Week 2 of NFL action is quickly approaching and it’s time to start polishing our lineups. There are plenty of safe options among the high-priced players at each position, and they can be great foundations to build lineups around, but the really cheap value plays are what allow you to save salary cap space and afford more than one of those expensive studs.
This article will highlight three undervalued low-price players and one super cheap option to consider at each position this week. The list will only include players with games starting Sunday or Monday, and players will only be included if they fall below the following salary levels by position:
QB – Players under $7000, Freebie under $6000
RB – Players under $6000, Freebie under $5000
WR – Players under $6000, Freebie under $5000
TE – Players under $6000, Freebie under $5000
K – Players under $5300, Freebie at $5000
D – Players under $5300, Freebie at $5000
1. Terrelle Pryor, OAK v. JAC ($6,500) – Pryor is currently second in the NFL in rushing yards, with an impressive 112 of them in Week 1. He was also not quite as bad as expected in the passing game, throwing for 217 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions, earning him a total of 21.88 points on FanDuel. Far from a sure thing, he’s still great value this week at $6,500, as would be any quarterback with his running ability and playing time. It helps that he gets to face a Jacksonville defense that ranks as one of the worst in the league and will likely be on the field quite a bit on Sunday.
2. Carson Palmer, ARI v. DET ($6,900) – Palmer is the latest potential savior to fill the void at the Cardinals QB position, which has been a major issue for the team for more than three years. He certainly kept those hopes alive in Week 1, throwing for 327 yards and two touchdowns with an interception and a fumble lost, good for 18.08 points on FanDuel. Palmer is well past his prime but he hasn’t had a receiver to throw to of Larry Fitzgerald’s caliber since 2007. Andre Roberts and Michael Floyd are no scrubs either, allowing for three-receiver sets capable of big plays. Detroit’s hospitable defense will have trouble keeping Cardinals receivers out of their end zone this week if Arizona’s offensive line can keep Palmer upright.
3. Matt Schaub, HOU v. TEN ($6,800) – Schaub was the seventh highest scoring QB in Week 1 with 24.84 points off 346 passing yards with three touchdowns and an interception. Unsurprisingly, Andre Johnson ate up 146 of those yards, but the chemistry Schaub displays throwing to his running backs and tight ends are what give him the chance at consistent production every week. Tennessee’s defense faces a tough task trying to interrupt his point flow this week.
Freebie: Chad Henne, JAC @ OAK ($5,000) – Well, he’s a starting quarterback in the NFL, albeit for a Jaguars team that looked pitiful in Week 1, failing to score a single point on offense. We can’t blame that on Henne though, as it was Blaine Gabbert wearing the QB costume in Week 1. Gabbert is out for Week 2 and Henne is a solid if not spectacular replacement that gives the Jags a shot at avoiding an offensive shutout this time around.
Bargain Running Backs:
1. Joique Bell, DET @ ARI ($5,700) – Bell was one of the best plays of Week 1, notching 23.7 points on just 25 rushing yards due to two rushing touchdowns and 67 receiving yards on six receptions. Lions running backs always seem to get the opportunity to produce in diverse ways, and while Bell is second fiddle to Reggie Bush, he appears to be the goal-line back. Arizona is not the easiest matchup, but the Lions rarely struggle to score and Bell is a big part of their red zone plans. And if Bush succumbs to his injury prone ways, Bell could be a gold mine.
2. Isaac Redman, PIT @ CIN ($5,900) – Redman is the polar opposite of Bell, both in that he had a terrible Week 1, and because he’s his team’s starting running back. Redman managed just nine yards on eight carries in Week 1, and lost a fumble to boot. Only his three receptions for a mere seven yards kept him out of the negatives. Still, at his price he has an opportunity to be good value in Week 2, even with a tough matchup. The Steelers will be focused on playing a much better overall game this week against the division rival Bengals, and with Le’Veon Bell out for at least a couple more weeks, Redman will get the carries that make it possible for him to produce.
