Daily Fantasy Football Bargains, Best Buys and Busts: Week 6
By simply picking a few fantasy football players this weekend and throwing a couple of bucks into an online account, you could be headed to Vegas, the Bahamas, or to wherever the heck you want with a million bucks in your bank account. The daily fantasy football industry is booming, and there are tons of great contests this weekend that you can enter.
To help get you ready this week's slate of NFL games, I've got nine players to target or avoid this weekend in daily fantasy football. These players will be broken up into three categories. The first - Great Values - are pretty obvious. They're undervalued players who will allow you to spend more elsewhere. The next is Worth the Cost, which includes players who are more than worth a large chunk of your budget. The final category is Not Worth It, which includes high-cost players who aren't worth their price tag, and shouldn't be in most of your lineups this week.
Keep in mind that these players may or may not be used in our weekly optimal lineups. To see who the algorithms are selecting on the week, check out our optimal lineup section, and don't forget to use our custom optimal lineup tool.
Bishop Sankey, Tennessee Titans - Shonn Greene is unlikely to suit up for the Titans, meaning the rookie Sankey will combine with Dexter McCluster to provide the running game for Tennessee in a matchup with fellow AFC cellar-dweller, Jacksonville.
The Jaguars have already allowed eight double-digit fantasy performances to running backs and struggle to defend the run and pass, meaning the Titans should be able to score, and Sankey is one of the leading candidates to handle the ball out of the backfield. He's still very cheap, and has a chance to prove to his coaches that he belongs in the starting lineup with a solid performance this week.
Brian Hoyer, Cleveland Browns - Hoyer has been surprisingly good this season, posting a per-drop back Net Expected Points (NEP) average that ranks seventh among quarterbacks who have dropped back 100 or more times. That surprising level of efficiency will serve him well in a matchup with the Steelers.
Pittsburgh has the fourth-worst pass defense this season according to our data, and is still dealing with injuries that hamper their ability to get after quarterbacks and defend receivers. Hoyer should have a nice day in an AFC North showdown between two old rivals.
Golden Tate, Detroit Lions - Tate may be the most owned player in daily fantasy football this weekend, but that doesn't mean you should fade him just for the sake of being a contrarian. The Detroit wideout will be forced to take on more responsibilities on offense with Calvin Johnson and Reggie Bush both dealing with injuries.
The Vikings are on the schedule for the Lions, and Minnesota has given up seven wide receiver touchdowns through five games and have a middle-of-the-road defense per our data. This is an ideal matchup for Tate to meet or exceed his value, which makes him a must in cash games.
Worth the Cost
Matt Forte, Chicago Bears - Forte has been one of the most consistent players in fantasy football so far this season without the help of touchdowns, as he's only found the end zone once so far this year yet still is among the league leaders in scoring at the position.
Expect his touchdown total to regress to the mean sooner or later, possibly beginning with a showdown with the second-worst run defense in the NFL, the Falcons. Atlanta haven't improved their run defense since last year, and are vulnerable to giving up big plays and allowing games to become shootouts. That's good for Forte, who thrives in the run and pass game for the Chicago offense.
Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers - Every week in daily fantasy football, you have to make the decision as to whether or not you want the automatic 10-15 points you'll get from Antonio Brown, or whether you'll risk it to look for a bigger total. Brown is ridiculously consistent, and has a great matchup this week which could lead to a big day.
Brown squares off with the Browns, who have the sixth-worst passing defense according to our numbers. They've already allowed five 15-plus point PPR performances to running backs this season, and they're unlikely to slow down Brown, who rarely falls shy of that 15-point mark in a point per reception format.
Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos - Don't overthink this one. Peyton Manning is facing the Jets, who have allowed two or more passing touchdowns in every game this season, have only recorded one interception, and and were torched by the Chargers last weekend.
And with Manning seemingly setting a new record every time he takes to the field, he always has something to play for. Look for him to further pad his stats this weekend against New York.
Not Worth It
Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers - I don't think a lot of daily fantasy players were considering Newton this week, as he's been a disappointment all season. But as his price drops and he gets further removed from his ankle surgery, some people may consider him as a contrarian play in DFS football.
The problem is that Newton isn't running this season, at all, which hampers his value severely. Combine that with a brutal matchup with the Bengals this week, and you're better off waiting for Newton to prove he can run the football again before you plug him back into any daily fantasy lineup. Ben Roethlisberger and Kirk Cousins are cheaper and offer more potential points.
DeMarco Murray, Dallas Cowboys - The Seattle Seahawks ain't nothin' to mess with. Pete Carroll's defense has yet to allow more than 38 yards to a single running back this season, and the run stopping unit currently sits at third-best in the league according to our data.
Murray has been a huge success through the first few weeks, but his price has gone too high to even think about using him as a contrarian play in a nearly impossible matchup. Murray will almost certainly become the first back to top 40 yards against the Seahawks this season, but he won't find the end zone often enough to provide value on his pricetag. Forte or Giovani Bernard provide higher upside for their big ticket prices.
Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots - The Buffalo Bills have the third-best pass defense in the NFL this season, and have been doing a good job at pressuring opposing quarterbacks. That means Tom Brady's shaky offensive line will hold back the New England offense, and create fewer and fewer chances for Gronkowski to score touchdowns.
Gronk's price has returned to normal levels now that he's healthy and playing most of the snaps, so he's not an automatic play because a touchdown alone doesn't provide value. Julius Thomas has a better matchup, and there are cheaper plays with plenty of upside as well.