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 have maybe the ugliest slate of the season on our hands, with both BUF/CIN and KC/MIA off the main slate and just ten games to choose from. DAL/PHI is the high total at 47, and despite the grossness we are all working with the same puzzle pieces giving those really in the trenches an advantage in weeks like this. Starting off at QB, we should have fairly spread out ownership after Jalen Hurts and Lamar Jackson. Both are popping for over 20% ownership, while no other QB is clocking in above 10% at the time of writing this. Neither Hurts nor Jackson need any introductions, they are both elite options and can be used in all formats. I will certainly have exposure there, and will likely land on Hurts to anchor my cash game team on both sites.
For three-max entry this week, I want to focus on some of the lower-dollar options like Derek Carr and Mac Jones and Sam Howell.
Carr has a smash match-up at home against the Bears, and it’s important to note that the Saints have the same team total (25 points) as the Eagles this week. Carr has topped 300+ passing yards in his last three games making the bonus extremely attainable — and providing instant leverage off the should-be high-owned Alvin Kamara.
Jones is my personal favorite play this week, against the fantasy gold mine that is the Washington Commanders. I’ve been attacking this defense for over a month now, and if I played Desmond Ridder against them you can surely bet that I’ll be in on Mac here. I’m a firm believer that Mac Jones is an above-average NFL QB, and has been mostly a victim of his environment. He has one of the worst supporting casts in football, but that doesn’t stop him from having good games from time to time. We’ve seen him reach 28 DK points once this season, and I would bet a lot of money that 26+ DK points from Jones this week would put him in the winning lineup. It’s good to know he has it in the tank, and the match-up couldn’t get better against a team allowing 24 DK points per game to the position. With Montez Sweat and Chase Young traded, their pass rush takes a huge hit and this is a really good spot for Jones at sub-$5K.
Howell is equally playable on the other side. He has mobility and the Commanders have been chucking the ball relentlessly. This total has moved up two points since open, and we could see more offense than expected.
Despite the bad slate, there are several strong RB options this week and it makes building teams fairly easy in my opinion. As far as chalk goes, we should expect to see these high owned options: Alvin Kamara, Josh Jacobs, Bijan Robinson, Devin Singletary and Tony Pollard.
Kamara is a great play in all formats always, and a tough fade for me on any non-Carr teams this week. Jacobs and Bijan are two of my favorite plays for their price-tags and I want to be overweight on them this week. Robinson should benefit from Drake London getting ruled out, but more importantly he is finally cheap enough in salary for me to consider him a strong option. Jacobs has one of the best roles in football, and I love pairing him with the Raiders defense against Daniel Jones in tournament builds. Singletary will be chalky with Dameon Pierce ruled out — he doesn’t feel great as chalk but given his low price tag he can be considered in small-field GPPs. I played 0 Pollard last week, and will likely fade him again this week in favor of the Dallas passing game.
Jonathan Taylor and Saquon Barkley are two more great options this week. I worry about Moss’ involvement when it comes to Taylor — but the match-up is too good against a bottom-three run defense for me to ignore him in tourneys. Barkley is also a great bet-on volume play and he can easily be correlated with either Jacobs or Adams who are two of my favorite GPP plays.
Rhamondre Stevenson looks high-owned as well, but I’ll pass on him in favor of the passing game if that own% number holds up.
Gus Edwards and Rachaad White will also crack my player pool.
This week is once again headlined by AJ Brown, along with all of Demario Douglas, Terry McLaurin, Zay Flowers, Adam Thielen, Chris Olave and Nico Collins popping for high-ownership. Last week I wrote about how hard it would be to fade this current form of Super Saiyan AJ Brown, and I once again will 100% or close to that of him across my builds in Week 9. He can easily be stacked with CeeDee Lamb or Jake Ferguson — which is my preference given that I want to be underweight on Tony Pollard again this week. Given my interest in the NE/WAS game – I will be playing into the Douglas/McLaurin chalk but I want to bring up both Jahan Dotson and Dyami Brown as pivots off McLaurin in GPPs. Brown’s routes have been down over the last few weeks, but with no Curtis Samuel vs NE he could see a playing time increase. He has some juice, and was teammates with Sam Howell at UNC so you know that they already have some built in chemistry.
Thielen is someone I’ve played every week, readers of this article have been regularly playing him as well. He can definitely be mini’d with Jonathan Taylor this week.
Olave is a player I love, but I actually prefer Rashid Shaheed this week for my Carr builds. Shaheed is a zone coverage destroyer throughout his career and Matt Eberflus has historically skewed very zone-heavy. You can pair him up with either of DJ Moore or Darnell Mooney. I expect the chalk bring back in a Saints stack to be Cole Kmet, so I want to focus on the CHI WR’s with Mooney being my favorite.
Davante Adams looks like a great play at minimal ownership as well. The new coaching staff should look to get their disgruntled star going early on Sunday and he saw 8 targets in O’Connell’s last start. He can be used as a one-off or in a correlation with Saquon Barkley.
Some other tourney plays I like are Amari Cooper, Brandin Cooks and Jonathan Mingo.
With the state of this slate, I will be focusing on my stacks/mini-correlations even more heavily at the TE position this week. Currently we have TJ Hockenson, Dalton Schultz, David Njoku, Trey McBride and Jake Ferguson projected as the highest-owned players at this position. Hockenson is the guy I’m least likely to play as chalk this week, I think that he makes sense as correlation with Bijan Robinson but he might have the worst QB in the NFL throwing to him – and it’s not a situation I want to play into at high-ownership with the unknowns. Njoku has seen a role increase over the last two weeks, seeing his target-share spike to over 20% and looks to be getting his starting QB back this weekend. He is viable in all formats, but I prefer him in cash games rather than GPPs. Ferguson makes for an amazing mini-stack with AJ Brown on teams that you can’t afford CeeDee Lamb.
Other plays I’m interested in this week are Cade Otton and Daniel Bellinger. Both are cheap pivots off Michael Mayer that can allow you to continue your stars/scrubs build when spending down at QB. Bellinger can be used opposite Davante Adams or Josh Jacobs while Otton can be used as a one-off or opposite Devin Singletary.
I also want to note than you can consider Taysom Hill on any non-Kamara team.
Written by Ben Hossler (Follow @BenHossler on Twitter)