Onto the next battle. Since we're still early in the season, here's a bullet point list of what you'll find in 'Value Plays' article each Friday ...
- Each position features three players that I believe are strong value selections for the upcoming weekend, plus the reasoning behind the choice.
- The price tag indicated in parentheses is what you will find over at DraftKings.com.
- Following a quick write-up of why each particular player is a solid value, I'll offer a suggestion on where you should then take your money savings. This works to provide a run-down of the more highly-priced guys that I do like for the upcoming weekend.
- At each position I will also list the highest-priced player in that spot, alongside a 1-10 score which references how confident I would be in that player earning back their cost (10 being a guarantee).
Of course, when you're dealing with a salary cap structure, a good portion of the players I recommend do not correlate to top-notch starting options in season-long play. About half the time, a DFS recommendation is not a thumbs' up for that same player in your season-long set-up (i.e., the value love for Albert Wilson this week).
Before I jump into the Week 7 DFS value plays, here's a look at the Week 6 Report Card ...
- Brian Hoyer came through with a top-6 showing at the position. Jay Cutler was over 20 points, but Teddy Bridgewater mostly scuffled versus Kansas City.
- Lamar Miller proved to be one of the best bargains of the entire week with a breakout showing against Tennessee. Theo Riddick was one of just 23 RBs to be in double-figures. Shane Vereen was a huge disappointment.
- Stefon Diggs popped up as a PPR-monster. Anquan Boldin posted a second straight 100-yard receiving effort and Marquess Wilson, although not great, was good enough to earn his price point.
- All three of the tight end recommendations (Zach Ertz, Larry Donnell, and Crockett Gillmore) came up with weak efforts.
- Jacksonville may have busted, but Miami (#1 overall) and Cleveland (#6 overall) were massive bargain hits.
Overall Week 6 Grade - B-
Matthew Stafford ($5,700) vs. MIN - Stafford FINALLY got the monkey off his back by slicing up Chicago's less-than-good defense last week. He posted his first QB rating over 84 (117.1), hit 300 yards for the first time (going all the way up to 405, in fact), and turned in his 6th-consecutive effort with a completion percentage over 60% (his to-this-point mark is 64.6%, far and away the best of his career). If you actually look into how Stafford has gone about his season, he has been mostly unlucky. In other words, his TD totals (which is what everyone is searching for) have been less than his actual efficiency would indicate. The Vikings now come into Ford Field and they sport an average pass defense all across the board. Just about the only guy they've even slowed down in the past month is the limp-armed, Peyton Manning. Stafford should hit 300 and be good for a pair of scores.
If you save here, spend here - Devonte Freeman ($7,900) @ TEN
Ryan Tannehill ($5,700) vs. HOU - As expected, a bye week and a coaching change pumped some life into the moribund Dolphins. Their defense came out blazing a week ago in Tennessee and helped the team cruise to an easy - and, much needed - victory. The key was that Miami re-discovered their running game. Usually, success there can mean less-than-great numbers from the QB. But, what happened last week? Well, Tannehill threw the football just 29 times (he was averaging almost 43 throws per week coming into the game), but was incredibly more efficient. He posted his second-best overall game of the season by going for 265+ and two scores. He was not perfect, but he was solid. The head-to-head with the Texans' is nothing to avoid. Another repeat of last week, makes him a big score at this price tag.
If you save here, spend here - Larry Fitzgerald ($7,400) vs. BAL
Ryan Fitzpatrick ($5,200) @ NE - Sometimes you just have to go with a 'Game Flow'-argument. Even though the Jets arrive in Foxboro with a competitive 4-1 record, do many outside of the Empire State expect them to hang with New England? Let's say you do. Well, don't they pull off that surprise by, at the very least, chucking the football around? Win or lose ... Close or blown-out ... I believe that New York will have to throw the football 35 times with Fitzpatrick. That's usually when he runs into trouble, of course, but it also means a good 20 completions. For his career, Fitz nails 11 yards per completion which means 200 should be a low-floor given. Add in the on-going rapport he's building with Brandon Marshall and the mid-tier pass defensive rankings of the Patriots, and you have the makings of a Fitz-magical bargain grab.
