Safety is the name of the game in cash games, but FantasyDraft pays out at least 25 percent of the field in every single contest, including tournaments, as well. This should motivate users to lean towards safe options in all formats on a site that puts #PlayersFirst. Without the top-heavy nature of tournaments, single entrants do not have to go with a “YOLO (you only live once)” mindset in tournaments, but can play for a solid cash instead. That makes life a whole lot easier.
Here are the “safe bets,” or players who can be inserted into lineups without fear of a dud, for week 14:
Jameis Winston, Buccaneers, $10,900 – Common knowledge at this point in the NFL season: players involved in the passing game are excellent starts against the Saints. Instead of focusing on that aspect, let’s focus on Jameis Winston’s consistency this season. 13.44 fantasy points was Winston’s lowest output in a single game this season and that dud came all the way back in week three. Since the week six bye, Winston has failed to reach 15.50 fantasy points just once nd has scored at least 18.28 fantasy points in five of those seven games. Winston faced off against the Saints in just his second NFL game (in week two) and he both threw for and ran for a touchdown (TD) in that one. Now with Austin Seferian-Jenkins back and getting healthier, Winston has his three towers (Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson) healthy at once for the first time since the first meeting with the Saints (Seferian-Jenkins was injured in that game). Against a miserable defense, 12 weeks more mature than the first meeting with a full arsenal of weapons, Winston is primed for a solid day and he should easily reach value at his bargain price.
LeSean McCoy, Bills, $11,400 – Somewhere along the line the relationship between LeSean McCoy and Chip Kelly became strained because McCoy has nothing but harsh words for Kelly this week. These were McCoy’s comments in regards to the idea of Chip Kelly shaking his hand: “Listen, man, Chip can’t shake s— at all. Nothing. He knows this. That’s why [he] said it. I know him. He’s very intelligent. I can read between the lines. Like I said, I have nothing against him, no hatred. We’re not enemies. I won’t say anything wrong to him. But there’s nothing for us to talk about, at all. Simple as that.” Herm Edwards went off on McCoy for these comments but it’s clear McCoy feels disrespected and there will be added motivation in this contest. Since week three, McCoy has shown Mark Ingram-esque consistency as he’s put up at least 13.40 fantasy points in every game. Karlos Williams still isn’t practicing so McCoy is way less likely to be pulled for a vulture TD near the goal line. With a full workload including goal line work in a revenge game, McCoy will be highly motivated to not just put up a good outing…but a great one.
DeAndre Hopkins, Texans, $16,100 – One thing is for sure when facing the Patriots: points will need to be scored in order to compete with their offense. Rob Gronkowski or not Rob Gronkowski, Tom Brady and Coach Bill Belichick will figure out ways to put points on the scoreboard. Last week DeAndre Hopkins rebounded nicely from a week 12 dud against the Saints by catching five passes for 88 yards and a TD. New England has only allowed 64.5 yards per game to opposing top targets according to Football Outsiders but Hopkins should see his usual 10-plus targets (has seen 10-plus in all but two games). If he is targeted that many times in what should be a high-scoring affair, Hopkins will come through for his owners.
Allen Hurns, Jaguars, $10,300 – After missing one game due to a concussion, Allen Hurns will return this week to an excellent matchup against the Indianapolis Colts. Only two teams allow more passing yards per game than the Colts: the New Orleans Saints and New York Giants. According to Pro Football Focus’ WR/CB chart, only Mike Evans and Demaryius Thomas draw more favorable individual matchups this week than Hurns. Allen Robinson will likely be shadowed by the tough Vontae Davis which should open up the field for Hurns. Don’t forget Hurns recently broke a streak of seven straight games with a TD which included an 11 catch, 116 yards effort versus Indianapolis in week four which was capped off with the score. The game plan should remain similar this week as Blake Bortles will take what the defense is giving him and Davis will hardly ever allow Robinson to run free. Therefore, expect Hurns to burn Darius Butler once again and his upside stretches far beyond the $10,300 price tag. UPDATE: Hurns was downgraded to a limited participant in Thursday practice so you’ll now have to follow his status throughout the weekend to make sure he plays. I still like him if he suits up but it appears that is not a foregone conclusion.
Travis Kelce, Chiefs, $8,700 – Fantasy owners may overlook Travis Kelce in this matchup considering he just played San Diego in week 11 and caught just five passes for 46 yards. What people may forget is Kelce had a touchdown called back in the second quarter of that contest and it easily could have been a very productive day. San Diego has allowed the eighth most fantasy points to opposing tight ends (TEs) and the eight TDs they’ve allowed to the position are tied for fifth most. While many are saving money for a still recovering Seferian-Jenkins or paying up for Greg Olsen, the safe play is the mid-tier Kelce. His floor should be his 10-ish fantasy points from last time but he has 25 point upside in this important division showdown. A loss would leave the Chiefs on the outside looking into the playoff picture.