*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. *
Vernon Davis, Tight End, Redskins (DraftKings Salary $5,100)
Davis' salary dropped this week due to a surprising performance against the Giants in which he was held without a catch. Unfortunately, he's primed to easily outperform that salary against a Dallas' pass defense that has been cratering for three straight weeks.
The Redskins are likely to spend a lot of time in the red zone, and Davis is about as dangerous a red zone target as there is.
Make the Smart Play:
Mohamed Sanu, Wide Receiver, Falcons (DraftKings Salary $5,600)
The Falcons' offense is finally starting to look like the same team that set the league ablaze in 2016. They've scored 27 points in each of the last three games, and Sanu is no small part of that. He's emerged as the best slot receiver in the NFL. He even threw a 50-yard touchdown last Sunday against the Buccaneers.
Last week, Marvin Jones Jr., a very similar receiver to Sanu, recorded 109 yards and two touchdowns against Minnesota. Sanu is a cheap option who can capitalize on his team's hot play with a high ceiling performance.
Theo Riddick, Running Back, Lions (DraftKings Salary $3,400)
Ameer Abdullah's poor play of late has opened up some possibilities for Riddick, a versatile back who can catch passes out of the backfield. Last week, the Lions got away from the run against the Vikings who loaded up the box and dared Matthew Stafford to beat them.
That won't be the case against the Ravens who have a bottom-10 run defense. The door will be open for Riddick to make an impact, and at his salary, he's worth the gamble.
Antonio Brown, Wide Receiver, Steelers (DraftKings Salary $9,800)
Your going to need to find value with cheap players like Riddick and Sanu, because Antonio Brown is worth the highest salary in DraftKings this week. In his past two games, he's combined for over 300 yards and five touchdowns. Perhaps excluding Lebron James, Brown might be the most dynamic athlete on the planet right now.
Brown has over 1,000 career yards against the Bengals, and he's not even 30 years old. Anything less than 80 yards in Cincinnati would be out of character for the Steelers' wide out.
But Don't Outsmart Yourself:
Carlos Hyde, Running Back, 49ers (DraftKings Salary $5,900)
Hyde is trending in the wrong direction. He's rushed for less than 50 yards in three of the last four games. More importantly, he's facing a stout Chicago defense that I believe to be one of the league's most underrated.
I can't imagine the 49ers are going to be able to effectively move the ball. Chicago, meanwhile, is going to run the ball and use up clock to guarantee their home fans witness a much-needed win for enduring another disappointing season.
Survivor Pick of the Week:
Chicago Bears over the San Francisco 49ers
After a 1-4 start to the season, I'm 6-1 over the past seven weeks when the picks are supposed to have been getting harder each week.
I'm going to take that momentum and put it on the Bears. Chicago's still a work in progress, but they might have more talent on the defensive side of the ball than is on the entire San Francisco roster. Bears at home is an easier pick than it might look on paper.