Last Second Decisions: DeAndre Hopkins or Cameron Meredith?

On Saturday 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 dealing with heading into Week 16:

QB – Ben Roethlisberger/Jameis Winston – On paper, the matchup against the Ravens is not overly friendly as they have allowed the eighth fewest fantasy points to opposing QBs. Additionally, they rate as the league’s sixth best passing defense this season according to Football Outsiders’ defense-adjusted value over average (DVOA) metric. However, the Ravens have allowed a whopping 56 points over the course of their last two games. During that span, they have allowed the third most fantasy points per game (FPPG) to opposing QBs. As if that were not enough, Ben Roethlisberger has produced a 119.0 QB rating in Heinz Field compared to just 78.4 on the road. All three of his 30-plus fantasy points outbursts this year have come in the friendly confines of home and this is setting up to be another monster performance. On the other hand, Jameis Winston will have the opportunity to face a subpar Saints secondary (28th in passing DVOA) in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Although Winston struggled in his last meeting against the Saints (Week 14) to the tune of 184 passing yards and 16 rushing yards (no TDs), he should succeed in this matchup over the long run. Not only have the Saints allowed the seventh most fantasy points to opposing QBs but they have also allowed at least 20 points in every game at home this season. In fact, they have allowed 28-plus points in four of seven games at home. Still, Roethlisberger’s matchup reigns supreme this week especially at an affordable $12,600 price tag. While others are in great spots, his situation is pretty close to “the nuts.” Verdict: Ben Roethlisberger

RB – LeSean McCoy/DeMarco Murray – The pricing difference between these two is nearly $4,000 so LeSean McCoy would need to draw the vastly superior matchup in order to draw the nod. Well, over the last month, only six teams have allowed more fantasy points to opposing RBs than the Dolphins. During that stretch, they have allowed 405 rushing yards (average of 101.3 yards per game), 250 receiving yards (average of 62.5 per game) and three TDs to RBs. Unfortunately for McCoy, he has been losing red zone touches to Mike Gillislee who received two red zone touches last week and found the end zone for the seventh time this year. McCoy’s 35.4-percent share of the team’s red zone rushes over the course of the last two weeks is lower than the likes of Zach Zenner and Damien Williams so there is a little reason for concern. The same is true for DeMarco Murray who has lost some goal line work to Derrick Henry as of late which makes these two backs a very interesting comparison. According to the percentages, Murray’s problem is more substantial considering Henry has received seven red zone touches over the last two weeks which equates to 63.6-percent of the team’s carries down close during that time. Nevertheless, it is hard to overlook the matchup against a Jaguars team who Murray roasted for 123 yards rushing and a TD (on 21 carries) on Oct. 27. The team still rates as a beatable run defense (12th in rusing DVOA) so why not take the savings and use a back in a similar spot for a $3,700 less? Verdict: DeMarco Murray

RB – Frank Gore/Kenneth Farrow – Do you like volume at a reasonable price? Then you will love both Frank Gore and Kenneth Farrow this week. Both are slated to act as their team’s workhorse backs and yet Gore is priced at $9,400 and Farrow is listed at $9,800. Farrow, the more expensive back, draws one of the best possible matchups: a date with the Browns. If it were not for the 49ers next level of horrendousness when it comes to rushing defense, the Browns could easily be allowing the most FPPG to opposing backs. Amazingly, the team ranks 32nd in rushing DVOA even behind the 49ers which helps depict just how terrible they have truly been. Farrow is nothing more than an average talent but even he should be able to get it done this week after disappointing those who rostered him (on 17 total touches) in Week 15. Meanwhile, Gore has carried the ball 20-plus times in two of his last three games and is heading into this week having produced 15-plus fantasy points in consecutive games. The Raiders have allowed the ninth most fantasy points to opposing backs this season including five rushing TDs over the past four weeks. Gore has proven to be a consistent producer week after week, year after year so there is no reason to fear him against a defense that ranks 21st in rushing DVOA either. Verdict: Frank Gore

WR – DeAndre Hopkins/Cameron Meredith – An important change happened on offense in the cases of both DeAndre Hopkins and Cameron Meredith. For Hopkins, the team made a change at QB and Tom Savage stepped in last week and targeted him a hefty 16 times alone (17 total targets including the one from Brock Osweiler). As for the Bears, Alshon Jeffery returned and catapulted Matt Barkley to a 300 yard, two TD day. This week, Josh Norman will cover Jeffery which should leave plenty of open space for Meredith. Nevertheless, Hopkins is just vastly underpriced as he proved last season he is a WR1 in the truest form when receiving the volume…especially from just a below average QB as opposed to a terrible one. Assuming Savage looks him way anywhere near the amount he did last week, Hopkins is going to blow away this price tag. Verdict: DeAndre Hopkins

TE – Delanie Walker/Cameron Brate – Both of these mid-tier TEs produced similar games in their previous meeting this year against the same opponent. Delanie Walker caught 4-5 targets for 75 yards against the Jaguars (11.80 fantasy points) while Cameron Brate hauled in 4-5 targets for 47 yards (8.70 fantasy points). With the TE position an absolute mess this week, these guys actually project as two of the best values at the position. If choosing one, Brate gets the nod due to the Saints ranking 25th in DVOA against opposing TEs and this game being played in the Coors Field of fantasy football (Mercedes-Benz Superdome). At just $7,700, expect Brate to have a better game in this one with the game likely morphing into a shootout before all said and done. Verdict: Cameron Brate

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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