Aaron Rodgers, QB, Packers, (DraftKings Salary $8,100)
Aaron Rodgers is the best quarterback in football and the most reliable one from a fantasy production standpoint. He's accrued at least 20 fantasy points in every game this season. The last time Rodgers was at AT&T Stadium he threw two touchdowns and 354 yards, including a 36-yard pass towards the sideline that I probably don't have to remind you of.
Only the Patriots, Browns, and Titans have given up more passing touchdowns this season than the Cowboys. The Cowboys' secondary desperately needs a good game to boost their confidence. I wouldn't count on Rodgers providing that.
Make the Smart Plays:
Doug Baldwin, Wide Receiver, Seahawks (DraftKings Salary $7,000)
A groin injury and a blowout victory held Baldwin to just three targets last Sunday against the Colts. The week before that he was targeted a staggering 15 times. A player targeted 15 times in a game in a point-per-reception league (like Draft Kings) is going to put up good fantasy production.
Russell Wilson and the Seahawks' offense have finally started to figure it out. They've scored 72 points the past two games, and the Rams are going to try to lure them into a shootout. Except Baldwin to see the ball quite a bit.
Andre Ellington, Running Back, Cardinals (Draft Kings Salary $4,600)
Ellington's rushing numbers might not catch your eye, but he's a versatile player on a team that's low on options at the running back position. He was targeted 14 times out of the backfield last game against the 49ers, which is a huge number for a running back.
Ellington has had a reception of at least 20 yards in every game this season. Carson Palmer has been pressured pretty heavily this year, making it tough for him to find his deep threats. In order to beat a stingy Eagles defense, they're going to have to get creative with Ellington, which means treating him like he's David Johnson. That alone makes him worth his salary.
Mike Gillislee, Running Back, Patriots (DraftKings Salary $5,300)
Of the eight teams that have played Thursday night this season seven of them have scored a rushing touchdown from their running back. Four of those running backs scored multiple touchdowns, including Gillislee who scored three in his Thursday night game week one.
You could call that random coincidence or you could say that a short week means something. It's hard on players, and tackling takes strength, focus, and stamina; all things that could be affected by a short week. The Patriots have always known how to put themselves in positions to get easy touchdowns instead of settling for field goals. Don't be surprised if Gillislee is the one in the end zone.
But Don't Outsmart Yourself:
Kyle Rudolph, Tight End, Vikings, (DraftKings Salary $3,800)
There's a logic out there that with Dalvin Cook out, the Vikings will rely more on their passing game, and that Rudolph's production will go up as a result. I'm not buying it. It makes sense in theory, but it would be a lot more tempting with a quarterback more productive than Case Keenum or Sam Bradford.
Quite frankly, Rudolph hasn't shown production all season and unless 2007-Petyon Manning suits up for the Vikings, I don't see that changing. Rudolph isn't explosive enough to take over a game, and at this point it's a huge risk to play him with a seemingly low ceiling.
Survivor Pick of the Week:
Buffalo Bills over the Cincinnati Bengals
This is getting ridiculous. I was undefeated through 12 weeks last season, and I can't pick a game this year. If you're still alive, congratulations.
The Bills have the best defense in the league through four games. They have absolutely rattled Cam Newton, Trevor Simeon, and Matt Ryan; all three of who have smoked defenses in other games this season. Andy Dalton is not on that level. He looked good against an injury-plagued Browns defense last week, but this is a whole new challenge. The Bills have looked frisky and started to convince people they might be a fringe playoff team. This is the week they make a dominant statement.