4 Daily Fantasy Football Players to Avoid in Week 13
As you're filling out your DFS lineups, it's always tempting to simply target the biggest superstars. However, player salaries don't always align with their expected production in a given matchup.
In this preview, I'll highlight a few players who might ordinarily be on your radar but are probably best to avoid this week. These aren't going to be players you absolutely must avoid due to injuries or playing-time demotions but rather players who are in a bad spot due to a matchup or a salary that has risen too high to justify rostering.
Let's take a look at four players who may not live up to expectations this week. All references to betting totals and spreads are from the FanDuel Sportsbook. All stats are from Pro Football Reference, unless otherwise noted.
Deshaun Watson, QB, Texans
FanDuel Salary: $8,200
DraftKings Salary: $7,500
Since 2018, Deshaun Watson has averaged 22.9 FanDuel points with Will Fuller on the field and 20.8 fantasy points in games Fuller has missed. That isn't a huge difference, but Watson has also demonstrated the ability to reach his ceiling at a far more consistent rate with Fuller in action. When Fuller is healthy, Watson has scored at least 30 FanDuel points in 28 percent of his games over the last three years, compared to 15 percent of the games Fuller has missed.
Based on those trends, perhaps you can justify using Watson in cash games, but he appears to be far less valuable in tournaments when Fuller isn't in action. Factoring in the additional absences of the injured Randall Cobb and the recently-released Kenny Stills, this looks like a risky spot to roster the Houston Texans quarterback.
Justin Herbert, QB, Los Angeles Chargers
FanDuel Salary: $7,900
DraftKings Salary: $6,900
Opposing quarterbacks are scoring 3.9 fantasy points below their average against the New England Patriots, the third-largest negative difference in the league. That stat may be surprising for a defense allowing a league-worst 8.3 yards per attempt through the air. However, the Patriots have been a tough fantasy matchup due to their ability to slow down the game -- opponents are averaging just 58.7 plays per game against the New England, fewest in the NFL.
Justin Herbert's fantasy production has been remarkably steady -- he's topped 20 FanDuel points in eight of 10 games -- so he's still a reasonable choice for cash games. But New England's ability to slow down the game probably sets a less-than-ideal ceiling for Herbert, limiting his tournament upside.
Alvin Kamara, RB, New Orleans Saints
FanDuel Salary: $7,500
DraftKings Salary: $7,000
During Drew Brees' nine starts, Alvin Kamara saw a 32 percent opportunity share (percentage of targets and carries) in the New Orleans Saints' offense and fully lived up to his usual expectations as a fantasy weapon. In two games with Taysom Hill at quarterback, however, Kamara's opportunity share has plummeted to 23 percent -- lower than Latavius Murray (29 percent).
Kamara has seen just three targets in Hill's two starts, which has turned him into a touchdown-dependent fantasy option. And since Hill and Murray dominate the workload near the goal line, Kamara has been rendered nearly useless in fantasy. In those two games, Kamara has just two touches inside the 10-yard line compared to five for Hill and four for Murray.
Kamara's salary has been discounted significantly, but he still carries the eighth-highest cap hit among running backs on both platforms. That's too pricey for a ball carrier with a limited role in the passing game and minimal usage near the goal line.
Jared Cook, TE, New Orleans Saints
FanDuel Salary: $5,500
DraftKings Salary: $3,700
Rostering tight ends against the Atlanta Falcons has been a profitable strategy. Atlanta is allowing a league-worst 15.9 fantasy points per game to tight ends.
It's probably best to steer clear of Jared Cook, however, until Brees is back at quarterback for the Saints. During Hill's two starts, Cook has seen just three targets -- a 7.7 percent target share -- and has taken the field on fewer than 40 percent of the team's snaps in each game.
Ryan McCrystal is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Ryan McCrystal also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username cfbfilmroom. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his/her personal views, he/she may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his/her personal account. The views expressed in his/her articles are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.