Sunday features a two-game slate starting at 3:05 p.m. ET.
Patrick Mahomes is the clear top option on Sunday’s slate. He’s the most expensive option on the slate by a wide margin, but his $9,200 salary on FanDuel still comes with a Bargain Rating of 87%. He also has the added benefit of getting a week off before this contest, and the Chiefs’ offense has been absolutely lethal in that situation. Mahomes has played six games in his career with additional time to prepare, and the Chiefs have averaged 38.0 points in those contests. Unsurprisingly, the Chiefs’ implied team total of 33.5 is the top mark on the slate.
He should find minimal resistance this week vs. the Browns. They have been dreadful against the pass this season – they rank just 25th in Football Outsiders’ pass defense DVOA – and Mahomes leads the slate with an Opponent Plus/Minus of +6.3.
If you aren’t going to pay up for Mahomes on DraftKings, Baker Mayfield is an excellent pivot. He’s drastically underpriced at just $5,200, resulting in a Bargain Rating of 98%, and he’s also played some of the best football of his career recently. He’s posted a positive Plus/Minus in six of his past seven games, and he’s tossed 14 touchdowns to just one interception over that time frame.
The Chiefs are a solid matchup for Mayfield as well. He owns an Opponent Plus/Minus of +5.0 on DraftKings, and he could be forced to pass more than usual if the Browns fall behind early.
Drew Brees hasn’t displayed a huge ceiling this season, but he’s undoubtedly in a good spot vs. the Buccaneers. He’s playing in the Superdome, and Brees has historically posted a Plus/Minus of +3.19 when playing at home (per the Trends tool). The Bucs defense has also struggled against the pass recently, giving Brees an Opponent Plus/Minus of +7.3 on DraftKings.
Tom Brady stands out as the best value on FanDuel outside of Mahomes. He’s priced at just $7,700, which gives him a Bargain Rating of 74%. That said, he does have the toughest matchup on the slate, resulting in an Opponent Plus/Minus of -1.7.
Alvin Kamara is the most expensive running back on the Sunday slate, but his role has been interesting recently. Kamara was used primarily as a pass catcher to start the year, but he’s been used almost exclusively as a runner of late. He’s finished with 45 carries compared to just five receptions over his past two games combined. That hasn’t necessarily killed him from a fantasy perspective — he’s posted a positive Plus/Minus in both games on FanDuel — but it’s not the ideal usage.
It will be interesting to see if the Saints continue to pound him as a rusher or look to get him more involved as a receiver vs. the Bucs. If it’s the former, he could struggle a bit: Tampa Bay ranks first in rush defense DVOA this season.
Regardless, he’s the clear top choice at the position on Sunday. He leads all running backs with 11 Pro Trends on FanDuel, and he also owns the highest median, ceiling, and floor projections in our NFL Models.
It’s going to be vital to monitor the injury report prior to lineup lock.
One of the most important situations involves Ronald Jones. The Bucs have already stated that Leonard Fournette will draw the start at running back, but Jones’ status is yet to be decided. If he’s inactive, it will once again clear the path for Fournette to dominate the touches in the Bucs’ backfield.
Jones has missed three of the past four games for Tampa Bay, and Fournette has scored at least 15.6 DraftKings points in all three contests. Even if Jones is active, Fournette stands out as one of the best values at the position.
Both Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt will garner some support vs. the Chiefs, who rank just 31st in rush defense DVOA this season. Both players have the potential to dominate if this game stays competitive, but that’s always a big if when you’re facing the Chiefs. Chubb has a significant edge in ceiling and is currently projected for less ownership, which makes him the preferred option for tournaments.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire is another name to monitor heading into lineup lock. He’s currently listed as questionable after missing the past two games with a hip injury. If he’s active, he will likely lead the Chiefs in carries in a potentially excellent game script. If he’s out, Le’Veon Bell and Darrel Williams would both deserve consideration.
There are plenty of top-end wide receivers to choose from on this slate, but Michael Thomas is simply too cheap to pass up. He’s priced at just $6,600 on DraftKings, and Thomas has historically averaged a Plus/Minus of +6.18 with a comparable salary. Thomas hasn’t been as dominant this season and he was over the past two seasons, but he still managed to post a Plus/Minus of +4.43 with a comparable salary last week.
He takes the field this week in an excellent spot vs. the Buccaneers. Their defense has regressed over the second half of the season, particularly in the secondary. Thomas owns an Opponent Plus/Minus of +4.3 on DraftKings, and Pro Football Focus gives him a +46% advantage over Carlton Davis.
Jarvis Landry has played like an alpha receiver for the Browns recently, but he’s not priced like one on DraftKings. He’s posted a positive Plus/Minus in three straight games, yet his salary has decreased by -$1,200 over that time frame. Overall, his $5,200 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 94%.
Like Mayfield, Landry would also benefit if the Browns are forced to throw the ball more than usual, and his matchup vs. the Chiefs results in an Opponent Plus/Minus of +1.5.
If you want to go even cheaper with the Browns, Rashard Higgins is another viable option at just $4,000 on DraftKings.
Playing Tyreek Hill is almost never a bad idea. He’s posted an average Plus/Minus of +5.47 on FanDuel this season, and that mark has increased to +7.64 over his past 10 games. He also owns the biggest WR-CB edge on the slate according to PFF, and his matchup vs. the Browns results in an Opponent Plus/Minus of +3.3 on FanDuel.
The Bucs’ WR corps is tricky to figure out most weeks. That said, Chris Godwin and Antonio Brown could be slightly more appealing than usual. Mike Evans is expected to be shadowed by Marshon Lattimore, and Lattimore has historically done an elite job of taking him away. Evans managed just five catches for 66 yards in two matchups vs. Lattimore this season, so Godwin and Brown could be asked to pick up the slack.
Travis Kelce is the best tight end in fantasy football, so he obviously stands out on just a two-game slate. He’s a bit pricey on DraftKings, but he still grades out as the top play across most metrics. He’s simply too talented to fade, especially in a smash spot vs. the Browns. They’ve struggled against TEs all season, giving Kelce an Opponent Plus/Minus of +4.0.
Kelce is an absolute no-brainer on FanDuel, where his $8,500 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 96%. Just lock him in and move on.
If you’re not going to pay up for Kelce, Austin Hooper does make some sense as a pivot. His matchup vs. the Chiefs is also excellent, resulting in an Opponent Plus/Minus of +4.1 on DraftKings. He’s also -$4,000 cheaper than Kelce at just $3,700, and his current price tag comes with a Bargain Rating of 83%.
Rob Gronkowski stands out as the best pure value at the position on DraftKings. His $3,500 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 95%, and he could be another beneficiary if Evans is limited by Lattimore. That said, his matchup vs. the Saints is a bear: They rank second in DVOA against the TE position this season.
Jared Cook saw seven targets last week vs. the Bears, and he managed to turn those targets into 8.0 DraftKings points. That’s nice involvement for someone who costs just $3,000 on DraftKings. He’s also always a threat to catch a touchdown, which gives him multiple paths to return value.
Pictured above: Patrick Mahomes
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