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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.


PlayerOpponentDraftKings SalaryFanDuel SalaryYahoo! Salary
Jameis WinstonCHI$6,300$7,800$31
Alex SmithPHI$5,700$7,200$28

Pricing took a big increase around the industry this week, especially at the quarterback position. We have a few premium games where the aerial attacks should flourish, and I am looking at the domed games down south this week. These two names missed being priced up, making for viable cheap options, because outside of them there isn't anyone I am intrigued with. Jameis Winston is making his season debut after the early week bye, and takes on Chicago at home. The Bears have an average pass defense, and ranked 17th in DVOA against the pass last year. This year should be very similar, and I prefer targeting them more when they are on the road. Winston gets an addition this year, in DeSean Jackson, which is a big upgrade at WR2 from previous seasons. Mike Evans and Cameron Brate are also intriguing options this week, given their ownership should be low. Winston is a decent price on all three sites this week, but FanDuel is where I like him the most. Oddly after Alex Smith's big game, his price didn't adjust. Philly lost one of their starting cornerbacks this past week, putting them in a bit of a hole. If this Chiefs offense can carry the firepower it did from Week 1, Smith is going to be a viable option moving forward at these prices.

Early week strategy has me looking to pay up at quarterback, which is a different trend for me on DraftKings. You can tell their algorithm has changed slightly with some of the backups priced up into the mid-5000's. Last week on FanDuel I mentioned that no quarterback was over $9,000, this week we have two and seven over $8,000. Yahoo looks to have a lot of guys closely packed together which doesn't give you a lot of plays that standout in a vacuum. Given Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, and Matt Ryan have prime matchups, their pricing reflects that, but they aren't easy to get.

Running Backs

PlayerOpponentDraftKings SalaryFanDuel SalaryYahoo! Salary
Kerwynn Williams@IND$4,800$6,100$19
Marshawn LynchNYJ$6,000$7,200$20
Ty Montgomery@ATL$5,800$6,500$18

It took a week, but we got our first injury that opens the door for value. Unfortunately it comes at David Johnson's expense. Kerwynn Williams is next in line, with Andre Ellington occasionally getting some work in the passing game. Williams isn't badly priced at $4,800 on DraftKings, and Yahoo was quick to jump the gun on his price. Look where his price is compared to these other two guys, who are simply better options. On FanDuel he opens the door as a cheap RB2 for those looking to get more exposure to expensive passing attacks. Any matchup with the Colts gives opposing team's backs a terrific game flow, and solid matchup. We saw Todd Gurley do what he was supposed to, even though he wasn't uber-efficient. Carson Palmer looked awful last week, and while Arizona may sign someone if this is a long term issue, expect Williams to get a majority of the touches in Week 2.

LeSean McCoy ripped through the Jets defense, and now Oakland gets them at home in Week 2. With Oakland's line, and these price tags on all three sites for Marshawn Lynch, expect him to be one of the more popular plays of this week. He is cheap, and perfectly fits into how I am going about this week. Lynch could easily be my RB1 in my pass-focused lineups. Lynch didn't see a ton of snaps, but he did have 19 touches in Week 1 against the Titans. He also looked like his old self, having to have multiple defenders bring him down. Oakland made it a pass first priority in the end zone, but Lynch should get a few looks this week inside the ten.

Ty Montgomery is another high ownership running back that will pop up this week due to pricing and matchup. Atlanta struggled against both Chicago backs in Week 1, as they did last year as well. Montgomery is a tremendous options on all three sites, even though his fantasy points per touch go up on DraftKings with their scoring. Atlanta ranked 25th in DVOA against pass-catching backs last year, which showed again in Week 1. Tarik Cohen and Jordan Howard combined for 11 catches. Montgomery had 19 rushing attempts against what should be the best run defense in football this season, but punched one in with 54 rushing yards. He also caught four balls for 39 yards, and could easily be a 20 touch guy if he remains healthy. This game is going to be a prime target for offense, and Montgomery is cheap exposure to it.

A few more notes about RB pricing this week. Ezekiel Elliot heading into Denver is a sneaky good spot, and we get a discount on DraftKings ($7,800). We don't on FanDuel or Yahoo. With Danny Woodhead in trouble with the hamstring for sometime, both Terrence West and Buck Allen will see a tick up in usage. Both had strong games against Cincinnati after Woodhead went down. Both are viable options in Week 2 against Cleveland, but not must play values at their price tags. James White is an interesting PPR back at $4,000 on DraftKings this week, but I will pass on FanDuel and Yahoo with their scoring.

