Recap from Week 6
Last week I missed on a couple of players in my line-up, but I did well enough with most of them to ensure finishing in the money in all of my contests.
If you recall, my lineup looked like this as of last Wednesday:
QB Joe Flacco
QB E.J. Manuel
RB Eddie Lacy
RB Matt Forte
WR DeAndre Hopkins
WR Calvin Johnson
TE Delanie Walker
D/ST Carolina Panthers
Flex Anquan Boldin
Flex Danny Woodhead
I had two strategies last week -- a lineup with Brady and a lineup without him. I was pretty sure that Tyrod Taylor was going to sit it out and that the site's salary for E.J. Manuel didn't reflect that he was the likely starter. I felt that it made sense to save about $80,000 on the Brady plug-in by going with Manuel instead, whom I felt could post reasonably decent fantasy numbers on his own -- at least enough to allow me to spend that $80,000 elsewhere. As it turns out, Brady racked up 22.48 points, while Manuel pulled in 21.02. Obviously the gamble paid off. It even allowed me to compensate for the Eddie Lacy misstep. I doubt that Lacy will find his way onto my starting lineup again this year. But why be bitter? The lineup was otherwise golden, and I won all the contests in which I participated.
Best Bets at QB
If you look closely at the salaries for QBs this week, you will observe very little separation. The top QBs this week have reasonable price tags in the $140K range, whereas the bottom feeding QB2 options are only about $20K less. That makes this position unique this week when compared to the others. For example, the top WR (DeAndre Hopkins this week) costs about $20K more than the 5th ranked WR and the top-ranked RB (Devante Freeman this week) also costs about $20K more than the 5th-6th ranked RBs. Why is that? Well, the usual heavy earners, Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady, face a bye week and a tough match-up respectively. Brady takes on the Jets who rank #1 in fantasy points allowed to QBs. How high is everyone's respect for Tom Brady? He STILL ranks #2 in DFS with a salary of $139,900.
I prefer Carson Palmer this week. He gets a great match-up against the Ravens, who are giving up THE most fantasy points to opposing QBs. Palmer has also been money this year, putting up stud-worthy numbers in every game so far. It is not surprising that he ranks #1 on our Best Bets list this week. My motto is to go ahead and pay premium dollars on a stud player, who has a great match-up and winds up atop our Best Bets list. Hence, I am willing to pay the top QB salary this week for Palmer.
The QB who appears second on our Best Bets list this week is Blake Bortles. The high ranking is based on the fact that he to has mostly been money this year and is coming off back-to-back 300-yards games. He has also tossed 3 and 4 TD passes in those two games as well. I think some folks may be worried that a sleeping giant in the form of the Buffalo Bills defense may awaken this week -- but even if they do, they are still giving up about 250 yards and 2 TDs even in the games they dominate. At any rate, I think Bortles is undervalued at just $124,500, which ranks 12th at the position. Although the Bets Bets ranking is based on trends and match-up analysis rather than a genuine weekly ranking, I see Bortles as a top 10 (possibly top 8) option this week. Besides, the variation between Bortles' price tag and the 16th-17th ranked QBs is less than $5000 -- and he is $7,000 LESS than Ryan Fitzpatrick. Go figure.
Value at RB
Since I feel pretty good about investing in two of my favorite QBs this week, I have to be a bit more cautious at the RB position, given that the salary variance is much more extreme. More than once this year Devonta Freeman has posted 30 fantasy points or more. So I understand perfectly why he is so expensive ($145,500). However, that is just too much dough for me to spend on a RB -- especially one who does not necessarily face the greatest match-up. A guy I do like at the upper tier this week is Todd Gurley at $128,900. Gurley has averaged over 150 yards rushing in each of his last 2 starts. He is rested coming off a bye, and I think finally scores a TD this week against a REALLY bad Cleveland run defense.
Another guy who is a bargain and has a great match-up this week is LeSean McCoy. Last week in limited action against a decent Cinci defense he racked up 90 rushing yards and a TD to go along with 2 receptions for 4 yards. That was on a snap-count. This week he is another week removed from the hammy injury -- and I expect the Bills to do their best to keep the ball on the ground with so many receivers on the injury report. The Jags are also giving up the 5th most points to fantasy RBs. I think he is a great buy at just $109,500. That is 13th amongst RBs, whereas I have him ranked 6th this week with upside.
One more guy with a great match-up and decent pricing I like this week is Frank Gore. He and the Colts take on the Saints, who are even worse than the Jags against opposing RBs. The Saints are the 4th worst run defense in those regards. I have Gore ranked as a borderline starting RB in fantasy this week at #11; his $103,500 price tag places him as the 17th RB in DFS.
I am the very one who warns against overrating match-ups, but essentially all three of these RBs face top 5 defenses in terms of giving up the most fantasy points allowed.
Less Enthusiastic About WR This Week
Back in the preseason I wrote an article about how thin fantasy drafts were at the top this year with so many risks to be found with all of the top players. In many ways that has come to fruition -- especially at the WR position. Antonio has been lost without Big Ben. Dez has missed pretty much the whole season. Thomas has suffered with an aging Peyton. Julio and Odell have battled nagging injuries. The top WR this year is DeAndre Hopkins, and he played a huge role in my having done well last week. However, if I want him I am going to have to pay a steep price: $151,400. That is the top price for any player this week. He is worth it, but if I go that route, then I am doomed to dive in the dumpster for all of my remaining positions.
I prefer Brandon Marshall for $20,000 less. The Patriots are great, but they give up tons of yards to opposing wide receivers. Fitz isn't afraid to take chances, so I envision him forcing the ball to Marshall this week. I think he is priced just right, as I also have him ranked #5 this week.
Intermediate Bargain Shopping
With money wearing thin -- and my usual philosophy of spending low on defense and TE -- means that I have $75K-100K to spend on a 2nd WR and 2nd Flex play.
So it is Sleeper time.
My WR Sleeper this week is Martavis Bryant. On a strictly per-target basis, he was arguably THE most elite fantasy WR in 2014. He missed the first few game this season with a suspension -- but showed up big last week in his first action of the season: 6 reception, 137 yards and 2 TDs. The vast majority of that came when Mike Vick went down and Landry Jones came in, so obviously Bryant and Landry have some chemistry. I love him this week as a low-risk play at just $92,800.
Another roll-of-the-dice play is Christine Michael, who everyone says will be the Cowboys' starting RB this week. Michael has a career 4.88 YPC average and was a beast coming out of Texas A&M. He didn't see much action in Seattle playing behind Marshawn Lynch but could be what the doctor ordered for the struggling Dallas running game. I love him as a fringe play this week at just $74,400.
There really won't be much of that this week, as I have already filled in my skill positions and have $93,800 to work with.
As usual, I am choosing to go the economic route at tight end. One player I have as a sneaky play at the TE position is Ladarius Green. Even with Antonio Gates (who is my top-rated TE this week, even over Gronk) back in form, Green has still been given plenty of opportunities. In the 2 games since Gates' return, Green has averaged almost 10 points per week in this 1/2 PPR format. He faces the Raiders this week who are giving up an obscene number of fantasy points to opposing TEs. There should be plenty to go around -- and if the Raiders try to solve their TE woes by keying on Gates, then Green could have an even better game. It is worth the low risk/high reward for $44,500.
Looking for a bargain at defense, I like the Miami Dolphins at just $49,300, which places them in the middle-of-the-pack. Last week they boasted one of the top fantasy defenses in most formats against the Titans. They seem to have been rejuvenated with the head coaching change, and it will be interesting to see how that carries over this week. They certainly get a favorable match-up against the Texans.
And that is it. I have $100 left over.
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