FanDuel NFL Bargain Bin – Week 3
With Week 3 of NFL action just around the corner, it’s time to start digging up those hidden gems that could deliver big points on FanDuel while saving you enough salary cap to afford all the big names you want in your lineup this week.
This article will highlight three undervalued 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 only if they fall below the following salary levels by position:
QB – 3 Players under $7000, 1 Freebie under $6000
RB – 3 Players under $6000, 1 Freebie under $5000
WR – 3 Players under $6000, 1 Freebie under $5000
TE – 3 Players under $6000, 1 Freebie under $5000
K – 3 Players under $5200
D – 3 Players under $5200
1. Matt Schaub, HOU @ BAL ($6,800) – Schaub has already thrown for 644 yards and six touchdowns through the season’s first two weeks. With Andre Johnson on the mend and likely to play in Week 3, Schaub should continue to keep Johnson atop the league leaderboard in targets, where he currently sits with 29. If Johnson is limited or misses the game, Schaub showed a good connection with DeAndre Hopkins last week and should be able to sustain the Houston air assault. The Baltimore defense they face is showing a lot more holes than we’re used to, giving up 639 passing yards and seven passing touchdowns without recording a single interception yet this year.
2. Carson Palmer, ARI @ NO ($6,900) – Palmer had a mediocre Week 2 after a strong performance in Week 1, despite getting better protection from his offensive line. While his numbers may be up and down from week to week, the Saints are an opponent apt to induce a shootout in any game they play, making this a good week to take a stab with Palmer. He’ll likely look to get Larry Fitzgerald more involved after targeting him only 5 times in Week 2, if Fitzgerald is healthy enough to stay on the field.
3. Ryan Tannehill, MIA v. ATL ($6,100) – This is not a name that most people consider when picking a quarterback, but Tannehill has had some success early in 2013. His 591 passing yards through two weeks are more than Joe Flacco, Colin Kaepernick, Andrew Luck, Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, and quite a few other established QBs that are standard options in a fantasy lineup. Tannehill has only thrown two touchdowns, but also only one interception, and showed improvement from Week 1 to Week 2, particularly in his chemistry with his new elite receiver Mike Wallace. Atlanta’s defense has given up the fourth most passing yards this year at 693 and Tannehill could end up producing great value for his price this week.
Freebie: Geno Smith, NYJ v. BUF ($5,700) – Sometimes if you want to gain a true advantage, particularly in a big tournament, you have to look at players your opponents are actively ignoring. There’s a good reason most people are ignoring Smith, as he has looked like a turnover machine at times this year and even aside from the turnovers his production has been fledgling at best. Still, Smith is a versatile quarterback who has shown flashes of brilliance in certain moments. He seemed a little overwhelmed last week at New England, but he should be more composed at home this week against a Buffalo team that also has a rookie quarterback. Buffalo will put pressure on Smith, which could spell more turnovers, but could also give him the chance to rack up some rushing points.
1. Giovani Bernard, CIN v. GB ($5,700) – Bernard’s carries doubled from four to eight in the first two weeks, and it wouldn’t be a shock if they doubled again in Week 3. Bernard is outperforming starter BenJarvus Green-Ellis by a wide margin in yards per carry and scored two touchdowns last week, one rushing and one receiving. He’s also a bigger part of the team’s future, and the Bengals will likely look to get him more involved, possibly as soon as this weekend versus Green Bay, who are vulnerable to the run.
2. James Starks, GB @ CIN ($5,600) – Starks will look to shine brighter than Bernard in their head-to-head matchup this week after taking over the starting running back job for concussed Eddie Lacy. Starks had an excellent game in Week 2 after Lacy left the field, rushing for 132 yards on 20 carries with a touchdown. He also caught four balls for 36 yards. Starks has a lot of things going for him that Bernard doesn’t, but unfortunately the matchup isn’t one of them. Green Bay is a lot easier to run on than Cincinnati, and Starks will have trouble keeping up his 6.6 yards per carry average from last week. Still, he should produce well enough to justify spending just $5,600 to get him in your lineup.
