NFL DFS predictions post here every week, including projected outcomes and players to watch for every matchup. (We respond to all reader comments so jot them below.)
Thursday, Oct. 14th
BUCCANEERS (4-1) AT EAGLES (2-3) — 8:20pm ET FOX
Favorite: Tampa Bay (-7) O/U: 52.5
The Buccaneers absolutely rolled the floundering Dolphins. They find themselves at 4-1 heading into this Thursday Night Football match against an Eagles team that’s also coming off an impressive win against the 3-2 Panthers. The Buccaneers defense will have to find a way to contain Jalen Hurts. He’s the first dual threat QB they’ve faced this season and he’ll test both their front four and hobbled secondary. As for Philly, they face what may be the best receiver trio in football. Keeping Brady out of rhythm may be a tall order, even for the Eagles’ excellent pass rushers.
DFS Player to Watch: Antonio Brown | WR | $5,900 DraftKings | $7,000 FanDuel
Antonio Brown put up 124 yards and two touchdowns against the Dolphins. He’s averaging about 3.4x his salary in fantasy points and continues to be a profitable fantasy pickup, even with Mike Evans and Chris Godwin getting most of the receptions.
Sunday, Oct. 17th (Real Early A slate is a list of games, typically starting around the same time of day. The most popular NFL slate in DFS is the "Main" slate, which usually has 10 or more games in the regular season. This is an example of DraftKing's main slate for NFL Some slates includes as few as one gam... More)
DOLPHINS (1-4) AT JAGUARS (0-5) — 9:30am ET CBS
Favorite: Miami (-3.5) O/U: 47
Technically speaking, the Jags are the home team but both squads will be playing abroad in London. How bad are these two teams throughout five weeks? They have a combined record of 1-9. The most interesting aspect of this matchup is the potential return of Tua Tagovailoa. The Dolphins’ stagnant offense desperately needs his spark and coach Brian Flores says he’ll “hopefully play.”
DFS Player to Watch: Trevor Lawrence | QB | $5,700 DraftKings | $6,800 FanDuel
Trevor Lawrence has slowly improved each week since his debut back in September. Sure, his passer rating is in the toilet. But he now faces a Dolphins defense that ranks near the bottom of the league in total efficiency. It could be a breakout day for Lawrence with Miami having given up 305 yards a game to QBs.
Sunday, Oct. 17th (Early A slate is a list of games, typically starting around the same time of day. The most popular NFL slate in DFS is the "Main" slate, which usually has 10 or more games in the regular season. This is an example of DraftKing's main slate for NFL Some slates includes as few as one gam... More)
PACKERS (4-1) AT BEARS (3-2) — 1:00pm ET FOX
Favorite: Green Bay (-4.5) O/U: 44.5
The oldest rivalry in the NFL sees Aaron Rodgers returning to Soldier Field to take on Justin Fields and the 3-2 Chicago Bears. The Packers and Bears have had tight games in Soldier field in recent memory and this matchup could be another close one. The Packers are 4-1, but they’re fortunate to not be 3-2 after Mason Crosby missed three straight field goals against the Bengals. On the Bears’ side, they’re easily the NFL’s worst passing offense. But they’re also fourth stingiest defense against QBs.
DFS Player to Watch: Aaron Rodgers | QB | $7,200 DraftKings | $7,700 FanDuel
Aaron Rodgers has been a man on a mission since being humiliated in week 1 against the Saints. He consistently goes 3.5x his salary and should keep the Packers’ winning streak going against its unloved division rival.
BENGALS (3-2) AT LIONS (0-5) — 1:00pm ET FOX
Favorite: Cincinnati (-4.5) O/U: 47.5
Both the Bengals and Lions suffered heartbreaking losses to field goals last week in games that could have easily went in their fashion. As it is, the Lions find themselves at 0-5 and hosting a feisty 3-2 Bengals team. The Lions may be winless but they have competed every week regardless of opponent and have come agonizingly close to upsetting several teams possessing far more talent on paper. Unfortunately, the Lions’ secondary looks like a college squad and they now face a QB that’s thrown 2+ TDs in every game this year.