If you save here, spend here - Jason Witten ($4,800) @ NYG
Top of the Chart - Tom Brady ($8,500) vs. NYJ - 8.0
Rashad Jennings ($4,000) vs. DAL - If you caught the Monday Night affair between the Giants and the Eagles, two things should have stood out about the New York running game. It was rolling early behind Jennings and anytime Andre Williams was granted a carry, he did nothing (45 carries for an embarrassing 127 yards this season!). In other words, the Giants have to be just about finished with giving Williams his shot. The running game should proceed through Jennings. Even though the Eli Manning-led offense will always be pass-first, the Giants should be coming to terms with the fact that they have to 'show' the run to succeed. Jennings has averaged well-over four yards a chance over the previous three games. Dallas is solid against the run, but 12-15 carries for Jennings, should lead to near 70 yards. Just that many opportunities, at this cost, makes him viable.
If you save here, spend here - Tom Brady ($8,500) vs. NYJ
Theo Riddick ($3,400) vs. MIN - Here we go again! With every passing week, the salary-cost-setters-that-be refuse to budge on Riddick's price. Of course, last week was a down week for Riddick with only three catches for 50 yards. Still, I think that 33 catches through six games, plus the 280 yards and two scores that comes with it, should cost more. Right now, it doesn't. One slight bonus is in play, too. The Lions still can't find any kind of answer with their carousel of running backs, so Riddick could actually net some hand-off's moving forward. Last week, he earned seven attempts after having just two total in the first five weeks of the year.
If you save here, spend here - Carson Palmer ($6,700) vs. BAL
Alfred Morris ($3,300) vs. TB - As of this writing, Chris Thompson is iffy for Week 7 because of a severely bruised back. Matt Jones is still in play, but has been stuck on the side of milk cartons for the past month. Which leaves us with the always-unexciting, Morris. I won't mince words ... Morris has been bad in 2015. He can't get any regular work in the lost-at-sea, Redskin offense, as he sports weeks where he's gotten 15, 18, 6, 17, 8, and 11 carries, thus far. And, even when he's gotten chances, he has failed to respond with anything more than a quick fall over. Ah, but the light at the end of the tunnel! Before shutting down the under-manned Jaguars last week, Tampa Bay had been raked up for over 100 rushing yards in each of their first four contests. I see the 'Skins committing to much more of a ball-control effort with Kirk Cousins still at the helm this weekend. With Thompson iffy and Jones still mostly unproven, a lot of work could fall to the very cheap, Morris.
If you save here, spend here - Arian Foster ($7,500) @ MIA
Top of the Chart - Le'Veon Bell ($8,500) @ KC - 7.7
Willie Snead ($4,300) @ IND - There are not a load of wonderful values that really jump out at wide receiver. Snead's cost is a slight jump up from what we usually consider to be a 'bargain' in this space. Still, I feel his cost is lower than you might expect. Consider - He's the number-2, if not number-1, pass catching option in a Drew Brees-led attack; he's seen 22 targets in three weeks; he's pulled in 16 receptions for nearly 290 yards in those three games; and, he's on turf, in a dome, battling an Indy secondary that has been ripped to shreds all year. So, why is he so low on the totem pole? It's the all-important TDs. Snead hasn't found pay dirt since Week 2. So much work over the course of so many games has got to eventually pay off with a score. Even if he fails to post six this weekend, he should be good for low double-digit scoring.
If you save here, spend here - Odell Beckham ($8,700) vs. DAL
Jamison Crowder ($3,700) vs. TB - The play on Crowder shrinks just a bit with the assumed return of Jordan Reed, but Crowder is still worth a look based off what he has done of late. The rookie has been heavily-involved in each of the past three games and he should see looks once again. The Buccaneers are the opponent and you should make sure you're not mislead by the defensive rankings. A glance at the stats says that Tampa is '4th-best vs. the pass.' This is hugely misleading. They've allowed 'the 4th-fewest yards' through the air and that is what the NFL bases its' rankings on. But, more relevant, is the fact that the Bucs have seen the 3rd-fewest pass attempts against (they're getting creamed and, thus, teams aren't passing in the 2nd half of games). Furthermore, despite so few passes against, Tampa has still allowed 12 touchdowns in the passing game ... the 2nd-worst total in the entire league. Matchup, play, price ... it sets up well.
