These are the players with the best projections relative to their DK salaries — good plays both for cash games and large-field tournaments. While we don't want our tourney lineups to look like cash-game lineups top to bottom, there's nothing wrong with using a few "chalk" picks. These players, along with a couple passing-game stacks, tend to form the core that remains fairly consistent throughout my lineups.
D.J. Moore vs. ARZ ($5,600)
Prior to his Week 16 concussion last season, Moore averaged 17.3 DK points on 9.5 targets per game. He's now at 8.7 targets (t-13th) and 25.5 percent share (11th) through three weeks, with his 12.8 aDOT up from 11.2 last season. Deeper targets could lead to a lower catch rate, but they also creates more opportunity for long gains. And while a shadow matchup with Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson is a possibility, the 30-year-old hasn't been truly dominant since 2018, and he didn't follow Detroit's Kenny Golladay last week. The Cardinals may just leave Peterson on the left side of the defense (right side of the offense), considering the Panthers have a second impressive wideout in Robby Anderson ($5,400). Per PFF, Moore has lined up wide left on 80 of 168 snaps (48 percent), compared to 33 percent wide right and 19 percent in the slot, i.e., he'll mostly avoid Peterson if he isn't shadowed.
Darren Waller vs. BUF ($5,200)
Waller leads tight ends in both targets (28) and target share (29.5), with the second number putting him fifth among all players. Bill Belichick was able to shut him down last week, but the Bills aren't likely to do the same, as they've unexpectedly turned into a shootout machine with Josh Allen's improvement making up for a big step backward on defense. Waller could be looking at double-digit targets this week, with wideouts Henry Ruggs (hamstring) and Bryan Edwards (ankle) set to miss the game and Tyrell Williams (shoulder) already on injured reserve. A wideout trio of Nelson Agholor, Hunter Renfrow and Zay Jones isn't good for Derek Carr, but it is a positive development for Waller's receiving volume. Honorable Mentions: RB Alvin Kamara, NO at DET ($8,000); RB Ezekiel Elliott, DAL vs. CLE ($7,800); RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire, KC vs. NE ($6,400); RB Mike Davis, CAR vs. ARZ ($5,700); WR Sammy Watkins, KC vs. NE ($4,400) Passing-Game Stacks Stacks are the centerpiece of any tournament lineup, 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 contest, hoping to take advantage of a tight game where both teams are still chucking the ball around late in the fourth quarter. (Implied team totals are listed in parentheses.) Note: It feels like nearly every game is stackable this week, with seven of 12 contests on the main slate carrying over/unders in the 50s. We won't touch on every possible combination below, instead focusing on some of the less popular options. This doesn't mean it's a bad idea to stack Seahawks or Cowboys; in fact, I'll quickly list my favorite stacks from those two games: QB Dak Prescott + RB Nick Chubb + WR Michael Gallup + WR Amari Cooper + TE Austin Hooper QB Ryan Fitzpatrick + WR DeVante Parker + WR Preston Williams + WR DK Metcalf Jacksonville Jaguars (23) at Cincinnati Bengals (26) Pace Outlook Overall Pace: Jaguars - 18th (27.44) Bengals - 5th (24.57) Neutral-Situation Pace: Jaguars - 32nd (34.15) Bengals - 18th (18.45) Both these teams have shown a tendency to go extremely pass-heavy when they fall behind — which is often — but neither works particularly fast early in games. The Jaguars, in particular, have consistently been a slow-paced team in neutral situations under Doug Marrone. New Jags OC Jay Gruden was similarly turtle-like in Washington, so we'd ideally like the Jags to fall behind if we're going to get big volume from this game. Jaguars The appeal to this game largely involves the poor performance of both defenses, as neither team has been particularly efficient on offense, and the Jags have operated at a slow pace. It's mostly the Cincinnati side that looks enticing, as Gardner Minshew ($5,900) has really spread the ball around and hasn't been scrambling quite as often as he did last year. DJ Chark ($6,000) is too expensive for someone who saw only seven targets the first two weeks and now is hoping to come back from a missed game due to injury, while the other receivers appear stuck in a rotation unless Chark is out for another week. James Robinson ($6,500) has become the safest bet for production in this offense, but he's still losing a lot of snaps and routes to Chris Thompson, so there's better value at RB with other players. Last but not least we have tight end Tyler Eifert ($3,500), who only has 10 targets this season but has been seeing some chances downfield (10.7 aDOT, 5th among TEs). Eifert also has a #RevengeGame narrative, and he's tied for 16th among TEs with 80 routes run this season (.63 per Minshew dropback). Bengals This side of the game is more promising, with Joe Burrow ($6,300) still reasonably priced despite cruising past 20 DK points the past two weeks. It's also a solid breakout spot for Joe Mixon($5,800), favored by three points against a run defense that appears improved from last season but probably isn't nearly as good as its current rankings for DVOA (No. 9) and YPC allowed (3.8). In terms of pass catchers, Tyler Boyd ($6,100) is the reliable option, but A.J. Green ($5,500) and Tee Higgins ($4,500) also were full-time players last week in Philadelphia. Green still leads the team in targets and air yards, but the production hasn't been there and his volume dropped to six targets last week.
