Sunday, Feb 11th — Late
Bye Week:

Mike’s Player Grid 4.23

Mike Johnson (MJohnson86) has racked up nearly $500,000 in DFS profit as an NFL tournament player with success in all styles of contests

Welcome back to my (Mjohnson86) Player Grid. The format will vary slightly from JM’s Player Grid, as we each see things slightly differently and play in slightly different contests, but should complement his thoughts and content very well for those looking to build their lineups for the week. The format of this article will likely evolve as the season progresses but should provide a lot of value. Enjoy!!

The Core

This is a list of players that stand out to me at each position from using my “Checking the Boxes” criteria outlined in my Checking The Boxes course. This list is a starting point, from which I build out lineups using game theory and roster construction concepts (which we will also touch on) with the mindset being to find the best plays with big ceilings. Low ownership is a bonus, but not a must. This section will focus primarily on three positions – running back, tight end, and defense – as the other two positions (quarterback and wide receiver) tend to have more dependent tendencies which I try to attack from other angles (which we will get into in the other sections). I like all of these plays on all sites, unless otherwise noted:

Running Back ::
Tony Pollard

If you eliminate the touchdowns from the scoring the last three weeks, Pollard’s point totals are 10.2, 19.9, and 18.1 while CMC’s are 22.9, 19.5, and 16.9. His opportunity counts are 17, 33, and 26 compared to CMC’s 27, 23, and 23. Said another way, Pollard is touching the ball as often as CMC and having similar fantasy scoring efficiency outside of touchdowns, which we know are extremely variant in fantasy. Pollard is playing as a home favorite, has yet to bust any big runs, and is $1,400 cheaper than CMC.

Josh Jacobs

Jacobs was one of the top backs in the league in 2022 and is in complete control of the Raiders backfield again this year. The results haven’t been there, but he’s had 22 opportunities in Weeks 1 and 3 while facing the Bills top-tier run defense in Week 2. The Chargers defense is struggling and got Alexander Mattison out of his slump last week, so it seems like if we are ever going to get a vintage Jacobs performance, it will happen this week.

Joshua Kelley

 Kelley flopped the last two weeks as the feature back in games where he was facing a top run defense (Tennessee) and where his team found itself in a shootout on the road against an explosive offense. This week he has the softest matchup he has had to date and his team is expected to play with a lead, while also being very likely to carry the lowest ownership he has had to date.

Raheem Mostert/De’Von Achane

The Bills defense has a great reputation as a high-end unit. They’ve been very good this year and held their opponents to point totals during the first four quarters of their games of 16, 10, and 3. That being said, the Bills rank 32nd in the league in yards per carry allowed. Breece Hall ran for 127 yards on 10 carries against the Bills and managed only 27 yards on 16 carries in his next 2 games. Brian Robinson and Antonio Gibson averaged 7.25 yards per carry in Week 3. This is a team that has been gashed on the ground in the past against far less dynamic offenses than what the Dolphins are bringing to town. Both of these backs scored 40+ points last week and this week they are both going to be sub-5% owned at middling salaries in the highest total game of the week. Maybe they fall flat on their faces here, but that last sentence alone is why I feel the need to be using these guys in GPPs this week.

Volume and Pray

There are a few RBs this week who are likely to see very good volume and are in good to great game environments and matchups at very manageable salaries. Those players are D’Andre Swift, Kyren Williams, Zach Moss, Alexander Mattison, Javonte Williams, James Cook, and Alvin Kamara. The players listed in the first few bullet points of this section are my preferred plays, but the overall dynamics of the slate must also be considered. While I love Pollard and Jacobs in a vacuum, the top of the wide receiver position is loaded on this slate and there are pay-up options at tight end I am very high on. Pollard and Jacobs (and CMC) are the best bets for very good games, but in tournaments, your best bet to climb the leaderboard is likely to end up being playing backs from the mid-range and paying up at wide receiver.

Tight End :: 
George Kittle

Close to a lock-button play this week. Deebo will be out or limited and the Cardinals defense is relatively conservative with the most room in the middle of the field. Kittle has a great connection with Brock Purdy and has yet to cross the goal line on 18 targets this season. I think a 5 // 70 // 1 game is very likely in this spot and Kittle has as high of a ceiling as any TE on the slate.

TJ Hockenson

If you’ve been reading my stuff this season and throughout the summer, you are familiar with my affinity for Hockenson. I thought I might move off of him this week since he is the highest-priced player at his position, but his extremely low expected ownership and ability to become a “had to have it” at the position certainly stands out to me. The Panthers defense might have to sell out to stop Justin Jefferson and they already struggle with running games, which could leave Hockenson in a position to go wild. I already said Kittle is close to a lock-button for me this week, so on the rosters where I don’t use him I will be looking to play another tight end who can separate.

Dallas Goedert

Goedert has not had a great start to the season in terms of box scores, but we knew coming in that his role in this offense may fluctuate throughout the year. Goedert is now priced below Taysom Hill and within a couple hundred dollars of Hunter Henry, Tyler Higbee, and Cole Kmet – all of those guys were drafted several rounds after Goedert just a couple of weeks ago. Call this an “I know better” take if you want, but Goedert is still the third-best receiving option on an elite offense and he is too important to this team for them to not get him involved at some point soon.

Defense :: 

Elite defense facing an injury-riddled opponent.


The Raiders have given up fantasy point totals of three, 11, and 10 to the opposing defense in their first three weeks with seven turnovers during that time frame. If the Chargers offense is scoring, they are forcing the Raiders to throw more and raising their opportunities for sacks and turnovers.


The Cowboys are going to be without at least one starting offensive lineman and have two others battling injuries. New England blitzes at a top-5 rate in the league and leads the league in percentage of hurries. The Patriots have struggled to turn hurries and pressures into sacks so far, but a banged-up offensive line might help solve that issue.

GPP Stack Of The Week


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