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 14 DFS value plays, here's a look at the Week 13 Report Card ...
- Disaster efforts from both Jay Cutler and Ryan Tannehill provided me with my first true misses at the QB position in more than two months. On the other hand, Ryan Fitzpatrick, handled himself well with a top-8 showing.
- Both Shaun Draughn and David Johnson came up aces, finishing as top-10 backfielders. C.J. Anderson was headed to that area before leaving with an ankle injury.
- Marvin Jones and DeVante Parker answered the bell with a TD apiece and over 15 points. Cole Beasley was the polar opposite with a hideous Monday Night 'showing.'
- Scott Chandler proved to be worth the attention, but Kyle Rudolph and Martellus Bennett came up well short of making even a dent.
- All three suggestions (Miami, Tampa Bay, and Washington) finishing in the upper half of the defensive rankings (remember their cost was bottom-8) with at least five points. The Dolphins turned in a 16-spot!
Overall Week 13 Grade - A
Jameis Winston ($5,500) vs. NO - No one is sneaking this name onto their DraftKings roster. Winston has been surging of late (over 250 yards passing in five consecutive games, while totaling nine total TDs in his past four outings) and now gets to take a hacksaw to the soft/terrible/awful/atrocious/embarrassing/disgusting/pitiful, etc., New Orleans Saints' defense. The complete withdrawal of any backbone on that side of the ball for the Saints has been one of the biggest fantasy storylines of the season. In effect, you can stack your DFS lineup every single week against this squad. And, yes, you can do that for this week, too. Specific to the rookie QB, the Bucs have allowed Winston to air it out more often. In fact, last week was the first game since mid-October that he was under 29 pass attempts. With the talents of Mike Evans, Vincent Jackson, and Austin Seferien-Jenkins, running routes against the 'Aints, Winston should have a shot at posting the first 300-yard effort of his career.
If you save here, spend here - Doug Martin ($6,200) vs. NO
Ryan Fitzpatrick ($5,400) vs. TEN - The knock on Fitzpatrick has always been his propensity to misfire for a two, three, or even, four picks every week. This year has featured a much different storyline, though. Amazingly, the vet has only tossed four interceptions in his last seven games (covering nearly 240 total pass attempts). Accordingly, he's covering more than 240 yards per game in that stretch with a total of 14 scoring plays. His cost seems stuck in a rut because there's not really any explosion potential with Fitz. But, I'm more intrigued by the fact that by rostering the Harvard-grad, you get to line up two or three RBs/WRs who have the explosion capabilities you're looking for. Matchup-wise, things are about average versus Tennessee. The Titans have performed well in some games, but overall, it's a defense that has gift-wrapped 25 passing scores. And, in three of the past five, they've given up over 300 yards through the air.
If you save here, spend here - Allen Robinson ($8,000) vs. IND
Ryan Tannehill ($5,200) vs. NYG - Tannehill is a true enigma. His end-of-the-season numbers will be fine, but the manner in which he arrives at them will be, well, traumatic. Just look at last week. In what figured to be a strong set-up against Baltimore, the slinger picked up just 86 yards through the air! He's also managed the rare feat of throwing for 300 yards in a game, but failing to toss a single touchdown pass ... twice! So, yeah, there's always the looming presence of the overpay for a guy like Tannehill. But, can you really overpay a guy in the low-5's? Especially, against one of the worst secondaries in all the NFL? Chew on this for a while ... the last five opposing QBs have singed the Giants for an average of 351 yards. Sounds tasty!
If you save here, spend here - Odell Beckham, Jr. ($9,100) @ MIA
Top of the Chart - Tom Brady ($7,800) @ HOU - 7.8
Matt Jones ($3,600) @ CHI - Jones rookie season has been marked by inconsistent work. He goes off in Week 2 with over 120 yards ... and, then went five games without rushing for even 40 yards. He shows up with 131 yards receiving in Week 10 ... and, then follows with a total of 62 receiving yards in the next three games. So, now we're faced with the spectacle of his 19 carries last Monday night against Dallas. In that game, Jones was the bell-cow for the final two quarters. His coach, Jay Gruden, says that game flow gave the edge to Jones over Alfred Morris, but I'm not really buying that. There is ZERO doubt that Jones is a bigger threat than Morris. He has major big-play ability and the Redskins need it as they begin their stretch run. Just like last week when I suggested Shaun Draughn against the Bears, I feel that Jones can get some yards versus the Bears. He just needs the 10 carries and three catches to do it. The 'boom/bust' fear is legitimate, so if you go with Jones, you MUST line up a true stud as your other RB for this week.