DFS Player to Watch: Ja’Marr Chase | WR | $6,700 DraftKings | $7,800 FanDuel
Ja’Marr Chase has been absolutely electric in his first five games as a pro. The connection he and Burrow have carried over from their LSU days has been a treat to watch. Chase has seen increasing targets with 10 last week. Don’t be surprised to see a similar number this week.
TEXANS (1-4) AT COLTS (1-4) — 1:00pm ET CBS
Favorite: Indianapolis (-9.5) O/U: 43
The Texans and Colts find themselves at 1-4 with little hope of turning their seasons around. Both teams got out to early leads against the Patriots and Ravens respectively and then melted down in the final quarter. When two teams of similar records face off, it usually comes down to which team has the more consistent QB and in this case it’s Carson Wentz. That said, division games tend to be twice as unpredictable as others. The Texans could stun the Colts if Davis Mills (313 yards, 3 TDs in week 5) manages to exploit Indy’s banged up defense, particularly its coverage unit, which is graded second worst in the NFL by PFF.
DFS Player to Watch: Brandin Cooks | WR | $5,800 DraftKings | $6,500 FanDuel
The Texans absolutely must get Cooks more heavily involved. He’s their leading target by a long shot and he’s coming off two lacklustre performances. With Houston a 9.5 point dog, look for Cooks to be in Mill’s sights all day.
RAMS (4-1) AT GIANTS (1-4) — 1:00pm ET FOX
Favorite: Los Angeles (-9.5) O/U: 48.5
The Giants season was a bad dream heading into their matchup last week against the Cowboys but it’s since become a nightmare. Besides getting blown out and falling to 1-4, they also lost Daniel Jones to a concussion and Saquon Barkley and rookie Kadarius Toney to ankle injuries. WR Kenny Golladay is out as well. All of this could not come at a worse time as they face Matt Stafford and the powerhouse Rams. Some matchups are so lopsided it almost seems unfair, and this is one of them.
DFS Player to Watch: Darrell Henderson Jr | RB | $6,000 DraftKings | $7,300 FanDuel
The G-men are an inferior football team to L.A. in literally every major aspect of the game. That portends a promising gameflow for Darrell Henderson Jr. He’s filled in efficiently for the injured Cam Akers and figures to be a big part of McVay’s gameplan.
CHIEFS (2-3) AT WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM (2-3) — 1:00pm ET CBS
Favorite: Kansas City (-7) O/U: 55.5
The Chiefs find themselves at 2-3 and below .500 in October for the first time since 2015 mostly due to their Swiss cheese defense giving up 7.1 yards of offense per snap. Washington, despite some solid offensive production from QB Heinicke, also sits at 2-3 with plenty of unanswered questions on defense. On paper the Chiefs should be heavy favorites but their abysmal showing against the Bills last Sunday confirms there’s something fundamentally wrong with this team overall. This game, in Washington, could be a lot closer than many expect.
DFS Player to Watch: Terry McLaurin | WR | $7,100 DraftKings | $7,400 FanDuel
The Chiefs offense has kept them in games and it’s the reason they’re not 1-4 at the moment. That said, we’re rolling with Terry McLaurin for this matchup. He’s a target magnet that’s averaged 3x salary in the last 4 games. Washington has been putting up plenty of points and yardage, and this man is a big reason why. And lest we forget that KC’s pass rushing and coverage units are in the bottom quartile of the NFL.
VIKINGS (2-3) AT PANTHERS (3-2) — 1:00pm ET FOX
Favorite: Minnesota (-1) O/U: 46
The Vikings were finally the benefactor of a field goal going their way (versus the Lions). But they still have an uphill climb to get back into the NFC playoff race. That’s why this matchup against the Panthers is pivotal for both teams. Carolina has lost two in a row since losing McCaffrey to injury and they were outclassed in every department by an Eagles team dealing with injuries. The potential return of Dalvin Cook and McCaffrey would further complicate this matchup. Without both, it’s a toss-up.
