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Value plays don’t mean choosing a cheap player and getting a huge game out of them. They also don’t mean picking a high-priced player and getting a strong day.
It simply means you are getting far more than what you paid for, whether the initial price tag was expensive or not. The key to any successful DFS lineup is sniffing through the middling tier of fantasy assets to find those prized performances before they happen.
So, let’s open those nostrils and take a whiff. This analogy is becoming uncomfortable. Let’s jump in!
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Matthew Stafford held this spot in this very article last week to middling success, finishing as the QB15 at a low-end QB2 price. He could easily jump into the QB1 tier this week against the Eagles, who have allowed the third-most fantasy points to quarterbacks this season, including a QB12 finish to Sam Howell last week.
So why did Stafford’s price drop on DraftKings? No clue, but let’s take advantage nonetheless.
The Rams could get star Cooper Kupp back in Week 5, suddenly forming one of the best starting duos in the NFL between Kupp and breakout sensation Puka Nacua. The Eagles remain one of the best run-stuffing units in football, and starting running back Kyren Williams has finished dead last in rushing yards over expected in both Week 2 and Week 4. Stafford will need to carry the Rams in a game with a high 50.5 over/under.
The Cardinals have surprised many people this season, but James Conner’s excellence shouldn’t have shocked anyone. He perennially beats his ADP and sits as the RB16 in PPR leagues. A disappointing Week 4 dragged the Cardinals’ RB down as well, with Conner sitting as the RB9 in the three weeks prior.
Only four running backs have scored more touchdowns than Conner since 2020, despite him being attached to an annual disappointment in Arizona. That red-zone ability will always keep Conner’s high ceiling intact, and now he gets a Bengals defense that has allowed over 157 rushing yards a game, 31st in the NFL.
Kyren Williams just enjoyed an RB4 finish against the Bengals. Now it’s Conner’s turn, at an affordable cost.
There won’t be many players more set to return value on their cost than Adam Thielen, at least on DraftKings.
Thielen is certainly a less valuable play on FanDuel, where his cost sits next to studs like Jaylen Waddle and Michael Pittman. But the Panthers’ No. 1 receiver seems to have been forgotten on DraftKings despite averaging 18.3 FPPG. Only six receivers tout a better FPPG, yet you can get Thielen at a WR21 price tag.
It’s not even a tough matchup. Detroit has allowed the 15th-most points to wide receivers and recently lost C.J. Gardner-Johnson to injury. Now rookie star safety Brian Branch could be sidelined, or at least playing at less than 100%. Thielen should be as safe as they come to outperform their price tag — at least on DraftKings.
Normally, it makes sense to play a tight end against the Jets, who have allowed a league-high four touchdowns to tight ends. But given how little the Broncos utilize snap-leader Adam Trautman, let’s chase the second-best matchup right on the other side of the ball.
Conklin came close to finishing with over 60 receiving yards and a score in Week 4 but couldn’t corral in his first red-zone target of the season. Backup C.J. Uzomah also siphoned off a score later, which didn’t help Conklin’s case.
Still, the Jets’ tight end has 50 or more yards in 50% of his games this season and was one of the bigger beneficiaries of Zach Wilson’s step-up performance in Week 4. His six targets only sat behind Garrett Wilson and could play a similarly productive role against the Broncos, who have allowed the fifth-most receiving yards to tight ends and a TE1 overall performance to Cole Kmet last week.
The Patriots just lost sack artist Matt Judon and promising rookie cornerback Christian Gonzalez. So why are they even worth a play?
Simply put, Derek Carr is playing at less than 100% and looked abysmal in Week 4 as a result. Perhaps he’s healthier a week later, but if Carr continues to struggle, then the Patriots’ defense is more than capable of punishing him for doing just that.
The Patriots boast a deep defensive line with talented players like Josh Uche and Keion White, plus players with splash play potential like Deatrich Wise and Christian Barmore. The defense is pretty banged up — Judon, Gonzalez, Jack Jones, and Marcus Jones are all sidelined — but Bill Belichick has long been a proponent of “next man up” with good success.
After an embarrassing loss in Dallas, expect Belichick to get his team as a whole back on track at home against New Orleans.
Michael Sicoli has been writing about fantasy football and betting within the NFL space since 2020. He works as a writer and content creator with ClubFantasyFFL and runs an NFL defensive (IDP) newsletter with The IDP Guys. A graduate from Quinnipiac University, Michael is a long-time NFL fan with a love for soccer and the NBA.More info on Michael Sicoli
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