Best Stack: QB Burrow + RB Mixon + WR Boyd + TE Eifert
Minnesota Vikings (25) at Houston Texans (28.5) Pace Outlook Overall Pace: Vikings - 9th (25.48) Texans - 14th (26.57) Neutral-Situation Pace: Vikings - 27th (31.46) Texans - 26th (31.35) Both teams have been similar this year, preferring to operate at a slower pace but then regularly forced to hurry it up while playing from behind. The Texans and Vikings are 31st and 32nd in plays run on offense, which is partially a sign of being bad but also entails an element of flukiness (no team, not even the most pathetic of squads, averages only 53-54 plays per game over a full season). The lack of volume has depressed stats for a number of players, creating some nice potential for value. It's also worth noting that Houston has dealt with an extremely difficult schedule, facing Kansas City, Baltimore and Pittsburgh. The Vikings haven't exactly had a cakewalk (Green Bay, Indianapolis, Tennessee), but they should probably have at least one win by now. It appears they're just a bad team, especially on defense. Vikings Dalvin Cook ($7,600) remains the engine, somehow scoring at least 17 DK points in each game for an 0-3 team. Kirk Cousins ($5,600) doesn't have the passing volume or rushing upside we want in a QB, but he does seem to have a pretty narrow target distribution, putting both Adam Thielen($6,600) and Week 3 breakout star Justin Jefferson ($5,200) in play as stacking options. Texans This is where most of the fantasy goodness lies, with Deshaun Watson ($6,600) coming at a discount relative to other top quarterbacks, and three-down RB David Johnson ($5,600) priced more like a timeshare guy. We do have Duke Johnson coming back from an ankle injury this week, but his pre-injury Week 1 usage left plenty of room for David to shine. Will Fuller ($5,900) is the big-play threat and has appeared to be the priority in the passing game when healthy, though Brandin Cooks ($4,500) actually has seen more targets (18-15). Cooks definitely makes for a great play if Fuller's latest medical issue — a mid-week hamstring injury — leads to a Week 4 absence.
Best Stack: QB Watson + RB Cook + RB Johnson + WR Cooks
Arizona Cardinals (27) at Carolina Panthers (24) Pace Outlook Overall Pace: Cardinals - 6th (25.07) Panthers - 21st (28.20) Neutral-Situation Pace: Cardinals - 4th (26.41) Panthers - 23rd (30.99) The Cardinals have gone no-huddle for 110 of their 214 plays (51 percent), including 36 of 63 (57 percent) last week against Detroit. The Titans have run the second-most plays without a huddle, and they're still at less than half (48) of Arizona's total. The Cardinals sometimes take a while to snap the ball once they get to the line of scrimmage, but they're regularly getting up to the line quickly. Carolina, on the other hand, has played at a much slower pace under Matt Rhule and Joe Brady, after finishing 2019 at No. 1 in overall pace and No. 5 in neutral situations. The Panthers are 13th in pass-play rate (59.9 percent), a number that seems likely to rise even higher with Christian McCaffrey (ankle) out for a few more weeks. Cardinals Kyler Murray ($7,000) and DeAndre Hopkins ($8,500) are the obvious choices, though the latter is less desirable now that he has his own price tier at wide receiver (and an ankle injury, apparently). Andy Isabella ($4,500) came up big with two TDs last week, but he actually got fewer routes and snaps than KeeSean Johnson ($3,000), who caught only two of seven targets for 24 yards while filling in for Christian Kirk (groin) It isn't entirely clear Hopkins (ankle) and Kirk will be available this week, but the other receivers are really only of interest if it's Hopkins who doesn't play. I'm guessing he'll be back at practice Friday and suited up Sunday, but it's at least something worth monitoring. The other way to approach this is game is by stacking Kenyan Drake ($6,000) with the aerial attack from the other side. Drake is still searching for his first big fantasy performance of the season, but he's taken 16 or more carries every week and now faces a Carolina defense ranked 31st in fantasy points allowed to running backs and 28th in DVOA against the run. Panthers Teddy Bridgewater ($5,600) joins Ryan Fitzpatrick as a cheap, playable QB option, quietly sitting on a 74.0 completion rate, 8.4 YPA and 290.3 passing yards per game. The touchdowns haven't come yet, as Christian McCaffrey had four rushing scores in his two games, and Joey Slye kicked five field goals last week. It's only a matter of time before all the yardage translates to some passing touchdowns. In terms of stacking partners, it's pretty easy to hone in on D.J. Moore ($5,600) and Robby Anderson ($5,400), a duo that accounts for 48.5 percent of Carolina targets and 59 percent of receiving yards. Both feel underpriced relative to their talent and roles, in part because the Panthers' solid passing performance hasn't actually led to TDs yet. It's a classic situation to take advantage of in DFS. There's also merit to including Mike Davis ($5,700) in a Bridgewater stack, considering the running back drew 17 targets the past two weeks. However, we'll be looking for more downfield throws and fewer dump-offs in order to get Bridgewater to his fantasy ceiling.
