Whether you've played Daily Fantasy on Yahoo before or are giving it a try for the first time, this weekly 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
Christian McCaffrey ($42) vs. Detroit Lions
McCaffrey turned 29 opportunities into 128 yards from scrimmage and two scores last week despite San Francisco playing through an uncharacteristic negative game script. He now gets a tough Detroit run defense that’s allowed the fewest schedule-adjusted fantasy points to running backs over the last five weeks. Still, it’s difficult to fade CMC in DFS in a week with so few alternatives.
McCaffrey has scored 23 touchdowns over 17 games this season, and the 49ers are touchdown favorites with easily the highest implied team total (29 points) this week. CMC’s high salary is worth paying up for during the Championship Round.
Lamar Jackson ($39) vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Kansas City’s defense has been incredibly stingy when healthy this season, but Jackson can overcome any matchup right now (and the Chiefs lost two defensive starters during last week’s game). He got 9.3 YPA at home during the regular season and ran for 100+ yards and two touchdowns the last time these teams met. Jackson is also the lone remaining dual-threat quarterback in the playoffs.
Amon-Ra St. Brown ($34) @ San Francisco 49ers
The Lions will likely attempt to establish the run, but San Francisco's opponents managed the fewest carries in the league this season (and had the third-most pass attempts). Jared Goff is better indoors, but St. Brown averaged a healthy 86.1 receiving yards and scored seven of his 10 touchdowns on the road this season. The 49ers can struggle against the slot, where Sun God runs more than 50% of his routes. St. Brown is a strong DFS option in a matchup with the Lions touchdown underdogs and in favorable weather.
Star to Fade
Patrick Mahomes ($33) @ Baltimore Ravens
Mahomes might be the GOAT and would surprise no one if he wins in Baltimore, but he’s a DFS fade this week. Mahomes’ salary is $4 more than Brock Purdy’s, who has a much more favorable matchup. The Ravens yielded an NFL-low 5.9 YPA and the fewest schedule-adjusted fantasy points to quarterbacks over the last five weeks, including just shutting down C.J. Stroud. Baltimore also allowed the fewest points per game while racking up the most takeaways and sacks this season, becoming the first defense to win that triple crown. With Mecole Hardman one of his receivers (and Pro Bowl guard Joe Thuney injured), Mahomes can be ignored in DFS this week.
Brock Purdy ($29) vs. Detroit Lions
Purdy struggled badly with his accuracy while playing in the rain last week, but forecasts are currently dry Sunday. Purdy got 11.0 (!) YPA, averaged 310 passing yards and scored 14 touchdowns over seven home games in the regular season, and the last five quarterbacks who faced Detroit averaged 373.6 passing yards and 2.2 TDs. With Deebo Samuel set to suit up on Sunday, Purdy will have all his weapons available.
George Kittle ($23) vs. Detroit Lions
Kittle should be busy Sunday facing a pass-funnel Lions defense that’s stingy against the run but ceding 370+ passing yards over their last five games. A returning Deebo Samuel will likely be limited, and Kittle has averaged 20+ fantasy points with Brock Purdy when Samuel is out (as mentioned however, he is expected to play). Kittle remains explosive at 30 years old, and San Francisco is projected to score nearly 30 points this week.
Gus Edwards ($20) vs. Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs have allowed by far the fewest schedule-adjusted fantasy points to wide receivers down the stretch, with none reaching 90 yards over the season’s final two months. Meanwhile, Kansas City yielded the eighth-highest EPA/rush, and Baltimore sports the second-highest implied team total (24 points) this week. Edwards will cede some work to Justice Hill, but he remains the favorite for carries and goal-line work; he sat out the final 11 minutes of last week’s game with a reportedly non-serious hand issue — that didn't land him on the injury report — and with the score lopsided. Edwards is an intriguing RB pivot in DFS this week, especially in 0.5 PPR.
Mark Andrews ($10) vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Andrews isn't likely to see a full allotment of snaps in his expected return from a leg injury, but he’s a DFS option at the minimum. Kansas City has shut down wide receivers more than any team in the league down the stretch, so Andrews could be busy (especially in the red zone) when on the field.