Over the next 17 weeks (and into the post-season), I’ll be highlighting some of the best bargains on the best daily site in the industry, FanDuel.
I won’t suggest any player I don’t think has upside. This slants the suggestions towards Grand Prize Pool (GPP) tournaments. But I try to keep the main suggestions cash game viable as well, unless otherwise stated. Depending on how you construct your lineup their viability can change. The “options” for each position will have lower floors but also offer greater savings. Every play holds risk (until I invent that time machine.)
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Note: I used 4for4.com’s Adjusted Fantasy Points Allowed (aFPA) to determine defensive rankings and pro-football-reference.com to find raw stats.
Carson Palmer, ARI ($7100)
Line: -2 ARI
I’m listing Palmer here because he’s a clear value, but I have concerns. ARI is still leading the league in passing attempts at an historic pace and Tampa Bay has been a mid-level pass funnel defense. But the Bucs have some big defensive names returning to the lineup this week. The Cardinals just traded for Adrian Peterson and while I don’t think he is likely to be more effective than Chris Johnson, they could try to feed him. In the end I trust that Bruce Arians wants to throw, but with the improved defensive line combined with the terrible o-line play I worry watching Palmer scramble for his life and putting up points with death-defying deep throws could be a true sweat this week.
Kirk Cousins, WAS ($7800)
Line: -10.5 WAS
Since I just half trashed my own pick, I thought it best to add another. This game is projected to be a blowout win for Washington, but coming off their bye week Rob Kelley is doubtful to play and hasn’t been practicing. I think that leaves them without a running back who can grind clock effectively. Rested, and ready to get their passing attack back on track, I think they could very well play spread and throw all game. While San Francisco is still a positive matchup for running backs, it hasn’t been the walk off win spot like last season. Meanwhile, they have also ranked 20th (32 being the best matchup, 1 being the worst for the position) in aFPA to wide receivers this year.
Other options: Josh McCown (6900), Kevin Hogan (6100), Deshaun Watson (7900)
You should take some good value at running back this week. It’s tempting to get overzealous and “fade the chalk.” But free squares are a different matter. When virtually free production appears, you should get some exposure to it.
Kareem Hunt, KC ($9300)
Line: -4.5 KC
Okay, so my first pick isn’t one of the “Free Square” plays. In fact, Kareem Hunt is the highest priced running back on the week. But he is still a value in week six if you consider the probability that he meets or exceeds his implied value based on his salary. I don’t think I need to run through the astonishing achievements of the rookie this year, it’s enough to say that he is averaging 22 touches per game and over 23.9 fantasy points in FanDuel’s scoring system. He is a home favorite running back who is going up against the 18th-ranked defense against the position. There is a chance Pittsburgh puts up a fight here, but no matter the game script Hunt will get volume. Chris Conley and Tyreek Hill nursing injuries could focus yet more offensive production on the impressive rookie.
Mark Ingram, NO ($5900)
Line: -5 NO
The Adrian Peterson trade cleared up any volume concerns we had about the New Orleans backfield. Ingram is a home Favorite who has been getting 14 touches a game (and 5 targets) already. He is priced like a backup while being the lead back in the highest projected game total of the week. You could look to the passing game,(certainly viable) or the equally interesting Alvin Kamara, but I think Ingram also offers sneakier upside.
I have some concern that this game goes under its projected total. Both teams have shown a desire to run the ball and slow down the game at different points this season. Detroit has at least one solid cornerback in Darius Slay and while he’s not someone to avoid, it could slow the game down as well. On the other hand the Saints defense has been, bizarrely, not the worst in the history of the NFL this year. In fact, they’ve been okay. Ingram could and should get plenty of opportunity in either game script.
Other options: Jerick Mckinnon (5600), Elijah McGuire (5700), Alvin Kamara (5800), Javorius Allen (5800)
Given the value at running back this week, the top options at the wide receiver position are in strong consideration.
DeAndre Hopkins, HOU ($8000)
Line: -9.5 HOU
Houston has gone over the projected team total the last few weeks and faces off against Cleveland this week, at home. HOU has a top three projected team total on the week, and Hopkins is averaging (!) 12.2 targets per game. CLE has been a legitimately good run defense this year. Lamar Miller has been playing well the last couple of weeks, but against the third-highest pass-funnel defense this year I like the passing game. (HOU ranks second in pass-funnel, in case you were wondering.) Despite being a likely favorite, it’s simply easier to pass than run on the Browns. Deshaun Watson hasn’t needed any encouragement to target Hopkins excessively either. Hopkins has 7 red zone targets on the year, 11th-highest at the position.
Other options: Taylor Gabriel (5800), Ricardo Louis (4500), Adam Thielen (6500)
Ryan Griffin, HOU ($4500)
Line: -9.5 HOU
Tight ends against Cleveland are going to continue to be a target at a good price until they prove that it doesn’t work anymore. The position has strong positive correlation in home games with high totals as well. Ryan Griffin has had 9 targets from Deshaun Watson over the last two games and 3 red zone targets on the year. With a high projected team total, and a pass funnel defense that ranks dead last against the tight end position, Griffin makes for an easy value this week.
Other options: David Njoku (4500), Evan Engram (5300), Zach Miller (5000)