If you save here, spend here - Mark Ingram ($6,300) @ IND
Albert Wilson ($3,000) vs. PIT - Whereas Crowder gets tugged down a bit because of a returning player, Wilson gets a slight push forward because of a missing player. As of now, Jeremy Maclin (concussion) is touch-and-go to play in Week 7. Last week, after Maclin left, Wilson turned in a big catch and run for his first touchdown of the year and as a pro. Admittedly, he's been a mirage most of the season, but with Maclin set to sit, Wilson has to catch some eyes at this bottom-basement cost. Pittsburgh is still a very mediocre pass D and Alex Smith has got to throw to someone out wide, right?
If you save here, spend here - Travis Kelce ($4,900) vs. PIT
Top of the Chart - Julio Jones ($9,100) @ TEN - 8.2
Jordan Cameron ($3,300) vs. HOU - We touched earlier on what the Dolphins and Ryan Tannehill did in last week's easy win at Tennessee. A part of their successful attack was an emphasis on aiming the ball at Cameron. He received eight targets (two were intercepted), but only finished with three receptions. I'd wager that the Dolphins will keep going in his direction, especially when set to face a Texans' defense that has been very friendly to opposing tight ends. Moving forward, you'll see this reasoning constantly when discussing tight end values ... decent player, great price, positive matchup. That equals serious consideration.
If you save here, spend here - DeAndre Hopkins ($8,600) @ MIA
Eric Ebron ($3,000) vs. MIN - After missing a couple of games, Ebron should be back on the field this Sunday. Enjoy this price while you can get it. Before going down with a knee injury, Ebron was becoming a participating piece in the Lion passing game. With 23 targets in his first four games, the 2nd-year option was set to emerge as a top 10 option at his position. There's been a hiccup, but now things can get rolling again. You can expect another 5-6 targets and, hopefully, at least four catches. With the talent of Calvin Johnson so often clearing out the middle of the field, Ebron should have loads of space to do some damage.
If you save here, spend here - Philip Rivers ($6,500) vs. OAK
Ladarius Green ($2,900) vs. OAK - And, now we arrive at the play, that so many will be hitting up come Sunday! Currently, Antonio Gates is limping around with an injury and is a question mark for this one. That would obviously help Green in most any match-up. But, this particular match-up is against the Raiders ... you know, the proverbial, 'Worst Team Against Opposing Tight End's Not Named Owen Daniels.' Understand that even if Gates is on the active roster for the Raiders, you can still chance it with Green. He's been in double-figures for both of the games since Gates came back from suspension.
If you save here, spend here - Lamar Miller ($4,600) vs. HOU
Top of the Chart - Rob Gronkowski ($8,100) vs. NYJ - 8.9
Pittsburgh ($2,600) @ KC - An offense without superstar, Jamaal Charles, is an offense that is mostly lost. We saw that last weekend with KC's trip to Minneapolis. The Chiefs just don't make you fear anything. Alex Smith seems to never throw beyond 15 yards and his blocking up front is a mess. The Steelers are not a good defense by any stretch, but sometimes you just can't ignore such a friendly head-to-head.
If you save here, spend here - Calvin Johnson ($7,700) vs. MIN
Washington ($2,500) vs. TB - The Redskins need this one if they have any plans on sticking around for the second half of the season. They're defense has been solid most of the season and has been quite good when playing in front of the home fans. The trio of Miami, St. Louis, and Philly, have combined for just 47 games on trips to Maryland. Sure, facing a team with three talents like Doug Martin, Mike Evans, and Vincent Jackson, has its' pitfalls, but Jameis Winston evens things up. If Washington gets some pressure on the rook, expect mistakes to follow. Big plays make your week. This game could serve up a few turnovers.
If you save here, spend here - Matthew Stafford ($5,700) vs. MIN
St. Louis ($2,400) vs. CLE - As usual, St. Louis has a fairly awful offense with a very good defense. That defense is banged up (both Alec Ogletree and Chris Long are set to miss this one), but it is still fearsome up front and getting some shutdown work in the back-end. All this is before we even get to the favorable battle against Cleveland. The Browns can get yards, but they haven't done a very good job of scoring. And, on the road is not a good place for their mostly young offense to be snapping the football. The Rams are dirt-cheap and could get 5-6 sacks.
If you save here, spend here - Todd Gurley ($5,000) vs. CLE
Top of the Chart - Arizona ($3,600) vs. BAL - 8.5
You can hear Kyle, Monday-Thursday from 8-10 ET and Friday's from 10-midnight ET, on 'The SiriusXM Fantasy Drive', on Sirius 210, XM 87.