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: Tyrod Taylor, Bills, $10,500 – At this price tag, Tyrod Taylor has hit value in four consecutive weeks and he has averaged 18.79 fantasy points during that stretch. In fact, he has rushed for at least 25-plus yards in each of the last four games so his ability to use his feet helps create such a high floor. Now factor in the additional time of possession he is likely to enjoy against a 49ers team that ranks 30th in the category and it is easy to see why his floor should be higher than usual. Last year, Coach Chip Kelly’s Eagles ranked dead last in time of possession so the 49ers may actually be due for some regression (which is a plus for opposing offenses). Although he is unlikely to attempt 40-plus passes, his overall fantasy-friendly skill set projects well in a game where the offense should have the ball close to 60-percent of the time.
Contrarian: Colin Kaepernick, 49ers, $10,000 – On the other side of the field, Colin Kaepernick is worthy of consideration as well because he is priced at the absolute minimum. Like Taylor, Kaepernick’s value is enhanced by his ability to consistently gain yardage with his legs. In the 48 games Kaepernick has thrown at least 15 passes in his NFL career, he has averaged 19.91 fantasy points mostly due to his scrambling ability. Sure his WRs are quite mediocre (Jeremy Kerley, Torrey Smith) but both his coach and the complement of the running game (Carlos Hyde) should put him in an excellent spot to succeed. The Bills have only allowed the third fewest fantasy points to opposing QBs but it almost does not matter when Kaepernick only needs 15 fantasy points to put a DFS team on pace for 150 points.
Running Back (RB)
Chalk: T.J. Yeldon, Jaguars, $8,800 – Although it feels like a long time ago, T.J. Yeldon produced easily his best performance of the season in London prior to the bye week. Even though Chris Ivory suited up, Yeldon earned the lion’s share of work en route to 14 carries for 71 yards (5.1 yards per carry), four receptions (RECs) for 46 yards and 15.70 total fantasy points. That performance very likely earned him a majority of the workload once again against the Bears in Week 6 and the Bears have allowed 4.0 yards per carry (YPC) to this point. In essentially all ways, shapes and forms, the matchup against the Bears is as neutral as they come for opposing backs so Yeldon is in a fine spot to succeed once again. The real allure of using him is his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield as he has caught at least four passes in 3-4 games to this point. Assuming he can do so once again, he possesses an unusually high floor for a RB in this price range.
Contrarian: Duke Johnson Jr., Browns, $7,700 – A player in a similarly enticing spot to catch an oodle of passes is Duke Johnson Jr. People will look back to last week and see that he struggled but remember Charlie Whitehurst played 68-percent of the snaps at the QB position. This year, Cody Kessler has been the one to develop a rapport with Johnson and the game flow fits his skill set with the Titans listed as 7.5 point favorites. While the Titans defense is admittedly stout on opposing RBs, they rank middle of the pack in terms of receiving yards allowed to the position and Johnson’s price has bottomed out at a season-low $7,700. Johnson’s season average of 9.5 fantasy points would equate to 1.23 times value and his upside stretches far beyond that total. Prior to Week 5, Johnson had been targeted at least five times in each game so far this season and six of his last seven total. One of these games he is going to break a long play as he is just too talented to be held down for this long. If it happens this weekend, it will come at a sub-five percent ownership. At this price tag, there is not much to lose.
Wide Receiver (WR)
Chalk: John Brown, Cardinals, $8,800 – The whole world and their grandmother is on John Brown this week against the Jets because he draws the favorable individual matchup against Marcus Williams. Furthermore, Brown has simply outplayed Michael Floyd. While Floyd has been targeted 35 times to Brown’s 33, Floyd has only hauled in a measly 36-percent of his targets (12 RECs) compared to Brown’s 54-percent (19 RECs). The Jets secondary has been toast this year, allowing the third most fantasy points to opposing WRs including the third most yards (991) and fourth most TDs (seven). With Buster Skrine (their best cornerback playing the best football this year) focused on Larry Fitzgerald in the slot, Brown should be free to run wild. Since he has been targeted a ridiculous 31 times in his last three gmaes, he possesses both a safe floor and significantly high ceiling.
Contrarian: Cameron Meredith, Bears, $8,100 – Eddie Royal suited up after not practicing last week and appears to be on the same track this week. Even though he was active last week, he only played on 56-percent of the team’s snaps compared to Cameron Meredith at 95-percent. According to Pro Football Focus, Royal draws the “nuts” matchup against Davon House in the slot but Meredith moves all over the field. If Royal only plays the same amount or less this week, Meredith should see plenty of House himself. In Week 5, he received 33-percent of his career targets (per Rotoworld) so the public will likely remain skeptical of the workload. Royal has always had a propensity to show up in short stints and then fade away and the snap count from last week shows why he can be hit-or-miss. With plenty of opportunity available to Meredith in a matchup against the defense allowing the fifth most fantasy points to WRs, he quietly has the potential to repeat last week’s breakout performance. While most are chalking him up as a flash in the pan, going back to him in tournaments makes a lot of sense.
Tight Ends (TE)
Chalk: Jesse James, Steelers, $5,900 – Last week, Jesse James received a season-high eight targets and turned those into other season-bests as well: six RECs, 43 yards and 16.30 fantasy points (he scored a TD). Only seven teams have allowed more fantasy points to opposing TEs than the Dolphins and only seven have allowed more yardage to the position. The Dolphins defense is a mess and they virtually have not been able to stop anyone in the passing game…and this is partially due to the fact they rank last in time of possession on offense. Quite literally their defense has been on the field more than any other team’s so James and the Steelers should enjoy a fair amount of opportunity to run their offense. While Ben Roethlisberger has struggled on the road over the past two seasons, James is a much safer bet to hit value than the likes of the much more expensive Antonio Brown or even Sammie Coates. The way they have been using James as a move-the-chains option in the passing game (plus their main red zone target), it is difficult to imagine him not having an ample amount of opportunity to hit value against this porous defense.
Contrarian: Charles Clay, Bills, $5,600 – Over the last two weeks, only eight TEs have seen more targets than Charles Clay’s 12. He has converted those in 10 RECs for 120 yards at a whopping 10.0 yards per target (10.0). By comparison, only four TEs who have been targeted at least 10 times have averaged a superior YPT tally. Sans Sammy Watkins, Clay is a significant part of the passing game especially in the red zone; he has been targeted on 27.3-percent of the red zone passes for the Bills. Since the Bills are implied to score a healthy amount of points (26.5), win big (nine point favorites) and dominate the time of possession, Clay is a worthwhile risk that costs almost nothing.