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
Before I jump into the Week 13 DFS value plays, here's a look at the Week 12 Report Card ...
- For the first time all season, none of the three QB suggestions came up golden. Marcus Mariota was very good with more than 22 points, but that ranked 15th within in a high-scoring weekend. Both Brian Hoyer and Josh McCown (who left early with a broken collarbone) were solid with efforts in the mid-teens.
- Spencer Ware was 'ace' in every aspect, finishing in the top 5 at his position. Shaun Draughn posted a high-end RB2 showing, but Ahmad Bradshaw suffered yet another injury and failed to pile up many points.
- J.J. Nelson was so-so, Cecil Shorts was good enough with a TD and double-digits, but Doug Baldwin proved to be the value prediction of the year with over 35 fantasy points.
- The tight end in all of Week 12 proved to be my top target, Julius Thomas. On the other hand, both Crockett Gillmore and Ben Watson were mediocre calls.
- Washington had no issues coming through with a top 3 defensive showing. Cleveland turned in a good effort, while Tennessee was a bit below-average, yet still in positive point territory.
Overall Week 12 Grade - A-
Ryan Tannehill ($5,300) vs. BAL - Outside of the 'new week, new team' world of DFS, the final month of December gets a lot of talk in season-long fantasy circles. These final four weeks or so mark playoff time and that means that some players stand tall with what is deemed a 'favorable schedule.' Tannehill's apparent edge begins this weekend when the Ravens come to town. The Dolphins are set to face four consecutive pass defenses that are ranked 24th, 32nd, 22nd, and 27th against the pass, respectively. For perspective, Tannehill (who already has a solid 20 TD passes and just under 3,000 yards passing, for the year) has faced just one pass defense ranked lower than the next set of upcoming head-to-head's. Suspiciously, Miami's signal-caller still stands a very low price while coming off of multi-TD efforts in each of his last three games. I don't know why things would change for Week 13. Heck, the combo of Josh McCown and Austin Davis, posted over 24 points last Monday night. That's a regular, all-year occurrence versus Baltimore. Working with plenty of surrounding talent and what will be a new-feel offense, Tannehill should strike gold.
If you save here, spend here - Doug Martin ($5,900) vs. ATL
Ryan Fitzpatrick ($5,200) @ NYG - I would say that it's all about the matchup in this case, but Fitzpatrick deserves some respect for what he's done no matter who the opponent is. After slicing and dicing Miami last weekend, Fitz currently sits with a run of at least 19 points in 8 of his past 10 outings. He's reading, writing, and spacing on the exact same page as his stud receivers, Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker, and as long as those two are around, the Jets' QB should keep piling up the points. Now, to the matchup ... the Giants have allowed the most passing yards in the entire league (3,401), they are the 2nd-worst pass defense on a yards per attempt basis, and more than half of the quarterbacks to play them this season have been over 300 yards passing. It's tough to say 'no' to this one.
If you save here, spend here - Matt Forte ($6,900) vs. SF
Jay Cutler ($5,100) vs. SF - We've talked about it before in this spot, but the 49ers defense runs hot and cold from week-to-week depending on what color of uniform that they're wearing. The home vs. road trend continued last week as San Francisco stood toe-to-toe with high-powered Arizona, allowing just 19 points. But, now, they're back on the road. It's a place where they have been pummeled for an average of more than 35 points per game. That's crazy awful! Cutler is no longer a high-ceiling QB (you can thank the smart Bears' coaching staff for that), but he has been a consistent point provider this year. He's coming off a pair of games with weaker-than-usual results, but those were matchup (Denver) and weather (Green Bay) based. San Francisco provides a much easier road to plow this weekend and Cutler should be back above his customary 20 points ... all for barely more than 5K.
If you save here, spend here - Julio Jones ($9,000) @ TB
Top of the Chart - Tom Brady ($8,000) vs. PHI - 7.5
Shaun Draughn ($4,000) @ CHI - You can't overstate workload and Draughn has it. Not only is he averaging more than 20 touches per week (!), but the number could go even higher. The 49ers have zero available options behind Draughn (Carlos Hyde is still out) and that means he's been on the field for more than 90% of their offensive snaps. That's an unbelievably high number and it's what makes Draughn so intriguing. So few other players see so many snaps. Now, of course, Draughn has yet to turn all these opportunities into anything impressive (0 TDs and less than 60 yards rushing in all three starts), but the start versus Chicago will easily be the easiest of his challenges as the Bears allow nearly five yards on every rush attempt. I'll Draughn for over 100 total yardage (rushing and receiving) this week.
