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 ($40) vs. Cincinnati Bengals
McCaffrey saw 100% of the snaps while playing through an oblique injury last week despite Elijah Mitchell being active. CMC will be relied on heavily again Sunday with Brock Purdy in concussion protocol. McCaffrey has scored a touchdown an NFL-record 16 straight games and gets a Bengals defense allowing the sixth-most EPA/rush and ranks 27th against the run in DVOA. McCaffrey is motivated after losing a fumble last week and has averaged 124.7 yards from scrimmage with six touchdowns over three home games this season. CMC is a strong DFS building block this week regardless of who starts at QB for San Francisco.
Lamar Jackson ($34) @ Arizona Cardinals
Jackson is coming off a monstrous fantasy week and has a salary that’s 21% cheaper than a banged-up Jalen Hurts (who also admittedly has a favorable matchup). The Ravens finally have a healthy WR group, and Jackson is getting a career-high 8.1 YPA despite dealing with numerous drops. He’s also getting the second-most fantasy points per dropback and faces an Arizona defense yielding the fifth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks. The Cardinals are also allowing the third-most YPA (7.5) and are last in pressure rate, so Jackson is a strong DFS start while playing indoors this week.
Breece Hall ($31) @ New York Giants
Hall is coming off season highs in touch share and route participation and should be even more involved out of the Jets’ bye. He’s seen five carries inside the 10-yard line over the last two games and is getting the second-most yards per touch in the league. Hall also has the fourth-most breakaway runs despite having just the 29th-most rush attempts. The Giants have allowed the second-most EPA/rush and the eighth-most fantasy points to running backs, including the third-most rushing yards per game (122.4) to the position.
Star to Fade
Amari Cooper ($24) @ Seattle Seahawks
P.J. Walker will be starting again for the Browns, whose quarterbacks have a combined 0:7 TD:INT ratio since Week 3. Cooper has performed better at home this season like he has throughout his career, and he gets a tough matchup in Seattle. The Seahawks’ secondary has shut down wide receivers since Week 3, as rookie Devon Witherspoon has emerged and is PFF’s No. 1 graded corner.
Tony Pollard ($20) vs. Los Angeles Rams
Pollard’s efficiency has dropped with his expanded role this season, but he’s also been unlucky when it comes to scoring touchdowns. He’s second in the league in carries inside the five-yard line with 10 but has just two scores. Raheem Mostert has six touchdowns on eight carries inside the five (not to mention from farther away). The Rams have ceded just one touchdown to wide receivers all season (in Week 1) but have allowed the fourth-most rushing scores (nine) in the league. Pollard somehow hasn’t scored since Week 1 while having the second-most red-zone touches, but he should change that Sunday with fresh legs coming out of the bye.
Adam Thielen ($23) vs. Houston Texans
Since playing through an ankle injury in Week 1, Thielen has a 30% target share and has been the No. 1 PPR wide receiver. Frank Reich handed over play-calling duties during Carolina’s bye week, but it’s safe to assume Thielen will remain a heavy part of the team’s game plan with few other alternatives. Houston has defended the run well recently and shut down perimeter receivers, but slot corner Jimmie Ward is a vulnerable spot.
Puka Nacua ($21) @ Dallas Cowboys
Nacua’s salary isn’t a top-10 WR on the slate despite coming off a monstrous performance in which he led all WRs in yards last week. Maybe it’s Cooper Kupp’s turn in Week 8, but the Cowboys have yielded the fourth-fewest fantasy points to the slot this season. Nacua moves around a lot, but he should see a lot of coverage from Stephon Gilmore (Dallas’ weakest link in its secondary). Nacua can smash any matchup with the way he’s been playing, and he’s somehow seen his target share (36.6%) increase since Kupp has returned.
Bryce Young ($20) vs. Houston Texans
Young could benefit from the change of play callers and the team’s bye. The rookie QB is coming off his best two games and gets a favorable matchup this week. Houston’s run defense has improved, but the Texans have allowed the ninth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks despite facing Kenny Pickett, Desmond Ridder and Derek Carr over their last three games. Young is a sneaky DFS play at the minimum.