ben Hossler (Follow @BenHossler on Twitter)