Ben Roethlisberger has had a bit of a down year thus far. He's been banged up as of late, required a knee surgery, and massively struggled last week. However, the Steelers will play at home, where they are great, against a below average defense. Big Ben has attempted more than 34 passes in every game but one this season. If there's one thing you know you're getting from Todd Haley's offense this year, it's pass attempts.
For the mass amount of throws Ben will get in this game, at home, his price is just too cheap compared to other top quarterbacks. Even in his struggles, Ben will continue to rack up yardage and is guaranteed a ton of attempts in the red zone as he's their most trustworthy play-maker.
Marcus Mariota's popularity in DFS has been gaining. Terry Robiskie has trusted Mariota to attack defenses on his own lately, moving away from a run-heavy approach with DeMarco Murray. Murray will still get his touches; however, the Packers' defense has been extremely good against the run. They've only allowed 3.3 yards per attempt on the ground, tied for best in the NFL. The Titans offense must throw the ball and Mariota can also expand his game on the ground against an aggressive front seven.
Mariota has also gotten more opportunity down towards the red zone. He's thrown for at least two touchdowns in each of the last five games, throwing for three touchdowns in three of those five games.
Since Arian Foster's retirement, Jay Ajayi has arguably been the best running back in the NFL and is priced in the second-tier of running backs this week in a decently high-paced game against the Chargers. In the last three weeks, Ajayi has carried the ball 25, 29, and 24 times for 204, 211, and 111 yards. As the Dolphins haven't gotten what they hoped from Ryan Tannehill, they've leaned on Ajayi. For the amount of carries he'll receive this week in San Diego, he's nearly a must-own.
If you're looking to really deviate from the general population, Paul Perkins is your play this week. Perkins received four or less carries in each game before last week. Perkins carried the ball 11 times for 32 yards. He also caught three passes on three targets for 15 yards. Though the 11 carries seems low for a DFS player, Rashad Jennings only carried the ball 11 times, as well.
Perkins is a smaller back but is a downhill runner who is comfortable shifting between the tackles. I wouldn't be surprised to see him get some red zone touches where he could snipe a touchdown as the Giants are becoming more comfortable with his workload.
With Jay Cutler playing quarterback, Alshon Jeffery would seem like more of a tournament play than a cash game play. However, this price is way too cheap considering the targets he's gotten in this offense lately. Not only is Jeffery Cutler's favorite deep threat, he targets him in the red zone quite often.
In his last three games, Jeffery has gotten 13, 11, and 8 targets. He's been a bit unlucky to only catch 14 of those passes which has dropped his price lower than it should be with Cutler targeting him in the end zone.
Steve Smith played last week as a game-time decision coming off an injury that kept him out a few weeks. He didn't have a great showing, necessarily, catching four balls on seven targets for only 47 yards. Seeing as his price has dropped quite a bit from earlier this season when he was getting around ten targets per game, Smith should be a decent tournament chance this week against a bad Browns secondary with relatively low ownership.
The Browns arguably have the worst passing defense in the NFL and will have to deal with Smith in the medium passing game and Wallace as a deep threat. The Ravens have continued to throw the ball in over 70% of their offensive plays and Smith should see a bump in targets going forward as he gets healthier.
Considering his price, Austin Hooper is a cash game hero this week just as you'd want to play a backup running back that is getting starter reps. With Jacob Tamme likely out, Hooper becomes the starting tight end for the Falcons where he'll most definitely be used. Since Tamme went in the first half of Week 8, Hooper has gotten 11 targets from Matt Ryan in about six quarters of play.
Ryan also looks for his tight ends quite a bit as he gets closer to the goal line. Ryan will give him plenty of targets to be worth his price, especially in the red zone. Hooper is much more athletic than Tamme, as well, which makes him an attractive piece as a quick route option against the blitz-heavy Philadelphia defense.
We'll unfortunately have two Bears players in this week's targets but Zach Miller is a great tournament option against a poor Buccaneers coverage linebacking crew. Much like Jeffery, Cutler is more likely than Hoyer to target Miller. Miller saw ten targets last week, catching seven balls for 88 yards against a solid Vikings defense.
Miller has caught 74% of passes thrown his way and is an extremely reliable option if he gets the targets we expect. With the prices of the higher-end tight ends slowly rising, there are opportunities to take advantage of the guys that will be lower owned with decent upside like Hooper and Miller.