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NFL Salary Exploitation is a weekly piece based around finding the best and most egregious value-based plays from site-to-site. We'll be taking a look at DraftKings, FanDuel and Yahoo!, deciphering where to look for the best values on a position-by-position basis. Some weeks will be more cash game plays and other will be more tournament based, it's simply how the sites adjust to injuries, news and other related materials that can shift snaps, match-ups and other research reliant variables.

Quarterbacks

PlayerOpponentDraftKings SalaryFanDuel SalaryYahoo! Salary
Ryan Fitzpatrick@MIA$5,300$6,400$22
Alex Smith@NYG$6,700$7,900$38

Unlike the last few weeks, this is looking like a week to pay up at quarterback. There isn't a full slab of running backs, and pricing has come down for passing games across the industry. While a few quarterbacks are priced up, their stacking options are not if you want to go that way.

I might be stubborn talking about Ryan Fitzpatrick again, but he is still cheap and in a starting role against a bad defense. He also gets Mike Evans back. Now I won't be advocating for him, but he is worth a look if you are punting the position again. Miami ranks 30th in DVOA against the pass.

Alex Smith is the most expensive quarterback on Yahoo, while he is actually sort of underpriced for his production on DraftKings and Yahoo. New York's defense has clearly given up, and they are getting abused through the air. Even with the Chiefs being on the road, New York is a team I want to attack week in and week out.

Running Backs

PlayerOpponentDraftKings SalaryFanDuel SalaryYahoo! Salary
Chris Thompson@NO$5,400$6,800$21
Melvin GordonBUF$7,600$7,800$33

It didn't matter much, but we had a few random Rob Kelley games in there the last few weeks, but Chris Thompson is back down in price and primed for a feature role in both the run and passing game. Thompson is a more notable receiver, and usually receiving backs are not worthy of my time on FanDuel, but I can't deny it this week. On DraftKings, expect Thompson to be a popular play. The Saints have allowed the third most receptions per game to opposing running backs this season and rank 28th against the run.

It was a disappointing week for Melvin Gordon, and I am more than okay with going to him again in tournaments this week. The price has been around this range all season, yet we know the production can easily be a steal at these price tags. The Bills have allowed 240 rushing yards the last two weeks, and all of a sudden that Marcel Dareus trade isn't looking too good.

Wide Receivers

PlayerOpponentDraftKings SalaryFanDuel SalaryYahoo! Salary
Mike Evans@MIA$7,900$7,800-
Sterling ShepardKC$6,300$6,500$26
Michael CrabtreeNE$5,900$7,500$28

These are really low price tags on Mike Evans facing a team that ranks 26th in DVOA against WR1s. He should see a healthy amount of targets this week, and while Fitzpatrick is throwing to him, it doesn't change my view all that much. The FanDuel price is the most intriguing given the more lenient all around pricing, and expect ownership to showcase the change on Evans.

Sterling Shepard has seen 22 targets over the last two weeks, catching 16 of them for 212 yards. His price on DraftKings has come up quite a bit to an area where you can make the case either way for him, but it did not come up enough on FanDuel. The Chiefs defense continues to struggle, ranking 20th in DVOA against the pass, and 29th in DVOA against WR1s.

Both Oakland WRs on DraftKings are phenomenally cheap and in a good spot against a New England defense that has not looked bad of late, yet has not played anyone either. Michael Crabtree at $5,900 looks to be very intriguing, while $6,000, Amari Cooper is right there also. This game should be pretty fantasy friendly if both teams keep their foot on the gas.

Tight Ends

PlayerOpponentDraftKings SalaryFanDuel SalaryYahoo! Salary
Jared CookNE$4,800$5,600$20
Benjamin Watson@GB$2,800$4,900$10

Cheap tight ends are scarce this week, and Jared Cook seems to be in a range where I am looking to the most. The Patriots are middle of the road in fantasy points allowed to tight ends and rank 14th in DVOA. Cook has been involved shown big upside games, and has a 9.6 aDOT. Cook ranks 8th in fantasy points per snap this season .3 behind Zach Ertz.

This would be a strict DraftKings play with Benjamin Watson being such a low-yardage threat in Baltimore. He is running small efficient routes which puts him in reasonable spots to gain receptions, and on occasion a touchdown occurs, but it isn't likely. He has 38 receptions this season and that is as many as Rob Gronkowski and one more than Kyle Rudolph. Watson has been below eight DK points just once this season. If you are punting, it isn't the worst idea

Defenses

PlayerOpponentDraftKings SalaryFanDuel SalaryYahoo! Salary
Green Bay PackersBAL$2,700$4,500$13
Cincinnati Bengals@DEN$3,000$4,500$18

Watson might be the best part of the Baltimore offense, as they are averaging under 300 yards per game this season, and just 18 points per game. They head on the road against a Green Bay defense that is average at best. I wouldn't say Green Bay has a ton of upside, but at these prices, 7-8 fantasy points is all I would be looking for.

Denver is allowing the most fantasy points per game to opposing defenses this season, and they are going to start Brock Osweiler again. Do I need to say anymore? I do wish this game was in Cincinnati, but the Bengals are a perfect tournament defense this week.



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