This article is part of our DFS Tournament Guide series.
This guide focuses strictly on the main slate of Sunday afternoon games, with recommendations meant to be used for large-field, GPP tournaments. Player prices will only be mentioned for the two largest DFS sites, though much of what's discussed can be applied throughout the industry.
Variance and low ownership are desirable in large DFS tournaments, but we still need a few building-block players that are strong bets to outperform their price tags even if they don't have the highest ceilings and/or are likely to be popular plays. We'll also want to keep a close eye on injury situations with potential to create value for teammates (this is covered at the bottom of the page).
RB Dion Lewis, TEN (at IND), ($4,800 DK; $5,900 FD)
The bad news? I put Lewis in this spot last week, only to watch him blow up my lineups with a 68-yard, zero-TD performance. The good news? He played 75 percent of snaps in a 24-point win, further cementing his status as the lead back amidst game script that might've favored Derrick Henry. There's minimal threat besides goal-line vulturing from Henry, who has otherwise been phased out of the offense with Lewis averaging 17.3 carries, four receptions and 115 scrimmage yards the past three games. Meanwhile, the Colts have done solid work in allowing just 3.9 yards per carry, but they don't provide a tough enough matchup to dissuade me from his combination of price, talent and projected workload. Lewis should put up some points through the air if nothing else, as only the Chiefs and Falcons have surrendered more catches to running backs than the Colts (7.9 per game).
Buccaneers at Giants
This game may not have any implications for the NFL playoffs, but it does have the second highest over/under (52) on the slate as well as a spread of just two points (Eagles-Saints has a 56 O/U but also an eight-point spread). There are a number of different ways to attack this contest, with both Ryan Fitzpatrick ($5,600 DK; $7,600 FD) and Eli Manning ($5,200 DK; $6,700 FD) offering a good starting point as discount options at quarterback. We'll discuss Saquon Barkley later in this article as my favorite pay-up play of the week, so just remember that he does enough damage in the passing game to be a part of any Fitzpatrick or Manning stack.
My favorite stack on FanDuel uses Manning, Barkley, Odell Beckham ($8,500) and Mike Evans ($7,400), while the small pricing gap between the two QBs on DraftKings encourages Fitzpatrick-Evans combined with either Barkley, Beckham or Sterling Shepard ($5,300). Evans is another player I'll discuss in greater depth toward the bottom of the page, potentially benefiting from added red-zone volume with Chris Godwin (ankle) looking shaky.
Titans at Colts
Here we have another game with a close spread (Colts -1), a favorable over/under (49) and a pair of reasonably priced quarterbacks. Marcus Mariota ($5,500 DK; $7,100 FD) is the slightly better value on FanDuel, while it makes more sense to pay up for Andrew Luck ($5,900 DK; $7,800 FD) on DraftKings. I've already discussed Lewis as an elite play on both sites, with enough pass-catching ability to be used in any of these stacks.
Corey Davis ($5,600 DK; $6,200 FD) also carries one of the better price tags on both sites this week, and his 30.3 percent target share in the Tennessee offense means he should be used in any Mariota stack. T.Y. Hilton ($6,100 DK; $6,800 FD) is the only Colts pass catcher I really want to roster, as Eric Ebron ($4,300 DK; $6,000 FD) will have a hard time beating this price tag on 20-25 snaps per game now that Jack Doyle ($4,200 DK; $5,400 FD) is healthy.
Of course, Ebron does get plenty of high-value looks, making it hard to get on board with Doyle against a Tennessee defense that's been an absolute death sentence for every tight end besides Zach Ertz. The Titans are one of two teams (Green Bay) that hasn't allowed a touchdown to the position, and only the Jets have surrendered fewer yards per game (32.8).
Texans at Redskins
This game actually has the second lowest over/under (42) on the Sunday main slate, but it does offer one stack I love thanks to the favorable prices on three players. Deshaun Watson ($5,700 DK; $7,800 FD) and DeAndre Hopkins ($7,900 DK; $8,600 FD) are capable of turning in huge fantasy outings even if the Texans only score 21 or 24 points, with the latter offering dominant target share (31 percent) while the former can pad his stats on the ground (537 yards, three TDs in 16 career games).
