Whether you’ve played Daily Fantasy on Yahoo before or are giving it a try for the first time, this column will take a look at the DFS landscape, revealing whom I like building lineups around, stars to fade, undervalued plays and bargain bin options to help you construct a better team.
Lineup building blocks
Justin Jefferson ($37) vs. New York Giants
Jefferson led the NFL in receiving despite a quiet finish that included just 53 yards over the final two games. He returns home Sunday in a favorable matchup against a Giants secondary he ripped for 16-12-133-1 when these teams met last month. Minnesota has one of the highest implied team totals this weekend while facing a New York defense that ended the season ranked fourth worst in DVOA. Jefferson is worth paying up for in DFS this week (regardless of Adoree’ Jackson’s status).
Josh Allen ($40) vs. Miami Dolphins
The Bills led the NFL in yards per play at home this season, when Allen also saw his YPA jump from 6.9 on the road to 8.4 in Buffalo. He gets a highly favorable matchup against a blitz-happy Miami defense that allowed the third-most fantasy points to quarterbacks this season. Opponents also had the sixth-highest pass rate when facing the Dolphins. Allen racked up the second-most fantasy points among all players this season and is tough to fade in DFS this weekend.
Keenan Allen ($26) @ Jacksonville Jaguars
Allen averaged 11.3 targets over the final six games and gets a Jacksonville defense that’s better against the run than the pass. Mike Williams is highly questionable and likely won’t be 100 percent if he plays after suffering a painful back injury last week, which should be a major boost for Allen. Moreover, the Jaguars allowed the most fantasy points to the slot over the last two months of the season, where Allen ran 63% of his routes this year.
Star to fade
Tyreek Hill ($33) @ Buffalo Bills
With the point spread moving all the way to Buffalo -13, it’s clear Skylar Thompson will be starting for Miami. Game script could certainly lead to a ton of targets for Hill, but he’s playing through an ankle injury and will suffer from having to catch passers from a third-string, seventh-round rookie quarterback (not everyone is Brock Purdy). The Dolphins have averaged 2.2 fewer yards per play with Thompson compared to Tua Tagovailoa this season; Hill’s yards per target drops from 10.3 with Tua and 12.9 with Teddy Bridgewater down to 6.7 with Thompson (h/t Lord Reebs).
Tee Higgins ($17) vs. Baltimore Ravens
Higgins’ salary is the same as Darius Slayton’s and lower than Richie James’ this week; it’s 28% cheaper than Jaylen Waddle’s in 0.5 PPR. Higgins has nearly matched Ja’Marr Chase’s production when the two have shared the field together over the last two years, yet the former’s salary is 45% cheaper. In other words, Higgins is glaringly undervalued in a home matchup against a Baltimore defense that’s tough to run against. Joe Burrow’s YPA leaps from 7.0 on the road to 8.4 at home throughout his career, and the Bengals have a healthy implied team total. Game script could potentially be an issue given the Ravens’ QB situation, but Higgins’ DFS salary still looks enticing this week. The Bengals were by far the most aggressive passing team over the season’s final six weeks (similar to last year’s playoff run).
Daniel Jones ($32) @ Minnesota Vikings
Jones finished as a top-10 QB in fantasy points per game this season, ahead of Justin Herbert, Tom Brady (with him breaking the NFL record for completions and pass attempts) and Dak Prescott, all of whom had much higher ADPs. Dimes might’ve finished with the second-most rushing yards among quarterbacks had he played the final week, and he gets a Minnesota defense that yielded the second-most passing yards, the fifth-most yards per play at home and the fifth-most fantasy points to QBs this season. Jones put up over 300 yards passing when these teams met in Week 16 and is an intriguing DFS play in a matchup indoors.
Kirk Cousins ($27) is also a nice play at an affordable DFS salary this week (and provides a JJ stack) albeit without Jones’ rushing upside.
Deebo Samuel ($15) vs. Seattle Seahawks
Samuel saw limited touches but played 87% of the first half snaps during his return last week. There’s competition for carries with Christian McCaffrey and Elijah Mitchell, but Samuel should be part of an extreme ground-heavy attack by San Francisco with wind and heavy rain in the forecast. Samuel’s missed time and limited success with Brock Purdy has helped him become undervalued in DFS this weekend. He’s back healthy, and the 49ers have the second-highest implied team total on the six-game slate.
Cincinnati Bengals D/ST ($10) vs. Baltimore Ravens
The Bengals quietly ended the year with a higher pressure rate than the 49ers and Bills and play better at home. Cincinnati allowed the third-fewest TD passes in 2022 and were incredibly stingy against the run when DJ Reader was on the field. The Bengals get a Baltimore offense ravaged by injuries, including to a quarterback position that may lead to Anthony Brown starting. As 9.5-point home favorites, the Bengals’ D/ST looks intriguing in DFS while priced at the minimum.