If you save here, spend here - Drew Brees ($6,900) vs. CAR
C.J. Anderson ($3,500) @ SD - Up front, let me say that I think many fantasy players are too high on Anderson after his impressive effort last week. And, let me state, my opinion has little to do with Anderson and what he's been pulling off, lately (more than 6 yards per carry since the Week 7 bye). Instead, it has everything to do with how the Broncos have handled things all season long. In effect, they make sure that both Anderson and Ronnie Hillman see opportunities in every game. And, frankly, if there's a favorite for carries in the Denver backfield, it's been Hillman in almost every game since Week 3. Even last week, Hillman had just as many carries (15 to 14) and TDs as Anderson. Head coach, Gary Kubiak, is still sticking to his quotes that both will be involved and that, for the most part, Hillman is the top dog in the backfield. So, there's all this negativity ... why suggest Anderson for this week? Here's why - there is no reward without risk. The more risk, the higher the reward (i.e., DraftKings' winnings). Anderson offers no certainty, but his price tag is still in the toilet. If you're going for a big-time tournament win, Anderson offers plenty of temptation. In effect, he'll be the boom or bust selection on your team. If he comes in over double-digits (I give it about a 60% chance because double-digit touches should be in the cards), you score. If he collapses (about a 25% chance, in my opinion), you fail. There you go ... are you willing to risk it.
If you save here, spend here - Antonio Brown ($8,600) vs. IND
David Johnson ($3,400) @ STL - Week 12 offered us all a load of cheap options at RB and, for the most part, they all came through with good-to-very-good efforts. Tevin Coleman, Thomas Rawls, Spencer Ware, and Buck Allen, all earned back on their DFS cost. Accordingly, they all cost more this weekend, but, as usual, we've got another cheap name to replace them on tote boards. Johnson has been on the tip of all tongues since the dual injuries to Chris Johnson and Andre Ellington. He definitely features an exciting skill set that has paid off a few times in his rookie season, but Arizona has been overly hesitant to reward him with more work. Now, they don't have a choice in the matter. Johnson's up against a rather average St. Louis rush D, but you should still exercise some hesitancy with just booking him into your lineup. If you worry about ownership percentages, then you should understand that Johnson's number will be relatively high. I don't foresee a huge game from Johnson, but a score with 80 total yards is a distinct possibility.
If you save here, spend here - Odell Beckham, Jr. ($8,900) vs. NYJ
Top of the Chart - Devonta Freeman ($8,000) @ TB - 7.0
Marvin Jones ($3,800) @ CLE - Cincinnati's other wide out has been fairly quiet all season. He has just one score since Week 3. That number stands despite the fact that he's been healthy and playing all season. Overall, he's piled up over 40 catches and should end up with single-season career bests in both receptions and yardage this year (he won't top his 10 TDs of 2013). This week, he and his teammates head to Cleveland in a re-match of a game about a month ago where Jones had 5 catches and just under 80 yards. Those numbers could be in play, yet again, as the Browns continue to have issues in their secondary, sporting bruised and battered pass defensive marks throughout. There's also this relatively awkward number ... running-mate, A.J. Green, has posted back-to-back efforts with a TD just twice since the end of 2013. He had a pair last week, so he has to be quiet, right?!
If you save here, spend here - Eli Manning ($6,500) vs. NYJ
Cole Beasley ($3,600) @ WAS - Following the injury to Tony Romo on Turkey Day, the Cowboys were back in the hands of back-up, Matt Cassel. He promptly did what he usually does ... little. But, the silver lining is that he did find a way to work Beasley into the passing attack. It's not a totally repeatable showing, but the 4th-year pro did handle a half-dozen catches while also finding pay dirt. Such a worthwhile effort was the second one for Beasley in the last three games of working with Cassel. The pair will get another shot on Sunday in D.C. Washington has given up a lot of passing TDs (22), a lot of passing yards (6.7 per pass attempt), and a lot of points this season (just under 25 per game). I can't say that I'm comfortable with Beasley, but this kind of pick is what can turn you into a big winner. No one else is interested in him.
If you save here, spend here - Allen Robinson ($7,300) @ TEN
DeVante Parker ($3,300) vs. BAL - Although he's somehow been getting fantasy love since August, Parker didn't make any sort of noticeable push until just last week when he turned in a late touchdown, alongside 80 yards. Now, again, that's the first time all season that he's done much of anything, so fair warning as to what you're getting into. But, a few things stand out from that game with the Jets. First, Parker was granted 10 targets. Secondly, he is now moving into the starting lineup for Miami, thanks to the injury to Rishard Matthews. Third, he's up against the Swiss cheese Raven secondary. And, finally, the 'Fins made a change at O-coordinator this week. Here's hoping they immediately see what they really have in their highly drafted rookie. Out of the three offerings I've listed this week at the receiver spot, this is the one I'm most fired up about.