If you save here, spend here - LeSean McCoy ($6,100) @ PHI
Mike Tolbert ($3,000) vs. ATL - What can I say ... I just got a feeling on this one! The Panthers should be able to control the home game against their NFC South nemesis and I believe that the second half will devolve into a lot of rushing for the Panthers. The team has already spoken to the idea of limiting some of the work that they give plow horse, Jonathan Stewart, who comes into Week 14 with a remarkable eight straight games of at least 20 carries. It's got to end soon, right? Tolbert offers a dangerous floor, but at 3K, you're only gunning for a score, in all reality. This one goes out to those in the big tournaments shooting for the under-owned 'hit' that separates you from the rest of the pack.
If you save here, spend here - Brandon Marshall ($7,600) vs. TEN
C.J. Spiller ($3,000) @ TB - We received a surprise announcement on Wednesday of this week when the Saints revealed that fantasy star, Mark Ingram, was finished for the season with a shoulder injury. Obviously, there's always the consideration of the 'next man up,' but with New Orleans, we don't really know who that man is. The mystery leaves you risking it if you choose Spiller. Tim Hightower should see some work, but Spiller offers the ever-lasting temptation of being able to excite, produce, and score on big plays. Of course, let's be honest ... Spiller and fantasy analysts have a relationship like Bruce Springsteen and Rolling Stone. For the musician, every new album is an 'incredible return to form' and nets the 4-star grade. For the football player, even new opportunity leads the experts to praise Spiller as an 'incredible upside play.' Nearly all of those predictions have come up lame. Spiller's usage has been a disappointment all year, but now the Saints don't really have another option. Maybe he was a decoy because Ingram was rolling along so smoothly. That excuse isn't there anymore. It's time for Spiller to play. At such a low price and with an assumed dozen or more touches, Spiller is tough to turn down.
If you save here, spend here - Antonio Brown ($8,900) @ CIN
Top of the Chart - Devonta Freeman ($7,700) @ CAR - 6.8
DeVante Parker ($4,000) vs. NYG - Parker makes a rare, 2nd-straight appearance in this space. He came through last weekend with another score despite pulling in just three receptions. The Dolphins have been forced to turn to the rookie after injury (Rishard Matthews) and ineffectiveness (Greg Jennings). He's also reached a point in his development where he is ready for a bigger role, opposite of Jarvis Landry. Up above, in the write-up on Tannehill, I mentioned the ease of play for any team that throws the ball on New York. Obviously, any positive for Tannehill is a positive for Parker, too. This will probably be the final Sunday where you can call Parker a 'value,' so make the play now.
If you save here, spend here - Jonathan Stewart ($5,800) vs. ATL
Dorial Green-Beckham ($3,700) @ NYJ - Since October, insiders have been calling for a breakout game from DGB. Such expectations failed to materialize until last week, as the rook finally turned all his playing time and ever-increasing snap counts, into actual production. With five catches and 119 yards, plus a score, Green-Beckham could be headed for a final last month push. Kendall Wright (ribs) is again banged-up and that likely means even more of a focus by the coaching staff to build the burgeoning relationship between the receiver and Marcus Mariota. Sure, Darelle Revis, should be back in pads for the Jets, but I don't fear a shadow and, frankly, I don't fear Revis much anymore, either. This is a bankable price tag for an emerging threat.
If you save here, spend here - Thomas Rawls ($5,800) @ BAL
Tyler Lockett ($3,500) @ BAL - Let's follow-up with another emerging threat. All the heavy attention is heading into the direction of Lockett's teammate, Doug Baldwin, right now. The scores and the yardage of Baldwin has distracted from Lockett's push up the ladder. In the past three games (all good ones from Quarterback, Russell Wilson), the first-year burner has collected 14 passes for more than 175 yards. You still run the risk of Seattle's incredible (and, unsustainable) efficiency coming to a halt on the road in Maryland, but the risk is low-level here.
If you save here, spend here - Cam Newton ($7,500) vs. ATL
Top of the Chart - Odell Beckham, Jr. ($9,100) @ MIA - 9.0
Scott Chandler ($3,800) @ HOU - As it should be, Chandler's cost takes a big leap this week. For the first time in nearly two months, Chandler is finally above $2,500 ... way above! Comparing him to the rest of the tight end field, though, you're still encountering a player who is outside the top 12 at his position. With the Patriots still short-handed and still throwing the football all around the gridiron, you need to be in on Chandler. His floor is actually fairly high and that's a rarity when it comes to the value propositions at this position. Houston has been mostly good versus the position, but I'm tossing that out the window considering the challenges that the New England offense is currently facing. Frankly, the Pats must get Chandler involved.
