There’s arguably no better time than now in the NFL season to make your way to daily fantasy football.
Whether you’re caught up in the postseason push or lamenting your mediocre campaign in season-long fantasy, mixing and matching in an attempt to create a perfect lineup is a great way to quench your fantasy thirst.
Below is our “optimal lineup” for DraftKings’ main Sunday slate (early afternoon and late afternoon games), which allots a $50,000 budget for a roster of nine players.
Quarterback: Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints ($6,600)
Brees is coming off one of his worst games of the season in which he completed 18 of 28 passes for just 127 yards in a loss to the Dallas Cowboys. Luckily for Brees and the Saints, they have a perfect opportunity to rebound on the offensive front against their NFC South rival Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Bucs feature one of the worst pass defenses in the league and have allowed the second-most touchdowns through the air in 2018. Look for Brees to light it up as New Orleans vies to get back in the win column and avenge its Week 1 loss to Tampa Bay.
Running Backs: Aaron Jones, Green Bay Packers ($7,200); Phillip Lindsay, Denver Broncos ($6,300)
Jones has been a fantasy monster of late, scoring seven total touchdowns in his last six games. The Packers, whose wide receiver depth is mediocre at best, should look Jones’ way quite a bit in Week 14 against a very porous Atlanta Falcons defense.
Lindsay arguably has been the biggest fantasy surprise this season, quickly cementing his role as the Broncos’ feature back. The rookie has rushed for a combined 267 yards over the past two weeks with three total touchdowns. Denver will need Lindsay to keep it up as it fights for a wild card spot, and its offense should have its way against the lowly San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.
Wide Receivers: Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers ($7,400); Amari Cooper, Dallas Cowboys ($6,600); Calvin Ridley, Atlanta Falcons ($5,200)
Allen is on some type of tear. The veteran wideout has hauled in a combined 36 catches over the past four weeks for 366 yards with four touchdowns. He’s poised to continue his hot stretch against the Cincinnati Bengals, who have struggled to defend the pass all season. Not to mention, the Chargers’ offensive game plan could be pass-heavy Sunday if Melvin Gordon is out of action.
Cooper is averaging six catches per game with the Cowboys, including eight in each of the past two games. He fared quite well in his last game against the Eagles, catching six passes for 75 yards in Dallas’ Week 10 win in Philadelphia. The Cowboys will need another big performance from Cooper if they hope to stay atop the NFC East standings, and there’s no reason to believe he won’t deliver against a banged-up Eagles secondary.
The Falcons have been a disappointment this season, but Ridley has been one of the few bright spots. The rookie wideout currently is tied for eighth in the NFL with eight TD catches on the campaign and is averaging a shade under five catches per contest. Both the Packers and Falcons effectively are playing for pride at this stage, so it very well could be a shootout Sunday at Lambeau Field.
Tight End: Cameron Brate, Tampa Bay Buccaneers ($3,500)
Mike Evans and Adam Humphries likely will receive the bulk of targets from Jameis Winston, but don’t let that stop you from giving Brate a chance. The 6-foot-5 tight end boasts imposing size, which often comes in handy in the red zone. Even if the Saints end up blowing out the Bucs, Brate should be a solid candidate for garbage time points.
Flex: Kenny Stills, Miami Dolphins ($4,100)
Stills hasn’t been wildly productive this season, but he’s still a favorite target for quarterback Ryan Tannehill. The New England Patriots’ bend-but-don’t-break defense often allows for a handful of chunk plays, which Stills is more than capable of making. The Dolphins still are in the hunt for a wild card spot and the Patriots notoriously have struggled in Miami throughout the Tom Brady-Bill Belichick era. All things considered, Stills makes for a worthy flex option.
Defense: Pittsburgh Steelers ($3,000)
The Steelers likely will be playing pissed off Sunday after blowing a 16-point lead to the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 13. Pittsburgh quietly has been among the NFL’s best defenses this season, currently ranking eighth in the league against both the pass and run. The Oakland Raiders have been an absolute dumpster fire this season, so the Steelers will look to feast against an inferior opponent as they try to lock down a postseason berth.