There is as much value on this slate as there are backup quarterbacks starting this week. We'll help you dig through to pick the best low-cost studs and where to pay up to maximize your ceiling.
With championship games upon us, there's only one final week before the storm of newbies comes to invade the DFS world. While we wait for their inevitable arrival, there's one more week with no room for anything other than perfection. As teams fight for their spot in the playoffs, we look to find the players who will carry their franchises into the postseason.
NOTE: Below are the best picks for either double-up or tournament lineups. DraftKings salary available: $50,000
Goff is biting kneecaps and taking names over the past month with no signs of slowing down as 2023 begins. The Bears will celebrate the new year traveling to Detroit to play one of the hottest quarterbacks in the NFL without most of their secondary. After averaging over 21 points per game at home this year, the Lions signal-caller will face three rookie defensive backs, two of whom are undrafted free agents. While Goff is second in passing yards this month, Chicago is second in points allowed to quarterbacks. Lock in a top-five fantasy quarterback on the week for a player priced outside of the top 12.
Staying with the theme of underpriced quarterbacks, give me the king of New York, Mike White. In three games this season, White is averaging 317 passing yards, which would rank first in the NFL. Small sample size, yes, but that should continue with the number one pass-heavy offense without Zach Wilson under center. A tougher matchup should be overcome by pure volume at a value price, with a great chance of hitting the 300-passing-yard bonus.
The GQ model is the highest-priced running back on the slate for a reason. We’re in for a ceiling game, and I needed CMC in the lineup even if it meant not spending up at the quarterback position. Austin Ekeler and Saquon Barkley are getting the hype, but McCaffrey is the one leading the NFL in points per game since rookie quarterback Brock Purdy took over in San Francisco. Now McCaffrey gets the Raiders, who are not only a friendly matchup versus running backs but are ranked last in receiving fantasy points to the position. To make matters worse, Denzel Perryman is now on IR after leading Las Vegas in tackles this season. McCaffrey is going to win plenty of people their fantasy championships this weekend. Let him win you some money.
After being fed like prime Ezekiel Elliott in recent games, Conner has sneakily been the RB2 since Week 10, mainly from getting nearly half of the team’s touches. Conner has been the lone bright spot in Arizona, scoring in six straight despite the team losing its last five games. With the Falcons and Cardinals both having quarterback struggles, expect another heavy workload for Conner in a closer contest.
You won’t find a guy with more volume at this price than Etienne. Since returning from injury in Week 13, he is sixth in carries and has 100 scrimmage yards in back-to-back games. Houston also gave up 100 scrimmage yards to Etienne at the beginning of the season on limited touches behind James Robinson. The problem? Etienne hasn’t scored since Week 9. However, the touches are back, the matchup is the best it can get. I full-heartedly trust the game-breaking talent to pull through.
“Does this guy not know the Dolphins are playing a backup quarterback?” Yes, I do know. I still love Tyreek this week, as others will naturally fade at a higher price given the situation, I’ll take the one of a kind upside at lower ownership. That upside is not negatively affected by Teddy Bridgewater in the slightest, it might even be improved. In two games with Bridgewater, Tyreek has gone for 160 and 177 yards on an elite 36 percent target share. In his first game as a Dolphin, Cheetah went for 100 yards versus this Patriots team. Give me another 100+ in a must-win game for Miami to sneak into the playoffs.
With Mike White and the Jets throwing at will, Wilson is back to being a DFS lock. It’s hard to beat Wilson’s target share at a $5,500 salary as he averages 10 targets per game with White as the starter (not to mention 21.5 fantasy points). That 21.5 would be fourth among wideouts this season, and you can snag him as a salary-saver instead of a higher-priced star.
Doubs season is officially back on. In his second week back from injury, Doubs' snaps doubled. The Packers will need him more than ever if Christian Watson (hip) indeed misses Sunday’s game. In three games this season without Watson, Aaron Rodgers targeted Doubs on 21 throws. That type of volume should fare well against the worst wide receiver defense in the NFL, especially considering a sub $5,000 price tag. I love the upside Doubs brings considering he topped 15 fantasy points in three of his last six games before his midseason injury.
I am going to bat for Engram. $4,400??? Disgraceful. Engram leads all tight ends in targets, receptions and receiving yards this month, yes, even more than Travis Kelce. While Trevor Lawrence has broken out, Engram has been the main benefactor, with at least 14 fantasy points in each of his past four games. Although Houston doesn’t have many strengths, the Texans do have solid corners to limit wideout production. This will open up the field for the Jaguars tight end to make even more plays in the middle of the field and continue his dominant stretch.
The 49ers are the best defense in the NFL, play a backup quarterback in Jarrett Stidham and are the 14th-priced defense. There truly is no other option in cash games that can be considered. The Raiders have been turnover prone throughout the season and have 10 giveaways in the last five weeks alone. Don’t get too cute when drafting a defense this week.