Best Stack: QB Bridgewater + RB Drake + WR Moore + WR Anderson
RB-Defense Pairing We can pair a running back with his team's defense to double our bet on favorable game script in certain matchups. Just keep in mind that the scoring correlations aren't nearly as strong as those between quarterbacks and pass catchers, so it isn't worth forcing into a lineup unless the prices for each individual commodity make sense. We also need to account for specialized backfield roles, e.g., using Joe Mixon rather than Giovani Bernard with the Bengals defense.
Ronald Jones ($4,700) + Tampa Bay Buccaneers D/ST ($3,400) vs. LAC
Jones has landed between 9.3 and 10.7 DK points each week this season, averaging 12.3 carries and 3.0 targets per game while sharing some work with Leonard Fournette (ankle) in a pass-first offense. A Week 4 matchup with the Chargers isn't ideal, but we could see a different gameplan from the Bucs with both Fournette and Chris Godwin (hamstring) expected to miss the game. Jones should see at least 15 touches, and maybe even 20, making him a strong play at sub-$5,000. Meanwhile, the Bucs are tied for sixth among defenses in price, compared to No. 3 in my weekly D/ST rankings. Honorable Mention: David Johnson ($5,600) + Houston Texans D/ST ($2,500) vs. MIN; Joe Mixon ($5,800) + Bengals D/ST ($2,900) vs. JAX High-Priced Hero
RB Alvin Kamara at DET
Kamara figures to be the most heavily rostered player in all DFS contests this week, with his 2020 scoring average (36.6 DK points) working out to 4.6x on his way-too-low salary. It might make sense to fade if we were talking about similar ownership with a wide receiver or tight end, but it's better to just eat the chalk when the guy with the third-largest target share (30.4 percent) among all players also is averaging 10.3 carries per game and getting most of the goal-line work (four of six carries inside the 5-yard line) in a good offense. There's no guarantee of another monsterperformance like the one we saw Sunday night, but the odds for 20-plus points are excellent. It's unlikely Kamara will sink lineups unless he gets injured in the first half. Honorable Mentions: RB Ezekiel Elliott, DAL vs. CLE; Fading the Field Every week we see at least one or two players carrying high ownership without the backing of a top point-per-dollar projection. Recency bias is often to blame, but in some cases it even makes sense to fade a player with a strong projection, particularly when there are good alternatives at the same position and price range.
DK Metcalf at MIA ($6,800)
Metcalf is still a good play if you're doing a Russell Wilson stack, but it's otherwise best to fade the second-year wideout. His reliance on touchdowns and deep balls — rather than heavy target volume — hints at a degree of volatility even with Wilson throwing the passes. Getting Metcalf at lower ownership in a tougher matchup makes more sense than playing him when we know he'll be a popular choice. Plus, the Miami matchup may not be as great as it sounds, with DK potentially drawing shadow coverage from CB Xavien Howard. It's not clear Howard is still a dominant cover man, but it does at least seem that opponents haven't tested him, as he's been targeted only 11 times (for 6-87-1) on 95 coverage snaps this year (per PFF). Tyler Lockett ($7,000) could have a better matchup in the slot — especially if Dolphins CB Byron Jones (groin) is out another week — and the veteran still seems to be Wilson's most trusted receiving option. Other Fades: WRs Cooper Kupp ($6,700) and Robert Woods ($6,200), LAR vs. NYG; WR DeAndre Hopkins, ARZ at CAR ($8,500); TE Travis Kelce, KC vs. NE ($6,800) The SMASH Spot Volume may be king, but we still need to account for efficiency, pinpointing situations that are likely to lead to impressive production in terms of YPA, YPC or YPT.
