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.
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Kirk Cousins ($5,400) v. NYG
The Giants rank 30th in the league against quarterbacks this season, and that bodes well for a guy who’s likely to throw 30-40 passes in a game the Redskins desperately need in order to keep their playoff (wtf) hopes alive. Washington can’t run the ball (as in, like, literally cannot run the football) and the pass is what they’ll need to rely on. That kind of opportunity at this number is a bargain.
Jameis Winston ($5,500) @ IND
Nine touchdowns to just two interceptions in his last six games has put Jameis Winston on quite the heater as of late. The Colts, meanwhile, are allowing over 18 FPPG to opposing quarterbacks and the Buccaneers should have a shot in this one.
Josh McCown ($5,000) v. BAL
With Johnny Manziel’s latest social media video comes his demotion to third string on Cleveland’s depth chart, which means next up is the man with the impeccable jaw line, one Josh McCown. The Ravens are third-worst in the league against quarterbacks this season, and McCown carved them up for 457 yards, three scores, and 39 fantasy points the last time these two teams met in Week 5.
It’s Turkey time! Gets back to carvin’, Josh!
Brian Hoyer ($5,000) v. NO
If you like the idea of DeAndre Hopkins this week (which you should), then you should also consider Brian Hoyer, who’s returning this week from a concussion and set to play a putrid New Orleans defense that’s in complete disarray (unless they worked some miracles during their bye). Hoyer’s highest total of the season is 24, but he has a strong chance to exceed that this week.
T.J. Yeldon ($4,800) v. SD
The matchup on paper is perfect. In the one hand you have an agile running back in T.J. Yeldon who’s a big part of his team’s offense and very much involved, and in the other hand you have a San Diego defense that ranks dead last in allowed FPPG to opposing running backs. Throw that together and you have your *thunderous rumble erupts* BARGAIN OF THE WEEK.
Javorius Allen ($4,600) @ CLE
When you refer to the Ravens being out of options, that’s implied in the most literal sense. No Steve Smith; no Justin Forsett; no Joe Flacco. This Baltimore football franchise is running off backups and third-stringers at this point. But sorting through the mess gives you a chance at finding something shiny, which could come in the form of Javorius “Buck” Allen this week. The Browns are allowing more than 22 FPPG to opposing running backs and the Ravens hardly have anywhere else to turn. For Allen’s anticipated workload, the price is a steal.
Giovani Bernard ($4,500) v. STL
Although his rushing totals have been pretty ‘meh’, Gio Bernard is earning his living in the passing game. While the Rams defensive front is a good one, they’re still allowing more than 21 FPPG to opposing running backs. And perhaps more importantly, the Rams defense allows more than six receptions by running backs per game, which ranks near bottom of the league. The Bengals aren’t getting away from their most explosive back and he has the skills to gash St. Louis and turn in some quality production.
Chris Thompson ($3,200) v. NYG
Alfred Morris is hurt, Matt Jones can’t hold onto the football — oh! — and Washington has no ground attack anyway. Chris Thompson can do some damage catching the ball out of the backfield, and you’d have to think that’s where the Washington gameplan lies this week in a game they need to win against a divisional opponent. Sure, CT may not be a reassuring pick in cash games, but he’s worth a look in tournaments.
DeSean Jackson ($5,100) v. NYG
His game and therefore his rostering is usually pretty risky, but the Giants host a defense capable of being gashed and mauled by a player like DeSean Jackson. His nearly 20 fantasy points last week reassured us that he’s back and healthy, so there’s no worries on that front. Jackson is probably more tournament than cash game, but his ceiling is attractive in each, especially at just over $5k.
Kamar Aiken ($4,900) @ CLE
The line in this game is one of the lowest of the week according to Vegas, but again, the Ravens are defaulting to guys at this point thanks to injuries, so a guy like Kamar Aiken is arguably the top receiving option in Baltimore. It’s hard to say what happens with Matt Schaub under center rather than Joe Cool, but Aiken’s 18 catches for 185 yards and 42+ fantasy points over his last three games is plenty to build on.
Stevie Johnson ($4,500) @ JAX
Stevie Johnson appears to have reacquired his early-season form over his last two games, and injuries to San Diego’s wide receiver corps could keep him in line for more volume. The Jaguars are allowing nearly 28 FPPG to opposing wideouts and Johnson is the most reliable wideout for the Chargers at this point.
Delanie Walker ($5,400) v. OAK
With Oakland allowing close to 16 FPPG to opposing tight ends and Delanie Walker receiving plenty of attention from Marcus Mariota, the Titans tight end has a chance to be a top performer at his position this week.
Jordan Reed ($5,100) v. NYG
Continuing to take advantage of defenses who struggle against tight ends, coming in just behind Oakland is New York. Jordan Reed’s sprained MCL is a slight concern, but he did return to action last week after sustaining the injury and we haven’t seen anything to doubt he’ll go on Sunday. He’s averaging nearly 16 FPPG and he’s caught fire in the redzone as of late, hauling in five scores in his last four games.
Crockett Gillmore ($3,700) @ CLE
After earning himself a spot on the bargain shelf last week and then turning in an 18-point performance, Crockett Gillmore lands himself on the list again this week against Cleveland. Not to sound like a broken record when it comes to the depleted Baltimore offense, but the same theory applies here. Gillmore should be a primary target for Matt Schaub.
Bengals ($3,000) v. STL
The line is low, the Rams are bad, the Bengals are favored, and Case Keenum is starting.