3. Ahmad Bradshaw, IND v. MIA ($5,700) – Bradshaw was another disappointment in Week 1, getting just seven carries that translated into only 26 yards. Co-committee member Vick Ballard got 13 carries, but didn’t do anything to distance himself from Bradshaw on the depth chart. On top of that, news out of Indianapolis indicates that Ballard tore his ACL in practice this week and will miss the rest of the season. Bradshaw will be facing a tough Miami defense, but given his explosiveness and increasing workload he’s a good bet to do something with the carries he gets this week, which should be well more than half of the team’s total.
Freebie: Bryce Brown, PHI v. SD ($4,900) – It was LeSean McCoy who was the star of the show in the debut of Chip Kelly’s NFL offense. However, Brown is his primary backup and a talented player who can make the most of his chances. McCoy had 31 carries in Week 1, almost twice what he averaged per game last year, a number he can’t possibly maintain over a full season if the Eagles want to keep him fresh and healthy. With the Eagles looking to run 100 offensive plays per game, McCoy will need to cede some touches to Brown, which should lead to Brown getting more than the nine touches he got last week.
Bargain Wide Receivers:
1. DeSean Jackson, PHI v. SD ($5,700) – Jackson caught seven passes for 104 yards and a touchdown in Week 1, good for 19.9 points on FanDuel. He was the only Eagles receiver to catch more than two passes and has big play ability in a fast-paced offense. He might be the bargain of the week, and I expect he will be priced out of range of this list for Week 3. The Chargers defense looked vulnerable last week against the Texans, and the Eagles should be able to continue the trend in Week 2.
2. Tavon Austin, STL @ ATL ($5,600) – Austin didn’t put up a big score in Week 1, but he did catch six passes for 41 yards and also got a carry. It may take some time before he delivers on the hype that accompanied him into the league this year, but it was a positive sign to see him involved in the Rams’ offense right out of the gate. Jared Cook had the big game for the Rams in Week 1, but tight ends are notoriously inconsistent, and Austin has the potential to deliver huge returns on his relatively low price. The Rams will need to throw against the Falcons, and Austin is high on the target totem pole.
3. T.Y. Hilton, IND v. MIA ($5,800) – Hilton didn’t see much action in Week 1, playing just 23 offensive snaps and only catching three passes on five targets. It’s a bit surprising since he had 861 yards and seven touchdowns in 2012, when he was a big part of the Colts’ passing game. He should be again this year, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Colts look to him more this week against Miami.
Freebie: Rueben Randle, NYG v. DEN ($4,800) – Randle was great value in Week 1 putting up 12.6 points on FanDuel as he caught five of his six targets for 101 yards. The Giants’ passing game offers plenty of opportunity most weeks, and with Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks their biggest threats, Randle tends to enjoy one-on-one coverage most of the time. Denver’s dynamic offense is likely to put up plenty of points, so the Giants will be throwing often and Randle could find a way to repeat his performance in Week 2.
Bargain Tight Ends:
1. Brandon Myers, NYG v. DEN ($5,000) – Myers was one of the many cheap tight ends that put up big scores in Week 1, as he caught seven passes for 66 yards and a touchdown for 16.1 points on FanDuel. With the Giants likely to throw a lot, Denver could try to take Cruz and Nicks out of the game as much as possible. And with Denver’s pass rush significantly weaker than in recent memory, Myers should play a receiving role again this week. It may be tough for him to match his performance from Week 1, but he’s a good bet to get some points.
2. Antonio Gates, SD @ PHI ($5,400) – It’s strange to see Gates’ name next to his price after he was the top tight end in the league for so long. He’s still got some juice left in the tank though, and while his Week 1 numbers were uninspiring with just two catches for 49 yards, his play hinted at production in future weeks. The Chargers will need to throw to keep up with the Eagles, and Philip Rivers may look Gates’ way more often in Week 2.
3. Kyle Rudolph, MIN @ CHI ($5,800) – Rudolph was a touchdown machine in 2012, scoring nine of them on the season. He fell flat in Week 1 this year with just two catches for 27 yards, but with little else available in a Minnesota passing game that’s facing a very tough matchup against the Bears, Rudolph is likely to get some of what little production they can manage in Week 2. If Adrian Peterson can get the Vikings near the end zone without running it in himself, Rudolph is the best red zone alternative the team has available.
