Safety is the name of the game in cash games, but FantasyDraft also pays out at least 25 percent of the field in every single contest, including tournaments, as well. This should motivate users to lean towards safe options in all formats on a site that puts #PlayersFirst. Without the top-heavy nature of tournaments, single entrants do not have to go with a “YOLO (you only live once)” mindset in tournaments, but can play for a solid cash instead. That makes life a whole lot easier.
Here are the “safe bets,” or players who can be inserted into lineups without fear of a dud, heading into Week 10:
Marcus Mariota, Titans, $11,200 – Volume is not incredibly necessary in order for Marcus Mariota to succeed as he has only exceeded 40 passing attempts once in his past five games and yet has scored at least 17.70 fantasy points in each game during that span. In fact, he has only exceeded 30 passing attempts twice over the course of the past five weeks and yet he continues to produce. How? Part of it comes from his ability to run the football (60-plus rushing yards twice in the last five games) and another part comes from his new found affinity for Rishard Matthews in the red zone. After scoring twice in Week 9, Matthews has now scored five times in his past five games on only six red zone targets. Mariota has found a guy who is clearly on the same page and keeps feeding the beast. As Delanie Walker continues to get healthier as well, this offense could prove to be a well-oiled machine down the stretch. There is nothing scary about this upcoming matchup against a banged up Packers secondary that just allowed 30-plus points the Colts offense so start Mariota with confidence.
David Johnson, Cardinals, $16,000 – Time to strap into your seatbelts because the best RB in football is set to square off against the NFL’s worst rushing defense. Last week, the 49ers allowed 100-plus yards from scrimmage to two separate backs and they are now allowing a ridiculous 5.3 yards per carry (YPC) and 193.0 rushing yards per game. Prior to Week 8, David Johnson had touched the ball 28-plus times in three consecutive games and he fell short against the Panthers but still finished with seven receptions and 17.80 fantasy points. He possesses both the highest floor and highest ceiling of any back on any given week and now he draws an absolute dream matchup. Fading him in any format is not recommended whatsoever as 25 fantasy points should be a lock and the sky is the limit.
Jay Ajayi, Dolphins, $13,200 – What a disappointing week it was for Jay Ajayi last week against the Jets as he failed to reach 200 yards rushing for the first time in three games. Of course, that is a sarcastic comment as Ajayi still rushed for 111 yards and a TD (on 4.6 YPC) against a top three rushing defense according to Football Outsiders’ defense-adjusted value over average (DVOA) statistic. Following three weeks of absolute dominance, and the retirement of Arian Foster, it is well past the time to crown Ajayi as legitimate. Now he will square off against a Chargers team that has allowed the fifth most fantasy points per game to opposing RBs including the third most total TDs allowed to the position (13). He is basically a poor man’s David Johnson in this matchup at a much more affordable cost. Both are must-owns in cash games this week.
Jordan Howard, Bears, $11,300 – Reserve a flex spot for an additional RB because Jordan Howard completes the trio of safe RBs this week who draw matchups almost too good to be true. The Buccaneers have allowed the ninth most rushing yards per game (117.9), sixth most fantasy points per game to opposing RBs and fourth most actual points per game (29.0) of any defense in the NFL. Last time out, Howard rushed for 100-plus yards against a Vikings defense generally accepted to be amongst the best few defenses in the league. Due to not playing last week, the general population may have forgotten about his recent success to the point where his ownership will end up being depreciated more than it should be. When allotted the lion’s share of carries, Howard has done nothing but produce as evident by his 5.1 YPC this season. Coach John Fox has no more excuses to spread out the workload after Howard’s 153 yards rushing against Minnesota so he should be considered a true RB1 in a much more favorable matchup in Week 10.
Antonio Brown, Steelers, $16,700 – Odell Beckham Jr. scored two TDs against the Eagles corners last week so first instinct is to click on Julio Jones facing them this week and be done. However, Antonio Brown is priced a significant $1,300 cheaper and draws a matchup against a solid but not spectacular group of Cowboys corners. With Ben Roethlisberger getting healthier by the week (in theory), his level of play should only increase next week which bodes well for Brown who has averaged nearly eight more fantasy points per game more with “Big Ben” as opposed to without him. There really is not much more to say about Brown other than he needs to be started most weeks because he is arguably the best player in daily fantasy football when his QB is healthy. Period, end of story.
Zach Miller, Bears, $7,100 – As noted in the Howard tidbit, the Buccaneers are allowing a whopping 29.0 points per game this year and they have allowed the 10th most fantasy points per game to the TE position. Even so, DVOA suggests the Buccaneers are a stouter defense against the position than the overall numbers suggest but still Miller is in a nice spot now that Jay Cutler has returned. During Miller’s tenure with the Bears, he has averaged 0.42 TDs per game in games in which Cutler has attempted 20-plus passes (aka has remained healthy) compared to just 0.38 per game in all other scenarios. In three of the past four weeks, Miller has been targeted at least eight times including 10 times last week with Cutler under center. Clearly Cutler consistently looks for him, and he is priced reasonably enough to fit all the other important pieces mentioned in this article, so he connects all the dots this week.