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: Marcus Mariota, Titans, $11,200 – Over the past five weeks, Marcus Mariota has not dipped below 17.68 fantasy points thanks to throwing multiple TDs in each. Reportedly, Mariota is dealing with an ankle injury, which is obviously not ideal, but he has rushed for a combined 39 yards over the past three weeks and it has hardly impacted his value. Against a team with a stout run defense and a banged up secondary, there is no reason to believe Mariota will not carve them up like he has done to everyone lately. With Vegas projecting this game as the second highest scoring of the weekend, Mariota is a safe cash play as per usual.
Contrarian: Carson Wentz, Eagles, $10,600 – The only game with a higher projected over/under than the aforementioned Falcons/Packers tilt is the Falcons/Eagles game at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. For four consecutive weeks, Carson Wentz’s fantasy points have been trending upwards and he actually threw for 364 yards last week. Against a Falcons team that has allowed the most fantasy points to opposing QBs and the second most passing yards, there is no reason to believe Wentz cannot improve on last week’s 15.16 fantasy point performance. With Vegas expecting a close shootout, Wentz could easily compete for the fantasy-point-per-dollar lead at the position.
Chalk: Daren Sproles, Eagles, $8,500 – One incredibly enticing aspect about this Falcons defense is the fact they have allowed the most receiving yards to opposing RBs. Yes, RBs have gained 547 yards receiving on 71 receptions (RECs) which have led to three receiving TDs against them. Meanwhile, Darren Sproles has played 60-plus snaps on consecutive weeks, touched the ball at least 16 in each game and has been targeted at least seven times in both games as well…and he is only priced at $8,500 in a game expected to be a shootout. His receiving skills alone dictate a price tag much more expensive than the one he has given but the fantastic matchup just puts him over the top as the best value at the position this week.
Contrarian: Kapri Bibbs, Broncos, $7,800 – Coach speak is difficult to interpret sometimes but Coach ary Kubiak said has Kapri Bibbs earned more work even though he only touched the ball three times last week. His only REC resulted in a 69 yard TD, and Devontae Booker has not eclipsed 2.8 yards per carry (YPC) in either of the last two games, so there is reason to believe the coach is not just posturing. Whomever is getting the carries in this matchup is certainly deserving of consideration as the Saints have allowed 4.4 YPC, 108.5 rushing yards per game and 14 total TDs to opposing backs so far this season. All of this equates to the second most fantasy points allowed to the position, so if Bibbs really could be the guy, he is absolutely worthy of deploying in all formats. Since the situation is a bit unclear, I would feel best about rostering him in GPPs only.
Wide Receiver (WR)
Chalk: J.J. Nelson, Cardinals, $8,300 – A few weeks ago, J.J. Nelson was a player I wrote up in a weekly review article and suggested he was a player worth remembering since his team was going on bye. Unfortunately, it seems like everyone and their grandmother had the same thought process as he ended up one of my most heavily owned players on the Thursday slate…and why not? Over the past two games, Nelson has been targeted seven and 12 times respectively and he scored twice the last time he took the field (Week 8 versus the Panthers). His performance has led to Coach Bruce Arians deeming him a starter over the struggling Michael Floyd and it looks like blue skies ahead this week against arguably the worst defense in football (49ers). Oh, and he is incredibly cheap. If needing a punt WR in cash, rostering Nelson is the way to remain in line with the pack.
Contrarian: Corrdarrelle Patterson, Vikings, $6,700 – Thinking logically, Stefon Diggs is set to be shadowed by cornerback Josh Norman this week (according to Pro Football Focus), so someone else will need to step up and fill in for his production. Well, Cordarrelle Patterson certainly fits the bill as the next guy up considering he has been targeted six-plus times in four of his last five games. During that span, he has scored twice as well, which is nice to see from a 6’2” WR with serious speed. With most of the focus on Diggs, Patterson could quietly produce a monster performance against a defense that ranks 31st in terms of Football Outsiders’ defense-adjusted value over average (DVOA) statistic against number two WRs. In tournaments, he should be a difference maker.
Tight Ends (TE)
Chalk: Zach Miller, Bears, $7,100 – Probably the safest cash game bet at the TE position this week is Zach Miller against a Buccaneers defense that is allowing 29.0 points per game. As noted in a piece earlier this week, Miller has averaged 0.42 TDs per game in games with Jay Cutler under center compared to just 0.38 TDs per game with all other Bears QBs he has played with. In the Bears’ last game, Cutler immediately focused much of his attention on Miller as he targeted him a whopping 10 times and Miller caught seven passes for 88 yards. Clearly, Cutler is the best QB on this football team so Miller’s prospects are best with him running the offense. At just $7,100, his price tag allows one to pay up at the important positions such as RB and WR this week and that is probably the most compelling case for him this week.
Contrarian: Lance Kendricks, Rams, $5,900 – Another value option at the position is Lance Kendricks who literally no one wants to roster in a game that could end up with a 10-6 final score. Both offenses are brutal but the Jets have surrendered the ninth most receiving yards to opposing TEs and someone like Kenny Britt is the type to have difficulty with Darrelle Revis. This year, Revis has been burned by speedsters but big lumbering receivers have not enjoyed nearly as much success. If Britt is having his issues, and this upper-echelon rushing defense keeps Todd Gurley in reasonable check, then the team is going to have to look for other targets. At only slightly above the minimum, Kendricks projects awfully well…especially considering he has caught seven passes in consecutive games and has been targeted at least eight times in three straight games.