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 16 DFS value plays, here's a look at the Week 15 Report Card ...
- Teddy Bridgewater was a fantasy star for the first time all season and Philip Rivers returned to his usual standards. On the negative side, though, T.J. Yates got knocked out early and never returned.
- Joique Bell made an impressive journey into the top 10 among all RBs in Week 15, but both Brandon Bolden and Fozzy Whittaker were busts.
- Michael Floyd, Albert Wilson, and Devin Funchess were all decent-to-average, but none of the three stood out.
- Will Tye showed up, yet again, but I couldn't find the same luck with either Vernon Davis or Richard Rodgers.
- Baltimore failed in every way, San Francisco was acceptable, and Indianapolis was good.
Overall Week 15 Grade - C
Jameis Winston ($5,500) vs. CHI - The Buccaneers have been forced to open up the offense just a bit as heading into the final few weeks. After being limited to under 35 pass attempts six of his first 10 starts to begin the season, Winston has averaged 36 throws in the past four games. With those extra throws have come extra fantasy numbers. Things culminated a week ago, when the rookie dropped back 50 times and finished with over 24 fantasy points in a loss at St. Louis. This week, the Bucs should have an easier time with the Bears and, even with fewer pass attempts, Winston has a good shot at 20+ points. Chicago is middle-of-the-pack when it comes to pass defense, but we all saw what Teddy Bridgewater did just a week ago (5 total touchdowns). Don't expect a renewed focus for them, either. The season is done and they're back on the road. Winston is a high-floor play in Week 16.
If you save here, spend here - DeAngelo Williams ($6,500) vs. BAL
Ryan Fitzpatrick ($5,200) vs. NE - At this point in the proceedings, I should probably mention that I'm actually in favor of spending some bucks at the QB position this week. I rarely have said that in the 2015 season. Usually, there are plenty of bargain plays at this position, but I'm not overly impressed with the options this week. Still, we have to fill three spots for the column, so ... Fitzpatrick gets the call! He's been incredibly efficient in the Jets' offense this year. It's rather remarkable when you consider all the interception problems the vet has had throughout his career. Over the past four games, he's thrown more than 160 passes, yet has just one turnover on those tosses. New York has embraced the passing game as the season has progressed and that should continue versus the Patriots who are a very good team, but have some misleading defensive totals. They have beat up a slew of weak-armed QBs (Zach Mettenberger, T.J. Yates, Sam Bradford, Brock Osweiler) in the last few weeks, lifting their pass defense rankings into the upper echelon of the league. I don't buy it. The Jets may lose this weekend, but I believe Fitz has enough magic in him to his 260-2.
If you save here, spend here - Doug Martin ($6,600) vs. CHI
Teddy Bridgewater ($5,200) vs. NYG - Bridgewater came up aces for me last week, so we'll give him a little more love this weekend. Understand that he's NOTHING like what we saw against the Bears. He's been a below-average QB in nearly every week this year. And, that's the biggest reason that his price tag is still buried even after he posted five scores in the Week 15 blowout. The Giants are a dumpster fire on defense. Nearly every quarterback they have faced - good and bad - have poked holes in them. Heck, they haven't even produced an interception since Week 10! Just as embarrassing, they have ranked 30th, 31st, or 32nd in the NFL defensive pass rankings every single week of the season. That's incredibly tough to 'accomplish.' I wouldn't posit Bridgewater as a strong selection this week, but his match-up is as good as one could find.
If you save here, spend here - Greg Olsen ($7,000) @ ATL
Top of the Chart - Tom Brady ($7,500) @ NYJ - 8.2
Tim Hightower ($4,500) vs. JAC - As of this writing, Drew Brees (foot) is a total wild card. He's likely to play, but will he last a full four quarters? Regardless, Hightower is set to work and work a lot. Nowadays, just finding a runner who can reasonably be counted on for 15 touches is difficult. Hightower's best attribute is that he gets that work. His talent is middling, but if you give him enough chances (as the Saints are willing to do with Mark Ingram done for the season), you'll get numbers. Even in a game that was a blowout loss last week, Hightower found his way to 16 touches. In a game that figures to be much closer versus Jacksonville, look at him as a good bet for 20 touches.