DFS Player to Watch: D.J. Moore | WR | $7,300 DraftKings | $7,600 FanDuel
The Vikings are the weaker defenders in this matchup, allowing over 5 fantasy points more to WRs than Carolina. And Moore is the lead dog on offense, averaging over 3x salary (22.7 Fantasy points More) the past four weeks. He’ll bounce back from last week’s 8.8 point showing, which should be viewed as an aberration.
CHARGERS (4-1) AT RAVENS (4-1) — 1:00pm ET CBS
Favorite: Baltimore (-3) O/U: 52
The Chargers and Ravens have played some inspired football through the first five weeks behind their elite QBs, Justin Herbert and Lamar Jackson. These two players have fought tooth and nail to get their teams to 4-1 while simultaneously putting themselves in the MVP discussion. The Ravens may be the customary three-point favorites at home but this matchup is a pick ‘em as far as talent and coaching goes.
DFS Player to Watch: Keenan Allen | WR | $8,100 DraftKings | $7,100 FanDuel
Fantasy’s #1 WR, Mike Williams, is nursing a knee injury. As a result, the beneficiary of Justin Herbert’s prowess will likely be Allen this week. Allen has averaged the most targets on the team and is a go-to third-down receiver.
Sunday, Oct. 17th (Afternoon A slate is a list of games, typically starting around the same time of day. The most popular NFL slate in DFS is the "Main" slate, which usually has 10 or more games in the regular season. This is an example of DraftKing's main slate for NFL Some slates includes as few as one gam... More)
CARDINALS (5-0) AT BROWNS (3-2) — 4:05pm ET FOX
Favorite: Cleveland (-3) O/U: 49.5
The undefeated Cardinals travel to take on Baker Mayfield’s Browns. Not long ago this would have been classified as a “tank bowl” where two horrible teams battle to lose, in order to get a higher draft pick. Flash forward to today and both teams are looking at late-round picks. The one big difference is Kyler Murray. He’s looked nearly unbeatable while Baker Mayfield has been inconsistent. It’s hard to say how much Murray’s ailing shoulder will be a factor this weekend, however. But if he plays as expected, we’ll definitely see more of his legs than last week.
DFS Player to Watch: Christian Kirk | WR | $5,000 DraftKings | $5,900 FanDuel
Christian Kirk has been a reliable target for Kyler Murray through five weeks, despite the presence of DeAndre Hopkins and a resurgent AJ Green on the roster. He may only have two touchdowns on the season thus far but with Hopkins missing multiple practices this week, he’s due for a big game.
RAIDERS (3-2) AT BRONCOS (2-3) — 4:25pm ET CBS
Favorite: Denver (-3.5) O/U: 44
The 3-2 Raiders have much bigger problems than traveling to play the 3-2 Broncos. Vegas finds itself without head coach Jon Gruden in what can only be described as a stunning turn of events. The Raiders looked promising through three weeks but it would be an achievement if interim coach Rich Bissacia somehow got the Raiders a road win versus a defense giving up the second fewest fantasy points in the NFL.
DFS Player to Watch: Teddy Bridgewater | QB | $5,700 DraftKings | $6,600 FanDuel
Teddy Bridgewater played solid football in the Broncos’ loss to the Steelers (288 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT). Vegas in turmoil could prove a great opportunity to put on a vintage Bridgewater performance. He may dump off to his RBs and TE (Fant) more often, however, as the Raiders are less effective against these positions.