If you save here, spend here - A.J. Green ($7,600) @ CLE
Top of the Chart - Julio Jones ($9,000) @ TB - 8.2
Kyle Rudolph ($3,700) vs. SEA - Perhaps a portion of the agony is over. Perhaps Rudolph is actually ready to go on a legitimate run and produce like so many have expected for ... years. The last two weeks have seen the Vikings perennial underachiever, well, achieve. He's been targeted 19 times in the Vikes' mostly boring pass attack and has totaled his way up to 13 catches, 159 yards, and a score. This follows a run of lethargy with a total of 13 catches in the seven previous tilts. So, yeah, there's still the threat that Rudolph heads back into his hole and disappears for the remainder of the season. He does get a decent match-up with the 'Hawks this week and the assumption is that Teddy Bridgewater will continue to feed his safety net for a third straight game.
If you save here, spend here - Cincinnati DEF ($3,400) @ CLE
Martellus Bennett ($3,600) vs. SF - There are really no two ways about it. Bennett has been a major let-down in 2015. His touchdown production has crumbled, his catches have dipped, his yardage is non-existent, and now we're even hearing that he is, in effect, pouting his way through the Bears' locker room. He missed the Thanksgiving game in Green Bay with a mysterious injury, but looks set to hit the field versus San Francisco. Zach Miller is still a threat, but it's worth noting that he came up with a rib injury mid-week, leaving his status questionable for Sunday. Even if Miller is ready to play, I think Bennett is due a bounce-back on Sunday and should get back to his usual level of 7-10 targets per week. San Francisco has been solid against opposing tight ends this year, but, overall, they are quite susceptible to the passing game. Bennett is due a score this week. He's too involved in the red zone to still be stuck on three scores.
If you save here, spend here - Doug Martin ($5,900) vs. ATL
Scott Chandler ($2,500) vs. PHI - Chandler becomes the most obvious of the value picks this week. His price tag is still set in the 'back-up to Rob Gronkowski'-range and not in the 'starting tight end for a Tom Brady-led offense'-range. Of course, the Pats have issues popping up everywhere, right now, and there's an opening for a player like this to step up and show his worth. Chandler has proven to be effective in very limited chances when given the opportunity and at this bottom-barrel cost he's absolutely worth a wild dart throw, allowing you to go high-end at the other three, more important positions.
If you save here, spend here - Cam Newton ($7,400) @ NO
Top of the Chart - Greg Olsen ($6,400) @ NO - 8.4 (Of course, Rob Gronkowski, is actually the highest-cost TE this week, but he is out with a knee injury)
Tampa Bay ($2,500) vs. ATL - Matt Ryan has become a turnover machine. The offense he leads is solid, he has a returning Devonta Freeman and, of course, there's also the All-Pro known as, Julio Jones. Still, look at how the Falcons have actually played of late. Ever since firing out of the gates with five victories in the first five games, they've plummeted all around. Their five losses in six games are due to an offense that has hibernated. In the first five games, the Falcons didn't score less than 24 points in any game. In the six games since, they haven't topped 21 once. Ugh, and the turnovers! From just five in the 5-0 start, to now 16 in the 1-5 run. Suggesting Tampa is not suggesting the Bucs. It's suggesting to go with a home-standing team against an offense that has gone backwards.
If you save here, spend here - Travis Kelce ($4,700) @ OAK
Miami ($2,300) vs. BAL - Admittedly, Matt Schaub, was rather solid last week in Cleveland. But, now, he has a short week to get prepped for a better defense in another road game. The Dolphins have talent on hand and have been better since an early rough patch to begin 2015. They are not a good defense by any stretch, but they're also not squaring up against a good offense by any stretch. And, honestly, are you really going to bet against Schaub throwing yet another pick-6 (yes, he tossed one last week, too)?
If you save here, spend here - Delanie Walker ($5,700) vs. JAC
Washington ($2,300) vs. DAL - The Redskins are still another team that is proof of the system. They are a vastly different performing team in front of their friends and family. They'll be hosting from FedEx Field again this week and will be setting their targets on the usually overmatched, Matt Cassel. Washington has been forcing plenty of turnovers (7 in the past four) and Cassel has also been sacked 10 times in just over four starts. There's a good chance of at least a few turnovers forced here.
If you save here, spend here - Greg Olsen ($6,400) @ NO
Top of the Chart - Arizona ($3,900) @ STL - 9.2
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.