If you save here, spend here - Blake Bortles ($6,500) @ NO
Karlos Williams ($4,500) vs. DAL - LeSean McCoy (MCL) is a near-certainty to be out for Week 16. Enter Williams. He enticed many an owner earlier in the season when he was somehow finding a clear path to the end zone in every game ... despite being a back-up. Now, he's set for almost a full load (expect to see Mike Gillislie out there for some work, too) and gets to knock helmets with Dallas. The Cowboys have mixed in good efforts against the run, with just as many atrocious efforts. Williams is a truly explosive player and those guys rarely come in at this price tag. You can expect his ownership level to be high, but he has a serious shot at 80 yards on the ground, a score, and another 3-4 catches.
If you save here, spend here - Drew Brees ($6,800) vs. JAC
Rashad Jennings ($3,500) @ MIN - New York seems to have figured out that two is better than four. After screwing around with the backfield all year long, they've finally settled on the idea that Jennings is on the field for the rushing attempts and Shane Vereen is out there for the passing downs. After being a fantasy black hole for the first 13 weeks of the year, Jennings has finally found work and openings ... and, he's taking advantage of both. Last week, he was dominant against a very good Carolina defense with over 100 yards on just 16 carries. The week before that was less thrilling, but still solid with 22 rushing attempts leading to over 80 yards. As we all know, the Giants will be without the service of Odell Beckham (suspension), so there will be more asked of everyone, including Jennings. The hugest bonus here is the cost, which allows you to splurge at multiple other positions as you fill-up your DFS squad.
If you save here, spend here - Antonio Brown ($9,300) vs. BAL
Top of the Chart - Devonta Freeman ($7,400) vs. CAR - 6.4
Dorial Green-Beckham ($4,000) vs. HOU - DGB's freakish measureables are finally starting to turn into some production. Tennessee has been very patient with the rookie in his first go-around, continuing to give him snaps, targets, and a top-two spot in the receiving corps. He's seen 27 passes headed his way in the past month and he's turned those opportunities into 15 catches with a pair of 100-yard games, to boot. Of course, he has just one score since Week 3 (hence the dwindling price here), but the touchdown game works both ways ... guys who score TDs with few actual targets are due for regression and guys (like DGB) who are involved on each drive will eventually see the TD gods show up. Houston sports a solid secondary, but they have allowed a rather high, 23 passing touchdowns in '15.
If you save here, spend here - Kansas City Defense ($4,200) vs. CLE
Ruben Randle ($3,500) @ MIN - Call it the 'No Beckham Factor.' Randle has, frankly, been a universal disappointment throughout his career. Even when the match-up, screams, 'BREAKOUT!', he's fouled up the assumed edge. Still, it's got to happen when he's actually the top-option for Eli Manning, right. Well, ... we'll see. This is a very ho-hum pick and there's probably more downside than upside in the offering, but it's just difficult to pass up the number-1 target in an offense that comes into their road battle ranking in the top 10 in all these passing categories ... attempts, yards, TDs, and net yards per pass attempt. It's hard to look at the G-Men offense this week and say that Randle will not see at least eight targets. And, if that happens, his production should surmount his light investment.
If you save here, spend here - Brandon Marshall ($7,600) vs. NE
Jermaine Kearse ($3,200) vs. STL - Who isn't killing it in the Seattle offense? Russell Wilson has become Peyton Manning and Steve Young all rolled up into one package. Doug Baldwin is now being confused for Jerry Rice. Tyler Lockett is in the role of DeSean Jackson. And, even Thomas Rawls is equaling the standard set by Marshawn Lynch. While all of this happening, Kearse is quietly feasting on the scraps. It's gone mostly unnoticed because there haven't been any scoring plays, but Kearse and Wilson are also building a rapport heading into Week 16. The 4th-year Washington product, has hauled in an impressive 14-of-16 targets over the past pair of weeks. Again, no TDs, but he does have 184 yards. Baldwin (hammy) is doing some limping this week, so his role is more decoy than big-play for the home game with the susceptible Rams. Even just five catches for 80 yards would make Kearse an asset in your portfolio.
If you save here, spend here - Cam Newton ($7,500) @ ATL
Top of the Chart - Antonio Brown ($9,300) @ BAL - 9.5
Will Tye ($3,500) @ MIN - How many Giants do I plan to put on here??! Let's stop at three! Tye is the 2nd-best bargain option of the trio (behind Jennings, but ahead of Randle), in my opinion. And, let me note, I would only select one of these three for the game on Sunday night. If you go with Tye, you're going with one of the few tight ends who has become an escape hatch for his offense. Eli Manning is showing a decent amount of trust in Tye with each passing week and, in turn, he's manufactured at least 5 receptions in four of the last four games. I think that has to continue (again, the absence of Beckham ...) into Week 16. Like so many tight ends, you're really just praying for one score. If you get that, you'll consider a win. Tye not only has a score in each of the last two, but he's also a big, wide target for Manning inside the red zone.