If you save here, spend here - Eli Manning ($6,100) @ MIA
Will Tye ($2,800) @ MIA - With Larry Donnell out, the Giants have given Tye a load of snaps. He's on the field for about 70% of the offensive plays and he's turned in some long-yardage catches in response. In fact, overall, he's been good for 14 catches, while topping 55 yards in each of the past three games. Usually, production like that is impossible to find at this sub-3K price point. The culprit? That would be his goose egg in the touchdown category. He's up against a so-so Miami defense, but with the lack of any rushing attack for the G-Men, pass attempts and targets should be the name of the game for all New York pass-catchers, including Tye.
If you save here, spend here - Matt Forte ($6,800) vs. WAS
Austin Seferian-Jenkins ($2,700) vs. NO - ASJ was lost to injury for a full two months before finally returning a week ago in the Bucs win over Atlanta. He did little that stood out (three receptions on a half-dozen targets), but it was nice to see him on the field, involved, and getting some chances, after so many weeks away. As has been mentioned elsewhere in this column, Tampa's matchup with New Orleans just begs to be attacked. Stacks are even a decent move for this week and I'm usually opposed to such matters. ASJ is the cheapest puzzle piece you'll find in this game, so even if you avoid multiple Tampa suits, give him a shot as the lowest of the low-end tight end possibilities.
If you save here, spend here - Mike Evans ($7,200) vs. NO
Top of the Chart - Greg Olsen ($6,900) vs. ATL - 8.1 (Rob Gronkowski is expected to miss Week 14, but is still actually listed as the most expensive of all Tight End's, coming in at a cost of $7,700)
San Francisco ($2,100) @ CLE - I'm not a huge fan of the options at the bottom of the barrel this week. Usually, there's not much difficulty in finding a few good-to-above-average selection on all DFS sites. But, venues, opposing QBs, and defensive talents, are all conspiring towards a lack of good picks in Week 14. Which is why you'll find San Francisco on this list. If you've been following my work throughout the season, you know that I'm only interested in the 49ers when they're playing on the left coast. Take them anywhere else and, as the results prove, they're a ghost of their stout home selves. They will be on the road in Cleveland this week after actually showing some fortitude in a surprising OT win at Soldier Field last week. That's obviously a feather in their cap, but the biggest reason that they get the notice here is that they will be facing Johnny Manziel. Thus far, he's been, at best, OK in his NFL action. Most of the time he's been just plain bad. The chance that more of the plain bad is in the cards is the best reason for going the San Francisco route.
If you save here, spend here - Tyler Eifert ($6,100) vs. PIT
Tampa Bay ($2,200) vs. NO - This looks like an utterly foolish suggestion on the surface. After all, New Orleans still has Drew Brees flinging the football and, just last week, they posted 38 points against the highly-ranked Carolina D. But, now Brees leaves the comforts of the Superdome (where he has always torn it up) and heads out for a road trip (a journey that usually has him confounded no matter where he's actually playing). The Bucs are an underrated defensive team. They've slowly improved with each passing week and are fairly legit at pressuring the QB (three sacks in each of their past four games). They also clamped down on the Saints - in the dome - earlier this season, giving up just 19 points in an early-season 'W.' New Orleans will be without Brees' best overall weapon (Ingram), so the tilt looks even better as Tampa makes a surprising push for the postseason.
If you save here, spend here - Russell Wilson ($6,100) @ BAL
Jacksonville ($2,300) vs. IND - Pittsburgh's flaccid defense managed to force the action and the results in last Sunday's win over Indianapolis. Their skill-set on that side of the pigskin is lower than Jacksonville, so as the Colts head to Florida, this becomes a tempting play. Matt Hasselback and Frank Gore both are struggling and neither of them make you pay up when you commit a mistake. Hasselback checks off with the underneath patterns a ton and, at this point in the schedule, Gore is as banged up as a '72 Nova. There is certainly the talent out wide that could lead to a big play or two against the Jags' secondary, but overall, it's nothing that will sink you. Plus, recall that even when the Jags got blistered all day long by Tennessee in Week 13, they still posted five fantasy points (tied for 14th best among all defenses last week) because of the four sacks and two turnovers they notched. All that and more is repeatable against the Colts.
If you save here, spend here - Greg Olsen ($6,900) vs. ATL
Top of the Chart - New England ($3,500) @ HOU - 6.2
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.