Of course, "Locks" is a relative term, and in this case, means that these plays are locks for my FanDuel cash teams this week. These are plays I feel would be big disappointments if they didn't pan out, whereas "Values" are plays that are riskier, but the price of the player makes the risk not as impactful due to the savings you get to upgrade to more consistent players, like the ones you'll find in the "Locks" section!
Tom Brady, QB, Patriots
Brady is of course a top play every week, but the Raiders have been seriously bad against the pass this season and are without both their starting cornerbacks. They also are dead last in sacks and completion percentage allowed, and they do not have one interception this season. If you give Brady time and a good chance his receivers aren't blanketed, well, you know what happens.
Drew Brees, QB, Saints
Brees is still the sixth-most expensive quarterback going this week, but that could keep his ownership down, especially after he's been handing the ball off more than throwing it of late. This week, I expect he'll be forced to throw the ball more, as his opponent averages 23 points a game, while the Saints have faced some weak offenses this season. Taylor/Peterman last week, an injured Jameis Winston and Ryan Fitzpatrick, Mitchell Trubisky, Brett Hundley, Matthew Stafford (threw three touchdowns), Jay Cutler, Week 3 Cam Newton/Derek Anderson, Tom Brady (447, 3) and Sam Bradford (346, 3) are the quarterbacks they've matched up against this season. Kirk Cousins is a sneaky play this week in New Orleans as well, which takes me back to Brees and his lack of passing this year. No wonder he hasn't needed to pass much against these awful offenses. He will need to dial it up this week, and at home in the dome is where he does it best.
Chris Thompson, RB, Redskins
Thompson should see an uptick in work with Robert Kelley out, and against a Saints defense that allows the most targets to running backs in the league in a game where the Saints are favored by a touchdown, I expect Thompson to see plenty of work through the air. That has been his wheelhouse, as he leads all running backs in receiving yards.
Kareem Hunt, RB, Chiefs
I expect Kansas City to work to get Hunt back going for their stretch run, and this week against the faltered Giants defense is a perfect spot. Kansas City is favored by 10 points, which I believe is a good number and one that should help Hunt see work with a lead late in the game.
Mike Evans, WR, Buccaneers
Miami has allowed 10 touchdown passes in the past four weeks and were whipped by Devin Funchess on Monday night. Miami will be on short rest, while Evans had a week off due to a suspension. Evans should be champing at the bit to get back out there to score you a bunch of fantasy points!
Brandin Cooks, WR, Patriots
Tom Brady has a great matchup this week, but will be without Chris Hogan, which should help funnel targets toward Brandin Cooks, who had 12 last week with Hogan out. We know Cooks has the ability, but he's been spread out a bit much in this offense, whereas this week, I expect him to see good targets in a great matchup, which should help push his fantasy stats up.
Vernon Davis, TE, Redskins
Davis has played well with Jordan Reed out and this week shouldn't be much different. The Saints numbers show that they've limited stats against tight ends, but they also haven't been tested that much. Davis tied Jamison Crowder for the team lead in targets last week and has 20 in his last two games, including four red zone targets, and I expect this game to be high scoring.
Travis Kelce, TE, Chiefs
This one is a no-brainer, as the Giants have allowed the most fantasy points to tight ends this season, with 10 touchdowns in nine games. Kelce is the only tight end with three 100-yard games this season, and he should be the main target in a game that might be limited in deep passing if the winds pick up.
Blaine Gabbert, QB, Cardinals
Gabbert has been useless as a real-life quarterback in the pro game, but has had some fantasy appeal at times due to his ability to run. In five starts last season for the 49ers, he rushed 40 times for 173 yards and two touchdowns. He'll also face the Texans, who have been awful against opposing quarterbacks this season, allowing the third-most fantasy points and allowing 10 touchdowns to the position over the past four games. Gabbert was even decent this preseason, so there is hope that he isn't just collecting a paycheck.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, Buccaneers
I had Fitzpatrick as a value play last week, and he bombed, which he is wont to do. This week, he gets a better matchup and will get his No. 1 receiver in Mike Evans back. That doesn't mean he's a lock to do anything, but his ownership on FanDuel will be down and his upside will be higher than last week, which is a good spot for him in your GPP lineup.
Doug Martin, RB, Buccaneers
Martin hasn't done much to warrant playing him this week, but he's fairly cheap and gets a great matchup with the Dolphins, who have allowed five touchdowns to running backs over their past two contests and big games to Alex Collins and Jonathan Stewart over their last three.
Austin Ekeler, RB, Chargers
Melvin Gordon makes for a strong play against this Bills team that was just embarrassed by the Saints rushing attack for more than 300 yards and five touchdowns. If you want to mark that one down as a "bury the tape" kind of performance, we can also look at the game before that when Matt Forte scored two touchdowns and the Jets rushed for 181 yards. Ekeler will have to get his work as the backup to Gordon, but there's a good chance he'll see plenty of touches in a game where the Bills will have traveled cross-country and will give a rookie quarterback his first start.
Rex Burkhead, RB, Patriots
Burkhead has started to see more touches as he gets back into the swing of things after his injury, while Mike Gillislee has been regulated to a healthy scratch. James White has seen his snaps drop and Dion Lewis, though the "lead" back, is seeing no work in the receiving game. Burkhead is getting work in both the rushing and receiving game and has seen short-yardage work as well, which puts him in the hunt for goal-line carries. The Raiders also haven't been the best defense and should give Burkhead plenty of chances down in Mexico City.
Bruce Ellington, WR, Texans
The Texans' offense other than DeAndre Hopkins is pretty scary right now, but Ellington is set up this week. The Cardinals are easier to attack with the pass than the run, but they also have Patrick Peterson, who will shadow Hopkins, likely pushing his targets down a bit. Will Fuller is out this week, which will push Ellington's snaps up, and Bill O'Brien made a point to praise Ellington and say that he needs more work because of how well he's been playing. All those things add up to a decent cheap option in GPPs this week.
Jamison Crowder, WR, Redskins
Crowder has become Kirk Cousins go-to receiver over Crowder's last two games, as he's targeted him 11 and 13 times, including three red zone targets last week. He also gets a good matchup, as it looks like Kenny Vaccaro will miss this week, and he is their slot defender. For his price, I think I'll have Crowder in as a cost saver on quite a few teams.
Tyler Kroft, TE, Bengals
The Broncos continue to give up good numbers to opposing tight ends and rank second-to-last in fantasy points allowed to the position. Kroft has had two down performances, but should see his usage go up this week in a strong matchup.
Some other plays I like in no particular order: Carson Wentz, Russell Wilson, Kirk Cousins, Mark Ingram, Alvin Kamara, Melvin Gordon.