If you save here, spend here - Ben Roethlisberger ($6,800) vs. BAL
Kyle Rudolph ($3,300) vs. NYG - The other tight end involved in the Sunday nighter is also a decent option. Rudolph will likely never reach the heights that many (mistakenly) predicted for him, but in certain matchups and at certain costs, he becomes a reasonable Christmas week purchase. He's had a handful of good games this season, but they've been very difficult to predict. The reason that I'll chance it this weekend is that New York is just clueless when it comes to slowing down opposing tight ends. Outside of the hugely terrible, Jordan Cameron, nearly every tight end has lit up the Giants. Depending on your scoring system, they are either the worst or 2nd-worst defense against the position. Like his teammate, Bridgewater, this call is more about the opponent's lack of talent, than the player's actual talent.
If you save here, spend here - Carson Palmer ($7,000) vs. GB
Maxx Williams ($3,000) vs. PIT - Crockett Gillmore is no more, so as we enter the final two weeks of the season, perhaps the Ravens will see what they have in their touted rookie. Williams was granted a half-dozen targets in Week 15. That was the most 'action' he's seen since way back in Week 3. Now, of course, even with five catches, there were just 31 yards to be had against Kansas City, so this is not a slam dunk, by any means. Jimmy Clausen is set to be throwing the pigskin again, so you'd think he'd go with what he's most comfortable with. That appears to be Kamar Aiken and Williams. Again, you're mostly gunning for the random touchdown here, but at the lowest-of-low costs, even a repeat of last week is an OK showing. Ughh, not much to sale here, is there?!
If you save here, spend here - Adrian Peterson ($7,300) vs. NYG
Top of the Chart - Rob Gronkowski ($7,600) @ NYJ - 7.6
Miami ($2,700) vs. IND - Just like the QB position, the true defensive bargains are difficult to hunt down this week. Miami is a bad defense in most every measurement. But, as I've presented time and time again throughout this year, the actual defense you're choosing doesn't matter. It's always about the opponent. And, the opponent for the 'Fins is Matt Hasselbeck. He's old, he's noodle-armed, and he's been on a liquid diet all week. In other words, he's not looking good for a big showing even against a pock-marked defense like Miami. The Colts have been unable to run the football for more than a month, so even that Dolphin concern is alleviated this weekend.
If you save here, spend here - Julius Thomas ($5,100) @ NO
Tampa Bay ($2,500) vs. CHI - I just don't like the Bears' offense on the road. They've managed over 22 points in just two of seven visitations all year. Alshon Jeffrey is a constant gimp, Matt Forte is somehow sharing work with Jeremy Langford, Martellus Bennett is finished for the year, and Jay Cutler has become a ... game manager? So, in other words, I don't fear the bust-loose potential of Chicago. Tampa has struggled to produce the turnovers we all love, but overall, they've been decent of late, holding seven straight opponents under 390 total yards. They're 'blah' on defense, but the Bears are even more 'blah' on offense. With the home tilt and advantage that comes with it, the Bucs may be good for a high single-digit showing which makes them right around a top 10 defense, overall.
If you save here, spend here - Russell Wilson ($7,200) vs. STL
Tennessee ($2,000) vs. HOU - If Brian Hoyer suits up, this may be one to throw in the trash heap. But, honestly, should you fear Hoyer (concussion) anymore? It doesn't sound like he's even sold on playing anymore this year and I lean towards saying that he sits out Week 16. And, if that comes to fruition, you're talking about the Texans going with Brandon Weeden under center. I'll take my chances with any defense against Brandon Weeden! Houston has some talent elsewhere, but it's not immense. In other words, I'm not buying Alfred Blue's 100 yards of a week ago. The Titans are incredibly ordinary on the defensive side of the ball, but they are actually solid for a 3-10 squad. They've given up a lot of points, but they haven't allowed a lot of yardage. Hosting and facing Weeden, forcing turnovers and limiting points shouldn't be a challenge on Sunday.
If you save here, spend here - Devonta Freeman ($7,400) vs. CAR
Top of the Chart - Seattle ($4,300) - 8.4
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.