DeVante Parker vs. SEA ($5,700)
Parker is the headliner in my weekly matchups column, facing an already-struggling Seattle defense that could be missing both CB Quinton Dunbar (knee) and S Jamal Adams (groin) for Sunday's game. The Dolphins are well-rested after an easy TNF win over Jacksonville, while the Seahawks are flying from one corner of the country to the other for a 1:00 p.m. ET kickoff. If you're worried about Parker's 17.7 percent target share, remember that a hamstring injury caused him to miss the second half of Miami's Week 1 contest. If we remove those two quarters of play, his share jumps up to 20.2 percent, similar to last year's 21.1. Honorable Mention: WR Odell Beckham, CLE at DAL ($5,800); TE T.J. Hockenson, DET vs. NO ($4,800) The Bargain Bin QB Drew Brees at DET ($5,800) QB Teddy Bridgewater vs. ARZ ($5,600) QB Ryan Fitzpatrick vs. SEA ($5,400) RB Myles Gaskin vs. SEA ($5,000) RB Ronald Jones vs. LAC ($4,700) WR Preston Williams vs. SEA ($4,500) WR Tee Higgins vs. JAX ($4,500) WR Brandin Cooks vs. MIN ($4,500) WR Sammy Watkins vs. NE ($4,400) WR N'Keal Harry at KC ($4,000) WR Isaiah Ford vs. SEA ($3,700) WR Nelson Agholor vs. BUF ($3,500) WR Gabriel Davis at LVR ($3,200) - if John Brown (foot) is out TE Austin Hooper at DAL ($4,000) TE Logan Thomas vs. BAL ($3,500) TE Jordan Akins vs. MIN ($3,300) TE Adam Trautman at DET ($2,500) - if Jared Cook (groin) is out D/ST Houston Texans vs. MIN ($2,500) D/ST Miami Dolphins vs. SEA ($2,000 Injury Situations The "Sunday Scramble" doesn't need to be stressful. We can plan our response ahead of time for various scenarios that could emerge once inactive lists are released.
RB Kareem Hunt at DAL
This might be the biggest injury of the week for fantasy purposes, potentially freeing up Nick Chubb ($7,000) for a three-down role and a dominant share of carries. Perhaps the Browns would use D'Ernest Johnson for some passing downs, but there's no doubt Chubb has a massive ceiling if Hunt's groin injury sends him to the inactive list. In that scenario, it would make a whole lot of sense to put Chubb on the other side of a Dak Prescott stack, even if it's pretty chalky.
RB Zack Moss at LVR
It sounds like Moss (toe) is on track to return this week, but if not, Devin Singletary ($5,900) could be looking at 80-plus percent of snaps and ~20 touches in an excellent matchup. Singletary logged 89 percent snap share last week, piling up 121 total yards on 17 touches and falling just half a yard shy of his first TD of the year.
RB Leonard Fournette vs. LAC
This one was discussed above, but I figured it wouldn't hurt to leave a reminder. Ronald Jones($4,700) should see plenty of work this week.
WR Michael Thomas + TE Jared Cook at DET
We usually monitor injuries for the value they can create for teammates, but in this case, it's Thomas who warrants interest at $7,600. Brees and Kamara also appear underpriced, so stacking all three is viable. They're on the road, but in a dome, so we don't need to worry too much. Plus, we might get TE Adam Trautman ($2,500) as a discount fourth wheel to offset the cost, as Cook (groin) appears questionable-to-doubtful.
WRs DeAndre Hopkins + Christian Kirk at CAR
Kirk missed last week's game, while Hopkins was held out of practice Wednesday and Thursday with an ankle injury. KeeSean Johnson ($3,000) got most of the playing time in Kirk's place last week, but Andy Isabella ($4,500) had the production with two TDs on only four targets. This seems like a situation to avoid unless both Hopkins AND Kirk are inactive, in which case any of Isabella, Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald ($4,400) would make for a reasonable play. I'd lean toward the young guys over old-man Fitz, who hasn't even approached 20 DK points since last September.
WR John Brown at LVR
A foot injury limited Brown to 47 percent snap share and two targets last week, opening things up for rookie wideout Gabriel Davis (74 percent of snaps, four targets, 81 yards) to have a nice day. Davis is priced at only $3,200, so he'll be a solid choice for both cash games and tournaments if Brown can't play. The Bills like to use four-wide formations and don't throw many passes to their tight ends. Weather Watch There's a chance of light rain in Tampa Bay and Chicago, but nothing that looks problematic as of Friday morning. We've had good luck so far this season with weather being a non-factor.