Below you are going to see some familiar names and may say, um, duh. Which yes, might be an appropriate response, but hear me out. We often, well, I often feel compelled to play the cheap “sleeper” player so I can get Calvin Johnson and Drew Brees and Adrian Peterson and of course sometimes it works. I love me some Kenbrell Thompkins and Daryl Richardson this week and will have them on some teams, but as the turtle will tell you, sometimes slow and steady wins the race.
And if the race is one of FanDuel’s 50/50 games, I really go for slow and steady. If it’s a 100 team league and you finish first you still get the same amount of cash monies as if you came in 50th. So play it safe. It’s prudent and boring and effective.
Here are my boring picks.
Drew Brees: He’s the most expensive quarterback on FanDuel, but also the most consistent. He’s played the Falcons a ton of times (15 equals a ton) and has averaged 300 yards passing against them along with two touchdowns. He is by far the safest play at quarterback this week.
Matt Ryan: On the other side of the field, Ryan should also put up good numbers. This game has the highest over/under of any game at 54 and these two teams will fill out that number. The Saints are hurting on an already underperforming defense and have zero pass rush. Ryan will have plenty of time to let Julio Jones, Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez get open. He’s also cheaper that Brees and will be chucking the ball in this shoot out.
Tony Romo: Romo is the least expensive quarterback I’d feel very safe starting this weekend. Last year he averaged 372 yards passing and two touchdowns against the Giants and they haven’t improved their pass defense. They also have quite a few ailing players that even if they do go Sunday night, might not be 100%. With Miles Austin looking healthy and Dez Bryant looking like a man among small children, I don’t see Romo disappointing.
Stevan Ridley: People have always been concerned that Bill Belichick would mess around with their fantasy running back because he’s a little wacko, but Ridley saw the most touches of any Belichick running back last year since Corey Dillon and he scored a touchdown in 10 of 16 games as a thank you for all that work. This week Brady and company will be relying on two UDFA starters in Kenbrell Thompkins and Zach Sudfeld along with a committee of Josh Boyce, Julian Edelmen and Aaron Dobson. Brady will get his, but the base of the offense will be the run. Especially against the Bills 31st ranked run defense from a year ago.
Alfred Morris: During the preseason opposing running backs had little trouble against the Eagles and Washington uses the run effectively with their zone blocking and one cut wonder Morris. Coaches say that RGIII won’t have any restrictions, but if they can run it down the Eagles throats they’ll be happy to win that way and give RGIII enough work to prime him for week two.
David Wilson: The Cowboys are without Jay Ratliff and Anthony Spencer on their defensive line for the opener and that spells good news for Wilson. He’s the “riskiest” of these three, but his price had Andre Brown factored in to take away carries. That’s not happening now and he’ll be the every down back in a high scoring affair against a depleted defensive line. That sounds pretty safe to me.
Antonio Brown: Brown will often matchup with cornerback Alterraun Verner who the Titans tried desperately to find a replacement for this off season, but to no avail. Brown is the Steelers undisputed #1 receiver this year and the Titans will have no pass rush to keep Roethlisberger from targeting him early and often.
Reggie Wayne: In limited preseason play Luck and Wayne hooked up for 11 receptions for 121 yards and a touchdown and it looked pretty easy. Wayne is aging, but the Raiders won’t be a match for an even better Andrew Luck than last season and the veteran Wayne. They are a port in the fantasy football storm.
Pierre Garcon: I’m a little worried about playing Robert Griffin III with the likelihood of Alfred Morris running roughshod over the Eagles, but I’m not worried about Garcon. Garcon is the focal point of that passing offense and has declared his foot to be 100%. With Morris doing his damage, play action should be unstoppable and instead of running, RGIII will find Garcon open often against the Eagles and what could be the worst pass defense in the league.
Jimmy Graham: There are always a ton of sleeper tight ends, but none of them are ever consistent. Graham is consistent and will almost always give you an edge on anyone who doesn’t have him in his or her lineup. Of course that elite consistency comes with a price. He is easily the most expensive tight end in FanDuel and for good reason. The last time they met in the Superdome he caught 7 passes for 146 yards and two touchdowns. Find a way to get him on your team.
Tony Gonzalez: The last six times the Saints and Falcons have met Gonzalez has averaged six receptions for 70 yards and he’s totaled five touchdowns. That’s the consistency we are looking for in our 50/50s and sadly I wouldn’t pick him all that often. I’m always looking for the upside play so I can look smart when I should be looking at Gonzo and his 75 years of service to the league (and that guy he saved from choking).
Jason Witten: Tony Romo’s security blanket is back for another season of securing Romo in his warm plush comforter. While the Giants linebacking crew is filled with names like Herzlich, Paysinger and Rivers who at the very least need to improve, Witten should have no trouble moving them around and getting where he wants to go.