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). The ownership percentages are based on the Thursday night $1,250 First and Ten contest.
Chalk: Tyrod Taylor, Bills, $11,200 (nine-percent owned) – Ownership percentage this week was interesting to say the least as I had expected Tyrod Taylor to be much chalkier at QB. His matchup is just about as good as it gets against a team that ranks in the bottom two of both rushing and passing defense in terms of Football Outsiders’ defense-adjusted value over average (DVOA) metric. Taylor is the game’s premiere dual-threat at the position as he leads all QBs in both rushing yards (471) and rushing TDs (six). If he is going to be even remotely contrarian then there is serious value to rostering him over the likes of Kirk Cousins who was the most heavily owned QB of the slate. With Taylor racking up fantasy points in multiple ways, he should easily complete for the slate leader in fantasy-points-per-dollar at the position and will do so at a crazy low ownership.
Contrarian: Joe Flacco, Ravens, $11,200 (three-percent owned) – Another option to differentiate from the pack is Joe Flacco against an Eagles defense that has allowed at least 26 real points in four consecutive games. In fact, they have allowed the second most fantasy points to opposing QBs over that span (the last month). None of the Eagles’ starting corners in a basic nickel package have graded inside the top 75 at the position in terms of their coverage abilities, per Pro Football Focus. Meanwhile, Joe Flacco has finished as a top two QB in terms of fantasy points on the weekend slate in back-to-back weeks. With a red hot QB squaring off against an ice cold defense in the comfort of his home stadium, the advantage goes to Flacco.
Running Back (RB)
Chalk: Kenneth Dixon, Ravens, $7,400 (28-percent owned) – The great part about Kenneth Dixon in a matchup against a stout Eagles run defense is how active he is in the passing game. After catching 8-11 targets for 42 yards and a TD last week, Dixon is still listed at a sub-$8,000 cost. Finally, Dixon had the week we had all been waiting for where he dominated the offensive snaps of Terrance West. When all said and done, Dixon played 42 offensive snaps to West’s 14. All season long the team has been gloating about Dixon’s skill set and promised to get him more work so now that it has happened the fantasy world clearly has taken notice considering he was the highest owned back of anyone not named David Johnson or Le’Veon Bell. As icing on the cake, the Eagles rank 21st in DVOA against opposing backs in the passing game.
Contrarian: Isaiah Crowell, Browns, $8,000 (six-percent owned) – Isaiah Crowell was included in this article last week and all he did was rush for 113 yards on 10 carries (11.3 yards per carry (YPC)) against the Bengals. Now, Crowell and company will square off against a Bills team that was just torched by Le’Veon Bell to the tune of 236 yards rushing and three rushing TDs on 38 carries (6.2 YPC). Of course, Crowell will not see anywhere near that sort of volume but the Bills ranked 25th in rushing DVOA even prior to the Bell explosion. With Robert Griffin III back, the team relied on Crowell for a majority of the offensive snaps (30-24) over Duke Johnson Jr. mostly because the QB does not really utilize the passing back as much as he could/should. Instead, the threat of Griffin III rushing opens up a few extra running lanes and clearly deems Crowell the more reliable back in both fantasy and reality as long as he is under center. Coming off a great week, look for Crowell to build on his momentum against a defense that showed just how susceptible they are just last week.
Wide Receiver (WR)
Chalk: Marqise Lee, Jaguars, $7,800 (10-percent owned) – Unfortunately for Allen Robinson, he draws the individual matchup against A.J. Bouye this week who has quietly rated as one of the game’s best handful of cover corners so far this season. When facing the Texans defense, literally any other individual matchup is a giant upgrade as neither Kareem Jackson nor Robert Nelson have graded as even top 75 overall players at their position this season. While Kevin A. Johnson was playing at a near Pro Bowl level, and Jonathan Joseph had been playing decent football as well, neither are expected to play this weekend (and Johnson has been placed on I.R.). Therefore, Lee will draw the much more favorable matchup and he has quite honestly been the Jaguars most productive receiver this season. In fact, he is coming off of a game where he topped 100 yards receiving for the second time this season. He has been targeted at least six times in six consecutive games so there volume is consistently there for a play who will not cost you a whole lot to roster.
Contrarian: Seth Roberts, Raiders, $6,000 (three-percent owned) – Speaking of not costing you a whole lot, Seth Roberts is literally priced at the minimum. Who would you guess leads the Raiders in red zone targets this season? Most would probably say Amari Cooper but the answer is a tie between Michael Crabtree and Seth Roberts. At minimum price, Roberts draws an excellent matchup against Craig Mager who has graded as one of the worst corners in all of football. Although he has played significantly less snaps this season than both Cooper and Crabtree, he still has seen the field for 68.2-percent of the team’s offensive plays. At this price, he does not need to do much in order to come through for his owners. If he were to receive a red zone target and actually score once again, he would absolutely crush value.
Tight Ends (TE)
Chalk: Jermaine Gresham, Cardinals, $5,000 (20-percent owned) – Jermaine Gresham is listed as questionable this week but is expected to play. Assuming he does, he provides tremendous value at the TE position this week considering he has been targeted at least six times in three straight games and has caught exactly five passes in each. During that span, he has scored 12.00, 7.70 and 7.00 fantasy points respectively and he will now square off against a defense that ranks 25th in DVOA against the position. Especially in cash games, rostering Gresham is the easiest way to fit both David Johnson and Le’Veon Bell but clearly people employed that very strategy in GPPs as well. Without much standing out at the position this week, punting it makes a fair amount of sense.
Contrarian: Ladarius Green, Steelers, $7,300 (three-percent owned) – Last week’s stinker should prove to actually be a good thing for those looking to roster Ladarius Green this week because it certainly knocked down his ownership percentage. After topping the 100 yard mark in Week 13, Green only managed to haul in 2-6 targets in the snow for a measly 25 yards. His upcoming opponent, the Bengals, have allowed the third most fantasy points to the TE position including the absolute most yards (926). Green’s skill set is based on based so he is able to rack up a ton of yards in the blink of an eye. On an offense that had been missing the presence of a true possession TE like Heath Miller, Green should prove to be the answer over the long run. For a guy who can finish as TE1 on literally any given week with his skill set, this price tag (and ownership level) is simply too low.