While most daily fantasy players are more familiar with the usual salary-cap structure, DraftKings also has tournaments in a pick’em style: There are no player salaries, and you simply select one player across the eight tiers.
This style of game allows you to quickly create lineups because you don’t have to spend time weighing cap costs against points. Just choose the best player. For FantasyLabs readers, our Models — powered by Sean Koerner’s No. 1 in-season rankings — are a massive edge in choosing the best players and making weekly profits in Tiers.
Here’s a breakdown of the DraftKings Tiers slate for Week 13 of the NFL season.
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Tier 1: Elite Quarterbacks
Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams
With no Patrick Mahomes in Tiers, Goff takes his place as the obvious play. Goff’s 10 average yards per attempt trails only Mahomes and Drew Brees. Goff’s 6.5% touchdown rate is also among the top 10. His efficiency in an unreal Rams offense (35.4 points per game) has elevated him to the highest floor projection in our Models.
Goff is a cash game lock this week.
Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers
Newton has thrown multiple touchdowns in every game since Week 1 and is still rushing 7.7 times per game. This week he gets to face the Bucs defense, which is allowing the second-most points to opposing passers. The Panthers are 3.5-point favorites as of writing (see live odds here), and when they’ve been favored by more than a field goal, Newton has been money (per our Trends Tool).
With the spread on his side, Newton is the tournament play in Tier 1.
Tier 2: The Next Passers
Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers
Roethlisberger and the Steelers are expected to be in a shootout against the Chargers in a game with a 52-point over/under. Big Ben has also been throwing at an unprecedented rate; his 42.9 attempts per game leads the league and is on pace to set a career high. He’s also sixth in red-zone attempts this season.
With high-volume in a shootout, Big Ben has the safest floor of any Tier 2 passer.
Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Winston, on the other hand, has a weekly floor of getting benched before halftime. The Bucs have benched their starter three times this season. However, their collective quarterback play has put up numbers:
- 356 yards per game (1st)
- 9 yards per attempt (3rd)
- 2.5 touchdowns per game (4th)
Bucs passers also lead the league in interceptions. Winston is a risky play, but opposing quarterbacks have a .58 correlation making the Jameis-Cam stack a viable play.
Tier 3: Elite Flex Plays
Christian McCaffrey, RB, Carolina Panthers
McCaffrey has turned into a true bell-cow back, averaging 13.9 carries and 7.5 targets per game, but through seven games he had 12 red-zone carries and one rushing touchdown. In his next four games, he’s carried the ball 20 times within the 20 and scored four times. He also has one more red-zone target in the latter half of the split and has scored one more receiving touchdown.
McCaffrey now has the scoring to round out his role as an elite back and give him a high floor every week.
Tyreek Hill, WR, Kansas City Chiefs
Hill is scoring the fewest points per game (24.3) in Tier 3 but he has the best chance of putting together a tournament-winning performance.
DK Tiers Research: Tyreek Hill has 3 games of 40+ points. The rest of Tiers 3 and 4 include Gurley, Thielen, CMC, AB, Barkley, Hopkins, JuJu, Hunt, and Evans. The rest of Tiers 3 and 4 have 3 games of 40+ points. pic.twitter.com/nmBZG0d3hU
— Kyle Dvorchak (@ffkylethekid) November 29, 2018
McCaffrey and Gurley have locked-in volume every week, but Hill has more upside than them and any other player in the league.
Tier 4: Attacking Totals
Saquon Barkley, RB, New York Giants
Barkley has been arguably the most consistent fantasy option this season. He’s hit 100 yards from scrimmage in all but one game and has been matchup-proof: When the Giants have given him fewer than 15 carries, Barkley averages 10.7 targets.
Barkley is the centerpiece of the Giants offense no matter the score or matchup. He’s the perfect cash-game play.
JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
Smith-Schuster dropped 40 points last week, but there are reasons to expect more good performances. He’s being targeted 10 times per game — just one less than Antonio Brown — and has been their go-to option in the red zone. JuJu’s 23 red-zone targets lead the league. Despite this, he’s scored twice in the red zone.
Buy JuJu’s red zone volume and fade the touchdown noise.
Tier 5: High-End Receivers
Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons
No receiver is being fed the ball more this season than Jones:
- 1,725 Air Yards (1st)
- 125 targets (1st)
Math has also dictated that Julio score more and he’s done just that, scoring in three of his past four games. Julio owns the highest projection in Tier 5 and is a great cash play.
Keenan Allen, WR, Los Angeles Chargers
In the past four weeks, Allen has doubled his red-zone targets and found the end zone three times. Now the Chargers are without Melvin Gordon, who has accounted for 33 red-zone touches this season.
Pittsburgh’s quarterback also has a .45 correlation with the opposing WR1, higher than league-average. Run Steelers stacks back with Allen this week.
Tier 6: Betting on Volume
Aaron Jones, RB, Green Bay Packers
Jones has been anointed the three-down back for Green Bay: He’s averaging 16.9 touches over the past five games and has scored in four of those games. He has the sixth highest projection among running backs this week and Matthew Freedman called Jones (boldly) to lead all backs in scoring on the NFL Week 13 Fantasy Flex Podcast.
Brandin Cooks, WR, Los Angeles Rams
Cooks and Robert Woods nearly identical projections, but Cooks has taken on a larger role with Cooper Kupp on IR. Cooks has been targeted 12 times in each of the Rams’ last two games. Over the past four weeks, Cooks has out-targeted Woods 40 to 32 and has more Air Yards.
Cooks is seeing an increase in volume and is the receiver of choice to stack with Goff.
Tier 7: Rising Receivers
Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Denver Broncos
The Broncos have played three games since they traded Demaryius Thomas. In these games, Sanders has taken on a larger portion of the Denver receiving game:
- Weeks 1-8: 25-percent share of Air Yards, 22-percent target share
- Weeks 9-12: 39-percent, 25-percent
This week he faces the Bengals, who are allowing the second-most points to receivers this season. Sanders is viable in all formats this week.
Kenny Golladay, WR, Detroit Lions
Golladay has been the focal point of the Lions offense that will be without Marvin Jones or Kerryon Johnson this week. In his past three outings, he’s averaged 12 targets and the Lions will likely have to throw frequently to keep up with the league’s best offense. That means more targets for Golladay and those targets will be against Marcus Peters and Troy Hill, two very exploitable corners.
Complete the ultimate game stack with Golladay.
Tier 8: Low-End Flexes
Phillip Lindsay, RB, Denver Broncos
At 780 yards, Lindsay is seventh in rushing despite being 17th in attempts. He’s been incredibly efficient, running at 5.8 yards per carry and this should continue against the Bengals. Running backs have a 53.4% success rate and 4.1% touchdown rate against them. According to the Matchups Tool, both marks are top-five in the league.
Lindsay should have no problem running against an easy Bengals defense.
Corey Davis, WR, Tennessee Titans
Davis has been the only Titans receiver making a weekly impact. He’s caught 49 passes for 702 yards this season. No other Titans wideout has hit 300 yards or 25 receptions yet. Davis is top-five in the NFL in market share of Air Yards (39-percent) and targets (28-percent).
Davis is the second highest projected player in Tier 8, behind Lindsay and is the ideal tournament pivot from him.
Pictured: Cam Newton, Christian McCaffrey
Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports