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 steals for the upcoming NFL week.
Jake Locker @ STL — After gaining momentum in Week 3 against San Diego and carrying it over against the Jets in Week 4, Jake Locker went down with an injury and was forced to miss two games. He then came back quicker than expected and put up nearly 23 fPts on San Francisco in Week 7.
On Sunday, Locker and the Titans travel to Houston, fresh off their bye and in need of a win to even their record at 4-4. Although the Rams are showing an impressive pass rush this season (No. 10 according to PFF), that’s all the more reason to like Locker for as low as $6.7K. When he’s not using his much improved passing (774 yards and 6 TDs in last three starts) against the Rams struggling secondary, Locker can use his legs to escape the pocket and net you some extra points.
Only seven starting quarterbacks are priced lower than Locker. With a week of rest and this matchup, Locker feels like a steal at quarterback this week.
Terrelle Pryor vs. PHI
After starting off last week’s game with a 93-yard touchdown run, Terrelle Pryor was absolutely horrid the rest of the game, completing 52 percent of his passes for 88 yards and two interceptions. His inconsistencies as a passer show no sign of letting up this season.
However, against a traveling Philadelphia defense that can’t defend the run or pass, regardless of where the game is played, Pryor is well worth the $7.3K this week.
The Iggles have allowed the second most passing yards in the NFL this season, including 14 touchdowns and 134 first downs through the air. If there’s any defense Pryor can pick apart with his arm while not busy shredding them with his legs, it may very well be Philly.
Zac Stacy vs. TEN
After being limited in practice on Wednesday, rookie Zac Stacy was a full participant on Thursday and looks to be a go for the Rams this week. And that’s good news for St. Louis, as Stacy has gone for 266 yards and 40.1 fPts over his last three games.
Available for just $5.8K, Stacy draws a favorable matchup this week against a visiting Tennessee defense whose weak spot is stopping the run. Running backs are averaging 144 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown per contest against the Titans through seven games this season.
After losing starting quarterback Sam Bradford for the season, the Rams are setting sail with Kellen Clemens, who should face plenty of pressure against a solid Titans pass rush, and force him to look to dump off to a capable receiver in Stacy.
Danny Woodhead @ WAS
The Redskins defense isn’t very good. And they’re even worse when it comes to containing running backs.
Danny Woodhead is the hybrid guy who can line up anywhere on the field, who’s listed position is running back, but who’s primary role is receiver. On the season, Woodhead has just 172 yards rushing (3.7 YPC), but 40 catches for 314 yards and 65.5 fPts over his last four games.
Ryan Mathews is likely the San Diego back to get the better of the Redskins defense on the ground. But Woodhead on screens and short routes against Washington’s bad tackling unit and slow linebackers is his path to a productive day. And for $6.4K, that’s a bargain.
Eddie Lacy vs. CHI
Despite the news of more touches for James Starks in order to lighten the load on Green Bay’s new rookie running back, Eddie Lacy will still get his touches. Over the course of Green Bay’s current four-game win streak, Lacy is averaging 24 rushes per game and over four yards per carry on his way to 61.7 fPts.
Meanwhile, the Bears are second to last against the run according to PFF and they’ve allowed eight rushing touchdowns on the year. They’ll be the steak on Lacy’s plate this week and his $6.8K salary will serve as the fixings.
Pierre Garcon vs. SD
The equation here is quite simple, and it’ll only cost $6.4K of your daily budget.
“If San Diego cannot cover wide receivers and Pierre Garcon is Redskins’ best and only capable wide receiver, then Pierre Garcon is due to have a big game against San Diego.”
And boom there you have it.
I know, I know. Garcon’s production (173 yards, 26.3 fPts and no scores) since the bye has been beyond disappointing. But expect this game in Washington to be a shootout. And by default, Robert Griffin III will have to go to Garcon, simply because he and tight end Jordan Reed are his only reliable targets.
Keenan Allen @ WAS
Sure, the Chargers are terrible against the pass. But Washington isn’t too far behind.
The Redskins have been smoked this season through the air, allowing more than 1,900 yards and 15 touchdowns. That won’t get any easier for them this week when Phillip Rivers and the Chargers come to town, equipped with one of the better air attacks in the league.
On the receiving end of Rivers’ passes is rookie Keenan Allen — a big body with great hands and the ability to make plays after the catch. Over the past four games, Allen has 369 receiving yards, two scores and over 60 fPts.
The main question here is who does Redskins corner DeAngelo Hall guard?
