Last Second Decisions: Spencer Ware or Devonta Freeman?

On Sunday morning, fantasy owners will inevitably struggle through decisions of which similarly priced players to start. Let fantasy expert Ricky Sanders guide you through five difficult decisions many will be dealing with heading into Week 7:

QB – Andy Dalton/Kirk Cousins – Differentiating underpriced, upper-echelon QBs in fantastic matchups is a difficult proposition but will absolutely necessary this week. For some reason, all but the top seven QBs are basically priced in the same grouping so rostering one of the cheaper options is definitely optimal especially in tournaments as they are likelier to exceed value by a large margin. Andy Dalton and the Bengals square off against a Browns defense that has allowed 16 passing TDs while Kirk Cousins and the Redskins will face a porous Lions defense that has surrendered a league-worst 17 passing TDs. With the matchup virtually a wash, both environment and Vegas should be the next aspects taken into consideration. As for implied Vegas total, the edge goes to the Bengals who are projected to score 27.5 points compared to the Redskins at 24.3. However, the environment favors Cousins and he will be playing in a dome against a Lions team likelier to compete. If Jeremy Hill scores a rushing TD or two early and the Bengals go up then it is possible they abandon the pass whereas Cousins should be expected to continue throwing all afternoon. At $300 cheaper in the ever so slightly superior matchup, Cousins gets the nod. Verdict: Kirk Cousins

RB – Spencer Ware/Devonta Freeman – Sure Spencer Ware’s opponent, the Saints, has allowed the most fantasy points to opposing RBs but Devonta Freeman’s matchup ain’t too shabby either. To this point, the Chargers have allowed the fifth most fantasy points to opposing backs including seven rushing TDs, two passing TDs and 416 yards receiving to the position (second most behind only the Falcons). Freeman excels in the passing game as evident by his 72 receptions (RECs) last season which ranked third most at the position behind only Theo Riddick and Danny Woodhead. While Freeman will be forced to split the workload with Tevin Coleman, Ware will also have to give way to Jamaal Charles who is slowly getting healthier. Right now the Falcons offense is a machine and Matt Ryan should no doubt light up the Chargers defense with help from his short passing game to his backs. Still, the Chiefs have been using Ware like a bell cow (with Charles spelling him) and he sees work in the passing game as well. Reports suggest Charles is still unsure with his knee so until he breaks out he should not really hamper Ware’s style. Against a team that has already allowed a whopping 10 rushing TDs (including four to the Falcons earlier this season), it is impossible to declare any other RB in this same pricing tier a better play than Ware. Verdict: Spencer Ware

RB – Jacquizz Rodgers/Mike Gillislee – The two best value plays at the RB position this week are clearly Jacquizz Rodgers and Mike Gillislee. At this point (Saturday evening), Rodgers is 100-percent guaranteed to start whereas LeSean McCoy is still officially listed as questionable. Earlier in the week, ESPN’s Josina Anderson reported McCoy could miss up to four weeks with this hamstring injury and McCoy supposedly looked hampered at practice on Friday so it is unlikely he plays. Assuming Gillislee starts, these are two workhorse backs at incredibly reasonable price tags in favorable matchups. The matchup edge goes to Rodgers who will face a 49ers defense that has allowed a 100-plus yard rusher in every game since Week 1 whereas the price edge goes to Gillislee listed at the absolute bare minimum ($6,000). Even just seeing sporadic playing time over the past two weeks, Gillislee has still scored in back-to-back contests. Nevertheless, Rodgers is the better play here as the team literally ran him into the ground from the get-go in their last game; he set a NFL record with 10 carries on the first drive alone and finished with 20.90 fantasy points without scoring. Against a defense being consistently gashed on the ground, that sort of workload is virtually guaranteed to translate into production whose defense ranks 28th in rushing defense-adjusted value over average (DVOA), per Football Outsiders. Verdict: Jacquizz Rodgers

WR – Julio Jones/A.J. Green – The last time A.J. Green squared off against a Joe Haden-less Browns team, all he did was catch 5-6 targets for 128 yards and a TD. So basically, this is like choosing between a Lamborghini and a Rolls Royce because Julio Jones too draws a fantastic matchup against a banged up Chargers secondary. According to Pro Football Focus, the two have an identical statistical edge over the cornerback covering them so even individual matchup cannot be used as a differentiator. Therefore, the fact the Falcons are implied to score the most points (30) in a game with the weekend’s highest over/under (54) is enough to push Jones over the top. If the Falcons are going to score the most points (or close) of any team this weekend, Jones is no doubt going to be involved. Oh yeah and he’s averaging 1.5 more fantasy points per game than Green. Verdict: Julio Jones

TE – Jack Doyle/Vernon Davis – Everyone is rightfully on the cheap TEs this weekend because they present some nice value for their basement prices. Jack Doyle is literally priced at the absolute minimum and Dwayne Allen has been ruled out while Vernon Davis is $600 more expensive…but Jordan Reed has been ruled out for his team and his matchup is about as good as it gets. If talking cash games though, is there really a reason to spend down on one of these guys? At the combine, Doyle ran a 4.8 40-yard dash and his NFL comparison on Player Profiler is Jim Dray. Who? Exactly. In other words, it is difficult to trust him. Similarly, Davis is hard to rely on considering he only saw four targets last week (even though he caught two passes for 50 yards and a TD). With backs like Gillislee and Rodgers listed so damn cheap, why not spend up at the TE position and get the guy with the absolute highest floor at the position by far. With all the value elsewhere, do not mess around with these scrubs in cash…spend up for Rob Gronkowski instead? For the record, Davis is the superior of the two plays against a defense that has allowed 17 passing TDs overall this year and a whopping 19 TDs to TEs over their last 22 games.  Verdict: Rob Gronkowski

Ricky Sanders

Ricky Sanders

Ricky Sanders is a fantasy sports expert with over 15 years of playing experience. After starting several freelance fantasy sports blogs, Ricky moved up in the fantasy industry when he joined Going9 Baseball. He wrote fantasy baseball content and had a weekly radio spot on the site’s SiriusXM Satellite Radio show. Shortly thereafter, in early 2013, Ricky joined RotoExperts as a three-sport fantasy contributor, eventually becoming one of the site’s lead basketball writers. While writing for RotoExperts, Ricky was introduced to daily fantasy sports and immediately fell in love. With help from some of his mentors, some of the best DFS players in the world, he honed his skills and became the daily fantasy expert he is today. When RotoExperts created a daily-focused website called DailyRoto.com, Ricky was brought on as one of the main contributors. He still makes frequent appearances on the RotoExperts SiriusXM Radio show and on the FNTSY Sports Television Network, talking daily fantasy sports. He also continues to write for a few DFS content sites: RotoCurve and The Fantasy Fix. Ricky is a proud and active member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. He has agreed to be a writer and representative for the FantasyDraft brand and serves as an ambassador to the site. He has no more access to the site than the typical user. Don’t hesitate to contact Ricky with questions on Twitter @RSandersDFS.

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