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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Ryan Tannehill ($5,700) v. HOU
Are the Dolphins back? Does having a head coach who can most likely squat as much as your offensive linemen do wonders for your offense, and more particularly your quarterback? Not sure, exactly. But Ryan Tannehill is coming of an 18-point outing last week and this Sunday’s opponent is giving up the seventh-most FPPG to opposing passers. The line isn’t huge in this game, but it could be a close one.
Blake Bortles ($5,400) v. BUF
We’ve been blessed with rather courteous Bortles service over the past couple weeks (61 FPs) and that trend should continue this week against a Buffalo defense allowing the eighth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. We’ll assume the Jaguars will need to either pass to stay in the game or pass to catch up, both of which bode well for Blake Bortles in your lineups.
Todd Gurley ($5,000) v. CLE
We can expect regression at some point, but for now Todd Gurley is getting all the meat, all the potatoes, and all the vegetables. I’m not exactly sure what that reference implies, but 49 carries for over 300 yards in his last two games is enough opportunity to spend the $5,000 here. The Rams are coming off their bye (which we can safely assume Gurley used to rest up) and the Browns are giving up more than 28 FPPG to opposing running backs this season.
Chris Thompson ($3,300) v. TB
Monitor the status of Matt Jones (toe), but even if the rookie Jones does play, Chris Thompson has become a nice piece to the Redskins offensive puzzle this season. Thompson is dealing with a back injury of his own, but he did finish the game last week, so there doesn’t appear to be much cause for concern. The Bucs aren’t necessarily terrible in terms of fantasy points allowed to running backs, but Thompson is likely to make his money as a receiver out of the backfield — his 22 receptions over the last four games makes him one of the Redskins’ top targets.
John Brown ($5,500) v. BAL
The Ravens defense is the complete opposite of good right now, while the Cardinals seem to be a legit contender in the NFC. The line sits at 48 in this one with Arizona the touchdown favorite, meaning John Brown and his 21.5 FPPG average over his last three games makes him an extremely attractive play this week, especially at this price.
Jamison Crowder ($3,700) v. TB
The Redskins are working to get their rookie Jamison Crowder the ball, and that makes him a nice (and perhaps even reassuring) play in PPR formats. The Bucs are allowing more than 41 FPPG to opposing wideouts and Washington desperately needs this win in order to keep the monkey off their back as they head into their bye week.
Martavis Bryant ($4,700) @ KC
Beware of recency bias this week when it comes to Martavis Bryant and ownership shares, but the matchup certainly fits the bill. Landry Jones looks like the next man up in Pittsburgh, and he didn’t appear to have any shy feelings toward Bryant in last week’s game. The Chiefs give up the most fantasy points to opposing receivers (that’s right, even more than Baltimore) and Bryant would seem to be the monster with potential to rip ’em to shreds.
Allen Hurns ($5,300) v. BUF
Although the line on this game isn’t great (42), Allen Hurns still earns a shiny gold star this week as one of my favorite bargain targets. For starters, he’s coming off just a two-catch game last week, and even though a touchdown may have saved fantasy partners, his 11-point performance may help owners forget (even if just temporarily) how effective he can be. Secondly, the Bills are 4.5-point favorites on the road, which means Vegas likes Buffalo by more than a touchdown, in turn leading us to believe that some slingin’ of the ol’ pigskin may play a part in the Jags’ game plan this week. And finally, the numbers are there — 41 targets, four touchdowns, gamebreak ability; Hurns can light it up and Buffalo is allowing the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing receivers.
Travis Benjamin ($5,400) @ STL
Like the Buffalo/Jacksonville game, the line in this one (42) doesn’t scream at you, but the fact that the Browns are dogs on the road could bode well for the Cleveland passing attack, which includes one Travis Benjamin. No one saw it coming, but Benjamin has been on fire to start the season, hauling in 31 catches, four touchdowns, and averaging just shy of 20 FPPG. The Rams aren’t exactly lay-downs against receivers (35 FPPG), but regardless of opponent, Benjamin seems to find a way (his 13.5 points in Week 3 against Oakland is his lowest output of the season).
Willie Snead ($4,300) @ IND
Speaking of early-season darlings, rookie Willie Snead is lighting it up in New Orleans, and his nearly 16 FPPG average over his last three outings is plenty to love at his low price point this week. This matchup marks the highest total (52.5) on the Vegas card and there should be plenty of passing among the dual between Andrew Luck and Drew Brees. Not only are Snead’s six targets per game attractive, but he also knows what to do after he catches it (his 2.55 yards per route run average is good for eighth in the NFL), and that’s a good thing against an Indy defense that allows more than 44 FPPG to opposing receivers.
Stefon Diggs ($4,200) @ DET
MARYLAND STAND UP!
Sorry, that was lame as hell. But seriously, Stefon Diggs — dude’s good. 13 catches and 216 yards in his first two games in the NFL, averaging close to 19 FPPG, and quickly earning his role as Teddy Bridgewater’s most-trusted receiver. I know it’s a small sample size, but Diggs’ 3.32 yards per route run average is tops amongst all wideouts with at least 18 targets this season and the Lions defense — who allows more than 41 FPPG to opposing wideouts (eighth-worst in the NFL) — doesn’t threaten enough to move me off.
Antonio Gates ($5,000) v. OAK
He’s the third highest-priced tight end on the card this week, but he makes the bargain list for a few (simple) reasons. 1.) Antonio Gates is really, really good. 2.) 18 catches and just shy of 25 FPPG in his two games this season. 3.) Oakland is bad against opposing tight ends; as in worst-in-the-league bad. 4.) Vegas has a line of 47 on this game, which makes it the third-highest line of the week. 5.) Ask yourself: can Gates score me 15 points this week? The answer is yes, in which case he’s a bargain at his position.
Jordan Cameron ($3,300) v. HOU
This may have just as much to do with interim head coach Dan Campbell’s lat muscles as it does with Jordan Cameron’s matchup against the Texans, but either way, Houston is allowing more than 15 FPPG to opposing tight ends and Cameron’s getting the targets. I don’t like the floor with him this week, but the ceiling is nice.
Ladarius Green ($2,900) v. OAK
Obviously his attention and ensuing production takes a hit with the return of Antonio Gates, but Ladarius Green didn’t lose his ability to be good at football. Despite Gates’ return, Green has posted double-digit outputs in each of the last two games and (as mentioned previously) Oakland is abysmal against tight ends this season.
Ben Watson ($3,300) @ IND
We know Ben Watson is capable of putting up big numbers (see: last week’s 31-point performance) and there should be plenty of passing in this game (52.5 marks the highest total in Vegas this week) to go around.
Travis Kelce ($4,900) v. PIT
You know who else, besides Oakland, is bad at limiting opposing tight ends to low fantasy totals? The Pittsburgh Steelers — like, fourth-worst in the league at just over 19 FPPG. And this week the Steelers will travel to Kansas City with hopes of stopping Travis Kelce, who’s averaging more than 14 points per contest. It’s frustrating not to see Kelce hit paydirt since Week 1, but that trend has a good chance of flipping this Sunday.
Redskins ($2,500) v. TB
This might look like a punt at the position, but the Redskins have actually been halfway decent their last three games, despite going just 1-2 and allowing Ryan Fitzpatrick to carve them up just a week ago. The key to Washington’s 33 fantasy points over the three-game span has stemmed from their takeaways (EIGHT!) and their streak is likely to extend as they go against rookie Jameis Winston in a desperate game before heading into their Week 8 bye.