Freebie: Brent Celek, PHI v. SD ($4,500) – Celek was another cheap tight end who produced in Week 1, although he had only two receptions. His 56 yards and a touchdown ran his score to 12.6 points on FanDuel. Not bad for a minimum-price player. As with the other Eagles options mentioned above, there is a lot of offense to go around in Philadelphia. Celek is more experienced and productive than the Eagle’s rookie tight end Zach Ertz, and is a potential bargain for users looking to save a lot of money at tight end.
1. Blair Walsh, MIN @ CHI ($5,200) –Walsh was a popular option in Week 1, including being part of the 195-point lineup that won the $10 Week 1 FFFC Qualifier. He didn’t have a huge week with just 8 points on FanDuel, but he did hit a 52 yard field goal, after being 10-10 on 50+ yard attempts last year. He’s got the leg to convince his coach to go for long field goals, which is where the big point opportunities lie for kickers.
2. Greg Zuerlein, STL @ ATL ($5,000) – Zuerlein was the top scoring kicker in Week 1, with 14 points on FanDuel off of four field goals and an extra point. He’s another guy who has the leg to earn long attempts, although he only hit 7-13 from 50+ last year and didn’t get an attempt to hit one that long in Week 1. At just $5,000 it’s hard to argue against Megaleg as the best minimum-price option at K this week.
3. Randy Bullock, HOU v. TEN ($5,100) – Bullock was just 1-2 on field goal attempts in Week 1, missing a 51-yarder. He added four extra points and managed 7 points on FanDuel, and as part of a Houston offense that spends a lot of time on their opponents’ side of the field, Bullock could improve on that point total in Week 2.
Freebie: Dan Bailey, DAL @ KC ($5,000) – If you don’t want to spend more than $5,000 on your kicker but you just don’t believe in Greg Zuerlein, Bailey is probably the next guy in line. He scored 13 points on FanDuel in Week 1 off of three field goals and three extra points, and although he doesn’t get many opportunities from beyond 50 yards (just 5-9 in the past two years combined), he does get a lot of short-range attempts as the Cowboys scored touchdowns on just 51% of red zone appearances in 2012 and failed on 50% of their attempts in Week 1 this year as well.
1. Pittsburgh Steelers, PIT @ CIN ($5,000) – The Steelers defense looked ugly from a fantasy perspective in Week 1, managing just one sack and no turnovers against the underwhelming Titans on their way to 4 points on FanDuel. Still, out of the options available at $5,000 the Steelers have the pedigree and personnel to turn it around in Week 2.
2. Baltimore Ravens, BAL v. CLE ($5,200) – The Ravens are another historically great defense that did little to help its FanDuel owners in Week 1, putting up just 3 points. However, they at least managed three sacks and a fumble recovery, despite giving up 49 points to Peyton Manning and the Broncos. It seems highly unlikely that the Browns will put up that kind of point total, so the Ravens are a good bet to rebound this week.
3. Miami Dolphins, MIA @ IND ($5,200) – The Miami D put up a very strong 16 point performance on FanDuel in Week 1, with six sacks and three interceptions. They don’t get to face Cleveland again, but Indianapolis didn’t exactly light up the Oakland D in Week 1. Miami has solid defensive personnel and will look to stop the run and put pressure on Andrew Luck as they try to remain a top 3 scoring defense in Week 2.
Freebie: Dallas Cowboys, DAL @ KC ($5,000) – The Cowboys defense had a huge week in Week 1 against Eli Manning and the Giants, putting up 26 points on FanDuel. However, while that is a great score for a defense, it was powered mainly by mistakes by the Giants and the fact that two of the six turnovers they generated went for TDs. Both the volume of turnovers and the touchdowns are a bit lucky, and will be tough to reproduce consistently. Still, they had three sacks and deserve some credit for their productivity, so if you don’t like the Steelers and are looking for another option at $5,000 the Cowboys are worth a look against Kansas City this week.