Some call me cheap. Others stingy. I prefer thrifty. And in the world of daily fantasy sports, finding the best bargains can lead you to the promise land of those jubilant $3.60 pots at the end of the pretend football rainbow.
These are my bargain bin dumpster dives for the upcoming NFL week.
* * *
Although it’s not generally the strategy of yours truly, salaries this week allow for further dumpster diving amongst the running back position, in turn giving us the ammo to move up to land a decent quarterback, as well as into the area of this week’s top-priced receiver (Antonio Brown) and tight end (Rob Gronkowski).
Andy Dalton ($6,300) v. JAX
Despite not throwing a touchdown in two weeks, Andy Dalton’s future this Sunday seems to be looking up (as most things do when preparing to face the Jacksonville Jaguars). Not to mention, A.J. Green has been practicing and could return to action, which is kind of a big deal if he’s on your team and you happen to be a thrower of footballs.
Others receiving votes: Alex Smith ($5,700) v. NYJ
Ben Tate ($4,300) v. TB
I too was a part of the Week 7 meltdown in which we banked on the Browns offense against Jacksonville, only to be squarely kicked in the groin by Ben Tate and every other member of the Cleveland offense.
However, Tampa Bay is bad a, and this is a very nice price for a lead back in a game that should feature lots of action on the ground.
And just as a fantasy note — you shouldn’t allow previous frustration move you off a player. This Ben Tate play is a perfect example. There’s undoubtedly some owners out there who wouldn’t touch Tate with a 10-foot pole this week, simply because he threw up four points two weeks ago and screwed their Week 7 lineup. But that’s no way to play. Just like in blackjack where staying on 19 doesn’t always win, you have to maintain discipline and play your best matchups.
LeSean McCoy ($5,200) @ HOU
There’s been a feedbag attached to LeSean McCoy the last three weeks, with carry totals of 24, 22, and 21 for nearly 45 fantasy points. The problem, however, stems from Shady only having reached paydirt ONCE all season (Week 2).
Houston has been just so-so against the run this season, so the matchup feels okay. Additionally, the $5,200 salary seems too good to pass up given the type of chances and opportunities McCoy sees both as a rusher and pass-catcher.
Ahmad Bradshaw ($5,800) @ NYG
This looked like a sweeter deal with news of Trent Richardson missing practice, but he now looks in line to play. Either way, Ahmad Bradshaw’s versatility and knack for finding the end zone make him a nice play for $5,800 against his former team. The Giants are allowing 122 rushing yards and more than 25 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs.
Alfred Morris ($3,900) @ MIN
I agree that Alfred Morris looked better last week against the Cowboys, but I’m not willing to say he looked good. He had a low floor to begin with, so it wasn’t going to take much for him to simply “look better”.
That said, $3,900 for a lead back in a game that should see plenty of rushing attempts thanks to wind and cold weather feels like a solid play.
Although Mike Zimmer is one helluva defensive football mind, the Vikings are giving up nearly 25 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs and Morris should see a hefty workload in this game.
Others receiving votes: Lamar Miller ($5,600) v. SD
Andrew Hawkins ($4,900) v. TB
After stringing together just three catches and 5.6 points against Tennessee and Pittsburgh over the course of two weeks, Andrew Hawkins quickly became yesterday’s forgotten. But since then, Hawk has pieced together 12 catches and 41.8 points over his past two games and he’s in line for another juicy matchup on Sunday against Tampa.
The Buccaneers give up tons of points to opposing wideouts, and are worst in the league when it comes to keeping receivers out of the end zone (allowing 1.7 touchdowns to wide receivers per game). Even if the Browns generate a successful ground attack, Hawkins is a natural benefactor and faced with a perfect matchup.
DeAndre Hopkins ($5,400) v. PHI
Only one game this season has DeAndre Hopkins posted a single-digit output, and this week he faces a Philadelphia defense giving up more than 35 fantasy points per game to opposing receivers.
There’s obvious concern surrounding Nuke because he hasn’t scored in his last four games, but he’s getting his targets (6.6 per game), he’s ripping off big gains (15.8 YPC), and he’s his team’s best option to score by way of a pass (leads all Houston pass-catchers with three touchdowns), all of which provides good value for just $5,400.
Others receiving votes: Andre Johnson ($5,500) v. PHI; Allen Robinson ($4,900) @ CIN
Travis Kelce ($4,100) v. NYJ
Anyone find a reason why Travis Kelce isn’t seeing more snaps in Kansas City? Cool, me neither. Yet despite the coaching, Kelce is a decent play this week against a Jets defense allowing better than 13 points per game to opposing tight ends.
Sooner or later Andy Reid needs to warm to the idea of playing one of his top playmakers more often, right?
Others receiving votes: Jordan Reed ($4,400) @ MIN
- to the tune of 123 rushing yards allowed per game (back)
- The quick pitch isn’t on every running play, but Morris seems to thrive with it as opposed to the traditional handoff method, as it provides him with a better and earlier look at the defense, as well as effective downhill momentum (back)
- Dependent on gameplan, of course, but Jay Gruden isn’t stupid. (back)