Sometimes when constructing a daily fantasy football roster, you are able to fit most of the players that feel like staples. However, if spending up on certain positions, then salary will assuredly need to be saved on others by default. Here are a group of players listed at bargain costs who will help fill in the missing pieces of a mostly-constructed lineup:
Note: Each position includes a player who is expected to be highly owned amongst the value plays at the position (chalk) and one who will likely go vastly overlooked but still is worthy of consideration (contrarian).
Chalk: Carson Wentz, Eagles, $12,100 – By now, the entire fantasy landscape realizes just how well Carson Wentz has been playing so an enticing matchup will only add to his ownership percentage this week. Not only have the Lions allowed 12 passing TDs already this season but DeAndre Levy and Ezekiel Ansah will miss this week’s game. In other words, their pass rush, which has produced nine sacks to this point, will not be at full strength. With Ryan Mathews and Zach Ertz slated to suit up this week following the bye, Wentz will have his full assortment of options in the passing attack. Vegas’ implied total of 24.5 points might even be selling the Eagles offense short as this could turn into a shootout inside the dome of Ford Field. If willing to spend down at QB, Wentz is rightfully going to be a popular option considering he grades as the number two QB so far this season, per Pro Football Focus.
Contrarian: Ryan Fitzpatrick, Jets, $10,100 – Only the Browns are listed as bigger underdogs than the Jets. Yes, the Steelers’ line currently sits at -7.5 heading into the weekend and only 20-percent of the public money is on the Jets’ side of the spread…this should lead to a buying opportunity for Ryan Fitzpatrick. Last year, Blake Bortles was consistently a fantasy hero because he was able to step up in garbage time and make his statistics look respectable even though he and the offense played terrible for a majority of the game. Over the last two games, Fitzpatrick has thrown a whopping nine interceptions (INTs) and only combined for 14.60 fantasy points during that stretch. He certainly isn’t this bad, and while he may not be as productive as he showed last year, positive regression surely is on the horizon. Game flow sets up perfectly for him to perform well with the team likely having to claw back into the game. Heck, even if they remain competitive, the Jets will have to throw all game to compete with the Steelers’ dominant passing attack at home. At nearly minimum price, there is virtually no downside to rostering Fitzpatrick in GPPs…well, other than him repeating his output from either of the last two weeks. Nevertheless, he is one of my favorite tournament options of the weekend.
Running Back (RB)
Chalk: DeAndre Washington, Raiders, $6,700 – After Adam Schefter had reported Latavius Murray was doubtful for this weekend’s tilt against the Chargers, a team spokesperson suggested they were “hopeful” he would suit up. On Friday, those prospects were shut down as the team officially ruled him as doubtful so he isn’t going to play this weekend. This opens up a gigantic opportunity for DeAndre Washington to attempt to run away with the Raiders’ starting RB job. Considering Washington has touched the ball 29 times compared to Jalen Richard’s 22, this is likely to turn into a committee. However, I have had Washington pegged as the superior talent since prior to preseason for multiple reasons. First of all, he was drafted in the fifth round this year while Jalen Richard was signed as an undrafted free agent. Second of all, Washington is just the more complete back despite what Richard’s 70-plus yard TD run may suggest in Week 1. Against a Chargers team allowing nine RECs, 70.25 yards and 0.5 TDs in the passing game to opposing backs, Washington should be able to find a way to easily justify his price tag even if this turns into a 50-50 split. There’s simply too much value here to pass on now that Murray is a virtual lock to sit.
Contrarian: Bilal Powell, Jets, $7,800 – Quietly, Bilal Powell played 52-percent of the RB snaps last week compared to just 48-percent for Matt Forte after Forte led the splits 60/40 in Week 3. Whether this is due to injury (he was carted to the locker room after last game), Forte’s recent ineffectiveness or simply Powell’s prowess in the passing game remains to be seen but he’s clearly a significant part of the offense. In back-to-back games, Powell has caught exactly six passes, gained at least 41 receiving yards and has even averaged at least 6.5 yards per carry (YPC) in each contest. Assuming the Jets are playing from behind, and both Vegas and the public seem to be assuming this very scenario, Powell should see even more playing team than usual. This could lead to him quietly contributing to a Danny Woodhead or Theo Riddick sneakily productive sort of a game from a receiving back. In FantasyDraft’s PPR format, there is a ton of value to this kind of skill set.
Wide Receiver (WR)
Chalk: Tyrell Williams, Chargers, $9,200 – Despite Dontrelle Inman’s career day in Week 4, not many people seem sold on him. Over the past two weeks, Tyrell Williams has been targeted four times in the red zone compared to Inman’s zero. Additionally, Williams has seen more targets overall so Philip Rivers is clearly looking his way. In the long run, this sort of opportunity will translate to fantasy points even though Inman has stolen his thunder as of late. Against a Raiders defense allowing 46.3 fantasy points per game to opposing WRs, there’s no reason to fear this matchup…and the majority won’t which is why Williams will end up being one of the chalky cheap receivers.
Contrarian: Sammie Coates, Steelers, $7,000 – Remember Martavis Bryant? While on a podcast with ESPN/RotoCurve’s Jim McCormick earlier this week, he said something that perked my interest in the Steeelers’ number two receiver: “Sammie Coates is basically playing the Bryant role in this offense.” He’s right. Over the last two weeks, Coates has averaged 10.8 yards per target (YPT) and 14.8 YPT overall (tied with Julio Jones for first in the league). Amongst those who have played at least 50-percent of their team’s snaps, Coates’ 21.2 yard average depth of target (aDOT) ranks second behind only Marquise Goodwin. Essentially, he is being used as their deep threat which is quite valuable in a Ben Roethlisberger led offense. Only five teams have allowed more fantasy points to opposing QBs than the Jets and they’ll now be without Darrelle Revis so they should be even more beatable than usual. Roethlisberger and the Steelers offense are always most comfortable at home so it wouldn’t be surprising for Coates to take the top off the defense at least once in this contest.
Tight Ends (TE)
Chalk: Zach Ertz, Eagles, $7,000 – Okay, there are no true chalk punts this week so I’m bending the rules a little this week and considering a $7,000 price tag as a punt. As mentioned in the Wentz tidbit, Zach Ertz is back and supposedly 100-percent healthy for a tilt against the porous Lions defense. While the Falcons technically have allowed more fantasy points to the position, there literally isn’t a better matchup for opposing TEs than against the Lions. Why? They have allowed 18 TDs to the position over their last 20 games and have already allowing a league-worst six TDs to the position this year. This has been an ongoing trend for them and they clearly haven’t addressed the issue enough to make a difference. Until the Lions bring in personnel capable of stopping pass-catchers at the position, keep rostering TEs against them…period, end of story.
Contrarian: Cameron Brate, Buccaneers, $5,600 – The whole word and their grandmother are going to be on Ertz if they decide to spend down from the elite TEs and Martellus Bennett so cheap TEs should prove to be ultra-contrarian this week. With that being the case, why not roster a player who has been targeted a whopping 18 times over the past time games for a sub-$6,000 cost? Furthermore, the Panthers have allowed the fourth most fantasy points to opposing TEs, behind only the Falcons, Lions and Cowboys. The combination of a great matchup, affordable price tag and QB who consistently looks for him equals a great spot to deploy Cameron Brate at a likely single-digit ownership percentage.