Win, Lose or Tye

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).

Quarterback (QB)

Chalk: Carson Palmer, Cardinals, $10,500 – One player whose price does not match their upside in their respective matchup is Carson Palmer. It is not exactly like Palmer has been terrible recently as he has either thrown for two-plus TDs or exceeded 300 yards passing in four consecutive games (including a game where he accomplished both). The average score of a Falcons game is 33-28 and the Cardinals are listed as 5.0 point underdogs so the game flow should play to his favor as well. If the team is playing from behind, Palmer will need to throw more than usual and this defense is weak in all the ideal spots for the Cardinals’ offense. For one, they have allowed the most receiving yards to opposing backs so David Johnson could turn a short pass into a long TD. Additionally, they have allowed the second most fantasy points out of the slot so Larry Fitzgerald should be primed for a big afternoon as well. Palmer should be a $13,000 QB in this game, but he is not, so go ahead and take the savings.

Contrarian: Joe Flacco, Ravens, $10,500 – Only six teams have allowed more fantasy points per game to opposing QBs than the Bengals and only teams have averaged more passing attempts per game than the Ravens. Therefore, this is a perfect elixir in terms of matchup and volume for Joe Flacco. Even if it is not pretty to watch, Flacco should have enough opportunities to at least make this one respectable. Over the course of his past three games, he has averaged 35.3 pass attempts per game and has not dipped below 15 fantasy points during that stretch even though he faced two of the better ball-dominating offenses (Cowboys and Steelers). In this game, he should easily exceed 40 passing attempts which should lead to a standard deviation higher in terms of production than usual. While Flacco is never a safe option, this divisional matchup presents a fantastic spot for him to excel.

Running Back (RB)

Chalk: Jeremy Hill, Bengals, $7,700 – By default, Jeremy Hill is going to garner a fair amount of ownership because he is a starting back who will be receiving a ton of volume for his basement price. With Giovani Bernard out for the year, Hill and Rex Burkhead are expected to be the only two healthy backs which means 20-plus touches are likely on the docket for Hill. The Ravens rate as the top rushing defense according to Football Outsiders’ defense-adjusted value over average (DVOA) metric so the matchup quite literally could not be worse. For that reason, there certainly should be some reason for pessimism along with the fact the box will likely be stacked. Why? A.J. Green is out as well so Tyler Eifert is really the only imposing option in the pass game. With that being the case, the defense will be able to focus on Hill, and while he will still probably touch the ball 20-plus times, there is a mixed bag of potential outcomes.

Contrarian: Kenneth Dixon, Ravens, $7,400 – Last week, the transformation officially began in terms of Kenneth Dixon inevitably passing Terrance West on the depth chart. West played 23 offensive snaps to Dixon’s 21 and touched the ball nine times compared to six for Dixon. Although the Cowboys dominated the time of possession (as per usual), West received less than 16 total touches for the first time in a three week span. West ended up finding the end zone but there is no question this is a full-blown committee at the very least. Prior to Week 11, Ian Rappoport reported Dixon would be receiving more carries and now the game flow of this contest should be more favorable. At some point, the superior talent is going to separate itself from the pack and that man is Dixon in the long run. Against a team that ranks 20th in rushing defense DVOA, this is a sneaky spot to deploy Dixon in GPPs just in case this proves to be the week.

Wide Receiver (WR)

Chalk: Tyler Boyd, Bengals, $7,800 – Sans A.J. Green, someone is going to be forced to step up in the receiving core by default (if the Bengals are going to compete) and Tyler Boyd flashed signs of him being the one last week; he caught 6-8 targets for 54 yards and a TD. Since the team selected him in the second round of this year’s NFL Draft, they clearly think pretty highly of him. At Pittsburgh (the college), he was a high-volume receiver who was relied upon as the top option so he has experience with a similar role to the one that may be headed his way now. There is simply too much value here for a guy who should a similar allotment of targets in this game facing a Ravens defense that ranks 25th in DVOA against opposing number one WRs.

Contrarian: Corey Coleman, Browns, $8,400 – Josh McCown is the best possible QB of the Browns’ bunch to consistently be able to feed the pass-catching options in the offense. Like Flacco, he may not get it done in an optically appealing manner but he finds a way to get them the ball. In McCown’s return to the lineup last week, he targeted Coleman 12 times although the stud young WR only hauled in four of the passes. On paper, the Giants are a dominant bunch against opposing number one WR options (Terrelle Pryor) and susceptible to second options and above. According to Pro Football Focus, Corey Coleman draws the most favorable possible individual matchup against this secondary: one-on-one with Eli Apple. Thankfully for Coleman’s sake, Apple rates as Pro Football Focus’ 88th best cover corner so far this season…aka not very good. Eventually Coleman is going to able to duplicate his monstrous Week 2 performance (5-104-1) so rostering him in GPPs could be a professional use of game theory.

Tight Ends (TE)

Chalk: Gary Barnidge, Browns, $7,000 – Speaking of McCown’s targets, no one has benefitted from him under center more than Gary Barnidge. Although Barnidge has only averaged around 10 fantasy points per game (FPPG) with all non-McCown options under center for the Browns, he has eclipsed 15 FPPG with McCown throwing to him. Squaring off against Apple is one area of susceptibility for this defense but they also rank 24th in TE DVOA and surrender 70.2 receiving yards per game to the position. Remember, Barnidge finished as TE3 in fantasy just last season so he still possesses borderline elite talent at the position when his buddy is under center. Since his price is incredibly depressed, this is the perfect time to use him.

Contrarian: Will Tye, Giants, $6,000 – On the other side of the same matchup, Will Tye has run away with the starting gig at the TE position. Once fighting it out for targets with Larry Donnell, Tye has now set his season-high in yardage and scored his first TD of the season on consecutive weeks. The Browns are literally the “nuts” when it comes to matchups for opposing TEs as they have allowed the most yards, TDs and even receptions to the position so far this season. According to DVOA, they only rank 30th against the position, but that is still pretty awful. With Tye priced awfully affordably, you could certainly do worse.

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, 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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