Every week in DFS, there is a player who comes out of nowhere to be the slate-breaker.
These seemingly incognito players can be a game-changers if you manage to roster them during the right week.
Tournament-only fliers still have plenty of appeal, offering low ownership, below value pricing, cheap stacking options, roster flexibility and underrated ceilings.
Nick Foles, QB, Jacksonville Jaguars
Fantasy Salary: $6,500
The highest over/under (52.5 points) of Week 1 resides in Jacksonville, where the Jaguars will take on the Chiefs, the latter of whom carries the highest implied team (27.5) total of the main slate. The Jags implied team of 24.0 isn’t too shabby, yet new quarterback Nick Foles’ salary sits near the bottom of the barrel.
Foles has one of the highest point-per-dollar marks of any passer, per our projections, and should see plenty of negative game script to air it out in a pass-happy, John DeFilippo-led aerial attack.
Foles offers under-the-radar upside at what should be very little ownership against a KC defence that our numbers have as the eighth-worst unit.
Justin Jackson, RB, Los Angeles Chargers
Fantasy Salary: $5,900
With Melvin Gordon sitting out, backup Austin Ekeler ascends to the top of Mount Chalkmore for Week 1. Backfield mate Justin Jackson makes for the perfect leverage play, with likely low ownership and a $500 discount. Although Ekeler will see plenty of first-team reps, many expect the split to be closer to 54-45, with Jackson garnering his fair share of touches.
Discounting volume and using metrics like Evaded Tackles, Yards Created, and Juke Rate, we see that Jackson was superior from an efficiency standpoint on a season and per-game basis. Ekeler had just 9 more Evaded Tackles & 63 more Yards Created on 56 more attempts than Jackson. pic.twitter.com/qZ2tqqWV3C
— Jesse Reeves (@JesseReevesFF) September 3, 2019
From an efficiency standpoint, Jackson is no slouch as he created more yards and had a higher success rate during his rookie year. With a top-10 implied team total and the Chargers favoured by a touchdown, Jackson should be in positive game script with the potential to have a huge game.
Matt Breida, RB, San Francisco 49ers
Fantasy Salary: $5,400
It’s not every day that a newly-named starter, on a potentially high-scoring offense, is priced outside the top 30 for the position.
Although “starter” is more of an honorary title on what is expected to be a committee in San Francisco, Matt Breida remains a diamond in the rough.
A perpetual injury list member a year ago, the 49ers’ back is an 89th-percentile SPARQ athlete with 4.44 speed, per PlayerProfiler. Breida is projected for around 5% ownership in a shootout (O/U 50.5) with a Tampa Bay defence our models rank as the fourth-worst in the NFL.
Curtis Samuel, WR, Carolina Panthers
Fantasy Salary: $5,900
As if the hype machine for Curtis Samuel could grow any larger, the wideout is a top-15 point-per-dollar receiver, per our numbers. While he should see a good amount of ownership, Samuel checks a lot of boxes.
The Panthers-Rams matchup looks to be a shootout as it has the second-highest over/under of the slate. The Rams will more than likely trot out 33-year-old Aqib Talib to keep pace with the sub-4.3 speed of Samuel.
Talib can still prove to be a difficult matchup physically, but Samuel’s wheels could allow him to garner plenty of separation.
Dede Westbrook, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars
Fantasy Salary: $5,900
For redundancy’s sake, I won’t beat a dead horse on the Chiefs/Jags game. All the positive factors that make Foles a strong consideration this week also apply to Dede Westbrook.
The former Biletnikoff winner led the AFC in slot snaps in 2018 and accumulated 90% of his yards out of the slot. His alignment closer to the line of scrimmage usually means less press coverage, more free releases, higher efficiency throws, and easier matchups against linebackers and back-up defensive backs. Westbrook will more than likely be shadowed by Kendall Fuller, who is coming off a career-worst season.
Westbrook could have a monster week in a game in which the Jags should be passing a lot.
Jordan Reed, TE, Washington
Many people this week may focus on Trey Quinn as a unique roster build, but Quinn has a tough matchup versus Avonte Maddox.
Reed makes for a nice pivot away from Hunter Henry, who figures to be one of the chalk tight ends of the week. Washington is the second-biggest underdog this week, meaning new starter Case Keenum will be throwing early and often.
Keenum tends to target the slot a lot (top-12 rate in 2018), and Reed played nearly 30% of his snaps out of the slot. Reed had his seventh documented concussion during the preseason and remains in the league protocol, so keep an eye on the Sunday morning injury reports.
Gerald Everett, TE, Los Angeles Rams
Fantasy Salary: $2,900
Gerald Everett is flying under the radar. Not only will the Rams’ tight end allow for salary flexibility, he also acts as a unique correlation play with Jared Goff stacks.
Travel down narrative street with a grain of salt, but the word out of LA camp this offseason has been that the offence will feature more 12 personnel (two-tight end sets), which would be an obvious boon for Everett’s fantasy outlook.
The Rams have the third-highest implied total of the week, and there should be plenty of red zone snaps for Everett to exploit. Guys on explosive offences who are dirt cheap and likely to be low-owned should always be on our radar.