If Hall’s assigned to Allen, the matchup is less favorable, as Hall is truly having a career year. But if rookie corner David Amerson or veteran Josh Wilson is assigned to Allen so that Hall can contain Chargers tight end Antonio Gates, then Allen is in a good spot for a productive day.
Regardless — for just $6K out of your budget — Allen is well worth the buy this weekend.
T.Y. Hilton @ HOU
T.Y. Hilton’s low $6K price tag for this weekend is justifiable given his disappointing numbers (seven catches, 70 yards) over the past two games, which makes this a low-risk high-reward type of scenario.
With the loss of Reggie Wayne for the year, Hilton is due to see an increased workload that should start as early as this Sunday against the division rival Texans. The key to that, however, is Hilton getting on the same page as his quarterback Andrew Luck.
Assuming Hilton gets looks on the outside and from the slot, he’s a threat to bust loose every week from here on out.
Despite a stingy Houston pass defense that has only allowed 10 touchdowns through the air this season, Hilton’s true value doesn’t diminish. He’s a cheap date this Sunday.
Denarius Moore vs. PHI
As mentioned above, Terrelle Pryor isn’t much of a reliable or consistent passer. But when he finds success against the visiting Eagles this Sunday, it may or may not be to Denarius Moore on a quick slant who uses his speed to burn Philly’s miserable defense for a touchdown. And that’s worth the dirt cheap $4.9K salary.
Jordan Reed vs. SD
Although San Diego doesn’t rank well in terms of pass defense, they’ve been stout against opposing tight ends this season, giving up just 43 yards per contest and less than six fPts. But the kicker in this situation is that Jordan Reed is one of just two reliable targets in Washington’s offense, so his targets — whether San Diego is threatening or not — are in store this Sunday.
Reed has been targeted more than any other tight end over the past three weeks and there’s no reason to suspect a drop-off now, or for the rest of the season. At just $5.6K this week, Reed is well worth the start and he’s arguably the best tight end (aside from Jason Witten in Week 4 — five catches for 43 yards) the Chargers have faced this season.
Kyle Rudolph @ DAL
Reach deeeeeep into the bargain bin for this one. No, deeper. Like, $2.99 DVDs at your nearby convenience store bargain bin kind of reach.
There’s no doubt Kyle Rudolph has been a huge fantasy disappointment this season, but we can all feel comfortable pointing the finger at the quarterback situation in Minnesota. Simply dreadful.
The good news is that Rudolph is available for just $5.5K this week and the Cowboys struggle against tight ends, allowing nearly a league-worst 74 yards per game.
Sure, Christian Ponder gets the start and he’s terrible. Not to mention his hookup with Rudolph, specifically this season, has been pathetic. But because Rudolph is big, capable and talented, the potential is there. You just have to pray a little bit.
Note: The pool of potentially productive defenses this week is plentiful. In fact, there’s only about a dozen defenses I wouldn’t start, like PIT, HOU, WAS, ATL, STL, PHI, TB, NYJ, MIN, BUF and CHI. But for what it’s worth, the following defenses are less expensive.
Baltimore @ CLE
The Ravens’ struggles this season haven’t come by way of the defense. This week — fresh off their bye week and looking to turn it around — Baltimore faces a Jason Campbell-led division rival Cleveland Browns team and the Ravens can bring it with one of the better pass rushing units in the league. A $5.2K price tag is a deal.
Indianapolis @ HOU
They may not get a lot of credit, but this Indianapolis defense is a good one. They take on Case Keenum this weekend — who likely feels pretty good after putting up decent numbers against Kansas City two weeks ago — and they’ll let Robert Mathis loose. Look for sacks and a pair of turnovers, all for the low price of just $5.1K.
Dallas vs. MIN
The feeling on Dallas this week is more “meh” than it is “yay”. But the $5.2K price tag ain’t too shabby.
Adrian Peterson is the Vikings offense, and he’s a top running back this week against Dallas. Expect him to get his yards. But if the Vikings elect to try and pass with Christian Ponder, that’s where the Cowboys defense starts to look all pretty.
Cleveland vs. BAL
We may see a new and revived Baltimore offense after their time off last week.
We might not.
Either way, Cleveland’s defense is no slouch. They’re good against the run, going up against a struggling Ravens ground attack. They have a shutdown corner in Joe Haden, going against the Ravens’ best target Torrey Smith. And Joe Flacco is more than capable of crapping the bed (see: BUF / Week 4).
For just $5K, the Browns seem to be getting no love in DFS this week. Take a shot if you need to and feel okay about it.
* all prices and past scores based on Fanduel format