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DFS: Must-Starts and Values

I have found that in DFS, especially GPP tournaments, that there are always players who just have to be in your lineup in order to win. By this I mean that certain studs with great matchups tend to be almost must-plays in these types of tournaments. I’m going to list three guys I think are essentially must-plays in GPP play. Note: All prices used in this analysis are for the site FanDuel but players are priced similarly on most sites relative to each other.

Must plays for Week Four:

Patrick Mahomes, $9200

Yes there are value options. Maybe Winston plays very well in a shootout against the Rams which has the second highest over/under point total at 49.5 for this week. I have found that relying on matchup over talent can backfire very quickly (see Derek Carr versus Kansas City). The risk is just too high. Mahomes has thrown 3+ touchdowns in each of the last three games and surpassed 370 yards passing against, most notably, the Ravens and the Jaguars defenses. Now he plays a Detroit Lions defense that ranks 22nd against the pass. The reliability is way too hard to pass up.

Austin Ekeler, $8100

Melvin Gordon’s holdout is finally over and Ekeler’s reign of terror may be finally coming to a close. Next week. This week he plays the worst team in the league in the Miami Dolphins in a game where the Chargers should put up a lot of points early and then try to run out the clock. The efficiency for Ekeler has not necessarily been there for Ekeler this year as he is averaging a respectable 4.2 YPC compared to last year’s 5.5 YPC however the matchup is too difficult to pass up on.

Cooper Kupp $7000

WR is probably the toughest position to gauge in fantasy because matchups most certainly have a great impact on production. Kupp has averaged 7.67 receptions per game this season and now faces a Tampa Bay secondary that ranks 21st in passing yards allowed per game as well as having an over/under total of 49.5. He is clearly Jared Goff’s favorite target with a great matchup and a price that is very reasonable for his overall production.

Now is the section of the article where I give some values plays, guys I think can exceed their price range. This doesn’t mean they are putting up RB1 or WR1 numbers but they have a very good chance to outscore their price.

Josh Jacobs $6000

He had a great start to his career with 85 rushing yards, 28 receiving yards, and two touchdowns. Since then he has put up totals of 99 rushing yards on 12 attempts and then 44 rushing yards on ten attempts. His biggest issue thus far hasn’t been talent or even production. It has been gamescript. In week three he only played 42% of snaps while Jalen Richard, a receiving back played 49%. It hasn’t helped that Oakland has played the Kansas City Chiefs and the Minnesota Vikings who went up 21-7 very early in the game. He should fare better against the Colts and his price is low enough where there is not a ton of risk.

David Johnson $6800

It’s an obvious name but running backs are simply less abundant than WRs and therefore there aren’t as many options. Johnson hasn’t been efficient averaging a mere 3.7 YPC. It’s mostly due to his horrible offensive line which ranks 30th according to Pro Football Focus with its highest graded lineman only being JR Sweezy at 64.1. However, the volume has been there with 36 carries and 17 targets. He is not the greatest play this week but if you are looking for a value play he could fit that role.

Cole Beasley $5200

He is averaging 7.67 targets per game and 5.67 receptions per game. He’s on pace for 91 catches this season. The Patriots are and will be a tough matchup. They are ranked as the number one pass defense through three games. They have also played Ryan Fitzpatrick and Luke Falk for two of those games. And a Ben Roethlisberger who clearly was not the same Big Ben of old. Let’s not call Allen a good quarterback just yet but the volume should be there in a game where the Pats should be winning most of the game. His upside isn’t huge but ten points for a guy priced this low can be very good value.

DK Metcalf $6100

The Arizona secondary has been atrocious this year. Matt Stafford, Lamar Jackson, and Kyle Allen, yes Kyle Allen, have all thrown for 3+ touchdowns and over 300 yards passing against this secondary. If you are looking for a guy who could have a massive day at a low price it is Metcalf. There is risk as he has only recorded a high of four receptions through three games however the big play upside is there and the matchup is awesome.

Terry Mclaurin $6300, Adrian Peterson $5,500

Scary Terry has a matchup against arguably the worst secondary in the league in the Giants. He’s recorded games with 7,9, and 8 targets with a touchdown in each. He shouldn’t have any trouble against this secondary but the risk he does carry is that Case Keenum is his quarterback. Peterson has just as good of a matchup against the 31st ranked Giants run defense, but he is averaging just 2.8 YPC so that could be a concern.



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