On the other side of the contest, Jordan Reed ($3,800 DK; $5,400 FD) is one of the few decent options at an ugly position, averaging 7.4 targets the past five games. He's yet to turn in an impressive stat line, but it could very well happen Sunday against a Texans defense that's given up 9.1 yards per target to tight ends while shutting down wide receivers (7.3 YPT) and running backs (3.5 YPC, 5.5 YPT).
While not nearly as important as quarterback-receiver combos, RB-Defense mini-stacks present another opportunity to take advantage of positive correlations in tournament lineups. We're generally looking for teams that are comfortably favored to win, preferably with a starting running back who dominates goal-line and clock-killing work.
David Johnson ($7,500 DK; $7,900 FD) + Cardinals D/ST ($3,100 DK; $4,000 FD)
I considered listing Johnson after Lewis as one of the top point-per-dollar plays this week, but I figure we might as well double-down with the Arizona defense in a matchup this tasty. Johnson's ceiling is similar to that of Barkley, Christian McCaffrey, Melvin Gordon or Ezekiel Elliott, only without the $8,000+ price tag. You're probably well aware of last week's 183-yard, two-TD explosion, but we'd already seen a hint of progress the week before when the Cardinals beat the 49ers in Byron Leftwich's first game as offensive coordinator. Meanwhile, the Raiders have devolved into an absolute mess, losing five straight games by at least 14 points while saying goodbye to Marshawn Lynch (groin), Amari Cooper (trade) and now possibly Jordy Nelson (knee) and Martavis Bryant (knee). Oakland easily has the lowest implied total of the week at 17.75, listed as 5.5-point underdogs against a 2-7 team. The Cardinals are my No. 2 ranked defense for Week 11, making them a clear bargain on FanDuel and also a solid choice on DraftKings.
Mark Ingram ($4,700 DK; $7,100 FD) + Saints D/ST ($2,100 DK; $3,300 FD)
Pricing makes Ingram a much better option on DK than FD, while the New Orleans defense is a strong discount play on both sites as an eight-point favorite in a home game against the slumping Eagles. We wouldn't normally target a defense facing Carson Wentz, but there is some upside to the matchup now that the Eagles are stuck with a mediocre offensive line. The 25-year-old quarterback has taken 3.2 sacks per game and lost five fumbles in seven contests, allowing opponents to make some big plays even though he's only tossed three picks. Of course, the bigger problem in Philadelphia is a disappointing defense that's now surrendered 4.7 yards per carry after getting trounced by Elliott last week. Once viewed as a potential preview of the NFC Championship Game, this contest may instead turn into the kind of blowout which allows Ingram to see 15-to-20 touches.
RB Saquon Barkley, NYG (vs. TB), ($8,300 DK; $8,700 FD)
Barkley is in a perfect spot to bounce back from his worst fantasy performance of the season, facing a Tampa Bay defense that's given up 14 touchdowns and 7.5 yards per target to running backs, with struggles in the passing game making up for decent performance against the run (4.0 YPC). On pace for a ridiculous 110-942-4 receiving line, Barkley is capable of outperforming his price even if he can't end his three-game rushing slump with less than 3.5 YPC (and I'm betting he ends it). Of course, I should probably note that McCaffrey ($8,000 DK; $8,600) is in a similarly excellent spot, facing a Lions defense ranked 27th in YPC allowed (4.9) and 28th in rushing yards per game (132.7). Barkley gets the slight edge for tournament play because he has superior breakaway speed and doesn't have to worry about his quarterback stealing rushing touchdowns.
Fading The Field
Every week we see at least one or two players carrying high ownership without the backing of a top point-per-dollar projection. Recency bias is often the motivating factor, as many DFSers subconsciously overestimate the predictive value of recent results.
WR Julio Jones, ATL (vs. DAL), ($8,500 DK; $8,700 FD)
Working on a four-game streak with triple-digit yards and double-digit targets, Jones finally ended his touchdown drought Week 9 and made another trip to the end zone Week 10. He's rightfully drawing a lot of attention as he makes a push for the single-season receiving yards record, but there's serious potential for disappointment against a Dallas team allowing the second fewest targets to wide receivers (17 per game). The Cowboys have yet to give up more than 28 points in a single game this year, as their deliberate pace on offense tends to limit volume on both sides of the contest. Jones should be efficient with whatever work he gets, but we may be looking at seven or eight targets instead of his season average of 11.3. Sunday's DFS slate features a handful of players in the same price range with better odds for a blow-up performance.