3. Bernard Pierce, BAL v. HOU ($5,900) – Ray Rice was injured in Week 2’s contest, leaving 19 carries for Pierce, who took them for 57 yards and a touchdown. Pierce is not the versatile threat that Rice is, but if Rice misses the game in Week 3, Pierce should step right into a lot of touches again. It’s a lot easier to run against Houston than it is to throw, so even if Rice plays in a limited role there should be enough carries to go around in Baltimore. Keep an eye on the injury updates heading into the weekend to see if Pierce will be starting.
Freebie: Bilal Powell, NYJ v. BUF ($4,600) – Looks like it’s sleeper week for the Jets as Bilal joins Geno on the Freebie list. Powell starts but splits carries with Chris Ivory, who is probably the better running back. That said, Powell is the third-down back and goal-line back, and the Jets aren’t likely to be super aggressive when they manage to get close to the end zone. That should mean more touchdowns at some point like the one Powell scored in Week 2. His contributions as a receiver also help his chances at outperforming his price this week.
1. T.Y. Hilton, IND @ SF ($5,800) – Hilton makes this list for the second straight week after delivering big in Week 2, catching six balls on 12 targets for 124 yards. With that many targets it would have been nice to see a few more catches, but it inspires confidence to see him get that many looks at all after barely seeing the field in Week 1. Indianapolis corrected their mistake quickly and Hilton should continue to play well off the threat of Reggie Wayne on the other side. San Francisco has a tough defense, but they’ve started a little slow this year giving up four passing touchdowns already. Andrew Luck has the skill to get through their coverage and connect with Hilton another half dozen times this week.
2. Tavon Austin, STL @ DAL ($5,900) – Austin also makes the list for the second week in a row as he stepped up his involvement in the Rams’ offense in Week 2, hauling in six catches for 47 yards and two touchdowns, good for 20.5 points on FanDuel. He also got an honorable mention in the rushing game, which could eventually turn into some big plays and more consistent production with multiple avenues to points. It would be unwise to bank on another two TDs this week, but Austin is a great play for his price as Dallas has struggled to contain opposing receivers so far this year.
3. DeAndre Hopkins, HOU @ BAL ($5,700) – The full extent of Hopkins’ value this week will be determined once we know if Andre Johnson will play or not. Hopkins stepped in after Johnson was injured in last week’s game, catching seven passes on 13 targets for 117 yards and a touchdown. Clearly he has a chance at another big game if Johnson sits, but even if not, Hopkins had five catches on six targets for 66 yards in Week 1 as well, and Matt Schaub spreads it around enough to keep him involved.
Freebie: Eddie Royal, SD @ TEN ($4,500) – Royal might actually be the best play on this list, given that he already has scored five touchdowns on the year but still remains at $4,500. Tennessee has been stingy against the pass this year, but Royal is the kind of receiver that can run tight routes and fit in small spaces and also capitalize in the end zone despite his size. With Malcolm Floyd suffering a scary injury in Week 2, Royal should continue to get ample targets in the San Diego offense, especially in short yardage and hurried situations.
1. Owen Daniels, HOU @ BAL ($5,800) – Lots of Houston offensive players on the list this week, as Daniels joins Matt Schaub and DeAndre Hopkins. The same rationales apply for Daniels as for the others, particularly if Andre Johnson sits as Daniels is the next most trusted receiving option for Schaub. Daniels has already scored three touchdowns this year and been targeted 13 times, numbers that should continue to rise, along with his FanDuel price, over the coming weeks.
2. Antonio Gates, SD @ TEN ($5,800) – Gates reappears on this list for the second week in a row, after producing great value in Week 2 with eight catches on 10 targets for 124 yards and one unfortunate fumble lost one yard shy of the end zone. Gates managed 14.4 points on FanDuel, salvaging what would have been a 22.4 point game had he secured the ball for one more yard. Gates showed why he is was way underpriced despite his age and lack of production last year. He remains underpriced this week, which may be your last chance to get him under $6,000 if Philip Rivers looks his way often again in week 3. It wouldn’t be surprising to see him take away some of those touchdowns that have been going Eddie Royal’s way.