COWBOYS (4-1) AT PATRIOTS (2-3) — 4:25pm ET CBS
Favorite: Dallas (-3.5) O/U: 51
The 4-1 Cowboys look like the most unstoppable offense in the NFC at the moment, all due respect to the Cardinals. Now they travel to Foxborough to take on Bill Belichick’s Patriots, which survived a wild one down in Houston last week. This could prove to be one of the biggest mismatches of the weekend as even Belichick may not have answers to the Cowboys’ offensive juggernaut. Everywhere you look the Cowboys have weapons that can take the top off of opposing secondaries. That is, if the pass rush can’t get at Dak. Likewise on the defensive side of the ball, the Cowboys have taken huge strides under new defensive coordinator Dan Quinn. The Patriots have their hands full on Sunday and it’s remarkable that Dallas is only a 3.5-point favorite.
DFS Player to Watch: CeeDee Lamb | WR | $6,500 DraftKings | $7,000 FanDuel
CeeDee Lamb continues to be the Cowboys’ leading receiver, even with Amari Cooper lining up opposite him. The Pats have struggled against the pass, and Dak’s line should give him enough time to sling at least 6-7 targets Lamb’s way.
Sunday, Oct. 17th (Late A slate is a list of games, typically starting around the same time of day. The most popular NFL slate in DFS is the "Main" slate, which usually has 10 or more games in the regular season. This is an example of DraftKing's main slate for NFL Some slates includes as few as one gam... More)
SEAHAWKS (2-3) AT STEELERS (2-3) — 8:20pm ET NBC
Favorite: Pittsburgh (-5) O/U: 42.5
For the first time in ten seasons the Seattle Seahawks find themselves without Russell Wilson. He suffered a finger injury against the Rams last Thursday on his throwing hand. It’s a monumental blow for the Seahawks as Wilson may be out 6-8 weeks. That kind of absence in the highly competitive NFC West could be a death sentence, especially with how porous Seattle’s defense has been. As for the Steelers, they’re coming off a convincing win against the Broncos behind a 122-yard Najee Harris rushing attack. Big Ben’s performance (253 yards and 2 TDs) was also somewhat encouraging.
DFS Player to Watch: Najee Harris | RB | $7,400 DraftKings | $8.500 FanDuel
Najee Harris tallied 142 all-purpose yards and a touchdown against a stout Broncos run defense. The Seahawks defense, by comparison, ranks near the bottom of the league against the run. Harris’s passing targets (median 6 per game) are just gravy.
Monday, Oct. 18th
BILLS (4-1) AT TITANS (3-2) — 8:15pm ET ESPN
Favorite: Buffalo (-5.5) O/U: 54
The Bills demolished the defending AFC champs in their own house on Sunday. They are once again the team to beat in the AFC. Josh Allen is somehow even better than he was last year and the Bills defense has been playing lights out to complement the offense. Titans coach Mike Vrabel’s biggest challenge could be on the defensive side of the ball. The Titans have been susceptible in the air this season. Offensively the Titans are also stuck between a rock and a hard place as Julio Jones’s participation is uncertain and the rest of the Titans receivers have been unimpressive. The Bills have allowed the 2nd fewest Fantasy points More to running backs in the league. If they take away Derrick Henry, the Titans offense could be in trouble on Monday night.
DFS Player to Watch: Dawson Knox | TE | $4,800 DraftKings | $6,700 FanDuel
When it comes to the Bills and their fantasy options on offense, you usually hear about Josh Allen, Stefon Diggs and Emmanuel Sanders. This week, Dawson Knox could get more spotlight. He’s taken major strides in his third year with the Bills and had a heck of a game last week against the Chiefs (117 receiving yards and a touchdown on only three receptions). For those trying to find the best tight end of week 6, Knox is a top 3 TE that checks a lot of boxes. Despite the Titan’s proficiency against ends, he could potentially score 3.5x his salary or more.
About the Author: Steven A. Cravens has been a professional sports better and analyst for over a decade. As a former Fox Sports NFL researcher and data logger, he specialized in player profiling and performance statistics.
Note: Unless otherwise noted, all fantasy stats are based on point per reception (Point per reception This is a DFS scoring system that awards offensive players (e.g., WR, RB and TE) one point for each reception. This is the standard scoring method of DraftKings. More) scoring.