The Bargain Bin
QB Blake Bortles, JAX (vs. PIT), ($5,100 DK; $6,800 FD)
QB Dak Prescott, DAL (at ATL), ($5,200 DK; $7,400 FD)
QB Eli Manning, NYG (vs. TB), ($5,200 DK; $6,700 FD)
RB Alex Collins, BAL (vs. CIN), ($4,400 DK; $6,000 FD)
RB Peyton Barber, TB (at NYG), ($3,600 DK; $5,400 FD)
RB Theo Riddick, DET (vs. CAR), ($4,000 DK; $5,100 FD)
WR Dede Westbrook, JAX (vs. PIT), ($4,700 DK; $5,300 FD)
WR D.J. Moore, CAR (at DET), ($4,200 DK; $5,300 FD)
TE C.J. Uzomah, CIN (at BAL), ($3,400 DK; $5,300 FD)
TE Ricky Seals-Jones, ARI (vs. OAK), ($2,900 DK; $5,200 FD)
TE James O'Shaughnessy, JAX (vs. PIT), ($2,600 DK; $4,000 FD)
D/ST Saints, (vs. PHI), ($2,100 DK; $3,300 FD)
Pricing Discrepancies Between FD and DK
The strategy looks pretty similar on both major sites this week, but I do need to note that two of my favorite plays (Ingram and McCaffrey) are priced much more favorably on DraftKings, while another (Westbrook) is best used on FanDuel. Most of the other discrepancies are discussed above in the section on passing stacks, where I lean toward Watson-Hopkins-Reed on DK and Manning-Barkley-Beckham-Evans on FD.
Injury Situation(s) to Monitor
It appears we'll get a temporary reprieve from Tampa Bay's pass-catching logjam after Godwin (ankle) missed practice both Wednesday and Thursday. His absence from Sunday's rosy matchup with the Giants would free up extra snaps for DeSean Jackson ($5,000 DK; $6,300 FD) and maybe Adam Humphries ($3,800 DK; $5,500 FD), not to mention better red-zone odds for Evans ($7,300 DK; $7,400 FD) and O.J. Howard ($4,900 DK; $6,300 FD). The importance of the second part can't be overstated given that Godwin is tied for third in the NFL with nine targets inside the 10-yard line, while Evans and Howard are tied for second on the Bucs with four apiece. I prefer Evans over Howard on both sites, as the tight end now carries a price commensurate to his unsustainable production (11.6 YPT, one TD for every 8.4 targets).
With Jones unable to finish Sunday's 34-22 loss to Chicago after suffering a bone bruise in his knee, Kenny Golladay ($5,800 DK; $6,400 FD) drew a career-high 13 targets and hit paydirt for the first time since Week 5. The nature of Jones' injury suggests he'll likely miss at least one game and possibly more, leaving Golladay and Theo Riddick as the top pass catchers for Sunday against the Panthers. It's hard to put faith in any part of this offense at the moment, but Golladay's combination of target share and talent make him awfully tantalizing. The matchup also appears favorable, with Carolina ranked 24th in Football Outsiders' pass-defense DVOA while allowing 8.1 yards per target to wide receivers. The Panthers have mostly struggled to cover the middle of the field, and while Detroit doesn't have a tight end worthy of DFS attention, Riddick and Golladay have both been used as slot receivers at times.
This is the big injury to watch from a non-fantasy perspective, potentially opening the door for Lamar Jackson ($4,700 DK; $7,000 FD) to get his first start. The price on FanDuel isn't cheap enough to take the plunge, but it's a worthwhile risk on DraftKings if Jackson ends up starting in place of Flacco (hip).
Despite some early snow and ice hitting the east coast this week, weather shouldn't be much of a factor in Sunday's NFL games. Field conditions in Baltimore, Washington and New York are worth keeping an eye on, but the grounds crews likely have plenty of time to get things in shape with the messy weather expected to pass by Friday.