*Editor's Note: Each Thursday leading into the NFL games, contributing writer Jonathan Auping will break down a few things to consider as fantasy owners set their weekly lineups, including players to start or sit, along with trends to remember. Whether your game is the traditional fantasy league or the daily games from DraftKings, this weekly feature should help you get prepared for the fantasy weekend. *
Dak Prescott, Quarterback, Eagles (DraftKings Salary $6,900)
The Eagles' defense isn't necessarily overrated, but if you think they can't be thrown on, then you couldn't be more wrong. Actually, they can't seem to stop the passing game. They've given up more completions than any team in the NFL.
Coming off a tough loss and facing the team with the best record in the NFL, few entries are going to select Prescott this week. But the Cowboys' offense is going to rely heavily on him making plays, and the opportunities will be there. Don't be surprised if Prescott utilizes all of his receivers and finishes with a handful of touchdowns.
Make the Smart Play:
Brandin Cooks, Wide Receiver, Patriots (DraftKings Salary $6,600)
After nine games, Tom Brady is clearly starting to get comfortable with Brandin Cooks. Sunday night against the Broncos, Brady targeted Cooks a season-high 11 times. Cooks picked the perfect time to become the go-to receiver for arguably the best quarterback of all time. The Oakland defense is lacking the secondary to defend a spread-out attack by the Patriots. Expect Cooks to get the receptions and the yardage. If he grabs you a touchdown, he may just be the top receiver this week.
DeAndre Hopkins, Wide Receiver, (DraftKings Salary $6,100)
Hopkins' DraftKings salary has plummeted since DeShaun Watson's season-ending injury. On the surface, that makes total sense. But Hopkins' production has done anything but go down. In the two games without Watson, Hopkins has combined for 196 yards and a touchdown. Tom Savage will force it to his number one receiver, even if he throws interceptions in the process.
Hopkins currently has the salary of team's number two receivers. Even if he's not a lock, he's worth the gamble at that price.
LeSean McCoy, Running Back, Bills (DraftKings Salary $7,800)
A common trend in daily fantasy sports is users shying away from high-value players the week after their team suffers an embarrassing loss. But the correlation in dropped production the following week just isn't there. Sure, the Bills were routed by the Saints last Sunday, but they are playing the Chargers *this *Sunday.
Only the 49ers have given up more rushing yards than the Chargers. With Buffalo starting rookie quarterback Nathan Peterman, they will be committed to the run. McCoy is the cheapest he's been in a month. If you ask me, he's a no-brainer play.
But Don't Outsmart Yourself:
Adam Thielen, Wide Receiver, Vikings (DraftKings Salary $7,200)
Theielen is coming off back-to-back monster games, and I'm not banking that much of my DraftKings salary on him having another one. The Rams have a top-10 passing defense in the NFL this year.
Theielen has the hot hand in his favor. But he has a shaky quarterback working against him. There's absolutely no way I'm spending $1,000 more on Adam Thielen than I am on DeAndre Hopkins.
Survivor Pick of the Week:
Pittsburgh Steelers over Tennessee Titans
People tend to bring up the Patriots when they speak about consistency, but the Steelers are too reliable, too talented and too consistent to lose to the Titans. Last week, Derek Carr threw the ball all over the field on the Titans. Expect Ben Roethlisberger to do the same thing.