Wide Receivers

PlayerOpponentDraftKings SalaryFanDuel SalaryYahoo! Salary
Keenan AllenMIA$5,800$7,100$25
Jordan Matthews@CAR$3,900$6,400$16
Allen HurnsTEN$3,900$5,600$13
Emmanuel SandersDAL$5,200$6,400$20

I am currently watching Keenan Allen while writing this up, who is in a tough matchup against Denver. Things open up a little more this week against Miami, who ranked 16th in DVOA against the pass last season. Allen is going to be the leading target guy each week, and his ability to rack up receptions puts him at a really nice bargain on DraftKings. He isn't bad on FanDuel or Yahoo, but needs to grab that touchdown to really hit his ceiling. On the other side of this current game, Emmanuel Sanders isn't doing much, but his price tag across the board this week is enticing. Dallas' secondary isn't anything to write home about, even though they just shutdown the Giants. Sanders is coming off an 80-1040-5 season, Dallas ranked 18th in DVOA against WR2s last season

Buffalo will face a real team this week, as they travel to Carolina. The Bills passing game looked efficient last week, although a lot of the targets were narrowed down to Charles Clay and LeSean McCoy. Jordan Matthews led the Bills in receiving yards, but it was 61 yards on two catches. He only saw three targets. I am more intrigued with Matthews this week at his price tags, especially over on DraftKings. He is worthy of a look as a WR3 for those paying up elsewhere. Carolina will improve off last year's numbers, but I don't mind looking at Buffalo for contrarian plays.

The Allen Robinson injury hurts this Jacksonville team, and having Blake Bortles still running it isn't friendly for the guys getting a bump either but they are worth talking about. Allen Hurns and Marquise Lee both are now the top targets in Jacksonville for Bortles. Both are WR3 dart throws against a Tennessee defense that looked pedestrian in their opener, and were subpar last season. This is the Leonard Fournette show, as the ground and pound approach

Tight Ends

PlayerOpponentDraftKings SalaryFanDuel SalaryYahoo! Salary
Rob Gronkowski@NO$6,900$8,100$26
Martellus Bennett@ATL$3,900$5,800$18

No cheap Zach Ertz this week to just plug and play on DraftKings, and it is in a tougher matchup, so I will pass there. Rob Gronkowski and this passing game was quiet in their opener, and I don't expect that to be the same facing a New Orleans secondary that was shredded by Sam Bradford. For the top tier tight ends, I like to see where they would rank among WRs in pricing. Gronk would be the 9th most expensive on DK, the 4th on FD, and 9th on Yahoo. The value clearly lies on Yahoo and DraftKings, and is a enormous price tag on FanDuel. He is clearly in play this week, but my exposure will be heavier on DraftKings. New Orleans ranked 22nd in DVOA against tight ends last season, and this is a spot where New England will likely come in and put up 30+.

One cheap tight end that stood out this week is Martellus Bennett. The Falcons allowed the sixth most fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends last season. This Packers offense is going to vary week-to-week as far as production goes. It was Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson against the Seahawks, and there should be more to go around. Bennett caught three of his six targets this past week, for 43 yards. Six targets should be a pretty good weekly bet for Bennett moving forward.


PlayerOpponentDraftKings SalaryFanDuel SalaryYahoo! Salary
Kansas City ChiefsPHI$2,900$4,500$19
Baltimore RavensCLE$3,700$4,700$21

Losing Eric Berry is a downgrade to this Kansas City defense, but they are still an above average one. They are also priced down much lower than I expected. Philly was up and down in their first game, and heading into Arrowhead is tough for opponents. Opposing teams averaged 16 points per game in Arrowhead last season. The special teams for Kansas City is a threat with Tyreek Hill on a return, but KC was swarming in Week 1. Getting second year Carson Wentz and a running game that looked very below average in Week 1, this is a good spot to go with the Chiefs.

Baltimore is priced up quite a bit on Yahoo and DraftKings, but not on FanDuel. This is a defense to go in on this week, facing a Browns team that allowed seven sacks in Week 1. DeShone Kizer is going to make some mistakes as a rookie QB, and Baltimore is a team that had five takeaways in Week 1, and were top ten in takeaways per game last year. Being a home team against Cleveland, fire away with this Baltimore defense.

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