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
Patrick Mahomes ($39) vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Mahomes is the heavy favorite to win his second MVP award after throwing for the most yards and the second-most touchdowns of his career; the Chiefs somehow got their most yards per play in five seasons despite losing Tyreek Hill. Kansas City is home with Andy Reid, who is the best coach in NFL history coming off a bye, against a Jaguars defense that ceded the ninth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks this season. It’s tricky when it comes to stacking the Chiefs, but KC has the highest implied team total by nearly a touchdown this weekend.
Stefon Diggs ($32) vs. Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals defend the run and tight ends well, leaving Diggs with a lot of responsibility on a Buffalo team getting shaky play from its other receivers. The Bills led the NFL in yards per play at home this season, where Diggs also saw his TD% nearly double. Buffalo has the second-highest projected scoring total this weekend, and it would surprise if Diggs didn’t see 10+ targets.
Ja’Marr Chase ($34) @ Buffalo Bills
Chase has averaged 13.0 targets over the last five games, and opponents had the fourth-highest pass rate when playing in Buffalo this season. The Bills allowed the seventh-most fantasy points to receivers this season. It remains to be seen whether a Buffalo defense missing Von Miller can take advantage of an injury-ravaged Bengals offensive line, but Chase will be busy either way on Sunday.
Star to fade
Saquon Barkley ($33) @ Philadelphia Eagles
Barkley has looked rejuvenated while getting 5.3 YPC over his last four games, and there aren’t many attractive running back options this week. But his salary is more than almost every wide receiver and 28 percent more than the next RB. He gets a Philadelphia run defense that improved as the season progressed, as no back reached 75 rushing yards against them over the final seven games. The Giants have the lowest implied team total this weekend.
Tee Higgins ($21) @ Buffalo Bills
Higgins should benefit from the same pass-heavy game-script as Chase with a salary almost 40% cheaper. It also helps having Joe Burrow throwing to him on an offense likely to struggle to run with a banged up offensive line. Higgins looks glaringly undervalued in a matchup that could easily turn into a full-blown shootout.
Tony Pollard ($18) @ San Francisco 49ers
Pollard saw more snaps, routes and touches than Ezekiel Elliott with Dallas’ season on the line against Tampa Bay, and that likely increases further in a game that should be much closer Sunday. Pollard was somehow the RB7 in 0.5 PPR leagues this season despite Elliott staying mostly healthy and scoring 12 touchdowns. The 49ers aren’t a favorable matchup for opposing running backs and appear especially brutal for Elliott. Pollard should be plenty active in the passing game, and opponents had by far the highest pass rate when playing in Levi’s Stadium this season. Pollard is legit, and six other RBs have a higher DFS salary in a slate without many strong options.
Zay Jones ($17) @ Kansas City Chiefs
Jones saw double-digit targets last week for the sixth time this season, and he should be busy again Saturday. The Jaguars are 8.5-point underdogs and went extremely pass-heavy when these teams met in Week 10. Jones is a better tournament play given his boom-or-bust nature, but he has good upside for someone with a salary outside the top-10 WRs this weekend.
Kansas City Chiefs D/ST ($10) vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Trevor Lawrence threw four picks last week while playing without his left tackle and had the most lost fumbles in the NFL this season (and nearly twice as many as the next most). Jacksonville enters on the road and as the biggest underdogs of the weekend, so Kansas City looks like a DFS steal at the minimum. The Chiefs finished the season top-five in pressure rate, and, as mentioned earlier, Andy Reid has been the best coach in NFL history coming off a bye.