3. Kyle Rudolph, MIN v. CLE ($5,800) – Rudolph lit the lamp in Week 2 and also remains on this list for the second week in a row. His lack of catches, only five so far on 10 targets, is a little unsettling but he is a known red zone target with 10 TDs in his last 17 games. Cleveland has only given up two passing touchdowns so far this year, but if they give up another one this week its likely to be to Rudolph.
Freebie: Charles Clay, MIA v. ATL ($4,700) – Clay has been quietly productive this year with 10 catches on 13 targets for 163 yards, including 109 yards in Week 2. He also had a one yard touchdown run last week, which allowed him to score 19.5 points on FanDuel. The coaching staff seems to want to keep him involved in the running game, particularly in short yardage situations. With Ryan Tannehill looking his way often through the air, there will be opportunities for Clay to continue to be one of the best cheap tight ends available.
1. Justin Tucker, BAL v. HOU ($5,100) – Tucker seems to be perennially underpriced despite his consistent production since the start of last season. That is, of course, except for last week, when he put up a mere two points on FanDuel. Houston has a strong defense, but the Ravens should be able to at least get into field goal range, where they are more than willing to hand the keys to Tucker, who has never missed a field goal from less than 40 yards in the NFL.
2. Sebastian Janikowski, OAK @ DEN ($5,000) – Janikowski has been a bit of a frustrating kicker to own since the beginning of his career after the Raiders took him in the 1st round of the 2000 NFL Draft. The main reason being that he has immense talent and leg power, but his accuracy comes and goes like the wind. Still, he has the leg to get opportunities from long range, proven emphatically by the fact that he once attempted a 76-yard field goal into the wind against the San Diego Chargers in 2008. He also successfully kicked a 63-yard field goal in 2011, tying the NFL record and becoming the only kicker in history with two made field goals of 60-plus yards. The fact that he’s playing in Denver this week just adds to his chances of hitting any long attempts he does get.
3. Nick Novak, SD @ TEN ($5,100) – Novak had the big kicker game in Week 2 with 18 FanDuel points on four field goals, three from 40+ yards, and three extra points. However, he only had 4 points in Week 1, demonstrating the up and down nature of the kicker. Still, you have to like a guy that’s hit all of his attempts so far and sticks it from the 40-49 range, going 7-7 since the beginning of 2012. One thing to note about Novak is that he does not get a lot of attempts from 50+, so you’re looking for volume of kicks from him rather than a few 5-point bombs.
1. Pittsburgh Steelers, PIT v. CHI ($5,000) – The Steelers top the value defense pick list again this week, after two very uninspiring performances in a row. The good news is that mediocrity has kept their price at $5,000 on FanDuel. The bad news is they’ve only got one sack and no turnovers on the year. It is extremely unlikely that such a talented, though somewhat depleted, defense continues to be so devoid of stats for much longer. Chicago can score, but the Steelers should be able to keep it reasonable and are a great bet to break their turnoverless streak and get to the quarterback in Week 3.
2. Cleveland Browns, CLE @ MIN ($5,000) – Cleveland has been much more successful on defense than Pittsburgh this year, but has also remained at $5,000 despite managing six sacks, two turnovers, and only four touchdowns allowed. They’ve been particularly stingy on run defense, allowing just two yards per carry, which bodes well for their chances at negating Minnesota’s only offensive threat in Adrian Peterson. Christian Ponder could throw one or two donations their way as well as the Browns apply pressure and force some desperation attempts.
3. Buffalo Bills, BUF @ NYJ ($5,000) – The Bills defense makes the bargain list despite two players on their opposing team’s offense making the list as well. Let’s just say that all of the good outcomes I highlighted above for Geno Smith and Bilal Powell are possible, but so is three interceptions and a fistful of sacks if Geno repeats his breakdowns from Week 2. The Jets came into the season being a hot target for fantasy defenses, and it remains to be seen if they can avoid that label with Geno at the helm.